The improbity of Team Bergoglio’s Recent Denials

Feast of Santa Lucia, Rome, Dec. 13, 2014:  The crux of the scandal surrounding “Team Bergoglio” — Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s nickname for the group of Cardinals who canvassed for votes on behalf of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio before and during the Conclave of 2013 — is, without doubt, the curious denials of the testimony Ivereigh gives in his book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.

These curious denials are what sparked the interest of the Catholic world.  And their inconsistencies have fueled, not quieted, the speculation, since they are widely seen not as transparent statements, but as politically motivated misinformation.

The From Rome blog, however, mindful of the duty of objectivity, in all of its reporting regarding “Team Bergoglio” has taken as an a priori presumption, that neither Dr. Ivereigh nor those alleged to be part of “Team Bergoglio” are not telling the truth.  For that reason, to round out our coverage, the From Rome blog will now put to scrutiny what these denials say and do not say, so as to weigh their probity.

The denial of Ivereigh given by Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor

DenialThe first official denial of Dr. Ivereigh’s narrative came from Maggie Doherty, the spokeswoman for the retired Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster, England:  his Eminence Msgr. Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.  That denial, published in the form of a letter to the editor of the Monday Daily Telegraph, on November 25, 2014, can be seen to the right (Note that the Telegraph’s editors have added the lead-title, “Papal plot”).

As the From Rome blog demonstrated yesterday, the most probable reason for the denial, as given, was to specifically negate the allegation of Dr. Ivereigh’s book, on p. 355, which said that the members of “Team Bergoglio”, first of all, sought the agreement of Cardinal Bergoglio to their vote-canvassing campaign.

This is because in  Catholic Church law (Codex iuris canonicis of 1983),  canon 1329 extends punishment for all acts criminalized with excommunication, to all accomplices of those acts, without which the criminalized act or acts could not be accomplished.

Consenting to a vote-canvassing campaign on one’s behalf is the most culpable act which an accomplice can make in it, since without such consent, the campaigners would never have reasonably considered to have undertaken such a campaign.

Canvassing for votes is specifically criminalized by the Papal Law, Universi Dominici Gregis, (here after UDG), of Pope John Paul II, published in 1996, as this blog has explained in detail in its article, “The Great Reformer”.

The improbity of the First Denial

Improbity refers to the inability of a person or testimony to be considered honest.  Of itself, what has improbity is not necessarily false, but in its totality it remains improbable, or, more precisely, aims to affirm what is improbable.  What has improbity is not untrue under every aspect, it can merely be an exaggeration or misleading or misdirecting.

Let’s, presume, as stated, that the letter by Maggie Doherty is true in everything it says. We know from Dr. Ivereigh’s twitter feed, that he regards the statement of Maggie Doherty as emanating from Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor. In our previous report, Ivereigh + UDG 81 = A Radical Problem for the Pope, the From Rome blog speculated on the form and occasion and method of this denial. Now, let us consider it from another point of view: what it says and does not say, and whether the Cardinal could reasonably be considered to have given a testimony which has forensic value.

First of all, one must recognize that in denying the narrative presented in Dr. Ivereigh’s book there are several great problems: the first of which is that Dr. Ivereigh is the former personal secretary to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, and if Ivereigh knew anything about the campaign in 2013, the public will presume that he had all this information either from the Cardinal or had it as confirmed by the Cardinal.  So in a sense, the Cardinal will appear to many to be denying himself.

Second, one can only give testimony to what one has seen or heard or did.

Third, one denies only what one denies. And when accused of many things, all which has not been denied, is implicitly or tacitly affirmed.

So, let’s examine the text of the Cardinal’s denial.  In the first sentence, he states that he is not denying what Ivereigh wrote, only aiming at dispelling any misunderstanding that might arise from reading Dr. Ivereigh’s book.  This initial statement greatly weakens the Cardinal’s statement: in a word, he denies nothing of the narrative presented, neither as regards names mentioned or as regards the chronology of events or the acts participated in.  He does not even deny the conversation which Dr. Ivereigh attributes to him, in asking Cardinal Bergoglio for his consent to the campaign.

In the second sentence he denies that he, or as far as he knows the other Cardinals, made any approach to Cardinal Bergoglio to seek his assent as a candidate.  In this statement, the opposite error occurs, for unlike the first in which he denies nothing and concedes all, in this statement he denies too much.  It would have been sufficient to deny with greater precision, but to deny that Cardinal Bergoglio was never asked by any Cardinal regarding his willingness to serve is beyond belief. And since “assent” regards an act of the mind, “consent” to that of the will, and since it is consent that makes one an accomplice, the Cardinal may be saying that he did not seek Cardinal Bergoglio’s assent, but did seek his consent.

Finally, the Cardinal can only deny what he knows: hence, since he cannot possibly know everything which every other of the named Cardinals did or said, his denial in that regard has no forensic value, except to exculpate himself in a conspiracy with Cardinals regarding seeking such a consent.  He has not denied that bishops, priests, deacons, laymen or religious or even journalists were used as intermediaries to obtain such consent.

What is the truth? Until the Cardinal is questioned by journalists or fellow Cardinals in consistory, we may never know.  But it appears from the second sentence that the Cardinal has affirmed that the campaign was a vote-canvassing / vote-promissing endeavor, because in denying too much in the second sentence, he implicitly affirms Ivereigh’s allegation as to the nature of the campaign.

For these reasons, assuming everything the Cardinal said is true, then one seems constrained to conclude that the Cardinal has denied nothing, but confirmed everything. And this is where the improbity arises, because a denial should deny specifics and the totality of an accusation.  One can understand, however, that the Cardinal, being a man of God from his earliest days, would never deny what was true, directly speaking, for that would be dishonest.

The denial given by the Four Cardinals through Fr. Lombardi

On December 1, 2014, with growing interest in the story regarding “Team Bergoglio”, the blog, Il Sismografo publishes in Italian, P. Lombardi su presunti comportamenti di alcuni cardinali nell’ultimo Conclave, which contained Fr. Lombardi’s statement on the affair.  Our English translation read as follows (1st the editors preface, then Lombardi):

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.

The improbity of the Second Denial

In the first part of Fr. Frederico Lombardi’s official denial, he casts a net about too little: because he denies only the activity of 4 Cardinals, when, as this blog has shown, the text itself names 7 and 2 other suspected accomplices, and implicates as many as 30 in the crimes of vote-asking / vote-promising.  Therefore, his statement must be understood, authentically, of not regarding the activities of these others Cardinals, nor of any intermediaries they might have used, nor any other details of Ivereigh’s account.

In the second part of Fr. Lombardi’s statement, too little and too much is denied.  Too little, because, as this blog has shown, it is not a crime to seek the consent of a candidate to be a candidate. Nor is it a crime to profess willingness to be a candidate.  But it is a crime to conduct a vote-canvassing campaign to promote a candidate (this is a violation of UDG 81), and it is a punishable offense to give consent to such a campaign on one’s own behalf, with knowledge that the campaign has this nature.  Too much, because it is not a crime to conduct a campaign on behalf of another Cardinal.  Since the 4 Cardinals, through Fr. Lombardi, have not denied that it was a vote-canvassing campaign, they implicitly have affirmed it.  Since they have not denied that Cardinal Bergoglio gave his consent, they implicitly also affirm that. They have not denied that they were accomplices, only that they were leaders conducting it. They have not denied that they promised votes or solicited the promise of votes.

Furthermore, Cardinal Bergoglio did not have to be asked to give his consent; it is sufficient that he gave it spontaneously, willingly and with knowledge of the nature of the campaign, which nature and its existence none of the Cardinals have denied.

For this reason, this second denial also has great improbity, because it has the form of a denial, but when reasonable interpreted according to the above stated method, it can be considered to be a confession.  For, when accused, the accused must rebut the nature of the crime and the acts committed, if he disputes one or the other or both.

In conclusion, it appears from both denials, that these four of the seven members alleged to be part of “Team Bergoglio” are in fact affirming all which is necessary to indict Cardinal Bergoglio for the crime of being an accomplice in the vote-canvassing campaign. They also leave open the possibility that Cardinal Bergoglio, himself, was the ringleader or initiator, though no one has accused Pope Francis of this.

Advertisements

4 Ways the “Team Bergoglio” Revelations undo Francis’ papacy

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio takes the vow of secrecy at opening of the 2013 Conclave (BBC, screenshote by From Rome blog, cropped)

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio takes the vow of secrecy at opening of the 2013 Conclave (BBC, screenshote by From Rome blog, cropped)

Editorial — Rome, Dec. 7, 2014:  The scandalous and shocking revelations regarding the manipulation of the electoral process during the recent conclave, which elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Roman Pontiff, have cut and the very heart of confidence in the papacy of Pope Francis.  While this blog, From Rome, has refrained for 2 weeks from editorializing on the news, in this post, on the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, it seems proper to draw out the moral and political consequences of Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s revelations for the Catholic World.

As we recalled yesterday:

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.

Yet, as that chronicle details, the revelations and denials and the alterations of the narrative published by Dr. Ivereigh, for the reasons Ivereigh gave on his twitter feeds and in recent reports, belie that image.

First of all, because the foundation of popular confidence in any modern government is the fulfilled expectation of fairness in the highest levels of government.  Catholics the world-over, especially those from the more influential, affluent West, who keep the Vatican supplied with funds in the form of alms, have a deep conviction that the selection of the Pope should follow the rules and seek a candidate in an honest manner.  A short-cut of those rules, by a cleverly manipulated maneuver destroys that confidence.  The point is not so much whether such things happened in the past: the whole tenor of ecclesiastical politics since Vatican II has been to break with the traditions of the past, in the name of greater conformity of the Gospel. A return to the carnal machinations of medieval times, thus, will only redound to a loss of respect and confidence in the Papacy of Cardinal Bergoglio.

The disgust at such politic-ing prior to the Conclave was most eloquently expressed by one anonymous commentator, days ago, when he wrote:

A former member of a religious order with American and European members told me that everyone was instructed not to caucus before the order’s elections, and the Americans dutifully complied. Oddly enough, even though the Americans were a majority, the leadership elected was always European. After he left, another former priest who was French confided that the Europeans ALWAYS caucused.

Thus, if the papal law on elections of the Roman Pontiff, known by its Latin title, Universi Dominic Gregis (UDG), specifies that there is to be no vote canvassing of any kind in n. 81 of that document, the advantage had by those who do canvass for votes, is immeasurable, so long as every penalty which could arise from such a high-crime can be avoided.

And it is just that, which every “Team Bergoglio” apologist who has come out of the wood-work in recent days, has advocated:  total impunity for violation of the rules of the Conclave.

This impunity would arise, if UDG 81 imposed a penalty which had no effect as regards the general ecclesiastical law expressed in canon 171, which would otherwise nullify elections in which those penalized by UDG 81 with excommunication participated under the conditions it details.  For if the rules when violated infer upon the guilty no canonical effect, then there are the greatest motives to violate the Conclave rules by all means possible and necessary to get your candidate elected.  Something equivalent, in a perverse sense, to the addage, the victor takes all.

Rules will always be observed by the conscientious; therefore, a just and orderly society must punish severely those who do not follow the rules, for otherwise, the criminal will be advantaged by the mere existence of rules not enforced. And this is diametrically opposed to end for which rules and laws are promulgated.

Second, the discrepancies in the carefully worded denials of Dr. Ivereigh’s claims makes it appear that the claims are true.  This is simple logic.  What Dr. Ivereigh recounts in his book on Pope Francis, The Great Reformer: the Making of a Radical Pope, is given in a straight-forward, matter-of-fact manner, without any intention or motive to make Cardinal Bergoglio appear to be anything other than he is.  It is for that reason a book to be valued for all future historians who wish to know Bergoglio the man.  And for that reason, the testimony of Dr. Ivereigh has a high probity to it.  This probity is the higher in the case of the “Team Bergoglio” allegations, because, as this blog has demonstrated, Dr. Ivereigh was present in Rome for the Conclave in 2013, both before and afterwards, and during that time he confessed to have met with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, the alleged head of “Team Bergoglio”.  Even the Cardinal himself, as reported here at the From Rome blog, admits to having lead the effort to get Bergoglio elected, and to have had confidence in that effort as of March 12, 2014.

Thus the claim by the English Cardinal, issued by his spokeswoman, Maggie Doherty, in the form of a letter to the editor, in the Nov. 25 Monday edition of the Telegraph newspaper is beyond belief for its form and content.  In it, Doherty declares that the English Cardinal did not obtain the assent of Cardinal Bergoglio to campaign for him.  Who is there, in the entire world, who thinks that Cardinals of the Roman Church, renowned for their sense of propriety and good-manners, would ever canvass for votes prior to asking the prospective candidate for his consent? Why would a Cardinal spend so much time organizing such an effort, if the candidate himself had not expressed formal explicit consent?  And why would any Cardinals cooperate with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor in such a campaign, if he had told them that Cardinal Bergoglio had not given his consent.  There were no restrictions on movement during the Conclave: any Cardinal could have confirmed with Cardinal Bergoglio his views on such a matter.  If Cardinal Bergoglio did not give his assent by word or sign, the campaign would never have gotten off the ground. For these reasons the denial given by Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, if it is not entirely false, must be wholly misleading:  consent must have been given, those asking for such a consent and those giving it, therefore, must either be those denied for having done so, or intermediaries which they chose for this purpose, so as to provide a plausible deniability to the affair.

The carefully worded denial, issued by means of unofficial channels by Fr. Frederico Lombardi leads to the same conclusion.  That denial, in our own unofficial English translation from the Italian, declared in Fr. Lombard’s name:

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.

For it is morally impossible that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor by himself could have conducted such a campaign, as he and the Pope both admitted to (reported in the Wall Street Journal article from August 6, 2013) without the assistance of other Cardinals.  And as the English Cardinal admitted in his interview with the Catholic Herald last year, he was recognized by the newly elected Pope for having been chiefly responsible.  The claims, therefore, by his former secretary, who admitted publicly to having had meet with his former boss, “the other day”, in his March 12, 2013 BBC appearance, that he did organize it in company with other Cardinals cannot be dismissed.  Especially since another report, by journalists of the Wall Street Journal, published in August of 2013, expressly names Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and another alleged member of “Team Bergoglio”, Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, USA, as having attended a dinner for the express purpose of discussing candidates for the Papal Throne in the days prior to the Conclave’s opening on March 12th.  Thus, one arrives as the same conclusion as before:  the denial given by Fr. Lombardi must be discounted as either entirely false, or wholly misleading.  The manner in which it was given, though a blog, rather than in the presence of journalists accredited to the Vatican, makes it appear also, as being given to squelch further inquiry, rather than to truthfully put a false controversy to an end. Finally, no denials have been issued regarding other alleged members of “Team Bergoglio”: Cardinals O’Malley and Santos Abril y Castello.

Third, since the very nature of the Catholic Church is a society internally bound together by the mutual and voluntary commitment of it members, the consequences of grave and substantial doubt, as has been raised by the “Team Bergoglio” scandal will be the diminishing of and/or unraveling of such unity of moral commitment.  This is because, before God, Catholics believe deeply that they are not obliged to obey a superior who does not hold his office legitimately, in accord with the fundamental rules of the Church, known as Canon Law.  This is especially true, when a superior commands something which subjects believe or recognize as incoherent with the Catholic Faith.  The revelations of Dr. Ivereigh add to this, since the whole purpose of his book is to show that the former Cardinal Archbishop of Buenas Aires has spent his entire ecclesiastical career promoting a concept of faith which is completely at odds with that which has been taught by the Catholic Church for 2000 years:  a non-dogmatic pratical approach, which would promise salvation to all without any —or at least much less — necessary discipleship to Christ Jesus as teacher of truth, doctrine or morals.

Fourth, since as much as the Catholic faithful, especially clergy and religious come to believe that the results of the 2013 Conclave are invalidated by the machinations of “Team Bergoglio”, expressly penalized with excommunication by UDG 81, the more opportunity will arise for outright rebellion and schism in the Church against the rule of Pope Francis.  For if he is not validly elected, and if the members of “Team Bergoglio” are excommunicated, then Catholics must refuse communion with them all.

For all these reasons, we believe that the truth of the “Team Bergoglio” affair needs to be revealed and a most severe punishment needs to be leveled; and all doubt as to the validity of Pope Francis’ election must be removed.  And there seems no way to do that, in a manner that would be acceptable to all, unless as UDG n. 5 lays out, the College of Cardinals is convened in special consistory, into which Pope Francis enters with the humility necessary to abdicate if necessary.  For there is no greater love, than to lay down one’s papacy for the sake of the salvation of the consciences of the weak little lambs in Christ’s Fold.

For a complete list of our coverage on Team Bergoglio and a list of reports from major news outlets the world over on it, see 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.

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