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Letter #18: Blackmail

[2013-02-22]
February 21, 2013, Thursday -- Blackmail

"Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate." --Psalm 143:4

The Secret Report Given to the Pope on December 17

Today a veil of secrecy was shredded in this eternal city.

Today therefore marked the beginning of a difficult, important struggle for the purification of the government of the Church desired for so many years by Joseph Ratzinger.

We were given a glimpse today into some of the reasons, previously unknown, that prompted Pope Benedict XVI to announce his resignation on February 11, to take effect February 28, in seven days, reasons that apparently "overwhelmed his spirit within him" and "made his heart desolate."

It is a story that in many ways seems the plot of a novel.

It is a story of blackmail and betrayal at the highest levels of the Church, and, allegedly, of a homosexual lobby organized within the Vatican to influence and obtain important decisions.

To recount this story, I will simply set forth how I learned about it, in the course of an ordinary day in Rome.

=======================

"What Can You Tell Me About the American Cardinals?"

I began my day at 6 a.m., editing a book I am preparing on one of the cardinals whom I admire greatly. (I had not expected the conclave to come so soon, and had expected to prepare the book at a more leisurely pace for publication later this year.)

At 9:45 a.m., I went to the Vatican and shortly after 10 a.m. met for 30 minutes with a European cardinal who will be going into the Conclave in a few days, a good and wise man who might himself be a candidate to be the next Pope.

He asked me a number of questions about the American cardinals. I answered as cautiously and as truthfully as I could.

The cardinal's questions, and his interest in my remarks, made clear to me that the cardinals themselves may be trying to understand each other, in order to understand who among them may have the qualities of a strong, effective, global leader for the Church in this unprecedented time.

At 10:50 a.m., I walked into the press office, greeted Salvatore Izzo as he sat typing in the first booth (I regard him as one of the leading Vaticanisti), greeted Ania Artymiak, who writes for Inside the Vatican, and then greeted Paddy Agnew from Dublin, Ireland, correspondent for the Irish Times, whom I have known since the 1980s.

Paddy was busily typing away. Next to his computer, spread out on the large table in the center of the press office, was an Italian newspaper opened to p. 17.

It was a full-page story about something related to the Vatican. There was a large picture of Pope Benedict and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and three smaller photos.

The striking thing was that Paddy had marked almost every single paragraph of the story with colored markers, some in yellow, some in red, some in blue.

"What's that?" I asked. "Something important?"

"Read it," he said, typing away. "It's from this morning's La Repubblica. Someone has leaked the results of the cardinals' commission investigation..."

(Note: La Repubblica of Rome is a sort of center-left paper founded in the mid-1970s along with three other papers of a similar outlook: El Pais in Madrid, Spain; Liberation in Paris, France; and The Independent in London, England. I'm not saying there was a relationship between the papers, or that the same people were behind all of them, just making the observation that they were all founded at nearly the same time, and all have more or less the same, secular humanist, line, and all in some way helped prepare the way for the development of the European Union as it exists today.)

I looked at the headline: "Non fornicare, non rubare" -- i due commandamenti violati nel dossier che sconvolge il Papa ("Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal" -- the two commandments violated in the dossier that shocked the Pope").

I looked at the sub-title: "Lotte di potere e denaro. E l'ipotesi di una lobby gay." ("Fights for power and money. And the hypothesis of a gay lobby.")

And I saw a sentence, highlighted in yellow, at the center of the article: "La Relazione e esplicita. Alcuni alti prelati subiscono 'l'influenza esterna' -- noi diremmo il ricatto -- di laici a cui sono legati da vincoli di 'natura mondana.'" ("The Report is explicit. A number of high-ranking prelates are being subjected to 'external influence' -- we would say blackmail -- from laypeople to whom they are linked by ties of a 'worldly nature.'")

"Blackmail?" I said.

"That's what they are saying," Paddy replied.

I looked at the three smaller photos in the article:

"Marco Simeon, 33 anni, ex direttore delle relazioni istituzionali e internazionali della Rai" (Marco Simeon (photo left), 33, director of institutional and internationals relations at RAI, the Italian national television network);

"Ettore Balestrero, 47 anni, sotto-segretario ai Rapporti con gli stati della segretaria del Vaticano" (Ettore Balestrero, 47, under-secretary of Relations with States of the Vatican Secretariat of State);

"Rene Bruelhart, 40 anni, direttore dell'Autorita di informazione finanziaria della Santa Sede" (Rene Bruelhart (photo, bottom), 40, director of the Authority of Financial Information of the Holy See).

(Marco Simeon)

The essence of the article was this. Pope Benedict last year had asked three cardinals to investigate the "Vatileaks" affair. He had chosen three cardinals older than age 80 -- Julian Herranz, Josef Tomko, and Salvatore De Giorgi -- to conduct the investigation. They had begun their work last April, even before the Vatileaks scandal really "broke" in May. They were given the authority to summon any Vatican official, including other cardinals, to be questioned.

(Monsignor Ettore Balestero)

The three, evidently with a small but dedicated staff to help them, worked all year, interviewing dozens of officials. Their investigation paralleled the investigation of the Vatican police, but was of an even higher level, since the three cardinals could also interview other cardinals.

(Rene Bruelhart)

Each session began with the same set of questions, and then additional questions were asked related to the specific work of each official. (So, these sessions were very well prepared.)

Each session was recorded and then transcribed.

Eventually, the cardinals were able to compare testimony, see patterns, find connections, drawn flow charts.

The members of the Curia were charted according to their region of origin, their religious orders, and also identified as part of (or not part of) "a network across all groups based on sexual orientation" ("una rete trasversale accomunata dall'orientamento sessuale").

On December 17, the three cardinals submitted their report to Pope Benedict. The report was some 300 pages long, and there was only one copy. And that copy is in the possession of the Pope.

Eight weeks later, the Pope resigned his office, saying there was a need for a younger, stronger man to carry out the needed work of the papacy...

"Ok," I said to Paddy. "I'll go out and buy my own copy of the paper."

I walked out of the press office and ran immediately into Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins (he is now 81, so he will not vote in the Conclave). I have known him for many years. Since he is from Portugal, and knew Sister Lucy personally, we have spoken on occasion about the apparitions at Fatima in 1917, about the "Third Secret" of Fatima, and about the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

It was Saraiva Martins who, as Prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, announced in Coimbra, Portugal (where Sister Lucy lived and died), in February 2008 that Pope Benedict had authorized the opening of Lucy's cause of beatification, revealing at the same time that she left a series of important unpublished writings.

“Since the death of Sister Lucia, it has been obvious how much the reputation of holiness of this humble nun has spread throughout Portugal and the rest of the world,” the cardinal said, explaining Benedict’s decision to suspend the five-year waiting period before beginning the process of beatification. (She died in 2005, just a few weeks before Pope John Paul II.)

"Your eminence," I said. "Bella giornata" ("beautiful day").

"Yes, it is," he said.

Sursa: www.InsideTheVatican.com


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