Talk:Siri thesis

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Conclave capitulation[edit]

The Siri thesis appears to be based on the concept of conclave capitulation, which is defined as an ancient treaty drawn up by the College of Cardinals during a papal conclave, attempting to constrain the actions of the Pope elected by the conclave. Capitulations were part and parcel of a strategy of the College of Cardinals to limit papal supremacy and to "make the Church an oligarchy instead of a monarchy". Strangely enough, such agreements were once again banned by John Paul II in the 1996 constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, long after the practice had ceased to be officially acknowledged during the Renaissance. ADM (talk) 13:49, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, he just reformed (in the older sense) the whole conclave, not only this point. Various conclave variants out of use have been abolished. -- (talk) 00:19, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Siri Thesis and sedevacantism?[edit]

It's unclear how the two are related, since even if the entirety of the story, as presented in this article, were true, it would still not be the case that Siri was ever Pope (since he was never proclaimed or enthroned) and it would not impeach the authenticity of future Popes (since, according to the story, Siri bowed to pressure and refused the office, and the cardinals went on to elect another Pope). It's hardly unheard of for Papal electees to refuse the throne, either voluntarily or due to outside pressure (cf. the veto of Papal elections used by some European powers down to the early 20th century). So how does one get from Siri's refusal to sedevacantism? RandomCritic (talk) 03:06, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

I don't know about the law governing the papal election in 1958, but under present law (Universi Dominici Gregis), the lack of proclamation or enthronement would be immaterial. This document, adopted by John Paul II in 1996 to regulate the papal election, stipulates (para. 88): 88. After his acceptance, the person elected, if he has already received episcopal ordination, is immediately Bishop of the Church of Rome, true Pope and Head of the College of Bishops. He thus acquires and can exercise full and supreme power over the universal Church. It's thus the acceptance of the election which legally commences the papacy of the Pope-elect (provided that he has already been ordained a bishop; if not, he would have to be ordained first, but Siri had been a bishop before 1958). There is thus no need for proclamation or enthronement for the papacy to begin. (talk) 20:19, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Even assuming that Siri was elected pope and accepted, there was nothing to prevent him, or any other pope, from resigning, which would have required the cardinals to elect another.

The Siri Thesis seems wildly improbable to me. We are expected to believe that two-thirds or more of the cardinals elected Siri, secured his acceptance and his choice of a name, and burned the ballots so as to produce white smoke, and that, after all that, he was persuaded by threats not to be pope. Who would have provided any credible threat? He was locked in a roomful of cardinals, two thirds (or more) of them just having elected him pope? How could there be a threat? From whom? Why? The story makes no sense.John Paul Parks (talk) 06:09, 2 December 2010 (UTC)


The Siri theses can exist with and without sedevacantism. It states that Siri was - once or twice - elected pope during a conclave, but refused the election. Some catholics who accept this thesis accept the legality (in the strictest sense of the word) of this action ('forced' resignation), and have no problems acknowledging the election of another pope. Malachi Martin was one such catholic. Others accept this as an illegal act, and therefor advocate a kind of sedevacantism. Both are possible. There is no necessary link. --Stijn Calle (talk) 19:32, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Martin book not about Siri[edit]

The article claims "The possibility of a nuclear threat gained steam when the late author, Malachi Martin, wrote of threats which involved "the very existence of the Vatican state" during a conclave on pages 600 to 610 in his book, The Keys of this Blood, which deals primarily with Siri and the 1963 conclave."

However, the subtitle of the book is "the struggle for world dominion between Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the capitalist West."

An electronic search of the book's text on Google Books shows "Siri" appearing once. The 1963 conclave is mentioned once.

The phrase that this book "deals primarily with Siri and the 1963 conclave" appears to be a factual error. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:11, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Article a bit unclear[edit]

The article is a bit unclear. If anyone speaks Italian, I recommend to translate the Italian Wiki's article, which is well done. -- (talk) 17:35, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

"Conspiracy Theory"[edit]

As the last section "Conspiracy Theory" (See old revision here: [1]) was completely bereft of citation, and marked as such with clear flags for over 4 months, it seems that the time to remove this section has come. I just did so.

If someone would like to re-add the section, edit it for weasel words and general readability (it was almost incoherent) and cite the claims it makes, I see no problem with it, but as it stands, it violates several wikipedia policies and must be removed until properly sourced and edited.

Andrew B (talk) 07:08, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

The problems are[edit]

... the suggestions do not make sense to anyone who has even a basic knowledge of conclaves and the secrecy thereof (and claiming that 'because there was a bit of white smoke a particular cardinal was elected and then stepped down and then he was elected again and turned the office down again does sound a bit 'the TV is giving me instructions'): and repeatedly deleting comments about 'not understanding why this theory was proposed and maintained' does not add to Wikipedia.

Perhaps there could be a brief mention as to the actual problems with the thesis - while there may well be more to conclaves than 'gentle discussion and regular votes' even nearly-popes withdrawing at the last moment #we will never know# will solve the problem. (talk) 13:54, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

The article already identifies problems with the Siri thesis. If you have suggestions for adding more to the article, GIVE US RELIABLE SOURCES. Otherwise, if you continue simply telling us what you think about the Siri thesis, that is inappropriate discussion for the talk page, and this section will be removed. See WP:FORUM. Sundayclose (talk) 15:52, 6 February 2017 (UTC)

Some of the problems are:

  1. The real story is not the brief mention in a sensationalist book about the new world order by a wacko Irish priest, or the equally brief mention in an equally sensational book by a nutty American professor; it started before either of them with a 1986 article by a French gentleman named Louis Hubert Remy, and was pursued for many years thereafter by a fellow called Gary Giuffre (see "The Plot Against The Pope; Coup d'état in the Conclave – 1958" © Copyright 1989 - 2006, by Gary Giuffré), neither of whom are mentioned in this article.
  2. Both the Remy article and and Martin's 1990 book said that Siri was elected pope in the 1963 conclave. Martin, apparently, said in a later radio interview that actually it had happened in 1958 as well. There is no mention of the 1963 conclave anywhere in the article.
  3. The "sources" are universally awful. The websites would be laughed out of court if they were taken to the Reliable Sources Noticeboard. The Inside the Vatican article would probably be all right, but the article relies on it to an excessive degree. The two books would count as reliable sources for the fact that their authors subscribed to the Siri Thesis, but not for the thesis itself. No attempt has apparently been made to find a reliable published source (like a book) that describes the thesis in a neutral way. I have attempted it and found at least two.
  4. Any mention of the fact that Siri continued to serve the church for all but thirty years, in obedience to four successive popes, rather than as a prisoner in a monastery in Genoa (or in Rome, according to which conspiracist you listen to) has been removed from the article. Again, that can be easily and adequately sourced, and I have found the sources.
  5. The paragraph that states, "if Siri had resigned, it would have been invalid according to Canon 185 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law" is in violation of WP:PRIMARY, which says, "Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation. That paragraph quotes two primary sources, but does not provide any secondary source that interprets them as justifying the statement that "if Siri had resigned, it would have been invalid according to Canon 185 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law".

Scolaire (talk) 15:42, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

@Scolaire: Thanks for your comments. It's refreshing to see an editor who is interested in getting the article up to Wikipedia's standards rather espouse their personal opinions about the Siri thesis on this talk page. I suggest that you go ahead and make the changes related to your comments, including removal of primary sources whose interpretation is not supported by secondary sources, as well as adding the reliable sources that you found. Then if there are further issues to discuss we can take it from there. Thanks. Sundayclose (talk) 16:32, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
So long as you understand, I'm not talking about an edit or series of edits to the article as it stands. It will mean re-writing it from scratch. I'll try and preserve any text that seems worth preserving, but the article as a whole will be unrecognizable from the present one. Scolaire (talk) 16:51, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
@Scolaire: I think that's an excellent idea. This article gets very little traffic, and most of the comments on this talk page for the last couple of years have been unrelated to improving the article. I would rather see an improved article that doesn't have a lot of information than the current mess. Thanks. Sundayclose (talk) 16:59, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
Done. I may or may not add back something about Hutton Gibson and the 1958 newspaper article. I've taken the "conspiracy theories" template off it, because this article isn't in the template. Scolaire (talk) 16:42, 23 April 2017 (UTC)

(reset) It is a now rather obscure/historical event - and many people are likely to come across it by chance/playing 'six degrees of Wikipedia links selecting the topics I don't know much about' and be slightly puzzled by the whole topic - or thinking how it could be turned into an interesting story (more or less factually based).

Is there anything more to the 'thesis' than 'a couple of people came up with some bizarre theory based on some colour-changing smoke and which does not accord with known Conclave/Vatican procedures'? (talk) 15:07, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

I'm not altogether sure what point you're making or what question you're asking. Yes, it is historical and obscure. No, it's nothing more than "a couple of people came up with some bizarre theory based on some colour-changing smoke". Yes, I came across it by playing "six degrees of Wikipedia links" (more or less). Yes, I was puzzled by the whole thing, which is why I got involved in editing it. I don't know about turning it into an interesting story, or why it should be more or less factually based; I do think I've turned it into a reasonably informative and fact-based article. Does that answer your questions? Scolaire (talk) 12:04, 5 May 2017 (UTC)
Most writers of fiction can think of several possibilities for what happens in a conclave (and not just the novel of that name) and for these two in particualr: and having an 'in pectore' Pope might lead to interesting consequences.
More relevant question - who now believes in the thesis (and who were the supposed enemies who would have taken some course of action). (talk) 17:34, 6 July 2017 (UTC)
The answers to both those questions are in the revised article. Please stop using the talk page as a chat room. Scolaire (talk) 18:02, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

More links[edit]

Will mention [1] and [2] - found while researching something else (bringing in the usual hate-figures beloved of such viewpoints). (talk) 23:02, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

Have a look at WP:Identifying reliable sources. Those two aren't reliable sources. We got rid of a whole lot of those links out of the article and we don't want them back, thank you. Scolaire (talk) 06:38, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
Flagging up something found (and the summary is the 'polite version').
Possibly something along the lines of 'the theory is discussed and/or promoted on some places on the web, and may be associated with other peculiar beliefs' would cover the matter (and avoid repetitious 'have you seen this (offbeat) page?' comments on the talk page. (talk) 09:58, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
Currently it says here, "Websites promoting the 'Siri thesis', such as The Pope in Red, always refer to Siri as 'Pope Gregory XVII'", and here, "The idea that John XXIII and Paul VI were not true popes, but antipopes, is neatly explained by the Siri thesis: if Siri was elected in 1958, then the election of John, and therefore of all his successors, was invalid." Those sentences say pretty well what you are saying. I don't think that anything will stop people posting "have you seen this (offbeat) page?" on the talk page. TBH I'm not convinced people even read the article before posting that. Scolaire (talk) 10:58, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

1958 conclave[edit]

Recent edits by Bmclaughlin9 added a considerable level of detail on the white smoke on 26 October 1958. I feel it is excessive detail. It is true that there appeared to be white smoke on two occasions, at midday and at 6pm, but it was the second time that was significant, because it lasted far longer. The first time, the radio announcer said "It's white, it's white! We have a Pope!", but the smoke changed colour after a few minutes. The second time, the announcer waited for several minutes before saying "The smoke is white... There is absolutely no doubt. A Pope has been elected." To quote the NYT article cited by Bmclaughlin9, "The crowd had thinned only a little when the second fumata came. The crowd lingered for more than half an hour, apparently hoping against hope that a new Pope would appear." (Cortesi, Arnaldo (27 October 1958). "Cardinals Ballot 4 Times, but Fail to Elect a Pope". New York Times.) Without the second, lengthy appearance of "white smoke", there would have been no front-page headlines on 27 October, and without the front-page headlines there would have been no "Siri thesis". To my mind, the added level of detail, particularly the quote focussing on the "few minutes later", obscures rather than clarifies the event that is so central to the "thesis". Scolaire (talk) 09:48, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

I have no particular interest in the Siri thesis. I've been upgrading several WP entries about conclaves and chanced upon this entry. I immediately saw that some dates needed to be corrected and then read the entire entry.
It is the Siri thesis itself that says the late afternoon white smoke was significant. But if we are to provide the reader with some context, then this section on the 1958 conclave background should at least tell the story of smoke signals at that conclave. The Siri thesis then interprets those facts as it wants. The few minutes later I included is based on an eyewitness account of the first smoke. If anything it distinguishes between the two smoke events of 26 October. It says nothing about what happened later in the day. It provides context.
As for "there would have been no front page headlines", that's a discussion about the interpretation of events and the origins of the Siri thesis. This section, I hope, describes the facts as best we know them (though I think at first glance that Cuneo is a very questionable source).
What the reader really needs here is a better eyewitness account of the late afternoon smoke. Cuneo is reporting a conversation in which a Siri thesis advocate tells him what happened on 26 October. That's the source for "after about a half hour or so the white smoke turned black". While the NY Times eyewitness says nothing like that, he doesn't really say differently--he just seems to run out of steam and unfortunately doesn't give us as much detail on the later afternoon events. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 17:01, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
By the way, this excerpt from a partisan video at minute 4:30 says white smoke around 6 pm lasted for a full five minutes. Apparently the length of time there was white smoke isn't critical in this instance. The video is also at pains to explain how easy it is to make the smoke the correct color, which is another reason why the background should include the problem with the midday release of smoke (it may be easy but it's not foolproof) and the addition of chemicals on later days.Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 18:23, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

How long did the white smoke last?[edit]

  • Cuneo reads: "After half an hour or so the white smoke turned black". These words come from a conversation he has with a man he identifies with the alias "Mark". He tells us Mark is "a leading proponent of one of the Catholic right's most intriguing conspiracy theories". The "half an hour or so" is very much hearsay and how many times removed from a witness is extremely unclear.
  • An Associated Press report datelined Vatican City that appeared in a local U.S. newspaper (The Gadsden Times) on 27 October 1958 says: "This time white smokek [sic] rolled out of the chimney for fully five minutes." That's fully five!

Which of these is the more reliable account of what happened? I think the AP account belongs in our account of what happened at the "1958 conclave" and the Cuneo as-told-to by a proponent" belongs under the heading "History of the thesis". Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 18:49, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

  • I cleaned up a lot of the unsourced and fringe/conspiracy theory crap a few months back, but didn't have a chance to go through the sourcing here in depth (which, I'm sure leaves a lot to be desired as it is a fringe theory and the holders of the view are typically not violent, etc.) The AP is obviously the better source, even if it is from 1958. Primary source accounts from reliable news sources at the time will always be preferred to some random proponent of the theory's view years later. This is one of the few circumstances where we should give more weight to the primary sources. We need to be careful to avoid synthesis as well by combining what reliable sources say and what proponents claim. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:30, 7 November 2017 (UTC)
Actually, I apparently cleaned up the Giuseppe Siri article, not this one. Watchlisted this because of its fringe nature. I'll try to look through it more in depth later this week to see where it can be tightened up in addition to my comments above. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:35, 7 November 2017 (UTC)

From the Irish dailies. The first is obviously taken from the AP source, but is fuller than the Gadsden Times article. The second is obviously from the same source as the Tablet article cited on the article page, probably Reuters. I haven't broken them up into newspaper paragraphs.

But at night white smoke billowed from the chimney for a full five minutes. For all the outside world knew, a Pope had been elected. Clouds of smoke were caught in the searchlights trained on the chimney. "Blanco! blanco!" (white! white!) roared many in the crowd. The Vatican Radio excitedly announced that the smoke was white. The announcer even said that the Cardinals at that moment probably were going through the rites associated with the appointment of a new Supreme Pontiff. For a long time Vatican Radio insisted that the smoke was white. Even high Vatican officials were misled. The Governor of the Conclave, and Prince Sigismondo Chigi, rushed to take up the positions assigned to them in the event of the election of a Pope. The Palatine Guard was called from its barracks and ordered to go to St. Peter's Basilica for the announcement of the new Pope's name. But the Guard was ordered back to barracks before it reaced the Square...The crowd waited in an agony of suspense. But if a Pope had been elected, he should have appeared on the balcony within twenty minutes. The crown waited a full half hour, now wondering whether the smoke was black or white. Doubt set in swiftly. Many in the vast crowd began to drift away, but still there was confusion. Apparently all news media flashed around the world the news that a Pope had been chosen. Telephone calls poured into the Vatican, jamming its exchange, as time wore on and doubts increased. The callers all asked one question: Black or white? After a half-hour, radios began to chatter excitedly that the answer was still uncertain. Only well after the time when it was assumed the new Pope would have put in an appearance on the balcony above St. Peter's Square could it be assumed that no election had taken place.

"5th Papal Ballot To-day". Irish Press. 27 October 1958. pp. 1, 5.

"The smoke is white," the Vatican Radio commentator announced at 6.02 p.m. "There is absolutely no doubt. A Pope has been elected." Great cheers broke out among the crowd, and the news was flashed around the world by radio and telephone. Moments later the Vatican broadcast said: "Within a few moments we will have the name of the new Pope." But at about 6.05 the first doubt set in. The smoke momentarily turned black, but again white, and the broadcaster, advised that the people in the square were beginning to fear that it was really black, expressed his conviction that it was intended to be white. The crowd waited to see whether Cardinal Canali, senior Cardinal Deacon, would emerge on the central balcony of the Basilica to make a formal announcement "Habemus Papam" (We have a Pope). After half an hour, when no one appeared, a high Vatican official said: "We can absolutely assume now that the voting was negative." At 6.25 the searchlights that had been illuminating the chimney were turned off. The broadcaster said this was further indication that the outcome was negative, and then suspended the commentary for some minutes while the radio broadcast music. At 6.32 a commentator came back on the air to announce that the radio was ending its special broadcast "because of the negative outcome."

"Millions Heard Radio Announce Election". Irish Independent. 27 October 1958. p. 9.

I researched all this when I (re-)wrote the article in April this year. When I compared it to the Cuneo book, it was clear that Cuneo had properly researched the conclave, and wasn't relying on the word of somebody that might not have been born in 1958. I saw no reason to corroborate his version by reference to primary sources, and I still don't. WP:SECONDARY says, "Policy: Wikipedia articles usually rely on material from reliable secondary sources." Bmclaughlin has highlighted the problem of "relying" on primary sources when in fact you are relying on a Google search that throws up vague and incomplete information; twice he concluded that the evening incident was only a few minutes long, when actual research shows that it was half an hour. By the way, you are welcome to use what I have posted in the Papal conclave, 1958 article, but please don't blow up the section of this article more than you already have.
TonyBallioni, I am not happy that you would make comments like "the sourcing (which, I'm sure leaves a lot to be desired)" and "I'll see where it can be tightened up" before reading the article. I put a lot of hard work into turning a mess of an article into a factual, encyclopaedic and properly sourced one. I don't appreciate all that effort being dismissed so flippantly. Scolaire (talk) 09:18, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

Scolaire, I do appreciate your work: I used much of it for the cleanup of the Siri article which was all nonsense before I copied it over. I have read the article, but I haven't had a chance to explore the sourcing in depth. My comment was based on two facts: 1) this is a fringe conspiracy theory that hasn't been particularly well reported on compared to things like the JFK assination and 2) it's conclave related, and conclave related articles have some of the worst sourcing on Wikipedia. Just by doing a brief scan of the references section I see Miranda and Guruge, both of which were historically popular to cite in conclave articles and both of which should be avoided like the plague as self-published sources by random people who are really into conclaves. I haven't looked too closely at anything else, but I suspect that there are also likely leftover sources from before your rewrite that are similar: almost all of our conclave articles need complete rewrites because the sourcing is either self-published or fringe, and this article has the additional concern of being a fringe theory. That was the background as to why I made those remarks.
Cuneo is a reliable source: book published by an academic publishing house, but in this case it appears he is reporting on what someone who wasn't around in 1958 was saying, which makes it a reliable source for Mark's views, not the facts of the conclave itself (which is fine as Cuneo set out to document the beliefs of the Catholic far-right, not write a conclave history). Given that, it is better to report what the primary sources at the time said (which also appears to be about 30 minutes), but to make it clear who said it and when so it isn't in the voice of Wikipedia. I'll also check to see if Baumgartner has anything to report on it later today; he did set out to write a conclave history, so would be more reliable than any of the current sourcing in the article on this specific question if he reports on it. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:12, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
If you look at the Cuneo book, he does say "The...theory, which Mark laid out for me in breathless detail, runs something as follows", but he doesn't say that everything that follows is quoted directly from "Mark". It's clear to me that the first paragraph following, which is purely factual, is the result of Cuneo's own research. None of the "Siri thesis" websites carries that amount of detail on the white smoke (and several sites have incorrect details, such as it only lasted five minutes), and there's no reason to think that "Mark" would have been indoctrinated with it. In the following paragraph, beginning "It's at this point that the 'Siri theory' really heats up", Cuneo for the first time says "Mark told me", so it's obviously that long paragraph that he's referring to as "Mark laying it out in breathless detail". I can't see how it makes sense to say we can't state A because it appears to be hearsay many times removed from a witness, and instead we have to state A which is in contemporary news reports. To me, that's just nit-picking of the highest order. If it's right, it's right. If you want to add a ref after Cuneo to one (or both) of the Irish papers to show that he didn't get it wrong, then I suppose why not? I've formatted the refs above. But I wouldn't be okay with deleting a ref to a reliable secondary source because in your opinion it might be right for the wrong reason.
The only cite to Salvador Miranda is from the website of Florida International University, which according to Wikipedia "is classified as a research university with highest research activity by the Carnegie Foundation", and the only statement it cites is "He sat on the Board of Presidency of the Second Vatican Council from 1963 until its close in 1965." Hardly a fringe conclave-related theory! I used Anura Guruge for the statements that subscribers to the thesis claim that Siri in 1958 took the name Pope Gregory XVII, and that Siri himself was never part of any split, and remained true to the established church, because it was the only secondary (albeit self-published) source I could find. Both statements are of the "sky is blue" variety, but both are of great importance to the article, so I didn't want to leave them unsourced. If you can find better sources for those, then great! I love when articles I have worked hard on are improved. Scolaire (talk) 14:09, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
The Miranda source is from his personal website on FIU: it is self-published and not a publication of the university or peer-reviewed. He is simply using it as a webhosting service. A lot of his stuff is accurate, but he also does make mistakes in his profiles, etc. He often provides bibliographies, and the best usage of him is to find the sourcing he references and reference it here. He should never be directly cited, even for sky-is-blue information.
Guruge is even worse: he ran a "guess who the successor to Benedict XVI will be" website for a few years, and the book you cited was his attempt to make money off of that. It is probably one of the worst sources for conclave information that we have, and should never be cited. If he is the only source that you can find that says that information regarding the name that Siri took, then it should not be included as a reliable secondary source has not commented on it.
Re: Cuneo, his book wasn't on conclave history, and its not fair to expect him to verify every detail of the 1958 conclave when his goal is to report on the views of the Catholic far-right. The context doesn't make it clear what he is reporting on here. Simply quoting the Irish Independent and Irish Press above would be more clear and would clarify the source of the information.
The issue with citing the Cuneo ref here is that it is unclear as to what he is actually reporting, and as it is written now, it is in Wikipedia's voice. It is more fair to the readers to report what was reported at the time in the voice of the actual sources than to play guessing games with what Cuneo is reporting and to report it in our own voice. If we can verify this with Baumgartner, who did set out to write on conclave history and would be clear in his reporting, it'd make sense to keep it in Wikipedia's voice but simply switch out the secondary source that is being used to verify the information. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:32, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Cuneo probably didn't verify every detail of the 1958 conclave even though he got every detail right; he must have got the exact detail verbally from someone who wasn't around in 1958? Do you have any idea how daft that sounds? His book wasn't on conclave history, so he was less likely to be able to research 1958 newspapers than the average Wikipedia user? I imagine a great deal of his research involved accessing contemporary newspapers; going back to 1958 would have taken him a few minutes! At any rate, according to you, we can say "in Wikipedia's voice" that white smoke appeared on the evening of 26 October and persisted for 30 minutes if we cite an Irish national newspaper. Well, if so, citing Cuneo as well doesn't cancel that out. But it does have the advantage of putting the incident in the context of the theory. It verifies that the 30-minute smoke episode is the episode that these people are hanging their theory on. There's no justification for deleting that citation, and every reason to leave it. As far as the other stuff is concerned, I have said that if you can find alternative sources it would be great. But if you can't, please don't replace them with "citation needed" tags. Adding tags when you know you can't find sources disfigures the article and doesn't achieve anyting. Scolaire (talk) 15:18, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
I've simply removed the Gregory XVII information as there is no reliable sourcing that this is widely held, and directly citing a fringe website doesn't show anything other than that the website itself does it. If there are reliable secondary sources that comment on the Greg 17 name, we can restore it.
No, I'm not saying citing the Irish press says we can say it in Wikipedia's voice. I'm saying that we would quote them directly in their own voice. That is by far the most responsible course of action to take here, and no, we don't know that Cuneo got every detail of the 1958 conclave right or that he attempted to verify the specifics of it. We know that he was writing a book on the Catholic far-right and was documenting their views. He is a reliable source for that but not necessarily for the history of the conclave itself, especially since what his main focus is here is to document the beliefs of individuals who hold a fringe theory as to what historically took place there. We either need a history of the conclave as a reliable secondary source so that we can convey this information in Wikipedia's own words, or we need to quote a primary source in their own voice. I'm fine with either option, but I'm not fine with presenting the views of a proponent of a fringe theory as documented by an academic studying the fringe theory as conclave history in Wikipedia's voice.TonyBallioni (talk) 15:25, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
WP:RS: "'News reporting' from well-established news outlets is generally considered to be reliable for statements of fact". I have never seen a factual news report from a reputable paper presented in a Wikipedia article "in the paper's own voice". It doesn't correspond with any Wikipedia policy, guideline or even essay. It's not "the most responsible course of action to take", it's pure pettifoggery.
And please stop edit-warring. There is a discussion going on here. There's time enough to start changing things when the discussion is concluded. Scolaire (talk) 15:51, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
News reports the day of are primary sources and are often open to getting the facts wrong. We do this all the time in current events articles to demonstrate who is saying what. I'm also not edit warring: I made one revert. BRD also doesn't work the way you think it does: the burden to achieve consensus is on the person restoring any content, not the individual removing it. See WP:ONUS. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:02, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
And I am working to achieve consensus. Meanwhile, WP:BRD says, " While discussing the disputed content, neither editors should revert or change the content being discussed until a compromise or consensus is reached." Scolaire (talk) 16:34, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
And that is an essay, not a policy. The content was challenged and you restored it without consensus. One of them was an MOS thing: there is no need to use both Siri's full name and an honourific, and we can easily assume our readers know he is a cardinal, especially since it is a wikilink and he's pictured wearing red. The other is whether we should keep the claimed papal name in the lead. I'll open up a discussion on the latter point when we have more time, but you should not be edit warring to restore an honorific. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:28, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
WP:SECONDARY has little to do with a simple assertion of fact like the difference between 5 minutes and a half hour. Thus: "All analyses and interpretive or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary or tertiary source, and must not be an original analysis of the primary-source material by Wikipedia editors." But this isn't about analysis or interpretation. Nor is it about anything as difficult as hearing 5 gunshots or six. It's closer to "The bride wore white."
I was not "relying on a Google search that throws up vague and incomplete information". Someone who is sensitive about how others characterize his/her work should be more respectful, Scolaire. I located two quality sources for a factual claim: the New York Times and the Associated Press. Both are superior to Cuneo.
There's no evidence that Cuneo did "actual research" on the details underlying the Siri thesis -- he researched what people who believe the Siri thesis believe. He was not supporting any of their claims or representing them as true. His lead-in to the graf in question says: "The Cardinal-Siri-as-real-pope-in-exile theory ... runs something as follows."
TonyBallioni: The Irish papers are not clear that the smoke lasted for 30 minutes, IMHO. The first says: "The crown waited a full half hour, now wondering whether the smoke was black or white." Does that mean there was still smoke emerging after 30 minutes? Are they "now wondering whether the smoke they were seeing was black or white" or "now wondering whether the smoke they had seen was black or white". The second Irish report is even less conclusive, just telling us the crowd lingered. And there is no reason to privilege the Irish reports over the New York Times and AP.
If someone has access to, there's an article in the Sydney Morning Herald. Might just be more AP, but perhaps not. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 15:47, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Good point on the Irish papers not being clear. I'm going offline now but will check Baumgartner to see his thoughts. Regardless, any use of primary sourcing on this topic should use direct quotes with attribution rather than summary since we have ambiguity on the issue. TonyBallioni (talk) 16:02, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
This is just crazy! Neither the NYT nor the The Gadsden Times (you don't appear to have access to the actual AP report) gives any level of detail on the events of Sunday evening. You were bemoaning that very fact yesterday. The Irish newspaper reports (almost certainly from news agencies) do. There was 30 minutes of consternation over smoke signals. It's reported in vivid detail. You can't just dismiss those reports and say "If its not the NYT or the Gadsten Times it's not reliable. The substance of those reports appear in the Cuneo book, a reliable secondary source, and neither the NYT or the Gadsten Times says it didn't happen, so "their word against Cuneo's" is a bogus argument. Why is so important to you to prove that the excitement of that half hour didn't happen, when it's clear it did? So the papers didn't say, "during the whole thirty minutes the smoke continued streaming". They do say that "the smoke momentarily turned black, but again white" at 6.05, more than ten minutes after it started, and they don't say that it then stopped. This doesn't change history. It doesn't mean there was a second gunman on the grassy knoll. It's only a fiddling detail. We could easily change the sentence to read, "After half an hour, when nobody appeared on the balcony, it was clear that there had been no result." You're not going to find a source that says "the smoke stopped at x.yy pm", so why continue this pointless argument? Scolaire (talk) 16:26, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
The Times of London (is it as reliable as The Gadsden Times?): "Few doubted this evening that it was white, though when no announcement of a new Pontiff's name had been made 30 minutes later, it was clear that, in spite of recent practising, the Vatican's art of sending up accurate smoke signals is in danger of being lost." The thirty minutes is the common theme, even in the NYT. Scolaire (talk) 17:17, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
That doesn't say 30 minutes of smoke. The crowd could have waited for 30 minutes without it, and the sourcing you provided above gives another plausible explanation for the 30 minute theme: that's when someone came out to tell them there was no pope. For a fringe theory on the idea that a papal election was rigged, you need abundantly clear evidence in high quality reliable sourcing to make such a strong claim about the facts of an actual historical event that forms the basis of that theory. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:25, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
You replied to my very last post, but that only referred back to the post immediately above it. I suggested changing the sentence to, "After half an hour, when nobody appeared on the balcony, it was clear that there had been no result." That's why I said, "The thirty minutes is the common theme". Given the five sources that have now been produced, do you not think that is a reasonable statement? Scolaire (talk) 08:27, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

Fringe websites[edit]

Scolaire please self-revert this edit unless there is consensus to restore it. Per WP:ONUS it is inappropriate to restore challenged material until there is a consensus for its restoration. There is no evidence that The Pope in Red holds any special place or is any authority on this: it is just one fringe website, and highlighting it is giving its position on this topic undue weight on the 5th most visited website and promoting it as a source. Having it in this article has zero benefit, and there is no need to cite it per WP:PARITY, since the Siri thesis has been discussed in other academic literature such as Cuneo. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:42, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

  • I have the same concerns as to Eclipse of the Church. This is only one fringe website. Why are we reporting its views? We have plenty of content in traditional sources to flesh out an overview of the topic without having to deal with what random sedevacantist websites say. TonyBallioni (talk) 19:56, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
I have already said twice that if you can find reliable sources to replace the unreliable ones, and cite the specific statements in the article, you should. I see that you have cited Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. That book says here that Siri was "recognised" as Pope Gregory XVIII. Google Books doesn't show the page number, so I can't cite it properly. I'm guessing you own it. As for Malachi Martin, it appears that he belatedly embraced the "1958" variant of the theory. I thought the fact was notable, but I could only find that one (fringe) source for it. If you can't find a better source, I won't cry too much if you delete it. Scolaire (talk) 08:56, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
Please self-revert until such sourcing is found: we don't keep statements sourced to unreliable sources in once challenged in hopes we can find reliable ones. We also don't highlight the views of one randomly selected fringe website over the numerous others who don't follow this practice: that's a massive NPOV violation.
I don't have the book in question, and Google books isn't showing me a snippet. Regardless, if it did exist, we could keep the Gregory XVII title, but the Pope in Red would need to go and it needs to go now as well since it is both a V and and NPOV issue, and you have not achieved consensus that it should be used. TonyBallioni (talk) 10:18, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
Please get off your high horse. There's no "massive NPOV violation", just a link to one site that doesn't pass WP:RS to cite a relevant fact. It doesn't alter the balance of the article, or push the Sirianist view in any way. And there aren't "numerous other" websites that claim Siri was elected pope but don't say he took the name Gregory XVII, but there are dozens that claim he was elected pope and took the name Gregory XVII. I could link to them all, thus verifying that many sites do, but neither of us wants that. If anything, linking to a single fringe site, in the absence of reliable sources, for a fact that is obviously true and relevant to the topic would follow WP:IAR. Anyway, I'm going to replace it with the Collins ref, minus the page number. If you want to find the book and check the page number, that would be useful.
By the way, this citation is incorrect. "&pg=PT440" does not mean the page number is 440. When Google Books uses PT instead of PA, the number does not correspond to the page number. If you look at the image, you will see that there is no number on the page. That should be "page number unknown" as well. Scolaire (talk) 18:12, 9 November 2017 (UTC)