Did the Holy Spirit Have Some Help?

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It is a common trope of the defenders of the current Pope, that the Holy Spirit picks our popes.  They are wrong on that, as then Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out in an interview in 1997.   However, if the Holy Spirit did pick Pope Francis, apparently He had some help.

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 blog From Rome, explains why such electioneering could be a major problem for Pope Francis:

London, Nov. 25, 2014 — A remarkable letter to the editor, if ever there was one. A denial, which draws more attention, than the matter would otherwise merit.  In today’s Daily Telegraph Letter’s Page, print edition, Maggie Doherty, the press-secretary to Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, denies a key fact in the reporting by Austen Ivereigh, a British journalist who just published a book exposing a concerted effort among Cardinals of the Roman Church to canvass for votes on behalf of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in the days prior to the Conclave of March 2013, which elected the latter as successor to Pope Benedict XVI.  The on-line edition of the Telegraph has a short story about this, by John Bingham, which opens thus:

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 Election of Pope Francis has seen a great deal more publicity than any in modern times, especially concerning the remarkable novelty of revelations coming from Cardinals themselves — remarkable, since according to papal law, to make such revelations is punished by automatic excommunication!

The papal law is Universi Dominici Gregis, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on the Feats of the Chair of St. Peter, February 22, 1996 A.D..  The key paragraphs regarding this excommunication are as follows:

  1. Those who, in accordance with the prescriptions of No. 46 of the present Constitution, carry out any functions associated with the election, and who directly or indirectly could in any way violate secrecy — whether by words or writing, by signs or in any other way — are absolutely obliged to avoid this, lest they incur the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See.
  2. In particular, the Cardinal electors are forbidden to reveal to any other person, directly or indirectly, information about the voting and about matters discussed or decided concerning the election of the Pope in the meetings of Cardinals, both before and during the time of the election. This obligation of secrecy also applies to the Cardinals who are not electors but who take part in the General Congregations in accordance with No. 7 of the present Constitution.

However, today’s denial regards another requirement of the papal law, regarding Conclaves: the express prohibition of canvassing for votes prior to the commencement of the Conclave.  John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution of 1996 makes that a high-crime, punishable by automatic excommunication.

  1. The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.
  2. I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void.
  3. With the same insistence shown by my Predecessors, I earnestly exhort the Cardinal electors not to allow themselves to be guided, in choosing the Pope, by friendship or aversion, or to be influenced by favour or personal relationships towards anyone, or to be constrained by the interference of persons in authority or by pressure groups, by the suggestions of the mass media, or by force, fear or the pursuit of popularity. Rather, having before their eyes solely the glory of God and the good of the Church, and having prayed for divine assistance, they shall give their vote to the person, even outside the College of Cardinals, who in their judgment is most suited to govern the universal Church in a fruitful and beneficial way.

The Reason for the Press-Secretary’s Denial is now manifest

If Maggie Doherty had not gone to the lengths of issuing a denial in such language, I would never have taken notice.  But now that she has, having consulted the papal law on Conclaves, it appears manifest why she has.  If Austen Ivereigh’s book contains verifiable evidence that any of the Cardinals who voted for Jorge Mario Bergoglio canvassed for votes in the manner forbidden, especially if he tacitly consented to this, then by that very fact (ipso facto) they fell under the penalty of excommunication in the same moment they agreed to do such and/or did such. And, if Bergoglio tacitly agreed (that is, had knowledge, and consented without opposing what they were doing), then he, too, would have been excommunicated prior to the Conclave.

Go here to read the rest.  Only those unfamiliar with the history of the papacy will be surprised at this news.  Electioneering and the choice of popes go together like coffee and cream.  However, Canon Law is Canon Law, and if it was violated in the papal election of 2013 ordinary Catholics need to know about it.

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27 Comments

  1. . Mark Shea is mixed up in this somehow. Maybe he gave a talk in Wales and visited the Cardinal back then.
    …a Pope who conflates life sentences with executions and conflates the U.S. with Islamic State…it’s like a Shea paradise. I have a bottle of Reisling I’m not supposed to open til tomorrow…the wait is making less and less sense.

  2. seems to me to be much ado about nothing.

    the law is clearly concerned with the use of promises and agreements to form factions.

    even the book does not appear to claim that occurred.

    the law does not appear to prohibit the expressions of opinions about who would be the best person to become pope or expressions of why someone thinks this or that person would make a good pope because ….

  3. it all seems to be publicity to enhance the sale of the book. i think it is a strategy that will work to the benefit of the author.

  4. Pope Francis admitted that the agenda for his pontificate was worked out pre-conclave in discussion with certain cardinals, which would appear to contravene article 82 of UDG.

    CMOC has gained opprobrium from certain quarters for floating round Rome making mischief. At the time of the last conclave his successor at Westminster was not yet a cardinal and this gave Cormac some clout. He probably overestimates his influence, however, and is regarded as a blabbermouth not entirely devoid of vanity.

    In 1978 Cardinal Hume is believed to have orchestrated a ‘stop Siri’ campaign; the liberals feared a lurch to the right after the apparent collapse of the Church during the last decade of Paul VI’s reign.

  5. So — if they made this agreement, then these cardinals were immediately excommunicated. This seems to have occurred before the conclave.
    Therefore the votes of those cardinals would not have counted.
    Therefore, someone else was the true winner of the most votes. And therefore someone else is the real Pope.

    Wow.

  6. “An image of a crow attacking a dove comes to mind….the dove wins out.”
    Very perceptive Philip.

    Even if this were a conspiracy to obtain a liberal pope, I wonder really how much impact it would have. We saw during the synod arguably the most radically liberal proposition I’ve ever heard in the Vatican put forward, but was well dealt with by Pell, Burke, Napier et al.
    The pope’s homilies do not speak of a wildly liberal pope – and remember that the gift of infallibility of the Holy Spirit prevents the pope from false teaching WRT Faith and Morals.
    The days of the Kaspers, Marx’s and the Bruno Forte’s (who i suspect is a raging homo) are pretty well numbered.

  7. I don’t doubt there was lobbying, but why is anyone saying he was unknown? Bergoglio was 2nd or 3rd to Ratzinger in the last conclave

  8. If Cardinal Bergoglio had incurred an automatic excommunication prior to the conclave, then he would in fact not be Pope even as he had the appearance of being the Pope. In such a case, I don’t think he would be protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching heresy because he would only be an excommunicated cardinal. Things to ponder.

  9. I am thankful this year that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Judgment is His. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit gifts knowledge and understanding to men with, and for, a purpose. It shouldn’t be wasted for the sake of deferring to politics or agendas.

  10. Don the Kiwi.

    The victory has already been determined. For the life (eternal) of me I can not be dismayed at the state of affairs the Church and world is going through. No. Not a head in the sand denial, rather a complete and peaceful trust wins the day. If this pontiff is true or false, if Hillary is in or not, if the Sun explodes or not….it doesn’t matter! What matters is Our relationship with neighbor and with God.
    We do the best we can each day.
    We plant the seeds and tend the garden but the divine gardener provides the light nutrients and life giving water.
    I have increased my blood pressures on many topics but what good came from it? Jesus I Trust in You. For Mary DeVoe….one Hail Mary 🙂

  11. Under the decree Ad Evitenda Scandala, published by Martin V at the Council of Constance, excommunication or interdict only affects public or official acts “when his sentence or censure shall have been published or made known by the judge in special and express form, against some certain, specified person, college, university, church, community, or place.”

    Without a prior declaratory sentence, the excommunication of an elector or of the person elected would not invalidate an election.

    In a similar vein, Universi Dominici Gregis 78 expressly provides that simony does not invalidate a papal election.

  12. “In a similar vein, Universi Dominici Gregis 78 expressly provides that simony does not invalidate a papal election.”

    Which probably leaves both Simon Magus and Saint Peter scratching their heads. On this point I think the warrior pope Julius II was correct in decreeing that papal elections by simony are invalid.

  13. Donald R McClarey wrote, “Which probably leaves both Simon Magus and Saint Peter scratching their heads.”

    It is really a corollary of the principle “Prima sedes a nemine iudicatur.” [The first see is judged by none] Who gets to decide?

  14. Something appeared off when it was reported Pope Francis answering (paraphrasing), “I am doing what the Cardinals pre-conclave said needed to be done.”
    .
    Something continues to be terribly amiss.

  15. @FMShyanguya:Something appeared off when it was reported Pope Francis answering (paraphrasing), “I am doing what the Cardinals pre-conclave said needed to be done.”
    .
    Something continues to be terribly amiss.
    .
    I remember Pope Francis saying what @FMShyanguya paraphrases and thinking that his inclusion of every cardinal violated the cardinals who disagreed with him as do Cardinals Burke and Pell. Pope Francis arrogated to himself the cardinals’ consent and made himself appear as the suffering servant when in fact he was imposing his and only his way.
    .
    “The Servant of the Servants of God” is not one of the titles that Pope Francis can legitimately use.

  16. “Without a prior declaratory sentence, the excommunication of an elector or of the person elected would not invalidate an election. ”

    Well, that’s good to know. It would certainly create uncertainty for it to be otherwise, and undermine the credibility of the office itself.

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