This was posted by Catholic News Service last night and sees the light of day today, December 5th and I guess one could say they are simply reporting the news. But how serious is this if it is true????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
The 2013 papal conclave that elected Pope Francis is news again now
that four cardinals have denied a new book’s claim that they campaigned
for Pope Francis to be elected – though the book’s author has clarified
the Pope himself was not a part of their supposed campaign.
The London-based Catholic journalist Austen Ivereigh, in his new book
“The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope,” contends
that a group of cardinals on what he bills as “Team Bergoglio” worked
during the last conclave to promote the election of Archbishop Jorge
Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as Pope.
According to Ivereigh, Cardinals Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Walter Kasper,
Gottfried Daneels and Karl Lehmann orchestrated a behind-the-scenes
lobbying campaign which led to the election of Pope Francis.
Ivereigh wrote that the members of “Team Bergoglio” toured private
dinners and other gatherings of cardinals the day before the conclave.
According to Ivereigh, a key role was played by Cardinal Cormac
Murphy-O’Connor, for whom Ivereigh worked as a spokesperson from
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor had turned 80, and he could not take part in
the conclave due to age limits. However, Ivereigh claims that the
cardinal teamed up with other cardinals in order to promote Bergoglio’s
candidacy, as he already had done in 2005, when the Archbishop of Buenos
Aires was the main competitor of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would
become Pope Benedict XVI.
“They had learned their lesson from 2005 and they first secured
Bergoglio’s assent,” Ivereigh wrote. He added that the 76-year-old
Cardinal Bergoglio’s advocates “got to work, touring the cardinals
dinner to promote their man, arguing that his age should no longer be
considered an obstacle, given that Popes could resign.”
The report of this campaigning has caused a certain media frenzy. Some
have argued that if the report is true, the election of Pope Francis may
An article of the of the apostolic constitution “Universi Dominici
Gregis,” which regulates papal elections, has established that cardinals
before the election “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.”
The conclave rules in the apostolic constitution, issued by St. John
Paul II in 1996, stressed that automatic excommunication is incurred by
cardinals who commit to an electoral agreement for a papal conclave.
However, the apostolic constitution explicitly states that it does not
forbid cardinals from exchanging their opinions during the vacancy of
the papal chair.
Questions on the issues raised by Ivereigh’s claims drew a response
direct from the Holy See Press Office director Fr. Federico Lombardi,
On Dec. 1, he stated that the four cardinals “explicitly denied this
reporting, both concerning the request of approval from Cardinal
Bergoglio, and concerning the conducting of a campaign to push his
election.” (MY COMMENT: One of these Cardinals, the notorious Cardinal Kaspar, also denied a certain accusation that was later proven true! The statement of these four cardinals provides little comfort especially coming from Cardinal Kaspar!)
The four cardinals, Fr. Lombardi added, “wish that it is known that they are surprised and displeased by what is written.”
Ivereigh responded in a Dec. 2 statement, focusing on his book’s
statement that the four cardinals “first secured Bergoglio’s assent.”
He said he “never meant to suggest” that the four cardinals had “some
kind of agreement” with Cardinal Bergoglio. Rather, he had meant to
suggest that, unlike the 2005 conclave, the cardinals believed that
“this time Cardinal Bergoglio would not resist his election.”
“I am sorry for any misunderstanding arising from my choice of words,”
he said, adding that his book’s future editions will have revisions to
this statement. The new text will read, “In keeping with conclave rules,
they did not ask Bergoglio if he would be willing be a candidate. But
they believed this time that the crisis in the Church would make it hard
for him to refuse if elected.”
Ivereigh said that he had found no evidence that Cardinal Bergoglio had
been approached about his potential election to the papacy. He also
found no evidence of “any violation of the conclave rules.”
Ivereigh also stressed that his book’s chapter on the conclave, read in
its entirety, “makes clear” that Cardinal Bergoglio “played no role
whatsoever in the bid for his election.”
However, Ivereigh on Dec. 1 also reiterated the point on Twitter that
“what the cardinals are denying is an agreement with a particular
candidate. They are not denying they urged his election.”
He said it is “normal for cardinals to urge voting for candidates,”
citing as examples Cardinals Jorge Medina Estevez and Alfonso Lopez
Trujillo, who backed Cardinal Ratzinger in the 2005 conclave.