|Right idea, wrong three cardinals.|
A very interesting article in the Telegraph UK which points to the fact the upcoming conclave is not going to be quite the unified love fest as was the last conclave. Whatever one thinks about a sitting pope resigning, one can't deny it has allowed some truth to spew forth from the Vatican sewer. I have excerpted the last half of the article for it's information on the report from the three cardinals Benedict commissioned to investigate the Vatileaks scandal. The first half deals with cardinals tainted by the sexual abuse scandal, a subject which is hardly news to American Catholics. Numerous global news agencies speculate it was the information in the cardinal's report which precipitated Pope Benedict's decision to resign.
Vatican conclave tainted by scandal before it even begins
..........The sex abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic Church over the last decade were so extensive that it was not surprising so many cardinal electors were mired in controversy, said Robert Mickens, a veteran Vatican analyst for The Tablet, the British Catholic weekly.
“If they banned all the cardinals who have mismanaged sex abuse or have been involved in other unsavoury business, they’d end up holding the conclave in a broom cupboard,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“But under Vatican laws, cardinals cannot be excluded from the conclave for any reason, even excommunication.” (Robert Mickens is just telling it the way it is.)
The airing of dirty laundry came as Vatican analysts said the cardinals would be desperate to elect as Pope a colleague who has been untouched by allegations of infighting, intrigue and dirty tricks campaigns between senior figures in the Holy See. (That should narrow down the field considerably.)
Evidence of poisonous feuding between rival power blocks was allegedly uncovered by three cardinals, including a senior member of Opus Dei, who were commissioned by Benedict to investigate the theft of confidential documents by the pope’s butler, amid suspicions that he did not act alone.
Their dossier, which was presented to the Pope in December, found evidence that there was a powerful gay lobby within the Holy See hierarchy, according to Ignazio Ingrao, a prominent Vatican analyst.
“The part of the report that shocked the Pope the most was that which brought to light the existence of a network of alliances and acts of blackmail of a homosexual nature in several areas of the Curia (the powerful Vatican bureaucracy),” he wrote on Thursday in Panorama, a respected news magazine.
The cardinals’ secret dossier was based on dozens of interviews conducted over eight months with cardinals, archbishops, bishops and priests from many nationalities.
Its findings will have a direct bearing on the conclave, argued Mr Ingrao. “The report will in effect be the 118th cardinal inside the conclave. It will be passed by Benedict to his successor and in all probability there will be a meeting between ‘the two Popes’ after the election (to discuss it).”
One of Italy’s biggest daily newspapers, La Repubblica, ran a strikingly similar front-page report alleging jockeying for power and blackmail against gay clerics.
Allegations of widespread homosexuality among the clergy in Rome have been made by an Italian investigative journalist, Carmelo Abbate, in a book entitled “Sex and the Vatican”.
Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, refused to comment on the reports.
A gay lobby found with in the Vatican being blackmailed by outsiders is not particularly shocking. It is almost inevitable given the official stances taken by Pope Benedict/Cardinal Ratzinger in the last thirty years on homosexuality. I've always believed defusing the blackmail potential was a big reason the US Military repealed DADT. This very same type of thing was a big reason J Edgar Hoover was able to keep himself in power for so long as head of the FBI. The Vatican is one of the few places left in western culture where gay blackmail still holds huge potential. For me it's a real reason for cardinals to rethink the Church approach to the GLBT community, and yet, I can also see where this story would play right into the hands of Opus Dei. Elect an Opus Dei pope and this kind of thing will be cleaned up in the Vatican curia. Zero tolerance and all that jazz. Sorry, I doubt very much that would happen anymore than the Church has stopped allowing gay men into the seminary. This particular corporate practice has been going on for too long and been too lucrative for too many powerful clergy for me to believe Opus Dei is really interested in killing this particular goose. The only way this goose is ever cooked is to recognize there is relational validity for gays to be in monogamous relationships with each other. In other words, if one legitimizes gay relationships the black mail potential is totally diffused. This would also necessitate relaxing clerical celibacy which is a source of blackmail in it's own right.
I have written before that I was hugely interested in what the report from Pope Benedict's three cardinals would reveal. I suspected it had a whole lot more in it than the ridiculous idea the lay butler and the lay IT guy were solely responsible for Vatileaks. It's beginning to look more and more like the Vatican is a cess pool of factions all backstabbing and blackmailing each other, and this apparently involves more than the Bertone vs Sodano factions or the Opus Dei vs Religious Order factions. Machiavelli would be proud. So would the CIA, the KGB and J Edgar for that matter.
This upcoming conclave may be a fork in the road for the 'princes of the Church'. They can elect a pope who will let the spirit of Machiavelli continue to run the Church, or they can, as a body, start to do something about cleaning up the corruption before they crucify one of their number with a papacy still bubbling with corrupted sex, power, and money. Whatever happens, this conclave is not shaping up to be a unified love fest.