I felt the duty to remind the Pope that I, together with Gnocchi, had expressed specific criticisms regarding his work, while I renewed my total fidelity [to him] as a son of the Church. The Pope almost did not let me finish the sentence, saying that he had understood that those criticisms had been made with love, and how important it had been for him to receive them.” …
[The main duty for Palmaro and Gnocchi] “is that of being lucid and watchful regarding the contents of the Catholic doctrine, and, even in what we wrote in Il Foglio, fidelity to the Pope was never called into question.”
[Palmaro says that] “the removal of the interview granted by Pope Francis to [Italian journalist Eugenio] Scalfari from the Vatican website makes us think that something was wrong in the contents of that text, as we had remarked, among other things.”
“Our intention is that of keeping steady on the path that we have always followed, answering before our conscience. This without ever faltering in fidelity to the Pope and the Church, but precisely because of this fidelity and love.“
I’ve still got a troglodyte or two on my neck for being a “pope hater,” but, as the tumult has died down, perhaps I can let the cautiously pained words of Palmaro and Gnocchi speak for me. If you still think it’s a “mortal sin” to raise eyebrows at any passing thing the pope says, recall that ultramontanism of that kind post-dates the Council of Trent by many years. To wit:
“Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See—they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations”
– Fr. Melchior Cano O.P., Bishop and Theologian of the Council of Trent —
Meanwhile, I maintain “total fidelity” to the papal office, even as Pope Francis increasingly seems to be adapting to it. Oremus!