(Rome) The expulsion of Sandro Magister after 41 years as an accredited journalist of the Holy See has led to diverse reactions, between unbridled glee and states of shock. The withdrawal of accreditation "is the worst thing for a Vaticanist" gleefully wrote wrote Magister's opponent Francesca Chaouqui who is one of the "new courtiers" of this pontificate. The statement hits the point and explains the state of shock of those who afford themselves an independent view outside the jubilee choir for the Argentine pontiff. It's an attitude that is increasingly becoming a dangerous luxury when even when one as veterate and renowned as Sandro Magister Vaticanist must be put to the sword without mercy. While the courtiers have erupted in loud jubilation over the slaying of their "enemy", the voices among Vaticanists can be counted on one hand, who dare to take sides for their previously highly respected colleagues, to move some things into perspective.
One who has done so publicly is Riccardo Cascioli, the chief editor of the Catholic Internet newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana (NBQ). Here is plea for Sandro Magister and against the "new courtiers" in the Catholic Church.
No mercy for Magister
by Riccardo Cascioli
The premature announcement of documents is never a pleasant thing, but it is difficult to understand why the pre-publication of the Pope's encyclical Laudato si two full days has brought the Holy See to the brink of a nervous breakdown and some Vaticanists laughably losing even their sense, are claiming the incident as a conspiracy to damage from Pope Francis.
What kind of a conspiracy could depend on the contents of the encyclical being unveiled two days early? On the contrary, the initiative of the Espresso appears to have heightened the attention of the official press conference to present the Encyclical on 18 June at 11 O'clock. And it was only in order to determine any differences between the already known version and the final version.
The Public Pillory and Toxic Malice for Magister
Yet the advance publication has been treated like a conspiracy, so that the Vatican press office even took the drastic measure and indefinitely suspended the accreditation of longtime Vaticanist Sandro Magister, who is believed to be the culprit of the incident. Not only that: The letter by which Magister's sanction was announced was publicly posted in the press service of the Vatican and published with great luridness on the semi-official news blog Il sismografo.That's not all: as if it were not already enough punishment to publicly pillory Magister without any process, there appeared tons of poisonous comments on the internet by colleagues and Vatican representatives against Magister.
Magister is a very famous Vatican expert. His official website chiesa.espresso and his blog Settimo Cielo are much read and at the international level. For many Catholics, but also journalists, Magister is an important reference point in order to be informed about developments in the Catholic Church and the Vatican, which go beyond the official statements. It is obvious that he has made some enemies over time. The way he is now treated, in any case, raises a number of questions.
Nothing like that at Vatileaks - did not violate any embargo period
Mainly because there were no comparable penalties in connection with the Vatileaks scandal, as numerous personal and confidential documents from the desk of Benedict XVI. were stolen and published and caused a scandal. By comparison, the preliminary publication of a public encyclical is ridiculous. In addition, Magister can at best be only indirectly responsible for the publication, then the copy of the encyclical-draft - as has been said from the very beginning - was landed on the table of the Espresso -Chief Editors who decided the publishing and asked Magister to write a short introduction.
Ultimately, you can not even speak of a violation of the embargo period, as the American Vatican expert John Allen remarked. An embargo period is there when a document shall be made in available in advance to journalists to give them time to read it and to prepare for the publication. In practice, this means: I give you a document in advance and you commit yourself to not speaking about it before a specified time. In this specific case, the Holy See, however, had decided, which is unusual and not very pleasant, to present the Encyclical only a few hours before the press conference. No journalist had thus officially received it and was therefore bound to a fixed vesting period. A moral obligation of the Espresso chief editor would only be given if the invisible hand that has leaked him the text would require experts to comply with the embargo period on June 18., but that seems highly unlikely.
Nevertheless, the wrath of the Vatican erupted over Magister: no extenuating circumstances, no mercy, only public disgrace and expulsion from the Olympus the Vaticanists.
No Mercy for Magister - a Reward for Eugenio Scalfari
One behaved quite differently with the old fox Eugenio Scalfari, as in the two interviews published with Pope Francis. One in October, 2013, the other in July 2014. Both caused no small stir in the Church. Then it became known that the first interview statements were put in the mouth of the Pope by Scalfari, which he had never said. And that the second interview was supposed to never be released because Scalfari had committed, not to speak publicly about this private conversation with the Pope. The only measure against Scalfari was a public statement by the Holy See. But on the contrary. Scalfari was even rewarded for the two interviews. Both were printed a few months ago in an official book by the Lev Vatican Publishing house.
Reckoning With one Who did not Join in the Chorus of Adulation
One can reasonably assume, therefore, that Magister, is rather than paying for the advance publication of the encyclical, but instead for his constant informational activities with which he strives to brighten backgrounds and illuminate decisions and statements in a way that does not correspond to the chorus of adulation which surrounds and damages this pontificate. The incident with the encyclical is just a pretext to settle accounts with a leading journalist, but is considered as a reference point for the opposition. A precise signal that is being emitted by the new courtiers and to all who dare to question, and according to an old strategy: to teach one hundred strike one.
It is therefore no coincidence that those who spread the poison against Magister, are among the enthusiastic supporters of the new charity. This includes those who should of their own volition and on the basis of their institutional position, employ a certain lack of self control. There is the s PR expert hired for a Pontifical Commission, Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui who has never forgiven Magister that he publicized her tendency to too great loquacity, wrote immediately after becoming aware of Magisters punishment on Facebook:
The entry ends with the words: "Happy Sandro, Ex-Vatican expert". Any further comment is superfluous. Law has Chaouqui was only correct in stating that the withdrawal of accreditation is "the worst thing for a Vaticanist."
Betting that L'Espresso already published the final version
The entry gives testimony that the spurting of venom from the Vatican is far from past. This is evidenced by a further signal: Il Fatto Quotidiano has named the Secretariat of State Security as a source of the copy that the Espresso leaked. The daily newspaper also claimed, it involves an alleged act of sabotage by "conservatives" against Pope Francis. Information that has been properly spread not by chance. Rather, it appears to be a notice that we will soon be informed of things quite differently.
NB: The Vatican spokesman Father Lombardi explained that it told Espresso that it was only a draft of the encyclical and not to publish the final version version. He made it clear that the text has undergone further changes. But we are willing to take a bet that the published text already represents the final version. On Thursday we will know it.
Text: Riccardo Cascioli / NBQ
translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: RAI1 / Dagospia / Facebook (screenshots)
translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: RAI1 / Dagospia / Facebook (screenshots)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org