Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Letter #36: Silence (victory for the “old guard” of the Vatican)
Moynihan Report ^ | March 7, 2013 | Robert Moynihan, PhD.

Posted on 03/07/2013 5:38:10 AM PST by NYer

Silence, of a sort, has descended over the meeting of the cardinals in the lead-up to the Conclave.

The American cardinals today canceled their scheduled press conference at the North American College — the NAC, as it is called, on the Janiculum Hill just above the Vatican.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Cardinal Francis George of Chicago had been scheduled to speak to journalists.

We are now being told there will be no further press conferences until after the Conclave — the date of which has still not been set.

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Director of Media Relations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, had organized quite unusual daily press conferences with two American cardinals each day in the College — and had provided exclusive access to American networks to some cardinals.

These were the only press conferences any cardinals were giving, so they were attracting a lot of attention from journalists.

Four Cardinals took part in the two press conferences that were held on Monday and Tuesday: Cardinals Donald Wuerl and Francis George on Monday, Cardinals Sean O’Malley and Daniel DiNardo on Tuesday — with Cardinal Dolan providing an exclusive interview to ABC News also on Tuesday.

Today, the conferences and interviews were canceled.

“Concern was expressed in the General Congregation [of the cardinals] about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers,” Sister Mary Ann Walsh said in a communique. “As a precaution, the cardinals have agreed not to do interviews.”

Father Lombardi the Director of the Vatican press office

Father Lombardi the Director of the Vatican press office

During his daily briefing today, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., the spokesman of the Holy See, answered with what seemed some annoyance repeated questions from journalists about why the press conferences of the US cardinals had been canceled.

“Ask them,” he said curtly.

Vatican Information Service adds:


“Regarding the cancelling of the press conferences that some of the American cardinals were giving in these days, Fr. Lombardi observed that ‘the Congregations are not a synod or a congress in which we try to report the most information possible, but a path toward arriving at the decision of electing the Roman Pontiff. In this sense, the tradition of this path is one of reservation in order to safeguard the freedom of reflection on the part of each of the members of the College of Cardinals who has to make such an important decision. It does not surprise me, therefore, that along this path there were, at the beginning, moments of openness and communication and that afterwards, in harmony with the rest of the College, it has been established whether and how to communicate.’”

So what is really happening here?

There are several strands to this story. It is complex.

The American cardinals have been the “open” ones, holding press conferences — but the Italians are the ones who have actually been talking to journalists, privately, not for attribution.

So, the Italian cardinals have been speaking in private — but their words fill the Italian press!

The Americans have been speaking in public, saying nothing of real substance about the proceedings — and they are being asked to stop doing so!

The Americans do seem a bit naive, holding press conferences with no real content in them, though the effort to provide some insight into what is happening in these days is to be applauded.

So, there is no real drama surrounding the ending the conferences — they contained nothing anyway. They were not important.

And it is true that the Conclave to elect a Pope, as well as the proceedings leading up to it, are “private” gatherings. So, to try to make it into something like an Iowa caucus, with press conferences and position statements — or to wish to do so — seems a case of cross-cultural lack of understanding and communication.

For the moment, the decision to end all press conferences seems to be a sort of victory for the “old guard” of the Vatican (led by the Dean of the College, Cardinal Angelo Sodano). The “old guard” has seemingly gotten back the “upper hand” and restored order, and secrecy.

But actually, the secrets will still come out — from the Italians.

The problem is, the Americans are all extraordinarily respectful and honest when compared to the Italians. The Americans took an oath not to speak on the proceedings, and they intend to keep it… even when holding press conferences. The Italians took the same oath… but they never took it that seriously (at least some of them).

In Italy, there is always a grey area, a space to maneuver.

As Emeritus Pope Benedict once said, famously, “We know the Italians.”

So where are we now? The cardinals must decide when to open the actual Conclave. They may vote on this soon.

And then the cardinals must discern who among them — or even outside of the College — could be a worthy successor of Benedict XVI.

The leading candidates right now — but this is all journalistic speculation — seem to be Odilo Scherer from Brazil (thought to be the candidate preferred by Cardinal Sodano), Angelo Scola from Milan (the Italian candidate thought to be most in keeping with the thought of Joseph Ratzinger), Marc Ouellet, the Canadian who is Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, who is seen as extraordinarily balanced and who has few enemies, and Leonardo Sandri, the Argentine-born Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, who is also very close to Cardinal Sodano and so would represent a return to a pre-Ratzingerian line with regard to the purification of the Church and the Curia.

Among the “outsiders,” the profiles of three holy men are receiving quiet attention: the American Capuchin friar Sean O’Malley of Boston, who is seen as a holy man who speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese, and so could represent both the First World and the Third World; Peter Erdo of Budapest, Hungary, who speaks fluent Russian, is an eminent canon lawyer, and has a photographic memory; and Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Sri Lanka, who was very close to Pope Benedict’s line, as a lover of the old liturgy, but is also “modern” and “active” and “strong” enough to have brought about peace between warring factions in a civil war between Tamils and Singhelese in Sri Lanka, making him a remarkable choice to represent the explosive Christian faith of the Third World. Another cardinal who would be in line with Joseph Ratzinger and would not repres ent a return to the traditional policies of the Roman Curia would be Cardinal Francis George of Chicago.

TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: conclave

1 posted on 03/07/2013 5:38:18 AM PST by NYer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...


2 posted on 03/07/2013 5:39:02 AM PST by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Moynihan has taken notice of Ranjith, who was virtually totally ignored by the MSM and even most Catholic pundits initially. I pointed to him on Feb. 11, the day Benedict’s intention to resign became public. It’s good to see him now in the handful considered serious contenders. Moynihan (who is not listing his personal preferences but trying to reflect what he’s hearing in Rome) does not put Tagle or Turkson in the top five or seven.

3 posted on 03/07/2013 5:55:55 AM PST by Houghton M.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer
Among the “outsiders,” the profiles of three holy men are receiving quiet attention: the American Capuchin friar Sean O’Malley of Boston, who is seen as a holy man who speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese,

I am in stunned disbelief that anyone could seriously consider O'Malley (at least anyone with the best interest of the Church at heart!); I guess his PR push is paying off! See Boston Catholic Insider -- Cardinal O’Malley’s Vatican PR Campaign:

In case you have been wondering how and why Cardinal Sean O’Malley is getting so much press in and around the upcoming conclave to elect a new pope, now we know why. The Boston Archdiocesean PR machine is in high gear drumming up stories, as exemplified by the email below from Cardinal O’Malley’s cabinet secretary for communications. A rational person seeing their press activity might wonder why the Cardinal and his PR team have embarked on such an active campaign in the days before the conclave starts. . . .

4 posted on 03/07/2013 5:57:29 AM PST by maryz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Lord forgive me scandal. I saw the pressers; I’ve been praying they would be quiet.

5 posted on 03/07/2013 5:59:44 AM PST by AliVeritas (Pray.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Add Burke, who has a brilliant mind and faith.

6 posted on 03/07/2013 7:27:14 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maryz

I was perhaps naively under the impression that obvious and heavy-handed PR campaigns like O’Malley’s tend to backfire. This is not, after all, the run-up to the Oscars.

7 posted on 03/07/2013 8:11:48 AM PST by ottbmare (The OTTB Mare)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: ottbmare
heavy-handed PR campaigns like O’Malley’s tend to backfire.

We can only hope! Of course, the Boston media are pushing it -- I think they see it as just another form of rooting for the Red Sox . . . :(

8 posted on 03/07/2013 8:55:16 AM PST by maryz
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: NYer

It is interesting to see that Cardinal Dolan has found time to accept the speaking position at this years Notre Dame graduation.This and his dinner with Obama should add to his NY Times ‘legacy’.

9 posted on 03/07/2013 9:09:24 AM PST by ardara
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Letter #36: Silence (victory for the “old guard” of the Vatican)
General congregations: Profile of future Pope emerging from sessions
Cardinals contemplate insider, outsider papal candidates
College of Cardinals imposes media silence after breach
Last Two Cardinal Electors Will be in Rome by Thursday
Letter #33: Sistine Chapel Closed (approx 5 days for workers to prepare for conclave)

Pope Prediction: 10 Reasons Cardinal Burke Will Be the Next Pope
Popeless but not Hopeless
Election of Pope Trivia Quiz
Black Socialist Pope to Follow Black Socialist President?
Pope watchers keeping tabs on Vatican 'backroom boys'
Catholicism, True Reform and the Next Pope
Cardinals announce adoration, Vespers ceremony for conclave
When Will the Conclave Start? Pope Benedict's Final Legislative Act
Vatican Diary / The "who's who" of the new pope's electors (broken down by continent)
Letter #31: The Program, and the Sheriff (Mahony, Sandri, Anti-Pope)

Famous last tweets before cardinals enter media blackout of conclave
Cardinal O'Malley lists sex abuse, Curia reform as priorities
Old establishment cardinals hope for quick conclave
Cardinals Begin Pre-Conclave Meetings Amid Scandal
Lombardi: 12 Cardinal electors yet to arrive as 1st Congregation concludes
A ticket to vote for the first Latin-American Pope
Three candidates for Pope who are on few people's lists
Omens and portents and signs! OH MY! (minor earthquake near Castel Gandolfo)
‘Church changing big time,’ says Cardinal Dolan
Letter #30: The Next and the Last (media, papabili, Ganswein in tears)

Editorial: "Religious correspondents", "Vaticanists": don't know more about Conclave than us
During “Sede Vacante” what must priests say in the Eucharistic Prayer now that there is no Pope?
What is a [Catholic] Cardinal? A Basic Review of the College of Cardinals in History and Today
Benedict XVI's first night as Pope emeritus
Toward the Conclave. The Pressure on the Cardinals [Catholic Caucus]
Papal Apartments, Basilica Sealed for Sede Vacante
Update on Conclave Start Date
Cardinal Dolan: Pope Benedict 'fragile' on last day of papacy (good handling of msm)
Prayer for the Election of a New Pope
Interregnum Terms and Expressions, Q and A Format (Nuts & Bolts-current situation) [Catholic Caucus]

10 posted on 03/07/2013 4:48:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson