Cardinals want to be briefed on secret report

VATICAN CITY Mon Mar 4, 2013 12:22pm EST

1 of 17. Cardinals attends a meeting at the Synod Hall in the Vatican March 4, 2013. Preparations for electing Roman Catholicism's new leader begin in earnest on Monday as the College of Cardinals opens daily talks to sketch an identikit for the next pope and ponder who among them might fit it.

Credit: Reuters/Osservatore Romano

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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Catholic cardinals in a closed-door meeting ahead of the election of a new pontiff want to be briefed on a secret report into leaks about alleged corruption and mismanagement in the Vatican, a senior source said on Monday.

More than 140 cardinals began preliminary meetings to sketch a profile for the next pope following the shock abdication of Pope Benedict last month and to ponder who among them might be best to lead a church beset by crises.

The meetings, called "general congregations," are open to cardinals regardless of age, although only those under 80 will later enter a conclave to elect a pope from among themselves.

The source, a prelate over 80 who was present at Monday's meetings, said the contents of the report came up during the morning session but declined to say if the requests to be briefed were made in the formal sessions or informal coffee break discussions or both.

"They want to be briefed on the report," said the cardinal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "But it is a very long report and technically it is secret".

The report was prepared for Benedict, who is now "Pope Emeritus," by three elderly cardinals who investigated the so-called "Vatileaks" scandal last year. The three are attending the preliminary meetings but will not enter the conclave.

Paolo Gabriele, the pope's butler, was convicted of stealing personal papal documents and leaking them to the media. The documents alleged corruption and infighting over the running of its bank. Gabriele was jailed and later pardoned by Benedict.

Benedict decided to make the report available only to his successor but one Vatican official said the three elderly cardinals who wrote it could "use their discernment to give any necessary guidance" to fellow cardinals without violating their pact of secrecy about its specific contents.

At two news conferences on Monday, both the Vatican spokesman and two American cardinals refused to be drawn on the report and whether cardinals had asked to be briefed on it.


Specific matters discussed at the preliminary meetings are covered by secrecy.

"Certainly, there can be various members of the college of cardinals who want information they feel is useful or pertinent to the situation of the curia," spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, referring to the central Vatican administration.

Chicago's Cardinal Francis George was equally coy when asked if cardinals wanted to be briefed on the report.

"As far as the state of the church here in Rome is concerned, I would imagine that as we move along there will be questioning of cardinals involved in the governing of the curia to see what they think has to be changed and in that context anything can come up," George said at a separate news briefing.

Cardinals will be using the meetings this week to get to know each other and decide when to start a conclave to choose a man to lead the 1.2 billion-member church.

The Vatican appears to be aiming to have a new pope elected next week and officially installed several days later so he can preside over the Holy Week ceremonies starting with Palm Sunday on March 24 and culminating in Easter the following Sunday.

"The thing that is in the back of all our minds, I think, is Holy Week. We'd like to be done before Holy Week starts, have a pope, and we all go back to our dioceses," George said.

High on the agenda at the general congregations will be the daunting challenges facing the next pontiff, including the sexual abuse crisis in the church and the Vatileaks scandal.

"We need a man of governance, by that I mean a man who is able with the people he chooses to help him in an intimate way to govern the church," Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster in London, told BBC radio.

"Among the things we will be talking about out here are precisely the need in looking for a new pope for these failings that have happened again to be treated, to be faced strongly."

The cardinals will hold one or two meetings a day. The date of the conclave will be decided after all the 115 cardinal electors arrive. Twelve still had not arrived by Monday.

It is widely expected to start next week.

The crisis involving sexual abuse of children by priests and inappropriate behavior among adult clerics continues to haunt the church and has rarely been out of the headlines.

One elector - Cardinal Keith O'Brien - quit as Edinburgh archbishop last week and pulled out of attending the conclave because of accusations that he behaved inappropriately with priests and seminarians in the past.

He at first denied the allegations but on Sunday issued a statement apologizing that "my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal".

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Comments (4)
pbgd wrote:
“Believing without belonging” — rejecting the entire apparatus of an organized church — was an idea of many early Christian dissenters, though after the schism the Protestants, too, crystallized into organized orthodoxy.

Mar 04, 2013 6:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
DeanMJackson wrote:
Any “report” coming from this Vatican can’t be trusted. Why? Because Believers haven’t been in control of the Vatican since 1958, which was the year “Pope” John XXIII was elected to head the Church.

You ask, “Why would John XXIII be considered a non-believer?”

Response: Because it was under his rule that the Vatican (1) refused to release the Third Secret of Fatima in 1960 (in 2000 an obvious four-page forgery was released instead; those who had read the document before 2000 were unanimous that the “Secret” was 25-lines long, and on one piece of paper!); and (2) instituted the policy of passing pedophile priests onto other unsuspecting parishes.

We also have the inexplicable appointment last summer of the Marxist-oriented, liberation theologist Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller to head up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the purpose for the appointment to plug the damaging leaks from the Vatican. This is the man that the supposedly “conservative” Pope Benedict knows he can trust 100% to prevent any more embarrassing leaks from the Vatican…a Marxist-oriented, liberation theology enthusiast. Does this make sense to you? We now have proof that the current “power struggle” within the Vatican has nothing to do with a clash of “conservative clerics” vs. “liberal clerics”.

Now, why would a Believer in Christ refuse to release the third Fatima secret by no later than 1960, since that is the year when Mary wanted it released by?

Also, a Believer in Christ knowingly instituting a policy that harms children in such a manner would also be knowingly consigning himself to everlasting Hell. Well, that makes no sense. A Believer would NEVER condone, let alone initiate, such a policy knowing the consequences.

So, who’s been in power in the Vatican these last 55 years, you ask? Who else, Moscow…the Communists. Only Moscow would have the motive, resources and manpower to conduct such an elaborate operation. Moscow also had the experience. What experience, you ask? By the 1940s Moscow was already in control of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). In fact, those Soviet era Communist Quisling agents never left the ROC after the “collapse” of the USSR; they’re still there! Of course, if the “collapse” of the USSR had been real all Soviet era Communist Quisling agents in the ROC would have been identified and thrown out of the institution.

Mar 04, 2013 5:37pm EST  --  Report as abuse
kanawah wrote:
At the top of the list should be “liberal”.
Birth control, gay marriage, abortion.

Mar 05, 2013 2:12pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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