When Pope Francis was elected, our extraordinary Ordinary, +Denis, described the rumour that Bergoglio had been the “runner up” at the last conclave as “scuttlebutt”. It was such a delightful term for the rather silly way in which rumour becomes fact (as my EV says: “it was rumoured that” becomes “fact” simply by constant repetition being in the press) that I have decided to add it to my vocabulary henceforth and forthwith.

So I have paid no attention at all to the “carnival is over” comment that Pope Francis is rumoured to have said at his initial vesting. Beyond the fact that it would have been a terribly cruel thing to say, it would mean that all Pope Francis’ humility was a front – something I am also not prepared to believe (rose colored glasses or not, Tony).

Now, thank God, the most trusted vaticanista in the English language has declared: It is all SCUTTLEBUTT!

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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11 Responses to Scuttlebutt!

  1. Joshua says:

    Exactly. I blogged about this myself a week or so ago, and it seemed to me then to be an unlikely-because-rude-and-insensitive comment for our new Pope to make.

  2. Tony says:

    We’re all looking through the glass darkly as far as goings on in the Vatican are concerned, it’s a legacy of it’s own propensity towards secrecy.

    On the matter of Bergoglia being ‘runner up’ last time, I seem to recall Mark Coleridge giving the ‘rumor’ some credence on one of his TV appearances and even your ‘trusted vaticanista’ described him as ‘someone who had been in the mix in 2005’.

    • Joshua says:

      In Rome, everyone talks about everything – everything true and everything false: that way no one knows what’s really true, and the secrets are hidden in open sight.

      • Tony says:

        ‘ … that way no one knows what’s really true … ‘

        Great, huh? Just what you want in a church that claims to preach truth.

        • Schütz says:

          I have always (at least, since becoming Catholic) and will always trust the Pope to tell me the truth – whatever his name is. There are those rose coloured glasses again, I guess. Aka, Faith.

  3. Adam says:

    Yes David, there is loads of it around, especially in Rome, having lived there for a time. Italy does tend to thrive on rumour a lot.
    But the ‘alleged’ words of Francesco to Marini would never have been said. Those are not the ways of this humble bishop. Just horrendous someone would spread such a lie.
    But, there have been some very obvious signs of ‘papal apparel’ change since March 13.
    1. Papa Francesco has not worn any lace albs at all the Masses that he has celebrated. They were being worn by Benedict and Francesco has not done so.
    2. The new bishop of Rome has been wearing the same simple white mitre since election. He wore it today on Palm Sunday as well.
    3. He is not wearing very ornate chasubles at Mass. They are now very simple, plain and also ‘light weight’. The red chasuble at Mass today is a new one that Benedict never wore.
    4. He is still wearing his black shoes. No sight of any red leather shoes whatsoever.

    So Francesco has his own style and will do it his way, but he has made changes since becoming pope. And I feel confident in saying that the era of lace albs, and lace surplices for popes has gone. That all ended Feb 28. The fact is that Traditionalists who thrive in these liturgical apparels, will have to learn that this bishop of Rome is not going there and this will down on them very quickly.

    And when he lives in more simple and spartan housing there will be further changes all will have to get used to. After all, as one senior cardinal said recently, St Peter never had a bank! Perhaps Francesco may move into the Tower much used by John XXIII in the Vatican gardens or even the Lateran church. Watch this space !!

  4. Adam says:

    David, just a small follow up as I saw an interview Cardinal Pell gave to EWTN a couple of days after the conclave. In that he noted that the ‘lace’ had gone and that Marini was not wearing lace surplices. It is very obvious that the lace brigade in the Church will have to adjust accordingly. Personally i think that in the last pontificate we have seen a total blow out on such externals in liturgy and now Francesco will focus on what is important, Christ the crucified. Lets face the facts, the apsotles never wore lace!! The early Church in Palestine and in Rome under three centuries of persecution had to exist in very rough and simple conditions. The very core of the faith and the lives of early Christians had not even bothered about lace and trappings. The Gospel is in the heart not on the shaoe, size and colour of albs, chasubles etc.
    The new bishop of Rome already has alerted us to that reality and people are drawn to him in millions.

    • Schütz says:

      All to be sure, Adam. But I am no nazi in these matters. Let the Catholic “both/and” rule, as long as we know the only really important thing is the Gospel of Christ Crucified, and the lace doesn’t get in the way of that (there are some people – some – for whom it actually helps, God help them). Just so long as polyester doesn’t become the order of the day… Simplicity: good. Tackiness: Bad. Quality is authenticity, but quality does not need to be extravagant.

  5. Joshua says:

    This Pope doesn’t wear lace; well, he’s in good company – the famous rubricist Adrian Fortescue called it “eighteenth century bad taste”.

    That said, the next Pope can, and frankly whether it is used or not is a fairly minor issue.

    De gustibus non est disputandum: In matters of taste there can be no dispute.

    (I think many Aussies don’t “do” lace because it can be perceived as a bit effeminate, but by no means all lace is, nor are those who choose to use it. A pansy is a pansy whatever he wears, quite frankly, and so is a macho bloke – as long as neither sin, let them wear whatever they like.)

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