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  • David Martin | The Daily Knight

A Closer Look at the 2013 Papal Election

David Martin | The Daily Knight

The death of Pope Benedict XVI on the Eve of the New Year has caused many to reflect more deeply on why His Holiness decided to abdicate the Chair of Peter on February 28, 2013. Was it really because of poor health? Does a man in excessively poor health live to be 95?

When Benedict XVI was elected pope on April 19, 2005, a cry of lamentation went up in the corridors of the Vatican deep-state similar to the shriek of lamentation that resounded throughout the American deep-state when President Trump was elected. As Vatican bureaucrats saw it, the election of Pope Benedict wasn’t supposed to happen. This went against all their plans to place on the Chair of Peter a Marxist puppet who would advance their clandestine plan of ending Catholic tradition and uniting the Church fully with the world.

From the day that Benedict was elected he was battling enemies on every side, whether it was the Muslims, the globalists, or the Modernists. And while he indeed had some health issues, they were brought on by undue pressures from Vatican liberals who wanted him out of office, the same who had tried many times to force Pope John Paul II out of office.

Benedict XVI Ousted

What it boils down to is that Benedict XVI was forced into vacating the Chair of Peter, but this was done under the guise of a resignation so as to not split the Barque of Peter asunder with controversy. Credible reports from 2015 indicate that Benedict XVI was coerced into stepping down, which was providentially foreshadowed in Benedict’s inaugural speech of April 24, 2005, when he said: "Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves."

In Peter Seewald's biography Benedict XVI, His Life, he reveals that Pope Benedict told him that wicked cardinals pressured him into vacating the Chair of Peter. Benedict was brutally coerced by what he called this “Antichrist” cabal, which he said brought upon him pressures so great that remaining on the Throne would have literally killed him (via heart attack or even murder). These pressures left him no recourse but to act against his will.

We know from the late Cardinal Danneels of Brussels that he was part of the "Sankt Gallen Mafia" reformist group opposed to Benedict XVI. Danneels, known for his support of abortion, LGBT rights, and gay-marriage, said in a taped interview in September 2015 that he and several cardinals were part of this "mafia" club that was calling for drastic changes in the Church, to make it "much more modern," and that the plan was to oust Benedict and have Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio head it.

On December 30, 2022, the eve of Benedict's burial, retired brigadier general and Catholic author Piero Laporta reported that shortly after Benedict's election in 2005, “a leading delegate of the U.S. government, who had his hands in Italian finances” and who was “a figure in the highest ranks of the National Security Agency (NSA)” was “bragging about the resignation to which H.H. Benedict XVI of revered memory would soon be forced.” This agent was reportedly tied with “a great Roman circle that is still active today” and that is even more powerful than the “Sankt Gallen group.” Laporta said this “Roman circle,” which he calls the “dome of demons,” was dedicated to the slogans “God is dead” and “Jesus is fake news” and was in a “panic” when Benedict was elected.

The infamous clique worked conjointly with the Sankt Gallen cabal that had clamored for Benedict's resignation, the same that had almost prevented his election in 2005. As the 2013 conclave neared, the group held a series of closed meetings, known as congregations, one of which featured Cardinal Bergoglio as the keynote speaker.

Revealing Book Documents Illicit Political Campaign to Elect Cdl. Bergoglio

Julia Meloni's superlative book, The St. Gallen Mafia: Exposing the Secret Reformist Group Within the Church, provides an inside look at what took place at these secret congregations. The following excerpt is particularly revealing.

“At the conclave,” Murphy-O’Connor continued, “you have the official meetings of all the cardinals. But then outside, you meet secretly with the cardinals, at dinners, behind closed doors, and discuss the candidates. So by the time you actually go into conclave, there’s already a number of votes for a particular person.” (Murphy-O’Connor, From the Vision of Pope John. See 3:22.)

By March 5, Murphy-O’Connor was promoting Bergoglio at a dinner at the Pontifical North American College’s Red Room. The name “didn’t catch fire that night,” says Ivereigh, noting that one American cardinal “was worried about Bergoglio’s age.”24

By March 7, Murphy-O’Connor was co-hosting a private gathering of cardinals with the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the Holy See. “More than one of [the cardinals] brought up Bergoglio’s name,” says vaticanista Gerard O’Connell.25

By March 10, Bergoglio was telling a Canadian priest, “Pray for me.” Asked if he was nervous, Bergoglio replied, “A little bit … I don’t know what my fellow cardinals are cooking up for me.”26 [Editor's Note: It appears Cdl. Bergoglio wasn't truly nervous but was simply concealing his collusion with the electors. Any faithful cardinal would have said to the other cardinals: "You shouldn't be cooking things up for me or for anyone."]

By the end of the General Congregations, Murphy-O’Connor was making a final push for Bergoglio. As he put it, “I remember saying … Because by this time I had my eye on Bergoglio. And I said, ‘Age doesn’t matter now, because Pope Benedict has given us an example. And so if the new pope is elderly and he can’t carry on because of health, why then he’ll be able to resign.’ … And I said, ‘We might look in another continent.’”27

According to O’Connell, Murphy-O’Connor spoke specifically of crossing to the Americas—and “many understood he was referring to Bergoglio.”28

Later that day, the conclave’s eve, Murphy-O’Connor made his way to the Vatican apartment of an Italian cardinal. There, a meeting of fifteen or more Bergoglio supporters, including Kasper, took place. As each cardinal affirmed his support and named other likely backers, Martini’s former private secretary kept a tally. He counted at least twenty-five votes for Bergoglio.29

On March 12, a storm gripped Rome. Hail rained down. As the cardinals dispersed following the Mass before the conclave, Murphy-O’Connor fell into step beside Bergoglio.

“Watch out, now it’s your turn,” Murphy-O’Connor said.30

“I understand,” Bergoglio replied.

He was calm, said Murphy-O’Connor, and “was aware that he was probably going to be a candidate going in.”31

The Eve of the Conclave

On the eve of the conclave, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga was busily on the phone with cardinal electors from the Honduran embassy in Rome. His phone effort was the tail end of this intense lobbying campaign to secure votes for the election of Cardinal Bergoglio as pope.

That same day, Maradiaga attended a private meeting of Bergoglio supporters, which included key players in the “St. Gallen Mafia,” and together they garnered pledges for up to twenty-five votes for Bergoglio. Not surprisingly, Bergoglio opened with twenty-six votes on the first day of the conclave, though that number would rise to 77 on the second day indicating that this campaign effort was gaining ground. Three days later the newly elected Pope Francis asked Maradiaga to head his powerful new Council of Cardinals, known as the “Council of Nine.”

On August 27, 2018, Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin tweeted concerning this political campaign.

“Cdls Danneels & Ex-Cdl McCarrick campaigned for Bergoglio to be Pope, as did ++Maradiaga on eve of Conclave, phoning up various cardinals from the Honduran embassy in Rome. Despite their pasts, all 3 prelates have since been special advisors of Francis or rehabilitated by him.”

Rules and Regulations Violated

Clearly, there was intense politics and vote canvassing at work around the time of the conclave, which directly violated Pope John Paul II's 1996 Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, governing papal elections. Therein he makes it clear that vote canvassing among cardinal electors is strictly forbidden and incurs automatic excommunication. Consider the following from his Constitution:

“The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it; and I hereby impose the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae upon those who violate this prohibition.” (81)

This prohibition applies not only to the election itself but to that time just before the election when preparations are underway, since it is during this time that illicit political activity would exerts its greatest influence on the vote. “Any form of pact” obliging electors “to give or deny their vote to a person” would likely be secured before the election.

The pope says in his Constitution:

“Confirming the prescriptions of my Predecessors, I likewise forbid anyone, even if he is a Cardinal, during the Pope’s lifetime and without having consulted him, to make plans concerning the election of his successor, or to promise votes, or to make decisions in this regard in private gatherings.” (79)

A clique of cardinals did “make plans” to force Benedict XVI’s resignation and to campaign for “the election of his successor,” with up to 25 cardinals “promising votes” the day before the election, this having come about through “private gatherings,” thus revealing the illicit conduct of those cardinal electors to be.

Under the pain of excommunication latae sententiae, Pope John Paul forbids “each and every Cardinal elector, present and future, as also the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and all other persons taking part in the preparation and carrying out of everything necessary for the election” to allow “all possible forms of interference, opposition and suggestion whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree, or any individual or group, might attempt to exercise influence on the election of the Pope.” (80)

Unfortunately, secular and political interference played the key part in Francis’ election. According to John Paul II, such interference renders the papal election null and void.

Should the election take place in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution, or should the conditions laid down here not be observed, the election is for this very reason 1 null and void, without any need for a declaration on the matter; consequently, it confers no right on the one elected. (76)

Hence it appears that the 2013 conclave conferred “no right on the one elected” since the election took place “in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution.” It should come as no surprise then that two shafts of lightning struck the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica just hours after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on February 11, 2013. Clearly, this signaled that divine wrath was looming over the Church and it now appears that the full brunt of the deluge is about to ensue.

Need for Episcopal Examination

It is high time that a committee of bishops convene to address the matter of the 2013 papal election, seeing that it launched the most destructive “pontificate” of Church history. They need to weigh not only the illicit campaign to elect Cdl. Bergoglio but the fact that a conclave cannot even be undertaken legally unless a sitting pope first divest himself of every vestige of papal dignity by renouncing his munus.

Benedict Never Fully Renounced His Papacy

When Benedict stepped down from the Papal Throne on February 28, 2013, he never fully renounced his papacy. In a 2016 book-length interview by Peter Seewald with Pope Benedict, the Holy Father tells the journalist: "The situation of [Pope] Celestine V was extremely peculiar and could in no way be invoked as my precedent."

Celestine V’s ‘peculiar situation’ was that he fully abdicated the papacy, that is, he laid off his papal munus and went back to being the simple monk Pietro da Morrone, and not Pope Emeritus as Benedict XVI did. What Benedict was telling Seewald is that he “in no way” related to what Celestine did, that full abdication from the papacy is what he didn’t do.

What Benedict did do was to merely resign from the active exercise of the papacy without abandoning the Petrine office. On the eve of his resignation, he said:

“Anyone who accepts the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and completely to everyone, to the whole Church... The ‘always’ is also a ‘forever’ – there can no longer be a return to the private sphere. My decision to resign the active exercise of the ministry does not revoke this.” (General Audience, February 27, 2013)

From the text we can infer that there was no revocation of Benedict’s office. According to Church law, a pope must fully give up his office for his resignation to be valid (Canon 332) and the resignation must be done “freely.” A decision to resign cannot be said to have been truly free if blackmail or political pressures played any part in it. The text indicates that Benedict chose to retain his office "forever," which is why he continued to wear the white papal garb and to go by the name Benedict XVI and why he continued living within the Vatican walls.

This matches the explanation offered by 2 Archbishop Georg Gänswein, who serves as Prefect of the Pontifical Household. Speaking at the presentation of a new book on Benedict’s pontificate at the Pontifical Gregorian University on May 20, 2016, he told the press that Benedict XVI did not abandon the papacy as did Celestine V in 1294 but rather sought to continue his papal office in a way that better accommodated his frailty. “He left the Papal Throne and yet, with the step he took on 11 February 2013, he has not abandoned this ministry," adding that the renunciation of his office would have been "quite impossible after his irrevocable acceptance of the office in April 2005.” Gänswein was saying that Benedict was still pope. “This is the reason why the correct appellation for him is ‘Your Holiness,’” Gänswein said. “This is finally the reason why he did not retire to an isolated monastery, but within the Vatican walls, as if to simply take a step aside to make space for his successor and for a new step in the history of the papacy.” According to Gänswein, Benedict XVI's resignation announcement of February 11, 2013, marked the introduction of a new institution into the Catholic Church: "a de facto enlarged ministry, with both an active and a contemplative member." He said we now had "two living successors of Peter among us" that "are not in competition with each other," i.e. Benedict and Francis.

No Shared Papacy

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “shared papacy.” If Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI occupied any dimension of the Petrine ministry Francis could occupy none of it since two members of the Petrine office (popes) cannot coexist. And while Gänswein said the truth in acknowledging the continued papacy of Benedict, his explanation of a shared papacy was a derelict attempt to explain away the real issue surrounding Benedict XVI—that he was ousted by “the wolves.”

While Benedict under pressure succumbed to relinquishing his administrative powers to govern the Church he still chose to retain his papal office in a similar way a bishop retains his episcopal office after relinquishing his administrative powers to govern a diocese. But unlike a bishop, a pope cannot have a replacement unless he first lays off every vestige of papal dignity and fully renounces his office.

A Last Call to the Catholic Hierarchy

It indeed is urgent that an episcopal committee take a serious look at the 2013 conclave lest the present “diabolical disorientation” lead to a total eclipse of the Faith. Our Lady at La Salette prophesied that “The Church will be in eclipse” and that “Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of Antichrist.” Those days indeed have arrived so those in ecclesiastical authority should make the truth known while there is still time to prevent complete darkness from overtaking the Church.

1. Only in cases of collusion involving simony does the pope lift the nullity in order that the election may remain valid (78).

2. The same was also the personal secretary of Benedict XVI during his 8-year pontificate.



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