Vatileaks: Stupid Diplomats?
On the Catholic Herald, William Oddie tries to make some sense of the “Vatileaks” affair. He comes to the conclusion that jealousies and rivalries between two schools (the “old school diplomats” who have controlled the Vatican apparatus since the V II) and the “new entries” (basically, people trusted from the Pope but with no credentials as diplomats; like Bertone) might well be at the root of the intrigues.
Whilst in human matters nothing can be ever excluded, I am personally not persuaded by the attempt at explanation. It seems not clear to me why people expert in diplomacy (and expert in Vatican diplomacy, which is even slower) should suddenly:
a) throw aside every prudence, and
b) act as if the new conclave were fifteen years away.
If we admit that there are two fractions at war, it is not clear to me why one, or two, or more highly situated individuals within the Vatican would run various risks – including committing the criminal offence of theft – and put their reputation – built in several decades of work – on the line when it is plain for everyone who has eyes to see that the Pope’s health is deteriorating, and the distance to the new conclave can scarcely be measured in years.
The decision to act in such circumstances would be considered foolish even in a Los Angeles gang, let alone among expert Vatican diplomats for whom prudence and patience are almost a second religion (and for some of them, probably, the only one).
Does it really make sense to risk everything (even personal freedom; as for such things one can be ordered to retire into a monastery before he can say “Vatileaks” or, worse still, be delivered to the Italian justice) when the cards will be, conceivably, dealt again in a relatively short time? This isn’t the logic of a normal thinking man, much less of a diplomat, much less of a Vatican diplomat.
On the contrary, the enormity itself of the risk run by the anonymous conspirators – some of them, no doubt, in rather high positions – leads me to think that it is more likely that their motive is an ideological one; that they, in other words, accept the possibility of the worst happening because they think – be they nostalgic V II dinosaurs or young-ish prelates of opposite orientation – that it is the right thing to do.
Let us reflect the people at the top of this operation aren’t naive. They know the probability they will be, one day, discovered is rather high, and they have truly learned nothing from their long lives if they think they will be able to hide themselves from criminal investigations forever. This isn’t the young “Scarface” thinking he can outsmart the system because he isn’t smart at all. These people know the very high risks they are running.
Already it seems two cardinals are soon to be involved (and please note those perverts at the “Telegraph” put two disgusting males kissing in the same page, obviously using the PC word “gay”. Some editor must have been very excited. Perverts.) and one doesn’t need to be a genius to understand that once a small-ish fish is on the frying pan, bigger ones will follow.
My take is that what is being played here is more likely an ideological war; that this war is seen as so important, that more than one rather high personage is ready to stake his reputation, character and perhaps freedom on it; that the health of the Pontiff does not play any role, because this is the kind of conflict which will clearly not stop with the next conclave.
I might be wrong of course. But it seems to me this reading makes more sense than the plot of the career diplomats against the new men of the Pope’s entourage.