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Scott P. Richert

The Pope Resigns: The Rest of the Story?

By February 24, 2013

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On Friday, I began the About Catholicism Newsletter (subscribe here) with these words:

Some troubling news about the possible reasons behind Pope Benedict's resignation is breaking in Italy. Look for my report in a special edition of this newsletter this weekend.

I wasn't trying to string readers along; I was still trying to make sense of the story published in the major Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica on Thursday, February 21. Too many things didn't add up—and, frankly, I didn't want them to add up.

By now, you have probably read a version of the story: In April 2012, Pope Benedict XVI had commissioned three cardinals, all over the age of 80 (an important detail, because it means that none would be able to vote in a future papal conclave), to prepare a report on the state of the Holy See. The cardinals presented the report to the Holy Father on December 17, 2012. There is only one copy, and it is in the possession of Pope Benedict.

Those are the facts that have been verified by the Press Office of the Holy See. But the La Repubblica story goes much further, making claims about the way in which the investigation was conducted, the contents of the report, and—most explosively—the role that the report may have had in convincing Pope Benedict to resign the papacy.

I first became aware of the report on Thursday morning, when I received the daily bulletin from the Vatican Information Service. Under the headline "Pope's Final Activities, Possibility of a Motu Proprio, Relationship With the Society of St. Pius X," the final paragraph read:

In conclusion, [Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office] confirmed that the Commission of Cardinals (Julian Herranz, Jozef Tomko, and Salvatore De Giorgi) set up by the Holy Father to prepare a report on the Holy See has made its results known exclusively to the Pope. The cardinals will not grant interviews or otherwise comment on the results.

The paragraph seemed to have nothing to do with the rest of the story, and I immediately suspected that Father Lombardi was responding to a story in the Italian press. Later that day, my suspicion was confirmed with I received the February 21, 2013, installment of "The Moynihan Letters," an occasional newsletter sent out by Robert Moynihan, the founder and editor-in-chief of Inside the Vatican.

The title of this newsletter was "Blackmail," and the introduction was nothing short of horrifying:

Today a veil of secrecy was shredded in this eternal city.
Today therefore marked the beginning of a difficult, important struggle for the purification of the government of the Church desired for so many years by Joseph Ratzinger.
We were given a glimpse today into some of the reasons, previously unknown, that prompted Pope Benedict XVI to announce his resignation on February 11, to take effect February 28, in seven days, reasons that apparently “overwhelmed his spirit within him” and “made his heart desolate.”
It is a story that in many ways seems the plot of a novel.
It is a story of blackmail and betrayal at the highest levels of the Church, and, allegedly, of a homosexual lobby organized within the Vatican to influence and obtain important decisions.

Rob Moynihan is a sensible fellow who has spent much of his life as a reporter and editor for Catholic publications in Rome. For him to write such lines, with very few qualifications (just one "apparently" and one "allegedly") indicated that the story was serious and, just as importantly, one that he apparently believed.

What was that story? According to La Repubblica, in the wake of the "Vatileaks" affair, the commission of the three cardinals was given unprecedented authority to conduct an investigation of the papal court, the Curia. They were even allowed to interview fellow cardinals.

In the course of the investigation, La Repubblica claims, the cardinals discovered certain patterns that indicated the existence of a homosexual lobby within the Curia, whose members "are being subjected to ‘external influence’—we would say blackmail—from laypeople to whom they are linked by ties of a ‘worldly nature.’" These allegations of homosexual activity, as well as claims of financial impropriety, La Repubblica claims, are documented in the report, which ran to 300 pages. Pope Benedict, the newspaper says, had been considering resigning the papacy; upon receiving the report, he made up his mind to do just that.

Horrifying revelations, if true; and Rob Moynihan seemed to believe them to be. Still, something bothered me. Why wasn't this story being picked up by the left-wing newspapers in the United States? Moynihan's newsletter had come out Thursday night (I received it at 5:46 P.M. CST), which meant that the La Repubblica story had been out for 20 hours or more. Yet the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times—all were silent. Surely none of them had decided to give the Catholic Church a break for a change.

On the other hand, how would they cover the story? Obviously, for Catholics who are faithful to the teaching of the Catholic Church, allegations of a significant homosexual lobby within the Curia are devastating. But for the New York Times, significant homosexual influence within the Church would most likely be a cause for celebration.

And that got me thinking: Among Italian dailies, La Repubblica is closer in substance to the New York Times and the Washington Post. (Moynihan describes it as "center-left" and "secular humanist.") How, exactly, was it that someone who had seen the commission's report to Pope Benedict chose to leak its contents to the New York Times of Italy? Presumably, the purpose of the leak would be to influence in some way the coming papal conclave; but anyone who was on the side of the alleged homosexual lobby would want to keep this information out of the public eye. Those who would stand to gain by its release would be more "conservative" elements in the Church. But surely, then, going to La Repubblica wouldn't make much sense. Why not, for instance, leak the information to a respected conservative Vaticanist such as Sandro Magister?

And so, on Friday morning, as I was putting the finishing touches on my newsletter, I didn't know what to do. The story was out there, and it was now making its way into English-language publications (primarily in the United Kingdom); but something smelled fishy. I decided to wait a little longer before covering it; thus my note in the newsletter.

I'm glad I did. Late Friday night CST (early Saturday morning, Rome time), Rob Moynihan sent out another newsletter, this time entitled "Stop." He had come at it from a different direction than I had—he has more contacts in Rome, after all—but in the first part of the new newsletter, it seemed that he had come to similar conclusions. There was little reason, he decided, to believe that anything in the article was better than "second-hand information," and he pointed to one assertion—the claim of one final public audience for Pope Benedict on February 28—that simply cannot be true.

And yet, at the end of the newsletter, Moynihan offers four reasons why, despite all of this, he had given any credibility to the La Repubblica article. I won't go over them here; you can read them for yourself in the newsletter, which is online.

I'd like to offer another reason, though, why he might have been willing to believe the worst, because (I suspect) it's the reason why I was willing to believe the worst: We don't want to see Pope Benedict go.

It's as simple as that. We're fearful for the future. After the death of Pope John Paul II, we didn't know what to expect. The Church has been under siege by the modern world not just for decades now, but for centuries. And, at times, too many high-ranking prelates have seemed willing to follow the winds of change, rather than to hold tight to the Cross.

On April 19, 2005, when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected the 265th pope, I felt relieved, as if the Church had dodged a bullet. It wouldn't surprise me if Rob Moynihan felt the same way, too. And now, in the wake of Pope Benedict's decision to resign, it feels as if we didn't necessarily dodge the bullet; it's just taken its sweet time in coming.

But that is the wrong way to look at the upcoming papal conclave, and at the history of the Church in general. Either the Catholic Church is what we profess it to be—a divine institution, founded by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, even as it is made up of all-too-fallible human beings—or it isn't. There's no in-between.

If the Church is what Rob Moynihan and I—and every faithful Catholic out there—profess it to be, then we don't need to worry about dodging a bullet. Indeed, such worries are a sign that our faith is not as strong as it should be. The Holy Spirit is in charge, and Christ Himself promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church that He founded on the rock of Peter's faith.

I strongly suspect now that the La Repubblica article is, as the Vatican Secretariat of State declared on Saturday, one in a series of "unverified, unverifiable, or even completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions" designed "to influence the election of the Pope . . . through public opinion, which is often based on judgements that do not capture the typically spiritual aspect of this moment that the Church is living."

Even if, however, there is some truth in the La Repubblica article, we do not need to worry, because the fate of the Church rests not in the reports of an Italian newspaper or in the weight of public opinion but in the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

So, for anyone whom I may have upset with my words at the beginning of Friday's newsletter, let me offer my sincere apology. Mea culpa; mea culpa; mea maxima culpa.

And let me end with the final paragraph of the Saturday communique from the Vatican Secretariat of State, which sums up the situation better than I ever could:

Never before as at this moment are Catholics focusing on what is essential: praying for Pope Benedict, praying that the Holy Spirit might enlighten the College of Cardinals, and praying for the future Pope, confident that the future of the barque of Peter is in God's hands.

More on Pope Benedict's Resignation:

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Comments
February 24, 2013 at 5:32 pm
(1) Bernard Law says:

Love the line “Too many things didn’t add up—and, frankly, I didn’t want them to add up.”

You’d hate to actually “Seek the turth”, which is what God wants you to do. You’d rather just sit back and believe what the Catholic church tells you to believe, even if involves practices that don’t follow What Jesus Would Do. Even if it involves criminal, pedophilia problems.

You’ve learned well from the Catholics, but not from God and Jesus.

February 24, 2013 at 5:36 pm
(2) Kirt Higdon says:

I always like Pope Benedict and I’m sorry to see him go, but not the least bit fearful for the future of the Church. As far as the gossip mill is concerned, the Italian newspaper in question has a reputation for anti-Catholic attacks, and smearing the Church for harboring secret sodomites has long been a favorite tactic of anti-Catholic groups, even (perhaps especially) those who are pro-sodomy themselves. Unfortunately, these are abetted by some Catholic conservatives. I’m reminded of a book and author whom I won’t name here which claimed that Pope Paul VI and Pope Benedict himself were secret homosexuals. I dropped by subscription to a Catholic magazine which had picked up these slanders and was running with them in every issue.

February 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm
(3) Chuck says:

Well written and informative. It is always a good reminder that our faith is grounded in Jesus’ promises and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Thanks

February 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm
(4) Hector Molina says:

Mr. Richert. It would be a big mistake to dismiss the suspicions of the existence of a homosexual “mafia” in the church as hearsay. Publications such as the”New York Times” have not picked up on the story because they are afraid that faithful Catholics and pious Christans all over the world will take a closer look at their subversive activities. “The smoke of Satan has entered the church”, and the existence of a homosexual network in the church would explain many things, such as the “silent apostasy”, the sexual abuse scandals (which some directly attribute to homosexuality), and even the liturgical abuses in the New Mass. We are not doubting our faith or the Church by giving serious attention to the possibility of a “homo-mafia” in the Curia. Rather, we are protecting our faith (and the children) by opening up a dialogue which may possibly lead to increased prayers and activity on the part of clergymen and lay people to defrock ANY homosexual clergy.

February 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm
(5) Mojisola Ladipo says:

The Western media, unfortunately, and in the name of people’s right to know had, for decades declared war on Christianity, even Jesus Christ. Our Lord had been portrayed in films as a homosexual and worse. He has not ceased to be Lord of all. Their virulent attack on His Church and all it stands for was foretold by our Lord. The Catholic Church will outlive them all. So said Christ its founder. And I believe. End of story.

February 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm
(6) Itaguyod Ang Buhay says:

“If the Church is what Rob Moynihan and I—and every faithful Catholic out there—profess it to be, then we don’t need to worry about dodging a bullet. Indeed, such worries are a sign that our faith is not as strong as it should be. The Holy Spirit is in charge, and Christ Himself promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church that He founded on the rock of Peter’s faith.”

Indeed! No matter how much we want to protect the Church from the deceptions of the Evil one, the Church, let us not forget, is an organization of human beings, of angels without wings, and therefore, subject to temptations and to sin. To look at the Church as a perfect institution, is dreaming with eyes open. Expect always the unexpected. Otherwise, we are not being realistic. However, Jesus Christ promised that no matter what the Church encounters, the deceptions of darkness can and will never prosper, can and will never succeed. Let us cling to this promise of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the only thing that will never fail.

February 24, 2013 at 6:15 pm
(7) Tom Blackburn says:

“We’re fearful for the future. After the death of Pope John Paul II, we didn’t know what to expect. The Church has been under siege by the modern world not just for decades now, but for centuries.”

From a Web site that claims to be Catholic? I know you walked this comment back later in the piece, but you are talking about a frightened goose stance that goes back to the death of JPII. My goodness! Look it up. Matthew 1l6:18 does not end with “build my church.” (And Peter shows up in this very morning’s Gospel as a bit of a goof again.)

Matthew continues: “and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it.” If you don’t believe that, you really are a frightened goose. As your favorite pope might say, Be not afraid. Yes, there are more bullets coming. We will dodge them. Jesus predicted as much.

February 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm
(8) Fred says:

“Bernard Law”,
You are clearly adding your own interpretion to Scott’s comments. You apparently take Scott’s meaning to be that he just wants to bury his head in the sand and pretend that the Catholic Church (composed of people, clerics and laity alike), does not have have members who commit sin. The existence of sin in the Church, does not disprove the divine character of the Church. Christ clearly taught that His Church would be composed of ‘wheat and weeds’. Scott is merely saying that because homosexual activites are sinful according to the teaching of the Church, that he hopes the unconfirmed rumors are untrue. What’s wrong with that? As far that Scott (or anyone else for that matter, is) ‘sitting back and believing everything the Catholic Church tells him/them to believe, even if it involves criminal pedophilia problems’… What are you talking about? Just where does the Catholic Church tell faithful Catholics to believe this? My Catechism, says that these things are gravely sinful, regardless of who commits them. Peace. – A Catholic Convert (former Evangelical).

February 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm
(9) Clara Schoppe says:

Let us Thank God for Blessed John Paul II the Great, for the great Pope Benedict XVI, and for our new Holy Father. Let us study our Catechism of the Catholic Church, as our Holy Father asked us to do during this Year of Faith. Let us go to Mass (daily when possible) where we can hear the Scriptures, hear our priest’s Homily based on same, and receive the Eucharist. Let us pray for and support our local Bishop and our Parish Priest and one another. And let us “Be not afraid”, as we live our Faith in this secular-humanist, morally relativistic world. What have we got to lose?

February 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm
(10) Larry says:

Scott,
There may be a number of things that need to be addressed that may seem beyond the capabilities of a man like Pope Benedict whose health looks to be failing. I believe Pope Benedict feels like he needs to step down because of his health and he is not going to list his various ailments to prove it. Whether we have a conservative Pope or a liberal one makes no difference to me because the selection will be guided from above and so to the labor of the new Holy Father. I think we will get another wonderful Pope who will continue to heal the wounds of the past couple decades. What I am worried about are the people who are looking for a Pope who will be aligned with their positions and ready to “raise hell” if he isn’t. And I suppose I am angered by the people who continue to comment with venom regardless of the discussion. I think if you said something about a Catholic cake recipe they would twist it around to something hateful. I wish you would eliminate such comments because frankly they don’t deserve to be posted because they are not even responding to your post. It’s kind of like the people who post their adds in the comment sections.

February 24, 2013 at 7:32 pm
(11) Salvy says:

Some facts: Jesus will always be the head of his church…The Catholic Church has had a few pretty bad popes in it’s long history who were evidently following the Unholy spirit..
My opinion: The mainstream media is the Anti-Christ, or if it isn’t it may as well be.

February 24, 2013 at 10:14 pm
(12) humblewriter says:

Has anyone ever heard of the Marian Movement of Priests started by Fr. Gobbi in the 1970s? In his beautiful revelations, Fr. Gobbi described the error, the apostasy and the “filth” that had infiltrated our Church. John Paul ll supported him and his movement. However, he all those who followed him were shunned as being reactionaries. Perhaps we should now consider him and his followers as visionaries. Although i do not believe that our Holy Father’s resignation is based on this problem, I do believe the problem exists and it is now the Time that we should all look at it rather than continue sweeping it under the rug. If you have not done so, read Michael Rose’s book: Goodbye, Good Men. We are at a Crossroads.

February 24, 2013 at 10:48 pm
(13) Michael says:

Scott, thanks for another great post and for all you do at About.com. We are all sad that our shepherd is stepping down, but I know we are going to be blessed with a wonderful new pope.
All the naysayers can say what they may, but the Holy Spirit will have the last Word!

February 25, 2013 at 12:12 am
(14) Katlego says:

I don’t see what the big deal is, its obvious that gay people are present in the clergy starting from our priests, even some bishops are aware of that, its a fact we can’t deny or run away from, they’ll always be there.

February 25, 2013 at 12:52 am
(15) Héctor Molina says:

Katlego,
The problem is that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil. A priest who is also an active homosexual cannot properly fulfill the role of a “father” to his faithful if his self identity is compromised. Even though it may seem like “they’ll always be there”, I hope that the problem of homosexual clergymen will be addressed by a strong Pope who will face the problem head on, and start a purge from the top-down.

February 25, 2013 at 4:18 am
(16) Maria says:

To deny that there is A LOT TRUTH in this report is to simply stick your head in the sand. Even the Pope has said how filthy the church is from within and everyone knows that the Pope has more enemies in the Vatican then anywhere else. Whether or not this is the reason fro his resignation??? The fact is that the homosexuals are a very powerful group is fact and they are helped by the government and the dissidents in the church. Wake up people …. The horrible situation in the Catholic church (loss of faith, relativism, abortion , same sex marriage etc are approved by more than half of the so called Catholics. Why because many of the leaders have taught heresy, are disobedient etc. If you do not acknowledge that you are in the dark or party to the promotion of all the muck. Pops Benedict is a holy man and if you read what he has been saying for the last few years he has been telling us of the evil inside the church who is our worst enemy.

February 25, 2013 at 7:23 am
(17) Lionel J. Foster says:

I respectfully submit that you drug out the story way to long, just to say you don’t believe the scandal is real. Second, we Catholic must stop excepting as true every negative news release on our faith. We are our own tormentors by doing so. CNN just posted a report on the Vatican’s alleged sexual scandal, and it is much different than the story you described. But it sell to Catholic haters. Say a Rosary and get a good nights rest.

February 25, 2013 at 8:17 am
(18) Diane Pascaretti says:

Lionel, You are right on with your last comment. The Rosary and Scapular are Heavens Weapons and we need to start using them much more. Please folks remember Our Blessed Mother warned us time and again that the Church would descend into darkness and that we need to Pray Sacrifice and teach our children the true faith.
I would be happy to supply a Rosary and Scapular to anyone who would request one.
This is how we the faithful will suceed in bringing the Church back into the Light of Truth. The devil hates Prayer. Say a Rosary as often as you can. Mother Mary is our Battle Queen and St Michael our Protector.
Don’t waste your time Pray much. Time is short.

February 25, 2013 at 9:34 am
(19) Alf says:

Either the Catholic Church is what we profess it to be—a divine institution, founded by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, even as it is made up of all-too-fallible human beings—or it isn’t. There’s no in-between.

- Yes it is.

Simply, the failings of fallible human beings should remind and affirm why we need God. To me, it is forever held in the words ” pray for us sinners ” when we pray to Mary.

February 25, 2013 at 9:50 am
(20) margaret says:

Scott…you are totally missing and dismissing the truth…check this out and it will tell you what you are dealing with. http://www.churchmilitant.tv/documents/vort-2013-02-22.pdf

February 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm
(21) Diane says:

The Catholic church is at a crossroads. With the recent widespread scandals that continually unfold in all parts of the world with pedophile priests it became known it was the gatekeepers the cardinals and bishops who allowed this evil to go on. Were they too sometimes involved in this horrible abuse of children? Who are we to trust? If homosexual priests are a problem why not allow priests to marry? I have been told it is because the church does not want the financial burden of supporting a priest and family. Well, they have quite a burden now in paying for lawsuits from victims of abuse. Not all pedophiles are homosexuals but if we try to attract men to the priesthood who want to marry maybe we will attract more who are normal in sexual orientation. Something needs to change because many are walking away from the church. AND I am not someone who believes women should be priests. I think celibacy should be an option not a rule
And so does Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland:
In an interview with the BBC, he said there were some elements of Catholic teaching which were “basic dogmatic belief” – such as opposition to abortion and euthanasia. But the proscription against priest’s marrying was not one of them.

“For example the celibacy of the clergy, whether priests should marry – Jesus didn’t say that,” O’Brien said. “There was a time when priests got married, and of course we know at the present time in some branches of the church – in some branches of the Catholic church – priests can get married, so that is obviously not of divine of origin and it could get discussed again

February 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm
(22) Reginald W. Smith says:

Margaret,

I just saw that too. Now I’m really confused as to what is really going on within the Vatican.

- Reg.

February 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm
(23) Scott P. Richert says:

Margaret, you know that article to be true because . . . ?

February 25, 2013 at 4:45 pm
(24) Margaret says:

Scott. .. Are you kidding me? Did you read it completely? It is obvious. The only reason the Ny times etc are not running with this story is because it is the truth. To deny it is to be naive at best. Revealing the truth is the only way we will stop the abuses.

February 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm
(25) Margaret says:

Check out the vortex at churchmilitanttv.com. to hear more about this issue . Seriously Scott, you owe it to yourself and to your readers to not trivialize this issue.

February 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm
(26) Scott P. Richert says:

Margaret, you do realize that you didn’t answer my question, don’t you? Anyone can write anything, or record himself saying anything while waving a pencil in the air. That doesn’t mean that what is written or said is necessarily true—by which I don’t mean that it is necessarily a lie, but possibly simply mistaken.

February 25, 2013 at 5:29 pm
(27) Margaret says:

Scott… You think it is not true because …..

February 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm
(28) Margaret says:

Scott the article is widely published. It’s author is widely
known in Poland. The article came to me via my
Parish priest whom I trust very deeply. He is Polish
as well. The author is a priest at the pontifical university
In Krakow. It is a very lengthy read with footnotes that are
over twelve pages long. Check out what Michael Vortis has to say about this matter on church militant tv. He is confirming it as well.

February 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm
(29) Scott P. Richert says:

“Scott… You think it is not true because …..”

You do understand that the burden of proof lies on the person making the claim, don’t you?

As for the fact that the article is widely published, what does that prove? Perhaps no claim in recent history has been more widely published than that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction.” And yet he didn’t. Falsehoods are just as likely to be “widely published” as truths—perhaps more so.

As for Michael Voris’s “confirmation” of the matter, repeating something is not the same as confirming it.

February 25, 2013 at 6:12 pm
(30) Becca says:

When you write, “If the Church is what Rob Moynihan and I—and every faithful Catholic out there—profess it to be, then we don’t need to worry about dodging a bullet. Indeed, such worries are a sign that our faith is not as strong as it should be. The Holy Spirit is in charge, and Christ Himself promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church that He founded on the rock of Peter’s faith,” I want to stand up and shout Halleluiah. Catholics and non-Catholics who believe the man chosen for St. Peter’s chair would turn the Church on it’s ear have never read the Catholic Catechism. The Pope does not create the laws of our church, he just clarifies and supports them.

February 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm
(31) Scott P. Richert says:

And now, Margaret, let’s return to the point of this post. La Repubblica made specific claims about the content of the commission’s report. I explain in this post why I doubt that La Repubblica would have had access to that report, and thus why I doubt that the newspaper can accurately portray its content. I stand by that analysis.

Let’s say that the article you pointed to is entirely correct. How does that prove that a) La Repubblica had access to the report prepared by the commission of cardinals; or that b) La Repubblica‘s characterization of the contents of that report is accurate?

It doesn’t; it can’t. That’s a matter of simple logic.

Our exchange reminds me of an email I received earlier today from someone who claimed that the La Repubblica article was true because she had read Michael Rose’s Goodbye, Good Men. But even if everything that Rose wrote in that book is entirely true, that fact would not mean that anything that La Repubblica wrote was true.

If you can’t understand why, then I’m afraid you’ll never understand the point of my piece, which was not to “dismiss” or “trivialize” the question of homosexual clergy (including in high places), but to address the specific question of whether La Repubblica‘s story deserve our credence, especially in light of specific denials issued over the past few days by the Vatican Secretariat of State and now today by Pope Benedict himself.

February 25, 2013 at 7:17 pm
(32) Margaret says:

Scott. I am not trying to dismiss your reasoning that no one else had access to the dorsier contents but rather from your article,I got the impression that you were implying that there was no truth to the content of their being a homosexual issue within the church,particularly within the church leaders. I am simply trying to get you to look at the issue deeper. We have lost so many Catholics over these scandals involving abuse. It is time to put out there why they have been allowed to continue. The Church itself is not evil but there are members within who are corrupt and living double , false lives. I have contacted Church militant tv to get verification as to how they authenticated that paper and will let you know as soon as I find out. I appreciate what you are trying to do but I think we would all benefit from a deeper analysis !

February 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm
(33) Héctor Molina says:

Indeed, I agree with Margaret, Mr Richert. Your article made it sound as if you really did not want to even imagine the posibility of a homosexual network in the Vatican. I respect your opinion if you choose not to believe in such a possibility, but I hope you understand how your article sounded to us.

February 25, 2013 at 9:40 pm
(34) Scott P. Richert says:

“Your article made it sound as if you really did not want to even imagine the posibility of a homosexual network in the Vatican.”

Héctor, I would humbly submit that if you want to imagine the possibility of a homosexual network in the Vatican, something is very wrong. No Catholic should want to imagine that possibility; that, however, is very different from being willing to acknowledge its reality—if, indeed, it were proved to be real.

And that is precisely the point: What La Repubblica has published does not prove such a network to be real, because there is no evidence that a) La Repubblica has seen the commission’s report; or b) that La Repubblica has accurately described the contents of that report. Indeed, both the Vatican Secretary of State and now Pope Benedict himself have declared it not to be so.

February 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm
(35) Hector Molina says:

The remark you quoted was meant to simply point out that you are very close to coming right out and saying that there is a ZERO possibility of such an event taking place.
I am maintaining that the existence of such a possibility needs to be investigated and openly discussed. And no, I am not undermining the Church or it’s authority over us in doing so.

“Our exchange reminds me of an email I received earlier today from someone who claimed that the La Repubblica article was true because she had read Michael Rose’s Goodbye, Good Men. But even if everything that Rose wrote in that book is entirely true, that fact would not mean that anything that La Repubblica wrote was true” – Scott P. Richert

If an independent, credible source corroborates the story on a second, unverified source, then it stands that AT THE VERY LEAST you would need to take another look at the issue.

I am surprised to see that you made an ad hominem attack. Dissapointing.

February 25, 2013 at 11:32 pm
(36) Scott P. Richert says:

“The remark you quoted was meant to simply point out that you are very close to coming right out and saying that there is a ZERO possibility of such an event taking place.”

In other words, the remark I quoted was meant simply to put words in my mouth. Please don’t waste your time doing that, Héctor; I’m perfectly capable of saying exactly what I mean, without you saying that I mean something else.

“If an indepedent, credible source corroborates the story on a second, unverified source, then it stands that AT THE VERY LEAST you would need to take another look at the issue.”

To quote The Princess Bride, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Neither Michael Rose’s book nor the article Margaret linked to can “corroborate” La Repubblica‘s claim to know what is in the report delivered by the commission of cardinals to Pope Benedict XVI. This has nothing to do with denying reality, or sticking my head in the sand, or whatever else you decide I’ve done wrong. It has everything to do with logic, and reason, and the plain meaning of words.

To “corroborate” La Repubblica‘s claim that it knows and has accurately represented the content of the report, Michael Rose’s book and the article would have to prove that they have detailed knowledge of the report as well. Neither of them makes that claim, nor could they, since both were published before the report existed.

If you cannot understand that, Héctor, then I’m afraid that there’s not much more that I can say. My post dealt with a specific news item—an article in La Repubblica on Thursday that claimed to have specific knowledge of the report given to Pope Benedict, and claimed furthermore to divulge that specific knowledge—and why I became convinced that it was very unlikely that La Repubblica had such knowledge.

February 25, 2013 at 11:35 pm
(37) margaret says:

Scott….The authenticity of the article has been well documented at http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/02/fr-dariusz-okos-major-article-with-pope.html

February 25, 2013 at 11:45 pm
(38) Scott P. Richert says:

Margaret, I have never claimed that Father Oko’s article isn’t “authentic,” though I suspect that you mean something different by that word than what it actually means. I have no doubt that Father Oko wrote it, any more than I have that La Repubblica published the article it did on Thursday. (La Repubblica‘s article is authentic, too!)

But that does not mean that Father Oko’s article proves that La Repubblica‘s claim to have detailed knowledge of the report delivered to Pope Benedict is true.

You can provide a hundred articles by a hundred different priests, all of them authentic, but unless one of those articles can offer evidence of the truth of La Repubblica‘s specific claim—that it knows what is in the report delivered to Pope Benedict on December 17—none of them has any bearing on what I wrote.

February 25, 2013 at 11:36 pm
(39) Rickie says:

“The Holy Spirit is in charge, and Christ Himself promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church that He founded on the rock of Peter’s faith.”

I’m Catholic and correct me if I’m wrong but I would like to point out to Mr. Scott that Christ founded the Church on the Rock which points exactly to St. Peter not on his faith. Speaking that Christ founded the Church on St. Peter’s faith sounds very protestant as this is how they take Mt 16:18-19.

February 25, 2013 at 11:52 pm
(40) Scott P. Richert says:

Rickie, perhaps you should write a letter to Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who wrote the Prayer for a New Pope which is currently being recited after every Mass in Catholic churches across the United States. The second line of the prayer reads, “Good Shepherd, who founded your Church on the rock of Peter’s faith and have never left . . . “

February 26, 2013 at 12:20 am
(41) Margaret says:

Sorry Scott. I am not trying to contradict your reasoning that perhaps the article in the Italian newspaper, claiming to know the content of the secret document, can’t be true but rather I am asking you to recognize that the important issue is not the validity of their claim to having inside knowledge but rather that this issue is in fact a very real and serious concern for the Catholic Church. It is a time of cleansing which is long overdue. Perhaps you could bring yourself to confront the truth of this possibility and write an article informing your readers as to the truth that you find ?

February 26, 2013 at 9:08 am
(42) Scott P. Richert says:

Margaret, perhaps this is the first piece of mine that you have read, but it is far from the first piece I’ve ever written. I’ve been a journalist and commentator for almost a quarter of a century, and I have written about the clerical sexual abuse scandal in various publications (especially Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, of which I am executive editor, and the national Catholic weekly The Wanderer) since 2002. I have been writing for this site since 2007; you can easily find my earlier articles by using the search box in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

At no time have I shirked from examining the homosexual element in the abuse scandal, even though I have been attacked for doing so, and I have discussed at great length the role that Pope Benedict XVI played, starting in the mid-1980′s as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in fighting what he has accurately described as the “filth” in the Church.

None of that, however, is relevant to the question at hand, and we not only do a disservice to the cause of truth but we sin against charity when we assume that every detail of every story spread by every newspaper with an ax to grind against the Catholic Church must be true, because it accords with our preconceived notions of the state of the Church today.

That is the point of this piece, and indeed of my mea culpa in the piece. Even knowing better, I jumped to the assumption that the La Repubblica was most likely true, before examining the specific claim—that the paper knew the content of the report—critically. Having finally examined it as I should have at the beginning, I now believe that the Vatican Secretariat of State and the Holy Father himself are telling the truth.

February 26, 2013 at 9:26 am
(43) lydia says:

this is the very reason why so many people are converting to Islam

February 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm
(44) Karl Keating says:

Please note: The Hector Molina who has posted several comments here is not the Hector Molina who is a staff apologist at Catholic Answers.

February 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm
(45) Salvy says:

Ohhh…Mr. Keating! The one and only Karl Keating president of Catholic Answers Live I assume! You never know who might be out there reading your stuff on the internet. Scott, you know you’ve arrived!

February 26, 2013 at 2:18 pm
(46) margaret says:

Scott…not the first time I have read your writings..Be Not Afraid! God Bless.

February 26, 2013 at 5:28 pm
(47) Salvy says:

By the way, Mr.Keating, while it’s our honor to have you here…isn’t it about time again for Scott to make another guest appearance on Catholic Answers Live? No, Scott didn’t have to pay me me 20 bucks or anything–just a fawning fan.

February 26, 2013 at 7:32 pm
(48) Hector Molina says:

February 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm(44) Karl Keating says:
Please note: The Hector Molina who has posted several comments here is not the Hector Molina who is a staff apologist at Catholic Answers.

Duly noted. I’m not trying to impersonate that person. This is in fact my real name. Weird coincidence.

Scott, I didn’t mean to start petty bickering. I feel strongly about the Crisis in the Church and want to see the enemies of the church defeated.
God Bless

February 27, 2013 at 7:30 am
(49) JudKast says:

We are at the precipice of end times as we know them. The power and principality of this world (Satan) knows his time is short and is orchestrating as much havoc as possible against the Catholic Church and other denominations. Pray for the next pope – many believe that this pope is the one that is predicted as the “Evil pope) – hard to say but let’s hope that the Holy Spirit leads and protects the Church.

February 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm
(50) Salvy says:

How much does anyone want to bet that if this next pope turns out to be a bad and self-serving Pope, he’ll tip his hand right away by sitting down to a nice gourmet meal with Obama, and then tell the world how much he admires Obama for going after–mind you– not the armed criminals and gang members, but the constitutional 2nd ammendment rights of every law-abiding American?

February 28, 2013 at 7:04 am
(51) Angel says:

Thanks Sccott, is clear we are facing the times of the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, probably during the next two decades, so everybody must stand up towards the building of Civitas Dei.

February 28, 2013 at 9:01 am
(52) Salvy says:

Angel good lady, this is in no way to castigate you because I know you’re a sweetheart and mean well.
This term “Roman” that’s been universally used for so long in description with the Catholic Church has bothered me for a long time.
First, I know it’s used publicly by a lot of sneaky and underhanded people who have an ax to grind with the Catholic Church and all what it brings from the Vatican, the Papacy and on down to the priests and everything else that they’re jealous of and they hate.
These people always make sure to use the term Roman Catholic because they know this makes the church sound mainly provincial and not the universal and wholistic faith which it really is. The term Roman really does sound provincial which is why I never really liked it.
Now, we can go into all the history which I don’t care to spend the time on. You can write a whole treatise on this issue.
So, to cut a real long story short, here, I’ll leave you with this:
People like Fathers Mitch Pacwa and Benedict Groeschel on EWTN plus many others don’t much care for that” Roman” label either when it comes to saying Roman Catholic Church. Simply Catholic is just fine–it means universal as just about every one here knows.
I’ve also heard Father Mitch when discussing this say a couple times that at the Vatican they officially stamp their documents with “The Church of Jesus Christ.” To me nothing says it better than that.

February 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm
(53) Henry says:

Why can’t the press just take our Holy Father at his word and stop analyzing his words and stop looking for a hidden meaning? I read stuff like Catholics worldwide are reeling over Pope Benedicts announcement. What? Who’s reeling? He’s the Pope (well not anymore) I suppose he can choose to retire if he wants or thinks it necessary. He doesn’t report to any human foir approval.
I also have to disagree with your statement Scott when you stated “Christ Himself promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church that He founded on the rock of Peter’s faith.” That sounds just a little protestant. Jesus said to Peter “You are Rock and upon this Rock….” The Rock that Jesus is talking about is the Apostle Peter, not his profession of faith.

February 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm
(54) Scott P. Richert says:

Henry, thanks for your comment. As I told Rickie above, “perhaps you should write a letter to Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who wrote the Prayer for a New Pope which is currently being recited after every Mass in Catholic churches across the United States. The second line of the prayer reads, ‘Good Shepherd, who founded your Church on the rock of Peter’s faith and have never left . . . ‘”

February 28, 2013 at 6:03 pm
(55) Salvy says:

Man, you talk about a question of semantics…You can argue about this rock of Peter all day long. That would be interesting to hear Archbishop Lori break down this matter theologically.
I’ve heard a couple world renowned non-catholic Christian scholars say that the rock of Peter really encompasses the the OT prophets along with Peter and the rest of the apostles. St. Peter, the one and only, got the keys thrown to him no doubt.

March 1, 2013 at 11:36 am
(56) Henry says:

Thanks Scott. Maybe I will. Any chance I could email him?

March 15, 2013 at 6:58 am
(57) visitacion leticia s. de alban says:

Nothing new! Despite all these imperfections and inconsistencies, that all these irregularities were discovered only means that God is alive and that we should begin to see our role in society.

So if 1,000,000 cardinals made mistakes of the worst sins, it does not at all affect my faith. It only makes me stronger and believe that I must pray when ever possible because I am human and is capable of commiting the worst mistakes and sins if the grace of God is not with me.

I am praying for our new pope Pope Francis and also of Pope Benedict. God bless!

April 12, 2013 at 4:25 am
(58) Noel says:

No matter how divine we perceive the Modern Catholic Church to be, it was said that the devil would infiltrate the church…which he did a long time ago. We must rely heavily on our own hearts, as much as we can rely on our true comrades in christ.

Homosexuality is a perversion extended onto lust, and lust is modern man’s greatest sin along with self benefiting and unimportant idolatry; which is my educated guess. Worshipping women, materialism and our “role models/idols” who use money for their own gains. Man can be easily swayed by sin and the misfortune that accompanies it.

Remember the word of our savior, who speaks of those who administer the law in MARK 12. They are not to be trusted.

I say this as in having credible evidence, being that my own priest had confided in me in his ill-doings towards materialistic power and false authoritative rights. At least he is aware of it, and at least he knows deep down that we are all the same…none as holy as my mother Mary, or as glorious as my Trinity of God.

I have seen the signs of my mother Mary, which she promises us through prayer of the rosary. Please pray on the mysteries and mean it with all your heart.

My brothers, please hold fast with me.

October 9, 2013 at 5:42 am
(59) Andrew, Canterbury, UK says:

“smearing the Church for harboring secret sodomites has long been a favorite tactic of anti-Catholic groups”

Not a smear when it’s the plain and simple truth. The longer Catholics sweep their sins under the carpet, the longer before the Church regains respect.

Your church, your choice – but how can you live with your denial? How can you sleep at night?

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