Chatting to an Italian journalist friend about Vatileaks recently, he's a fan of Agatha Christie, he said, "You have to remember that the Vatican is a bit like St Mary Mead. It is a small village where everyone is observing everyone else and gossiping, where big things happen occasionally, like a death, but mostly it is small things and what they mean that fascinate everyone".
His take on the opposition to Cardinal Bertone, "Well, I would look to the supporters of the previous Captain of the Bowls Club's, they still have the keys to the changing room, they still run the bar and responsible for the away fixtures".
"You have to think about why things are happening now, the Pope is growing old, his voice grows weaker, he needs help getting into St Peter's, he might go on to a hundred with the same sharpness of mind but then he might not. Just like St Mary Mead the permanent obsession is who will run the village committee. What the leaks are about in part is pointing out the committee itself is need of reform of someone who might reform it. Until Vatileaks I would have said that it was unlikely we would have another European, let alone another Italian Pope, now maybe the thought is only an Italian can reform the Curia".
"I think also some of the moves the Pope has made are unpopular amongst Italian members of the Curia, look at the state of liturgy in Rome itself, in the churches around the Vatican, where many of the curial officials celebrate Mass and have friends, they are content with what happened under John Paul, they are conservative, they don't understand the need for change.
"Their reading of Vatican II is hardly revolutionary but it is not within the "hermeneutic continuity", like the village committee that has developed its own way of interpreting the rule book and objects to the possibility of someone from the Council insisting they actually read the book; for many of them the Pope himself issuing a Motu Proprio in November 2010 on the Vatican Bank and financial transparency and then the Pope himself consenting to the sacking Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was like getting the auditors in to look the village account books.
"Another factor is the possible reconciliation of the Lefebvrists, again that is an irrefutable sign that the "hermeneutic of continuity" is here to stay and Vatican II can only be interpreted in a particular way rather than according to the custom of particular dicastery. That is why there is turmoil in Santa Maria di Mede."
My apologies to Giovanni if I have misquoted him in my paraphrase.