, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Prisoners I

I am going to give you guys and gals a head start. I was going to start my Consistory Game series of posts tomorrow, or the day before the start of the ordinary consistory of cardinals, but I am going to put this out now. So please put your thinking caps on boys and girls. 🙂 I will try to make this very simple, and will take it by the numbers. For the reader who spends the time to think through the below, I GUARANTEE THAT… THAT he or she will get a real light-bulb going off.


A few days ago, I introduced Game Theory into our analytical tool box with two posts titled The Prisoners’ Dilemma (see here) and Game On! (see here) Consider those two posts as a pre-game warmup. Today it’s game time. We will define a prisoners dilemma scenario, and analyze a situation regarding the “Team Bergoglio” scandal (for the Chronology see here) that COULD arise at the ordinary consistory of cardinals that will be held on the 12th and 13th of February, i.e. tomorrow.

With respect to the agenda of this consistory, it is officially stated as having to do with the Curial reforms. However, from the information (data points) that we have gathered and are continuously analyzing, it is quite apparent that Curia reform per se, is an issue that is not ready to be deliberated IN ANY MEANINGFUL WAY, SHAPE or FORM in the consistory. Confirmation of the proof of this assertion is contained in the following text from the most recent MondayVatican post (see here), and the relevant passage reads as follows:

All of these new cardinals will bring their peculiar perspectives to the consistory the Pope has convened to discuss reform of the Roman Curia.

And the next sentence is the following:

The reform seems to be stuck. The first comprehensive draft was highly criticized by Vatican dicasteries, and there is a real risk that the structure will remain as it is for the moment, in expectation of a definitive change that will not take place before the end of this year – as Pope Francis has admitted.

And for those of you dear readers, who have been following this blog, it will not come as a surprise that the Curia reform is just as big and as fat of a red herring today as it was on the 12th of December 2014 when we first identified it as such in the post titled The Hermeneutic of the “ Paradigm of Discontinuity”. (see here)

However, what we also established in an earlier post to the one above mentioned, titled Westminster, we have a problem, (see here) was that it was the “Team Bergoglio” scandal that was the root cause of the developments which culminated in the situation that the MondayVatican blog named “the crisis that Francis is beyond”, which led to the subsequent vicious and abusive Christmas message given to the Curia and which was behind the secretive manner in which Francis picked his “not 15, but 20” cardinal candidates which were announced in the subsequent week (see here).

And since there is really nothing meaningful that can be discussed in the Curia reform issue, then it can be assumed that the “Team Bergoglio” scandal can be addressed in the consistory. Here is the relevant passage from the From Rome blog about how this issue can be put to rest once and for all:

The judge in this case would be the entire College of Cardinal Electors, the parties in the case would be any single and all the Cardinal Electors and those accused of canvassing votes.  Thus any single Cardinal could demand the Sacred College to investigate the charges.  This would be done by interrogating collectively each individual Cardinal.  The kind of questions, that could be asked, are any whatsoever.  Canon 1531 requires that all questioned answer truthfully. The Cardinals could do whatever is proscribed for contentious trials in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (cf. canons 1501 ff.). (see here)

The solution appears to be simple. The cardinals have the time. And this is our jump-off point for the Consistory Game.

The Consistory Game

The below Consistory Game is defined in such a manner as to provide insight into what could possibly happen if the issue of the “Team Bergoglio” scandal would be taken up for deliberation at the upcoming consistory of cardinals that starts on the 12th of February 2015, i.e. tomorrow.

In our Consistory Game, we will look at a range of decisions that any particular “Team Bergoglio” participant faces if the issue of the “vote canvassing” allegations arise. In this game, we define the participants as: prisoner #1  Francis, the bishop of Rome and prisoner #2 is Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier of Durban South Africa.

The reason that I chose card. Napier is that he is aware of the situation, as is evident in this From Rome post (see here). Furthermore, Dr. Austen Ivereigh alleged that there were African cardinals who were solicited and who declared their votes for card. Bergoglio. Therefore, there is good reason to believe that Cardinal Napier was solicited by the main “Team Bergoglio” suspects. Furthermore, if Cardinal Napier did promise his vote under the “Team Bergoglio” canvasing operation, the good cardinal would be ipso facto excommunicated under paragraph 81 of the papal election law Universi Dominici Gregis. What this means is that if a cardinal promised his vote in violation of UDG 81, by that act he finds himself not only “out of communion” with the Church, but has committed a mortal sin of disobedience against UDG. And since the act of violating a just positive law is a mortal sin in grave matters, it would also be a sin of sacrilege, since Cardinals take oath which requires them to promise God that they will not violate UDG 81. The caveat is this: for those Cardinals who do not believe in God, their disbelief would prevent the sin of sacrilege, but their sin would rather be one of impiety.  If this were the true nature of the situation, this would obviously be a special case to our below analysis, so we will not make this assumption for the time being. But I digress… Either way that Cardinal Napier decides to play this one, it is not a good situation to be in. Therefore, the only way that Cardinal Napier can extricate himself from this predicament, is by claiming that he did not promise his vote to card. Bergoglio. But his conscience, and Our Lord will definitely know. So that is the state of play.

One more issue that needs to be addressed before we start is this: there are at least 30 cardinals who are alleged to be involved by Dr. Ivereigh. Any one of them can come forth and confess at any time. If just one comes forward and confesses, the entire “Team Bergoglio” cabal and the wider group of up to 30 cardinals would be in jeopardy of suffering consequences under the UDG election law and under the Code of Canon Law.

The Matrix

Given the above, here is how the Deus Ex Machina blog sees the payout matrix for the above defined Consistory Game:

In the table below, the Deus Ex Machina blog presents a highly abstract, stylized form of the game that Francis and Napier can be playing at the upcoming consistory. Napier is given two options: confess (to promising a vote) or not confess. Francis also has two options: Admit (to agreeing to have cardinals canvas votes for him) or Deny. For each of the four possible outcomes, we assign a certain payoff for each prisoner that is meant to be illustrative, but captures the essence of the different moral/canonical considerations of the two parties. In the first representation, we just fill in the first two possible outcomes, i.e. Admit/Confess and Deny/Not Confess. The remaining two we will work out in the subsequent parts of this post. Here is the first table:

Consistory Game III

In the table above, the rows represent Francis’ payout values and the columns represent Napier’s payout values. The first figure will always be Francis, and the second will always be Napier.

Assumption 1.

As the payoffs in the table implies, both prisoners would fare better if they choose to do the right thing.   In the case of Napier doing the right thing, i.e. “confessing to promising a vote”, the cardinal would obtain a value of +5, while in the case of Francis, also does the right thing, i.e. admitting that he agreed for “Team Bergoglio” to canvass for him would also give him a value of +5. The decision to “do the right thing”, irrespective of the other prisoners’ decision will provide each with the optimal payout.

Assumption 2.

If the above is a correct assumption, then the punishment (cost) for committing a mortal sin by not admitting would be at least -5.

Why MUST these two above assumptions be true assumptions?


Because in the event of committing a mortal sin, the associated cost (punishment) can never be a lower value than the maximum benefit that the prisoner can obtain by committing that sinful act. (Cost > Benefit)

Think about this for a second.

Example. Say you cheat on your wife. The pleasure (benefit) that you derive from the sinful act must be less than the punishment in the after life (cost) of the mortal sin committed by that act.

Once again, think about this for a second or two.

Just to drive the point home…

If there was a sinful activity that can be done on earth with a higher benefit than the associated cost of the punishment in the here after, it would pay for mortals to perform that activity, i.e. it would be “beneficial” to commit that sin.


I will leave off here for today.

I would just like to draw your attention to the fact that the above can be considered an “objective”proof as to the validity of assumptions 1. and 2.

Think about this. It does have very significant ramifications, and not only in our Prisoners’ Dilemma game.