Rorate Caeli

The papers stolen from the Pope
An interview with the Sostituto

L'Osservatore Romano, the daily of the Holy See, publishes this afternoon (dated May 30) an interesting interview with the Substitute of the Secretariat of State (the "Sostituto"), one of the highest positions in the Curia, currently held by Abp. Angelo Becciu. Breaking its silence on the affair, it is the first interview published by the paper with a curial officer. 

The complete interview is available in English here, from which we transcribe the following excerpts, with some very important reflections for all Catholics:

How did you find Benedict XVI?
Saddened. Because, given what it has  been possible to find out so far, someone close to him seems to be responsible for conduct that is unjustifiable from every point of view. Of course, sorrow for the person involved is what the Pope feels most deeply. Yet the fact remains that he suffered a brutal act: Benedict XVI saw published papers stolen from his house, letters that were not merely private correspondence but indeed information, reflections, expressions of conscience and even outbursts which he only received by virtue of his ministry. For this reason the Pontiff is particularly sorrowful and also because of the violence suffered by those who wrote these letters or writings addressed to him.
Can you express an opinion on what happened?
I consider the publication of the stolen letters an immoral act of unheard of gravity. Above all, I repeat, because it was not only a violation, already very serious in itself, of the confidentiality to which anyone would be entitled, as rather a vile offence to the relationship of trust between Benedict XVI and anyone who turns to him even to express, in conscience, protests. Let us reason: the Pope was not merely robbed of letters. Violence has been done to the consciences of those who turn to him as Vicar of Christ, an assault has been made on the ministry of the Successor of the Apostle Peter. In many of the documents published we find ourselves in a context we presume to be of total trust. When a Catholic speaks to the Roman Pontiff, he is duty bound to open himself as if he were before God, partly because he feels that he is guaranteed absolute confidentiality.
There was a desire to justify the publication of the documents on the basis of criteria for the Church's cleanliness, transparency and reform.
Sophisms do not go very far. My parents not only taught me not to steal but also never to accept stolen goods from others. To me these seem to me to be simple principles – perhaps to some people too simple – but it is certain that someone who loses sight of them, easily loses him- or herself  and also brings others to ruin. There can be no renewal that tramples on the moral law, even on the basis of the principle that the end justifies the means, a principle which, among other things, is not Christian.

According to various comments, the papers published reveal a murky world within the Church and in particular within the Holy See. 

Behind certain articles  I seem to see an underlying hypocrisy. On the one hand the central government of the Church is accused of being absolutist and monarchical, and on the other, people are scandalized because a few write to the Pope expressing ideas or even complaints about the organization of this same government. Many documents published do not reveal conflicts or revenge but rather the freedom of thought which, on the contrary, the Church is accused of not permitting. In short, we are not mummies; rather, different viewpoints or even contrasting evaluations are normal.  If someone feels misunderstood he has every right to turn to the Pope. What is shocking about this? Obedience does not mean renouncing the right to have an opinion of one's own, but expressing one's opinions sincerely and fully, in order to adapt to the superior's decision. And not out of calculation but out of adherence to the Church that Christ desired. These are fundamental elements of the Catholic viewpoint.


  1. NIANTIC7:00 PM

    "Obedience does not mean renouncing the right to have an opinion of one's own, but expressing one's opinions sincerely and fully, in order to adapt to the superiors decision".

    This is exactly how we ought to read the letter of the SSPX bishops addressed to H.E.Bishop Fellay, their superior, regarding the discussions, and possible ramifications, he is conducting with the Holy See.

    An absolute normal and accepted way of expressing one's fears, doubts, suggestions or hopes from one member of the fraternity to one's superior.

  2. +Fellay in Pope Benedict's house would not have betrayed him, and Benedict knows this.

    Who are the real betrayers?

  3. P.K.T.P.8:21 PM

    I don't want to seem harsh but what I detect in these comments is repetition and circumlocution. In other words, the content of some of the letters may lead to real trouble for the Pope. What if certain things were complained of and then not acted on, for instance? I do not know the content of any of these published letters and I don't want to know it. Unfortunately, there will be a media frenzy and feeding fest.

    If the Pope really does want to reconcile the S.S.P.X, he should move fast now, before pressure is brought to bear against this papacy itself. There is not much hope that the next Pontiff will reconcile them, so it's now or never.


  4. Dear N.C. Many thanks for this post which really sets in context the grave evil that was done.

  5. Barbara5:35 AM

    I enjoy so many of your comments Mr. PKTP and you have often delighted me with your sharp sense of humour and knowledge of Church you really have to speculate so with your doom and gloom prophecies at this moment? Can't you put yourself in the Pope's shoes? Being betrayed like that..personal papers...I feel ill at the thought of it... I am distressed and sick at heart with this caricature of the Church that is being presented to the world at is not an Agatha Christie novel or Dan Brown one that is unravelling...The Bride of Christ is once more being trampled in the mud and ridiculed - His Vicar humiliated once again - please for the love of God, quit telling the Pope what HE has to do!

    with respect,

  6. Gratias6:34 AM

    I hope the leaks did not involve the discussions with SSPX. Probably those documents were handled with greater care.

    If one has been inside the Vatican the main impression is how incredibly small this State is. Yet from there Benedict XVI can run a world wide operation that nourishes all our spirits. We really need our Holy Father. He has become the leader of he sane world. Deo gratias.

    Like many of you I pray for his long life every day.


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