Cardinal Murphy O'Connor has departed this vale of tears during the weekend. The Evil Clown himself, who isn't very fast in remembering the plight of persecuted Christians, was not slow at all in letting us know how saddened he is.
He bloody well knows why.
CMOC was a prominent member of the so-called St. Gallen Mafia, the group of prominent prelates who helped Bergoglio to position himself for the 2013 Conclave. No, I do not think for a second that this made the election invalid, and only in kindergarten can children believe that this kind of positioning does not take place all the time (and even more intensely so in the past, when “transition Popes”, expected to reign for only months or maximum a year or two, made the positioning and PR game a permanent one; and I will ignore the bribes and exchange of favours out of the charity of my heart).
What I am thinking is this: that this powerful man, once able to influence papal election, is now dust.
What is worth, now, the knowledge of being one of the Big Whigs? What has remained of the satisfaction of knowing that one's own prestige and influence with the wrong people has led to the desired outcome even without him taking part in the Conclave? What use is the knowledge that a Pope himself will express one's sadness at one's demise, when the Judgment will be faster than that?
CMOC had, of course, all the time in the world to repent, as his knowledge that he was dying of cancer put him, by God's grace, in a much more favourable position than, say, Cardinal Meisner, who appears to have simply dropped dead, without even seeing it coming. (Like Saul Alinsky. Just saying…).
However, the great grace of knowing that one's last hour is approaching is only useful if one has the right faith. If one thinks that there is no God at all, or a kindergarten version of one (as Meisner clearly indicated in interviews before he died), then this grace will be of little and, very possibly, of no use at all.
Now everything is gone. Gone are the events with heads of state and government; gone is the life of prestige and comfort; gone are the interviews and the obsequience of the Catholic masses. The Cardinal stood naked in front of his just Judge.
Thousand battles could he have fought, and he shunned all of them. Where he has now gone, no one is fooled by pomp and interviews. Where he has gone, he is one of the greatest failures of the Church in the last decades.
Pray for the poor bastard, because one day we will stand, just as naked, in front of our just Judge.
But seriously, do all you can to get there in a better position than this one.
A red hat was never a “get out of hell”-card.
Those who know their Church history know that corruption on a huge scale to gain the vote of Cardinals was certainly not a historically rare event. And if you care to travel to Viterbo during your next stay in Rome you will see, still standing, the palace where in 1271 the Cardinals were first locked and fed only with bread and water, then had even the roof removed so that they felt, ahem, gently encouraged to make a decision. The decision was not considered invalid. Nowadays, we bicker about the number of valid votes in any one day.
If the election of a Pope were to depend on corruption or undue pressure not taking place, the entire history of the Papacy would have to be rewritten, and one wonders by what gymnastics any modern Pope could be claimed to be the Successor of Peter in the proper sense. And if this is true – and it most certainly is – for corruption, just imagine for the – which leads us to today's issue – “canvassing”.
In addition, it must be said that – humans being usually prone to communicating with each other – the one or other preference can be communicated in one thousand and one ways. If Cardinal Murphy O'Connor likes Bergoglio, well clearly
he is an idiot he likes Bergoglio. If we were to consider any expressions of esteem for a colleague to constitute “canvassing”, then no human communications among Cardinals should be allowed at all before the Conclave begins. Yet, we all know that these expressions and communications convey exactly the desired meaning: he who is such a good Cardinal, can certainly be seen as an acceptable Pope.
“But Mundabor!” – you might say – “this was a concerted effort! This isn't just a Cardinal talking to another Cardinal at dinner!”. This may or may not be what has happened. But I cannot see how the terrible sin committed by these Cardinals (a sin which would cause their excommunication) could or should invalidate the election. Not only the present rules for the election of a Pope explicitly say that this is not the case, even if such a behaviour should take place; but reason and common sense shout it altogether, so that even if the rules penned by JP II were not to explicitly include such provision, the same conclusion would have to be reached anyway, out of sheer common sense.
Not for the first time I must warn from getting overexcited. The Papacy is not a fantasy land where everything works in the right way, and at three cardinals canvassing the election is put into doubt. Heavens, how many Pope would have been invalidly elected? Fifty? Eighty? One hundred?
Let us, therefore, not get excited again about the recent “revelations” of “canvassing” Cardinals. Even if true, it would not affect the validity of the election in the least. Common sense says so, Church history shouts so, even JP II's (and current official) rules say so!
For worst or for even worse than worst, Francis is the Pope. He was elected by Cardinals whose average integrity and faith left much to be desired anyway. We already knew that characters like Nichols, Danneels and Kasper were allowed to participate, so it's difficult to see how any recommendation coming from Murphy O'Connor would negatively influence any decent Cardinal, or how any non-decent Cardinal would not be influenced by the above mentioned chaps once the Conclave has begun.
Socci's book, all the Sedevacantist theories, and now even the questions of “validity” linked to the alleged “canvassing” are, if you ask me, a flight from reality. It amounts to an attempt of dreaming oneself out of a situation that is so tragic because it's so real. And this dream has no resemblance whatsoever with the earthly Church as she has lived, breathed, corrupted, and fornicated these two thousand years.
Francis is Pope.
One of the most evident manifestations of the “Francis effect” is the frequency with which prelates think they must make known to the world their outlandish views. They did it before too, of course, but as there was no “make a mess”-climate they did have to be more prudent. That’s all gone now.
Cardinal Cormack Murphy O’Connor is one of the biggest culprits for the continued decline of Catholic thinking, practice and influence in England. Predictably, this also led to a decrease in confessions. Faced with such a phenomenon, the Cardinal does not ask himself what he can do to let people change their mind and go to confession; no, he wonders how confession can be changed to adapt it to the changed mindset of the people instead.
A “proper reform” is now needed. Can’t you see, he seems to say, that confession is goign out of fashion?
When such is the thinking, hell is truly the limit. Shall we allow Skype confessions? What about an Internet chat room for two? Or should we perhaps put classical music in the confessional? No, wait, some Tango music would be more in touch with the times, and a fitting tribute to the humble Francis ….
Or we might put up ads in the local newspaper, you know… A friendly priest’s face saying: “Who am I to judge?” could be just the ticket…
There there is the problem of the confession being allegedly used by predatory priests to prey on their designated targets. What to do? Evidently, the man is so confused that he does not see that the biggest technical problem of today’s confession is in… the innovations post V II.
Traditionally, a grate separated the priest from the faithful. The priest couldn’t see – though in small communities he would certainly recognise from the voice – who was on the other side. No mother needed to be concerned for her own daughter, her own child, or herself. The physical separation was strong enough, and in most confessionals – like the Italian ones, often open to the faithful’s side rather than locking the faithful in a cubicle – the possibility of being overheard always there. Even the most evil predatory priest would, in such circumstances, decide the setting does not work for his evil intent.
Enter the “closed room” confessionals of the new era, and in the same years the predatory priests produced by the post V II seminars. He will now be in a closed space with his victim, eye to eye, perhaps in physical knee-to-knee contact, in a “relaxed” and “confidential” environment; no one else around him but the child or girl he has set his eyes on…
Then we complain some priests might have abused of the confessional to prey on their victim…
Has the Cardinal ever thought about it? I doubt. Plenty of questionable “confession rooms” in his old diocese, and no sign of the man having ever ordered the return of the grate. But we are now curious to know what the man will propose to bring the faithful back to confession. Introductory video games, perhaps…or collective confession, when the crowd says “we are all oh so sorry” and the priests absolves everyone, as if they were about to go to battle…
If CMOC and those like him would at least shut up and quietly enjoy their remaining years of utterly undeserved prestige and privilege, it would be something already.
But no, they must have the headlines.