Fr. Antonio Sarducci leaks Pope Francis admonition to Canadian bishops


For many years Fr. Antonio  Sarducci has been climbing the Curial pole  as the one who consistently tells the truth to the Supreme Pontiff. Unknown to most Vatican watchers, Fr. Sarducci,the brother of  the infamous  Guido the  former  gossip columnist for L’Osservatore Romano, has steadily deepened his spiritual life. After a 40 day retreat on Toronto’s Centre Island  in the year 2001, Sarducci returned to Rome a changed man. Today, mirabile dictu, he has become an intimate of Pope Francis.

Though living in Rome, Antonio  through modern communications has stayed in touch with many Toronto friends and has often leaked Pope Francis’ message to the cardinals of the Roman church.

After the groundbreaking encyclical on the environment Laudato Si  Papa Francesco immediately sent a strong missive, to all of Canada’s bishops. Fr.Tony  has graciously forwarded this to us. In the pope’s own words:

Fratelli in Christo

You all received an advance copy of my latest encyclical in which I ask you as putative leaders in the Church and indeed “all Christians to recognize and live fully this dimension of their  conversion” to ecological justice. As you undoubtedly remember in the long-forgotten 1971 Synod of Bishops document Justice in the World, our brothers in Christ in the glow of Vatican ll stated:

Action on behalf of of justice and participation in the transformation of the world appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the gospel

Apparently this has been forgotten in the last few decades, never taught in our seminaries and that is why I am asking you to awake from your slumber and stop placing the church at the heart of your ministry. As our beloved predecessor Pope Paul Vl reminded us in his prophetic Exhortation of 1975 Evangelization in the Modern World the only thing which is ultimate is the reign of God:  peace, justice and the integrity of creation. As our forefathers stated then “It makes everything else irrelevant”—and that includes, the church, the priesthood and the sacraments—everything.

In previous speeches, I have asked you to subordinate your fascination with what some have called “pelvic orthodoxy.” Catholics by now have heard this episcopal drumbeat for all too long (a one note Samba as we say in Argentina) .The faithful in case you have not noticed have made giant strides in their theological sophistication since the end of Vatican ll. They have well understood that the gospel of Jesus the poor man of Galilee is so much more than sexual ethics which seems to have consumed us celibates. They correctly name the gap between the rich and the poor, the imperialism of money, peacemaking, the cry of the excluded and in our time the deep cry of our sister, the womb that nourishes us all, the earth. As I wrote in section 2 of the encyclical

This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22).

Fr Tony has reminded me that the prophetic, to quote a song of the 60s, is “often written on the subway walls.” And he has directed me to a song by a Detroit singer Bob Seger. It is called It’s Your World

It’s Your World

Let’s talk about acid in the ocean
Let’s look at all the dying coral reefs
Let’s talk about shorter growing seasons
Let’s talk about what we’re gonna eat

Say a prayer for the victims of extinction
Say another for the redwood trees
Say another for arctic and the tundra
Let’s talk about who we’re tryin’ to please

It’s your world

The rich keep bitchin’ and the rest keep wishin’ it away
All these children have to face our mess someday

Let’s talk about mining in Wisconsin
Let’s talk about breathing in Beijing
Let’s talk about chemicals in rivers
Let’s talk about cash as king

Let’s talk about runoff from the mountains
Check the levels on Lake Mead
Let’s talk about mortgaging the future
We borrow and we borrow and we borrow, borrow, borrow

It’s your world


Apparently Mr Seger gets it. It indeed is our world. This is the great economy in which everything else must be subordinated; the earth is primary, the very basis of all human and non-human life. Destroy this base and nothing all matters. Leaders like your Prime Minister seem to have been locked into a death-dealing economic fundamentalism. I gently hinted this to him in our 10 minute meeting.

Now as your leader I am asking you “to get it.”

In section 219 of my encyclical I have directed you “beyond the personal”.

Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds. This task “will make such tremendous demands of man that he could never achieve it by individual initiative or even  by the united effort of men bred in an individualistic way.

So I am asking you to make links and common cause with those secular groups who have worked so hard in defending the earth while your parishes have absented themselves from the social struggle. Fr.Guido has told me
that the Suzuki Foundation, Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club are all active in Canada. Embrace them; learn from them .The old adage “If Catholics are not leading the parade,  they are not in it’ has sadly been true.This must stop. Humility demands that our parishes act in loving concert with those salvific elements in our society.

So, my brother bishops, I am requesting that within 30 days you convene your parish, engage the many experts, Catholic and non-Catholic, whom you have heretofore ignored and get moving. This encyclical invites you to study, prayer and necessary action in defense of our holy earth which has been maltreated for far too long.

I conclude with words from my encyclical:

It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.

In solidarity with you and the earth,

Papa Francesco



  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    Fr Sarducci- if I were a cardinal you would have my vote for the next pope! Beautiful stuff Fr Antonio! I just wish you were my parish priest or better still..bishop!
    Papal encyclicals are the greatest treasures of the Catholic Church yet hardly known or talked about. The challenge now lies with the bishops and clergy. Will they summon the faithful?

  2. 2
    mushafta Says:

    I have to hand it to you Fr Antonio- you really are the best thing since the election of Francis! Brilliant, holy, humorous and a post Vatican 2 priest who truly gets it! Where’ve you been all these years? I thought by now those old cardinals would have put the run on you. I’ll never know how you survived under Benedict and JP2. Wow! What a priest! So tell me Fr Antonio, what’s with the lack of leadership in the Canadian church? Seems like only Ted is doing all the heavy lifting. Is there any hope Fr Sarducci? Is there even a glimmer of hope out there?

  3. 3
    mushafta Says:

    One thing I forgot to mention Fr Sarducci – The pope’s visit to the United States comes during our Canadian election. This just might have an impact. Not that I think our Canadian cardinals and bishops will fire up the flock to oppose Harper, but quite the contrary- Collins and others have already advised their flock to shut out Trudeau- simply on the abortion issue. But I suspect Francis will have an impact. This is no ordinary encyclical and I do believe Francesco will pull out all stops to rally everyone- not just Catholics. He is truly a formidable force.
    Keep leaking more stuff Fr Sarducci!

  4. 4
    ecoflame Says:

    I have an organization, a serious theological organization, who believe this is real. Has anything changed in the way of Fr. Antonio or Fr. Guido Sarducci no longer being part of Don Novello?

  5. 5
    mushafta Says:

    Take me very seriously..Fr Sarducci is real and on his way to canonization!
    Let me ask this question: Was Oscar Romero ever taken seriously for his outspoken views? Even after his assassination? Hear this.. Would Bishop Oscar Romero have ever contemplated taking wealthy high heeled Latin Americans on a tour to Israel given the inhumane treatment of Palestinians by Israel today? Hardly think so. Yet it is happening!
    Father Sarducci…one day Saint Sarducci!

  6. 6
    mushafta Says:

    The pope has spoken on climate change. The earth is heating quickly with no time to spare. Forest fires and drought threaten all parts of the planet. Floods and severe weather pose major risks elsewhere.
    It’s time for the church to step up to the plate. But which diocese is doing anything? Which bishop? Which Cardinal? Which priests?
    This is all about leadership and for the first time in Rome we have a leader.
    But so far- the Canadian climate change leaders are too focused on abortion, same sex marriage and now assisted suicide.

  7. 7
    mushafta Says:

    What more do we expect this pope to do? Stand on his head at the UN? Where are his shepherds? This guy everyday risks life and limb fearlessly speaking out after decades of silence in the Vatican on real issues. And even here on this blog all that seems to generate controversy is sexual Catholic ethics. Is that all we teach from the pulpit and the seminaries, the schools and the rest? Say a mean word about abortion here and you invoke the wrath of God. Like bees they come after you swarming all over- right from the Campaign Life hive. Friend of mine is running in the next federal election.. On one issue- abortion. Have to shake my head. Where are these Catholic Neanderthals? They have so obsessed and polarized over this abortion issue no intelligent politician will have the will to go near it!
    Are all Catholics primarily focused on sexual ethics?

  8. 8

    Hey I enjoyed that. You had me there for a second, but no pope would say the sacraments are irrelevant. Ted, you certainly do live in your imagination. Is mufasca the only one who comments on this forum? Ted, you are too much a one issue man. That’s the problem with some right wing Catholics. One issue; one issue. Only one. Oneeeeeeeeeeeee.

    Ted. We’ve met before. Do you remember?

    • 9
      mushafta Says:

      Where did Francesco come from Ted? I thought we buried this worm years ago!
      The one man issue himself comes out of the woodwork!
      You must have truly pissed him off!

  9. 10

    Mushafta: I thought I was a great man? How quickly we change! I’m curious: what’s my 1 issue?

    • 11
      mushafta Says:

      You’re a terrific guy Francesco! Both Ted and I love you. And Francis in particular! Totally!

      Just keep on rock in’ in the free world Francesco! We’ll have an icon made for people to worship you real soon!

    • 12
      mushafta Says:

      Francesco! You need to talk to Fr Antonio Sarducci! Great priest!

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