Friday, February 24, 2006

A Notable Caller in the Apartment

B16 is at it again....

The Bollettino of the Holy See Press Office has just been updated. This is interesting.

In the update, it notes that the Pope received Enzo Bianchi, the prior of the Ecumenical Community of Bose and a noted progressive, in audience this afternoon.

Bianchi -- who bears the most uncanny resemblance to Ira Einhorn, the 60's guru-turned-"Unicorn Killer" -- has said some controversial things in the past. Sandro Magister noted in a 2005 piece that:
In his latest “Letter to our friends,” issued for the end of Lent, Bianchi denies that there is an attack underway in Europe against the Church and Christians. There has been no such attack in the past – “for centuries Christians have lived freely and been respected” – and much less is there one today. In his opinion, it is rather the Church that stubbornly insists upon retaining its privileges and its close ties with the dominant powers.

Enzo Bianchi does not carry any particular official authority. The monastic community that he founded – a mixed group of monks and nuns that includes Protestants and Orthodox – is far from receiving canonical approval.

But he is a leading representative of a tendency widespread throughout all levels of the Church, generally identified as “conciliar” and “ecumenical.”

His activity is highly varied and intense. He is an acclaimed writer. He has published dozens of books, some of them translated into various languages. He writes for the newspaper owned by the Turin-based FIAT automotive company, “La Stampa,” in spite of the fact that he is an implacable enemy of capitalism. He also writes for the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, even though he is the greatest critic of both it and its president, Cardinal Camillo Ruini. Dozens of bishops and hundreds of priests have attended his retreats.

A constant stream of illustrious visitors passes through Bose. The patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, has been there. Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and one of Bianchi’s close friends, spent several weeks there prior to his installation as the new primate of the Anglican Church, and has returned a number of times since then. Regular visitors from the Vatican include Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Piero Marini, the pope’s master of ceremonies, and Renato Boccardo, the new secretary of the administrative center of Vatican City. When he was archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini also demonstrated a certain predilection for Bianchi and the monastery of Bose. After September 11, 2001, Martini made a stir with a homily in which, quoting Bianchi, he defined the destruction of the Twin Towers as an “apocalypse in the etymological sense of ‘lifting a veil’,” a “revelation of the evil in which we are immersed, of the absurdity of a society whose god is money, whose law is success, and whose time is marked by the opening of the worldwide stock exchanges.”
Most notable of all is this portion, which deals with the concept of the papacy and the church's wider role:
In 1982, Bianchi became the successor of Fr. Giuseppe Dossetti as president of the Institute of Religious Studies in Bologna, the most influential center of study in the world of “conciliar” tendency. In a book released at the end of 2004, the center made public its plan for reforming the papacy which it delivered in August of 1978 to the cardinals who took part in the two conclaves of that year. In the minds of its authors, this plan should be valid just as it is for the next conclave.

Bianchi is a radical critic of what he calls the “Constantinian era” of the Church, which lasted from the 4th century until the second half of the 20th century, and which he believes is perpetuated today in the new historical sin of “civil religion” in support of the modern “emperors.”
Very interesting, indeed.