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We left our last post off on the 7th of December. For your information, that was the day on which the Francis interview appeared in the Argentine newspaper La Nacion (see here).
On the 11th of December 2014, this blog published the post titled The Modernist’s Magic Words (see here). In the Introduction section to the post, and referring to the La Nacion article, the following is written:
The reason for the above mentioned time of reflection (ed. note: between date of publication and publication of commentary in The Modernist’s Magic Words post) was that this article was a watershed article in my humble opinion. The words of Francis in this interview provide the observer with two important pieces of information. The first piece of information is that we see a Francis on the defensive. He admits that mistakes were made, but they are really not his fault. And even if they are, it’s just the way he is. The second important piece of information is that he appears to be justifying his actions and himself as well. The question is, who is he justifying himself to? He is after all the pope, so he can do whatever he pleases. So the question is why?
It is a very important question. Please keep this question in the back of your mind for future reference. Over the course of the next few posts, more of these types of questions will appear. Let’s call these “the stragglers”. We will be “picking up these stragglers” in the subsequent posts.
But for now, let’s return back to the 8th of December, 2014, where we read this headline at the MondayVatican blog: (see here)
Pope Francis, beyond the paradigm of discontinuity.
Reading the title, one would not expect the opening paragraph to read as follows:
At the eve of the sixth meeting of the Council of Cardinals, it seems that the path of the reform of the Roman Curia has come to a halt – Pope Francis himself said that reforms will not carried out within the next year. As there was a de facto halt for what regards the most far-reaching positions during the last Synod of bishops, carried forward by those who were considered the closest to the Pope. As, in the end, there was a halt on many of the initial decisions of Pope Francis. These events suggest there are groups who want to prevent Pope Francis from carrying forward the reforms.
From the paragraph, it would appear that the “paradigm of discontinuity” is alive and doing quite well. We are obviously referring here to a “paradigm of discontinuity” between Francis and the Roman Curia.
Upon a closer reading of the above text, two VERY important points need to be stressed here, i.e.:
1) That the Curia reforms were “de facto halted” and
2) The Curia reforms were “de facto halted” due to “the most far-reaching positions during the last Synod of bishops, carried forward by those who were considered the closest to the Pope.”
From the above, it would appear that the “paradigm of discontinuity” is between Francis and the Bishops of the Bishops’ Synod”.
Which leaves one wondering, what does the Curia reforms have to do with the “far reaching positions…carried forward by those who were considered the closest to the Pope” at the Synod of Bishops in 2014.
And just to remind you dear reader, when referring to “those who were considered the closest to the Pope” we are referring to Baldisseri, Forte & Co., collectively know on this humble blog as the Manipulators. (see here)
One possible explanation of what ties these two independent events would be that the members of the Curia attended the Secret Synod of Bishops of 2014, or followed its proceedings, were so upset by what transpired that they “revolted” and stopped Francis’ Curia reform dead in its tracks, a reform that “apparently” should in no way be related to what transpired at the Bishops’ Synod.
The above is probably the most likely explanation of the general situation on the ground inside the Vatican walls during the week preceding 8 December 2014.
Just to reemphasize this quite important point, let’s look at it in another way; due to Curial opposition to the “far reaching positions…carried forward by those who were considered the closest to the Pope”, the Curia members, and let us be specific, the Council of Cardinals, stopped the independent and unrelated Curia reforms.
Which lead one to ask the following question: why now?
As we know, the Synod had ended almost 2 months earlier, while the Curia reforms were progressing without any hint as to there being a stoppage up to this time. So why all of a sudden, did the Curia reforms ground to a halt?
The answer is provided in the next paragraph, which reads as follows: (emphasis added)
Perhaps, the most important instance is the account of the book “The Great Reformer,” written by the London-based journalist Austen Ivereigh.
Looks like we have tied together three seemingly independent events.
Let’s think about what this means.
The Curia reform was halted due to a revolt by the Curia members due to “far reaching positions…carried forward by those who were considered the closest to the Pope” at the Synod of Bishops which ended in October 2014. The reason that the Curial reform was halted now was because of the Ivereigh allegations contained in the book written by Austen Ivereigh. For the background on these Ivereigh allegations, please refer to the previous post titled Westminster, We Have a Problem (see here).
But back to the MondayVatican post, the following passage puts into context the events which were the direct cause of the stoppage of the Curia reform, according to the blog MondayVatican. Here is the relevant passage regarding the Ivereigh issue:
According to Ivereigh, the ‘team’ was composed by cardinals Murphy, Walter Kasper, Carl Lehman and Godfried Daneels. Ivereigh wrote, generating controversy, that the four cardinals “secured Bergoglio’s assent” (although this claim will be modified in the reprints of the book). The issue was raised of the validity of Bergoglio’s election, since ‘Universi Dominici Gregis’, the Constitution that regulates papal elections, forbids any ‘political’ agreement before a conclave.
The significance of this above passage cannot be underestimated, regardless of whether “this claim will be modified in the reprints of the book “. It is an issue of forensics now. Furthermore, this information provides us with the “smoking gun” that the Synod agenda and Curia reforms either are or have become intertwined, and the cause of the stoppage of the Curia reforms was due to the revelations contained in the Ivereigh book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.
So what conclusions can be drawn from the above?
Needless to say, and it is important to stress here, that whatever “claim will be modified in the reprints of the books” isn’t really relevant to the situation on the ground on 8 December 2014. The reason is that the Curia had the evidence (one can easily venture to use the word “proof”) that Francis’ election had/has a high probability of being invalid. At this point, I also need to mention this: having evidence that a papal election has a high probability of being invalid and acting on this evidence are two entirely different things. A good case in point to keep in mind is the situation when the US House of Representative impeached William Jefferson Clinton, but the Senate did not remove him from office. I hope, dear reader that we are clear on this. Excuse the digression…
Please keep in mind also that ALL the Curia cardinals were in the conclave so they know exactly what transpired. Furthermore, the Curia cardinals know Canon Law, and are very familiar by this time with UDG 81, or at least they should be. Therefore, not only did the Curia have proof that Francis’ election had a high probability of being invalid; Francis must have known that that those cardinals knew that Francis’ election had a high probability of being invalid.
And finally, please keep in mind that it is not important whether you or I think something is probable or not, what is important is that the players think that something is probable or not.
This is where I will leave off today.
In closing, what needs to be noted is that however one wants to describe the situation inside the Vatican walls on this day, the expression “beyond the paradigm of discontinuity” is not it! The above explanation, technically speaking: a hypothesis, goes a long way to explain the “work stoppage” on the Curia Reforms, and provides a valuable insight into the relationship between the bishop of Rome, the Roman Curia, the Catholic bishops as represented by the Synod of Bishops’ of 2014 and the allegations leveled by Dr. Austen Ivereigh, the former spokesman for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor in his book The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope.
Still think the above is crazy?
Once again, hold that thought…