Devil’s Advocate is the popular term given to the
Promoter of the Faith, an official of the Congregation of
Rites, whose business it is to scrupulously examine all
evidence, both of miracles and virtue, in the processes
of beatification and canonization, so that no person may,
through human enthusiasm or error, receive the highest honors
of the Church unless in every way worthy of them. Every
objection must be answered satisfactorily before the case
is allowed to proceed.
Milan, Italy, the diocesan stage of Paul VI's beatification
has reached its conclusion by attributing to Pope Montini
the title of "Prophet of the Council" (Avvenire,
Feb. 21, 1995). Just as they wished to show, the authorities
now want to canonize Paul VI, not because they believe in
his sanctity, but solely for the purpose of "canonizing"
Vatican Council II. Avvenire gives us the following
the devil's advocate remained idle throughout the proceedings:
as regards Paul VI's sanctity, there is not much to discuss….
ordinary people, he is called the "devil's advocate."
His official title, however, is the "Promoter of
the Faith." In processes of beatification, his task
is to check and doublecheck that everything be scrupulously
done according to Canon Law, so that any personal "sympathy"
toward the candidate for beatification not interfere with
the rigorous controls over his sanctity. This time, however,
the "devil's advocate" was left quite unoccupied:
there was general agreement on this very point [which,
however, did not authorize his remaining "inactive"
as he did]: it is quite difficult to discuss any aspect
of Paul VI's saintliness. He [the devil's advocate] however,
does not worry himself in the slightest degree over this.
"Quite the contrary," Dom Luigi Mistò explains,
"the fact of my remaining idle throughout the procedures
afforded me great pleasure indeed. One reason for this
lies in those happy memories which bind me to Paul VI..."
Pope Paul VI arrives in Rome after his pilgrimage
to the Holy Land (1964).
Paul VI's sanctity really "something that is so difficult
to discuss?" Yet, as Archbishop of Milan, Montini was
already to blame for some very foolish actions [not to mention
those committed behind the back of Pope Pius XII. See Courrier
de Rome, Apr., 1995.] For example, according to Von
Balthasar's testimony, while Archbishop of Milan, Montini
encouraged and upheld the "new theology," although
this error had already been solemnly condemned by Pope Pius
XII in his encyclical Humani Generis [cf. Urs von
Balthasar, La fonte del rinnovamento, (The Fount or Source
of Renewal), Jaca Book]; or again as Archbishop of Milan,
when he penned some prefaces for books authored by the most
scandalous of modernists, such as Suenens and Alfrink, who
later skillfully manipulated the Second Vatican Council
(1962-65) [cf. Eugenio Corli L'epoca di Paolo VI;
Solfanella Editor, Chieti]. Again, as Archbishop of Milan,
he frequently indulged in those unbefitting theatrics which
would still characterize him later on as Pope. For example:
through some imponderable humanist liberality, he prefaced
Mazzachelli's book on the Moniale de Monza (i.e.,
The Nun of Monza), only to find himself obliged to
withdraw his preface; or when at the velodrome he put
on a cyclist's crash helmet; or yet again when he addressed
factory workers in his own archdiocesan courtyard which
had been "decorated" with an arch featuring
a hammer and sickle.1
(Romano Amerio, published in SISINONO, Aug.
1987, under the title of Virtue of Humility or Humiliation
of the Church and of the Papacy?)
if the "devil's advocate," instead of wasting
away his precious time had proved himself to be conscientiously
faithful to his duty, he would certainly have unearthed
many other things in the actions and speeches of the one
who was at that time Cardinal Montini. But "from the
Vatican," we read on in Avvenire's article:
with the list of people to interrogate as well as the
questions to be put to them...there also arrived a pressing
invitation to do things well, but in all possible haste,
since the process of beatification of Paul VI is...one
of those which John Paul II has especially at heart.
are bizarre circumstances. It is the bounden duty under
grave obligation that the "Promoter of the Faith,"
makes sure that the personal sympathy toward the candidate
for beatification not interfere in any way nor diminish
nor weaken at all those rigorous controls over his [i.e.,
the candidate's] sanctity...
now appears, on the contrary, that the beatification process
has been carried away by the "sympathy" of the
devil's advocate for Pope Paul VI. What will be, will be.
In any case, the pope would certainly be the first saint
to be beatified with the full and easy endorsement of the
SISINONO, Sept., 1996)
Translators note – the hammer and sickle: the emblem
of a sickle crossed by a hammer, adopted by the U.S.S.R.
for its Soviet flag in 1923 as a symbol of the unity of
interest and purpose of worker and peasant.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Kansas City, MO 64109
translated from the Italian
Fr. Du Chalard
Via Madonna degli Angeli, 14
Italia 00049 Velletri (Roma)