Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vati-Leaks: The Titanic Has Hit The Ice Berg And The Crew Is In A Panic As The Captain Pretends It's All A Drill

This Church is in Northern Italy in Mirandola and was destroyed by yesterday's earthquake.  It's a real time symbol of the different kind of earthquake which has hit Vatican city.

I don't find it all that surprising that things are trending toward paranoia and panic in Vatican City.  That tends to happen when lots of people have lots to hide and all of a sudden the circles of silence, complicity, and trust based on mutual dirt, are suddenly exposed for the fragile things they are.  The Church may have been built on a rock, but the Vatican has been built on sand.  Thank God, for the winds of the Holy Spirit will have an easier time reforming the whole system.

The Curia is in a state of panic as rumours circulate about camera phones potentially being banned in the Vatican

Andrea Tornielli - Vatican Insider - vatican city- 5/29/2012
“The atmosphere is poisonous, heavy. Some claim that in the future we won’t be able to take mobile phones with inbuilt cameras into the Vatican.” The ban on camera phones is just a rumour that has been circulating around the Secretariat of State in the last few days, which have been the most difficult in the Vatican in recent years. “Somehow this is even worse than the storm caused by the Church paedophilia scandal,” said a priest who entered the great gate of Porta Angelica with brisk fearful steps.

Talking moles

Many outside the Vatican doubt the guilt of Paolo Gabriele, the Pope’s butler and no one seems to think he could have master-minded the leak of documents published in journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi’s book. We do not know the extent of his involvement yet. If the inquiry remains at this level, the doubts will inevitably grow. The net of moles, which allegedly includes a number of people, struck again, giving once more the same motives that had been put forward by the famous investigative reporter in the pages of “Sua santità” (His Holiness). The leak of Benedict XVI’s confidential papers could apparently have been an act to help the Pope. Few believe this to be true, mostly because the Vatileaks scandal has managed to besmirch the Holy See as a whole and its image is now in tatters.

Infamous dismissal

Yesterday Fr. Lombardi claimed that there is no connection between the motion of no confidence in the Vatican Bank’s former president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and the Vatileaks issue. On Thursday the IOR’s lay supervisory council removed the banker who had been chosen by Cardinal Bertone in September 2009 and who was also a leading writer for Vatican daily broadsheet L’Osservatore Romano as well as a friend of the newspaper’s director, Gian Maria Vian. The next day the committee of cardinals met to ratify the vote, but no statement regarding their verdict has been released as yet. The very harsh letter by Carl Anderson, one of the four board members, containing the reasons behind the dismissal of Gotti Tedeschi, whose professional image has been destroyed, was intentionally published. The banker was also accused of not “ explaining the distribution of certain documents” he kept. The way he was dismissed is brand new in the history of the Holy See and could have major repercussions, if and when Gotti Tedeschi will decide to speak up.

Is it time for the cardinal to retire?

According to the moles, the real target of the Vatileaks operation, is allegedly the Vatican Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. The whole thing would have been orchestrated to pressure him into retiring. However, objectively speaking, the explosion of the Vatileaks scandal seems far too extreme for its aim to be the simple removal of a cardinal who will turn 78 in December. Unless one were to believe (and some do) that the ambitions of those who would like to take his place might be the hidden motive behind the storm that is raging inside and outside the Curia and if we were to look even further, perhaps we would find the power struggle for the succession of the ageing Pope at the root of the problems. Ratzinger wanted Bertone by his side because he trusts him and has no intention of removing him, even though the cardinal himself offered to resign. His management of the Secretariat of State has been the target of heavy criticism. However, as happened before, in times of crisis, the ecclesiastical institution has clammed up to protect its clerics. (Absolutely, it's always to protect the clerics and has very little to do with 'protecting the Church from scandal'.)

Pope's secretary targeted
Fr. Georg Gänswein, Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, is facing a difficult time, since Paolo Gabriele had worked alongside him in the papal apartments for six years. Fr. Georg’s influence has grown in the last two years as have the rumours concerning attempts to drive him away from the Pope, such as his possible appointment as bishop in Germany, now that the Diocese of Regensburg is to become vacant and its current bishop is to become cardinal in Rome and cover a different office. But there are very few who believe that the Pope will get rid of his trusted secretary.


Virtually everything the Vatican has done in so many different area has been designed to protect the clerical system, not shepherd God's Church.  In the last 20 or so years nothing has angered me more than the obvious decision to sacrifice the church on the altar of maintaining the all male celibate priesthood.  I can't for one minute believe that the men who run Roman Catholicism can't see that they are killing the spirit of this Church in maintaining this policy.  Until the clerical system is completely rethought there will be no change in any of the sexual or gender issues because this current system is founded in sexual purity and a gender identity which believes men are both superior to and victims of the feminine.  Gay marriage is a no go because this priesthood can not survive without gay priests and it will not attract gay priests if gay men can marry. 

It's disheartening to witness this implosion, and it's also true that the old must make way for the new.  We can not put new wine into old wine skins. 


  1. I feel sorry for the parishoners who have lost their church because of the earthquake. I don't feel sorry for any of players in the Vatican Curial Earthquake. Somebody I love and respect said, "The truth shall set you free." The Holy Sprit seems to be at work making the Roman church free so that it can fulfill its mission of bringing Jesus' love to the whole world, not just for the many (ie) the included few.

  2. I recall reading that the parish priest of Rovereto di Novi (a nearby town) was also a victim. He had gone back in after the quake to retrieve a statue of the Madonna from the building when a beam from the ceiling fell.

    Whereas I am humbled by the sacrifice made by Don Ivo, I cannot escape the symbolism of clergy attempting to rescue a relic of the past from an empty church only to be struck down as the structure collapses.

    1. Tim,

      There is indeed some unhappy synergy in Fr. Ivo losing his life rescuing a statue.


  3. Interesting that we have not heard from Screamin' Bill Donohue about Vati-leaks (we could also call it Vati-gate or Vati-opoli.) Maybe he's too busy creating political distractions with all of this.

    1. You're right. I like that. "Screamin' Bill is out convincing folks that the USA bishops' religious freedom is being stolen by BHO.

  4. Religion is boring.

  5. There's nothing GAY about these closeted homosexuals in the Church...especially those in the hierarchy who have become like J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn....they have become self-hating, anti-gay misogynists holding onto to their clerical privileges and power at all costs....they do terrible damage to the People of God, both gay and straight with their inhuman spirit destroying sexual theology......they have been dehumanized and oppressed by the very same life destroying system that they perpetuate.....feeling compassion for them is not my first emotion in their regard.....getting them out of their positions of power over others should be the first order of business.....then perhaps we can discuss how to support their healing....Michael Ferri

    1. Assuming that your premise is correct (and I am not arguing the point) and the first order of business is to remove those in senior leadership from office, how exactly would you go about that?

      I ask because I read in many places how laity are seeing that there is something desperately wrong with the status quo within the Roman Church and that substantive, mayhap even radical change must occur for survival of the Church. What I DON'T hear is how bring about that change in a hierarchical structure as rigid and unfettered by accountability as the Roman Church.

      I'm not saying it can't be done, not saying it shouldn't be done, not saying it won't be done. I just to know how people see the possibility.

    2. Good luck on fantasies about that kind of change.

      Leave now. Just get up, dust off your boots and decamp to a church that isn't quite so dysfunctional. They do exist - not perfectly, but head and shoulders about this den of vipers and mind-dead sheeple.

  6. Dear Tim,

    I am sorry to have created some confusion here....I was not offering a plan for change within the Church regarding the hierarchy...I have no illusions, we are not going to get those guys out of their roost in Rome - JPII & Benedict saw to that by packing the College of Cardinals with conservative feelings about the hierarchy are somewhat mixed....I myself am gay and an ex-seminarian so I can understand to a point how some of these guys are themselves victims of their own sexual theology all the while oppressing others by enforcing their literalist anti-sexual interpretation of Biblical sexual teaching....I was speaking out loud in a sense asking myself whether I could feel compassion for these screwed up hierarchs but realized that compassion was not my first first response is to get them out of their positions of abusive power and take away their ability to spread their ignorant sexual teachings...then perhaps I could feel some compassion for them and help to address their psycho-sexual to HOW that is to be done, I don't have any more answers than anyone this point each of us has to deal with this conundrum in our own way...hence we come together here on Colleen's blog and other places like Bilgrimage to support each other and to urge change from the margins where we find ourselves....I hope that I will eventually find a group or community where I will feel spiritually at home...culturally Roman Catholicism is tied into my Italian American family identity...I am comfortable with that and certainly don't expect that part to change....Michael Ferri

  7. Ctd.....The only possibility I see for change will come from the progressive laity, nuns, priests, bishops, cardinals breaking away from Rome - as in schism - to found new forms of more loosely organized communities that welcome more lay participation in liturgy, women priests, gay and lesbian people as laity and priests, married priests, dropping of Papal infallibility, democratically elected bishops ( as was historically done), dropping of literalist interpretation of Scriptures, re-examination of sexuality with stress on golden rule type of sexual ethics instead of sexual prohibitions, re-committing to liberation theology/ the social gospel, actively opposing unjust wars and the death penalty, allowing contraception and working to educate and support not just women but men also in making ethical reproductive decisions to avoid abortion (as opposed to just legal prohibitive approaches) which will help to end our present societal war of pro-life vs pro-choice, joining in inter-faith alliances with other religious traditions, etc, etc..let the Pope, and the hierarchy along with their fundamentalist adherents continue to shrink in numbers and authority until the winds of change sweep through the decaying institution.....what will spark this schism I cannot may never come in my life can only have hope.....Michael Ferri

    1. Really honest comment Mike. At this point I don't think we can make definitive statements. The Spirit blows the way the Spirit blows. I do know this though, the Church of the future will place a whole lot more emphasis on the spiritual power of the group, not the individual. Jesus said, 'where two or more are gathered in my name'. In the future we will begin to understand the truth of this statement, and how those two or two million can have a pronounced effect on the reality we experience. Historically Catholicism has been 'sold' on saving our own individual souls. I'm not at all surprised that the culture coming from the West is all about individualism. Unfortunately this was never right, and won't be the world view of the future. The future is about 'saving the soul' of all of us all together. That's why this current Catholic definition of priesthood holds no answers. The power is truly in the people.

      My native friend has a saying that I think is really profound. "The people know what's wrong. The people know how to fix it." Sometimes the biggest obstacle is the 'people don't know they know how to fix it' because they have been conditioned to think they have no power. Not true. We will find a way.

  8. MIchael and Tim,

    Very interesting. I have some good friends who are championing the home church, using married priests. I am interested in the "priesthood of the laity" concept as well. What strikes me most is that this wheel may have already been invented by our conservative brethren in response to the upheaval of Vatican II. They seemed to find ways to form a para church but not leave the main structure. They kept their forms of worship alive, and they grew from the struggle.

    (Side note: The reform of the reform has led me to believe that any liturgical form that leads one to Christ, and by their fruits you shall know them, is blessed and good. And imperfect. This includes Lutherans, Baptists, Muslims, Hindu, and more. Not too sure about Druids, and thankful it's not my job to decide.)

    So far, here's what I have for myself:
    There must be liturgy, as bread for the journey.
    There must be community, mostly for accountability.
    There must be service to others as a primary goal.
    I don't think leaving the main church is faithful, but mental health breaks seem de rigeur for now.
    The hierarchy will not topple, but they'll morph if they have to to stay in charge. That means membership in the main church is a service, a giving rather than a receiving. and it probably means more speaking out than I would like. Michael, I think I'm just rephrasing you in smaller words.

    I'm interested to hear other opinions.

    Matt Connolly

  9. Replies
    1. Very profound Jim. It surely seems we who took Vatican II seriously have been forsaken. But we also know, when the curtain was ripped from the Temple the Resurrection came very soon and with very powerful results which changed an entire world view of God and how one understood that God. The voice of the Spirit may be muffled, but when all that back pressure is released, the winds will blow down more than one illusion.

  10. "Virtually everything the Vatican has done in so many different area has been designed to protect the clerical system, not shepherd God's Church."

    A Church of protestant theology, condoms, priestesses and abortion will shepherd so much better than the Church of orthodox theology, nfp, priests and newborns?

    I don't think I've ever seen you actually state your case with anything more systematic than rhetoric. Perhaps the case needs to be stated clearly?

  11. I just noticed this line near the end!

    "Gay marriage is a no go because this priesthood can not survive without gay priests and it will not attract gay priests if gay men can marry."

    Wow. That is extraordinarily bigoted and insulting.