Friday, May 25, 2012

Notes on the Vatileaks Scandal: Hell Breaking Loose, According to John Allen

I'm away from home, and it's a holiday weekend in the U.S., and I imagine many readers in this part of the globe have as little time to read blog postings today as I do to read and write.  (I'm tagging along on a business trip Steve has made to Houston, and am visiting my uncle, who turned 92 this past Sunday.)

But for readers who may be interested in the "hell" breaking loose in the Vatican right now (to cite John Allen's article at National Catholic Reporter today),* I did want to provide a few links to articles discussing the Vatican story.  I've just linked to John Allen's latest, which says that the Vatican has identified the person who has been leaking inside material to the media that is proving extremely embarrassing to the Vatican, and which is cited in Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi's new book His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI.

According to Allen, the person charged with leaking confidential papers from the Vatican is, per reports in the Italian media, the pope's longtime butler Paolo Gabriele.  Gabriele is apparently now in Vatican police custody and is being interrogated.  

Allen states, however, 

Already, some commentators are openly wondering if Gabriele is being served up as a “scapegoat” to disguise the complicity of more senior figures. Veteran Italian writer Andrea Tornielli wrote today that the leaks scandal seems to have been orchestrated by “a refined mind, who knows church politics,” casting doubt on whether a layman working as a papal butler truly fits that profile.

For good background on the story, I recommend Barbie Latza Nadeau's rundown at the Daily Beast site yesterday.  Nadeau notes that Nuzzi had been speaking of the leaker as Maria, leading some people to conclude that a woman was the person shlepping secret documents out of the papal palace--a point Ann Oliver makes in response to a question by Jim McCrea in this recent Commonweal thread about the Vatican leaks scandal.

As John Allen's piece also notes, the director of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was also forced to resign yesterday, and a new prefatory note to Nadeau's article states that he himself is being investigated for leaking confidential documents to investors.  As this article by Alessandro Speciale at NCR on Tedeschi's forced resignation states, the Vatileaks material has also called Tedeschi's integrity into question--though I'll be frank and say that I'd be shocked to learn that any director of the Vatican bank, or anyone associated with that organization (I include the Vatican as a whole in this assessment) has a well-deserved reputation for integrity.

How does any of this affect me as a lay Catholic living far away from the Catholic church's power center and disaffected in the extreme from that power center and those who inhabit it?  Tom Fox makes an extremely important point in an article about Richard Lugar at NCR today: he states that there's a strong sense among many Americans right now that our nation is on a "very wrong path" and that many of us have become "seemingly mindless, unable to sort out and attend to the major issues which face us as a nation and as members of the human family."

And then Fox adds,

Those of you who might not share these feelings might ask yourselves if, perhaps, in your zeal to force an ideological purity upon the rest of us if you just might be leading our country and planet on a path to unthinkable chaos and destruction.

Who is Fox addressing here, I wonder?  Personally, I hear him speaking to the powerful coterie of U.S. Catholic bishops who are now doing everything in their power to throw the coming elections to the political party that most unabashedly serves the interests of the super-rich (though both political parties are very much in the thrall of the 1%).  That powerful coterie of bishops is also counting on Catholics determined to force ideological purity on all of their fellow Catholics--an ideological purity that includes voting for the "right" party in the 2012 elections--to help them achieve their goal in the fall elections.  These fellow travelers include powerfully placed Catholic ideologues from Robert P. George, Mary Ann Glendon, and Bill Donohue, to the Catholic gentlemen justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, to the many Catholic voters for whom the word of a priest or a bishop still counts as they cast their votes.  It also includes all the fatuous "liberal" Catholic commentators who have awoken far too late to the maleficent political intent of the bishops' faux religious freedom crusade, and who now want to put out a fire that has already burned down the entire forest, after the damage has been done and when they themselves helped set the fire.

All of these American Catholics may very well be placing the entire planet on a path to unthinkable chaos and destruction, I hear Fox implying.  And if this is what he means to say and I am not putting words into his mouth, I agree.  Because there's a growing body of evidence that a few Catholic votes may very well swing the 2012 elections in the U.S.--and there has been very strong evidence all along that this is what the U.S. bishops intend with their faux religious liberty war.

The deep, stinking, seemingly intractable corruption in the highest structures of the Catholic church today, which the very same bishops now trying to engineer the outcome of the 2012 U.S. elections have colluded in covering up, threatens to affect the course of human history, of the history of the entire planet, in the worst way possible.  It does so as rabidly right-wing ideological purists within the Catholic church, who are well-represented in the Republican political sector of the United States and who are defended by weak, principles-lite centrists in the Catholic academy and media, do everything in their power to shut up fellow Catholics calling for transparency and accountability--and top-to-bottom reform--within the Catholic church.

I'm not particularly interested in the latest scandals from the Vatican.  I'm not particularly interested in Vatican gossip.  But I am interested in the future.

I'm interested in seeing that the next generation on this planet has a future.  And I'm therefore appalled by the corruption in the Catholic church insofar as that corruption now translates into political activity of an entirely destructive and evil sort among powerful American Catholics who are the very embodiment of the ideological purity movement within the Catholic church that resists reform.

And who may well be marching us to destruction at this moment of history--all of us throughout the world--if they achieve their goal of using Catholic votes to secure a GOP victory this fall. 

*There's a note today at the NCR site which says they're undergoing site maintenance.  I've found the site persistently difficult to access for several days now.  I want to mention this because it's entirely possible the links to NCR stories I'm posting here won't be working consistently as you try to access them.  If that's the case, I'd recommend trying to click on them again at a later moment to see if they're working.

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