Dario Fo, is the author of the controversial and anti-Catholic play, "The Pope and the Witch" that was performed at the University of Minnesota's Rarig Theater last Spring. In the face of vehement opposition by 60 (out of 4,000) teachers, the Pope recently canceled a speech that he was scheduled to give at the Rome campus of the "La Sapienza" university. His staff recommended that cancellation, fearing violence. Fo, a radical leftist and atheist, after reading a draft of the proposed speech, has publicly supported Pope Benedict in the controversy, thinking that what he had proposed to say was something worth hearing. Of course, Fo couldn't resist taking a few shots in passing at the Pope on other issues.
Father John Zuhlsdorf, St Agnes parishioner, a priest incardinated in a Roman diocese and also a student in that city, and who blogs at What Does the Prayer Really Say blog, has translated an article from a Roman newspaper on Fo's comments:
The Italian left and La Sapienza in Rome had better know they really blew it with the Pope, the press, and the Italian people when even radical anti-Catholic left-wing weirdos like Dario Fo say that an opportunity to listen to the Pope was lost.
Get this from the Roman daily Il Messaggero.
Dario Fo gets into the general attitude about how badly the radicals screwed up. However, throughout he cannot resist telling the Church how it ought to give into the ways of the world. But just enjoy that part!
by Dario Fo
"The faith must not be imposed in an authoritative manner, it can only be given in freedom". Pope Ratzinger surprises us yet again. The speech he would have given at La Sapienza, whose text I had occasion to read yesterday afternoon, not only recognizes (and it would have been a recognition coram populo, in a Roman University setting), the autonomy of science and the law concerning it, but adds also some "astonishing" clarifications. "... Pastoral ministry is to keep awake a sensitiveness about the Truth, to invite reason to place itself in the search for the true, the good, of God." Not enough. The Pope defines these things that "emerge through the history of the Christian faith" as ony "useful lights". No extremism, it would seem, in these words. More or less, obscurantism.
In other terms, the Pontiff seems to "propose" Jesus Christ and the Christian Catholic faith as one of those good routes (naturally, as far as concerns his ministry, the privileged route) to "find a way toward the Future)". All in all, in Rome an optima occasion was lost (and we have all lost it, really) finally to understand just who Ratzinger is: not the man whom many of us think he may be. He doesn’t want to impose, but counsel. He expresses hope, he doesn’t command. He helps, doesn’t constrain. In the end, he wants us all united and with a single desirable common objective: that celebrated Truth.
So, why, I ask myself as a secular layman, and I have been an admirer of the charismatic Wojtyla style, Ratzinger acts in an opposite way from what he says? Why the absence openness, his "no’s", his bans in the matter of procreation, of priesthood for women, his excommunications? Why the knack of snuffing out certain popular "concessions" made during the Second Vatican Council, just look at the position of the priest at the altar during Mass and the use of national vernaculars in place of the anachronistic Latin? It would be necessary to see it this way: the mystery of Faith. It is worthwhile reading over and over again the address the philosopher Pope would have given at Rome’s La Sapienza. There are openings in it, apparent or real as they may be, to which we haven’t been accustomed, at least not in concrete deeds. Perhaps the university environment, the city of studies, reconnects the Pontiff with the practice of freedom which even he, (I am sure) was used to before he took his throne.