Whereas many readers know that Malachi Martin, in his book The Keys of This Blood, revealed that Giuseppe Siri was elected Pope at the 1963 conclave, far fewer seem conversant of the fact that in a taped interview released towards the end of his life, the former Jesuit finally admitted that the Genoese cardinal had also been elected at the conclave of 1958. The following article, written late in 1998, discusses this phenomenon. Martin himself died subsequently, in July of 1999, and some months later, this piece appeared in All These Things, a newspaper published at the time by Jim Condit, Jr.
Malachi Martin Reveals More
of What Happened in 1958.
July 10, 2006
Dr. Malachi Martin, ex-Jesuit author, exorcist, and papal apologist extraordinaire, is at it again. His habit of titillating Catholics with lurid tales from inside the Vatican has culminated in a recently taped interview containing a bit of news which may jolt even the most jaded of traditional Catholics. For he actually says that Cardinal Giuseppe Siri of Genoa was elected Pope at least twice: in 1963 (as he has stated previously) –– and also in the Conclave of 1958!
This latest tidbit is told, almost in passing, to interviewer Bernard Janzen as though the latter already knows the history. In his Irish lilt, Martin seems generally to beguile us with smooth words and to tease us with his lack of particulars. Even so, when Janzen asks about the “rumors that at one point Cardinal Siri was elected Pope”, Martin is quite direct:
“The truth is he got sufficient votes twice to become Pope in two Conclaves, but he refused it. At least two, if not three –– but he refused it. And he made quite clear talking to us after those two Conclaves that yes, the votes were there, but he refused to take them. He refused to take them.”
When Janzen asks why Siri refused, Martin says: “I think mainly out of fear. I think his family was at stake. He was of a Genoese family. They were fishermen originally, a very extensive family. He felt that there was too much physical and social danger for his family if he bucked the system. And remember,” he goes on, “that the two Conclaves I’m talking about are the Conclave of 1958, which elected John XXIII, and the Conclave of 1963, which elected Paul VI. And they were very political Conclaves.”
Lest anyone be inclined to dismiss this “fear” of Siri’s as mere self-doubt that he, as Janzen put it, “could be an effective Pope,” because “the liberals were too strongly entrenched,” Martin sets us straight.
“No, no,” he says emphatically. “(Siri) felt that they wouldn’t let him live. They were bent –– remember the whole thing was planned –– they were bent on changing the Church. And they weren’t going to allow Siri in because everybody knew what Siri would do. He’d simply put on his coat of mail, he’d put on –– he’d take his battle-ax and go out and take off heads. Siri would never make a compromise so I think he said ‘No, I can’t do that because my family would suffer,’ and he had a large family so he wouldn’t do it.”
Martin, then, would have us believe that Roncalli –– and later Montini –– were validly elected in Siri’s place, setting the stage for the two John Pauls. For an ex-Jesuit who ought to know better, however, the logic by which he reaches this conclusion is convoluted so as to confuse even the Elect. For we wonder, of course, why Siri, an over-50 celibate without dependants, would, being such a fighter, succumb so easily to the threats that Martin describes in this interview. And why, if the Conclave had elected him with at least a two-thirds plus one majority, would he think he lacked the support to overcome his liberal opponents? The way Martin talks, it sounds as though they were in control, not his electors. This being the case, why did any of these liberals back Siri, the arch-traditionalist, as they must have in order to get the required number of votes? Why would they allow him to be elected in the first place?
Perhaps a clue to the enigma lies in Martin’s above words: “Remember, the whole thing was planned…”? Could there have been some devious –– indeed diabolical –– plot in the offing? If so, why has it not been exposed by the so-called authorities? Why is it that even today, 47 years later, the job of investigator has been left to lay sleuths like Gary Giuffrč, prime mover of the Siri theory? And how did the conspirators of 1958 manage to reenact the same scenario in the Conclave of 1963 –– and possibly, Martin suggests, in one of the 1978 Conclaves as well?!
One need not be an expert in Canon Law or the Rules of Papal Conclaves to ask whether the blackmail and intimidation of popes-elect is legal, and would not, in fact, invalidate further balloting in the Conclave. Surely such thuggery would constitute the ultimate in vote fraud. And, whereas gullible Earthlings might accept the results of this chicanery, would the Holy Ghost?
Martin himself suggests otherwise in his tome, Keys of this Blood, which discusses the 1963 Conclave. Here he says Siri was elected, and in refusing suggested it was because “only thus could foreseen possibilities of grave danger be avoided –– but whether harm to the Church, his family, or to him personally, is not clear.” He goes on to say, most illogically that Siri “did indicate that his decision was made freely and not out of duress –– otherwise any subsequent election in that Conclave would have been invalid.”
Is this guy for real? Since when do threats of “grave harm” not put the victim, even if he be a pope-elect, in a state of “duress”? For all his insider info, Martin seldom gives his sources, though his own credentials seem quite kosher. At one time a professor of Semitic Languages in Rome, he served as secretary to Cardinal Bea, spokesman for Jewish interests at the Vatican Council. More recently, on the Art Bell radio talk show, he bragged that he had done more than anyone else to further the Jewish cause in Catholic circles. One might wonder if his late nights on radio, (not to mention ongoing bouts with the Devil in his role as exorcist) have affected his mind, except that the above quote from Keys of This Blood came out back in 1990.
Elsewhere in the current tape, the ubiquitous Martin notes how Siri made the facts of his election “quite clear talking to us after those two Conclaves.” Who “us” refers to, he doesn’t say, but one wonders why “they”, if the news was given outside the Conclave, did not spread the word further.
The significance of Martin’s recent reference to the ’58 Conclave is twofold. First, this predated the inanities of Vatican II. If the publicized version of the Conclave would prove to be invalid, so would the Council itself, as well as the Pontificates of John XXIII, Paul VI, and the two John Pauls. Siri did not, after all, allegedly die until 1989, and John Paul II’s election occurred in 1978.
Second, older Catholics who remember the ’58 Conclave, or others who have read Gary Giuffrč’s articles about the Siri affair, may recall the phenomenon of the white smoke that materialized on the first day of balloting, October 26, 1958. In his article, “Exile of the Pope Elect - Part V” Gary Giuffrč cites an Associated Press story which says white smoke billowed from the chimney for a full five minutes, causing crowds in St. Peter’s Square to cheer. Vatican Radio, too, declared that a Pope had been elected and that the Cardinals were probably going through the rite of adoration for him at that very moment. Only after half an hour had passed and no figure had appeared on the Papal balcony was it announced that a mistake had been made.
Martin’s new information tends to corroborate the hypothesis that a Pope, namely Siri, had indeed been elected at this time. Deny it as he might, Martin has not been able to explain away one problem inherent in his own story that Siri refused the office. This problem, suggested by the AP story and confirmed by Gary Giuffrč, is this: according to Conclave rules, the white smoke does not appear until after the new Pope has accepted the office. If this be the case, and Siri did accept, only to be forced, ex post facto, into abdicating, then he would have to have retained that office. For as Giuffrč quotes, from the Catholic Encyclopedia: “A valid abdication of the Pope must be a free act; hence a forced resignation of the Papacy would be null and void as more than one ecclesiastical decree has declared.”
Whatever the details, it can certainly be said that there is enough evidence of foul play to warrant further investigation. After all, “by their fruits shall you know them.” Certainly the fruits of the post-1958 Church have been rotten enough to give even the most gullible cause to think. Can this truly be the inviolate Bride of Christ? Martin himself says that most Catholics, bishops and priests included, are in apostasy; that most sacraments today are invalid; that there has been, as a result, a drying up of sanctifying grace. Catholics in fact, he sees as less “supernaturally minded” than Orthodox Jews, whom he holds up as an example of moral rectitude. For they, unlike us, he says, have not lost “the grace of their doctrine.” For Catholics, he is in the process of writing a “survival manual” modeled on that written by the twelfth century rabbi, Maimonides, for the Jews of his time. It makes one wonder whether Martin thinks the situation is now reversed: that the underdogs of the medieval era are now in the ascendancy and vice versa.
But is he truly as Catholic as he says he is?
It seems pertinent here to mention that back in the ‘60s, under the pseudonym Michael Serafian, Martin wrote The Pilgrim, an apologia for the Jews, which, among other things, castigated the Church for not recognizing the validity of Judaism. Later came liberally oriented books like Three Popes and a Cardinal and Jesus Now. With Hostage to the Devil in 1975, Martin appeared to have retreated to the more orthodox mode of exorcist. During that decade, he also served a stint as religion editor for National Review.
In recent years, feigning the ultimate in orthodoxy, Martin has persisted in his main role, that of apologist for John Paul II. The message of his last novel, Windswept House, is that no matter how deeply evil, in the form of outright Satanism, may invade the Church, up to the pinnacle of the Vatican itself, the Polish pope remains inviolate. He is the true Pope, suffering even in his guilt. This current tape goes so far as to put the blame for the catastrophe of the last twenty years on John Paul’s shoulders. He is, after all, the Pope, Martin insists. As such, he is responsible for the calamity; regardless, he is Christ’s Vicar. Moreover, if the Church is self-destructing, Martin says it must be the will of God. It is Christ Himself, he says, who is liquidating the organization of the Church. Difficult as this may be for Catholics to accept –– and he admits it is becoming harder and harder to live as a Catholic, especially in a family with children –– it is something we must accept. For, he implies, short of joining the underground Church and finding a valid priest, there is nothing we can do about it.
But is there? Is it all that hopeless? Did Christ not say that His Church would last until the end of time? It could be said that, whatever the faults of American Catholics, their sheer passivity in the matter of these Papal Conclaves is most puzzling. Having contributed to the Vatican so generously, they could at least try using the “power of the purse” to get a few answers. The same patriots who so zealously hammer at government abuses seem helpless when it comes to handling those of the Church. We rant and rave about Clinton and his ilk, but their peccadilloes fade to a pinprick when compared to the crimes of those who pretend to stand in the light of Christ. While the high and mighty among us have obviously been neutralized, surely there remains a sufficient number of “peasants with pitchforks” to storm the walls of the Vatican and demand satisfaction.
Copyright December 1998 by Judith Gordon