February 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Dr. Frédéric Martel, the homosexual French author of the new book In the Closet of the Vatican, claimed in his chapter titled “The Synod” how Pope Francis launched his “secret plan” to steer the Church toward accepting adultery and homosexuality during the two Synods on the Family.
Martel highlighted the crucial role in the synods of Cardinal Walter Kasper, whom he numbers among the “most open and gay-friendly cardinals.” Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri is being quoted as saying about the driving force behind the synods that “our line was essentially Kasper's.”
Martel also claimed in this chapter that Pope Francis – with the help of Cardinal Kasper – invited an author to write a book using St. Thomas Aquinas in an attempt to approve of homosexual relationships, and then had his book distributed to the participants of the second Synod on the Family in 2015.
Cardinal Baldisseri told Martel that the “method” for the 2014 and 2015 synods on the family was “important.” The pope wanted to open doors and windows,” the prelate explained, according to Martel. According to this method, “the debate had to take place everywhere,” also in the dioceses and among the faithful. “The People of God had to choose,” the Cardinal is quoted as saying. Baldisseri is the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops and was placed into this position by Pope Francis in September of 2013.
This chapter from Martel's book is especially significant because Martel himself, due to his own homosexual and left-leaning background, likely had more access than most other journalists to some of the organizers of the synods and to some of the close collaborators of the Pope – such as Baldisseri, Spadaro, and Kasper. He often quotes the main actors in what he claims are verbatim statements. LifeSiteNews checked with several Vatican sources who were involved in the synods, some of whom considered this part of Martel's book to be reliable. The book in its entirety seems to be more reliable where Martel quotes those who are largely in line with his own homophilic views than when “he deals with his 'homophobic opponents,'” explained one well-placed source in Rome.
Claiming that “Baldisseri's gang are fast workers,” Martel pointed out that “even foolhardy Walter Kasper announced publicly, even before the Synod, that ‘homosexual unions, if they are lived in a stable and responsible manner, are respectable.’” The French author claimed that one of the secretaries commissioned to write a draft of what later turned out to be Amoris Laetitia, was a “homosexual activist.”
Martel claimed that Baldisseri revealed to him the heavy involvement of Pope Francis in the whole process of the two family synods: “Francis came here every week,” he quoted Baldisseri saying, adding that “he personally presided over the sessions where we debated the propositions.” Martel claimed that the controversial paragraph in the draft document on the question of homosexuality – which spoke about the positive aspects of homosexual relationships – but never received sufficient support from the group of synod fathers, was “deliberately added” by Francis' team.
At another place in this chapter, Martel stressed Kasper's role during the two synods and called him “the 'brains' of the Synod.” He also stated: “The fact remains that the preparatory text [of the synod] followed the Kasper line and suggested a loosening of the Church's position on sacraments for divorcees and on homosexuality.” “The Vatican was now willing,” Martel continued, “to acknowledge the 'qualities' of young people living together, remarried divorcees and homosexual civil partnerships.” These were the three main aspects of the reform agenda and the “Francis revolution.”
But Pope Francis faced opposition within the Catholic Church's hierarchy – among them being Cardinals Raymond Burke, Gerhard Müller, Carlo Caffaro who had earlier written, together with other experts, a book called Remaining in the Truth of Christ. Interestingly, Martel claimed that Baldisseri “had the pamphlet seized!” before it could be delivered to the participants of the 2014 first Synod on the Family.
The first synod on the family in 2014 was a “battle,” wrote Martel. He quotes Baldisseri as saying: “There was a consensus on everything. Except on the three sensitive issues.” Three paragraphs had been rejected by the synod fathers in the end and “the pope didn't get his quorum.” Added Martel: “Francis's revolutionary project on the family and homosexuality was defeated.” The Pope was “annoyed to have been blocked by the conservative cardinals of the Curia.” Francis – who was being described by sources as “hard-headed,” “vindictive,” and “authoritarian” – told his collaborators “he would fight and launch a counter-initiative,” claims Martel. The Pope thus needed to develop a plan, and that “war would be largely secret,” Martel wrote.
After speaking with Cardinal Baldisseri, with some of his collaborators, as well as with many cardinals, bishops, and nuncios, Martel claimed to be able to “retrace” Pope Francis' “secret plan” for the second Synod on the Family in 2015. There were three main “mechanisms” then at the Pope's disposal, according to Martel: first, the Pope could “encourage a more modern debate around the world by means of a move on the episcopates and Catholic public opinion – that was entrusted to Baldisseri and his team.” Second, he could “sanction the cardinals who had humiliated him”; and third, the Pope could change the “composition of the College of Cardinals” over the long term.
“Sly and cunning,” wrote Martel, “Francis would go on the offensive using these three techniques simultaneously, with extraordinary speed and, his opponents would say, extraordinary vehemence.”
As the author further described it, a real “war machine” was set in motion, using “nuncios, the allies, the friendly cardinals, everyone was mobilized.” Traveling to many countries, the French author was able to “follow this offensive in many countries.” For example, there was the papal confidant Archbishop Víctor Manuel Fernández from Argentina, who had publicly announced that Pope Francis was aiming at “irreversible reforms” and he then publicly rebuked Cardinal Müller. (LifeSiteNews reported in June of 2015 on this significant Fernández statement here.) In Uruguay, Archbishop Daniel Stula “stuck his neck out just as suddenly, expressing his opinion on the question of homosexuals. He would even go on to make public a contribution to the gay question in the Synod.”
Yet another ally of the Pope, Cardinal Óscar Maradiaga, “travelled around the capitals of Latin America,” distilling “Francis's thought in public,” recruiting supporters, and informing “the pope about his opposition.” He “prepared the plans for battle.” Cardinal Cláudio Hummes of Brazil also was recruited to help in this ideological “war plan.” With regard to the U.S., Martel claims that Francis then had “few allies in the country.” Thus, he “chose to rely on three little-known gay-friendly bishops”: Blase Cupich, Joseph Tobin, and Robert McElroy. These three supported the Pope, and “two of them were rewarded by being appointed cardinals in 2016, while McElroy would be made [a full] bishop during the [synod] debates.”
Speaking about Europe, the author claimed that Pope Francis “sought allies and allied himself with the most liberal cardinals,” such as Reinhard Marx and Christoph Schönborn.
“In launching a series of grass-roots debates on the ground,” Martel wrote, “the pope put conservatives on the defensive. He 'cornered' them, to use the word of a priest who worked for the synod, and showed them that they were a minority in their own country.” Francis continued his “little-by-little policy.” The Pope's team was “interested in intellectuals,” in “opinion-formers,” and therefore, there was to be needed a “large and secret plan of communication.”
Father Antonio Spadaro, S.J. was named by Martel as one of these masters of communication. Spadaro is the editor of the Vatican-approved journal La Civiltà Cattolica. About this Martel wrote: “Under Francis, the Jesuit journal has become a space for experimentation in which ideas are tested and debates launched.” In 2013, Spadaro published an interview with the Pope which “sets out the road map for the coming synod,” already discussing the matter of sexual morality and the question of Communion for “remarried” divorcees. Homosexuality was then also being publicly discussed by these two men, and in words that Martel called a “genuine Galilean revolution!”
In the context of the preparation of the contested second family synod, Martel claimed yet another plan that seemed to have been successful: Pope Francis commissioned an Italian Dominican theologian – Fr. Adriano Oliva – to write “a risky book in favor of the remarriage of divorcees and the blessing of homosexual unions.” The book titled Amours quotes St. Thomas Aquinas while speaking about “a desirable change on the part of the Magisterium concerning homosexuality.” Oliva goes so far as to claim that “homosexuality does not bear within it any illicitness.”
As to the history of this book, Martel claims that Cardinal Baldisseri told him that the Cardinal’s team had sent “analysis requests” to experts, including Brother Oliva, and even Oliva's own publisher indicated the active role of Rome in this book project. Thus, Adriano Oliva “has been welcomed at the Vatican” by Baldisseri, Bruno Forte, and Fabio Fabene. But, even more, Martel claimed that Cardinal Walter Kasper described to him his own and Pope Francis' direct involvement in this project.
“Adriano Oliva came to see me here,” wrote Martel quoting Kasper. “We talked. He had sent me a letter that I showed to the pope: Francis was impressed. And he asked Baldisseri to order him a text to send to the bishops.” “I think,” continued Kasper according to Martel, “that was the text that became 'Amours.'” Martel added that “Amours would be distributed during the synod, on the pope's suggestion.” The book was “a weapon in an overall plan favoured by the pontiff himself.”
As LifeSiteNews reported at the time, this book provoked the response from five Dominicans who rejected Oliva's claims. As LifeSiteNews then also showed, Oliva had set up an Italian blog with the explicit purpose of accompanying the second family synod in 2015. Noteworthy, too, is that Oliva quoted in his book Cardinal Kasper's own 2014 book The Gospel of the Family several times. This book is the address that the German cardinal had given in February of 2014 to the College of Cardinals, thus commencing the discussion of the now-famous “Kasper proposal” concerning Communion for “remarried” divorcees. Fr. Oliva, in a video presentation of his book, stated that he had studied the 2014 synod discussions and that the two topics of “remarried” divorcees and of homosexual couples prominently stood out for him.
Martel stated that Oliva’s book had an effect in the Church. He described how several cardinals and bishops told him that this book changed “their vision of Saint Thomas Aquinas” and that it gave the impression that “the prohibition on homosexuality had definitely been lifted.”
According to Martel, Cardinal Kasper stated that he had not yet succeeded in the Church with his own promotion of the homosexual agenda, not even at the second family synod in 2015. Martel quotes Kasper as saying:
The path set out by Francis, and the small-step strategy, is the right one. If you advance too quickly, as in the ordination of women or the celibacy of the priesthood, there will be a schism among Catholics, and I don't want that for my Church. On divorcees, on the other hand, you can go further. I've defended that idea for a long time. When it comes to recognizing homosexual couples, that's a more difficult subject: I tried to move the debate forward at the synod, but we weren't listened to. Francis found a middle way by talking about people, about individuals. And then, very gradually, he moved the lines. [….] He is moving in his own rhythm, in his own way, but he has a goal.
It remains to be seen whether or not Pope Francis will now use the Sex Abuse Summit that is starting today in Rome as an occasion to “move the lines” a little bit further toward the acceptance of homosexuality within the Catholic Church.
Martel quotes Cardinal Kasper saying about this: “We will win.”
LifeSiteNews reached out to different participants of the second family synod for comment on Martel’s claims. One source answered and, while not concretely remembering Fr. Oliva’s book as being distributed (the 2015 synod fathers received so many materials), he did state: “but it is very probable and fits well into the whole picture.” The source said he considers this chapter of Martel to be a generally “trustworthy” account of what happened at the family synods.
LifeSiteNews also reached out to Cardinal Walter Kasper for comment, but so far has not heard back from him.