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Francis is Pope: Stop Looking For The Emergency Exit!

Cadaver Synod, January 897.

Cadaver Synod, January 897.



One of the very many beauties of the Only Church is that it is always so logical. One of the effects of this beautifully logical edifice is that Catholic thinking does not bring anyone to go against sound common sense in matter pertaining the way she is run and functions. of course, Christianity itself seems to fly in the face of reality in certain things – and only at first sight, whereas a deeper and well-instructed look actually discloses a world of deeper wisdom -; but as to everyday decisions and the way the Church runs her course, one can say that robust common sense is always the best way to recognise how the Church thinks.

Common sense tells us that Francis is the Pope, because if it looks like a pope, swims like a pope, and quacks like a pope, then it probably is a pope. You know Francis is Pope. You know it with the same immediacy with which you know that that thing up in the sky is the Moon. It’s there. That’s it. 

Unfortunately, whilst the existence of the moon is not particularly obnoxious to everyone, the existence of this particular pope is a tragedy to every sincere and well-instructed Catholic. True as this certainly is, it does not mean that we can cancel this Papacy out of existence more than we could the Moon. He’s there. That’s it.

Every now and then, this or that ground is advanced to explain why the Pope would not be the Pope, which to me always seems like being told that the Moon is actually a squirrel. The last wave of delusion took its course when cardinal Danneels, succumbing to an obvious attack of “I am the Queen of England”-itis, decided to come out of the closet as the self-appointed Great Manipulator of the 2013 conclave which gave us the Evil Clown.

Predictably, the Emergency Exit fans were all excited. Alas, they must not know much of Church history, or else believe the popes of the past were elected by way of the Holy Ghost spreading some kind of Sanctity Dust over the head of the electors. If they knew the truth, they would know that intrigues and conspiracies of the one now adduced as ground for the lack of validity of the Evil Clown’s election were simply there all the time. Apart from the obvious corruption of the clergy during long centuries of the Church’s history, the widespread custom of electing very old and frail popes – called “transition popes” – was meant to do nothing else than allow the decision about the “durable” pope to go on in a softer way behind the scene. Basically, it was permanent negotiation, and the real conclave was only the way the choice was formally sanctioned; pretty much in the same way as a law is voted in the legislative chamber after months of patient negotiations, and the necessary weighing of the interests of several parties have gone through the various phases of drafting and discussion at committee level.

Nor can anyone say that hey, in the past there were other rules, but since JP II everything has changed. Who would seriously believe – even without being a Canon Law expert – that a Pope would make the legitimacy of each and every one of his successors uncertain? 

No. Common sense says that it cannot be so. 

It common sense is not good enough for you, this here is the canon law argument

The part you are looking for is this one: 

Thus, it is hard to see what canonical consequences a cardinal would have to fear if he were to admit to a canonical crime punishable by latae sententiae excommunication. If it turns out that one or more cardinals violated, say, Universi 81, they might (and I stress, might) be “automatically” excommunicated, but “automatic” excommunication impacts—I hate to put it this way—only the liceity of ecclesiastical acts, not their validity. So, while it might be distressing to see appointed to synodal service some cardinals who could be “automatically excommunicated”, whatever acts such men might place at a synod would be, by the plain text of canon law, valid. 

It is perfectly clear. It makes perfect sense. It’s the only way things can go. 

The Church is run by logical, not emotional rules. Her divine edifice is, at the same time, beautifully sound when seen with a simple, logical common sense approach. There would be no certain papacy, and in the end no Church, if the legitimacy of a Pope could be called into question for reasons like Danneels’ and others’ behaviour.

Those who seem to like such outlandish propositions should stop looking for the emergency exit and delve into church history a bit more instead. It will disabuse them of this idea of the “invariably good pope elected by holy men under the guidance of the Holy Ghost”. 

The Church is not indefectible because of the popes she had. On the contrary, the popes she had are the best practical evidence that she is indefectible. 

Stop looking for the emergency exit. 






Quisque Faber Fortunae Suae

Increasingly more a tragic figure: Pope Benedict.

There has been some discussion about the behaviour of some Cardinals who might have conspired to deceive Pope Benedict into believing that, in case of abdication, a successor able to continue on his line would have been picked. Rorate has some reflection, but they are not the only ones.

It is, in my eyes, inconceivable that Benedict would choose to abdicate whilst still able to function, but without a funded hope that the Cardinals would pick a, say, Benedict XVII. No, of course he thought that his abdication would further, not thwart, his work. To think otherwise is to imagine a man so selfishly absorbed in his own desires that he does not care of what happens to the Church after him, provided he can write his books. This is, in my eyes, almost as absurd – and almost as offensive – as to think that Benedict could have been cowed into the abdication by any threat whatsoever.

Still, I would like to make a couple of consideration.

1. If Benedict was more or less assured that things were “fine” and decided to abdicate on the strength of this confidential knowledge, in what is this different from the “canvassing” so lamented when Cardinal Murphy O'Connor would be the one guilty of it? I am not talking of “pacts” or “agreements” here, but of several people observing with Benedict how sound, dependable, through and through papabile – say – Cardinal Scola is. Is, then, a Pope abdicating on the strength of such “canvassing” not guilty of the same behaviour? Mind, I do not think such “canvassing” is there in the first place. I merely say that if you condemn Murphy O'Connor, it's difficult to see how, in this scenario, you should not condemn Ratzinger.

2. If the scenario is true, then Benedict would prove a further disappointment. It would mean that he could be gulled into a false sense of security not only in the weeks or months preceding his abdication, but actually since his ascendancy to the Throne; because in order to commit a mistake of that magnitude Benedict must have been a bad judge of the character of many Cardinals for many years. He must, in other words, have been blind to the character of many trusted people in his entourage, and of many of the very Cardinals he has himself appointed.

I am not in the mind of the Pope Emeritus. I will never know whether he – without any suggestions from outside – simple made the decision that the time was right and the Cardinals sound enough; or whether he was perhaps thinking of waiting another Consistory or two – to be used wisely – before proceeding to his historical step, and was then reassured from the noises and hunches he heard around him that no, everything was fine and he could abdicate assured of a happy ending.

In both cases, Benedict must feel a horrible burden on his soul, because it must be clear to him that it was his “middle of the road” (or so he thought) appointments that made Bergoglio's election possible in the first place.

JPII's Conclave didn't pick Bergoglio. It picked Ratzinger. Cardinal Ratzinger was there, and was therefore very aware of the role played by the Bergoglio candidature. If he had appointed better Cardinals, he would now not be forced to witness the demolition of his work, and the utter shame in which Bergoglio is dragging the very institution of the Papacy. It must be very sad, for a Pope, to outlive his own mistakes, and have them stare at him in the face every day.

Pope Benedict was the tragic, if involuntary enabler of all that has happened since that dratted evening of the 13 March 2013. Without him, ithis mess would simply not have been possible. Bergoglio's election was made possible by his multiple mistakes in the appointment of Cardinals; mistakes which, frankly, are in tune with his very mediocre episcopal appointments.

Pope Benedict has made his own bed. Whether he was “helped” in so doing does not change the fundamental drama of the man, because there isn't a big difference between being simply gullible all the time and being, in addition, double gullible in the last months of his pontificate. Which leads us to another point that I think very important.


Pope Ratzinger's tragedy is the Church's tragedy. It is the fruit of the illusion that there be, somewhere, a viable “V II road” able to serve the Church well. There isn't. A Cardinal is either solidly and unashamedly Catholic, or he is a walking booby trap. A Conclave is either full of people who really believe in God and are afraid of gravely displeasing him, or there is no way of knowing what they could be able to do. Pope Benedict knew them personally, and therefore had to know what Conclave he would leave better than every Vaticanist, or gossiper, much less blogger. Half of the Cardinals were hand-picked by him, well knowing what their future task would be.

Quisque Faber Fortunae Suae. Pope Ratzinger has, entirely with his own hands, fabricated a nightmare retirement, as he must look in astonishment at what Humble Wolf is doing to his sheep. The longer the retirement, the longer the suffering, because it is not probable at all that he will outlive Francis and, God willing, see sanity restored.

Pope Benedict has, with his historic decision, also put himself in the position of the one who must repeat to himself, every day, “what have I done?!”

Not pretty. Not pretty at all.

But the bed he made.




Pope Francis On Same-Sex Marriage (Liberals Can Click Away Now).

From Pope Francis, then Cardinal Archbishop Bergoglio, letter to the Carmelitans concerning the Argentinian so-called “same sex marriage” legislation: 

The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. A clear rejection of the law of God, engraved in our hearts, is in jeopardy.
I recall words of Saint Thérèse when she speaks of the infirmity of her childhood. She says that the envy of the Devil tried to extort her family after her older sister joined the Carmel. Here, the envy of the Devil, through which sin entered the world, is also present, and deceitfully intends to destroy the image of God: man and woman, who receive the mandate to grow, multiply, and conquer the earth. Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a “move” of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.
One seldom reads the like from a contemporary Archbishop.
Again, if you read here and follow the link you will read words you would believe belonging to a different time.
Let us make no mistake here, and let us not lull ourselves in dangerous illusions: much of this Pope promises to be bad or very bad for us friends of traditional Catholicism. But this seems to be one who doesn’t talk through the flowers, and can get a thing or two very right.
He has asked us to pray God that He (God) may bless him (Francis).
Fair enough, say I. He is the Pope.

Pope Francis: Reflections After The Shock

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Firstly, let me say that I have prayed, and will pray, sincerely that the new Holy Father may be a good Pope, able to at least start the process of real renewal (that is, well: restoration) we were all hoping for.

Secondly, please do not expect from me the usual “ohh this is the maaaan the Holy Ghoooost has given ussss” rubbish. If you think so, you are probably in the wrong blog.

Thirdly, allow me to say this is a shock and, very probably, not good news at all. But again, we do not know so much, and at times the Pope acts differently than the Cardinal used to do.


Like probably everyone of you, I am trying to understand; understand who Pope Francis is, and why he was made Pope. There will be a long time for reflections, so today I will list what I know up to now and, at some point, try to sleep. There will be no bottle of Brunello, for sure. Hopefully not too much grappa, either…

So, what do we know about Pope Francis?

He is known for his “social engagement”; which, coming from Argentina, is ominous indeed. Bad.

He used to be the Jesuit provincial in Argentina. Bad.

He was considered “conservative” (as far as Jesuits go). Good.(Jesuits are not all bad after all, though very many are; and I mean really, really bad; this is, when they aren’t closeted homos, or deny Christ).

He was then sent to lead a seminary. Can’t imagine the seminary produced many Jesuits, and many of them good Christians. Bad.

He has ties with the rather right-wing (but V II right-wing, not Mundabor right-wing) Comunione e Liberazione, aka ciellini. Now not what they used to be, but certainly no socialist sissies. Good.  

The usual Allen describes him as “unwaveringly orthodox on matters of sexual morality, staunchly opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception”. Unfortunately, coming from Allen this ain’t worth much, so we will have to wait and see. Half good.

He is certainly orthodox in matters of sexual perversion. Google and Wikipedia him, you’ll be surprised. Good. (The “gay mafia” within the Vatican might be facing very hard times).  

He travels with the bus, cooks his meals alone, doesn’t want to live in the archbishop’s palace. He has simply no respect for his role and the role of the Church. Bad.

He has chosen the name Francis, which might be hinting at a wave of populism like the Church has never seen. Bad.

He has been accused of complicity or silence during the Argentinian dictatorship. Well, at least not a dyed-in-the-wool revolutionary. Good.

He has obviously instructed Cardinal Tauran to cut the multi-language rubbish of Benedict’s election (“Liebe Brueder und Schwestern; Dear Brothers and Sisters…”) before the announcement and go directly to the “Annuntio vobis…”. Good. 

He has spoken of the Church as “presiding over the other churches”. No guts to say there is only one Church, and the usual V II wishy-washy words. Bad.

I had read days ago he has made a very good impression talking about the problems of the Curia. He is certainly seen as a good and effective administrator. Good.

He has been considered fit not by the absolute majority, but by two third of the Cardinals. Good (you see, I am clutching at straws now…).

He has given the impression of being extremely youthful for his 77 years (the way he talked, moved, gesticulated…). Good if he is good, bad if he is bad…

All in all, I have to say the new Holy Father exudes more than an unpleasant whiff of Vatican II. Bad. 

Dulcis in fundo, if you search “Bergoglio” on this blog you will find a single blog post, but a very complimentary one.  Once again, Bergoglio’s uncompromising stance on homosexuality is the trait which seems to be most evident. I am curious to see how the liberal press will salute a “friend of the poor” of this caliber…  


Those who have voted for Bergoglio will have to answer to God before all too long for what they have done; as I assume most of them do believe in God and know they will have to answer to Him, there might be some hope. I want to think a Pope elected with a high majority (apparently higher than Ratzinger’s) must have given elements of reassurance also to rather conservative elements among the cardinals, and given guarantees to be a safe pair of hands to tackle the problems of the Church. The Cardinal must have known better than us what they are going to get, and they did like it.

As to what has happened, we will probably know more in due time, but what I imagine now is that it was clear from the start there were not one, but two strong candidates: one almost certainly Scola, the other possibly Scherer. These candidates must have been both strong and clearly destined to neutralise each other, because the quest for a credible outsider started, and was concluded, so soon.

Bergoglio was probably seen as a surrogate Italian (100% Italian blood); a surrogate conservative (ties with C&L; strong on homos); a surrogate liberal (a Jesuit, for crying out loud! And a “let’s travel with the bus”, “oh look how modest he is” type); not a man of the Curia; a man who speaks Italian and knows Italians; actually, one who is culturally one of them; a man who at 77 gives perhaps more guarantees – or so his electors thought – of toning down “social justice” bollocks; a man who, by his strong dislike for homos, can clean up the Vatican all right, and no risk of picking the wrong one in this.

I have not read anything about him being in favour of “collegiality”, but I mistrust whomever is defined as “pastoral”, which to me reads “heretical” and “accommodating”. Schoenborn, whose mother will be pleased, is always described as “pastoral”.

If you ask me, Sandri and Schoenborn would have been much worse, Ouellet probably better (for us), Scola even better, others like Bagnasco probably never had a chance.

It would be interesting to know whether the Austro-German heretic Sturmtruppen pushed his candidature. By the Pontiff’s stance on homos, I very much doubt. He does look very un-German from here, at least for now.

And what about the SSPX? Frankly, I am relaxed about them. Pope Francis certainly does not seem a liturgical friend of theirs; but again in the end – and after all the posturing, the rhetoric, and the lies – neither was Ratzinger. If the new Pope wants to “play Mueller” on them, he’ll discover the SSPX men are tougher than Argentinian generals, and can destroy his credibility as a decent Pope. I doubt he would relish the experience, and I think he’ll be rather more prudent than opening a front he certainly doesn’t need.

As always, yours truly tries to be an optimist; which today is, admittedly, not entirely easy. Still, a vast number of Cardinals thought cardinal Bergoglio the right one. Unless they only did so in order for them to be left free to do whatever they please at home, there might be hope.

In the end, the much-vaunted Pope Benedict has given us Summorum Pontificum (good), a shameless charade on the SSPX (bad), an impressive series of wrong or disastrous episcopal appointments (bad), a rampaging homosexuality within the Vatican (bad), and in general the perfect portrait of roi fainéant (bad).

For this pontificate to be worse than the last one it will take some doing.


Habemus Papam!



I know, it’s banal…

I just can’t wait to know who he is..

Oh Lord, please the right one!


Sister Act

If you peruse the National Schismatic Reporter today – we all do it every now and then; it keeps you informed about Satan's latest moves – you'll find a piece about the conclave from a female called Maureen Fiedler. Her bio says a lot of fluffy things about her (radio work, “social justice” activism, “gender equality” activism, “peace” activism, PhD in Applied Idiocy (or “Government”; one of the two) and it also informs us that, lesbian or not, she is supposed to be nun (though from the photo you'd never imagine it, of course).

Today, sister reinvents Christianity for the exclusive benefit of her more or less enlightened readers from the Liberal madhouse.

We are, first, informed the Church is not democratic. This shocking revelation, of which she was possibly not aware when she tools her vows of fidelity to… social justice, pacifism and sexual perversion, clearly forces all of us to confront Jesus' shocking lack of democratic sensitivity. It would have been so easy to let the Five Thousand democratically elect their own representatives; but no, Jesus had to decide all by himself, appointing twelve leaders without even the shred of a public consultation. I mean, really? Who does He thinks he is, God?

The Chap (He can't have been God, after all; God is democratic; everyone knows that…) even gave a shameless display of atrocious sex discrimination, appointing – would you believe that – only males for the office! Not even a lesbian among them, let alone a real woman! Really, what was He thinking?!

It gets worse than this. I mean, we can understand Jesus might have wanted to pander to His Roman Masters, who in those times didn't “do” democracy anymore; he might have been afraid (we knew he was often afraid, particularly when he saw “sister's” female ancestors walking around) of the Jewish establishment and thus timorous to appoint lesbians (or even real women) to his Board Of Directresses… But seriously, not even a mention that His Church was supposed to have democratic elections, Wymyn quota and at least one good dozen LGBT members among the Cardinalettes? Seriously? What an amateur…

Thankfully, we are now in 2013, and Sister got it right. We are therefore going to eliminate the construction faults of the Catholic edifice by inserting democracy, pacifism, socialism and sexual perversion into the structure of an obsolete behemoth not even really improved by Vatican II.

Then, and only then, Catholicism will be really authentic, as shown by the champions of Catholic authenticity, those from whom “Sister” says we should learn.

To wit: The Protestants.



Good News From The Seminary

In a very interesting post on Father Z's blog, a seminarist describes how the conclave will be dealt with: the bell will ring, every activity will cease, and everyone will go in front of the TV to follow the event live. After that, all will go to pray Te Deum and Christus Vincit. Like Father Z, I was very pleasantly surprised particularly at the last detail. It is as if the Fifties had come back for a moment.

Perhaps the Fifties are coming back, though, in a more permanent way. Perhaps by the next Conclave seminarians singing Te Deum and Christus Vincit (the London Oratorians sing a wonderful rendition of the latter every year on the Feast of Christ the King; unfortunately I do not know the composer) will not even be considered worthy of a blog post. Perhaps thinking is already changing from the roots, just as we observe with pain that the mighty branches are ill and at risk of decay.

Thank God, the Church has self-healing energies helping her, time and again, to recover after every period of crisis. The beautiful image of the seminarians singing as if we were in the Fifties will accompany me when the white smoke appears, and in the hours spent digesting the historical announcement of the new Pontiff.

May God bless them and help them to become the kind of priests – and, one day, bishops and perhaps cardinals – we so desperately need in our besieged West.



Vatican Scaffolds

Monsignor Scicluna has either given a sort of informal interview, or either imprudently spoken in front of a microphone he thought was switched off (there's a delightful episode of “Yes, Prime Minister” concerning such events; but Gordon Brown's “bigoted woman” incident also comes to mind), and has said thePontiff Emeritus chose to decapitate himself in order to get rid in one fell swoop of the many who also needed to be, erm, decapitated.

Monsignor's utterances are clearly evocative of glorious episodes of the past: the battle of Alesia, where Caesar's soldiers recurred to the unusual step of committing collective suicide, thus destroying Gaul rebels twenty times their number; or the battle of Lepanto, where the audacious decision to scuttle the Christian fleet inflicted a mortal blow to the Ottomans. The unforgettable self-decapitation of St. Pius the Tenth in order to uproot the terrible heresy of Modernism is, I am sure, also in every reader's mind.

In this case, though, there appears to be a small problem Monsignor Scicluna might not have, in his spontaneous utterances, adequately considered: the Pontiff Emeritus neglected to say who are those meant to be decapitated with him. This might have the unintended consequence that not one of them finds his head permanently separated from his neck, of course with the exception of the Pontiff. In fact, the audacious move leaves the Cardinals in the unusual position of not knowing who should be picked as executioner, with the concrete risk they pick one of those who should be executed instead. Boldly, the Pontiff Emeritus chose to get rid of himself, without getting rid of those he meant to have executed.

Truly, what a difference with Alesia, Lepanto, and St. Pius X!



The old mother of Cardinal Schoenborn (92 years old, God bless her…) has expressed her fear her son might be elected Pope, an event which would obviously cut the Cardinal's “family time”.

I am sure I express the opinion of all readers when I say we will fervently pray that she can continue to see her son as much as she likes.


Saucy Detail From The Conclave.


Gianluigi Nuzzi, the journalist who obtained from Paolo Gabriele the Vatileaks material, asked to be credentialed to cover the Conclave. This would have meant great proximity to the event, access to press conferences, perhaps some working space of sort, etc. 

Unsurprisingly, the request was refused.

It’s pretty much the same as if Hitler had asked to become a member of the World Jewish Congress.


Keep Calm, And Pray On: First Smoke Is Black.

The first smoke is black.

I wonder how many wannabe pundits will now say “it’s because of priest celibacy”, or “no agreement about sex abuse scandals”, or simply “divided Church cannot reach agreement”.

The United States need more than one year and a vast amount of money to elect a President in charge for only four years.

Keep calm, and pray on.


Holier Than Thou

In a welcome bit of entertainment in these hours preceding a historic decision, some funny people have put in scene a micro-manifestation in front of the tailor in charge of the Papal habit (I think he makes three, so do not expect the garment to fit perfectly).

The improvised comedians chanted on the lines of “animals have a spirit too”; which, if I understand correctly, prevents said animals from being used to make fur (note to self: furs to be made only from spiritless material).

It is not reported how good the comedians felt, though I personally do not doubt they felt extremely holy. Unfortunately, the locals seemed to heartily disagree, complaining instead for the noise and disturbance with that typical Italian common sense so good at distinguishing a holy man from an hopeless, self-centred idiot.

I'd love to know how many of the funny guys believe Man has an immortal soul, and how many of those who do believe Man has, but animals haven't. What I do believe is that they are persuaded the Pope has failed to live up to their standards, and Christianity has a 2000 years tradition of “spirit genocide”. How many of them wore leather articles – rather than jute, cotton and wool exclusively) also remains to be seen.

Either way, we had our bit of fun.

I can't wait for the appeal to the Pope to cover the Vatican Gardens with solar panels.


Easy Slogans

Today marks the beginning of the Conclave, and the one or other Cardinal still manages, through friendly journalists, to get his name mentioned in the press, together with the one or other easy slogan making his name look so beautiful.

This morning, two of them have attracted my still sleepy attention: the Church is, says one Cardinal, supposed to bring “joy” to the world. If you ask another, the Church must “accompany” it.

This is the kind of Tofu Catholicism with which two generations of unfortunate faithful have now been fed. It tastes of nothing, but it is fashionable, and apparently considered healthier than the traditional fare.

Now, I have nothing against joy. If David Cameron were to be ousted today, I would experience a heavy dose of it. I also like Hope as a theological virtue, and try to practice it as good as I can. But when Catholicism – nay; the role itself of the Church – is reduced to “joy” something is going very, very wrong.

Tofu Catholicism does not confront one with the harsh realities of life, but rather sweeps the unpleasant news under the carpet or, if we want to remain by the culinary metaphor, neglects the possibility of death out of lack of vitamins. “Joy” becomes, for the clergy and the laity of the V II generation, an easy escapism which refuses to even consider the extremely harsh, but extremely real, threat of Hell. This Catholicism is like a Brothers Grimm's tale where the wolf is automatically neutralised, grandma is taken out of his belly amidst the applause of the crowds, and the happy end is simply taken for granted whilst everyone feels so good and holy. Whatever this is, this is not Catholicism. Let's hope we are spared a Pope of the “joyous” type.

The other easy slogan is the “accompanying”. How beautifully ambiguous! How wonderfully uncommitted! One can “accompany” pretty much anyone on this planet without doing the least for their salvation. One can “accompany” them through their divorcing and remarrying, their contracepting, their morning-after-pill taking, their “gay friends” boasting, without ever having to say one word about the grave dangers their walk leads into. Still, how good it sounds. Gentle. Caring. Full of understanding.

It is a clear indication of the V II clergyman that he tries not to mention Christ. If he does, he'll present a kindergarten version of Him, lest the sheep be scared. He'll rather “accompany” them, babbling tofu-tasting waffle about “joy”, and “accompanying” them all the way to hell.

Today marks the beginning of the Conclave.

O Lord, please give us a strong Pope.



Cardinal Piacenza, And The Cardinals’ Choice.

Mauro Cardinale Piacenza

Among the many names circulating in the press concerning the future Pope (it would be, in fact, interesting to know whether there are Cardinals to whom no newspaper has attributed any chance; even the old heretic Meisner got his mention, which now practically leaves only Hans Kueng out) one who offers some interesting reflection is Cardinal Piacenza.

Piacenza is clearly in favour of Summorum Pontificum, though he appears not to have celebrated the Traditional Mass after it. He has scandalised the Italian journalists with his “interpretations” of Vatican II, apparently consisting – or so they say – in keeping the name and killing the rest. He appears to have the forma mentis of a “doer” rather than of a dreamer, a writer, or a traveler.

It is no more possible for me than for everyone else – including the 5,000 Journalists now enjoying the incipient Roman spring – to gauge the real chances of the man. What I would like to point out is that even if we do not get him, we should certainly hope in one like him.

Our dream – and certainly mine – of a Pope in Sixtus V-style, who starts an extremely vigorous politics of reform as soon as he has finished with the Te Deum and walks away from the Sistine Chapel at the sound of Star Wars' “Imperial March” is simply not going to happen. There would never be a two-thirds majority for such a man. Such a man is, probably, not there in the first place.

What is, with God's help, feasible, is a Pope able and willing to lead the Church out of the Vatican II quagmire without causing the Church or the Cardinals – most of them compromised with that rubbish anyway – to lose face.

The “hawks” have certainly understood Vatican II must die, and the “doves” will never vote for one like Piacenza anyway; but if there is a big enough number of “mainstream” Cardinals able to quietly accept that Vatican II is beyond healing and should be put to sleep we might get such a Pope. The counter-Aggiornamento would then happen in a face-saving, but still effective way, with – just to make an example – a counter-Syllabus of errors like the one proposed by the great Athanasius Schneider – Cardinale subito! – and other measures effectively killing the aggiornamento at its very root without too much noise.

I do not know how many Piacenzas will be sitting in the Sistine Chapel tomorrow afternoon, nor how much support they can gather; but my suspicion is that there are many more of those than the liberal leaning Press would want us to believe; Cardinals, I mean, who have realised Vatican II is an unmitigated disaster, but do not want to be made responsible for its failure, and would gladly welcome a Pope able to remove the cancer without causing too much suffering for the patient.

I doubt Ouellet can be this kind of man, as he is consistently portrayed as a timid and gentle man in the mould of the Pontiff Emeritus, and therefore in all likelihood without the energy necessary for such a work of quiet but effective demolition. I think it more probable that people like Scola would be right for the job, as he is never depicted as “shy” and is a man not compromised from a strong connection with the Curia, a circumstance which would offer the Cardinals more guarantees concerning the other big issue of governance.

We will know, possibly, as early as tomorrow evening. After days of sudden alarm every time I read of impresentabili touted as possible Cardinals, I have now come to the more tranquil conclusion that Cardinals tend to be, by all their shortcomings, prudent people, very unlikely to pick a Meisner or Schoenborn or other shameful candidates for whom the two-third hurdle should well prove insuperable.

We will, I think, rather have one of these two: a gentle, kind, timid Pope, inoffensive for the Cardinals and local hierarchy and continuing with the collegial leading style, or a more assertive, muscular, decisive Pope able to tackle problems rather than merely look at them. In the first case they will have a business as usual scenario, with the bill coming in form of continued erosion of Christianity in the West. In the second they will have a reform scenario, but with all the dangers a strong Pope represents for the local hierarchies, particularly when they are inefficient, corrupt, or both.

We will soon know.

O Lord, please give us a strong Pope.



The Strength Of A Pope

Not a Pope, for sure... Comrade Ed Milliband

God forbid, this Conclave might – say some – be a long one. I already see the headline of the secular rubbish press, “Church divided” and the like. If we still don't have a new Pope come Wednesday evening, be assured the usual falsehoods will be spread again, and the new Pope will be described as a “lame duck” before even talking of sexual scandals…

Now, it might be good if you would remind your friends, colleagues and acquaintances that the duration of a Conclave is nothing to do with the strength or authority of the Papacy that follows it.

Pope Ratzinger was elected rather fast, but not even his most fanatical supporters would call his a strong Papacy. St. Pius X, on the other hand, was elected after a rather prolonged conclave, but not even his worst enemies would have denied his was a very strong Papacy.

The Press must write something, because newspapers must be sold every day. This morning I have read an article that managed to give chances to 22 Cardinals, as if its author were terrified at the thought of not having the name of the chosen one mentioned in the article; therefore, his idea of avoiding it was to make the article useless.

(As we are there, I'd like to know how big parties can stage elaborate election procedures going on for weeks before electing their boss, but a Pope must be found in a handful of ballots…).

We should, however, not be influenced by the press, and try to avoid as far as we can that the uninformed, the simple and the outright stupid parrot the rubbish they see on TV.

A long Conclave may well produce a strong Pope because a Pope is not like a party leader, who is weakened if he elected with a tiny majority or after a prolonged process. Ed Milliband made it with a very slim majority, and everyone knew he could be easily ousted and was basically on probation (still is, I'd say). The Pope must not win general elections, cannot be ousted, does not need the approval of the party basis and can, if he so wishes, even ignore internal opposition. Once he is Pope, he is in charge exactly in the same way whether it took three or eighty-tree ballots to elect him.

Please let us be fast in pointing out to this in the office etc. should the need arise. If we are going towards a long conclave, we should at least fight the prejudice with energy.


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