During Ratzinger-Bergoglio Transition
Six Seals Broken Open During Conclave
No, it’s not a rumor, it’s not a theory, and it’s not fiction. It is fact, confirmed by the account printed in the Vatican’s official collection of ecclesiastical documents, the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (“Acts of the Apostolic See”), vol. CV (105), n. 4-5, pp. 367-369. This most recent installment of the Acta was just released and can be downloaded as a PDF file directly from the Vatican web site here.
After the resignation of Benedict XVI, which took effect at 8:00 pm Central European Time on February 28, 2013, the Novus Ordo cardinals met in conclave to elect his successor. The conclave began on March 12, 2013 and ended the following day after Jorge Mario Bergoglio received a sufficient number of votes on the fifth ballot and announced his acceptance of the election (see our Conclave 2013 page for details).
At some point during the conclave, it has now been officially confirmed, at least six seals were broken open, seals affixed to doors of various rooms and elevators in specific sections of the Apostolic Palace. This testimony comes directly from three high-ranking officials of the Apostolic Chamber. The following is an excerpt of the official report in the Acta (translation from the original Italian), dated March 14, 2013. Members of the Apostolic Chamber met with two high-ranking Swiss Guards to begin with the removal of all the seals. This is their account:
These same officers [Mr. Christoph Graf, Deputy Commander of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, and Major William Kloter], having already been informed that, by order of the Most Eminent Cardinal Chamberlain, the Vice Chamberlain will proceed to the removal of the seals previously placed on the entrances of the Papal Apartment, except for the main front door of the Apartment and the door leading to the “noble” elevator, accompany those present to the designated locations.
I, Clerk of the Apostolic Chamber, certify the integrity of the seals on the main front door wrought in iron and glass and on the door at the right of the main door of the Papal Apartment, and proceed with their removal.
Having completed this first task, the Most Excellent Vice Chamberlain, accompanied by the above-mentioned persons, goes to the second Loggia of the Apostolic Palace for the removal of the other seals placed on the entrances listed below:
1. Upper gate for access to the spiral staircase in the Loggia;
2. Access door to the Holy Father’s private elevator from the spiral staircase of the antechamber into the Loggia;
3. Grey wooden door that leads from the St. Ambrogio Room to the secretaries’ offices;
4. Big wooden door facing East in the St. Ambrogio Room;
5. Door that leads from the Clementine Hall to the private library;
6. Small door that leads from the Clementine Hall to the corridor behind the “noble” elevator;
7. Access to the Holy Father’s private elevator from the Courtyard of Sixtus V.
The Most Excellent Vice Chamberlain and those present certify that all the entrances listed, with the exception of the one referred to in no. 1, had had their previously-placed seals removed. About this Major Kloter declares that in his round of inspection carried out at 4:30 pm yesterday, March 13th, all seals previously affixed to the entrances of the Apostolic Chamber were still intact and showed no tampering. I, Clerk of the Apostolic Chamber, taking into account what was declared by Major Kloter, proceed, after having certified its integrity, to the removal of the only seal still remaining, namely the one on the upper gate for access to the spiral staircase.
Mr. Graf then informs the Vice Chamberlain that, following the announcement of the election of His Holiness Pope Francis, at 8:00 pm of March 13th, the Most Excellent Mgr. Substitute Secretary of State has ordered that all entrances to the rooms of the Vatican Apostolic Palace reserved for the Conclave should be reopened….
(“Reseratio Conclavis”, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 105 (2013): 4-5, pp. 367-368.)
This report in the Acta is signed by “Archbishop” Pier Luigi Celata, Vice Chamberlain, “Mgr.” Assunto Scotti, Dean of the College of Cleric Prelates, and Dr. Antonio Di Iorio, Notary Chancellor. All three of them are officials of the Apostolic Chamber, so, it doesn’t get much more “official” than this.
But what are we to make of this? What is certain is that six seals were broken open, and obviously they were broken open because someone wanted to gain entrance to the sealed rooms. But who and why? And how is it that the seals on these doors were violated without anybody noticing?
At this point, we simply do not have any answers. It is possible, however, that the break-in had something to do with the Vatileaks case, the Vatican Bank controversy, or the homosexual subculture / “gay lobby” scandals that rocked the Modernist Vatican during the waning days of Benedict XVI’s “pontificate.” We remember the “dossier” of which Benedict had spoken that he would pass on to his successor.
Vaticanist Giuseppe Nardi reports that it is possible that additional seals, on other doors and gates, were also broken open, but as of this time, we do not know because no further official records or minutes have been released.
Until we have more reliable information, then, we can only speculate. The three links below have further information on this topic. They are to foreign web sites, but so far, no other English-speaking web sites have covered the story.
- The Mystery of the Broken Seals in the Vatican [Italian]
- Conclave and Mystery, Too Many Unanswered Questions [Italian]
- The Mystery of the Broken Seals during the Conclave [German]
Oh, and while we’re on the topic of conclave mysteries, be sure to check out White Smoke, Still No Pope: The Mystery Conclave of 1958.