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Prisoners II

Today’s post is a continuation of yesterday’s post titled The Consistory Game. In the Consistory Game, the expressed aim of the Deus Ex Machina blog is to 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.

Yesterday we finished by defining the below assumptions and provided a logical proof that attested to the validity of the assumptions.

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.


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)

Today we pick up with a short explanation about the construction of our Consistory Game, and explain what the numbers represent.

Table 2

When looking at the above table, it is critical to understand that the numbers themselves do not represent absolute values (2+2 =4) but represent relative values ( 3 ≥ 2 ≥ 1). This thinking of numbers in terms of relative values is critical to understanding a prisoners’ dilemma game and being able to draw inferences from the number themselves.

Let’s do an example.

Given the above assumptions, we can infer that the values 0,0¹ (‘Deny’ row- Francis /’Not Confess’ column – Napier) represent a neutral outcome. However, what we don’t know is this:

a. whether that neutral outcome is the result of nothing happening, i.e. no event,


b.  the result is from the sum of two events, one negative and one positive of equal values. In other words, a event occurred with a payout of +5 and a corresponding event occurred with a payout of -5. This would also create a 0,0¹ result.

As to whether a. or b. is correct, we can infer infer the answer from out assumptions. Since we know that an event has occurred, i.e. UDG 81 has been violated (for the purpose of this game), we can assume that the correct answer is b.

Therefore, we can assume that the values 0,0¹ contain a negative outcome (committing a mortal sin) which carries a -5 value and a simultaneous positive outcome that carries a +5 value. This positive outcome could be as a result that the matter is never brought up at the consistory, and each prisoner maintains the status quo, i.e. keeps this position of power and prestige. However, as explained in the previous post, the cumulative value of these two events, i.e. committing a mortal sin and keeping the positions of power and prestige, can not be a positive value since this would imply that it is beneficial to commit sins, as per our “Proof” above. Once again, here is the relevant explanation:

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.

Given the above, the outcome in the table that is represented as 5,5² (Admit/Confess) therefore can be understood as the prisoners admitting to their violation of UDG 81, and that mercy is shown to each prisoner by the “church authority”, in this case by the cardinals at the consistory. Under this scenario, the prisoners will have kept their positions of power and prestige, giving them each a positive outcome of +5, while being absolved of the mortal sin and its associated cost of -5.

The above is a reasonable assumption to make since the consistory will not want to remove a sitting pope or defrock a Catholic cardinal, especially during the Francis reign of terror mercy. However, by admitting to the acts contained in the Ivereigh allegations, justice will have also been done. Therefore, it is most reasonable to assume that mercy will be shown to the sinner.

I will leave off here for today. Tomorrow we will examine the remaining two instances, namely when one prisoner confesses/admits while the other does not.