John L. Allen Jr.Jul 29, 2020 Crux Now

Father Alessandro Maria Minutella. (Credit: Screen capture.)

News Analysis

ROME – In Cervantes’ famed novel Don Quixote, the lead character is a deluded noble who imagines himself a knight and lives in a chivalric world of his own imagination. The story has proved so popular it’s even given us a word, “quixotic,” to mean someone who’s unrealistic, impractical, driven by unattainable ideals.

If Cervantes were alive today and living in Italy, he wouldn’t need to dream up such a figure. All he’d probably need to do is to follow around Father Alessandro Maria Minutella.

Minutella, who’ll turn 47 in September, is a Sicilian priest who was declared excommunicated latae santentiae by Cardinal Corrado Lorefice of Palermo in 2017, for the crimes of “heresy and schism.”

He’s a fierce traditionalist who now aspires to lead what he calls the “Catholic resistance,” forming a “small remnant” who spurn the “false Bergoglian church” (a reference to Pope Francis’s given name) and declare their allegiance to Pope Benedict XVI (who, of course, has never solicited such a following.)

“I’m just an instrument, a simple donkey of Mary,” Minutella has said of his position. “I am not afraid of Bergoglian contempt and the shame it merits, in order to make those souls who wish to be saved aware of the anti-Christian nature of this absurd messianism.”

Here’s his ten-point indictment of Francis.

Permitting communion for the divorced and remarried in Amoris Laetitia

Indifference to Marian dogmas

Stressing mercy to the exclusion of judgment

A document on human fraternity signed by Francis in Abu Dhabi, which he asserts reflects “religious syncretism”

Neglect of mission (in the sense of making converts to Christianity)

Neo-Arianism, effectively denying the divinity of Christ

Rehabilitating Martin Luther and Judas Iscariot

“Nebulous” eschatology

Calling clerical celibacy into question through the Amazon synod

Idolatry of the “Pachamama,” an Amazonian fertility figure, during the synod

This past Sunday, Minutella brought his act to Rome.

Under a tree along a street named for one of the early popes, Minutella spent four and a half hours celebrating the old Mass, delivering catechesis, offering a homily and leading prayers and the singing of psalms.

He drew a crowd described by one sympathetic observer as in the hundreds, including people “of all ages and social classes, all wearing masks and practicing social distancing,” drawn by word-of-mouth in traditionalist Catholic circles.

The Rome event was part of a barnstorming tour of Italy that will also take Minutella to the regions of Veneto, Piedmont, the Marches and Tuscany.
To be clear, Minutella is nobody’s fool. He holds a doctorate in the history of Christian dogma from Rome’s Jesuit-run Gregorian University, having written his dissertation on the eschatology of famed Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. When it was published in book form, it was even reviewed favorably by L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper.

However, Minutella’s inspiration isn’t restricted to the theological classics. He also claims to receive private revelations, which initially caused the Archdiocese of Palermo to order him to silence in 2015. It didn’t really take hold, as Minutella went on to publicly accuse Pope Francis of heresy in the wake of Amoris Laetitia.

In 2017 he was removed as pastor of his parish, leading to the excommunication decree a year later, at a time when Minutella was advising his followers – 43,000 on his Facebook page – not even to enter churches where pastors remain loyal to Francis, in order to avoid doubts about the validity of the sacraments. To those who object that they don’t have access to priests such as Minutella but still want to go to Mass, he’s unyielding.

“The Mass is very important, but it’s even more important to conserve the faith in its integrity,” he said.

However, Minutella’s revolution is mostly virtual, since it’s really only archconservative media and sites in Italy that are paying any attention. The powerful Italian bishops’ conference, CEI, hasn’t even bothered issuing a public statement about it, probably because even assuming all 43,000 people who follow Minutella on Facebook are in lockstep with him – and some likely follow him just out of curiosity, others for something akin to opposition research – that’s still only about .08 percent of Italy’s total Catholic population.

Granted, there’s a swath of Catholics who would share at least some of Minutella’s diagnosis. A few are admirers of Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who’s probably closest to Minutella’s position, having not only called for Francis’s resignation but also recently appearing to reject the Second Vatican Council. A much larger and more diverse cluster of conservative opinion would take issue with this or that decision made by Francis, while likely also finding things to appreciate.
All of that, however, is a world away from embracing open revolt and rushing for the barricades.

Yet while Minutella may be tilting at windmills, he shows no signs of abandoning his quest. Recently, he issued an open challenge to theologians, academics and even bishops sympathetic to the pope to join him  in a roundtable discussion, on the condition that a neutral moderator be found to guide the discussion.

How productive such an exchange might be is open to question, but there’s no doubt it would be entertaining — another instance, perhaps, of life imitating art, in this case with Cervantes as the one who probably ought to be flattered.

Follow John Allen on Twitter at @JohnLAllenJr.


It is true that the current RCC is divided into a Pre Vatican 11 camp and a Vatican 11 camp.

We see this everywhere now, especially in the context of the numerous Extraordinary Mass groups.

The RCC has, nominally, 1 3 billion members.

A lot of them go nowhere.

Those who do go, do the Novus Ordo.

And then a rump do the Latin Mass thing.

I suppose divisions are always difficult for everyone?

Personally, I am firmly on the English Mass and liberal side.

I dont really know where Francis is.

That’s a Jesuit trick – not to let anywhere know where they stand.

All O know is,vI would not trust Francis.



Pat, so glad you are into the English Mass. I never realised that. You probably didn’t knew or where in the presence of Pope John XXIII . He was a humble man like you seem to be too. The present Jesuit Pope doesn’t like John XXIiI or Paul VI .The word from Rome is Benedict is on his lsst legs.


“Just Kero on playing those…
Miiiind games…forever.”
Not helpfull.
“Much of Christendom today is in turmoil – trying desperately to protect her name, her reputation and her institutions. Such things are not the call of God. The call of God is in the voice of the little ones – little in size, age, position, knowledge and power.”
Dianne Langberg


Pat, Really you wouldn’t trust Francis? I imagine the feeling is mutual; but he is the Pope and you a renegade. I rest my case mi’lud.


9.18, I think, dear, that you’ve underestimated Fr Mintuela: he would not accept a blessing from a lowly carpenter from Nazareth with the sartorial satiety of a scare grow. 😀


7.38: No doubt you are an Adonis, gym freak? But also a philistine – ignorant, superfluous and a body shaming piece of crap. Bet though you have a fantasist’s mind…


Now Bella!😕 Lay off the gargle. You know you can’t handle it, for it makes you irascible.


7.38, indeed.

The gawdy flamboyance of the occasion is the most striking feature of that theatrical tableau. Even Jesus on the cross is striking… a somewhat languid pose, if I’m not mistaken.

Why are traddies so fat and so queen-looking?


2.23, I’m not a traddie, dear, so I don’t spend my time studying my reflection to see how resplendent I look.
Jesus didn’t either.


I am reliable informed that AB martin has flown to Rome. Paul Tighe was in Dublin last week and they flew back to Rome together…as per sources.
What do you think of that!?


Is it possible at the moment to fly from Dublin to Rome?

And DM seems to fly to Rome via Germany.


It is possible. There are direct flights to Rome with Aer Lingus too. If you don’t believe me check with AB’s house. He is MIA!

I think it is extremely disappointing behaviour. Tut Tut


Given the fact that there is soon to be another archbishop DM and PT’s movements are a matter of public interest.


It is my business. In Ireland there are travel restrictions and these also apply to Archbishop Martin. He should be leading by example. There is no legitimate reason for him to be in Rome.


It seems that Aer Lingus are not flying to Rome until 22 nd of this month?


I think that’s very possible. I dont think DM would not do unnecessary journeys at this time – even for his own safety. He is 75.


It was never abrogated and couldn’t be, the Missal was cut down from 1965 to 1969 then a new Missal was published later translated into English for Anglophones and became compulsory from the first Sunday of Lent 1970. The Mass is Apostolic and cannot be suppressed, the Divine Office was abrogated in favour of the new form as it’s not Apostolic and always was a construction of the Church.There are two forms of the Roman Rite , one Apostolic, ancient in essence and codified by Pope Gregory and a second form following the directive of the Council and leading to the experimental Mass of 1967 which was then adjusted to become the New Roman Missal. The Missa Normative demonstrated in the Sistine Chapel was in Italian facing the people. It began with a sung psalm of several verses, a greeting but no sign of the cross, a brief pause for silent prayer, an Old Testament reading a second sung psalm, an epistle and a third sung psalm. The Gospel read by a deacon. A silent presentation and offering of gifts without prayer but with the singing of a fourth psalm in Italian, straight to a preface then an abbreviated Roman Canon aloud in Italian no bells, sung Our Father, kiss of peace no Agnus Dei, Domine non sum dignus, fifth psalm Communion, sixth psalm dismissal. The feedback led to the form that’s familiar today.


Too much unnecessary and irrelevant information and a false premise with a peculiarly novel distinction involving a so-called ‘apostolic’ category.

The issuing of Summorum pontificium was one of Benedict XVI worst errors i.e. relaunching a form of a liturgical rite abrogated ipso facto by the authorisation of its successor.

The Sistine chapel didn’t exist 100 years before Pius V approved the post- Trent missal. It would be naive to imagine that the Pius’ reforms were very much older.


Bickering about historically evolved forms of Mass is a waste of time, since the only form that counts was that of the first and only Mass 2000 years ago in Palestine.
Odd that the likes of Minutella seem never interested in that.
Then again, perhaps it isn’t so odd: Jesus was centrestage here, not a priest, since there were no priests present.


You are confusing your categories.
The Mass is the same sacrifice as that on the cross though offered in a different manner. Ergo, the only eucharistic sacrifice which was not a Mass was the original one, contrary to your post.


3.25, you couldn’t be more wrong.

The Mass is, of course, made possible by Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection (you omitted the Resurrection) but these were not, and are not, the Mass.

The Mass fundamentally is a meal, the sustenance of which is Christ himself, and it occurred at the Last Supper, through transubstantiation of bread and wine IN ANTICIPATION of Jesus’ passion, death, and Resurrection.

No categories to confuse, since there is only one.


Why would I bother him with such a text. It’s not a matter of life and death😃


Who is financing Father Minutella?

For some reason the reform of the Mass authorised by the post-Tridentine Pius V has a proportionately larger following in GB than it does here in Ireland where it never really relaunched after its abrogation.


5.33, now don’t be telling porkies about numbers. You traddies are never done boasting about them for traddie theatre to anyone unfortunate enough to have his attention cornered by one of your lot.


10.14: None of your business. Get it. Archbishop is not in Rome: find something worthwhile to write about. You are probably a disgruntled, passed iver cleric!! Go out and help the homeless.


Miss Nasty at 1:03pm

You are always so nasty when you finally awake from your drunken slumber, take your own advice and give to the poor. Stop giving to the Gargle merchant, you’ll feel so much better.


1:09 pm
Bella, be charitable in what you write. I’m not on the gargle, I don’t give to the gargle merchant and I’m awake since 6 am. So, don’t be nasty thinking the worse of people.
The Church and Religious Orders are financially loaded.



Auld Mother say’s shes off the drink that’s only because The Pink Lion hasn’t opened yet she’ll be back at the bar resplendant in her pink basque boring everyone as usual.


I am informed by a blog reader that there was a Ryanair flight to Rome from Dublin this morning.
Maybe things are getting back up and running.


To give some context to the matter

The AB has not done confirmations or mass in Dublin because of his own health concerns. Yet, somehow he has found the courage to fly to another country with Paul Tighe? The IRISH government strictly forbids travel at this time.


The Irish Government does not dictate to the Catholic Church.
Are you on the gargle again, Polly?


2:26 pm
Yeah. With the results :The Ryan Report, The Murphy Report, The Ferns Report…etc
Plenty more reports to be done.


A self loathing repressed in denial lardy homosexual if ever there was. Why waste time on him. A real Mama’s boy.


I swear that Minutella would have berated Jesus on the cross for his lack of sartorial elegance.

Why do Catholics follow men like Minutella, an attention-seeker who footstamps if he doesn’t get his way?


Poor Fr Minutella. A lone, excommunicated voice crying in a liturgical wasteland of ritually anachronistic hopes and dreams.
I can hear John the Baptiser laughing.
Jesus isn’t amused, though. I think he has one or two things to say to that maverick.


10.07: Pat, if you really had relevant pastoral work in a parish, the travels of Archbishop Martin ans Bishop Tighe would be the last things on your mind. What a waste of your time. It’s none of your business. None whatsoever.


I think an awful lot of people both within, and outside the institutional Church,
are brainwashed, some more seriously brainwashed than others.



So can auld mother when she can drag herself away from her curtain twitching hobby she can’t abide to miss a bit of gossip and if she does she’ll make it up anyway.


5:54 pm
Stockholm syndrome has been defined as a condition in which hostages develop a psychological alliance with their captors during captivity. Emotional bonds may be formed between captor and captives, during intimate time together, but these are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims.


And Bella could confirm the irrationality of her cloying loyalty to the Church, especially when it has done such incredible and criminal damage to the bodies of the young, and caused such spiritual devastation in all her members.
Then again, perhaps she couldn’t. I did, after all, say she was irrational, and psychotics have no insight into their psychosis. 😕


I would like to announce that I am running for Archbishop of Dublin


You’re GAY, Canon?!😲

But your orination is null and void, according to a blogger yesterday.

You’ve been feasting on liturgical bread and wine for years. No wonder you have such a penchant for alcohol.


Is that really Archbishop Martin’s covid-19 mask? Fair enough if it is. You can’t expect a mere servant of the Lord to protect himself in a way that doesn’t distinquish his lowly status.


As per government guidelines italy is on the list of permitted countries and hence coddle is not breaching any rules.
Coddle is wolfing down an Arancini and more power to him.


I understand he hasn’t said a public mass in months. some English bishops have set up a webcam in their homes and are broadcasting mass. Archbishop of Dublin? nowhere to be seen. any statement or words of encouragement for the flock?


Hun, Coddle has been consistent. “A coddle a day keeps Kung Flu away” partial to a few boiled saussies so she is.



The wee priesties there are a sayin’ their preyers, and every other Scottish person observes a reverent silence while they do.

Aye. It’s the Scottish way, so ’tis.


are those two women still working in the theology office. one of them used to take my head off me every time I went in.


Pat, you should put on some sort of quiz for us. even if on zoom? general knowledge plus a few bonus questions about the summer of love. BTW I’m being serious.


8.17: You are being serious undoubtedly but you are also being utterly stupid. How to demean yourself, DD….Pat will facilitate your clowning.


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