I first published this piece on 30 July this year. I am reprinting it now because it seems to me that one of the strongest arguments favouring acceptance of Archbishop Vigano's disclosures is that the picture he gives us of PF's character fits so closely the conclusions which some of us have come to about PF's evasive attitude to Truth.
One of my motives for writing this piece in July had been the following. PF had recently accused the Four Cardinals of lying: they claimed that the Dubia had been delivered to PF's desk; he claimed that he first heard about the Dubia after they were made public: "I heard about it from the Press".
Given this conflict of testimony, it was not easy to understand why four cardinals should put themselves so very much in the wrong by behaving like that and by lying in such a way. So I wrote:
It is a now familiar picture: the Pope who shifts the blame on to others ("I was poorly informed"); the Pope who contradicts himself; who says different things to different people. The recent account of PF's dealings with the Argentine military dictatorship is unsubstantiated but terrifyingly circumstantial and unnervingly fits in with many compelling reconstructions of his character.
We have a Pope who, in any sort of Mess, rapidly takes easy and facile refuge in Fictive Narratives.
Many of us have felt driven to differ from PF's views on basically important matters of Faith and Morals. Nevertheless, he and we are fellow-Christians with all that this implies about our common life together in Christ's Body the Church.
But how easy is it to do any sort of meaningful business with a Roman Pontiff the integrity of whose word looks increasingly implausible? (Or, indeed, with his public apologists?)
Any sort of meaningful business, that is, other than waiting for these terrible days to pass.
NEW PERSONAL FOOTNOTES:
(1) The words of Pope Benedict XIV which I reported as recently as Saturday morning ("the Mug"), have been spectacularly fulfilled by Mgr Vigano: the Scum certainly now is right on the Surface of the Cooking Pot, for everyone to see! I think I had better visit Ashmole more often!
(2) PF's neat way of dodging questions in the airliner does immense credit to whichever of his aides dreamed it up. Talent there!
(3) A bishop Strickland finds the Vigano Testimony 'credible'. Now his website is down, just as Bishop Egan's was so recently.
(4) Both the Testimony of Archbishop Vigano; and the admirable letter of Bishop Philip Egan calling for a Lay Congress and an Extraordinary Synod to consider the crisis, are dated to the Octave Day of the Assumption, the Queenship of Mary aka Her Immaculate Heart.
Perhaps 22 August will go down in History as the Marian intervention which precipitated the ending of this calamitous and divisive pontificate.