Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Magister's Not Buying

Lent 2010. Pope Benedict's Ash Wednesday

His torment is the disappearance of faith. His program is to lead men to God. His preferred instrument is teaching. But the Vatican curia doesn't help him much. And sometimes it harms him

by Sandro Magister

[...] In this daring enterprise, however, it is astonishing that pope Ratzinger has not been given adequate support by his curia.

The statement from the secretariat of state last February 9 is the latest sign of this imbalance between the magisterium of the pope and the operation of the Vatican machine.

Using the pope as a shield to deny the sending of documents from the Vatican to a newspaper, using a pontifical gendarme as a courrier [sic], and the curial origin of an article with a fake signature, against the background of an affair that still remains intact in its substantial outlines of conflict between the secretariat of state and the Italian bishops' conference – a conflict which the pope has always remained above, implicated by no one – seemed to many an outrageous act. [Notice Magister's complete acceptance of all of this as fact regardless of the denial issued last week by the secretariat of State.] Not only disconnected from, but in strident contrast with the quality and content of the magisterium of Pope Benedict, in spite of his formal approval of the publication of the statement and his renewal of trust in his colleagues.

This affair was reported by www.chiesa a few days ago in this article:

> Italy, United States, Brazil. From the Vatican to the Conquest of the World

But to return to the "things that are above," the following is the message with which pope Ratzinger wanted to introduce Lent this year. [...]

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beyond Boffo

Sandro Magister of Chiesa has more on the conflict between the secretary of State and his ally Vian of L'Osservatore Romano.

Magister looks at three instances where the secretary with the aid of Vian has been working counter to the episcopate.

The first is in Italy where Bertone worked to see Ruini removed from office in a bid to wrestle control of the Italian bishops for himself (read here and here for my past posts on this). The next is US with Obama, first with the L'Osservatore Romano's characterization of the president as working in favor of motherhood and then ignoring the bishops' protests when Obama was honored at Notre Dame and the bishops' position on withholding Communion to politicians. The third is Brazil when, "[l]ast March, an article in "L'Osservatore Romano" disowned the Brazilian bishop of Recife for condemning the authors of a double abortion on a child mother. But the Brazilian bishops saw this as a betrayal by Rome while they were fighting a tough battle with the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva over the full liberalization of abortion."

The desire to have peaceful institutional relations with the established powers, of whatever shade they may be, is typical of Bertone. In this, he is applying a classic canon of Vatican diplomacy, which is traditionally "realist," even at the cost of clashing with the national episcopates that are often critical of their respective governments.

[Then at the end, Magister sums up...]

In the Boffo case, Pope Benedict "knows." And he personally sees things more the way cardinals Bagnasco and Ruini do, rather than like his secretary of state.

But the pope's stride is that of the perennial Church. Long and patient.

Is that last sentence a reiteration of the VIS statement that the Pope gives his full support to Bertone and Vian? Time will tell.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Communique Regarding Boffo and Avvenire

VATICAN CITY, 9 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the complete text of a communique released today by the Secretariat of State:

"Since 23 January an increasing number of news items and reconstructions have been appearing, especially in many Italian news media, concerning the events surrounding the resignation of the editor of the Italian Catholic daily 'Avvenire', with the evident intention of demonstrating the involvement of the editor of the 'Osservatore Romano' in the affair, even going so far as to insinuate the responsibility of the Cardinal Secretary of State. These news items and reconstructions have no basis whatsoever in fact.

"Specifically, it is false that officers of the Vatican Gendarmerie or the editor of the 'Osservatore Romano' passed on the documents which lay behind the resignation of the editor of 'Avvenire' on 3 September last year; it is false that the editor of the 'Osservatore Romano' gave - or in any way transmitted or endorsed - information about these documents; and it is false that he wrote under a pseudonym, or inspired, articles in other publications.

"It seems clear from the proliferation of the most incredible assertions and hypotheses - repeated by the media with truly remarkable consonance - that everything rests on unfounded convictions, with the intention of gratuitously and calumniously attributing to the editor of 'Osservatore Romano' an unmotivated, unreasonable and malicious action. This is giving rise to a defamatory campaign against the Holy See, which even involves the Roman Pontiff.

"The Holy Father Benedict XVI, who has been kept constantly informed, deplores these unjust and injurious attacks, renews his complete faith in his collaborators, and prays that those who truly have the good of the Church to heart may work with all means to ensure that truth and justice triumph".

SS/COMMUNIQUE/... VIS 100209 (310)

Monday, February 08, 2010


I am going to be messing with the newfangled layout system. Links in the sidebar may disappear without notice. Dum dum DUM!

Bertone: The Worthy Successor of Sodano?

Rorate Caeli has a post on an ongoing conflict where certain powers in the Roman Curia have been attacking their perceived enemies in the Italian bishops' conference. Rorate has a lengthy excerpt from an Italian daily on the situation and the article sums up the situation well:

The rumors, never denied by the Vatican, specifically accuse the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's number two, and the director of L'Osservatore Romano [the Vatican's semi-official newspaper], Giovanni Maria Vian, of hatching a Machiavellian plan to hit Boffo [the former and allegedly driven out director of the Italian bishops' newspaper], in order to attack his mentor, powerful Cardinal Camillo Ruini, former president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and his successor, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, considered too independent. Everything in a dark and serious plot now under the observation of Benedict XVI [Rorate note: a report on the matter has been prepared for the Pope by his personal secretary, Mons. Gänswein, according to this Sunday's edition of La Repubblica]. A conspiracy that reflects the harsh internal struggles within the Italian Church.

According to the article excerpt, it was thought that the Boffo affair came about in the first place as a part of an ongoing conflict between the Church and the Italian PM, but the excerpt instead brings to light information that the dossier besmirching Boffo's reputation came from inside the Church.

That sums up the excerpt at Rorate, but it has more detail and the comments are always interesting and informative after some sifting.

As I stated in a comment at Rorate, the Holy Father missed his chance when Sodano stepped down to do it, but his chance is coming up again with the impending retirement of Cardinal Bertone (he's nearing/at the retirement age of 75): once the secretary of State is out of office, the Pope needs to exercise some serious authority and break up the secretariat once and for all.