“A Conclave is in the Air”: Francis Rumored to Resign in December and Regulate Role of ‘Pope Emeritus’
Published: August 23, 2021
Today the Italian newspaper Libero has an explosive headline on its front page: “Francis ready to resign ‘due to health, not age’. Whispers in the Vatican: ‘There’s a conclave in the air’.”
It is the title to an article written by Vaticanist Antonio Socci. The full text has not yet been published in professional English translation [UPDATE: one is now available here]; however, it can be found online in the original Italian at the Libero site as well as at Socci’s own blog, which can easily be translated using tools such as deepl.com.
At first, one might quickly dismiss this as yet another attempt to sell papers and garner clicks by means of a sensational headline. It wouldn’t be the first time, after all: Jorge Bergoglio’s resignation has been rumored many times in the past, and he himself has gone on record saying that he might one day resign rather than serve for life.
This time, however, there seems to be a bit more to it than mere speculation.
For one thing, Socci is a credible journalist and author of numerous books. Although the mainstream has tried to dismiss him as a crank, on more than one occasion Socci has proven himself to be astute, well-informed, and a serious and capable researcher. For instance, his 2007 book The Fourth Secret of Fatima was so compelling that it forced “Cardinal” Tarcisio Bertone to go on Italian television to “prove” that the Vatican had indeed released the true Third Secret of Fatima in full — an episode in which Bertone unwittingly ended up demonstrating the opposite, thus vindicating Socci (as documented in the 2008 book The Secret Still Hidden by Christopher Ferrara).
Similarly, it was Antonio Socci who predicted in Libero as far back as 2011 that Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) would soon resign his “pontificate” — a thing that seemed absurd at the time and earned Socci plenty of mockery. Curiously, it was on Feb. 10, 2012 — exactly one year and one day before his public declaration of resignation — that the Italian Il Fatto Quotidiano predicted that Benedict XVI would die within 12 months. Obviously, neither publication got it completely right, but it would be silly to simply relegate all this to the status of sensationalist coincidence.
“In the Vatican there is ever more persistent talk of a new conclave”, Socci begins his Aug. 23 article in Libero. Allegedly, Francis has made known his desire to resign on or about his 85th birthday, which would be Dec. 17 of this year.
It is a good idea to recall, as Socci also does, that the credible pro-Bergoglio blog Il Sismografo reported last month that Francis’ health was much poorer than the Vatican public relations machine was letting on: “The disease that has struck Pope Francis is severe and degenerative”, editor Luis Badilla Morales wrote. Some have suggested that instead of a mere case of diverticulitis, the “Pope” is actually afflicted with colon cancer.
Socci mentions that the first to speak of a conclave being “in the air” was veteran Vaticanist Sandro Magister, in his July 13 post “Conclave in view, everyone backing away from Francis”.
According to the Italian tabloid publication Dagospia (which we won’t link to, as it contains lewd images), Francis’ successor will definitely be an Italian, and the contest will be decided between “Cardinal” Pietro Parolin, the current Secretary of State, and “Cardinal” Matteo Zuppi, both of them born in 1955 and both Francis appointees. Predictions like this aren’t worth much, of course, but it is interesting that these two characters should be considered papabile (“Pope-able”).
Now, one must ask, of course: Is it reasonable to believe that Bergoglio would ever want to give up his power? Over the last 8+ years, it has become painfully evident that the oh-so humble “Pope” Francis the media likes to portray is in fact the same ruthless, narcissistic, and power-hungry dictator that he was as “Archbishop” of Buenos Aires (1998-2013):
* Omar Bello: Francis Plays Both Sides
* Novus Ordo Cardinals slam Francis as “Cold-Blooded, Cunning Machiavellian [who] Lies”, Heretic
On the face of it, therefore, it would seem highly unlikely that someone like Bergoglio would ever voluntarily cede power.
However, there is at least one conceivable scenario under which he might do so: If in exchange for relinquishing power, he will (at least covertly) get to direct who his successor shall be, thus more or less ensuring that his agenda will live on. Depending on how compromised at least some of the conclave participants are, having Bergoglio present in Vatican City looking over the shoulders of the electors, as it were, breathing down their necks while the conclave is in session, would surely influence a vote or two.
Can it be ruled out? Certainly not.
What makes matters more interesting is that in addition to the rumors about Francis stepping down in December, there is word that the same “Pope” will soon establish canonical norms for papal resignations and regulate (or abolish altogether) the putative office of “Pope Emeritus”, which is really a fantasy dreamed up in the mind of Ratzinger.
An article by Vaticanist Maria Antonietta Calabrò appeared, also today (curious timing!), in the Italian edition of the Huffington Post. Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican provides a full translation of the article in his e-mail Letter #92.
(Maria Antonietta Calabrò, “Francesco potrebbe promulgare una norma sullo status di ‘Papa emerito'”, Huffington Post, Aug. 23, 2021; translation by Robert Moynihan.)
The report of Francis possibly issuing canonical guidelines for the whole “Pope Emeritus” circus lends great weight to the rumor that he intends to resign in December.
With Benedict XVI still alive, a resignation by Francis could add some hilarity to the already absurd clown show in the Vatican: Then there would be two “Popes emeriti” in the 0.19-square-mile territory, and after the conclave there would be three men dressed as Pope! (Unless, of course, Bergoglio abolishes the thing altogether.)
Is such a charade inconceivable?
No, it is not — not after all that has transpired in the Vatican since 2013, including the Pachamama circus, the Muslim prayers of “victory over the infidels”, the cocaine-fueled sodomite orgy, the happy encounter with abortionist Emma Bonino, the public showers in the colonnades, the Sistine Chapel being rented to Porsche, the exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and heaps more.
In fact, one might just shrug and echo the words of an unsavory character of American politics: What difference, at this point, would it make?