Yesterday the website Rorate Caeli posted a translation of what is alleged to be a transcript of a meeting Pope Francis held last week with members of the Latin American Conference of Religious. The original Spanish document was posted on the Chilean website Reflexión y Liberación. The text—described at Reflexión y Liberación as a “short synthesis” of what the Holy Father said during the meeting—includes confirmation of the existence of a “gay lobby” within the Roman Curia (rumors that this lobby was behind Pope Benedict’s resignation were widely circulated through the Italian media earlier this year). The alleged transcript also references to “Pelagian” tendencies of some traditionalist groups and “Gnostic” tendencies among the “educated elite.”
Today at the Vatican reporters asked Father Federico Lombardi, SJ about the accuracy of the report; the Vatican spokesman replied: “The meeting of the Holy Father with the presidency of CLAR was a meeting of a private nature. I therefore have no statement to make on the proceedings or on the content of the conversation.”
Veteran Vatican reporter John Thavis notes that the Spanish text, as well as the Rorate translation, includes many ellipses and parentheticals: “That means that nuances and qualifiers may have been lost along the way.” He continues: “Nevertheless, the text appears to echo the tone of Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff comments on other occasions. And it would seem that if anything patently false were reported, the Vatican would not have passed on the opportunity to knock it down.”
Some excerpts from the Rorate Caeli translation:
They will make mistakes, they will make a blunder [meter la pata], this will pass! Perhaps even a letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine (of the Faith) will arrive for you, telling you that you said such or such thing… But do not worry. Explain whatever you have to explain, but move forward… Open the doors, do something there where life calls for it. I would rather have a Church that makes mistakes for doing something than one that gets sick for being closed up…
I share with you two concerns. One is the Pelagian current that there is in the Church at this moment. There are some restorationist groups. I know some, it fell upon me to receive them in Buenos Aires. And one feels as if one goes back 60 years! Before the Council… One feels in 1940… An anecdote, just to illustrate this, it is not to laugh at it, I took it with respect, but it concerns me; when I was elected, I received a letter from one of these groups, and they said: “Your Holiness, we offer you this spiritual treasure: 3,525 rosaries.” Why don’t they say, ‘we pray for you, we ask…’, but this thing of counting… And these groups return to practices and to disciplines that I lived through – not you, because you are not old – to disciplines, to things that in that moment took place, but not now, they do not exist today…
The second [concern] is for a Gnostic current. Those Pantheisms… Both are elite currents, but this one is of a more educated elite… I heard of a superior general that prompted the sisters of her congregation to not pray in the morning, but to spiritually bathe in the cosmos, things like that… They concern me because they ignore the incarnation! And the Son of God became our flesh, the Word was made flesh, and in Latin America we have flesh abundantly [de tirar al techo]! What happens to the poor, their pains, this is our flesh…
(upon mentioning the hardship of being in charge of the Roman Curia, and the commission of cardinals who will support him, etc.) And, yes… it is difficult. In the Curia, there are also holy people, really, there are holy people. But there also is a stream of corruption, there is that as well, it is true… The “gay lobby” is mentioned, and it is true, it is there… We need to see what we can do…
The reform of the Roman Curia is something that almost all Cardinals asked for in the Congregations preceding the Conclave. I also asked for it. I cannot promote the reform myself, these matters of administration… I am very disorganized, I have never been good at this. But the cardinals of the Commission will move it forward. There is Rodríguez Maradiaga, who is Latin American, who is in front of it, there is ErrÁzuriz, they are very organized. The one from Munich is also very organized. They will move it forward.
Pray for me… that I make mistakes the least possible…
Full text here.
UPDATE: The president of the Confederación Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Religiosas y Religiosos (CLAR), the group with which Pope Francis met last week, has released a statement apologizing for the release of the text in question. The statement, in Spanish, can be read here; Rorate Caeli has an English translation:
The Presidency of CLAR deeply regrets the publication of a text referring to the conversation kept with the Holy Father Francis in the course of a meeting on June 6. A conversation that took place prompted by questions made by those present to the Pope.
In this circumstance, no record of the conversation was made, but soon afterwards a summary of the same was made based on the recollections of those present. This summary, that does not include the questions posed to the Holy Father, was destined to the personal memory of the participants, and not for any reason meant for publication, something for which, on the other hand, no authorization was requested.
It is clear that, on this basis, the singular expressions contained in the text cannot be attributed to the Holy Father with certainty, but only their general sense.
The Presidency of CLAR deeply regrets what has happened and the commotion it may have caused.
Sister Mercedes Leticia Casas Sanchez, FSpS – President
Fr. Gabriel Naranjo Salazar, CM, – General Secretary