In response to Rabbi Jehoschua Ahrens’ letter published on Katholische.de
Dear Rabbi Ahrens,
Since I have been criticized for my Appeal for the Church and the world, I ask Katholisch.de to give me permission to answer you.
I must tell you, Dr. Ahrens, that I am not a little surprised by your words when you say: “We have known for some time that there are people within the churches who adhere to such theories. But now they have the courage to express these opinions even more openly.” I think it is the duty of each one of us to express our concerns about a situation that, taking advantage of the Covid crisis, goes far beyond reasonable safety measures, imposing on entire nations the deprivation of constitutional freedoms: this may not have happened in Germany, but it has certainly happened in many countries.
I ask you, dear Rabbi Ahrens: in your opinion, is it still permissible to express oneself freely, or are there subjects that cannot be discussed anymore in a civil manner? If you can express your disagreement with the content of the Appeal, why should “people within the churches” not be entitled to express themselves freely, as well? And why do you think that one would need to “have courage” in order to do so, as if it were a matter of rantings without any reference to reality?
To dismiss these concerns – which have been expressed, moreover, by reputable personalities – as “conspiracy theories” does not seem to me a constructive attitude: especially if one does not have the merit of disproving what is considered untrue. I therefore ask you: in what, specifically, do you disagree with the text of the Appeal? What in the Appeal represents a “shock” for you?
Believe me: I would have never thought that the Appeal could offend you; on the other hand, why should a Rabbi feel called into question when there is talk of the New World Order? The Messiah that Israel awaits is Rex pacificus, Princeps pacis, Pater futuri saeculi [King of Peace, Prince of Peace, Father of the world to come]: not a tyrant without morals who dominates the world by subjugating men as slaves. This rather applies to the Antichrist.
Let us now come to the spiritual significance of Covid. In the Old Testament there are many examples of punishments sent to the Chosen People by God, and the Prophets many times warned the Jews to abandon idolatry, not to contaminate themselves with the pagans, and to remain faithful to the one true God. I recall here the words of the Prophet Jeremiah, after the burning of Jerusalem by Babylonian troops in 585 B.C.: “Her adversaries have taken over, her enemies prosper; for the Lord has afflicted her for her countless sins” (Lam. 1:5).
This vision, which the Church of Christ shares, shows us a just and merciful God, who rewards the good and punishes the wicked; who like a loving Father punishes also His disobedient children, to bring them back to follow His holy Law. For this reason, “turning the negative into the positive, turning a curse into a blessing” is achieved by recognizing that one has committed a sin, that one has broken the covenant with God, that one has deserved His chastisements. Then the epidemic also becomes an opportunity to return to the Lord, worship Him in His holy temple, follow His precepts.
There was a time when, with the obedience of the masses, a hellish dictatorship committed a very serious crime, making itself responsible for the deportation and death of millions of innocent people, only because of their faith and line of descent. Even then the mainstream media praised those in power and remained silent about their crimes; even then doctors and scientists lent their work to a delusional plan of domination; even then those who dared to raise their voices were accused of “conspiracy theories.” One had to wait until the end of the Second World War to discover with horror the truth about which many had hitherto remained silent.
I am sure that those who today delegitimize the Appeal as an expression of “conspiracy theories” do not realize the real dangers to which the entire human family is exposed. But I am certain that both Catholics and all men of good will – and among them I think I can include the children of Abraham – have at heart the greater glory of God, the respect for the dignity of individuals, and the freedoms of peoples. Beatus populus, cujus Dominus Deus ejus (Ps 143:15).
+ Mgr. Carlo Maria Viganò,
Archbishop, Apostolic Nuncio
21 May 2020
Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ