…but never quite found the time, take yourself over to Crisis Magazine and read the excellent overview of the Francis Pontificate from Julia Meloni entitled, Francis Allies Reveal Their Plans for Revolutionary Change.
Here’s an excerpt, and yes, it’s all this well-written:
For Murphy-O’Connor and other mafia alumni, including Cardinals Kasper and Danneels, had expertly toured pre-conclave gatherings promoting Bergoglio. And according to Marco Politi, on the evening of March 9, Murphy-O’Connor had met with Cardinals Kasper, Coccopalmerio, Bertello, Nicola, and Tauran to strategize seeking the backing of others. It is unclear whether one of the Italians in the group was the “influential Italian gentleman” who asked then-Cardinal McCarrick to “talk up” Bergoglio, but both McCarrick and Coccopalmerio gave early interviews pushing for a “Latin American” pope.
On March 12, before the conclave’s start that evening, Murphy-O’Connor fell into step beside Bergoglio.
“Watch out, now it’s your turn,” Murphy-O’Connor said.
“I understand,” Bergoglio replied. He was calm, said Murphy-O’Connor, and “was aware that he was probably going to be a candidate going in.”
The next day, Pope Francis emerged at St. Peter’s Loggia flanked by Danneels, the mafia popemaker who had told a king to legalize abortion and a sexual abuse victim to seek forgiveness. A year later, Murphy-O’Connor boasted that a “Pandora’s box” had been opened and that the cardinals “did not know what a steely character [Bergoglio] was, they did not know that he was a Jesuit in very deep ways, they did not know who they were electing.”
For the new pope shared Martini’s “dream” of “permanent” synodality—permanent revolution, via synods, on “knots” such as marriage and sexuality. Murphy-O’Connor said Pope Francis told him how crucial synods were for enstructuring “collegiality”—mafia code for a decentralized Church authority. Eugenio Scalfari, too, said Francis told him how “long and difficult” Martini’s synodal road would be and how “gently, but firmly and tenaciously” he would need to proceed.
All this talk about long, inexorable marches sounded ominously Gramscian, ominously like a cultural Marxist “revolution by stealth.” When Humanae Vitae was released, Murphy-O’Connor let the leash out artfully, paying lip service to the “Vatican position” on contraception while dispensing “pastoral compassion” to dissenters. Later, amidst the family synods, he would let the leash extend again, saying that doctrine changes indirectly and could “develop” on adultery.
Long ago, Murphy-O’Connor and his mafia predecessor, Cardinal Basil Hume, received letters from Rome after saying “vaguely provocative things” about ordaining married men to the priesthood. Later, Hume would write a document on homosexuality in which he softened the “harsh” term “objectively disordered” and Murphy-O’Connor would crusade for “gay Masses,” calling them a “route back to the sacraments” with “rather better” music to boot.
In 2013, Murphy-O’Connor said how brilliant it was that Pope Francis had quipped, “Who am I to judge?”—a response to a question about Francis’s promotion of a clericwith a history of homosexual scandals. Historian Henry Sire argues that such patronage fits a “pattern”—one “well established” during Bergoglio’s time in Argentina—“whereby he surrounds himself with morally weak people so as to have them under his thumb.”
Asked, before the conclave, whether he would advise that the new pope be “free from any kind of taint of cover-up,” Murphy-O’Connor at one point said: “You’re not going to get a saint straight away, you know; we’re all sort of, we’re all sinners” (31:31). Murphy-O’Connor had himself covered up for a notorious abuser who went on to molest other young victims, some disabled. One of the priest’s confirmed victims claimed that when he abused her Murphy-O’Connor and others were present and involved—yet the CDF’s 2013 investigation into Murphy-O’Connor was stopped because it lacked Pope Francis’s approval. Sources for a respected Vaticanist claim that an angry Francis interrupted Cardinal Müller while he was saying Mass, ordering the investigation’s shutdown.
Murphy-O’Connor died in 2017, too soon to witness what lay beyond “four years of Bergoglio.” After five years of Francis, the pro-“LGBT” Fr. James Martin and alumni of the “gay Masses” were speaking officially at the World Meeting of Families—while Archbishop Viganò was claiming that Pope Francis had knowingly rehabilitated McCarrick and that Coccopalmerio was part of a “homosexual current” trying to subvert doctrine on homosexuality.
Make a note of all those links. Lots of people make claims about what has happened in and around the Francis pontificate, but documenting it at the granular level is an essential — and painstaking — part of the work. There are times I put together articles and spend about as much time finding links and connecting dots as I do on the actual writing. Meloni is thorough and to the point, and her work marks an excellent addition to the scholarship and journalism already being done on FrancisChurch.
Please read the whole thing. It’s very much worth your time, and it’s great to see such a hard-hitting piece at the magazine that launched my professional Catholic writing career over a decade ago.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.