Today's blog and high octane speculation concerns the recent indictment of Angelo Cardinal Becciu by the Vatican, a story that was noted by many of you, but which I am going to concentrate on two versions of it sent by C.V. and W.D.:
Now, as one might expect, I have a lot of very high octane speculation to advance in connection to this story. But first, let's inventory the salient facts as these two articles outline them: (1) Becciu was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope Francis only a year prior to his indictment by Vatican officials for a variety of alleged crimes, among which include embezzlement, nepotism, and abuse of office; (2) Becciu was indicted with other Vatican officials for the purchase of an over-priced building in London's fashionable South Kensington district, a purchase that sounds suspiciously like money laundering; (3) two of these officials were connected to the Vatican's Financial Intelligence unit; (4) the Pope must "sign off" on any indictment of a Cardinal, which apparently he has done; (5) Cardinal Becciu is denying any wrong doing, maintaining his innocence, and asserting that he is the victim of a "conspiracy" against him, without him naming who he thinks the conspirators are and why they're conspiring against him; (6) the investigation also touches on George Cardinal Pell of Australia, and finally (and in my opinion most importantly), (7) the indictments, according to the first article, "underscore Pope Francis' determination to cure the rot in Vatican finances, even if it involves messy public hearings."
This inventory, and particularly the last point, brings me to my high octane speculation of the day. So let's go back and remember a few other things that have been alleged in recent years about the Vatican and its finances.
Firstly, this is not by any stretch of the imagination the first time strange events have swirled around the Vatican's finances. It has long been suspected that the sudden death of Pope John-Paul I (Albino Cardinal Luciani)a mere 33 days after his election as pope (33 days!?!? Hmmm....), had something to do with the Vatican Bank and Luciani's determination to end the rot. Beyond the suspicious circumstances of his death, I've long thought it was not merely coincidental that Luciani, as a cardinal, also served as the Patriarch of Venice, an obvious and deeply historical connection to the world of banking and high finance. At the time, it was also strongly rumored that there were ties between the Vatican Bank, the Italian mafia, and the dark underworld of Italian secret societies and Masonry, rumours that continued on into the pontificate of John-Paul II. Then came Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger), a close associate of John-Paul II, and well-known within the Vatican as a "conservative." What most do not know about Cardinal Ratzinger was that he was one of the clerical peririti or "experts" that were brought by their bishops to Vatican II, during which the Father Ratzinger was definitely on the side of the "reformers", making his subsequent excommunicati0n of traditional Latin tridentine rite Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his followers explainable. In this light, it's interesting to note the rumours that have swirled around Ratzinger's resignation, a rumoured "Obama-Clinton-Soros" "change of regime/government operation."
Enter Francis I (Jorge Cardinal Bergolio), from Argentina, the Pope who is allegedly determined to "cure the rot in Vatican finances, even if it involves messy public hearings."
What is very intriguing to note here is that of the last four popes, the one who most attracts the attention of Vatican watchers as being potentially the most serious about cleaning out the rot was the very last Italian pope, Albino Cardinal Luciani, Pope John-Paul I, who if you buy the theory that he was murdered - personally, I strongly lean that direction - was the last one who was serious. Again, notably, before being elected Pope he was the Cardinal-Patriarch of Venice. No banking associations there. Since then, there have been a Polish, then a German, and now an Argentinian pope, and little has really changed. Consider the articles, and the indictment of Cardinal Becciu: little in the indictment as reported connects this latest financial scandal to those that rocked the pontificates of the two John-Pauls, which, when one examines them, open up a Pandora's box of associations to Michele Sindona, the mob, the Loge Propanganda Due P2-Masonic scandals, all of which have several large and unresolved question marks hovering over them. By comparison, the current scandal surrounding Becciu and his fellow indictees seems rather small and tame by comparison. There are no dead bankers swinging from a noose beneath bridges in London with their pants pockets stuffed full of bricks, there are no secret and mysterious Masonic lodges with lists of members who are highly placed in the Italian government or the Vatican hierarchy, and so on.
There's no connection to any of that, save Francis himself, Jorge Cardinal Bergolio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, whence the head of Loge Propaganda Due, Licio Gelli, fled after P2 was exposed by Italian authorities. That's a threadbare connection to be sure, but it nonetheless does raise questions about what may be going on here...
A few years ago, during one of her visits, Catherine Fitts and I were discussing Bergolio's, now Pope Francis', moves regarding an audit of the Vatican Bank. So we started looking, and discovered that Francis had appointed the same accounting firm of record to audit the Bank, as was the auditor of record for - get this - Lloyd's of London and the Bank of International Settlements. And this in a response to pressure to bring the Vatican Bank into the "standards" for international finance that the Western bankers demanded. Francis' other actions in apparent defiance of Roman Catholic standards of doctrine and piety have certainly raised eyebrows among some Catholic hierarchs and clergy, but viewed against this backdrop, begin to make some sort of bizarre, if not twisted, sense.
In that light, might we be looking at a distraction? An operation designed to deflect attention away from all of those other connections, and an attempt to offer up something - and individuals? - designed to reassure everyone that now, under the enlightened leadership of Francis, an end has been put to the rot, while in reality, the rot continues?
I don't know.
What I do get the sense is that something is still very rotten, and we're not being told everything (nothing new there). Cardinal Becciu may be guilty of the allegations in the indictment, or he may be, as he himself says, a victim of a conspiracy. If the later, it's much wider than 11 indictees, and much older than building purchases in South Kensington...
See you on the flip side...