After several years’ pause, the accusations against the current pontificate are resurfacing through a memorandum that the cardinals have just received on their bedside tables. Signed with a pseudonym, the wording evokes the issue of the next conclave which will be held to elect the future pope, inflaming the press in the Peninsula.
In Rome, a single word is now whispered on everyone's lips: “Demos,” “people,” in ancient Greek. But who is hiding behind the pseudonym signing the latest attack against the pontificate of Pope Francis, which the Italian press has been echoing since March 15, 2022?
The accusatory text was published in full on his blog by Vaticanist Sandro Magister, who claims it is already in the possession of the cardinal electors of the next conclave.
The tone of the document takes us back several years, to 2018, at the time of the publication of The Dictator Pope, a vitriolic book against Pope Francis published by a former Knight of the Order of Malta, and even to 2017, during the launch of the petition accusing the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia of propagating several heresies.
Since then, the waters of the Tiber have flowed under the St. Angelo bridge carrying, as it meanders, Covid-19, then the war in Ukraine, tending to push into the background a controversy between progressives and conservatives, which is still very real, as demonstrated by the unfolding of the synodal path across the Rhine in Germany.
Because, the least we can say is that Demos is not being subtle: “this pontificate is a disaster in many or most respects, a catastrophe,” explains the anonymous author – or authors? – of the document about which “it cannot be ruled out that he himself is a cardinal,” advances Sandro Magister.
The first part of the document examines the past years, pointing pell-mell at the Vatican's financial situation, the “lack of respect for the law” within the microstate, the “unjust” treatment of Cardinal Angelo Becciu, the silence in the face of the abuses and “heresies” of the German Synod.
Silence which “is emphasized when contrasted with the active persecution of the Traditionalists and the contemplative orders,” the “declining” and “negligible” political weight of the Holy Father on the world political chessboard, etc. Previously it was: “Roma locuta. Causa finita est.” Today it is: “Roma loquitur. Confusio augetur,” Rome has spoken, confusion has increased, sums up the author.
In the second part of his text, Demos projects himself into the future conclave – burying in passing the current Roman pontiff who should appreciate this shovel by interposed pen – issuing to the cardinals this warning concerning the one they will choose: “if there is no correction of such heresy, the Church would be reduced to a loose federation of local Churches, holding different views, probably closer to an Anglican or Protestant model, than an Orthodox model.”
“Despite the improved financial procedures and greater clarity, continuing financial pressures represent a major challenge, but they are much less important than the spiritual and doctrinal threats facing the Church, especially in the First World,” concludes the mysterious author.
It remains to be seen how this text has been received by the cardinal electors – 119 at this time – who will one day have to proceed to the election of the future pope.