FROM THE PAPAL CONCLAVE
Article No. 2
On Twittering Cardinals
by Christopher A. Ferrara
March 11, 2013
When Cardinal Roger Mahony arrived at the Vatican to take part in the papal conclave, and before the General Congregations of the College of Cardinals began, he was required to place his hand on a Bible and swear an oath to observe rigorous secrecy with regard to all matters in any way related to the election of the Roman Pontiff. I repeat: all matters in any way related to the election of the Roman Pontiff. There is no wiggle room here.
Mahony promptly violated the oath by sending a tweet to his Twitter following regarding the progress of the General Congregations being conducted in secret. As NBC News reported, Mahony breached confidentiality by sending the following message: Days of General Congregations reaching a conclusion. Setting of date for Conclave nearing. Mood of excitement prevails among Cardinals. This sort of breathless bulletin from within the Congregations is precisely what the oath of secrecy was designed to prevent.
But the oath was no deterrent to Cardinal Mahony, any more than he was deterred from attending the conclave after Archbishop Jose Gomez, who replaced him upon his retirement, stripped him of his public ministry. That unprecedented discipline of a cardinal by an archbishop came after the files Mahony had litigated for years to keep secret revealed his central role in concealing the activities of homosexual predator priests and shuttling them beyond the jurisdiction of courts and law enforcement agencies. If Mahony had anything resembling a sense of decency he would have absented himself from the conclave. But this is a man without shame. The prelate that Pope John Paul II nicknamed Hollywood would never consider missing the Big Show and his role in it.
It seems Mahony is not the only cardinal who tweets. At least nine cardinals have Twitter accounts (which is actually an encouragingly low number). According to one article these Twitter-addicted prelates are getting in as many tweets as they can before they enter the Sistine Chapel, which will be surrounded by an electronic barrier that has been erected on the assumption that the vow of secrecy would be violated by other cardinals as well.
Cardinal Dolan, not surprisingly, is one of the nine tweeting cardinals. Evidently, Dolan thinks it important that his followers receive such pearls as these: Lord it is good to be here with You. Sometimes words fail me. Sometimes its [sic] good to just be in Your presence and not say anything. But didnt Dolan just say something? And what does the Lord think of a cardinal who tweets his followers while professing to be silently in the Lords presence?
Is it all just show biz for these cardinals who tweet? And yet such as these are among the electors for the new Roman Pontiff. If the Church were merely a human institution we would throw up our hands in despair. But we know that under the influence of the Holy Ghost even twittering cardinals can, perhaps in spite of themselves, do a great thing for the Church. It is said that God chooses some Popes, tolerates some, and positively inflicts some upon the Church. Let us pray for a Pope squarely in the first category, invoking the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima and praying the Rosary frequently for that intention.