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.

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