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The U.S. cardinals may have been barred from holding their popular daily press briefings but the war of words between the Italian cardinals and their allies – who are suspected of engineering the silencing – and the Americans only seemed to escalate.

On Friday, Vaticanista Marco Tosatti of La Stampa, an Italian daily that has been a chief conduit for Roman curialists who want to plant select information anonymously, wrote a piece ripping the American cardinals for insensitivity in holding briefings and telling the other cardinals, in effect, “We are here, and we are the ones running the conclave.” Tosatti’s post was provocatively titled “Conclave: USA uber alles,” a reference to the German national anthem that begins, “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,” or “Germany, Germany, over all.” And he included a picture of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the most visible and vocal of the U.S. cardinals, pointing in a characteristically exuberant – or perhaps aggressive, from the Italian perspective – way.

Tosatti went on to say that by holding their own briefings the American cardinals were tainting the “climate of reflection and meditation that should accompany a serious choice” like electing a new pope.

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