and have heard nothing that contradicts it.
Rome, January 9, 2015: Following the publication of the summary of the case against “Team Bergoglio”, Dr. Austen Ivereigh has confirmed the veracity of his account given in the ninth chapter of his, now famous book, The Great Reformer, in his January 7, 2015 response to Fr. Brennan, S. J., entitled, Setting the Record Straight on Pope Francis, a reply to Frank Brennan. Fr. Brennan is a professor of law at the Australian Catholic University; he had attempted in his review of Ivereigh’s book to discount the probity of Ivereigh’s testimony.
In response, Dr. Austen Ivereigh, the former spokesman to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor speaks directly of the charges Fr. Brennan makes against the accuracy of his report about the activities of “Team Bergoglio”, saying thus:
Regarding the conclave, Father Brennan is right to highlight the discrepancy between my account and the statement of Father Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, and I am grateful for this opportunity for further clarification.
While I did interview my old boss, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, for the book, I relied on a number of different accounts, some of which were off the record, as well as stitching together anecdotes from different places, which is standard practice for journalistic reconstructions of papal elections. The quotes I use from Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor are ones he has given in different interviews.
I made two mistakes in the phrasing of my account. One was to give the impression that the group of cardinals seeking Bergoglio’s election in some way secured his agreement before the conclave, which they never did; I meant only that they believed that this time he would not refuse. Immediately after that sentence, I wrote: “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.” In fact, that exchange did not take place before the conclave, but during it.(1)
The reason this matters is that conclave rules forbid the drawing up of pacts or agreements between cardinals. (2) But they do not prevent cardinals urging each other to vote for particular candidates – that is how popes get made. When the four cardinals I cited said, through Father Lombardi, that there was no “campaign” to get Bergoglio elected, I assume they mean that there was no such agreement between them and him, and I have been happy to confirm that I never meant to suggest that there was. The issue has been dealt with well by John L. Allen, Jr, at Crux.
Father Brennan asks: “Why will the book still report that ‘Murphy-O’Connor knowingly warned Bergoglio to “be careful,” that it was his turn now, and was told: capisco, “I understand”‘?” Because that is what the cardinal said to Bergoglio before the conclave, and there was nothing wrong with it: such light-hearted yet pointed exchanges are normal in the pre-conclave discussions.
These clarifications notwithstanding, I am confident of the veracity of my account, and have heard nothing that contradicts it – although, as I say in the book, there is still much we are still to learn about that conclave.
with Footnotes & boldfacing added to text by the From Rome Blog
It is noteworthy that Dr. Ivereigh does not deny explicitly that there was an effort to seek vote-promises, each of which are of themselves violations of UDG 81, and are penalized by excommunication both for the individual soliciting and the individual promising. Nor does he deny that the individuals he mentions played no role at all. What he says in his book, therefore, remains untouched, in our opinion, as regards the intention, nature, and end of the culpable acts. (3)
It is also important to note, that he understands Fr. Lombard’s Dec. 1, 2014 denial as a denial of an agreement between the 4 Cardinals (Murphy-O’Conner, Danneels, Lehman & Kasper) and Cardinal Bergoglio, but not that there was no agreement at all. This was our interpretation from the beginning.
It is also important to note the indirect statements Dr. Ivereigh makes, “I am happy to report that…”, “The issue has been dealt with”. This final citation to John L. Allen’s report, in which Ivereigh speculates about the non-meaning of the word “campaign”, reflects the conflict which arose between him and the alleged members of “Team Bergoglio” regarding what he wrote in the ninth chapter of his book. Ivereigh stands by what he wrote, even if he is willing to bend to the vocabulary insisted upon by the Cardinals involved, in their public denials, so as not to give the impression of the imputation of any violation of the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis.
Their denials and Ivereigh’s explanations demonstrate that the text of the ninth chapter, as written in the original print edition, was of itself, objectively speaking, sufficient to give rise to the imputation of at least some violation of the papal law. And this has been the position of the From Rome blog from the beginning.
One alleged member of “Team Bergoglio” is Cardinal Walter Kasper, who publicly denied the racially tinged comments he made in the presence of Edward Pentin during the recent Synod on the Family, until Pentin produced a recording of his comments. That public attempt, by a Cardinal of the Roman Church, to gravely damage the reputation of a leading Vaticanista was received with indignation and horror throughout the Catholic world. The case shows how far even Cardinals can be tempted to go to suppress the truth of what they said or did.
Finally, this recent explanation given by Dr. Ivereigh is important for confirming that his source for his information was Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and another Cardinal, as yet unidentified, and that, given the published reports regarding the “Team Bergoglio” scandal and the various interpretations given to his text by Tweeters and Bloggers and other commentators, he states, “and I have heard nothing that contradicts” what he claims in his narrative. (4)
Perhaps it is no coincidence, then, that yesterday, January 8, 2015, Pope Francis received in audience one of the accused members, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris, and that this morning, he received in audience another member, Cardinal Godfried Danneels.
The Cardinals named in the ninth chapter of Ivereigh’s book are: Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, Godfried Danneels of Belgium, Walter Kasper, the Cardinal-Priest of Ognissanti, Rome, Karl Lehmann of Mainz, Germany, Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, André Armand Vingt-Trois of Paris and Santos Abril y Castello, Cardinal-Archpriest of St. Mary Major, Rome.
(1) Here Dr. Ivereigh apparently errs, because Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor in his Sept. 12, 2013 interview, ascribes the mentioned exchange as occurring prior to the call, Extra-omnes, when the Conclave’s secret sessions began.
(2) Here Dr. Ivereigh errs inasmuch as the papal law, UDG 81, does not limit the penalized activities to only written contracts, but those of any kind of obligation. He also omits that it penalizes even “promises”, not just “pacts” and “agreements”. These omissions point to the crux of the matter.
(3) As we have noted in examining the text of the American edition of his book, wherein in ch. 9, we note what he had written and what it seems to signify in canonical terms:
“… 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.
(4) This, however, by no means indicates that Ivereigh is in favor of a canonical punishment of the alleged members. He wrote freely, what he wrote in his book, without any intention of alleging anything, imputing any crime to anyone, nor does he believe that the substance of what he wrote has this signification, which makes his testimony, thus, all the more reliable as an objective narration of the facts and persons.
Updated on Jan. 10, 2015.