As many as 30 Cardinals implicated in Vote-Canvassing Scandal
Per una traduzione Italiana
December 9, 2014: Now, in the midst of the scandalous affair of “Team Bergoglio”, when the Catholic world is aghast at not only the allegations made by Dr. Austen Ivereigh in his new book, The Great Reformer, but also at the inconsistencies in and contradictions of the denials of his allegations, which denials have issued from the most authoritative sources: the official spokeswoman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and the Pope’s spokesman, Fr. Frederico Lombardi, S. J., it will be most useful to scrutinize the testimony given by Dr. Ivereigh in his book.
The From Rome blog, having obtained a hard-copy of the American edition of the book, it can now do so; but so as to clarify the legal implications and the probity of testimony, let us proceed in a forensic manner. This will require, that we first consider the acts criminalized, the confession by the head of the conspiracy, and the corroborating evidence which supports the probity of what we shall study from Dr. Ivereigh’s book.
The Papal Decree which criminalizes Vote-Canvassing
In the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis, promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1996, there is forbidden under pain of automatic excommunication (i.e. immediately imposed, without necessity of declaration) the canvassing for votes. The crime is described there thus in the official and original Latin text:
81. Cardinales electores praeterea abstineant ab omnibus pactionibus, conventionibus, promissionibus aliisque quibusvis obligationibus, quibus astringi possint ad suffragium cuidam vel quibusdam dandum aut recusandum.
And, according to From Rome‘s more precise English translation of the official Latin text:
81. Let the Cardinal electors, moreover, abstain from all pacts, agreements, promises and any other obligations you like, by which they might be constrained to give or refuse support (suffragium) for anyone (sing. & plural).
To understand this prohibition, let us note that Pope John Paul II was personally very scandalized by the shenanigans which marked the conclave in which he himself was elected. To obstruct this in the future, he established a penalty for that most common form of human prudence in elections, vote-canvassing: this is because, as one can see in the papal law, UDG, he insists that the Cardinal Electors proceed in a religious manner and after much prayer to select the man most pleasing to almighty God and useful for the Church in the present hour (cf. the paragraphs which precede and follow, n. 81).
Thus, the Latin text, by which Pope John Paul II describes the activities to be forbidden, contains very important words: the first is all, the next describe the activities pactionibus, conventionibus, promissionibus (pacts, agreements, promises), but the last throw a net around all kinds of human activity by which there is any moral obligation arising: aliisque quibusvis obligationibus (and any other obligations you like).
Thus, let us consider the moral act of urging the election of a prospective candidate: First, one must have some confidence that the Candidate is suitable & willing (# 1: the agreement & pact); then, that one must recruit those willing to assist in canvassing (agreement & pact) in such wise that they also pledge support (# 2: promise & pact). The members of the vote-canvassing team, then, communicate by word or signs with prospective electors to present the reasons why the said candidate merits the electors support or vote (proposal of an agreement); and obtain some word or sign of agreement (# 3: agreement & promise or obligation) that he is worth of the electors’ votes. Each of these three steps is criminalized by the Papal Law. Since the Law does not exclude, but rather includes, all kinds of obligations, those which are grave, such as under a vow, or those which are light — which are signaled, for example, by even the wink of the eye — all are forbidden.
Note that since the Papal law is wide in what it forbids, not only is it a crime to promise a vote, it is a crime to join in a conspiracy to canvass for such votes, since this is tantamount to promising to vote for one candidate and not vote for other candidates. However, note that the papal law only penalizes voting Cardinals. Cardinals too old to vote, are not thus penalized, though they are collaborating in the solicitation of votes.
Once one has canvassed for votes, one has knowledge that the said candidate will achieve such and such in the first ballots, and confidence that he will be successful or not in that. This allows one to tally the votes promised.
The Confession of the Crime
That Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, confessed to having such confidence, was reported by the Catholic Herald on Sept. 12, 2013; in that same report he admits that Cardinal Bergoglio knew that he was being put forth as a candidate prior to the initiation of the Conclave. He also admits that after the Conclave, Cardinal Bergoglio personally recognized the English Cardinal’s leadership in the campaign for getting him elected. In the said interview, the English Cardinal confesses both knowledge and confidence, which could not have been had, reasonably, except by means of vote-canvassing in the strict sense of the term.
The Corroboratory Testimony & Evidence
Note that the mere fact that “Team Bergoglio”‘s self-confessed and papally-recognized leader was Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, an aged Cardinal who was NOT an elector, argues for the awareness by other members of “Team Bergoglio” of the existence of the penalty imposed in UDG 81. Also, from the testimony given by Dr. Austen Ivereigh, in his BBC appearance on March 12, 2013, at 17:03 PM, we know that Ivereigh and Murphy-O’Connor met beforehand to discuss the affairs of the Conclave; and that Ivereigh knew of the penalties imposed by UGD 81. Since in recent days, Ivereigh has shown himself unaware of the implications of UDG 81, it can be further suspected that in March of 2013, he had this knowledge of UDG 81 from Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor.
The Narrative of the Conspiracy, according to Ivereigh
I strongly suggest you get a copy of Ivereigh’s book, because the testimony it contains will be of momentous historical worth for years to come. Let us now consider that evidence.
From the Chapter entitled, “Conclave” (Chapter 9, pp. 349-367), we have these allegations:
“The had learned their lesson from 2005”, top of p. 355 — Argues for motive and foreknowledge of necessity of making a strong showing for Cardinal Bergoglio in the first vote: but this cannot be accomplished without a vote-canvassing campaign, nor can it succeed unless the forbidden and criminalized activities are engaged in.
“They first secured his assent. Asked if he was willing, he said that he believed that at this time of crisis for the Church no cardinal could refuse if asked.” (ibid.) — This Jesuitical response is what you would expect from a Cardinal-Jesuit; nevertheless, such a statement is morally equivalent to a sign of will giving consent, and in the context of a proposal to launch a campaign, it is also morally equivalent to a pact. This is an excommunicatable offense given the context of the offer of a campaign. A conscientious man, observant of the law of the conclave, would have added a sign that he repudiated an organized campaign, if only out of charity for the campaigners, who would thereby fall foul of the papal law.
The probity of what Ivereigh has just alleged, is very high, because no one initiates a campaign without the consent of the candidate; it would be to accuse “Team Bergoglio” of insanity, to hold that they did not ask for a sign to indicate his willingness. And it is more uncharitable to accuse a sane Cardinal of madness, than of a worldly Cardinal of reasonable prudence.
Then Ivereigh includes in parenthesis, a citation which appears to be lifted from Cardinal-Murphy-O’Connor’s testimony to the Catholic Herald last year. But the mere fact that these words are in parentheses, preserves the probity of the narrative from claims of hearsay evidence.
“Then they got to work touring the cardinals’ dinners to promote their man…” (ibid.) — This has been confirmed, in the case of Cardinals Murphy-O’Connor and Cardinal O’Malley, in the Wall Street Journal report from August 6, 2013. Dr. Ivereigh’s recent denials, do not deny this activity, which he, in retraction, characterizes now as “urging” Bergoglio as a candidate.
“… Their objective was to secure at least twenty-five votes for Bergoglio on the first ballot. An ancient Italian cardinal kept the tally of how many votes they could rely on before the conclave started.” — This statement which has never been denied or repudiated on point, confirms the charge of a violation of UDG 81, without any wiggle-room, because you cannot tally votes, unless votes have been promised, and if they are promised, then the ones asking have sought them, and both parties have entered into some kind of obligation or pact or agreement to vote for a particular candidate in the first ballot, while not voting for all other candidates.
There you have it, a formal, explicit allegation of a formal explicit violation of UDG 81.
Dr. Ivereigh then speaks of the confidence they had regarding the 19 Cardinals from Latin America, and then adds:
“The Spanish cardinal Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of St. Mary Major in Rome and a former nuncio in Latin America, was vigorous in canvassing on Bergoglio’s behalf among the Iberian Iberian bloc.” (ibid.)— This allegation has never been denied by anyone, not even the Spanish Cardinal.
Ivereigh then names other Cardinal collaborators: Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna and Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris.
He also names other Cardinals in suchwise as appears they participated in promising votes: Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa and Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
Finally, on p. 356-357, Dr. Ivereigh confirms this reading of the testimony he gives, by writing:
For this reason, and because the organizers of his campaign stayed carefully below the radar, the Bergoglio bandwagon that began to roll during the week of the congregations went undetected by the media, and to this day most vaticanisti believe there / was no organized pre-conclave effort to get Bergoglio elected.
Dr. Ivereigh then confirms this statement, that there was an organized campaign, with footnote 10, which reads:
In his Francis: Pope of a New Word (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2013), ch. 3, the leading Vatican commentator Andrea Tornielli says that there were no “campaigns organized in advance” of the conclave for Bergoglio. There was one.
Numerous Cardinals are implicated
Though, heretofore, there have been publicly implicated 4 Cardinals: Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, Danneels of Belgium, Kasper and Lehmann of Germany; the text of Ivereigh has named 3 others as team members: Schonborn of Vienna, Vingt-Trois of Paris and Santos Abril y Castello of St. Mary Major.
A total of 7 Cardinals in the team.
Two other Cardinals as suspect of promising votes, named explicitly: Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
But also, enormously, all the Cardinals of Spain and Latin America as potentially promising votes! That’s more than 20 others! — Not to count the African Cardinals.
In total, perhaps as many as 30 Cardinals, all participated: those who were electors, excommunicated even unto this day! *
More astounding is that key parts of this narrative have not, as of today, been denied by any of or all of the participants. The only facts denied are that the Four Cardinals asked Cardinal Bergoglio for his consent to the vote-campaign, and the narrative presented by Dr. Ivereigh regarding them. Nothing has been denied by the others, and some alteration of the chronology of the timeline presented, might in fact be what is being implicitly affirmed by Lombardi’s denial. The facts denied however are the those which the evidence presented above shows to have great probity.
* Though, if any did not vote for Bergoglio in the first round of votes, one might argue that they did not oblige themselves.
For a complete list of our coverage on Team Bergoglio and a list of reports from major news outlets the world over on it, see here.