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Pope Francis has a treatable brain tumor? Vatican furiously denies. October 21, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, episcopate, foolishness, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Papa, Revolution, SOD, the struggle for the Church.

As Rorate noted on Twitter, how sad that after years of press manipulation and frequent double-dealing with the faithful, many now seriously doubt the Vatican’s denials.

Italian media is reporting Pope Francis has a treatable brain tumor.  The Vatican is denying this claim in the strongest terms, but the media are standing by their claims.  Normally I wouldn’t cover such a one off rumor, but given the enormous ramifications if true I thought I’d mention it. One can easily discern huge implications for the Synod and much else besides if there is even fair reason to expect that Pope Francis may be debilitated in any way.  If his pontificate were likely to be either severely inhibited or forecast to come to an end within a year or two, that could change the calculus of many a politically-focused but doctrinally indifferent bishop.  Coupled with claims that were a conclave held today, Pope Francis wouldn’t get 10 votes, and even more, that ostensibly 75% of Synod fathers are strongly opposed to the radical departures from Doctrine of the “Kasperite” (should it be Franciscan?) set, it could mean that most bishops would just choose to ride this pontificate out in the expectation that won’t be more than a handful of years.

It’s all just speculation, of course, but something to keep in mind, nonetheless:

The Vatican on Wednesday dismissed an Italian media report that Pope Francis has a treatable brain tumour as “unfounded and seriously irresponsible.”

Quotidiano Nazionale (QN), the newspaper which made the claim, said it stood by its story that a “small dark spot” had been detected on the 78-year-old pontiff’s brain earlier this year.

The paper said it was discovered by Japanese physician Takanori Fukushima during an examination at the San Rossore di Barbaricina clinic near Pisa in central Italy.

The professor reportedly concluded that the tumour was treatable and that no surgery was required.

“The publication of completely unfounded reports on the health of the holy father by an Italian newspaper is seriously irresponsible and not worthy of attention,” Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

“As everyone can see, the pope continues to engage in his intense activity without any interruption and in absolutely normal fashion.”

Andrea Cangini, the director of Quotidiano, said he had expected the Vatican’s statement.

“This denial is understandable and expected,” he said. “We waited a long time before publishing the report in order to carry out every possible check. We don’t have the slightest doubt that it is founded.”

Am I remembering right, that the Vatican downplayed Pope JPII’s very visible physical degeneration, as well?

So, will you be praying intensely for the health of Pope Francis?



1. tg - October 21, 2015

Reminds me of the movie “Keys of the Fisherman”, where a radical, heretical priest is removed from his priestly duties because of publishing a heretical book. It was full of the heresies we hear today. The movie makes it seem like the priest was heretical because of the brain tumor. I pray for the Pope every day.

2. Fran Rooker - October 21, 2015

This is wrong in so many ways! Among them:
(1) Whether true or not, there are only a few (perhaps as few as two) who know the actual situation. One of them breached the solemn duty of confidentiality to (indirectly) “inform the world.” Faithful people need to ask “Why?” and discern the virtue of propagating this far-and-wide.
(2) Should we presume that a “small, treatable brain tumor” somehow explains (i.e. culbability) the manifestly questionable actions of this Pope over the prior two years? Even in light of his public actions over the prior decades? Even in light of allegations about his actions behind the scenes, in secret?
(3) Are there really “huge implications” here? Most faithful and reasonable observers understand that the current crisis is the manifest outcome of decades of episcopal misfesance and malfesance. Pope Francis is merely the “face” of the fruits of this present evil.
This is enough! Pray the rosary… for our Pope, for the Church.

Tantumblogo - October 21, 2015

I think you’re reading in more than I said. I didn’t say the tumor had anything to do with his actions. Maybe you had already read about it somewhere else. I think there are huge implications if the health of the pope becomes an open question, not so much in terms of how it affects his behavior, but how others react to it.

Oh, the title. Which I meant to change. Fixed!

3. Murray - October 21, 2015

I do pray for the pope every day, but primarily for his intentions (trusting that God will work out which intentions are worthy of his attention) and that he will turn and strengthen his brothers.

Many traditionalists have been criticizing the cardinals for what they see as a “containment” strategy, for legitimizing the process by remaining in the synod and allowing the heretics to continue to speak unmolested. I understand their frustration and certainly wouldn’t mind a bit of the old Saint Nicholas treatment, but it might be that they’ve decided to wait this papacy out. Even without a brain tumor, the Holy Father probably only has a handful of years left to him, and the orthodox cardinals may simply be willing to let nature take its course.

Of course, this is a very high-risk strategy when dealing with liberals, who won’t hesitate to try to game the next conclave and who–as we have seen–seem to have an extremely power array of instruments (financial and otherwise) at their disposal.

4. Mike - October 21, 2015

Maybe he has a small benign meningioma. Often these tumors require no treatment.

5. JTLiuzza - October 21, 2015

First I already pray for the Pope every day. It is my duty.

Second, this from your article, ” that ostensibly 75% of Synod fathers are strongly opposed to the radical departures from Doctrine of the “Kasperite” (should it be Franciscan?) set”

I was thinking earlier that after this disastrous pontificate is over possibly no future Pope will choose the name “Francis.” It is unfortunate that the name of such a great Saint is besmirched by Bergoglio and his confreres. “Kasperite” is ok for now. He will go down in history as a flaming heretic. Eventually, though, all these shenanigans need to be pinned to this Pope, not Cdl Kasper.

But, please, the term should not be “Franciscan,” out of respect for the great Saint. Instead I would prefer “Bergoglian.”

6. Amateur Brain Surgeon - October 21, 2015

Because he obviously does not hold the Faith once delivered, he is debilitated in a manner much more seriously than if he only had a brain tumor; that is, he has a soul tumor and that can only be repaired by a return to the fullness of the Faith.

7. Sedevecantist - October 21, 2015

Bergolio doesn’t have a brain tumor his brain is a tumor

8. Peter - October 22, 2015

I don’t have to pray for his or anyone’s health. I have to pray for what’s best for him, what God wants for everyone, that he “be converted and live”.

Lynne - October 22, 2015


9. June St. James-Pfouts - October 22, 2015

Trying again. I hop[e this time it goes through.



October 21, 2015, Wednesday — A Japanese Doctor in a Helicopter…

It seems like the beginning of a bad joke.

And, in fact, it is.

A very bad joke, in fact…

All of Rome this morning was in an uproar about the story that a Japanese doctor based in the United States who works in an Italian clinic two or three times a year had (allegedly) diagnosed a small (non-malignant) tumor in Pope Francis’ brain. Here is a link to the original story in Italian (link).

The Vatican then denied the truth of the story in the most categorical of terms. The Pope is healthy, has no brain tumor, and never saw the Japanese doctor at any time (Link; see the full text of the Vatican’s two statements from today below at the end of this letter.) Here is a link to an ANSA article which has embedded in it a brief video of Vatican Press Director Father Federico Lombardi’s denial the story at mid-day today: link.

The Osservatore Romano went further. The Vatican’s newspaper said the story was not only false, but was released at this time — with just three days to go in the Synod on the Family — in order to cause confusion and chaos. “E il momento scelto rivela l’intento manipolatorio del polverone sollevato,” the paper said (“And the moment chosen reveals the manipulative intent of the outcry that has been created”). (link)

The office of the doctor in question, Takanori Fukushima, the Carolina Neuroscience Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina (link), also categorically denied that Fukushima ever met or examined the Pope. Lori Radcliffe, practice administrator for Fukushima at the Carolina Neuroscience Institute, described the report as “absolutely false.” She told Reuters (link) that Fukushima saw the Pope and shook his hand alongside thousands of people this year at a general audience at the Vatican but had never treated or evaluated him. (link).

The story would seem to be, then, a fabrication. A false story.

Nevertheless, the director of Quotidiano Nazionale, Andrea Cangini, continues to affirm the truthfulness of the paper’s story. “The (Vatican’s) denial is understandable and was expected,” he said. “We did not publish this story for a long time in order to make all necessary checks. We do not have the slightest doubt as to its merits. We seriously debated whether or not to publish it. We felt that what is true for a head of state or government also applies to the Pope: the enormous public responsibility that these personalities have leads us to believe that the right to privacy is less important than the right of the public to be informed.”

The world’s press, of coure, immediately picked up on this story.

In fact, it is worth taking 15 or 20 seconds to scroll through a listing of these many stories at the following link (link).

What this huge number of headlines shows is that this story was immediately “trampolined” throughout the world’s press.

In that sense, it became, instantaneously, and quite effectively, a part of the “global consciousness” regarding Francis and his papacy.

This makes this otherwise odd little story interesting, and important, to all following this papacy, and the unfolding history of the Roman Catholic Church.

Clearly, if someone wished to attack Pope Francis, and lessen his authority and effectiveness, there would be no better way than to invent, or spread, the story of a “brain tumor” — referred to as a “small shadow” on his brain.

Indeed, it hardly matters whether the story is true or false. The mere rumor, in this case, is sufficient.

It alters the narrative.

The story is, in a certain sense, logical, if one thinks in terms of ecclesial, or even global, in-fighting.

To cripple this pontificate, what better way that to suggest that everything Pope Francis is saying and doing, from his denunciations of the evils of an unrestrained and globalizing capitalist system to his calling of the present Synod on the Family, is “affected” by a “brain tumor” — that he isn’t responsible for his actions, that he is acting under the influence of a “shadow” in his brain.

In other words, this story is an absolutely direct, diabolically clever and undeniably powerful attack on Pope Francis by someone, or some group, wishing, for whatever reason, to weaken him.

Who, then, is the originator of this story?

The story originated with an Italian publication, Il Quotidiano Nazionale (“The National Daily”), a newspaper that since 1997 has fused together three formerly independent regional Italian dailies, Il Resto del Carlino of Bologna, La Nazione of Florence and Il Giorno of Milan.

The first director of the 3-fold paper was Vittorio Feltri, one of Italy’s leading journalist and editors. The most recent director, since December 1, 2014, has been Bruno Vespa.

Feltri (photo here) and Vespa are both considered in Italy to be “right-leaning.”

Feltri is described in his Wikipedia profile as “above all a monarchical constitutionalist” who supports the return of the Kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy. (link).

As for Vespa, perhaps the leading television journalist in the history of Italy, there is a famous story about his relationship with Pope John Paul II.

In 1977, as a young television journalist, Vespa interviewed the then-cardinal of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla. Wojtyla then became Pope John Paul II the following year, in October, 1978.

Twenty years later, in 1998, during Vespa’s popular “Porta a Porta” television program on the 20th anniversary of Wojtyla’s election, Pope John Paul II telephoned Vespa (photo left) in the middle of the live program and so was “on air” during the broadcast.

It was an unprecedented journalistic accomplishment.

On to the story itself.

In a cover piece published late on Tuesday, October 20, on its website, the Quotidiano Nazionale launched this astonishing (alleged) “scoop”:

(1) an unnamed nurse at a clinic in Pisa in north-central Italy reveals to the paper that Pope Francis, in March this year, seven months ago, flew secretly in a helicopter to Pisa to be examined by a Japanese doctor working in Italy, who also works at Duke University in North Carolina, a neurosurgeon, named Dr. Takanori Fukushima;

(2) Fukushima (allegedly) examined Pope Francis’ brain;

(3) Fukushima (allegedly) determined that Francis had a small brain tumor — one which was not malignant and did not require any sort of surgery;

(4) Francis (allegedly) then flew back to the Vatican without anyone knowing anything about the visit.

In another version of the story, published by ANSA, an Italian news agency, the Japanese doctor (allegedly) flew into Vatican City in a helicopter in January, and at that time met with the Pope and diagnosed the Pope’s (alleged) brain tumor.

So, suddenly this morning, the Vatican press corps was in an uproar about this “world scoop” concerning the Pope’s health and possible brain tumor.

How was the health of Pope Francis? Was he on the threshold of a serious illness, even death? Was the Vatican hiding the truth about his health? Would he resign soon because of ill health?

All this erupted during the space of three or four hours this morning.

Here is a link to a brief Rome Reports video clip on the story (link).

Then, the entire story unraveled and collapsed.

A total farce.

Because none of it was true.

There was no tumor.

There was no examination of the Pope’s brain.

There was no helicopter landing secretly in the Vatican in January.

All of it was a complete hoax.

Except for one thing.

There was, in fact, a Japanese doctor, Dr. Fukushima.

Fukushima is in fact a consultant at the clinic of San Rossore di Barbaricina near Pisa, in north-central Italy.

And, on his Facebook page (link), Fukushima has published photos which appear to show him meeting with Pope Francis. (Here is another link to an article where you can see these photos: link.)

But questions have arisen about these photos. Are they authentic?

The background behind the Pope and the doctor seems to change between the photos, and the alleged handshake between the Japanese doctor and the Pope, which seems authentic at first glance, seems problematic when examined at a higher resolution — almost as if the images have been photo-shopped.

So, we seem to have these elements to work with:

(1) the Vatican denies that Fukushima ever treated Pope Francis;

(2) Dr. Fukushima’s office denies that he ever treated Pope Francis;

(3) The newspaper that published the report just three days before the end of the Synod — after having sat on the story evidently for some months — says it stands by its story, but offers no named source whatsoever;

(4) Dr. Fukushima does claim that he met with Pope Francis, though the meeting was not to treat the Pope or to diagnose him — but the alleged photos of this meeting on his website seem problematic.

Conclusion: this strange story of the Pope having a brain tumor is not confirmed by any source or by any evidence whatsoever.


The Vatican’s Official Statements

Father Lombardi, the Pope’s spokesman, took the unusual step today of mentioning the matter on two separate occasions.

On the first occasion, Lombardi said this:

1st Statement from the Director of the Holy See Press Office

“With regard to the unfounded news on the health of the Holy Father, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., has issued the following statement:

“The circulation of entirely unfounded news regarding the health of the Holy Father by an Italian newspaper is gravely irresponsible and unworthy of attention. Furthermore, as is clearly evident, the Pope is carrying out his very intense activity in an totally normal way.” (link)

On the second occasion, Lombardi said this:

2nd Statement by the Director of the Holy See Press Office regarding false information on the health of the Holy Father

“I fully confirm my previous statement, having verified the facts with the appropriate sources, including the Holy Father.

“No Japanese doctor has visited the Pope in the Vatican and there have been no examinations of the type indicated in the article.

“The competent offices have confirmed that there have been no arrivals of external parties in the Vatican by helicopter; similarly, there were no arrivals of this type during the month of January.

“I am able to confirm that the Pope is in good health.

“I reiterate that the publication of this false information is a grave act of irresponsibility, absolutely inexcusable and unconscionable.

“It would be equally unjustifiable to continue to fuel similarly unfounded information. It is hoped, therefore, that this matter be closed immediately.” (link)


What is the glory of God?

“The glory of God is man alive; but the life of man is the vision of God.” —St. Irenaeus of Lyons, in the territory of France, in his great work Against All Heresies, written c. 180 A.D.

This message was sent to c-and-c06@live.com from:

Dr. Robert Moynihan | MoynihanReport@gmail.com | Urbi et Orbi Communications | PO Box 57 | New Hope, KY 40052-0057

Tantumblogo - October 22, 2015

Dude, this is a 2500 word comment. Those are not normally allowed. I don’t blame Akismet a bit for blocking it. It looks like spam with multiple links and its incredible length. I’m permitting this in this one instance, but in future you really need to not include the entire article but only what you consider important portions. My blog, my rules, and all that.

Secondly, when you repeatedly try to force the same comment under different name, that most definitely gets you flagged as spam. Because that’s what the spambots try to do all day, every day. You tried 7 times. Relax. Because you did that, Akismet is likely to consider your IP to be a spam address. I have no control over Akismet’s protocols. But I do know how to avoid getting flagged – patience, short(er) comments, few if any links, allow the process to work, etc. Some items flagged as spam are released automatically if your behavior does not correspond to spam behavior. But when someone repeatedly tries to force in a comment with identical content (or practically so), the software will really build a hard case that you’re a spammer and nothing will get through. You may experience problems for a while because of that.

To the topic at hand, I take everything Moynihan says with a big grain of salt. No one is more institutional than he is.

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