Cardinal Murphy-O’Conner admits Pope Francis recognized his leadership of “Team Bergoglio”

Catholic Herald, Sept 12, 2014: Online edition (Screen Shot by From Rome blog)
Catholic Herald, Sept 12, 2014: Online edition (Screen Shot by From Rome blog)

Dec. 6, 2014: In a letter to the editor of the Monday edition of the Telegraph, Nov. 25th last, the former Cardinal of Westminster strongly denied that he had asked Cardinal Bergoglio to assent to a vote-lobbying campaign in his favor and the involvement of Cardinals in that effort, known as “Team Bergoglio”.

But, in a stunning revelation, published by Miguel Cullen in the Catholic Herald, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, and entitled,  Pope sent greetings to the Queen straight after his election, says cardinal, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor had already contradicted his own denial, when he confessed to being the ring-leader of what Dr. Ivereigh nick-named, “Team Bergoglio”, and admited that Pope Francis recognized this, just 2 days after the conclusion of the Conclave in 2013.

The key passages of that report read:

The cardinal also disclosed that he had spoken to the future Pope as they left the Missa pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice, the final Mass before the conclave began on March 12.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said: “We talked a little bit. I told him he had my prayers and said, in Italian: ‘Be careful.’ I was hinting, and he realised and said: ‘Si – capisco’ – yes, I understand. He was calm. He was aware that he was probably going to be a candidate going in. Did I know he was going to be Pope? No. There were other good candidates. But I knew he would be one of the leading ones.”

The admissions of the Cardinal in that report blow a hole in the hull of the denial, issued by Maggie Doherty, his spokeswoman, just 2 weeks ago, whereby he denied involvement and denied Cardinal Bergoglio knew about the vote-canvassing.

That Pope Francis knew about the Cardinal’s leadership in “Team Bergoglio” is admitted by the Cardinal in the same report, where it says:

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor said: “All the cardinals had a meeting with him in the Hall of Benedictions, two days after his election. We all went up one by one. He greeted me very warmly. He said something like: ‘It’s your fault. What have you done to me?’ 

For a time-line of reports about “Team Bergoglio” from sources round the world, as well as by this blog, see here.

Ivereigh knew of UDG 81 on March 12, 2013

BBC Live broadcast on March 12, 2013 at 17:03, with Dr. Austen Ivereigh and Msgr. Mark Langham
BBC Live broadcast on March 12, 2013 at 17:03, with Dr. Austen Ivereigh and Msgr. Mark Langham (Sreen shot by From Rome blog).

Rome, Dec. 6, 2014:  Since the news that the new book by Dr. Austen Ivereigh, former spokesman for the Cardinal of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, contained allegations that a group of Cardinals canvassed for the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, numerous news outlets the world over have covered the story.  The group of 4 to 7 Cardinals, whom Ivereigh nicknames, “Team Bergoglio”, “shocked and disappointed” by the revelations have take the extreme action of having Fr. Frederico Lombardi issue a carefully worded denial through the Italian News Blog, Il Sismografo (published by co-workers from Radio Vaticana).

The probity of Dr. Ivereigh’s testimony concerning the vote-canvassing campaign has been subject to question the world over in the last 2 weeks.  For this reason, the From Rome blog considers it important to publish information regarding other sources which corroborate or disprove Dr. Ivereigh’s allegations, to shed further light on which of the two parties Dr. Ivereigh or the Cardinals are telling the truth.

The Church according to the oft declared teaching of Pope Francis, himself, should not be a place where the powerful silence the weak or hide behind their offices like aristocratic princes, concerning whom no action can be questioned and nothing untoward be imputed, regardless of whether it is true.  For this reason, the “Team Bergoglio” story, whose history has been chronicled here at this blog (see here), represents one of the greatest challenges to the integrity, transparency and honesty of the Bergoglian papacy, if not its very validity in law.

Ivereigh knew of UDG 81 before the Conclave of 2013 began

That Dr. Ivereigh’s testimony in the print edition of his book has great probity, arises not only from the fact that he is former secretary to the very Cardinal who is implicated as the point-man for “Team Bergoglio” (Murphy-O’Connor), but also from the fact that he personally covered the news of the 2013 Conclave, blogging about it for Our Sunday Visitor and speaking on Television for the BBC.  The video excerpt was posted on YouTube by Catholic Voices on February 22, 2014, ostensibly by Dr. Ivereigh himself.

In a telling report, filed by the BBC on March 12, 2013, the day before the Conclave began, Dr. Ivereigh shows himself knowledgeable of the papal rule forbidding canvassing for votes.

The interview took place at 17:03 local time, during the very act in which the Cardinal Electors took their vows to uphold the secrecy of the Conclave.  Among which electors is seen Cardinal Bergoglio. Interviewed are Msgr. Mark Langham and Dr. Austen Ivereigh, founder of Catholic Voices.

The BBC reporter starts the conversation with an implication which seems to suggest all which The Great Reformer, the book by Dr. Ivereigh, is saying about “Team Bergoglio”, when the former says at 0:56 minutes: The way that one would want to write about this is to talk about the intrigue and the plotting and the scheming

 At 4:30, Dr. Ivereigh admits that he knows of UDG 81’s prescription that the Cardinals are excluded from canvassing pacts, saying, The norms governing the Conclave make sure that there should be no pacts, no agreements…

And at 12:05, Dr. Ivereigh furthermore admits to having met with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and discussed the pre-conclave affairs.

This interview by Dr. Ivereigh thus confirms, both that he had personal first hand knowledge of the requirements of the Papal Law, as well as personal contact with one member of “Team Bergoglio” in the days in which he now claims in his book, the vote-canvassing campaign was conducted.  That makes his testimony on the affair, given in his book, of the highest probity.

Therefore, let us review again, the papal laws by which such a campaign could lead to an invalid election of the Pope.

The Terms of UDG 81, Excommunicate Electors for Voting Agreements

All who participated in the Conclave are by Pope John Paul II’s aforementioned Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis (UDG), paragraph 81 to avoid vote canvassing:

Let’s take a look, then, at the Latin original, to understand better how, not just any specific form of vote canvassing is a crime according to the Pope who “brought down the Wall”:

81. Cardinales electores praeterea abstineant ab omnibus pactionibus, conventionibus, promissionibus aliisque quibusvis obligationibus, quibus astringi possint ad suffragium cuidam vel quibusdam dandum aut recusandum. Quae omnia, si reapse intervenerint, etiam iure iurando adiecto, decernimus ea nulla et irrita esse, neque eadem observandi obligatione quemquam teneri; facientes contra iam nunc poena excommunicationis latae sententiae innodamus. Vetari tamen non intellegimus, ne per tempus Sedis vacantis de electione sententiae invicem communicentur.

The official English translation from the Vatican Website, renders this text, thus:

81. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.

This translation is not exact.  Here is my own exact translation:¹

81. Let the Cardinal electors, moreover, abstain from all pacts, agreements, promises and any other obligations you like, by which they might be constrained to give or refuse support (suffragium) for anyone (sing. & plural).  All of which, if these were to occur, even when having sworn an oath, We decree are null and void, and none of them are to be held by any obligation of observance; those acting against (this), We now, hereby, bind up with the punishment of excommunication latae sententiae.  Yet, We do not understand to be forbidden, that they communicate with one another concerning the election, during the time of the Sedevacante.

The Terms of Canon 171, §2 Invalidate elections in which Excommunicated Electors participate

 What makes the revelations of Dr. Ivereigh so challenging to the papacy of Cardinal Bergoglio is that Canon 171 invalidates elections in which the number of votes required for victory was obtained by the counting of votes from electors who were excommunicated at the time of the voting.  This Canon sanctions not only those who sought votes, but also those who agreed to give them.  If the allegations of Dr. Ivereigh are true, then as many as 16 Cardinals, the number reported to have initially voted for Cardinal Bergoglio in the first ballot, would be suspect, and thus the final vote of 78 votes, which is only 2 more than the required 78, would be in doubt as to its validity.

Here is the official Latin text of Canon 171:

Can. 171 — § 1. Inhabiles sunt ad suffragium ferendum:

1° incapax actus humani;

2° carens voce activa;

3° poena excommunicationis innodatus sive per sententiam iudicialem sive per decretum quo poena irrogatur vel declaratur;

4° qui ab Ecclesiae communione notorie defecit.

§ 2. Si quis ex praedictis admittatur, eius suffragium est nullum, sed electio valet, nisi constet, eo dempto, electum non rettulisse requisitum suffragiorum numerum.

Here is the official English translation from the Vatican website:

Can. 171 §1. The following are effected to vote:

  • 1/ a person incapable of a human act;
  • 2/ a person who lacks active voice;
  • 3/ a person under a penalty of excommunication whether through a judicial sentence or through a decree by which a penalty is imposed or declared;
  • 4/ a person who has defected notoriously from the communion of the Church.

§ 2. If one of the above is admitted, the person’s vote is null, but the election is valid unless it is evident that, with that vote subtracted, the one elected did not receive the required number of votes.

That the Apostolic Constitution by Pope John Paul II, Universi Dominic Gregis, regulating papal elections is a decree in the sense mentioned in Canon 171 §1, n. 3, can be had from Canons 29 ff. on general decrees.

 

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¹  In paragraph 81, the term suffragium in Latin has the proper meaning of “support”, but the technical meaning of “vote”.  In English, we say that one pledges his support for a candidate, to signify that one promises to vote for him at election time.

Protestant Minister rebukes Pope Francis for proposing salvation without Jesus

 

Comment:  If the report which sparked this Video is not true, like the recent report by the UPI, then the Vatican Press Office needs to publicly respond for the sake of the salvation of souls.  And if the Vatican does not have a method for response to current misreporting, then perhaps someone in the Vatican should take notice and urge the Pope to establish something, for scandals destroy souls and obstruct conversions.  The admirable thing in this video that no one can dispute, is the deep conviction Rev. Manning has to the teaching found in the Gospel and respect for the office of the Papacy, to the extent that he understands it.  It is to be very much lamented if the conversion of such souls as Rev. Manning, who has a reputation as a sincere man, was prevented by a lack of ready response from the Vatican, in those cases where the Vatican has the responsibility not to remain silent.

Ivereigh backtracks to protect “Team Bergoglio” from penalties of UDG 81

Rome, Dec. 5, 2014:  In the ongoing saga regarding the allegations of Dr. Austen Ivereigh, published in the print edition of his new book on the Pope, The Great Reformer, there are daily developments regarding what Dr. Ivereigh calls “Team Bergoglio”, the group of 4 Cardinals who conducted an organizing vote-canvassing campaign with the assent of Cardinal Bergoglio to get the latter elected.

Dr. Austen Ivereigh is, as Marco Tosatti of La Stampa characterized him, not a Signor Nessuno, (a Mr. Nobody); he is the former personal secretary to one of the Cardinals who is implicated, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, the very Cardinal whom Ivereigh identifies as the point man conducting the campaign.

The other Cardinals implicated, according to various reports, are:  Kasper, Daneels, and Lehmann, as members of “Team Bergoglio”; as facilitators, Cardinals O’Malley of Boston, Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, and the Spaniard, Santos Abril y Castello.

Last night, Catholic News Agency published another revealing report, entitled, Author, cardinals spar over reports of conclave campaigning, in which Dr. Ivereigh is reported to have backtracked significantly on his published claims.

The key part of that report attributes to Dr. Ivereigh the following:

“I am sorry for any misunderstanding arising from my choice of words,” he said, adding that his book’s future editions will have revisions to this statement. The new text will read, “In keeping with conclave rules, they did not ask Bergoglio if he would be willing be a candidate. But they believed this time that the crisis in the Church would make it hard for him to refuse if elected.”

This statement by Ivereigh seems to confirm the validity of the doubts raised by this Blog regarding the possible violations of the papal law on elections of a new pope, Universi Dominici Gregis, specifically in paragraph 81, which punishes Cardinals who vote-canvass with automatic excommunication; and possibly also regarding Canon 171 §2 which invalidates ecclesiastical elections in which excommunicated electors participate to arrive at the final vote count.  Since Cardinal Bergoglio, according to reports, obtained only a 2 vote margin more than the required 66% of total electors present, any possibility that 3 or more of those electors participated in vote-canvassing agreements would put in doubt the legitimacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s claim to the Papacy itself!

What needs to be emphasized, is that the terms of UDG 81 penalize not only those who canvass for votes, but those who are canvassed for votes, if they agreed to the persuasive activities and gave their vote in Conclave on the basis of a promise. Thus, the mere hint of a possibility that any Cardinal was canvassing votes, puts the validity of the election procedure under great doubt and uncertainty.

See a timeline of Reports, from around the world, on the “Team Bergoglio” story, here.

UPI lies in claim that Pope called the Koran, “a prophetic book of peace”

in-mosque

“The Koran is a book of peace. It is a prophetic book of peace,” the pope said, United Press International reported.

However, Paddy Agnew of the Irish Times, faithful to journalistic professionalism, cited the complete quote from Pope Francis, which shows that he did not say what the UPI claimed he said:

He began, however, by condemning anti-Islamic prejudice: “Faced with these (fundamentalist Islamic) terrorist acts . . . people react badly, saying if this is Islam, then I will get angry. That way, lots of Muslims feel offended and they have to point out, ‘but that is not us, the Koran is a prophetic book of peace, this (terrorism) has nothing to do with Islam’. 

(Source: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/pope-condemns-anti-islam-sentiments-1.2021247)

It seems, that just as the press misquoted Pope Benedict XVI in his talk at Ratisbon, to damage his relations with the Islamic world, so they have misquoted Pope Francis to damage his relations with the Catholic world.  A stunning depravity.

PUBLIC APOLOGIES TO THE POPE

Br. Alexis Bugnolo of From the Rome Blog wishes to publicly apologize to the Pope, for having previously trusted UPI and thought badly of him. He also asks pardon from Catholics the world over for running a story without checking the sources; most of which report the quote faultily, but one of which reported the full context.  UPI has done a great disservice to the truth, and we Catholics should demand a formal public apology from UPI.

The faulty story by Mary Papenfuss, of the UPI can be found here: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2014/11/30/Pope-Francis-Dont-equate-Islam-with-violence/8991417404213/

You can send your comments to the UPI’s editorial staff here: http://about.upi.com/contact/editorial

 

Vatican Radio seeks to kill story on “Team Bergoglio”

Note: For a more recent summary of the Allegations contained in Dr. Ivereigh’s Book, click here.

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Rome, Dec. 4, 2014:  The remarkable and stunning revelations by Dr. Austen Ivereigh in his new book, The Great Reformer: the Making of a Radical Pope, have shown their importance in recent days by the sheer number of news articles which have appeared, framing the news of the book on the basis of the story regarding “Team Bergoglio”, the name Dr. Ivereigh gives to the group of 4-6 Cardinals of the Roman Church who, in the days prior to the opening of the Conclave on March 6, 2013, organized an electoral campaign to urge the candidacy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Buenas Aires, Argentina.

While the story did not get traction, outside of the UK, until it was covered by the noted Vaticanista, Marco Tosatti of La Stampa, in Italy, once he did, it broke in numerous news outlets the world over, both in Spain, Portugal, Brazil and the United States.  Soon Ivereigh was taking interview requests from as far away as Peru. And since it has, he has given numerous talks on his book.

However, what most do not know, is that within hours of Tosatti’s published comments, the Vatican was moving behind the scenes to quash the story.  For the Italian blog, il Sismografo, which published Fr. Frederico Lombardi’s carefully worded denial of the allegations, is, unbeknownst to many, run by Fr. Lombard’s colleagues at Radio Vaticana.

The nature of the denial issued by Il Sismografo indicates that great fear and trepidation is had in circles much higher up at the Vatican regarding the allegations.  This can be seen from the fact that the denial was not issued through an official source, that the publishers of the denial were colleagues of Lombardi hiding behind the anonymity of a blog, which is widely read by journalists.  Neither of which could be done without direct knowledge of Cardinal Parolin, the Secretary of State of the Vatican.

As is now, nearly universally known, it was John Bingham of the Telegraph, in the UK, who first broke the story and used the ascription “a discreet, but highly organised, campaign” to describe the work of “Team Bergoglio“. In his story, he quotes Dr. Ivereigh saying of the Team’s work that it was an “organised pre-conclave effort to get Bergoglio elected“. After the publication of his story in the Sunday, Nov. 23 edition of the Telegraph, Dr. Ivereigh was interviewed on Premier Christian Radio about his book and did not discount Bingham’s characterization of the story, but did show extreme unease as he dodged the question as to its nature.

As this blog, From Rome, has speculated, the reason for the great trepidation and swift denials of Dr. Ivereigh’s narrative of events, both by the spokeswoman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, England, and now by Fr. Frederico Lombardi, the head of the Vatican Press Office, is most likely that the papal law for elections of the Roman Pontiff expressly forbids under pain of automatic excommunication, any type of campaigning which obliges in any manner the elector to vote or not vote for a specific candidate or candidates.

As of yesterday, however, the scrubbing of the story is underway: with Google Books removing from online viewing the pages regarding the electoral campaign.

This blog, From Rome has published 2 articles on the canvassing campaign and another on the history of reports about the stories on “Team Bergoglio”.  We have characterizing the lobbying effort from the beginning as canvassing, on the basis of the moral quality of the work done:  for to canvass for votes means, in English, ‘to urge to an elector the worthiness of a candidate and to ask or inquire by words or signs whether the elector can be counted upon to vote for the candidate who has been urged.’

Dr. Austen Ivereigh, himself, uses the word, “canvassing” in The Great Reformer, when he writes (on-line edition, not paginated):

The Spanish cardinal, Santos Abril y Castello, archpriest of St. Mary Major in Rome and a former nuncio in Latin America was vigorous in canvassing on Bergoglio’s behalf among the Iberian bloc.

That the lobbying campaign was an effort at canvassing is confirmed by the words of one American Cardinal, who in the summer of 2013, in an expression of dismay about the course the pontificate of Cardinal Bergoglio was taking, quipped in public that, “We didn’t get the goods which we were sold!“.  While this phrase is not, as some have claimed on the Net, certainly indicative of a sale of votes, it is indicative of an organized effort to solicit votes.

Yet, such an asking or solicitation is expressly forbidden by paragraph 81 of Universi Dominici, which is as wide in the activities which it forbids as it is with the manner of obligation assumed.  While it seems incredible to some, very knowledgeable in the affairs of previous conclaves, that such is forbidden, the fact remains that in the conclave of 2013, if just 4 or 6 Cardinals were involved, the small marginal victory of Cardinal Bergoglio in the final vote of 78 in favor (+2 votes more than the 66% required) would be put in doubt on account of the terms of Canon 171, which nullifies all ecclesiastical elections wherein the votes accrued for victory are only obtained with the counting of votes of excommunicated electors.

That “Team Bergoglio” knew beforehand of the risks involved seems indicated by the fact that it was Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Conner, who was not eligible to vote in the Conclave, who was their leader; because by participating in a canvassing campaign, if he were to run afoul of the papal law against such, the loss of his vote would not risk the effects of Canon 171 § 2, the invalidation of the election.  This seems further indicated by the fact that the denials issued by the Cardinals have regarded the consent of Cardinal Bergoglio (a most untoward allegation, as far as the ethics of the Sacred College go) and the participation of Cardinals, but not other persons: denials which seek to undermine an allegation regarding a conspiracy and the invalidity of the election, rather than the canvassing of votes per se.  Indeed, what apologists, who have appeared on the Net in favor of “Team Bergoglio”, have attempted to stress is only that what was done was no different than what was done in the conclaves in the past.

That the Cardinals named by Dr. Ivereigh did participate in a lobbying campaign seems confirmed by a report by the Wall Street Journal, by Stacy Meichtry and Alessandra Galloni, entitled, Fifteen Days in Rome: How the Pope Was Picked:The inside story: From the Red Room where Bergoglio’s name was first dropped to a faithful night on Rome’s Piazza Navona, which was published on Aug. 6, 2013.

Though, until today, no one has publicly commented on the novelty of Pope John Paul’s law, Universi Dominici Gregis, which puts such a harsh penalty on what seemingly would be the natural course of events in an election conducted by human prudence.  Indeed, the whole tenor of the current papal law on the election of the Roman Pontiff stresses that it should be conducted only in a religious manner, one free from all such political gamesmanship.  And this is the chief point which the allegations seem in trepidation aimed at affirming.

For a time-line of reports, including our own coverage, click here.

The Chronology of Reports on “Team Bergoglio”

Rome, Dec. 2, 2014: The revelations by Dr. Austen Ivereigh in his new book, The Great Reformer, have provoked response and comment throughout the world.  Since, in such an important story it is useful to understand the chronology of the reporting, the From Rome Blog will attempt to cover, in this article, a short summary of events in the form of a timeline, for the utility of its readers and of journalists following the story.  This timeline will be updated from time to time, until the magnitude becomes something too great for one blogger to follow.

Nov. 21, 2014:  Dr. Austen Ivereigh presents his book to Pope Francis (Reported by Dr. Ivereigh’s Twitter feed: see screen shot here).

Nov. 22, 2014:  John Bingham, reporter for the Telegraph, writes his report, Pope Francis: how cardinals’ Conclave lobbying campaign paved way for Argentine pontiff, which appears on the online edition at 8:15 PM London time.  It is in this report that the allegations of Dr. Ivereigh, regarding vote canvassing are first made news.  All the subsequent reports will react to this. (On Nov. 26, this article was published, with later information, in a Spanish translation by Secretum Meum Mihi Blog, here.)

Nov. 23, 2014: A report by John Bingham, entitled, “English Cardinal ‘lobbied for Pope’“, is published on p. 16 in the Sunday Telegraph, UK, regarding Dr. Ivereigh’s book and the allegations concerning the vote canvassing by Cardinals in days preceding the Conclave of 2013 (according to Maggie Doherty’s Letter to the Editor in the Daily Telegraph, Nov. 25). An image of page 16 of the Sunday Telegraph is subsequently published by a Spanish blog on Dec. 1 (here)

Nov. 23, 2014:  Antony Bushfield of Premier Christian Radio writes, English Cardinal ‘led campaign’ to elect Pope Francis, and interviews Dr. Ivereigh about his book (9:36 minutes) and the allegations of canvassing. Dr. Ivereigh says of Cardinal Bergoglio, “accepts” out of humility to be Candidate; Ivereigh also confirms meeting on previous Friday with Pope. When questioned by Bushfield, Dr. Ivereigh affirms necessity of process to get elected as Pope, but doges question about nature of canvassing, with seemingly great worry about the words he is choosing.

Nov. 24, 2014:  Libertà e Persona, publishes Lorenzo Bertocchi’s, La “squadra di Bergoglio”, which exposes the story for the first time in the Italian language. (This link discovered & added to chronology on Dec. 15).

Nov. 24, 2014:  GloriaTV publishes in video format its News for Nov. 25, in which it details the revelations of Dr. Ivereigh’s book regarding “Team Bergoglio”. (added to Chronology on Dec. 17, 2014).

Nov. 25, 2014:  Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s book, The Great Reformer: the Making of a Radical Pope is published in English in the USA/UK (according to Amazon.com) and Italian.

Nov. 25, 2014:  In a Letter to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph, Maggie Doherty, the spokeswoman for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor denies that Cardinal Bergoglio was approached by Cardinals or consented to the work of “Team Bergoglio”. (See here for an image of that letter).

Nov. 25, 2014:  The From Rome blog reports the events known and speculated about the canonical implications of UDG 81, in “If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?

Nov. 26, 2014:  The From Rome blog adds an addendum concerning the implications of canon 171 to its previous report.

Nov. 27, 2014:  The From Rome blog returns to the topic of “Team Bergoglio” in, Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for the Pope, which discusses both the letter by Maggie Doherty and the canonical reasons why it appears that the election of Cardinal Bergoglio may now be open to a challenge. This article was republished in a rather good Italian translation by Chiesa e post Concilio, on Dec. 2.

Dec. 1, 2014:  In the morning, Marco Tosatti, noted Vaticanista at La Stampa, reports the imbroglio on his blog, San Pietro e Dintorni, Il caso di “Team Bergoglio”. Tosatti is the first journalist to cite UDG 81, and gives a HT to the From Rome blog.

Dec. 1, 2014:  In the late morning, the Italian news blog, Il Sismografo publishes, P. Lombardi su presunti comportamenti di alcuni cardinali nell’ultimo Conclave, the apparent transcript of a private communication by Fr. Frederico Lombardi, the Vatican Press Office spokesman, denying the allegations of Dr. Ivereigh. (Original here at a somewhat nondescript url, not the front page: our translation here).  Fr. Lombardi’s denial names the four Cardinals.

Dec. 1, 2014:  The blog, Rorate Caeli (here), and the Spanish news service EFE (here) report on Il Sismografo’s report and the preceding news.  The former adds speculations regarding who were involved in convincing Pope Benedict XVI to resign and lamented the dearth of investigative reporting on that story.  The From Rome blog, follows with its unofficial English translation, in Fr. Lombardi denies Ivereigh’s allegations.

Numerous news agencies then leaped on the report, mostly in the Spanish speaking world:

Europa Press: El Vaticano desmiente una estrategia entre cardinales en el ultimo conclave para elegir a Francesco

Periodista Digital: La Santa Sede niega la existencia de un acuerdo previo al conclave para la eleccion de Francisco (RD/Agencias)

El Papa en la prensa: El complot (que non era) de cuatro cardenales para elegir Papa al Cardenal Bergoglio (This report contains a image of page 16 of the Sunday Telegraph, cited above).

Radio Formula: Cardenales niegan campaña para elección papal de BergoglioThis Report adds the names of 2 more Cardinals, Sean O’Malley (Boston) and Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, and reports the implications of UDG 81. (Notimex)

Ansa Brasil:  Cardeais negam campanha por eleição de Francisco (Source: http://www.papafrancesconewsapp.com/por/)

Ansa Italia: Papa: Porpore negano accordi pre-Conclave (in the briefest of terms).

(This list is not exhaustive.)

Dec. 2, 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes for the first time, The Chronology of Reports on “Team Bergoglio”

Dec 2, 2014:  Marco Tosatti publishes on his blog, San Pietro e Dintorni, Team Bergoglio. Ivereigh Scrive., which the blog, From Rome notices on his twitter feed, just 2 minutes after the first publication of its Chronology report. Tosatti’s report cites Ivereigh’s clarification, notices that he has not denied anything, and adds corroborative information concerning Bergoglio recognition of the campaign and its effectiveness.

Dec. 2, 2014:  Gloria TV News, in a video broadcast at 9 PM, covers the story of “Team Bergoglio” and reveals discrepancies in the denial given by Fr. Lombardi.

Dec. 3, 2014:  Katholisches.info publishes a good summary of the controversy heretofore, entitled,  Ivereigh + Universi dominici gregis 81 = Ein radikales Problem für den Papst, which, though it copies the title of our past report, contains in German, an original work by the editors of that site.

Dec. 4. 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes, Vatican Radio seeks to kill story on “Team Bergoglio”, which outs Il Sismografo as a publication of Radio Vaticana staff and analyzes the attribution of “canvassing” to the story on “Team Bergoglio”, as well as other information as assists in the understanding of the motives behind the curious denials of Ivereigh’s testimony in The Great Reformer.

Dec. 4. 2014:  Catholic News Agency publishes, Author, cardinals spar over reports of conclave campaigning: which cites Dr. Ivereigh’s substantial retractions of his original printed narrative in The Great Reformer

Dec. 5, 2014:  The From Rome Blog publishes, Ivereigh backtracks to protect “Team Bergoglio” from penalties of UDG 81: which responds to the CNA article and draws out the conclusions.

Dec. 5, 2014:  David Gibson of Religion News Service (NYC) publishes, Smoking gun? Pope Francis’ critics cite new book in questioning his papacy: which is a rather well written piece, except for 2 facts:

(1) that it seems to characterize this Blog as a critic of Pope Francis for simply speculating as to the motives of those official spokesman (Maggie Doherty of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor & Fr. Frederico Lombardi, of the Pope) for issuing denials about what Dr. Ivereigh claimed in his book, The Great Reformer. Hey, folks, the author of the From Rome blog is simply being curious and attentive; is it now a crime against political correctness to publish one’s thoughts about the news?

(2) Gibson writes: “prompted some to question whether Bergoglio himself was involved by giving the go-ahead”, while linking to the From Rome blog.  As far as the From Rome blog knows, it has never published speculation as to whether Cardinal Bergoglio was involved, it has speculated whether the reason for the denials is the consequences of UDG 81 regarding all who are involved, regardless of who was involved. Let’s us remember, folks, that it is Dr. Ivereigh who is or has made the allegations, this Blog is only reporting what has been alleged and speculating on the motives of those reacting to that allegation and of Dr. Ivereigh for changing his story.

Dec. 5, 2014:  Kirche & Realität broadcasts in a German-language Video news of the “Team Bergoglio” affair.

Dec. 6, 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes, Ivereigh knew of UDG 81 on March 12, 2014, which details evidence from a news report by the BBC, in video format, in which Dr. Austen Ivereigh and Msgr. Mark Langham participate, and concludes that it sufficiently shows the probity of Ivereigh’s claims in The Great Reformer. It also cites UDG 81 and canon 171 to show how this might lead to the invalidity of Cardinal Bergoglio’s election.

Dec. 6, 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes, Cardinal Murphy-O’Conner admits Pope Francis recognized his leadership of “Team Bergoglio”, which cites a Sept. 12, 2013 Catholic Herald report by Miguel Cullen, in which the Cardinal guts 2 key points of his official Nov. 25th denial of Ivereigh’s narrative.

Dec. 7, 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes its first editorial on the “Team Bergoglio” affair, entitling it:  4 Ways the “Team Bergoglio” Revelations undo Francis’ papacy, which draws out the ecclesiological implications of the affair and its handling; shows forensically that the two denials, heretofore given, are not credible, and suggests a plenary solution to the questions and doubts arising.

Dec. 7, 2014:  Msgr. Kieran Harrington of NET TV interviews Dr. Austen Ivereigh regarding his book. Ivereigh answers in a very indirect manner, Msgr. Harrington concludes by affirming vote-canvassing is a criminalized act. Gibson of RNS participates and shows his bias to the reports on this scandal. (Thank you, Msgr., for your coverage!) — This video was uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 9th; according to Dr. Ivereigh’s Twitter feed, it was recorded on Dec. 2.

Dec. 8, 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes, Public Questions for the Vatican that need to be Answered, which lists 4 questions asked of Mr. Greg Burke, Senior Communications officers at the Vatican Secretary of State, and awaits his response.

Dec. 9, 2o14:  The From Rome blog publishes, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope: As many as 30 Cardinals implicated in Vote-Canvassing Scandal, which reviews the print-edition of the Book, and subjects Dr. Ivereigh’s testimony to a forensic analysis to determine who is being accused of what. This article was published in Italian translation by the Roman blog, Chiesa e post concilio, on Dec. 17, 2014.

Dec. 9, 2014:  Joan Frawley Desmond, of the National Catholic Register publishes an written transcript of an interview with Dr. Austen Ivereigh entitled, Unraveling the ‘Francis Enigma’, which toward the end discusses the canvassing controversy.  There, Dr. Ivereigh says wrongly, that it would be contrary to conclave rules for a Cardinal to cooperate in any manner with a campaign to urge his election (this is forbidden only if there is a pact or agreement to solicit votes by promises). He gives this as the motive for Team Bergoglio’s objections to his narrative and his motive for altering the statement in the E-book edition of his book.

Dec. 11, 2014:  Church Militant TV briefly mentions the Team Bergoglio affair in their Top News Stories of the day.

Dec. 11, 2014:  Raymond Arroyo at EWTN interviewed Dr. Austen Ivereigh about Team Bergoglio scandal at 36:40 during The World Over program, on video. This is not a permanent link, will be valid only for 7 days. In it, Ivereigh reaffirms the validity of his narrative in toto, only says that he was wrong to say that the Cardinals sought Bergoglio’s consent.  In his book he says “assent” not “consent”, though, on p. 355.

Dec. 12, 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes, The Monstrosity of the Allegations against “Team Bergoglio” = Cardinal Bergoglio is not the Pope, draws out the implications of what Dr. Ivereigh has alleged, by showing the consequences of the effects of Canons 1329 and 1331: that is, that the allegations imply that the Pope is not the Pope. (This article was translated into German by the Custos-Sancto blog, on Dec. 22., omitting the footnotes.)

Dec. 13, 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes, The improbity of Team Bergoglio’s Recent Denials, which subjects the public statements of Maggie Doherty and Fr. Frederico Lombardi, made on behalf of the alleged members of Team Bergoglio, to a forensic analysis to determine their probity. Which analysis shows that little or nothing has in fact been denied, and implicitly much or all has been confirmed. All of which points to the affirmation by Team Bergoglio of Cardinal Bergoglio’s complicity.

Dec. 13, 2014:  John Allen of Crux, an Internet Subsidiary of the Boston Globe (owned by Boston Red Sox owner), publishes, Deal with it: Francis is the Pope, in which Allen cites Dr. Ivereigh’s new position that nothing alleged happened nor is it signified by what he wrote; repeats error that all agreements before conclave are contravention of Universi Dominici Gregis, ignores that he said “votes” were “tallied”.

From Rome’s Comment on the Article: The article by Allen ostensibly could be understood as written principally for the purpose of rebutting the reports of the From Rome blog, but in it the author shows he has not read Dr. Ivereigh’s book, and Ivereigh forgets what he wrote. That both seem to take the new view, that words do not have a fixed meaning, but only that which political necessity of the moment dictates, is a sure sign that there is no way to defend against the assertions that the allegations as written have the enormous implications as have been detailed here at the From Rome blog.

Dec. 17, 2014:  The From Rome blog, publishes, Cardinal Napier speaks about the “Team Bergoglio” scandal: in which the Twitter conversation between Mr. Paul Priest and his Eminence is published for the sake of those not having a Twitter account; in the course of which it appears that the Cardinal has a different sense of what constitutes sufficient forensic evidence, and a non-familiarity with UDG n. 5. (This article was translated immediately into Italian by the Info-Catholice Blog; it was republished in a Polish translation the next day.

Dec. 17, 2014:  Novus Ordo Watch, one of the leading news sites for Sedevacantists (who hold that one or more or all of the Popes since Pius XII are not pope, on account of heresy or invalidity of election), covers the “Team Bergoglio” scandal in their daily news wire and then a separate post. The news-wire story was then immediately translated into Spanish.

Dec. 17, 2014:  Chiesa e post Concilio, a blog in the city of  Rome, publishes in Italian translation our article on Dr. Ivereigh’s book:  Il Grande Riformatore e la creazione di un Papa radicale (translation by Antonio Marcantonio).

Dec. 20, 2014:  The From Rome Blog publishes its editorial, No, your Eminence, the Church is not a Tyranny!, which speaks to the gravity of underestimating the implications of Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s scandalous allegations regarding “Team Bergoglio” and the 2013 Conclave, on account of the nature of the Church’s mission.

Dec. 21, 2014:  Radio Spada publishes Guido Ferro Canale’s, Nullità dell’elezione pontifica per accordo previo?, which attempts to show that a hypothetical violation of UDG 81 would not, nor could not, render a papal election itself suspect. The author’s rambling argument neglects several important articles already published which speak of the effects of canons 1329, 1331 and 171, though he omits previous objections made by Bergoglio supporters. He also seemingly is unaware of the contents or meaning of the English words found in the text the ninth chapter of Dr. Ivereigh’s book, such as “canvassing”, “campaigning”, and “tallying”.

Dec. 21, 2014:  The From Rome Blog publishes, 2 American Prelates endorses narrative in “Team Bergoglio” scandal, which cites Cardinal Dolan’s and Archbishop Chaput’s endorsement of Dr. Ivereigh’s book, The Great Reformer, as found on the back dust-jacket of the American edition. Others endorsing the book are:  John L. Allen, Jr., associate editor of the website, Crux, and journalist for the Boston Globe; George Weigel; Fr. Thomas Reese, S. J.; Fr. Thomas Roscica, C. S. B.; and David Gibson, reporter for Religion News Service (RNS). The From Rome Blog also notes therein, that Amazon.com USA is no longer selling the book on account of some stocking problem.

Dec. 21, 2014:  Antonio Socci, the famous Italian journalist, and author, comments in an editorial published in the Italian newspaper, Libero (reprinted the next day at their blog, and the same day at his blog, Lo Straniero) on the Team Bergoglio Scandal.  The From Rome blog publishes an unofficial English translation of the first part of that article, here. Socci is of the opinion that the validity of the Conclave is not jeopardized thereby, but does not give his reasons.

Dec. 22, 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes, Antontio Socci speaks about the “Team Bergoglio” scandal, which is an unofficial translation of part of Socci’s blog post from the previous day.

Dec. 25, 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes a news summary, entitled, The “Team Bergoglio” scandal, to summarize the news and to make it easier for new-comers to obtain quickly a total perspective on the scandal.

Dec. 28, 2014:  The From Rome blog publishes, How “Team Bergoglio” managed the news on “Team Bergoglio”, which critiques the news coverage thus far and shows how little objective reporting there has been on the news of the vote-canvassing scandal.

January 3, 2015:  The Italian blog, Bergoglionate, evidently responding to the problems listed in in the Dec. 28 editorial published by the From Rome blog,  republishes the Italian version of Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s, The Great Reformer, chapter IX, which contains the explosive narrative regarding “Team Bergoglio”‘s vote-canvassing. The Italian translation, however, errs, in rendering “canvassing” as “sollecitare”, because in English, canvassing for votes is not simply the urging of a vote, but also the seeking of a promise to vote. Antonio Marcantonio rendered the English verb as “patteggiare” which captures this finality of the action better.

January 5, 2015:  Espresso Online, publishes Sandro Magister’s, He is Pope. Elected by All the rules, which contains as an addendum citations from an study by a canonist Geraldina Boni, in which the thesis of Antonio Socci is rebutted, incompletely (full text of Boni in Italian is published simultaneously here); since, Socci says rightly that no more than 4 ballots can be made in 1 day, but Boni states that if 1 ballot was nullified on account of there being 1 extra blank vote-ballot (UDG 68), then no violation of the rules (UDG 63) took place, which is to merely counter’s Socci’s assertion with an assertion.  The article also makes passing comment regarding “Team Bergoglio” but ignores any substantive consideration of UDG 81.  That Sandro Magister considers the arguments regarding the invalidity of Cardinal Bergoglio’s election worthy of rebuttal is astounding of itself.

January 5, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes, Sandro Magister speaks about the invalidity of the 2013 Conclave, in which there is presented a critique of Boni’s argument and point out the key passage in the Latin original of UDG, about which the dispute between Boni and Socci should focus.

January 5, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes, Canon 171 can invalidate a Papal Election, in which there is presented an English translation of the commentary by a noted canonist, Fr. Jesús Miñambres, JCD, on the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis, in which he sustains that canon 171 can invalidate a papal election, in contradiction to the defenders of Team Bergoglio who have sustained that UDG was immune from any terms of the CIC of 1983, being a special law not subject to Canon Law in general.

January 6, 2015:  Nieuwsblad.be publishes Michaël Temmerman’s, ‘Franciscus werd paus dankzij kardinaal Danneels’, in the Flemish language, in which a noted Belgian Vaticanologist, Tom Zwaene­poel, says that if the allegations of vote-canvassing are true, the election of Cardinal Bergoglio is invalid. Temmerman also interviews the spokesman of Cardinal Daneels, who affirms that the Cardinal “certainly did not recruit any votes”. (This entry added to the Chronology on Jan 13, 2015; is republished in English translation by the From Rome blog on Jan. 16).

January 6, 2015:  Nieuwsblad.be publishes an unsigned editorial, in Flemish, entitled, ‘Heisa rond boek over Franciscus is poging om paus te destabiliseren’, which cites the opinion of Rik Torfs, canonist and Rector of the Catholic University of Louvain, against the invalidity of the 2013 Conclave, on the basis of the acts described in Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s book, though he gives no reasons other than holding that what was done has always been done. This editorial appears to be a reaction to Zwaenepoel’s comment on the “Team Bergoglio” scandal. (Found and added to the Chronology on Jan. 15, 2015).

January 6, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes, From Ivereigh to Abdication, the Canonical steps implied by the “Team Bergoglio” scandal, which summarizes the apparent canonical case or consequences against “Team Bergoglio” and proposes a possible solution for the peace and unity of the Church. On February 2, 2015, the From Rome blog publishes its official Italian translation of this article, translation by Antonio Marcantonio.

January 7, 2015:  Dr. Austen Ivereigh responds to Fr. Frank Brennan, S. J., in a piece entitled, Setting the Record Straight on Pope Francis, a reply to Frank BrennanFr. Brennan is a professor of law at the Australian Catholic University; he had attempted in part of his review of Ivereigh’s book to discount the probity of Ivereigh’s testimony in chapter 9.

January 9, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes, Ivereigh: I am confident of the veracity of my account, in which reprints and discusses what Dr. Ivereigh has now said regarding the composition and controversies in his account.

January 10, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes, “Team Bergoglio” and the legacy of Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro, which shows the episcopal lineage of the alleged members of “Team Bergoglio”back to Cardinal Rampolla, an alleged Freemason, and his close associates.

January 11, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes, Who tallied votes for “Team Bergoglio”?, which republishes a photo of Cardinals Kasper, Marx and Poletto taken on March 4, 2013, as the open sessions of the 2013 Conclave began, and speculates that it was Cardinal Severino Poletto, the retired Archbishop of Torino.

January 15, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes, Cardinal Napier says there is no evidence for “Team Bergoglio” scandal, which republishes the Twitter dialogue between the Cardinal and the editor of this blog, with an explanation of the kinds of evidence necessary to impute a crime, call for an investigation and prove a crime.

January 16, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes, Francis became Pope thanks to Belgian Cardinal Danneels, which is an English translation of Michaël Temmerman’s, ‘Franciscus werd paus dankzij kardinaal Danneels’. (cf. above Jan. 6, 2015).

January 17, 2015: The From Rome blog publishes, Every Single Cardinal-Elector has right to demand resolution of “Team Bergoglio” scandal, which presents the canonical reasons why and how each Cardinal can act on the basis of the news regarding the scandal, chronologized here above..

January 30, 2015: The From Rome blog publishes, If the College of Cardinals Fails…, which explains that in cases of heresy in a Roman Pontiff, or the invalidity of his election, and/or conspiracy to aide and abet him heresy, if the competent authority vested in the College of Cardinals is not exercised, that right passes by iure divino atque naturali to the clergy of the Diocese of Rome.

February 2, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes, Da Ivereigh all’abdicazione, our official Italian translation of our January 6th Article, entitled, From Ivereigh to Abdication, the canonical steps implied by the “Team Bergoglio” scandal (see above).

February 6, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes, Se il Collego dei Cardinali non fa il suo dovere, our official Italian translation of our January 30th Article, entitled, If the College of Cardinals fails.

February 10, 2015:  The From Rome blog publishes the untold story, “Team Bergoglio” is a heretical conspiracy to overthrow the Church of Christ, which names the members and cites their principle heresies.

September 24, 2015:  Renowned Vaticanista,  Edward Pentin, via his blog on NCR,  publishes an article entitled, “Cardinal Danneels Admits to Being Part of a ‘Mafia’ Club opposed to Benedict XVI”, which reveals the decade long conspiracy, which was known as the Club of St.  Gallen, to elect Bergoglio so as to radically change the Catholic Church.  This is confirmation of the violation of UDG 81.

September 24, 2015:  Renowned Vaticanista, Marco Tosatti confirms, via his blog, that in a new biography, Cardinal Danneels admits to being part of a “mafiaclub” working to get Bergoglio elected, years before 2013.

Fr. Lombardi denies Ivereigh’s allegations

imagesRome 12:44 PM, Dec. 1, 2014:  Il Sismographo, an Italian news blog, has contacted Fr. Lombardi, the Pope’s official spokesman, in regard to the facts alleged in Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s book, The Great Reformer: the Making of Radical Pope, which concern the existence of a “Team Bergoglio” which worked with the express consent of Cardinal Bergoglio to canvass votes in the days prior to the Conclave of 2013. Il Sismografo’s report has also been covered in Spanish by EFE.

Here is my unofficial English translation of Il Sismografo’s Dec. 1 notice, signed by the editorial staff of the blog:

In view of what is circulating regarding the recent Conclave, we asked Fr. Federico Lombardi, Director of the Vatican Press Office.  Here is Fr. Lombardi’s response:

In a book recently published about Pope Francis, written by Austen Ivereigh in English with the title, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope (Henry Holy & Co.), and in Italian as, Tempo di misericordia. Vita di Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Mondadori), there is affirmed that in the days preceding the Conclave, four Cardinals:  Murphy O’Connor, Kasper, Daneels e Lehmann, “first secured Bergoglio’s assent” to his eventual election, and “then they got to work” with a campaign to promote his election.

I can declare that all of the four Cardinals, just named, explicitly deny this description of the facts, both as much as regards the request of prior consent on the part of Cardinal Bergoglio, and as much as regards the conduction of a campaign for his election, and (that) they desire to be known that they are stupefied and opposed to what has been published.

Please note that the From Rome Blog will comment on this and the contents of Dr. Ivereigh’s book in a day or two. Our previous reports on Dr. Ivereigh’s Book can be found on our front page.

Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for the Pope

AustenPresentsBook
(Screen shot, of Dr. Ivereigh’s twitter timeline: Nov. 21, 2014 A. D.)

Rome, Nov. 27, 2014:  Last Friday, His Holiness Pope Francis had the occasion to receive from Dr. Austen Ivereigh, a copy of his new book, the Great Reformer: Francis and the making of a Radical Pope which unbeknownst to both men, would within a week be the cause of great consternation for them both.

As John Bingham, a reporter for the Telegraph, in the UK, reported the next day, Dr. Ivereigh’s book contained the stunning revelation that certain supporters of Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio — whom he names, “Team Bergoglio”— canvassed for his support in the days prior to the Conclave of 2013.

The Curious denial of Ivereigh

A key fact alleged in the book, namely, that Cardinal Bergoglio expressly consented to the work of Team Bergoglio, was denied in a letter published on the Daily Telegraph Letter’s Page, print edition, by Maggie Doherty, the press-secretary to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor.  The text of that letter reads:

Denial

As I surmised, yesterday, here at the From Rome blog, in my article entitled, If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?, the version of events reportedly asserted in Ivereigh’s book, presents the opportunity of a grave canonical challenge to the validity of Pope Francis’ election to the office of Roman Pontiff.

Maggie Doherty’s statement is remarkable for several reasons.

The first of which, is that Dr. Ivereigh is, himself, a former secretary to Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, a close confident as any Cardinal could have, someone who would be de officio familiar and friendly with all the friends and colleagues of the Cardinal the world over, seeing that it would have been his duty to interact and communicate daily with each and every one of them.  From such experience, Dr. Ivereigh could have legitimately acquired a vast network of contacts from which he could have first hand information of all which regarded the events prior to the Conclave of 2013; information which could be freely offered him, since the Apostolic Constitution regarding the elections of the Roman Pontiff (Universi Dominici Gregis), penalizes only the divulging of information regarding affairs which occurred in or during the conclave itself.

The second of which, I mentioned yesterday, is that if there were no adverse consequences of the facts presented in Dr. Ivereigh’s book, the Great Reformer, then there would be no need for Maggie Doherty to issue a denial, let alone in the form of a letter to the editor!

The third remarkable aspect of her letter is that it speaks only of Cardinal Bergoglio, and denies only that he was approached or consented to the canvassing of votes.  This denial makes it appear that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor was acting, in divulging it, to protect the reputation of the Pope, perhaps, even on the request of the Vatican Secretary of State.

The fourth remarkable aspect is that she denied only the activities of Cardinals, and said nothing regarding the activities of Bishops or priests or others who may have been involved.

The fifth remarkable aspect is that Maggie Doherty says, “What occurred during the Conclave … is bound by secrecy”.  This is grammatically and canonically not correct.  All who participated in the Conclave are by Pope John Paul II’s aforementioned Apostolic Constitution are bound to keep secrecy. (Cardinals promise this in n. 12; all participating are bound to secrecy in n. 47; there is an entire Chapter, the fourth, on it; and in n. 47).  And in n. 58 of that document, the penalty of excommunication is imposed for its violation. But if the Pope permits, this secrecy can be broken. So it is not the events that are bound, but the persons.  Her statement is remarkable in this respect, because it speaks of an undue haste in its composition, without the counsel, at least, of an expert in canon law to review it. (This argues for the possibility that she wrote the letter at the personal request of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, which we shall now see, Ivereigh would confirm).

The Thicket into which Ivereigh fell on that account

Dr. Austen Ivereigh, hours after the publication of Doherty’s letter to the editor — and after the publication of my own questioning blog post (If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?, which drew out and explicated the canonical problem resulting from the reported claims of his book) —  retracted what he said on his Twitter Feed, at 3 AM on Nov. 25, writing in reference to the print edition of his book, already on sale in the USA/UK:

“They secured his assent” (p. 355) shd have read “They believed he wd not oppose his election”. Will amend in future eds.

Which is Twitter abbreviated speak, I surmise and explicate, for:

Where I wrote, “They secured his assent” on p. 355, it should have read, “They believe he would not oppose his own election.”  I will amend this in future editions of my book, The Great Reformer.

In another tweet, Dr. Ivereigh included the image of Doherty’s letter, with the message:

+CMOC clarifies in today’s Daily Telegraph letters page

Which lets us know that Doherty acted at the express direction of the Cardinal; somewhat reluctantly admitted, with the positive spin therein, by Dr. Ivereigh.  All this within the first week of the books publication!

All this, so far, by way of introduction. Now, I will cut to the chase, as it were:

Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for the Pope

What Ivereigh has, nevertheless, alleged and yet not denied, and what Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor has not yet denied, as far as I know, is that votes were canvassed.

And paragraph 81 of John Paul II’s law, Universi Domini Gregis, makes that an excommunicatable offense.  Yesterday, I erred, when I said “certain” form of canvassing was prohibited. Today, looking at the Latin original of the law, it appears rather than all forms of vote canvassing are prohibited.

Let’s take a look, then, at the Latin original, to understand better how, not just any specific form of vote canvassing is a crime according to the Pope who “brought down the Wall”:

81. Cardinales electores praeterea abstineant ab omnibus pactionibus, conventionibus, promissionibus aliisque quibusvis obligationibus, quibus astringi possint ad suffragium cuidam vel quibusdam dandum aut recusandum. Quae omnia, si reapse intervenerint, etiam iure iurando adiecto, decernimus ea nulla et irrita esse, neque eadem observandi obligatione quemquam teneri; facientes contra iam nunc poena excommunicationis latae sententiae innodamus. Vetari tamen non intellegimus, ne per tempus Sedis vacantis de electione sententiae invicem communicentur.

The official English translation from the Vatican Website, renders this text, thus:

81. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.

 This translation is not exact.  Here is my own exact translation:

81. Let the Cardinal electors, moreover, abstain from all pacts, agreements, promises and any other obligations you like, by which they might be constrained to give or refuse support (suffragium) for anyone (sing. & plural).  All of which, if these were to occur, even when with a foreswearing, We decree are null and void, and none of them are to be held by any obligation of observance; those acting against (this), We now, hereby, bind up with the punishment of excommunication latae sententiae.  Yet, We do not understand to be forbidden, that they communicate with one another concerning the election, during the time of the Sedevacante.

Now, the problem which arises for Pope Francis, from this, I have pointed out in my blog post yesterday, namely, that an election in which those who might fall under excommunication for violation of this law, expressed in n. 81, might be contested as to its validity.  This on account of the general norm of Canon Law (canon 171,  § 2), which expressly declares invalid the elections of those who obtained the required number only in virtue of votes of those who were  excommunicated at the time of the election (cf. 171, § 1, 3°).

Such excommunication could be by special or general declaration, of a superior or by a law.  Thus, the papal Law on Elections.

The sticky wicket, as it were, is that the common objection one hears to such formerly hypothetical discussions is that paragraph n. 35, of the Apostolic Constitution withstands this interpretation.

Let’s quote that here, for the importance that it is due.  The text of this paragraph was slightly altered by Pope Benedict XVI, in his decree, Normals nonnullas, just a month before the conclave of 2013.  The modified text reads:

No. 35. “No Cardinal elector can be excluded from active or passive voice in the election of the Supreme Pontiff, for any reason or pretext, with due regard for the provisions of Nos. 40 and 75 of this Constitution.”

(The small addition of the citation to n. 75, is all that was made.)

Any objection on the basis of paragraph 35, which would counter the claim of an invalid election on account of excommunicated voters, seems very probable at first inspection, but fails the test of a strict reading of papal law.

Because, if paragraph 35 excused doubt of the validity of an election in which excommunicated Cardinal electors participated, as a similar provision in the law of Pope Pius XII did do, then, there would have been no need for Pope John Paul II in his own law, which abrogated all the terms of previous papal laws specifically regarding Papal Elections, to state in n. 78 (see yesterdays report for text) the necessity of indulging an election, in which simony was involved, with validity, to remove all such doubts arising from a general norm of canon law or a specific penalty regarding simony. And thus, if there is a general norm or specific penalty which invalidates elections for other reasons, then one must presume it remains in force (cf. Canons 20 & 21).

Moreso, because paragraph 35 does not regard specifically the validity of elections, only the right of the Cardinals to vote  But Canon 171, § 2 does not deny the right of excommunicated electors to vote, only the validity of elections in which they participate. These are 2 separate things; and according to the norms of canonical interpretation, the distinction must be recognized as that which was intended by the legislator.² This interpretation seems more probable, because of Canon 164, which applies the entire section of canons regarding elections to all ecclesiastical elections,³ and because of the norm of canonical interpretation, that laws which do not expressly or directly conflict, are not to be understood as doing so. Thus, the failure to explicitly include the words “or excommunication” in paragraph 35 of UDG, lends to the credence that it does not abrogate Canon 171, § 1, 3°, the validity of the election in which such voters participating, being apparently annulled in some such cases, consequently, in virtue of Canon 171, §2.

Thus, the allegations of Ivereigh + the terms of Universi Dominic Gregis, n. 81 = a Radical problem for the legitimacy of Cardinal Bergoglio’s claim to the Papacy.

_________________________________

FOOTNOTES

¹ And this without any apparent reference to Canon 171.  For just as it seems incredible that Pope John Paul II in UDC would allow the mad (Canon 171, § 1, 1°) or the schismatic (4°) to vote; hence, similarly, neither those mentioned in 3°, the excommunicated. Thus, it seems more probable that paragraph 35 in UDC is reaffirms the right of the Cardinals not to fall under of Canon 171, § 1, 2° by any claim that might arise during the Conclave from other Cardinals’ accusations.

² However, I remain in the opinion, regarding these matters, as one who is a mere student of Canon Law, not an expert, and certainly not as one whose opinion on how to read it, is anything probative of itself.

³ Including Conclaves: cf. the commentary contained in Codice di Diritto Canonico, a cura di Juan Ignacio Arrieta, Colletti a San Pietro 2004, p. 163.

(Updated Nov. 29 15:15 Rome time)

If Ivereigh is to be believed, was Bergoglio’s election invalid?

Denial

London, Nov. 25, 2014 — A remarkable letter to the editor, if ever there was one. A denial, which draws more attention, than the matter would otherwise merit.  In today’s Daily Telegraph Letter’s Page, print edition, Maggie Doherty, the press-secretary to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, denies a key fact in the reporting by Austen Ivereigh, a British journalist who just published a book exposing a concerted effort among Cardinals of the Roman Church to canvass for votes on behalf of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in the days prior to the Conclave of March 2013, which elected the latter as successor to Pope Benedict XVI.  The on-line edition of the Telegraph has a short story about this, by John Bingham, which opens thus:

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, helped to orchestrate a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign which led to the election of Pope Francis, a new biography claims.

The Election of Pope Francis has seen a great deal more publicity than any in modern times, especially concerning the remarkable novelty of revelations coming from Cardinals themselves — remarkable, since according to papal law, to make such revelations is punished by automatic excommunication!

The papal law is Universi Dominici Gregis, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on the Feats of the Chair of St. Peter, February 22, 1996 A.D..  The key paragraphs regarding this excommunication are as follows:

  1. Those who, in accordance with the prescriptions of No. 46 of the present Constitution, carry out any functions associated with the election, and who directly or indirectly could in any way violate secrecy — whether by words or writing, by signs or in any other way — are absolutely obliged to avoid this, lest they incur the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See.
  2. In particular, the Cardinal electors are forbidden to reveal to any other person, directly or indirectly, information about the voting and about matters discussed or decided concerning the election of the Pope in the meetings of Cardinals, both before and during the time of the election. This obligation of secrecy also applies to the Cardinals who are not electors but who take part in the General Congregations in accordance with No. 7 of the present Constitution.

However, today’s denial regards another requirement of the papal law, regarding Conclaves: the express prohibition of canvassing for votes prior to the commencement of the Conclave.  John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution of 1996 makes that a high-crime, punishable by automatic excommunication.

  1. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.
  2. I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void.
  3. With the same insistence shown by my Predecessors, I earnestly exhort the Cardinal electors not to allow themselves to be guided, in choosing the Pope, by friendship or aversion, or to be influenced by favour or personal relationships towards anyone, or to be constrained by the interference of persons in authority or by pressure groups, by the suggestions of the mass media, or by force, fear or the pursuit of popularity. Rather, having before their eyes solely the glory of God and the good of the Church, and having prayed for divine assistance, they shall give their vote to the person, even outside the College of Cardinals, who in their judgment is most suited to govern the universal Church in a fruitful and beneficial way.

The Reason for the Press-Secretary’s Denial is now manifest

If Maggie Doherty had not gone to the lengths of issuing a denial in such language, I would never have taken notice.  But now that she has, having consulted the papal law on Conclaves, it appears manifest why she has.  If Austen Ivereigh’s book contains verifiable evidence that any of the Cardinals who voted for Jorge Mario Bergoglio canvassed for votes in the manner forbidden, especially if he tacitly consented to this, then by that very fact (ipso facto) they fell under the penalty of excommunication in the same moment they agreed to do such and/or did such. And, if Bergoglio tacitly agreed (that is, had knowledge, and consented without opposing what they were doing), then he, too, would have been excommunicated prior to the Conclave.

Does this mean that the Papal election was invalid?

But if what  Austen Ivereigh alleges, did happen, would the election of Pope Francis be null and void?  The grounds for this are entirely different from those alleged in Antonio Socci’s best-selling book in Italy, Non è Francesco, (He is not Francis: i.e. he should not be called Pope Francis), which is based on the fact that on March 13, 2013, Bergoglio was elected by 5 votes, when the papal law only allows 4. Or the challenge now being brought in the Petition to the College of Cardinals, which regards 3 canonical questions which arise from the violations of the penalties imposed by the Second Council of Nicea, the Council of Trent, and Pope Paul IV.

Let us take a look at the papal law, again.  It is very important to note, what Pope John Paul II says in the previous paragraph, n. 78:

78. If — God forbid — in the election of the Roman Pontiff the crime of simony were to be perpetrated, I decree and declare that all those guilty thereof shall incur excommunication latae sententiae. At the same time I remove the nullity or invalidity of the same simoniacal provision, in order that — as was already established by my Predecessors — the validity of the election of the Roman Pontiff may not for this reason be challenged.(23)

Paragraph 78, regards the buying or selling of votes; which does not seem what Ivereigh has alleged; for when votes are bought and sold, then the validity of the election which would otherwise be worthy of doubt or challenge, is, according to Pope John Paul II’s law, free from ever being so challenged (which he does with the words: “I remove the nullity or invalidity of the same simoniacal provision”). Simony is the crime of buying or selling spiritual things, in this case, of votes, with the promise of monies paid in advance.

However, as regards, however, the excommunications leveled for canvassing, Pope John Paul II does not remove the nullity or invalidity of the election.

This leaves the question, whether the election of Pope Francis could be challenged now?

It seems at least possible, since it is not a question of the invalidity of an election on the basis of the fact that Cardinals were excommunicated on account of vote canvassing, but on account of a certain sort of coercion of the process to elect the Pope, which process must guarantee the liberty of the Cardinals to chose a Pope in a manner free from the deceits and maneuvers of worldly politics.

This doubt of the validity of the election is what seems to be implied by the Press-Secretary’s denial.  Because, if it were only a question of a Cardinal’s excommunication for violating secrecy or canvasing votes, he could easily appeal to Pope Francis to be pardoned and the excommunication lifted.  Indeed, what victorious candidate, now Pope, would not pardon the Cardinals who helped him get elected, if they did canvass for votes?  Thus, it certainly seems to the thoughtful reader, that there may be some more urgent reason for the denial. …  Cui prodest?

Addendum of Nov. 26, 3PM GT

I had a look at the general norms in the 1983 Code of Canon law regarding canonical elections and found some confirmatory information.  There in Canon 171, there are these stunning requirements for a valid election:

Can. 171 §1. The following are effected to vote:

1/ a person incapable of a human act;
2/ a person who lacks active voice;
3/ a person under a penalty of excommunication whether through a judicial sentence or through a decree by which a penalty is imposed or declared;
4/ a person who has defected notoriously from the communion of the Church.

§2. If one of the above is admitted, the person’s vote is null, but the election is valid unless it is evident that, with that vote subtracted, the one elected did not receive the required number of votes.

The importance of this Canon, I opine, is thus:  if what Ivereigh alleges in his book, is true, and the manner of canvassing votes is that penalized with automatic excommunication, then the Cardinals who did this, and Cardinal Bergoglio — if he expressly consented, as Ivereigh’s print edition says he did — would be excommunicated prior to the begining of the Conclave; and the election would be null and void, on the grounds that the 32 votes Bergolio received in the first round of voting (as reports allege, which votes are presumably nearly or mostly those who participated in the vote canvassing) would be null and void, coming as they did from excommunicated electors. That would make the 78 votes which Cardinal Bergoglio got in the final 5th vote, to be insufficient to elect him. (I am no canonist, so this is my opinion, though I have studied the tract on Canonical Censures at a Pontifical Instititute at Rome).

Postscript

Having carefully read the papal law, Universi Dominici Gregis, of Pope John Paul II, and that modification of Pope Benedict XVI, Normas nonnullas, I find it very curious that neither specifies explicitly who is eligible to be elected Pope. Even the 1983 code is silent. This is a serious deficiency, since the Bull of Pope Paul IV does specify this, and thus, if this matter is not included specifically in modern legislation, the terms of Pope Paul IV’s, Cum ex apostolatus officio, seem to remain in force. (If any canonists know, please leave a comment below, Thanks!).

FOLLOW UP REPORTS:

Nov. 27, 2014: Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for Pope Francis

No, Francis, what you just said is heresy…

ANSA699342_ArticoloIn the liturgical changes imposed by Pope Paul VI, today, Nov. 23, 2014, is the Solemnity of Christ the King.  Pope Francis gave a homily today, on the occasion of Canonizing 6 saints.  The official English text is found at Vatican Radio. In it, Pope Francis says (in the sixth paragraph):

The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom.  The one who accomplishes these works shows that he has welcomed Christ’s sovereignty, because he has opened his heart to God’s charity.  In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters.  Upon this will depend our entry into, or exclusion from, the kingdom of God: our belonging to the one side or the other.  Through his victory, Jesus has opened to us his kingdom.  But it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now, by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity.  If we truly love them, we will be willing to share with them what is most precious to us, Jesus himself and his Gospel.

Heresy, one must remember, is a post-baptismal denial of a truth revealed by God.  Truths can be revealed by God by explicit affirmations in any text of Scripture, or in implicit ones; since, God speaks in Scripture in a variety of ways.

One of the truths of Scripture is that Faith begins by hearing, proceeds by confession on the lips and lives in good works for the needy.  St. Paul, for example says (in his Letter to the Romans, 10:9):

For, if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

This truth is implicitly taught in the Gospel of St. Luke, when at the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel, Our Blessed Mother first believed, then went in haste to her cousin St. Elizabeth; because first She confessed Her assent & consent to the truths revealed by God through St. Gabriel, then She manifested Her consent to the message of salvation in going to St. Elizabeth.

And St. Thomas Aquinas says, in regard to the Question (Summa, II, II, 5, 3), whether one is a heretic who disbelieves 1 article of the faith:

I answer that, Neither living nor lifeless faith remains in a heretic who disbelieves one article of faith.

The reason of this is that the species of every habit depends on the formal aspect of the object, without which the species of the habit cannot remain. Now the formal object of faith is the First Truth, as manifested in Holy Writ and the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth. Consequently whoever does not adhere, as to an infallible and Divine rule, to the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth manifested in Holy Writ, has not the habit of faith, but holds that which is of faith otherwise than by faith. Even so, it is evident that a man whose mind holds a conclusion without knowing how it is proved, has not scientific knowledge, but merely an opinion about it. Now it is manifest that he who adheres to the teaching of the Church, as to an infallible rule, assents to whatever the Church teaches; otherwise, if, of the things taught by the Church, he holds what he chooses to hold, and rejects what he chooses to reject, he no longer adheres to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible rule, but to his own will. Hence it is evident that a heretic who obstinately disbelieves one article of faith, is not prepared to follow the teaching of the Church in all things; but if he is not obstinate, he is no longer in heresy but only in error. Therefore it is clear that such a heretic with regard to one article has no faith in the other articles, but only a kind of opinion in accordance with his own will.

Hence, we can say with absolute certainty, that what Pope Francis said, namely:

The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom. 

Is heretical, because, this proposition denies the salvific merit which accrues from every confession of Christ’s sovereignty. In doing this, it denies that man’s justification begins with Faith, confessed either in mind alone or also on the lips.

This is the direct teaching of St. Paul, the infallible teacher of the nations.  Let us take a look at Romans 10:9 again:

For, if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

In the Greek* we have for “the Lord Jesus”, kurion Ihsoun, a double accusative singular, which signifies not only “the Lord Jesus”, but “Jesus as Lord”.  But to recognize that Jesus is Lord, is to recognize his Sovereignty.   And thus St. Paul links the confession of Christ’s Sovereignty to salvation.  Thus, to explicitly deny that salvation begins with such a confession, directly denies the teaching of St. Paul.  But to deny the truth affirmed in any passage of Sacred Scripture is heretical, the very definition of heresy, for one separates himself from a truth revealed by God, through St. Paul.

Thus, to the homily which Pope Francis uttered today, we must respond:  No, Francis, what you just said is heresy!

But, as St. Thomas says, at the end of the above, quote, merely to say what is heretical does not make one a heretic, unless he is obstinate in his error.

How, then, does a Catholic assist a fellow Catholic from falling into  obstinacy, regarding a heretical doctrine?

First, he should point out to his brother, his sin and the error; then, remind him, that without the truth and authentic Faith it is impossible to be saved.  Third, we should pray for the brother so long as we are not certain of his obstinacy. After that, according to the teaching of St. John the Apostle, we are not obliged to pray for his repentance; however, we may continue to do so, or instead we  may pray to be delivered from him, or for God to punish him for his sin.

Let us, in charity, rebuke the Holy Father for his error, so injurious to the very essence of salvation in Christ.

 

________________________

 

Cf. the Greek-English interlinear text for Romans chapter ten at

http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/rom10.pdf

 

Cf. Also, the Petition to the Cardinals regarding the Grave Improprieties of Pope Francis

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition2CardinalsReFrancis

 

 

 

Catholics petition the College of Cardinals to judge validity of Pope Francis

imagesEditor’s note:  Here at the From Rome Blog, I have stated that it is not my interest to cover news articles.  Yet, being born and raised in the United States, I have a great appreciation for the right of citizens, subjects and the faithful, to make known to their superiors what they believe is for the common good of the society they belong to.  This is a natural right in every human society, from the family to the State, and even in the Church.  For that reason, I consider it a duty, as the editor of the From Rome Blog, and as a member of the Diocese of Rome, to make known to my fellow Catholics the existence of this petition. I also believe, that I have a grave duty to make known to the princes of the Church of Rome, our Cardinals, who are the chief members of the clergy of my Diocese, the existence of this petition.

Here is the link to the petition, where you can see how many have signed it, as of the present, and read something more about the motives and purpose of the petition.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition2CardinalsReFrancis

——————–

Note: I previously published the text of the petition on this blog, but from my stats, it seems that many are confusing my blog post for the petition. The link contains the petition. This post is only reporting its existence.

God’s Will for Catholics in the present Crisis

Creation and the Divine Order of Things:

Truths to Fight against the Errors of our Age

 Listen to Br. Bugnolo give this talk on Audio

INTRODUCTION

If a Catholic historian, moved by and obedient to the Faith, was to take up his pen to write a history of the present age, he could do no better than entitle his book, The Age of open Rebellion against God and the Divine Order of things.

0789204037.interior03On every side we see this rebellion: in the Church against the Rule of the Faith: Tradition and Scripture: where, for example, in Catholics Universities and Pontifically recognized institutions at Rome and around the world, professors openly attack the historical and theological truths contained in the 5 Books of the Bible written by Moses; or in the liturgy, most visibly, where out of some vague necessity of updating everything, the whole Catholic world has been cajoled by the lovers of today who are attempting to reformulate Catholicism in a manner discontinuous with Tradition, without submission to the Divine Majesty’s predetermined course of worship and devotion.

But, moreso, we see this open rebellion against God and the Divine Order of things, outside of the Church: with forms of government which arrogate to themselves the prerogative of God to establish moral laws and order man and his society: which Rebellion was foreseen by the Prophet David when he wrote, They have set their mouths in the heavens, and their tongues dictate to the earth. (Ps. 73:9)

This rebellion against the Divine Order of things was foretold long ago by the beloved Apostle St. John, who in his book of the Apocalypse indicated that after a thousand years of Christ’s reign on earth, the Enemy of Christ would come forth from the abyss to wage war upon His flock.  I like personally to reckon this prophecy in regard to the end of the Age of Constantine, which I mark from the edict of Milan in February of 313 A.D. (which ended persecution of Catholics in the Roman Empire), to the vicious attack upon Pope Boniface VIII on September 7, 1303 A. D. by Sciarra Colonna and the forces of King Philip IV of France, under the command of Guilluame Nogaret, his first minister, at Angni, in Italy.

This attack, which began with the slap of a hand upon the Pope’s face, has morphed exponentially throughout the centuries, up to our own day, when governments now dare to decree the lawfulness of the most horrific abominations as good for man’s liberty.  It is in the frenetic and mad zeal of these modern rebels that is not difficult to hear the rolling thunder of the first rebel’s voice:  Non serviam! — I shall not serve! I shall not submit myself to Christ’s Magisterium.

One could trace the history of this Rebellion, from the slap of Anagni to our own age, more than 666 years later, to recent Supreme Court decisions or to the proposals of Cardinal Kaspar to open the Church to a horrifically false and apostate mercy, but I shall leave that for the historian of ideas and ecclesiastical affairs.  Rather, I wish to serve those of you gathered here today a more meaty dish, a more savory fare, and a more nutritious repast, by recalling and expounding the fundamental truths, upon which all of Creation is founded, including man and the Church, so that you might have in mind, all the more clearly, the knowledge necessary to fight against the errors of our age.  I believe this is apt, because as St. Paul the Apostle reminds us, Our is not a fight against flesh and blood, that is against merely visible powers, our is a fight against the principalities and powers, the workers of iniquity in the air, that is, the fallen angles, who were cast down to our level present of existence, and who go about seeking the ruin of souls.

Angels, as you know, are pure spirits, and when they fight, it is not as the silly and blasphemous shows on television depict them: they have no bodies and use no weapons, they rather go forth into battle with minds filled with thoughts and by striving to plunge their own thoughts into the mind of other angels who think differently, seek to overcome them to their own allegiance or repel them from their stead.

Now, ever since the ancient Deceiver, the Dragon and Satan, was cast out of Heaven by St. Michael and His Angels, the demons have no fights with other Angels that they can win any more, and, thus, are forced by necessity to wage war against the sons of Adam, mere men.

Have no fear, though, little flock, because your Faith is your victory over the world, and not only over the world, but over all the forces of darkness, because if we but assent and attend to all that God has revealed, about Creation and about the Redemption wrought in Christ, we will equip our mind and soul, and thus our bodies too, with the truths necessary to fight against the armies of disorder and against all the men, women, and alas, even children, who have taken sides with them in the hope of destroying the Divine Order of things.  Let us begin, therefore, at the beginning:

To read this entire Essay,on the theological basis upon which true and false obedience is discerned, click here to access the PDF file and continue reading from page 2.

 

Tactics of Manipulation used by Modernists against Catholics

2004-passion-of-the-christ-7I do not claim to be an expert. I am sure that there are many Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious and Laymen who have better knowledge of such things than myself. But in my nearly 30 years of personal experience in Ecclesiastical institutions or as a religious/hermit, I have noticed some patterns of deception and manipulation, which I believe in conscience I am obliged to name, explicate, so that Catholic Faithful at Rome and around the world might take guard against them.

“Manipulation”, in the dark sense of the word, is a way of misleading, maneuvering, deforming, altering, etc., the mind, actions or even words or reactions of another, to serve one’s own goals.  When the victim is a faithful Catholic and the perpetrator is a modernist, you have a very evil and wicked malice at work.  Yet, to those who know anything of the history of the Church during the last 100 years or more, the Modernists have honed to perfection many methods of manipulating Catholics to serve their own abominable conspiracy to overthrow the true Church of Christ, from within, using the very institutions and offices of the Church, established by Christ and by ecclesiastical tradition, against Her.

Having studied Cultural Anthropology at the University of Florida, I was trained in the methods of participant observation, which is a way of learning about a subculture’s mores, rules, ethics, behaviors, by sharing or keeping company with them.  I never consciously used this method, but now, after many years of fighting against Modernists, I will take a moment to step back and analyze and categorize some of the methods of manipulation I have seen or learned first hand against faithful clergy, religious and laity.

 The Church, being the perfect society founded by the Incarnate Word of God, enjoys an order of society which enables Her to achieve the end which God have Her, the honor and glory of God through the worship of God and the salvation of Souls.  This being the case, the Modernists, who believe in no God, but only in the god of personal sentiments, thus have an upward battle if they are to use the very things of the Church to overthrow the Church from within.

Alas, however, since many modernists have been members of the clergy, and this throughout the last 180 years or so, they have had the ability to use all the forms of clerical and moral corruption, known beforehand, to their end.  They have also had the assistance of the general moral degradation which has been promoted by the Free Masons in the West (and not only in the West), which has led many a Catholic to be disposed to be easily deceived about what constitutes Christian virtue and ecclesiological justice and honesty.

In former ages, we read of the heroic and saintly Bishops who did not hesitate to threaten unfaithful Catholics, Kings, Dukes, Princes, Mayors, Scholars, even the Pope, with excommunication if they did not stop from their pubic sins or injustices.  There are cases, where immoral bishops, were taken outside of the town walls and hung from a tree by the Catholic faithful, to rid the local church of their vile depravities.  There are cases where laymen shot corrupt priests dead for the crimes they perpetrated against children or families.

In the modern age, with all our institutions of civil and ecclesiastical justice, we are apt to look down upon the Catholics of former ages, who understood that in some cases, waiting for lengthy procedures would only endanger the public good the more. They understood that after some point, the depravity of a man could be such that he merited no longer the customary due process accorded to the merely suspected of a crime. They also understood that obedience to an evil command did not absolve from the sin of collaboration or participation in the evil commanded.  Former ages enjoyed a sense of personal honor and manliness that is rarely admired and even more rarely tolerated in modern times.  Indeed, corrupt and evil men have all kinds of words to lambast such honorable men.

The decline of morals in the West did not begin with the Age of the Enlightenment, yet, Rationalists of that age started a trend which has been greatly exploited by Modernists (even though Modernists are sentimentalists not rationalists): that trend is the use of deprecatory language to subvert the sentiments of Catholics away from admiration of virtue, especially away from admiration of heroic virtue.

You can see that effect palpably in the common and vulgar opinions some men, even clergymen, have of the Saints of old.  The most striking example I know of personally, is the comment made by a priest, now deceased, who remarked to me one day, after he read a very short life of Saint Francis of Assisi, that if anyone did such penances today, he should certainly be locked up in a mental asylum. To which I replied, with not a little shock, “Do you mean that just today, or is Saint Francis any less suspect for having done them long ago”. He replied that he was no less suspect, and added, “I have great difficulty understanding why such a man was ever made a saint”.  (This priest, by the way, died of being too overweight by about 200 pounds.)

 Ah, what has happened to that age of chivalry and honesty, where even a sloucher or glutton admitted that the diligent and abstemious man was virtuous? Is modern man so ignorant, as to not understand, that it is one thing to be virtuous, another to admire virtue; and that if you are not at least the first kind of man, that you can at least save your honor by being the second?

God forbid, however — as the Modernists think and consider the matter — that there even exist in the Church the second kind of man, the man who actually admires the heroic virtue of the Saints of old!

And here we have the first tactic in the tool box of manipulations, used by Modernists:

1. Denigrate what is best, and make it the enemy of all the rest.

You see, if the Modernists are to prevail in the Church, they must put into practice some of the general tactics of the fallen angels, because the Church, being principally a spiritual society, Her strength lies principally in spiritual things.  Now there is nothing more principally spiritual in a believer than his virtue, and the prince of all virtue is the virtue to the heroic degree.  Consequently, to shut out all possibility of this most spiritual enemy of Modernism, the first and prime spiritual goal is to ostracize and exile heroic virtue.  And this is done chiefly by denigration.

Denigration of what is best is the first tactic to employ, because when the best is no longer seen as the best, the soul and the society no longer strives to reach the proper goal by the only methods which can attain that goal. Giving up the only tools to arrive at that goal, one guarantees in the very first instance, that the Catholic side of the battle will not and will never win; and that the battle will continue interminably, without victory for the Catholic party.

This denigration has gone on for many generations now: Rationalists did this by debunking the lives of the Saints, debunking the authenticity and authority and veracity of Scripture; by debunking the normalcy and authority of Tradition; by debunking the sanity of heroic virtue, by recourse to modern false sciences of psychology and psychiatry as the “true” authorities on human behavior.  This could not be done without despising and denigrating Scholastic Theology and Philosophy.

The result of such a campaign of denigration, is a Catechism of Denigration, induction to which is common place in Catholic Seminaries today, throughout the whole world; and especially so in the Pontifical Universities at Rome, where the majority of professors believe education means debunking every historical, theological, moral, ethical, religious, liturgical ideal which a seminarian might bring with him to Rome.

Simultaneous, to this work of denigration, is the work of substitution.  After railing against the ideals which the Church has from Christ, the Apostles or from the Holy Spirit in the Saints, it is necessary but easy to suggest and laud the ideals and criteria which prevail in modern times, and this, in the name of being “acceptable”, “up to date”, “normal”, “middle of the road”, etc.. Thus to virtue, we have sound & healthy psychology; to faith in scripture, the critical historical method of rationalistic interpretation; to Christian charity, social justice work; to preaching, neutralizing rhetorics; to worship of God, worship of self or of man; to Tradition, the modernist reading of Vatican II (holding that it is obligatory and dogmatic just like, nay, better than Vatican I) etc..

2. Identify and root out the “non-compliant”, “intransigent”, “rigorists”, those who take the Faith “too seriously”.

The work of denigration provides the best context for the second method or tool of manipulation: identifying those who have such virtue as to resist or oppose the denigration of the best. Social cohesion and the insistence that one not be divisive, not jeopardize approval of superiors who hold the keys to the formation process, are powerful emotional threats used to cajole acquiescence to the program of denigration.  If this fails, then one moves easily to accusing the resistant of being “rigorists”, “ideologues”, “intransigent”, simply because they resist the process of denigration.  Few, in such an emotionally charged atmosphere as the Seminary or Pontifical University where denigration has replace formation and information, have the spiritual balance to notice that it is precisely in this personal attack of those who resist, that there becomes manifest the actual ideals of the denigrators; ideals which are contrary or opposite of those which Catholics should hold. Many, beholden to a “follow the group”, “don’t rock the boat”, ethic, easily succumb to such an attack, those who don’t, thus, are then easily isolated and separated from the group, when the attacks move from opposing ideals of the Faith, to denigrating those who show loyalty to them.  With all the filters Modernists now have in society and in ecclesiastical institutions today, it will be few vocations who show such fortitude and resistance, it is thus easy then to divide them from the group and from others in the group who would give moral support.

This separation is a necessary part of the re-education program of the Modernists.  Insistence on attending certain Pontifical Universities is a sure sign that re-education is the goal.  It is not that re-education is the necessity, but a seminarian or religious has to be very knowledgeable and virtuous beforehand, to survive without being scathed.  Such a man is a rare breed today, though.

One effective tool in this work of weeding out the virtuous, is the system of falsification of formation and formators.  In seminaries the Modernists most capable of appearing Catholics and most knowledgeable in how to flip a Catholic to a Modernist, or at least to a complaint do-nothing, are placed in the roles of Confessors, Spiritual Directors, and Vocation Directors, Rectors, or other formators.  This is important so that not only the gate-keepers but the counselors of the victims conscience are compromised, so that if he seeks help and guidance, he is guaranteed to get  advice that will do him in; either by advising compliance, silence, or excesses which will guarantee expulsion or exclusion, or serving as pretexts for such.  Indeed, a common tactic, is to propose friendship and sympathy for the victim, with the condition that he compromise in something, which will only prologue his ordeal and wear down his resistance.

These two tactics, Denigration and Identification/Segregation regard individuals. Now, let us consider the cases of groups.

3. Disfavor initiatives aimed at promoting the Faith in a non-compromised manner

In regard to groups, distinct but similar tactics must be employed.  In the age following the diffusion of the errors of voluntarism and totalitarianism, many a person has come to accept in principle that obedience to a superior is never wrong, even when a superior commands to be done that which is wrong.  A whole host of excuses is given, but to the group which is poorly formed in the Faith and immeshed in the errors of the present age, the power of the accusation of disobedience to a superiors commands or disfavor in regard to superior’s wishes is never to be discounted. How many holy initiatives, works of the Holy Spirit’s suggestions, have come to naught since Vatican II simply because someone whispered, “The Bishop won’t like that”, or “the current Pope does not favor that”, etc..!

Mind you, the Catholic Faith aims to please God alone; when a superior’s wishes diverge from what God has revealed to be pleasing to Himself, either in scripture, or throughout the course of the ages in the Saints’ and their works, then the faithful should have the common sense to ignore his wishes, no? You’d think so; but, alas, this sense of integrity is rare today.  Only when Catholics by long years of good works come to understand the profound connection between them and the  Faith which comes from Christ, do they have any interior conviction to question such an evil suggestion as, “the Bishop won’t like that” holy proposal.

The errors of voluntarism and totalitarianism have become so widespread, that many Catholics no longer hold their pastors or Bishops’ to be their shepherds, they now consider them to be their “heads” and “hearts” proper! Content with the satisfaction of their daily lives and common pleasures, and rarely prepared by modern culture to have a sense of personal dignity which is founded in loyalty to Christ first and foremost, few initiatives, even holy initiatives, of Catholics, whether laymen or clergy or religious, withstand a concerted or long process of Modernist manipulation tactics.  The fortitude is simply lacking; the clarity of judgement too poor; the heroic virtue, not something they have every prayed the Lord to give them.

4. Accuse of Disobedience, especially after unreasonable or unlawful requests

Accusations of disobedience are a grave matter, since the Code of Canon Law especially identifies these as a grounds for imposing censures or penalties.  Most Catholics when accused, do not have the clarity of mind or knowledge of the faith to distinguish a just command which should be obeyed, from an unjust or unreasonable one which should not or could be ignored.  The mere stigma of not doing what a superior has commanded, is so strong in modern times (despite the false exaltation of liberty) that nearly no group escapes from such an accusation.  What results is disintegration, internal divisions, which render the group non-effective in its holy proposals, or so divided, as to dissolve; in any event, the mere accusation when leveled is sufficient to guarantee that a group be exterminated from the life of the Church, if the Bishop should so wish, or even, to obtain complete acquiescence to the Modernist agenda in the Church as the penance necessary to remove the stigma.  This is why a reasonable or just request, refused, need not be the basis of the accusation.

Now let me adjoin some commentary on the so-called negotiations which have been required of Catholic groups since the Council, which have “dared” to resist the Modernist reformulation of the Faith.

5. Require negotiations for reconciliation

I have always wondered just why some groups are required “to be reconciled” so as to obtain favor or approval from superiors, where it is rather the superiors who have been known for years, decades, even their entirely priestly lives, for deviations from the Faith or right ecclesiastic practices.

The reason may be, that the opportunities to be had from negotiating the reconciliation of such groups provides a powerful social-psychological force for demanding and obtaining compliance.  Social-physchology is the study of how groups behave and interact in such wise as to influence the behavior of individuals and individuals of groups. The mere announcement of an offer of reconciliation makes the imposition of the requirement of negotiations all the more noteworthy, the object of much emotion and speculations.  The hope that persecution and justice will be granted, is combined with the natural desire of the victim to exit the suffering imposed so unjustly.  It is a powerful magnetic force, therefore, to propose to the abused a negotiation with the abuser to stop the abuse.  It also sets up the context where any discussion of the injustice or abuse appears not to be useful to obtain the needed reconciliation.

For this reason, I ask, just why is it that some groups, and not all groups or all Catholics, are required to accept by written signature the legitimacy, authority, or doctrines of the Second Vatican Council?  If the Fathers of the Council had the liberty to choose to sign or not to sign, and if the  Council did not in any anathema or canon obliged its acceptance or the acceptance of any of its pastoral proposals, why is it then that such written acceptance is required?

I believe the reason is, that such a written document, can serve very ably in coercing and guaranteeing compliance, and in shutting off the ways of escaping from further abuse, when the malice or perfidy of one party might later become evident.  After all, that is the reason for every peace treaty between disputants, is it not, to guarantee compliance of the weaker party?

Thus, if the Modernists simply falsely accuse their opponents of being schismatics, or in danger of schism, as has frequently and recently been done by some Bishops, it becomes very easy to propose reconciliation as a condition for being pardoned of the false charges.

In truth, Catholics need not compromise, reconcile or negotiate with Modernists; they need only to refuse false obedience and false acceptance when and wherever it is offered. Rather, it is Catholics who should preach and demand repentance of the Modernists, their resignations and their removal from office, howsoever high it be.

—————

Just hours after the publication of this Article, Pope Francis directed AB Parolin, his Secretary of State, to publish a Rescript in which he claims the right, in Art. 5, thereof, to depose any bishop for any reason after a fraternal dialogue.

Cf. http:// press.vatican.va / content / salastampa / it / bollettino / pubblico / 2014 / 11 / 05 / 0821 / 01739.html

To use the link, simply remove the spaces before and after the / symbols.

Critique of Final Synod14 Document (English Text)

Now that the final document of Synod14 has been published in an official English translation — something which remarkably took much longer to do than the mid-term Relatio, which was translated into 5 languages in just 1 weekend — I will fulfill the request of many Catholics, by commenting on the document.  I shall entitle this Commentary a critique, because it is obvious from the text and its organization that it presents a profoundly distorted and non-Catholic view of the human and Christian family.

So as not to omit anything, I will proceed section by section. Official text in Dark Green, bold italics. Comments in Black

Introduction

 1.          The Synod of Bishops, gathered around the Holy Father, turned its thoughts to all the families of the world, …

 

The introduction to the final document is glaringly lacking 2 most important elements. 

First, some statement which officially reproves or distances the Synod from the interm Relatio document prepared by Cardinal Erdo’s drafting committee with the mischievous assistance of Msgr. Bruno Forte. — The lack of such a public refutation or denial, is in fact a public tacit consent or at the very least a grevious lack of Christian honesty and pastoral charity towards the billions of Catholics and non-Catholics who were led to believe that it represented Church teaching, whether they were scandalized in the right sense of the word, or were not scandalized because they hold to a perverse unChristian view of the family.

Second, the Introduction lacks an affirmation of the Synod Fathers which indicates their adhesion to the one and true Catholic Faith and the denunciation of all errors opposed to it.  This is necessary, because both the In-term Relatio and the absence of refutation of it in the Introduction to this Final Relatio, have given rise to the suspicion that some of the Synod Fathers and perhaps even the Pope do not profess the Catholic Faith at all, or are attempting to adulterate it with doctrines which are incompatible with those revealed by God.  This failure to reaffirm the Catholic Faith openly, succinctly and before all else, puts in doubt that the doctrines presented in the Final Relatio were proposed by the Synod in a Catholic manner, that is, as doctrines of the Church for the good of the Church.  This absence, in my opinion, gives every Catholic the right to regard this final Relatio as a non-ecclesiastical document: one which does not in any true or authentic manner represent the Magisterium of the Church.

_______

PART I

Listening: the context and challenges of the family

The Socio-Cultural Context

5.          Faithful to Christ’s teaching, we look to the reality of the family today in all its complexity, with both its lights and shadows. etc.

The first glaring deviation in this Final Relatio, it the confusion its authors have concerning Faith and Reason.  Faith is the habit which regards assent to revealed truths; reason is the faculty of the mind which reckons to a conclusion from the basis of affirmations or denials of propositions.  We can, using common parlance, count in the domain of reason the findings and observations of the sciences, whether philosophical or empirical or human.  The human sciences which regard the family are many: Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology etc..  The empirical: Biology, Medicine, etc.

Its obvious, to any  believer, that it is a duty of faith to believe in what God has revealed.  But where in Scripture or Tradition do we find an obligation to “look to the reality of the family today, in all its complexity” ?  If one were attempting a scientific study of the human family, it would be very useful to consider the family today in such a wise, but it has nothing or very little to do with fidelity to Christ’s teaching, any more than being a physicist, anthropologist, or psychologist is something one does because faith requires this.

Thus, we can easily see that the authors of this Final Relatio, are confused about their duty as Bishops and Pastors, who were given sacred orders to minister to the Faithful the Faith which alone saves, and the doctrine and morals which alone save.

And if they are confused about their own duty, then we can expect a document full of such confusion; because just as the mouth speaks from the fullness of the heart, so the pen moves out of the fullness or emptiness of the head.

Theologically speaking, it is thus, unfaithful for a Bishop to replace phenomenological observations for clear teaching and clear affirmations of doctrine and morals.  Hence, we can conclude here, that what is contained in Part I, nn. 5-8 contradicts the essence of what those first 4 words of n. 5 should signify.

The Importance of Affectivity in Life

9.          Faced with the afore-mentioned social situation, people in  many parts of the world are feeling a great need to take care of themselves, to know themselves better, to live in greater harmony with their feelings and sentiments and to seek to live their affectivity in the best manner possible. etc.

Here, the Final Relatio, falls into its next grievous error: that of replacing the concept of morality with that of affectivity.  Morality regards the moral quality of acts and habits, that is, whether they be good or bad according to their genus, circumstances, end, and this according to right reason and the principles of revealed truth, that is according to the natural order and the Divine Law, which is the will of the One and True God, as He has revealed Himself: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Affectivity, however, is a quality or state of being which regards the having or using of the affective part of man, the sensible part of the soul: joy and sorrow, anger and hatred and fear, hope, love; in a word the passions or emotions.  (There are also theological virtues known as hope and love, but these are something different.)

Thus, to substitute the consideration of the moral order with the affective order, is to omit the consideration of morality all together.  Such a manner of proceeding follows logically and necessarily from one in which true pastoral fidelity is replaced with phenomenological observations.  You might say that the authors of the Final Relatio are trying to be diplomatic; but if diplomacy requires first of all a loyalty to the Monarch whom you are representing, ignoring His teachings regarding morality is a far greater offense than omitting a scientific observation.  It also sows confusion, and leads one to think, that the purpose of the Synod was not to teach but to philosophize or to present an ideology rather than doctrine regarding the Faith.

Pastoral Challenges

11.        In this regard, the Church is conscious of the need to offer a particularly meaningful word of hope, which must be done based on the conviction that the human person comes from God, and that, consequently, any reconsideration of the great question on the meaning of human existence can be responsive to humanity’s most profound expectations. The great values of marriage and the Christian family correspond to the search that characterizes human existence, even in these times of individualism and hedonism. People need to be accepted in the concrete circumstances of life. We need to know how to support them in their searching and to encourage them in their hunger for God and their wish to feel fully part of the Church, also including those who have experienced failure or find themselves in a variety of situations. The Christian message always contains in itself the reality and the dynamic of mercy and truth which meet in Christ.

Part I of the final Relatio closes with this (n. 11) excellent example of political hogwash.  Hogwash, because it contains bits and pieces of all kinds of things, and serves to satisfy those who have no intelligent motive to seek understanding or truth.  It might seem to be double-speak, but it is actually very faithful to its own principles, if we just unpack some key phrases.

which must be done based on the conviction that the human person comes from God

But the Church should act solely on the basis of Her Faith, Hope and Love for the one True God, no? What value does it have calling Her Faith, a “conviction”, or replacing the profession of faith in God the creator of mankind, with “human person comes from God”. Even a Platonist or Hindu can say the latter. And anyone who believes in the equality of all religious, the former.

and that, consequently, any reconsideration of the great question on the meaning of human existence can be responsive to humanity’s most profound expectations.

I do not know about you, but who was expecting this Synod of proposing a “reconsideration of the great question on the meaning of human existence”? Such a verbal expression is about as far as one can get to the proposed topic of the Family as can be conceived.  Rather, by using the term “reconsideration” and pairing it with the words “most profound expectations” (rather than “being” or “needs”) one clearly leaves the door open to the idea that the Final Relatio and indeed the entire Synod was aiming to push the envelope on certain questions regarding human nature itself, or propound entirely novel teachings which would break with the past, because clearly “expectations” regards a subjective criterion, and “reconsideration” signifies the abandonment at least in possibility of what was previously held or taught.

Since platitudes abound in what follows, above, suffice it to say that even an idiot knows that the family and marriage are not values, but Divine and human institutions.

People need to be accepted in the concrete circumstances of life.

This, is perhaps, the credo and battle cry of the progressivists and liberals who are in power today in the world.  Being materialists, they wish to replace morals with facts, and refuse to categorize as good or evil any human action or situation.  There remains for them only social injustice, which they define as a lack of money or access to power (whether they call that liberty or voting rights or equality). If the phrase meant anything objective, it would not have to be said, as it is a tautology in the common sense of the terms, namely if it was meant to signify, “Human persons, like any object of study, are to be studied as they are, and not as they should be”.  But then one would be affirming a principle of empirical science, and counter-posing that method to a philosophical or theological one; which surely a Synod of Catholic bishops, if they are professing fidelity to Christ’s teaching, would not be expected to be doing.

PART II

Looking at Christ: the Gospel of the Family

 Looking at Jesus and the Divine Pedagogy in the History of Salvation

12.       In order to “walk among contemporary challenges, the decisive condition is to maintain a fixed gaze on Jesus Christ, to pause in contemplation and in adoration of his Face. … Indeed, every time we return to the source of the Christian experience, new paths and undreamed of possibilities open up” (Pope Francis, Discourse, 4 October 2014).

Part II of the final Relatio opens with the affirmation of the principle of novelty which Pope Francis has set up as the rule for his papacy.  As he himself says, “I do not believe in a Catholic God; there is no Catholic God”, and Catholics should be open to the “God of surprises”.  This God of surprises — a name for God nowhere found in Scripture, Tradition, the Fathers or Doctors of the Church, nay not even among the Saints — is the God of the Final Relatio, since the very hermeneutic employed in Part II is to read Scripture without any restraint imposed from all that has gone before.

This is not the Catholic notion of Scriptural exegesis, but is a very apt one for the eisegesis taught by Modernists.  Exegesis is the Greek term for reading the Scripture so as to find and understand the truth contained in it.  Eisegesis is that wherein one reads into the text, a meaning which one wants to find therein.  The distinction between exegesis and eisegesis is the distinction between Catholicism and all non-Catholic or un-Catholic methods of scripture reading.  Modernists have to employ eisegesis, because their fasle and novel doctrines, not being found in Scripture, must be made to appear to be found there in, so as to justify itself among those who still hold Scripture to have some authority for faith.

Indeed, in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, chapter 2, the Infallible Ecumenical Council of Vatican I, taught as follows

  • Now since the decree on the interpretation of holy scripture, profitably made by the council of Trent, with the intention of constraining rash speculation, has been wrongly interpreted by some, we renew that decree and declare its meaning to be as follows: that
    • in matters of faith and morals,
    • belonging as they do to the establishing of christian doctrine,
    • that meaning of holy scripture must be held to be the true one,
    • which holy mother church held and holds,
      • since it is her right to judge of the true meaning and interpretation of holy scripture.
  • In consequence, it is not permissible for anyone to interpret holy scripture in a sense contrary to this, or indeed against the unanimous consent of the fathers.

 

Hence, the way to the God of surprises is closed off, since Vatican I forbade that anyone read Scripture in such a wise as to attribute to it something which the Church Herself did not already hold and understand, in the time of Vatican I.

Thus, we can conclude that Part II begins with a heretical affirmation regarding the way to read Scripture.  This, undoubtedly will make it very difficulty or impossible that anything said about the Family or Marriage, which is  based on faith in Scripture, will be said in a manner conformable to the Catholic understanding of Scripture, which the Church Herself holds and receives from Christ Her Lord.

This false way of reading Scripture brings forth its first evil fruit in n. 13:

In creation, because all things were made through Christ and for him (cf. Col 1:16), Christians “gladly and reverently lay bare the seeds of the Word which lie hidden among their fellows; they ought to follow attentively the profound changes which are taking place among peoples” (Ad Gentes, 11).

Notice how the concept of Creation is paired with the concept of “profound changes”.  In a Catholic notion of Creation, just as Christ said of Marriage, “What God has joined, let no man sunder”, so we can say that “What God has made, let no man destroy, change or alter”.  By insinuating surreptitiously that fidelity to the Creator requires some sort of discipleship to change, the Relatio introduces anew the concept that faith is loyalty to a God of surprises not a God of Immutable Constancy, and that Creation is not something fixed and past, but ongoing and ever new.  This replaces a classical Christian sense of metaphysics with one which is Hegelian at best.

In the Christian life, the reception of Baptism brings the believer into the Church through the domestic church, namely, the family; thus beginning “a dynamic process [which] develops, one which advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God” (Familiaris Consortio, 9), in an ongoing conversion to a love which saves us from sin and gives us fullness of life.

In this sentence, which follows the one just quoted, we see this error of replacing the supernatural order with the natural order again.  Baptism is a Sacrament which makes one a member of the true Church, when it is received in the Church; but the reception of this Sacrament is not limited to newborns, even adult converts can receive it, for example. Thus it is incorrect to say that one receives this Sacrament through the Domestic Church, since being member of a family or having family members present to sponsor one at Baptism is not and never has been a requirement of the Sacrament.  How Bishops could in good conscience omit noticing this glaring error, is beyond me.

The second half of the sentence, introduces the false notion of graduality in things spiritual.  In Catholic teaching, the spiritual regards things which are not material, and hence, since the spiritual does not regard things which are separable or have parts, it does not regard but things which are simple.  Now all spirits, whether Angels or human souls, are simple things; and simple things change only according to the whole.  Thus Angels and souls are created entire, not by parts; likewise, when a soul converts, it does so in 1 instant, not by steps.  If we speak of conversion on a broad sense, that is as a preparation for conversion through progressive steps of being more and more open to the grace of conversion, we can call it a process, but to use the word “conversion” for the preparation for conversion is improper and confusing.  To misuse the term “conversion” in this manner, seemingly denies the truth that a man converts in 1 instant, and that that conversion must be total, to be true.  It thus opens the door to accepting in the Church and at the Sacraments, those who live in public habitual mortal sin, which is exactly what Cardinal Kasper is proposing.

Finally, all who have the theological virtue of Charity, have the ability to love God; and such a love is simple, when it exists; one who loves God does not need to convert, because love by nature turns the lover to the beloved; and conversion regards the turning of the soul.  Thus conversion is not an ongoing process.  The ongoing process is perfection, or rather, the pursuit of perfection by living the Christian life.  The non-Christian needs to repent and convert; the Christian who is not faithful, need to repent, not convert.  In Baptism, one receives all the gifts of God, in themselves or in seed or in promise; thus one is no more or less a Christian at Baptism than he is in Heaven.  Thus the statement regarding the “progressive integration of the gifts of God” is badly stated, in the very least.

What follows in n. 14, in no way avoids the errors which preceded.

14.       Jesus himself, referring to the original plan of the human couple, reaffirms the indissoluble union between a man and a woman and says to the Pharisees that “for your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so”(Mt 19: 8). The indissolubility of marriage (“what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” Mt 19:6), is not to be understood as a “yoke” imposed on persons but as a “gift” to a husband and wife united in marriage. In this way, Jesus shows how God’s humbling act of coming to earth might always accompany the human journey …

It in now way removes the errors previous to it, because, according to the natural principle of human language, every affirmation is to be understood not only according to what it affirms but also according to the context in which it makes that affirmation.  Note, then, how n. 14 says nothing against the false forms of marriage, but only calls the true one the “original plan”; given that the Final Relatio in its previous sections opens the way to novel readings of scripture, and new proposals, the affirmation of “original” does not close the way to a future affirmation of what is “novel”, since the novel can be seen as a new fruit of reading Scripture or Tradition, in harmony with the God of surprises, which is the god of this document.

 became the historical form of marriage among the People of God…

What follows in n. 15, while seemingly very good, contains several errors of expression which leave open the door to all the errors, which I have previously pointed out in this critique.  The description of marriage in history is faulty, in such a way as to do this; because the truth of history is that the People of God were called from among those sons of Adam who had fallen into sin and idolatry, and hence when they were called they were not living in marriages which were always in accord with God’s original plan given in Adam and Eve, which is monogamous life long marriage of 1 man and 1 woman.  By saying, contrariwise, that these sinful forms became the historical form of marriage among God’s people, the Final Relatio opens the door, by giving precedent, to the possibility that the Church Herself can embrace forms of marriage being proposed in the historical moment of today.

The Gospel of the Family spans the history of the world from the creation of man in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gn 1: 26-27)

I paragraph n. 16, we have the error of confounding the natural and supernatural orders, affirmed again. Because, in theology, the Gospel regards the message of salvation which God alone revealed in Christ; one does not call the original order of things which God established at the beginning of the world or of our race a “gospel”, because it regards the natural order, not the order of grace and salvation.  It is also nonsensical to call the original plan a “gospel” since “Gospel” means “good news” and what is old is not news, even if it is good.

The Family in the Church’s Documents

17.       “Throughout the centuries, the Church has maintained her constant teaching on marriage and family. One of the highest expressions of this teaching was proposed by the Second Vatican Council, in the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, which devotes an entire chapter to promoting the dignity of marriage and the family (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 47-52).

It is so common to find, since Vatican II, the same stupid exaggerations in Church documents, that you can almost guess that they will be there in any long-enough document.  One of these stupidities is the assertion that at Vatican II the Church taught in the best way She had ever done, as if She was ignorant and illiterate for 1929 years (1962 — 33 = 1929)!

To call Gaudium et Spes “one of the highest expressions” of Church teaching is thus as laughable as it is a-historical.  But is its laughable too, since Benedict XVI, while still a mere theologian, said of Gaudium et Spes, that it was by far the most problematic of Vatican II documents, one which is thoroughly colored by the heresy of Pelagianism, which held that the salvation and grace offered in Christ was useful but not necessary for salvation, and hence attention to things natural with little emphasis on those which are supernatural or gratuitous (i. e. of grace) is no large fault.

To take Gaudium et Spes, therefore, as the highest expression, is thus to denigrate others as lower.  But as a matter of fact, every Papal Encyclical for 200 years before Vatican II has more authority than any document of Vatican II, because as Pope Pius XII declared, what is taught in Encyclicals has to be accepted as Catholic teaching; but Vatican II and Pope Paul VI imposed no such obligation on Vatican II documents.

The Church, however, has a certain, clear and much more authoritative document on Marriage and the Family: the Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XII, Casti Canubi, Dec. 31, 1930 A.D., the text of which is still available at the Vatican Website.  In paragraph nns. 5-6, the Church teaches:

5. And to begin with that same Encyclical, which is wholly concerned in vindicating the divine institution of matrimony, its sacramental dignity, and its perpetual stability, let it be repeated as an immutable and inviolable fundamental doctrine that matrimony was not instituted or restored by man but by God; not by man were the laws made to strengthen and confirm and elevate it but by God, the Author of nature, and by Christ Our Lord by Whom nature was redeemed, and hence these laws cannot be subject to any human decrees or to any contrary pact even of the spouses themselves. This is the doctrine of Holy Scripture;[2] this is the constant tradition of the Universal Church; this the solemn definition of the sacred Council of Trent, which declares and establishes from the words of Holy Writ itself that God is the Author of the perpetual stability of the marriage bond, its unity and its firmness.[3]

6. Yet although matrimony is of its very nature of divine institution, the human will, too, enters into it and performs a most noble part. For each individual marriage, inasmuch as it is a conjugal union of a particular man and woman, arises only from the free consent of each of the spouses; and this free act of the will, by which each party hands over and accepts those rights proper to the state of marriage,[4] is so necessary to constitute true marriage that it cannot be supplied by any human power.[5] This freedom, however, regards only the question whether the contracting parties really wish to enter upon matrimony or to marry this particular person; but the nature of matrimony is entirely independent of the free will of man, so that if one has once contracted matrimony he is thereby subject to its divinely made laws and its essential properties. For the Angelic Doctor, writing on conjugal honor and on the offspring which is the fruit of marriage, says: “These things are so contained in matrimony by the marriage pact itself that, if anything to the contrary were expressed in the consent which makes the marriage, it would not be a true marriage.”[6]

Why this Encyclical was not quoted in this section of the Final Relatio, is a very grave question; the omission of it puts in doubt the honesty of the intention of the Synod Fathers to hold fast to Catholic teaching.

The Erroneous Definition of Family in the Final Relatio

is found in paragraph n. 17, of the same, where it says in the official English translation, speaking of the Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes:

This document defined marriage as a community of life and love (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 48),

Every human being with some intelligence can see immediately that this definition is insufficient.  Because, a human being can share a community of life and love with many other human persons, not just those in his family; and a community of human love can exist between any number or gender of persons; a community of the human affection of love can also exist, unilaterally, between a human person and a pet, such as a dog.  Hence, this definition of a family, after all the scandals of Synod14 is remarkable in its insufficiency.  It allows every error regarding the Family and Marriage, which Catholics supposed the Synod was convened to refute!

This error is not corrected in nns. 17-20, because NO WHERE does it exclude all the possible notions of family which could fall under such a loose definition.  Nor do affirmations regarding the family formed by man and woman, logically exclude these other concepts of family and marriage.  Let us not be stupid, as to suppose otherwise; those who wrote this document have degrees in theology and philosophy, they understand logic and its rules, and cannot be exculpated from the open door to perversion and immorality which they left wide open in the very heart of the final text of the Relatio.  To cite this most loose of definitions, when Pius XII had given a very good one in Casti Canubi, nn. 5-6, is simply beyond belief and renders void of all credibility the ecclesiological value of the Final Relatio.

I will end my critique here, since I believe that the reader can continue reading the Relatio and find the same errors repeated, the same open doors open, etc. and reasonably conclude, that the Final Text of Synod14 is a Trojan horse in the city of God.

___________________

Br. Alexis Bugnolo holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Florida, where he was nominated to Phi Beta Kapa; he is a graduate of Our Lady of Grace Seminary (cum laude), Boston, and has studied at three Pontifical Universities at Rome: the Angelicum, Santa Croce, and the Seraphicum.  He is in the midst of studies for a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology.  For a list of his publications, see The Franciscan Archive and his personal page at Academia.edu.

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