Saturday, May 26, 2012

Vatileaks and Vatican Bank Fallout: A Brief Footnote

For those following the intertwined Vatileaks-Vatican Bank story, two brief footnotes to what I posted yesterday about the latest revelations in the story:

First, as Alessandro Speciale notes in his recent National Catholic Reporter article on the forced resignation of Vatican Bank director Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, right in the thick of things is the powerful American Catholic-political player Grant Knight Carl Anderson, who sits on the Vatican Bank supervisory council.  Carl Anderson, who, from his days as a legislative assistant to right-wing Republican North Carolina senator Jesse Helms, has enjoyed an exceptionally cozy relationship with key GOP political leaders in the U.S.

Carl Anderson, who has made the Knights of Columbus a virtual political arm of the Republican party in the U.S., amping up the Knights' financial support for the national anti-gay initiatives of the U.S. Catholic bishops while radically diminishing the amount that the Knights give to works of mercy such as feeding the hungry, healing the sick, sheltering the homeless, welcoming the stranger, etc.  Carl Anderson, who is intimately involved with the current faux religious liberty crusade of the U.S. Catholic bishops.

Carl Anderson, in short, a GOP political operative--and a highly placed and very important one, in the Catholic context--presenting himself as a religious leader.  As we look at anything involving the Vatican Bank, it would be extremely naive to overlook the fact that this highly placed GOP political operative and friend of the super-rich in the American Catholic church, who enjoys a special relationship to the USCCB, also sits on the advisory council of the Vatican Bank.

There's that footnote.  And then there's also the fact that the pope has chosen to bring a key figure of the equally powerful (and equally right-wing) movement Opus Dei to clean up the Vatileaks mess.  As Tom Kington reports in the Guardian yesterday, Cardinal Julian Herranz, former personal secretary to Opus Dei founder Josemaría Escrivá, has been brought in to clean up (or keep the lid on) the Vatileaks situation.

Opus Dei, which has exercised inordinate influence (and some would say, control) over the Catholic church at its top levels of leadership under the reigns of the last two pontiffs.  Opus Dei, whose membership is largely comprised of the 1% in Europe and North America, and which jealously guards information about who belongs to the group and how the group exercises its influence in the political sector of various societies, and in the church itself.

With the Supreme Knight and Opus Dei in the very thick of the clean-up process as the Vatileaks situation is dealt with, don't look for transparency, accountability, or reform.  Look for more of same.  Look for cover-up rather than any recognition that this embarrassing situation points to the deep corruption at the very top of the Catholic church, and requires addressing that corruption with an honest, gospel-based intent to reform.

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