Enzo Bianchi, rise and fall of a famous monk: from the boutade of the first lay cardinal to his friend Pope who chases him from Bose


It had been prophesied as first lay cardinal of modern times. A revolutionary choice to say the least, which would have plunged the Catholic church back several centuries. But that, in 2017, was aired as a hypothesis more than founded in the consistory that Pope francesco he held on June 28 of that year and in which he imposed five new red caps. Yes why Enzo Bianchi he never wanted to take the strictly clerical path with priestly ordination, but he has always preferred, since the end of Vatican II Ecumenical Council, on December 8, 1965, a totally different path. Or that of the monk in dialogue mainly with i believers of other Christian denominations, primarily col world orthodox. Thus was born and developed the Community of Bose founded by him just as the fruit of Vatican II and which now, after 55 years of life, risks being remembered forever as the place of one of the main ecclesial scandals.

Because although it is true that that prophecy of giving purple a Enzo Bianchi was totally unfounded, as the then substitute of the State Secretariat and today cardinal prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Angelo Becciu, it is undeniable that the founder of the Community of Bose is among the most respected and listened to Christian thinkers. And not only among believers. A man with a notable media following and he is being noticed right at the moment when the Vatican, with a provision of undeniable hardness, imposed on him leave the community who founded. A real exile decided also for three other components of that reality, very close to the founder: Goffredo Boselli, responsible for the liturgy, Lino Breda, secretary of the community, and Antonella Casiraghi, former sister general manager. They “must separate from the monastic community of Bose and move to another place, decaying from all assignments currently detained. ”

It is a decision of a gravity that has rarely had equal, not only in the pontificate of Francis, but in the recent history of the Church Catholic. That is to say of to impose to the founder to leave his creature forever. A measure that arises from one triple convictionwhich is much more unusual. There before it is that of the Congregation for institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, which first carried out one apostolic visit lasting one month, from 6 December 2019 to 6 January 2020, entrusted to the abbot Guillermo León Arboleda Tamayo, to the father Amedeo Cencini and at the Abadessa Anne-Emmanuelle Devéche. The second sentence came from the Vatican Secretariat of State, since the provision that exiles Bose Enzo Bianchi and the other three religious bears the signature of the cardinal Pietro Parolin. In the decree, however, the first collaborator of Francis specifies that it was “approved in a specific form by the Pope”, and it is this the third and obviously higher level of the sentence.

But that is not all. Bergoglio wanted the measures to be communicated to the interested parties by a father Amedeo Cencini, appointed pontifical delegate ad nutum Sanctae Sedis, with full powers, accompanied by the archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo, secretary of the Congregation for institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, and monsignor Marco Arnolfo, metropolitan archbishop of Vercelli. The Pope’s tough decision came out, according to the official reasons communicated by Bose, “following serious concerns received from various quarters to the Holy See which reported one tense and problematic situation in our Community as regards the exercise of the authority of the founder, the management of the government and the fraternal climate “. But it is evident that what led Francesco to make such a drastic decision cannot be reduced to the albeit stormy relationships, to put it mildly, between Enzo Bianchi and his successor Luciano Manicardi. The latter was elected prior of Bose in 2017, following the resignation of the founder, after being master of the novices and subsequently vice-prior.

For its part, Bianchi opposes the measures decided by the Pope and this can only increase the difficulties of a decision which, among other things, Vatican at first he had tried to keep confidential precisely to protect the image of the founder of Bose. In the sacred palaces the very close relationship that has always existed between Francesco and Bianchi since his election to the pontificate is well known. The founder of Bose, at least so far, has been a great one supporter Bergoglio and his choices. Just as it is no mystery that the two have long collaborated also for the drafting of some important documents. The public signs of the Pope’s esteem for Bianchi are different and very different significant. In 2014 he appoints him consultant to Pontifical council for the promotion of Christian unity precisely because of its ability to enter into dialogue with those who are not part of the Catholic Church. In 2018 he appointed him auditor of the general assembly of Synod of bishops on young people.

After that experience, Bianchi wrote a lot of words eloquent: “Once again Pope Francis will goad us. We have a Pope who is also a prophet: let’s trust! “. It seems, however, that now that trust has failed, on both sides. Bianchi’s bitterness shines through communique which he released after Francesco’s decision and also in the tweets of his highly followed social profile. “In vain, – wrote the founder of Bose – to those who gave us the decree we asked that we be allowed to know the evidence of our failings and to be able to defend ourselves from false accusations“. And he added: “In this situation, for me as for everyone, very painful, I ask that the Holy See help us and, if we have done something that contrasts the Communionwe are told. For our part, in repentance we are willing to ask and give mercy. In suffering and trial we have also asked and we ask that the Community be helped on a journey of reconciliation“. Without forgetting the Pope: “In the deepest sadness, always obedient, in justice and in truth, to the will of Pope francesco, for whom I have love and final devotion ”.

Immediate was the media debate which was unleashed among Bianchi fans and critics. From the historical Alberto Melloni that from the columns of Republic he recalled that “in the practice of the Holy See, those who have stained themselves with are expelled from a religious house foul crimes supported by accusations and evidence that no one can or wants to cover today. Enzo Bianchi is punished with exile by Bose without any defamatory accusation“. The historical opinion is decidedly opposite Cristina Siccardi who called the founder of the Community of Bose “one of the characters who contributed to do a great evil to the Church, producing a lot and a lot confusion in the clergy and among the faithful “. From Vatican so far no official statement has been issued on the matter. Only L’Osservatore Romano published the news of Bianchi’s defenestration, limiting himself to reporting the note released by Bose. But it is clear that the Holy See will not be able to remain in this for much longer silence. And not a few bet that the first move will be of the Pope.

Twitter: @FrancescoGrana

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