Back just prior to the Protestant Reformation a Jewish merchant in Florence was friends with a Catholic merchant. The Jewish merchant expressed a desire to convert, but decided to go to Rome to observe the workings of the leadership of the Church. The Catholic merchant was dismayed, assuming the corruption at Rome would convince his friend to have nothing to do with Catholicism. To the contrary! A month later the Jewish merchant was back in Florence and told his Catholic friend that he was going to be baptized next Easter. When his friend cautiously inquired about what he had seen in Rome, his Jewish friend said that what he saw there convinced him to convert. If he ran his business the way the Church in Rome operated he would be bankrupt and in jail in a week. Yet the Church had survived for 15 centuries with such villainy at the top! It must be from God!
Little has apparently changed in 500 years:
The authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, out next week, is even more of a bombshell than expected. Not only do the two authors, Jürgen Mettepenningen and Karim Schelkens, reveal that the Cardinal was a regular member of a secret pressure group of Churchmen that met in the Swiss town of Sankt-Gallen, but the Cardinal himself has publicly and good-humoredly admitted the fact.
Danneels even said that what was officially but discreetly labeled “the Sankt-Gallen group” was referred to by its members as “the Mafia”. Its self-imposed aim was to counter the growing influence of Cardinal Ratzinger under the pontificate of Saint John Paul II, serving as a sort of outlet where handpicked cardinals and bishops could express their impatience at the traditional mindset of the Pope and his closest counsellor.
The Belgian press doesn’t hesitate to say that one of the group’s primary goals was the promotion of Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) in view of John Paul II’s nearing death – something the book itself, which is not yet available in bookstores, perhaps clarifies. The Sankt-Gallen group certainly aimed to promote the ideas and preferences for which they had found a champion in Pope Francis.
Said Schelkens in an interview this week: “The election of Bergoglio was prepared in Sankt-Gallen, without doubt. And the main lines of the program the Pope is carrying out are those that Danneels and Co were starting to discuss more than ten years ago.”
“They wanted Church reform, they wanted to bring the Church closer to the hearts of people; they moved forward by stages,” commented Mettepenningen. “At the beginning of the year 2000, when John Paul II’s end was becoming more foreseeable, they thought more strategically about what was going to happen to the Church after John Paul II. When Cardinal Silvestrini joined the group it took on a more tactical and strategic character.”
Go here to read the rest. In the Catholic Church the laity hope the clergy will prove honest, competent and devoted to Christ. More and more evidence is emerging that most of the powers that be at the Vatican currently fail on all three scores. PopeWatch doubts that the truth is going to come out about the machinations behind the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict and the election of Pope Francis any time soon, but suspects that the facts will not prove very edifying when they do come out. The True Faith is currently in the hands of men who have little love for Catholicism, as it has been practiced, wish to use it for secular purposes and to transform it into something unrecognizable.