Rorate Caeli

For the record: Italian media in a frenzy - bizarre plot rumors. Lombardi: "Madness"
Update: Content

Almost all Italian online media are in a frenzy tonight about a letter to be revealed in one of Italy's largest national dailies, Il Fatto Quotidiano.

We post the following for the record (from Corriere della Sera):
Milan - "Vatican, plots and intrigues. A plot against the Pope, he will die in the next 12 months" This is the title in the first page of Il Fatto Quotidiano in its February 10 edition.

Written in German - The news would have been given in a letter handed by Cardinal Castrillon to Benedict XVI. Included in the note, a report of a conversation [in a trip to China in November 2011] of the Archbishop of Palermo, [Cardinal] Romeo, in which he affirms that the Holy Father is in great risk and that an attack is feared within 12 months. The document is dated from December 30 2011, but it was given to the pope in January 2012. ... Romeo would have also spoken of the probable successor and indicated [Cardinal] Scola, Archbishop of Milan. The author of the article is journalist Marco Lillo. The director of Il Fatto Quotidiano, Antonio Padellaro, has said that the document will be published in its entirety in the paper. ... Soon afterwards, the reply of the Vatican arrived through Father Federico Lombardi, spokesman of the Holy See:  "These are clearly ravings, which are not at all taken seriously. This is madness."

We expect the actual text of the letter, whose authenticity has not been confirmed, to be published by Il Fatto Quotidiano and the eventual written response by the Holy See Press Office and by the Archdiocese of Palermo in the morning.

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, president emeritus of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, was received in private audience by the Pope on January 13.

Update (0900 GMT): A translation of the text of the unsigned document.

It is a report on Cardinal Romeo's visit to Beijing in November 2011 and his words with his intelocutors, (in the Chinese government or in the Patriotic Association?), and, according to Il Fatto Quotidiano, the document's contents would have been written in German and delivered to the Pope by Cardinal Castrillón in January 2012.

The content itself, that is, that Cardinal Romeo visited Beijing and spoke in confidence to specific persons, does not sound implausible - only at the end the curious "prophecy" of Cardinal Romeo mentioned. (Source: Il Fatto Quotidiano - Tip: Papa Ratzinger blog).
Voyage to Beijing:

In November 2011, Cardinal Romeo arrived on a tourist visa in Beijing, where, in fact, he did not meet any personality of the Catholic Church in China, but rather Italian businessmen, who live or work in Beijing, and some Chinese interlocutors. In Beijing, Cardinal Romeo declared to have been personally sent by Pope Benedict XVI to move forward, or rather, to follow up with, the conversations launched by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos in China in March 2010. He also claimed to be the interlocutor designated by the Pope to be in charge, from now on, of the matters between China and the Vatican.

In a confidential conversation, Cardinal Romeo informed his interlocutors in China of having taken care, during his activity in the diplomatic Service of the Holy See, of the papal representation in the Philippines, of contacts with the Clandestine RKK [Roman Catholic Church, in abbreviation in the German original], and of being, due to this experience of his, the appropriate interlocutor to take care of the questions between China and the Vatican. He also declared to have been, between 1990 and 1999, the Apostolic Nuncio in Colombia and to have collaborated, precisely in that period, with Cardinal Castrillon. Cardinal Romeo surprised his interlocutors in Beijing by informing them that he - Romeo - formed, along with the the Holy Father - Pope Benedict XVI - and Cardinal Scola a troika. For the most important matters, therefore, the Holy Father would consult him - Romeo - and Scola.

Cardinal Romeo was told by the Chinese side the following: many Cardinals have visited China, but the most relevant visit in the relations between China and the Vatican was the one by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos in March 2010.


Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone:

Cardinal Romeo harshly criticized Pope Benedict XVI, because he was concerned mostly with the liturgy, neglecting "current affairs", entrusted by Pope Benedict XVI to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Roman Catholic Church. The relationship between Pope Benedict XVI and his Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was very conflictive. In an atmosphere of confidentiality, Cardinal Romeo mentioned that Pope Benedict XVI litterally hated Tarcidio Bertone and would replace him willingly with another Cardinal. Romeo added, however, that there was not another candidate suited to occupy this position and that for this Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone would continue to fulfill his job.

Also the relationship between the Secretary of State and Cardinal Scola was untoward and troubled.

Succession of Pope Benedict XVI:

The Holy Father was secretly taking care of his succession and had already chosen Cardinal Scola as a suitable candidate, because he is closer to his personality. Slowly but surely, he was thus preparing him and shaping him to fill the position of Pope.

On the initiative of the Holy Father - thus said Romeo - Cardinal Scola was transferred from Venice to Milan in order to prepare his Papacy from there calmly. Cardinal Romeo continued to surprise his interlocutors in China by feeding them rumors.

Confidently, as if he knew it in detail, Cardinal Romeo announced that the Holy Father would have only 12 months to live. During his conversations in China, he prophesized the death of Pope Benedict XVI within the following 12 months. The declarations of the Cardinal have been leaked, by a person probably informed of a serious criminal plot, with such certainty and firmness, that his interlocutors in China thought, frightfully, that an attack against the Holy Father is in the works. Cardinal Romeo seemed sure of himself and could not imagine that the declarations made in this round of secret conversations could be relayed by third parties to the Vatican.

Also sure of himself, Romeo prophesized that it seemed at the moment certain, even though still secret, that the successor of Pope Benedict XVI would be in any event a candidate of Italian origin. As described before, Cardinal Romeo emphasized that following the death of Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Scola will be elected Pope. Also Scola had important enemies in the Vatican.


  1. Father Lombardi is probably right. But it's not as if strange things have never happened in the Vatican.

  2. Anonymous12:26 AM

    Unfortunately, the Vatican often reacts like the White House, denying something before any real checking is done. I pray this Ike they're right.

  3. This prediction of the pope dying sounds like it was made by a member of the Tinfoil Hat Society.

  4. Fr Lombardi is hardly ever right - his relationship with the truth is strained to say the least... e.g. most recently he told us that Fr Becker will not be made Cardinal at the next consistory because of reasons of his health - this comes as a surprise to those Jesuits who actually live with Fr Becker.
    If Fr Lombardi says 'black' then I'm inclined to believe 'white'.

  5. Tradical1:23 AM

    The question is: What has Pope Benedict XVI done at this point to deserve either the actual 'threat' or the appearance of a threat.

  6. Interesting mention of Cardinal Scola as successor; he's a Communion and Liberation man, no?

  7. Loyolakiper1:37 AM

    Could this be the fulfillment of the third Fatima Secret? Afterall, he did open up discussions on the topic when he visited Fatima a couple of years ago...

  8. Scooby Jobe1:46 AM

    I agree with df 100 %. Lombardi seems to be incapable of telling the truth. The fact that he has denied this extraordinary rumour makes me think that there could actually be some truth in it.

  9. LOL, Mr. Carvalho. I am probably with you. But... we report, you decide...

  10. Any threat must be taken seriously and investigated. That said there are always threats and rumors of threats against public persons. People should refrain from overreacting. One of our former presidents once quipped that "threats are like Hail to the Chief, they come with the office." The Pope has around the clock police protection both inside and outside the Vatican. And those guys in the fancy suits with medieval poleaxes also discretely carry 9mm pistols... just in case.

  11. Tradical,
    His crime might simply be being the Pope. The Catholic Church is the largest institutional obstacle to the progressive agenda in the western world. Probably the only obstacle in some places. There are activists of all sorts who would probably like to see the Church destroyed.

  12. It got printed, I expect, because Corriere della Serra is a major news organ.

  13. Peterman5:26 AM

    What a load of balderdash and yet another needless stress on our 84 year old Holy Father. I really wonder about these ones that surround the Holy Father. It seems to be one media fueled drama, hype, and scandal after another.

  14. Remember the dream of Don Bosco about the two columns? After two councils one Pope wounded and other killed by enemy. Finally a quick election and the end of the attack on the Church.

  15. Anonymous9:55 AM

    Card Romeo is sponsor of the Neocatechumenal Way and Arguello sending 2000 "prespiteri" Redemptoris Mater in China...

  16. Anonymous10:55 AM

    Non so se c'è un nesso, ma si dà il caso che il card Romeo sia uno sponsor del Cammino neocatecumenale e che Kiko Arguello si stia preparando a mandare in Cina 2000 "presbiteri" "redemptoris mater" da lui formati con i SUOI metodi...

    Per quanto il cammino sia stato inopinatamente 'approvato', mi pare una iniziativa capace di rompere qualche equilibrio, tenendo conto dei problemi che il cammino ha aperto in tutto il resto dell'Asia (problemi reiteratamente denunciati dai vescovi giapponesi e filippini ad esempio)...

    Chiedo scusa se ho scritto in italiano, ma so che mi comprendete e così mi esprimo meglio.
    Fate l'uso che credente di questa notizia, per la quale vi invio alcuni link
    qualcosa sulla Cina
    (ricordo anche le recenti rimostranze del card Zen alle iniziative di CL e della Comunità di S. Egidio)

    sul Giappone

    sulle Filippine

  17. This doesn't make one little bit of sense.

    Why on Earth would Cardinal Romeo, a skilled diplomat, reveal internal Vatican affairs of such immense importance to a random group of unidentified Chinese "interlocutors"?

    And this whole idea of a troika between the Pope, Scola and Romeo sounds absurdly grandiose and quite implausible.

    If this meeting ever took place, the translation must have been horrendously bad.

  18. Eriugena, that was the content of the Corriere piece at the time it was written. It was modified later.

    If you wish to send your own translation, please submit it. If you just wish to be offensive, send your complaint to your mamma, OK?

  19. I don't understand yet who wrote the letter addressed to the Pope Benedict XVI and who told the cardinal Rome that there was plot to murder the Holy Father!
    I'm sure one thing of it is certain, the fact that progressives clergies don't appreciate the Holy Father's concern with Liturgy renewal, because they think it's a waste of time, they just love the council's spring!

  20. There's a power struggle going on between the +Bertone party and the anti-Bertone party with some suggestions that the Holy Father isn't entirely happy with his work, according to Corriere della Serra journalist Massimo.

  21. Yes, TDC, Card. Scola is associated with Communion and Liberation:

    Although he later moved outside the strict Communion and Liberation orbit, Cardinal Scola has credited the movement with shaping his vocation and helping him live "a faith wide open to all the dimensions of the world." In Venice, he has turned to Communion and Liberation, Opus Dei and other movements for collaboration.

    Unfortunately, it appears he was (and hopefuly no longer is) of the "New Theology" strain:

    Born in Malgrate, Italy, Nov. 7, 1941, he attended high school in Lecco and studied philosophy at Sacred Heart University in Milan. After his ordination in 1970, he worked with the famous theologians, Fathers Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar, when they founded the international Catholic theological review, Communio. He eventually published book-length interviews with both theologians. (CNS)

    As Patriarch of Venice, before he became Archbishop of Milan this past September 25,

    Scola [was] closely associated with the society of Communion and Liberation (CL) founded by Father Giussiani. He immediately put the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in effect by establishing it at a church near the Grand Canal, which was entrusted to the Society of St. Peter. In the past year the Cardinal celebrated Holy Mass in the Old Rite himself during his visit to the church. (source)

    And I wonder what Glauco Benigni has to say about the Pope's security? He gave a Consecration Now! conference in May 2011 about threats to the Pope's security.

  22. NC, would you please explain why my previous comments were unacceptable to post? I did not personally attack other posters, the Holy Father, priests or anyone else. I merely summarized the prophecies of saints and the Blessed Mother for our time as two previous commenters have done.

    Thank you,

  23. Ecclesia Militans11:05 PM

    The post says that it has been authenticated. I don't quite get it. Is it a report from Card. Romeo or not? Did someone make it up or did it leak?

    Because, if it is real, a murder plot would not be impossible. There were rumors at the time about two or three popes being killed in the last century.

  24. No, it means that the document exists and it was handed to the Secretariat of State and the Pope at the mentioned time, that is, it was not made up by the newspaper or a newspaper source. It does not mean that its contents are true.

  25. Petrus Radii12:15 AM

    One should not too readily dismiss the report presented. It is well known that certain factions within the Vatican often use this sort of "disinformation", which nevertheless often contains elements of truth.

    The fact of the matter, according to certain persons in a position to know, is that the Pope's life is in danger every day---but from the Freemasons, satanists, and homosexuals in the Vatican, most especially in the Secretariat of State. This has been known for quite some time.

    It is my opinion that the report was circulated in order to deflect blame, in the event of the Pope's sudden demise, from the responsible parties.

  26. Florian1:37 AM

    Just to give an idea of the "factions", just have a look (if you can read Italian) at the article by the colleague of Tornielli @LaStampa (a quite center-left freemasonic Turin newspaper), Mr. Galeazzi :

    (A de facto slander of Castrillon, and absolution of Romeo... -It says it all..)

  27. Lawrence3:19 AM

    Oremus pro beatissimo Papa nostro Benedicto.

    Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. Amen.

  28. The suffering (and burdens) our Pope carries is more than evident in his countenance and presence. Holiness works through this gentle and great moral teacher of the Church. He drinks from the cup of suffering, while his enemies driven by jealousy and contempt for the truth, stir up more division - he has his enemies within.

  29. GQ Rep11:27 AM

    I read another part of this article in which Romeo states that in fact Benedict XVI "can't stand" his Secretary of State, Bertone,

    If he can't stand the man, why did he appoint such a radical as his Secretary of State.

    The only good thing in the past year Bertone did was make the suggestion ()unfotunatly rejected by Benedict XVI) to bring back the Sedia Gestatoria since the Pope has degenerative kneee and hip artheritis. Unfortunatly Benedict XVI instead opted to use John Paul II's old warehouse pushcart down the nave of St. Peter's.
    John Paul II always looked ridiculous on it....and so does Benedict.


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