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Genuine Misquote or Damage Control Effort?

Dean Pinto of Roman Rota says he did Not issue Threat to Four “Cardinals”

Pio Vito Pinto


An interesting development has occurred, and it’s one that will probably make you chuckle.

On Nov. 29, the Spanish web site Religion Confidencial published a report according to which the dean of the Novus Ordo Sect’s Roman Rota — the Vatican’s highest appeals court — had issued a threat against the four “dubia cardinals” Burke, Brandmuller, Meisner, and Caffarra, basically for challenging Francis in public to either fish or cut bait, as it were, regarding “Holy Communion” for adulterers and other more basic moral issues in the “papal” exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Here is a link to our post covering this story and the background on the dubia:

Religion Confidencial had quoted Dean Pio Vito Pinto as follows:

What Church do these cardinals defend? The Pope is faithful to the doctrine of Christ. What they have done is a very serious scandal that could even lead the Holy Father to withdraw the cardinal’s hat [from them] as has happened at other times in [the history of] the Church… Which is not to say that the Pope will withdraw their status as cardinals, but that he might.


However, in a subsequent interview with the German Novus Ordo news agency KNA, “Mgr.” Pinto claims that this is not what he said:

Just to be clear: I am not the type of person who can threaten people. To write something like this is quite a journalistic liberty [to take] and not respectable [honest]. Rather, what I said was that Francis is a beacon of mercy and has unending patience. For him this is about agreement, not about coercion. For the four [cardinals] to make their letter public was a serious act. But to think that Francis would strip them of the cardinalate — no. I don’t think he would ever do that.

(“Eminenz, warum haben Sie das gemacht?”,, Dec. 1, 2016; our translation.)

The portal Religion Confidencial has since issued a corrected version of the article and published the following retraction:

On Tuesday Religion Confidencial published a news story that put into the mouth of Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, dean of the Roman Rota, the assertion that the four cardinals who have written to the Pope “could lose the cardinalate”. The quote, taken from an interview conducted by RC in which Monsignor Vito responded in Italian, is not correct. After reviewing the recording, it has been proven that what he affirms is that Pope Francis is not a Pope like those of other times, in which such measures were taken, and that he was not going to withdraw their cardinalate. The news story has been corrected, but we [also] publish this correction in case that was not enough.

(source; our translation)

Of course, the question that inevitably presents itself now is, did Religion Confidencial really get it wrong the first time? Or is “Mgr.” Pinto simply backpedaling in an effort at damage control? Or did he perhaps purposely express himself in an ambiguous way so as to issue a veiled threat “between the lines” while retaining plausible deniability? Or was the whole matter a trial balloon to see how it would be received? Only releasing the full audio recording would provide a certain answer. If Francis is so “merciful” that he would never depose a cardinal, why even bring it up? Why mention that “this could have happened in prior times but not now” if not meaning to issue at least a veiled threat?

These are not silly or uncalled-for questions. We weren’t born yesterday. Look at what has been happening in the last 50+ years in the Vatican, and keep in mind that Francis was reported to be “boiling with rage” at the news that the dubia and his failure to respond had been made public.

There is another little detail to consider that is not without significance: Pio Vito Pinto’s name appears on the so-called Pecorelli List, a list of alleged Freemasons in the Vatican first published in July of 1976 in Bulletin de l’Occident Chrétien (n. 12) by Italian maverick journalist Carmine Pecorelli (1928-1979), who allegedly obtained this list through Licio Gelli (1919-2015), the so-called “Worshipful Master” of the clandestine Masonic P2 Lodge (Propaganda Due).

The Pecorelli List has been reprinted again and again in various books since then, and it contains not only the full names of individual clerics in the Vatican II Church but also their alleged member numbers, their Masonic code names (monograms), and the dates they were were allegedly initiated into the Lodge.

“Mgr.” Pinto’s entry alleges that he officially enrolled in the P2 Lodge on April 2, 1970 as member no. 3317-42, receiving the code name “PIPIVI”. At the time, he would have been 29 years of age. This is a much bigger issue than what he said — or didn’t say — with regard to the “dubia cardinals”.

Perhaps Pinto could clarify that, too, in his next interview.