Expanded from the 4-10-2005 Daily
Sparks (Nev.) Tribune.
This column also appeared in the 4-15-2005 Comstock Chronicle.
I must offer belated thanks to Pope John Paul II. Because of him, one of my more unlikely investments has skyrocketed in value. Sometime in the 1980's at a local bookstore, I bought a $4.50 paperback entitled "In God's Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I" by British investigative reporter David A. Yallop.
As of last Saturday, a copy was selling for $124.95 at Amazon.com. It's a fascinating work with several Nevada connections, some of which are only obvious to those of us who make the politics of the Sagebrush Plantation their favorite sport.
In recently reopening the book, I came across this: "The bulk of Vatican Incorporated's investment in the U.S. stock market was funneled through Continental Illinois (Bank). On the board of the bank with (Nixon Administration treasury secretary) David Kennedy, a close friend of (convicted international bank swindler) Michele Sindona, was a Jesuit priest, Raymond C. Baumhart. The large amounts of money that (Chicago's John Cardinal) Cody funneled to Rome became an important factor in Vatican fiscal policy. Cody might not be able to handle his priests, but he did know how to make a buck. When the bishop controlling the diocese of Reno made some 'unfortunate investments' and its finances totally collapsed, the Vatican asked Cody to bail him out. Cody telephoned his banking friends and the money was quickly found."
That's a new one on me. I would like to find out more about that financial collapse if anyone remembers anything about it. The Catholic Church in Nevada has enough problems without digging up old skeletons, but if the truth has been concealed for decades, it's time for those who contribute their hard-earned money to know.
More plays on morality
Author Yallop makes a very compelling case that corrupt international bankers, in league with Italian and American Mafiosi, murdered Pope John Paul I on the very day he had given orders that Bishop Paul Marcinkus of Chicago be removed as head of the Vatican Bank. The story of how the Vatican Bank provided criminal and political cover for the Mafia's international drug money laundry has been exposed many times.
When Francis Ford Coppola wrote the screenplay for Godfather III during a stay at the Peppermill Hotel in Reno, he may well have consulted Mr. Yallop's book. The murder of a pope was included in the script. Art imitates life.
Things Catholic have regressed to a point that a new Protestant Reformation will happen unless this powerful and often-beneficial institution cures some of its chronic maladies carried forward from bygone centuries. Martin Luther's most famous objection to the depredations of the Medici popes was their sale of indulgences, essentially a get-out-of-hell free card.
Today's version is the sale of Catholic divorce, euphemistically called annulment, defined as invalid marriage. Those who can make it worth the while of a priest who has not taken a vow of poverty can get Rome to annul a 25-year union so that dad can marry his new trophy wife in church with his freshly-bastardized adult children in attendance.
Practicing Catholics and recovering Catholics must now speak up, rise up and retake control of their church. The cycle is right for a progressive leader, notwithstanding that JPII stacked the deck in the College of Cardinals. Those who are convening to elect a new pope have been selected for their desire to gallop the church forward into the 19th Century. Americans may deride Islam for its subjugation of women, but American Catholics cannot. The pot cannot call the kettle black.
The Nazi-loving Pius XII was followed by the magnificent John XXIII who began a process of modernizing the church. When John died (he refused lifesaving surgery in order to keep Vatican Council II on track, sacrificing himself for the future of the church), conservative reactionaries elected the catatonic Paul VI under whose administration the Vatican Bank was turned into a Mafia front.
When Paul died, the cardinals wisely empowered another reformer, a simple incorruptible pastor. When JPI expired of still-unexplained causes (probably of poisoning like several of his predecessors), JPII apparently realized that there were certain interests even the pope doesn't screw with.
JPII continued the church's increasing irrelevance save in desperate third world countries where any offer of hope is wolfed down. While the raw number of Catholics increased during JPII's tenure, it didn't keep up with population growth. The church actually lost market share worldwide during John Paul II's public relations papacy. Most American Catholics simply ignore the more neanderthal preachments of the pre-dead old men populating the Vatican.
Many of those who reason and question have left the American church. This explains how so many practicing Catholics voted for President Bush notwithstanding his moral corruption.
All of the reforms JPI had approved, along with substantial evidence of criminality within his own house, were presented to JPII. He acted on none.
A church which treats its faithful unjustly is not a holy institution. The cardinals must either empower a new John XXIII or JPI or the church will birth a new Martin Luther.
That's the choice facing the ancient red hats in Roma.
Be well. Raise hell.
Copyright © 2002, 2005 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 36-year Nevadan who attended Catholic institutions through high school. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988.
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