Sunday, November 29, 2015

VatiLeaks Get Spicy

Facebook picture - Francesca Chaouqui

Sexting Drama In Vatican Scandals 

Many of those who had not yet read the alleged transcripts of wiretapped info regarding the ongoing trial in the Vatican City were surprised by a Facebook post by Francesca Immacolata Chaouquithe lady at the center of what has now been hashtagged #VatiLeaks 2—in which she said: “Those who are concerned about the reputation of my cousin, aged 36, should know that no cousin of mine with that name and that age actually exists as all my relatives on FB can confirm.”

Vatican Courtroom - Opening Proceedings for the VatiLeaks Trial
The post generated curiosity and led many to the pages of QN—Quotidiano Nazionale—as well as other national newspapers in Italy that had gleefully published excerpts of the alleged sexting (via Whatsapp) of Ms. Chaouqui and her co-defendant, the Spanish prelate, Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda. The two were believed to be close while serving on Cosea, a Vatican commission for the study and address of economic and administrative structures of the Holy see, which was dissolved last year. Both are now standing trial in the Vatican, accused of being the sources of classified information leaks that have since been used in two published books—“Avarizia” (Avarice) by Emiliano Fittipaldi and “Via Crucis” by Gianluigi Nuzzi.

Chaouqui (Facebook picture)
Monsignor Vallejo Balda
In one of the spiciest passages of the published sexting, Ms. Chaouqui reportedly told Monsignor Balda: “Listen, now that you are going to Sosti (her hometown in Calabria, a South Western region of Italy), my Mom will take you to Silvana, she’s perfect and she’s my cousin, and that way too the genetic heritage will be saved. You can tell me what you think afterwards. She’s 36 years-old and she’s smooth.”
The prelate, according to the alleged transcript, seemed interested, responding: “Hmmmmm,” following which Ms. Chaouqui reportedly gave him a heads-up: “On Tuesday she’ll come to your house for sex, ok? (note-the untranslated version contained the most vulgar sex phrase in the Italian vocabulary).”

Three of the five defendants - Day 1 of the trial
Newspaper reports said investigators had confirmed that Monsignor Balda did, in fact, take the trip to Ms. Chaouqui’s hometown of Sosti. 

On 26 April 2015, she reportedly sent him a message which, in the absence of a text sequence, seemed to have a political undertone: “I am however now betting on another prelate. I’ve decided, I’m betting on Misto.” 
No sooner had she sent it than she allegedly reverted back to sexting, urging Monsignor Balda to take her up on the offer: “Silvana wants to have sex (the untranslated version was laden with  vulgarity), what are we going to do about that?”
“Not me,” was Monsignor Balda’s alleged reply, to which Ms. Chaouqui reportedly reacted with the following text: 
“You are perfect. Silvana is really smooth, why is that not okay?”
“Forget it,” Monsignor Balda was quoted as saying. “She’s ugly.”

Chaouqui & Monsignor Balda (ANSA)
Reports said Ms. Chaouqui, at that point, sent him a follow-up text: “The psychiatrist had said to have you entertained. So on Monday, Negroni until death.” It was not quite clear if Negroni in the text was a reference to  a cocktail of the same name. 

Other details in the reported wiretap excerpts included veiled threats from Ms. Chaouqui when the prelate failed to play along and/or agree to specific requests and favors. He allegedly told her: “We can’t promise things that are not possible,” to which she responded: “Are you depressed? Have sex (a vulgar phrase used in the untranslated text) so you can release the tension.”

Chaouqui's Facebook Profile picture
In her first reaction to the published messages, Ms. Chaouqui said in a Facebook post: “Balda is a carefree fellow, a character beyond the collective imagination of common priesthood, one who jokes with everyone, drinks with friends, laughs. He was fun and cheerful until we quarreled and then the devil-may-care attitude was transformed into sheer viciousness.”

In another Facebook post that was subsequently removed, she threatened to sue the journalists covering her trial for publishing the messages and calling her a whistle-blower. “Vaticanists,” she said. “Journalists, lowly receivers of court documents that I, as a defendant, can’t have access to for more than 20 minutes. I challenge you - prove before a court of law that I am the source of the leaks...” 

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Bogus Scoop



In October this year, when QN—Quotidiano Nazionale—an online newspaper, published the stunning headline: Pope Francis has a brain tumor, the news immediately assumed the character of a veritable scoop, worthy of envy in newsrooms around the world. 

Basking in the momentous upshot of this earth-shaker,’ the publication proceeded to unravel its mysteries with delicate cunning by hinting that the pope was attended to by Takanori Fukushima, a renowned Japanese neurosurgeon, who had recently visited the Vatican for consultation and treatment. The scoop,’ needless to say, caused the media to buzz with excitement and sent Vatican officials on a wild scramble, not only to deny the verity of the claim, but also to douse the controversial flame it had generated. It soon emerged that there was  more to the story than meets the eye. The Vatican’s denial followed close on the heels of an exposé published by the Holy See’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, in which the original photograph of the surgeon’s meeting with the pope was revealed to be a picture taken in the company of several people in St. Peter’s Square, which contrasted with the version published by the surgeon on his blog in which he appeared to have met the pope alone.  

No sooner had the original photo been published than the Japanese surgeon removed
Papal Audience
 the 'touched' version from his blog, casting a dark shadow over the whole affair. The strange development sparked conspiracy theories. Many pundits pointed accusing fingers at some cardinals known to oppose the pope’s attempt to reform the church. One of them even went a step further. The online publication,, quoted a former Italian journalist and fixer, Luigi Bisignani, as hinting that the ‘scoop’ was engineered by Opus Dei to discredit the pope as part of an ongoing rivalry between Opus Dei and the Jesuits, which Pope Francis belongs to.

Now it has emerged that the story was triggered by an uncanny coincidence. Takanori Fukushima, the Japanese neurosurgeon at the center of the story, in an interview at the Moriyama Memorial Hospital in Tokyo with the Italian news agency, ANSA, said the scoop was bogus. “They should have consulted me before publishing it,” he was reported as saying. “I’m not quite sure what went on behind the scenes, I guess there are some political issues in the Vatican or between cardinals, but I can assure you that the report did not depict the truth.” Though he could not put a finger on how the report came about, he however proffered a theory. “I was told that there was a 78 year-old patient in one of the hospitals where I operate who had a brain tumor. The patient was named Giorgio Mario Bergoglio and not only did he have the same middle and surname as the pope he had the same age as well.”

Fukushima with pope (photo-shopped)
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, on December 17, 1936 in the Flores neighborhood of Buenos Aires in Argentina, is also 78.
“I think that was the origin of the rumor, totally wrong,Fukushima reportedly said, explaining that he visited the Vatican twice, first in October 2014 and again in February 2015, but “not for a consultation. According to ANSA, his first visit was in the company of Luciano Mastronardi, head physician at San Filippo Neri Hospital in Rome, at a general audience with the pontiff. “I was only able to say ‘I am a Japanese neurosurgeon, best wishes, Pope Francis,’ that was all.” 

Fukushima in the original picture
About the controversial photo-shopped picture from his second visit (which was removed from his blog after the ‘scoop), he said he did it to protect the privacy of the other people in the picture. “There was a bishop from Taiwan, one from Spain and many other people,” so the idea to photo-shop others out of the picture was born since, in any case, it was only “for my personal use. I apologize if it caused any misunderstanding.”

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Truth About Terrorism

Political Islam And Western Hypocrisy 

A few months ago, as African migrants, fleeing conflicts in their home countries, arrived on Italy's shores, no one paid any attention when Pope Francis blamed "Merchants of Death" for their plight. And, of course, no one asked what "Merchants of Death" meant maybe because it was obvious that Pope Francis was alluding to well known key players in the world's arms racegun manufacturers as well as gun traffickersyes, the same ones who have wrecked havoc in the regions of the world with absolutely no capacity to produce weapons of modern warfare. 

Eiffel Tower, Paris   
But on 13 November, when a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, consisting of mass shootings, suicide bombings, and hostage-taking occurred in Paris and its northern suburb of Saint-Denis, the global conversation changed. And between fear and solidarity (that saw many draping their Facebook profiles in the color of the French flag), the question was asked. "Who did this and Was it preventable?" No sooner had the Islamic State (ISIS) been identified as the culprit than the French president, François Hollande declared angrily that his country was at war with ISIS and initiated airstrikes as well as try to rally international support for a possible all-out war against the terrorists. It soon emerged that a Syrian passport used by one of the attackers belonged to a Syrian refugee who had entered Europe through Greece. Was it planted by ISIS to mislead the West? Was it a false passport? Before anyone got anywhere near the truth, many called on Europe to bar the door on Syrian and Iraqi refugees. 

In the United States, many presidential candidates made their voices heard and loudly too. From Donald Trump's idea of a Muslim database to Ben Carson's comparison between Muslims and rabid dogs, to Jeb Bush's proposal for Christian refugees only, the presidential campaign was transformed into fear-mongering. 

Not everyone caught the bug. Many media outlets began to ask such questions as "Who are these terrorists that we are so afraid of and how are they funded?"  
According to the Middle East Research and Information project, “Over the last decade, the Middle East has become a focal point of the world arms buildup. Each year, the regional arsenal grows, as the United States, the Soviet Union, France, Britain and others ship billions of dollars worth of weapons to the countries there.” In August this year, the Mirror—a UK newspaper—published what it described as the scandal of Britain’s £6bn arms deals with  war-torn Middle Eastern countries which could fall to ISIS. It included, the paper said, £15 million in sales over the past five years to embattled Libya, large parts of which are already controlled by a vicious terrorist group. In Italy, the Rome-based newspaper, Il Messaggero, reported that Italian arms exports to Islamic countries are worth a whopping €2.5bn.    

Pope Francis
Former British PM, Tony Blair
When the pope lashed out at arms dealers, one online commentator, who identified himself as et cum spirit 220 on November 21, 2015 at 9:20 AM said: “He is not only evil, but truly unhinged as well. Mercy is for moslem murderers, sodomites, and adulterers, but someone who sells guns is damned. May his reign be short.” But as thousands of migrants escaping war and destitution reached Italy’s shores, the pontiff, undeterred, warned arms manufacturers, the corrupt, slave laborers and human traffickers that one day they will have to respond to God for their actions. Speaking to thousands of the faithful at the weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, he said: “One day everything will come to an end and they will have to account for themselves before God.”
But even Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, who invaded Iraq alongside US President George W. Bush had confessed to CNN that “there are elements of truth” in the assertion that the war (the Iraq invasion) caused the rise of the Islamic State. 

And in a video interview published on June 22, 2014, former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, now a candidate for the U.S. presidency, admitted that it was, in fact, the CIA that started and funded Osama Bin Laden's terrorist group, Al Qaeda. In another video testimony on the funding and arming of Al Qaeda and ISIS, published on September 20, 2014, U.S. Senators, including John McCain, said: "We've been funding ISIS all the time." On his part, Christopher Greene of AMTV reported a Wesley Clark interview on ISIS in which the General explained that ISIS was created by U.S. allies. Given the above cited testimonies, it seems a little hypocritical on the part of the West, especially the US, to decry the atrocities of terrorists that they created.

Global Research, in an online article titled: “We created Al Qaeda,” said that the protagonists of the “Global War on Terrorism” are, in fact, the terrorists. 
Citing Clinton’s successor at the State Department, John Kerry, as being in direct liaison with Al Nusru, an Al Qaeda affiliated organization in Syria, (integrated by terrorists and funded by the US and its allies), the publication said as follows:       
“The Global War on Terror (GWOT) is led by the United States. It is not directed against Al Qaeda. Quite the opposite:
The “Global War on Terrorism” uses Al Qaeda terrorists operatives as foot soldiers.
“Political Islam” and the imposition of an “Islamic State” (modeled on Qatar or Saudi Arabia) is an integral part of US foreign policy.
America is the Terror State. The GWOT is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest.
It is a means to destabilizing sovereign countries and imposing 'regime change'.” 

Sydney Opera House lit up in solidarity
Now, as the world begins its campaign against the so called ISIS, it might be wise to stop for a moment and consider the hypocrisy of those leading us to war. While the pain of the Paris attacks—in which 129 people died—is a pain shared by many and the attack worth condemning, the real truth about terrorism, if considered, may bring us to the same reasoning that prevented Charlotte Farhan, a French-British woman based in Portsmouth, from draping her Facebook profile in the colors of the French flag.

Charlotte Farhan
In a Facebook post shared more than 88,000 times and 'liked' by more than 133,000 people, Ms. Farhan—managing director of non-profit group Art Saves Lives International—said: “I won’t be changing my profile to the French flag even though I am French and from Paris. The reason for this is that if I did this for only Paris it would be wrong. if I did it for every attack in the world, I'd have to change my profile everyday several times a day.”  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Vatican Dossier

physician, heal thyself

A gathering of cardinals
Origin: the Bible, Luke 4:23 (King James Version)

And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.” 

Some might say that the unraveling of the Roman Catholic Church began with the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the 266th pope (on March 13, 2013 by 115 cardinals on the second day and fifth ballot of the cardinals’ conclave).   

That election, they might say, effectively put an end to what had been dubbed ‘Holy Silence’ on perhaps the most outlandish religious hypocrisy in the world. More than any other faith, the Roman Catholic Church, hiding behind ‘a veneer of holiness,’ has been assertive in projecting its views on world affairs, society, religion, and politics, while at the same time stifling its own scandals as if its conduct can’t and shouldn’t impact its views.   

St. Peter's Square - Vatican City
The election of the Argentine Jesuit exposed that hypocrisy. It was the first time in history that the church elected a Jesuit Pontiff, a surprise given that Jesuits have historically served popes rather than become popes. “In a sense, having a Jesuit pope is rather like having a civil servant as prime minister,” Jon Anderson wrote in the Catholic Herald magazine. It should therefore not have come as a surprise when, for the first time, a reigning pope ignored the Holy See’s security concerns and stepped across St Peter’s Square in Rome to mingle with regular folks, shook hands with stunned passersby, telephoned ordinary people at home to express his solidarity with their plight and quite compellingly, chose to simplify the extravagant papal wardrobe. In the true spirit of a Jesuit, Pope Francis ditched the ‘holier than thou’ aura that had, in all of the church’s checkered history, closeted pontiffs under a shroud of mystery like an unfathomable cocoon, and by so doing, made himself, for all intents and purposes, a common mortal. 

Pope Francis
Since his election, the pope has gone to great lengths to reform the church, telling bishops that he wanted a church that was humble and poor, and not obsessed with preaching doctrine or acquiring power. He explained that Christian doctrine wasn’t a closed or rigid system but rather one that lives and changes and develops. Speaking on November 11, in Florence, Italy, to bishops and delegates of 226 dioceses of the Italian Episcopal Conference, he said Christians shouldn’t be obsessed with power, “even when it takes the shape of a power that is useful to the social image of the church.”  

Pietro Vittorelli - ex-abbot
Montecassino Abbey
It must be one of the tragic ironies of the church that while he was giving the above exhortation, the Italian media was erupting with news of the theft of half a million €uro at Montecassino Abbey in Rome by its former abbot, Pietro Vittorelli. Appointed the 191° abbot by Pope Benedict XVI (Pope Franciss predecessor), Vittorelli, in a classical case of saying one thing and doing another, once told an Italian newspaper, We are not the owners of the goods we possess, we are only administrators. But between 2007 and 2013, according to the Italian Financial police, the former abbot, with uninhibited access to the coffers of the Montecassino abbey, connived with his brother, Massimo, to systematically steal the funds rather than administrate them.

This event was neither “the last nail in the coffin” nor was it any more heartbreaking than the rest of the mind-boggling scandals emanating from this figurative home of saint-makers—unabashed abuse of minors spanning decades, rampant pedophilia & cover-ups, internal power struggles, theft of secret documents, financial malfeasance, subtle political intrigues, corruption, excesses of prelates, alleged involvement of the Vatican Bank in money laundering for the mafia and former Nazis as well as funding priests caught up in sex abuse allegations.

The Sistine Chapel (Getty)
Given the vast wealth of the Vatican state, it might seem a little difficult for prelates not to succumb to temptations, except that, unlike lay politicians, they are religious figures who had sworn fealty to both honesty and the simple ways of life taught by Christ. Their congregation therefore should be able to take their complete disregard of materialism for granted. Ironically, the failure of prelates to overcome these temptations is matched by an eagerness to scold society about the same ills, which brings the following Bible verse to mind. 

Luke 6:41-42 41Why do you look at the speck that is in your brothers eye, 
but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your 
brother, Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye, when you yourself 
do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log 
out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that 
is in your brothers eye.”   

Cardinal George Pell
Many Catholic watchers believe that if prelates practiced what they preach, they’d direct the wealth of the church to the needy rather than continue accumulating same. The Vatican, according to the prefect of the secretariat for the economy, Cardinal George Pell, is so wealthy it can stumble across millions of €uros just ‘tucked away’ off of its central balance sheet. “It is important to point out that the Vatican is not broke,” Cardinal Pell wrote in an exclusive article in the Catholic Herald. “Apart from the pension fund, which needs to be strengthened for the demands on it in 15 or 20 years, the Holy See is paying its way, while possessing substantial assets and investments.” 

Inside the Apostolic Palace (Eric VandervilleGamma)
Reporting in the International Business Times, Shane Croucher, wrote, “Vatican City itself has a rich economy relative to its size. Though data is scarce, and the exact GDP figure is unknown, the CIA estimates Vatican Citys 2011 revenue to be $308m. It only has a population of 800 people, meaning its nominal GDP per capita is $365,796 – making it the richest state on the planet by this measure... And much of its assets are near impossible to value because they will never be sold off, such as its gold-laden palatial church property and priceless works of art by the likes of Michelangelo and Raphael. It also owns a global network of churches and religious buildings, many of which contain precious historical treasures, serving the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. What we do know is that Vatican Bank, officially titled the Institute for the Works of Religion, manages €5.9bn ($7.3bn, £4.64bn) of assets on behalf of its 17,400 customers. And it manages €700m of equity which it owns. Another tidbit to emerge is that it keeps gold reserves worth over $20m with the US Federal Reserve.”

Pope's residence
In spite of this enormous wealth, the new pope has kept his focus on what should matter most to the church—faith. His simplistic lifestyle, in fact, was evident even as a cardinal in Buenos Aires, where he abandoned living quarters in the elegant archbishop’s residence for an austere room elsewhere. He has maintained the same attitude as pope, shunning the luxurious papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace in Rome and taking up residence instead in a small suite in the Domus Sanctae Marthae building adjacent to St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, which presently functions as a guesthouse for various clergy having business with the Holy See, and as the hotel residence of members of the College of Cardinals when they participate in a Papal Conclave to elect a new pope. 

The Pope's Renault 4L
Further, the pope gave up use of his official Mercedes-Benz known famously as Popemobile, choosing instead to travel in a 1984 Renault 4L, which was given to him as a symbolic gift of his humility by Don Renzo Zocca, an Italian priest who works with disabled people, the poor, and drug addicts in a working class neighborhood in Verona in northern Italy. So far, all attempts by the pope to convince prelates to follow his example have proved fruitless, and people are baffled that since becoming pope, he has devoted a great deal of time and energy preaching to fellow preachers almost more than to lay people. This, observers say, indicates how far away the church is from its core value. 

Cardinal Bertone

Early this year, when news emerged that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a former secretary of state, and for a brief period administrator of the Holy See and acting head of state, was building a luxurious penthouse for his retirement, rumors were rife that Pope Francis was furious. A newspaper report about the project said refurbishment involved merging two existing flats: one of between 300 and 400 sq meters (previously assigned to the head of the Vatican gendarmerie), and another of around 200 sq meters (belonging to a deceased prelate). A photo published by Italian gossip magazine, Chi, showed the renovation atop the Palazzo San Carlo building, a palatial home with scaffolding soaring as high as four storeys around the entire penthouse complex in contrast with the meager lifestyle the pope has been promoting.   

Penthouse of the scandal (Chi)

Though the pope has not made any specific comment about it, a sermon he delivered shortly before Easter, carping about “unctuous, sumptuous, presumptuous” clerics was interpreted by many in the press as revealing his reaction to Bertone’s project. In the past, the pope had warned against church leaders who bear the “psychology of princes,” also blasting “airport bishops” who spend more time jet-setting than tending to their flocks. In an Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, to bishops, clergy, and lay faithful, he said, “God save us from a worldly church with superficial spiritual and pastoral trappings!”  

Prelates, it seems, turn a deaf ear to these exhortations. Cardinal Bertone’s palatial retirement home, dubbed “penthouse of scandal,” is not the only one causing raised eyebrows. An investigation by CNN’s DanielBurke revealed that at least 10 of the 34 active archbishops in the United States defy the Pope’s example and live in residences worth more than $1 million. 

In Germany, Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst had come under fire for his extravagant lifestyle. 
Bishop Tebartz-van Elst
Nicknamed the “Bishop of Bling,” he was suspended by the Vatican and placed under investigation after spending $43 million to renovate his residence in Limburg, Germany. Tebartz-van Elst, known as theologically conservative, denied any wrongdoing, saying that the cost of the renovation was legitimate because surrounding structures had to be protected, including the old city wall. But many people in Limburg do not approve of the bishop’s excesses. “He built his office on lies,” a Limburg resident, Patrick Dehm, was quoted by the CNN as saying. “This must come to an end. The diocese doesn’t deserve this.”

Version published by Dr. Fukushima
And now, as if the world hasn’t had enough of Vatican scandals and intrigues, a new element has entered the fray—an alleged plot to discredit the pontiff­. The shocking headline was unleashed, like lightning, on the Vatican and the world at large recently by an online newspaper, QN—Quotidiano Nazionale—Pope Francis has a brain tumor. It said the tumor was diagnosed by the world famous Japanese neurosurgeon, Takanori Fukushima, who was summoned to the Vatican.
Version published by Vatican
“It is false,” said Father Ciro Benedettini, deputy director of the Vatican press office. “It is totally unfounded.” Dr. Fukushima has also categorically denied it, saying he had met the pope only once, and not privately. In a curious twist, though, a photo he had published on his blog of that meeting, which showed him, alone, shaking hands with the pope, was quickly removed when it turned out it was photo shopped after the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published the same photo, showing the Japanese neurosurgeon surrounded by a large crowd in St. Peter’s Square as he shook hands with the pope.

Trying to make sense of the stranger-than-fiction story, the Italian newspaper, Libero, wrote that the release of such hurtful news might have been triggered by two recent events, firstly, the bitter discord that marked the final week of the Synod on family and reform; secondly, the media attacks on the pope that was followed by a leak of a highly critical letter penned by angry cardinals to the pontiff.

Luigi Bisignani
Someone else has a different view. Luigi Bisignani, a former Italian journalist and fixer, generally regarded as a “manager of hidden powers,” said the release of the news was part of a plot by the Opus Dei to discredit the pope, suggesting that there is, in fact, an ongoing rivalry between Opus Dei and the Jesuits. “The first think they are the Jesuits of the third millennium, but the latter have the pope in their ranks.”

Bisignani’s allusion to someone with a connection to the anti-Bergoglio plot, according to an online publication,, was a clear reference to Monsignor Lucio Angel Vallejo Balda, a former Jubilee Secretary of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs, with ties to Opus Dei, the “desperate moves by a former powerful Spanish monsignor from whom the Vatican even took the precaution of cutting off his service phone.”    
Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda

Six months ago, Bisignani, the publication said, had revealed an anonymous letter threatening Jorge Bergoglio (“St. Peter’s Square will soon be purified with your blood,”) packed with details of the engagements of the pope, the Cardinals of the Curia, and the operators and envoys of the major basilicas and sanctuaries, with “a well updated pontifical annual report.”
Will Pope Francis live long enough to save the church from itself or is it enough to call on the ‘physician to heal thyself’?  

Pope Francis poses with cardinal advisers during a meeting at the Vatican. From left: Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa; Italian Bishop Marcello Semeraro, secretary to the Council of Cardinals; Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias; German Cardinal Reinhard Marx; Pope Francis; Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga; Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello; U.S. Cardinal Sean O'Malley; Australian Cardinal George Pell; and Congolese Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya. (CNS/Reuters/L'Osservatore Romano)
The Argentine Jesuit, Jorge Bergoglio, who became Pope Francis