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The Next Conclave: A Nightmare Scenario
Roma Locuta Est ^ | July 18, 2021 | Steven O'Reilly

Posted on 07/18/2021 10:46:09 AM PDT by ebb tide

The Next Conclave: A Nightmare Scenario

July 17, 2021 (Steven O’Reilly) – Yesterday, Pope Francis issued Traditionis Custodes, his motu proprio which places significant restrictions on the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) going forward. I will not comment in great detail on its harsh measures as others have already done so. However, for the ‘pope of mercy’ who speaks often of those on the ‘peripheries’ of the Church, it is clear neither his mercy nor the peripheries extend as far as those attached to the TLM.  

“Irreversible Change

 One of the oddities of Traditionis Custodes is not so much that Francis did what he did; but rather it is when he did it. That is, he did not wait until the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI before attempting to abrogate Summorum Pontificum. I suspect we would have seen something like Traditionis Custodes long ago had Benedict passed away soon after stepping down from the Chair of St. Peter. That Pope Francis could no longer wait for Benedict’s death to issue TC, along with the fact the motu proprio went into effect immediately, clearly suggests an impatience or urgency on the part of Francis.

Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez is said to be very close to Pope Francis, e.g., reportedly being the Pope’s ghostwriter for various documents, such as Amoris Laetitia. There is something he said a few years ago that seems to  explain the impatience and urgency noted above. Archbishop Fernandez has been quoted as saying the following (emphasis added):

“The slow pace is necessary to insure the effectiveness of the changes… You have to realize that he (Francis) is aiming at reform that is irreversible. If one day he should sense that he is running out of time and doesn’t have enough time to do what the spirit is asking him, you can be sure he will speed up.” (Crisis Magazine. “Clerical Machiavellians with Magical Beliefs“, William Kilpatrick, 11/06/2018)

Consequently, perhaps what we are seeing is that Pope Francis, now 84, ‘senses that he is running out of time‘ and therefore he is ‘speeding up.’ Francis wants to hurry to make changes or ‘reform’ which will be “irreversible.” This idea of Francis wanting to make “irreversible change” also shows up in words of Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, former Superior General of the Jesuits, of whom Phil Lawler once wrote:

“Father Adolfo Nicolas, the former worldwide leader of the Jesuit order, reported that Pope Francis once told him that he hoped to remain as Pontiff until “the changes are irreversible (see ‘The new cardinals: Pope Francis bids for ‘irreversible change’, Phil Lawler, September 3, 2019).

As far as other attempts at “irreversible” change, only Francis and Heaven knows what is next on his chopping block.  Francis has already endeavored to improve the odds his changes are irreversible through his episcopal appointments, and even more importantly through the cardinals he has created over the course of his pontificate.  More on that in a bit.

Four or Five Years

In researching some of the quotes for the article, there was a curious thing that caught my attention. The Pope has said in various places he expected his pontificate to brief, perhaps “four or five years.” Consider, for example (emphasis added):

In an interview with the Mexican broadcaster Televisa published Friday, the Argentine Pope predicted a “brief” tenure for himself. “I have the feeling that my pontificate will be brief: four or five years; I do not know, even two or three,” Pope Francis, 78, said. “Two have already passed. It is a somewhat vague sensation.” (Time Magazine)

Pope Bergoglio has opined a few times his pontificate would be brief, perhaps “four or five years.” This mention of “four or five years,” plus the fact his closest comrades say he wanted “irreversible change” is something very curious, as it echoes precisely a talking point intended to sell his candidacy just before the 2013 conclave.  For one, Andrea Tornielli, at the time a Vatican correspondent (“vaticanista”) and a friend of Cardinal Bergoglio (later to be given a position in the Vatican), published essentially a press release for Cardinal Bergoglio’s candidacy on March 2, 2013 (see here, here, here, and here). Tornielli quoted an unnamed cardinal as saying: “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things.” In another echo of this Bergoglian theme, ex-Cardinal McCarrick was lobbied by an “influential Italian gentleman” (see Villanova Speech) who lobbied him to campaign for Bergoglio, saying in part that Bergoglio could change the Church in “five years” (see here, here, here, and here). The same Bergoglian theme bubbled up among other sources at the time.  In sum, it was quoted by at least three separate reporters using two to possibly three separate sources — not to mention its use by McCarrick’s visitor [2]. 

We do know Bergoglio himself had said he believe he’d be pope for only four to five years, and that he spoke of wanting “irreversible change.” Consequently, it seems quite likely if not probable that Bergoglio was the original source of the statement (i.e., “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things”) – and that Tornielli (who had dinner with Bergoglio on February 27, 2013), and the “influential Italian gentleman”, and other cardinals had heard this papal campaign slogan in some form directly from Bergoglio himself prior to the 2013 conclave.

A Horrid Thought

We know that Pope Francis went into the 2013 conclave with an agenda: irreversible change. The question is from his standpoint, how does he insure it is irreversible? As of now, over 50% of the cardinals were appointed by Francis.  These new cardinals, for the most part, seem to have been picked because they are Bergoglians. Therefore, it appears quite likely, if not probable, that the next conclave will produce a Pope Francis II.  As horrid a thought as this is — barring Divine intervention; another horrid thought came to me: what if these “odds” aren’t good enough for Francis? 

Consider, Pope Francis knows his own election, dependent on cardinals created by Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, was no sure thing.  Indeed, his own election required the aid of the St. Gallen mafia, his own campaigning, the possible help of an Italian vaticanista, the help of the “influential Italian gentleman“, the help of McCarrick (all discussed in The Conclave Chronicles), and a questionably-timed police raid the morning of the conclave that knee-capped the chances of his chief rival for the papacy (see The Forgotten ‘October Surprise’ of the 2013 Conclave; The Forgotten ‘October Surprise’ (Part II): Cui Bono?). If such happy “coincidences” were necessary for his own election; will Francis leave it to chance that his hoped for successor — who he hopes will secure his “irreversible” legacy — will be as ‘fortunate’ in the next conclave?  Or, could Francis do more to improve the odds?

As horrid as it is to imagine it, there is something more Francis could do to virtually guarantee a successor along the lines he wants — at least as far as human agency goes. Theoretically, Pope Francis could alter the laws governing papal conclaves, or scrap them all together. He could, theoretically, enact new papal legislation for conclaves that would restrict the number of qualified Cardinal electors to a small group of Cardinals.

There is something of a precedent for this going back to the time of Pope Nicholas II (see Here) when cardinal-bishops[1] had a leading role in selecting the candidate for the papacy (see also the election of Pope Innocent II and the election controversy involving anti-pope Anacletus). So, theoretically, in hopes of making his reforms “irreversible,” Francis could restrict eligible Cardinal-electors to a trusted set of Cardinals, for example, perhaps those who sit on his Counsel of Cardinal Advisors, at one time totaling eight cardinals but now seven.  Changing conclave rules to protect “reform” is not new.  Pope Paul VI changed the rules so that Cardinals over the age of 80 would be ineligible to vote in conclaves — thus removing a segment of the College of Cardinals potentially in opposition to the reforms of Vatican II.

Perhaps such a scenario is no more than a scary hypothetical.  No more than an improbable nightmare scenario. Then again, this is the Pope who gave us Amoris Laetitia, Pachamama, the Abu Dhabi statement, the Scalfari interviews, and a host of other outrages, most recently Traditionis Custodes. This is a Pope who want “irreversible” change.

Buckle your seatbelts. It will be a wild ride to the end of this pontificate as Francis “speeds up.”  Pray for the Church, and let us pray for Pope Francis that he remembers the Lord’s words to Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).

Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. A former intelligence officer, he and his wife, Margaret, live near Atlanta with their family. He has written apologetic articles and is author of Book I of the Pia Fidelis trilogy, The Two Kingdoms. (Follow on twitter at @fidelispia for updates). He asks for your prayers for his intentions.  He can be contacted at  or (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA or on Parler or Gab: @StevenOReilly).


  1.  The College of Cardinals is comprised of three ranks of cardinals: Cardinal Bishops, Cardinal Priest, and Cardinal Deacon.
  2. The origin of the phrase — “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things …” — is a curious one. As I discuss in more detail in my original article, “The influential Italian Gentleman,”  Tornielli cites an anonymous cardinal, as indicated above. Gerald O’Connell, in his book, The Election of Pope Francis discusses the famous quote. In it, one of O’Connell vaticanisti colleagues, Mathilde Burgos, quotes Cardinal Errazuriz, using the same line: “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things!” While it is possible Errazuriz used the line with both Burgos and Tornielli, writer Paul Vallely quotes Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor use of the line (see here): “”Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things,” Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, and an old friend of Francis, told me.”  This is curious indeed.  We have Cardinal Errazuriz using the line with a Chilean reporter, and we have either Cardinal Errazuriz or Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor using the same line with Tornielli.  Or was it yet another cardinal that used it with Tornielli? With such an circuitous pedigree, the “four years” line appears to be a pre-packaged, electioneering talking point manufactured to defuse concerns cardinals might have about Bergoglio’s age–and indeed there had been such concerns. We know the line was used with at least three different journalists, and was possibly used by two or even three different cardinals, and by the “influential Italian gentleman.” Yet, given this commonality, one may rightly wonder whether the line was even original to any of them!  There is the real and amusing prospect that Cardinal Bergoglio himself was the ultimate and original source of the pithy phrase.

TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: apostatepope; bergoglio; cardinals; catholic; conclave; dictatorpope; francis; francischism; irreversible; latinmass; mass; motuproprio; pope; popefrancis; tlm; traditionallatinmass; traditioniscustodes; vatican; vatican2; vaticanii

1 posted on 07/18/2021 10:46:09 AM PDT by ebb tide
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To: Al Hitan; DuncanWaring; Fedora; irishjuggler; Jaded; JoeFromSidney; kalee; markomalley; ...


2 posted on 07/18/2021 10:46:40 AM PDT by ebb tide (We have a rogue curia in Rome.)
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To: ebb tide

I guess the left is considered that a Christian may end up leading the church?

3 posted on 07/18/2021 10:54:17 AM PDT by Caipirabob (Communists...Socialists...Fascists & AntiFa...Democrats...Traitors... Who can tell the difference?)
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To: ebb tide

I am seriously curious: Why is the Latin Mass so important? I know it’s traditional, but is that the only reason? Why wouldn’t you want congregants understanding what is said?

Again, I don’t understand and I am hoping someone could explain it to me.

Thanks in advance.

4 posted on 07/18/2021 11:06:35 AM PDT by Vermont Lt
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To: Vermont Lt
Very few people speak Latin theses days so the mass is said in a strange language.

Catholics must be taught the meaning of the Mass and there are 2000 years of Catholic teaching as it's foundation.

The most effective way to change the teaching is to change the language to correspond with wording from the Church of What's Happening Now.

It's about setting the stage for what is to flood the Church once the foundations have been demolished by Francis

5 posted on 07/18/2021 11:33:48 AM PDT by rdcbn1
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To: Vermont Lt
There is also a component of rebellion at work here.

One has to assume that the Lord is pleased with the Latin Mass as a symbol of the Catholic Church or he would not have allowed the Latin Mass to persist for 2000 years.

The leaders of the Church are increasingly in rebellion with the teaching of the Church and openly state they want to impose fundamental changes on the Church.

Revolutionaries are always big on symbolism and part of their rebellion is to overthrow the Latin Mass as symbolic of the victory of the revolution destroying the most enduring symbol which is the corner stone of the Church.

Once the Latin Mass is banned they will be free to innovate and wing it as they see fit to seed confusion in the Church with constant change.

Lastly, banning the Latin Mass the biggest in a constant stream of changes designed to condition Catholics to get used to the idea of rejecting the traditional interpretation of the scriptures and denying the nature and authority of The Lord, the role of Jesus as Christ the King and Savior and the mission of the Church as the salvation of souls .

6 posted on 07/18/2021 11:54:18 AM PDT by rdcbn1
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To: Vermont Lt

It is not about just a language.

I grew up in a Catholic school for 8 years and experienced the changes to the modern mass.

Losing the TLM is like losing something important and profound. We live in a time that is unceremonious, a time when traditions are being stripped away, and people are searching for equity instead of accountability. The TLM demonstrates Christ’s sacrifice through not just the use of the Latin language, but with Gregorian chants, silence, bells. Each movement or gesture as old as Christianity itself.

The Mass was originally said in Aramaic or Hebrew since these were the languages which Christ and the Apostles spoke, the words amen, alleluia, hosanna and sabbaoth are Aramaic words which were retained and are still found in the Latin Mass of today.

“When the Church had spread to the Gentile world, about the year 100 AD it adopted the Greek tongue for the liturgy because it was the common language of the Roman Empire. Use of the Greek language continued throughout the second and into part of the third centuries. The Kyrie eleison is a remnant of Greek which survives in the Latin Mass. The liturgical symbol IHS is a derivative of the Greek word for Jesus.

“The beginnings of the Roman Mass are found in the writings of St. Justin (150 AD) and St. Hippolytus (215 AD). Latin finally replaced Greek as the official language of the Empire. By the year 250 AD, the Mass was being said in Latin throughout most of the Roman world. This included the cities in North Africa and northern Italy such as Milan. The Church in the western empire adopted Latin for the Mass by 380 AD. The Latin Canon as we know it was finished by 399 AD. Latin ceased to be a vernacular language between the 7th and 9th centuries; however, the Mass continued to be offered in Latin because much of the liturgy had already been established in that language. The Fathers of the Church at that time, saw no reason to adopt new vernacular languages which were developing throughout the known world. This was a fortunate situation, since a language, although ‘dead,’ served as a common means of communication throughout the Church, down through the ages.

7 posted on 07/18/2021 12:03:00 PM PDT by EBH (Republics are only meant for a good and moral people. 1776-2021 May God Save Us.)
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To: rdcbn1

Thank you for that clear explanation.

8 posted on 07/18/2021 12:03:57 PM PDT by FlyingEagle
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To: ebb tide

2 Timothy

3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

9 posted on 07/18/2021 12:10:25 PM PDT by EBH (Republics are only meant for a good and moral people. 1776-2021 May God Save Us.)
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To: Vermont Lt

The language being Latin is only one aspect of many differences between the “old” and “new” masses. Words, prayers, postures, ad orientem, music, chant, attitude. The mass is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross in sacramental form. The new mass de-emphasizes God’s gift to us, focuses on community. The old mass emphasized adoration, thanksgiving, atonement, petition. Some say old mass was “vertical” and new one is “horizontal.”

In the Traditional Latin mass, Communion is given with an individual blessing to each recipient, “May the body of Christ preserve you unto life everlasting.” The new mass the priest just says, “Body of Christ”. Big difference.

10 posted on 07/18/2021 12:49:07 PM PDT by Marchmain (TLM refugee)
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To: Vermont Lt
It has very little to do with the Latin itself, except for the fact that Latin is a "dead" language and hasn't been bastardized by changes and the addition of new dialects over time.

The Traditional Latin Mass is built around a strong Catholic culture, as opposed to the slack, feeble nonsense that has come to mark the Novus Ordo culture in so many places these days.

11 posted on 07/18/2021 12:59:09 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("And once in a night I dreamed you were there; I canceled my flight from going nowhere.")
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To: ebb tide
I was privy to a fascinating conversation a few years ago with someone who is a "Catholic insider" in high places in Rome. It doesn't bode well for the future except that it pretty much clarifies what we are up against -- in both the Catholic Church and the world at large.

His synopsis of the state of the Church -- and keep in mind this man says this without a trace of anger or hysteria -- is this:

1. The Catholic clergy is filled with homosexuals.

2. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church is filled with bishops and cardinals who don't even believe in God, let alone the basic precepts of the Catholic Faith.

I agree with his underlying sentiment about where things are headed. Give it another few decades, and the Traditional Latin Mass communities scattered around the world will be the only thing left of the Catholic Church. It will be stronger than ever, but very small.

12 posted on 07/18/2021 1:05:13 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("And once in a night I dreamed you were there; I canceled my flight from going nowhere.")
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To: rdcbn1

a constant stream of changes designed to condition Catholics to get used to the idea of rejecting the traditional interpretation of the scriptures and denying the nature and authority of The Lord, the role of Jesus as Christ the King and Savior and the mission of the Church as the salvation of souls .

Just as one cannot argue against socialism if forced to
use the socialist lexicon, what we see here is it being
applied to religion.

Another example is the continual reinterpretation of
the Constitution into socialist terms until the very meaning is lost in

13 posted on 07/18/2021 1:05:17 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Alberta's Child

I believe him.

Today we have a dictator pope who will kneel to kiss diplomats shoes and wash muslims feet on Holy Thursday; yet he refuses to kneel before God.

14 posted on 07/18/2021 1:09:33 PM PDT by ebb tide (We have a rogue curia in Rome.)
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To: rdcbn1

Maybe they want to force a schism, get rid of the Trads for good.

15 posted on 07/18/2021 2:13:34 PM PDT by BusterDog
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To: BusterDog

That will leave Bergoglio with his favorite heretics in Germany. That will be Bergoglio’s “church”.

16 posted on 07/18/2021 6:51:03 PM PDT by ebb tide (We have a rogue curia in Rome.)
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