Interview with Cardinal Coccopalmerio on homosexuality in the Church, gender theory and prayer.
(Rome) Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts until April 2018, described in an interview all allegations of being part of the gay lobby in the Vatican as "false". With a smile he replied to every question, including the question of why the allegations are being made against him: "To harm me especially and to harm the Pope."
The canon lawyer Coccopalmerio owes his rise to the high ecclesiastical hierarchy to "Ante-Papa" Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini SJ, whose Auxiliary Bishop he was in Milan. With his self-designation "Ante-Papa" in deliberate reference to "anti-papa" (anti-pope), the Jesuit Martini clarified his claim as a counterweight to John Paul II and as "future pope". This did not happen. Martini died in the summer of 2012, not without first vigorously demanding Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. While he personally did not succeed in 2013, another Jesuit, whom Martini had already supported in 2005 as an alternative to the prevention of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio.
Whatever the channels, it was Benedict XVI who brought Coccopalmerio to Rome in 2007, where he was very inconspicuous. That was to change under Pope Francis. The new line evidently meant more to the priest of the Archdiocese of Milan, as evidenced by his public defense of controversial decisions.
In June 2017, Coccopalmerio's secretary, Msgr. Luigi Capozzi, was arrested by the Vatican gendarmerie at a drug homosexual party in his home. It was not only the situation, but also the fact that the apartment was in the Palace of the Congregation of the Faith. Although the whole thing had nothing to do with it, but with the fact that the palace is accessible to both the Vatican and Italy. It was apparently a security breech, which was suitable to bring drugs and homosexuals into the building.
Pope Francis ignored the event, which also had no apparent consequences for Coccopalmerio. However, since then, the cardinal has no longer appeared in public to make statements.
In October 2018, when the largely homosexual abuse scandal of minors by clerics and the McCarrick Affair dominated the headlines, more details were passed around that could explain why the Cardinal had become so quiet: The Canadian news agency LifeSiteNews reported that it was not only the cardinal's secretary who was caught at the sodomitical drug orgy. The gendarmes had also found Coccopalmerio himself in the apartment, but quickly pushed him out of the rooms for reasons of state and put the veil of silence over it. Corresponding reports of the incident also reached the Pope, who left Coccopalmerio in office until his 80th birthday in April 2018. According to reports, the question arose as to whether the purple bearer could remain cardinal any longer. Pope Francis ignored the whole thing.
In an interview published today by InfoVaticana, the cardinal stated that he was an opponent of today's "female fashion". However, this is currently not necessarily the focus of the a”interview. By contrast, concerning the "hot iron" of homosexuality, the cardinal was quite reserved.
As for him personally, he denied all homosexual allegations against his person. Incidentally, if he were a pope, Coccopalmerio said, he would have invited the Dubia cardinals "for an aperitif".
The interview by journalist Almudena Martínez-Bordiú was coincidentally agreed upon before the recent flight to Rome and led just before the Abuse Summit in the Vatican, in which Cardinal Coccopalmerio did not attend. The cardinal's photo was taken on the occasion of the interview.
Martínez-Bordiú: Who is Francesco Coccopalmerio?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: I can define myself as a Christian who believes in and hopes for Jesus.
At the age of thirteen, the current Cardinal first felt the call to the priesthood.
Martínez-Bordiú: Have you had any faith crises since then?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: Maybe not during my life ... during the past years, although I can not say that I had a crisis, but I had temptations.
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: Yes, to think that our faith is not true. I believe that we all have these moments of temptation that must be overcome with the grace of the Holy Spirit. I recently met a very good priest, a missionary, who told me that he had great crises of faith, and I believe that the Lord does not escape that experience. We have great saints like Mother Teresa of Calcutta ... or at first I would call Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, who had had these experiences with the "Night of Faith", a dimming, as if the Lord had withdrawn completely from her life. Jesus also had this experience on the cross.
Martínez-Bordiú: The Cardinals Brandmüller and Burke have written a letter to the participants in the summit on the sexual abuse of minors. They point to "the homosexual evil that has spread throughout the Church" and call on the bishops to "break the silence" at the meeting. Archbishop Charles Scicluna said that 80 percent of sexual abuse victims are male. Do you believe that there is a connection between homosexuality and clerical abuse?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: I am not a psychologist, it has many problems and is difficult to judge. I could not even if I was a psychologist. I would have to be a specialist in this area, so I can not give judgment. It is true that homosexuality is widespread, that is a notorious fact. There may be a connection between homosexuality and abuse, but I can not say for sure because I'm not a subject matter expert.
Martínez-Bordiú: Do you think that this topic should be dealt with at the summit?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: I think they could talk about it, yes. But I do not know what they will talk about.
Martínez-Bordiú: In your opinion, what measures should be taken with regard to the evil of abuse against which the Church suffers? What solutions can be found for the selection of candidates for the priesthood?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: This topic should be studied and deepened. For example, I have always supported the need for all those who wish to enter the seminary to be ordained priests or deacons to be subjected to a serious psychological study.
The Code of Canon Law only states that if the rector or the bishop allows a person to attend the seminary, only they can attest the candidate's mental and physical health. The physical health certificate can be given by a doctor, but the psychic test must be done by a psychologist, by a psychiatrist. It is therefore necessary that this test exists. It is not enough to say: "Yes, it is a person who shines well". The psyche must be examined with a certain amount of attention, as I have always argued.
My position, which I consider fair, has always been rejected: "It is not necessary, some may do this test, but not all ..." It is necessary for this test to be done and for the aspects of each personality to be looked at.
Martínez-Bordiú: And what happens if it is discovered at some point that the person has mental problems?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: You can say to him, "Look, you are not fit for the priesthood, and we dispose you of it." Every case has to be considered, because there are simple cases that can be solved with therapy, and more complex cases. If it is not curable, we can say, "It is not your place, not your service."
Martínez-Bordiú: In February 2018, you published a book on the eighth chapter of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Why did you find it necessary to talk about this section?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: I've written about this chapter because it's the one that has a closer relationship to my specialization. Labor law, behavior, intentions, practice. I pay particular attention to this chapter because it is a very rich and rather confusing chapter.
Martínez-Bordiú: Why confusing?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: Confusing in the sense that there are things that could have been said more clearly or with greater logical order. Sometimes something is said that could have been said before, other things that could have been said later. I wanted to create a tutorial guide to make the text more readable and clearer. But I did not want to comment on the eighth chapter or add anything to the chapter. I just wanted to create a clarifying guide for reading this text.
Martínez-Bordiú: In September 2016, four Cardinals demanded an opinion from Pope Francis on Amoris laetitia. What do you think, why the Holy Father has not responded to the Dubia to this day?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: That's his decision. If I had, I would have called the four of them and said: Brothers, let's have a coffee, an aperitif or a dinner together to talk. I would have done that, but he seems to think otherwise.
Martínez-Bordiú: In June 2017, the media reported that the Vatican gendarmerie has uncovered homosexuals in the Vatican rooms of Mgr. Luigi Capozzi, then your secretary. A few months later, a North American media source assured that you, too, were found in your secretary's apartment that night. Were you really there?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: Everything that has been said is wrong. The unbelievable thing is that they invented everything.
Martínez-Bordiú: That of Capozzi too?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: He did not do anything bad. They invented that there was a meeting in his apartment between homosexuals, with drugs, and that I could not have known ... all wrong, all invented! Any why is this the case? In the first place, to harm me and harm the Pope.
How should I say ... you look in the Curia, in the Vatican: Who is there? There is one like Coccopalmerio, who is a friend of the Pope, and then ... Do you understand that? Unfortunately, things come like that. If someone meets them on the street, pulls a gun and shoots them, what can they do about it? What can they do when they are dead?
The problem is that they do not want to believe it. It has been denied, but from time to time this thing comes up again. There was news about this case a few months ago, and now there has been an official denial. But while many ch is made of false news, Little is made of clarifications.
Martínez-Bordiú: Have you taken action against those who claim otherwise?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: We did not do anything like that ... But it is sad that it is so.
Martínez-Bordiú: What do you think of gender ideology, this current that denies the existence of biological differences between men and women and the so-called LGBT group?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: This gender theory is very complex. As I said, I am not a psychologist or an expert in this field. I can say the same about this topic now. There are things that need to be studied and deepened by several experts. But I think there are some things that can not be easily accepted. For example, that you are a man and then declare that you are a woman, that seems to me to be such a thing ... Or to deny that there is a difference, at least of a physical nature, between a man and a woman. Some things, I mean, can not be denied. "I decide that there is no difference, then it has to be that way", that's not right.
I've been to a Latin American country in recent months where I've been told something I did not know, and I was surprised that there is this theory of "macho": the man who dominates the woman. And they explained to me the example of a man who comes to the bank with a woman, and the bank official was respectful and cordial when he talked to him. As soon as the woman opened her mouth, the officer turned away and did not listen. An amazing thing. This whole part should be studied.
I also take the opportunity to say that I am very worried and think we need to do something about female fashion.
Martínez-Bordiú: The female fashion?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: Yes. Now, when summer starts, you can see in St. Peter's Square that generally all girls are dressed as if they were on the beach. For me, this is not an acceptable thing, because they cause different reactions in the men, which can be overcome with intelligence, goodness and virtue. But why should people get into trouble? You should know that there are also "non-normal" people who do not have the intelligence and not the virtue and easily fall. Something has to be done here. The girls can not go that way, they should not dress provocatively, so they provoke no reactions of the same kind in the opposite sex. That should be said. My opinion may be popular or unpopular, but it seems fair to me.
Martínez-Bordiú: This Thursday [21. February], the book "Sodoma" by the French sociologist Frédéric Martel, who claims after interviews with the highest dignitaries of the Vatican, that 80 percent of the consecrated people in the Vatican are homosexuals. What do you say to this claim?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: I do not know ... I find it an assertion that does not convince. There may be homosexuals who have this tendency and at the same time overcome this condition. And there may be others who get into this situation from time to time. But I think it's an exaggerated assertion that needs proof.
Martínez-Bordiú: Ex-Cardinal McCarrick was dismissed. Is sexual abuse an example that mercy must be overcome by justice?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: That's a topic of criminal law. When they say, "I must forgive, I must also exercise mercy toward those who are heavy sinners." At the same time, the church must also say that it does not agree, that this kind of action is not good, it can not be accepted. There must be a reaction to the evil that immediately takes place against the person who has wronged.
When assigning an official position or task to a person, this is because that person should perform the assigned function. If this person is unable to fulfill what has been assigned to them, there is a reaction against wrongdoing, but also a sanction, such as the impossibility of continuing work in the same capacity.
You can be merciful to the person, but you must put an end to the evil and remove the person who has caused it. This does not contradict mercy, because mercy can also be shown to the person with closeness, prayer, and even friendship. This would be on the personal level.
Criminal and administrative sanctions are public. Friendship, closeness and prayer are something private. You have to make that distinction. But if the Church sees that this priest has committed abuses, and nothing is done about it, it would quickly mean that the Church approves of this behavior. The reaction shows that this behavior is wrong.
Martínez-Bordiú: Do you think that you should hold to account those who knew what had happened but kept silent?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: I can not tell you that because I did not investigate the case. Whether they knew it or not, I can not say it. Concerning these things, this problem of having covered such behaviors can also be said ... If you have a child ... Are you married?
Martínez-Bordiú: No ...
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: Well, if you had a child doing bad things, something serious, what is your immediate reaction? "I hope nobody knows, because I want my son to be respected". By that I mean that this is not concealment that justifies the bad action. It can also be covered, because that would be a nuisance to many believers. Then the shepherd, the bishop says: "We hope that it will not be known to avoid a scandal".
Martínez-Bordiú: But McCarrick was allowed to continue doing evil ...
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: If lying is about being able to carry on, that's not ... You have to intervene and say, "Look, you can not go on doing what you do, I'm taking your office away." In this sense you should not cover up. It however, can also be understood that there can also be types of cover-ups in the sense of saying, "We hope that it will not be known so there will be no scandal". It can also be understood that there have also been cover-ups in this sense. But if it means that it is still allowed to continue the evil, then obviously it is not right. You have to see from case to case what happened.
Martínez-Bordiú: Pope Francis said at the general audience on Wednesday said that "one should not pray like parrots". How do you pray as a cardinal?
Cardinal Coccopalmerio: Like most people, I have a daily routine of prayer. As a priest, I celebrate Mass and the Litirgy is the Hours. Then I put a lot of emphasis on the Lectio Divina, a part of Scripture, and I do not read it as if it were some book, but as the Word of God, as something Jesus told me at that moment. I also attach great importance to the visit to the Blessed Holy. In general, I stay 15 minutes before Jesus, because He allows a face to face friendship. And I always devote a time of prayer to the Virgin by praying the Rosary. And then there is the confession that I - I do not know - go to once a month.
The journalist Almudena Martínez-Bordiú added at the end of the publication of the interview, a personal assessment, which should also be added:
"It is said that the look is the reflection of the soul, and even if only God knows, his eyes seem to speak the truth."
Former Apostolic Nuncio in the US, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò names Cardinal Coccopalmerio in his dossier as a member of the gay lobby. It was therefore all the more peculiar that Pope Francis expressly instructed him in early September 2018 to take legal action against Archbishop Viganò, although the cardinal was directly affected.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org