Switzerland: knives out for papal nuncio – a “menace” with traditionalist leanings…

Switzerland: knives out for papal nuncio – a “menace” with traditionalist leanings…

Archbishop Thomas Gullickson

BERN, Switzerland, February 15, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Swiss Catholics – or at least, the progressive fringe of Swiss German-speaking Catholics – are angry at the recent nomination of a new papal nuncio to Bern, and they are making themselves heard. In an open letter to the new ambassador of the Holy See, the canon and co-dean of Bern, Fr. Christian Schaller, hoped that Archbishop Thomas Gullickson would show enough “sensitivity in order to perceive the realities of the Church in Switzerland” and accused him of “pastoral imprudence” in proposing to shut down parishes without priests. Behind a pleasant appeal to a “meeting” and an end to mutual “prejudice” lurks a condemnation of Archbishop Gullickson’s purported preference for the traditional teachings of the Church, especially in the moral sphere.

The letter was the last in a series of critical moves against the American nuncio whose previous post, in Ukraine, had put him in touch with starker realities.

A group of lay Catholic “reformers” formed an alliance called “Enough!” in the wake of articles in the Swiss media in January portraying Gullickson’s latest actions proving that he is an “anti-liberal.” Things got even worse from their point of view last week, when he retweeted an article in which Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru, called UN bureaucrats promoting the legalization of abortion because of the Zika virus scare “Herods in suits and ties.” Gullickson has never hidden his preference for reverent liturgy, the Latin Mass, and other signs of traditionalism that have led his Swiss detractors to accuse him of being a follower of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X.

The twelve Catholic groups forming the alliance claim to be working for a “liberating and inclusive Church.” Late last month, “Enough!” wrote an open letter to the president of the Swiss Federal Council, Johann Schneider-Ammann, asking him to intervene in order to obtain Archbichop Gullickson’s revocation, accusing him of “hate speech” and of constituting a menace for the unity of the Swiss Church.

Markus Arnold, head of the Religious Education Department of Lucerne University, signed the letter asking the Swiss president “not to allow Gullickson to have a long-term, poisonous effect on the climate in Switzerland”: “We have enough problems with religious fanaticism as it is. We do not need a nuncio who wants to revive this fanaticism in the Catholic church,” he wrote. He accused Gullickson of “radical 19th century preaching.”

All accuse the archbishop of opposing the Second Vatican Council which “condemned,” they say, the anti-liberalism of the Pius popes.

What authority would the Swiss president have to intervene in affairs that are so very clearly internal to the Catholic Church?  Archbishop Gullickson calls himself an “ultramontanist” – that is, a Catholic faithful to Rome. But why should the president of a lay country be angry about that? The unity of Catholics in Switzerland is all the less a concern of Schneider-Ammann that Switzerland is decidedly multi-denominational. The presence of more traditionally-minded Catholics would merely be one more variety of Christian beliefs.

But Archbishop Gullickson has been critical of the pope, according to “Enough!” Erwin Koller, president of the Herbert-Haag-Foundation for Freedom in the Church, called the nuncio’s supposed attitude toward Pope Francis “offensive”: “If a Swiss diplomat had said such things about the Swiss government, he would long since have been dismissed.” But Gullickson’s attitude to Rome – which is sometimes critical, but certainly not offensive towards the pope – is obviously no business of the Swiss government.

What a number of Swiss Catholics don’t like is in fact the way in which Gullickson portrays several problems in the Catholic Church in Switzerland: he “disseminates blogs which accuse the German bishops’ conference of being heretical and has a predilection for linking ultra-conservative texts in his blogspot,” complained the former Abbot of Einsiedeln,  Benedictine monk Martin Werlen, shortly after the new nuncio took up his new functions in October.

The Swiss Catholic Women’s League also asked for the support of Parliament member Doris Leuthard, who is a member of their association, in asking for Gullickson’s removal.

One of the main reasons for all this agitation is that the conservative-minded Bishop Vitus Huonder of Coire will be 75 in 2017 and will have to present his resignation. The papal nuncio has a first-hand role in the nomination of his successor. Swiss progressives are afraid he will be replaced by a prelate who will reiterate Huonder’s statements on the sinfulness of homosexuality. Archbishop Huonder went on record as saying that homosexuals – as well as couples living together outside marriage – may not receive Holy Communion.

Coupled with fears that Gullickson will destroy “ecumenical” relations with Swiss Protestants, these concerns are putting German Swiss Catholics very much in line with the mainstream media. They are apparently very happy with their own situation, as depicted by the new nuncio – dwindling vocations, progressive morality, empty churches and priestless parishes.

A Dominican priest, Viktor Hofstetter, wrote a comment in the press asking Gullickson to read Pope Francis’ catalogue of sins as exposed to the Curia last year.  Source


It’s a mystery – it really is. The hierarchy is thickly populated with outright modernists running the show, just about everywhere you care to look. So, why do they react so furiously when there is the odd “traditional leaning” prelate appointed here and there?  What’s their problem? 

Comments (28)

  • Brenda

    I believe in the traditions of the Church,you cannot change them for free thinking liberals. I do NOT agree with same sex marriages Abortion, transgender,I believe in the teachings of the Church and the Bible,When I die I don’t want to go before the lord in Judgement and tell him he got it all wrong, Hedonism LBGT .You may transform the body but not the soul,

    February 21, 2016 at 6:29 pm
    • Athanasius

      Well said, Brenda!

      February 21, 2016 at 10:06 pm
    • Lionel (Paris)


      February 21, 2016 at 10:35 pm
  • Athanasius

    It’s at times like this that we see the truly evil spirit behind the so-called “conciliar reform” manifest itself. That Catholics should band together appealing to secular governements and through the secular press to ban a Traditional Minded bishop from their country says all that needs saying. These people are simply not Catholics, they are infiltrators and Judases who hate the Church and her authority. How dare the Pope decide who will be Switzerland’s Papal Nuncio, is what they are effectively saying. That’s rebellion against the Holy See and hatred for the Traditional Catholic Faith, pure and simple. And we all know who inspires this kind of spirit!

    February 21, 2016 at 8:49 pm
    • RCA Victor

      Exactly, and this is the same tactic which has been used numerous times before: mount an orchestrated public campaign of calumny and slander in order to put pressure on the Pope to remove a prelate deemed ________ [fill in the politically correct blank]. It was recently used in San Francisco against the new Archbishop over “fidelity” language in their Catholic schools’ teachers’ contract, used here in Cincinnati against our Archbishop over the identical issue, used against Bishop Finn in Kansas City to force his resignation, and also by the “nuns on the bus” against their investigation. I believe it was even used by the Austrian bishops’ conference to reject one of Pope Benedict’s choices for bishop! (might have been Germany though, I’m not sure).

      To compound matters, we have a Pope who lives and dies by public opinion, feeds on it, basks in it, and whose conception of his office is to cultivate human respect 24/7: a complete secularist. Just the sort of man who would succumb to these evil campaigns.

      Finally, this would be utterly laughable if it weren’t so tragic, esp. since these Judases actually fancy that their position occupies the moral high ground, while casting aspersions on those who are attempting to defend the moral high ground. A total inversion of good and evil – as you say, we know who is responsible for that!

      February 21, 2016 at 9:16 pm
    • tonybuck321

      Infiltrators ? No, they’re mainly born-Catholics.

      Judases ? – or simply weak people trying to follow both the spirit of the world and that of Christ ?

      February 22, 2016 at 2:54 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Tony Buck,

        If they were trying to follow Christ, they would know that they cannot also follow the spirit of the world because Christ told us that clearly more than once. Also “Judas” is a name used to mean “betrayer” so even if they were trying to follow both world and Christ, they are still Judases.

        People who are born Catholics can also be “infiltrators” once they side with the liberals and get themselves into plum jobs in the diocese and into key positions in Catholic institutions, the teaching profession is a prime example.

        February 22, 2016 at 9:24 pm
  • Lionel (Paris)

    They just show their sectarianism. As usual these people are in full and constant contradiction with what they pretend to be: people of tolerance and dialogue!

    February 21, 2016 at 10:30 pm
  • Petrus

    Those who want a “liberating and inclusive church” would save themselves a whole lot of time and effort by simply joining a Protestant sect. In reality, they have already left the Catholic Church.

    February 22, 2016 at 6:54 am
    • Lionel (Paris)


      February 22, 2016 at 9:34 am
    • tonybuck321

      It’s amusing that their love of “inclusiveness” does not extend to traditionalist Catholics or those fond of the Latin Mass !

      February 22, 2016 at 2:51 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Tony Buck,

        You are so correct there. In fact these “inclusive” fans absolutely hate the traditionalists and Latin Mass and deliberately exclude them. They are such hypocrites!

        February 22, 2016 at 9:26 pm
  • Lionel (Paris)

    I wonder what laypeople have to do with the nomination of a nuncio unless they are instrumentalized?

    February 22, 2016 at 9:51 am
  • diamhuireduit

    What’s their problem?
    I think its the line where the article says: the nuncio is in a position to select the replacement of the soon to retire bishop.

    February 22, 2016 at 12:09 pm
    • Lionel (Paris)

      That is what I meant, these people are deeply sectarian although they allege to be open.
      They should be excluded from the Church… They do not have a say in the choice of a diplomat.
      Anyway in Switzerland true Catholics are a tiny minority. Some of them cross the French-Swiss border to go to Mass on Sunday, their parish church being closed to the public.
      Regarding religion, Switzerland is even a more stricken country than France.
      Almost all of the population is essentially materialistic. Their god is Mammon.

      February 22, 2016 at 2:28 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Lionel (Paris)

        I was surprised to read that Catholics in Switzerland are a tiny minority. I suppose it follows if they are so materialistic. That’s not the fertile ground needed for converts!

        February 23, 2016 at 9:39 pm
  • Tony Buck

    Archbishop Gullickson is a role model for us in our reactions to liberal Catholics. Though plain-spoken, he is always admirably gentle and calm.

    And can afford to be – since liberal Catholicism is self-defeating. Apart from a few enthusiasts, mainly elderly, who has the time of day for it ? The empty churches in German-speaking Switzerland are a sad but eloquent tribute to that.

    I don’t think the situation is nearly as dire as your Comment on the piece suggests. Liberal Catholicism reached high-water marks in the late-Sixties and in 1978; since the latter, it has been in slow but steady retreat. Liberal Catholics desperately need our prayers, not only on spiritual grounds, but on emotional ones too – they are disillusioned people fighting a losing battle (often in thrall to faded dreams); hence their spite and fanaticism.

    Lionel from Paris points out the underlying problem.- Mammon. History shows that liberalism (and its uncouth half-brother, sexual libertinism) flourishes in times of prolonged peace and plenty. With the world heading into crisis politically and economically, I don’t think that Catholic liberalism will be a problem for much longer.

    February 22, 2016 at 2:48 pm
    • editor

      Tony Buck.

      You say “I don’t think the situation is nearly as dire as your Comment on the piece suggests”

      I’ve reproduced my Comment from the above report:


      It’s a mystery – it really is. The hierarchy is thickly populated with outright modernists running the show, just about everywhere you care to look. So, why do they react so furiously when there is the odd “traditional leaning” prelate appointed here and there? What’s their problem? END.

      Would you care to point out where I’ve gone wrong? What have I written in the above comment, that is not accurate?

      And if it is accurate, then please explain why, in your opinion, the situation is not “dire”.

      ‘Cos, if it gets any “direr”, I’ll be jumping off the Forth Road Bridge – if, that is, they ever re-open it …

      PS – I’ve missed some news bulletins in the past few days, so if it’s been re-opened, just switch the “dire” location to the Erskine Bridge. Same difference 😀

      February 22, 2016 at 8:00 pm
    • Therese


      Your post puzzles me – you write as if you aren’t a liberal Catholic, and yet as far as I can see you haven’t answered any of the questions I posed, which any orthodox Catholic shouldn’t have a problem in answering. Any chance now?

      February 22, 2016 at 8:25 pm
  • RCA Victor

    So, why do they react so furiously when there is the odd “traditional leaning” prelate appointed here and there? What’s their problem?

    In my opinion, Editor, their problem is that they are afraid of Tradition – in other words, of the Faith itself, because they have lost it and are attempting to replace it with something else that curries human respect. Having done so, they are afraid their pathetic fraud will be unmasked by Truth.

    It appears, as Father Gruner would point out, that these protesters/dissenters/modernists are, simply, no longer Catholic:

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fltUzBYQSsQ&w=854&h=480%5D

    February 22, 2016 at 10:19 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      I think you’re absolutely correct. There’s something deep down that “rings a bell” in their soul, so to speak; they know that they are adrift, but they are unable to recognise the cause, due to the spiritual blindness afflicting them. Their interior confusion irritates them; hence their often angry reaction to hearing the truths of the Faith defended.

      I will view the Fr Gruner interview tomorrow at some point. Right now, beauty sleep calls (“bellows” more accurately – the moisturisers don’t work as well as they once did 😀 )

      February 23, 2016 at 12:18 am
    • Margaret Mary

      RCA Victor,

      I always like Fr Gruner’s videos, he is so clear and to the point. He is also so right about the dissenters just not being Catholics.

      February 23, 2016 at 9:40 pm
    • editor

      RCA Victor,

      I’ve now seen and heard Father Gruner – very good as always. Thank you for posting the video.

      February 24, 2016 at 10:47 am
  • Athanasius

    And let us not forget that Modernist Catholicism is far more palatable to fallen human nature than Traditional Catholicism. Pity for those who subscribe to it that it’s the wide and easy road to perdition spoken of by Our Lord.

    February 23, 2016 at 12:36 am
  • Spero

    There are two priests in different parts of Switzerland who were formerly of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh: both were of an outrageously liberal persuasion. Their Protestant type of Catholicism was publicly preached, and with impunity, given the regime in place at that time.
    It would not be surprising if these were part of the protest against a traditional minded nuncio.

    Perhaps their choice of country and the agreement to send them there, by the previous Cardinal was made with an eye on the liberal leanings prevalent there?

    I have not lived in Switzerland so am only speculating on the state of things there on what I’ve read, and on this recent antagonism towards a prospective nuncio.

    February 26, 2016 at 10:08 am
    • editor


      I’ve been thinking of those priests as well, and wondering if they are part of the protest or keeping their heads down in case their past catches up with them, so to speak!

      February 26, 2016 at 4:36 pm
  • Spero

    I think these priests would be able to work behind the scenes: they are well skilled in subterfuge; at keeping a low profile when necessary ( a low profile wasn’t required later in a Cardinal O’Brien’s time) but at the same time stirring the pot.
    Unless they have had a great change of heart, which is always possible by God ‘s grace.

    February 26, 2016 at 6:38 pm
  • Constantine

    I imagine there could be a tinge of lavender to that “menace”. Reeks!

    February 28, 2016 at 11:20 pm

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