Letter from Mario Luigi Cardinal Ciappi, O.P.

September 15, 2010


Mario Luigi Cardinal Ciappi, O.P.

Distinguished Professor,

Your great renown and the words of praise and encouragement given for your work by the illustrious Fr. Victorino Rodriguez, O.P., generally considered one of the glories of contemporary theology, have led me to read with lively interest your book “Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility.”

When Pius XII gave the world the splendid series of fourteen allocutions to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility, there were many who saw them less as a theological, philosophical, and historical work regarding values destined to yet play a fundamental and timeless role, than as a nostalgic effusion of love for virtues, greatnesses, and glories that the world understood less and less.

The most recent of the abovementioned allocutions was that of 1958. More than thirty years later, we can now see how wrong the latter were. Indeed, Pius XII had seen the course of events correctly. Today, not only is the old hostility to the nobility gradually dying out, but there are prominent intellectuals emerging most everywhere who emphasize how detrimental is the loss of authentic elites—with the concomitant vulgarization of the human type—to culture and to the lifestyle of contemporary society. This is why in many places we now see manifested an ardent aspiration for the restoration of the influence of authentic elites over the multitudes, so that the latter may once again become—in accordance with Pius XII’s teachings—peoples instead of nameless masses (cf. Christmas radio message of His Holiness Pius XII, 1944).

In this historical context, your work proves to be extraordinarily timely, since in echoing the magisterium of Pope Pius XII and commenting on it with such notable penetration and consistency, it makes an appeal to the nobility and the analogous elites to contribute, with more courage than ever before, toward the common spiritual and temporal good of all nations.

Indeed it falls to them, as that immortal Pope underscored, to fulfill the precious mission of communicating by example, word, and action the treasure of religious and temporal truths of Christianity, the luminous torch of so many truths that societies can never forget without the risk of succumbing to the vortex of chaos and moral misery that threatens them.

I therefore hope for the best of receptions for your book, to which you have devoted the vast resources of your intelligence and erudition, besides your unlimited love for the Church. May it please Divine Providence to grant it widespread circulation, so that the preferential option for the nobles, inspired by Pius XII and highlighted by you, and the preferential option for the poor, to whom the current Pontiff has devoted his ardent love, will be forever better understood.

Mario Luigi Cardinal Ciappi, O.P.

(Translation from the Italian original below)

Biographical data of His Eminence Cardinal Ciappi

Mario Luigi Cardinal Ciappi. O.P., was born in Florence on October 6, 1909, and was ordained a priest on March 26, 1932. For many years he was a professor at the Angelicum, where he taught Moral and Dogmatic Theology and Mariology. Among his students was the then Father Karol Wojtyla, later His Holiness John Paul II. Cardinal Ciappi went on to become dean of the Faculty of Theology at this athenaeum. He was elevated to the episcopal dignity as titular of the Church of Miseno on June 10, 1977, and in the Consistory of June 27 of the same year he received the cardinal’s hat from the hands of Paul VI.

Until 1989 he was theologian of the Pontifical Household, that is, private theologian of the Holy Father. Cardinal Ciappi is currently president of the Pontifical Roman Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Catholic Doctrine, which gathers some of the greatest names in contemporary theology.

18-II-1993

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