A Pre-Conclave on WhatsApp?

In this pre-conclave period, there is a strange atmosphere in Rome that British journalist Damian Thompson describes for us: “Perhaps you can see the flash of a bishop’s ring as he taps a piece of gossip into WhatsApp.”

Because it’s important to know that “the Holy See employs world-class electronic spies, so everyone uses a private phone rather than the Vatican-issued ones. Even the phone-tappers are busy exchanging information,” Thompson explains.

Already the London building trial--as a result of which the former Substitute for the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, was sentenced to five years and six months in prison--has given us insight into the current morals of the curia.

We will have thus learned that the first Auditor General of the Vatican, Libero Milone, had been dismissed in 2017 by Cardinal Becciu, because he had spied on the private financial affairs of senior Vatican officials, including his own.

In return, the first Auditor had affirmed that his office had been wiretapped and that his team’s computers and telephones were under surveillance. It was then discovered that Cardinal Becciu had made clandestine recordings of the Pope exposing State secrets.

And to crown it all: Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, who replaced Cardinal Becciu in his position of Substitute after his ousting in 2018, did not deny also having hired external service providers to organize the electronic surveillance of other officials for the purposes of retaliation.

Since then, it isn’t strange that Damian Thompson is revealing to us the existence of very discreet meetings which are held, in Rome and elsewhere, to prepare for the succession of the Pope: “Some of the liberal ones [cardinals], who feel safe because they’re in favour with the ailing Pope Francis, can be seen comparing notes in a bar near the gates of the Vatican.”

On the other hand, “The conservative cardinals are more nervous: they gather at suppers in each other’s apartments or — if they can trust the fawning waiters not to betray them — in a favorite restaurant.” Hence there is widespread resorting to encrypted messaging services on private phones.

Does this seem exaggerated to you? Not by the operation of the Holy Ghost, but by the power of social networks...

These prelates could go from swapping the mitre for a headset with hidden microphones, libera nos Domine! From these connected papabili, libera nos Domine!

Fr. Alain Lorans, SSPX