Above, the late Italian Jesuit cardinal, Carlo Maria Martini, who some called, during the early 2000s, “the ante-pope.” He died in 2012


    The Shepherd of the Lord’s whole flock is the Bishop of the Church of Rome, where the Blessed Apostle Peter, by sovereign disposition of divine Providence, offered to Christ the supreme witness of martyrdom by the shedding of his blood. It is therefore understandable that the lawful apostolic succession in this See, with which “because of its great pre-eminence every Church must agree” (St. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, III, 3,2) has always been the object of particular attention.”—The opening words of Universi Dominici Gregis (“Of the Lord’s whole flock”), issued by Pope John Paul II on February 22, 1996. This is the legislation that currently regulates the election of Popes

    And so in 1996, when the revolutionaries held him up as the next pope, Martini founded the St. Gallen mafia. Its glue… was not an idea but a person. The group’s spark derived from its opposition to Ratzinger, the right-hand man of John Paul II‘s conservative papacy… It was a program that surrendered to the dictatorship of relativism — and Martini should have been the pope to usher it in.—Julia Meloni, The St. Gallen Mafia: Exposing the Secret Reformist Group Within the Church (2021), pp. 6-7

    In the first audience which Francis conceded to me after that which I already mentioned on June 23, 2013, in which he asked me about Cardinal McCarrick, he asked me a similar question: ‘What is Cardinal Sandri like?’—Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in an open letter he wrote almost two years ago, on January 31, 2020, about Cardinal Sandri….

    Letter #152, 2021, Friday, November 19: Conclave #1

    In human affairs, there are always “issues.”

    Different point of view, different opinions, and so then the formation of different groups, and factions, and parties, and alliances (we might even refer to them as “lobbies” or even as “mafias”), in order to carry forward a plan or common vision.

    Of course, in the affairs of the Church, that unique community which Christ founded, there is, as we hope and believe, a fundamental and supreme source of unity, which is Christ’s Spirit — a holy source of unity not always, or even often, available in the ordinary affairs of men.

    Yet we would be too naive if we were to imagine that human “issues,” human failings, human special interests, did not trouble and threaten the fidelity of even the Church herself to her Founder.

    In this context, the very fact that Pope John Paul II wrote a very long legal text, Universi Dominici Gregis, to regulate in great detail, in even very minute particulars, the election of popes, would seem to be a solid proof that St. John Paul himself, from his post as the Church’s head, felt it to be his duty to do all that he could to diminish the possibility that worldly factions along with ordinary human weakness would enter into the activity of a papal conclave, and influence, or determine, the outcome.

    The extensive legal text, clearly, was composed precisely to allow room, and to protect in every way possible that room, for the Holy Spirit.

    It was written, likewise, to diminish the space of activity for any other spirit.


    In this context, an interesting new book has just been published by TAN books, entitled The St. Gallen Mafia: Exposing the Secret Reformist Group Within the Church, by Julia Meloni.

    The book merits a careful reading, but for the purposes of this letter, I will focus on one point only: that there can be an “ante-Pope” (a figure who begins to act as a Pope “before” becoming a Pope), not just an “anti-Pope” (a person who illegitimately or invalidly acts as the Pope, though not actually the Pope, but standing over against the true Pope).

    On page 63 of her book, Meloni writes that Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, S.J., (1927-2012) “was the ante-Pope” in the first years of the 20th century.

    In those years, Meloni writes, progressive who dissented from traditional Church teaching were “only a manifestation of being ahead of the times, of anticipating some once and future pope.” (emphasis mine)

    This “dream of a revolutionary pope was more than just a Jesuit idea,” Meloni continues, citing Italian writer Antonio Socci‘s Non è Francesco(“It is not Francis”) then adding: “Socci traces the dream back to Modernism — a heretical movement that believes, perhaps most essentially, that truth is not immutable.”

    “And,” Meloni continues, “according to Socci, the Modernists had long ago set their sights on the papacy itself. As Socci notes, the early-20th century ‘father of modernism,’ Ernesto Buoniauti, had a disturbing prophecy of a revolution from above. Change would come not from outside the Church but from within, from the Church’s highest echelons.”

Meloni sums up: “Now, the dream of presaging a revolutionary pope grew within Martini.”


    In future letters I plan to return to Meloni’s book and to Martini and to the St. Gallen mafia, and to the papal election of 2005 and 2013.

    These letters will, if all proceeds as planned, become a new series I will call “Conclave,” and today’s letter is thus the first in the series: Conclave #1.

    The purpose? To consider in the coming weeks and months a number of questions involving papal conclaves, and so to make a contribution to general knowledge of the matter in view of a future conclave.

    For today, however, I wanted to turn back to an interesting bit of news from almost two years ago, when Cardinal Angelo Sodano retired as the Dean of the College of Cardinals (December 21, 2019), and was replaced by another cardinal, Giovanni Battista Re (on January 18, 2020; Re was the man who was in charge of running the 2013 conclave). Then Re’s vice-dean of the College of Cardinals was chosen, the man whose task it will be to guide a future conclave: Cardinal Leonardo Sandri

    And there was an article about Sandri that appeared at the time in the Italian press which seems worthy of bringing to the attention of our readers (see below).

    And there was a statement made at that time by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò which also seems important to bring to your attention (see below).

    So this letter, the first in a new series, will simply supply these articles as among the materials to keep in mind as a future conclave is prepared. —RM    

    #1. Italian article by Francesco Lepore from Linkiesta from January 27, 2020 (link)

    The Legionaries of Christ and the Viganò dossier

    “If one Sodano retires, another is made”… A look at who is the new vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals chosen by Pope Francis

    by Francesco Lepore

    After the new provisions desired by Francis came the election of Leonardo Sandri by the 12 cardinals of the order of bishops. A key role: in the event of a new conclave, he will, in fact, lead it. But there are several shadows in his past

    “I hope they choose someone who will watch over this very important position full-time.”

    The words pronounced by Pope Francis on 21 December, in announcing the resignation of Angelo Sodano as dean of the College of Cardinals and the reduction of his mandate from life to five years, were fulfilled less than a month later.

    On January 18, in fact, the cardinals of the order of bishops elected the 85-year-old Giovanni Battista Re who, cardinal of the suburbicarian church of Sabina-Poggio Mirteto, also assumed the title of that of Ostia according to the provisions of 1150 by Eugenius III.

    In place of Re, who until then had been vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, 76-year-old Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, was elected on 24 January.

    The news of the two elections was officially given on January 25 after confirmation by Pope Francis.

    The choice made by the 12 cardinals of the order of bishops focused on two Wojtylians, both from the diplomatic corps and from the experience of substitutes for the Secretariat of State, yet clearly distant from each other.

    Camillo Re, private secretary of Benelli under Paul VI, was Substitute from 12 December 1989 to 16 September 2000, when John Paul II appointed him prefect of the Congregation of Bishops and, on 21 February 2001, cardinal.

    Nicknamed “His Efficiency” on the Terza Loggia [Note: where the Secretariat of State is located in the Vatican] for his pragmatism and ability to solve problems, Re was the shadow of the Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, who promoted him and chose in his place a person of proven trust, the Argentine Leonardo Sandri.

    And it was this iron “Sodanian” who, as Sostituto, announced to the world the death of John Paul II on April 2, 2005, and who, during the next two pontificates, has climbed the top management level of the Curia unscathed.

    On 9 June 2007, he was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches by Benedict XVI, who, on the following 24 November, created him a cardinal.

    He has remained head of the dicastery in Palazzo del Bramante even with Pope Francis despite the rumors in the Vatican corridors that the relations between the two Argentines are not entirely serene.

    He joined the order of bishops (among the cardinals) on the basis of the Bergoglian rescript of June 26, 2018, which extended its membership to the Secretary of State and to the Prefects of the Congregations for the Evangelization of Peoples, Bishops and of the Eastern Churches.

    Sandri could thus participate in the election of the new Dean after the resignation of his protector (Sodano) and be elected, as mentioned, vice-Dean.

    He thus finds himself holding a key role in the College, because until November 18, 2023 he remains a cardinal elector.

    This means that, in the event of the Pope’s death, he will in fact lead the ensuing conclave, since Cardinal Re has already passed the age of 80 for almost six years (Re will turn 86 on January 30, 2020).

    But Sandri’s name, like Sodano’s, has been the subject of gossip for some time.

    And for the same reasons that seem to have led Pope Francis to accept his (Sodano’s) resignation and to reform the position of Dean of the Sacred College.

    The Prefect of the Congregation of the Oriental Churches (Sandri) is in fact known for the closeness and open support, in previous years, to the Legionaries of Christ and to the Mexican founder Marcial Maciel Degollado, who, as revealed by a recent report drafted by the same religious congregation, allegedly sexually abused as many as 60 minors between 11 and 17 years old.

    In this regard, Sandri is explicitly mentioned in the so-called Viganò Testimony (August 25, 2018), where it is said: “It is known that Sodano tried to cover up the scandal of Fr Maciel to the end, even removed the nuncio in Mexico City Justo Mullor who refused to be accomplice of his maneuvers to cover Maciel and in his place he appointed Sandri, then nuncio to Venezuela, well-disposed instead to collaborate.”

    But not only. Because Sandri, appointed substitute of the Secretariat of State by John Paul II on September 16, 2000, who remained in that position also under Benedict XVI until May 10, 2011, is the one who supervised the laudatory speech delivered by Pope Wojtyla on November 30, 2004, during the audience with the Legionaries of Christ and the connected Apostolic Movement Regnum Christi. An audience granted on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Maciel’s priestly ordination, which fell on November 26.

    On that day, the founder celebrated a thanksgiving mass in the basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura in the presence of Cardinal Angelo Sodano and numerous cardinals and bishops of the Roman Curia. The then-substitute Leonardo Sandri read the warm message of John Paul II, dated 24 November, and also prepared in the Secretariat of State.

    As if that were not enough, Sandri’s name appears in the aforementioned dossier of the former delegate for the Papal Representations, Carlo Mario Viganò, as a person informed about the sexual abuses committed on adult seminarians and priests committed by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Who, as is known, was deprived of the purple and, subsequently, reduced to the lay state by Francis on February 16, 2019.

    To complete the picture, the numerous first-hand information offered by Frédéric Martel in the book-investigation In the Closet of the Vatican, in which he speaks of a Leonardo Sandri sympathetic towards Videla, admirer of the regime’s slogan Dios y Patria, close to the most conservative Catholic currents and fierce opponent of liberation theology.

    “According to the testimony of a Jesuit who was with him at the seminary,” Martel writes, “his youth was stormy and his ‘wickedness’ was known since the seminary. While still a teenager, ‘he surprised us by his desire to intellectually seduce his superiors and reported to them all the rumors about seminarians.'”

    To this, the French sociologist (Martel) points out, we must add a certain worldliness, of which Sandri has shown in all the nunciatures to which he has been sent.

    In short, if with the election of Re the hope formulated by Francis on 21 December last year seems to have been fulfilled, with the election of the “enemy” Sandri — as Martel calls him — that hope seems much less fulfilled.

    (Below, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, currently the man who would be in charge of running the next papal conclave)

    #2. Article by Viganò from almost two years ago about Sandri (link)

    Viganò Reveals the Friendship Between Maciel and Cardinal Sandri, Who Will Oversee the Next Conclave (link)

    by Marco Tosatti

    January 31, 2020

Authorized English Translation by FromRome.Info

Read the original in Italian at MarcoTosatti.com

    Dear Friends and Enemies of Stilum Curiae,

    We offer you today an extremely interesting document from the ex-Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, regarding one of the recent nominations by the Pope: that of Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, as Vice Deacon of the College of Cardinals.

    It will be Leonardo Sandri, who at 76 years of age, who will oversee in reality the functions of the Dean of the Conclave, Giovanni Battista Re, who being 85 years of age cannot participate.

    It is a nomination which has stunned us, seeing that Leonardo Sandri was the Sostituto to the Secretary of State (then, Cardinal Sodano) when there was published the unsigned “note” in which it was affirmed there was no ongoing investigation against Marcial Maciel, the diabolic founder of the Legionaires of Christ.

    Moreover, the good will of the reigning Pontiff towards Sandri is extraordinary. He has already completed two tours of duty of 5 years each, since 2007, as Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches (and is in the middle of a third) and has completed 76 years, when 75 is already the limit imposed for heads of the Dicasteries and for Bishops.

    But let us read what Archbishop Viganò has written:


The Faithful have the right to know

By Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

    We have just been witnesses to one of the most indecent episodes where we have looked upon the work of the Prince of Lies intent upon falsifying the book of Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Robert Sarah, by covering them with ignoble insults and vulgar insinuations, by means of the actions of the papal prison guard, who is now serving as a hit-man.

    And now again we find him to be involved in another masterpiece of trickery: the confirmation on the part of the Pontiff in the election of Cardinal Bishops and of the new Dean and Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals.

    These acts have passed unobserved, while they conceal a subtle strategy.

    It is necessary to keep in mind, indeed, that in June of 2019, Papa Francesco increased the number of Cardinal Bishops, which had remained unchanged for centuries, by promoting 4 new ones at a single stroke.

    In this manner he insured for himself a majority favorable to himself, a thing which he has always done with new members of the College of Cardinals.

    To Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, named Dean at the age of 86, but excluded form the next Conclave, I wish a longer life than that of his father.

    But his nomination is a cover for the more decisive one – that of Cardinal Sandri – who is now positioned to steer the next even Conclave secundum Franciscum, that is, according to the updated and augmented version of the Mafia of St. Gall.

    With Cardinal Leonardo Sandri I am bound by a long friendship, which had its beginning in the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, and then throughout 11 years in the same office as secretary to the Sostituto of the Secretary of State, and then 7 years of collaboration, from when he returned from a mandate as Nuncio to Mexico, after only 6 months, and was named the Sostituto.

    Amicus Plato sed magis amica veritas — This maxim, attributed to Aristotle, and then taken up by Plato in regard to Socrates, and successively by Cicero, is explained in this way by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Sententia libri Ethicorum, Book 1, Lesson 6, nn. 4-5:

    Quod autem oporteat veritatem praeferre amicis, ostendit hac ratione. Quia ei qui est magis amicus, magis est deferendum. Cum autem amicitiam habeamus ad ambo, scilicet ad veritatem et ad hominem, magis debemus veritatem amare quam hominem, quia hominem praecipue debemus amare propter veritatem et propter virtutem… Veritas autem est amicus superexcellens cui debetur reverentia honoris; est etiam veritas quiddam divinum, in Deo enim primo et principaliter invenitur. Et ideo concludit, quod sanctum est praehonorare veritatem hominibus amicis.

    In my own translation, it goes like this:

    “Then, that it be necessary to prefer truth to friends, is demonstrated with this reckoning. To him to whom one is more a friend there goes greater honor. Being friends of both, that is, of truth and of neighbor, we ought to love more the truth than our neighbor, because we ought to love the neighbor above all according to truth and virtue. Truth, indeed, is the most excellent friend to which one owes the reverence of honor. Truth is something of the divine, it finds itself in the first seat, and in its first principle in God. From which one must conclude, that it is something holy to prefer the honor of truth to friends.”

    Moreover, what constrains me to write about Cardinal Leonardo Sandri is inspired solely by the friendship which binds me to him for nearly 50 years, for the good of his soul, for the love of the Truth which is Christ Himself and for the Church His Bride, whom we have served together.

    In the first audience which Francis conceded to me after that which I already mentioned on June 23, 2013, in which he asked me about Cardinal McCarrick, he asked me a similar question: “What is Cardinal Sandri like?”

    Struck with surprise by that question in regard to my dear friend, I did not reply out of embarrassment.

    Francis, then, opened his hands and moved them up and down like scales — as if to say: “Which one is heavier?” — and he looked me straight in the eyes to see if I agreed.

    In reply, I moved to confide in him: “Holy Father, I do not know if you know that the Nuncio Justo Mullor, President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, was removed from the Apostolic Nunciature in Mexico because he opposed the directives coming from the Secretary of State aimed at covering for the grave accusations against Marcial Maciel.”

    I said this to the pope, so that he might reckon it for an eventual remedy to the injustice which Mons. Mullor suffered for not joining in the compromise, for remaining faithful to the truth and for his love of the Church.

    And this is the truth, which we reaffirm to the honor of this faithful servant of the Holy See, on the tomb of whom I celebrated a Holy Mass in suffrage, in the Cathedral of Almeria, Spain.

    I have already written in my first testimonial that the principal responsible for covering the misdeeds committed by Maciel was the then Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the recent acceptance of whose own resignation as Dean of the College of Cardinals was tied to his being implicated in the affair with Maciel.

    He, in addition to having protected Maciel, was certainly not outside of the loop in regard to the promotion of McCarrick … In the mean time, it is just that it be known that Cardinal Francis Arinze duly opposed himself, inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to the attempt by Sodano to coverup the case of Maciel.

    Unfortunately for him, even Sandri let himself be involved by Sodano in this coverup operation for the horrible misdeeds of Maciel.

    To replace Mons. Mullor in Mexico City, it was necessary to name someone securely loyal to Sodano.

    Sandri had already given proof as Assessor of the Secretary of Sate.

    And so, the Nuncio in Venezuela, who was only there for 2 years, was transferred to Mexico.

    Of these shady maneuvers, which the ones in charge qualified as normal events, I was a direct witness in a conversation held by them on January 25, 2000, the Feast of St. Paul, while we were on our way to the Basilica which bears the Saint’s name, for the closure of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

    The connection of these dates for the transfers is also significant: June 19, 2000, the transfer to Moscow of Mons. Giorgio Zur, after being President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy for only 1 year; February 11, 2000, the nomination of Mons. Justo Mullor as President of the same Academy, after having been only 2 and a half years in Mexico; March 1, 2000, the transfer to Mexico of Mons. Sandri after only 2 and a half years spent in Venezuela. Only six months after this, on Sept 16, 2000, Sandri was promoted to the position of Sostituto of the Secretary of State, as the right hand man of Sodano.

    The Legionaries of Christ did not omit to show Sandri their thanks.

    In the occasion of a pranzo held in the Paul VI Hall in honor of the Cardinals created in the consistory of Nov. 24, 2007, among whom was Sandri himself, we were left shocked when he cut in front of me as I stood in line to speak with Pope Benedict, as the Pope was making his entrance, saying: “Holy Father, excuse me, but I cannot stay for Pranzo, as I am the invited guest of 500 Legionaries of Christ.”

    Look how Francis, after having repeatedly and obsessively indicated as the cause of sexual abuse a very vaguely defined “clericalism,” to avoid in this way denouncing the plague of homosexuality, has himself exhibited the worst kind of clericalism, which he has accused others of: to promote Sandri, the Cardinal-Priest in May 2018 to being Cardinal-Bishop only one month later, so that he might be able to name him as Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals, as the candidate chosen beforehand by Francis to preside over the next Conclave.

    The Faithful have the right to know of these sordid intrigues in a corrupt court. In the heart of the Church, it seems to us, there has invaded the shadow of the synagogue of Satan (Apocalypse 2:9).

    + Carlo Maria Viganò

    Arciv. tit. di Ulpiana

    Nunzio Apostolico

This is an authorized English translation of the Italian Original


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