"Resist, Resist, Resist": CFN Exclusive Interview with Fr. Alessandro M. Minutella
"I am dumbfounded that in Italy, I am still the only one."
Suspension and Double-Excommunication: "These are medals of honor"
"Resist, resist, resist!"
Father Alessandro Maria Minutella is an Italian priest of the Archdiocese of Palermo. Born in 1973 and ordained in 1999, he became known in the past month to English speakers around the world thanks to a Youtube video about resisting Pope Francis and Amoris laetitia. Catholic Family News is happy to present this exclusive interview with Don Minutella, (to our knowledge) the first such interview in English.
CFN: Father Minutella, thank you for your availability. Until a few weeks ago, you were essentially unknown outside of Italy. However on November 16, 2017, you were suddenly and universally introduced to the English-speaking world. A translation of your video, “The Courage of [the] Truth” - itself released on November 9, 2017 on Radio Domina Nostra’s Youtube channel - appeared with the title “Don Minutella and the Pope Francis Regime.” At the end of November, it has over 29,000 views. Can you please introduce yourself: tell us when and where you were born, your date and place of ordination, what were your priestly assignments like?
Don Minutella: Firstly, I would like to thank you for this opening to the English-speaking world (which I was not looking for, so it's decidedly Providential). Certainly the number of views have started to become considerable in your part of the world, but for some time already in Italy, television networks have labelled me a “web star,” specifically due to the number of hits. One sees how Our Lord always loves to reveal His plans using small instruments, in the manner of the Blessed Virgin.
I was born in 1973 in Palermo, the city of a thousand contrasts, known throughout the world only for the Mafia, a multifaceted and multiformed city of a thousand cultures, the masterpiece of the Mediterranean. In the Gospel of John we read how when Nathaniel [Bartholomew] was told by Phillip that the Messiah had come from Nazareth, he responded laconically: “Can anything of good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46). My formation so far has been truly enriching. I have had as spiritual fathers the blessed martyr, Fr. Giuseppe (Pino) Puglisi [beatified May 2013] and Fr. Gabriele Amorth, SSP, the world-famous exorcist [died September 2016]. I entered the seminary in Palermo in October, 1992 and was ordained there on December 27, 1999, at the hands of Salvatore Cardinal De Giorgi.
I obtained my first doctorate in Systematic Theology in 2002, and a second doctorate in the History of Dogma and Spiritual Theology in 2007, from the Pontifical Gregorian University. I have published different works, one of which (on St. Gregory the Great) was reviewed in L'Osservatore Romano.
And yet, I never had the role of academic teacher (I have always thought this was due to my fierce fidelity to Tradition), while in these eighteen years I was a pastor three times, in three different working-class parishes on the peripheries. These were always full - even during the week - with many souls. When in the videos even speaking of theology, I am able to make myself understood by simple people, it's not without irony that I say one can smell like the sheep on the peripheries of the Church, even in a cassock and with the rosary in hand, without giving in to the excesses of what I call today the “false church.”
CFN: You did not study in a traditionalist seminary, you weren't ordained, for example, for the Society of Saint Pius X or even an Ecclesia Dei community like the Fraternity of Saint Peter or the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Would you call yourself a “traditionalist priest”? Do you reject the Second Vatican Council, or the Novus Ordo Mass?
Don Minutella: I have great respect and gratitude for the groups you mentioned. As a student in Rome I was able to visit one of these traditionalist groups, savoring their love for the ancient liturgy, decorum, the spirit of authentic fidelity to sound doctrine. In particular, I was able to keep in contact with the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest founded by Monsignor [Gilles] Wach, a priest who emits Catholic authenticity.
If today I find myself, let's say persecuted, it is because I have indeed proven to be a traditionalist priest. Not only because I celebrate the Old Rite daily, but I would say more deeply in the spirit of Tradition: Eucharistic worship, Marian devotion, priestly spirituality, and -on a wholly-theological level - firm opposition to pastoral and doctrinal novelties.
In truth, I know that I am considered a bit excessive in tone (Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider have asked me to use greater moderation!), yet I have found full solidarity and support from the traditionalist world, regarding [my message's] content. The question you asked me merits a deep reflection, however, briefly, I'll tell you what I think. Vatican II created not a few ambiguities, which in the current progressivist establishment are “straddled,” [in order to] to change the sound Catholic spirit. In my book which was just published (and which will be translated into English), called The false church and its destiny, I stress above all the liturgical and ecumenical question; I hold that in the future (when our prayers and sacrifices will obtain for us a Pope who will be Catholic again), a correction of the Council - which was pastoral and not dogmatic - will have to be made, and I believe the whole Church will return to the Old Rite.
Don Minutella: My appeals were made driven by love for the Church and the sound Catholic spirit which, in in these times as never before, risks arriving - on a theological, liturgical and pastoral level - at the very real danger of schism. In my catechesis on the web, I never neglect referring to the Third Secret of Fatima. You in the USA have had the testimony of Archbishop Fulton Sheen who, in a precise way, described the characteristics of an anti-church governed by a Judas Iscariot who would betray the Catholic Faith. For me, the supernatural reference is crucial. So, I wanted to “play my cards” to the fullest, even though I'm paying dearly for it. The stakes are high: the very survival of Catholic Tradition and the sound Magisterium.
Obtaining a clarification regarding the so-called “openings” of Amoris laetitia was the objective of my appeals. Too much confusion [has been] caused by a lack of clarity. The Church can never allow a divorced and “remarried” couple to receive Holy Communion. It is a doubly-grave profanation: both of the Eucharist and of matrimony. I have found that the clergy in Italy are too afraid to react, and so, asked directly by the Blessed Virgin (in intimate and personal ways)* I wished to expose myself.
CFN: Can you explain your sudden removal as pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Palermo's Romagnolo neighborhood, on June 27, 2017? Didn't the Archbishop of Palermo, Corrado Lorefice, insist that you were not suspended?
Don Minutella: The possibility of a removal was already in the air. In the meantime, in Italy, I had become the most embarrassing “spokesman” in the face of the “openings.” However, the removal was carried out as a sort of pastoral “coup.” I had to leave my beloved parish on the very day of the removal letter's delivery. Many souls suffered and were disheartened by the methods of "the church of mercy. It seemed like the cleansing of a regime. Whoever doesn't think like the establishment has to be marginalized and pushed out.
Archbishop Lorefice is, without a doubt, one of the youngest and most-promising representatives of this merciful church, so I couldn't expect anything other than a condemnation. In the meantime, the national media with trashy programs (although highly watched) launched a defamatory campaign about me, even involving the State TV network, Rai 1, which aired a trial without an opposing opinion, where I was presented as the founder of a “sect.”
It's like this! The person who decides to remain steadfastly Catholic, Apostolic, Roman, is now a sectarian: one has to adhere to the Lutheran, neo-modernist new church! And so I, who for nine months kept silent through obedience to my bishop, understood clearly that it was all an unworthy maneuver to get me out. So I returned to defend, usque ad mortem [until death] sound Catholic doctrine. On the other hand, as a proverb states, “the devil puts the pots [on the stove] but forgets the lids.” Prominence due to State TV station Rai 1, brought me to the attention of ordinary people.
CFN: You wrote a letter on September 21 to your Archbishop, copying also the Congregation for the Clergy, during your canonical recourse. You confirmed holding all the doctrines of the Church, as well as the submission of will and intellect to the Roman Pontiff. The Prefect of the Congregation, Beniamino Cardinal Stella replied, telling you that the recourse was suspended until December 8. An unprecedented request followed, “suggested” by the Cardinal: that you publicly profess fidelity to Pope Francis on social media. You then asked for his reasoning in this regard, noting that you had already affirmed your fidelity to the Pontiff in a previous letter. On November 9, 2017, after waiting, and no response, you were suddenly summoned to the Archdiocesan Chancery. What did the Archbishop tell you?
Don Minutella: In reality, the Archbishop never made himself present following my forced removal as pastor. He was completely uninterested in one of his priests, despite having come to the Archdiocese shortly beforehand with the promise of being “a father to all.” I maintain that he was forced to meet with me, due to pressure from the Holy See. The Archbishop knows well that I am not in fact a heretic. My upstanding priesthood is noted in the Archdiocese, it's clear how I've acted in eighteen years of priesthood. Many of the faithful from all parts of Italy were on his case in supporting me, so I believe that he really wasn't happy to meet with me. In any case, he informed me that two latae sententiae excommunications were ready for me, if I didn't publicly declare fidelity to Pope Francis on the web. I had 48 hours available. In the meantime I made the decision to go online, where I made it known that I had already pledged fidelity to the Roman Pontiff through the appropriate channels and with the expected criteria, and furthermore, that this request seemed to me to be unacceptable blackmail. We know how things went.
CFN: Why did you refuse to write or sign another letter?
Don Minutella: Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote that he would drink freely to his own conscience, and then to the Pope. Everyone can see that the current pontificate is more or less ambiguous, regarding the divorced and “remarried,” but not only in this regard. So as a Catholic priest, considering, too, the heroic testimony of St. Athanasius or St. Catherine of Siena, I didn't hesitate in remaining firm in having already made a profession of fidelity to the Roman Pontiff; without giving in, in any way, to the unacceptable blackmail of Cardinal Stella. I am dumbfounded that in Italy, I am still the only one. But I have souls and the defense of the Faith at heart. Defensor Fidei: how I am moved by this label!
CFN: Yet in the past year, Martin Luther has been effectively rehabilitated. In fact, the Italian Bishops Conference’s Secretary General, Bishop Nunzio Galantino, recently called the Protestant revolt “an event of the Holy Ghost.” We learned last month that there exists a petition, on the part of the Pontifical Council for Culture to Pope Francis, to remove the Holy Office's 1962 doctrinal monitum against modernist-evolutionist Teilhard de Chardin. Despite all the ecumenism, the de facto permissiveness, and the “mercy” of the present Pope and his bishops, you were threatened with two excommunications. How is this possible? For what canonical offenses, or delicts? Is this something like serving prison sentences for different crimes, concurrently? Why the discrepancy: Luther is praised but you are to be punished?
Don Minutella: I deal with these themes extensively in my just-published book, which will be released soon in English. Luther constitutes, overall, the worst snare for the Catholic spirit. Bringing him back, if not actually canonizing him, is demonstrative of a philo-heretical direction.
Sister Lucy of Fatima said in the 1960's that if Heaven's appeals weren't heard and it was decided not to obey the requests of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima, this would be considered by God a sin against the Holy Ghost, which is unforgivable. The punishment for this would be the blinding of the Bishops and of the highest levels of the hierarchy. When in Italy, the Bishops Conference's Secretary Bishop Galantino spoke of Luther as moved by the Holy Ghost, when a statue of Luther was exhibited at the Vatican, the anniversary [of the Lutheran revolt] was celebrated with a commemorative stamp: these are decisive symptoms of the blindness underway, foreseen by Sr. Lucy.
I would not be surprised if I am excommunicated, even with a further excommunication than Luther received. Today's false church (increasingly neo-modernist and Lutheran every day) can't help but rid itself of a poor priest steadfastly determined to remain Catholic. What was heresy yesterday is magisterium today, and what was Magisterium yesterday has become heresy today.
CFN: What would you ask [of] Pope Francis?
Don Minutella: I find this question to be a bit surreal. It seemed in the beginning [of this Pontificate] that the Church would become more open, instead it's closed-off today more than ever before. If you don't think the same way, you're marginalized and condemned. In any case, I would beg the Pope to give absolute first place to the subject of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus gave us Himself in the Eucharist. In the present magisterium, it seems that the Eucharistic question (always so central in the Catholic Magisterium) has become irrelevant. This forgetfulness corresponds to an unbearable [nagging, annoying] appeal to social themes; especially the generic one regarding the poor, which in reality, risks transforming the Church into an international organism in favor of the wealthier classes. Jesus is at the center of the life of the Church. Some questions, such as that of Communion in the hand (as Bishop Schneider has commendably emphasized) are decisive.
And then the subject of the reform of the reform; the liturgy, and in particular the Mass, merits greater pastoral care. I believe an appeal to rediscover the Old Rite is urgent, as is a guarantee of greater protection of the Novus Ordo from the creative experimentalism which has brought about enormous abuses. Further, I would ask [Pope Francis] to espouse a clear and spotless language - not an ambiguous one - regarding Amoris laetitia and Communion for the divorced and “remarried.” The subject of the Dubia presented by the four Cardinals (two of which have since died), and the fact that in Poland one thing is said while in Germany another is said, is a worrying warning of a drift that risks bringing about an internal schism.
The recent statements of Russian patriarch Kirill, according to which we have decisively entered those times foreseen by the Apocalypse which only the blind cannot see, and also those of Cardinal Burke which more or less repeat the same thing (linking, however, in a significant way to the Third Secret of Fatima) confirm this. I personally hold, though, that things will only worsen until the promise of Our Lady of Fatima is fulfilled: “in the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph” which means that the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church; the one, true Church which confesses the only Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, her Spouse and Founder, will triumph.
In the meantime I believe that we will witness, as already happened to the Second Vatican Council (as Ratzinger stated), the manipulation of the Catechism and the insurgence of thinking that is no longer Catholic, unfortunately [on a] official and dominating [level]. Catholics remaining such, throughout the world, will have to leave the official structures and descend once more into the “catacombs.” Perhaps they will have to accept excommunication and interdict, but they will be witnesses of a new burst of Pentecost. Holy Mother Church will come out of this stronger and brighter, since the persecution will provide a necessary purification. I also believe that Our Lord will give us a strong shepherd solid in the Faith, like Pope Saint Pius X, who in the manner of a “Marian lion” will lead the small, Catholic remnant to victory.
CFN: We have examples of resistance in the Church throughout history: of St. Paul to St. Peter (Galatians 2:11), St. Athanasius contra mundum, those who corrected Pope John XXII in the 1300’s, etc. Aren't we also to resist the innovations of Pope Francis and other prelates, today?
Don Minutella: I believe I've already responded to this in the preceding questions. I am amazed when people make a point of my courage, because I hold that a priest has the duty and the grace of state to confront the present deception. I believe the moment has come, in which the emphasizing [exposing] of heresies, which Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich saw as the "strange church," is no longer sufficient. We need an across-the-board movement of Catholic resistance which - attention! - has the Marian dimension as its first reference. The Rosary will save the Church. In this sense, I have been covering the whole Italian peninsula for some time already, to sustain Catholic circles all associated by a great devotion to Our Lady. Perhaps the moment has come for this movement (lacking strong powers, money and worldly alliances) to reach Catholics on the other side of the ocean.
CFN: How do you see the situation in the Catholic Church today, especially in light of Amoris laetitia?
Don Minutella: There is total confusion. I see an increasingly-widespread apostasy, a magisterium parallel, if not directly counterpoised - as in the case of Amoris laetitia - to the Catholic patrimony of the ages. The upcoming Pan-Amazon Synod, as well as the Synod for the Youth can be dangerous platforms for reinforcing the identity of the false church, in the manner of the preceding Synod on the Family.
CFN: How do you view your penalties of (de facto) suspension, or excommunications?
Don Minutella: For me these are medals of honor, like when a simple soldier carries out meritorious actions, and the commander rewards him. I hope, however, that one of the Cardinals who remain Catholic, will recognize it. I'll need this [support], even though Cardinal Burke and Cardinal Sarah have already encouraged me privately. The best spoils for the priest are souls. Saint John Bosco told Our Lord: Da mihi animas et coetera tolle! “Give me souls, and take the rest!” It is said of St. John of the Cross that Jesus appeared to him, saying: Ioanne, quid vis pro laboribus? “John, what would you like [as a reward] for your labors?” The Spanish saint responded: Domine, pati et contemni pro te, meaning “Lord, to suffer and to be despised for Thee.” It is something that I have expected since my time in the Seminary, and despite the heavy weight of suffering, I experience the supernatural joy of the Cross.
CFN: What practical suggestions do you have for Catholics throughout the world, wanting to resist these novelties? Do you have a parting word, especially for the English-speakers reading this interview?
Don Minutella: Here is my answer: resist, resist, resist! There is a formula, which I wrote recently, where I say: Ego sum famulus tuus Maria, Mater mea! Ego sum famulus tuus Maria, Regina mea! Ego sum famulus tuus Maria, Domina mea! “I am Thy servant, Mary my Mother! I am Thy servant, Mary my Queen! I am Thy servant, Mary my Lady!”
I would recommend to all my dear American Catholic friends a few things: Eucharistic and Marian devotion, adherence to the sound Catholic Magisterium, daily recitation of the Rosary, use of sacramentals during this time in which satan – as Pope Leo XIII was given to see – is launching his last and most decisive attack on the Catholic Church. Because of this, the Blessed Virgin has taken the field. Recently, She has willed to tell me: “Do not fear, My son, where you go, others will see My maternal footsteps.”*
I leave you with this fiery auspice of St. Louis Marie de Montfort: Adveniat Regnum tuum Domine, adveniat per Mariam! “Lord, may Thy Reign come, may it come through Mary!”
*CFN does not express judgement regarding any locutions or other supernatural activity reported on Don Minutella's part, described online in various places and mentioned in passing in this interview. We focus instead, on the priest's recent dealings with the Roman and local hierarchy.