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Posts Tagged ‘the Vatican’

According to The Washington Post, the leaked personal correspondence of the Pope, Joe Ratzinger, shows a “fractured Vatican,” filled with “tales of betrayal and rivalries, allegations of corruption and systemic dysfunction.” For example, the Pope’s appointment of Carlo Vigano as ambassador to the United States was a banishment of sorts perpetrated by forces in the Vatican hostile to reform. The Pope had intended that Vigano enact a series of reforms within the Vatican, but “some of Rome’s highest-ranking cardinals undercut the efforts and hastened Vigano’s exile to the United States,” according to the Post. Even the Pope’s own desire to reform the Vatican bank was undercut by “a culture that rejected even a modicum of transparency.” In a way, it was Ratzinger’s own insistence that his traditionalist/conservative ideology willow down the Church to the true flock that undercut his own reforms.

In 2006, the Pope had appointed Tarcisio Bertone as Secretary of State, the second most powerful position in the Vatican. It was no accident that Bertone had been the Pope’s “longtime doctrinal sidekick”—in other words, a partisan traditionalist ideologically. That Bertone had had no international experience was apparently not as much of a factor. That he used his position over the Vatican bank to eviscerate the Pope’s financial reforms oriented to transparency while keeping power for himself was apparently something in which the Pope himself had been kept in the dark. Put another way, being a fellow anti-Vatican II traditionalist was in Ratzinger’s mind all that counted for high-level appointees.

Vigano accused Bertone of obstructing the Pope’s reforms oriented to cleaning up “so many situations of corruption and abuse of power . . . rooted in the management of so many departments.” For example, the same firms habitually won contracts at almost double the cost charged outside the Vatican. As a result, the Pope’s very own butler felt compelled to take action. “Seeing evil and corruption everywhere in the church, I finally reached a point of degeneration, a point of no return, and could no longer control myself,” Gabriele explained to Vatican investigators. A shock, “perhaps through the media,” Gabriele continued, could “bring the church back on the right track.” Might the butler have been suffering from a bit of naivity, however? 

If the corruption and infighting, qualities that ought to have disqualified the Vatican from leading any Christian group, have been systemic in the Vatican, any “shock” would probably merely result in a defensive circling of the wagons by the insiders. Moreover, the shock was oriented to a symptom, rather than what undergirds the corruption. In particular, the ideological fixity or “litmus test” of the traditionalists could alternatively have been the target of the butler’s “shock and awe” campaign. Put another way, the dearth of “checks and balances” could be rooted not in the Secretary of State’s amassing of power, but, rather, in the hegemony of ideological identity. That is to say, the hypocrisy goes deeper than merely fighting in the name of the one who came to turn the other cheek and love his enemies. The underlying culprit is that of the selfish and intolerant insistence that one’s own ideological preference be the exclusive door through which everyone must pass.

 

For the article in The Washington Post, please see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/pope-benedict-xvis-leaked-documents-show-fractured-vatican-full-of-rivalries/2013/02/16/23ce0280-76c2-11e2-8f84-3e4b513b1a13_story.html   Jason Horowitz, “Pope Benedict XVI’s Leaked Documents Show Fractured Vatican Full of Rivalries,” February 17, 2013.

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“Speaking at the conference on Thursday, Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s point man for relations with the Anglicans, said ecumenism was strong but he alluded to problems. He acknowledged in a recent interview with the Vatican newspaper that Archbishop Williams had called him “in the middle of the night” after finding out at the last minute about the new Anglican rite. In the future, Cardinal Kasper said, such delicate issues “should be undertaken in the greatest possible transparency, tactfulness and mutual esteem in order not to entail meaningless tensions with our ecumenical partners.”

My reaction:  So Rowan Williams calls Walter Kasper at night after hearing that the Vatican intends to make it easier for Anglicans to convert and Walter is complaining about the call, as if that is the cause of the tension?   I raise this point because it illustrates a modern brain sickness of sorts.  The malady goes as follows: I insult you but I ignore the insult and treat your reaction as the problem.  The true culprit?  The principal sin, we are told, is pride.  What is particularly sordid is when the prince wears the aureole of self-righteousness as he points his fingers down.  How distant is Paul’s admonition not to make things harder on your brother.  That is to say, stop fighting, boys; it is quite unbecoming, particularly given the vocation you seek to claim for yourselves.  Having it both ways is not at all respectable. 

For more, pls see:  http://twitter.com/deligentia

Source:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/20/world/europe/20anglicans.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=catholic%20church&st=cse

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