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"Pope" Sodano Is Running the Church

by Christopher A. Ferrara

In a revealing article for www.chiesa (February 11, 2005) Italian journalist Sandro Magister explains how the Pope, in the final stage of Parkinson’s disease and barely able to utter a word, has delegated virtually the entire governance of the Church to others  —  first and foremost the leading anti-Fatimist in the Vatican bureaucracy, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the 78-year-old Secretary of State.

Magister notes that when the Pope attempted to read a Lenten blessing from the window of his hospital room at Gemelli Clinic, "By the Pope's side at the window of the hospital could be seen Argentine archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the substitute Secretary of State, and the young Polish priest Mietek, a fresh reinforcement for the Pope's personal secretariat. The Pope entrusted the reading of his message to Sandri, as he has done more and more frequently for almost two years."

And who is Sandri? As Magister explains "Sandri is, in effect, the curia. He's the one who makes the wheels turn, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano's faithful and shadowy man of action." So "Pope" Sodano runs the Church with the aid of "a shadowy man of action," while the Pope struggles to take his next breath. How very comforting for Catholics around the world.

Magister rightly observes that "John Paul II has never taken charge of the ordinary governance of the Church; he has always delegated it to the Roman curia." But now the situation is even worse, for as "his strength is diminished, this delegation has become more broad and is reinforcing the power of Sodano and his men." In other words, the Pope is practically a figurehead, and Sodano runs the Church.

And Sodano shows no signs of moving on, even though he long ago reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. "The rule is that the head of each dicastery should leave his office when he reaches 75. Sodano will turn 78 in November, but he's still at his post. The Pope didn't want to lose him."

Doesn’t want to lose him? What exactly has "Pope" Sodano done for the good of the Church? Where, as we look around us at unprecedented ecclesial chaos and the widespread of collapse of faith and discipline, do we see any reason the Pope would be so attached to this manifestly fallible man, whose area of competence is supposed to be diplomacy?

Magister has more disturbing news for us: "There is a widespread group, and not only within the curia, campaigning for Ratzinger as the next Pope." According to Magister, this group "want[s] him [Ratzinger] as Pope precisely in order to repair the failures of [the post-conciliar] revolution and to guide the Church along a sure path."

This is the same Cardinal Ratzinger who tells us such things as these: that Fatima belongs to the past, that the Immaculate Heart means any heart in union with God, that "the demolition of bastions" in the Church is a "long overdue task," and that the "being of the Church as such is a broader entity than the Roman Catholic Church," thereby negating the teaching of Pius XII that "the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing."

And so "Pope" Sodano, a Vatican diplomat, is running the Church, along with his "shadowy man of action," while a connoisseur of ambiguity is touted as the next Pope. Humanly speaking, our situation looks like it is progressing from bad to worse. We must not forget, however, that the Holy Ghost has the power to reverse the entire crisis in the Church instantaneously. As Sister Lucy has told us, the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart will come just when it appears that the Church’s enemies have been victorious and the situation is hopeless. In the end, the Church will be rescued from the designs of men. The only question is how much more injury the Church, and souls, will suffer before what is wrong is made right again.