The Pontifical Secret.

There is some intrigue afoot after Tim Walker at the UK Telegraph reported that someone inside the Archbishop of Westminster’s house has leaked the contents of the terna which contains the short list of names to be submitted by the Papal Nuncio to the Pope as suggestions for succession to the Archbishopric of Westminster.

The candidates to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor as Archbishop of Westminster have been whittled down to three.

Mandrake hears that the names on the official list – the terna – are Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Peter Smith and Bishop Arthur Roche.

“It will disappoint those who were hoping for someone outside of the current crop of bishops,” whispers my man at Archbishop’s House.

“Benedict XVI is not, however, obliged to pick one of the names that Archbishop Faustino Munoz, the Papal Nuncio, submits to him so we will have to wait and see.”

Now what is most intriguing about this is that the contents of the terna is no ordinary secret and leaking its contents no ordinary gossip. The terna is protected by the Pontifical Secret. To reveal the contents of such a secret, one would incur latae sententiae excommunication. Pretty serious business for someone in the Archbishop’s house. Granted, we have politicians up the ying yang walking around in a state of latae sententiae excommunication without a care in the world. No biggie, right? However, one would expect that someone with access to the terna would most likely know better.

This is why women can’t be the Pope or even Bishops, they would all be excommunicated! Imagine a conversation between one lady bishop and another:

Listen, I am not supposed to tell you this, but did you hear who is on the short list for Westminster? Now, I am not one for gossip, but this is just too juicy……Oh I know! I can’t believe that SHE is on the short list! Marge down in social services, who used to work for Her Excellency, told me that one time that she…..And did you see the shoes she was wearing at last weeks ordinations….I am not saying she is a tramp, but I would never wear those shoes…

See, God in His infinite wisdom chose only men for the priesthood simply to prevent all ordained women from being excommunicated.

Now I know what you are thinking, the article in the Telegraph referred to a “man” in the Archbishop’s house. Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that real men don’t gossip.

Oh by the way, did I tell you what I heard about….