Category Archives: The Vatican

“Washington’s Pope”? Who is Pope Francis I? Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Argentina’s “Dirty War”

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, March

bergolio
The Vatican conclave has elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I
Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio? 
In 1973, he had been appointed “Provincial” of Argentina for the Society of Jesus.
In this capacity, Bergoglio was the highest ranking Jesuit in Argentina during the military dictatorship led by General Jorge Videla (1976-1983).
He later became bishop and archbishop of Buenos Aires. Pope John Paul II elevated him to the title of cardinal in 2001
When the military junta relinquished power in 1983, the duly elected president Raúl Alfonsín set up a Truth Commission pertaining to the crimes underlying the “Dirty War” (La Guerra Sucia).
The military junta had been supported covertly by Washington.
US. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger played a behind the scenes role in the 1976 military coup.
Kissinger’s top deputy on Latin America, William Rogers, told him two days after the coup that “we’ve got to expect a fair amount of repression, probably a good deal of blood, in Argentina before too long.” … (National Security Archive, March 23, 2006)
“Operation Condor”
Ironically, a major trial opened up in Buenos Aires on March 5, 2013 a week prior to Cardinal Bergoglio’s investiture as Pontiff. The ongoing trial in Buenos Aires is: “to consider the totality of crimes carried out under Operation Condor, a coordinated campaign by various US-backed Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s to hunt down, torture and murder tens of thousands of opponents of those regimes.”
(Photo above: Henry Kissinger and General Jorge Videla (1970s)
The military junta led by General Jorge Videla (left) was responsible for countless assassinations, including priests and nuns who opposed military rule following the CIA sponsored March 24, 1976 coup which overthrew the government of Isabel Peron:
”Videla was among the generals convicted of human rights crimes, including “disappearances”, torture, murders and kidnappings. In 1985, Videla was sentenced to life imprisonment at the military prison of Magdalena.”
Wall Street and the Neoliberal Economic Agenda
One of the key appointments of the military junta (on the instructions of Wall Street) was the Minister of Economy, Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, a member of Argentina’s business establishment and a close friend of David Rockefeller.
The neoliberal macro-economic policy package adopted under Martinez de Hoz was a “carbon copy” of that imposed in October 1973 in Chile by the Pinochet dictatorship under advice from the “Chicago Boys”, following the September 11, 1973 coup d’Etat and the assassination of president Salvador Allende.
Wages were immediately frozen by decree. Real purchasing power collapsed by more than 30 percent in the 3 months following the March 24, 1976 military coup. (Author’s estimates, Cordoba, Argentina, July 1976). The Argentinean population was impoverished.
Under the helm of Minister of Economy Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, central bank monetary policy was largely determined by Wall Street and the IMF. The currency market was manipulated. The Peso was deliberately overvalued leading to an insurmountable external debt. The entire national economy was precipitated into bankruptcy.
(See Image right: From left to right: Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz, David Rockefeller and General Jorge Videla)
Wall Street and the Catholic Church Hierarchy
Wall Street was firmly behind the military Junta which waged “The Dirty War” on its behalf. In turn, the Catholic Church hierarchy played a central role in sustaining the legitimacy of the military Junta.
The Order of Jesus –which represented the Conservative yet most influential faction within the Catholic Church, closely associated with Argentina’s economic elites– was firmly behind the military Junta, against so-called “Leftists” in the Peronista movement.
“The Dirty War”: Allegations directed Against Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Condemning the military dictatorship (including its human rights violations) was a taboo within the Catholic Church. While the upper echelons of the Church were supportive of the military Junta, the grassroots of the Church was firmly opposed to the imposition of military rule.
In 2005, human rights lawyer Myriam Bregman filed a criminal suit against Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, accusing him of conspiring with the military junta in the 1976 kidnapping of two Jesuit priests.
Several years later, the survivors of the “Dirty War” openly accused Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of complicity in the kidnapping of priests Francisco Jalics y Orlando Yorio as well six members of their parish, (El Mundo, 8 November 2010)
(Image Left: Jorge Mario Bergoglio and General Jorge Videla)
Bergoglio, who at the time was “Provincial” for the Society of Jesus, had ordered the two “Leftist” Jesuit priests and opponents of military rule “to leave their pastoral work” (i.e. they were fired) following divisions within the Society of Jesus regarding the role of the Catholic Church and its relations to the military Junta.
While the two priests Francisco Jalics y Orlando Yorio, kidnapped by the death squads in May 1976 were released five months later. after having been tortured, six other people associated with their parish kidnapped as part of the same operation were “disappeared” (desaparecidos). These included four teachers associated with the parish and two of their husbands.
Upon his release, Priest Orlando Yorio “accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over [including six other people] to the death squads … Jalics refused to discuss the complaint after moving into seclusion in a German monastery.” (Associated Press, March 13, 2013, emphasis added),
“During the first trial of leaders of the military junta in 1985, Yorio declared, “I am sure that he himself gave over the list with our names to the Navy.” The two were taken to the notorious Navy School of Mechanics (ESMA) torture center and held for over five months before being drugged and dumped in a town outside the city. (See Bill van Auken, “The Dirty War” Pope, World Socialist Website and Global Research, March 14, 2013
Among those “disappeared” by the death squads were Mónica Candelaria Mignone and María Marta Vázquez Ocampo, respectively daughter of the founder of of the CELS (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales) Emilio Mignone and daughter of the president of Madres de Plaza de Mayo, Martha Ocampo de Vázquez. (El Periodista Online, March 2013).
María Marta Vásquez, her husband César Lugones (see picture right) and Mónica Candelaria Mignone allegedly “handed over to the death squads” by Jesuit “Provincial” Jorge Mario Bergoglio are among the thousands of “desaparecidos” (disappeared) of Argentina’s “Dirty War”, which was supported covertly by Washington under “Operation Condor”. (See memorialmagro.com.ar)
In the course of the trial initiated in 2005:
“Bergoglio [Pope Francis I] twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in open court, and when he eventually did testify in 2010, his answers were evasive”: “At least two cases directly involved Bergoglio. One examined the torture of two of his Jesuit priests — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — who were kidnapped in 1976 from the slums where they advocated liberation theology. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads… by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Jalics refused to discuss it after moving into seclusion in a German monastery.” (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2005)
“Holy Communion for the Dictators” 
The accusations directed against Bergoglio regarding the two kidnapped Jesuit priests and six members of their parish are but the tip of the iceberg. While Bergoglio was an important figure in the Catholic Church, he was certainly not alone in supporting the Military Junta.
According to lawyer Myriam Bregman: “Bergoglio’s own statements proved church officials knew from early on that the junta was torturing and killing its citizens”, and yet publicly endorsed the dictators. “The dictatorship could not have operated this way without this key support,” (Los Angeles Times, April 1, 2005 emphasis added)
(Image right: General Jorge Videla takes communion. Sources indicate from Jorge Mario Bergoglio, unconfirmed)
The entire Catholic hierarchy was behind the US sponsored military dictatorship. It is worth recalling that on March 23, 1976, on the eve of the military coup:
“Videla and other plotters received the blessing of the Archbishop of Paraná, Adolfo Tortolo, who also served as vicar of the armed forces. The day of the takeover itself, the military leaders had a lengthy meeting with the leaders of the bishop’s conference. As he emerged from that meeting, Archbishop Tortolo stated that although “the church has its own specific mission . . . there are circumstances in which it cannot refrain from participating even when it is a matter of problems related to the specific order of the state.” He urged Argentinians to “cooperate in a positive way” with the new government.” (The Humanist.org, January 2011, emphasis added)
In an interview conducted with El Sur, General Jorge Videla, who is now serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity confirmed that:
“He kept the country’s Catholic hierarchy informed about his regime’s policy of “disappearing” political opponents, and that Catholic leaders offered advice on how to “manage” the policy. 
Jorge Videla said he had “many conversations” with Argentina’s primate, Cardinal Raúl Francisco Primatesta, about his regime’s dirty war against left-wing activists. He said there were also conversations with other leading bishops from Argentina’s episcopal conference as well as with the country’s papal nuncio at the time, Pio Laghi.
“They advised us about the manner in which to deal with the situation,” said Videla” (Tom Henningan, Former Argentinian dictator says he told Catholic Church of disappeared, Irish Times, July 24, 2012, emphasis added)
It is worth noting that according to a 1976 statement by Archbishop Adolfo Tortolo, the military would always consult with a member of the Catholic hierarchy in the case of the “arrest” of a grassroots member of the clergy. This statement was made specifically in relation to the two kidnapped Jesuit priests, whose pastoral activities were under the authority of Society of Jesus “provincial” Jorge Mario Bergoglio. (El Periodista Online, March 2013).
In endorsing the military Junta, the Catholic hierarchy was complicit in torture and mass killings, an estimated “22,000 dead and disappeared, from 1976 to 1978 … Thousands of additional victims were killed between 1978 and 1983 when the military was forced from power.” (National Security Archive, March 23, 2006).
The Role of the Vatican
The Vatican under Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II played a central in supporting the Argentinian military Junta.
Pio Laghi, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio to Argentina admitted “turning a blind eye” to the torture and massacres.
Laghi had personal ties to members of the ruling military junta including General Jorge Videla and Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera.
(See image left. Vatican’s Nuncio Pio Laghi and General Jorge Videla)
Admiral Emilio Massera in close liaison with his US handlers, was the mastermind of “La Guerra Sucia” (The Dirty War). Under the auspices of the military regime, he established:
“an interrogation and torture centre in the Naval School of Mechanics, ESMA [close to Buenos Aires], … It was a sophisticated, multi-purpose establishment, vital in the military plan to assassinate an estimated 30,000 “enemies of the state”. … Many thousands of ESMA’s inmates, including, for instance, two French nuns, wereroutinely tortured mercilessly before being killed or dropped from aircraft into the River Plata.
Massera, the most forceful member of the triumvirate, did his best to maintain his links with Washington. He assisted in the development of Plan Cóndor, a collaborative scheme to co-ordinate the terrorism being practised by South American military régimes. (Hugh O’Shaughnessy, Admiral Emilio Massera: Naval officer who took part in the 1976 coup in Argentina and was later jailed for his part in the junta’s crimes, The Independent, November 10, 2010, emphasis added)
Reports confirm that the Vatican’s representative Pio Laghi and Admiral Emilio Emilio Massera were friends.
(right: Admiral Emilio Massera, architect of “The Dirty War” received by Pope Paul VI at the Vatican)
The Catholic Church: Chile versus Argentina
It is worth noting that in the wake of the military coup in Chile on September 11,1973, the Cardinal of Santiago de Chile, Raul Silva Henriquez openly condemned the military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet. In marked contrast to Argentina, this stance of the Catholic hierarchy in Chile was instrumental in curbing the tide of political assassinations and human rights violations directed against supporters of Salvador Allende and opponents of the military regime.
The man behind the interfaith Comité Pro-Paz was Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez. Shortly after the coup, Silva, … stepped into the role of “upstander,”a term the author and activist Samantha Power coined to distinguish people who stand up to injustice—often at great personal risk—from “bystanders.”
… Soon after the coup, Silva and other church leaders published a declaration condemning and expressing sorrow for the bloodshed. This was a fundamental turning point for many members of the Chilean clergy… The cardinal visited the National Stadium and, shocked by the scale of the government crackdown, instructed his aides to begin collecting information from the thousands flocking to the church for refuge.
Silva’s actions led to an open conflict with Pinochet, who did not hesitate to threaten the church and the Comité Pro-Paz. (Taking a Stand Against Pinochet: The Catholic Church and the Disappeared pdf)
Had the Catholic hierarchy in Argentina and Jorge Mario Bergoglio taken a similar stance to that of Cardinal Raul Silva Henriquez, thousands of lives would have been saved.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was not, in the words of Samantha Powers, a “bystander”. He was complicit in extensive crimes against humanity.
Neither is Pope Francis “a Man of the People” committed to “helping the poor” in the footsteps ofSaint Francis of Assisi, as portrayed in chorus by the Western media mantra. Quite the opposite: his endeavors under the military Junta, consistently targeted progressive members of the Catholic clergy as well as committed human rights activists involved in grassroots anti-poverty programs.
In supporting Argentina’s “Dirty War”, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has blatantly violated the very tenets of Christian morality which cherish the value of human life.
“Operation Condor” and the Catholic Church
The election of Cardinal Bergoglio by the Vatican conclave to serve as Pope Francis I will have immediate repercussions regarding the ongoing “Operation Condor” Trial in Buenos Aires.
The Church was involved in supporting the military Junta. This is something which will emerge in the course of the trial proceedings. No doubt, there will be attempts to obfuscate the role of the Catholic hierarchy and the newly appointed Pope Francis I, who served as head of Argentina’s Jesuit order during the military dictatorship.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio: “Washington’s Pope in the Vatican”? 
The election of Pope Francis I has broad geopolitical implications for the entire Latin American region.
In the 1970s, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was supportive of a US sponsored military dictatorship.
The Catholic hierarchy in Argentina supported the military government. The Junta’s program of torture, assassinations and ‘disappearances” of thousands of political opponents was coordinated and supported by Washington under the CIA’s “Operation Condor”.
Wall Street’s interests were sustained through Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz’ office at the Ministry of Economy.
The Catholic Church in Latin America is politically influential. It also has a grip on public opinion. This is known and understood by the architects of US foreign policy as well as US intelligence.
In Latin America, where a number of governments are now challenging US hegemony, one would expect –given Bergoglio’s track record– that the new Pontiff Francis I as leader of the Catholic Church, will play de facto, a discrete “undercover” political role on behalf of Washington.
With Jorge Bergoglio, Pope Francis I in the Vatican –who faithfully served US interests in the heyday of General Jorge Videla and Admiral Emilio Massera– the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Latin America can once again be effectively manipulated to undermine “progressive” (Leftist) governments, not only in Argentina (in relation to the government of Cristina Kirschner) but throughout the entire region, including Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.
The instatement of “a pro-US pope” occurred a week following the death of president Hugo Chavez.
“Regime Change” at the Vatican
The US State Department routinely pressures members of the United Security Council with a view to influencing the vote pertaining to Security Council resolutions.
US covert operations and propaganda campaigns are routinely applied with a view to influencing national elections in different countries around the World.
Similarly, the CIA has a longstanding covert relationship with the Vatican.
Did the US government attempt to influence the outcome of the election of the new pontiff?
Firmly committed to serving US foreign policy interests in Latin America, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was Washington’s preferred candidate.
Were undercover pressures discretely exerted by Washington, within the Catholic Church, directly or indirectly, on the 115 cardinals who are members of the Vatican conclave?
Author’s Note
From the outset of the military regime in 1976, I was Visiting Professor at the Social Policy Institute of the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina. My major research focus at the time was to investigate the social impacts of the deadly macroeconomic reforms adopted by the military Junta. 
I was teaching at the University of Cordoba during the initial wave of assassinations which also targeted progressive grassroots members of the Catholic clergy.
The Northern industrial city of Cordoba was the center of the resistance movement. I witnessed how the Catholic hierarchy actively and routinely supported the military junta, creating an atmosphere of intimidation and fear throughout the country. The general feeling at the time was that Argentinians had been betrayed by the upper echelons of the Catholic Church.
Three years earlier, at the time of Chile’s September 11, 1973 military coup, leading to the overthrow of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende, I was Visiting Professor at the Institute of Economics, Catholic University of Chile, Santiago de Chile.
In the immediate wake of the coup in Chile, I witnessed how the Cardinal of Santiago, Raul Silva Henriquez –acting on behalf of the Catholic Church– confronted the military dictatorship.

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The “Dirty War” Pope

16 March 2013
For over a week, the media has subjected the public to a tidal wave of euphoric banality on the Roman Catholic Church’s selection of a new pope.
This non-stop celebration of the dogma and ritual of an institution that for centuries has been identified with oppression and backwardness is stamped with a deeply undemocratic character. It is reflective of the rightward turn of the entire political establishment and its repudiation of the principles enshrined in the US Constitution, including the wall of separation between church and state.
What a far cry from the political ideals that animated those who drafted that document. It was Thomas Jefferson’s well-founded opinion that “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”
Jefferson’s view—and the reactionary character of the media’s sycophantic coverage—finds no more powerful conformation than in the identity of the new pope, officially celebrated as a paragon of “humility” and “renewal.”
Placed on the papal throne is not only another hard-line opponent of Marxism, the Enlightenment and all manner of human progress, but a man who is deeply and directly implicated in one of the greatest crimes of the post-World War II era—Argentina’s “Dirty War.”
Amid the pomp and ceremony Friday, the Vatican spokesman was compelled to address the past of the new Pope Francis—the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio. He dismissed the accusations against him as the work of “anti-clerical left-wing elements.”
That “left-wing elements” would denounce the complicity of the Church’s leaders in the “Dirty War” waged by the military junta that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983 is scarcely surprising. They accounted for many of the estimated 30,000 workers, students, intellectuals and others who were “disappeared” and murdered, and the tens of thousands more who were imprisoned and tortured.
But some of Bergoglio’s harshest critics come from within the Catholic Church itself, including priests and lay workers who say he handed them over to the torturers as part of a collaborative effort to “cleanse” the Church of “leftists.” One of them, a Jesuit priest, Orlando Yorio, was abducted along with another priest after ignoring a warning from Bergoglio, then head of the Jesuit order in Argentina, to stop their work in a Buenos Aires slum district.
During the first trial of leaders of the military junta in 1985, Yorio declared, “I am sure that he himself gave over the list with our names to the Navy.” The two were taken to the notorious Navy School of Mechanics (ESMA) torture center and held for over five months before being drugged and dumped in a town outside the city.
Bergoglio was ideologically predisposed to backing the mass political killings unleashed by the junta. In the early 1970s, he was associated with the right-wing Peronist Guardia de Hierro (Iron Guard), whose cadre—together with elements of the Peronist trade union bureaucracy—were employed in the death squads known as the Triple A (Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance), which carried out a campaign of extermination against left-wing opponents of the military before the junta even took power. Adm. Emilio Massera, the chief of the Navy and the leading ideologue of the junta, also employed these elements, particularly in the disposal of the personal property of the “disappeared.”
Yorio, who died in 2000, charged that Bergoglio “had communications with Admiral Massera, and had informed him that I was the chief of the guerrillas.”
The junta viewed the most minimal expression of opposition to the existing social order or sympathy for the oppressed as “terrorism.” The other priest who was abducted, Francisco Jalics, recounted in a book that Bergoglio had promised them he would tell the military that they were not terrorists. He wrote, “From subsequent statements by an official and 30 documents that I was able to access later, we were able to prove, without any room for doubt, that this man did not keep his promise, but that, on the contrary, he presented a false denunciation to the military.”
Bergoglio declined to appear at the first trial of the junta as well as at subsequent proceedings to which he was summoned. In 2010, when he finally did submit to questioning, lawyers for the victims found him to be “evasive” and “lying.”
Bergoglio claimed that he learned only after the end of the dictatorship of the junta’s practice of stealing the babies of disappeared mothers, who were abducted, held until giving birth and then executed, with their children given to military or police families. This lie was exposed by people who had gone to him for help in finding missing relatives.
The collaboration with the junta was not a mere personal failing of Bergoglio, but rather the policy of the Church hierarchy, which backed the military’s aims and methods. The Argentine journalist Horacio Verbitsky exposed Bergoglio’s attempted cover-up for this systemic complicity in a book that Bergoglio authored, which edited out compromising sentences from a memorandum recording a meeting between the Church leadership and the junta in November 1976, eight months after the military coup.
The excised statement included the pledge that the Church “in no way intends to take a critical position toward the action of the government,” as its “failure would lead, with great probability, to Marxism.” It declared the Catholic Church’s “understanding, adherence and acceptance” in relation to the so-called “Proceso” that unleashed a reign of terror against Argentine working people.
This support was by no means platonic. The junta’s detention and torture centers were assigned priests, whose job it was, not to minister to those suffering torture and death, but to help the torturers and killers overcome any pangs of conscience. Using such biblical parables as “separating the wheat from the chafe,” they assured those operating the so-called “death flights,” in which political prisoners were drugged, stripped naked, bundled onto airplanes and thrown into the sea, that they were doing “God’s work.” Others participated in the torture sessions and tried to use the rite of confession to extract information of use to the torturers.
This collaboration was supported from the Vatican on down. In 1981, on the eve of Argentina’s war with Britain over the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, Pope John Paul II flew to Buenos Aires, appearing with the junta and kissing its then-chief, Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, while saying not a word about the tens of thousands who had been kidnapped, tortured and murdered.
As Jefferson noted, the Church is “always in alliance with the despot,” as it was in backing Franco’s fascists in Spain, its collaboration with the Nazis as they carried out the Holocaust in Europe, and its support of the US war in Vietnam.
Nonetheless, the naming of a figure like Bergoglio as pope—and its celebration within the media and ruling circles—must serve as a stark warning. Not only are the horrific crimes carried out in Argentina 30 years ago embraced, those in power are contemplating the use of similar methods once again to defend capitalism from intensifying class struggle and the threat of social revolution.
Bill Van Auken

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Pope resigns amid deepening crisis for Catholic Church

By Bill Van Auken 
13 February 2013
Monday’s resignation of Joseph Ratzinger—Pope Benedict XVI—as head of the Catholic Church provoked statements of surprise and concern within ruling circles internationally.
These sentiments expressed by US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many others were not motivated fundamentally by any preoccupation with the personal fate of the 85-year-old Ratzinger.
Rather, what worries governments and financial elites is that the resignation is another indication of deep-going crisis within the Roman Catholic Church, one of the most critical bastions of social and political reaction worldwide.
A resignation by a sitting pope is unprecedented in the modern era. The last individual to voluntarily abdicate was Pope Celestine V, who quit after five months in 1294, declaring himself incompetent for the job. With the few exceptions of those forced out, every other pope has remained as head of the Church until death.
Ratzinger’s stated Monday that his deteriorating health had created an “incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
On Tuesday, however, the Vatican spokesman clarified that “Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign is not due to ill health but the inevitable frailty that comes with aging.” He added, “His general health was normal for a man nearing 86 years of age.”
Speaking to reporters in Germany, the pope’s brother, George Ratzinger, also said that his brother was “relatively well.” He pointed to concerns other than health.
“Within the church a lot of things happened, which brought up troubles, for example the relationship to the Pius Brotherhood or the irregularities with the Vatican, where the butler had let known indiscretions,” he said.
The reference to the Pius Brotherhood involved the ultra-right wing Catholic order founded by the French archbishop Marcel François Marie Joseph Lefebvre in virulent opposition to Vatican II, the ecumenical council convened in the early 1960s in an attempt by the Church hierarchy to make some adaptations to the political, social and cultural transformations of the post-World War II era.
Lefebvre and the Pius Brotherhood were identified with the most extreme forms of political reaction, defending the fascist regimes in Vichy France, Franco’s Spain and Salazar’s Portugal, as well as the military dictatorships of Jorge Videla in Argentina and Augusto Pinochet in Chile. In France, it backed the ultra-right wing nationalist Jean-Marie le Pen and strongly opposed immigration from Muslim countries.
Ratzinger, who had participated in and initially supported Vatican II, also became a determined opponent, particularly of those within the Church who cited its decisions to promote “liberation theology” in Latin America and elsewhere. He worked to reintegrate the Pius Brotherhood into the Church, lifting the ex-communication of four of its surviving bishops in 2009.
Then in the midst of this rapprochement, the Swiss head of the Pius Brotherhood, Bishop Bernard Fellay made a public speech describing Jews as the “enemies of the Church.”
Perhaps of more serious concern in the issues raised by Ratzinger’s brother is the so-called Vatileaks scandal involving internal Vatican documents, letters and diplomatic cables that were allegedly taken by the pope’s butler and leaked to Italian journalists.
These documents pointed to financial corruption in Vatican contracts and bitter divisions over measures being taken to comply with an investigation into money laundering by the Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank.
Included in the documents was a letter warning of a plot to murder Ratzinger. Mentioned in the letter was Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy See’s secretary of state and the Vatican’s second most senior figure. Sections of the Italian media cast the letter as proof of a bitter power struggle between the Italian wing of the Church and the German and Polish wing, which has held the papacy for the past 35 years.
At his trial, the butler, Paolo Gabriele, claimed that he had leaked the documents to fight “evil and corruption.” Sentenced by an Italian court in October 2012 to 18 months in prison for theft, he was turned over to the Vatican and pardoned by the pope after two and a half months.
The scandals swirling around the Vatican bank and the Church’s finances recalled nothing so much as the exceedingly brief reign of John Paul I who died suddenly just 33 days after being selected as pope. The mysterious death has been linked to an investigation into the Vatican Bank’s relations with Banco Ambrosiano, in which it was the major shareholder. That bank, involved in illegal financial operations and linked to both the Mafia and the secret and fascistic P2 lodge, suffered a multi-billion-dollar collapse in 1982.
The other major crisis hanging over Ratzinger was the ever-growing wave of sexual abuse charges brought by people molested and raped by priests in both the US and Western Europe. The revelations of both rampant abuse of children and the systematic cover-up of these crimes by the Church hierarchy has contributed to the rising alienation of Catholics from the Church. At the same time, it has fueled the Vatican’s financial crisis, with hundreds of millions of dollars, particularly from the Church in the United States—one of the principal sources of Vatican funding—going to financial settlements with the victims.
Ratzinger not only presided over the Church’s handling of the sex abuse scandals while pope, but had been placed in charge of handling the issue by his predecessor Karol Wojtyla, “the Polish pope.” At the time, then-Cardinal Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the successor institution to the Inquisition.
His ferocious pursuit in that capacity of “liberation theologists” and anyone within the Church questioning dogma on matters such as contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexuality, papal infallibility and celibacy for priests earned him the nicknames of “grand inquisitor” and, in German, the “Panzerkardinal.”
He was a bitter opponent not just of Marxism, but of all forms of philosophical materialism and the Enlightenment. He propagated backwardness and reaction, particularly in Europe, which he saw as the cultural heartland that was being lost to Catholicism. In the midst of the devastating economic crisis, he preached a renunciation of “materialism” and “sacrifice.”
In one of his last international tours, he visited both Mexico and Cuba, successfully lobbying their governments to dismantle barriers that were placed against the Catholic Church—historically the bulwark of oppression and reaction—by the revolutions in those countries. In Cuba, where the Vatican has functioned as a spearhead for the penetration of European and particularly Spanish capital, Ratzinger preached the efficacy of “market reforms.”
In the discussion of who will be Ratzinger’s successor, to be selected by the College of Cardinals made up largely of his appointees, it has been suggested that the next pope could be African.
Whether or not this happens, the suggestion itself is highly political and has an obvious precedent. In 1978, the Church tapped Wojtyla to serve as the first Polish pope at the outset of a deep-going crisis that was to lead to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Stalinist bureaucracies in Eastern Europe. Under Wojtyla’s papacy, the Church played an active role in this process. In particular, it worked to ensure that the powerful upsurge of Polish workers, which developed under the banner of the Solidarity movement, remained under the thumb of the Catholic Church and did not develop in an independent socialist direction.
The suggestion that an African could be picked as Ratzinger’s successor is intimately bound up with the turn by US and French imperialism and their NATO allies toward a new scramble for Africa aimed at using military force to impose neo-colonial control over the continent’s markets and resources at the expense of their rival, China.

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The cat-and-dog life of the Vatican


 
The cat-and-dog life of the Vatican. 47284.jpeg
The arrest of Paolo Gabriele, a Butler of Pope Benedict XVI, did not stop the leaks into the media of documents from the private correspondence of the pontiff. Some anonymous “friends of Paoletti” published hundreds of letters threatening to expose the “crow’s nest” of the Vatican, allegedly tasked with killing the Pope and the subsequent transfer of an Italian cardinal to the rank.
One of the first letters leaked into the media exposed the plot to kill the Pope. It is a letter of Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos in which he reported that the Italian Cardinal Paolo Romeo, Archbishop of Palermo (Sicily), has just completed a trip to China, during which he allegedly said: “The Pope will die within 12 months.” Castiglione wrote that Cardinal Bertone would be killed as well, and Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, would be elected a successor as head of the Church.
From the outset it was clear that the Vatileaks were not the work of a butler but much more high-ranking officials. Who is at the helm of the whistleblowers? There are two theories. One was voiced by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that suggested that the leak of information was the result of collusion between the private secretary of Pope, Father Georg Gänswein, and Vatican secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone. The paper stated that there was a constant stream of confidential correspondence from the personal archive of Monsignor Georg Gänswein, addressed to Cardinal Bertone. However, the paper provided no evidence of the tandem’s actions. This is supposedly a theory of a “friend of Paoletti” who told La Repubblica that the letter of Bertone to Gänswein, was signed, but the actual letters were missing.
Spanish El Pais has quite a different opinion that suggested that Padre Georg was innocent and fell victim of the clever butler who stole the archive containing letters and faxes from the personal correspondence of Benedict XVI. A customer was the abovementioned cardinal, an Italian Tarcisio Bertone.
The first person in this story is the pontiff’s personal secretary and confidant – 57-year-old German priestGeorg Gänswein, who was called “George Clooney” by Vanity Fair for his resemblance to a “true Aryan”. He receives and reads letters and faxes addressed to Benedict XVI. Monsignor Georg has been with the pontiff since 1996, when then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the former Inquisition), called him into his service. In recent years his influence on the Pope has increased dramatically, possibly due to frailty of the latter. It was he who initiated the arrest of the butler who was accused of stealing mail from the archive.
In the immediate vicinity of Benedict XVI, in addition to Gänswein, there is one more secretary for domestic issues, a Maltese priest Alfred Xuereb, four nuns, Sister Birgit who helps to deal with letters, and the abovementioned butler – Paolo Gabriele, who served and helped with household problems and accompanied the pontiff in all public and private visits. Of course, Paolo with dual Italian and German citizenship was an obvious candidate for a “scapegoat.” He was arrested on May 22 “for the theft and publication of classified documents.”
Finally, the third suspect in the intrigue is an old friend of the Pope and his right hand, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. However, in recent years, according to Italian press, he distanced himself from the Pope and even became a target for criticism from the rest of the Cardinals. He was accused of ambition, dangerous relationship with the Italian authorities and even for getting under the influence of the Masonic circles. To the advice to replace Cardinal Bertone the Pope sadly replied:” I am an old Pope …,”wrote ElPais. He tried to reconcile the Cardinals but in vain. The struggle became fiercer.
Do any of these individuals have grounds for the removal of the Pope? Not Paoletti, whose ancestors served in the Vatican, whose post will be inherited by his children, and whose family has a great deal of material privileges. Why would he risk his well-being and reputation? Another thing is power struggles and financial flows. Some media outlets wrote that it was a “typical Italian game.” Indeed, the Italian cardinals have been out of work since 1978. The Polish Pope (John Paul II) was the head of the Church from 1978 to 2005, and then he was replaced by a German pope (Benedict XVI). From this perspective, the Italian Bertone is a prime candidate for the role of the customer, and the German Gänswein is above suspicion. Even the letters condemning Bertoni fit this theory, for example, a letter of Cardinals Ruini, Scola, and Bagnasco. They were published in order to divert suspicion from him.
Today is indeed an opportune moment to raise an Italian into the ranks. Among the 122 cardinals eligible to vote in the conclave 67 are Europeans, 30 of which are Italians, and only six are Germans. It should be noted that the influence of the European cardinals is overwhelming. At the last consistory on February18, there were no African cardinals and only one of Latin America, although it accounts for 47 percent of Catholics around the world. In addition, virtually all positions of responsibility related to finances are in Italian hands. But what happens if the rank is given to an able-bodied ambitious non-Italian?
Pope Benedict XVI is hunted on all fronts. A more significant event was the dismissal of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, president of the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), known as the Vatican Bank. Tedeschi was prosecuted for “suspicion of violating rules against money laundering”, and he remains one of the few faithful to the Pope. What about the Pope? After several days of silence, he commented on Vatileaks. First, he reminded of the betrayal of Jesus 20 centuries ago, and then accused the media of exaggerating non-existent problem and confirmed that all his employees, including Cardinal Bertone, will continue to work at their posts.
In matters related to the Vatican, we may never know the truth. The Catholic Church for centuries has been developing methods of behind the scenes struggle and feels comfortable in the dark. Recently one of the cardinals said on the issue of conflict within the Church: “We had the same problem in the thirteenth century …” 
Lyuba Lulko

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