Friday, August 16, 2013

Of Band Aids and Banks.

The question for Pope Francis is will there be any surgery or just love, care, and band aids.

After I wrote my last post, I found myself incapable of writing much of anything else.  Part of my problem was utter chaos at my place of employment, a situation I knew would develop and fruitlessly tried to divert.  That took a lot of mental energy, but finally, I think a better path was taken--at least better than the first easy solution which would have been a band aid that only covered the dysfunction while not treating it.  I now wonder if the election of Francis really isn't just another band aid solution.  But first off some other thoughts about another story.

Pope Francis has furthered Pope Benedict's attempts to clean up the IOR, but I fear that too many of Francis' appointments include Opus Dei members or sympathizers.  Anyone who does any serious research into the decades of financial corruption at the Vatican can't help but notice how many Opus Dei or OD sympathizers were at the heart of some of the worst of those events.  I actually broke out laughing when Francis actually cited the Free Masons as one of his 'lobbies' involved at the Vatican when in point of fact the P2 Masonic Lodge involved in the Banco Ambrosio scandal had more than it's share of members who were listed as both OD and as high level Masons. Seems there is nothing like secret societies for engaging in shady business deals and other 'secret' stuff.  The more of these groups one belongs to the merrier it is.  The Catholicism of the 20th century has been rife with creation of lay apostolates with charisms that bring them into contact with rich or powerful people ostensibly for the purpose of evangelization, but too often function more as brokerage firms for people with 'special needs'.

Given this it wasn't particularly shocking to learn that Msgr Nunzio Scarano, he who is currently in an Italian prison for various misuses of the Vatican bank, was a member of yet another small group with connections to the wealthy and allegedly criminal wealthy.  The following is from a CNA account:

...Italian newspaper “Il Mattino” reports that Msgr. Scarano was entrusted with the management of a network of real estate activities for the spiritual family “L'opera del gregge del Bamin Gesù,” or “The works of the flock of the infant Jesus.”

“The Flock,” as it is known, was a sort of spiritual family formed in Salerno by a group of priests aged 40-50 who gathered around a visionary known by his first name, Caterina.

Msgr. Scarano is known to have been a member of The Flock, which was officially an association of prayer yet acted primarily as a private limited company managing a series of economic activities....

What ever the Flock was, it's most likely it's resident visionary had visions of investments of all sorts dancing in his head rather than visions of the baby Jesu.  Ahemmm.

In short, it bothers me that Pope Francis continues to stock his commissions with fervent OD members when I think he would be much better off stocking his commissions with agnostic secularists whose sole concern is ethical bank management.  They would be much more trustworthy in separating what is Caesar's from what is God's.  Mixing the two has never done the Vatican much good----except for the fact lay Apostolates like OD and the Neo Cats are very good at upholding the necessity of the ordained priesthood, which brings me back to thoughts of bandaids.

Finally, I would like to hi light the current post at Iglesia Descalza.  Rebel Girl has a translation of an article by José María Castillo that is a reflection on the origin of the priesthood and it's future in Catholicism.  I find myself agreeing with Castillo that the future does not look encouraging for the our current priestly caste:

.....Of course, the end of the clergy can't be improvised. The change will probably happen not because of decisions coming from Rome but because life and the turn history takes will lead us to that -- to a Church composed of communities of believers, aware of their responsibility, united with their bishops (led by the Bishop of Rome), respecting the diverse peoples, nations, and cultures. And concerned above all with making the memory of Jesus visible and obvious. There are already many communities all over the world where, due to the lack of clergy, lay people are the ones who celebrate the Eucharist all by themselves. Because there are many Christians who are persuaded that the celebration of the Eucharist isn't a privilege of the priests but a right of the community. The process is underway. And I believe nobody will stop it....

I wish Pope Francis would read those last three sentences.  There's a piece of me that thinks he really is sort of a band aid elected to the Papacy to both cover over the deficiencies in the cultic priesthood and to continue it's current manifestation. If so Pope Francis will prove to be way too little way too late.  The process away from the cultic celibate priesthood is well underway and not even a charismatic pope like Francis is going to stop it.


  1. The Vatican Bank is a dangerous challenge for this Pope. JP I was murdered less than one month after declaring that one of his first major endeavors would be to clean up the Vatican Bank. Neither JP II nor Benedict took it on. I think they both had to know the true fate of JP I. To get more than a band aid approach, it will take lots of aid from the European Union. Don't count on much from the USA as Reagan - Bush financed the war on the Contra's from this bank and of course we would be interested in keeping this secret from the general public and out of the NY Times.

  2. Exactly Dennis. The US hasn't been the only country who has taken advantage of the IOR for nefarious purposes. Pope Francis also needs to do something with all the 'knights of this that and the other thing', but that too would be a dangerous step.

    JPII most certainly knew the true fate of JPI. His first days in office were spent putting various aspects of the IOR in his own name. Pretty sick and crazy stuff for the supposed Church founded by Jesus.

  3. As more and more comes out about St. JP II, people will have to wonder just what standards for Sainthood should be emulated. Lots more to be discovered about this saint!!!

  4. "The Catholicism of the 20th century has been rife with creation of lay apostolates with charisms that bring them into contact with rich or powerful people ostensibly for the purpose of evangelization, but too often function more as brokerage firms for people with 'special needs'.

    Is this situation possibly the flip side of what is happening in the social/economic community i. e. Corporatization; That these apostolates are the equivalent of 'privatization'; It seems that the few vocations are coming from these apostolates and not from the general public. Money and influence are also what these apostolates trade in and it is to them the vatican tries to court and match teachings to their preferences….making the individual rank and file catholic irrelevant....

    I can see the church splitting into tiers: those with priests and those without priests and the church not much caring how those who have nothing to trade in being left to their own devices.

    Does this sound too far out