Letter sent on 24th October 2003 by the Bishop Claudio Gatti to the Cardinals Ratzinger, Ruini and Bertone and copy to Cardinals Sodano, Arinze, Re, Sepe, Castrillon, Pompedda and to many italian bishops
To Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
To Cardinal Camillo Ruini, General Vicar of H.H. for the diocese of Rome.
To Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Archbishop of Genova.
To Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State of H.H.
To Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for the Cult and discipline of Sacraments.
To Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops.
To Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the evangelisation of Peoples.
To Cardinal Hoyos Dario Castrillon, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.
To Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda, Prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signatura.Sirs Cardinals,
I have the right to call you "brothers", because you and I share the episcopate, the fullness of priesthood that makes us more similar to Christ and, as a consequence, it should make us more united with Him and more in communion between us.
Dearest brothers, one year has passed by now since you have informed me by a simple letter about my dismissal from the clerical state. You condemned me going manifestly against the rules established by the Code of Canon Law.
As a matter of fact, my dismissal from the clerical state cannot be laid down by particular law (can. 1317) and, since it is a perpetual penalty, neither by decree (can. 1342 §2). It must be established only through judicial procedure by a tribunal of three or five judges (can. 1425).
Moreover the dismissal from the clerical state is explicitly foreseen by the normative law and it can be inflicted only if the cleric committed one of the crimes indicated in the canons 1364, 1367, 1370 §1, 1387, 1394 §1, 1395.
I committed none of these crimes, as can be easily shown, and you also acknowledged it explicitly, because you have been able to find in me not even one of them.
Finally, you got to deny me the right of defending myself and this is a serious abuse of power.
Since you were aware that your decision had neither juridical grounds nor moral justifications, you attributed to the H. Father the responsibility of signing the decree for my dismissal from the clerical state and you told me "since it is a pontifical decision, it is not open to appeal".
In consequence of your arbitrary decision I wrote a letter to all the Cardinals in the world, to the Bishops of Italy, to the heads of the Roman Curia and to the priests of Rome to show, and it was not difficult for me, that you committed a morally illicit and juridically invalid act.
The majority of the clergymen who I explained my case, even if they acknowledged that I was right and in the truth, didn't complain against "my immediate dismissal from the clerical state ex officio et in poenam, cum dispensatione ab ominbus oneribus e sacris Ordinibus monantibus", because they thought, as you made them believe, that it was established by the H. Father by a decree of his.
Since it is my right looking over the pontifical decree and having at least an authenticated photocopy, I invite you cardinals Ratzinger, Ruini and Bertone, to show it to me.
In case you refuse to show me the pontifical decree, it would mean, without a shadow of doubt, that this decree does not exist and would be evident that you hid yourselves, lying, behind the H. Father to reduce me to the lay state.
I am not absolutely afraid to inform all the Bishops and Cardinals of the Church about the whole matter and to take the necessary steps at the competent ecclesiastical authority so that the truth is acknowledged.
In the meanwhile I will wait serene and trustful for the Lord to intervene to knock down the proud from their thrones and to raise the humble.
Rome, 24th October 2003
Feast of the Mother of the Eucharist
Bishop Ordained by God
Bishop of the Eucharist