Rome, Dec. 5, 2014: In the ongoing saga regarding the allegations of Dr. Austen Ivereigh, published in the print edition of his new book on the Pope, The Great Reformer, there are daily developments regarding what Dr. Ivereigh calls “Team Bergoglio”, the group of 4 Cardinals who conducted an organizing vote-canvassing campaign with the assent of Cardinal Bergoglio to get the latter elected.
Dr. Austen Ivereigh is, as Marco Tosatti of La Stampa characterized him, not a Signor Nessuno, (a Mr. Nobody); he is the former personal secretary to one of the Cardinals who is implicated, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, the very Cardinal whom Ivereigh identifies as the point man conducting the campaign.
The other Cardinals implicated, according to various reports, are: Kasper, Daneels, and Lehmann, as members of “Team Bergoglio”; as facilitators, Cardinals O’Malley of Boston, Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, and the Spaniard, Santos Abril y Castello.
Last night, Catholic News Agency published another revealing report, entitled, Author, cardinals spar over reports of conclave campaigning, in which Dr. Ivereigh is reported to have backtracked significantly on his published claims.
The key part of that report attributes to Dr. Ivereigh the following:
“I am sorry for any misunderstanding arising from my choice of words,” he said, adding that his book’s future editions will have revisions to this statement. The new text will read, “In keeping with conclave rules, they did not ask Bergoglio if he would be willing be a candidate. But they believed this time that the crisis in the Church would make it hard for him to refuse if elected.”
This statement by Ivereigh seems to confirm the validity of the doubts raised by this Blog regarding the possible violations of the papal law on elections of a new pope, Universi Dominici Gregis, specifically in paragraph 81, which punishes Cardinals who vote-canvass with automatic excommunication; and possibly also regarding Canon 171 §2 which invalidates ecclesiastical elections in which excommunicated electors participate to arrive at the final vote count. Since Cardinal Bergoglio, according to reports, obtained only a 2 vote margin more than the required 66% of total electors present, any possibility that 3 or more of those electors participated in vote-canvassing agreements would put in doubt the legitimacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s claim to the Papacy itself!
What needs to be emphasized, is that the terms of UDG 81 penalize not only those who canvass for votes, but those who are canvassed for votes, if they agreed to the persuasive activities and gave their vote in Conclave on the basis of a promise. Thus, the mere hint of a possibility that any Cardinal was canvassing votes, puts the validity of the election procedure under great doubt and uncertainty.
See a timeline of Reports, from around the world, on the “Team Bergoglio” story, here.