The From Rome blog wishes A blessed and Holy Christmas to all its readers!
Christmas remains the Primordial Feast which established the Catholic Church as a holy and just family:
For this reason, there is no greater sacrilege to the Church than a scandal which touches Her unity
and adhesion to the visible point of Her unity, the Roman Papacy. Hence, the scandal of “Team Bergoglio” is something every Catholic in the world, this day, should learn more about, and demand answers from the Hierarchy.
Rome — Dec. 25, 2014: Since the scandal regarding Team Bergoglio broke, the From Rome blog has assiduously followed the news and studied what the consequences have been. On that account more than 25,000 visitors from more than 120 countries have visited this blog to find the news that was not being summarized or published elsewhere.
“Team Bergoglio” is the name given by Dr. Austen Ivereigh, former spokesman to His Eminence, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, ex-Archbishop of Westminster, England, to the group of Cardinals who campaigned for Cardinal Bergoglio in the 2013 Conclave.
The Scandalous consequences of the revelations of Dr. Ivereigh’s book, can be summed up thus: Dr. Ivereigh has written a book alleging as many as 30 cardinals did that which is apparently a violation of the papal law on conclaves, on which account they would be ipso facto excommunicated, Cardinal Bergoglio included, and the election of the latter by 2013 Conclave be null and void and of no effect. — As of this date, no substantial denial has been made by anyone of the accused, and Dr. Ivereigh has not substantially withdrawn, changed, or altered what he wrote.
To continue to assist Catholics and journalists world-wide who wish to know more about this scandal, we present here a summary and links through which readers can grasp the basic and detailed facts of the case which has arisen.
First, our article, The Chronology of Reports on “Team Bergoglio”, contains the master-list of all the news reports of note and blog posts, videos, audios, tweets, etc. which regard crucial information or analysis of the story: this list is in Chronological order according to the date the information was published or presented.
But since the Chronology has already grown to 8 pages in length, for those wishing to grasp the facts, we suggest the following articles:
The Improbity of the denials by “Team Bergoglio”, which explains just what some of the Cardinals, alleged by Ivereigh to have engaged in vote-canvassing, have and have not denied. An analysis which shows the probability that Cardinal Bergoglio consented to and/or organized the effort.
No, your Eminence, the Church is not a tyranny!, which rebuts the gross indifference of 1 Cardinal of the Roman Church to the scandal and pointedly indicates the grave Crisis into which the Catholic Church has been placed by the undenied allegations.
The other articles which reports facts of lesser interest, though important of themselves, can be found in the Chronology article link above.
Rome — Dec. 21, 2014: Antonio Socci, noted Italian journalist and author of the book, Non è Francesco (a best-seller in Italy, which details the events and facts which he believes invalidate the renunciation made by Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Cardinal Bergoglio), spoke about the “Team Bergoglio” scandal in an editorial published today in the Italian newspaper, Libero (republished on his FaceBook page; reprinted on his blog, Lo Straniero, i. e. The Outsider).
Tearing down walls? Ok, Pope Bergoglio: let’s begin to do away with the “Wall of Silence” in the Sistine Chapel, to reveal the truth of the Conclave
Dec. 21: It was Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, thirty years ago, who proposed the abolition of the secrecy of the Conclave, by which the Cardinal-princes are obliged under oath regarding the election which takes place in the Sistine Chapel. He proposed this because that norm — far from standing guard over the sacred — risked (and risks) becoming a cover for profane things (the Cardinal adjoined, then, in the ’80’s, that one should pray very much for the Conclaves of the future so that no external influence of any sect might intervene therein).
It is paradoxical that a proposal so innovative and democratic would be advanced by a prelate who was considered to be the leader of the “Conservatives”. And that in the 30 years since no prelate, considered to be “progressive”, has taken it up and made it his own.
Today, if Pope Bergoglio were to take it up, that is, abolish the secrecy, he’d have the ability to demonstrate with deeds how much he is truly desirous of transparency and openness in the life of the Church, by liberating Her from obsolete prohibitions.
Will the Pope who has come to be hailed as “revolutionary”, be less an innovator than a “conservative” Cardinal? Will he wish to bolster the “wall of the Sistine Chapel”, after having asked the entire world to tear down all walls (in Cuba and elsewhere)?
Besides, Pope Bergoglio is sounding out every day against those modern “scribes and pharisees” who want to mummify all the old rules and old laws and prohibitions, by opposing change, transparency and openness to the world.
Let’s see if his words are followed with deeds, at least in regard to these norms which are entirely capable of modification, because they are ecclesiastical laws (while not even a Pope could modify the matters discussed in the recent Synod, because they pertain to the Word of God; though they were put into discussion by the Modernist faction).
One feels particularly the necessity of knocking down this “Sistine wall” — and this with urgency — above all in regard to the Conclave of 2013, concerning which rumors and questions grow daily instead of passing away.
THE MYSTERY OF 2013
As the case, which has broken out in England, shows — and from there it has leaped to America and Italy — in regard to the revelations of Austen Ivereigh in his book, “The Great Reformer”.
The book, a biography about Bergoglio, in an entirely positive light as regards the Argentine pope, contains some lines which skin him alive. One has to remember that Ivereigh is not the last man to arrive at the party, he was the spokesman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and has held positions of trust in Catholic Media in England.
He, thus, speaks of the existence of a “Team Bergoglio”, made up, precisely, of Cardinals Murphy-O’Connor, Kasper, Danneels and Lehmann to promote the Argentine prelate to the papacy. The work, which is to have begun after the renunciation of Benedict XVI, would have had the consent of Bergoglio himself. A canonical case arises from this, because there are those who have sustained that all of this might put into doubt the validity of the election on March 13th. There have followed polemics, precisions and denials which have co-involved even Fr. Lombardi, the Pope’s spokesman.
In my opinion, the facts cited in the book by the Englishman do not put into discussion, per se, the legitimacy of the election.
Nevertheless, they cause to be revealed that there is something of a battle which was engaged in behind the 5 ballots in the 2013 Conclave (from the renunciation of Benedict to the election of Bergoglio) and who were the protagonists of that.
But it makes one recall a similar controversy which broke out. Perhaps this is only the tip of an iceberg? Are there any other secrets? Among the various rumors and speculations, for example, remains the as-of-yet unexplained delay of Pope Bergoglio’s salute from the Loggia of St. Peter’s.
In the other half of the essay (not translated here), Socci speaks of other anomalies in the 2013 Conclave and the non-reaction to his book.
Socci’s entire piece was republished by Libero’s blog, on Dec. 22, 2014.
For a complete Chronology of reports and videos regarding the “Team Bergoglio” scandal, seeclick here.That the allegations of Ivereigh are substantial and have grave canonical consequences has been explained here, here and here and here.
Rome — Dec. 21, 2014: Two American prelates, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan and Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, have endorsed Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s new book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.
The endorsements are found on the rear of the jacket to the American edition of Dr. Ivereigh’s book, and read in part:
“… The many fascinating events and challenges recounted in the Great Reformer demonstrate that the key to understanding Pope Francis and his vision for the Church begins above all by recognizing his unfailing faith …”
Timothy Michale Cardinal Donal Archbishop of New York
_ _ _
The next, towards the bottom of the jacket:
“… In a growing list of books on the first Latin American pope, Ivereigh’s is uniquely well informed …”
Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap. Archbishop of Philadelphia
Two other notables also endorse the narrative in the book, in the same place: John L. Allen, Jr., associate editor of the website, Crux, and journalist for the Boston Globe; George Weigel; Fr. Thomas Reese, S. J.; Fr. Thomas Roscica, C. S. B.; and David Gibson, reporter for Religion News Service (RNS).
Presumably all of these read the book before endorsing it. Cardinal Dolan was an Elector in the Conclave of 2013, and knew intimately what went on during the general congregations and final closed door sessions. Dolan is implicated by Dr. Ivereigh in the “Team Bergoglio” scandal to the extent that he says that the American Cardinals were specifically targeted for vote-promises. Allen and Gibson have both done reports on the web defending Ivereigh’s credibility.
And She has not been such, since that December in Bethlehem!
AN EDITORIAL ON THE TEAM BERGOGLIO SCANDAL
I had the unique privilege and honor, today, to exchange some tweets with a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church. Our “conversation” arose in regard to the scandalous allegations and incomplete denials of the account given by Dr. Austen Ivereigh, the former personal secretary to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, in his book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the making of a Radical Pope.
His eminence is taking the news of the scandal very lightly, indeed. He appears to be of the opinion that the problem is not so much in what Dr. Ivereigh has alleged, but in the way simple Catholics the world-over are reacting to those allegations and their very impartial denials.
I tried my best, to appeal to the simple logic and delicate reason of my interlocutor, thus:
If Mr. Q is accused of doing X, Y and Z; and in response, he says, “I want no misunderstandings to arise: I did not do Z”, that he has admitted, thereby, that he has done X and Y.
In response, his Eminence replied:
Have the feeling we won’t agree on this one…what you need to do is to support the Pope in carrying his heavy burden.
As you may know (if you don’t, then click the 2 previous links in this article), Dr. Ivereigh has alleged that as many as 30 Cardinals in the days before the Conclave of 2013, conspired to fix the election procedure by making the first vote in the Conclave give precedence to the candidacy of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
In response, the spokeswoman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and the spokesman for the Holy Father, Pope Francis, have not denied the substance or extent of the allegations only 2 minor details.
The resulting agreement of the 4 Cardinals and Dr. Ivereigh regarding all the other details is giving rise in the minds of many Catholics to a valid doubt regarding the legitimacy of Cardinal Bergoglio’s claim to the papacy.
Thus, I confess myself, not a little shocked at the Cardinal’s reply regarding Mr. Q. And thus, wish to publicly state, for the record, my own opinion regarding the affair, and say:
No, your Eminence: the Church is not a tyranny!
The unity of the Church, being founded by Christ in the person of St. Peter and His successors, cannot NOT be injured greatly by the allegations of a violation of paragraph 81 of the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis, regarding Papal elections.
This is because, the Sacred College of Cardinals, in its right by positive and customary law to elect the Roman Pontiff, is the crucial link binding the person elected as Pope with the entire Church, in Her duty to recognize the validity of his election. And, that Sacred College, as stated in the papal law, must elect the Roman Pontiff in according within the terms of that law. Moreover Canon Law itself, which the papal Law does not abrogate, specifies that excommunicated persons cannot validly vote (canon 171 §1) or be elected to any office (canon 1331). Thus, if the Sacred College gives the impression that the allegations of Dr. Ivereigh and their implicit confirmation by 4 Cardinals, are of no import, they will err very gravely and put the Church in a serious crisis.
This is because the Church Herself is not required to accept whomsoever the Sacred College chooses. And this is confirmed by the papal law itself, which states that the election, if it proceed in any manner which violates the terms established, is null and void. Furthermore, the Church is not required to hold communion with those who have merited excommunication (canon 1331, §2), nor with a candidate who was promoted to victory by means of illegal vote-canvassing (cf. UDG 81 & canon 171 §2).
This fundamental right of the Church is derived from the liberty of the sons of God, given to each member of the Church in Baptism, which constitutes the Church as a holy and perfect society of laws, not a tyranny of ipso facto acts.
To bring an end to this kind of tyranny of sin, Our Lord was born from the Virgin Mary, at Bethlehem, 2014 years ago! Let us not forget His lovingly gentle call to dispossess ourselves of the idols of mendacity and greed and power, so as to do the will of Our Father, Who is in Heaven.
For this reason, just as the Church which would accept the unlawful election of a successor to St. Peter, would Herself lose the credibility necessary to preach the Gospel, and just as the Church’s essential mission is to preach the Gospel of Bethlehem, which is also the Gospel of the Holy Family; it would result that such a tacit acceptance of a doubtful Pope would contravene the authentic conscience of the Church Herself, and dissolve Her obligation of allegiance to such a candidate.
This is not a novel thesis, but one affirmed by notable theologians regarding the doubts had by Catholics during the Great Schism of the 14th-15th centuries. It is taught by no less than a Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, who said, “A doubtful pope is no pope”; hence, it follows that the Sacred College, in justice now, on account of the incomplete denials by the 4 Cardinals and the absence of all denial by the other 25+ accused Cardinals, address this controversy in Consistory and publicly resolve it for the sake of the unity of the Church.
Dr. Ivereigh’s allegations were made public on Nov. 23, 2014. The special Consistory called by Pope Francis will meet on February 14-15, 2015.
The silence of the College to such grave accusations, therefore, after that date would be tantamount to the assertion of a tyranny: that the Sacred College was above the papal law, above Canon law, above all law: a tyranny the Catholic Church and the Bishops of the Catholic Church are not obliged to accept.
In all this, the fault is not that of simple Catholics who are stupefied by the scandalous accusations regarding “Team Bergoglio”, the fault is that of a very grave omission of the duty of our sacred Pastors to defend the good name of the Church. Besides, if the allegations of Dr. Ivereigh are false, there is nothing lost, but only gain to be had by putting the scandal to rest. On the other hand, if they are true, then the Church will be greatly strengthened in Her reputation for transparency and justice in Her own most internal affairs, if Cardinal Bergoglio renounces his claim to the papacy and the Sacred College proceeds to a canonical election.
For a Chronology of Reports concerning the “Team Bergoglio” scandal,click here.
Dec. 17, 2014: Many have wondered why, as of yet, the Sacred College of Cardinals has not responded to allegations made by Dr. Austen Ivereigh regarding the activities of “Team Bergoglio”, to whom he attributes the activities of as many as 7 Cardinals in the organized campaign to give Cardinal Bergoglio a strong showing in the first ballot of the 2013 Conclave for pope.
Recently, however, a noted Catholic writer from the United Kingdom, Paul Priest, has pestered his Eminence Cardinal Napier of South Africa on Twitter, to a sufficient degree, as to obtain some response.
Here below are those tweets, faithfully reproduced from the Twitter feeds of Cardinal Napier and Paul Priest (OTSOTA) as well as other tweeters:
Dialoguing with a Cardinal
@OTSOTA Are you not presumptuously assuming without personal evidence that you have the truth, the whole truth, & nothing but the truth?
NOTE: UDG stands for the papal law on conclaves, Universi Dominic Gregis, which in paragraph n. 5, grants to the Sacred College of Cardinals the sole and exclusive right to resolve any questions and controversies arising regarding the interpretation of the rules.
The persecution of Catholics by Modernists has advanced from the days of the Second Vatican Council by means of tricks, games, and deceits which were more sophisticated than the average Bishop, priest, layman or religious could understand, and so most or nearly all Catholics were fooled.
The Modernists have used these tricks to separate good Catholics who recognize the errors which Modernists promote and oppose these errors, from those Catholics who have not yet recognized them or who accept them.
The From Rome blog has spoken of this in particular, as regards centers of formation for priests and religious, previously. But now, it seems needful to address the laity in general.
4 Games Played by Modernists
What does Our Lord Jesus Christ expect of us during a doctrinal crisis in the Church, where heretics control some or a majority of the ecclesiastical structures? Does He want from us blind obedience?
In Creation and the Divine Order of things, a comprehensive theological explanation was given, to explain what true obedience and false obedience are, and there it was demonstrated that it is blind obedience which is the chief tool which Modernists use to turn good Catholics against other Catholics.
But false obedience takes many forms, and these are the tricks and games which Modernists play at.
Let us leave aside, for a moment, the lies and misinformation which are regularly given out by Modernists, since these regards words not appeals to obedience.
The first game is the “Approval Game”:“You don’t have my approval for that!”, the Modernist says, and the Catholic who does not know his faith, not realizing or recognizing what is Catholic and what is not in practice, takes such a disapproval as the norm or rule for recognizing what is Catholic or not. — “Father does not approve of that, therefore it must not be Catholic!” is the mantra which the Modernists most want to hear from the pews.
The second game is the “Normal Game”:“That is not normally done, the norm is to do such and such!” says the Modernist. A prime example of this was given today by Michael Voris on Church Militant TV (link to video here). The Modernist for whom the Faith is the enemy, obviously, will always call normal what is abnormal or not-Catholic, but he uses an authoritative seeming declaration to use obedience to bait-and-switch a Catholic from what is catholic to what is heretical.
The third game is the “Mercy & Rigor Game”:“You can’t expect people now-a-days to do such things, and by doing them you show yourself to be a rigorist, addicted to paradisaical practices.” This is a very commonly-played game in liberal parishes or in some liberal countries, such as in Argentina, where in the name of mercy, one sells out the faith lock-stock-and-barrel.
The fourth game is the “Guilt and Re-education Game”: Modernists, it must be remembered, are experts at emotional or psychological manipulation, since most of them are sexual perverts or moral misfits: they honed this skill in bucking the discipline their parents should have taught them. They know how to make the good feel guilty for being good, and how to propose the proper re-education of emotions or thoughts necessary to make a good Catholic think and act like a Modernist: they say, “Love is what the Lord want’s from us more than anything else; if it harms charity or sows division, then it is not of God!” They don’t want you to consider for a moment that love of evil is not charity, or that division from the devil is a work of holiness. Or that the Apostles and Fathers of the Church are unanimous in condemning every novelty as well as the norms and mores of the contemporary age (modernus in Latin means “contemporary”). Whereas, Modernists want the Catholic Church conformed to every aspect of contemporary culture and values, or at least accommodated to them in such wise that one can claim the name of “Catholic” without assenting to the Catholic faith or recognizing any objective moral obligation, as taught in Scripture, Tradition and the perennial Magisterium.
The Church will go down to destruction until Catholics stop playing with Modernists
The first requirement of every Good Catholic, is, as St. John the Apostle exhorts us in his letters, never to commune with heretics, never to seek their company, and not to share in their polluted affairs.
If Catholics continue to play these 4 games with Modernists, they will only succeed in destroying their own virtue, losing God’s grace, and being led to Hell.
They will also dis-empower themselves, because they will end up letting Modernists isolate them from good Catholics, from the saints of our age who recognize what Modernism is and who fight it openly.
Christ Jesus, Who by His august Sacrifice on the Cross, completely conquered this world, gave us the means to conquer every error and deceit in all future ages and to do His Will on Earth: this victory is chiefly in the Faith, the one true Faith without which no many can be saved, for without faith it is impossible to please God or even to want to please Him.
But for Our Lord, “faith” is always understood in conjunction with the love of God and hope in God which put faith into practice.
And one puts faith into practice chiefly by rejecting every practice which is not approved by Faith, Scripture or Tradition.
Thus, the next time you are doing something which is perfectly Catholic, and a Modernist proposes otherwise, remember that you only remain faithful to Christ by ignoring him, disobeying him, resisting him, and encouraging others to do the same.
In the meantime, for your re-inspiration, a beautiful video about what the Catholic Church was, before the Modernists, should now be without them, and will always be, once good Catholics like yourself rise up against them.
Editor’s Comment: Let us raise our voices against the evil climate inside Twitter corporation! which persecutes Catholics for expressing their faith. Twitter does not only do this against pro-life Catholics, but also against Catholics who express their Faith on other non-politically correct issues. Gangs of political activists lurk on Twitter to falsely accuse Catholics of violating rules, thus precipitating a shut down of one kind or another. Twitter support has been informed numerous times during the last 2 years of how they are discriminating against Catholics by heeding these false accusations, and have done nothing. If Twitter does not change its policies, it might very well be involved in a class action lawsuit for the violation of the free speech rights of their users.
Dr. Bowring writes: Interestingly, St. Faustina wrote in her diary that her “worst day of suffering” where she felt as if she was in Gethsemane (where Jesus was betrayed by Judas) was the SAME EXACT DAY POPE FRANCIS WAS BORN. She writes:
December 17, . I have offered this day for priests. I have suffered more today than ever before, both interiorly and exteriorly. I did not know it was possible to suffer so much in one day. I tried to make a Holy Hour, in the course of which my spirit had a taste of the bitterness of the Garden of Gethsemane.
Feast of Santa Lucia, Rome, Dec. 13, 2014: The crux of the scandal surrounding “Team Bergoglio” — Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s nickname for the group of Cardinals who canvassed for votes on behalf of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio before and during the Conclave of 2013 — is, without doubt, the curious denials of the testimony Ivereigh gives in his book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.
These curious denials are what sparked the interest of the Catholic world. And their inconsistencies have fueled, not quieted, the speculation, since they are widely seen not as transparent statements, but as politically motivated misinformation.
The From Rome blog, however, mindful of the duty of objectivity, in all of its reporting regarding “Team Bergoglio” has taken as an a priori presumption, that neither Dr. Ivereigh nor those alleged to be part of “Team Bergoglio” are not telling the truth. For that reason, to round out our coverage, the From Rome blog will now put to scrutiny what these denials say and do not say, so as to weigh their probity.
The denial of Ivereigh given by Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor
The first official denial of Dr. Ivereigh’s narrative came from Maggie Doherty, the spokeswoman for the retired Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster, England: his Eminence Msgr. Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. That denial, published in the form of a letter to the editor of the Monday Daily Telegraph, on November 25, 2014, can be seen to the right (Note that the Telegraph’s editors have added the lead-title, “Papal plot”).
As the From Rome blog demonstrated yesterday, the most probable reason for the denial, as given, was to specifically negate the allegation of Dr. Ivereigh’s book, on p. 355, which said that the members of “Team Bergoglio”, first of all, sought the agreement of Cardinal Bergoglio to their vote-canvassing campaign.
This is because in Catholic Church law (Codex iuris canonicis of 1983), canon 1329 extends punishment for all acts criminalized with excommunication, to all accomplices of those acts, without which the criminalized act or acts could not be accomplished.
Consenting to a vote-canvassing campaign on one’s behalf is the most culpable act which an accomplice can make in it, since without such consent, the campaigners would never have reasonably considered to have undertaken such a campaign.
Canvassing for votes is specifically criminalized by the Papal Law, Universi Dominici Gregis, (here after UDG), of Pope John Paul II, published in 1996, as this blog has explained in detail in its article, “The Great Reformer”.
The improbity of the First Denial
Improbity refers to the inability of a person or testimony to be considered honest. Of itself, what has improbity is not necessarily false, but in its totality it remains improbable, or, more precisely, aims to affirm what is improbable. What has improbity is not untrue under every aspect, it can merely be an exaggeration or misleading or misdirecting.
Let’s, presume, as stated, that the letter by Maggie Doherty is true in everything it says. We know from Dr. Ivereigh’s twitter feed, that he regards the statement of Maggie Doherty as emanating from Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor. In our previous report, Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for the Pope, the From Rome blog speculated on the form and occasion and method of this denial. Now, let us consider it from another point of view: what it says and does not say, and whether the Cardinal could reasonably be considered to have given a testimony which has forensic value.
First of all, one must recognize that in denying the narrative presented in Dr. Ivereigh’s book there are several great problems: the first of which is that Dr. Ivereigh is the former personal secretary to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, and if Ivereigh knew anything about the campaign in 2013, the public will presume that he had all this information either from the Cardinal or had it as confirmed by the Cardinal. So in a sense, the Cardinal will appear to many to be denying himself.
Second, one can only give testimony to what one has seen or heard or did.
Third, one denies only what one denies. And when accused of many things, all which has not been denied, is implicitly or tacitly affirmed.
So, let’s examine the text of the Cardinal’s denial. In the first sentence, he states that he is not denying what Ivereigh wrote, only aiming at dispelling any misunderstanding that might arise from reading Dr. Ivereigh’s book. This initial statement greatly weakens the Cardinal’s statement: in a word, he denies nothing of the narrative presented, neither as regards names mentioned or as regards the chronology of events or the acts participated in. He does not even deny the conversation which Dr. Ivereigh attributes to him, in asking Cardinal Bergoglio for his consent to the campaign.
In the second sentence he denies that he, or as far as he knows the other Cardinals, made any approach to Cardinal Bergoglio to seek his assent as a candidate. In this statement, the opposite error occurs, for unlike the first in which he denies nothing and concedes all, in this statement he denies too much. It would have been sufficient to deny with greater precision, but to deny that Cardinal Bergoglio was never asked by any Cardinal regarding his willingness to serve is beyond belief. And since “assent” regards an act of the mind, “consent” to that of the will, and since it is consent that makes one an accomplice, the Cardinal may be saying that he did not seek Cardinal Bergoglio’s assent, but did seek his consent.
Finally, the Cardinal can only deny what he knows: hence, since he cannot possibly know everything which every other of the named Cardinals did or said, his denial in that regard has no forensic value, except to exculpate himself in a conspiracy with Cardinals regarding seeking such a consent. He has not denied that bishops, priests, deacons, laymen or religious or even journalists were used as intermediaries to obtain such consent.
What is the truth? Until the Cardinal is questioned by journalists or fellow Cardinals in consistory, we may never know. But it appears from the second sentence that the Cardinal has affirmed that the campaign was a vote-canvassing / vote-promissing endeavor, because in denying too much in the second sentence, he implicitly affirms Ivereigh’s allegation as to the nature of the campaign.
For these reasons, assuming everything the Cardinal said is true, then one seems constrained to conclude that the Cardinal has denied nothing, but confirmed everything. And this is where the improbity arises, because a denial should deny specifics and the totality of an accusation. One can understand, however, that the Cardinal, being a man of God from his earliest days, would never deny what was true, directly speaking, for that would be dishonest.
The denial given by the Four Cardinals through Fr. Lombardi
In view of what is circulating regarding the recent Conclave, we asked Fr. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Vatican Press Office. Here is Fr. Lombardi’s response:
In a book recently published about Pope Francis, written by Austen Ivereigh in English with the title, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope (Henry Holy & Co.), and in Italian as, Tempo di misericordia. Vita di Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Mondadori), there is affirmed that in the days preceding the Conclave, four Cardinals: Murphy O’Connor, Kasper, Daneels e Lehmann, “first secured Bergoglio’s assent” to his eventual election, and “then they got to work” with a campaign to promote his election.
I can declare that all of the four Cardinals, just named, explicitly deny this description of the facts, both as much as regards the request of prior consent on the part of Cardinal Bergoglio, and as much as regards the conduction of a campaign for his election, and (that) they desire to be known that they are stupefied and opposed to what has been published.
The improbity of the Second Denial
In the first part of Fr. Frederico Lombardi’s official denial, he casts a net about too little: because he denies only the activity of 4 Cardinals, when, as this blog has shown, the text itself names 7 and 2 other suspected accomplices, and implicates as many as 30 in the crimes of vote-asking / vote-promising. Therefore, his statement must be understood, authentically, of not regarding the activities of these others Cardinals, nor of any intermediaries they might have used, nor any other details of Ivereigh’s account.
In the second part of Fr. Lombardi’s statement, too little and too much is denied. Too little, because, as this blog has shown, it is not a crime to seek the consent of a candidate to be a candidate. Nor is it a crime to profess willingness to be a candidate. But it is a crime to conduct a vote-canvassing campaign to promote a candidate (this is a violation of UDG 81), and it is a punishable offense to give consent to such a campaign on one’s own behalf, with knowledge that the campaign has this nature. Too much, because it is not a crime to conduct a campaign on behalf of another Cardinal. Since the 4 Cardinals, through Fr. Lombardi, have not denied that it was a vote-canvassing campaign, they implicitly have affirmed it. Since they have not denied that Cardinal Bergoglio gave his consent, they implicitly also affirm that. They have not denied that they were accomplices, only that they were leaders conducting it. They have not denied that they promised votes or solicited the promise of votes.
Furthermore, Cardinal Bergoglio did not have to be asked to give his consent; it is sufficient that he gave it spontaneously, willingly and with knowledge of the nature of the campaign, which nature and its existence none of the Cardinals have denied.
For this reason, this second denial also has great improbity, because it has the form of a denial, but when reasonable interpreted according to the above stated method, it can be considered to be a confession. For, when accused, the accused must rebut the nature of the crime and the acts committed, if he disputes one or the other or both.
In conclusion, it appears from both denials, that these four of the seven members alleged to be part of “Team Bergoglio” are in fact affirming all which is necessary to indict Cardinal Bergoglio for the crime of being an accomplice in the vote-canvassing campaign. They also leave open the possibility that Cardinal Bergoglio, himself, was the ringleader or initiator, though no one has accused Pope Francis of this.
Rome, Dec. 12, 1014: The monstrosity of the allegations made by Dr. Austen Ivereigh in his new book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the making of a Radical Pope boggle the mind. As this blog has noted in its previous report, the text of the narrative in chapter 9 of that book, implicates as many as 30 Cardinal electors in activity which seems likely to violate the papal law on Conclaves, Universi Dominici Gregis (here after UDG), promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1996.
In that law, in paragraph 81, all forms of vote canvassing which include vote promising were punished with automatic excommunication (latae sententiae). Yet canons 1329 and 1331 expand that penalty and indicate the consequences, even if the validity of the Conclave’s vote for Cardinal Bergoglio is not put in question by means of canon 171 §2, as this blog has speculated from the beginning. Let’s take a look then at these 2 canons.
The effects of Canon 1329: not only Cardinal Electors, but all accomplices
The From Rome blog has noted in its reports that the punishment was leveled only against Cardinals who could vote. However, the monstrosity of the allegation grows from the fact that Canon 1329 § 2 extends the effects of the penalty issued in UDG 81.
Canon 1329, § 2 reads, in the Latin:
Can. 1329 — §2. In poenam latae sententiae delicto adnexam incurrunt complices,qui in lege vel praecepto non nominantur, si sine eorum opera delictum patratum non esset, et poena sit talis naturae, ut ipsos afficere possit; secus poenis ferendae sententiae puniri possunt.
The official English translation of this, from the Vatican website is:
§2. Accomplices who are not named in a law or precept incur a latae sententiae penalty attached to a delict if without their assistance the delict would not have been committed, and the penalty is of such a nature that it can affect them; otherwise, they can be punished by ferendae sententiae penalties.
Thus, not only are the Cardinal Electors who sought vote-promises and those Cardinal Electors who promised votes in danger of excommunication from UDG 81, but also all those who assisted in this, such as:
The aged Italian Cardinal, whom Ivereigh alleges tallied the votes, since without his assistance the conspiracy could not measure its success and by means of this count were encouraged to engage in the alleged illicit activities.
A Cardinal-non-Elector, such as the alleged ring-leader, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, since in providing direction and organization for a conspiracy, the head of it assists in a manner in which the crimes could not have been committed as regards specific acts or their numerosity. This is true even if the head of a conspiracy does not do the act which is criminalized.
Any Cardinal, Bishop, Priest, or layman who assisted as messengers or solicitors between those asking for votes and those promising them.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, inasmuch as if he knew of the conspiracy, could have prevented it by signifying his unwillingness to allow such a campaign to go forward, which he could have done by merely threatening to reveal it during the Conclave; for knowledge of a conspiracy from which one benefits along with omission of all acts sufficient to bring such a conspiracy to naught or gravely obstruct it, is complicity before or during the act. And no such conspiracy could succeed, without such at least tacit consent, since every Cardinal Elector upon being asked for his vote, could have confirmed the consent of Cardinal Bergoglio to such a campaign by asking him personally and directly. That the alleged campaign go forward, therefore argues that it had some sort of consent from the Cardinal.
This might explain why in both denials of Dr. Ivereigh’s narrative, the spokeswoman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and the spokesman for the Holy Father, Fr. Frederico Lombardi, S. J., have explicitly denied that Cardinal Bergoglio was asked by any of the Cardinals for his consent to the vote-campaigning.
The enormity of this implication is seen when we apply the effects of Canon 1331.
Canon 1331 requires that an excommunicated Pope-elect never exercise or hold office
Canon 1331 explains the effects of all excommunications latae sententiae. In the official English version, from the Vatican website this canon reads:
Can. 1331 §1. An excommunicated person is forbidden:
to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship whatsoever;
to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals and to receive the sacraments;
to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries, or functions whatsoever or to place acts of governance.
§ 2. If the excommunication has been imposed or declared, the offender:*
who wishes to act against the prescript of §1, n. 1 must be prevented from doing so, or the liturgical action must be stopped unless a grave cause precludes this;
invalidly places acts of governance which are illicit according to the norm of §1, n. 3;
is forbidden to benefit from privileges previously granted;
cannot acquire validly a dignity, office, or other function in the Church;
does not appropriate the benefits of a dignity, office, any function, or pension, which the offender has in the Church.
Which means, that if Dr. Ivereigh’s allegations are true, and if Cardinal Bergoglio had knowledge of the conspiracy and expressly or tacitly consented to it, then he would be incapable of holding the office of Pope, or making any acts which pertain to that office, such as nominate bishops, call Synods, or name Cardinals!
* That penalties of excommunication which are leveled automatically (latae sententiae) by a general decree are imposed in the very act of the commission of the criminalized activity, can be had from canon 1314. Some canonists wish to restrict the term “imposed” [imponere] only to penalties leveled by a specific written decree naming the individual(s) — but that violates the signification of the Latin verb, which means “to place upon” (in the same sense as we say in English, “leveled”), not “declared or indicated in by a specific decree” — not to mention it also ignores the patent distinction made in canon 1314. In any case, the Church could not endure such a situation, and the Sacred College of Cardinals in a special consistory would have the necessity, in virtue of the authority granted them in UDG 5, of resolving the matter and/or proceeding to a new election.
Yesterday, the Vatican Press office published the Italian text of the Lineamenta (Outlines) for next Year’s Synod on the Family (#Synod15). As this document has shown itself to be stained by the same errors which the From Rome blog highlighted in its own critique of the Final Relatio of this year’s Synod, it will be useful to consider in what ways the committee charged by Pope Francis with preparing for the upcoming Synod next year has embraced the errors contained in that Final Relatio. It is for that reason, that The From Rome blog is honored to publish as a guest editorial, our own English translation of Mrs. Maria Guarini’s, Sinodalità recidiva: “Lineamenta” per il 2015, a critique of the new Lineamenta for next year’s Synod on the Family.
Mrs. Maria Guarini, is the editor and publisher of Chiesa e post Concilio, one of the most influential theological blogs in the Italian language and the only one of its kind in the city of Rome. For several years, Mrs. Guarini has proved her mettle by putting on display the erroneous theological presuppositions of all those who have raised their voices against the perennial Magisterium of the Church. She holds a Baccalareate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure (the Seraphicum) and can be considered one the members of the Roman Theological Circle which sustains faithfully still, the theological heritage of the Roman Church. She lives at Rome with her husband and son.
In our English translation, we have attempted to present the same signification as the original, but frequently on account of the many metaphors unique to modern Italian, we have had to reformulate the syntax and alter the terms to give the equivalent signification in English. In citations, even those to the Lineamenta, we have followed the Italian text quoted by Mrs. Guarini.
Backsliding to Synod15
We note that the “spirit of the Council”, in its own more revolutionary aspects not to mention its negationary semantics (the horrible, deleterious effect of affirming a correct principle conjoined with an erroneous one by means of the conjunction, “but”, which has so stirred the waters of theology that the eddies are now becoming consuming whirlpools) is now transferring its bad influence, little by little, to the upcoming Synod on the Family.
We have already spoken amply about this in our blog-post, Sinodo conciliarista (see here & here).
Now, I will limit myself to the following, essential off-the-cuff reflections, as I have before my eyes the just published document, “Lineamenta” per la XIV Assemblea Generale Ordinaria: La vocazione e la missione della famiglia nella Chiesa e nel mondo contemporeaneo (Oct. 4-25, 2014) which was published on Dec. 9, 2014.
The points which should never even have been put in discussion
If I pause for a moment on these points, it is because the relative questions — among which, of themselves, should not even be put in discussion — have not been approved and nevertheless, since they have, by the will of the Holy Father, been kept in the text of the Relatio which was published, they are thereby put once again into discussion as a result of the confusion mentioned in my premise. Not only this, but the Questionnaire which has been published along with the new Lineamenta has been redacted in such wise as to solicit a certain response, by means of assumptions which have been evidently chosen by the animus which is running the game.
So here we go, again! The Circus begins anew and the swirl of sophistry and nonsense proceeds with its obstinate arrogance. If one were to use the same energetic commitment to fight against error and to reaffirm the perennial Catholic truth, we would not find ourselves in this absurd crisis and on the rim of the abyss which is threatening the entire human race. But all this is because of the obscuring, if not the out-right renunciation, of the universality of salvation which Christ came to give the world through its transmission by the Church, which, instead of being centered on Her Center and Foundation, is going out of Her mind in the worse sense of the term and appealing now to the seductive seeds of the Word which are always called into play and employed in a sophistic and inappropriate sense, in Council or in a non-council. Moreover, the Second Vatican Council is not a Gospel and, additionally, Nostra Aetate, which is cited in the text of the Lineamenta, is only a document of secondary importance, inasmuch as it is a Declaration, and thus a document of the fourth and lowest grade, among those indicated by Msgr. Gherardini [here]:1 the amount of innovations, which cannot pretend to have an infallible and irreformable character, consequently, allows the possibility of a dissent based on faith and reason. A simple Declaration asserts itself as the fundamental principle of this new ecclesiology, based on the whims of newly-exalted barbarians, who use the excuse of praxis to get around doctrine. But Catholic doctrine and discipline are the pre-conditions of authentic encounter with Christ. Again, pastoral praxis reigns over doctrine, and thus right praxis presupposes right doctrine. The reversal of this order carries one easily to the affirmation that with a new reality of pastoral praxis one can develop a new doctrine.
One needs to ask oneself, in regard to n. 22 of the new Lineamenta, “What’s the purpose of the Church valuing natural marriage?” Which soon becomes a “matrimonial and familial reality of so many cultures and non-christian persons”. What’s the point? Do these have, perhaps, something that they can teach to those who alone have the duty to receive and transmit the fulfillment of salvation, which the Church has guarded (or used to guard) for 2,000 years, which salvation Christ worked and with the Apostles revealed and handed down to the Church, and which He continues to work despite our infidelities? The same creation which was conceived in view of Him, awaits the revelation of the sons of God, just as all peoples do, who to be saved, must come to know of and welcome it. In this passage, n. 22, from the Lineamenta, one hears the echo of Gaudium et Spes (nn. 12 & 24) (here). That one is able or that one should enter into dialogue with diverse cultures for political reasons or for the sake of civil concord does not regard the sphere of the Faith or the teaching of morals which flow from It (and not from other sources, those “befouled springs and polluted cisterns”, as the Bible calls them). This is what the Lineamenta says:
The Indissolubility of Matrimony and the Joy of living together
21. The reciprocal and constitutive gift of sacramental Matrimony is rooted in the grace of Baptism which establishes the fundamental alliance of every person with Christ in the Church. In the reciprocal welcoming and with Christ’s grace, the spouses-to-be promise one another the total gift of self, their fidelity and their openness to live; they recognize as constitutive elements of Matrimony the gifts which God offers them, taking seriously their mutual commitment, in His Name and in the presence of the Church. Now, in this bond it is possible to assume the goods of matrimony as well-endurable commitments by means of the help of grace and sacrament. God consecrates the love of the spouses and confirms its indissolubility, by offering them His help to live that fidelity, that reciprocal integration and that openness to life. Moreover, the Church turns Her gaze to the spouses as to the heart of the entire family which in turn turns its gaze to Jesus.
22. In the same respect, making our own the teaching of the Apostle according to which the entire creation was conceived of in Christ and in view of Him (cf. Colossians 1:16), the Second Vatican Council wanted to express its appreciation of natural marriage both through the valid elements present in other religions (cf Nostra Aetate, n. 2) and in other cultures, notwithstanding their limits and insufficiencies (cf. Redemptoris Missio, n. 55). The presence of the semina Verbi (the seeds of the Word) in these cultures (cf. Ad Gentes, n. 11) could apply, in some of its passages, even to the reality of matrimony and family in some forms outside of Christian matrimony — though founded on the stable and true relation of one man and one woman — which in every case, we judge, are orientated to this. With Herr gaze turned to the human wisdom of nations and cultures, the Church also recognizes this family as the basic necessary and fecund cell of human cohabitation.
Will the manipulation continue on in a contrived Synod? 2
In the Questionnaire, sent along with the Lineamenta in several languages to the Episcopal conferences throughout the world, the purpose of which, according to Cardinal Baldisseri is “the deepening of understanding of the questions confronted in the debate, all of them, but above all those which have need to be discussed in a more accurate manner”, there is associated to the above cited, n. 22, this question:
Question 19: The Second Vatican Council has expressed appreciation for natural marriage, renewing the ancient tradition of the Church. To what extent does pastoral praxis in the Diocese understand how to value even this wisdom of the nations, as something fundamental for culture and the common society? (cf. n. 22).
Note the ever-more explicit deceit, contained in this questionnaire. The Question just cited reveals it, by taking for granted both the appreciation of natural marriage and the valuing of the wisdom of the nations; it seeks only to verify the “how” it is to be done … You’d think that it would have been sufficient to limit itself to reorienting disoriented Catholics and in forming rightly those who are deformed.
There is a famine for formation, that is, for teaching
In a recent article published by the Italian-language blog, la Bussola quotidiana, there were proposed several interesting reflections on the expectations which laymen have regarding the openings and promises promoted during the recent Synod (at least as they seemed to progressives), expectations and motives shared by a large slice of those Catholics who are “open to the world”, by means of sleepy consciences and hearts, accustomed to consider in a positive light and according to the norm of what “everyone is doing”, that mode of morality which has always been practiced, which it always finds tiresome. No one remembers any longer that a moral life is possible only with Christ’s grace conveyed by the sanctifying action of His Church, prepared and accompanied by a teaching which gives sense to and makes savory the Divine Commandments founded on imperishable truth. Behold, this is what is at stake. This is what no one seems willing to speak of anymore.
For example, there are many, even among the shepherds, who recall that the indissolubility of Matrimony is derived from the Commandment of the Lord presented in the Gospel — correctly affirmed in paragraph n. 21, though with a following “but” — but they do not break open the delightful reasons which make this Commandment so acceptable to mind and heart, so worthy of being translated into life even if it’s a sacrifice, and a big one, to do so.
One understands and accepts this indissolubility of Matrimony, if one considers that it is linked to a faithfulness which has its fontal origin in the faithfulness of the Lord and Creator to His own creature, as something conceived, willed by, and ordered to Him, and thus in continuous dialogue with Him (and this is the only relationship which saves) by means of an exclusive relationship, which puts the Lord first and causes to descend Therefrom all which is consequent to it in true fecundity: all this because it is a relationship which implies an intimate and profound union, one which is faithful and exclusive, in a word, “spousal”. This kind of relationship does not only regard consecrated souls, who have chosen the better part, but every believing soul, everyone in a different measure and according to diverse situations. One speaks of a relationship which is exclusive in the sight of God, because it implies the rejection of other gods, which can be any one of the lusts of which the world is constantly insinuating and to which the inclination to evil, remaining in us from original sin, makes us neither deaf nor immune. We can not flee from all this except by means of grace and the choices which it enables us to make, out of a sort of second nature rather than a sense of obligation (which could be a starting point, but certainly not the destination of a Christian life).
This exclusivity regards, before all else, our relationship with God, the only one which enlarges our heart and makes it capable of embracing the reality of the other, of giving itself without expecting anything in return: this is the true life, which can only be lived in the Lord and in His Church and which no United-Nations-of-Religions could ever make possible or acceptable.
I speak of this in regard to the anthropological alteration contained in the Lineamenta, expressed in the open by some of the Fathers of Synod 14:
n. 5.The anthropological-cultural change influences, today, every aspect of life and requires an analytic and diversified approach…
And this appears to be the new founding principle for the new praxis. But in the real word, there has been no anthropological change. Man, with his own needs and fundamental questions, is the same man of all times according to his essence. The only thing that he has come to lack, today, is a metaphysical consideration of God and man, and this is what impedes our consideration of the true problem. If we could only succeed in seeing this, we would already have made a great step forwards. We risk becoming what has already been put into praxis, from the mentality which dominates our own day, very often in oblivion of the Council, but most of all of the Church Herself. The true crisis is not other than the crisis of the Church inasmuch as She is a Mystery. The true theological knot leads back to the very loss of the metaphysical concept of participation in the Church as a Mystery. And in such wise, Theology has been reduced to Anthropology. In fact, Theology has been, for some time now, in the process of coining a new language for itself, having put aside, more or less, that metaphysical language of the Scholastics, to make room for one which is more modern, which degenerated from the former — and we are seeing first hand the results — in the adoption of the philosophies of the Existentialists and Phenomenologists.
The epoch-shaking recognition of homosexual tendencies as “rights”
From the points in the Lineamenta which follow nn. 21 & 22, we note the incredible displacement of attention toward elements which are foreign to the Faith and away from the doctrine, which though maintained in the following proposition, notwithstanding the votes to the contrary, takes its point of departure from marginal matters, those “existential” to the heart of the discussion, without omitting putting into play, once more, the “poor nations” and the insistence of international organizations (!?).
But the Church is not a teacher of psychology or sociology, though they are certainly not to be ignored, or, moreover, undervalued as handmaids of theology, if such an expression still has any sense given the novel sense “theology” has today.
It is, in fact, the duty and function of the Church to affirm and teach. She should not recriminate nor be conditioned by pressures of any sort, nor should She pause upon secondary elements or take them as foundations by expressing them after a nevertheless — by means of which one imagines to avoid obstacles by causing to re-enter by means of another door, that which was jettisoned through the window … playing in this manner with words by mentioning what is obvious, like human respect and gentleness, but putting it in the midst of a discussion of the Church as a Church of Mercy, the True Church and not that one unhinged from the Truth and from Justice. But the risk is — and not an improbable one on account of what has already transpired — that the mark of unjust discrimination³ ends up in appearing to be but a legal recognition of homosexual unions. What sense has it, in fact, that we recall this in the midst of such a discussion? And from the rest of the document, already cited, there is sufficiently clear and explicit the difference there is between respect for human persons and the masquerade, behind these words, for the instrumentalized and ideological use of them to tolerate evil, which is is, moreover, something very different from the approbation and legalization of evil itself. It would have been better to begin with that distinction than an existentialist pastoral praxis from which it becomes possible to spin inalienable principles, at the risk of making the document something equivalent to John Paul II’s Familiaris consortio, to which it would have been better to pay attention than to look elsewhere. Here, I am speaking of paragraph 55 of the Lineamenta, which reads:
Pastoral attention towards persons of a homosexual orientation
55. Some families live with the experience of having in their midst persons with a homosexual orientation. In this regard, we are questioned about which kind of pastoral practices is opportune to confront this situation, in reference to what the Church teaches: “There does not exist any foundation for likening or establishing analogies, not even remote ones, between homosexual unions and God’s design for matrimony and the family”. Nevertheless, the men and women with homosexual tendencies should be welcomed with respect and gentleness. “In this regard, one will avoid every mark of unjust discrimination” (CDF, “Considerations on the proposals for legal recognition of the unions between homosexual persons”, n. 4).*
56. It is entirely unacceptable that the Pastors of the Church undergo any pressuring in this matter or that international organizations condition their financial assistance to Poor Countries upon the introduction of laws which establish “marriage” between persons of the same sex.
At this point it is legitimate to ask what ever happened to that infamous secret dossier, compiled by three 007 Cardinals, received by Pope Benedict XVI and consigned by him to his successor, which disclosed the impropriam influentiam (improper influence) which crisscrossed between the homosexual lines in the Curia and those outside the Vatican.
This topic, moreover, as I have already mentioned, is certainly one which needs to be drawn out. But the very fact that that there has entered into discussion those elements which of themselves can never be put in dispute, justifies amply the fears and perplexity which this very thing has caused. And there is no need to lower one’s attention, especially on the part of our Pastors, even those who are not directly involved in the upcoming Synod (see my Exhortation on this here).
A fundamental Question which needs an answer
But, here, do we not need to ask another, more fundamental question, which implies the others? A synod of Bishops, can it be considered a competent organ for treating of questions which touch upon doctrinal points, which by their nature are unchangeable, not only inasmuch as they have been already sanctioned by the definitive living discipline of the Church in the course of centuries and even by the interventions of the supreme magisterium of the Church, but in the case of sacramental Matrimony, which are derived from a Divine Commandment? Even if the last word belongs to the Pope, and it is his duty to pronounce it, for what reason does he persist in putting into discussion such very questions?
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1. Considering the historical context of the moment in which this Document has been published, we understand why the Franciscans Friars of the Immaculate have been treated as outcasts and why Pd. Serafino Lanzetta has been sent into “exile”, he who is one of their most learned, clearheaded, and good-mannered members — who have never denied the Council nor have twisted it to demonstrate a non-existent continuity with the past — who has clear ideas on noted controversial points and has documented everything from original sources [here, in the same occasion on which I have cited the intervention of Mons. Gherardini: il Convegno del 2010 sul Vaticano II] e [here, more recently].
2.The term “tarrocato” (contrived) was coined by Marco Tosatti [here], the Vaticanista from the Italian daily, La Stampa.— And at this point, I wish to add a note. The removal of Cardinal Burke, one of the most authoritative opponents of the points raised by Cardinal Kasper, was sanctioned before the Synod but was differed, so that he could participate in the first round of talks, but not so that he could participate in the successive ones, and was consequently removed from the Apostolic Signatura which has jurisdiction over the determination of the nullity of marriages.
3. It is necessary to ask for the reason for this attention to a possible mark of discrimination in regard to homosexuals and those who live in a situation of sin — which mark the Church has always reserved for the error and not the person — and the persistence, with growing force, about the mark of disdain which breaks out in discriminatory persecution of those who love Tradition, whether towards persons (pastors and faithful) or towards their spiritual needs. For example, since October 1st the papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore has defiantly excluded the Missa Antiquior ever since the final celebration there at 7:30 AM on that morning.
* In this regard, Cardinal Burke declared: I refuse to speak of homosexual persons, because no one can be identified by this tendency. One speaks of those who have a tendency, which is a suffering (qui).
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.
Rome, Dec. 8, 2014: Regarding the allegations of Dr. Austen Ivereigh, in his new book: The Great Reformer: Francis & the Making of a Radical Pope, we have seen claims, denials and counter claims. To get to the bottom of the truth of the matter, I here publicly question the sources of the Vatican denial, published via the blog, Il Sismografo, on Dec. 1, in the name of Fr. Frederico Lombardi, the Head of the Vatican Press Office and spokesman for the Holy Father. Since the latter does not have twitter, I will direct my questions to Greg Burke (@GregBurkeRome), who describes himself at Twitter as the “Senior Adviser for Communications, Secretariat of State Formerly Fox News Rome Correspondent”. FYI: @AdamShawNY is a Fox News Journalist who recently published a story on Ivereigh’s book.
You would think that there was at least 1 journalist, who had the professional integrity to ask simple questions like these, but as none has appeared in 7 days, I will do so in their stead.
Here are my 4 questions, which I conveyed to Mr. Burke via Twitter:
Editorial — Rome, Dec. 7, 2014: The scandalous and shocking revelations regarding the manipulation of the electoral process during the recent conclave, which elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Roman Pontiff, have cut and the very heart of confidence in the papacy of Pope Francis. While this blog, From Rome, has refrained for 2 weeks from editorializing on the news, in this post, on the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, it seems proper to draw out the moral and political consequences of Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s revelations for the Catholic World.
As we recalled yesterday:
The Church according to the oft declared teaching of Pope Francis, himself, should not be a place where the powerful silence the weak or hide behind their offices like aristocratic princes, concerning whom no action can be questioned and nothing untoward be imputed, regardless of whether it is true. For this reason, the “Team Bergoglio” story, whose history has been chronicled here at this blog (see here), represents one of the greatest challenges to the integrity, transparency and honesty of the Bergoglian papacy, if not its very validity in law.
Yet, as that chronicle details, the revelations and denials and the alterations of the narrative published by Dr. Ivereigh, for the reasons Ivereigh gave on his twitter feeds and in recent reports, belie that image.
First of all, because the foundation of popular confidence in any modern government is the fulfilled expectation of fairness in the highest levels of government. Catholics the world-over, especially those from the more influential, affluent West, who keep the Vatican supplied with funds in the form of alms, have a deep conviction that the selection of the Pope should follow the rules and seek a candidate in an honest manner. A short-cut of those rules, by a cleverly manipulated maneuver destroys that confidence. The point is not so much whether such things happened in the past: the whole tenor of ecclesiastical politics since Vatican II has been to break with the traditions of the past, in the name of greater conformity of the Gospel. A return to the carnal machinations of medieval times, thus, will only redound to a loss of respect and confidence in the Papacy of Cardinal Bergoglio.
The disgust at such politic-ing prior to the Conclave was most eloquently expressed by one anonymous commentator, days ago, when he wrote:
A former member of a religious order with American and European members told me that everyone was instructed not to caucus before the order’s elections, and the Americans dutifully complied. Oddly enough, even though the Americans were a majority, the leadership elected was always European. After he left, another former priest who was French confided that the Europeans ALWAYS caucused.
Thus, if the papal law on elections of the Roman Pontiff, known by its Latin title, Universi Dominic Gregis (UDG), specifies that there is to be no vote canvassing of any kind in n. 81 of that document, the advantage had by those who do canvass for votes, is immeasurable, so long as every penalty which could arise from such a high-crime can be avoided.
And it is just that, which every “Team Bergoglio” apologist who has come out of the wood-work in recent days, has advocated: total impunity for violation of the rules of the Conclave.
This impunity would arise, if UDG 81 imposed a penalty which had no effect as regards the general ecclesiastical law expressed in canon 171, which would otherwise nullify elections in which those penalized by UDG 81 with excommunication participated under the conditions it details. For if the rules when violated infer upon the guilty no canonical effect, then there are the greatest motives to violate the Conclave rules by all means possible and necessary to get your candidate elected. Something equivalent, in a perverse sense, to the addage, the victor takes all.
Rules will always be observed by the conscientious; therefore, a just and orderly society must punish severely those who do not follow the rules, for otherwise, the criminal will be advantaged by the mere existence of rules not enforced. And this is diametrically opposed to end for which rules and laws are promulgated.
Second, the discrepancies in the carefully worded denials of Dr. Ivereigh’s claims makes it appear that the claims are true. This is simple logic. What Dr. Ivereigh recounts in his book on Pope Francis, The Great Reformer: the Making of a Radical Pope, is given in a straight-forward, matter-of-fact manner, without any intention or motive to make Cardinal Bergoglio appear to be anything other than he is. It is for that reason a book to be valued for all future historians who wish to know Bergoglio the man. And for that reason, the testimony of Dr. Ivereigh has a high probity to it. This probity is the higher in the case of the “Team Bergoglio” allegations, because, as this blog has demonstrated, Dr. Ivereigh was present in Rome for the Conclave in 2013, both before and afterwards, and during that time he confessed to have met with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, the alleged head of “Team Bergoglio”. Even the Cardinal himself, as reported here at the From Rome blog, admits to having lead the effort to get Bergoglio elected, and to have had confidence in that effort as of March 12, 2014.
Thus the claim by the English Cardinal, issued by his spokeswoman, Maggie Doherty, in the form of a letter to the editor, in the Nov. 25 Monday edition of the Telegraph newspaper is beyond belief for its form and content. In it, Doherty declares that the English Cardinal did not obtain the assent of Cardinal Bergoglio to campaign for him. Who is there, in the entire world, who thinks that Cardinals of the Roman Church, renowned for their sense of propriety and good-manners, would ever canvass for votes prior to asking the prospective candidate for his consent? Why would a Cardinal spend so much time organizing such an effort, if the candidate himself had not expressed formal explicit consent? And why would any Cardinals cooperate with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor in such a campaign, if he had told them that Cardinal Bergoglio had not given his consent. There were no restrictions on movement during the Conclave: any Cardinal could have confirmed with Cardinal Bergoglio his views on such a matter. If Cardinal Bergoglio did not give his assent by word or sign, the campaign would never have gotten off the ground. For these reasons the denial given by Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, if it is not entirely false, must be wholly misleading: consent must have been given, those asking for such a consent and those giving it, therefore, must either be those denied for having done so, or intermediaries which they chose for this purpose, so as to provide a plausible deniability to the affair.
The carefully worded denial, issued by means of unofficial channels by Fr. Frederico Lombardi leads to the same conclusion. That denial, in our own unofficial English translation from the Italian, declared in Fr. Lombard’s name:
I can declare that all of the four Cardinals, just named, explicitly deny this description of the facts, both as much as regards the request of prior consent on the part of Cardinal Bergoglio, and as much as regards the conduction of a campaign for his election, and (that) they desire to be known that they are stupefied and opposed to what has been published.
For it is morally impossible that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor by himself could have conducted such a campaign, as he and the Pope both admitted to (reported in the Wall Street Journal article from August 6, 2013) without the assistance of other Cardinals. And as the English Cardinal admitted in his interview with the Catholic Herald last year, he was recognized by the newly elected Pope for having been chiefly responsible. The claims, therefore, by his former secretary, who admitted publicly to having had meet with his former boss, “the other day”, in his March 12, 2013 BBC appearance, that he did organize it in company with other Cardinals cannot be dismissed. Especially since another report, by journalists of the Wall Street Journal, published in August of 2013, expressly names Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and another alleged member of “Team Bergoglio”, Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, USA, as having attended a dinner for the express purpose of discussing candidates for the Papal Throne in the days prior to the Conclave’s opening on March 12th. Thus, one arrives as the same conclusion as before: the denial given by Fr. Lombardi must be discounted as either entirely false, or wholly misleading. The manner in which it was given, though a blog, rather than in the presence of journalists accredited to the Vatican, makes it appear also, as being given to squelch further inquiry, rather than to truthfully put a false controversy to an end. Finally, no denials have been issued regarding other alleged members of “Team Bergoglio”: Cardinals O’Malley and Santos Abril y Castello.
Third, since the very nature of the Catholic Church is a society internally bound together by the mutual and voluntary commitment of it members, the consequences of grave and substantial doubt, as has been raised by the “Team Bergoglio” scandal will be the diminishing of and/or unraveling of such unity of moral commitment. This is because, before God, Catholics believe deeply that they are not obliged to obey a superior who does not hold his office legitimately, in accord with the fundamental rules of the Church, known as Canon Law. This is especially true, when a superior commands something which subjects believe or recognize as incoherent with the Catholic Faith. The revelations of Dr. Ivereigh add to this, since the whole purpose of his book is to show that the former Cardinal Archbishop of Buenas Aires has spent his entire ecclesiastical career promoting a concept of faith which is completely at odds with that which has been taught by the Catholic Church for 2000 years: a non-dogmatic pratical approach, which would promise salvation to all without any —or at least much less — necessary discipleship to Christ Jesus as teacher of truth, doctrine or morals.
Fourth, since as much as the Catholic faithful, especially clergy and religious come to believe that the results of the 2013 Conclave are invalidated by the machinations of “Team Bergoglio”, expressly penalized with excommunication by UDG 81, the more opportunity will arise for outright rebellion and schism in the Church against the rule of Pope Francis. For if he is not validly elected, and if the members of “Team Bergoglio” are excommunicated, then Catholics must refuse communion with them all.
For all these reasons, we believe that the truth of the “Team Bergoglio” affair needs to be revealed and a most severe punishment needs to be leveled; and all doubt as to the validity of Pope Francis’ election must be removed. And there seems no way to do that, in a manner that would be acceptable to all, unless as UDG n. 5 lays out, the College of Cardinals is convened in special consistory, into which Pope Francis enters with the humility necessary to abdicate if necessary. For there is no greater love, than to lay down one’s papacy for the sake of the salvation of the consciences of the weak little lambs in Christ’s Fold.
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.
Dec. 6, 2014: In a letter to the editor of the Monday edition of the Telegraph, Nov. 25th last, the former Cardinal of Westminster strongly denied that he had asked Cardinal Bergoglio to assent to a vote-lobbying campaign in his favor and the involvement of Cardinals in that effort, known as “Team Bergoglio”.
But, in a stunning revelation, published by Miguel Cullen in the Catholic Herald, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, and entitled, Pope sent greetings to the Queen straight after his election, says cardinal,Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor had already contradicted his own denial, when he confessed to being the ring-leader of what Dr. Ivereigh nick-named, “Team Bergoglio”, and admited that Pope Francis recognized this, just 2 days after the conclusion of the Conclave in 2013.
The key passages of that report read:
The cardinal also disclosed that he had spoken to the future Pope as they left the Missa pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice, the final Mass before the conclave began on March 12.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said: “We talked a little bit. I told him he had my prayers and said, in Italian: ‘Be careful.’ I was hinting, and he realised and said: ‘Si – capisco’ – yes, I understand. He was calm. He was aware that he was probably going to be a candidate going in. Did I know he was going to be Pope? No. There were other good candidates. But I knew he would be one of the leading ones.”
The admissions of the Cardinal in that report blow a hole in the hull of the denial, issued by Maggie Doherty, his spokeswoman, just 2 weeks ago, whereby he denied involvement and denied Cardinal Bergoglio knew about the vote-canvassing.
That Pope Francis knew about the Cardinal’s leadership in “Team Bergoglio” is admitted by the Cardinal in the same report, where it says:
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said: “All the cardinals had a meeting with him in the Hall of Benedictions, two days after his election. We all went up one by one. He greeted me very warmly. He said something like: ‘It’s your fault. What have you done to me?’
For a time-line of reports about “Team Bergoglio” from sources round the world, as well as by this blog, see here.
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