Rorate Caeli

Well, that was awfully embarrassing...

Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Director of Media Relations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, had organized daily press conferences with two American Cardinals each day in the Pontifical North American College - and provided exclusive access of a few American networks to some Cardinals.

Four Cardinals took part in the suspended press conferences: Cardinals Wuerl and George on Monday, Cardinals O'Malley and DiNardo on Tuesday - with Cardinal Dolan providing an exclusive interview to ABC News also on Tuesday. (Source)

Today, the conferences and interviews were cancelled. Giacomo Galeazzi reports for La Stampa (Italian):

"Concern was expressed in the General Congregation about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers. As a precaution, the cardinals have agreed not to do interviews," [that] is the succinct communiqué from the spokeswoman of the US prelates, Sister Mary Ann Walsh.
During his briefing, [Father Federico] Lombardi [Holy See spokesman] answered with a certain annoyance the repeated questions on the cancellation of the press conferences of the US Cardinals. "Ask them," he said curtly.

Regarding the cancelling of the press conferences that some of the American cardinals were giving in these days, Fr. Lombardi observed that “the Congregations are not a synod or a congress in which we try to report the most information possible, but a path toward arriving at the decision of electing the Roman Pontiff. In this sense, the tradition of this path is one of reservation in order to safeguard the freedom of reflection on the part of each of the members of the College of Cardinals who has to make such an important decision. It does not surprise me, therefore, that along this path there were, at the beginning, moments of openness and communication and that afterwards, in harmony with the rest of the College, it has been established whether and how to communicate.”


  1. It is about time this stopped and the two cardinals who have been involved the most make me suspect of a rather political mindset. Not them for Pope, for sure.

    I have been following this, as news comes fast and furious here in Europe. It is almost a scandal. Dolan backed out of an interview this morning.

    They are acting like kids. Very immature and also undermining the prayerful, serious attitude of the other cardinals.

    The worst ones, besides the ones you mention in this post are O'Malley and Dolan, who did back out today....

    Makes the American Church look bad, IMO.

  2. Kathleen3:57 PM

    Perhaps here we have some men that actually would benefit from lectures on discretion.

  3. Oops I should have made it more clear that you did mention all those names in your article, but that the two I referred to have been particularly "talky".

  4. Can we please get a nun with a habit to be the spokeswoman?

  5. Benedict Carter4:29 PM

    She's a nun?

  6. Petrus4:36 PM

    Any Cardinal who makes public statements, gives press conferences, or grants television interviews, for whatever motives, during the period before the Conclave, will not be elected Pope.

    This is not my personal opinion. It is a fact.

    I suppose it's as good a way as any of avoiding election . . .

    The amiable Cardinal Turkson was perhaps the first to stumble. The list grows.

  7. El Cid4:45 PM

    So let me get this straight: the faithful are prohibited from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, but the consecreated spokeswoman for the U.S. cardinals can walk around without her habit. Okay ...

  8. Well, you can include our Canadian Cardinal who gave an interview to the CBC and then the CBC dumps on the Church.

    Not a wise choice Eminence, please stop listening to the Canadian media spokesman!

  9. Texana4:53 PM

    Petrus, I sincerely hope that you are correct! A lack of respect for Tradition is so common the guilty cardinals probably don't have a clue what they might have done wrong.

  10. Bad decision.

    The College of Cardinals need to be able to 'control the story'. They were doing that to an extent, and the press were lapping it up. They had the American press in the palm of their hand - so much so that groups like SNAP were pushed way to the sidelines. even by press with an axe to grind.

    They really need someone with some experience of public relations and 'spin' if they're going to get the media on their side.

    "Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves."

    Here's an example of being 'wise as serpents' and they fail to heed it.

  11. Wake Up England5:08 PM

    In England and Wales Catholics are forbidden flesh meat on all Fridays of the year (unless they are Holidays or Boxing Day). I think it's North America where meat is ony forbidden on the Fridays of Lent. In Portugal there is no requirement to abstain at all (apart from Good Friday). PLEASE new Holy Father can we have a universal rule on this?

  12. And don't forget those Cardinals who are tweeting. Will they also not be elected because of being on Twitter? In my opinion I hope they stop the childishness and start acting like shepherds of a flock.

  13. LizEst5:23 PM

    Perhaps the Cardinals who have talked to the media really don't want to be Pope...and this is their way of insuring such. Talk to the media and that gets your name off the list! Pope or President...not a job I would want!

  14. It is a measure of the sheer desperation of our times that Dolan is considered to be one of the "good guys" by many faithful Catholics. I can't imagine a more self-promoting, glad-handed buffoon.

  15. Peter A5:39 PM

    "think it's North America where meat is ony forbidden on the Fridays of Lent."

    That is true in the US. In Canada, the CCCB does not distinguish between fridays in lent and all other fridays, on which days Catholics are free to substitute.

    For what it is worth (not much), my guess is that we are looking at an Italian Pope, with a very real chance of Bagnasco being elected. He checks off alot of the boxes, and even John Allen presents a pretty good case for him. From a trad perspective, he might even be better than Pope Benedict, IMHO.

    My bet is that Bagnasco will be elected after 4 or 5 rounds of black smoke.

  16. NIANTIC5:41 PM

    Since the Church has allowed a zillion "options" and "excemptions" to norms these "pastoral"individuals seem to think they need to jabber on and on about everything.
    They only fan the flames of speculation and make of the entire serious affair a circus.

    At the same time it opens them up to having to answer, or non answer, the media's breathless and feverish questions and comments regarding, you know; wymmin priestesses, married presiders, gay "nuptials" and so on ad nauseam.

    My Kasperian advice is to be quiet and shut up, and try and be honest about the state of the Church, its causes and its solutions.

  17. She is wearing the Sisters of Mercy Habit

    and this is the Habit the Bishops approve of and this is the media face the Bishops desire to put before the world.

    It is a habit of the Bishops to say to the world via their actions - we are just like you

  18. Sindy6:16 PM

  19. Benedict Carter6:28 PM

    Dr. Williams:


  20. Here is a recent article by Sister Mary Ann Walsh that was published by CNN.

    She declared that the Society of Saint Pius X is "schismatic". Her claim is false.

    In that same article, she pesented the following image of Pope Benedict XVI as part of the Pope's "apology and atonement" to Islam:

    "The startled pope had to explain himself. He apologized and traveled two months later to Istanbul's Blue Mosque, where he stood shoeless in prayer beside the Grand Mufti of Istanbul."

    That is not in accord with what Pope Benedict XVI said in regard to the above.

    CNN noted that Sister Mary Ann Walsh is "director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Northeast Regional Community." At least in her role of media director, I question her competence as she presented false information to the public in regard to the Society of Saint Pius X and a false interpretation in regard to Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the mosque in question.


  21. RuiningLent6:45 PM

    I wonder which will have the most effect: the real conclave or the virtual circus?

  22. Wake Up England7:25 PM

    All this does make Cardinal Kaspar's advice to the Pope Emeritus seem quite jaw dropping!

    Please God may we have the Pope YOU want. Amen

  23. I was wondering how and why the National Catholic Reporter got exclusive interviews with almost all American Cardinals during the first days of the meetings.

    Looking at Sr. Walsh, who seems to schedule the Cardinal's Interviews, I do now understand what was going on.

  24. Good grief. Where's the common sense and decorum on the part of our American Cardinals? I'm most surprised at Cardinal George, frankly. He should know better. Cardinal Dolan doesn't surprise me at all. Yikes.

  25. Cardinal Dolan doesn't surprise me. He loves to talk.

  26. Aphrahat3:22 AM

    From the greying legions of trouser-suited sisters,

    Libera nos Domine.

  27. Tobias Centunzi3:54 AM

    I think the cessation of the press conferences will only serve to make matters worse. The Vatican Press Office has proven woefully ineffectual over the last decade in controling the story in favor of Mother Church.
    Now what you will have is a rampant rumor mill running through a press that is desperate to talk about anything and everything, especially the Italians.
    Their Eminences were only speaking in general terms about the meetings and were a source of positive news. Since the Americans were the only ones doing this, it speaks of the teen-esque jealousy of the Curial Cardinals and is representative of why the Curia is in such bad shape.
    You only have to look no further than the situation with the SSPX. +Benedict would have achieved reconciliation if it weren't for the Curia and its envy and pride. He'd probably would still be Pope even.

  28. American nuns set a very bad example to the nuns of the rest of the world by throwing away their habits. Most of them are liberals and modernists and even pro abortion.

    They are often worldly and arrogant contary to those nuns two generation ago. They are also enemies within the church by abandoning their habits , their catholic faith and religious discipline. How can they attract vocations to their religious societies. They see the Bad fruitless of Vatcan II.

    Hope the next pope will be,by the grace of God, a good Pope who would change them or many will choose to leave rather than being a scandal to the future generation.


  29. Ban the press altogther. Think of the havoc they caused at Vatican II!

  30. The priest to Fr Lombardi's left - Fr Rosica , is anti Catholic, on his " salt and light" Canadian tv show he welcomed a dreadful little ex-priest( who lives with a an ex nun), Fr Rosica praised the heretics theology and his "true" understanding of the " spirit of the council."
    How can this mealy mouthed traitor get a job representing the Vatican internationally???
    He clearly has friends in the Vatican, they are not friends of Our Lord. What are they doing there?
    God grant the next Pope the courage to sweep the dross out.


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