Tuesday 4 April 2017

Archbishop of Trani Confirms Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi has Breached the Moratorium on Luisa Piccarreta

Earlier this year, in March 2017, the Archbishop of Trani, Giovan Battista Pichierri, sent me a letter confirming that Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi OSJ has breached the moratorium that was placed on the writings of Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. In several earlier official communications, the Archbishop had made clear that the reason the moratorium was set in place was because of extreme interpretations of Luisa Piccarreta's writings, that were placing heretical theories in the mouth of this holy woman that were nowhere to be found the original local Italian dialect version of the texts. As we shall see below, Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi is the central culprit when it comes to distorting the original writings of Luisa Piccarreta in order to bolster his own idiosyncratic millenarian theories, and because of his clerical and academic standing, he has become in effect the de facto leader of the largest millenarian cult in modern Catholicism. The entire reason the moratorium was set in place was because of the extreme eschatological theories proffered by the likes of Fr. Iannuzzi and his numerous followers.

Here is the Italian text of the letter from Archbishop Pichierri below, followed by a rough translation using Google translate.

Trani, 30 marzo 2017
Prot. 128/17/C2
Egregio Dott. Emmett O'Regan,...
ho ricevuto il suo messaggio di posta elettronica del 21 febbraio 2017 nel quale mi riferiva della sua attività di studio e del riscontro da lei compiuto sulle pubblicazioni del sacerdote Giuseppe Iannuzzi.
Preciso che detto sacerdote non appartiene a questa Arcidiocesi e non ha ricevuto da parte mia alcuna autorizzazione, permesso o mandato di nessun genere sia in relazione alle pubblicazioni sia in riferimento allo studio e alla diffusione.
In questo momento l’Arcidiocesi e l’Associazione “Luisa Piccarreta – P.F.D.V.” sono impegnati nella elaborazione dell’edizione tipica e critica degli scritti della Serva di Dio sulla base della quale sarà possibile compiere le necessarie traduzioni in altre lingue e ulteriori studi di natura teologica.
Ad ogni buon conto, tutte le attività di studio ufficiali in questo momento vengono concordate e coordinate in sintonia con la Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi per il tramite della postulazione.
Nell’assicurarle la piena disponibilità ad ogni ulteriore chiarimento, la saluto cordialmente e le auguro una Santa Pasqua.

Giovan Battista Pichierri

Trani, March 30, 2017 Prot. 128/17 / C2
Dear Mr. Emmett O'Regan,

Dear Mr. Emmett O'Regan, I received your e-mail of 21 February 2017 which informed me of your study and the response made on the publications of the priest Joseph Iannuzzi. Point out that this priest does not belong to this Archdiocese and did not receive from me any authorization, permission or warrant of any kind and in relation to publications both in reference to the study and diffusion. Right now the Archdiocese and the Association "Luisa Piccarreta - PFDV" are engaged in the typical edition processing and critical writings of the Servant of God on the basis of which it will be possible to complete the necessary translations in other languages ​​and additional theological research to be conducted. In any event, all of the official study activities at this time are agreed and coordinated in harmony with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints through the postulation. I assure you full availability for any further clarification, I greet you cordially and a Happy Easter.

Giovan Battista Pichierri

You can find the official text of the letter here.

Below is the text of the original email that I sent to the Archbishop:

Dear Excellency,

I am a theology graduate and writer from Ireland, and have been doing some research into Servant of God Luisa Piccaretta and the “Divine Will Movement” in North America. I am concerned about 2 books containing translations of Luisa’s writings that appear to breach the moratorium you placed on her writings in 2007. The books in question are “Proper Catholic Perspectives: On the Teachings of Luisa Piccarreta” (2010) and “The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta” (2013), both by Rev Joseph Iannuzzi OSJ. Neither of these translations of Luisa’s writings into English contain imprimatur, contrary to Canon 829: "The approval or permission to publish some work is valid for the original text but not for new editions or translations of the same." Father Iannuzzi claims that he has received official ecclesiastical approbation for his 2013 book from the Pontifical Gregorian University, which appears to usurp your singular authority over these writings. In his books, Father Iannuzzi claims that he received your official written endorsement for producing these translations. I presume by this he means your correspondence with him in 2003, in which you rescinded certain statements made by your Vicar General, Mons. Savino Giannotti, concerning Father Iannuzzi’s authority within the Archdiocese of Trani in relation to the writings of Luisa. Would you be able to confirm for me if you really did officially endorse Father Iannuzzi’s books, as he himself claims? My suspicion is that these books were in fact published without your permission, and that Father Iannuzzi misinterpreted your letter as an act of “endorsement”.

Yours faithfully in Christ,

Emmett O’Regan

My suspicions were based on the fact that none of Fr. Iannuzzi's works have the imprimatur of his local ordinary or the imprimi potest of his major superior, which is required in CIC Can. 832:

"Members of religious institutes also need permission of their major superior according to the norm of the constitutions in order to publish writings dealing with questions of religion or morals."

The lack of nihil obstat, imprimi potest and imprimatur is a clear indicator that Fr. Iannuzzi's collective works have serious doctrinal errors, which given his clerical status and vow of obedience, should never have been published without the express permission of his religious superior. Myself and English author Stephen Walford have elsewhere shown the theological errors in Fr. Iannuzzi's works to be essentially millenarian in nature, which is universally condemned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (CCC 676)

In an attempt to suppress this information, Fr. Iannuzzi attempted to pressurize me to take down this blog post by threatening legal action against me in a civil court via a threatening letter from his attorney. I decided to stay firm, because of the danger this priest and his millenarian theories presents to the Faith. In addition to threatening me, Fr. Iannuzzi demanded to have an audience with Archbishop Pichierri and his Curia, which was granted on 3th May, 2017. During this audience, Fr. Iannuzzi explained the exact specifics of my letter, and while we do not know exactly how Archbishop Pichierri responded in this meeting, we can be assured that the outcome was not a happy one for Fr. Iannuzzi, as he afterwards decided to communicate with the Archdiocese through the medium of a civil attorney.

Just over a month before his death, Archbishop Pichierri had sent a note to Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney on 11th June, 2017, confirming that Fr. Iannuzzi's diffusion of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta properly belongs with that detailed in his third communication of 2012:

Dear Attorney Eric L. Hearn,

I received your letter of May 22, 2017 in which you refer my attention to the article that Mr. Emmett O’Regan posted on the internet in relation to Rev. Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi. 
On May 3, 2017 the Archiepiscopal Curia and I welcomed Rev. Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi who explained to me the specifics contained within Emmet’s letter. In this regard, I desire to indicate that that which I am to share with you about the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta is all contained already in the Communcation n.3 which I hereby attach. Therefore Rev. Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi’s work of research and diffusion undertaken in relation to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta is properly understood in light of this declaration [Communication] of mine to which, to this day, I have made no additions, as there have not been any new developments to the Cause of Beatification and Canonization that are underway at the Holy See. 
Moreover since Fr. Joseph is not canonically affiliated with this archdiocese, I am convinced that his good reputation, which I have never called into question, will be best reaffirmed by his legitimate Superior.
I assure you of my prayers in your esteemed work, and I extend to you my warm greetings.  

Giovan Basttista Pichierri

The fact that Fr. Iannuzzi chose to resort to communicating to the Archdiocese of Trani through the medium of his attorney shortly after a private audience with the Archbishop and his Curia strongly suggests that he did not get what he was pushing for during the course of this meeting (which obviously was for the Archbishop to refute my claim that he had violated the moratorium).

So the relevant facts run as follows:

(A) Archbishop Pichierri told me that Fr. Iannuzzi "did not receive from me any authorization, permission or warrant of any kind and in relation to publications both in reference to their study and diffusion".

(B) He stated in his letter to the attorney that Fr. Iannuzzi's diffusion of Luisa Piccarreta's works corresponds to that in communication n. 3, issued in 2012.

(C) Communication n. 3 explicitly states "the said writings are exclusively the property of the Archdiocese..."and that "any and every publication of the writings is absolutely forbidden at this time. Anyone who acts against this is disobedient and greatly harms the cause of the Servant of God.” (Communication of May 30, 2008). All effort must be invested in avoiding all “leaks” of publications of any kind.

Therefore by directing Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney to communication n. 3, Archbishop Pichierri implicitly confirmed that his works did indeed violate the moratorium. But in respect of the fact that the Archbishop of Trani holds no canonical jurisdiction over Fr. Iannuzzi, Archbishop Pichierri ultimately left it to the hands of his responsible ordinary, who has still yet to weigh in this whole sorry affair.

I have composed another more detailed blog post on this subject, titled Update on the Status of Fr. Iannuzzi's Writings, and will update here again once I learn of any new developments.