With his fluent white beard, the former Comboni missionary has become the most famous Catholic apologist of Mexico and of Latin America, as a whole. With more than 90 books and pamphlets published and, especially, with the lay movement “Apostles of the Word” and, more recently, with his male and female religious institutes, Fr. Flaviano has effectively contrasted the mushrooming Protestant sects, teaching the Catholic masses to love and be proud of their ancient faith.
PUBLISHED ONOct 2016
In the years after Vatican II, the spirit of ecumenism and the generous look that the Council had thrown on the separated brethren of the Protestant Reformation brought a lowering of defenses and kind of irenic attitude on the part of the Catholic Church which favored the aggressiveness of the Protestant sects.
Eventually, Catholics in Mexico felt the need to react to the pervasive anti-Catholic atmosphere of their country. In the present world, and not only in Mexico, there often exists a manifest anti-Catholic attitude so that whoever wants to openly witness his Catholic faith will always be criticized, discriminated, even persecuted.
Because of this trend, which dominates the media to the point of appearing as a powerful brainwashing mechanism, convinced Catholics felt the need of uniting to witness their faith and show that to be Catholic is worthwhile, it gives serenity and joy; it is source of pride and ambition.
The mission and activity of a Comboni missionary was so caught up by this new call to the point of leaving the Comboni Institute, and put himself at the service of the Mexican church, eventually, becoming himself a founder of religious initiatives.
Fr. Flaviano Amatulli Valente is an Italian Catholic priest who has resided in Mexico for almost half a century. He is the founder of the movement “Apostles of the Word,” the aim of which is to equip, with apologetics and catechization, the less provided and poorer sectors of the Latin-American Catholic flock in order to counteract the rapid pace of expansion of the Protestant sects. Fr. Flaviano has become one of the best known apologists of the Catholic tradition in Latin America.
He was born at Conversano, Bari, in Southern Italy, in 1938. As a diocesan seminarian, he decided to join the Comboni Missionaries because of his great desire to be a missionary. He was ordained priest in 1965. He added the study of Social Communications to Theology and was assigned to Mexico as editor of the missionary magazine Esquila Misional.
He then left this job in order to have a firsthand pastoral experience with the Chinantecos tribal people in the highlands of Oaxaca. Later on, he came back to Esquila Misional and it was at that time that he developed his biblical apostolate that made him, eventually, leave the Comboni Institute in order to dedicate himself completely to his new call.
In 1978, he founded the movement “Apostles of the Word.” It was a movement of lay volunteers and, with those who, after some years of service, asked for a more stable commitment, Fr. Flaviano founded the Fraternidad Apostolica Misionera consisting of a religious congregation of sisters and a society of apostolic life for priests and brothers.
He is author of about 90 publications – books and booklets which deal with popular religiosity, anthropology, and a bible. He has especially developed the discipline of apologetics or defense of the faith which has a very ancient tradition in the Catholic Church since the second century with Saint Justin, philosopher and martyr.