Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor Distances Himself from His Former Press Secretary

So who is telling the truth? The Cardinal or the former press secretary to the Cardinal? Either Austen Ivereigh has 'got the wrong end of the stick' in a book on Pope Francis now published in the US, or the next day "rebuttal" from the retired Cardinal's new 'press secretary' is not true.

Dr Ivereigh's account of His Eminence's 'canvassing' before the 2013 Papal Conclave is either true or false.  The retired Cardinal has now in print denied it. Austen Ivereigh, however, has said nothing in reply. Of course, such an allegation regarding the former Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster is very serious indeed for reasons noted here.

Quite how Austen Ivereigh has managed to 'get the wrong end of the stick' in telling the story of how Cardinal Bergoglio became Pope Francis is a mystery. Who did he get this information from regarding the alleged actions of His Eminence? The article about the 'revelations' has appeared in a few international news sources, not least, The Telegraph. The following article is from The New Indian Express...

LONDON: 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 choice of the largely unknown Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as head of the world's 1.2?billion Catholics came as a surprise to Vatican watchers and the faithful alike when the announcement was made in March last year.

The conclave to elect a successor to Benedict XVI, the first pope for more than 600 years to step down, was viewed as wide open, although most predicted that the Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola or Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec would be elected.

When 76-year-old Bergoglio emerged as Pope on only the second day of voting, it was largely explained as a unity candidacy to prevent deadlock between rival factions.

But a biography of Pope Francis, to be published next month, discloses that there had been a discreet, but highly organised, campaign by a small group of European cardinals in support of Cardinal Bergoglio.

The Great Reformer, by the British Catholic writer Austen Ivereigh, nicknames the group "Team Bergoglio" and says members toured private dinners and other gatherings of cardinals in the days before the conclave, quietly putting their case.
So, who is telling the truth?
Cardinal Bergoglio was effectively the runner-up in the 2005 conclave, in which Joseph Ratzinger was elected, having been put forward by an alliance of mainly European reformists.

But it later emerged that his chances of election were hampered by what amounted to a dirty tricks campaign by opponents from Argentina.

He also effectively pulled the plug on any campaign in 2005, urging would-be supporters to throw their weight behind Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and making clear that he did not wish to be the focus of a faction.

By 2013, he had been largely discounted by most commentators, partly due to his age, as well as because he had signalled that he did not wish to stand in Cardinal Ratzinger's way.

But by last year, the appetite for reform in the Vatican and a pope without links to the establishment, widely seen as corrupt and riddled with in-fighting, had become intense.

"Spotting their moment, the initiative was now seized by the European reformers who in 2005 had pushed for Bergoglio," Mr Ivereigh, who once served as Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor's press secretary, explains in the book.

He wrote that Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, then 80 and no longer with a vote in the conclave, teamed up with the German cardinal Walter Kasper, whose controversial call for remarried divorcees to be allowed to receive communion was one of the main points of division at the synod that Pope Francis held in Rome this year.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor's role included lobbying his North American counterparts as well as acting as a link for those from Commonwealth countries.

"They had learnt their lessons from 2005," Mr Ivereigh explains. "They first secured Bergoglio's assent. Asked if he was willing, he said that he believed that at this time of crisis for the Church no cardinal could refuse if asked.

"Our man?"
 "Murphy-O'Connor knowingly warned him to 'be careful', and that it was his turn now, and was told 'capisco' - 'I understand'.

"Then they got to work, touring the cardinals' dinners to promote their man, arguing that his age - 76 - should no longer be considered an obstacle, given that popes could resign. Having understood from 2005 the dynamics of a conclave, they knew that votes travelled to those who made a strong showing out of the gate."

A key turning point came during the series of closed meetings before the conclave, known as congregations, when Cardinal Bergoglio gave a short but moving speech about the state of the Church.

But, the book argues, a ban on official updates about what was happening in the congregations meant that what information did emerge relied on leaks which concentrated on in-fighting within the Italian church.

"For this reason and because the organisers of his campaign stayed largely below the radar, the Bergoglio bandwagon that began to roll during the week of the congregations went undetected by the media and to this day most [Vatican watchers] believe there was no organised pre-conclave effort to get Bergoglio elected," Mr Ivereigh says.
Untying the knots or an election unravelling?

As Damian Thompson has reported on his blog at The Spectator, this news has implications, quite how deep these implications are we can only leave to canon lawyers. It should be noted that His Eminence showed the degree of his enthusiasm for the project of liturgical reform and the papacy of Benedict XVI by hosting the book launch of Archbishop Piero Marini's, 'A Challenging Reform', in the presence of the Cardinal who foreworded the book, Cardinal Daneels and others at the Throne Room of Archbishop’s House in 2007. That article, by the way, was written by one Robert Mickens who wept when Cardinal Ratzinger who "they" elected Pope and presumably jumped for joy when "our man" Cardinal Bergoglio replaced the retired Supreme Pontiff.

Interesting, too, is this book, called, 'Pope Francis: Untying the Knots', in which author Paul Vellely recounts the behaviour of His Eminence during the Conclave of 2005 that saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger receive the necessary majority vote to be elected the Successor of St Peter. Of course, for a  time the retired Archbishop of Westminster, who is known to 'have the ear of the Pope' has been known as a 'mover and shaker' in Vatican circles, but as the swiftness of The Telegraph letter above suggests, he's clearly a little 'shaken' if not 'stirred' by what Austen Ivereigh has said and for very good reason. As Damian Thompson notes, such alleged antics are clearly forbidden by Church law and incur certain penalties towards those who conduct them.

Will he sue, I wonder? It can't be pleasant for His Eminence to have such scandalous allegations made by someone who worked so closely with him for a good long time. Neither can it be pleasant for Dr Ivereigh to be contradicted by the Cardinal he worked for as press secretary and whose trust, understanding and confidence he has enjoyed for so long. He must feel aggrieved for being told in public that his account of events now in print is "a misunderstanding".


TLM said...

Oh, the web they've woven.

Anonymous said...

A very good report, well written, balanced and objective...

An example of the future of Catholic journalism...

Pelerin said...

Curioser and curioser ...

On the side of the angels said...

Smoking Gun:
Ivereigh claims Cardinal Bergoglio knew of the canvassing, acknowledged it and by omission endorsed it by not opposing it or ordering its cessation.
Excommunicable offences
No question - no debate - if Pope Francis did as Ivereigh claims - he would be excommunicated under Universi Dominici Gregis and would not be Pope.

..and Ivereigh still doesn't get it - even in his lazy attempts at revisionism he fails to realise he mentions Bergoglio awareness and consent in three separate parts of a paragraph - yet only amends one part in his attempted Twitter damage-limitation.

So Ivereigh's not merely guilty of being stupid, or ignorant - but of being downright bone-idle in the process..whether he's guilty of mendacity and libel as well is between himself and Cormac and God. But if I were His Holiness I'd want a strong word in his shell-like asap.

Anonymous said...

Paul, Is that a reason to get a rather 'legalistic' Canon Lawyer like Burke out of Signatura?

Anonymous said...

The press secretary to the Cardinal says very little only denying the very specific "no approach" was made to Cardinal Bergoglio "to seek his assent to becoming a candidate for the papacy". And, all cardinals are "candidates for the papacy".

Supertradmum said...

Ivereigh is making money out of these allegations from his Roman sources. There is no one to challenge his ideas.

St. John Paul II instituted the new laws to exactly stop canvassing. That some cardinals do this sort of thing I do not doubt, looking at the recent modernist heresies coming out of the mouths of the likes of Kasper, Wuerhl and O'Malley.

But for a lay person to implicate the Pope is actually a possibly serious sin on the part of the lay person.

I would not consider buying this book as all it does is fan the flames of sedevacantism, which is also sinful. People are looking for things because they do not like this Pope (neither do I) but to go to this length with gossip is sinful, imho.

If Ivereigh was a good man, he would not be making money on this book.

Saints do not get rich on the backs of others' sins.

Physiocrat said...

If there was a fix-up beforehand for a papal election, I don't suppose it would have been the first.

Genty said...

Sounds like a case of "deniability" as used routinely by secret services, ie it was said/actioned, but then denied that any such thing took place.

Deacon Augustine said...

Supertradmum. its quite probable that Ivereigh wrote his book in good faith - being unaware that canvassing is punishable by excommunication latae sententiae.

How many of us have read Universi Dominici Gregis? I certainly had not read it before this controversy blew up. Wasn't it Ivereigh who pressured and paid for his girlfriend to have an abortion? Can't imagine he is too diligent about checking the canonical rules for papal elections then!

Lepanto said...

How many Cardinals who were unable to vote in the Conclave were present in Rome before it and during it? If any were there, knowing the restrictions imposed on 'lobbying', they would have been putting their souls in peril by any opinion offered even carelessly. If I were such a Cardinal I would have been anywhere but in the Eternal City lest an opinion slip and I be 'cast out' of the Church. Is any man so careless of his soul?

Aurora said...

Similar article was published by WSJ in Aug 2013:
"American cardinals are an important group in papal elections. They run archdioceses that are among the biggest donors to the Catholic Church and to the papacy. And as a potential bloc of votes inside the conclave, the Americans are very powerful because they're outnumbered only by cardinals from Italy, said British Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who attended the dinner. Often they're even more influential because the Italians are characteristically divided over whom to support.
Sitting down at a long banquet table, the cardinals began to discuss a half-dozen papal candidates. Saucers of soup were served. The candidacies of Cardinals Ouellet and Scola were weighed. Then someone dropped Cardinal Bergoglio's name into the conversation. "His name began to be thrown into the ring: Maybe this is the man?" recalls Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.
The name didn't generate much buzz among the Americans and their guests. As the evening wore on, and glasses of red and white wine began to flow, it became clear that, this time around, the Americans were not united in their thinking about papal contenders. "I thought the American cardinals were quite divided about where to go," said Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, who didn't enter the conclave because he is above the voting-age limit of 80 years.
Some princes of the church believed Cardinal Bergoglio, at 76, was probably too old to become pope, especially after Benedict XVI had specifically cited his age and frailty as reasons for his resignation. "We came into this whole process thinking: The next pope has to be vigorous and therefore probably younger," said Cardinal George. "So there you have a man who isn't young. He's 76 years old. The question is: Does he still have vigor?"
Two days after the dinner, however, something clicked. And it happened in the span of four minutes—the length of Cardinal Bergoglio's speech when it was his turn to address the General Congregation. On March 7, the Argentine took out a sheet of white paper bearing notes written in tiny tight script. They were bullet-pointed.

Conclave2005 said...

Following essay identifies those working against Ratzinger in 2005:
"Many media accounts portrayed the [2005] conclave as a David-and-Goliath style battle between agargantuan conservative wing of the college (voting for Ratzinger) and a valiant band of progressives (voting first for Martini and then Bergoglio) (Allen, 2005, pp.112-114). [p30-31]
"opposed to the right wing, they do not wish to use the state to enforce church teachings. Instead they want to “identify the root causes of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease, and racial prejudice, and then work to remedy those causes.” Cardinals included in this faction include America’s Theodore McCarrick, Honduras’ Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Indonesia’s Julius Darmaatmadja, and South Africa’s Wilfrid Fox Napier. (Allen, 2002, pp.149-151) Strangely, in his 2004 “revised and updated” edition of Conclave, Allen splits the “Salt of the Earth” party in two, labeling the left wing as the “Social Justice Party” [p32]
"Lastly, there was opposition among the college’s “progressives”. This faction included the prominent Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, as well as Cardinals Daneels of Belgium, O’Brien of Scotland, Murphy-O’Connor of England, Lehmann of Germany, Napier of South Africa, McCarrick of Washington D.C., and Mahony of Los Angeles. (Weigel, 2005, pp.133-134) [34]
while “Social Justice” cardinals Rodriguez Maradiaga and McCarrick were opposing him (though Weigel’s diary seems to indicate that McCarrick was actually working with the Reform Party [p35]
Also see p 47
"Cracking the Conclave Code: Unraveling the Mysteries of Papal Elections"

TeamBergoglio said...

"McCarrick is one of a number of senior churchmen who were more or less put out to pasture during the eight-year pontificate of Benedict XVI. But now Francis is pope, and prelates like Cardinal Walter Kasper (another old friend of McCarrick’s) and McCarrick himself are back in the mix, and busier than ever."

Credited w/Cupich Bishopric & also

"The appointment of Cupich Is thought to have been recommended to the pope with particular enthusiasm by Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga and above all by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, a representative of the “liberal” old guard of the U.S. episcopate."

Also Baldacchino in Miami

Certainly big buck bishoprics for those "lovers of the root causes of poverty"

TeamBergoglio said...

Egan, McCarrick, Dulles, Bergoglio & Murphy-O’Connor made cardinals same year
"Two of these cardinals who spoke with CNS said they have also been giving a lot of interviews. When asked if he felt left out, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, said he would not use those words but said: “We do miss out on a wonderful opportunity. Almost all the older cardinals would have loved to have had a role in the conclave.” Similarly, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, retired archbishop of Westminster, England, said he “would like to be there,” but he added that he is “content to be outside and let them work.” Both retired archbishops said they were glad to have taken part in the general congregations where the cardinals discussed challenges facing the church today and essential qualities for the new pope...
"The retired Washington cardinal has been in Rome since mid-February, arriving for meetings the day Pope Benedict announced his retirement. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor arrived three days before the pope's final day in office. Both cardinals hope to return after the new pope's inauguration,"

American Media believed McCarrick was involved though he was more canny than his pal Murphy O'Connor

"He added, “As we're thinking about if the big names don't deliver early on and they have to look for an alternative, interesting suggestion from a retired cardinal, Bergoglio, don't count him out.”

See last 2 minutes of the interview of Charlie Rose w/McCarrick [very end of the show]

Why was McCarrick there when XVI resigned? The Vatican had also stopped taking CC payments. And then O'Brien who was supposedly in this progressive Fairysee party was suddenly deposed because he had affairs w/priests (but McCarrick has been successfully sued for harassing priests and he was allowed to be at the conclave!) So many things make no sense about the whole resignation.

This is probably a photo misidentification: "American Cardinals (L-R) Sean P. O'Malley, Keith O'Brien and Timothy M. Dolan board a bus to take them from the North American College to St. Peter's Basilica where a Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated before they enter the Conclave to decide who will be the next Pope. Cardinals are set to enter the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI after he became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the role. — Joe Raedle, Getty Images, March 12, 2013"

TeamBergoglio said...

Cardinal George in recent interview w/progressive McCarrick fan John Allen said he got his info on Bergoglio from the "Brazilians" -- could be misdirection from John Allen.
"First of all, I didn’t know him well before he was elected. I knew him through the Brazilian bishops, who knew him well, and I asked them a lot of questions."

Those who think George is so conservative might wonder about these Brazilian progressives Hummes, Scherer (?)

Allen interview w/McCarrick at time of conclave:

"You're talking about Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, (who was widely reported to have finished second to Benedict in 2005)?

I can't talk to that, as you know. But I can say that from the conversations beforehand, which we can speak about, it was certainly plausible that we could have a non-European."

See Brazilian references here also in 2005 conclave:

Damask Rose said...

"He also effectively pulled the plug on any campaign in 2005, urging would-be supporters to throw their weight behind Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and making clear that he did not wish to be the focus of a faction."

I tend to think that Bergoglio did this just to let Ratzinger take the flak for the priestly sex-abuse crisis.

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