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Comment on the phrase of Don Luigi Giussani

by Don Giacomo Tantardini

Rome, 17 June 2011


Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust and hope in you


Dear friends,


Giussani’s words on the cover of 30Days (“Not agnosticism, but Gnosticism is the danger for the Christian faith”. Thus Don Luigi Giussani to John Paul II in the early ’nineties) and the two pages of commentary by Lorenzo Cappelletti (30Days, No. 4/5, 2011, pp. 58-59) are interesting. I would like to add just a small thing to help understand the words of Giussani, a little thing that was a discovery for me in these days.

So many times I had quoted Giussani’s words in the interview of April 1992 on the persecution of “those who act in the simplicity of Tradition”1.

But in these days, I was surprised (as by a ray of sunlight that illuminates everything) by these words of Giussani also in the same interview of April 1992: “The hatred is unleashed – barely contained, but soon it will overflow...”2 .

These words of Giussani’s are the same words that the Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to the Thessalonians ( 2 Thess 2, 7), when he speaks of those who restrain (Giussani says, contain) the overflow of hatred toward those who act in the simplicity of Tradition.

Now it is clear to me (then, in April 1992, it wasn’t) what and who restrained or contained in April 1992 the overflow of hatred (Giussani I would say almost explicitly suggests it during the same interview and precisely where he adds the adjective ‘bloody’ to the word ‘persecution’).

For that understanding that faith can give in the face of tragic examples of this bloody persecution in recent decades, these words of Giussani must once again be recalled:

“‘There was evil also in Roman times...’ (the first Christians were also evil: enough to read the Letters of St Paul, the Acts of the Apostles; St Paul was betrayed by Christians, he died because of the secret betrayal of Christians)”3.

According to some, those who restrained the overflow of hatred when the Apostle Paul wrote the second letter to the Thessalonians could have been the Roman Emperor (St Thomas Aquinas says explicitly that who restrained the overflow of hatred was the “Imperium Romanum/the Roman Empire”). Evidently neither the emperor nor the officials of the Empire were conscious of being an instrument of this Providence. And obviously they were not Christians. It can happen similarly also that those who have been such in recent decades and today also can be an instrument of this Providence.

But, after the emperors Tiberius and Claudius, the hatred flowed over into the great persecution of Nero.


We ask in prayer today that there may be something or someone to contain or restrain “the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess 2, 7). We ask this, as a request for miracles, in the prayer of the Holy Mass, which is the prayer of Jesus, and with the Holy Rosary, which is the prayer of the Mother of Jesus with her little and poor ones.

We ask this in prayer, also re-reading the words of the Apostle Paul:


‘We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one doomed to perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a God.

Do you not recall that while I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. But the one who restrains is to do so only for the present, until he is removed from the scene. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord (Jesus) will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned.

But we ought to give thanks to God for you always, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in truth. To this end he has (also) called you through our gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.

Finally, brothers, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you, you (both) are doing and will continue to do. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.’

(2 Thess 2, 1 – 3, 5)


In my poor prayer and in the Holy Mass, which is the prayer of Jesus, I thank you, deeply moved by the prayers for me and the love that you show toward me especially in these times.

Don Giacomo


Post scriptum

May this letter be simply an occasion to request prayer. A request for prayer in His name that is in His grace. How important it is, decisive, always, and especially at certain times, to live and pray in the grace of God. Remember: “Whoever confesses well becomes holy”. Becomes holy, that is he is donated, by a special help of grace, to live in the grace of God.

May this letter be thus a request for miracles. Yes, miracles, according to His promise. May the Lord also grant this love, this intelligent simplicity of children.




1 Luigi Giussani, Un avvenimento di vita, cioè una storia [An event of life, that is a story] – introduction by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – Edit-Il Sabato, Rome 1993, p. 104: “A real persecution? That’s it. The wrath of the world today does not rise up before the word Church, it is quiet also before the idea that someone should define himself Catholic, or before the figure of the Pope depicted as a moral authority. Indeed there is a formal deference, even sincere. The hatred is unleashed – barely contained, but soon it will overflow – before Catholics who present themselves as such, Catholics who act in the simplicity of Tradition”.

2 Ibid.

3 Luigi Giussani, An event of life, that is a story – introduction by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – Edit-Il Sabato, Rome 1993, p. 295.

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