I read with interest about Father Leonardo Castellani the Argentine priest and author who was a former Jesuit on the blog 'Unam Sanctam Catholicam" and the Kingship of Christ. I had read a little bit about Father Castellani in the past but decided to do a bit of research to see whether there was any kind of connection between Fr Castellani and Papa Francesco. I found this interesting article about a fictional work of Father Castellani's from the early 1960s on a fictional Pope and found it fascinating.
|"John XXIII (XXIV)" was written in 1964|
|Striking similarities between a novel by Leonardo Castellani and the figure of Francisco|
|Argentine Pope, going underground, "smells like sheep ', go to' the periphery ', censorship, self-righteousness, creates a select group of cardinals and is not it Francis?|
Is the Jesuit writer Leonardo Castellani (1899-1981) inspiring some of the guidelines of the pontificate of Francisco? The hypothesis is strong and risky, but by no means far-fetched. And naturally the question will be raised at least as an intellectual exercise, for whoever approaches his novel John XXIII (XXIV), "fantasy" (as he defines himself) published in 1964 . On some pages, read in the context of the life of its author, the similarities between the protagonist, Ducadelia, and Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio are even puzzling. Bergoglio Castellani known figure. Both are fellow countrymen and of the same religion. Bergoglio was a Jesuit, but not yet a priest, when in 1966 Castellani was restored to the exercise of the priesthood, a story that was not lost on anyone in the field of the Argentina Church , let alone within the Society of Jesus , who had been expelled in 1949. In 1971 Castellani is offered to re-entry into the order, which he rejected for health reasons, and in 1973 Father Bergoglio, who had been ordained in 1969, became the provincial of Jesuits in Argentina and held that post for six years, leaving in 1979. Two years after Castellani dies . And a fundamental point: Castellani was not Peronist, but one of the authors of reference of Argentine Catholic nationalism ... and Bergoglio was formed and worked in his youth and as a priest with the Peronist right , drinking from the intellectual tradition of Argentine Catholic nationalism although it also incorporates elements from outside. CONCLUSION: Bergoglio knew and appreciated the vicissitudes of Castellani . But what of his books? " I know he read some of his works , as His Majesty Dulcinea and San Augustine and us . And probably several or many others ", explains Carlos Biestro , a priest who for years coordinated the editing or republication of the works of Fr Castellani. It is true that Bergoglio did not promote the editing of the books of Castellani. But Father Biestro points to a fact: " I know that the current pope wanted Castellani returned to the Society of Jesus. He knew he was a great writer, and that sooner or later the conspiracy of silence of the Church would fail, and should show an Ignatian Castellani reconciled with the order. " It's hard to know whether such admiration for the Castellani-greatness that only the very poor or the very sectarian had been denied, resulted in sympathy with their ideas. But this is where we must begin to consider the elements of thought of Francis as pope who "knows" Castellani , and overflowing in the above mentioned novel. Father Biestro reminds us, for example, two themes very typical of Francis : the smell sheep and peripheries. "Become follow the scent" On March 28, at the Chrism Mass, the Pope delivered a phrase that filled the headlines: "Be shepherds with the scent of one's sheep", which he addressed to the priests. The allusion is so graphic that requires no explanation. Well, in The Gospel of Jesus Christ , the commentary to Sunday after Easter, Castellani explains that Christ said that the bad shepherds "are like wolves among sheep (or rams), alluding to the custom of Palestinian shepherds of putting on a jacket of sheepskin(sheepskin) to be followed by the scent. He took the sheepskin of our flesh to follow him, but in him this was not a disguise, it was true. " No to the "self-referential Church" Similarly, on May 19, at the Mass of Pentecost, Francisco warned of the danger a "self-referential Church" and insisted his old idea, reiterating also as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, there you ought to go to the "existential peripheries to announce the life of Jesus Christ" . Father Biestro wonders "whether, when the Pope says the Church should not be self-referential, but must go to the peripheries of existence, there is an echo of this reflection of Father Castellani." And we read this passage by Fr Castellani : "Santa Teresa sought friends everywhere, because she needed them. One of the most vehement reproaches against her was seen in a nun seeking friendships, and even friendships of men! The belief that the Cloister, class or clan to which I belong is a complete world and is everything a man may need is one of the most ridiculous and sinister of vanities. According to the word of Christ, the Catholic Church itself is an open thing and out of their enclosures are souls that belong unknowingly. " A fantasy? But beyond these ideas or others who swarm to Father Castellani's works and also by the preaching swarm of Francisco, where it really borders on the prophetic similarities is in the novel John XXIII (XXIV). A fantasy , written by Father Leonardo Castellani in 1964. We went to Juan Manuel de Prada who framed that work for us. The author of the recent best seller I find death (Destination) was the one who, through their writing in 2007-2008 for the Spanish discovered the figure of the great Argentine writer . And then prepared, prefaced and annotated a few of his books have been published in Spain since then: How to survive intellectually century(LibrosLibres, 2008), The Apokalypsis of San Juan (Homo Legens, 2010), pen in hand(LibrosLibres, 2010 ), The Gospel of Jesus Christ (Christianity, 2011) and papers of Benjamin Benavides (Homo Legens, 2013). Inspired by Baron Corvo " John XXIII (XXIV) is one of the most extraordinary works of Castellani, and at the same time , one of the most characteristic of his personal conception of literature, the world and the Church, "explains Prada, remembering that Castellani was not entirely original, but it was inspired by Hadrian VII written in 1904 by Frederick Rolfe ( 1860-1913), better known as Baron Corvo literally : "It's a wonderful papal fantasy written by Corvo, for personal relief, imagining himself (under the transcript of one such Rose) reaching the papacy, having been rehabilitated and ordained a priest (Corvo, who wanted to be a priest in his youth, was expelled from the seminary for his proven homosexuality), and after a conclave full of fun adventures. " Moreover, "inevitably, Castellani, who had also been removed from priestly ministry during a rough phase of his life , after his expulsion from the Society of Jesus must have felt twinned with the protagonist of the novel of Corvo, although fiercely sarcastic (and sometimes irreverent) denotes a truly overwhelming knowledge of the procedures cfor the election of a pope and full adherence to Catholic dogma, "says Prada. "Castellani's novel follows almost by heart the premise of Corvo: also its protagonist is a priest who has been postponed the (evidently a transcript Castellani itself), who is presented as Spanish translator of Hadrian VII . Even some novel adventures of Castellani are directly inspired by the novel of Corvo, such as the theme of the double usage , "says the writer Zamora, born in Barakaldo and given the Planeta Prize in 1997 with The Tempest. Cervantes, inspiring Castellani And it highlights a second literary inspiration, the Cervantes, "which is otherwise constant feature of the work of Castellani. Remember that he wrote a couple of works inspired by characters of Don Quixote: Sancho's new government (1942) and Her Majesty Dulcinea (1956), a novel eschatological background with which John XXIII (XXIV) holds great similarities. 's protagonist John XXIII (XXIV), as we know the end is a new Quixote , is a very common in Castellani, whose characters are always a noble race, always conflicted with the spirit of their time. " appears Ducadelia Francisco The Well, If that's the Ducadelia, which is the name the protagonist of the novel, whose features reproduce itself Castellani. Ducadelia is taken as an expert to Vatican II, which is still being celebrated during the writing of the novel, by the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Ducadelia's interventions reconcile classroom, coupled and framed within the global turmoil starts after the triumph of communism in various areas of the planet, and the death of John XXIII, Pope unexpectedly makes him thanks to a bizarre system designation . " Juan XXIII (XXIV) is a novel that, like all the works of Castellani,must be interpreted in an eschatological key , "explains Prada:" The Church as a Church here which appears approaching recent times: the wars and rumors of wars are the constant background, the Pope has been evicted from the Vatican and has taken refuge in St. John Lateran, the Masonic siege to the Church (and even its infiltration into the church itself) is constant. The sight which pushed Leo XIII to write the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel which was read in the past at the end of the Mass seems an apparent reference to the plot of the novel. " Anyway, Ducadelia becomes a bold reformer Pope . He manages ( I shall not reveal how to avoid the sin of spoilers ) to travel by subway (metro) (as made Bergoglio) and so keep in touch with people (which is why Francis lives in the Casa Santa Marta). want less bureaucracy the Church (as suggested Bergoglio Cardinal in the consistory before the conclave as cardinal revelation of Havana) and to reduce the curia cardinals relies exclusively in twelve (eight has appointed Francisco to lead the reform of the Curia). Contra-righteousness and hypocrisy But one of the most shocking things in like Francisco-Castellani is the continual reference to self-righteousness and hypocrisy . This is an unusual subject in papal teaching, which however has referred Francisco on several occasions (most recently, in the homily in Santa Marta on June 4, which defined it as "the language of corruption"), following what was a constant in his preaching as a bishop. "Behind hypocritical thinking there is a sick heart," he said in the homily at the Mass of the First Congress of Evangelization of Culture held in Buenos Aires in 2006 , where he also noted the hypocrisy and sufficiency as "two patterns of self-righteousness."Well, Castellani as any reader of his knows that this is one of the central issues of his work , not the least because he believed himself to be the victim of hypocrisy in his long ordeal of canonical sanction. Your best essays and letters on the subject were published under the title Christ and the Pharisees . And John XXIII (XXIV) not allusions missing "righteousness Perezco victim in the Church!" proclaims in his deathbed Archbishop of Buenos Aires. " Self-righteousness is the specific condition of true religion" proclaims meanwhile another character of the novel. Aires reform interprets Prada the reformist winds of Pope Francisco in relation to those proposed by Ducadelia: "How could it be otherwise in Castellani, along with the eschatological key present in his own personal sense of humor, which as with every great comedian is a perfectly serious mood. In this key must be read all the reforms that the Argentine Pope dreamed up by Castellani and introduced into the Church , which again proved his clairvoyance the prophetic reform of the curia and relief from bureaucratic structures of the Church, battle for righteousness, etcetera. " Prada also asked, as an expert, the possible influence of one over another: "I do not know if the new Pope will read the work of Castellani, but, of course, the nature of the protagonist character of Castellani and Papa Francisco have very striking commonalities ome (Castellani's character is more harsh and irascible character, of course, but both are a little squeamish friends and disrespectful of human respect both.) And John XXIII (XXIV) proposes, from absolute orthodoxy, a government plan radically subjugating the Church, some aspects of which I dare say I could subscribe to Francisco . " enclosing Surprises "John XXIII (XXIV)" With all these assumptions, some of the elements of the fictional John XXIII (XXIV) are surprisingly anecdotal, but curious: the protagonist Pope Pius Ducadelia (transcript of Castellani), is appointed Cardinal of Santa Práxedes , the same church where St Robert Bellarmine was for a few days Cardinal , for which Paul VI created a cardinal title ... which was held by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio when elected. But then there are questions of content. Ducadelia also wants a "Church of the poor." For example, allocates 12 million between them to be elected. " "The Treasure of the Church are the poor," said the Pope , and not a single sentence in it, "narrates the novel, where he reports that John XXIII (XXIV) is so frugal that" he eats with a dollar a day. "And also does not live in the Vatican apartments , although for reasons different from Francisco-the war that has been engulfed the world and its political consequences. The new pope commanded to build an office building in the Lateran and lives there: that is, a collective, like Santa Marta. Moreover, one of the principles of ecclesiastical reform posed by Castellani is that "neither bishops nor the parishes and religious orders may take credit roles of any kind . All church property will be invested in real estate. " More trivia: although Castellani has no sympathy with the cultural milieu of the Jewish community of Buenos Aires, the Pope who is in this novel does. Like Francis (whose excellent community relations Argentina are known Jewish) Ducadelia is a friend of Israel . receives donations Even from rabbis who admire him, and his visit to Jerusalem is remembered as "historic" by the hundreds of thousands of Israelites who are received en mass. remember? Francisco the first homily as Pope, the Cardinals, in Thanksgiving Mass after his election? "When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross and when we confess to a Christ without a Cross , we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly, "he said. Let us compare now with this Ducadelia phrase:" Today we must not return to the easy religion should not mix milk and honey to the vinegar of the Passion , that stinks. "It is true that the usual reflection in the field of Christian spirituality, but it is striking that "two" Popes (one real, one fictional), have as their founding principle such consider their pontificates. reform of the Curia are original Neither today, nor were 1964 Curia criticisms of a "bureaucratic." That Francis wants to reform it, is a fact, it has created a commission to study the matter. Well, the reform principles outlined in John XXIII (XXIV) are based on the " decentralization of ecclesiastical government . "How?" delegating much of his supreme "in 52 Patriarchs appointed by him. Does this have something to do with the insistence of Francisco of himself as " Bishop of Rome "? also appoints twelve cardinals Ducadelia (Francisco eight) as his personal advice . True for Ducadelia those are permanent and with Francis are, in principle, only to reform the Curia, but ... it's another coincidence. As a result of its reforms, the Church of Pope John XXIII (XIV) "had fallen by two thirds the old machinery" with the idea that the Pope left in writing, to lessen "the impersonal bureaucracy in the management of ecclesiastical affairs. " How to govern Now is it the same to reduce bureaucracy or delegating authority,as an exercise? In a recent article, Sandro Magister made clear that , noting the "obfuscation" of supporters to democratize the Church because that is not the intention of Francis . " Pope Francis wished to be himself, and not others, who choose its eight directors which, therefore, are called to respond to him alone , and not also to an elected assembly, "noted the Vatican. who also pointed out the similarity between the form of government of Francisco Bergoglio Pope and the Jesuit superior, "Bergoglio has been provincial superior and has assimilated the style. At the apex of the Company attendees around the general, and who are appointed by him, representing the respective geographical areas. Decisions are taken collectively, decides only the general, with direct and immediate powers . Attendees should not agree among themselves and with the general, but advise one by one, with maximum freedom. " Let us see how he governs Ducadelia (Castellani also had been a Jesuit, but no longer, and knew the methods) and the maintenance of authority despite his apparent deal: "'The less I get myself into the running of the Church, is not it better?" Actually it got much more effectively than previous Popes, the latest determinations were hers , and sometimes came like a thunderbolt ... The Pope frequently ran the various bureaus without interfering much in the decisions he liked most correct and train your colleagues, and then give them responsibility. The last instance in case of error was reserved protested him, of course. " In conclusion ... There is no sufficient reason, according to various experts consulted, to consider Francisco one castellaniano ., however, the points of the life and work Castellani, specifically in his novel 1964, which evoke the personality, words and decisions of the current pope seems more than a curious literary coincidence . probably be explained by the membership of both to the same cultural tradition, with factors as strongly as the common homeland, the Ignatian common affiliation and politico-ecclesiastical reference of twentieth century Argentina. Anyway, it is an excuse to read John XXIII (XXIV) , recently reissued, or any other of Fr Leonardo Castellani book contributions to contemporary Catholic thought . Which always worth it.