I am Nicolae, I live in Bucharest, I am 82 years old; I am still practicing internal medicine. As one of the last living spiritual sons of priest and martyr Blessed Vladimir Ghika, I had the grace of knowing him and being at his school almost every day in 1952 until his imprisonment in a Communist prison, where he died in 1954.
Quite a few years ago, I had the opportunity of meeting Father Marie-Dominique Philippe in Saint-Jodard (France), where my daughter lived as a Contemplative Sister of Saint John. I went back several times, and each time I participated in several of the courses and conferences given by Father Philippe, as well as the Masses he celebrated. I also went to meet him and listen to him and attend his Masses when he came to visit the Brothers, Sisters and Oblates of Bucharest. I read and re-read quite a number of his books.
His truly charismatic presence, his way of being , of praying, of celebrating Mass, his sermons all spoke of his deep communion with God, his love for the God of mercy, his devotion to the Blessed Virgin. All this was reflected through his person very clearly. And Father surprised us by his spiritual youthfulness, his joy, his delight in sharing his knowledge, his affection for his students, his good sense of humor. His general culture, his philosophical and theological culture, even his literary culture were prodigious. His words, his speeches, and especially his books, all of his teaching reflected decades of reading, meditation, and conversations with leading philosophers and theologians (his friendship with Blessed Pope John Paul II is well known) and with his many disciples. And above all, all this reflected his deep life of prayer, meditation, adoration, and frequentation (and administration) of the sacraments.
His books are indispensable for the pursuit of truth and wisdom, a pursuit that is so necessary for contemporary man, surrounded as he is by so many physical, intellectual, ideological, temptations. The search for wisdom, which in not at all outdated, is a way of survival—not only for Christians but also for humanity in general.
In sum, I think Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, OP, was a great servant of the Church. It is obvious that God used his servant to draw many souls to himself.
Several months ago, I learned that there are posthumous testimonies against the ethical behavior of Father Philippe. Why so late? Almost seven years after his death… I personally know dozens of people who have known Father for many years and at different time periods of his life and declare that they are “shocked” and “outraged” by the allegations.
I wish to express my personal conviction, which stems from my experience with regard to people, after nearly 60 years of practicing medicine. I always have very close relationships with my patients, which there are probably several thousands of, even tens of thousands, consisting of very diverse people from all different kinds of backgrounds. My “insight” in this area is therefore well practiced. Father Marie-Dominique Philippe is pure and far from any questionable behavior. His good faith, simplicity, transparency and enthusiasm designated him as a possible easy victim (for, since he is dead, he cannot defend himself) to some malicious eyes.
To argue against him, saying “he attributed to himself the qualifier ‘sinner’, so he knew he had a guilty conscience,” is ridiculous and unworthy of a person who has the slightest religious instruction. The words that the current Pontiff delivered to the Cardinal electors come to mind: “You have chosen a sinner …”.
Finally , I cannot refrain from quoting Father Philippe in an excerpt of his book, I came to cast fire upon the earth (Mame / Homme de parole):
“– In the beatitude of those who are persecuted for righteousness , what is the attitude to have when confronted with slander and lies? Should we defend ourselves?
– Yes, we must defend ourselves from lies, because we cannot compromise with falsehood. It destroys love; it destroys loyalty.
– When we are confronted with an unjust condemnation?
– Yes, we must defend ourselves. If we are condemned unjustly, we must defend ourselves. If we cannot defend ourselves, we can call upon a friend to defend us, because there is something that has offended justice, and offending justice is very serious. To deprive someone of the opportunity to have a certain activity, a radiation, to destroy this radiation, is a terrible injustice, because it affects the person.”
I confidently await the investigation that the ecclesial authorities will carry out on this subject.