Msgr. Brunero Gherardini, R.I.P.
by Brendan Young
September 22, 2017
Monsignor Brunero Gherardini died Friday, September 22, 2017 at the age of 92. A priest for over 69 years, Msgr. Gherardini was a Protonotary Apostolic and a Canon of Saint Peter’s Basilica. In traditional circles, however, he is most renowned for his theological works, especially those books translated into English, The Ecumenical Vatican II Council: A Much Needed Discussion and Vatican Council II: A Debate That Has Not Taken Place.
Brunero Gherardini was born in Prato, in Tuscany, on February 10, 1925. He entered the seminary, and studied at the Cardinal Cagliero Institute run by the Salesian Fathers in Ivrea. He was ordained a priest at 23, on June 25, 1948 by Bishop Giuseppe de Bernardi in Pistoia. A student of the theologian Pietro Parente (who later became an archbishop and cardinal), Msgr. Gherardini received his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Lateran University in 1952. His thesis was entitled “The Word of God in the theology of Karl Barth.”
He then taught in the seminary of the Diocese of Prato, and was the diocesan assistant of Catholic Action there, besides the Italian Catholic University Federation (FUCI). In 1959, Msgr. Gherardini entered the service of the Holy See as an official in the Congregation for Seminaries and Universities, and as one responsible for Italian diocesan and regional seminaries. After years of teaching, he became an ordinary professor of ecclesiology in 1968 at the Lateran, later becoming dean of the theological faculty there. Becoming an Apostolic Protonotary and Canon of the Vatican Basilica, he was later editor for the theological review called Divinitas. Msgr. Gherardini was a member of the Pontifical Theological Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas and a vice-secretary for the Roman Theological Pontifical Academy. He was also a consultor of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, and was the postulator for the cause of beatification of Blessed Pope Pius IX.
Msgr. Gherardini wrote more than 80 books and hundreds of other publications. The most recent concerned Vatican II, and were published from 2009-2013, by the Franciscans of the Immaculate’s Casa Mariana Editrice press, besides the publishing houses Lindau and VivereIn. These were serious yet readable publications which sparked much discussion and debate. The orthodoxy and the nature of the Council were examined, proving that it was by no means infallible or binding.
As Corrispondenza Romana reported today, these books offered by Msgr. Brunero Gherardini, were precious instruments for making sense of that which is going on in our Church today. The death of Msgr. Gherardini, a brilliant theologian who taught generations of priests, is a great loss for the Catholic world. His works must be studied in order to understand the roots of the crisis in the Church.
We sadly witness the ongoing loss of our commanders in the fight for the Faith. Let us gratefully remember them in our Rosaries and other prayers, treasuring their contributions and soldiering on bravely, using the resources entrusted to us. May the Immaculate Heart of Mary be the refuge of Msgr. Brunero Gherardini in eternity, as it was in this earthly life.
Requiescat in pace.