OCTOBER 11, 2015


Quo Vadis, Papa Francisco?



My comments/inclusions are in green.

I use blue colour for the “good guys”, red for the “bad guys”.

The collated information is reproduced in chronological order.

Titles of “must read items” (my recommendation) are highlighted
with grey.

For continuity and a more complete record of the present dangers to traditional Catholic sexual morality, see the related files on the 2015 Synod and Pope Francis listed at the end of this present collation of information.



1. Cardinal Danneels Urged Sex Abuse Victim to Silence: Secret Recordings

By Hilary White, Brussels, Belgium, August 30, 2010

Recordings have revealed Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels urging a victim not to reveal 13 years of sexual abuse at the hands of the cardinal’s friend and colleague Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, the recently retired bishop of Bruges. 

“The bishop will resign next year, so actually it would be better for you to wait,” the cardinal is heard saying. Danneels warned the victim against trying to blackmail the church and suggested that he accept a private apology from the bishop and not drag his name “through the mud.”

The victim responded, “He has dragged my whole life through the mud, from five until 18 years old,” and asked, “Why do you feel sorry for him and not for me?”

Danneels, who retired in January, was recorded in April urging the now-42 year-old victim, the bishop’s own nephew, to keep silent until Vangheluwe’s retirement. The recordings were made secretly by the victim and transcriptions were published this weekend by two Belgian newspapers, De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad.
After the victim went to the press, Vangheluwe retired in April, admitting he had sexually abused “a boy in my entourage” 20 years earlier. Questions have remained about whether Danneels knew about the abuse. The New York Times reported that the resignation only came after a friend of the victim e-mailed Belgian bishops threatening to expose the abuse. The victim told the Belgian press he released the recordings to demonstrate that he had not demanded hush money.

At one point in the recording, after cutting the victim off by saying he already knows the story of the abuse and does not need to hear it again, Danneels asks “What do you really want?”

The man responded, “I give you the responsibility, I can’t decide … you should do what you think should be done, because I don’t know how this whole system works.”

However, he then objected to the cardinal’s suggestion that he allow Vangheluwe to retire “in glory” without the abuse being revealed. When the victim begs Danneels to inform the Church hierarchy, presumably the Vatican, about Vangheluwe, the cardinal replies that he has no authority over the bishop, only the pope does.

When the victim suggests Danneels arrange a meeting with the pope, the cardinal responds, “The pope isn’t that easy to reach.” A little later, he adds, “I don’t think you’d do yourself or him a favor by shouting this from the rooftops.”

Danneels further suggested to the victim that he admit his own guilt and ask forgiveness. “Who do I have to ask forgiveness for?” the victim responded.

After Danneels suggests that the victim is attempting to blackmail the Church, the latter begs the cardinal to take up his case, saying, “We were forced to get married by [Vangheluwe]. Our children were baptized by him, how can I explain this to them?

“Yesterday I said to my oldest son, look, this is what happened to me. They must know what has happened.”



In early July, Danneels was questioned by state prosecutors in a grueling ten hour session following police raids on his home and the offices of the archdiocese of Brussels. Prosecutors wanted to know how much the popular prelate knew about the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy during his nearly 30-year tenure as head of the Belgian Catholic Church.

After their questioning of Danneels, officials said that no charges would be laid against the cardinal until the investigation was complete. Before the release of the tapes, Danneels had denied any knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or cover-ups by Church officials.

Regularly described in the press even now as “grandfatherly,” Danneels has enjoyed immense popularity in Belgium, especially with the secular media, for whom he has been the spokesman of the liberal “progressive” wing of the European Catholic Church since the 1970s. During his tenure he publicly clashed with Catholic teaching on issues related to sexuality, especially on homosexuality and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Danneels’ spokesman Toon Onsaer has continued to deny that the cardinal was involved in any cover-up.

“The cardinal admits that he actually suggested [that the victim wait until Vangheluwe’s retirement] as a solution, but that was only in his role as mediator,” he said.

“The family had asked him to mediate, and this he has done … He has tried to reach consensus which everyone felt comfortable with. He did not think the victim in the first place wanted the resignation of the bishop.”

Onsaer also admitted that the cardinal suggested “questions of forgiveness and reciprocity” as a solution for 13 years of sexual abuse, but said, “That is simply the pastoral approach to matters. You must not look for mischief behind this.”

Dutch-language daily De Standaard reported in April that two former priests had personally informed Cardinal Danneels about Vangheluwe’s abuse several times between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. At that time, Danneels denied knowing, saying, “With the best will in the world I cannot remember such a discussion. I’d be surprised that I wouldn’t have paid attention, or forgotten about such a statement.”

Danneels has said that he knew nothing of the Vangheluwe case until the bishop informed him a few weeks before the April press conference. Asked why Danneels did not at that time report the issue to his own church-appointed commission on sexual abuse by clergy, Onsaer said, “He thought he still was not allowed to under the confidentiality of the talks and to ask for things to be settled internally. “The cardinal never really pressed the victim not to go Adriaenssens commission or the courts. The essence is: the Cardinal has tried to mediate and now he is himself a victim.”

There has been no statement from Belgian officials on the recordings and the legal statute of limitations for Vangheluwe’s crimes has run out in the 20 years since the abuse took place. The public prosecutor’s investigation into the Belgian Church appears to be stalled since it was declared that the police raids on the archdiocesan offices and the cardinal’s home were “illegal.”



2. Gay ‘marriage’ a ‘positive development’: retired Belgian Cardinal Danneels

By Hilary White, June 5, 2013

Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the former archbishop of Brussels and known as a leading “liberal” figure in the Catholic Church, has told media that “gay marriage” laws are a “positive development.”

“I think it’s a positive development that states are free to open up civil marriage for gays if they want,” the cardinal told the Dutch language newspaper De Tijd, even as he said he thinks such unions should be given a different name than marriage.

In the eyes of the Church, he said, this is not “real marriage,” which is only that between a husband and wife. “But it’s legal,” he added, saying that “the church has nothing to say” about such laws.

According to Danneels the Church today has developed a more “nuanced,” position without being “fixated” on moral principles. “How can a man not identify with his orientation? I think there is a clear evolution in the thinking of the Church.”

He compared the situation to the treatment of suicides, who at one time were denied burial in a Catholic cemetery, saying the Church now looks at the “totality” of the person.

The French language paper L’Echo, also quoted the cardinal saying that the French people should “obey the law” and not oppose “gay marriage.” France just recently passed a gay “marriage” law after a heated debate that saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the street in protest.

“We need to understand: The Church has never objected to the fact that there is a sort of ‘marriage’ between homosexuals – however we’re talking about a sort of marriage,” the cardinal said. “This is not the same as the true marriage between a man and a woman, so we need to find another word for the dictionary.

“However, insofar as it is legal – that it has been rendered legitimate by law – the Church has nothing to say about it.” 

Also quoted in the De Tijd piece was Brussels archdiocesan media spokesman Jeroen Moens, who said that the current archbishop, Andre Joseph Leonard, known widely as a “conservative” supporter of orthodox Catholic teaching, agreed with his predecessor’s statements. De Tijd quoted Moens saying, “Monsignor Leonard has no problem with a legal commitment between gay men. But he would not call it marriage. Let us say that a gay commitment Monsignor Leonard endorses.”

However, Moens told this week that his comments had been “misrepresented” by De Tijd. Leonard, he said, had only meant that any two persons should be able to create a legally binding agreement on the disposition of their property. 

“Neither the cardinal nor the archbishop are in favour of homosexual civil unions,” Moens told LSN. 

With Cardinals Carlo Maria Martini of Milan and Basil Hume of Westminster, Danneels was long known as one of the three European principals of the “liberal” bloc of the Catholic Church leadership.



During his tenure as archbishop of Brussels and as chairman of the Belgian episcopal conference from 1979 to 2010, he many times publicly opposed Catholic teaching on sexuality and the use of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS. He approved and protected from criticism a sexually explicit school curriculum that taught children how to masturbate and try out homosexual acts. His alleged role in covering up hundreds of cases of homosexual abuse of young people by his “progressive” clergy has come under investigation by Belgian police. 

In a 2001 interview with the US liberal Catholic magazine America, Danneels said, “Before Vatican II, in theology, as in other areas, the discipline was fixed. After the council there has been a revolution – a chaotic revolution – with free discussion on everything. There is now no common theology or philosophy as there was before.” 




1. Shock with the appointment of Danneels to the Synod – and the memories of a 2010 tape
All emphases theirs

September 11, 2014

It is a relief to see that the Liberal Supremo of the Americanist Church, Jesuit Thomas Reese, is “disappointed” with the “composition” of members of the upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The problem, of course, is that, since “Progressives” are unimpeded by shame or any qualms of conscience (let us call it the Modernist Taqiyya*), we never know if they mean what they say, or if they mean something quite different and just wish to gain new ground. For instance, Reese’s ideas are certainly over-represented in the Synod by such luminaries as Kasper or Danneels, but he may still wish to paint the membership of the Synod as “too conservative” just to advance Modernist ideas.

Which, of course, brings to mind the very presence of Danneels, the emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels: Danneels was directly responsible for the abuse of the spirit of Catholic children in Belgium during decades, against the crying pleas of Belgian parents (shocking report), and was naturally quite happy to support “homosexual marriage” just last year. And yet he is a pontifical appointee (the second in the list of pontifical appointees) of a Synod on the Family, when his only family expertise is on the destruction of children, marriage, and family.

It’s not always that an abuser-protector is caught on tape, but that happened to Danneels in 2010, when the case of his major protégé, the man he had most wanted as his successor as the Primate of Belgium, Roger Vangheluwe, Bishop of Bruges, was about to be exposed. Vangheluwe was the typical Danneels-bishop, and, unsurprisingly, he had a past filled with abuse — and not just any kind of abuse, but that of his own nephew, during 13 years in the post-Conciliar years. (By the way, Danneels’ new favorite pupil, Bishop Bonny of Antwerp, is angling for Mechelen-Brussels as well, even going to the lengths of making a personal letter on the Synod available in several languages.)

After Danneels had been replaced at the helm of the Belgian Church by a serious prelate, Archbishop Léonard, the latter made a strong speech on the shame of child abuse by priests, and the need for victims to end their silence. Encouraged by this message, four days after Léonard’s brave speech, the Vangheluwe family was led to believe they would meet Léonard, who might encourage them. Instead, they were tricked into meeting Danneels, who tried to coerce them into keeping silence to protect his favorite pupil. 

What Danneels didn’t know was that the meeting, on April 8, 2010, was being taped, and Flemish paper De Standaard would publish the dialogue soon afterwards. Let’s go to the scene as provided by La Vie at the time:

At 3 p.m., the victim and some members of the family arrive. The nephew is surprised to see Danneels already in the room. He had expected to find the new Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Abp. André-Joseph Léonard, the author of a powerful speech, on April 4, on the need to put an end to the realm of silence on child-abuse crimes in the Church. The others leave, leaving Danneels and the Vangheluwe nephew face to face.
Their discussion – or perhaps we should say, their negotiation? – is startling. The beginning is filled with coolness. The victim begins: “Well, I was abused during my entire childhood by my uncle Roger. Sexually, and, even now, morally; and I feel that it is necessary that I react, that it is my duty to present my testimony before higher authority.” An annoyed response by Godfried Danneels: “And what do you expect exactly? I already know this story, he’s told me everything. It’s not worth it to go through everything from the beginning, but what do you want me to do?
In fact, the man Godfried reveals himself (“I’ve nothing to do with all that“) and remands all responsibility, past or future, to the other camp. In a completely rhetorical way, the nephew is invited to detail his demands, while in the course of the meeting the Cardinal gives him his advices. And these go all on the same direction: to wait for the regular end of his time as bishop, in a year, so as not to create a scandal that would be harmful to all; to move on towards a general reconciliation, after the bishop had asked for forgiveness…
When the bishop of Bruges and the five members of the Vangheluwe family rejoin them, Danneels livens up somewhat. The Cardinal speaks to “Roger” with informality [lit. “tutoie”], when the latter asks forgiveness to his family: “Yes, how much I admire you, you [Bishop Roger] are also in this suffering, not just X (Editor’s note: he mentions the first name of the victim), but him [the bishop] as well.


Kasper’s presence is sad, but unsurprising. Danneels’ is shocking and distressing. He is a one-man symbol of all that is wrong and wicked with the Hierarchy, the epitome of the worst meaning of the word “clericalism”, the opposite of anything that could represent authentic reform and restoration — a man who abused the spirit and annihilated Belgian Catholic families, and protected those who abused the bodies of children, a man who after leading Catholicism in his country into the ground should have been relegated to degradation and penance for the rest of his life yet still receives papal honor to influence a Synod on the Family! 



*It’s right there in Pascendi, the great encyclical of Pope Saint Pius X: “They lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in [the Church’s] very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.” The shamelessness of lying and deception is one of the things that made then, and have made since then, the triumph of Modernism so probable. They just pretend to believe, they lie, deceive, hide, they say the opposite of what they wished to say, all with the intent of advancing their anti-Catholic ideas. No, we are not exaggerating, these are exactly Pope Saint Pius’ words: they hide their true intentions, they are mischievous, they are shameless (immodest) in their boastfulness, their doctrines are poisonous, they pretend they love the Church (while actually hating her and wanting to destroy her).
**NCR published more of the transcript 
here at the time, though not that most damning last line by Danneels.



2. Pope Francis’ Course & Crew for Synod Family Sail Can Sink the Vatican Titanic EXTRACT

By Jerry Slevin, September 13, 2014

Significantly, Francis this week has shocked many Catholics, including his usually devoted Jesuit cheerleader, Vatican expert, Tom Reese, at the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), by Francis’ appointments to the “Family Synod of Fathers Without Kids”, which surprisingly included disgraced Cardinals Sodano and Danneels.

It is regrettable the Pope Francis failed to follow the earlier wise advice of another prominent Jesuit, Raymond Schroth, about having an effective commission address the current challenges, instead of another unmanageable papal media extravaganza like the Family Synod. For more on the effective commission approach, please see:


Pope Francis has now shown beyond any reasonable doubt that he is “one of the boys” at the Vatican. It is now clear that Francis was elected a year and a half ago by frightened cardinals, primarily, to save themselves from outside government prosecutors investigating numerous priest child abuse and corruption scandals.



3. Cardinal Danneels’ message at the Synod was subtle, but misguided

By Pat Buckley, October 13, 2014

The interventions presented by cardinals and bishops to the Synod on the Family are not being made public by the Synod press office but daily bulletins are being released which give some highlights of the proceedings of each session without attributing them to anyone. The press office is exercising a stringent level of censorship, nevertheless some interventions are finding their way into the press and the blogosphere.

The intervention by Belgian Cardinal, Godfried Cardinal Danneels, for example has already been published. The attitude of Cardinal Danneels, who is one of the Synod fathers personally selected by Pope Francis, is well known particularly for opposing Church teaching on marriage. LifeSiteNews reported in June 2013 that Danneels referred to “gay marriage” laws as a “positive development.”*
*See page 3

“I think it’s a positive development that states are free to open up civil marriage for gays if they want,” the cardinal told the Dutch language newspaper De Tijd, even as he said he thinks such unions should be given a different name than marriage.

The tone of Danneels intervention at the Synod was carefully measured and to illustrate his comments on mercy he once again returned to the topic of communion for Catholics who have divorced and civilly remarried while their first marriage remains valid in the eyes of the Church.

“There should be no immediate focus on the painful question of Communion being denied to those who have entered into a second marriage. True listening carries healing within it,” he said.

The approach suggested by Cardinal Danneels appears to be very one-sided and seems to either ignore or forget the pain and hurt of the abandoned spouse, who is the other party to the indissoluble marriage, and the children of that marriage.

The indissolubility of marriage was taught to the Apostles and the Church by Jesus Himself and His command was to go out and teach all nations. He did not say that they must dialogue or compromise or accommodate other teachings.

The entire text of Cardinal Danneels intervention is set out below:


“God is just and merciful. He can’t contradict himself. He can separate good and evil in a great straddle. We, we have difficulty because we are only poor ballet dancers for a moment in the whole of history.

It is up to us, poor sinners, to find ways of mercy which do not deny the truth; to find a way for the times in which we live and for every culture. It is up to us to find ways of mercy.




I will limit myself to a single way of mercy, which is so necessary today. Many are confronted with the failure of their first marriage and have committed themselves to a second marriage which, however, is neither valid for the Church, nor sacramental. Today there are many people in this situation. What do we do for them? They often desire regularisation but known that there are no options. While many fall away there are others who suffer much. What do we do for all these brothers and sisters who desire to be able to marry anew for the Church?

I regularly think that we could established something in the Church like the catechumenate and the ordo penitentium of the past, for which the Church could be a mother. Actually, what matters is more is to organise some pastoral care for divorced and remarried people, and less about an institutional change. How to form priests and laity for this specific ministry like, in the past, for the catechumens and for those in the process of receiving pardon for their sin?

In the first place we are invited to greatly respect our brothers and sisters, the divorced and remarried. Mercy starts where we have unconditional respect for all who want to live within the Church but can’t marry again for the Church and receive Communion.

The same respect is due to every actual marriage. Some carry within them the seeds waiting for spring. Very often divorced and remarried faithful are consciously or subconsciously looking for a way out. But there is no way out. In many cases couples are on the way to the ideal they so desire. Respect must be the ministry of our Mother the Church a ministry which sees the growth, the journey.

How to create space in the mission of the Church for a ministry for divorced and remarried people? In the first place, let us try and find these people. Many are hiding and dare not speak about it, sometimes not even with their partner. There is much hidden suffering. It is up to us priests to search for the sheep who want to come home but do not have the courage to say so.

Let us invite these people to come together, to meet and listen to one another, but in the presence of the shepherd. A shepherd who listens with his heart. There should be no immediate focus on the painful question of Communion being denied to those who have entered into a second marriage. True listening carries healing within it.

It is so important to speak with them, to let them speak about the beauty of marriage and the Christian family. Beauty is so powerful! This is obviously not esthetic beauty, but beauty who is the sister of truth and goodness. According to Aristotle “beauty is truth in all its glory”. Pulchrum est splendor veri.

Among our contemporaries there is much scepticism about the truth; even goodness can discourage, but beauty disarms. Beauty heals. Archimedes said about our world today, “Give me a place to stand and I will lift the world.”

The divorced and remarried are not the only suffering children, but there are far more than we think. My appeal – in all simplicity – is: to love God’s children. Their pain and suffering is often great. They don’t immediately ask for the regulations of the Church to change. Their cry is rather one to the shepherds with their hearts in the right place, why carry the wounded lamb on their shoulders. Beauty disarms. We hold the cards: there is indeed nothing more beautiful than Christian marriage and a deeply faithful family. But we must communicate the truth to divorced and remarried people – delicately – with the words of Saint Francis in mind, which he spoke to the superiors of his small communities, “never let anyone leave you in sadness”.

+ Godfried Cardinal Danneels,

Rome, 8 October 2014



4. Pope Francis, Pope

Posted on 21 October 2014 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

I have been, frankly, both exhausted and a bit disgusted after the last Synod and I have been trying to have a little RnR. That doesn’t make for a lot of posting of edgy stuff. So, here’s a little meat to chew on.

That closing address Pope Francis made to the Synod… interesting, no? Forget about the part wherein he does a little, what can you call it, name-calling? About “intellectuals” and “do-gooders”? No. What caught my eye is that middle section.

For the last year and a half, His Holiness has been downplaying his image as “Pope”. He signs his name “Francis” without the other rigmarole which indicated the year of his pontificate. He is simply been “Francis… Bishop of Rome” rather than “Supreme Pontiff”.

But in the middle part of the closing address for the Extraordinary Synod, it was all Pope all the time.

And, as I have dared to tell you, [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquility, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

So, Francis is more Pope now than before.

I think that, in the wake of the Synod, we may see some exercises of papal power.

How shall they manifest?   I’d like to see Pope Francis summarily reconciled the SSPX.  How about a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form?  How about … use of the fanon and ferula?  He would wear the items that the Roman Pontiff normally wears in the exercise of his duties.   And these things would now enhance, rather than detract from, his pastoral duties.

Finally, I think that His Holiness is starting to feel – in an intense new way – what it really means to be the Vicar of Christ, the Successor of Peter. His role is, in a special, way to affirm the brethren and uphold the regula fidei … No. Matter. What.




4 out of 52 readers’ responses

1. I got the impression from the speech that Pope Francis may have learned something from the synod. He basically told the bishops that both the conservatives and the liberals failed to engage in the discussion that they had been called to have. Maybe it’s just my over-optimism, but I got the idea that he had realized that that was, at least in part, a result of his lack of clear leadership around the synod. He allowed Kasper and Co. to turn it into a free-for-all in the name of “openness,” which inevitably prompted other bishops to go into smack down mode, and so they didn’t get anywhere.

2. I just don’t understand how Pope Francis could give that address without a big grin. Well, he grinned at least once towards the end, but I thought the bit about contrasting the ‘two sides’ was a bit rich, considering he has given his backing to Cardinal Kasper and his ‘profound and serene theology … done on one’s knees’. Plus the homily he gave at Mass during the synod, in which he referred to those who were rigid and closing the doors of heaven, that sort of thing. The link is here:

He can’t then very well claim to be impartial at the end of it all. His role as Pope is to strengthen the brethren, not sit back and watch them bicker!

3. The closing address was pure damage control. In football parlance, he almost lost the locker room during the synod.

4. I’m not sure having this Pope become even more authoritarian is a good thing. I’m in Paris at the moment, and last night I was at the Fraternite de Jerusalem for Vespers and Mass at St. Gervaise. Abp. Durocher, head of the Francophone Bishops’ Conference of Canada, was passing through on his way back from the Synod, and celebrated and of course delivered his thoughts on the Synod. It was mostly platitudes about “mercy,” a quote from the “great Cardinal Danneels(you know, the one who destroyed the Church in Belgium) about how only God can be perfect in both justice and mercy, a ramble about how pure justice conflicted with what “our dear Francis” called the “Spirit of Jesus,” and how God was full of surprises and new things. Not at all comforting, particularly since he appears to be a real supporter of Pope Francis’ “new Spirit of Jesus,” whatever that is.

Hoping that my French had misled me, I was even more alarmed when I got back to the hotel and read up on Abp. Durocher, particularly an interview he just gave a day or two ago, where he said that the real reason the bishops rejected the language on homosexuality (which not enough of a majority voted to approve, but which appeared in the final text anyway, at the Pope’s orders) was because they didn’t feel that it went far enough. And the “Spirit of Jesus” (with initial cap) appeared again.

Maybe the Pope is going to undergo a profound change because of his office and become a defender of orthodoxy, but I’m not entirely certain of this and I think it is also good to prepare for the alternative. I guess about all one can do, of course, is to pray and keep reading and building up one’s intellectual ammunition to defend orthodoxy in life matters as well as in theological considerations.

Oh – another thing Abp. Durocher said: the Synod was designed to do for the family what Vatican II had done for the Liturgy and ecumenism. Now if that isn’t comforting…



5. Cardinal Danneels tried to convince Belgian king to sign bill legalizing abortion: former prime minister

By Jeanne Smits, Brussels, Belgium,
April 22, 2015

Two Belgian politicians have openly
that Cardinal Godfried Danneels, former archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels in Belgium and a personal pick of Pope Francis to take part in the Synod on the Family, tried to convince King Baudouin that he should sign the Belgian abortion bill into law in 1990. The King was deeply reluctant to go against his personal respect for innocent human life and a major political crisis was looming over his refusal to cooperate.

Philippe Moureaux, a member of the Belgian Socialist Party and vice-prime minister at the time, and Mark Eyskens, member of the Christian Democrat CVP Party and former prime minister, have confirmed that several members of the Belgian government called on the cardinal to exert pressure on the King.

King Baudouin remained firm in his determination not to participate in any way in the legalization of abortion. He finally accepted formally to ask the government to find a “solution” that would “guarantee respect for parliamentary democracy.” This resulted in his fictitious stepping down as King of the Belgians for 36 hours while the law, which had been approved by the legislature five days previously, was signed by the 14 members of the government in the night from April 3-4, 1990. The Belgian Parliament voted the King back into office on April 5. The Belgians were only to be informed of the dramatic events later that day.

Cardinal Danneels has refused to comment on Moureaux’ and Eyskens’ statements.

Cardinal Danneels alleged role in the affair was mentioned in 2001 by his biographer Peter-Jan Bogaert, although he did not say whether the cardinal had indeed spoken directly with the King about the matter. While it is certain that the cardinal was personally opposed to the legalization of abortion, he is also known to have said that he “totally approved the separation between Church and State,” considering the Church as having “no political power whatever.” Bogaert specified: “The cardinal acknowledges that we live in a pluri-cultural society and that its standards increasingly clash with the Church’s teachings.” At the time, the cardinal did not comment either on what amounts to an accusation, at least in the eyes of conservative Catholics.




Fourteen years later, it appears that not only did Cardinal Danneels exert pressure on the King, but that he was used by the coalition government of the Christian Democrat Wilfried Martens – the prime minister who signed the abortion bill even though he refused to vote for it – in order to move out of the constitutional deadlock created by the King’s conscientious objection.

During the days that preceded the King’s “incapacitation,” Martens and other ministers went to see him and argued for hours against his refusal to sign the bill into law. Baudouin told them his stance was not a religious one: “If you, Claes,” he said to one of them, “were to come here with the Pope from Rome, I would still say no.” “Don’t look for a link with religion: you know that I am a profound believer, but for me it is a question of the respect that I have for human life,” he stressed.

The King’s refusal to budge prompted the Belgian government to call on Cardinal Danneels, a fact on which Belgian politicians commented for the first time in front of a camera on April 6 of this year, according to the Flemish TV VTM. According to Moureaux, the government arranged a “cautious and discreet” intervention on the part of Danneels “who would always be present at the Royal Family’s family events: he conducted all the royal marriages and baptized the King’s nieces and nephews,” says Moureaux. “He was in a way the Royal Family’s chaplain and conscientious director,” adds Mark Eyskens. “But, no result.”

Willy Claes links King Baudouin’s refusal to his own personal tragedy: he and Queen Fabiola were to remain childless after the Queen suffered four miscarriages. A biography of the Belgian King by Prince Stefane van Lobkowicz claims that she almost died during her first pregnancy, and that the King pleaded for her life to be saved, even if that were to mean aborting the child she was carrying. Fabiola is said to have refused “once and for all,” saying that being forced to abort would signify the end of their marriage and her retirement into a nun’s cloister. The same book, published in 1996, mentioned for the first time that Cardinal Danneels had intervened in order to convince the King that he should sign the abortion law.

A spokesman for the Royal Family reacted officially, saying that Danneels had never “in any way put pressure” on Baudouin – which doesn’t necessarily mean that he did not try.

On April 5 of this year, Cardinal Godfried Danneels was interviewed by the French-speaking television He calls the anniversary of the Belgian abortion law “unacceptable,” to be “marked by a black stone,” “not only because of what the law says but because of the slippery slope which is turning abortion into an ordinary act” – not on the part of the woman, but of the law. “I think some women suffer very much” because of the law, he says.

Asked whether the law should be revoked, Danneels answers: “It is always within the bounds of politics and of Parliament to create a legal framework. It is evidently not a moral norm, because morals are something different from a legal framework that is made. The State can do that. But I regret very strongly that, increasingly, values are being completely lost, because the life of a tiny child, of an infant, is a human life. … Values that should be self-evident, such as the protection of life, are being lost and we are not even conscious of the fact, and I believe that often women who face this difficulty, who have had an abortion, suffer a great deal more than we think: it is not an ordinary act in a women’s experience, I am sure.”

Danneels does not answer directly on the point of his intervention – or not – to make King Baudouin sign the Belgian abortion law, but the distinction he makes between “moral norms” and “legal frameworks” which are of the responsibility of the State do show that he accepts the existence of legalized abortion insofar as it is the result of a political decision, and that would suggest that he would not have refused in principle to advise the King to sign the law.

But this sort of reasoning, which reposes on a complete separation between political decisions and moral norms, would of course justify any crime legalized by a democratic or legitimate majority.

Cardinal Danneels is rated as a “liberal” cardinal. LifeSiteNews reported in June 2013 that Danneels referred to “gay marriage” laws as a “positive development.”* His intervention at the Synod on the Family, where he was personally named as a Synod Father by Pope Francis, was ambiguous and “carefully measured,” (see page 4) but tailored to preach “mercy” for “remarried” divorcees and silent on the sufferings of abandoned spouses. *See page 3



6. Bishop Finn and Cardinal Danneels: two disturbingly different responses to abuse ‘cover-ups’

May 7, 2015

For some time, observers have expected the final outcome for Bishop Robert Finn, former head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, who was ordered by Vatican officials to tender his resignation last month. The predictable sides have lined up: either condemning and saying, ‘It’s about time,’ or defending him. With all the noise made, it may be difficult for most readers to tease out the truth, but an examination of the facts of the Finn case and that of another high-profile prelate may be enlightening.

With Finn’s 2012 conviction of the misdemeanor offence of “failure to report” a priest caught with images of children on his computer, some of which were judged to be pornographic, it has been expected by supporters and enemies alike that the bishop would be asked by Rome to step down. But while the mainstream secular and liberal Catholic press are triumphing, some very pertinent questions are being left unanswered, primary among which is, if Finn, why not others? All the others…all the many, many others?

Bishop Finn was removed from his diocese and is now being almost universally reviled as a “criminal” and a shielder of sex-abuse. But he never covered up molestation of young people by a priest, and has never been charged with that.





At the same time, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, after being shown to have personally covered for a man who for years had sexually assaulted his own nephew, has been allowed to retire honorably at the normal retirement age, from his position as the enormously powerful head of the archdiocese of Brussels, Belgium. Last year, Danneels was personally invited by Pope Francis to consult at the Synod of Bishops on the Family.

To put it bluntly, Finn never shielded a priest-abuser; Danneels did, for years. But Finn’s out and Danneels is invited to important conferences by the pope.

Phil Lawler, an editor of the popular website, has strongly supported Finn’s resignation, but he raises the burning question, “Why Finn and no one else?” The “truly remarkable thing” about the case, he says, is not that Finn was forced out, but that, in over a decade of egregious scandals around the world, he has been the only one.

“Dozens of other bishops were as negligent, or worse. But they remained in office for years as the Church hierarchy came, ever so slowly, to the conclusion that even prelates must be held accountable,” Lawler said.


Was Finn’s greatest crime crossing the progressivist establishment?

A few are calling foul and saying that Finn has been singled out for punishment, not for having failed to report in a timely manner that one of his priests was taking photos of partly nude children, but because he dared to oppose a deeply entrenched progressivist establishment of the U.S. Catholic machine, and attempted to restore a more traditional Catholic ethos in morals, liturgy and, perhaps most important, in his pursuit of more orthodox vocations to the priesthood.

They are saying, in other words, that Finn’s downfall was in reality a manifestation of the never-ending turf war in U.S. Church politics between the so-called “progressive” heterodox left and the forces attempting to restore orthodoxy.

The legal charge against Bishop Finn was that he and his officials delayed reporting the activities of Fr. Shawn Ratigan to authorities in a timely manner, that he and his subordinates did not follow the diocese’s protocols promptly enough. But the case is far from cut and dried. Indeed, at the time of the indictment, attorney Michael Quinlan wrote for EWTN that a “careful review” of the facts of the case show that the charge against Finn should never have been laid.

“The prosecutor’s overzealous misuse of that law in these circumstances violates constitutional due process protections and denies rights to fundamental fairness,” Quinlan wrote. 

“Media and victims advocate groups have likened the diocese’s delay in notifying authorities to the inexcusable conduct of bishops in the U.S. and Europe, who for years and sometimes decades covered up known sexual abuse of minors by priests under their control and even assigned and reassigned these men to stations where they could continue their predation,” Quinlan continued.

“The facts, however, as found by an independent investigation, do not support this comparison. Nor do they support the criminal charge against Bishop Finn.”

Nevertheless, in December 2012, a court found Finn guilty of one misdemeanor charge and not guilty of a second charge of failing to report Ratigan’s activities. He was sentenced to two years of probation. Bishop Finn’s fatal “error,” according to an independent legal investigator, was trusting his Vicar General, Msgr. Robert Murphy, to follow diocesan protocols, and Fr. Ratigan himself when the latter promised to abide by the restrictions.


What really happened?

The day after Ratigan’s computer was turned over to the diocese, the priest attempted suicide and was hospitalized. It was in response to the priest’s attempted suicide that Finn ordered a psychiatric evaluation, not, as it is being portrayed in the media, as an attempt to minimize or excuse Ratigan’s behavior. That evaluation found that Ratigan was depressed but was not a pedophile. Nonetheless, Finn ordered that Ratigan must have no further contact with children, must not use a computer without supervision and must not take any photos of children. Finn removed the priest from his regular ministry and sent him to live as a chaplain at a convent of nuns.

According to court documents, “within months of entering into the agreement,” Ratigan had violated these restrictions, buying and using a computer, using social media and attending a children’s party. At that point, in May 2011, the diocese reported the violation to police, five months after the laptop was turned over to Msgr. Murphy. Ratigan was arrested May 18.

A search of his computer revealed hundreds of images of children, only a small number of which were deemed pornographic. These led to 13 separate counts of the charge of creating child pornography. The court documents show that Ratigan later pleaded guilty to four counts of production of child pornography and one count of attempted production of child pornography. Ratigan, ordained by Finn’s predecessor, Bishop Raymond Boland, was laicized by Finn and was sentenced by the court to a total of 50 years imprisonment.


What did the diocese do, and how much did Finn know?

According to an independent report, when he received the priest’s laptop, Msgr. Murphy informed the police officer, Capt. Rick Smith, who served as a consultant and police liaison for the diocese on sexual abuse, as well as an attorney for the diocese. To these, Murphy only described “in neutral terms” a single image from the computer, asking if it could be considered pornographic. Both of the men independently said it was probably not pornographic. Murphy reported to Finn that the situation had been dealt with according to the diocesan protocols. Finn himself never looked at the photos.

The report’s author, Todd Graves, an attorney and former national co-chairman of the U.S. Justice Department’s Child Exploitation Working Group, said:



Msgr. Murphy conducted a limited and improperly conceived investigation which focused on whether a specific image on Fr. Ratigan’s laptop, which held hundreds of troubling images, met the definition of ‘child pornography.’ Before he had viewed the images, Msgr. Murphy solicited an opinion from an IRB member, [police] Capt. Rick Smith but merely described one photograph over the telephone in a neutral manner. Msgr. Murphy also shared the images with diocesan counsel and received an opinion that a single disturbing image did not constitute child pornography.

Rather than referring the matter to the IRB [as a whole] for a more searching review, Msgr. Murphy allowed two technical answers to his limited questions to satisfy the diocese’s duty of diligent inquiry. Relying on these responses, he failed to timely turn over the laptop to the police.

Although Bishop Finn was unaware of some important facts learned by Msgr. Murphy, or that police had never actually seen the pictures, the bishop erred in trusting Fr. Ratigan to abide by restrictions the bishop had placed on his interaction with children after the discovery of the laptop and Fr. Ratigan’s attempted suicide.


The progressive Catholic machine triumphant

At the National Catholic Reporter, the Kansas City-based flagship of the radical progressivists in the U.S. Church, Michael Sean Winters has all but admitted that Finn’s departure was the result of a campaign by a cohort of progressives. NCR clashed with Finn for years, and the bishop insisted the paper should cease identifying itself as Catholic*.



Winters wrote of Finn’s departure: “The people of that diocese, whose numbers have shrunk by one quarter since Bishop Finn took the reins of the diocese in 2005, can now begin healing the wounds his leadership caused and, by the grace of God, rebuilding the once-vibrant local church.”

Winters reveals much when he writes about Finn’s “authoritarian manner” in running the diocese and his “fatal flaw” of “hubris.”

“When Finn took the reins in Kansas City,” Winters writes, “he began sacking longtime staff, shut down offices he did not like, and vowed to increase vocations,” meaning vocations to the priesthood – a promise the bishop made good on, with 7 being ordained this year alone.

Winters continues, “Kansas City had a long tradition of lay involvement in the workings of the diocese, dating back before the Second Vatican Council and its emphasis on the priesthood of the baptized. That tradition was ignored. Lines were drawn between the culture of the Church and the ambient culture.” The culture, in other words, that trumpets radical feminism, homosexuality, abortion, contraception and longs for a Catholic Church emasculated and guided by the secularist agenda.

Clearly, Finn’s “flaw of hubris” was mainly that he was interested in restoring traditional concepts, like the priesthood of the ordained and a moral order in accordance with the Natural Law, to Kansas City that until 2005 had long been firmly and comfortably in the hands of post-Vatican II, 60s’ radicals. Finn’s rejection of the “ambient culture,” particularly of the acceptance of abortion, contraception and homosexuality, was the real sticking point for the NCR crowd.

The animus between Finn and NCR, and their followers in the greying liberal U.S. Catholic establishment, goes back to his earliest days as bishop. In 2006, NCR’s Dennis Coday lamented the “wrenching” “transition from a church focused on social engagement and lay empowerment to one more concerned with Catholic identity and evangelization,” under Finn’s tenure.

“Finn has brought the diocese, for decades a model of the former category of church practice, to a screeching halt and sent it veering off in a new direction, leaving nationally heralded education programs and high-profile lay leaders and women religious with long experience abandoned and dismayed,” Coday wrote.


The radicals don’t represent the faithful

While NCR and their cadre continued to play the aggrieved victims, it was clear they did not speak for all Catholics of Kansas City. In a 2013 column in his diocesan newspaper, the bishop called NCR out for its decades of opposing Catholic teaching, especially on sexual morality.

Finn said that from his first days, he had been “deluged” with complaints from the faithful about the Kansas-based NCR’s “insistent undermining” of Catholic teaching on female ordination, homosexuality, contraception and abortion and “lionizing dissident theologies while rejecting Magisterial teaching.”


Belgium’s Godfried Danneels – a liberal paragon and abuse enabler

Meanwhile, the Finn case can be compared with that of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, formerly of Brussels, who is among the many bishops in the Catholic Church who have been either formally investigated or credibly accused of covering up years and decades of sexual abuse, including serial rape, by priests and even fellow bishops.

For the decades following the Second Vatican Council, Danneels was the leader of the ascending liberal group of European bishops. As the darling of the liberal secular press of Europe, and as archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, the home of the European Union and the center of much of Europe’s political life, Danneels wielded enormous power in European politics.

Indeed, former high-ranking Belgian politicians have just alleged that his political power and his dissent from Catholic moral teaching extended to petitioning Belgium’s King Baudouin to allow that country’s liberalizing abortion law to be passed in 1990.



Immediately following his retirement in 2010, Danneels, who has also publicly supported same-sex civil unions, was revealed to have actively worked to hide the activities of the now-notorious homosexual abuser, his friend and protégé Roger Vangheluwe, the former bishop of Bruges. Danneels was caught in a recording telling Vangheluwe’s victim, his nephew, “The bishop will resign next year, so actually it would be better for you to wait.”

The cardinal is heard in the recording warning the victim against trying to blackmail the church and urged him not to drag Vangheluwe’s name “through the mud.” Danneels added that the victim should admit his own guilt and ask forgiveness.

After Brussels police had raided the offices of the archdiocese and seized documents and computers as part of an investigation into what was suspected to be decades of cover-ups, Danneels was questioned in court for ten hours about his knowledge and involvement. Despite extensive evidence, no charges were laid against the cardinal.

The head of the Brussels’ Church’s own independent commission on cases of clerical sexual abuse and episcopal collusion, Peter Adriaenssens, told media that the cardinal’s name has appeared in 50 of the complaints made by victims before the commission. Adriaenssens said that Danneels was implicated not as an abuser himself, but as someone who knew of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. The police raid occurred just before the closing of the commission’s investigation, halting its progress. Questions remain about the outcome of the commission’s unpublished final findings.


John Allen asks the million-Euro question: Is Finn’s ousting part of a bigger movement?

The suspicion that Finn is the victim of an “ideological purge” was put forward recently not by conservatives but by John Allen, the former star of NCR, now associate editor of Crux, the Catholic news magazine of the Boston Globe. Shortly after the close of the 2014 Synod, Allen wrote of the possibility that Finn was one member of an “enemies list” held by Pope Francis, of those prominent prelates who would oppose a swing to the left in the Church.

These, Allen suggested, might include Finn; Paraguayan bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, like Finn a member of Opus Dei; and Mario Oliveri of Albenga in northern Italy who, also like Finn, has been a strong supporter of the traditional, pre-Vatican II Latin Mass.

“Despite the different details, many observers can’t help noticing that all three prelates have one obvious thing in common: Each is among the most conservative members of their respective bishops’ conferences,” Allen wrote.

John Allen quoted veteran Italian Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti, who has spoken of a wider “witch hunt” directed at conservatives, calling it “an internal war … being waged in the name of the pope.”

“The suspicion is that what’s really going on isn’t so much a clean-up operation as an ideological purge,” Allen added. To date, he said, “there hasn’t been a high-profile case under Francis of a bishop being called on the carpet for any of the usual doctrinal offenses – tolerating violations of the liturgical rules,” but “conservatives,” that is those promoting greater orthodoxy in the Church, like Cardinals Raymond Burke and Mauro Piacenza, the former head of the Congregation for Clergy.

“Many on the Catholic right can’t help but suspect that the recent preponderance of conservatives who’ve found themselves under the gun isn’t an accident,” Allen continued. “Some perceive a through-the-looking-glass situation, in which upholding Catholic tradition is now perceived as a greater offense than rejecting it.”

Pope Francis needs to issue a clear statement of his intentions to clarify the speculation, Allen said.

“Otherwise, the risk is that a good chunk of the Church may conclude that if the pope sees them as the enemy, there’s no good reason they shouldn’t see him the same way.”



1. Pope appoints leading opponents of Catholic doctrine to Ordinary Synod

September 15, 2015

Voice of the Family notes with alarm that amongst the special appointees Pope Francis has invited to the Ordinary Synod there are prelates who have demonstrated support for positions contrary to the teaching or practice of the Catholic Church. (For further information on the positions supported by these prelates, click the relevant links below.)

The list of appointees, who will be attending the Synod solely because of the Holy Father’s invitation, includes:

—Godfried Cardinal Danneels, Archbishop Emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels […]



2. Breaking News; Kasper, Danneels, Schonborn, Cupich, Wuerl and Maradiaga appointed by Pope Francis to 2015 Synod

September 15, 2015

The finalized, complete list of participants in the Synod of Bishops in 2015 was published in today’s Vatican Bollettino: XIV General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 4 to 25 2015) – List of Participants, 15/09/2015.

In addition to the Synod officers (who are all hold-overs from last year’s “Extraordinary Synod”), delegates elected by the Bishops’ Conferences and the Union of Superior Generals and confirmed by the Pope as Synod members months ago, and ex officio participants (the heads of the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Prefects or Presidents of Curial dicasteries), the final list contains the names of prelates appointed by the Pope (as is his prerogative) as members of the Synod.



This is the first time that the list of direct papal appointees to the Synod of 2015 has been officially published, although rumors have been circulating for weeks about the impending appointment of Archbishop Cupich.
(Members of the “Council of Cardinals” are not ex officio members of the Synod, and of its nine members two have not been made members of the Synod either by election or papal appointment – Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, USA and Cardinal Errazuriz Ossa of Chile.)

Among those attending the Synod due solely to papal appointment are the following liberals or “moderates”: Cardinals Godfried Danneels, Walter Kasper, Christoph Schonborn OP, Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga SDB, John Dew (a vocal supporter of communion for the “divorced and remarried” long before the current Pontificate), Donald Wuerl, Dionigi Tettamanzi (former Archbishop of Milan who last year emerged as a supporter of Kasper’s proposal) and Daniel Sturla SDB (more about him here); Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, Rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina and one of the Pope’s closest advisers and ghostwriters; Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago (USA), and Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto (Dean of the Roman Rota and head of the Pope’s commission for annulment reform).
They add to the liberal-leaning representatives elected by their respective bishops’ conferences to be Synod members and already confirmed by Pope Francis (as we reported in June): Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp (Belgium), Bishop Jean-Paul Vesco OP of Oran (Algeria), “Shadow Synod” participants Bishop Jean-Marie Lovey of Sion (Switzerland), Archbishop Georges Pontier and Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin of France; the three German delegates and “Shadow Synod” participants Cardinal Marx, Archbishop Koch and Bishop Bode; Cardinal Mario Poli of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin (Ireland), and Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster (England & Wales). 

Notable as well among the attendees are Rev. Fr. François-Xavier Dumortier SJ (Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, which played host to the “Shadow Synods” of May and September) and Rev. Fr. Antonio Spadaro SJ, Director of the La Civilta Cattolica and a leading proponent of the new pastoral direction of the current Pontificate. Fr. Dumortier is the only Rector of a Pontifical University among the delegates. 

Among the more conservative-leaning papal appointees (at least when it comes to the Kasper proposal) are Cardinals Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Timothy Dolan* of New York, Gualtiero Bassetti (Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve), and Elio Sgreccia, president emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life and one of the most prominent members of the Wojtylian old guard in the fight against the “culture of death”. Cardinals Philippe Ouédraogo (Archbishop of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso) and Alberto Suárez Inda (Archbishop of Morelia, Mexico) are also reckoned among the conservatives.
As expected, Cardinal Raymond Burke is not a Synod Father this time around.

*I disagree that Dolan is conservative (-Michael):

Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan led this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade as grand marshal after defending as a “wise one” the organizers’ decision to allow for the first time an openly homosexual activist group to march in the event. In March 2014 Dolan congratulated homosexual football player Michael Sam on NBC’s “Meet the Press” for publicly announcing he was ‘gay,’ saying “Good for him… I would have no sense of judgment on him.”



3. Cardinal Danneels
admits to Being Part of ‘Mafia’ Club Opposed to Benedict XVI”

By Edward Pentin, September 24, 2015

New authorised biography also reveals papal delegate at upcoming synod wrote letter to Belgium government supporting same-sex “marriage” legislation because it ended discrimination against LGBT groups
Further serious concerns are being raised about Cardinal Godfried Danneels, one of the papal delegates chosen to attend the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family, after the archbishop emeritus of Brussels confessed this week to being part of a radical “mafia” reformist group opposed to Benedict XVI.

It was also revealed this week that he once wrote a letter to the Belgium government favoring same-sex “marriage” legislation because it ended discrimination against LGBT groups.

The cardinal is already known for having once advised the king of Belgium to sign an abortion law in 1990, for telling a victim of clerical sex abuse to keep quiet, and for refusing to forbid pornographic, “educational” materials being used in Belgian Catholic schools.

He also once said same-sex “marriage” was a “positive development,” although he has sought to distinguish such a union from the Church’s understanding of marriage.

According to a forthcoming authorized biography on the cardinal co-written by Jürgen Mettepenningen, a former spokesman for Cardinal Danneels’ successor, Archbishop Andre Joseph Leonard, and Karim Schelkens, a Church historian and theologian, the cardinal expressed satisfaction over the disappearance of “discrimination” against LGBT couples after legislation was passed approving same-sex “marriage” in 2003.

The authors of the biography, to be published Sept. 29, reveal that the cardinal wrote a letter on May 28, 2003, to then-Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, who at that time was putting together his second government.

In the letter, the cardinal wrote favorably about “one of the last achievements of Verhofstadt’s first governments, the approval of a legal statute for a stable relationship between partners of the same sex.” Verhofstadt’s government introduced same sex-‘marriage’ into Belgium in 2003.

“He wanted to stop discrimination between married heterosexuals and homosexuals who had a long-term relationship,” write the two authors of the biography. “But there should be no confusion between the use of the term ‘marriage’.”


Asked about the letter, Verhofstadt said he did not recall it, but added: “I never had any problem with the cardinal. Our relationship was good.”

Under Verhofstadt’s leadership, from 1999 to 2007, the Belgian government not only introduced same sex “marriage”, but also laws on euthanasia, experiments on human embryos, and IVF.

Despite the poor record of the Belgian Church in resisting these laws, and the country being far smaller than many African countries that have one delegate representing them, Cardinal Danneels, 82, will be one of three Belgian prelates to attend the synod in October.

The Vatican listed him second in importance out of 45 delegates personally chosen by Pope Francis to participate in the upcoming meeting. He also took part in last year’s Extraordinary Synod as a papal delegate.

At the launch of the book in Brussels this week, the cardinal said he was part of a secret club of cardinals opposed to Pope Benedict XVI.

He called it a “mafia” club that bore the name of St. Gallen. The group wanted a drastic reform of the Church, to make it “much more modern”, and for Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to head it. The group, which also comprised Cardinal Walter Kasper and the late Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, has been documented in Austen Ivereigh’s biography of Pope Francis, The Great Reformer.

Italian Vaticanista Marco Tosatti has a bit more on this in La Stampa (in Italian).

16 out of 58 readers’ comments:

1. It seems that Bergoglio’s zero tolerance approach to abuse cases refers solely to “conservative” bishops like in Kansas or Ciudad del Este…

This also makes for a very funny “front page” of the NC Register website: 95% of the screen is occupied by headlines of “Francis is not a crazy Marxist/sodomite after all!” and then there’s the 5% occupied by a blog post: “Francis’ top appointee at the Synod part of anti-Church Mafia. Election of Bergoglio confirmed to be the plan of that Mafia”.

What I mean is, you could have waited for a week before posting that. Leave the few NC Register who don’t hate Francis yet (with good reasons) a chance to live a few days more under the illusion he is not the worst thing that happened to the Catholic Church since Arius (yes, he is worse than Luther).
3. The Vatican has been hijacked by the masonic and atheist mafia and headed by their supreme pontiff; wolves in sheep clothing! I have no doubt, Pope Benedict was forced to abdicate.

All we hear now is about the environment, redistributing wealth (not creating new wealth), not breeding “like rabbit”, expediting annulments (hear Catholic divorce) false mercy to those living in adulterous relationships and same-sex unions (don’t mention sin or hell, that’s not PC) and on, and on, and on.

We need to get all these wolves out of the Church by exposing them and speaking the TRUTH.

Sometimes being a conspiracy theorist can be fun: If Pope Benedict was forced to abdicate, that would mean that Pope Francis is not legitimately elected, which would give credence to a church recognized visionary) whose name I cannot recall) concerning the anti-christ and the Catholic Church………????
Too much for me to contemplate.  I think I will leave it to the Holy Spirit at this time
The headline is actually in the second-last sentence:  the Mafia got its pope.  How did the writer miss this?
I’ve been wondering lately, could Pope Francis be God’s punishment?  For decades, so many Catholics have been dismissive of teachings they don’t like; maybe God said “Okay, guys, you wanna see what civilization turns into when the Church isn’t ‘rigid’ anymore?  Here you go!”  
If this “Mafia” of rebels against the Church really forced Pope Benedict out, then they will reap what they sow. And if they wanted Pope Francis in because they thought he was the most liberal pope they could find, then they got what they wanted. But, hopefully, Pope Francis was unaware of the scheme to put him in and remove Pope Benedict. I hope that is the case. If any of this is true, which remains to be proven, perhaps Pope Francis is being used as an uninformed and unwilling pawn in a larger chess game than any of us can fathom. Satan is trying to destroy the Church. That is a fact. I don’t see malice in Pope Francis. But those around him, that remains to be seen.
During Benedict’s election Bergoglio was 2nd and I read he didn’t want it then probably because it wasn’t the RIGHT time for him to come on the scene. HE IS THE ONE RUNNING THE PLAN as he chose who he wants in The Synod and we certainly know why! AND if you read Pentin’s book on last year’s Synod there CAN BE NO DENIAL! Bergoglio is the death bed prophecy of St. Francis. HOW CUNNING OF HIM TO CHOOSE THAT NAME! WE MUST PRAY THE ROSARY MUCH MORE – AND ST.MICHAEL’s PRAYER.
9. Today we saw Pope Francis in action close up, in the well of evil we know as Congress. And how did he do? Well, he uttered no heresy, but that is about as positive as it gets. I’ve seen all the gushing from predictably fawning Catholic sources, all the nonsense about how he defended marriage and the unborn. If I hadn’t read his speech, I might even believe this poppycock, but I have. He took the opportunity of a lifetime, a stage with the whole world watching, to endorse basically the platform of the Democrat Party; Nancy Pelosi herself could have delivered that insipid address with total aplomb.

I want to give this pope at least the benefit of the doubt. But it’s getting harder to do every day. His frequent ambiguous statements, his doubtful appointments, his choice of cardinals for the Synod, his politicization of the papacy, his failure to tell the truth about Mohammedanism and the threat it poses everywhere, and his reluctance to remonstrate with the Left, have finally exhausted my patience. I am willing to read articles like this one and to ask myself, “Is all this really coincidence after all? Is it just incompetence on Francis’ part or is there something more sinister going on here?”

This whole thing came out over a whole year ago in the book and now we finally have confirmation of it from one of the participants including Kasper and Cormac Murphy O’Connor.

Francis was CANVASSED with the blessing of Carlo Montini who told Benedict according to Martinis spiritual confessor to accept if elected which he did and when to leave in June 2012 on the phony excuse that Benedict did not reform the Curia so he twisted his arm to force him out and that is why things have changed so radically since then. I also think it was a Jesuit Plot since the book Windswept House talks about the Jesuits forcing out a sitting reigning Pope elect one of their own to change the Church and then to bring in a New World Order. It was not just a fictional story. It’s happening before our very eyes.
So now we know there was an organized group placing undue pressure on Pope Benedict to resign. We have learned lately from one of Cardinal Martini’s own confidants that Martini told Pope Benedict he had to resign. So the question goes, did these people conspire to elect Pope Francis prior to the conclave, which is a violation of the Conclave rules, and makes the election of Pope Francis invalid. Let’s think real carefully, a group of cardinals who do not follow what the church teaches on very serious issues like homosexuality, and marriage, and other issues, are going to be very obedient to the rules of the Conclave? If they hold all that the Catholic Church teaches in contempt, what makes us think they would play by the rules of the Papal Conclave? Sorry, I smell some rats, and the Devil working on this one. Now it all has become clear. This is why these liberals are being hand-picked for these synods, and positions in the church. Sounds to me like Benedict is still Pope.
Danneels, Kasper and Marx as well as Forte and Baldisseri are the ringleaders in the cabal of heretics. We must pray hard that their efforts to destroy the Our Lord’s Church from within and lead more souls astray are defeated.
It was stated that the pope wished for all synod fathers to be utterly free to share their minds and hearts during last October’s synod. Well, Cardinal Burke shared his mind and heart and was shown the door. And was replaced by men like Danneels. There is cause for grave concern. The potential realities are too horrific for devout Catholics to consider
If they made a movie of this no one would find it believable. The nuts have taken over the asylum. 
Quo Vadis?
I guess we stay here, watch and pray. 
But the kids coming up will have nothing. Pitiful. Lamentable.
Are we all culpable?
And to the person who wrote:  “They [the popes] are chosen by God …” get that idea right out of your head because it is not true.  Man has freewill. The popes are elected. The pope we have is not necessarily the pope God wills for us, but He permitted him to be elected.
Apparently, the pope agrees with him, because the pope was a part of the conspiracy. Who is going to excommunicate him? The pope won’t.


4. Pentin on Card. Danneels, member of the upcoming Synod

Posted on 24 September 2015 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Edward Pentin has been doing a lot of heavy lifting these days, in advance of the Synod coming up in October.  It is going to be a war. Check out Pentin’s eBook The Rigging of a Vatican Synod: An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family

Also check out this piece about one of the members of the Synod, appointed by Pope Francis: Card. Danneels.  HERE

[As in the article above]


7 out of 37 readers’ responses:

1. My disgust for these wolves in shepherd’s clothing is beyond words.
Also I cannot accept the Pope invites such evil men to the Synod while ignore true and great Shepherds like Cardinal Burke. The church is in a very dark place since Benedict was ousted by this “mafia”.

If Bergoglio played any part in ousting Benedict XVI and subsequently engineering his own election to the papacy then…wouldn’t both he and some of those cardinal electors have been excommunicated under Canon Law (JPIIs revisions for papal elections) through their actions and been not only ineligible to vote in the conclave but also to serve as pope?

3. The more information disclosed about Cardinal Danneels the more he should be discredited, so I don’t fear his influence at the Synod. Of course, it’s disturbing that Pope Francis holds him in any respect at all. The Holy Father should observe the wreck of the Church in Belgium and connect the dots with the leadership of that church.

4. Vox Cantoris has an English translation of the La Stampa piece referenced at the end of Fr. Z’s post:

Francis: election prepared years beforehand

La Stampa: The election of Jorge Bergoglio was the result of secret meetings that cardinals and bishops, organized by Carlo Maria Martini, held for years in St. Gallen in Switzerland. This is what Jürgen Mettepenningen and Karim Schelkens are claiming. They are the authors of a newly published biography of the Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who calls the group of cardinals and bishops a “Mafia-club”.

Danneels, according to the authors, worked for years to prepare for the election of Pope Francis, which took place in 2013.

He himself, moreover, in a video recorded during the presentation of the book in Brussels admits to having been part of a secret club of cardinals who opposed Joseph Ratzinger. Laughing, he called it “a Mafia-club and bore the name of St. Gallen”.

The group wanted a drastic reform of the Church: for it to be much more modern and current, with Jorge Bergoglio – Pope Francis as its head: which, in fact, is what has occurred
According to the book, besides Danneels and Martini, the members of this group were: the Dutch bishop Adriaan Van Luyn, the German cardinals Walter Kasper and Karl Lehman, the Italian Cardinal Achille Silvestrini and the British Cardinal Basil Hume, among others.




Belgian newspaper “Le Vif” reports that: “On March 13, 2013 an old acquaintance was alongside the new Pope Francis: Godfried Danneels. Officially, he was there as dean of the Cardinal-Priests, but in reality he had worked discreetly for years as a creator of kings “.

Danneels has again been invited by Pope Francis to the Synod on the Family to be held in October in Rome, but he has been criticized very much. He tried to dissuade a victim of sexual abuse from reporting the perpetrator, a bishop (the uncle of the victim). For this reason, at the time of the 2013 Conclave, in Belgium there were those who demanded that he not be allowed to participate in the papal election.

Furthermore, Danneels’ positions on gay marriage and abortion – according to the revelation of two parliamentarians he wrote the king of Belgium exhorting him to sign the law to allow abortion – does not seem in agreement with the Magisterium of the Church; and with what Pope Francis has said on these issues.

Here is what I have gathered, and I tend to think there is a lot of truth to it, although I could be wrong. It isn’t anything novel that Francis was pushed into the papacy by progressive electors. But that is only half of the story. Those progressives were joined by American conservatives, who viewed Bergoglio as a likely reformer of the Vatican’s sluggish and corrupt bureaucracy. Furthermore, the irony of the election of Bergoglio is that, although he was put forward by progressives to further their “reforms,” the truth is that Francis was never likely to go along with those reforms, anyway. Francis was, as it were, a last-ditch half-court shot by octogenarian progressives hoping beyond reason that maybe Bergoglio could be massaged into supporting liberalization. If anything, the fact that Bergoglio is the “liberal” selection shows how utterly hopeless and diminished the liberal Catholic project is today.

I have not seen much comment about this other than on the Polish powerhouse, but watch at 25:00 this video, in Spanish, of the Pope talking to CELAM at WYD in Rio:

Here the Pope discusses the absurd expectations of his pontificate, explicitly mentioning ordaining nuns (to dismissive laughter of the Latin American bishops) and Communion for the divorced and remarried. The point of electing Francis was never to elect a liberal–he isn’t. The point was electing Bergoglio and then manipulating and using him and go around the back of the Vatican and through the media to initiate changes without ever making anything official. EXACTLY like the post-conciliar madness. The only question is whether and how much Francis will push back against this sort of proxy-pontificate that is trying to hijack his pontificate and even the Magisterium.

That is why orthodox Catholics are foolish to aim their fire at Francis, who is an enormous ally in Rome, and of course the POPE. The real problem is the gross manipulation of his papacy by a systemic movement throughout the episcopacy, using the media and liberal lobbies and money, to affect changes it can only get through manipulations and winks and nods.

Thanks for the shout-out… Here’s the link to my blog post about Cardinal Danneels:

I can’t help but think that is exactly the sort of secret backroom politics that Pope Francis is keen on stamping out. Their favourite candidate may turn out to be their downfall. If only Cardinal Danneels would stay home from the Synod. –Mark de Vries, Incaelo (see page 18)

7. It never made sense why Cardinal Danneels was personally appointed to the Synod on the Family. It does now!



5. Cardinal Danneels admits being part of clerical ‘Mafia’ that plotted Francis’ election

By Jeanne Smits, September 25, 2015

The authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, out next week, is even more of a bombshell than expected. Not only do the two authors, Jürgen Mettepenningen and Karim Schelkens, reveal that the Cardinal was a regular member of a secret pressure group of Churchmen that met in the Swiss town of Sankt-Gallen, but the Cardinal himself has publicly and good-humoredly admitted the fact. Danneels even said that what was officially but discreetly labeled “the Sankt-Gallen group” was referred to by its members as “the Mafia”.

Its self-imposed aim was to counter the growing influence of Cardinal Ratzinger under the pontificate of Saint John Paul II, serving as a sort of outlet where handpicked cardinals and bishops could express their impatience at the traditional mindset of the Pope and his closest counsellor.

The Belgian press doesn’t hesitate to say that one of the group’s primary goals was the promotion of Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) in view of John Paul II’s nearing death – something the book itself, which is not yet available in bookstores, perhaps clarifies.

The Sankt-Gallen group certainly aimed to promote the ideas and preferences for which they had found a champion in Pope Francis.

Said Schelkens in an interview this week: “The election of Bergoglio was prepared in Sankt-Gallen, without doubt. And the main lines of the program the Pope is carrying out are those that Danneels and Co were starting to discuss more than ten years ago.”

“They wanted Church reform, they wanted to bring the Church closer to the hearts of people; they moved forward by stages,” commented Mettepenningen. “At the beginning of the year 2000, when John Paul II’s end was becoming more foreseeable, they thought more strategically about what was going to happen to the Church after John Paul II. When Cardinal Achille Silvestrini joined the group it took on a more tactical and strategic character.”




The new climate in the Church after Pope Benedict’s resignation made these things easier to discuss, according to Mettepenningen.

“It is only now that the existence of a society of same-minded Church leaders can be made known to the public,” he told the Dutch media KerkNet. “In the international press they were talking about the so-called ‘team Bergoglio’ that promoted his choice as Pope, but the name was badly chosen.

In 2013, it was about the content first, the person came afterwards.

Danneels took part in both conclaves. He openly showed his disappointment after the first one. He described the second one, in which Pope Francis was elected, as his “personal resurrection.”

The biography was presented earlier this week at the National Sacred Heart Basilica in Koekelberg, in the presence of Cardinal Danneels who endorsed the two authors’ work.

A short video of the event was published on the Internet: it concentrates on the Sankt-Gallen group whose existence had never been revealed to the public.

Says Cardinal Danneels: “The Sankt-Gallen group is a sort of posh name. But in reality we said of ourselves, and of that group: ‘The Mafia’.”

A voice-over continues: “Cardinal Danneels speaks for the first time of the secret group of Church leaders to which he belonged. The group met every year since 1996, and together they organized the secret ‘resistance’ against Cardinal Ratzinger, who at that time was the right-hand man of John Paul II.”

Then Cardinal Danneels speaks again: “There were some bishops, a few cardinals – too many to name. Things were discussed very freely, no reports were made, so that everyone could blow off steam.”

The journalist explains: “When Pope John Paul II died in 2005, the group already pushed the present Pope to the fore. But it was to be Ratzinger all the same. Danneels could hardly hide his disappointment.”

The video cuts back to images of the cardinal just after Benedict XVI’s election: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating,” he said, unpleasantly, at the time.

The voiceover goes on: “It was not to be long until the Sankt-Gallen group got a new chance, because unexpectedly, Pope Benedict resigned.”

Mettepenningen himself provides the next comment: “In 2013, in a way this group actually achieved its ends, notably through the choice of Pope Francis. You can say that through his participation in that group, Cardinal Danneels has been one of those who were the pioneers of the choice of Pope Franciscus.”

The journalist concludes: “That is why you could see him beaming on the balcony next to the Pope in Rome. Since then he has returned regularly to Rome to speak with the Pope.”

The Sankt-Gallen group – or the “Mafia”, to use the cardinal’s own description – was founded by
Mgr. Ivo Fürer, one year after his nomination as bishop of the small cathedral town. Cardinal Danneels joined a few years later.

Among the other members quoted by his biographers, Cardinals Carlo Maria Martini and Achille Silvestrini from Italy, Walter Kasper and Karl Lehmann from Germany, and the Dutch Cardinal Adriaan van Luyn as well as Basil Hume from England were prominent. There must have been more, as the book also speaks of members from Austria and France, as well as unnamed bishops. Why are some named, and others not? Did the named prelates give their consent to be “outed,” and if so did they have an objective?

Whatever their aim, Danneels for one has had no qualms about voicing his angry opposition to Pope Benedict and seems to glory in the fact that he has played a role in bringing a more “modern” Church vision into being, despite the fact that the Pope Emeritus is still alive.

Church historians Mettepenningen and Schelkens were given full access to Danneels’ personal archives which still bore the police tape that sealed them in the wake of the cover-up of a child-abuse scandal in which the Cardinal was accused of being involved. This is perhaps one of the clues to the disclosure of the “Mafia’s” existence: Danneels left his Episcopal palace under a cloud when he retired in 2010. Being presented as a “maker of kings,” as the Belgian press now calls him, is a deal more flattering and gives him a prominent role in bringing about the modernization of the Church.

Mettepenningen justified the group’s existence in an interview to the Flemish press: “During the lengthy pontificate of John Paul II there was an increasing tendency to centralize everything that was imposed from the top, with the margin of ‘free speech’ becoming ever narrower. From 1996 onwards, a group was erected in Sankt-Gallen by the bishop of Sankt-Gallen, a group of top cardinals and bishops from Europe who found their ‘freedom of speech’ with one another there. Since 1999, Cardinal Danneels was himself a member; together with Ivo Fürer, he was the member who belonged longest to the group.”

“Nobody knew anything about it but there were suspicions in Rome, where they were ‘not amused’ to know about this group that we called Sankt-Gallen in the biography – and which the cardinal, apparently, calls the Mafia, but it’s a term of endearment, showing a certain mischievousness.”

The Flemish media, Knack, that presented the book in a lengthy article, says the Vatican sent “the sinister Cardinal Camilo Ruini to try and find out who, what and where: he came up with an empty sack. At the same time, the Sankt-Gallen group tried to get a hold over developments in the Vatican. The question that was put more and more emphatically was: ‘What after John Paul II? How can we avoid Ratzinger as Pope?'”

While the group’s existence was known of by some specialists – such as Austen Ivereigh of the Tablet who spoke of it in passing in The Great Reformer, his biography of Pope Francis – what Mettepenningen and Schelkens have published is an inside account, with the blessing of Danneels who remembers the meetings as “spiritual holidays,” a “form of mutual support and comfort in dark times,” as Knack puts it.



Danneels’ biographers show him to be a man who lost favor in Rome over his progressive stances. In 1980, at the general bishops’ synod which he was attending for the first time, Ratzinger expressed pessimism over divorce and general moral decay. Godfried Danneels responded that it was time to find a new “balance between the law and mercy.” “That was new,” says Knack: when the time came for the synod to elect delegates, Danneels got more votes than Ratzinger.

The same Danneels was vocal in his defense of a former fellow student, Gustavo Gutierrez – a liberation theologian who was in trouble with Ratzinger. Later, Rome was to block his nomination as president of the European bishop’s conference.

Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Universi Domini Gregis, 79, clearly condemns the constitution of a “Mafia” like the Sankt-Gallen group: “Confirming the prescriptions of my Predecessors, I likewise forbid anyone, even if he is a Cardinal, during the Pope’s lifetime and without having consulted him, to make plans concerning the election of his successor, or to promise votes, or to make decisions in this regard in private gatherings.”

Ironically, he published the Apostolic Constitution in February 1996, the very year that the Sankt-Gallen group was formed.



6. Vatican Conspiracy against Pope Benedict, For Pope Francis?

By Steve Skojec, September 25, 2015

It’s been a long media week already, and a story that is being buried under the papal visit coverage is
one that came out yesterday from veteran Vatican-watcher Ed Pentin:

Further serious concerns are being raised about Cardinal Godfried Danneels, one of the papal delegates chosen to attend the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family, after the archbishop emeritus of Brussels confessed this week to being part of a radical “mafia” reformist group opposed to Benedict XVI.


The Vatican listed him second in importance out of 45 delegates personally chosen by Pope Francis to participate in the upcoming meeting. He also took part in last year’s Extraordinary Synod as a papal delegate.

At the launch of the book in Brussels this week, the cardinal said he was part of a secret club of cardinals opposed to Pope Benedict XVI.

He called it a “mafia” club that bore the name of St. Gallen. The group wanted a drastic reform of the Church, to make it “much more modern”, and for Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to head it. The group, which also comprised Cardinal Walter Kasper and the late Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, has been documented in Austen Ivereigh’s biography of Pope Francis, The Great Reformer.


Rod Dreher has picked up the story at The American Conservative, and he emphasizes the importance of the fact that “Pentin got his hands on a copy of the authorized  —repeat, authorized— biography” – and that this is where the information is coming from, not some anonymous source.

Marco Tosatti, the Senior Religion Correspondent for the Italian daily, La Stampa, also did a story on this yesterday, which has now been translated by the good folks at Rorate Caeli:


The election of Jorge Bergoglio was the fruit of secret meetings that cardinals and bishops, organized by Carlo Maria Martini, held for years at St. Gall in Switzerland. This is what is claimed by Jürgen Mettepenningen and Karim Schelkens, the authors of a just published biography of the Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, who refer to the group of cardinals and bishops as the “Mafia club”.

Danneels, according to the authors, had worked for years in preparation for the election of Pope Francis, which happened in 2013. He himself, however, in a video recorded during the presentation of the book admits that he had taken part in a secret club of cardinals that were in opposition to Joseph Ratzinger. While laughing he calls it “a Mafia club whose name was St. Gall”.

The group wanted a drastic reform of the Church, much more modern and up to date, with Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis at the head. And this is just as things turned out. In addition to Danneels and Martini, among the others who made up the group according to the book were the Dutch bishop Adriaan Van Luyn, the German cardinals Walter Kasper and Karl Lehman, the Italian cardinal Achille Silvestrini and the English cardinal Basil Hume.

The Belgian newspaper “Le Vif” wrote: “On March 13, 2013, an old acquaintance was at the side of the new Pope, Francis: Godfried Danneels. Officially he stood there in his role as the dean of the cardinal-priests, but actually he had operated for years in secret as the king-maker.”

Danneels has been invited again by Pope Francis to attend the Synod on the Family that will take place in October in Rome. But he has been severely criticized. He tried to dissuade a victim of sexual abuse from accusing the man who abused him, a bishop, who was the uncle of the victim, and because of this, at the time of the Conclave in 2013 there were those in Belgium who asked that he not be allowed to elect the new Pope.

In addition, his positions on homosexual marriage and on abortion, (according to the revelations of two parliamentarians Danneels had written to the king of Belgium urging him to sign the law that permitted it) does not seem to be in harmony with the Magisterium of the Church. And not in harmony as well with what Pope Francis affirms.

As a reminder, Pope St. John Paul II wrote an apostolic constitution called Universi Dominici Gregis, which lays out rules for the conduct of conclaves. Of particular note are these sections:

79. Confirming the prescriptions of my Predecessors, I likewise forbid anyone, even if he is a Cardinal, during the Pope’s lifetime and without having consulted him, to make plans concerning the election of his successor, or to promise votes, or to make decisions in this regard in private gatherings.


81. The Cardinal electors 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. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.

82. I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void.

83. With the same insistence shown by my Predecessors, I earnestly exhort the Cardinal electors not to allow themselves to be guided, in choosing the Pope, by friendship or aversion, or to be influenced by favour or personal relationships towards anyone, or to be constrained by the interference of persons in authority or by pressure groups, by the suggestions of the mass media, or by force, fear or the pursuit of popularity. Rather, having before their eyes solely the glory of God and the good of the Church, and having prayed for divine assistance, they shall give their vote to the person, even outside the College of Cardinals, who in their judgment is most suited to govern the universal Church in a fruitful and beneficial way.


Excommunication is the penalty for collusion and conspiracy to elect a given candidate. This is serious business. It is astonishing that even someone as brazen as Cardinal Danneels would admit to doing so openly, and on the record.

This recalls to mind something that was written by Robert Moynihan (which I covered here) just before the last conclave began. I can’t help but wondering if the mysterious cardinal in this story knew what was happening:


Dr. Robert B. Moynihan, founder and editor-in-chief of Inside the Vatican magazine wrote yesterday of an encounter he had with a member of the curia that lends credence to this concern. After recognizing a certain unnamed cardinal of his acquaintance dressed in the manner of a simple clergyman on the streets of Rome, Moynihan approached him to speak a concern that had been on his mind.

Your eminence,” I said.

In his eyes he was saying to me that he could not answer any questions.

But he was not excluding all conversation. And so I ventured…

“I only wanted to tell you one thing,” I said. “That I loved Pope Benedict.”

He stood still.

“I did too, and I do love him,” the cardinal said.

“And so I have been troubled and a bit off balance since February 11,” I said.

And then, as if filled with a sudden emotion, I saw the cardinal’s face grow dark and sad, and he said, forcefully: “I love him, but this should never have happened. He never should have left his office.”

I was silent.

“It is like a man and a woman, a husband and wife, a mother and father in relation to their children,” he said. “What do they say?” It seemed he was asking me the question.

I was silent.

“They say, ‘until death do us part!’ They stay together always.”

So I understood him to be saying that he felt a Successor of Peter should not step down from the throne, no matter how weary and tired, but continue until death.

I felt the words he was speaking were the words of an argument that may have been used even among the cardinals, but of course, that may not be the case.

But I felt that I was catching a glimpse of how at least one cardinal was thinking about the Pope’s renunciation.

“Your eminence,” I said, “I’ve forgotten. Are you already above age 80, or not?

“I am not yet 80,” he told me.

“So you will be voting tomorrow.”

He nodded, and a look passed over his eyes which seemed filled with shadows and concerns. I was surprised at his intensity. I was surprised by the whole conversation.

He squeezed my hand. “Is there anything else I can do?” I asked.

“Pray for us,” he said. “Pray for us.”

He turned as if he needed to go.

“I have to go.”

He took a step away from me, then turned again.

“It is a dangerous time. Pray for us.”

I think we should do as he asked.

It is good that we trust in the wisdom of Benedict’s decision, that we believe that whatever the reason, he knew what he was doing. But this should not put us at our ease. I believe in the very core of my being that the cardinal is right. It is a dangerous time for the Church. I can feel it. The forces of darkness are alert, and there is something afoot. What it is, we may never know. But this is far from an ordinary conclave.


It’s impossible to say what will become of this story, but with Danneels on the personal papal invite list for the Synod, it must not be forgotten.

The best time to release a news story if you want it to disappear is either during a major news event or on a Friday afternoon. This originally came out yesterday when everyone (including us) was covering Pope Francis’s congressional address. And here I am, wrapping up our week at 5:30PM on a Friday with this bombshell just as everyone is heading home to enjoy their weekend. It wasn’t my intention to come in at the 11th hour, but time is short. We need to keep this one moving. Please, if you find it worthwhile, consider sharing it.

We’ll update you when we know more.


4 out of 29 readers’ comments:

1. I’m glad to see 1P5 pick up on this story. Up until Edward Pentin’s article, it had languished in the backwaters of the Catholic blogosphere (from where you can spot my hovel just off to the right, in the very back). Br. Alexis Bugnolo of the blog From Rome has documented the entire thing since the publication of Austen Ivereigh’s book The Great Reformer. His chronology of events can be viewed here:

Particularly noteworthy is the following:

It presents testimony from Cardinal McCarrick that he was approached by “an interesting and very influential Italian gentleman” who said to him: “Push Bergoglio.”

What I don’t have clear in my mind is Bergoglio’s participation or non-participation in the plan to put him in Peter’s chair. Regardless, the question is why the plotters settled on HIM rather than some other cardinal. What did they know about him that we didn’t? Danneels, if even a portion of this is correct, is a sinister enemy of the Church, so the fact Francis selected him for a role in the Synod….well, doesn’t say much for Francis.

He probably isn’t pope. Ratzinger is. Bergoglio is an antipope, and his conspirators are excommunicated.

We have a man running around the world pretending to be the Vicar of Christ. He is not, and he and his conspirators are about to create a schism…two Churches. Just like (Catherine) Emmerich said.

4. “I saw the relationship between the two Popes. I saw how baleful would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city (of Rome). The local clergy grew lukewarm, and I saw a great darkness. Then, the vision seemed to extend on every side. Whole Catholic communities were being oppressed, harassed, confined, and deprived of their freedom. I saw many churches close down, great miseries everywhere, wars and bloodshed. A wild and ignorant mob took to violent action. But it did not last long.”
“Once more I saw the Church of Peter was undermined by a plan evolved by the secret sect, while storms were damaging it. But I saw also that help was coming when distress had reached its peak. I saw again the Blessed Virgin ascend on the Church and spread Her mantle [over it]. I saw a Pope who was at once gentle, and very firm . . . I saw a great renewal, and the Church rose high in the sky.”

“I see the Holy Father in great anguish. He lives in a palace other than before and he admits only a limited number of friends near him. I fear that the Holy Father will suffer many more trials before he dies. I see that the false Church of Darkness is making progress, and I see the dreadful influence that it has on people. The Holy Father and the Church are verily in so great a distress that one must implore God day and night.”
“I had another vision of the great tribulation. It seems to me that a concession was demanded from the clergy which could not be granted. I saw many older priests, especially one, who wept bitterly. A few younger ones were also weeping. But others, and the lukewarm among them, readily did what was demanded. It was as if people were splitting into two camps.”

-Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich



7. Don Danneels? The power struggles of the Belgian cardinal

By Mark de Vries, September 25, 2015

In an extensive biography (cover pictured), published earlier this week, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, retired archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and personal choice of Pope Francis to attend the Synod of Bishops assembly in two weeks’ time, speaks frankly about his membership of a group of cardinals and bishops, which he likens to a mafia. This group, named Sankt Gallen for the Swiss town where they would meet, became active in 1990s and included among its members the late Cardinals Carlo Martini and Basil Hume, Cardinals Kasper and Lehmann, as well as Bishop Ad van Luyn, bishop emeritus of Rotterdam.

It should be noted that I have not been able to read the biography myself yet, so I draw my conclusion from those snippets I have read and from what others have written.

The group, which Cardinal Danneels called a mafia in an interview, had the aim of radically modernising the Church following the papacy of St. John Paul II. Members could speak freely and no records were kept, as the cardinal admitted once the group’s existence was revealed in research related to the writing of the biography.





Unhappy with the course of the Church under Saint John Paul II (who appointed Cardinal Danneels as archbishop in 1979 and cardinal in 1983), the group tried to influence the conclave of 2005, and Cardinal Danneels freely admits to have been disillusioned when the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was elected as Pope Benedict XVI. Apparently they had a Pope in mind in the mold of Pope Francis, and his 2013 election was met with satisfaction.

It is one thing to discuss the future and express hopes and wishes, it is quite another to form a sort of shadow cabinet in blatant opposition to the Pope and expressing disappointment when the wrong pontiff is chosen. Cardinal Danneels does not seem to see it as problematic that he so callously disregards one Pope and creates an artificial opposition between him and his successor.

As Catholics we believe in the guidance of the Holy Spirit when a new Pope is chosen. We believe that his work is for the good of the work, even when we may sometimes disagree with the way he works or what he focusses on. There is a certain element of loyalty involved, especially on the parts of cardinals and bishops, who have been created and appointed to assist the Pope in the affairs of the world Church. Loyal disagreement, which may be expressed personally to the Pope or even publically when well-founded and expressed with aforementioned loyalty and faith in the Spirit is certainly possible. It may even be good sometimes.

But this is not what the Sankt Gallen group did. Secret meetings, no records, a mafia… This does not give an impression of loyalty, but of an attempt to influence things in secret, behind the scenes. And while the group is evidently happy with Pope Francis, he may turn out to be their greatest enemy. From the very beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has wanted to end the backroom politics and hunger for personal gain in the Curia and has been very clear about what a bishop should be: concerned not with power, but with the sheep.

Personally, I do not like pigeonholing people (Cardinal Wilfrid Napier has a good article in the Catholic Herald on that same topic, by the way), and I don’t believe for one second that Cardinal Danneels is or has been all bad, as some would have us believe. But that does not take away the fact that he has gone beyond his authority and the conduct expected of cardinals and bishops.

8. Cardinal Danneels’ Biographers Retract Comments on St. Gallen Group

But the cardinal’s assertion that the secretive “mafia-like” group existed and opposed Joseph Ratzinger still stands

By Edward Pentin, September 26, 2015

The authors of a new authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, the archbishop emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels, have issued a correction to earlier comments quoted in a Belgian newspaper and which I reported here

Karim Schelkens and Jürgen Mettepenningen, authors of Godfried Danneels Biographie, have stressed that the “St. Gallen club” of reformist prelates was not a lobby group that prepared for Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to be elected Pope.

They say their quote in the original article in “Le Vif“, which had said “the election of Bergoglio was prepared in St. Gallen” by Cardinal Danneels and others, was a mistake made “after their approval and correction” of the quote.

Now they have stated that the “election of Bergoglio corresponded with the aims of St. Gallen, on that there is no doubt. And the outline of its program was that of Danneels and his confreres who had been discussing it for ten years.”

They stressed that, as this goal was not met in the 2005 conclave, and the St. Gallen club no longer convened after 2006, their original quote gave the false impression that it was a lobby group rather than an informal one. Cardinal Danneels this week referred to it as a kind of “mafia” club. 

Despite this, according to the new biography, after 2003 the St. Gallen group became of “strategic importance” with regards the 2005 conclave.

The authors stress in the book that with its array of members including Cardinals José da Cruz Policarpo, then Patriarch of Lisbon, as well as Cardinals Martini, Danneels, Murphy-O’Connor, Silvestrini, Husar, Kasper and Lehmann, members of the St. Gallen group felt it could have “significant impact” if each of them used their network of contacts.

The authors further write that in the days leading up to the 2005 conclave, cardinals of the group sent a postcard to Bishop Ivo Fürer, founder of the group, with the message: “We are here in the spirit of Sankt Gallen.”*

Cardinal Danneels’ two biographers do not mention in the book lobbying by ex-members of the group during the 2013 conclave.

In The Great Reformer, Austen Ivereigh writes that members of the disbanded group and others, whom he calls “Team Bergoglio”, did not ask Cardinal Bergoglio if he would be willing to be a candidate, but they believed this time that the crisis in the Church would make it hard for him to refuse if elected.

This was in accordance with conclave rules, and corrected an earlier version of the book which stated that “Team Bergoglio” seized the initiative in the days leading up to the 2013 conclave to “promote their man,” first confirming with the cardinal that he was willing to become Pope, and then canvassed on his behalf.

Still, although the secretive club hadn’t formally met since 2006, it’s safe to say that it helped form a network that paved the way for at least favoring Cardinal Bergoglio at the conclave seven years later.

In their chapter on St. Gallen, the authors of Cardinal Danneels’ authorized biography say the group, which was founded in 1995, met annually to discuss various themes including ‘the situation of the Church’, ‘primacy of the Pope’, ‘collegiality’, and ‘John Paul II’s succession’.

Its members also discussed centralism in the Church, the function of bishops’ conferences, development of the priesthood, sexual morality, the appointment of bishops, and other such issues, the authors write.

Schelkens and Mettepenningen also note in the chapter that the personalities and theological ideas of the members sometimes differed, but one thing united them: their dislike of the then-prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

In a later chapter on the resignation of Pope Benedict and the 2013 conclave, the authors say Cardinal Danneels was “confounded” (‘verbijsterd’ in Dutch) when he heard the news of the resignation. But he “admired” (‘bewonderde’) Benedict’s courage.

They write also that the cardinal and Benedict XVI had a sort of reconciliation meeting in September 2012. The late Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Martini, a leading “reformer” in the St. Gallen group, had suggested this to Pope Benedict shortly before his death.

On February, 27th 2013, Cardinal Danneels gave a press conference in which he gave high praise for Benedict, saying his style resembled the early Church fathers and even noted his “enormous efforts” to bring back the Society of St. Pius X, saying it showed him “to be a reconciler”.

The cardinal then offered his own “wish-list” for the Church. This included unity in diversity (to be achieved through decentralization), synods to develop a better culture of debate, the formation of a “crown council”, and reform of the Curia. He also said careerism in the Vatican should be ended and he recommended a Third Vatican Council. At the end of the conference, he said: “We need a Francis”, according to the book’s authors. (p. 496).

Cardinal Danneels says in the book the pre-conclave meetings were some of the “most interesting” meetings of his career as a cardinal, thanks to the openness of the discussions.

He was particularly happy that the Pope wished to create a crown council, and that one of its members would be Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, the archbishop of Kinshasa. He and Cardinal Danneels have been good friends since the 1980s. Along with Cardinal Danneels, the African cardinal is also one of the 45 papal delegates at the upcoming Synod. 

that campaigning for candidates isn’t out of the ordinary in anticipation of papal elections. Shortly before the death of Pope St. John Paul II in 2005, various prelates were also pushing for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to be his successor. One of the most vigorous was Cardinal Julián Herranz, then president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who helped ensure the cardinal leapt “to the top of the list of candidates for the papacy”,
according to Vaticanist Sandro Magister.


5 out of 33 readers’ comments

1. The question is, how can those who assent to The Deposit of Faith and those who dissent from The Deposit of Faith both be in communion with Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, simultaneously? That would be impossible and yet dissension continues to be permitted even though there can be no division in The Body of Christ. We, no doubt, are living in a time of great deception.

2. Lobbying is in itself not reprehensible, it is to be expected, a fact of political life. What is certain though, is that the opposition to established doctrine was planned and grew from the days of Vatican II.  Australian cardinal Pell has called these so-called ‘reformists’ atheists, but they are not that exactly.

They are setting themselves up as rivals to Christ, they want to de-Christianize his Church. They are the stewards of the vineyard who refuse to return the vineyard to the owner, and kill his son in order to inherit the land.
Far from being modern or progressive, these reformers exhibit a very old-fashioned sin, a sin as old as creation, the pride of Lucifer, who would not serve. Their program re-calls a pre-Christian era, pagan Rome, and although they like to present Jesus as gentle, meek and mild, they forget he also said ‘…it would be better…to be thrown into the sea with a millstone round the neck, than to cause the downfall of …little ones’ Luke 17, 1-3.
Poor, poor card. Danneels, what has happened to you?

3. The Holy Ghost does NOT choose the Pope. Good article by John Allen here:

The document regarding Cardinals canvassing for a Pope before a conclave is:

“In paragraph 81 of Universi Dominici Gregis, the crime of vote-promising is penalized with automatic excommunication, such that in the very act of promising a vote, a Cardinal elector is excommunicated. On account of canon 1329, that automatic excommunication is extended to the one asking for the vote promise, even if the one asking is also a Cardinal elector. On account of the terms of canon 171 §1, the votes of excommunicated electors, even Cardinals in a conclave, cannot be counted in favor of the candidate they name; and on account of canon 171 §2, if they are counted among the number in favor of the candidate in such wise that they cause that number to be sufficient for victory, according to the norms of the election, the election is nullified in all its effects.”

4. It is a fact that the Holy Ghost does NOT choose the Pope!
Human beings do, (Cardinals) who can have evil intentions. There is no magic bullet in the process. They have free will from God. To do good or evil. The same goes for the Pope. Most of what he says is FALLIBLE.

The rest of my narrative is from another website altogether, (which links to the Vatican document) regarding the Cardinal Canvassing bit.

5. Cardinal Danneels is heavily guilty:
– For having plotted this lobbying group notwithstanding the clear instructions of the Pope that strictly forbade it.
– For having disclosed details of what happened during the last two conclaves.
In addition, the Cardinal Danneels has been recently exposed for having pressured the late King Baudouin of Belgium to sign the abortion law in that country. Besides Danneels is embroiled in a paedophile scandal involving a bishop and his nephew.
Certainly these are enough motives to dismiss this Cardinal who is already excommunicated “latae sententiae”.
But Pope Francis doesn’t look to be shocked by these facts since he appointed the good cardinal to attend the next Synod on the Family (!!!!)
And this only, in my opinion, is a huge scandal.


9. Was the election of Pope Francis “invalid” because Cardinals committed certain crimes?

Posted on 26 September 2015 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
All colour and other emphases Fr. Z’s

Canonist Ed Peters looks into the issue of the excommunication incurred by a cardinal elector who “canvasses” for votes in the context of a papal conclave. HERE []

I won’t, here, get into Dr. Peter’s proposal that automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication should be done away with. That’s not at issue. His examination of the consequences of such an excommunication, incurred by a cardinal elector before (or during) a conclave is of great interest:


Automatic censures should be eliminated from Church law

September 26, 2015

Only two kinds of men publicly admit to doing evil: those who repent of their deeds and are willing to accept the consequences for having acted wrongly, and those who are comfortable with their conduct and believe that no serious consequences will come from divulging it.

Several reports based on Godfried Cardinal Danneels just-released, authorized biography indicate that the now-retired Belgian prelate helped lead a clique of cardinals directly opposed to Benedict XVI’s papacy. [Imagine my shock.] If true that suggests sin, but not crime. It seems, however, that some members of this clique, after Benedict resigned, engaged in pre-conclave politicking for then-Cardinal Bergoglio, politicking of the sort that is forbidden by conclave law (Universi 81). If true, that would be a sin and a crime. Danneels’ admissions, read in the light of other allegations and reports, suggests, then, that at least some cardinals committed at least some offenses for which they are at risk of the Church’s highest sanction, namely, excommunication, more precisely, latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication.

Which means they are at risk for—not much, really. Shall I elaborate?  [Please do, Ed.]

The canonical consequences of “excommunication” are set out in Canon 1331. A cursory glance at that canon shows these consequences to be very serious, including: prohibiting individuals from celebrating Mass, participating in sacraments, or exercising ecclesiastical roles, offices, and functions, and so on [roles, offices, functions… like being a Cardinal elector in a conclave?] Besides suffering the spiritual consequences of having engaged in whatever gravely sinful conduct underlies the crime in question (and note: consignment to hell has never been a consequence of excommunication, though it could be one of unrepented sin), any Catholic automatically excommunicated is in deep trouble. [It’s not good not to be able to “GO TO CONFESSION!”]

But that same cursory glance at Canon 1331 will not show (unless one is trained in canon law) that most consequences of excommunication become relevant in the external forum only if the excommunication is “imposed or declared”. That short, technical phrase means that, while one who is “automatically” excommunicated labors under the personal burdens of this sanction, it is only when an excommunication is “formal” that actions performed by canonical criminals raise questions for Church life and governance.  [So, if you are excommunicated by your acts but there hasn’t been a formal public declaration, you still exercise your roles, etc.  That is why after Archbp. Lefebvre et al. got themselves excommunicated automatically in 1988, the Congregation for Bishops issued a formal declaration of same.]

The canonically untutored do not (and should not be expected to) understand that the consequences of excommunication for public Church life differ dramatically based on whether the excommunication is “automatic” or “formal”, that most of the ‘bite’ that people attribute to excommunication (like not being able to function in Church offices) comes only with formal excommunication, and that formal excommunication has practically disappeared from modern Church life because (1) a host of canonical defenses unnecessarily burdens prosecution of excommunicable crimes, and (2) ecclesiastical authority apparently feels that, as long as latae sententiae excommunication is on the books (and most folks think it does what “excommunication” does anyway) why bother with a complex, portentous process for turning an automatic excommunication into a formal one? Whatever the reasons, Roman prosecutions of “formal” excommunication cases are rare; those involving prelates are very rare; those involving cardinals are essentially unheard of. [Too which I respond: Too bad!  When I Pope, they won’t be.]

Thus, it is hard to see what canonical consequences a cardinal would have to fear if he were to admit to a canonical crime punishable by latae sententiae excommunication. If it turns out that one or more cardinals violated, say, Universi 81, they might (and I stress, might) be “automatically” excommunicated, but “automatic” excommunication impacts—I hate to put it this way—only the liceity of ecclesiastical acts, not their validity. So, while it might be distressing to see appointed to synodal service some cardinals who could be “automatically excommunicated”, whatever acts such men might place at a synod would be, by the plain text of canon law, valid. And no one seems especially incentivized to inquire further than that.


Read his jeremiad against automatic penalties there.

The core of this is that the election of Pope Francis was valid even though there were irregularities amongst cardinal electors which (I think) should be dealt with now. Better late than never.


Sigh.  It looks like I have to impose the moderation queue again.  I removed some intemperate comments.


4 out of 17 readers’ responses:

1. At least there is now some validity to the unsettled feeling I have felt from the day he stepped out on the balcony at the Vatican. Woe to those cardinals who participated in this deceit. Doctrine may not change but the uncatechised continue to be misled. These cardinals need our prayers and pray that God does not permit this to continue. This has been a very difficult time for me (penance) with Obama as president and Bergoglio as pope. Pray! Pray! Pray!

2. I think an equally good question is in regards to paragraph 80 (NOT 81) being violated by at least Cardinal McCarrick. A video of Cardinal McCarrick entitled “Who Is Pope Francis?” (the video is available here: shows Cardinal McCarrick mentioning a “very influential Italian gentleman” who met with McCarrick prior to the General Conversations and then suggested that McCarrick “talk up” Bergoglio and “push” for Bergoglio.

Later in the video, Cardinal McCarrick explains that he his speech in the General Conversation included specific qualities that he was looking for in the next pope – all of which essentially describe Cardinal Bergoglio (especially his suggestion that the next pope be from Latin America).

UDG #80 states: “I again forbid each and every Cardinal elector, present and future, as also the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and all other persons taking part in the preparation and carrying out of everything necessary for the election, to accept under any pretext whatsoever, from any civil authority whatsoever, the task of proposing the veto or the so-called exclusiva, even under the guise of a simple desire, or to reveal such either to the entire electoral body assembled together or to individual electors, in writing or by word of mouth, either directly and personally or indirectly and through others, both before the election begins and for its duration. I intend this prohibition to include all possible forms of interference, opposition and suggestion whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree, or any individual or group, might attempt to exercise influence on the election of the Pope.”

“…all possible forms of interference, opposition and suggestion whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree, or any individual or group, might attempt to exercise influence on the election of the Pope” would include a “very influential Italian gentleman” that requested that Cardinal McCarrick influence the conclave in Bergoglio’s favor.

Simply watch Cardinal McCarrick’s presentation describing the happenings before the conclave, all of the evidence is in the video.

3. So, based on what this Canonist says, it’s very likely that Pope Francis was valid but illicit? Ugh…just makes me feel dirty…

But I agree with tm30 above that validity comes more into question as it concerns Pope Emeritus and his resignation, if he indeed was in any way threatened or coerced. It strikes me that this is much like a marriage where the question is asked if the participants seek the marriage freely – of their own free will. And if not, that is grounds for annulment.

And speaking of marriage, I also really resonate with the sentiment in this report regarding a cardinal about to vote in the conclave in March 2013 regarding his angst over Pope Benedict’s resignation, who said:

Cardinal, “It is like a man and a woman, a husband and wife, a mother and father in relation to their children,’ he said….”They say, ‘until death do us part!’ They stay together always.”
Moynihan, “So I understood him to be saying that he felt a Successor of Peter should not step down from the throne, no matter how weary and tired, but continue until death.”

There is something true about this that really resonates deeply with me.

And it makes even more sense if you consider that Pope Emeritus might have been threatened, coerced, or otherwise convinced that he must step down for the good of the church (for instance, that if he did not, worse “Vatileaks” would come out that would be harmful for the church) and so, not really of his own free will. Would that be a valid resignation?

Much to prayerfully consider here…and I’m sure there will be much more to come.

St. Michael, pray for us!

4. Sadly it appears some conditions of Catholic blogging appear to allow those who “work around the edges” without calling them to account. Rather than calling the delinquent to accountability, we observe, we contort, we mourn, we bite our tongues, and the band plays on. We play by the rules, we get a knife in the back and the felonious receive a pat on the back. Those not held to account for their transgressions are regarded as groundbreaking and to be emulated. And those not held to account for their transgressions do not change their behavior.
If the “Kasper Kamera” had not been in place last year, the derisive comments would surely have been held unbelievable, particularly because he denied saying it. The camera was there, and we saw what goes on underneath the rock. Any reason to assume things have changed in the last year? Or that they weren’t in place years back as Cardinal Danneels revels?
And surprise, Mr. Pentin now reports the authors have altered their story…
Speaking about it all with politeness does not mask the scent.


10. Ultra-liberal pro-gay marriage Cardinal ‘tried to cover up sex abuse’

By Nick Hallett, October 11, 2015

Concerns are being raised after Pope Francis gave a place of honour at the ongoing Synod on the Family to an ultra-liberal cardinal who tried to cover up a sex abuse scandal and has admitted trying to undermine the previous pope.

Cardinal Godfried Danneels, former Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels in Belgium, has already angered conservatives by calling for the Catholic Church to recognise a “sort of marriage” for gay couples and praising secular governments for introducing civil unions for same-sex couples.

Critics are now also pointing to a scandal in 2010, when Cardinal Danneels tried to cover up a sex abuse case involving a fellow bishop. An audio recording leaked to the Belgian media revealed the cardinal urging the victim not to reveal that his abuser was his uncle Roger Vangheluwe, Bishop of Bruges.

Cardinal Danneels asked the victim if he would wait until Bishop Vangheluwe retired before going public, and even told him to “ask forgiveness” and “acknowledge your own guilt”. The victim responds: “Whose forgiveness do I have to seek? I am not the one to ask for forgiveness.”

When the victim said he would not wait until Bishop Vangheluwe retired and demanded that the cardinal should inform Pope Benedict XVI at once, Cardinal Danneels accused him of trying to “blackmail” them.

The press soon got hold of the recording and Bishop Vangheluwe was forced to resign in disgrace, with Cardinal Danneels’ name also dragged through the mud. He claimed he had been “improvising” during the conversation and was merely trying to resolve a dispute within the bishop’s family.

However, despite the cover-up scandal and Cardinal Danneels’ controversial views, Pope Francis has personally invited him to attend the Synod on the Family.

Last month, the cardinal also admitted to being part of a left wing “mafia” that tried to undermine the previous pope, Benedict XVI, who they regarded as too conservative. He even boasted of helping get Francis elected to the papacy, although Vatican insiders say he is exaggerating his influence.

This is the second time Pope Francis has given Cardinal Danneels a place of honour. He also personally chose him to attend last year’s Extraordinary Synod – the precursor to this year’s meeting.

Catholic journalist Damian Thompson has questioned why the mainstream media, usually all-too-keen to report on scandals in the Church, are silent on the liberal cardinal:

“Now the matter needs to be properly investigated. Pope Francis must explain why a man who tried to conceal sex abuse within a family is a leading participant in a synod discussing the pastoral care of families.

“So far, the media have shown no interest in this story. That wouldn’t be the case if Benedict XVI were still pope.”

The Synod has been called to discuss how the Church should deal with family life in the modern world, although it does not have the power to change Catholic teaching.


11. Cardinal Danneels at the Bishops’ Synod — And the Media is Silent

By Giuseppe Nardi, October 11, 2015

(Vatican / Brussels) The personal appointment of Cardinal Walter Kasper to the Bishops at the Bishops’ Synod on the Family does not surprise. The appointment of Cardinal Godfried Danneels on the other hand, very much. And yet the media elicits no sound. Was it not until recently completely different?

Pope Francis personally appointed, not surprisingly, Cardinal Walter Kasper to the Synod of the Bishops’ Synod on the Family, which starts in Rome on October 5.The purple wearing German theologian is regarded as the spokesman of a radical intervention against the sacrament of marriage. The indissolubility of marriage is to be torpedoed in the name of charity and to allow communion for remarried divorcees. For this purpose, a dialectical mechanism is employed, which will make Communion available “for all” in the future as well.  The formula is also one of the most radical attacks against the Catholic Church. It will be implicitly assumed by Kasper, that the previous 2000 years have been merciless to people.

Cardinal Danneels Appointed personally by Pope Francis to Synod

Far more surprising is the appointment of the Archbishop Emeritus of Mechelen-Brussels, Godfried Cardinal Danneels by Pope Francis. A search in the vastness of the Internet yielded only one article that deals critically with this appointment. This surprised not even the secular media, where not the slightest criticism is felt. Are all non-Catholic journalists become so papal, that they have chosen the statement “Who am I to judge” as the theme?

Was it so different between media and Danneels a few years ago?

2010, the then Primate of Belgium was drawn into the pedophilia scandal that rocked the country. Danneels was accused of having covered offenders. The articles published on this are legion. It was still then, since Pope Benedict XVI reigned in Rome that the media struck at every opportunity and tried to put the pressure on.

The climate of liberal-lascivious on the part of the Belgian church was then known. The media did not in any way draw a connection at the time between the liberal church order and criminal sexual debauchery. Danneels was not criticized as a liberal Church representatives. The aim was to put the Church and its teachings in the pillory. Danneels and his responsibility was not the addressee, but only a means to an end for the criticism of the Church. It was also symptomatic of the fact that Danneels successor, the “conservative” Archbishop Leonard received in 2010 just a few weeks after his inauguration received more punches from the Belgian media than the progressive Danneels in his entire 30 years in office.

Conclave 2013: In One Fell Swoop, Everything was Different

Even in 2013 on the eve of the conclave many media insisted on the exclusion of at least three voters. Among them was the emeritus archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels. Again was the campaign was not so much Danneels, but the Church, which was put under pressure before the conclave. The motto was blatantly: no Ratzinger II pontificate. Danneels retired with a serious look into the conclave and came out again with his face beaming. With the election of Pope Francis everything had changed in one fell swoop.

Just now Danneels was used as “proof” to place the church under a general suspicion of pedophilia, or even worse, criminal activity, because pedo-criminals were covered for. But on the day after the conclave, Danneels joined the Thanksgiving Mass of the newly elected Pope in the Sistine Chapel as the first cardinal priest to say a prayer.

The attacks were swept away at a stroke, as if  the  scandal headlines  incited in the media, the club-swinging modern non-religious moral high ground, the house searches in the archbishop’s palace, the seizure of mountains documents, even the impious desecration of Bishops graves by a media fueled, the out of control prosecutor and invading with crowbars police had never happened.

Target of the Media Campaign’s “Pedophilia Scandal” was Benedict XVI

All of a sudden ended the media storm over Danneels and another cardinal, who is very active on Twitter. “I never thought that yesterday’s appointment would have been made, if only out of respect for Benedict XVI., who was then the real target of the attacks,” said Chiesa e Postconcilio on Tuesday. From today’s perspective, it is inescapable in fact, that the media scandal that exploded in 2010 on the international level was not concerned with the claimed subject and even less about the victims. The media campaign, for such it was, had a very different target in sight: Pope Benedict XVI.

Today, since the German Pope is out of the race, each appointment is possible, even the most impossible and nobody even raises the slightest objection. What was that again with the victims, their fate had allegedly wept about by so many and so loudly on their as their chests swelled with moral indignation?

There were no secular or religious institutions that fought with such clarity and such emphasis against the scandalous phenomenon of pedophilia in its ranks, such as the Catholic Church was under Benedict XVI worldwide. Who cares!

Fight against Pontificate of Benedict XVI began on 19 April 2005

In fact, here the evidence is on the table, that the pontificate of the German Pope would have been totally different if the mass media and those who influence them (and who else everything outside and inside the Church) had not decided on 19 April 2005  to give him a low blow while playing the armchair generals. 

The personal appointment of Cardinal Danneels by Pope Francis to talk about the family, is one of those items that do not fit together. Or is it just a good match? Danneels, in 2005 was “shaken” on the evening of the election of Benedict XVI (Domenico Savino) and remained away from the traditional dinner of Cardinals for the newly elected Pope. In 2013 he was, according to his own admission, part of the electoral alliance that named Jorge Mario Bergoglio Pope. Despite secrecy, all of the Belgian media already knew on March 14, from Danneels report that he had voted for Bergoglio.

“Gay marriage” -Danneels May Now Cultivate the Family

The progressive attitude of the Belgian Cardinal is known also in terms of the sacrament of marriage and remarried divorcees. In June, barely three months after the conclave and one and a half months before the papal press conference on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro, Danneels called for the approval of “gay marriage”.



Is something owed by the Pope to the Cardinal? Or friends of the Cardinal? Or is it the common closeness of both Cardinals to the late Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, (+2012) who saw himself as the Ante-Pope? Whether Pope contender or no, the pun will have elegantly expressed, that Martini saw himself as a progressive anti-Pope to John Paul II, without explicitly saying so.




1. The mystery of Pope Francis: Was there a Vatican coup?

By Stephen Hayward, September 27, 2015

One thing that that has puzzled a lot of people since the selection of Pope Francis two years ago is how a left-leaning Pope could succeed two very serious conservative Popes—John Paul II and Benedict XVI—who you would have thought had stacked the ranks of the Cardinals with clergy that would perpetuate their theological and philosophical outlook.

Was Benedict hounded out of office by some kind of internal Vatican scandal perhaps? Was there some ecclesiastical version of a coup?

There’s no evidence that I’m aware of—until now. Three days ago the National Catholic Register ran a very curious article about the contents of a newly published authorized biography of retired Belgian cardinal Godfried Danneels. The Register article reports: [see Edward Pentin’s article on page 11]


5 of 76 readers’ comments

1. Interesting quote: “These men — Danneels, Van Luyn, Kasper, Lehman, and Hume, at least — all preside over dying churches.” It’s been noted anecdotally that American parishes that don’t stick faithfully (conservatively?) to Church doctrine tend to struggle with holding onto Catholics. Since these parishes tend to be run by less conservative, more liberal, flexible, “progressive” Catholics to begin with, they tend to see this as a sign the Church must modernize, become MORE liberal, more flexible, more progressive, etc. This, of course, takes them even further out of line with the Church and more convinced that the way to appeal to more people is to further change the entire Church.
However, to the surprise of many American Catholics, very traditional, conservative parishes, or parishes that become more traditional than they were, tend to flourish and gain strong and growing congregations. Go figure.

2. It’s not news that the treacherous Martini et al were a cabal of “progressive”, faithless churchmen who were/are intent on secularizing the Roman Catholic Church. They almost had the votes to foist Bergoglio on the Church in 2005, but failed. It does explain the election of the hapless Bergoglio in 2013, but it does not explain the resignation of BVI. I believe the conspiracy was much wider and it included many within the personal staff and in the wider Vatican staff who were supposed to serve as aides to Benedict. It is likely that the unfaithful progressive secularists were working on the Vatican staff level to make life impossible for Benedict.

3. I have truly wondered how this Pope came to be. He does not fit the mold, even remotely, of the previous Popes. This was not obvious at the beginning but the radicalism of Pope Francis is now there for everyone to see. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

4. I would suggest a couple of books by Malachi Martin:
1. Windswept House (a novel which posits Vatican ceremonies dedicated to Satan; shortly after its publication Martin died under mysterious circumstances.)
5. “Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church”, an account of the greatness and eventual corruption by worldly, leftist ideology of the Jesuit institution.



2. A conspiracy to elect Pope Francis? Don’t believe it.

By Phil Lawler, September 28, 2015

Did a powerful group of cardinals conspire to unseat Pope Benedict XVI and elect Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio—Pope Francis—in his place? That sensational claim has been circulating in conservative Catholic internet sites. But the available facts don’t support the sensational headlines.

Edward Pentin, a respected Vatican journalist, broke the story to the English-speaking world with 

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