Scandalo Vaticano! What exactly did the butler see?
By Richard Cottrell
Contributing writer for End the LieThe Holiest of Holies is anciently accustomed to red hot scandals – just think the Borgias – but by any standards the one that is rocking the sold marble pillars of St. Peter’s right now is not only unique, but might quite possibly mark the funeral rites of Pope Benedict’s disastrous papacy.
Editor’s note: In other Catholic news, a Catholic priest accused of molesting multiple children has been discovered to be working as a supervisor with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
At first sight, the arrest of the pope’s personal butler on charges of stealing confidential correspondence to and from to Benedict XVI looks like a passing spat at the kitchen sink.
Even the fact that Paolo Gabriele leaked some of the sensitive material, dealing with the gross financial incompetence of the Vatican authorities, to the media really only serves to confirm what was always public knowledge anyway.
Namely, the Lateran State is an institutionally corrupt racket and always has been.
The arrest comes a month after the Vatican gave an investigative team led by the Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, a member of Opus Dei – a cult-like body acting as a sort of Catholic purity squad doubling as a large scale Moonie-style industrial fund raiser – a full “pontifical mandate” to join Vatican police rooting out the perpetrators of what the Italian media has gleefully dubbed ‘Vatileaks.’
Now Herranz is not just any old cardinal. He is the nearest thing there is to a deputy pope, or the chief pope selection officer. He is above all a master schemer and plotter, the veritable Machiavelli of the Vatican.
During the fading days of Pope John Paul II, he swanned around organizing secret congregations of key members of the conclave in a quiet suburb of Rome, specifically to rig the election of the next pope.
It is widely accepted that Benedict, the former Herr Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, was Herranz’s personal pick for St. Peter’s Throne, thus bringing to St. Peter’s the first German pope (who as we know donned the arm band of the Hitler Youth).
The miniature Vatican state increasingly resembles the old Soviet Union and the crooked politics and in-fighting of the Moscow Politburo with each passing day.
It is an open secret in Rome that Benedict is, shall we say, past his prime. The verb in Italian is rimbambimento, or approaching senility, a rather harder take on the English meaning ‘dotage’. In polite language, he finds at 85 that the cares of the papacy are bearing down and begins to prepare for the succession before his own heavenly ascendancy.
He has just ordained another twenty-two very old men as cardinals, which strongly suggests that he considers his earthly tenancy is drifting to an end. Put another way, he is pre-decease gerrymandering the Vatican Politburo.
Once the Vatileaks storm broke, the story goes that Ratzinger called in Herranz, the J. Edgar Hoover of the Vatican, to sniff out the ill-doer.
There is a lot that is significantly unbelievable with this account.
The Vatican, which covers an area not much bigger than Grand Central Station, is really one large village where the principal industries are gossiping and papal politics. Oiling the cash register and industrial money-laundering comes third and supposedly the chief line of business, that of praising the Lord, a way-back distant fourth.
So it stands to reason that in order to wrinkle out someone leaking the pope’s personal letters, then seek ye first among those in the said pope’s personal coterie.
Like any good county house Agatha Christie-type murder in the English shires, it ought to be a very simple task to prove the butler did it.
Yet Ratzinger calls in his pet attack dog Herranz to take on the case like Sherlock Holmes in a red dressing gown. In no time at all, the butler has his collar felt, the Vatican internal police being led by the nose to a vast stash of sensitive contraband stuffed in his private flat.
The much-touted serious leaks published this year include a letter from Carlo Maria Viganò, the former deputy governor of Vatican City, denouncing inflated contracts with friendly companies, false invoicing and missing cash.
We got to hear of the over-charging for constructing the annual Christmas nativity scene on the apron of St. Peter’s.
What all this earns from serious Vatican investigators is a yawn. Nothing to see here, move along.
Another distraction is the exciting story of the Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who described how a Vatican take on Deep Throat fixed secret briefings on the juicy bits in an anonymous flat within sight of the Holy See.
I am afraid Nuzzi is either remarkably gullible – or not entirely telling the whole story. I do not question his good intentions, but none of the exposures which have so far reached the glades of public attention are especially remarkable.
They are, to put it simply, plain old hat.
There is a real fire behind the smoke, that is for certain. I think it has everything to do with obscuring the massive pedophile scandal which has engulfed the Roman Church and threatens to bring its pillars crashing down.
Ratzinger will be chiefly remembered less for his saintliness than all his frantic efforts as Pope Pompiere – the Fireman Pope – to extinguish the flames of serial child abuse which has continued unchecked within the cloisters and vestries of the church.
Christ’s injunction to ‘suffer the little children to come to me’ have taken on a whole new black meaning during his papacy.
Ratzinger consistently squashed efforts to bring guilty priests to justice, an obstinacy which is close to destroying the church in Ireland.
He has openly protected senior prelates who have resisted the exposure of serial priestly abusers in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, and the United States.
Notable example, Robert Finn, bishop of Kansas City, indicted in October 2011 on failure to report suspected child abuse when child pornography was found on a computer belonging to a priest. This of course reeks of careful selective tamping down of the scandal.
Finn is affiliated with Opus Dei, and therefore seems likely to escape with a light rap on the knuckles.
The church however cannot indefinitely escape demands for many millions in compensation.
Given that we heard recently that Rome’s nastiest ganger, the assassinated boss of the Banda Magliana, Enrico de Pedis, managed to get a diamond-studded vault in the basilica of Santa Apollinare, then the Vatican treasury should have no problem coughing up.
In that respect the fates indeed move in strange ways.
The tomb was opened on a prosecutor’s order to see if it contained the remains of Emanuele Orlandi, a 15 year old Vatican citizen who it is widely suspected was raped and then murdered in January 1968 by a vice ring operating within the sacred precincts.
Additional bones were discovered (the body of de Pedis was strangely uncorrupted) and tests are now being conducted to assess whether they are those of the missing girl.
The election of a new pope is traditionally marked by white smoke puffing from the chamber of the electoral consistory. Black smoke means a blank in the efforts to pick the winner.
Right now smoke is the key to distracting attention from what I strongly suspect may be the real panic within the Vatican, namely that some if not many of the purloined documents are connected with the papal efforts at the highest level to cover up the child sex and orgy scandals.
Was the butler looking for a payoff? If so he should have remembered the fate of the commander of the elite Swiss Guards, who act as the pope’s personal praetorian guard.
In January 1998 Alois Estermann and his wife were murdered in their Vatican flat by another officer of the guard, who then conveniently shot himself.
The motive for the slaughter in the Vatican has never been determined, but there are strong evidential reasons to suspect they were intended to suppress knowledge of sex trafficking. The guards, after all, are supposed to see everyone who comes and goes within the portals of the Holy See.
The butler meanwhile is shut up in the Vatican’s tiny prison, where he is presumably being educated by the Holy Inquisition concerning what to say next.
So long as Vatileaks is confined to fiscal shenanigans, then raging pedophilia, the real Vesuvius threatening the pope and his legacy, might be contained, at least to some degree.
Did I forget to mention that Benedict’s successor will be Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop (and arch-conservative) of Lima, the capital of Peru. At a mere 68 years, he’s a stripling. He’s also a member of Opus Dei, one of only two cardinals with that persuasion.
The other is Julián Herranz Casado.
Richard Cottrell is a writer, journalist and former European MP (Conservative). His new book Gladio: NATO’s Dagger At The Heart Of Europe is now available from Progressive Press. You may order it using the link below (or by clicking here – Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis):
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Edited by End the Lie