PopeWatch: Sandro Magister

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More detail from Jimmy Akin in regard to the leak of a draft of the Green Encyclical by Sandro Magister.  (PopeWatch’s Italian is far too shaky for him to quote Magister until Magister comments in English):

6) How did Magister get the text?

This is unknown at present. In his article, he refers to the text having a “troubled” history and alludes to the first copies that the Vatican publishing house made having been pulped (destroyed) because of various places where they needed to be corrected.

It is possible that someone rescued one of the copies meant to be pulped and gave it to Magister. If so, he may have gotten it from a lower level person, such as a worker tasked with arranging for the copies to be pulped.

On the other hand, they could have come from someone higher placed.

If Magister’s text came from the batch that was pulped then that could explain why the Vatican Press Office said that it wasn’t the final version.

On the other hand, Magister may have been given a copy from a different batch, after some corrections were made. In any event, the Holy See Press Office says it isn’t the final copy.


7) How different will the final version be?

There is no way to know until Thursday.

Assuming that Magister is correct that a batch was pulped, this may have been due to nothing more than typos that needed to be corrected.

It is not at all uncommon for publishers to pulp runs of a publication that have typos which are caught at the last minute, assuming that the typos are significant enough. In my own experience with publishers, I’ve seen it done.

On the other hand, there may be more than typo fixes. This could happen, for example, if Pope Francis asked for certain editorial changes to be made and then, in the editorial process, these fell through the cracks and their absence was caught only at the last minute.


8) Why was the text leaked?

Without knowing who leaked it, there is no way to tell.

If it was a janitor who plucked a copy from a batch that were on their way to be shredded, it may simply have been that he knew Magister would be interested in a scoop and he wanted to be part of an exciting story (or possibly even be paid for his efforts).

Such an employee may not have read the text and there may be no larger agenda on his part.

On the other hand, if a person of higher stature leaked it—someone who had been entrusted with working on the text and read the content of the document—then there might be a deliberate intention to undermine the encyclical and its message.


9) How could the leak undermine the encyclical?

Part of the point of having an official release, with a press conference and everything, is to create on opportunity to get the document off on the best footing.

The media hops on it all at once, creating something of a saturation effect in different news channels, and the Holy See has the chance—via the press conference and associated materials given out to the press—to frame the story its way.

For a text to appear early can let some of the air out of the official release, and it can allow the text to be framed in ways contrary to the spin that the Holy See wants put on it.

In this case, because we have a pre-final draft, it will also cause attention to zero-in on the changes that were made between this draft and the final one, which may cause people to speculate about why those changes were made and what significance they might have (if they’re just typos or edits that were accidentally omitted and later caught: not much).

Further, this event raises the specter of the VatiLeaks scandal, in which Benedict XVI’s own butler was funneling private Vatican documents to the press as part of his own agenda.

This event raises the question of whether there are additional leakers—or new leakers—who are in some way seeking to undermine Pope Francis.




Go here to read the rest.  The Vatican normally leaks like a roof put on by the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges so PopeWatch is rather more surprised by the lack of leaks up to now than the leaks.  Akin has zeroed in on the relevant question:  who leaked it.  Magister has the best sources of any journalist at the Vatican so PopeWatch would bet on a high level leaker very unhappy with this encyclical.

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  1. My comments on the nuclear portions of the leaked encyclical. Italian is followed by English and then by my comment.
    Laudato Sii
    3. Più di cinquant’anni fa, mentre il mondo vacillava sull’orlo di una crisi nucleare, il santo Papa Giovanni XXIII scrisse un’Enciclica con la quale non si limitò solamente a respingere la guerra, bensì volle trasmettere una proposta di pace. Diresse il suo messaggio Pacem in terris a tutto il “mondo cattolico”, ma aggiungeva « nonché a tutti gli uomini di buona volontà ». Adesso, di fronte al deterioramento globale dell’ambiente, voglio rivolgermi a ogni persona che abita questo pianeta. Nella mia Esortazione Evangelii gaudium, ho scritto ai membri della Chiesa per mobilitare un processo di riforma missionaria ancora da compiere. In questa Enciclica, mi propongo specialmente di entrare in dialogo con tutti riguardo alla nostra casa comune.
    3. Over fifty years ago , when the world teetered on the brink of a nuclear crisis , the holy Pope John XXIII wrote an Encyclical with which was not limited only to reject the war , but chose to pass on a peace proposal . He directed his message Pacem in Terris in all the “Catholic world “, but added “as well as to all people of good will.” Now, at the deteriorating global environment , I want to speak to every person who lives on this planet . In my Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I wrote to the members of the Church to mobilize a process of missionary reform still to be made . In this encyclical, I propose especially to enter into dialogue with all respect to our common home.
    The nuclear crisis was finally defused by the strong military posture of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher against the Soviet Union. The Strategic Defense Initiative, and a new generation of nuclear deterrent weaponry on the part of the West helped to bankrupt the nuclear military machine of the USSR. But today we still need a strong deterrent against a resurgent Russia and against communist China as well as rogue nuclear weapons states like North Korea and would be nuclear weapons states like Iran. Only a fool disarms when his enemies remain armed, and the communists and Islamic fanatics are the enemy.
    Laudato Sii
    57. È prevedibile che, di fronte all’esaurimento di alcune risorse, si vada creando uno scenario favorevole per nuove guerre, mascherate con nobili rivendicazioni. La guerra causa sempre gravi danni all’ambiente e alla ricchezza culturale dei popoli, e i rischi diventano enormi quando si pensa all’energia nucleare e alle armi biologiche. Infatti « nonostante che accordi internazionali proibiscano la guerra chimica, batteriologica e biologica, sta di fatto che nei laboratori continua la ricerca per lo sviluppo di nuove armi offensive, capaci di alterare gli equilibri naturali ».34 Si richiede dalla politica una maggiore attenzione per prevenire e risolvere le cause che possono dare origine a nuovi conflitti. Ma il potere collegato con la finanza è quello che più resiste a tale sforzo, e i disegni politici spesso non hanno ampiezza di vedute. Perché si vuole mantenere oggi un potere che sarà ricordato per la sua incapacità di intervenire quando era urgente e necessario farlo?
    57. It is expected that , facing the exhaustion of some resources , you go creating a favorable scenario for new wars , disguised with lofty claims . The war always causes serious damage to the environment and the cultural wealth of the peoples , and the risks become huge when you think nuclear energy and biological weapons . In fact, ” despite international agreements that prohibit chemical , bacteriological and biological , the fact is that in laboratory research continues to develop new offensive weapons capable of altering the balance of nature ” 34 It requires greater attention from policy to prevent and solve the causes that may give rise to new conflicts . But the power connected with finance is one that endures to this effort , and political designs often lack breadth of vision . Because you want to keep today a power that will be remembered for his failure to intervene when it was urgent and necessary to do so ?
    Compared to coal, oil, gas, wind, solar and hydro sources of power, the risks of mortality from nuclear energy are minimal. See http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html. The encyclical statement equivocates nuclear energy for electricity with nuclear weapons. There is no equivalency. The stockpile of nuclear weapons by Western States does, however, represent a risk, but far riskier is complete and unilateral disarmament in the face of the nuclear armed communist China, rogue nuclear weapons states like North Korea, and would-be nuclear armed states like Iran. Deterrent worked from the 1950s through the 1990s and will work now.
    Laudato Sii
    104. Tuttavia non possiamo ignorare che l’energia nucleare, la biotecnologia, l’informatica, la conoscenza del nostro stesso DNA e altre potenzialità che abbiamo acquisito ci offrono un tremendo potere. Anzi, danno a coloro che detengono la conoscenza e soprattutto il potere economico per sfruttarla un dominio impressionante sull’insieme del genere umano e del mondo intero. Mai l’umanità ha avuto tanto potere su sé stessa e niente garantisce che lo utilizzerà bene, soprattutto se si considera il modo in cui se ne sta servendo. Basta ricordare le bombe atomiche lanciate in pieno XX secolo, come il grande spiegamento di tecnologia ostentato dal nazismo, dal comunismo e da altri regimi totalitari al servizio dello sterminio di milioni di persone, senza dimenticare che oggi la guerra dispone di strumenti sempre più micidiali. In quali mani sta e in quali può giungere tanto potere? È terribilmente rischioso che esso risieda in una piccola parte dell’umanità.
    104. However we cannot ignore that nuclear energy , biotechnology , information technology , knowledge of our own DNA and other capabilities that we have acquired we offer a tremendous power . Indeed , damage to those who hold the knowledge and especially the economic power to exploit a domain impressive on the whole human race and the whole world . Mankind has never had so much power over herself and no guarantee that it will use well, especially considering the way in which he is serving . Just remember the atomic bombs dropped in the middle of the twentieth century , as the largest deployment of technology flaunted by Nazism , communism and other totalitarian regimes at the service of the extermination of millions of people without forgetting that today the war has tools increasingly deadly . In whose hands is and what it can achieve so much power ? It’s terribly risky that it resides in a small part of humanity .
    It is precisely because a very small amount of uranium or thorium has a vast amount of energy that it can be used to economically and safely displace the burning of millions of tons of fossil fuel each year. See http://economicsofnuclear.com/index.php. Again, equivocation of nuclear energy with nuclear weapons is made, and an unfair comparison is drawn between the economic use of nuclear energy today with what the Nazis and communists did in the last century.
    Laudato Sii
     184. Quando compaiono eventuali rischi per l’ambiente che interessano il bene comune presente e futuro, questa situazione richiede « che le decisioni siano basate su un confronto tra rischi e benefici ipotizzabili per ogni possibile scelta alternativa »131. Questo vale soprattutto se un progetto può causare un incremento nello sfruttamento delle risorse naturali, nelle emissioni e nelle sco rie, nella produzione di rifiuti, oppure un mutamento significativo nel paesaggio, nell’habitat di specie protette o in uno spazio pubblico. Alcuni progetti, non supportati da un’analisi accurata, possono intaccare profondamente la qualità della vita di un luogo per questioni molto diverse tra loro come, ad esempio, un inquinamento acustico non previsto, la riduzione dell’ampiezza visuale, la perdita di valori culturali, gli effetti dell’uso dell’energia nucleare. La cultura consumistica, che dà priorità al breve termine e all’interesse privato, può favorire pratiche troppo rapide o consentire l’occultamento dell’informazione.
     184. When appearing any environmental risks that affect the common good of present and future, this situation requires “that decisions are based on a comparison of risks and benefits foreseen for the various possible alternatives» 131. This is especially true if a project may cause an increase in the exploitation of natural resources, emissions and waste, in the production of waste, or a significant change in the landscape, the habitat of endangered species or in a public space. Some projects, not supported by a careful analysis, can profoundly affect the quality of life of a place for very different issues between them such as, for example, a noise is not expected, the amplitude decreased vision, loss of cultural values , the effects of the use of nuclear energy. The consumer culture that gives priority to short-term and private interest, or can promote practices that are too rapid to allow the concealment of information.
    The effects of the use of nuclear energy are lower electrical costs, lower mortality, and less waste generation. Additionally, the so-called waste generated by current nuclear power plants can be reprocessed and reused in fast neutron burner reactors. Additionally, if all the used nuclear fuel (again, wrongly called waste) were gathered together, then it would fit in a football field to a depth of 7 or so feet. This should be compared to the 39 million tons of toxic coal ash sludge which Duke Energy last year released to the river system in North Carolina. There is no waste problem with nuclear energy because we carefully isolate it from the environment, unlike the millions of tons of refuse indiscriminately exhausted out of smoke stacks world-wide, or the dumping of toxic heavy metal sludge from the manufacture of solar cells, or the leakage of thousands of gallons of wind turbine lubricating oil into the environment.

  2. Paul, I agree, except on you comment on Iran. Nuclear deterrence will not work with Iran. The destruction of Iran is a price the Iranian leadership will pay to destroy its enemies. They have already said so,

  3. Obviously, if documents for pulping are handled so casually, the Vatican does not use a secure printer. Companies like De La Rue in the UK, which prints company prospectuses and accounts, as well as bonds, postage stamps and currency notes for over 150 countries, has multiple levels of security and clearly identified chains of custody, as well as registers for every sheet of paper that goes through their presses, including unique identifying marks on each sheet. Even the paper used passes through a number of controls before being used in printing.
    Before the era of word processers, they used to print indictments, with their lists of witnesses and productions for the Scottish Crown Office (this is now done in house on stand-alone word processors that cannot be connected to a modem) and apart from the printer’s own security staff, the whole process was supervised by the Crown Agent or one of his deputes, who inventoried, removed and stored every discarded print, until the diet actually called. They were then shredded before leaving the Crown Office building and, even so, the bags were accompanied to the incinerator by two clerks.

  4. When the Vatican supplies itself with all its own internally generated, carbon neutral, environmentally friendly sustainable and renewable energy, I’ll take their concern about fossil fuels seriously.

  5. On the matter of the leaks I find a surreal irony. Cardinal Baldessari was implicated, we know from Edward Penitn’s fine reporting, in the theft from private Vatican mailboxes of the Five Cardinals’ book rebutting the Kasper proposals. The Vatican spokesman, Father Lombardi, denied the theft claiming such accusations were unfounded. This cabal further orchestrated the pre-synod report. Now, the Vatican is disturbed by the leak of this screed. I think they protest too much

  6. If I read it right, there is in Vatican City a potential fine of $5600 and up to two years in prison for such leaks. I guess that is called mercy or justice or something.

  7. Perhaps I’m being premature here but the only interesting implications of the coming encyclical to me will be political. From a scientific point of view it will be pointless and worthless and from a religious one, confusing and disappointing. Our hope is that it will not be terribly harmful in any respect even to Pope Francis’ credibility. We need him to get back to the mission Jesus intended for him.

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