On multiple occasions, way back in the day, a certain “papabile” Cardinal friend – well placed in the very top ranks of the Roman Curia and then high up in the College of Cardinals – insisted, saying to me on so many different occasions right through the years:
- “George, Leonardo Sandri, your friend, is a friend to you, your friend. He is someone who… And then a sometimes biting analysis of Sandri’s modus operandi would then be stated, at times in some detail, how and with whom he worked… which would immediately be followed by “but he will learn.”
That last bit was not at all a criticism, but rather a compliment about quick and sharp capacities to maneuver in the fog of battle of a steep learning curve, a great skill for any diplomat. This would be followed by a report of any recent promotions or activities or friendships – I think he even mentioned once Sandri’s health – and then my Cardinal friend repeated the statement again that “Sandri is a friend to you, George, your friend.”
On some occasions this certain Cardinal friend of mine (who, obviously, was a close friend also of Sandri and would meet with him regularly), was going to say what it was in particular that instigated such proclamations of Sandri being my friend, but then he would catch himself rather abruptly and would not continue. If I remember some indications correctly, it seems that not-then-a-cardinal Sandri had made an intervention favoring yours truly at a certain meeting in which my own name had arisen.
I must say that I was quite baffled by all this unsolicited information about Sandri, particularly about the friendship thing. I never did find out more about this. As far as I know, I had never met Sandri even in passing.
There are many who are saying various and sundry things about Cardinal Sandri these days. Nota bene: I have no idea about any of that whatsoever. None. I’m sure many will draw conclusions about myself based on all this. I guess I’m baiting them to do just that. The gossip mongers are what they are and know nothing of what is actually going on, never allowing the admonition of Jesus regarding serpents and doves.
Anyway, I would like to have a chat with Cardinal Sandri about our mutual friend, and perhaps to learn what some of these mysteries were about back in the day.
If someone across the pond puts this little reminiscence on his desk, perhaps he would make a minute or two for me in the two weeks following Easter of 2021, when the Missionaries of Mercy are again scheduled be in Rome.
I also have an easy favor to ask of him regarding a rather academic project I had been working on with our mutual Cardinal friend, and would like to complete. But I need help from the movers and shakers. Cardinal Sandri is now one of them. It’s been kicked around in the CDF and the Secretariat of State and the Pontifical Family. It’s needs a final encouragement. It would be a posthumous favor to our mutual friend.