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Interview with Don Nicola Bux * by Vito Palmiotti. Vito Palmiotti: The post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia aroused unexpected reactions according to the different ways of reading and accepting it. Perhaps that was precisely the purpose that its author intended to achieve. Nicola Bux: In fact, on the one hand it caused a great disappointment, as well as a real disgust, in the Amazonian environments, which expected - in logical continuity with the whole synodal process and with the final document - a clear and frontal opening on the two themes that have been the leiv motif from the beginning: the conferral of the sacrament of order to the viri probati (with the consequent weakening and annihilation of priestly celibacy) and the permanent diaconate of women, as a first step towards the female priesthood. The frustration caused in this specifically local context has spread internationally to all progressive contexts, surprisingly affecting a good part of the Church, especially in Germany. In the same environments, however, another reaction occurs, more conciliatory and masked with fake serenity in front of the evident reverse of the last moment. It is a reading of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation according to a criterion, not well specified, of complementarity and harmonious harmony between the two documents, the post-synodal and the final one of the Synod, which should be read together, in a synoptic I would say. Those who want to read everything as a process open to new developments are placed in the same line. Palmiotti: On the opposite side, the post-synodal document has aroused optimistic reactions from traditionalist and conservative sectors, which, without an overall view, believe they have finally won the battle of orthodoxy. Thus, many naively think that the Pope would return to defend sound doctrine by exercising his role of confirming his brothers in the faith. Bux: Indeed, it seems that he wanted to prove that he is not as heterodox as is thought in these circles. If after seven years of pontificate, this has not been understood, it means that his underlying vision of the Church, mainly socio-political, has not yet been grasped. Finally, even in the circle of those who are in line with the good tradition and ecclesial doctrine, the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation is realistically seen only as a magisterial text that makes silence on the most controversial points, leaving in the imprecise cloud of uncertainty what deserved a clear stance. Palmiotti: In doing so, at first glance everything would seem apparently in order, while in reality the seed of chaos is sown which will sooner or later produce its fruits. If the metaphor is valid, it could be said that the fire in the Amazon rainforest has been partially extinguished, but burning embers still remain under the ashes. Bux: The same "theologian" of Francis, Msgr. Viktor Manuel Fernandez, bishop of La Plata, got it right, saying to Religión digital: «Sin embargo, tampoco hay que afirmar, como han dicho algunos medios, que Francisco ha cerrado las puertas o ha excluido la posibilidad de ordenar algunos hombres casados. De hecho, en la introducción Francisco limita los alcances de su propio documento: “No desarrollaré aquí todas las cuestiones abundantemente expuestas en el Documento conclusivo” (2). Se refiere al documento con el cual concluyó el Sínodo de los Obispos celebrado en Roma. Está claro que si el Papa no desarrolla algún punto no es porque queda excluido, sino porque adrede no quiso repetir al Sínodo». And he adds: «Por primera vez una exhortación apostólica no quiere ser una interpretación del Documento conclusivo de un Sínodo ni una restricción de sus contenidos, ni un texto oficial que deja atrás lo que el Sínodo concluyó. Sólo es un marco complementario de ese documento y dice explícitamente: “no pretendo reemplazarlo ni repetirlo” (2). Tan claro es que no quiere reemplazarlo, que lo que hace es “presentar oficialmente” (3) ese documento y pedir que todos los obispos y agentes pastorales de la Amazonia “se empeñen en su aplicación” (4)». The same "theologian" of Francis, therefore, does not hide the fact that, with the Exhortation, a sort of Catholic-Amazonian religion was created, a new religion, founded on the almost syncretic or contiguous union between the Catholic faith and the rites and the superstitions of the Amazonian populations. In fact, he declares: «Al mismo tiempo, muestra una enorme apertura a los ritos y expresiones indígenas, pidiendo que no se las acuse tan rápidamente de paganismo o de “idolatría” (79) y deja lugar a un posible “rito amazónico” (nota 120). En el Sínodo se dijo precisamente, en las discusiones que llevaron a un cierto consenso, que ese era el marco adecuado para pensar en la posibilidad de los “viri probati”»." and all the other "innovations". I also remember the words spent in the presentation of the Exhortation by card. Michael Czerny, who said that the issue of diaconal ordination of women and ecclesiastical celibacy are not resolved by the exhortation. And not unlike the card. Hummes, general speaker of the Pan-Amazonian synod, who recalled that there would be a plan to develop and complete the issue of celibacy. According to some observers, the Exhortation would represent a sort of "Trojan horse" for the ordination of women and for the abolition of priestly celibacy. We leave out the issues of the Amazonian rite and the acceptance of the idolatrous traditions of the Amazonian populations (in the video presentation of the Vatican News exhortation). Palmiotti: If you want, what you have described is a sort of third way (as I think a few days ago, on the occasion of the publication of the Exhortation, Francesco's biographer, Austen Ivereigh on an article in The Tablet) or door ajar. Pope Bergoglio did not close the door to the demands of the progressives, but at the same time he did not open them wide. He left the door open just enough, so that he, or his successor, in the future, can provide for complete opening. It is perhaps, therefore, a Pyrrhic victory. And probably not even a victory. On the other hand, it is necessary to clarify the value of the final document of the bishops at the Amazonian synod: will this be the key to interpreting the Exhortation? Bux: If, as card. Baldisseri that document would not fall within the magisterium, but would have a mere moral value, it remains to be understood whether it could nevertheless assume the value of the interpretative key of the Exhortation, so that this should be interpreted in the light of that document, which Francis invited to read and keep in mind entirely. In conclusion, Querida Amazonia has raised a set of conflicting feelings in which the bitterness of those who have been disappointed, the illusion of those who hope for a future opening, the naive look of those who believe in a fictitious return to true intertwine doctrine, but the only remaining point is the ambiguities on issues that still require a clear answer today. Last but not least, the unclear language, a "pastoralese", so to speak, made up of insinuations and not of affirmations, as prof. Stefano Fontana, who does not make it clear what the faithful Catholic must comply with. ** These and other observations by Monsignor Nicola Bux, priest of the archdiocese of Bari, professor in Jerusalem and Rome, professor of Eastern liturgy and of theology of the sacraments in the Apulian Theological Faculty, already an expert at the synod of bishops on the Eucharist and consultor of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and for the Causes of Saints; consultant to the international theological magazine "Communio". He was appointed by Benedict XVI as consultor to the Office of the liturgical celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.
The Amazonian post-synodal exhortation? A document that presents "cracks". Word of Don Nicola Bux in a new interview by Vito Palmiotti In recent days it has presented expectations. A exhortation now published, what scenarios do you think will open? The bishops of the Amazon will ask the competent Authority, the Pope - as foreseen by the Exhortation - because of their particular situation, to be able to use the final document of the Synod, to meet the needs of the communities, since what it says about it can be understood, from the canonical point of view, as an approval expressed in the light of the apostolic constitution of September 2018, Episcopalis Communio. We understand what those needs are. Moreover, there are in this exhortation of problematic openings perhaps far greater than the theme of celibacy itself, which has almost completely absorbed the debate, putting other critical issues concerning the Amazon synod in the background. Did the book of Benedict XVI and Sarah exercise its weight? Although it has been said by official sources that the document was ready before, since December, it is clear to me that it is not so: indeed, that the very book in question has prompted to drastically review the fourth part of the Exhortation, which however presents cracks in the which to insert what is left out. What can we get from the story? Benedict XVI and card. Sarah testified to the importance of Catholic thought. To make people think is the task of philosophy, said Paul Ricoeur. The activism prevalent today in the Church and beyond does not help, in fact, it drives many away. Those who are Catholics must, with determination, affirm the truth, and wait patiently for the time of grace that Providence prepares. The Church as a whole cannot incur heresy. If we are members of a body: there are no sociological and political laws but the reality of grace prevails, an ontological and supernatural reality that makes man holy and pleasing to God. What do you think of the next bishops' event in Bari "The Mediterranean frontier of peace. A laboratory of synodality and commitment between churches and peoples. Many Catholics and non-Catholics expect the Church to make Jesus Christ and his Gospel known: this is why it was established by its Founder. Or should we resort to the deformations of Sanremo and Benigni? The rest is political and leaves the time it finds. The Holy Spirit tells us that the world can be saved by Christ, not by others, and that the Church can be reinvigorated by herself, not by others.
Interview with Don Nicola Bux* by Vito Palmiotti. Here the original Italian Version. In view of the imminent publication of the Apostolic Exhortation that will follow the Amazon Synod , we are witnessing a radicalization of ultra-style positions to the point that, for example, if Ratzinger and Sarah write reflections, they shout at success on one side and scandal on the other, there is a sort of standing ovation of a faction to the only hypothesis of withdrawal of the signature of Benedetto, only to be indignant when this in fact remains somehow on the cover. So again we are witnessing a series of epithets aimed at describing Benedict as "shiny only half an hour a day" (and maybe it is precisely the half hour in which he wrote then he would return to a soporific state for twenty three and a half hours) and if so if it were not then it becomes a serious interference with something that nobody knows but that is pulled by the jacket here and there, interpreting the thoughts of the one - the father - who must give an indication, hopefully clear, among other things , on a delicate issue such as the possibility of opening to the uxorato clergy, in some "particular situations" as the synod fathers ask in the final document of the controversial and discussed Synod on the Amazon. The impression obtained is that there is a lack of a Catholic gaze and a sense of reality. What will the Pope do? Cardinal Charles Journet, a distinguished patrologist, said: "As for the axiom" Where the Pope is, there is the Church "applies when the Pope behaves as Pope and head of the Church; in the contrary case, neither the Church is in him, nor he in the Church ». D. Nicola Bux participated, as an expert invited by cardinal Ratzinger and then pope, to the synod on the Eucharist in 2005 and to that on the Middle East in 2010: therefore he knows how things are going. Of course, if this can-can continues, nothing but a synod: the pope could resent and change something. VP: What does synodality mean, a word with which everyone fills their mouths? DBUX: The varied fans of St. Francis are perhaps unaware that he called himself a Catholic and apostolic man: the first is now a rare word to hear, yet it indicates the look at reality 'according to the totality of its factors'. From the Greek katà olòn. Unfortunately, the moral of the 'case by case' and the emphasis on the 'local Church' contributed to oblivion. In fact, it is believed that giving Communion to a divorced and remarried couple in a remote village, and not giving it to a city parish, can be done without affecting the unity of the whole, which is then the Catholic Church. Precisely on this we must dwell. Unity is the most precious asset, says St. John Chrysostom, provided that the differences are not adverse to each other, but converge towards unity, that is, they are uni-versus, universal. Here is the universal or Catholic Church. The Pope should be a sign and a bond of this. We must hope that the Exhortation will serve this purpose: to be Catholic, it should not refer to the Final Document of the Synod. If this is so, it will also be due to the contribution of Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah with their book on priestly celibacy, and of those in the Church who have not stopped telling the truth without failing in charity, without giving in to the temptation to to separate, which is mainly due to the lack of patience of love. Behind that book there is a not small part of the Church, which the pope, as a pater patruum, cannot fail to take into account; not only that: there are two thousand years of traditio of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, which, with Scripture, is the source of revelation. Patience is the first characteristic of love indicated by Saint Paul: charity is patient. In conclusion, synodality can be synonymous with a journey and a common gaze (always according to the Greek etymology) and in this sense, every Christian and the Church must use it. But the Church is not a permanent Synod and not even a Council, but a hierarchically ordered community. If the final document expressed the word of the bishops and of the other synod fathers, the exhortation will communicate the word of the pope, who does not necessarily have to agree with that. Remember the praevia note made by Paul VI affixing the Lumen Gentium constitution. The Synod is representative and not a substitute for the entire Catholic episcopate. VP: Is the Pope always foolproof? D.BUX: The magisterium is there when the pope and all the bishops agree (Compendium CCC 185) - I stress 'agree' - in proposing definitive teaching on faith and morals. What does definitive mean? It must be - like high definition photos - with sharp outlines. In fact, as in extraordinary dogmatic acts, the pope uses three verbs: we pronounce, declare and define, so in ordinary teaching, if discord were to persist, there would be no magisterium. Today it happens that many bishops do not agree but are disagree even on a doctrine already believed by faith: the discordance means that there is no infallibility, but this does not mean that the faithful are not required to obey it, unless that teaching contrasts with the depositum fidei. If a father says something and the mother the opposite, who should the children obey? We have reason to hope and pray that the Exhortation will be clear and without exception. If this were not so, the approach of the 'great apostasy' which would enslave the Church would be favored; the proof that will shake the Church (CCC 675-677) far beyond the current crisis of faith: persecution. *Msgr Nicola Bux. Ordained priest on December 6, 1975, he studied and taught in Jerusalem and Rome. Professor of Eastern Liturgy and Theology of the Sacraments at the Apulian Theological Faculty, at the Institute of Ecumenical-Patristic "San Nicola" of Bari.Close collaborator of Benedict XVI, during his pontificate he was consultor to the Congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments (since 2010), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and the Office of Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff. He was wanted in these roles by popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He was a personal friend of the latter as both theologians and animators of the international theological journal Communio. He was perished at the synod of bishops on the Eucharist (2-23 October 2005). Since the early 2000s, Archbishop Bux has also collaborated with the periodical Il Timone.