Truth always seems so absent at the Vatican. Joseph Ratzinger leaves the papacy for his extensively refurbished convent as he arrived in Rome over thirty years before–up to his eyeballs in lies. The latest is the leaked claim he, and his constant companion, Georgeous Georg, whom the Pope just boosted suddenly into an Archbishopric, were just “shockingly informed” that a gay clique live on their tiny campus. Is it any surprise the bold butler seemed to distrust Georg? Next the Pope will be “shocked” when he learns some in the clique speak German as well as Italian. Really, your Holiness, you can find a better way to duck the dark truths rapidly being unveiled. The Gospels tell us the Apostles were often weak men. But few of them seem as bad as some of their purported successors. Who knows, though, Jesus was talking to someone when he demanded children be protected?
This last ditch effort by Benedict to blame his Vatican’s endless sins on gay persons is, at least, consistent for with his opportunistic career pattern and his early Third Reich formation. He arrived at the Vatican after helping feed his old “friend”, Hans Kung, to John Paul II’s inquisitorial lions in 1980. Fr. Hans Kung was too smart and intrepid, though, for both of these shameful and ambitious hierarchs whose constant concern for clerical child abusers is being sickenly disclosed on an almost daily basis. Typically gracious and candid, Fr. Kung spoke of his former university colleague, Joseph Ratzinger, this week as reported here at:
The seemingly unending and substantially unaddressed Vatican scandals of child abuse cover-ups, sexual blackmail, financial corruption and managerial incompetence have reached a tipping point making resignation the only option apparently. Shortly, on March 1, Cardinals reportedly will be told secretly what is in the confidential report of the three octogenerian Cardinal survivors of Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin and Franco. They have seen it all before, no doubt.
The next Pope will surely be bogged down for years in ongoing worldwide governmental investigations, civil litigation and criminal prosecutions of the Church’s hierarchy that are now beginning to mushroom. These challenges are already burdened by the overall dark legacy left by ex-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and his Polish predecessor, so concisely summarized by Dominican priest, Matthew Fox, a student of key theologian, M.-D. Chenu, who theologically guided Joseph Ratzinger and Karol Wotyla at Vatican II, accessible here:
Here’s what well-advised Cardinals who want to survive can and should do, in my view as an experienced international lawyer and lifelong Catholic.
First, they must read my unheeded brief advice to Pope Benedict XVI in the Washington Post in 2010, accessible here:
Cardinals then need to join together and block by a one-third vote any papal candidate, otherwise acceptable, that will not agree publicly BEFORE installation to take the following three actions:
(1) Serve only a three year term subject to re-election thereafter. Pope Benedict just proved by resigning that the papacy is not a lifelong position.
(2) Appoint now a special commission to identify and recommend within nine months needed structural and pastoral changes, with specific changes preliminarily listed now for the commission’s consideration.
(3) Implement the needed changes so identified at a worldwide council held away from Rome within six months of receipt of the special committee’s recommendations as described in my Washington Post article.
Alternatively, Cardinals can just consider giving the Vatican clique their blank papal proxies, then hire expensive criminal lawyers and pray for a miracle. How do they really think God will respond?
Typically, the “secret dossier” reportedly will not be publicly disclosed to the worldwide Catholic faithful whose contributions funded the report and the Cardinals’ opulent lifestyles. Catholics will once again have to wait until some of the slime is selectively leaked by conniving Cardinals. Why doesn’t Benedict not just release the full report now and give the new Pope a fighting chance to regain some of the diminishing trust of a majority of Catholics that Benedict lost so completely? It will be on the Internet eventually anyway!
As an experienced international lawyer, I am constantly surprised at how naive and/or ill advised so many Cardinals seem to be about their own personal prosecution risks. Now is the time to begin seriously to fix the Church, which will also surely reduce the risk of prosecution for many Cardinals. The Vatican clique seems to live in a legal fantasyland, perhaps hoping to forestall prosecutors for their few remaining years like Cardinal Bevilacqua did. Fine, but any Cardinals who plan to be around awhile need to wake up!
Just think about what’s coming in terms of governmental investigations in Australia, the USA (LA, Philly, Milwaukee, Washington DC, et al.) , Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, and other European nations, and eventually nations in Latin America, Asia and Africa as well. Criminal lawyers will certainly be busy.The U.S. Cardinals can expect to spend most of the next decade in courts, civil, criminal and/or bankruptcy, assuming any of them return to the USA after the conclave and forgo seeking “Cardinal Law” Vatican immunity protection now.
Unless Cardinals take real steps now in the next couple of weeks, it will be business as usual for the Vatican Cardinals clique once the other Cardinals leave Rome, as happened tragically after Vatican II and as Cardinal Martini recently warned in his final testament. Indeed, Cardinal Ottaviani, the “father” of the current Vatican clique, had two “friendly” theologians working on producing a misleadingly named “minority report” to undercut the 1966 Birth Control Commission report within hours of the Commission’s report being delivered to Paul VI favoring family planning, including contraception, as detailed thoroughly in Robert Blair Kaiser’s classic book, “The Politics Of Sex and Religion”, now available as a free e-book download at . Ottaviani and his progeny, including Joseph Ratzinger and Karol Wotyla, will have to account to their Maker for the millions of families who suffered needlessly because of their subverting of the Commission’s approval of sane contraceptive family planning to their hierarchical ambition and lust for power and whatever else Vatican celibates lust after, as we may find out depressingly on March 1 when fearful Cardinals start selectively leaking the secret dossier to try to benefit their papal candidate.
The imperial papacy was created coercively by Constantine and his successors beginning in the Fourth Century. It then served a purpose for over a millenium in a European monarchical world that ended with World War I. It no longer is needed and is so tainted with corruption and secrecy that it needs to go the way of other monarchies, as Cardinal Martini with his recent “200 year updating” final advice surely contemplated.
This will necessitate changing the Vatican administration into one that serves, as Jesus contemplated, rather than one that is served. No wonder the Vatican clique picked Cardinal Ratzinger over Cardinal Martini in 2005. The Church cannot wait any longer to adjust to its new freedom from external political and military pressure. This is an opportunity for a New Evangelization, not the last chance for the Vatican clique to tighten their grip.
A Bishop of Rome could still be maintained to preside over the current spiritual tourist Disneyworld with Vatican museums, parades, custumes, Swiss Guards, etc. A networked worldwide church linked by modern communication that returns to the accountable oversight of local leaders, male and female, popularly selected is long overdue. It is also the structure Jesus and his early followers intentionally left behind and one that would curtail most of the Church’s current shortcomings.
Pertinently, among some of the relevant guidelines generally ascribed to Jesus are that he was opposed to a self-important, excessively scrupulous and overly indulgent religious hierarchy and that he thought children should be protected from harm. These points have neither been consistently understood nor respected in the Vatican for decades, even for centuries. The “Good News”, or the Gospels, have often been disregarded by the Catholic hierarchy where a Renaissance culture of opulence and celibate incomprehension of children still predominate today.
Where in the Gospels did Jesus say predatory priests are to be protected before innocent children, like the Vatican has done for decades, if not centuries? Where did Jesus instruct his followers to wear expensive outfits paid for by donations? Where did Jesus tell his followers to launder money like Cardinals reportedly do through the Vatican Bank?
If, as Benedict has clearly indicated, a Pope should go if he is unable to perform his duties, should he be removed if he is unwilling to perform or performs badly? Should there be term limits or maximum age limits? Of course, the only logical answer is yes to all of these related questions. But the Vatican is run by power politics, not logic, or even spiritual values for that matter. Some Vatican Cardinal will likely leak soon the real reasons Benedict is retiring. Why couldn’t Benedict wait until his refurbished convent was ready? Benedict will meet soon with top Italian leaders who seem to be benefiting in their own election contests from the media attention on the Pope. Is an immunity deal in the air? In any event, the real story should be out soon.
It is time to restore Catholic leadership to the consensual approach that Jesus and early Catholics followed for over three centuries until Roman Emperors converted the Catholic Bishops, including the Pope, into an imperial bureaucracy dominated by a Vatican clique that dictated ruthlessly for 1,700 years, and still dictates, top-down to Catholics seemingly to fill the clique’s coffers.
Catholics will not likely in their lifetimes have a better opportunity than in connection with the papal election to reform the Church, and at the same time to protect children as Jesus commanded. It is time to restore the consensual church management structure that the overwhelming vote of Vatican II Cardinals and Bishops contemplated would be adopted a half century ago before a minority of Cardinals like Ottaviani, Wotyla, Ratzinger, Sodano, Bertone, Levada, Rigali, Mahony, Law, Burke, Bevilacqua, Brady, et al., subverted its implementation.
Pope John XXIII issued in 1962 the main secrecy order on priest child sex abuse. But he also realized that accountabilty had to be restored to save the Church. He took the first step by trying to get the Vatican Cardinals to share power with the worldwide bishops. He died soon therafter and the Vatican Cardinals’ clique rejected power sharing craftily. Since then, they have installed compliant Popes who like the papal prestige and are happy to do the clique’s bidding. But the democratic rule of law has run out of patience with clerical child abusers and Popes no longer have any effective political power, as the re-election of President Obama and papal political setbacks in the Philippines, Australia, the United Kingdom, France and elsewhere just proved.
The International Sheriff appears to be on his way to Rome and the Pope cannot hide for long with Georgeous Georg in a refurbished convent. Some of his own Cardinals, or his butler, may likely help nail him, it appears. Why didn’t the butler trust Georg? We may soon find out.
The Vatican clique’s unending stream of blunders, the latest including (1) appointing Cardinal Law’s former canon lawyer as chief Vatican prosecutor of predatory priests, (2) appointing as part-time Vatican Bank “chief” a German investment banker, who is reportedly also overseeing a major arms dealer, and (3) the shaming of Cardinal Mahony publicly, selectively and gratuitously, while others like Cardinals Brady and Rigali got a pass.
But at this point does any of this matter to most Catholics worldwide? While it may seem overly pessimistic to say so soon that the next Pope will likely fail too, it is just being realistic; and yet there is also room for much optimism. The papal resignation is tantamount to an admission of failure and will lead to de-mystification of the papacy quickly. Pope Benedict XVI, soon to again be non-Pontiff, Joseph Ratzinger, and his Vatican clique led by Cardinal Sodano et al., have already set the stage for the next failure.
The sudden call for a quick election conclave substantially diminishes any chance of a real opposition being mounted by non-Vatican Cardinals. Since the Pope apparently knew for some time he would resign, the suddenness seems well planned. Ratzinger will soon be living a few hundred yards away from the new Pope in his refurbished retirement base, hardly a monastery, where he can continue to dictate policy by remote control.
The reason for some optimism is that the Vatican clique’s apparent raw power grab will now just accelerate the sinking of the Vatican Titanic that much sooner. Even overly trusting Catholics will see through the hierarchical charade. Various prosecutors and survivors lawyers can now be expected to be able to reach Ratzinger, who may lose his legal immunity in less than a week. Once the rule of international law starts pulling hard directly on papal threads, the Vatican hierarchy can expect to be quickly uncovered and forced to initiate reforms, perhaps after some senior officials face prosecution, which is likely not too far off.
For example, longtime Vatican Cardinal Rigali is still at risk of prosecution in Philadelphia where his predecessor, Cardinal Bevilacqua, last year apparently escaped a likely imminent criminal indictment for child endangerment by dying first! Their hapless senior aide, Monsignor Lynn, took the fall so far and is in prison.
Catholics are not and should not be waiting on Cardinals. Australian and Irish Catholics have already gotten their governments to act.Now many from different faiths and no faith all across the USA, and even worldwide, including some of those harmed by the abuse of the deaf victims in Milwaukee, have already signed my petition calling on President Obama to step up. They have indicated they have had enough with the domination of local prosecutors and legislators by the Catholic hierarchy and its well paid apologists and lawyers. The UN Committee on Children’s severe criticism of President Obama’s Department of Justice and the U.S. Congress, echoed by SNAP, just reinforces the need for the national investigation commission that the petition requests.
More signatures, including yours, will help accelerate the establishment of the U.S. national investigation commission, especially important now when the Vatican may be at a turning point.
We all have a moral obligation to protect children and signing a petition is a simple, yet potentially effective, way towards meeting that obligation. Please take a minute and sign it at:
Please, as well, ask those you respect and who value children to sign it also. If you are active in a U.S. advocacy group, ask your leadership to support the petition. Similarly reticent progressive Catholic voices seem reluctant to press for the positive prospects of President Obama establishing a U.S. national investigation commission. With the UN Committee’s and SNAP’S lead, they need now to take a stand.
What are they all waiting for? Blogging, writing, debating and prayer, however admirable and well intentioned, have to date barely influenced the Vatican clique and their subservient U.S. Bishops on reforms and will likely do little more in the future, certainly in the near term as more children are raped by priests, while overly trusting Catholics continue to contribute enabling complicit bishops to protect priest pedophiles and predators perpetually.
It is a sad commentary on the docility and timidity of so-called progressive U. S. Catholics that a UN Committee in Geneva has to take the lead in calling for national action on a nationwide and pervasive outrage against innocent and defenseless children in the USA !
I have separately proposed that President Obama consider appointing First Lady, Michelle Obama, to chair the new Obama commission. She is well respected as a Harvard lawyer and devoted mother. She would be an ideal choice with her established credibility if she were willing to accept the appointment.
If the First Lady would oversee this, President Obama would still be able to focus on his many other priorities, including resisting the Vatican’s and its plutocratic Republican contributors’ unrelenting and opportunistic efforts to derail Obamacare over contraception insurance and immigration reform over gay marriage.
If there tragically were not over 200 million “unplanned” children living miserably in countries where Vatican lobbying effectively denied their parents access to affordable contraception, a dispute among octogenerian celibates over permissible forms of contraception would make good political satire! But sadly, the Vatican’s anti-contraceptive efforts, apparently mainly to please the Vatican’s plutocratic Republican donors by keeping family planning wedge issues in political play, will very likely only fail again, while these efforts continue nevertheless to burden families and children.
Please click on to the black text at the top of this column for my analysis of related topics.
Finally, I hope some of you will consider linking this statement to your comments at appropriate websites and/or circulating it to others via social media.
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