Six Degrees of the “Influential Italian Gentleman”?

September 23, 2020 (Steven O’Reilly) – The article is a continuation of this blog’s research into persons and events potentially associated with the 2013 conclave and the election of Cardinal Bergoglio S.J.

The St. Gallen Mafia, the Obama Administration, and a Conclave

As many tradition-minded Catholics around the world have perceived by now, the election of Pope Francis has brought something of a revolution to the Catholic Church.  Or, perhaps, it might be better said that his election is the culmination of a revolution within the Catholic Church, the roots of which run deep — back to Vatican II and even before. This pope appears to be delivering on the promise of the St. Gallen revolution in various ways, such as muting the Church’s voice on moral questions such as adultery (e.g., Amoris Laetitia), homosexuality (e.g., “who am I to judge”), and even abortion (e.g., here), as well as entering into leftist politics through support of open borders and a focus on the environment. Such a revolution  was the goal of the St. Gallen mafia which, lurking and meeting in the shadows since the pontificate of John Paul II, both hoped for and sought to elect a pope favorable to their ends, i.e., one who would ‘bring’ the Church into the modern age.

Yet, there were also those beyond the St. Gallen mafia who hoped for similar changes in the Church for their own ends and purposes. For example, it appears at least a few Democrats in the U.S. who, upset with Catholic opposition to the inclusion of contraceptive coverage in Obama’s then-proposed healthcare legislation, discussed the “need for a Catholic Spring” in the Catholic Church, even wondering aloud about “how one would ‘plant the seeds of revolution…’” in the Church. Such expressions are found in an email thread obtained by Wikileaks from John Podesta’s email files.  This email thread revealed part of a discussion between long-time Clinton and Obama political advisor, John Podesta, and Sandy Newman of Voices of Progress. This email exchange (entitled “opening for a Catholic Spring? just musing . . .“)  is dated February 10 and 11, 2012, a year before the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation.  In it, Newman, speaking of the Catholic Church’s opposition to Obama’s contraceptive measures in his healthcare reform, raised the Catholic question with Podesta, writing in part (emphasis added):

“This whole controversy with the bishops opposing contraceptive coverage even though 98% of Catholic women (and their conjugal partners) have used contraception has me thinking . . . There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church.  Is contraceptive coverage an issue around which that could happen. The Bishops will undoubtedly continue the fight. Does the Catholic Hospital Association support of the Administration’s new policy, together with “the 98%” create an opportunity?

Of course, this idea may just reveal my total lack of understanding of the Catholic church, the economic power it can bring to bear against nuns and priests who count on it for their maintenance, etc. Even if the idea isn’t crazy, I don’t qualify to be involved and I have not thought at all about how one would “plant the seeds of the revolution,” or who would plant them. Just wondering . . .”

John Podesta sent a reply the very next day, dated February 11, 2012 — which by odd coincidence, preceded Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement of his resignation a year to the day. In that reply, Podesta wrote (emphasis added):

We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up. I’ll discuss with Tara. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the other person to consult.”

Podesta indicated in his response that he would “discuss” the question “with Tara” and observed that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was the other person with whom the question should be discussed. To my knowledge there are no additional Podesta emails available via Wikileaks that shed any light on what, if any follow-up was conducted by Podesta with regard to Sandy Newman’s statements on a “Catholic Spring” or how to “plant the seeds of Revolution.”

At the time of the Wikileaks revelations in Fall of 2016, there was Catholic outrage at the implications of this email exchange (e.g., see here, here, here), as well as concerns expressed about Soros-funded groups such as Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United. However, after the election, some — citing these emails — raised the question in early 2017 as to whether the Obama administration had a hand in the election of Cardinal Bergoglio.

For example, there have been suggestions that the NSA monitored the 2013 conclave as alleged by the blog The Eye-Witness in an October 2013 article (“A Compromised Conclave“). The apparent close ties between the Democratic Party and this Vatican in the years following the conclave led the Remnant Newspaper to publish an open letter [see A Vatican-Democratic Party Alliance (Catholics ask Trump Administration to Investigate)] to the Trump administration in January of 2017 asking a number of interesting questions — which I alluded to earlier. In the letter, the signatories ask, for example, what role US intelligence agencies might have played in both the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Francis. [NB: I have also opined that given the Obama Administration’s efforts to subvert Donald J. Trump as a presidential candidate and as a U.S. President, it is not too much of a stretch to wonder might they do the same to a Pope of the Catholic Church if it suited its political ends (see If they would interfere in a presidential election — why not a papal one?)].

The questions are interesting, if for no other reason than that the current pontificate has been a Democratic Party dream come true — along the lines of the hoped for “Catholic Spring” and “revolution — as it has divided Catholic unity as a voting bloc by de-emphasizing the cultural war issues (e.g., abortion, homosexual “marriage”) while emphasizing leftist ‘social justice’ causes (e.g., immigration, the environment). The icing on the cake has been a series of US episcopal appointments (e.g., Cupich, Tobin, McElroy) who have willingly followed the new Francis political and social agenda, thus giving additional cover to left-leaning Catholics. For example, Cardinal Tobin recently affirmed that Catholics could vote in good conscience for the pro-abortion Joe Biden, and that even he (Tobin) had a “more difficult time with the other option“, i.e., Trump. Similarly, Bishop Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky recently suggested, incredibly, that environmental issues could arguably be more important than the issue of abortion: “I think an argument could be made that … creation is the preeminent issue, because without the environment to sustain human life, you can’t have human life” (see here).

Another indication of how close the Vatican ties to the Democratic Party have become appears in Henry Sire’s book on Pope Francis, The Dictator Pope. In it, Sire reports that reliable sources state Pope Francis gave funds to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign from Peter’s Pence. Sire writes:

“If indeed, money from Peter’s Pence was diverted to fund Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, at Pope Francis’s request, as has been repeatedly rumored from reliable sources, it could be the unraveling of an enormous scandal.” (The Dictator Pope, p. 193)

The Six Degrees of the “Influential Italian Gentleman?”

It has been suggested that everyone is connected by no more than six degrees of separation, i.e., that “all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other.” There was a famous and amusing game called the ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon‘ which was based on this premise.

Given that disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick played an important role in the campaign in the election of Jorge Bergoglio (see The Conclave Chronicles), I thought it would be interesting to play a version of this game with the “Influential Italian Gentleman” — or the man who I now believe to be the best candidate to be him in all likelihood, i.e.,  Andrea Riccardi (see The “Influential Italian Gentleman”: A Sant’Egidio Connection?, and The “we” in “We did it!” — and what they did)[Note 1]. The reasons for our suspicions are outlined in the linked articles. [NB: I would note again, as I have elsewhere in the whole series of “influential Italian gentleman” articles, that this individual — whatever his ultimate true identity — may have have had entirely innocent motives in suggesting to McCarrick he “talk up, McCarrick.” In other words, the meeting and statements described by McCarrick need not be considered necessarily nefarious. There are plausible, innocent explanations for his suggestion to McCarrick that he “talk up, Bergoglio” in the lead up to the conclave. That said, I do believe as a matter of opinion that there are enough reasons to suggest an interrogation of both McCarrick and the “influential Italian gentleman” is required to answer outstanding questions about the meeting and the motives behind it].

Now, according to McCarrick’s account of this meeting, the “influential Italian gentleman” suggested Bergoglio could “reform” the Church if given five years (see here starting at 18:00). This suggestion was curiously similar to what certain cardinals had separately told various vaticanisti, e.g., that Bergoglio could “change things” in four years [See Note 2]. This talk of “changing things,” “reform,” etc., is all strangely similar to the talk of a “Catholic Spring” and even of revolution to bring the Church into the modern age; that is to say, all these statements seem to point to a similar thing, the need to ‘change’ the Catholic Church, seemingly to make it “modern” and “conformed” to the times. 

Thus, given the commonality of the views above, out of curiosity, I wondered if there were any personal or organizational links between John Podesta and Andrea Riccardi — a leading “candidate” to be  McCarrick’s “influential Italian gentleman.” That is to say, I wondered if these two men could be linked within six degrees as suggested by the “six degrees of separation” theory and the Kevin Bacon game. Thinking it might take at least a several or more steps or links to make such a “connection,” I was quite surprised to find the two men are apparently connected via a single connection or link, of which there are two examples:

First, a “John Podesta” is listed as being on the advisory board of the Fondazione ItalianiEuropei, an Italian European think tank. Andrea Riccardi is connected to this same think tank, sitting on the “scientific commitee” (see here).

The second ‘first degree’ link is that both men were, at least as of October 2012 on the Advisory Board of the Human Foundation. John Podesta, per a conference program, was scheduled to be on of one of the two discussion panels — pending confirmation of his participation according to the program. On that program, he was  listed as a member of the “advisory board Uman Fondation.” Also, scheduled to speak at the conference, was Andrea Riccardi, also listed as a member of the “advisory board Uman Foundation.” 

It is unclear from the conference program whether Podesta, in the end, actually attended the conference in question which was hosted by the Uman Foundation. However, given that Podesta and Riccardi were both members of the advisory board of the Uman Foundation — as indicated by the program, as well as on boards of the Fondazione ItalianiEuropei, they were — presumably — known to each other.

Does any of the above prove anything?  No. It certainly may be all innocent and coincidental at all levels. Yet, if there is anyone out there who may know more, or can shed additional light on any of the above, please contact us (see contact info below). We have already been contacted by sources on various matters related to other articles in this series.  Anonymity will be protected.  


On a final curious note, I ‘played’ the “Six Degrees” game with a second name, using the name of Joseph Mifsud  — the mysterious character associated with the “Russia Collusion” hoax. It was Mifsud who, in April of 2016, allegedly informed George Papadopoulos the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton via allegedly hacked Clinton emails (see here) — something Mifsud would later apparently deny to the FBI (see here).  Papadopoulos appears to suggest he was set up by Vincenzo Scotti, a former Italian government official who had introduced him to Mifsud.  Some have suspected Mifsud was associated with Western intelligence services. Or, perhaps was he instead helping the DNC more directly?   

Mifsud and Riccardi are apparently “connected” via the Italian Catholic organization AzioneCattolica, where both have spoken at the same conferences on at least a couple of occasions (see here and here). Curiously, one of these events was a conference that discussed the Arab “Spring”, and it was held on February 10 and 11, 2012 — coincidentally and strangely enough, the same dates of the “Catholic Spring” email chain in the Podesta emails in Wikileaks. 

Steven O’Reilly is a graduate of the University of Dallas and the Georgia Institute of Technology. A former intelligence officer, he and his wife, Margaret, live near Atlanta with their family. He has written apologetic articles and is author of Book I of the Pia Fidelis trilogy, The Two Kingdoms. (Follow on twitter at @fidelispia for updates). He asks for your prayers for his intentions.  He can be contacted at  or (or follow on Twitter: @S_OReilly_USA or on Parler: @StevenOReilly).


  1. In our view, the best candidate to date is Andrea Riccardi. He simply meets the keep characteristics of McCarrick’s gentleman. In addition, Riccardi himself is known to have been close to Cardinal Bergoglio. Further, Riccardi himself Andrea Ricardi is the founder of the Community of Sant’ Egidio, an influential lay group in Rome and in over 70 countries. In a March 2014 interview with the Italian newspaper La Republica, Riccardi described himself as being a “convinced Bergoglian” since 2005 (see here). Bergoglio, for his part, appears to be “very close” to the Community of Sant’Egidio (see here), as well as to its founder, Andrea Riccardi. So close, in fact, that it was once rumored that Francis intended to make this layman a cardinal (see here)!
  2.  Andrea Tornielli published an article on the morning of March 2nd of 2013, the likely day that the “influential Italian gentleman” met with McCarrick. That article — whether by design or happenstance I cannot say for sure — certainly boosted Bergoglio’s papal candidacy (see here). Surely, it must have had that practical effect on the cardinals assembling in Rome at the time. Consider, quoting an anonymous cardinal, the article’s opening line famously read: “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things.” That is certainly an attention grabber for the cardinals in Rome at the time, all of whom followed Vaticanisti commentary on the conclave and papabili closely.

    The infamous “influential Italian gentleman” (see here and here) used a very similar line in his meeting with McCarrick (see Villanova Speech), though he used “five years” — assuming McCarrick had not just simply misremembered or garbled the quote —  instead of “four years” as was written in Tornielli’s article. The ultimate origin of this phrase is a bit murky. The same phrase bubbled up to the surface in various places at the time. It was quoted by at least three separate reporters using two to possibly three separate sources — not to mention its use by the McCarrick’s visitor

    The origin of the phrase — “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things …” — is a curious one. As I discuss in more detail in my original article, “The influential Italian Gentleman,”  Tornielli cites an anonymous cardinal, as indicated above. Gerald O’Connell, in his book, The Election of Pope Francis discusses the famous quote. In it, one of O’Connell vaticanisti colleagues, Mathilde Burgos, quotes Cardinal Errazuriz, using the same line: “Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things!” While it is possible Errazuriz used the line with both Burgos and Tornielli, writer Paul Vallely quotes Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor use of the line (see here): “”Four years of Bergoglio would be enough to change things,” Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, and an old friend of Francis, told me.”  This is curious indeed.  We have Cardinal Errazuriz using the line with a Chilean reporter, and we have either Cardinal Errazuriz or Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor using the same line with Tornielli.  Or was it yet another cardinal that used it with Tornielli? With such an circuitous pedigree, the “four years” line appears to be a pre-packaged, electioneering talking point manufactured to defuse concerns cardinals might have about Bergoglio’s age–and indeed there had been such concerns. We know the line was used with at least three different journalists, and was possibly used by two or even three different cardinals, and by the “influential Italian gentleman.” Yet, given this commonality, one may rightly wonder whether the line was even original to any of them!  There is the real and amusing prospect that Cardinal Bergoglio himself was the ultimate and original source of the pithy phrase.

12 thoughts on “Six Degrees of the “Influential Italian Gentleman”?

  1. Whatever relationship the players in the Modernization (Masonification) of the Catholic have to one another is certainly interesting. However, there is enough evidence to suggest they have been startling successful. What we need now is an underground orthodox Catholic Church to confront the damage and restore Catholicism as God intended. Perhaps Archbishop Vigano would be up to such an assignment.


    1. Michael, thanks for the comments.

      I was quite surprised to find that Podesta is apparently a first degree “connection” to the man I consider most likely to be the “influential Italian gentleman.”

      As to the effort to “masonify” the Church, I do think that if proof can be established that there was a plot to overthrow Benedict, and or install Bergoglio….the conclave would be demonstrated to be invalid. I don’t know if the evidence exists, or if it can be found if it does. But…it seems clear that a number of groups in and out of the Church wanted to change it.

      I don’t know that an underground Church is plausible at this point…though it may someday get to it. I don’t we’re there yet. I think it would require proof Francis is or was never the pope. Otherwise…you’re asking people to into schism…which is not the solution. Or…am I missing your point?




      1. Steve–
        The underground Church is necessary now as the hierarchy has been abandoning the truths of Christ little by little in an official way since Vatican II. Now the situation has reached crisis proportions with the Church now largely under control of evil forces who wish to make it a secular church of the New World Order, e.g., heretical “Pope” Bergoglio. Given the present condition of the hierarchy and its drift towards Socialism and accommodation with the morality of the world there becomes no alternative, in my opinion, to an underground Church save for direct divine intervention.

        Unless the situation in the Church radically changes for the better an underground Church becomes the only means of maintaining the practice of our orthodox faith and speaking the truth about its implications in our world. Right now sedevacantism and SSPX are the alternatives. Archbishop Vigano has suggested SSPX as the model for an underground Catholic Church. Hopefully, he will lead us in that direction or another will take his place.


      2. Michael,

        I do believe that divine intervention is what is coming. I can’t imagine how the Church can correct itself given the corruption and heresy within the hierarchy. Just looking at the papacy, as you well know Francis has now appointed over half of cardinals eligible to vote in a conclave. I don’t see them voting for a “Pius XIII” type pope.

        I don’t know how big a movement it is yet, but anecdotally among many Catholics I know, there seems to be search going on to find more traditional parishes, with more reverant masses, even if still in English. Most of the Catholics I have spoken with, have quit supporting their diocese and Peter’s Pence. So…perhaps this is all tending to lead toward a remnant Church.

        Thanks for the comments.


        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mr. O’Reilly,
    I must say that your investigation of this whole sordid,and evil criminal operation against Our Lord’s Holy Church and His whole Created Order, has been such a service to all that I had to comment and thank you. Your blog and writings have led the way in bringing to light this frankly, overwhelming, Earth shattering plot by Satan and his children against, really all of Creation and Our Lord himself.

    You explain and document it so well that every regular Faithful Catholic can understand,and understand it’s implications for the world.

    Again, Thank you. Rest assured you and your work,and family are in my family’s prayers. Our Lord and His Church cannot fail and your continued work and witness have reenforced my faith when things seem hopeless.
    Soldiers of Christ are not extinct.
    C. Waycaster, East Tn


  3. I like your articles, Steve, but I hate crime stories, so I don’t follow the scenes in the Vatican’s demi-monde closely.
    I will only refer to your statement in the comments:
    “I do believe that divine intervention is what is coming. I can’t imagine how the Church can correct itself given the corruption and heresy within the hierarchy.”

    The Lord Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta:
    Nov. 20, 1917
    “Oh, the beautiful living in my Will! I like it so much that I will make disappear all other sanctities under any aspect of virtue in the future generations, and I will make the sanctity of living in my Will reappear, which are and will be not human sanctities, but Divine. Their sanctity will be so high that, like suns, they will eclipse the most beautiful stars of the saints of the past generations. This is why I want to purge the earth: it is unworthy of these portents of Sanctity.”
    Nov. 27, 1917
    “…. And then, churches are few and many will be destroyed. Many times I do not find Priests to consecrate Me; other times they allow unworthy souls to receive Me, and worthy souls not to receive Me; other souls are unable to receive Me, therefore my Love finds Itself hindered. This is why I want to make the Sanctity of living in my Will. In It, I will no longer need Priests to be consecrated, nor churches, tabernacles or hosts. These souls will be everything altogether: Priests, churches, tabernacles and hosts. My Love will be more free. Anytime I want to consecrate Myself, I will be able to do it – in every moment, during the day, at night, in any place where they might be. Oh, how my Love will have Its complete outpouring!
    Ah! my daughter, the present generation deserved to be destroyed completely; and if I will allow a little something to be left of it, it is to form these Suns of the Sanctity of living in my Will, who, through my example, will repay Me for all that other creatures, past, present and future, owed Me. Then will the earth give Me true glory, and my “FIAT VOLUNTAS TUA, on earth as it is in Heaven” will have its completion and fulfillment.”


  4. Dear Mr. O’Reilly. “John Courtney Murray, Time/Life, and the American Proposition; How the CIA’s Doctrinal Warfare Program Changed the Catholic Church” by the lawyer, David a Wemhoff names the spooks in Rome, such as Pope Pius XII’s secretary, Father Robert Leiber, a Jebbie from Bavaria, page 357.

    Also a spook-asset was Father Felix Morlion O.P. a Belgian Dominician , founder of Pro Deo University in Rome and he was happy to cooperate with CD Jackson and Fr Morlion taught The American Proposition to his students at Pro Deo U.

    C.D. Jackson was a spook. Wemhoff’s well-documented study is riven with CINO revolutionaries only to happy to destroy Catholic Church-State Doctrine, replaces it with the Americanist heresy, and so now we have a shadow Church (Shadows do not have substance) whose praxis is similar to Masonry.

    The Shadow Church and Masonry both hold that man is good; that he is free to worship whichever God he desires, or none at all.


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