Ricca Scandal: Why Bishop Francis Is In Deep Trouble.
From the very beginning of his pontificate, Bishop Francis showed a rather unusual single-mindedness in his behaviour and decisions about his appearance and style of conduct. The idea was of one who knows what he wants, and goes on in its pursue without looking left or right.
This is very good if your name is Pacelli, but it spells disaster if it is Bergoglio.
When the Bishop of Rome had his outing about the “gay lobby”, I commented on this, because I did not like the attitude a bit. The Pope's words were as follows:
And, yes… it is difficult. In the Curia, there are also holy people, really, there are holy people. But there also is a stream of corruption, there is that as well, it is true… The “gay lobby” is mentioned, and it is true, it is there… We need to see what we can do…
From that blog post I read today:
What is surprising, is that instead of using words like “we will have to eradicate this problem fast”, or “we must absolutely act on this”, he says “we need to see what we can do”, as if … there were things a Pope cannot do to tackle the problem. This is surprising from a Pope for whom “to do things” seems to be the first priority, and who had just told to the present(and I quote)“I would rather have a Church that makes mistakes for doing something than one that gets sick for being closed up…”
Pope Bishop of Rome who says to everyone they should “do” without caring of the consequences, provided their heart is oh so pure, becomes suddenly timid when the acting is required in something so unspeakably evil as a bunch of homos infiltrating the Vatican, and who knows what else. “We need to see what we can do” is very much a downplaying of the problem, and indicates the Bishop might conclude “there's not much we can do”, or “there's not much we should do”, or “let us not make of this a priority and let us focus on … my Ford Focus instead”.
How seriously the Bishop takes the matter ( = not much; and I am being charitable; very charitable) emerged in the last two days. First, the Italian magazine “L'Espresso” threw a bomb concerning not only the homosexual tendency, but the continued, scandalous sodomitical conduct of Monsignor Ricca, the man Bishop Francis provisionally put at the top of the Vatican Bank. This man also emerged as the one running three hospitality structures at the Vatican – in one of which Pope Francis actually resides – which allowed him to spin a net of useful accomplices. The very idea of a homosexual running three “hotels” for clergy lets one's blood freeze.
What happened afterwards was even more instructive. Father Lombardi issued the usual embarrassing dementi, but he made (or was made to make) two very big mistakes:
1. He did not say “we are looking into it”. He said that Bishop Bergoglio knows everything, and thinks no action should be taken (= thinks the allegations are unsubstantiated). Not even a suspension waiting for the man to be cleared was decided. Every priest accused of impropriety by a hysterical mother would be immediately suspended. A prelate in an extremely important position within the Vatican, heavily accused by a rather professional magazine in front of the entire planet – a magazine that exposes itself to legal action if slanderous – is left at his place undisturbed. Ah, this really looks like “reform”.
This isn't smart. This is plain stubborn. No, let me rephrase it. This is plain freaking stupid. No, let me rephrase it again. This is typical of Bishop Bergoglio's “humble” attitude.
2. Father Lombardi went so far as to say “L'Espresso” uses sources that are “untrustworthy”. Now please reflect. This is big. The magazine states names, places and circumstances very clearly. They expose themselves to obvious legal retaliation if they have made such a huge mistake. They are unlikely to do this, because to avoid such mistakes is journalism 101. Punctually, the magazine puts itself very squarely and very aggressively behind Sandro Magister, with tones that even in a blunt country like Italy show the defiance of those tired to have to deal with amateurs: this text is in Italian, but “L'espresso” states they stay behind Magister “punto per punto”, “in every single point”.
Magister himself quips about Lombardi (and the Bishop of Rome), stating “poor Father Lombardi, what things they make him say”, clearly indicating the person behind this genial initiative is driven around in a humble Ford Focus.
What will happen now, is easy to imagine: the Italian press has smelled the blood, and it is becoming increasingly more clear that those who seek shall find. I expect a series of such revelations in the months to come, and make no mistake that no one will be spared, not even the Bishop of Rome.
There will now be intensive scrutiny of the key players behind Bergoglio, both in his actual position and in Buenos Aires, and perhaps even before that. The links between the Argentinian, Brazilian, and other South-American key players will be examined with the magnifying glass. What the three Cardinals under Pope Benedict could uncover (and Bishop Bergoglio has obviously put in the fridge; please do not insult your intelligence by maintaining anything else) will not escape, in time, the attention of motivated investigative journalists. The hotels surrounding the Vatican will be put under observation to see who goes in and out, the sodomitical establishments around the Vatican will be put under strict control; the very many within the church who, no doubt, are disgusted with the current situation and want the filth to emerge now know whom they have to speak to.
Every aspect of his papacy, of his past, of the past of his men, will be thoroughly examined. If he has any connection – knowingly or unknowingly – with the gay lobby, he is in trouble.
The age of cover-ups because of the special position of the Pontiff are gone. The Bishop is one of us, has a Focus, plays the humble, and ignores grave scandals exposed by the press. He will get no discounts, and if he thinks he can shrug all off him by just being stubborn and doing as he pleaseth, he will fall very hard. Similarly, no “humble” Pope is above criticism of his conduct as Pope, and he can be buried under scandals as every other head of State. The time of silence is gone. Ask “L'Espresso”.
I obviously believe L'Espresso worked thoroughly on the story of Monsignor Ricca, but I do not think whether the story is proven or not is really decisive here. The Homo Mafia within the Vatican has caught the popular imagination, and the press sees a huge banquet approaching. They could find plenty of information concerning a person in one of the highest echelons in a matter of weeks after his appointment. Can you imagine what treasure trove lies in front of them? Can you imagine them deciding not to pursue this bonanza to protect the integrity of a man so insistent on wanting to be seen as “one of us”? Should people who have been a pain in the neck of Berlusconi for 20 years (“L'espresso” belongs to “Repubblica”; they have been at loggerheads with Berlusconi for decades) be afraid of an Argentinian outsider unable to make three steps in a row without some huge blunder? Don't bet your pint.
Bishop Bergoglio thinks he is still in Buenos Aires and can behave like a wheelchair-loving, Focus-driving caudillo without consequences. His rather arrogant style – as now transpiring on more and more occasions: the “Renaissance Prince” here, the thinly veiled sarcasm about the rosaries and the counting of them there, the continued posing himself as an alternative to the former Popes everywhere, and now even the decision to openly protect one clearly and unmistakeably outed – will soon leave him without many friends, and deservedly so. The one who has deprived the Papacy of sacredness like no other will be called to account like no other. The Vatican Press Office complained bitterly about the rumours of a scandal who then proved based on calumnies. It wasn't of great use, at least “L@Espresso” doesn't seem to have been particularly impressed, or cowed into silence.
Now, if the Bishop were a saintly, strong man of God, this would not be a problem at all. I remember reading that St Pius X's rather unusual, blunt, undiplomatic style also often left him misunderstood and even isolated. But this here is a man who cannot defend himself and has no obvious saintliness to speak for him; one who has no claim to anything else that his obsession with the poor, and with his own public image; and one who is demonstrably mediocre in everything he does: from his masses to his homilies; from his quasi-heretical off-the-cuff remarks to his cultural and intellectual stature; from his lack of respect for even the rules of the Church to his disregard for the reputation of his men and their offices (ask by the CDF to know more).
I get more and more the impression Bishop Francis has bitten more than he can chew, and has worked on his election (oh yes, he did!) thinking his Argentinian recipe made of Pinocchio Masses, poverty rhetoric, and show of humility would work just fine in Rome.
I have my doubts.