On Scandals and Mafias in Church and State
- Part I -
There's a surprise. Well, perhaps not to Hercules Poirot, but certainly to Benedict XVI, whose erstwhile discreet, dignified, solicitous private assistant, Paolo Gabriele, betrayed him. As we also noted in May, curial officials had recently told a visiting American commentator that with pressure on the Church mounting within and without, they were on high alert and even watching those close to the pope. Yet Vatican security is intense at the best of times. "At the heart of the apostolic palace," as Paris Match recently pointed out, "everyone is watched, no one is ever alone, not even the sovereign pontiff." Shattering in any circumstances, betrayal within this tightly-controlled environment by his 46-year-old offsider must have shaken our elderly pontiff to the core.
We may never be privy to Signor Gabriele's real motives. Blackmail is always in the mix. But was he merely instrumentalised by ambitious and disaffected careerists around him? The curial atmosphere, after all, has been toxic for some time: the workaday empire-building and backstabbing reportedly heightened by widespread contempt for Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone. Viewed by high-ranking prelates in Rome and abroad as controlling and manipulative, those who accuse the Cardinal of neutering the Fatima message would concur.
Nonetheless, we can discount the 'higher cause' doubtless spun by the enemies of Benedict and Bertone to convince themselves of the righteousness of their treachery. Just as they used Gabriele, their self-serving makes them easy targets for similar manipulation by secular forces with even darker agendas than their own. The convenient flurry of recent and rehashed Vatican scandals suggests as much.
A 15-year old student and Vatican citizen, she was kidnapped, used for sex parties, and was murdered. Her father, Ercole Orlandi, was an official of the Vatican bank who had knowledge of the P2 [secret Masonic lodge] and the Banco Ambrosiano covert payments scandal. WMR has learned that the same operatives who murdered Calvi in London also murdered Emanuela after her father refused to provide P2 with requested information. The P2 agents held Emanuela and may have sexually assualted her but after Emanuela's father refused to cooperate, the young girl was murdered. The exhumation of the grave of mafia gangster Enrico De Pedis this past May 12 in a search for clues about Emanuela's murderers yielded nothing. However, the exhumation provided a backdrop for ... neo-conservative media outlets to run headlines, such as "Emanuela Orlandi Kidnapped for Vatican Sex Parties."
The Daily Mail of 30 May duly played its part, entertaining its several million readership with a double-page spread featuring a large colour photo of Emanuela beside the huge headline: "Was this girl murdered after being snatched for Vatican sex parties?" Typical of similar reports worldwide, it included shocking details that reveal a sordid Vatican underbelly. Per usual, the wickedness of a handful of depraved churchmen was exploited to blacken the reputation of the entire Church. However, as with all clerical sexual abuse it is rightly exposed and needs to be faced, regardless of the accompanying media spin.
Filling in the gaps in the Madsen summary, the Mail reported that veteran exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth went public to state that Emanuela "was the victim of a 'crime with a sexual motive' and that police should focus their investigations on the Vatican." Last seen getting into a green BMW in the centre of Rome after leaving her family's Vatican City apartment to attend a flute lesson, Amorth said: "A girl of 15 is not going to get into a car unless it's with someone she knows. It is important to speak to the people who knew Emanuela." He went on:
All too often, this is how satanic sects work: they get a girl into a car and then they disappear. The game is all too easy. They drug them and then they do what they want to these girls.
Satan attacks priests and people who have consecrated themselves to God. By striking at a priest it signifies dragging down to Hell many other people. Think about all those priests who have muddied their vestments by sexually abusing minors. These acts are demonic. Can a girl disappear from somewhere so close to the Vatican? Sadly, yes.
Fr Amorth's claims were supported by the former head of the Vatican Archives, the late Monsignor Simeone Duca. "Duca gave an interview before he died," said Paolo Rodari, the Italian journalist who co-authored Fr Amorth's latest book, The Last Exorcist. "He said parties were regularly organised with the help of the Vatican guards – known as the gendarmes – at which young girls were recruited and paid for sex. The circle of guests would include people from the Vatican, and they were held at the embassy to the Vatican of a foreign country in Rome. I believe Emanuela was murdered to ensure her silence."
According to the Daily Mail, Sabrina Minardi, who was engaged to De Pedis at the time of his death, is under police protection after swearing a statement alleging De Pedis procured girls for Marcinkus. She also told prosecutors that young Emanuela had been kidnapped on the "orders of Monsignor Marcinkus." A leaked copy of her witness statement says that "They (the gangster and the priest) knew each other and confided in each other. I don't know who actually kidnapped Emanuela, but I know the order came from high up, from Monsignor Marcinkus." The Mail continues:
Minardi claims she met the frightened teenager with De Pedis in a bar on the city's Gianicolo Hill, which overlooks the Vatican, and that the gangster warned her to "forget who you have just seen."
She "took girls to the Marcinkus place at the Vatican a few times, maybe five or six times," and Emanuela was kept in a secret apartment inside the Vatican after she was kidnapped.
After being abused at sadistic sex parties involving senior Vatican figures, the girl was allegedly murdered and her body thrown into a cement mixer De Pedis kept for disposing of Mafia enemies.
[...] The dead girl's brother and other campaigners marched to St Peter's Square as the Pope held prayers on Sunday [27 May], bearing pictures of Emanuela.
They chanted "Shame!" Shame!" after Pope Benedict studiously avoided offering prayers for the dead girl, instead asking worshippers to support an archery group.
A few days later, noted the article, "Pope Benedict's butler was suspended amid allegations he leaked sensitive details about massive financial corruption to Italian newspapers."
"The Vatican Spring"
WMR's well-placed sources in Rome report that the current scandal involving the disclosure of sensitive Vatican documents to "VatiLeaks," is largely the work of White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs chief Cass Sunstein. The effort by Sunstein, who has been dubbed President Obama's "information czar," is to weaken the Vatican and subject its inner workings to greater transparency.
WMR has learned that some three weeks ago, Sunstein stated to his inner circle, "After the Arab Spring, we will have the Vatican Spring."
According to our sources in the Vatican, the arrest of papal butler Paolo Gabriele by Vatican authorities for allegedly leaking the documents is a diversion. "When have you last heard the butler did it?" one Vatican insider told WMR.
The Vatican is being subjected to a full-scale assault by the same nexus of George Soros-funded non-governmental organizations, Sunstein's "cognitive infiltration" operatives, and controlled media elements that helped bring about "themed revolutions" and the downfall of governments in Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, Tunisia, Egypt, and other countries.
The controversy surrounding the Vatican Bank, formally known as the Institute of Works of Religion (IOR), began when J.P. Morgan Chase closed an IOR account at its branch in Milan, citing a lack of transparency. That was followed by the firing by the IOR's supervisory board of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, a former Banco Santander executive, for pushing for more transparency for the Vatican Bank and compliance with the EU's laws on financial transparency. However, the J.P. Morgan Chase action was, according to our sources, prompted by Sunstein and his colleagues at the Treasury and State Departments. On
WMR has been told that the Vatican came under pressure after it had backed the initiatives of the BRICS bloc of nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – to seek a realignment of the world's financial system to provide greater influence for the emerging economies of BRICS and a reorientation of financial control away from London, Frankfurt, New York, and Washington. The Vatican's policy placed it on the list of de facto enemies of Soros, the Rothschild banking cartel, the European Central Bank, and the World Bank/International Monetary Fund.
There has been speculation about the role of the IOR's secretary, Carl Anderson, in the push-back by the Vatican against the Obama White House's Vatican Spring operations. Anderson is the head of the Knights of Columbus and he served as an official in the Reagan White House and as an aide for the late North Carolina Republican senator Jesse Helms. In the 1980s, the IOR and the partly-Vatican owned Banco Ambrosiano were used by the CIA to covertly fund a number of anti-communist operations around the world, including the contras in Nicaragua who had the strong support of Reagan and Helms.
In 1982, Banco Ambrosiano chief Roberto Calvi was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London. Calvi was a member of the powerful Masonic Propaganda Due (P2) lodge in Italy and after his firing it was feared by P2 that he might reveal the nature of secret payments by the lodge involving the Vatican and the bank. P2 members called themselves "frati neri," Italian for "black friars." There is strong evidence that Calvi was murdered by P2 agents.
In 1982, 62-year-old Roberto Calvi chartered a private plane and fled to London on a false passport, where trusted Sardinian associates took him to a safe-house in Chelsea. Fearing for his life, he had skipped bail in Italy pending an appeal against a four-year suspended prison sentence for illegally transferring £18 million out of the country.
At the time his father's body was discovered under Blackfriars Bridge, Carlo Calvi was a post-graduate student in Washington, where his mother and sister had been staying with him for six weeks, having been warned by his father that their lives were in danger. Within hours of the news being phoned through by an uncle in Bolgna, the shock of which caused his mother "a complete breakdown," the family were escorted by American police to a secret apartment in the Watergate complex, where they remained for two weeks.
Refusing to accept the suicide verdict of the 1982 inquest and dissatisfied with the open verdict recorded at a second hearing (at which the family was represented by renowned London barrister George Carmen QC), Calvi ordered the exhumation of his father's body. He then commissioned an independent forensic report which concluded in October 2002 that his father had been murdered. (The injuries to his neck were inconsistent with hanging, there was no trace of rust and paint on his shoes from the scaffolding and he had not touched the bricks in his pocket.) In 2005, Italian prosecutors brought murder charges against five suspects but all were acquitted within 20 months.
Now 58, Carlo, a banker himself, believes that a Mafia "supergrass" has correctly identified the killers as Vincenzo Casillo and Sergio Vaccari. Casillo, the second-in-command of the Camorra, the ultra-violent Naples mafia, was killed in a car bomb in Rome in 1983. Vaccari, his sidekick, was stabbed to death three months after Calvi's death. He alleges that a dozen mafiosi were involved in the murder – and claims that many are still at large in London. Currently looking to expose the social network of the Italian underground in London in the eighties, even if his own safety is jeopardised, he is calling for a third inquest. "The police have already admitted it was murder but I would like see the case reviewed in open court and the remaining defendants in their jurisdiction pursued. ... If the worst happens, I am not the only person who has this information. I will not rest until I find out the truth about my father's death."
Unlike his son, however, who may yet find peace, the ghost of Roberto Calvi will forever haunt the Vatican. Calvi himself prophesied as much.
In September 1981, as events spiralled out of control, the Vatican Bank acknowledged its controlling interests in a number of banks controlled by Calvi, assuming responsibility for their combined debts of more than one billion dollars. The following year, before he fled Italy, Calvi wrote to John Paul II warning him of the imminent collapse of Banco Ambrosiano and stating that it would "provoke a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions in which the Church will suffer the gravest damage." But the primary damage did not lie in profit-and-loss projections, or compromising documentation and photographs, or suitcases stuffed with ill-gotten Mafia gains. Nor even in guilt by association with the string of P2-related murders which both preceded and followed Calvi's. The worst aspect of any Vatican fall from grace is the public recollection of venality and collusion; the indelible stain and lingering stench of hypocrisy that every scandal bequeaths to the Catholic cause in perpetuity.
Since perception is often reality, any incident or transgression whatsoever, however innocuous, is harnessed by the press to sustain this popular contempt. As journalist John Allen said of the Paolo Gabriele affair, "it almost doesn't matter if the [leaked] documents are truly damaging. The public take-away already is that the Vatican is once again mired in scandal, fueled by churchmen stabbing one another in the back. That perception makes it more difficult to tell any other [good news] story about the Catholic Church, and hardly provides a promising launch to Benedict XVI's project of a 'new evangelization'."
In that obstructive regard, Calvi always ups the ante because perception and reality genuinely coalesced in Banco Ambrosiano. The hypocritical stain and whiff of criminality it left behind was reinforced by the papal failure to hold the complicit Archbishop Marcinkus to account. By protecting him from police investigations, much as he would later protect Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado from internal scrutiny, John Paul II entrenched the public perception of untouchable prelates and endemic Vatican corruption.
"Calvi," reiterated the Mail on Sunday, "had close links to the Mafia, the Neapolitan Camorra – a Mafia-like organisation based in Naples – and the Masonic lodge P2. The latter was described by Calvi's former Banco Ambrosiano mentor, Sicilian Michele Sindona [a P2 member and Vatican financial adviser, eventually jailed for 25 years], as a 'state within a state' because of its powerful members...." The names of these Italian elite were discovered during a 1981 raid of the office of P2 Grand Master Licio Gelli, a former officer of the Nazi SS. The list of 962 P2 adherents (including future Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi and senior Vatican prelates) was later authenticated by a 1984 government enquiry which labelled it a secret criminal organization. P2's goal was to subvert, bankrupt and destroy the Italian parliamentary system and replace it with a "Presidential" anti-Communist dictatorship.(1)
On cue, a law was passed prohibiting secret Lodges.(2)But just as predictably the conspiracy did not peter out. "In autumn 1981, when P2 had at last been officially dissolved and Gelli suspended, the Grand Orient transferred P2's members to other lodges: an act which proved the P2 shut-down was a cosmetic device. In reality the lodge's reactionary ethos was now spread like a virus throughout the Grand Orient."(3)
Well, rather a scowl than a bullet! This might explain why Hollywood has spurned Calvi's blockbuster-conspiracy material and preferred to invest in damaging yet easily-repudiated anti-Catholic fluff of the Dan Brown variety. We can expect a lightweight made-for-TV recreation of the Paolo Gabriele distraction before we ever see 'The Calvi Chronicles' at our local cinema. As Enzo Gallo implied, filming Da Vinci Code fantasies has to be safer than dredging up the anni di piombo – "years of lead"– during which hundreds were gunned down or otherwise eliminated with impunity by the labyrinthine Italian underworld: whether the criminal likes of Calvi (who according to supergrass Francesco Di Carlo was "naming names... Everyone wanted to get rid of him"), or fearless souls who dared to investigate or prosecute Banco Ambrosiano-Vatican Bank-Masonic-Mafia connections. (In this rampant homicidal context the sudden death of John Paul I, said to have requested a shakeup of Vatican bank operations and personnel, is not unreasonably viewed with suspicion. Just one more reason why producer Gallo found the Vatican "off limits." In terms of skeletons stuffed into curial closets, the number stamped 'Calvi' might even rival those marked 'Maciel'!)
Nowadays we associate such Wild West mayhem with the likes of Russia, where two-thirds of the economy is under the sway of overtly legitimate crime syndicates operating hand-in-glove with corrupt officialdom. Yet Italy approximates Russia to an even greater extent today than it did when the Vatican nexus exploded into view with Calvi, Orlandi et. al.. As with the rise and fall of Marcinkus or the demise of John Paul I during the "years of lead," therefore, an outline of the current parlous condition of the Italian State will help put subsequent Italian ecclesiastical scandals – whether Gabriele's betrayal, Enrico De Pedis's bribe-purchase of a prime resting place, L'Osservatore Romano's embrace of the zeitgeist, or Cardinal Sodano's entire tenure – in broader perspective. Which is not to rationalise evil acts or sinful complicity, but simply to concede that the world, the flesh and the devil ever prey on fallen mankind; not least on the several thousand spiritually vulnerable neo-Modernist souls who run our sovereign Catholic HQ within a country not only dominated by organised crime but also infested, according to Senator Paolo Guzzanti, with "the largest number of former Soviet agents anywhere in the world."
Organised crime is the biggest earner in Italy – with a turnover of more £100 billion a year.... Extortion and intimidation is used to extract millions from shopkeepers, restaurants, cinemas, construction companies and thousands of other businesses as the godfathers spread their criminal enterprises across the whole of the country.
... the various Mafia groups across Italy make a profit of around £116 billion a year – a figure equivalent to seven per cent of the country's GDP. ... The report said that "every minute" a business or commercial activity was directly affected by organised crime – with no part of the country escaping, and with a surge of activity in the capital Rome.
... Marco Venturi, president of Confesercenti – an association of small- and medium-sized companies, and publisher of the report – described the Mafia as "the biggest bank in the country" with liquid assets of more than £50 billion.
Mr Venturi added that, as a result of extortion and loan sharking, more than 190,000 businesses had been forced to shut in the past three years alone.
He explained that Rome was the prime city targeted by organised crime gangs, with the Sicilian Mafia [Cosa Nostra], Naples Camorra, Calabrian N'drangheta and the Sacra Corona Unita from the Puglia region all having an active 'financial interest' in the capital city. Only last year it was revealed that the N'drangheta were using several famous restaurants and wine bars along the famous Via Veneto in the centre of Rome for money laundering, as well as being targeted for extortion.
[...] The report said extortionate money lending had become an easy and lucrative way to make money – compared to the more traditional means of drug running, arms smuggling, prostitution and gambling.
It added: "The classic neighbourhood or street loan shark is on the way out, giving way to organised loan sharking that is well connected with professional circles, and operates with the connivance of high-level professionals. This is extortion with a clean face. Through their professions, they know the financial position of their victims perfectly." [Daily Mail, 12/1/12]
Undercover journalist Roberto Saviano provides graphic confirmation of this disturbing reality in Gomorrah . Accurately described as "part economic analysis, part social history, part cri de coeur," he reveals how criminal activity so dovetails with the Italian economy nowadays that it actually keeps it afloat in many areas.
"I was raised in the land of the [Neapolitan] Camorra," he writes, "in the territory with the most murders in Europe, where savagery is interwoven with commerce, where nothing has value except what generates power."(4) He chronicles how this now holds true for the entire country, thanks to the insatiable designs and global reach of the Camorra clans and their ruthless modus operandi. "In the land of the Camorra, knowing the clans mechanisms for success, their modes of extraction, their investments, means understanding how everything today works everywhere, not merely here."
The clans themselves do not use the term Camorra, preferring to use the word "Il Sistema" – The System – a more accurate description of what is now a mechanism rather than a structure. Drug-dealing, fashion, sanitation, refuse collection, toxic waste disposal, construction, hospitality, high-tech products – the Neapolitan System dictates everyday Italian life to an almost surreal extent. For instance, it has "gained control of the entire clothing manufacturing chain.... Everything that is impossible to do elsewhere because of the inflexibility of contract, laws, and copyrights is feasible here, just north of the city ... [producing] astronomical amounts of capital, amounts unimaginable for any legal industrial conglomeration. The interrelated textile, leatherworking, and shoe manufacturing activities set up by the clans produce garments and accessories identical to those of the principal Italian fashion houses." In fact, the quality of Camorra products (including haute-couture garments), made by highly-skilled workers in grim factories and shipped worldwide, are of such impeccable quality that the fashion houses consider the cheaply priced counterfeits as sort of true fakes. To protest and legally challenge the clans would only imperil their access to cheap labour and transportation, distribution and retail mechanisms dominated by the Camorrista System. So, presumably, they prefer to view the true fakes as free advertising and a boon for their legitimate business.
Meanwhile, drug-dealing has been completely reinvented as a laissez-faire enterprise; handed over to autonomous small-to-medium size units free of hierarchical Mafia control and able to set their own quality, price and advertising levels according to market forces. This immediately attracted "everyone eager to set up a small drug business among friends, anyone wanting to buy at 15 and sell at 100 to pay for a vacation, a master's degree, or a mortgage. The total liberalisation of the market caused prices to drop. ... Now there are the so-called circles: the doctor's circle, the pilots' circle, circles for journalists and government employees. ... A friendly exchange, more like a Tupperware party, far removed from any criminal structures. Ideal for eliminating excessive moral responsibility. ... Nothing but the products and the money, just enough space for commercial exchange. Italian police records reveal that one in three arrests is of a first-time offender." This might explain why the number of addicts who turn to the Italian services for substance abusers doubles every year. "The market expansion is immense. Genetically modified cultivation, which permits four harvests a year, has eliminated supply problems, and the absence of a single dominant organisation favors free enterprise."
Extortion and usury are similarly refined into a corporate relationship among the buyer, seller, and the clan which is situated between suppliers and retailers, operating as a hidden financier, offering cash at 10 per cent interest on average. "The proceeds are split fifty-fifty, but if a retailer runs into debt, higher and higher percentages flow into the clan's coffers, and he is eventually reduced to a straw man on a monthly salary. Unlike the banks ... the clans continue to utilize their assets by letting the experienced individuals who've lost their property continue to work. According to [an informer during an official 2004 investigation], 50 percent of the shops in Naples alone are actually run by the Camorra."
The lucrative business of waste disposal, especially toxic waste, is also dominated by the Camorra. In the late 1990s the clans became the European leaders in waste disposal and "together with their middlemen, they have lined their pockets with 44 billion euros in proceeds in four years." The bishop of Nola called the south the illegal dumping ground for the rich, industrialized north. Attracted by their impossibly cheap and comprehensive service, a whole host of northern stakeholders, large companies and small (including chemists and warehouse owners from 'environmentally conscious' regions like Tuscany and Umbria), use The System to send half of Italy's toxic rubbish down south; buying in to the Camorra's wicked exploitation and poisoning of its own territory and people.
"On no other land in the Western world has a greater amount of toxic and nontoxic waste been illegally dumped," writes Saviano. Hellish Camorra landfill sites on the outskirts of Naples and the 115 square mile region beyond are "devoured by dioxins" and other poisons (those, at least, which are not illegally converted into fertilizers used on Italian farms that feed the nation). Truck drivers are so unnerved by the level of toxicity and the toll it has taken on their colleagues that they won't get out to unload their cargo. The clans pay kids to do it and contract the tumours instead. Finally, to add insult to murderous injury, when no further garbage can be crammed into the available space, the sites are rezoned and concreted over for the construction of affordable housing. With price trumping geographic instability, health risk and the criminality of the entire enterprise, there is no shortage of takers.
Insofar as fixing football matches now involves a web of evil-doing rather than just a few sly pay-offs, the corruption of the national pastime is representative of the rot. Most recently, the two general managers of Juventus were found to be influencing the appointment of referees in Juve's favour. "So widespread was this network of contacts," writes sports journalist Martin Samuel, "that [Luciano] Moggi could even dictate to broadcasters on the selection of television guests, the choice of matches analysed, the tone of the criticism and even the results of viewers polls. Replays were shown in such a way that it did not seem that Juventus had favours from referees. The tentacles of the scandal reached other clubs...." The response to the verdict was as telling as the crime itself. Juventus was eventually stripped of the titles it won in 2004-05 and 2005-06 but is now preparing team shirts for next season declaring that they have won 30 titles, instead of 28, thus suggesting that these titles were earned legally. In their minds and those of most Italians, they probably were.
Such humdrum symptoms of Italian criminality post-Calvi are generally mirrored in other nations, East and West, where amorality rules and lying and cheating are de rigueur. Like Britain under Blair, hard evidence regularly reveals that the Obama administration has taken deception and criminal complicity in American to new levels. But the malaise has also percolated through a Western Church stitched up in similar fashion by her own episcopal villains; post-Marcinkus godfathers who hold us spiritual hostage and silence whistleblowers. Before developing that analogy in Part II, however, we need to consider the secularising root cause of this unholy convergence: the hierarchical aversion to godly scandal.
We were not baptised into the death and resurrection of Christ [Rom. 6:3-5] to kneel before the zeitgeist but to scandalise unbelievers by standing firm against it. The Catholic mission is to ensure Christ's continued presence in the world as a sign of contradiction; "a stone of stumbling, and a rock of scandal, to them who stumble at the word..." [Pet. 2:8]. Once we lose sight of that supernatural priority, rooted in our understanding of the Mystical Body of Christ as an organism for sacrifice, "a holy priesthood, to offer up that spiritual sacrifice which God accepts through Jesus Christ" [Peter 2:5], the Church soon becomes just one more corruptible man-made institution: devoted to securing careers by safeguarding its image, assets and survival.
What a tidal wave of the wrong kind of scandal reveals, then, is a Church awash with wrongheaded churchmen; prelates so disoriented that they studiously avoid the scandalous "stumbling block" of Humanae Vitae, for instance, to curry favour with a contracepting world. To that end they have turned Catholic priorities on their head, concentrating on the visible and physical instead of the spiritual and invisible. Hence the "bureaucratisation of the Church" so often lamented by Cardinal Ratzinger and particularly rampant in his own country (– where, as in Switzerland and Austria, a "Church tax" provides guaranteed funds to keep clerics and salaried functionaries fat, happy and lukewarm).
"The Conciliar Church could well be termed the legislating Church ...," wrote Michael Davies. "It has become a bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy and has given up any pretense at evangelizing the de-Christianized masses in Western countries in favour of producing an endless stream of legislation to regulate a diminishing number of the faithful." Now Pope and stymied by all the processes and procedures of this sterile collegial machine he once decried, Christopher Ferrara claims that Benedict seemingly "views himself as but a cog, albeit the biggest and most important cog, in the vast clockwork of a Legislating Church." By way of anecdotal evidence he reports that during a meeting at Castel Gondolfo in August 2005, when urged by Bishop Fellay to wield his supreme power to resolve the crisis in the Church, Benedict is said to have replied: "My authority ends at that door."
Given free rein by an emasculated papacy, the Legislating Church, like all monolithic bureaucracies, has become too self-serving to reform itself and too compromised to clean its Augean stables. In 1999, Luigi Marinelli, a retired priest and former member of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, co-authored the book Gone with the Wind In The Vatican, denouncing nepotism, corruption, and sexual scandals in the curia and the Italian Church. Whatever the book's shortcomings, there were lessons to be learned [see CO, April 1999]. Indeed Marinelli, his equally frustrated co-authors and the incestuous Vatican cliques they bitterly resented for ruining their careers, all personified the most fundamental lesson: that a self-serving Church is of no evangelical use to society. Since the more supernatural priorities are jettisoned for the natural ones dictated by social gospel bureaucrats, the more Catholics come to share the mindset of the godless – their perverted values, ethics and priorities, and so their endless scandals.
Infuriated, the Vatican demonised Marinelli, condemned the book and covered over the deep malaise it detailed, as they always do. "It should have been an alarm bell for the Church. But it wasn't," sighed Fr Amorth, reflecting in like manner on Emanuela Orlandi's tragic end. Since Head Office sets this corporate standard of denial, evasion and business as usual, why was anyone surprised that it took the white heat of media publicity to pressure shepherds acting more like CEOs to fess up and confront clerical sexual abuse? They, too, resented the public spotlight that exposed their self-satisfaction and criminal negligence. A telling pattern, it was again in public evidence late last year when the German bishops were caught red-handed aiding and abetting a principle cause of societal dissolution. As with sexual abuse, their complicity in this associated scandal is mirrored elsewhere in further shocking confirmation of the warped and worldly thinking universally presented as Catholic today.
Yet a similar scam of even greater proportions is never far away. In "Holy Porn!" [New Oxford Review, Feb. 2008], Thomas Strobhar, a financial advisor with over 25 years of investment experience, laid bare the monumental disgrace of Christian Brothers Investment Services [CBIS] investing in companies that peddle pornography. "There are thousands of other companies that would make suitable investments," he insists. "Only a small percentage of public corporations are involved in porn sales. If choice A is found wanting for any reason, simply go to choice B. For religious groups, one would think that some level of prudence would apply." Apparently not. Strobhar goes on to relate yet another scandalous symptom of the Institutionalism that has gripped the Church, inverted Catholic priorities, socialised the Gospel and corporatised the episcopal mind:
The Christian Brothers are one of the largest investors of Catholic institutional money in the world. They invest billions of dollars for over 1,000 Catholic "dioceses, religious institutes, educational institutions and health care organizations." ... Considering the close relationship the bishops have long had with CBIS, and the fact that many entrust diocesan funds to CBIS to this day, it appears that many bishops, too, have little problem investing in porn. ... Whereas the bishops consulted the Christian Brothers on how to deal with porn, it appears neither of them looked to see what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about it: Pornography "does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public) since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others" ( 2354). The Catechism doesn't talk about "primary" or "significant"; it makes it quite clear that any profit from pornography is "illicit." According to the Catechism, pornography is "a grave offense," and "civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic material" ( 2354). Indeed, it is a bizarre situation when the Catechism calls on civil authorities to "prevent the distribution of pornographic material" when the bishops and countless Catholic religious groups knowingly own shares in companies that distribute pornography every day.
What do the bishops have to say about this? Not much. Until a few years ago, they had nothing to say. The investment guidelines of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB), first formulated in 1991, ran over 15 pages and treated esoteric subjects, like affordable housing, in some detail. But there was not a single word about pornography, one of the most likely precipitators of personal sin. Apparently, the bishops hadn't thought of it or did not think it was important. Maybe they hadn't heard many confessions lately. In 2003 that changed. They altered their guidelines and included the problem of pornography. The result: the bishops gave their blessing to investing in porn-related companies as long as the company's revenues from porn were not "significant." The USCCB's express policy, as stated in its [Nov. 2003] "Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines"... is: "The USCCB will not invest in a company that derives a significant portion of its revenues" from pornography.
So there it is: American prelates, like their German brethren, view 'a little bit of porn' as an acceptable measure of morality. This recalls the English and Welsh bishops' scandalous rationalisation of their support for pro-abort Comic Relief – because not all the money raised by its annual Red Nose Day appeal goes on abortion and condoms (just a few dead babies and 'a little bit of sin' being traded for precious "common ground" with our enemies). Strobhar immediately skewered the US episcopate's sinful escape clause:
The Christian Brothers, on behalf of their Catholic clients, also own Lodgenet, which is one of the largest providers of in-room porn to the hotel industry, serving 1.8 million rooms. Some of the movies offered by Lodgenet include Girls Who Love Girls, Filthy Young Innocents, and AC/DC Sex..... It is arguable, even by the incredibly lax standards of the bishops and the Christian Brothers, that Lodgenet's porn business is its most "significant," if not its "primary," business.
[...] The clerical sex scandal of six years ago counted over 13,000 victims strung over a few decades. Its financial cost is well into the billions of dollars. It is not hard to imagine 13,000 people per day, or even per hour, buying a porn film through their cable television company or in their hotel room. In all, there could easily be tens of millions of people induced to sin through the financial assistance of many dioceses, archdioceses, and multiple Catholic religious groups. Tens of millions of sins would presumably qualify as "significant."
As in the world it mimics, it goes without saying that this moral vacuum in the Legislating Church has been replaced with political correctness:
While ownership in companies that profit from graphic images of sex provokes little outrage among the USCCB and CBIS, it is interesting to note a shareholder resolution brought last year by the Maryknoll Sisters and the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order. The resolution asked Viacom to divest itself of Paramount Pictures, because a number of its films showed people smoking! The religious groups argued that images of smoking would influence the behavior of younger viewers. Of course, a good number of Paramount movies have shown people in sexual situations, but this was not mentioned in the resolution. Catholic religious orders have offered scores, if not hundreds, of shareholder resolutions dealing with tobacco, but it is difficult to find even one in which the issue of porn is addressed.
So, it appears that this demonic scourge of our time will remain a non-issue for "Catholic" investors, until such time as porn stars begin lighting up after sex! Truly, like so much PC imbecility, you don't know whether to laugh or cry. But Strobhar's scathing conclusion is no joke. "If there is a bright side for the bishops, it is this: Unlike the clerical sex scandal, no one will sue them because of their investments in porn-related companies. Unfortunately, it is also the reason that they are likely to do nothing. The fact that millions of souls may be gravely compromised or lost for eternity is not legally actionable – in this world."
"I am not alone with my feeling of profound shock over the (February 2012) public conference and some of the official PAV communications," wrote Professor Josef Seifert, a member of the Academy, in a 4 May letter to its president Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de Paula. In the wake of February's conference on ethical treatments for infertility which provided a platform for opponents of Church teaching, Seifert expressed his "enormous concern" over the prospect of the Academy "losing its full and pure commitment to the truth and its enthusiastic service to the unreduced magnificent Church teaching on human life in its whole splendor."
Discussions about infertility that took place at the conference disregarded ethical norms of the natural law in favour of a supposedly "neutral" viewpoint. Five out of the seven papers delivered, he said, "stood in flat contradiction to Church teaching on morals. The contraceptive pill was praised if taken for a while and introduced as a healthy means for restricting periods of fertility." In vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, and related technologies "were presented as morally acceptable and as major achievements."
In March, the Academy also cancelled a planned conference on adult stem cells, which was due to feature speakers who also support embryonic research. In keeping with the arrogance that defines the neo-Modernist hegemony, Seifert also accused the Academy of dismissing pro-life objections to the cancelled stem cell conference as "useless controversies," and responding with "cynical mockery" to those who raised concerns about the infertility conference. "Instead of offering refunds to participants who had been gravely misled and wasted their money to attend a Planned Parenthood-like meeting under the auspices of the Pontifical Academy for Life, these unhappy participants were brutally told, if they did not like what they heard, not to return next year." [Catholic News Agency report, 8/5/12]
Where will it all end? "Some have suggested that the next wave of scandal in the Church will be financial," wrote Fr. Jerry J. Pokorsky in the June 2008 Catholic World Report. "Based on news reports and personal observations, it seems to me the wave has already arrived. The only question remaining is whether it will be a tsunami or something less devastating." He was speaking about theft and embezzlement from Church organizations by clergy, religious and laymen alike, which "has become surprisingly common in recent years." (In fact, 2006 research by Villanova University found that 85% of U.S. dioceses had detected embezzlement in the previous five years. "Only 3 percent of the dioceses conducted an annual internal audit of their parishes.") Fr Pokorsky urged the bishops "to act soon to stem this tide, at once respecting the culture of the Church as well as implementing sound business practices."
Since he sounded the alarm nothing has changed. Proving once again that even obvious and elementary reforms are beyond the capabilities of a saltless, institutionalised Church. The curial dogfight ignited by operation "Vatican Spring" is just one more symptom of this endemic self-interest dragging the Church into secular alignment. Utterly hostile to Catholic faith and evangelism, this alien spirit is holding back the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the Reign of Christ the King, endangering "faith on earth" [Lk 18:8]. As the Daily Telegraph's Damian Thompson recently put it: "PC ideology flowers on the ruins of religion, It's not just Ireland: in Australia, Canada and metropolitan America, the Catholic Church is paralysed by scandal and the old Protestant denominations have turned into gibbering pantheists or angry sects. Secularism is spreading incredibly fast." Indeed it is, aided and abetted by prelates who have traded Tradition for a false gospel refashioned to demand less of themselves and the clerical miscreants they let loose to secularise spirituality, liturgy, morality and doctrine.
Until we stop this chronic convergence we will never restore the Catholic credibility essential for the exaltation of the Church as a mystical reality. Yet only a resolute papal hand can break the chokehold and breathe supernatural faith and life back into strangulated episcopal fiefdoms. Faced with a restorative task almost as daunting, the head of Italy's Anti-Racket Commission threw down the gauntlet. "Our objective," he stated plainly and emphatically, "is to reconquer the territory that is in the hands of the Mafia." Rather than endless celebrations of the problematic Council and calls for a New Evangelisation, the Pope needs to make that goal his own; to concentrate on reclaiming the vast territory occupied by the neo-Modernist mafia within, starting with his own curia. And to pursue that just and holy end with the courage and doggedness of a Carlo Calvi!
Alas, despite endless apologies for physical abuse, the status quo that fostered it remains. And so abuses of the Faith and the rights of the faithful continue, while scandals multiply.
(1) Not only a "state within a state", P2 was also a 'Lodge within the (Grand Orient) Lodge'. Based on the minutes of P2 meetings in the early 70s, author Martin Short explains that "P2 was a secret cell for the preparation of a right-wing coup like those which engulfed Greece in 1967 and Chile in 1973 ... Gelli hosted frequent P2 meetings where the politics of destabilization and subversion were discussed by police chiefs, army generals, security service bosses and appeal court judges. He knew this was not orthodox Freemasonry: 'Philosophy has been banished, but we felt we had to do this in order to tackle only solid and concrete arguments affecting national life'." - Inside the Brotherhood, 1989, Harper Collins, Chapter 33, "Spooks in Aprons."
(2) Other laws which introduced a prohibition on membership in such organizations for some categories of state officers (especially military officers) have been questioned by the European Court of Human Rights. This unsurprising challenge reaffirms Pope Benedict's overriding concern as confided to Cardinal Llovera: the invisible hand of Masons at work in Brussels (CO, Oct. 2011).
(3) Inside the Brotherhood, op. cit. (Richard Basset also reported in the Times of 24 September 1990 on four programmes carried on Italian state television (RAI) which alleged that "the CIA paid Licio Gelli to 'forment terrorist activities'." In the second programme a silhouetted "'Agent Zero One' alleged that P2 was not wound up in the mid-1980s, after the arrest of its leader Licio Gelli. 'It still exists. It calls itself P7,' he said. According to the agent, the lodge is still functioning with branches in Austria, Switzerland and East Germany. 'Zero One' has now been revealed by the Italian press to be Dick Brenneke, allegedly a career CIA officer." This interview gave rise to a letter of concern from Italian president Francesco Cossiga to prime minister Giulio Andreotti (a dead-end approach since Andreotti himself figured regularly in political scandal and intrigue).
(4) "Since I was born, 3,600 deaths," writes then 26-year-old Saviano. "The Camorra has killed more than the Sicilian Mafia, more than the 'Ndrangheta, more than the Russian Mafia, more than the Albanian families, more than the total number of deaths by the ETA in Spain and the IRA in Ireland, more than the Red Brigades, the NRA [a neofascist terrorist organisation active in Italy in the late 1970s] and all the massacres committed by the government in Italy. The Camorra has killed the most. ... But there's no sign of conflict. This is the heart of Europe. This [the Naples region] is where the majority of the country's economy takes shape."