In his latest newsletter, Samuele Bacchiocchi reports on the reply from the Gregorian University regarding the allegations concerning his credentials.
The Gregorian’s rector, Fr Gianfranco Ghirlanda, states that Bacchiocchi received a summa cum laude for his Licentiate, which appears for form part of the process leading up to the doctorate.
The issue regarding the publication of one chapter vs the whole – I think that the XCG blog has done a good analysis of that, and Bacchiocchi’s defence seems to fit in with that.
These issues partly confirm Bacchiocchi’s claims.
Further statements from him have also confirmed that the Imprimatur he claims applies only to the abridged version of his thesis, not the book in which he prints it. The existence of the imprimatur alone, without the other declarations that go along with it, indicates that it was meant as permission to print, not a statement on the theological correctness of his conclusions. It never meant approval by the Vatican or the Catholic Church. It never meant that the promoters agreed with the theology, or even the historical conclusions. It was simply approval of it as proper research done by a scholar, granting permission to print.
As Bacchiocchi said in an e-mail to me:
Regarding the imprimatur, he [Ghirlanda] explains that the approval that I received from granted by the Gregorian University, not by the Catholic church at large.
The Gregorian Controversy is over. Bacchiocchi says:
I would like to express my gratitude to Rector Ghirlanda for taking time to examine my response and rectify some of the false allegations. Though some allegations still remain unresolved, in the spirit of Christian forgiveness I consider the case closed.
On some issues, Bergami was wrong. On the rest, it seems that Bacchiocchi will let them go.
In light of this, I apologise to Samuele Bacchiocchi for the trouble my inquiries have caused him. My questions were justified, and brought greater clarity as to the relationship between his thesis, his promotors, and the Catholic Church. But I never wished for someone to provide misleading information the way Barbara Bergami did. What her motivations were, and how well she investigated the matter, are not known. How Gregorian will deal with her will probably never be known.
Bacchiocchi is now suffering from stage 4 colon carcinoma, metastasised to the liver. Survival of such advanced cancer is usually not long. We should pray for him, that he be healed, if that is God’s will.
Comments imported from the old blog:
Posted by Jared Olar on March 10, 2007, 4:11 am
I am very, very pleased (and, I admit, kind of surprised) that the Gregorian responded to Dr. Bacchiocchi’s defense so promptly, and has clarified that the 2004 letter from Barbara Bergami contains some serious inaccuracies.
Since I was the one who formally “broke” this story at XCG, and the ensuing doubts and analyses and arguments no doubt caused Dr. Bacchiocchi and his family grief, I also apologise for any harm that my investigations and discussons of this matter may have caused him. Since I learned of his cancer recently, I too have been praying for his health.
Posted by Bill Cork on March 12, 2007, 5:12 pm
“It never meant that the promotors agreed with the theology, or even the historical conclusions.”
The imprimatur never does. It just means there’s no doctrinal error taught in it.
Posted by stephen on March 12, 2007, 8:35 pm
Actually, the imprimatur alone doesn’t mean that. The term “imprimatur” applies to two different concepts. The first meaning of imprimatur indicates a collection of 3 declarations, which are a) the imprimi potest, b) the nihil obstat, and c) the imprimatur, i.e. the second, narrower, meaning of the term imprimatur.
Bacchiocchi never obtained two of those three. He obtained an imprimi potest from the rector of Gregorian University. (The imprimi potest is usually only issued by the local head of a religious order, and is not found in most imprimaturs [i.e. nihil obstat + imprimatur.]) He never had a nihil obstat, and he never had an imprimatur other than the imprimi potest given for the initial abridged version that was reprinted as imprimatur in the complete version. The original printing showing that imprimi potest can be found here – http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/parttwo/Images/Anti-Judaism3.jpg [IA link on the left, local archive here]
The specific part of the broader imprimatur that signifies a lack of doctrinal error in the opinion of the censor is the nihil obstat. Bacchiocchi never obtained this, and can therefore not claim that his book was ever evaluated for doctrinal error for the purpose of obtaining an imprimatur.
Bacchiocchi’s imprimatur (technically imprimi potest) alone means nothing as far as whether the text is contrary to Catholic doctrine or not.
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