Vaticanist Aldo Maria Valli was interviewed on Radio Spada on February 27, 2021. During the interview, he explained how he discovered Tradition and the effects of the Second Vatican Council on the life of the Church. Here are the most significant excerpts from this courageous testimony.
Radio Spada: If you had to summarize in a few lines your position on this historic event that Vatican II was for the Church and its consequences, what would you tell us?
Aldo Maria Valli: I have nurtured admiration for many actors of the conciliar sessions, and Providence has allowed me to know some of them personally. I have always appreciated their passion and love for the Church.
Having grown up in the post-conciliar Church (in my case, in Milan), for a long time I did not even suspect that the Council could carry within it the seeds of a theological and pastoral evolution and, even worse, of a deviation in relation to Tradition and the deposit of the faith. During the years that I followed the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI as a Vaticanist, I embraced the vision of what is called “the hermeneutics of continuity.”
My first perplexities date back to the mid-90s of the last century, when, for professional reasons, I moved from Milan to Rome. Paradoxical as it may seem, it was precisely in Rome that I felt the symptoms of a degradation, especially liturgical, which led me to ask myself a few questions.
Then in the year 2000, during the great jubilee [of the Holy Year], for the first time I had the opportunity to observe and get know the priests of the Society of Saint Pius X, during their pilgrimage, and I was edified. Since then, my position with regard to the Council has become more and more critical until, with the pontificate of Francis, I began to see all the internal contradictions.
In summary, I believe that the fundamental inconsistency, vis-à-vis Tradition, can already be found in the opening speech of John XXIII, Gaudet Mater Ecclesia. At the very moment when he affirms that the task of the Council is to defend and disseminate a certain and immutable doctrine, the Pope says: “For the moment, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity.”
This is where the problem lies. From a Christian point of view, it does not make sense to pit mercy and rigor against each other. On the contrary, rigor in the defense and dissemination of just doctrine is the highest form of mercy, because it aims for the salvation of souls.
Through this loophole, open since the beginning of the Council, relativism has crept into the Church, abuses and betrayals have entered there. In short, the world has entered and man has been put in the place of God. Of course, the work of subversion had already started long before, but the Council acted as a detonator, also because of an unwarranted optimism towards modernity.
RS: Over the years, your positions on these issues have gradually moved closer to what - in journalistic terms - can be defined (and simplified) as “traditionalism.” Was there a triggering event that determined this thinking on your part?
AMV: The triggering event was the publication of Amoris lætitia, in 2016. If doubts were already present at the beginning of this century, and had gradually increased since 2013 with the election of Francis, the apostolic exhortation “On Love in the Family” definitely opened my eyes.
I had to take note of the fact that ambiguity and relativism, to this day, had not only entered the Church, but had taken the form of a magisterium. I have to say that at first, when it came to Amoris lætitia, I was so incredulous that I denied the obvious. So I reread it several times and finally had to take note, with sorrow, of reality.
The document is imbued with the idea that there exits a duty of God to forgive and a human right to be forgiven, without the need to convert. The eternal divine law is bent to the so-called autonomy of man.
The concept of discernment is instrumentalized in order to exonerate from sin. I would say that Amoris lætitia validated the revolution that had taken place—not a paradigm shift (a hazy expression used to justify subversion), but the triumph of the modernist vision, both in content and in method.
RS: To what extent do you think there is or is developing the awareness - beyond what Pope Bergoglio is doing – that we are facing a crisis which is caused by the Second Vatican Council?
AMV: It is difficult to paint a big picture, because the positions are very differentiated. There are the ideologues, the modernists who dogmatized the Council and who attack all those who try to shed light on its aporias.
There are the opportunists who conform to the modernist vision not out of conviction, but for the benefits it brings. There are the silent ones who, even though they are aware of the issues, prefer to remain silent, pretending that the only thing left to do is pray, while waiting for the storm to end. There are those who have gradually opened their eyes but do not know how to act.
In general, I have noticed that there is a widespread psychological problem among those, like me, who have grown up in the post-conciliar Church. Among consecrated persons and lay people, it is difficult for many to tear the veil, for that would be tantamount to admitting that their whole life has been consecrated to a deviant Church.
I understand them. I can say myself that, “I was better when I was less well [in the relativism of the conciliar Church. Editor's note].” When I was still unconscious, I did not feel the bitterness and discouragement that often take hold of me today, in the face of liturgical abuses, doctrinal aberrations, the concessions made to the world, the betrayals of the faith.
But the Truth is a source of division. Jesus says it clearly: “I came not to bring peace, but the sword” (Mt 10:34). A Church that is all about peace and love, all about sugar, is a mental and cultural construct that has no equivalent in the Scriptures or in the history of Christian civilization.
[In this interview, Aldo Maria Valli clarifies the article he published on his blog Duc in altum on February 20, 2021, entitled “Rome without the Pope. Bergoglio is there, but not Peter,” (see FSSPX.News of 02/26/21).]
I am a stranger to any sedevacantist temptation and I believe that Francis is the Pope. The doubts put forward on the alleged constraints which led to the resignation of Benedict XVI, as well as those on the correctness of Francis’ election, have not led to any proof: there are suspicions, but no proof. Regarding the choice made by Joseph Ratzinger, I believe it was a leak.
As far as Francis is concerned, I believe he is not acting as a pope, even if he is [the pope]. And the reasons for my assessment are theological. Francis does not present to us the God of the Bible, but an adulterated god, a god adapted to human pretensions, a god who does not forgive but exonerates.
As I wrote in my article, more than anything this god is committed to exonerate man, this god in search of extenuating circumstances, this god who refrains from commanding and prefers to understand, this god who “is close to us like a mother who sings a lullaby,” this god who is not judge but “close,” this god who speaks of human “fragility” and not of sin, this god bent to the logic of “pastoral accompaniment” is a caricature of the God of the Bible.
Because God, the God of the Bible, is certainly patient, but not lax; He is certainly loving, but not permissive; He is certainly attentive, but not accommodating. In short, He is a father in the fullest and most authentic sense of the term.
The perspective adopted by Pope Bergoglio seems, on the contrary, to be that of the world: which often does not totally reject the idea of God, but rejects traits that are less in accord with the reigning permissiveness.
The world does not want a real father - loving, as he also judges - but a boyfriend; better yet, a traveling companion who lets it go and says, “Who am I to judge?” And Francis presents to the world precisely this god who is not a father, but a traveling companion.
This is why I maintain that Francis does not act like the pope, because he does not confirm his brothers in the faith. The proof is that he receives the applause of the distant [distant from the faith and from the Church], who feel confirmed in their estrangement, while with his ambiguities and deviations he disconcerts those close to him.
The question now is whether not acting like the pope also means not being pope. In my opinion, no. Francis is the Pope, and yet he is wrong. Some say: impossible, because he has the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
But the assistance of the Holy Spirit must be accepted. If it is refused, errors and sins can spread, for the Lord never violates our agency by forcing us to do acts contrary to our will.
In the paradox of His infinite mercy, God leaves us free to disobey Him, to damn ourselves, to refuse eternal beatitude; He sends us His supernatural graces which we can nevertheless refuse. If this were not so, man would have no merit in choosing God and His law, and renouncing Satan and his deceptions.
From my observation post (partly through the blog Duc in altum, and partly through the life of the ordinary faithful), I see increasing perplexity and suffering.
Even though there is no shortage of troublemakers, with their aggressive nature, I see and especially meet many good Catholics who love the Pope and pray for him, but who for this very reason suffer when he does not confirm them in the faith, but is reduced to acting as a chaplain of the United Nations, espousing political correctness, being ambiguous in matters of doctrine and morals, and giving the impression of moving and reasoning more like a politician than a pastor.
Much of the herd feels itself to be without a guide. Not everyone has a theological background, but the sensus fidei allows many to see what is wrong. The idolatrous worship of the Pachamama produced real astonishment. A sense of turmoil spread when Pope Bergoglio bowed to kiss the feet of South Sudan’s rulers. The signing of the Abu Dhabi declaration also caused some perplexity. Not to mention the openness to so-called LGBT rights.