Pope Francis & “Team Bergoglio” …

Pope Francis & “Team Bergoglio” …

Rome, Dec. 6, 2014:  Since the news that the new book by Dr. Austen Ivereigh, former spokesman for the Cardinal of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, contained allegations that a group of Cardinals canvassed for the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, numerous news outlets the AustinIvereighTHEGREATREFORMERworld over have covered the story.  The group of 4 to 7 Cardinals, whom Ivereigh nicknames, “Team Bergoglio”, “shocked and disappointed” by the revelations, have taken the extreme action of having Fr. Frederico Lombardi issue a carefully worded denial through the Italian News Blog, Il Sismografo (published by co-workers from Radio Vaticana).

The probity of Dr. Ivereigh’s testimony concerning the vote-canvassing campaign has been subject to question the world over in the last 2 weeks.  For this reason, the From Rome blog considers it important to publish information regarding other sources which corroborate or disprove Dr. Ivereigh’s allegations, to shed further light on which of the two parties Dr. Ivereigh or the Cardinals are telling the truth.

The Church according to the oft declared teaching of Pope Francis, himself, should not be a place where the powerful silence the weak or hide behind their offices like aristocratic princes, concerning whom no action can be questioned and nothing untoward be imputed, regardless of whether it is true.  For this reason, the “Team Bergoglio” story, whose history has been chronicled here at this blog (see here), represents one of the greatest challenges to the integrity, transparency and honesty of the Bergoglian papacy, if not its very validity in law.

Ivereigh knew of UDG 81 before the Conclave of 2013 began 

Editor: UDG  Universi Dominici Gregis  promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1996.  In paragraph 81, all forms of vote canvassing which include vote promising were punished with automatic excommunication (latae sententiae). 

That Dr. Ivereigh’s testimony in the print edition of his book has great probity, arises not only from the fact that he is former secretary to the very Cardinal who is implicated as the point-man for “Team Bergoglio” (Murphy-O’Connor), but also from the fact that he personally covered the news of the 2013 Conclave, blogging about it for Our Sunday Visitor and speaking on Television for the BBC.  The video excerpt was posted on YouTube by Catholic Voices on February 22, 2014, ostensibly by Dr. Ivereigh himself.  Click here to watch the video

In a telling report, filed by the BBC on March 12, 2013, the day before the Conclave began, Dr. Ivereigh shows himself knowledgeable of the papal rule forbidding canvassing for votes.

The interview took place at 17:03 local time, during the very act in which the Cardinal Electors took their vows to uphold the secrecy of the Conclave.  Among which electors is seen Cardinal Bergoglio. Interviewed are Msgr. Mark Langham and Dr. Austen Ivereigh, founder of Catholic Voices.

The BBC reporter starts the conversation with an implication which seems to suggest all which The Great Reformer, the book by Dr. Ivereigh, is saying about “Team Bergoglio”, when the former says at 0:56 minutes: The way that one would want to write about this is to talk about the intrigue and the plotting and the scheming

 At 4:30, Dr. Ivereigh admits that he knows of UDG 81’s prescription that the Cardinals are excluded from canvassing pacts, saying, The norms governing the Conclave make sure that there should be no pacts, no agreements…

And at 12:05, Dr. Ivereigh furthermore admits to having met with Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor and discussed the pre-conclave affairs.

This interview by Dr. Ivereigh thus confirms, both that he had personal first hand knowledge of the requirements of the Papal Law, as well as personal contact with one member of “Team Bergoglio” in the days in which he now claims in his book, the vote-canvassing campaign was conducted.  That makes his testimony on the affair, given in his book, of the highest probity.

Therefore, let us review again, the papal laws by which such a campaign could lead to an invalid election of the Pope.

The Terms of UDG 81, Excommunicate Electors for Voting Agreements

All who participated in the Conclave are by Pope John Paul II’s aforementioned Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis (UDG), paragraph 81 to avoid vote canvassing:

Let’s take a look, then, at the Latin original, to understand better how, not just any specific form of vote canvassing is a crime according to the Pope who “brought down the Wall”:

81. Cardinales electores praeterea abstineant ab omnibus pactionibus, conventionibus, promissionibus aliisque quibusvis obligationibus, quibus astringi possint ad suffragium cuidam vel quibusdam dandum aut recusandum. Quae omnia, si reapse intervenerint, etiam iure iurando adiecto, decernimus ea nulla et irrita esse, neque eadem observandi obligatione quemquam teneri; facientes contra iam nunc poena excommunicationis latae sententiae innodamus. Vetari tamen non intellegimus, ne per tempus Sedis vacantis de electione sententiae invicem communicentur.

The official English translation from the Vatican Website, renders this text, thus:

81. 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.

This translation is not exact.  Here is my own exact translation:¹

81. Let the Cardinal electors, moreover, abstain from all pacts, agreements, promises and any other obligations you like, by which they might be constrained to give or refuse support (suffragium) for anyone (sing. & plural).  All of which, if these were to occur, even when having sworn an oath, We decree are null and void, and none of them are to be held by any obligation of observance; those acting against (this), We now, hereby, bind up with the punishment of excommunication latae sententiae.  Yet, We do not understand to be forbidden, that they communicate with one another concerning the election, during the time of the Sedevacante.

The Terms of Canon 171, §2 Invalidate elections in which Excommunicated Electors participate

What makes the revelations of Dr. Ivereigh so challenging to the papacy of Cardinal Bergoglio is that Canon 171 invalidates elections in which the number of votes required for victory was obtained by the counting of votes from electors who were excommunicated at the time of the voting.  This Canon sanctions not only those who sought votes, but also those who agreed to give them.  If the allegations of Dr. Ivereigh are true, then as many as 16 Cardinals, the number reported to have initially voted for Cardinal Bergoglio in the first ballot, would be suspect, and thus the final vote of 78 votes, which is only 2 more than the required 78, would be in doubt as to its validity.

Here is the official Latin text of Canon 171:

Can. 171 — § 1. Inhabiles sunt ad suffragium ferendum:

1° incapax actus humani;

2° carens voce activa;

3° poena excommunicationis innodatus sive per sententiam iudicialem sive per decretum quo poena irrogatur vel declaratur;

4° qui ab Ecclesiae communione notorie defecit.

§ 2. Si quis ex praedictis admittatur, eius suffragium est nullum, sed electio valet, nisi constet, eo dempto, electum non rettulisse requisitum suffragiorum numerum.

Here is the official English translation from the Vatican website:

Can. 171 §1. The following are effected to vote:

  • 1/ a person incapable of a human act;
  • 2/ a person who lacks active voice;
  • 3/ a person under a penalty of excommunication whether through a judicial sentence or through a decree by which a penalty is imposed or declared;
  • 4/ a person who has defected notoriously from the communion of the Church.

§ 2. If one of the above is admitted, the person’s vote is null, but the election is valid unless it is evident that, with that vote subtracted, the one elected did not receive the required number of votes.

That the Apostolic Constitution by Pope John Paul II, Universi Dominic Gregis, regulating papal elections is a decree in the sense mentioned in Canon 171 §1, n. 3, can be had from Canons 29 ff. on general decrees.


¹  In paragraph 81, the term suffragium in Latin has the proper meaning of “support”, but the technical meaning of “vote”.  In English, we say that one pledges his support for a candidate, to signify that one promises to vote for him at election time.


The above article, reprinted from the From Rome blog, is intended to kick start a discussion on the claims made by Austen Ivereigh in his biography of Pope Francis  – The Great Reformer – that several cardinals canvassed for votes for Pope Francis.

The gravity of such “vote-rigging” should be apparent to anyone who has read Universi Dominici Gregis # 81. This news is now several weeks old,  but for a variety of reasons we’ve not run a blog thread on the subject, although it has been discussed briefly on one of our Pope Francis threads.  Dominie Mary, however, an occasional blogger here, is so keen to discuss the issues surrounding these allegations, that she has submitted a couple of links from the From Rome blog.  I’ve chosen to use the above article to start off, in case anyone has missed the basic facts, but you can read the rest of the very comprehensive coverage on the From Rome blog by clicking on the two links submitted by Dominie Mary –  here and here  

It’s all very interesting, of course, and absolutely shocking stuff.  But does it really change anything for us?  We have a bad pope.  We know that. Nothing we can do about it except pray for him and for souls likely to fall victim to his outright modernism and, of course, we must resist his false beliefs – with bells on.  If the allegations are true then, of course, we learn a little more about the character of Papa Francis than heretofore, but, other than that, nothing’s changed. Has it? 

Comments (46)

  • editor

    Happy New Year to all our bloggers and readers. I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable holiday.

    I received a letter from a gentleman in Glasgow, which will appear in our February newsletter, expressing his concerns that we have not covered the claims of Ivereigh about “Team Bergoglio”, that we are doing so out of fear of encouraging Sedevacantism. This is not the case. As I have explained in my footnote, the news of “Team Bergoglio” did not break until after our November edition was published and the matter was mentioned on another Pope Francis thread. In any event, this thread gives the lie to the claim that we are avoiding the subject. If you wish to comment on the issues, feel free.

    January 2, 2015 at 9:15 am
  • Margaret Mary

    Happy new year everyone!

    I found the From Rome blog articles really rivetting. However, to answer the editor’s closing question in the blue comment, no, I don’t think anything has changed. We just go on “resisting to his face” this pope but, to the best of my knowledge, there’s nothing anyone can do about his election since it has been received by the Church. Unless one of the culprits admits to having canvassed for votes, there’s no proof.

    January 2, 2015 at 12:16 pm
    • Therese

      To Margaret Mary

      I agree completely.

      To Editor

      I’m trying hard to forgive you for taking time off for a breather, to re-group and spend time with your family and friends – and at CHRISTMAS of ALL times!!! WHAT were you thinking??? Some people….. Doesn’t anyone think about ME????

      Think on, m’lady. No time off!



      NO I said….

      January 4, 2015 at 7:54 pm
      • Lily


        I also agree completely with Margaret Mary.

        Re: Christmas break – LOL! I found myself going into the blog anyway – old habits die hard as they say!

        January 4, 2015 at 7:59 pm
      • editor


        You’re a hard wummin! And here was I thinking you’d be badgering me for breaks at half-term and Easter as well! 😀

        January 4, 2015 at 8:38 pm
  • editor

    I have received the following email from a reader quoting another reader who wishes to remain anonymous:

    Please thank the editor for getting this out to fellow Catholics….the only criticism I would have is that she seems to lack a zeal for justice, which would demand the investigation and prosecution of the crime, and throws up her hands and says, ‘we have a bad pope’….that’s not the question, the question is whether we have a pope canonically elected, which is the only way you can have one…it is not a light question…”

    I do, certainly, have a rather apathetic attitude to this news, based on my belief that there’s really nothing any of us can do about it, but if any of you agree that this represents a lack of zeal for justice, then please feel free to say so. I am keen to do the right thing, adopt the correct Catholic attitude in this matter, so please, if my “apathy” = lack of zeal for justice I really want to put that right and will give very serious consideration to all the arguments published by our excellent team of bloggers and any newcomers who care to throw in their tuppence-worth…

    Over to thee…

    January 2, 2015 at 12:47 pm
    • catholicconvert1

      I agree with you Ed. I have a rather apathetic attitude to arguments pertaining to vote canvassing and lobbying before and during the papal conclave. We have no proof, these arguments are just mere conjecture and hearsay until one of the electors says that he was pressured or threatened. Therefore we must consider the pontificate of Francis, valid, though disastrous.

      Another issue for me is Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor being the ‘kingmaker’. He is aged 80, and therefore is ineligible to cast his vote and was not in the room for the election. Therefore, any lobbying he did was outside of the conclave. Surely then, any Cardinal he lobbied, if allegations true, could speak out and say what happened.

      Also, what pressure could one Cardinal put on another? Death threats?

      There are some people who believe that Cardinal Siri was elected in 1958 as the successor of Pius XII as Gregory XVII. they say that the Russians threatened to bomb Rome and kill Siri’s family as he was a particularly virulent anti-Communist. Then, apparently, Cardinal Angelo Roncalli was put in Siri’s place, as an invalid imposter, to placate the Russians and pro-Communist Cardinals, whilst Siri remained ‘in exile’ in Genoa. These people who have no knowledge of what goes on in conclaves should remain silent until they gain concrete evidence, as they only cause discord and provide ammunition to sedevacantist groups, such as those who erroneously maintain that John XXIII and his successors were and are invalid.

      I prefer to remind myself of Christ’s promise never to desert His Church, with the assurance that the gates of hell will not prevail against it.

      January 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm
      • Josephine


        “Also, what pressure could one Cardinal put on another? Death threats?”

        That’s a good point. I guess though that the pressure would be of the “let’s not drag this out, let’s get the conclave over asap” type. I heard it said by commentators at the time that the cardinals were anxious to reach an early decision. That could be the pressure they mean, maybe.

        January 2, 2015 at 6:59 pm
  • dominiemary

    I do think this raises serious issues. I am scandalised that the Vatican is just trying to blow this away. Protocol demands the rules are followed and if however many cardinals violated UDG 81, then they are excommunicated and thus their votes are invalid. This raises enormous implications, which don’t need spelling out. I have expressed my anxieties about this to Cardinal Burke via his messenger service on his official Facebook page. I suggest readers of this blog do the same. He has answered one of my messages so I know he reads them. Cardinal Napier is an avid Tweeter and the tweets about this have vexed him I know, but I think he is openly sticking to the party line of denial and not discussing it – the usual Vatican behaviour for the last 5 decades. Antonio Socci’s book is interesting too, in that a canon lawyer says the resignation speech by Pope Benedict is invalid. So 2 well known authors with 2 very different books saying that the conclave rules were compromised. The trouble is, the majority of Catholics could not care less as they have been so protestantised subliminally for the last 50 years. Most are now happy with secular values, and are getting ready for big changes at the next Spin Nod in October. What a disgraceful state of affairs.

    January 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm
    • Josephine


      “Spin Nod” … Love it! LOL!

      I agree with you that this business raises serious issues but it’s who should deal with it that is the real question, IMHO. Lobbying and demanding that cardinals speak out is not likely to work, unless they did so en masse and couldn’t be ignored.

      About excommunication – the problem is that the ones who violated the rules won’t give a hoot about excommunication as they have really lost the faith or are fifth columnists working from within and never had any faith to start with. So we go round in circles. I think it’s good to have this out in the open to know about it, but I can’t see what any individual can do about it.

      I visited the From Rome blog and see that it’s run by a religious brother – surely he would have more clout than us laypeople? Is HE doing something about it apart from blogging, I wonder.

      January 2, 2015 at 6:56 pm
  • editor

    The same person whose comment I quoted above, has emailed his friend (our reader) again and, possibly thinking his original message didn’t explain his meaning sufficiently, asked for it not to be published, but the following published instead. Since there has already been comment on the original remark, I won’t remove it, but add the following, as requested:

    I wish to publicly thank the editor of this blog for getting this out to fellow Catholics. If we have a truly incarnate love for Holy Mother Church as Christ’s Mystical Body, our zeal and love for Him should move us to insist that these allegations be fully investigated and any crimes uncovered prosecuted according to Canon Law. It is not a question of having a bad pope who rigged his own election; it is the question of whether as many as 30 cardinals are presently excommunicated and whether Cardinal Bergoglio was likewise, for a violation of UDG 81, or in other words, whether we even have a canonically elected pope. We need to insist with our Cardinals and Bishops to take action, mindful that only the Sacred College of Cardinals can in consistory resolve this issue satisfactorily in virtue of the authority granted to them by Pope John Paul II in UDG n. 5.

    My Response

    Firstly, I have never believed for a second that Pope Francis rigged his own election. I was not remotely surprised at the “revelations” by Austen Ivereigh, however, because I remember clearly watching Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor say, on camera for a TV news interview after the election of Pope Benedict, that he was disappointed that “we didn’t get our man.” Add to that the fact that UDG81 came into being because Pope John Paul II was so scandalized at what he witnessed during the conclave which elected HIM, and it may become clearer from whence stems my “apathetic” attitude to this latest scandal. There’s a heck of a lot of things that wouldn’t surprise me about either the Vatican in general or the last few conclaves in particular, and these latest claims of canvassing by “Team Bergoglio” rank up there right at the top.

    As for campaigning to exhort cardinals to “fess up” and put the matter right – that can only come from someone who is unaware that ever since the dawn of Vatican II some of us have been campaigning to put all sorts of scandals right, with virtually no “success” of which to speak. One of the original members of the Catholic Truth team actually travelled to Rome to be present there during the Council and he has seldom had his pen out of his hand since. So, the idea that we can agitate for confessions or accounts from witnesses and it will happen, is – frankly – naïve in the extreme. The Vatican spokesman moved quickly to quell Austen Ivereigh’s “revelations” and my guess is that the whole matter will be ignored in the hope that, as with every other scandal, the clamour for rectitude dies down and eventually disappears. Listen, when the majority of Catholics go about the place, not only defending a new Mass expressly concocted to remove all Catholicity from it and make it pleasing to Protestants, but also criticise and even ridicule the Mass that the martyrs gave their life’s blood to defend, they’re not likely to be over bothered by a bit of canvassing for a pontiff who – in their jaundiced view – is turning out to be the best thing since rainbow vestments. Are they, now?

    January 2, 2015 at 3:42 pm
    • Josephine


      Pope Francis “the best thing since rainbow vestments”

      LOL! .

      January 2, 2015 at 7:00 pm
  • Petrus

    Where on earth does one begin with all of this? Quite simply I think Catholic Truth has done all it can. The issues and allegations are highlighted and discussed. What else can be done, other than pray for all those involved?

    We cannot go around demanding confessions from Cardinals. It would be a complete waste of time. Neither can we come to any conclusion about the validity of the election.

    Keep calm, blog and pray the rosary.

    January 2, 2015 at 5:47 pm
    • Josephine


      “Keep calm, blog and pray the rosary.”

      LOL! I agree!

      January 2, 2015 at 6:51 pm
  • Tirrey

    Happy New Year to all.As attempts were made to manipulate the Synod,this does not seem incredible.The Modernists are not respecters of Tradition or Probity.

    January 2, 2015 at 9:11 pm
    • editor


      Good point. If the “Team Bergoglio” (and those on the periphery) cardinals were truly Catholic in their thinking, there wouldn’t be the monumental crisis afflicting the Church at the present time at all; fixing a synod or a conclave is easily justified by those convinced of the need to change the Church, move with the times, blah blah. With the Holy Spirit on their side, prompting them to rid the Church of all that old fuddy duddy rigidity, how could they possibly be wrong?

      It’s a wonder the gurus in Hollywood are not head-hunting them as script-writers for some wacky new comedy show. Of course, the year is yet young, so maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon 😀

      January 2, 2015 at 11:23 pm
  • Christina

    Ha! Perhaps they already have. News report this am re multiplicity of “gay” marriage sitcoms on TV over there! I sympathise with some bloggers’ frustrations but agree that nothing can be done in present circumstances – except to pray. Happy New Year to all.

    January 3, 2015 at 12:09 pm
    • Petrus

      I would just like to add to your excellent comment, Christina, that we pray AND speak out. There is a mindset that the laity should simply pray.

      January 3, 2015 at 5:18 pm
  • Lily

    I agree with all the comments so far and I think Petrus is very correct about not just praying but we need to always speak out as well. That’s been hammered home to me in this blog, LOL!

    One thing is that there are more and more parish priests who are worried about this pope. I just wish more of them would say things in public.

    January 3, 2015 at 9:50 pm
  • Christina

    How about some ideas as to how best to speak out? I find myself speaking out largely only to those I know think likewise already. I have no contact with the NO Church or diocesan priests. My letters to the ‘Catholic’ press were never published and I’ve given up on that fruitless exercise. The average Catholic I occasionally meet is so ignorant about all that is routinely discussed here, and so incapable of understanding the Catholic mindset that I lose patience. Perhaps worst of all, I find that some SSPX friends are as ignorant about what is going on in the Church as anyone else. They are happily cocooned in an environment where everything is as it always was, and feel nothing of the tempest outside. How DO we become apostles? I’m completely at a loss.

    January 3, 2015 at 10:40 pm
    • Petrus


      By contributing to this blog you are being apostolic. Remember, many more people read this blog than contribute to it.

      I would keep writing letters to those newspapers. Sometimes letters do get published and even if they don’t, the letters are still read.

      January 3, 2015 at 10:59 pm
      • Theresa Rose


        I agree, this blog is one way of being apostolic. You never know who is reading it and many of those who do, learn, whether or not they like what they read.

        January 4, 2015 at 6:53 am
  • Lily

    Petrus & Theresa Rose,

    I honestly can think of no better way to speak out in the current situation than to blog here. There isn’t any other forum in the UK that I know of, which allows free discussion of the traditional faith, so my new year resolution is to blog more!

    January 4, 2015 at 8:01 pm
  • editor

    Petrus, Theresa Rose and Lily,

    Spot on. Cheques in post 😀

    Seriously, I have lost count of the number of times I’ve met people who have told me that they’ve been reading our blog for years and that it has influenced them in many and major ways. So, keep blogging – not least our beloved Christina who is not only very VERY knowledgeable, but not afraid to contradict moi, which makes for very interesting debate. Or so I’m told 😀

    January 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm
  • Christina

    Shucks! I only dare contradict because I’m bigger than you. 😇

    January 4, 2015 at 9:22 pm
    • Margaret Mary

      Ha ha! I remember Editor saying she went to Scottish Slimmers so you may not be right about that LOL!

      January 5, 2015 at 12:16 am
      • editor

        Er, excuse me, but my membership of Scottish Slimmers has well and truly lapsed – that was ages ago and once I returned to my trim, slim, glamorous self, I stopped attending the classes. Mind you, I do miss the relaxation of talking about nothing but food for a whole hour a week!

        Seems we’ve exhausted this subject, with nobody contradicting the conclusion reached by most bloggers here that the revelations of (alleged) canvassing in the last conclave do not change our situation at all. Just means we are more aware than ever of the need to watch, very critically, the statements and actions coming from Papa Francis.

        So, perhaps we could use the remainder of the life of this thread to consider the following article from The Remnant. I notice that at least a couple of publications have again named Pope Francis as their “Man/Person of the Year”, so the following article by Christopher Ferrara is very interesting, to say the least:

        The title Man of the Year, bestowed by the mass media on a gender-neutral “Person of the Year,” reflects the impact a public figure has had on world events during the year preceding. Thus it was quite understandable, even predictable, that Time, the world’s leading news magazine, and The Advocate, the world’s most prominent homosexualist publication, would both name Pope Francis “Person of the Year” for 2013.

        The world understands, even if most Catholics have forgotten, that the Catholic Church is the last barrier against the terminal civilizational apostasy for which the powers that be have been laboring for almost three centuries. In the crowd-pleasing words, gestures and publicity stunts Pope Francis provides almost daily, which the media promptly trumpet to the detriment of his predecessors and the Church’s image, the makers of world opinion see their last best chance to take the Church out of commission once and for all. The media recognize that this Pope, whatever his intentions, speaks as if he were determined to complete, per impossible, the ecclesial auto-demolition lamented too late by Paul VI in the midst of the Second Vatican Council’s catastrophically foolish “opening to the world.”

        From the traditional Catholic perspective of this newspaper, however, Pope Francis is Man of the Year for a different reason: the unintended consequences of his increasingly alarming pontificate. That is, the “Francis effect” is finally awakening many Catholics outside traditionalist circles to the awful reality of the post-conciliar revolution in the Church, bringing them face-to-face with a crisis the “normalists” can no longer conceal behind their usual emasculating interpretations of events. This awakening is typified by the mordant commentary of one rightly appalled Catholic, a convert and novelist, in light of Francis’s upcoming encyclical on “climate change,” already being hailed by the media as the next advance for “the Francis revolution.” Under the title “I Am Concerned“ she writes:

        I regret that our current Holy Father speaks so strongly on topics about which no one expects him to know any more than anyone else. As far as his popular image is concerned, I don’t really care what color shoes he wears, what sort of car he goes about in, or where he chooses to set up housekeeping… Nothing is more seductive than flattery and applause, especially from a fickle and sensation-hungry press, and nothing is more fatal to our souls than vanity…. I suppose ‘encyclicals’ on other subjects can be written anywhere, provided one wears shoes of a politically correct color.

        As these sentiments would suggest, Francis’s most significant impact is turning out to be, not what the world applauds, but his inadvertent demonstration that the revolution has gone too far, that it is time to return to the point where the Church’s human element strayed from the path of Tradition to pursue an imaginary “renewal,” and that nothing is more urgent now than a recovery of everything that was abandoned during a ruinous experiment in novelty Francis seems determined to pursue to the bitter end according to the “dream” enunciated in his personal manifesto, Evangelii Gaudium:

        I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.

        It is this boundless progressivism, seemingly unhampered by any reverence for what the Church has handed down in her “ways of doing things” through the centuries, that accounts for the “Francis effect” which has earned him the world’s endless adulation. In less than two years we have already witnessed these “achievements” of the Bergoglian papacy:
        • an unprecedented disdain for traditional vestments, customs and protocols of the papacy, with the result that the media exalt Francis’s “humility” to the detriment of all his predecessors, including canonized saints who honored these traditions as due the sacrality of the office of Vicar of Christ;
        • further ostentatious demonstrations of “humility,” always before the cameras (dining with Vatican employees in the cafeteria, “selfies” with members of the crowd, riding a bus to the annual retreat, carrying his own black bag on the chartered jet, etc.), which the media further exploit as an unfavorable reflection on previous Popes;
        To read the entire article click here

        January 5, 2015 at 9:54 am
  • John

    I have similar thoughts as Christina Jan 3rd. I am a fairly recent traditionalist of about 7 years and normally attend sspx chapels. My experiences of Novus Ordo church would be 95percent of the congregation would not know or care what is going on in the church or with the pope. Sadly i was one of those for over forty years. Only by Gods grace did I learn the truth. I have tried to educate my former church goers but sadly to no avail am I surprised no. In the forty plus years of being in the Novus Ordo church I cannot remember Fatima mortal sin & sanctifying grace ever been mentioned. I can just imagine the modern priests praising Pope Francis for bringing the church into the 21 st century. Finally can I congratulate all your bloggers they are very well informed & very knowledgable

    January 5, 2015 at 8:20 pm
    • editor


      Welcome to our humble blog and thank you for your honest assessment of your own time in your local diocese, which is mirrored by the experience of many, if not all of us here. I am sometimes dumbfounded to think of the length of time I went along with it all myself before the realisation dawned that if I kept on doing what I was doing, I would keep on getting what I was getting which was, to put it mildly, madder and madder with each passing Sunday as the new Mass got newer by the minute and I got fed up noticing that there were almost more lay people in the sanctuary than in the pews.

      Thank you, too, for your kind words about our bloggers. I hear such compliments all the time, by email and word of mouth, but I don’t tell them too often in case they start to demand even more pay rises! 😀

      January 5, 2015 at 11:44 pm
  • Helen

    Well, as a 30 something person I find myself appalled by this Pope. Perhaps he is a gift in that all those holy joes will now have to sit up and accept the apostasy which is coming out from Rome. May God help us.

    January 6, 2015 at 12:16 am
  • annedanielson

    No, nothing has changed. Prior to being elected pope, Gorge Bergoglio had excommunicated himself from Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, when he condoned same-sex sexual relationships as long as they were “private”, did not include children, and were not called Marriage, and thus, according to Gorge Bergoglio, do not affect society. To claim that man was created in The Image and Likeness of God as an object of sexual desire/orientation in direct violation of God’s Own Commandment regarding lust and the sin of adultery, makes one an apostate to our Catholic Faith. One cannot deny the essence of the Dignity of the human person, who is not an end in him/herself, but who was created for communion with God, without denying the essence of God. (See page 117 of the book On Heaven and Earth, and the statement where pope Francis claims man is an end in himself)


    See paragraph #6

    January 6, 2015 at 1:06 am
    • editor


      I take it you refer to reports like this one, with reference to Cardinal Bergoglio’s attitude to homosexual “marriage”?

      The link you provide to demonstrate that Pope Francis said that man is an end in himself, is actually a speech of Pope Benedict. At a quick skim of the sixth paragraph, I can’t see any such statement. Over to thee!

      January 6, 2015 at 11:49 am
      • annedanielson

        Sorry for the confusion. I forgot to include this statement from Evangelli Guadium:

        213. Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”.[176]

        It seems to me that this part of the statement may have been added as an afterthought:
        Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems.

        Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/joan-desmond/pope-francis-evangelii-gaudium-tackles-abortion-and-religious-freedom#ixzz3O3URylI9

        Our Dignity comes from our having been created in The Image and Likeness of God; having been created for communion with God. Human beings are not an end in themselves because we were created to live in Loving relationship with one another in communion with The Communion of Perfect Love, The Blessed Trinity.

        The link from Pope Benedict affirms the fact that man was created for communion with God. Pope Benedict recognizes a same-sex sexual attraction to be a disordered inclination in need of transformation, not a separate personhood. Defining personhood according to sexual desire/orientation sexual objectifies the human person, thus denying our Dignity as human person.

        In regards to Francis, his statement in his book On Heaven and Earth condoning same-sex sexual relationships that are not called marriage and do not include children is consistent with media reports that prior to being named pope, he supported same-sex sexual unions.

        January 6, 2015 at 3:51 pm
    • Athanasius


      It’s a very bad sign when a Catholic starts making harsh judgments on the soul of no less than the Vicar of Christ. It’s even worse when that Catholic wrongly associates mortal sin with automatic excommunication.

      No one is authorised to judge the soul of another. We may judge words and actions as at variance with Catholic teaching, but we are never permitted to assume bad will on the part of the person who has erred. God alone knows what is in the hearts of men and the Church’s legitimate authorities alone are competent, upon thorough investigation, to decide whether excommunication is applicable to individuals.

      As far as the Church is concerned, excommunication is a last resort when all other attempts to correct a religious deviant have failed. If you have ever read the words of excommunication you will know how chilling that sentence is for those against whom it is justly decreed. It assigns the condemned soul with the damned, in effect declaring all manner of curses upon it. The Church does this in the hope that so grave a penalty may shock the hitherto unrepentant soul back to its senses. It is not a matter to be taken likely or banded about freely by bitter Catholics who fail to understand its true purpose.

      Remember the words of Our Lord: “Judge not and you shall not be judged,” by which Our Saviour meant, of course, a forbidden judgement of souls. He also said: “By what measure you shall judge, the same also shall be measured unto you”.

      You would do very well to remember these admonitions of Our Lord, Anne, and perhaps not be so keen in future to decree damnation against the souls of sinners, especially Popes. Harsh judgments like yours do not emanate from the spirit of God. Quite the contrary, in fact. Reflect!

      January 6, 2015 at 2:06 pm
      • Fidelis


        I am really surprised by your comment about excommunication. I have always understood that certain things incur automatic excommunication – e.g. all of those involved in abortion excommunicate themselves. You seem to be thinking of a formal statement of excommunication which is rare, I agree, but surely you know that nobody can be a Catholic and deny even a single doctrine of the faith? If I took the position of Pope Francis, that same sex unions were acceptable as long as they were not called marriage, I would be excommunicating myself. It’s not about judging anyone’s soul, but if someone says they don’t believe what the Church teaches, how can they not be excommunicated automatically?

        January 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm
      • Nicky

        I was also so surprised at Athanasius answer that I went to Canon Law to check up and found that Canon 1364 # 1 says anyone who is an apostate from the faith (plus also heretics and schismatics) incurs an automatic excommunication “without prejudice to the provision of Canon 194 # 1. When I looked up 194/1, it says the following are automatically excommunicated:

        1/ a person who has lost the clerical state;

        2/ a person who has publicly defected from the Catholic faith or from the communion of the Church;

        3/ a cleric who has attempted marriage even if only civilly.

        §2. The removal mentioned in nn. 2 and 3 can be enforced only if it is established by the declaration of a competent authority.


        So, although we keep hearing that there is such a thing as automatic excommunication, it seems that there really isn’t, it has to be declared by “a competent authority” whoever that might be. We’re presumably in a situation then where somebody can in fact publicly declare that they don’t believe Catholic teaching and still be a Catholic in good standing until this anonymous competent authority declares that is not the case.

        Maybe we’re not that different from the CofE after all, LOL!

        January 6, 2015 at 6:57 pm
      • Athanasius


        I don’t want to get into this subject too deeply, but I hope to clarify your observation a little here.

        There are two kinds of excommunication, automatic and decreed. The first, as you describe, relates to certain public offences named in Canon Law, such as personally declared apostasy or a cleric who gets married, etc. In cases such as these the sin against Catholic Faith and/or morals is self professed and therefore without question, as is the censure.

        Things are not so clear cut, however, in cases of heresy where it is unknown whether the offender errs materially or formally. In such cases, the Church’s legitimate authorities are bound to carry out a full and thorough investigation, interviewing the person in question, weighing the intention behind his words or acts, as well as his willingness to recant when presented with correction, etc., before censure is applied. Do you see the difference?

        This was the point I was trying to make to Anne; that she should not be so quick to depose Cardinals and Popes or condemn them as excommunicates simply because they have personally spoken or acted in a way that appears to contradict the Church’s perennial teaching. Unless they have done so with a definitive public declaration of apostasy, we must not make judgments on them that the Church’s authorities alone can make in due course upon formal investigation.

        It’s one thing to say that a Cardinal or Pope is harming the Church by his words and actions, but quite another to say that he is doing so willfully with evil intent. This latter judgment is forbidden to all.

        January 6, 2015 at 9:13 pm
      • Nicky


        I think we all know about formal and material heresy, but this discussion isn’t about heresy. It’s about the canvassing of votes at a conclave and also (see AnneDanielson’s comments) about Catholics from the Pope down who speak in defence of same sex unions.

        It seems very strange that someone is only excommunicated after formal interviews etc. as you describe. So, if I go for an abortion tomorrow, knowing full well the teaching of the Church on it as being murder, I’m not actually excommunicated until somebody interviews me and I confirm that I really did know what I was about to do was gravely sinful and decided to go ahead anyway? The same goes for all those Catholics, whether cardinals or lay people, who publicly say they are OK with same sex unions, as long as they’re not called marriage – that was the position of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, recorded on TV, at the time of a discussion on civil partnerships in England.

        If you are correct, then it means that nobody can ever say that anyone is automatically excommunicated. The phrase itself doesn’t make any sense if someone isn’t really automatically excommunicated. BTW, I don’t think AnneDanielson made any statement about wilful evil in her comments – I’ve read them both again and can’t see that, so if I’m wrong would you point me to the lines. I don’t think it’s judging anyone’s soul to point out that they have broken the law and incurred the penalty stated in UDG81 and Canon Law. This is something that’s been discussed often on this blog, the difference between making an objective observation and judging the soul.

        With all due respect, you seem fond of speaking about “bitter Catholics” when anyone makes these objective observations and yet you have been very hard hitting yourself about this pope at various times, without anyone saying that you are bitter. I don’t think AnneDanielson has been bitter.

        January 6, 2015 at 9:32 pm
      • Athanasius


        The first point I would make is that the canvasing of votes at the conclave is neither proven nor disproven. As such, the discussion is purely academic. We can suspect what we like but the fact that the hierarchy of the Church is silent on the matter, accepting Francis as Pope despite Ivereigh’s revelations, suggests that we are bound to consider him Pope as well. Speculation in so grave a matter is fruitless in my opinion.

        As regards my own comments about Pope Francis. You’re absolutely correct to state that I have been very critical of his Pontificate. However, I have never denounced him as a non-Pope and I never will. I leave such judgments to those who have the authority to make them.

        By stating that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio excommunicated himself from the Church, and this on the basis of obscure reports and something he is said to have written in his book (no direct quotes provided), is the same as saying he is not the Pope. One who is excommunicated cannot by definition be elected Pope. Anne is therefore a sedevacantist. This is an extreme position that Catholic Truth opposes as false and dangerous to those souls who fall into it.

        Bitter zeal, incidentally, is a zeal which is more inclined to condemn than to seek to excuse. In the case of what Cardinal Bergoglio apparently wrote, we would have to read the statement(s) verbatim in order to gauge the severity of the words and the context in which he framed them. A declaration of automatic excommunication upon the say so of Anne will simply not do, I’m afraid.

        I should point out here that what the Pope apparently stated is not remotely the same as a Catholic woman procuring an abortion in open breach of the Church’s teaching.

        But here’s an interesting thought: Do all mortal sins mean automatic excommunication for the sinner, or only those which are both manifest and unrepented?

        It is a very dangerous business indeed to start declaring excommunications against individuals on the grounds of our poor understanding of the facts. The difference between material and formal heresy is crucial in all but those cases where a person is very clearly and very publicly stating his/her apostasy from the known truth. I just don’t go there!

        January 6, 2015 at 10:25 pm
      • Athanasius


        We are not a million miles apart in this matter. That certain sins under Canon Law result in automatic excommunication is indisputable, and we all usually know when someone has clearly offended in this way. At any rate, God knows.

        My point was that this is not at all clear in the case of Cardinal Bergoglio/Pope Francis. Anne tells us that he made a certain statement about same-sex unions in a book he wrote, yet she does not quote the words he wrote or the context in which they were framed. Even so, how do we know he wrote them with the clear and public intention of opposing the Church’s perennial teaching. What is his culpability? For me, the evidence is very flimsy.

        Just think, though, that if we accept Anne’s version then we are all sedevacantists. One cannot be elected Pope who is excommunicated. As far as I’m concerned, it is Anne who is in error here and I am bound to tell her so.

        January 6, 2015 at 10:33 pm
      • Margaret Mary


        I think it’s quite obvious from all the things Pope Francis says and doesn’t say, that he is open to tolerating same sex unions. He is a liberal and was known to be sympathetic to civil partnerships in Argentina when he was the archbishop there. I do find the whole thing about automatic excommunication very puzzling, as it seems straightforward before we had a pope who said the shocking things Pope Francis says.

        I do agree with the Catholic Truth line here that we cannot do anything about this situation and must just accept the pope and leave it to a future pope to deal with it. Frankly, if this pope continues as he is doing, I think a future pope will publicly excommunicate him. I hope that doesn’t make me a sedevacantist because I’m not – I’m recognising him as pope because I think that is what is the right thing to do for me as a layperson. However, my intelligence tells me that for the faith to be restored then the things the modern popes have said and done will have to be pronounced against in the future. I hope I live to see it.

        January 7, 2015 at 9:37 am
      • Athanasius

        Margaret Mary

        I agree. I think it is certain that the Church will one day review the Pontificate of Pope Francis as it did with the Pontificate of Honorius I. There may well be some future censures decreed posthumously against a few of the conciliar Popes. But, as you say, and I agree, that is a matter for the Church to decide in healthier times.

        January 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm
  • domstemp

    Dear Pat I never use aol anymore

    Please change to domstemp@gmail.com



    Sent from AOL Mobile Mail

    January 6, 2015 at 12:34 pm
  • annedanielson

    Athanasius, did you mean to say unrepentant sin?

    Only Christ, at the moment of our death, can judge who will be welcomed into His Kingdom, but this does not change the fact that if we desire Salvation for our beloved, we do not desire that they be led astray, or lead others astray, through unrepentant sin.

    The Charitable Anathema exists for the sake of Christ, His Church, all who will come to believe, and those prodigal sons and daughters who, hopefully, will return to Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

    One cannot remain in communion with Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church if one no longer professes and thus believes in that which every Catholic must believe with Divine and Catholic Faith.

    Being in communion with Christ and His Church, is not a matter of degree; if you are not with Him, you are against Him.

    January 6, 2015 at 3:01 pm
    • Athanasius


      Please see my response to Nicky above and make especial note of the vast difference that exists between material and formal heresy. It is not for you or anyone else to say what category the Pope falls into. It is sufficient that we see the errors and refute them without wandering into the forbidden territory of deciding who is and is not excommunicated. Stepping over that line, especially when it comes to the Vicar of Christ, is a sure road to Hell.

      Remember “Where Peter is, there is the Church”. He may be chained in his prison of Modernist thought, but he’s still the Pope and we should pray for him that Our Lord may open his eyes as He once opened the prison gates to free St. Peter. In the meantime, we are bound to respectfully resist his errors, even to do so to his face. But let us not go down that hellish road of judging and deposing him with bitter zeal.

      January 6, 2015 at 9:34 pm
    • Athanasius


      Not all mortal sins result in automatic excommunication from the Church. I suspect you maybe believe otherwise. Public, unrepented mortal sin is certainly grounds for excommunication, but not private mortal sin, which nevertheless leads souls to Hell if committed and unrepented.

      January 6, 2015 at 10:38 pm

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