by Robert Royal
from TheCatholicThing Website
The title above is the name of a book (The Dictator Pope) that appeared Monday in English (after earlier publication in Italian) by a writer who has assumed a grand Renaissance pseudonym:
He evidently could not publish under his real name, for fear of reprisals.
But the case he lays out is largely convincing, that Pope Francis has carefully cultivated an image,
This is hardly news, least of all in Rome.
This volume, however, is far more probing and detailed than anything that has previously appeared. It sometimes stretches evidence, but the sheer amount of evidence it provides is stunning.
The parts of this story I know best - the Synods on the family that I reported on daily from Rome for TCT - are absolutely reliable.
We know, for example,
Francis was quite willing to openly manipulate the Synods
by personally appointing supporters of the
Kasper Proposal and that
he even intervened personally at key points, changing procedures and
instructing the bishops about where their deliberations should start
- and end...
There's a clear pattern of behavior, whatever uncertainties remain.
On the divorced and remarried, the environment, immigrants, "Islamophobia," the poor, the pope is relentless. But he was not elected to revolutionize marital doctrine or "discipline."
Nor was he chosen to be a player in international politics.
He was elected to be a "reformer"
who would mainly clean up
Vatican finances and deal with the gay
lobby, two things that played a role in
The momentum stalled as the old guard slowly regained control over Vatican finances - and oversight...
A series of Vatican Bank presidents, officials, accountants, etc. - probably getting too close to the truth - have been fired without good explanations. (Something similar played out in the Knights of Malta controversy.)
Pell had to return to
Australia to deal with sexual abuse charges from forty years ago
that, suspiciously, resurfaced after being earlier examined and
Austen Ivereigh, a British writer and papal fan, entitled his biography The Great Reformer, in part because of Jorge Bergoglio's alleged role in curbing abuses in Buenos Aires.
Then there's the gay mafia...
People forget that the occasion for Francis' famous remark "Who am I to judge?" was not a general comment about homosexuality.
Nonetheless, right after
the 2013 papal election, he became the pope's "eyes and ears" at the
Vatican Bank and director of the Casa Santa Marta, where Francis
But he stood with Francis
on the balcony of St. Peter's right after the conclave and read the
prayer for the new pope at his inauguration. He was also one of the
ringers Francis personally invited to bolster his case at the
In a remarkably naked authoritarian move, the pope substituted himself for Cardinal Sarah for the institute's opening academic address in 2016, and spoke of,
You have to believe that Cardinal Marx was expressing the truth when he said, at the end of the synods, that,
The least satisfactory part of this book (The Dictator Pope) for me is the account of how the "St. Gallen Group" - one of its own members called it a "mafia" - which met to plan opposition to St. JPII and Joseph Ratzinger, identified Jorge Bergoglio as a future papal candidate.
He had no global visibility until he gave the concluding address at the 2001 Synod on the role of bishops.
NYC's Cardinal Edward Egan was supposed to do that but stayed home because 9/11 had just happened. The address impressed the synod fathers for its fairness to both sides.
Colonna reveals, however, that it was entirely the work of a Synod secretary/speechwriter, Msgr. Daniel Emilio Estivill.
We need to know more about how
things went, from then to now.
No footnotes appear to
support this claim, nor does Colonna offer a plausible account of
how and why Rome would think Mrs. Clinton - Hillary Clinton...? - worth
such a risky bet and potential scandal.
That the question even has to be asked, is disturbing.
Any answer will have to reckon with the eye-opening material in this compelling book.