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SCHISM OF GROTTE
YEAR 1873


GROTTE it is a country, to few kilometers from Racalmuto, of the province in Agrigento (Girgenti), that was theater of the between 1873 and 1879 so says “schism of GROTTE.”
The term schism, from the Greek s?? sµa, schisma (from s????, schizo, "to divide"), does it point out a division a separation caused by a discord among the individuals of a same community.
The word schism, that has found his widest employment in the history of the Christianity, to denote the non pacific divisions neither you arrange, within the Church, it can be used therefore also for the events that are verified in this commune of the agrigentino.

To understand better the people's attitudes involved in the events of Grotte and the diocese in Agrigento in that period, is necessary to remember three very important historical facts for the life of the Catholics:
1) the Council Vatican I, that opened him in December of 1869, July 18 th 1870 with 533 votes on 535 declared that the Pontiff, when ex cathedra defines doctrines riguardanti the faith and the ethic, it enjoys some infallibility;
2) September 20 th 1870, with the taking of Pious Door and the fall in Rome, it finishes of fact the temporal power of the Pope. Pious IX he pronounces imprisoned in the Vatican and it doesn't recognize the Italian State, constituted under hostile domination.
3)Pio IX invites the Catholics not to participate in the political elections (not expedit) and to keep to himself from the active politics.

1

To Caves in 1872 Mr. Calogero Ingrao died, priest of the mother church. From 1688, the founder of the parish had reserved for itself and for his heirs the right to propose to the Bishop the name of the priest. Was it routine therefore that, in exchange for the assigned incomes, was the proposal of nomination of the priest effected by the heirs of the family? 12/05/1872, in substitution of the dead Mr. Calogero Ingrao, is Mr. Luigi Sciarratta designated, pleasant to the population and the clergy of Grotte.
The bishop they Plug it doesn't ratify the nomination to priest of Mr. Sciarratta. It is born from this contrast him “schism of Caves.”
The contrast among the proponents the name of Mr. Sciarratta and the Bishop Mons. They plug, it turns him into an iron arm among the clergy,” ready to make to be worth Your decisions” and the bishop, that the Canonical investiture to the priest of the place denies (pleasant to the population).
The bishop, since the clergy, challenging her “steadiness” Diocesan, it is for the candidate priest, it tries to subdue the rebellious priests striking them with heavy punishments.
31/8/1873 is compiled a “document signed by 237 parishioners and envoy to the Bishop of Girgenti.
In the document opportunity is underlined to ratify the nomination of Mr. Sciarrata, in how much, from the refusal, such disturbances had been born to jeopardize the public order.
Besides the candidate's merits SCIARRATTA and those signatures are underlined, even if few, gave prominence to Your representation in the country.
In that moments of tension plots emerge among the various groups of power in ecclesiastical circle.
(To give a correct interpretation of the facts: After pastor CALOGERO INGRAO's death happened in 1872, it was had to designate a new priest to Caves that then it counted 7306 inhabitants and a Clergy of 19 priests.
According to the routine that had been in force since 1688, the nomination happened previous designation of the heirs of the founder of the parish, that in exchange for the assigned incomes, it had reserved to itself and to its heirs the “patronage”, or rather to introduce by law a really candidate to the Bishop of the Diocese.)
(12/05/1872 was designate priest the priest Luigi SCIARRATTA of Caves.)
Because so much fury against Don Sciarratta?
Yet on his cultural dowries they also arrange the Catholic sources.
During the course of the finished studies in the seminar Agrigentino:” it gave test of not common intelligence and application, it deserved to be admitted to the famous college:” Agostino and Thomas” of Girgenti founded in 1712 by the Bishop RAMIREZ, where for six years it frequented the courses of improvement in Canonical and Civil Right and in moral Theology.
Sciarratta, orderly priest, was teacher in the town school and after the unity of Italy (1863-69), he was chosen town adviser; it had been also manager of the college of Maria since 1857 to 1870. Named Offshore For-vicar of Grotte by the bishop The JACONO it actually maintained such charge to 1871, year in which the diocese Agrigentina was straight from the Vicar GALLUZZO.

This last deprived him some positions arousing the protests of the clergy of Caves. Sciarratta made appeal to the archpriest of Morreale to have restored the on the charges, but vain Your protests stayed.
The Vicar of Morreale “Milazzo”, that held up the vacant center it doesn't disapprove the behavior of the Galluzzo, to him legacy of aversion toward the new one is Italian. The Galluzzo, meanwhile, General Vicar of Girgenti had been named, to be able to create in breast to this diocese a strong opposition to the Government of the “revolution”, sees the ability with which the Galluzzo had succeeded in making to invalidate the election of Domenico Cannella.
After the election of the canonical Cinnamon it raced voice that Galluzzo, Petta, Counts him and Genuardi had introduced appeal in “Vatican” sustaining that the party was stain of corruption.
The Bishop MILAZZO will follow the anxious news of the clergy of Girgenti, in which the division in two factions to a schism.
Unbearable it was the situation created him with the regency “Galluzzo” that he had removed from the most greater part of the clergy her “patent” of confessor, demanding, to have him renewed, that the priests submitted him to an examination inquisitional face to get declarations of adhesions to the pontifical infallibility, according to as he wrote the same “Sciarratta.”
The bishop Galluzzo made to intend that he would have confirmed him to the position if he had been prepared to develop in the parish of Grotte a politics against the Italian Government.
Sciarratta refused the offer served him as the bishop Galluzzo, which in turn named offshore Vicar of Caves the priest Nicolò Morreale, that tried to pick up in the country “the offering” for the defense of the temporal power of the Pope. But the results were cheap.
In the 1872 Sciarratta it turns him to the bishop of Girgenti Monsignor Domenico Turano, hoping to have justice.
On the account of the they Plug the Prefect of Palermo he wrote the known following: ” the behavior of the they Plug it is crafty and shrewd, but this doesn't remove that he are a warm supporter of the infallibility, that nourishes alive feelings of adversity to the actual political arrangement”. With the arrival of they Plug a section of the Primary Society to Girgenti it was founded for the Catholic affairs, constituted him to Palermo to get the restitution of the pontifical territories to Pious IX.
The New bishop of Agrigento was helped by Galluzzo and by the priest Genuardi, the baron's child Genuardi (the king of the sulphur) that he succeeded with the support of they Plug to let bishop of Acireale to get the nomination of his child.
Mr. Sciarratta, from experienced expert of the Canonical Right, he knew that the diocesan authority had the faculty to refuse the nomination to priest pointed out by the “patron”, if the candidate was unworthy to deserve the position, but the refusal had to be justified.
The public opinion was for Sciarratta. He didn't miss they-as he wrote the prefect of Girgenti, the delegate of P.S. of Racalmuto-“the necessary qualities to a head and manager of the Clergy”, and above all “the most greater part of the people” it desired “to see completed the nomination.”
Attends him it was disappointing, since the bishop rejected the proposal of nomination with non motivated decree (you see decree bishop of November 5 th 1872). In fact in the issued decree they miss prescribes her declarations of unworthiness.
Sciarratta introduced appeal to the archbishop of Morreale and the Vatican, so that you/they were communicated his motives for the refusal, so that he could reply with defense tests.
You known that the refusal came later around one semester. In the summer of 1872 the Pastoral Government of the they Plug he had put under accusation from a group of priests that they make head to the canonical Cinnamon and Spoto, to whose follows a part of the clergy and the people was also. It seems that the they Plug has decided to abandon the center of Girgenti, according to the voices that the baron Genuardi, of agreement with the group Galluzzo, same maneuvering in Vatican to already replace him with his child bishop of Acireale. During the brief stay to Palermo, they Plug it tried to induce the holder of the patron of Grotte to withdraw the action of designation for the Sciarratta. Not succeeding you. The they Plug churches to the Sciarratta a formal renouncement.
In the voluminous dossier of the Sciarratta case near the secret file in the Vatican (S.C. councils positiones secreted archvii, litt. Lai. Ctr I compare some bishop of Girgenti, G. Blandini to the congregation of the council 28/07/1885). there is no trace of the appeals against him. The diocesan yearbook Agrigentino sustains that they had directly reached the Pope. Instead the charges exist formulated by the bishop they Plug envoys to the Vatican 21/03/1873, to justification of the denied nomination. They are listed in the original one of a reserved letter, direct to the Cardinal Caterini, in which the Plugs he wrote that to Grotte:”Ove it dominates "the incredulismo" and the depravation of the customs” fame was contrary to Sciarratta.”
It consists some illegitimate friendship acquired by him Sciarratta as manager of the College of Maria with her "Superiora"……. and the hard relationship actually to today, calling himself some” the wife of Mr. Luigi” then the they Plug it continues:” As sectarians interventions in the place of assembly (Masonic loggia) to have practiced functions of mayor and of delegated P.S., besides he has preached and spoken against the Pope.
On the affiliation to the local Masonic loggia, he is specified that the name of the Sciarratta doesn't show up in the relationships that the police periodically compiled on the secreted associations.
They sustained the registration of the Sciarratta to the Freemasonry: The Magistrate of Caves (general economato of the vacant benefits, diocese of Girgenti, College of Maria of Caves; The Prefect to the Department of Justice and of the cults in date 12/5/1866-The magistrate of Caves that what it painted the Sciarratta “one of the graduated of the freemasonry “.
The practiced possession the office of Mayor and delegate of P.S, was counted him to demerit. The de Gregorio quotes the priests' names believed without ecclesiastical spirit, because "antiborbone" and "garibaldini" and supporting of the excommunicated government that had decreed the forfeiture of the good of the religious guilds and the cessation of the temporal power of the Church.
Priests' presence in the Masonic loggia was “almost ordinary” in Bleak sicilia had joined and priests. To Villafrati the priest Mastruzzi founded a Masonic loggia (you see the clergy palermitano in the first decade of the unity of italia (1860-70). to understand in that consideration was kept the priest” revolutionary “and sufficient the judgment of the newspaper” “Unexpected” A Newspaper PALERMITANO Che Him Auto Defined” Gazette Semiseria”, “the revolutionary priest” it is greatly harmful to the society”…. Traitor of his own brothers, a man that looks for wife and money” (you see revolutionary priest 11/11/1873). These are the defamatory accusations against Sciarratta you shout welcomed by the bishop they Plug.
To know the ideological orientation competes one “particular” charge against him: to have preached and spoken against the Pope. Sciarratta will publish in the on the writings the Temporalismo and the Pontifical infallibility elevated to dogma. Putting in operates prominence him of the bishops post conciliari, that persecuting the liberal priests, they strengthened the government not democrat of the Roman church. Sciarratta was in line with the ideas of “Renovatio Ecclesiae” that in Sicily it had breadths consents. After the council Vatican in 1871 rose in the island a movement for the inside reform of the church. Movement represented in Palermo by the ex Jesuit Vincenzo Caprera, which founded the newspaper “Country and Gospel.” The old Catholics opposed him and they asked that the church returned to his ancient origins, those of the Gospel. The Old Catholics were in line with the conclusions reached in 1871 to Monk, where a congress developed him driven by the theologian Ignazio Doellinger.
In July of 1873, before the popular election of the Sciarratta to Priest, to Alcamo a group of priests old-Catholics it published” The diocesan one” a periodical” popular Clergy”, nal which he wondered to they Plug to replace Sciarratta with n other candidate, without possibility was given to the accused to excuse him.
20/04/1873 Plugs it ordered to the priests of Grotte to present himself to Girgenti to frequent a course of “spiritual exercises”. The clergy refused and therefore he was punished with the suspension to divinis.
The controversy of the priests of Grotte has become of public dominion in the near countries.
He spoke in the public plaza of it “the thinking class of Caves”. The dissident priests occupied the mother church (you see diocesan yearbook).
Such news gathered of surprised the bishop that a soft line using made to flash the hope of one intervention of his in Vatican document that as letter is found dossier in Vatican. With this expedient the bishop aimed to gain the trust of the Sciarratta, so that exhaled the 40 established days from the Vatican without “patron” some parish had provveduto to replace the candidate and therefore he would have been able to choose a priest of his choice. Such suspect pushed the Sciarratta and the patron to use some nihil translat (anticipated veto) that he was introduced 20/05/1873.
The they Plug he had put in the alternative to show the unworthiness of the Sciarratta or to abdicate to other nomination. The bishop not stirred. The mediate veto didn't resolve the controversy but it actually prevented 1890 that other priest could be named not designated by the “patron.”
They plug he didn't surrender and the population of Grotte 31/05/1873 arrived to a true popular election of Sciarratta pretendone from the bishop the reengagement. On the document of popular election they show up the names dell avv. Francis Ingrao, dell avv. Carmelo Morreale, of 4 aldermen and 2 town advisers; from the teachers Girolamo Pellegrini and Joseph Gugielmini, of the notaries Ignazio Criminisi and Anthony Vassallo, of the surveyors Filippo Gueli, Michael Licata and Joseph Baeri. Among the not intellectual there am Joseph Ferrara, Raymond Gueli, Savior Vella, Francis Napoli and Stephen you Lend him to quote 237 some signatory.
To give news of the election of the Sciarratta is: “the diocesan one” of Alcamo that of Caves was the first case of popular election among the other 14 cases that were recorded in Italy among 1873-1875. In the 1873 Sciarratta and the priests to him favorable they detached him from the ecclesiastical hierarchy. A letter was expeditious it stamps” letter of the clergy of Caves” 16/09/1873. Letter written of really fist of the Sciarratta, by now resolved to withstand the pressures and the abuses of the bishop they Plug.
They invited the parishes to constitute him:” in conformity of the Gospel and the apostolic institutions actually maintained to the first centuries by the same Roman Curia. To return to the Christian religion in his purity”. it departs her conclusive of the letter it is:” the Clergy doesn't intend to release himself from the religion mother stability from Jesus Cristo”. The appeal was turned to the whole Church agrigentina taking example from the clergy of Grotte”.:……………………….
The first one assumed against it “letter” he was served as the canons of Girgenti that defined “pygmy” the priests of Grotte. They followed the protests of the priests of Girgenti and the Parishes of the agrigentino. they are declarations that the spirit of leafy branch of the diocesan clergy exhales against the schism of Grotte: Protests were not written from the clergy of Racalmuto and Camastra. Hotbeds of revolt ignited to Favara here and there, Canicattì, in the same Girgenti. The news was brought by the newspaper “the precursor” of Palermo from the daily paper:” liberty” of Rome, where, in 1874, a priest of Favara directly sent one letter of his to the Pope.
The priests "riformisti" of Alcamo defended the thesis of the priests of caves. Sending their writings to the Political authorities and the most accredited newspapers. Sciarratta rejected the accusations of apostasy and heresy, it recalled the ancient discipline observed from the church in theme of ecclesiastical elections. 30/03/1874 the schismatic ones decided to constitute him in separate parish, they administered not the sacraments "curanti" of the suspension to divinis. Good part of the people followed Schismatic. The few priests been faithful to the bishop moved him to the near church of the purgatory. The bishop ordered to deliver the registers and you furnishes him some parish to the dissidents. It pronounced void the celebrated marriages and the invalid imparted absolutions.
The schismatic ones replied that the bishop didn't have any authority to do him, not having been recognized by the Italian government. In June 1874 the Vatican ordered to the they Plug to inflict the excommunication to the rebels that officiate and to their churches. The they Plug it didn't bear but a schismatic group it had a church. You turned to the competent authorities, asking the sequestration of the incomes and the furnishes sacred in possession of the Mother church. He succeeded in his I intend declaring to the Prefect of Caves that there were serious disorders because of the priests that didn't want to be under the jurisdiction of the curia of Girgenti.
Nell ' October of 1874 this last with the armed strength was expelled from the church.
You known that any disorder was happened. The authority government they prevented the interested priests to make to know their reasons near the judicial authority, forcing them to interrupt the judicial procedure. The controversy could not tell him concluded. Besides the silence in the Vatican required in the degree of appeal, the right of patronage recognized by the legislation of the time and the canonical right. The right of patronage for the ratification to nomination to priest was:” of exclusive attribution of the civil power”. Sciarratta tried in November 1874 to be solicited its government recognition. It made to notice that the regal placet had already been granted also to other priests in the blackberries of the inclination of the quarrels with the Vatican, to which he turned, also asking the institution of a trial in his name. In the first months of 1875 the government seemed inclinable to resolve the controversies of priests in impasse with the ecclesiastical authority. The priests of Grotte turned him to Minister d the Grazia and Justice Vigliani, to which they introduced a petition in which they said to have been deprived of their church because of the unjustified support that the authorities had lent to the bishop. They invoke a provision repairer.
The church was reopened, for order of the government in March 1875. without the minister resolved the story. Sciarratta and followers turned to the deputy national Luigi La Hands of the College of Girgenti. 17-3-1875 in Montecitorio an interrogation to the minister of the inside Cantellis:” in order to some done ones happened to Caves. The Minister answers that:” Her instructions that the agents have P.S. they are to make to respect the liberty of all without intervening themselves in extraneous matters to the office of political authority. I will maintain these instructions….” On the recognition of Sciarratta as priest of Grotte the minister of grace and justice he answers:” the government was not able and he cannot pretend some provision….. he is true also that the patron has regularly made his action of nomination. But the bishop of Girgenti has refused the institution, because Sciarratta was removed from the offices of "ledger notaro" and of "offshore provicario" behind ecclesiastical procedure. The controversy is still leaning. - but meanwhile the matter exists, up to that he has not been judged above the subsistence of the motives for which the ordinary diocesan has not believed to recognize the Priest.”
The Deputy Brings her:” he pronounced him dissatisfied of the answers his judgment reserving himself and of the room on the behavior of the Minister of the justice and the dependent organs. It underlined that a deprived bishop of official recognitions, had had the power to make to remove from the dissident priests the incomes and theirs "spettanze." It accused:” behavior of the government upward clergy, for too much wide, tolerant interpretation on the law of the "guarentigie"…… that it reserves him to move interpellation on the relationships between State and church. From the interrogation of “the Door” reaches to the conviction that a breakup would not have been you with it. The bishop of Girgenti convinced with his promises by the looks at seals towards the Sciarratta they would have remained in the "limbo" of the good intentions. After a week of the end of the parliamentary debate the they Plug it named as priest of Grotte the ex Jesuit cappuccino Salamone of Favara. While in Vatican it was leaning the appeal. 28-3-1875 the priests of Grotte undersigned a second appeal to minister Vigliani. In the document they denied besides the accusations formulated by the bishop, according to the version from these introduced to the government. Challenging the they Plug to produce tests, if the accusations were truthful, but such challenge he was not welcomed neither from the they Plug neither from Galluzzo.
They hoped for the priests of Grotte that in parliament someone took their defenses what that of Garibaldi. The likings for them didn't especially miss from the society emancipator of the priesthood and Italian laity in Naples. It was in the 1875 spring a country for the constitution of a Catholic church promoted by the old Catholics. In the elections of May of the same year, from the laity and priests of Grotte they reached 175 votes, that induced Sciarratta to ask to this new church of “prender spiritual possession of the near communes. During the interpellation of “it Brings her”. In the May 1875 for the priests of Grotte also from the Deputy Tajani that said.” The liberal priests of Grotte are maltreated by the ordinary diocesan and then I suspended. They withstands, they emancipate him and they continue with to officiate in the church.
They were sweaters of the hierarchy that broke him, but the subeconomo helps the bishop, it expels the liberal priests from the church and he closes it… certain local authorities are never allowed certain things, when we have not smelled something in the superior layer to the environment that encourages them to you (you see actions parliamentary session 1874-1875, pp 3012-3013)
After the interpellation order was given from the government to make to leave to the they Plug the Episcopalian Building of Girgenti not being bishop recognized from the government. To resolve the controversy of Grotte in fact the President of the Council Minghetti at the end of the parliamentary debate. It declared that the state was incompetent in subject of religious reform, You story was destined to become exhausted himself, without a satisfactory conclusion - with the advent of the left to the power (March 1876), they hoped in the new government, but this last showed him not to want to intervene. The On Brings her, in March 1878 it made another interrogation and it pushed the minister of the inside Crispi to ask only if to Caves the public order was threatened for the story of the priests. Had news that had not been you any disorder and neither threats of public order. Its attention stopped, since to the Crispi it pressed, at that time, not to crack the official relationships with the Vatican. Of the 14 rebellious priests of Grotte 6 subdued him, the others not having also stopped the ecclesiastical state, they persevered in the attitude of rebels. In the group of the repented priests the Catholic press included the Sciarratta, but the news also results inaccurate for the attestation of the bishop of Girgenti Gaetano Blandini, which in a letter in the Vatican it declares in 1885 that Sciarratta had rejected the formal declaration of the bishop they Plug.


The they Plug it declared to the government that they resulted to load to the Sciarratta “a procedure of ecclesiastical order”, but of such letter there is not trace in Vatican. The cardinal Caterini ordered to inflict the excommunication to the Sciarratta for the brochures "contestatari" and of the finished schismatic actions together with the other priests. The Sciarratta was not never convict for "concubinato" and theft and neither for other accusations of political and religious order of which were really accused. The Vatican decides to excommunicate only it because he had rebelled to the bishop and he had pronounced him unworthy without tests. The Royal motives for which the bishop of Girgenti denied the nomination to Sciarratta he was of political nature. The they Plug it is an intransigent adversary of the new one been Italian. The liberalism of the priest is serious guilt and preferred to also face the risks of a schism in the diocese not to manifest the true motive for its refusal.
The Sciarratta, finally, in the 1879 it reconciled him with the Church in Rome, putting an end to the schism, even if the dissatisfaction of the population had to still last for different years.
2

 
a cura di Nadia Salvaggio e coord lett. Prof. Gioacchino Lauricella  INFO
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