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Today we wrap up our coverage of the consistory that ended this past Sunday, the 16th of February 2015 Anno Domini. This post will be a “big picture” overview of the situation that exists with respect to the “unresolved” allegations made by Dr. Austen Ivereigh in his book The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, and all the subsequent supporting evidence that has emerged since the story broke. (see here) This blog has tried to not only bring attention to this scandalous situation, but has also tried to analyze the mindset and motivations of the individuals involved. Furthermore, this blog has belabored this point, but it is a point worth belaboring.
Today we step back and try to put into context the situation and its gravity.
We begin with re-stating the verifiable evidence
The Verifiable evidence
Here we must recognize a fundamental, threefold distinction in every forensic consideration regarding the probity of evidence.
1. the probity of evidence necessary to impute a crime to an individual or group,
2. the probity of evidence necessary to investigate a crime,
3. the probity of evidence necessary to prove the crime imputed,
What is had via the published text of Dr. Austen Ivereigh’s book, regards the first; the analysis of that evidence along with published statements, documents, interviews, etc., regarding the implicated individuals, regards the second; the findings which the Sacred College would obtain by an inquiry in Consistory, regard the third.
Regarding the first 2 kinds of probity, we have the verifiable evidence, published thus far, which can be found as reported in the following 3 articles by the From Rome blog: the testimony of Dr. Austen Ivereigh, regarding the activities of “Team Bergoglio”, in our analysis of the text of the 9th chapter his book, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope, and his recent reaffirmation of that narrative’s veracity, in Ivereigh: I am confident of the veracity of my account; the canonical implications of what Dr. Ivereigh recounts are summarized in, From Ivereigh to Abdication, the Canonical steps implied by the “Team Bergoglio” scandal.
And all reports, by news agencies around the world, including our own posts, can be found in our Chronology of Reports regarding “Team Bergoglio”, which is updated regularly.
Ivereigh’s claims appear to be verified by the endorsement of his book by Cardinal Dolan of New York City, an elector during the 2013 conclave, by the 2 Cardinals whom Ivereigh on Jan. 6th, 2015 claimed were sources for his information, and by 3 of the 7 accused Cardinals who have not denied that they canvassed for votes, though they deny asking Cardinal Bergoglio for his consent to do so; not to mention by the other 4 Cardinals who are named by Ivereigh, but who have denied nothing since the book was published on Nov. 25, 2014.
All this leads to a great probity which merits the investigation of the allegations. But this can only be done by the Cardinals in Consistory, behind closed doors, since they cannot violate the vow of the conclave, and since they alone are first hand witnesses. Canon 1530 and 1531 demand this.
For the record, we note, here, only that Dr. Austen Ivereigh in his book says “Team Bergoglio” targeted the Cardinals from Africa for vote promises. If any of them, such as Cardinal Napier, gave such promises, it would have been a violation of the papal law on conclaves, punishable by automatic excommunication (cf. Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 81). (see here)
That is the evidence.
Next we demonstrate the gravity of the situation that the individuals identified in the “Team Bergoglio” group find themselves in. We have a great source for demonstrating the degree of the gravity of this present situation in the above embedded video. For those who are not familiar with this video, it is the response of John Vennari to another scandalous accusation leveled at him and at other individuals and organizations within the Catholic Church. (see here) I highly recommend watching it in its own right. But I digress…
The relevant part for our purposes starts at the 08:15 minute mark. The issue deals with confessions heard and absolution given, in grave matters that need proper notification to the proper Vatican organs by the confessing/absolving priest. Here is a transcript of the relevant, for our purposes section:
JV: Then there is the speech given by Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X. This is a speech that he gave, I was there for it in fact at the Angelus Press conference in Kansas City Oct 2010. It was celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Society of St. Pius X.
But Bishp Fellay gave three examples of the contradictions that come from Rome regarding the Society of St. Pius X. He gave three, but for the sake of brevity, I will give just one. Bishop Fellay spoke … about the confession, those sins so grave, in confession… that… they are penalized by excommunications, reserved to the pope. Now, Bishop Fellay says that the Society of St. Pius X hears these confessions of people who have these grave sins. And they absolve them of the sins and they absolve the penitent of the excommunication, but according to church policy the priest then has to write to Rome and send the case to Rome to be examined so that the excommunication can be formally lifted. And here is what Bishop Fellay says and I am going to quote him:
“Every time – absolutely every time- we have received an answer from Rome that the priest who took care of this confession did well, that is was perfectly in order, and it was both licit and valid”
– Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX
Now Rome of course would comment on the penance,whether it was not enough, sufficient or insufficient, but the main point is, is Rome does not say that that confession was invalid. And Bishop Fellay during the speech he asked, he said, so why is it said than that our confessions are invalid when this is the way Rome deals with us in cases of the most serious matters? Then he says, you see the contradiction and we meet this contradiction all the time
The reason that I am bringing this issue to your attention, is to demonstrate two points:
1. the seriousness of the Ivereigh allegations, the gravity of the consequences and the dire state that the Team Begoglio participants find themselves in and the way in which these types of serious matters are treated in the Roman Catholic Church.
2. the seriousness and gravity with which Rome takes these types of matters. This seriousness is demonstrated by the way in which Rome deals with the SSPX, an organization that has an “irregular status”, supposedly without jurisdiction according to conciliar Rome, and yet, conciliar Rome treats these situations in accordance with standard operating procedure.
The point here is that the “facade” of the “irregular canonical status” of the SSPX has its limits. So the inference one can draw from this information is the following: the Church hierarchy must place the highest degree of seriousness and importance when these matters arise, so serious that they are willing to drop there “irregular status” facade against the SSPX.
It is this inference that can be drawn from the above situation that makes the absences of any king of a resolution of the Team Bergoglio issue at the consistory of cardinals that ended this past Sunday so astonishing.