Two Italian “Papabili”: Cardinal Parolin and Cardinal Pizzaballa

Source: FSSPX News

Cardinals Pietro Parolin and Pierbattista Pizzaballa

In the little game of papabili, so popular toward the end of this pontificate, the Roman Vaticanists are putting forward two names of Italian cardinals, with the underlying idea that the conclavists will want to elect an Italian Pope, after a Pole, a German, and an Argentinean. Nothing is less certain, so let us take a critical look at these two papabili whose names are often cited.

Cardinal Parolin to Maintain Pope Francis’s Line

First of all, there is Cardinal Parolin, Secretary of State for Pope Francis. On the website on April 29, 2024, Giuseppe Nardi did not doubt that the Cardinal had already put himself in a good position for the next conclave, but he warns that this prelate would make Bergoglio without Pope Bergoglio. And he bases his analysis on a recent fact.

On April 24, RAI Vaticanist Ignazio Ingrao presented his new book, Cinque domande che agitano la Chiesa [Five Questions Agitating the Church], in the old Roman College. Cardinal Parolin attended and responded to a journalist’s question on what would become of the reforms initiated by the Pope.

“With patience, prayer, and discernment, the leaders of the Church will be able to count on the assistance of the Holy Spirit in their decisions, including after the Argentine pontificate. It is precisely because it concerns the action of the Spirit that there can be no reversal,” the senior prelate affirmed.

Giuseppe Nardi notes: “Parolin’s statement—and the media coverage that followed—were focused on the ‘reversal’ which was excluded. The ‘irreversibility’ of the Bergoglian pontificate—which Francis and his court have spoken about several times—means that this pontificate and its innovations must be protected by someone who guarantees their permanence.

“The Cardinal Secretary of State himself did not say the word ‘irreversible’ that day, because it was not necessary. Ignazio Ingrao had already done so, by presenting the longevity of the ‘irreversible processes’ initiated by Francis as the leitmotif of reflection on the future of the Church. Cardinal Parolin was able to limit himself to a seemingly minor signal, by suggesting that he was the man who excluded a ‘reversal’—that is to say, who guaranteed the desired ‘irreversibility.’”

And he added: “The Secretary of State also indicated what was considered as desired in the higher circles of the Curia: a ‘Bergoglio without Bergoglio’ era, perhaps a little more moderate, but without turning back. And this is exactly how it was understood, as the rapid and broad circulation of Parolin’s response on Wednesday [April 24] shows, which allows us to see that work is being done on the style of the campaign.”

No one is mistaken in Rome: “Parolin is making a bit of an electoral campaign and the Pope knows it,” a Cardinal close to Francis comments, smiling. “Sometimes, he makes little remarks in public to make it known.” It is certain, Giuseppe Nardi comments, that “the electoral campaign began a while ago, and Cardinal Parolin has entered the ring, with a precise announcement.”

Far from the cozy familiarity that the supporters of Francis cultivate, British journalist Damian Thompson states in an analysis from April 27, published on the website UnHerd : “No one disputes that Parolin is a smart operator who specialises in making sure his fingerprints are nowhere near the scenes of various crimes.

He nuances his statements on Ukraine and Israel while the Pope puts his foot in it with his improvised comments. He love-bombs potential enemies. Sensing a backlash against Francis, he is tacking Right, admitting that Tucho’s gay blessings are nonsense.”

And to clarify: “To his critics, Parolin is the Italian Francis: empty, devious and sneeringly dismissive of the Latin Mass, an idiotic stance when you consider the surprising fact that the old liturgy is fast acquiring cult status among young Catholics.

“But are they overlooking one big difference? From the moment he became a cardinal, Bergoglio had his eyes set on the papacy and his gaze never wavered. Parolin, on the other hand, may recognize that he is too compromised to survive successive ballots. Perhaps his real ambition is to become a truly powerful Secretary of State under the next man.”

Cardinal Pizzaballa Is a Recognized Authority in the Holy Land

Another often-cited prelate, but one who has the favor of the conservative LifeSiteNews, is Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. On the occasion of his taking possession, on May 1, of his titular church in Rome, Sant’Onofrio al Gianicolo, LifeSiteNews brought up that the “frequent presence of Latin in the Novus Ordo Mass he offered” was “particularly striking,” as well as the “wide-spread reception of Holy Communion on the tongue by those present.” 

The website continues: “Pizzaballa, LifeSiteNews understands, is familiar with the traditional Latin Mass, and also – as Vaticanist Edward Pentin notes – is welcoming to it.”

But the papabile status of Cardinal Pizzaballa rests on reasons less liturgical than diplomatic. LifeSiteNews notes: “Pizzaballa’s many decades of mastery of the immensely tense political situation in the Middle East have won him respect from political and religious leaders in the region.

“But with his leadership thrust into the spotlight in recent months, he has swiftly become recognized by Vatican analysts as a possible future pope. With Rome growing increasingly closer to a papal conclave at some point, and the rumors pointing to cardinals desiring an Italian for the next pope, Pizzaballa’s plain talking and straightforward personal courage may have positioned him in the running for the papal throne.”

The same point of view is shared by Nico Spuntoni in Il Giornale on May 5: “During the ceremony of taking possession, the new titular of the church on the Janiculum Hill stated that ‘the deep furrow of hatred, of rancor, which exists between the populations makes us understand that it will be a long time and that there must be an authority capable of inspiring confidence and equipped with a great vision for the future, knowing nevertheless that it will take a long time, much patience, because the wounds are  still too deep’.”

The Italian journalist sees in this position a courageous prudence: “In recent years in the Holy Land, the Patriarch has revealed himself to be a balanced pastor, but not an equilibrist: his recent statements in Italy testify that he does not mince words to say what he thinks of the crisis and its consequences.”

And he praises this “pragmatism, matured in the course of many years spent in the Holy Land and many negotiations which failed.”