In this episode of Holy Smoke, I interview Julia Meloni, author of The St Gallen Mafia: Exposing the Secret Reformist Group Within the Church. It's the first detailed study of the self-described 'mafia' of liberal cardinals who worked tirelessly to prevent and then undermine the pontificate of Benedict XVI.
The book contains many disconcerting revelations, and also well-sourced speculation that the group's founder, the Jesuit scholar Cardinal Martini of Milan, may have visited Benedict shortly before his own death in order to pressure him to resign. By 2013, when that happened, Martini was dead, but he had given his blessing to a St Gallen candidate: his fellow Jesuit Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, whose initiatives as pope – and particularly the vicious attempt to suppress the Traditional Latin Mass – coincide very closely with Martini's own agenda.
Do listen to my conversation with Julia, formerly one of Pope Francis's biggest fans. I promise you won't forget it in a hurry.