I do not seek salacious scandal here at Witness. This tragic news item is well known and needs to be told. It need to be resolved. From Damian Thompson of the Daily Telegraph. Thompson clearly articulates every reason that Magister has got his facts right. This whole affair undermines Pope Francis: may the wolves be scattered! May the Lion of Judah roar! Pray for Pope Francis. Pray for the Church.
The following is from a well-connected priest source. It's partly guesswork – but the Ricca affair is so mysterious, and its possible consequences so serious, that informed speculation needs to be taken seriously, at least by those commentators trying to work out whether Pope Francis will succeed in his mission to clean up the Vatican. The emphases in bold type are mine.
The first thing is that it is truly without precedent for someone like Magister, who is no tabloid sensationalizer, to put his career on the line in this way. I think he can be trusted, and ought to be supported. He is a loyal Ratzingerian, and was before it became fashionable. He is not naive. It is quite posssible that his sources are trying to use him, but he would not play such a hand with such decisive stakes unless he believed it was necessary for the good of the Church.Secondly, I believe that the key point is that, apart from his IOR [Vatican Bank] position, powerful in its own right, Ricca's other job [as director of the hostel] gives him unprecedented personal access to the person of the pope, coupled with a certain control (though not total) over who else gets to see him. I bet no one now gets to stay at the Domus Santa Marta unless vetted very carefully by Ricca, or whoever controls him.My guess is that Cardinals Sodano and Re [part of the John Paul II old guard unsympathetic to Benedict XVI] are behind Ricca, that they wish to control Francis through him. Ricca may well have come clean to Francis, told him he is sincerely repentent, and the Pope may well wish to proceed in the admirably Christlike belief that the sinner who has repented need not be a prisoner of his past. Ricca is probably sincere in all of this, but he is nonetheless beholden to the faction which whitewashed his dossier. That is why his continued occuption of the post is dangerous.And that is presumably why Magister has taken this dramatic step, which could end his career. I don't think there can be much risk of a libel suit, but his career depends on access to "sources close to the Vatican", which will dry up if he loses this struggle. And he will have lost if Ricca stays. His informants, whoever they are, may have motives of personal ambition or revenge; but the fact is that if my guess is correct, this papacy will be a failure on every front. A lame duck pope – probably with Piero Marini [purveyor of trendy liturgies loathed by Benedict's allies] at his side at Divine Worship – would be a catastrophe.There is doubtless disinformation going on here. I believe that the narrative of a Magister who is being guided by anti-reform forces to weaken the Pope is precisely such disinformation, and anybody who values Benedict XVI's legacy should be inclined to lend him a sympathetic hearing.
Has Ricca resigned? It's typical of the Vatican that we don't know. But he needs to – and quickly, before Francis's authority is gravely damaged.