Sandro Magister has been deprived of the accreditation by the press office of the Holy See. Let’s spend two words on this.
1. Magister has not been “silenced”. He will still get all the information he needs, and will still write (pretty much) all that he wants. He will not be there “live” when Lombardi lombardises, is all.
2. Magister has leaked a draft, and he has said so. It is inconceivable that the press office of the Vatican woul dsay to journalist “we will let you have the right version of the encyclical, but for now here is the wrong one for you to familiarise with it”. No. This was a “classic” leak: internal source gives a journalist a document, which he then publishes.
3. To publish leaked documents is what journalists do. It’s their damned job. Lombardi & Co. should care that there are no leaks in the first place, rather than crucifying a journalist for exposing their own incompetence.
4. To repeat: there was no breach of trust. Lombardi has obviously not broken any embargo. He has not been handed a document from the Vatican press office and has disobeyed the instructions related to it. He has done what journalists do: published a document leaked to him.
5. It is good that the draft was published. People with a tougher stomach than myself will confront the two versions and expose the small adjustments, in which the most obvious giveaways of the Nazi ideology behind this document were removed because… too openly Nazi.
6. The draft has been published in its entirety. If these people were a tad smart they would put codes in any of the draft copies – a praxis used for decades – to identify the owner of the leaked draft. I can’t imagine that at the Vatican they are so stupid that they don’t know this. I rather suspect they are too lazy to work properly, or too incompetent to care for propriety.
But notice how the world goes: another huge leak bares all the inefficiency of the Vatican, and the culprit is a journalist.
By the by: Magister is a big, big name. The removal of his accreditation will have zero consequences for him. But he will make a note of this episode, and remember it at the appropriate juncture.
I have this from Reuters and I cannot imagine this is a misunderstanding or an unchecked news. The famous explosive report is then destined to remain under key, and for the eyes of the next Pope only. Clearly there is the fear that the most interesting details may be (cough: will be) leaked.
Personally, I think it would have been much better that the Cardinal had been able to have access to the document before the Conclave, and I cannot see the damage from leaking as so big as the damage from not letting the Cardinal know what’s going on before taking such an important decision like the election of a new Pope. As they say, at some point oportet ut scandala eveniant.
In any case, I always thought it wise to think carefully before taking an important decision and then stick to it.
Fair Warning: If you think it inappropriate to discuss leaks from the Vatican, click away now…
Disturbing rumours from the Vatican in these anyway rather disturbing times.
It appears (but… I wasn’t there) that the report recently given to the Holy Father concerning the “Vatileaks” scandal contains prudently worded but clear references to what in common parlance is called a “gay mafia” operating within the very Leonine Walls. In addition, members of this group would be currently blackmailed by what in common parlance are called their lovers.
The allegations about the content of the report are now made by the biggest Italian newspaper, “Repubblica”, after already the “Corriere della Sera” had heavily hinted at the matter in the past. “Repubblica” claims sources near to those who wrote the report. I do not like “Repubblica” as a newspaper, but cannot imagine they would publish the rumours without being very sure of what they do.
The report seems to describe an environment characterised by infighting groups, of which the above mentioned homo mafia is the truly disturbing element.
Now, it is common for every organisation made of humans to have different groups thinking in different ways (say: Cardinal Bagnasco does not like Berlusconi and threw him out of the window; but Cardinal Sodano thinks he is the Church’s natural ally) and being human they can be certainly forgiven if they tend to entrench themselves a bit in their own positions; but to have a group of people acting in concert not to pursue what they think is the best policy for the Church, but to cover and aid each other in what concerns their common perversion is utterly disturbing.
We will probably never know whether this report is – as also rumoured – what moved Benedict to decide it was time to abdicate; I personally thinks the decision was taken before, and the Vatileaks scandal forced him to wait a bit longer; but certainly, the report must have definitely persuaded the Holy Father that he did not have the strength (both physical and of character, I think he is too harsh with himself when he says “spiritual”) to add this battle to the many Catholicism is now called to fight all over the West (sodomy, euthanasia, abortion, secularism and militant atheism come to mind).
It is certainly disconcerting that a Pope should leave in the moment when war must be waged. Does the report contain names, dates, facts? And if it is so, how can it be possible to go away hoping that one’s successor cleans the mess one hasn’t cleaned? On the other hand, if one partout does not have the energy to fight this fight (and Pope Benedict never had the energy to fight any meaningful fight; just think of the Wagner episode in Linz…) it is certainly better to abdicate and hope the next Pope is fit for purpose.
In a development of the latest hours, La Stampa informs us the dossier will now be made available to the Cardinals in the conclave. Whilst the Vatican (obviously) denies the rumours of sexual impropriety among high ranking officials, this move would seem the way Pope Benedict has assured that whilst he does not act, his successor will have to. This very proper cleaning of dirty laundry within the family of the Cardinals will make sure the necessity to get a strong man able to clean the mess is forcefully stressed, and remains in the mind of every Cardinal.
Let me say once again before I close that I have obviously not read the document, and it could well be in the end that this devil is not as bad as he is represented. Still, everyone who follows the affairs of the Church knows very well that homosexual infiltration is ripe at many levels of the Church, and should not be surprised to know that the filth has paved its way to the Vatican.
If you let the smoke of Satan enter the temple of God, be prepared for Satan to get to work with it.
Please Lord, please inspire the Cardinals to give us a strong Pope!
This will be published from the Italian magazine Panorama today.
If what is alleged is true, the chap was born around 1982, from a prelate who evidently learned the lesson of the Sixty-Eighters so well he was still practising free love many years later.
Whilst we do not know the source, this looks like the next stage of the Vatileaks affair, in the sense that it seems to come from the same people.
I am, obviously, not worried as both Cardinals (Bertone and the influential dad) seem to have the confidence of the Holy Father, and we all know how good he is in selecting the very worst.
The Panorama article makes some names of Cardinals, as the allegations are precise enough as to not allow many alternatives as to who the involved prelates might be. I prefer not to report the names, as it might well be that this last “leak” is motivated by a desire to slander without any proof, spreading a climate of falseness and lies. Still, this will make the round of the planet today, so it’s better you read it here…
I wouldn’t bet my pint that the slander hypothesis is the case, though: if the leakers are the same we have seen operating in the past, we will probably see the evidence of what they say rather soon. They seem to be very well informed, and very determined.
Illegitimate sons of Cardinals aren’t really a novelty, and their papas generally provide for them a good situation. The most famous example is probably Cesare Borgia, in Italy called Il Valentino: bishop at 15 (of Valencia, hence the name) and cardinal at 18, one can’t say papa wasn’t providing for his personal welfare… still, one would have thought these things are out of fashion now…
As it stands, we are solidly on our way of having all the Church corruption of the XVI Century, without any of the theological orthodoxy.
Mala tempora currunt.
Hat tip to Chris Gillibrand at Catholic Church Conservation.
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.
This “Vatileaks” matter does not cease to amaze me.
It seems there are even people who demand or suggest the Pope should resign, as if the Vatican had always been an immaculate garden full of delicate flowers, now invaded by weeds. Then there are the faithful who are shocked, probably because they know next to nothing of history and think corruption in the Church started around five months ago.
Then there are – and they are also not new, but they’re amazing nevertheless – those who seem to think the Church must make an effort to earn I do not say their approval, but even their allegiance. The latter group seems to think the Church is something like a political party, to which they can give their support or take it away.
It is, therefore, perhaps fitting to say a couple of words about the matter. This may seem stating the obvious to some (which it is, and the reason why I often do not even mention these matters) but might be of some benefits for others, perhaps more recent readers of this blog or stumbling on this page by the virtue of Google.
1. Corruption in the Church is as old as the Church herself. Even among the first batch of twelve – handpicked by Our Lord Himself, and with the immeasurable benefit of knowing Him in the flesh – the betrayal rate was one in six, though one repented so let’s settle for one in twelve, which is around 8.33%. Those who know what happened afterwards are, certainly, not very alarmed from what is happening now, at least as far as the degree of corruption is concerned. Benedict IX sold his papacy, for crying out loud!
2. The Church is not a party, but the bride of Christ. I am utterly astonished that those people who say they have left the Church because they disagree with Pope Benedict’s policies never say to you they don’t identify with their Fatherland anymore because they don’t like Obama (or Bush, or Merkel, or the Chameleon, or Berlusconi). They don’t say this to you, because they perfectly well know it would be a very childish thing to say, and would let them appear rather stupid. But hey, if it is about the Church of Christ, one can throw away the membership card as he likes…
3. Excessive worries are a sign of weak faith, because the Church is indefectible. As Cardinal Consalvi brilliantly told Napoleon, the clergy has been trying to destroy her from the start, and has never managed it. The idea the Church may be marching toward destruction is as intelligent as the fear of Asterix’ villagers the sky may be about to fall on their head. Of course, one has the right to be angry – and if you ask, has the duty to denounce the filth in an apposite manner – but let us never forget total defeat is not an option here, merely some more or less protracted phase of dismal military operations and shocking, if never definitive setbacks.
I sometimes forget to point out to these simple facts. I do this, because to me this is such a matter of course than it would not occur to me to remind you of this more than it would that tomorrow the sun will go up in the east.
Therefore, let us be attentive not to cover the scandals – oportet ut scandala eveniant is valid for the Church too – but at the same time let us not think that the Church is now suddenly in danger, or the sky is about to fall on our heads.
I have published already a blog post concerned with the (worrying) leadership situation emerging – as it seems, in a rather incontrovertible way; unless some documents have been forged or there is crucial information we do not know; which both seem improbable – from the latest “Vatileaks” documents.
I see around me a reaction to these leaks I struggle to understand.
Firstly, let me say last time I looked the publication of confidential documents exposing scandals within an organisation was not called “leaking”, but whistleblowing.
If these documents are made public with an honest intention, I can’t see anything wrong with it. No one seems to complain about the certainly extremely powerful whistleblower(s) who gave the Corriere della Sera devastating material about Annibale Bugnini and put an end to his career; and no one would have complained if Marcial Maciel would have been publicly exposed from within the Vatican when it was clear Pope John Paul II was either naive, or blind, or both. Still, some knew about Maciel and said nothing. How is this being loyal to the Church? How would blowing the whistle on him have been disloyal?
Of course, the questions about the truthfulness and the real aims of the person or group of people behind this operation cannot be ascertained yet: they could be mischievous schemers wanting to sabotage the Pope, or honest people of God wanting to free him from the grasp of people they consider too powerful, too dangerous, and too little attached to the Church. Still, I can’t see why the one hypothesis should be enthusiastically accepted, and the other discarded a priori.
As I have already written, the Vatican is clearly a sieve, where everyone who is anyone can have access to reserved documents and confidential information. Therefore, the following hypotheses are in my eyes both valid:
a) A group of powerful prelates (note they do not hesitate in saying “we”, at least wanting everyone to believe there is a group behind this initiative; and if this is so, it is easy to believe it is not a group without influence) has the pockets full of Bertone and Gaenswein for fully legitimate reasons, and has decided to give the Pope the alternative between getting rid of the two now, or waiting until they have been cut into very little pieces by several instalments of revelations concerning very, very bad practice. If this is true, the letters already revealed are clearly the last warning salvo: impressive enough in what they reveal, but without aiming at the two men directly. Always in this perspective (which is, clearly, only hypothetical) these people have devastating revelations in their hands, then if they are honest in their intentions they would never bark in such astonishing way without being able to bite accordingly. If this is true, the target of the first salvo is extremely clear: Bertone and Gaenswein have the Pope in their hands to such an extent that they move him to clearly questionable behaviour, creating a camarilla of people who take their own decision and keep everyone else, even very highly positioned Cardinals like Burke, out of the loop.
Concerning the SSPX, we can’t really say whether this group is for them or against them. It may well be that they see Bertone and Gaenswein as having too much influence, and fear that the two together have persuaded Pope Benedict to wait before he announces the reconciliation (no decision within May. Coincidence?) and might persuade him to postpone it sine die. Therefore, they proceed to fire on the two with all their cannons, until the Pope draws the consequences.
All this might be true or false, but I can’t see how anyone can say that it wouldn’t make sense. It is not that the Vatican corridors are populated by innocent school girls, be they friends or enemies of the SSPX.
b) A group of powerful prelates is concerned about the way things are going: the imminent reconciliation with the SSPX on the one side, and the personal power of Gaenswein and Bertone on the other. This is, in this scenario, motivated by pure thirst for power and influence, rather than from sincere desire to help the Church; or else, by an in itself sincere desire to move the Church towards, say, Cardinal Schoenborn. Therefore, they want to take both Gaenswein and Bertone down, hoping that at that point the Pontiff will appoint people more able to move him toward VII/liberal/progressive decisions. Also in this scenario, either these people are merely slandering and hoping that some mud will stick, or they do have devastating evidence of the doings of the two and will only stop when they have both gone.
Again, all this might be true or false, but even with very innocent spectacles it is difficult not to see this scenario as at least possible. Still: must this be the only possible scenario?
In addition, I would like to point out to a fatal flaw of the “poor Pope Benedict, surrounded by wolves”- mantra. Pope Benedict has ruled over the Vatican for now seven years with such absolute powers as no other ruler on Earth can claim. Every appointment and every decision depended from him. If wolves are circling around him, they are wolves he chose. If the Vatican is dominated by intrigues and falseness, this is intrigue and falseness he promoted to the top of the Vatican hierarchy. If there is rot at the top, it is rot he allowed to fester every step of the way. It is to me nothing less than astonishing that John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II should be burdened with the full responsibility of what happened during their pontificate, but this should not apply to Pope Benedict. The latter is, instead, either supposed to have an evil twin making all the wrong decisions and appointing all the wrong people while the real Pontiff is sleeping, or else he is thought to live in a crystal ball which completely isolates him from the outer world, and allows only the voice of the “wolves” to filter through.
Seriously, folks: such a naive cleric wouldn’t become Pope in the first place. Add to this that this particular Pope had been an old fox of the Vatican not for years, but for decades before he became Pope and I can’t believe there is one single trick in the book he hasn’t seen already. Therefore, the Celestine V argument most certainly does not apply to him.
It can’t be that Popes are held accountable only when we happen not to like their ideological stance, but we start seeing “wolves” everywhere when we do.
I generally ignore what appears on the internet as a result of leaks. This time, though, it is different, because the “leak” appeared on Repubblica is not a normal leak, but a very public denunciation of the intrigues going on in the Vatican.
After reading the articles on Repubblica, my impressions are as follows:
1) The Vatican leaks like a sieve. Hundreds of documents allegedly in the hands of people who even claim to want to defend the Vatican from those who leak documents! If even a part of the “hundreds” documents are in the wrong hands, this shows what once was an extremely efficient, well-oiled diplomatic machine has now become the butt of a joke. This is bad news, but we knew already the news weren’t very good on that account.
2) Cardinal Burke complains in a pleasantly outspoken way about the approval of the neocatechumenal liturgy. He says loud and clear this “liturgy” goes against the liturgical direction followed by the Pope, even after the modifications suggested by the Vatican.
This man is my hero. Please God, he will be Pope one day and we’ll see the end of a lot of this nonsense.
3) The “governance” policies of the Vatican are questionable to say the very least. Please ponder on these words of Cardinal Burke, which I give to you in their Italian original:
“Non posso – si legge – come Cardinale e membro della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti, non esprimere a Vostra Eminenza la meraviglia che l’invito mi ha causato. Non ricordo di aver sentito di una consultazione a riguardo dell’approvazione di una liturgia propria di questo movimento ecclesiale. Ho ricevuto, negli ultimi giorni, da varie persone, anche da uno stimato Vescovo statunitense, espressioni di preoccupazione riguardo ad una tale approvazione papale, della quale essi avevano già saputo. Tale notizia era per me una pura diceria o speculazione. Adesso ho scoperto che essi avevano ragione”
If you do not know the language of Dante, the facts are as follows:
3.1) It is the 14 January 2012 and Cardinal Burke has just received from Cardinal Bertone an invitation to take part to a ceremony on occasion of the approval (!) of the Neocatechumenal liturgy; the ceremony is scheduled for the 20 January.
3.2) He replies to Bertone that he is utterly surprised, because he had never heard that consultations had ever taken place.
3.3) He had previously received word from some people – among them a very concerned American bishop – that something of the sort might be in the making, but
3.4) He had considered this “pure hearsay and speculation”.
3.5) Only after receiving the invitation, Burke realised that the speculation was, actually, true.
This is nothing less than astonishing. As you read here, the Holy Father had signed the decree of approval on the 30 December 2011 and had not considered it necessary to inform Cardinal Burke of this; not even after the fait accompli. Nor had the Cardinal been informed by Bertone or by anyone else, which appears hardly a coincidence.
4) It gets, I am afraid, worse than this. Cardinal Burke writes his angry letter to Bertone, and lets the Pope have the letter beforehand – clearly, a polite way to say to the Holy Father “what the heck is happening here, and why am I kept in the dark?” -. Astonishingly, the Pope writes on the letter a note inviting Bertone to take account of Burke’s “very right observations”.
Of course, a Pope is free to say whatever he pleases to whomever he likes, and might even think it somewhat clever to write a couple of words of “approval” of the man he clearly chose to keep out of the loop, as one would give a sweet to a complaining child.
But frankly, if this is the way the Holy Father deals with his closest collaborators – and by reflex, the mentality going on among his troops – no one has any right to be surprised at what is happening.