Cardinals Gagged; We’re asked to Pray; Let’s Talk Vatican Diaries – UPDATE

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On his new blog, John Thavis explains how and why information from the General Congregations in Rome just got harder to come by:

Sister Mary Ann Walsh…said in an email: “Concern was expressed in the General Congregation about leaks of confidential proceedings reportedin Italian newspapers. As a precaution, the cardinals have agreed not to do interviews.”

In other words, because some anonymous cardinals fed Italian reporters a few details about their discussions, a gag order now applies to all the cardinals.

The U.S. briefings, which typically featured two American cardinals fielding questions in 30-minute sessions, had become a welcome daily ritual for journalists in Rome who are trying to cover the pre-conclave meetings that began this week. [. . .]

The Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi…said he was not surprised that the rest of the cardinals may have reacted to the U.S. availability to the press – especially as the cardinals deepened their discussions this week. He noted that no other national group had decided to give the kind of briefings as the Americans were doing.

Can’t help but wonder if some cardinals were puzzled or even annoyed by the American prelates and their comfort in dealing with the press, and the cameras. On one hand, of course, that’s a pope’s great strength. On the other hand, it can seem — especially to some minds — a bit reckless. And too, I suspect the US Cardinals do not want to give a whiff of a campaign, and are therefore wise to shut it down, no matter how much we all enjoyed them.

It must be tough to be a reporter in Rome, right now — no news coming out, no idea when the conclave will begin. Nothing to do but wait and grouse and eat splendid food. In fact, I am going to spend the morning seeing if I can push back my own travel arrangements to get to Rome later — or perhaps to discern whether I should go at all.

At 11 AM Eastern time, the church has asked us all to pray — for the church, the conclave and the cardinals. A good idea. I understand EWTN will be airing Vespers from the Vatican at that time.

Indiana’s Bishop Christopher Coyne has posted a good one on his FB page:


“O God, eternal shepherd,
who govern your flock with unfailing care,
grant in your boundless fatherly love
a pastor for your Church
who will please you by his holiness
and to us show watchful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”

I also suggest we take this time of waiting, wondering, and praying, and inform it by reading Thavis’ new book, The Vatican Diaries, which I raved about the other day. And you know when I rave about a book, you always love it!

In fact, quite a number of you have already bought it and let me know you’re enjoying it, so, while we’re waiting, feel free to talk about that, here, too!

UPDATE: If you do tune into Vespers on EWTN (11AM, Eastern) you can follow along with this (pdf).

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • midwestlady

    I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t want public perception driving the election in any way. I want the cardinals praying and listening to God and deciding very carefully. I want them immersed in the process.

  • Fiestamom

    Watching EWTN, hoping they stop talking and let us pray along….

  • Laurie

    Since this is part of the overall discernment process, the Q&A media sessions seem out of place anyway. Praying and listening to God, letting the Holy Spirit work through them, is more important than the media trying to find out who’s emerging as the leading candidate. Like midwestlady said, I want, and expect, them to be immersed in the process.

  • Oregon Catholic

    All the press pandering has been embarassing. I’m glad they have shut it down.

  • Patti Day

    Let us pray that the media finds the whole thing boring and goes home.

  • Karen LH

    No one is mentioning the book here, but I guess I’d like to. Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t like it so far. It’s leaving me feeling depressed and demoralized. This is the way it is leaving me feeling (not thinking, but feeling): John Paul was a fraud and really shouldn’t have been beatified; Benedict was a fraud and didn’t care about the abuse victims as much as everyone thought; everyone in the Vatican is a venal, petty, turf-protecting bureaucrat; the Vatican is basically a bunch of incompetents. Do I really think that think that? No. Do I think that Thavis thinks not? I guess not, probably not.

    I guess my problem is that the book is a series of disconnected, gossipy anecdotes with no context. When I read one of John Allen’s books, I feel like I have a better overall understanding of things. This book, not so much. I don’t know how to evaluate what I’m reading.

    Sorry. As I said, maybe it’s just me. If you read this comment and are so inclined, maybe you could post a bit more on why you (and others) like the book so much? Because I’m not really seeing it.

  • Karen LH

    (I swear what I just wrote was not as garbled as what was posted. Oh well. :-) )


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