During the meeting he had with his fellow Jesuits in Slovakia on September 12, 2021, Pope Francis denounced the suspicious behavior of certain prelates, during and after his surgery on July 4. “They were preparing for the conclave,” he said.
The first article presented the three trends that stand out among the cardinals. The second described the most influential lobby group. This third article reviews the maneuvers that prepared the two previous conclaves.
The “St. Gallen Mafia”
To get an idea of the ongoing negotiations, it is useful to refer to Julia Meloni's book which has just been published in the United States, The St. Gallen Mafia [TAN Books, 2021]. The historian Roberto de Mattei writes in European Correspondence of November 10, that “anyone who wants to understand what is behind the Synod on Synodality, opened on October 10 by Pope Francis, cannot refrain from reading” this work.
The Italian scholar recalls: “St. Gallen is a small town in Switzerland. In 1996, its bishop was Msgr. Ivo Fürer, who had been, until the previous year, Secretary General of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences.”
“Together with Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (1927-2012), Msgr. Fürer decided to invite a group of prelates in order to establish a work schedule for the Church of the future. This group met for 10 years, from 1996 to 2006.”
“Along with Cardinal Martini, the key figures were: Walter Kasper, Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart and Karl Lehmann (1936-2018), Bishop of Mainz, both of whom were to receive the cardinal purple. Two future cardinals were then co-opted: Godfried Danneels (1933-2019), Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and Cormac Murphy-O’Connor (1932-2017), Archbishop of Westminster.”
“A curia Cardinal Achille Silvestrini (1923-2019) joined them in 2003. Thanks to him, the St. Gallen group became a powerful lobby group capable of influencing the election of a pope. A few days after John Paul II’s funeral, the “St. Gallen Mafia” gathered at Villa Nazareth in Rome to agree on a plan of action for the conclave that was to open.”
Concerning what was going on during the conclave which elected Benedict XVI, on April 19, 2005, we learn the following facts: “Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor was linked with Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and presented him to the group as a possible anti-Ratzinger candidate.”
“Bergoglio won the vote of the 'mafia,' however Cardinal Martini expressed serious doubts about the Argentinian cardinal's candidacy, fueled among other things by information reaching him from within the Society of Jesus.”
“When during the conclave of 2005 Bergoglio’s defeat became certain, it was perhaps with relief that Martini announced to Cardinal Ratzinger that he would put his votes at his disposal. The St. Gallen group held a final meeting in 2006, but Martini and Silvestrini continued to exert a strong influence on the new pontificate.”
“In 2012, Cardinal Kasper spoke of a 'southerly wind', which was blowing in the Church and it is no coincidence that on March 17, 2013, a few days after his election, Pope Francis cited Kasper as one of his favorite authors and entrusted him with the task of opening the Extraordinary Consistory on the Family in February 2014.”
Questioned by Corrispondenza Romana, on November 10, Julia Meloni revealed interesting elements of the St. Gallen meetings: “The recently deceased Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, one of the members of the St. Gall group, described him as a ‘mafia.’”
“In common parlance, the term 'mafia' is associated with a criminal organization. The self-designation of the group as a ‘mafia’ is certainly a curious and revealing choice. They were clearly plotting a revolution in the Church, a specific program that began with Kasper's proposal to give Communion to divorced and civilly remarried people.”
“We have ample evidence that Martini and others codified this program for many years. As for the way it was implemented, it is clear that one specific person carried out the Mafia agenda: Bergoglio. It is therefore significant that, for example, a few days after his election, Pope Francis specifically praised Cardinal Walter Kasper, setting in motion the old mafia plan to carry out the latter's proposal.”
Regarding a concordance between the subversive plan of St. Gallen [especially the ultra-progressive ideas of Cardinal Martini] and the acts of Pope Francis [in particular in Amoris laetitia], Julia Meloni states:
“Historian Roberto de Mattei has argued convincingly that the essence of Amoris laetitia is contained in Martini's 'last testament,' the last interview he gave [August 8, 2012], published [September 1st] immediately after his death in 2012 [on August 31].”
“In this will, Martini spoke specifically of granting the sacraments to civilly remarried divorcees, thus foreshadowing the resumption of Kasper's proposal in the synods on the family and then in Amoris Laetitia.”
“In an interview granted in 2009, Martini indicated that the priorities of the revolution in the Church would be, in this order: divorce, priestly celibacy, and the relationship between the ecclesiastical hierarchy and politics. Two of these questions are being resolved, or at least in the process of being resolved - divorce and the relationship between Church and politics - by moving away from the unchanging Magisterium of the Church.
“The recent meeting between Pope Bergoglio and President Biden is a clear demonstration of this. What is missing for this threefold program to be duly completed?”
Julia Meloni concludes: “Although most of the Mafia are dead, with the notable exception of Cardinal Kasper, their ideas survive in many of their fellow travelers and followers. Although the Mafia no longer meets behind the scenes in secret, its spirit will remain in the light of day, especially as Pope Francis has appointed many of the cardinals who will choose his successor.”