If you remember the game Clue, you will recall the twists and turns involved in solving the crime. Today we have a mystery equally as captivating and every bit as perplexing. But in the current case, we ask, “Was it Colonel Mustard in the library with a candlestick or was it Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary for the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican with sticky fingers?” We believe it was the latter, and here’s the case that led to the suspect being named.
Some months ago, Cardinal Raymond Burke, along with eight other distinguished Church leaders and theologians, authored a book that sets the record straight on the question of what the Church teaches regarding divorced and remarried Catholics and the reception of Holy Eucharist. The publication, Remaining in the Truth of Christ, was generally well received by those who were opposed to what a certain German cardinal, Walter Kasper, had proposed. Namely, the cardinal suggested “a change in the ‘pastoral practice’ about who can receive Communion.” Kasper opines, “To say we will not admit divorced and remarried people to Holy Communion? That’s not a dogma. That’s an application of a dogma in a concrete pastoral practice. This can be changed.” To further his argument, Kasper explained to the press that he and the Holy Father, Pope Francis, are on the same page and that ordinary folks agree with his preposterous proposition. He told the National Catholic Reporter: “If what people are doing and what the church is teaching, if there is an abyss, that doesn’t help the credibility of the church. . . . One has to change.”
Well, not so fast say Cardinal Raymond Burke and a host of other prelates who perceive the Kasper proposal as anything but just—not to mention not in accord with Catholic doctrine and tradition. In an interview, Burke commented on Kasper’s proposal to the synod fathers, saying, “It is profoundly sad and scandalous that such remarks were made by a cardinal of the Church. They are a further indication of the determination to manipulate the process of the synod to advance Cardinal Kasper’s false positions, even by means of racist remarks about a significant and highly respected part of the synod membership. That this incident has taken place, especially in the context of such an important event in the life of the Church, has deeply saddened me.”
Remaining in the Truth of Christ was published by Ignatius Press and subsequently distributed to, among others, the synod fathers.
Or was it?
According to Catholic Culture.org, “Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, the editor of Ignatius Press, which published the American edition of the book, confirms that dozens of books were received by the Vatican City governorate, but never reached the prelates to whom they were addressed.” This story broke when Edward Pentin penned a news article exposing the case of the disappearing books in a NewsMax column last week. Two days later the Vatican issued a statement saying that the copies were indeed delivered.
Associated Press reporter Nicole Winfield offers her description of the whodunit: “The mystery underscores the divisiveness of the debate and the conspiracy theories that ran rampant during the synod, with accusations that meeting organizers were angling to favor a more progressive outcome. Such tensions will likely only rise before the second round of discussions starting in October.”
So we are left wondering about the true facts in this matter. If we must compare the veracity of statements made by publisher Father Joseph Fessio with those of a Vatican press office that is so frequently inaccurate, well, whom would you believe?
The clues lead in one direction, and my suspicion is that the malefactor in this case is none other than Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, who did it in the Vatican with sticky fingers.