Welcome to the Online Book "The Papacy Reclaimed".
This book is about a future Pope, who battles to restore the Catholic Church to its full pristine Mystery and Glory. The story of Pope Francis I is one filled with intrigue, suspense, glory and honor. Each episode will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will be moved and inspired. I guarantee that you will enjoy each episode and will wait in anticipation for the story to unfold. For $16.00 you will receive 12 episodes. One each month for a year.
The Conclave was deadlocked. It had been nearly a month and still there were no viable candidates. The Cardinals were fighting among themselves and a majority consensus seemed nearly impossible. There was talk of a possible schism with some of the American and French Cardinals threatening to walk out of the conclave and elect their own Pope. The Cardinals of third world countries continued to put forth their own candidates without success. The Italians who were once a majority of the Cardinals were now religated to only one group among many without the same influence as they had once had. The most influential cardinals had also failed to have their candidates elected. Things were at a total impasse.
Meanwhile, the inability of the conclave to elect a Pope was having an impact on world politics. Riots had broken out in several large South American, African and Mexican cities. Concern began to mount among the powerful governments of the earth. In spite of their mostly atheistic bent the majority of the world's leaders saw the importance and stabilizing influence that the Papacy had upon world politics. A pope speaks with the voice of over a billion people. His influence is greater in some ways than any other one individual. If someone wasn't chosen soon the fragile stability of world peace and even the worldís economy might be threatened. The leader of each country had subtly attempted to influence their respective Cardinals before the conclave but once they were locked behind those closed doors outside influence could not penetrate nor could the world listen in on the proceedings because all electronic bugs had been swept out of the Sistine Chapel and surrounding area traditional to the Conclave. The Cardinals were truly sequestered for the duration and there was no contact. It had been set up this way for hundreds of years in order to prevent undue influence by the outside world and to expedite the process of the election by preventing the Cardinals from communicating with anyone thus compromising the movement of the Holy Spirit.
The cardinals were split into three factions; traditionalists, conservatives and liberals. Out of the 100 voting Cardinals in the conclave only a handful were considered to be strict traditionalists. These men had remained loyal in thought, word and deed to the constant teachings of the Church. They were unacceptable to the vast majority of Cardinals. Yet, they knew of a man, a bishop in Palencia, Spain, who might be able to satisfy everyone. In the refectory one evening they began to introduce his name within conversations. It was the first time in centuries that the College of Cardinals had actually considered someone outside its ranks to sit upon the Throne of St. Peter. Canon law specifies that any adult male Catholic can be elected Pope. Nevertheless, the election of someone outside the college of Cardinals or those originally chosen as successors by the previous Pope has been so rare that it has only happened a few times in the 2000 year history of the Church. The most famous of the non-cardinal Popes is Pope St. Celestine V who, as a monk, was basically dragged from the cloister of monastery walls into the Byzantine intrigue of Vatican politics. He finally ended by abdicating the throne. He attempted to flee back to the monastery after experiencing and trying to deal with the politics and corruption of the Roman Curia, as well as, the manipulation of secular states. He was seized and put under house arrest to prevent confusion to the faithful about who was truly Pope. Now once again the college of Cardinals was considering looking outside its ranks for a candidate who would be acceptable to at least a majority of the princes of the Church. The excitement of a new prospect kept the Cardinals awake well into the night. Who was this Galician bishop of Palencia and what was he like?
Born of Galician parents of noble blood, he was a direct descendant of King Fernando and Queen Ysabella. Rodrigo de Vasquez came from a disciplined and cultured background. He was raised on the classics and steeped in his native heritage, a Spaniard through and through. He entered the Seminary as a young man and studied in Madrid, Rome and The United States. He became a priest just before the Second Vatican Council and was ordained in Rome as a priest by His Holiness Pope John XXIII. Due to his family's influence and stature in the Church his ordination was privately celebrated in the Sistine Chapel. Less than ten years later in 1973 while working among the poor of Castile in a small parish, he was called to the Episcopate and was ordained Bishop by the holy Cardinal archbishop of the archdiocese of Madrid and by two other illustrious bishops one of whom was the Papal Legate. Generalissimo Francisco Franco attended the Ordination and Consecration of Rodrigo as Bishop.
As a bishop Rodrigo was well thought of among his peers. His diocese was in order. Because of his influence his people had remained faithful and devout and he was always among them. While the whole Church seemed in chaos his was one of the few dioceses that remained stable and secure.
He was obedient to the dictates of his country's National Bishops Conference (Conferencia Episcopal Espanola) and he was especially loyal to the Holy Father and his intentions. He implemented the official pastoral changes of the Second Vatican Council but never lost sight of nor loosened his firm grasp on tradition. When Pope John Paul II requested that the bishops of the world make the traditional Latin Mass generously available to the people, Rodrigo took this request to heart and provided the Latin Mass in 3 parishes in his diocese including his own Cathedral every Sunday morning and throughout the week. Twice a month Bishop de Vasquez celebrated the ancient Rite of the Church among his people and twice a month he would celebrate the Mass of Paul VI. He was considered a well balanced ecclesiastic.
Rodrigo feared no one. He would come out harshly against those who oppressed the poor in his country and he was known as a champion of the needy. There was a famous incident when he called upon Francisco Franco and scolded him to his face about the way he was treating political prisoners. As powerful a man as Franco was he reverently listened to this priest and it is said that his treatment of political prisoners became less harsh. His attitude tempered even toward the communists.
He was fluent in 7 languages and had a great breadth of knowledge about a wide variety of subjects. He was a consummate horseman and due to his fatherís insistence was trained extensively in military strategy. He was a writer and had a razor sharp intellect. He seemed the perfect candidate for the Papacy. It had also been rumored that he was at the head of the list for the "red hat" when the seat of the present Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid became vacant.
With all this background in mind the Cardinals began to discuss in earnest this man's ascension to the Chair of St. Peter.
Jose Cardinal Martinez from Madrid began the discussion.
"My brothers. For nearly a month we have gone back and forth with this question of electing the right man as the Successor of the Apostle Peter. I will not elect anyone just as a matter of expediency. This would not be prudent nor would it be the Will of the Holy Spirit. This man, Rodrigo de Vasquez, whom we have been discussing tonight is a man of great integrity. I know this because I know him personally."
At this Alfred Cardinal Simony, the Archbishop of Los Angeles rose to his feet.
"Excuse me brother, according to the brief we have before us which our gracious brothers from Nigeria and Argentina have provided for us, this man appears to have quite a bit of integrity. In fact, he seems almost flawless. Nevertheless, just because a man has integrity does not mean that he is prepared to govern the whole Church."
Because of this provocative statement Takeshi Cardinal Takasumo angrily stood up. "Does this mean that His Eminence from Los Angeles believes he is any more prepared to govern the Church than is this obviously qualified bishop? We have been over this a thousand times. It seems that this may be our only solution. He is well balanced and comes from a very well educated background. He is neither too old nor too young. He comes from a country who fought many centuries to secure its Catholic tradition. He is not from a developing nation but he understands the plight of the poor and has shown himself to be their champion. He is well known and well loved both by his people and by his fellow ecclesiastics. And he has not been tainted by the politics of being a cardinal. For my part I believe I am being called to cast my lot in his favor. We must do something about this situation my brothers. I believe we must act now and God has finally presented us with a candidate whom He Himself has called."
As the pitch of discussion increased and his Eminence Takasumo sat down his Eminence Fritz Cardinal Ravensberg stood up. His tall, thin, aristocratic stature seemed to calm the cardinals momentarily to allow him to speak.
"My brothers, it is late and we need to think and pray about this important new prospect. Let us adjourn to our own respective chambers and allow, in the remaining silence of the night, the Holy Spirit to enlighten us."
At that point the Cardinal-Dean of the Conclave stood and seconded the statement of Cardinal Ravensberg and all adjourn. Many of the cardinals stood together for a few lingering minutes discussing de Vasquez. There was a general apprehension among the Modernists Cardinals. All their plans had effectively been thwarted in wishing to set upon the throne of Peter a man after their own heart. Now their position had been made much more ambiguous. Who was this dark horse that has just entered the race and which way did he lean religiously and politically? Other voices among them spoke words of comfort to assuage their fears. ëThis bishop seemed pliable enough. He conformed to the Vatican Council and to all the subsequent legislation. If nothing else he would give them more time to muster the necessary forces in the next conclave. And anyway, once he saw the shifting of world politics toward One World he would have to conform whether he liked it or not.í These were the thoughts that consoled them as they each went to their respective chambers as the magnum silencium or "great silence" began.