Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #559 The Opus Dei Code – The Vatican Rag Pt. III

MP3: Side 1 | Side 2

Intro­duc­tion: The movie “The Da Vinci Code” has focused pub­lic atten­tion on the Opus Dei order, a reac­tionary Catholic orga­ni­za­tion with strong his­tor­i­cal links to fas­cism. High­light­ing its influ­ence on the cur­rent pope and his pre­de­ces­sor, this pro­gram sets forth some of the areas of influ­ence of this secre­tive orga­ni­za­tion. Play­ing a sig­nif­i­cant role in the rise of John Paul II through the Vat­i­can hier­ar­chy, Opus Dei was accorded spe­cial stature by the Pope once he was in office. Like­wise, Opus Dei appears to have heav­ily influ­enced the ele­va­tion of Car­di­nal Ratzinger to the papacy and appears to be wield­ing great influ­ence over access to the Pope. In addi­tion to review­ing Opus Dei’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with inter­na­tional fas­cism, the broad­cast sets forth the sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence of Opus Dei on the U.S. Sen­ate debate on the same-sex mar­riage bill. An area of spec­u­la­tion con­cerns the Opus Dei role in the Vat­i­can Bank­ing scan­dals of the early 1980’s, and the pos­si­ble influ­ence of P-2 Lodge Grand Mas­ter Licio Gelli on the “inves­ti­ga­tion” of the shoot­ing of John Paul II. Opus Dei was appar­ently involved in the maneu­ver­ing around the col­lapse of the Banco Ambrosiano. The re-opening of the inves­ti­ga­tion into the mur­der of Ambrosiano chair­man and P-2 Lodge mem­ber Roberto Calvi has fea­tured the indict­ment of Lico Gelli. Shortly after Gelli’s tes­ti­mony in the Calvi case, the would-be assas­sin of the Pope was released from prison, and Italy and Poland res­ur­rected the dis­cred­ited “Bul­gar­ian Con­nec­tion,” alleg­ing that the for­mer Soviet Union shot the Pope.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: John Paul II’s beat­i­fi­ca­tion of the founder of Opus Dei, as well as Arch­bishop Stepinac (a mem­ber of the fas­cist Croa­t­ian par­lia­ment dur­ing World War II); the influ­ence of Opus Dei on reac­tionary gov­ern­ments in Latin Amer­ica; the influ­ence of Opus Dei on Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity; the strik­ing influ­ence of Bene­dict XVI’s per­sonal assis­tant Georg Gan­swein (an Opus Dei pro­fes­sor) on the papacy. Be sure to check out the influ­ence of Opus Dei on the fam­ily of Maria Shriver, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife. This is doc­u­mented in FTR#422.

1. The pro­gram begins with dis­cus­sion of Ratzinger’s close rela­tion­ship with his papal pre­de­ces­sor. The broad­cast notes their strong affin­ity through reac­tionary the­o­log­i­cal prin­ci­ples. As we shall see, both John Paul II and Bene­dict XVI have been greatly influ­enced by Opus Dei. Note the nick­name ‘Panz­erkar­di­nal’ bestowed on Ratzinger by fel­low priests.

“ . . . The Pole and the Ger­man have been called intel­lec­tual bed­fel­lows. For almost 20 years, the two met at least once a week, usu­ally Fri­days, for a 90-minute dis­cus­sion of doc­trine and dis­ci­pline. A work­ing lunch fol­lowed, last­ing often until late in the after­noon. A the­o­log­i­cal lib­eral of sorts in his youth, Ratzinger was later nick­named the ‘Panz­erkar­di­nal’ for his iron hand in bring­ing Marx­ist priests in Latin Amer­ica and cler­ics with mushy views on sex­ual ethics to heel. . .”
(“Analy­sis: Ratzinger in the Ascen­dance” by Uwe Siemon-Netto; [United Press Inter­na­tional]; The Wash­ing­ton Times.)

2. The broad­cast reviews some of the fas­cist con­nec­tions of Opus Dei.

“But it was not only the inevitable intrigue in Rome that left its mark. Back in Spain, Opus Dei mem­bers were mak­ing rapid advances in the Franco gov­ern­ment under Admi­ral Luis Car­rero Blanco, an Opus Dei sym­pa­thizer who, as pre­mier, vir­tu­ally ran the coun­try. Until Carrero’s assas­si­na­tion in 1973, Opus Dei lead­ers were arguably the strongest con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal influ­ence in Spain.”
(Peo­ple of God; by Penny Lernoux; Copy­right 1989 by Penny Lernoux; [HC] Viking [Viking Pen­guin Pub­lish­ing Inc.]; ISNB 0–670-81529–2; p. 314.)

3. As men­tioned above, John Paul II was pro­foundly influ­enced by Opus Dei. More about John Paul II’s inti­mate rela­tion­ship with Opus Dei can be found in para­graph #10. “Mat­ters changed rad­i­cally when John Paul became pope. Opus Dei had courted the pope since his days as arch­bishop of Krakow. He had been invited to speak at var­i­ous Opus Dei cen­ters in Europe and at an event in Rome. The speeches were later made into a book, copies of which were sent by Wojtyla to the Vat­i­can Sec­re­tariat of State. In 1978, when he was in Rome for the funeral of John Paul I, Wojtyla vis­ited Opus Dei’s man­sion to pray at the black mar­ble crypt of ‘El Padre,’ who had died three years ear­lier. Mon­signor Por­tillo, his suc­ces­sor and, by some accounts, the brains of Opus Dei, was wel­comed at the Vat­i­can by the new pope, who in turn was invited to visit Opus Dei’s house and cen­ters.” (Ibid.; p. 315.)

4. Among the many shores upon which the waters of Opus Dei have lapped is that of the Banco Ambrosiano scan­dal and the P-2 Lodge. As will be seen below, the Banco Ambrosiano scan­dal and the other Vat­i­can bank­ing scan­dals are on the front burner once again, with a mur­der trial now under­way for the killers of Roberto Calvi. (For more about the Banco Ambrosiano scan­dal, see—among other pro­grams—AFA#’s 17–21, 32, 34, and Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Shows M60, M61, avail­able from Spit­fire, as well as FTR#’s #‘s 43, 59, 70, 71, 80, 81, 98, 185, 213, 217, 221, 229, 237. For dis­cus­sion of the inter­sec­tion of the P-2 milieu with that of Al Qaeda, see FTR#’s 342, 359, 360, 377.)

“Opus Dei was drawn into that imbroglio [the P-2 lodge scan­dal] by asser­tions that it had been nego­ti­at­ing with Roberto Calvi, head of Milan’s Ambrosiano Bank and a key fig­ure in P-2, regard­ing a pos­si­ble bailout for Ambrosiano that would save the Vat­i­can Bank finan­cial losses and embar­rass­ment aris­ing from its deal­ings with Calvi. The banker’s body, either mur­dered or a sui­cide, was later found hang­ing from Black­fri­ars Bridge in Lon­don. His widow main­tained that he had been in touch with Car­di­nal Palazz­ini, the Opus Dei sym­pa­thizer in charge of Escriva’s beat­i­fi­ca­tion process, about the res­cue oper­a­tion, pre­sum­ably to be car­ried out with the help of Opus Dei mem­bers who owned or con­trolled banks in Spain. The trade-off, accord­ing to Vat­i­can observers, was to have been a takeover by Opus Dei mem­bers of the Vat­i­can Bank and the Vat­i­can Radio con­trolled by the more pro­gres­sive Jesuits. Let­ters were found on Calvi from Francesco Pazienza, a Calvi aide with links to Ital­ian and U.S. intel­li­gence, in which Pazienza referred to con­tacts between Palazz­ini and Calvi.” (Ibid.; pp. 317–318.)

5. Opus Dei wields great influ­ence in Latin America.

“At the start of 1983, Opus seemed poised for a major expan­sion based on papal favor and its new sta­tus as a prela­ture. Its main base remained in Spain, where it raised the largest con­tri­bu­tions and enjoyed the most sub­stan­tial polit­i­cal and eco­nomic influ­ence, but the move­ment also gained mem­bers and influ­ence in Italy . . .It was also strong in Latin Amer­ica, par­tic­u­larly in Mex­ico, Colom­bia, Peru, and Chile. Opus Dei mem­bers and sym­pa­thiz­ers sup­ported the CIA-backed coup that over­threw Chilean pres­i­dent Allende, and one of them Her­nan Cubil­los, became Gen­eral Pinochet’s for­eign min­is­ter. Cubil­los, who founded Que Pasa, a mag­a­zine under Opus Dei influ­ence, was later iden­ti­fied as an ‘impor­tant’ CIA agent by the Los Ange­les Times.” (Ibid.; p. 318.)

6. “In Chile, Peru, and El Sal­vador, Opus Dei pro­vides invalu­able sup­port to right-wing polit­i­cal groups through its reli­gious courses and schools, and through news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines, and tele­vi­sion out­lets influ­enced or owned by mem­bers. ‘It serves a func­tion for the polit­i­cal right and power hold­ers,’ said a stu­dent of Opus Dei activ­i­ties in Latin Amer­ica. . . .A Span­ish priest made a sim­i­lar obser­va­tion about the influ­ence of Opus Dei bankers and indus­tri­al­ists in Europe: ‘They want to stop the growth of social­ism and pacify the labor move­ment through reli­gion.” (Ibid.; p. 319.)

7. One of the indi­ca­tions that the late Pope John Paul II’s alleged anti-Nazi sen­ti­ments are mytho­log­i­cal is the fact that he beat­i­fied Arch­bishop Alois Stepinac (a mem­ber of the fas­cist Ustachi par­lia­ment in Croa­tia dur­ing World War II), as well as Father Escriva de Bal­a­guer, the founder of the Opus Dei sect. (For more about the fas­cist con­nec­tions of Opus Dei, see—among other programs—FTR#422.) As dis­cussed in FTR#422, Opus Dei was involved with the afore­men­tioned Banco Ambrosiano scan­dal as well. “Pope John Paul II has cre­ated a record num­ber of saints dur­ing the 22 years he has reigned as head of the Catholic Church. He has bestowed saint­hood on almost 300 respected fig­ures from the Church’s long his­tory who dis­played ‘heroic virtue’ dur­ing their lives. He has beat­i­fied about 800 more, putting them on the road to becom­ing saints.”
(“Remov­ing the Pol­i­tics from Saint­hood” by David Lloyd; Vision: Foun­da­tion for a New World; 3/9/2000; p. 1.)

8. “Often his choices have been con­tro­ver­sial and viewed as polit­i­cal state­ments. In 1998, his deci­sion to beat­ify the Croa­t­ian Car­di­nal Aloy­sius Stepinac received much crit­i­cism from Ortho­dox Serbs and Jews. Stepinac was arch­bishop for Zagreb dur­ing World War II and after­wards was accused of col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Nazis in their mas­sacre of Serbs, Jews and Gyp­sies in Croa­tia. In 1992, he beat­i­fied Jose­maria Escriva, the Span­ish founder of the ultra-conservative Opus Dei—a move­ment widely viewed with sus­pi­cion as a secret soci­ety. . . .” (Idem.)

9. Opus Dei, whose founder, Father Escriva de Bal­a­guer, praised Hitler and was an ardent admirer of Span­ish dic­ta­tor Fran­cisco Franco, appears to have been a major player in the elec­tion of Ratzinger. “ . . . Sev­eral Euro­pean car­di­nals are sym­pa­thetic to Opus Dei, among the Car­di­nal Camillo Ruini, the Ital­ian prelate who runs the Dio­cese of Rome on behalf of the pope, and a con­tender to suc­ceed John Paul. Ruini last year opened pro­ceed­ings to declare Opus Dei’s Del Por­tillo a saint. But recently, sev­eral Ital­ian news­pa­pers breath­lessly reported that the two Opus Dei car­di­nals were throw­ing their sup­port behind the can­di­dacy of Car­di­nal Joseph Ratzinger, a German-born tra­di­tion­al­ist who has served as chief enforcer of church doc­trine for two decades.”
(“Con­tro­ver­sial Opus Dei Has Stake in Papal Vote” by Larry B. Stam­mer and Tracy Wilkin­son; The Los Ange­les Times; 4/19/2005; p. 2.)

10. Ratzinger/Benedict’s friend and pre­de­ces­sor John Paul II ele­vated opus Dei. More about John Paul II’s close rela­tion­ship to Opus Dei is con­tained in para­graph #3.

“Opus Dei flour­ished dur­ing John Paul’s pon­tif­i­cate. In 1982, he took the unprece­dented step of mak­ing Opus Dei a per­sonal prela­ture of the church, answer­able not to local bish­ops in the dio­ce­ses where it oper­ated, but to the pope alone. In another sign of the group’s influ­ence, the pope placed Opus Dei’s founder, the Span­ish priest Jose­maria Escriva de Bal­a­guer, on the fast track to saint­hood in 1992, leapfrog­ging over Pope John XXIII. In 2002, Escriva was can­on­ized before a crowd of 300,000 in St. Peter’s Square, becom­ing St. Jose­maria a mere 27 years after he died. . . .” (Idem.)

11. Next, the pro­gram accesses an arti­cle that indi­cates that Opus Dei wields a pro­found influ­ence on Bene­dict XVI. His per­sonal secretary—who appears to be some­thing of a gate­keeper or “gray eminence”—is a teacher at an Opus Dei the­o­log­i­cal col­lege. Georg Gan­swein appears to effec­tively con­trol access to Bene­dict XVI. Note the “Aryan” looks of Gan­swein. Is he “Under­ground Reich”? (For infor­ma­tion indi­cat­ing that Benedict/Ratzinger may very well be Under­ground Reich, see FTR #508. For an overview of the fascist/Vatican con­nec­tion, see FTR#532.)

“As Bene­dict XVI trun­dled through the nar­row streets of Cologne last week, many of his admir­ers found them­selves dis­tracted by the extrav­a­gantly hand­some man sit­ting in the back of the Pope­mo­bile. The thou­sands of ador­ing young Catholics had come to Ger­many to get a glimpse of the new Pope, vis­it­ing his native coun­try on his first trip abroad as pon­tiff. But they couldn’t help notic­ing the Pope’s new — and rather dishy — pri­vate sec­re­tary, Mon­signor Georg Gän­swein. ‘As he jumped on to the Pope­mo­bile for the first time,’ one Ger­man mag­a­zine remarked, ‘we women held our breath. There, where for the past 27 years the grim and pale Stanis­law Dzi­wisz had sat behind the Pope, a tall, blond, ath­letic young man had taken his place.’”
(“Thou Shalt Not Drool” by Luke Hard­ing and Bar­bara McMa­hon; The Guardian; 8/23/2005.)

12. “Over the past four months, the Ital­ian press has also swooned over the 49-year-old Ger­man priest, who is known in Italy as Don Geor­gio. In the gray and elderly world of the Vat­i­can, it is hardly sur­pris­ing that Gän­swein — a keen ten­nis player and excel­lent skier who even has a pilot’s license — has become the cen­ter of atten­tion. Last month, the Ital­ian edi­tion of Van­ity Fair com­pared Gän­swein to the actor George Clooney, while the mag­a­zine Chi opened that he was ‘as fas­ci­nat­ing as Hugh Grant’. The Ital­ian president’s wife Franca was very taken with him when she first met him. ‘He’s very, very young. And he speaks excel­lent Ital­ian,’ she was reported as say­ing. Another woman liv­ing close to the Vat­i­can recently told Germany’s ARD TV that Gän­swein was ‘an inter­est­ing man with a deep gaze’, adding: ‘Shame that he is taboo for us women.’” (Idem.)

13. “Some Vatican-watchers, how­ever, are already mut­ter­ing about Gänswein’s influ­ence over Pope Bene­dict, the first Ger­man to sit on the chair of St Peter for nearly 500 years. Born on July 30 1956, Gän­swein grew up in Riedern am Wald, a tiny Bavar­ian vil­lage. He was ordained in 1984 and is a doc­tor of canon law from Munich Uni­ver­sity. He came to Rome in 1995 and was quickly on the Vat­i­can fast track. In 1996, the then Car­di­nal Ratzinger asked him to join his staff, and he became a pro­fes­sor of canon law at the Pon­tif­i­cal Uni­ver­sity of the Holy Cross, an insti­tu­tion affil­i­ated to the secre­tive Catholic move­ment Opus Dei. [Empha­sis added.]” (Idem.)

14. “Those who know him praise his effi­ciency and ana­lyt­i­cal abil­ity. ‘He under­stands com­pli­cated issues within about 10 sec­onds and can give a clear and imme­di­ate answer,’ one Vat­i­can source said. Gän­swein is, though, more than just an impres­sive the­olo­gian. He is, like the man he serves, extremely con­ser­v­a­tive. ‘I think he is very dan­ger­ous,’ Daniel Deck­ers, the author of a biog­ra­phy of Germany’s lead­ing lib­eral car­di­nal, Karl Lehmann, said. ‘He’s part of a small but very pow­er­ful group within the Catholic church. He will use his power to push Ratzinger in a cer­tain direc­tion.’ Deck­ers recalls trav­el­ling to Rome to meet Gän­swein. ‘He’s a good guy. He’s very elo­quent and can be very charm­ing. But he came right up to me and said: ‘Oh, you don’t like us.’ He referred to him­self and Ratzinger as ‘us’, as if the two of them were an insti­tu­tion.’” (Idem.)

15. “With Gän­swein as pri­vate sec­re­tary, there seems lit­tle hope that Bene­dict XVI will offer con­ces­sions on issues that alien­ate many from the Catholic church — the use of con­doms, gay rela­tion­ships or pre-marital sex. ‘You can for­get it,’ one reli­gious affairs writer said bluntly. A trusted con­fi­dant of the last Pope, who made him a chap­lain in 2000, Gän­swein has worked as Ratzinger’s sec­re­tary since 2003, and was one of the few aides allowed to give out press state­ments on John Paul’s con­di­tion. In the Vat­i­can, Gän­swein and Ratzinger dine together, recently enter­tain­ing Princess Glo­ria von Thurn und Taxis, the Ger­man socialite, accord­ing to reports in the Ital­ian press. In Cologne last week, Gän­swein was never far away from his boss — hand­ing the 78-year-old Pope his read­ing glasses, or trav­el­ing with him on a cruise down the Rhine. He was there, too, when the Pope appeared on a hill beneath a fly­ing saucer-shaped dome, for a vast open-air mass. (In his address to nearly 1 mil­lion pil­grims who had spent the night camped out in a muddy field, the Pope reminded the young Catholics that they had to obey all of the church’s rules — not just the bits they liked. ‘That basi­cally means no sex, doesn’t it?’ Ger­man pil­grim Malte Schuburt, 19, pointed out.)” (Idem.)

16. “Gänswein’s crit­ics even accuse him of turn­ing the Pope into a fash­ion vic­tim. This sum­mer, Ratzinger and his sec­re­tary went on hol­i­day to the papal res­i­dence at Cas­tel Gan­dolfo, near Rome, as well as to the Ital­ian Alps at Valle D’Aosta. While both men were hik­ing in the hills, the Pope appeared in pub­lic wear­ing a Nike hat, designer Serengeti sun­glasses and a Cartier watch. ‘This is Gänswein’s style. It’s his hand­writ­ing,’ one reli­gious affairs writer said. ‘This is some­thing I don’t under­stand.’ Gänswein’s power derives partly from his place in the Pope’s very small per­sonal staff. Benedict’s long-time assis­tant is Ingrid Stampa and he has four women — Carmela, Loredana, Emanuela and Cristina — who do domes­tic duties. They have taken nun’s vows but do not wear habits. Pope Bene­dict writes every­thing in Ger­man in very small script, and Gän­swein is one of the few who can read his writ­ing.” (Idem.)

17. It appears that Gan­swein embod­ies the reac­tionary ide­ol­ogy of Opus Dei and that he will use his influ­ence with Bene­dict XVI to fur­ther that ideology.

“So far, Gän­swein does not enjoy the same power as Stanis­law Dzi­wisz, who spent 40 years at Pope John Paul II’s side. Some have even dis­missed him as the ‘Black For­est Ado­nis’. Yet it is Gän­swein who decides who gets to see the Pope, and who doesn’t. [Empha­sis added.] He also pro­tects his boss from the mound of papers on Benedict’s desk. ‘He is the Pope’s gate­keeper. This makes him a very pow­er­ful man,’ Deck­ers said. It is not sur­pris­ing, then, that the Pope’s pri­vate sec­re­tary is already begin­ning to inspire dread in lib­eral Catholic cir­cles. In Ger­many, the Catholic Church is divided more or less between two fig­ures — the liberal-conservative Car­di­nal Lehmann, the head of the Ger­man archbishop’s con­fer­ence, and the ultra-conservative Car­di­nal Joachim Meis­ner, the Arch­bishop of Cologne. Both men were with the Pope last week. But it is no secret as to which Bishop the Vat­i­can favours. ‘Gän­swein is an oppo­nent of Lehmann,’ one source in the Ger­man Catholic Church said. ‘One of Ratzinger’s great weak­nesses is that his judg­ment of peo­ple isn’t always suf­fi­cient. He has a small out-reach.’ Last week’s papal tour of Ger­many was an undoubted suc­cess for the Bavar­ian Bene­dict. A far less flam­boy­ant fig­ure than his pre­de­ces­sor, Bene­dict was often embar­rassed by the euphoric crowds. But he is a for­mi­da­ble intel­lec­tual, able to deliver his ideas with flu­ency and rigor in numer­ous lan­guages. The ques­tion remains though — how long will he last? The Pope has already suf­fered two strokes — one of which slightly impaired his eye­sight — and he has a heart con­di­tion. Don Geor­gio is said to be very pro­tec­tive of the Pope, par­tic­u­larly about his health. But if there is bad news to trans­mit, it will be Gän­swein, the priest with the film-star looks, who will be there to deliver it.” (Idem.)

18. Next, the pro­gram accesses infor­ma­tion about Opus Dei influ­ence on the recent U.S. Sen­ate debate about a Con­sti­tu­tional ban on same-sex mar­riage. Opus Dei con­vert Sen­a­tor Sam Brown­back (Repub­li­can from Kansas), intro­duced into Sen­ate debate on same-sex mar­riage some talk­ing points from a paper crafted by an Opus Dei affil­i­ate at Prince­ton University.

“The United States Sen­ate is often called ‘the great­est delib­er­a­tive body in the world’ which usu­ally raises the bar on the tenor and intel­lec­tual con­tent of speeches given on the floor and for the offi­cial record. Not so for Sen­a­tor Sam Brown­back (R-KS) who took to the Sen­ate floor last week to deliver a stri­dent push for the big­oted Mar­riage Pro­tec­tion Amend­ment, with mas­sive dis­tor­tions of the issue and an argu­ment that was based almost solely on the opin­ion of a little-known, con­ser­v­a­tive think tank affil­i­ated with the Roman Catholic orga­ni­za­tion, Opus Dei .”
(“Is Brown­back Bring­ing Opus Dei Into The Sen­ate?” By Bob Geiger.)

19. “‘The prob­lem we have in front of us is the insti­tu­tion of mar­riage has been weak­ened, and the effort to rede­fine it on this vast social exper­i­ment that we have going on, redefin­ing mar­riage dif­fer­ently than it has ever been defined before,’ the Kansas Sen­a­tor grimly intoned last week. ‘This effort of this vast social exper­i­ment, the early data that we see from other places, harms the insti­tu­tion of the fam­ily, the rais­ing of the next gen­er­a­tion. And it is harm­ful to the future of the Repub­lic.’ Brown­back then went on to give fig­ures for how var­i­ous states have shown their hatred of gay peo­ple with their own pro­hi­bi­tions on same-sex mar­riage and used that as his ratio­nale for a sim­i­lar amend­ment to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion. But Brown­back really hit his stride when he described a paper, called ‘Ten Prin­ci­ples on Mar­riage and the Pub­lic Good,’ pub­lished by a fairly new and extremely con­ser­v­a­tive group at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity. Accord­ing to Brown­back, the paper is an ‘… impor­tant state­ment of prin­ci­ples from top Amer­i­can schol­ars [to] be con­sid­ered care­fully by my col­leagues.’ He then added that the sen­ti­ments expressed in the non-scientific trea­tise were so vital to our national dia­log that they should ‘. . . help guide our debate on this issue.’ The paper, spon­sored by the With­er­spoon Insti­tute at Prince­ton, makes a case for ban­ning same-sex mar­riage alto­gether. What’s extra­or­di­nary, is the idea of a United States Sen­a­tor attempt­ing to sway opin­ion on an amend­ment that would have altered our Con­sti­tu­tion (had it not been defeated last Wednes­day) by using a paper from an orga­ni­za­tion linked to Opus Dei, a strict, reli­gious group that some for­mer mem­bers have described as a cult.’” (Idem.)

20. Brown­back accessed infor­ma­tion from a paper issued by the With­er­spoon Insti­tute, whose pres­i­dent (Luis Tellez) is the head of Opus Dei at Prince­ton. “Brown­back spent a good part of his lengthy Sen­ate speech last week cit­ing the study and attribut­ing it to ‘this Prince­ton group of schol­ars’ while never men­tion­ing that all of the find­ings were based on the ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive With­er­spoon Insti­tute bol­stered by the involve­ment — directly or indi­rectly — of a non­profit, tax-exempt reli­gious orga­ni­za­tion in Opus Dei. So what exactly is the With­er­spoon Insti­tute, whose paper formed the foun­da­tion of Brownback’s anti-gay argu­ment? The Insti­tute, which has only been around since 2003, has close ties to Tony Perkins and the Fam­ily Research Coun­cil, but is also tightly aligned with Opus Dei. Indeed, Luis Tellez, the pres­i­dent of the With­er­spoon Insti­tute is also the direc­tor and lead cleric of Opus Dei in Prince­ton. Since its found­ing in 1928, Opus Dei has been known for its tra­di­tion­al­ist val­ues and right-wing polit­i­cal stances. And crit­ics in acad­e­mia — which include for­mer mem­bers who some­times go through ‘depro­gram­ming’ upon exit­ing Opus Dei — charge that orga­ni­za­tions like the With­er­spoon Insti­tute are just veiled attempts by Opus Dei to spread its influ­ence in top-tier aca­d­e­mic cir­cles. So why then, is a U.S. Sen­a­tor offer­ing to Con­gress ‘research’ linked to Opus Dei on some­thing as vital as amend­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion? It turns out that Brown­back, who was for­merly an evan­gel­i­cal Protes­tant, con­verted to Catholi­cism by way of Opus Dei in 2002 and was spon­sored in that con­ver­sion by Sen­a­tor Rick San­to­rum (R-PA), a vocal Opus Dei advo­cate.” (Idem.)

21. Tellez–the head of Opus Dei at Princeton—is among that reac­tionary organization’s most con­ser­v­a­tive members.

“Tellez, the leader of Opus Dei in Prince­ton, is a ‘numer­ary,’ con­sid­ered the most con­ser­v­a­tive of the sect’s mem­bers — they are unmar­ried, celi­bate, devote every aspect of their lives to their spir­i­tual beliefs and turn over their salaries from sec­u­lar jobs to Opus Dei. Again, it bears repeat­ing that Tellez is also the head of the With­er­spoon Insti­tute, the group Brown­back cited at great length as his pri­mary argu­ment against gay mar­riage. And remem­ber also, it is Brown­back, as an Opus Dei con­vert, who also leads the charge on Capi­tol Hill against abor­tion and stem cell research and who, along with San­to­rum, is seen by the Reli­gious Right’s as a point man on ‘cul­ture war’ issues. The other cen­tral fig­ure in the With­er­spoon orbit is Dr. Robert George, a Prince­ton pro­fes­sor and a board mem­ber in the Insti­tute who, not coin­ci­den­tally, helped draft the fed­eral gay-marriage ban that was just defeated in the Sen­ate. George chaired a meet­ing of reli­gious lead­ers in late 2005, which included Dr. James Dob­son and other mem­bers of the extreme Reli­gious Right. In fact, in addi­tion to his piv­otal role in the With­er­spoon Insti­tute, George is also a board mem­ber at Perkins’ Fam­ily Research Coun­cil, a group known for its big­oted posi­tions on the gay com­mu­nity. And, via Brown­back, all of this is ulti­mately find­ing its way into the halls of Con­gress.” (Idem.)

22. “While it may not be tech­ni­cally ille­gal for Brown­back to be so clearly mix­ing hard-right reli­gious ide­ol­ogy — and faux-academic papers pro­moted by reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions like Opus Dei — with debate on the Sen­ate floor, it should cer­tainly raise some eye­brows. In a coun­try where strict sep­a­ra­tion of church and state is man­dated, it seems Brown­back is freely blend­ing the two, attempt­ing to use reli­gious dogma to influ­ence pub­lic pol­icy — all the while not dis­clos­ing to his Sen­ate col­leagues the back­ground sources of the research he is cit­ing. But this should not be sur­pris­ing com­ing from Brown­back. In a Jan­u­ary 2006 Rolling Stone arti­cle, ‘God’s Sen­a­tor,’ Brown­back is described as a reli­gious zealot with a view for America’s future that could almost be described as medieval. ‘In his dream Amer­ica, the one he believes both the Bible and the Con­sti­tu­tion promise, the state will sim­ply wither away. In its place will be a coun­try so suf­fused with God and the free mar­ket that the social fab­ric of the last hun­dred years — schools, Social Secu­rity, wel­fare — will be pri­va­tized or sim­ply done away with,’ reads the arti­cle. ‘There will be no abor­tions; sex will be con­fined to het­ero­sex­ual mar­riage. Men will lead fam­i­lies, moth­ers will tend chil­dren, and big busi­ness and the church will take care of all.’ After all, it was Brown­back, who came to Con­gress in 1994 and refused to sign Newt Gingrich’s ‘Con­tract With Amer­ica’ because he felt it wasn’t con­ser­v­a­tive enough. Even then, as a new­comer to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Brown­back believed that the vast major­ity of what he saw as Big Gov­ern­ment should sim­ply be elim­i­nated, includ­ing the depart­ments of edu­ca­tion, energy and com­merce.” (Idem.)

23. Opus Dei con­vert Brown­back has been lead­ing the charge on “fam­ily val­ues” in the Senate.

“And, yes, it was also Brown­back who was so out­raged at the split-second glimpse of Janet Jackson’s nip­ple dur­ing the 2004 Super Bowl, that he intro­duced the Broad­cast Decency Enforce­ment Act, which sub­stan­tially raised fines for such sim­ple on-air dis­plays of nudity. Finally, in addi­tion to being brought into Catholi­cism by the likes of Opus Dei and using laun­dered research by an affil­i­ated group on the Sen­ate floor, Brown­back chairs a meet­ing every Tues­day night with the ‘Val­ues Action Team,’ con­sist­ing of reli­gious lead­ers like Dob­son who help the Sen­a­tor for­mu­late his thoughts on pub­lic pol­icy issues. Accord­ing to Time mag­a­zine , Opus Dei has assets in the neigh­bor­hood of $2.8 bil­lion and, with John McCain unlikely to sig­nif­i­cantly rouse the Reli­gious Right in 2008, look for Brown­back to be the guy that Opus Dei, Focus on the Fam­ily and the Fam­ily Research Coun­cil turn to as their pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. . . .” (Idem.)

24. Updat­ing a story Mr. Emory has cov­ered for more than two decades, the pro­gram notes that P-2 Lodge grand mas­ter Licio Gelli has been indicted for the mur­der of Roberto Calvi, the head of the Banco Ambrosiano. For more about the P-2 Lodge, the Vat­i­can bank­ing scan­dals and the Vatican/fascist con­nec­tion, use the search func­tion on this page, tak­ing par­tic­u­lar note of AFA#’s 17–21—avail­able from Spitfire—as well as FTR#’s 504, 508.) In para­graph , we noted the alleged role of Opus Dei in the Banco Ambrosiano scandal.

What influ­ence might Gelli’s tes­ti­mony have had on sub­se­quent events? Might the res­ur­rec­tion of the Bul­gar­ian hypoth­e­sis have had some­thing to do with Gelli’s tes­ti­mony? (The Bul­gar­ian hypothesis—long dis­cred­ited but res­ur­rected in Italy and Poland ear­lier this year—alleges that the Soviet Union had the pope shot, in order to negate his activism on behalf of the Sol­i­dar­ity Union in Poland.)

“Mag­is­trates inves­ti­gat­ing the death of the Ital­ian banker Roberto Calvi under Black­fri­ars Bridge in Lon­don in 1982 are focus­ing on Licio Gelli the for­mer ‘grand mas­ter’ of the ille­gal P2 Masonic lodge that plot­ted against Ital­ian democ­racy in the 1970s. Mr Gelli denies he was involved but has acknowl­edged that the financier, known as ‘God’s banker’ because of his links with the Vat­i­can, was mur­dered. He said the killing was com­mis­sioned in Poland.”
(“Mason Indicted over Mur­der of ‘God’s Banker’” By John Phillips; The Inde­pen­dent; 7/22/05.)

25. In the after­math of Gelli’s tes­ti­mony about the Banco Ambrosiano scan­dal, Mehmet Ali Agca—convicted would-be assas­sin of the Pope –was released from prison. Agca was a mem­ber of the Pan-Turkist fas­cist group the Grey Wolves. (For more about the fas­cist influ­ence on the Pan-Turkist move­ment, see FTR#549.) “After 25 years behind bars for try­ing to assas­si­nate Pope John Paul II and fatally gun­ning down a jour­nal­ist, Mehmet Ali Agca was released from prison — and promptly gave his sup­port­ers and his ene­mies the slip. Within hours of tast­ing free­dom Thurs­day for the first time since wound­ing John Paul in 1981, Agca dis­ap­peared out the back door of a mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal. He left behind hordes of jour­nal­ists, along with ques­tions about whether he will be forced to com­plete the manda­tory mil­i­tary ser­vice he dodged as a young man. Scores of ultra­na­tion­al­ist right-wing sup­port­ers cheered his release and tossed flow­ers at the sedan that whisked him through the gates of a high-security prison. But many Turks expressed dis­may that Agca, 48, served just five years for the slay­ing of news­pa­per colum­nist Abdi Ipekci in 1979, dur­ing a time of street vio­lence between right­ists and left­ists. Jus­tice Min­is­ter Cemil Cicek ordered a review to see whether any errors were com­mit­ted in releas­ing him. He said Agca would remain free until an appeals court reviewed the case. ‘If there is an error, that would dam­age Turkey’s image’ as the nation pushes to join the Euro­pean Union, said Ilter Turan, a polit­i­cal sci­en­tist at Istanbul’s Bilgi Uni­ver­sity.”
(“Turk Who Shot Pope John Paul II is Released from Prison” [AP] 1/12/2006.)

26. “‘Day of shame,’ head­lined the daily Mil­liyet, Ipekci’s news­pa­per. Cicek said Agca’s release was not ‘a guar­an­teed right,’ not­ing there have been sev­eral cases in which con­victs freed by mis­take were returned to prison. He said Agca ben­e­fited from amnesties, passed by pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments, which have freed tens of thou­sands of crim­i­nals over the past decades. Agca, white-haired and wear­ing a bright blue sweater and jeans, was freed five years after he was par­doned by Italy and extra­dited to Turkey. He had served 20 years in Italy, where John Paul for­gave him in a visit to his prison cell in 1983. . . .” (Idem.)

27. Shortly after Agca’s release from prison, an Ital­ian par­lia­men­tary body endorsed the long-discredited Bul­gar­ian hypoth­e­sis. Note that the com­mis­sion was headed by an ally of Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni. Berlus­coni was a for­mer mem­ber of the P-2 Lodge, headed by Licio Gelli.

“It has per­sisted as one of the most mys­te­ri­ous cases of inter­na­tional intrigue in recent times: Who shot the pope? A com­mit­tee of Italy’s Par­lia­ment inves­ti­gat­ing the 1981 attempt to assas­si­nate John Paul II released its con­clu­sion Thurs­day that ‘beyond any rea­son­able doubt’ the Soviet Union ordered the attack that seri­ously wounded the pope as he greeted crowds in St. Peter’s Square. The Turk­ish gun­man, Mehmet Ali Agca, was long ago con­demned in the shoot­ing and served 19 years in jail. But for whom he worked has never been def­i­nitely estab­lished. His own con­fes­sions have been all over the map; he has var­i­ously impli­cated the Sovi­ets, the Bul­gar­i­ans and oth­ers.”
(“Sovi­ets Behind Pope’s Shoot­ing, Italy Panel Says” by Tracy Wilkin­son; Los Ange­les Times; 3/3/2006.)

28. “Rumors about the intel­lec­tual authors of the attack have cir­cu­lated for years, but pin­ning it directly and finally on the Soviet Union would be a first. Sen. Paolo Guz­zanti, pres­i­dent of the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee, told reporters that the Soviet mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agency, the GRU, ‘took the ini­tia­tive to elim­i­nate’ the pope. Accord­ing to Ital­ian media, the report says the Sovi­ets had decided that Jon Paul, a fer­vent anti-communist, had become dan­ger­ous in his out­spo­ken sup­port for the Sol­i­dar­ity protest move­ment in his native Poland. Solidarity’s activ­i­ties even­tu­ally helped pre­cip­i­tate the fall of com­mu­nism there in 1989. In those Cold War years of intrigue and decep­tion, the shoot­ing of the pope was tan­gled in a web of secret agents, proxy gun­men and the life-or-death strug­gle who would dom­i­nate the world.” (Idem.)

29. It is alleged that the inter­ro­ga­tion of Car­los the Jackal yielded some infor­ma­tion about the shoot­ing of the Pope. Car­los the Jackal—as dis­cussed in FTR#453—is a pro­tégé of Nazi oper­a­tive Fran­cois Genoud. Might the far right have influ­enced this res­ur­rec­tion of the Bul­gar­ian hypoth­e­sis, uti­liz­ing the milieu of Car­los? (Genoud died in 1996.) Note also that the head of this commission—Mr. Guzzanti—is a polit­i­cal ally of for­mer P-2 mem­ber Sil­vio Berlusconi.

“Com­mit­tee staff mem­bers said the report was based on evi­dence pre­sented at a host of Ital­ian tri­als through the years con­nected with the shoot­ing, includ­ing one that probed the Turk­ish mafia and another the pur­ported involve­ment of the Bul­gar­ian secret ser­vice. In addi­tion, France’s noted anti-terrorism judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, report­edly shared evi­dence with the Ital­ians that sprang from the pros­e­cu­tion of Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, alias Car­los the Jackal, the noto­ri­ous ter­ror­ist held in France since his cap­ture in Africa in 1994. . . . Guz­zanti, a mem­ber of Prime Min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlusconi’s right-wing Forza Italia (Go, Italy) party, said he launched the new inves­ti­ga­tion after John Paul’s last book before his death spoke of the assas­si­na­tion attempt and his con­vic­tion that some­one beyond Agca had ‘mas­ter­minded and com­mis­sioned’ the attack. [Empha­sis added.]” (Idem.)

30. Shortly after the Ital­ian inves­ti­ga­tion, a Pol­ish inquiry headed in the same direc­tion. Again, what influ­ence might Licio Gelli’s tes­ti­mony have had on the res­ur­rec­tion of the Bul­gar­ian hypoth­e­sis? What might Gelli –dubbed the “Pup­pet Mas­ter” by the Ital­ian media—have dis­closed or threat­ened to dis­close? If any­one could be said to know “where the bod­ies are buried”—literally in this case—it is Gelli.

“Inves­ti­ga­tors in Poland said Mon­day they have opened an inquiry into a sus­pected plot behind an assas­si­na­tion attempt on late Polish-born Pope John Paul II in 1981. ‘The inquiry is not into the attack itself but into a plot by com­mu­nist (secret) ser­vices,’ said Ewa Koj of Poland’s National Remem­brance Insti­tute (IPN), which is charged with pros­e­cut­ing Com­mu­nist and Nazi crimes. Koj, head of the IPN’s inves­tiga­tive depart­ment in the south­ern city of Katow­ice, told the PAP news agency the inquiry aimed to probe sus­pected involve­ment by sev­eral coun­tries in plan­ning the assas­si­na­tion attempt on the pope. The IPN has pre­vi­ously said that it does not have direct proof that Pol­ish Communist-era secret police took part in the attack. Charges that the Soviet Union and then-communist Bul­garia orga­nized the attack over John Paul’s sup­port for the Sol­i­dar­ity trade union move­ment in his native Poland were never proved. In March, the head of an Ital­ian par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion accused lead­ers of the for­mer Soviet Union of order­ing the assas­si­na­tion bid.”
(“Poland Opens Inquiry into 1981 John Paul II Death Plot”; TurkishPress.com; 6/12/2006.)


5 comments for “FTR #559 The Opus Dei Code – The Vatican Rag Pt. III”

  1. You have to love it when sleazy attempts at his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism and right­eous indig­na­tion become unin­ten­tion­ally ironic.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 26, 2012, 5:59 pm
  2. Rick is show­ing him­self to be quite the his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ist! Keep it up Ricky! One of these days one of your revi­sions might actu­ally be in the right direc­tion. Prac­tice makes per­fect.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 27, 2012, 9:15 pm
  3. [...] FTR #559: The Opus Dei Code This entry was posted in Reli­gion, Sab­o­tage, Sex­ual Repres­sion and tagged Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger, Bene­dict XVI, Catholic Church, Enlight­en­ment, Fas­cist Inter­na­tional, Father Jose­maria Escriva de Bal­a­guer, Georg Gan­swein, Hasan al-Banna, Hitler, Islam, Jean-Paul II, Licio Gelli, Maria Shriver, Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, Mus­solini, Opus Dei, P2 Lodge, Roberto Calvi, Sam Brown­back, The Da Vinci Code, The Secret War Against The Jews, Under­ground Reich, Unholy Trin­ity: The Vat­i­can The Nazis and The Swiss Banks, Vat­i­can. Book­mark the perma­link. ← Mis­cel­la­neous arti­cles for – Arti­cles divers pour 02-29-2012 [...]

    Posted by 1928: The year fascist bigots prepared the sinking of the Enlightenment | Lys-d'Or | February 29, 2012, 7:34 pm
  4. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/06/23/vatican-hires-fox-news-reporter-as-media-advisor/

    Vat­i­can hires Fox News reporter as media advisor

    By Jonathan Ter­bush
    Sat­ur­day, June 23, 2012 18:16 EDT

    The Vat­i­can has hired a Fox News cor­re­spon­dent [and mem­ber of Opus Dei] to help improve the Catholic church’s media rela­tions, Reuters reported Saturday.

    Cit­ing a church source, the news agency reported that Gerg Burke, a Fox cor­re­spon­dant for Europe and the Mid­dle East and a mem­ber of the right-wing Catholic group Opus Dei, had been hired as a “senior com­mu­ni­ca­tions advi­sor” to the Vatican’s polit­i­cal arm, the Sec­re­tariat of State. The Vat­i­can has yet to for­mally announce Burke’s hir­ing, though the church offi­cial said they are expected to do so shortly.

    In an inter­view with the Asso­ci­ated Press, Burke likened his role to that of a White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions advi­sor, say­ing he would be respon­si­ble for defin­ing and craft­ing a well-honed media strat­egy, and then ensur­ing that every­one within the Vat­i­can stays on message.

    Burke’s appoint­ment is some­what unusual in the clois­tered world of the Vat­i­can, as he will become the only mem­ber on the com­mu­ni­ca­tions team with exten­sive report­ing expe­ri­ence out­side the realm of Catholic media.

    Posted by R. Wilson | June 23, 2012, 9:28 pm
  5. The Shad­ow­Pope cometh:

    Pope Bene­dict XVI gives emo­tional farewell, while Vat­i­can reveals he hit head dur­ing 2012 trip to Mexico

    Pub­lished Feb­ru­ary 14, 2013

    Asso­ci­ated Press

    VATICAN CITY – Pope Bene­dict XVI’s emo­tional farewell took an inti­mate turn Thurs­day as he held off-the-cuff rem­i­nis­cences with Roman priests. In the back­ground, ques­tions kept mount­ing about the true state of Benedict’s health and his influ­ence over the next pontiff.

    For a sec­ond day, Bene­dict sent very pointed mes­sages to his suc­ces­sor and to the car­di­nals who will elect that man about the direc­tion the Catholic Church must take once he is no longer pope. While these remarks have been clearly labeled as Benedict’s swan­song before retir­ing, his influ­ence after retire­ment remains the sub­ject of intense debate.

    Benedict’s res­ig­na­tion Feb. 28 cre­ates an awk­ward sit­u­a­tion — the first in 600 years — in which the Catholic Church will have both a reign­ing pope and a retired one. The Vat­i­can has insisted that Bene­dict will cease to be pope at exactly 8 p.m. on the his­toric day, devot­ing him­self entirely to a life of prayer.

    But the Vat­i­can con­firmed Thurs­day that Benedict’s trusted pri­vate sec­re­tary, the 56-year-old Mon­signor Georg Gaenswein, would remain as his sec­re­tary and live with Bene­dict in his retire­ment home in the Vat­i­can gar­dens — as well as remain pre­fect of the new pope’s household.

    That dual role would seem to bol­ster con­cerns expressed pri­vately by some car­di­nals that Bene­dict — by liv­ing inside the Vat­i­can and hav­ing his aide also work­ing for his suc­ces­sor — would con­tinue to exert at least some influ­ence on the Vatican.

    Asked about this appar­ent con­flict of inter­est, the Vat­i­can spokesman, the Rev. Fed­erico Lom­bardi said the prefect’s job is very tech­ni­cal, orga­niz­ing the pope’s audiences.

    “In this sense it is not a very pro­found prob­lem,” he said.


    In his homily, Bene­dict lamented the inter­nal church rival­ries that he said had “defiled the face of the church” — a not-too-subtle mes­sage to his suc­ces­sor and the con­clave that will elect him.

    Those rival­ries came to the fore last year with the leaks of inter­nal papal doc­u­ments by the pope’s own but­ler. The doc­u­men­ta­tion revealed bit­ter infight­ing within the high­est ranks of the Catholic Church, along with alle­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion and mis­man­age­ment of the Holy See’s affairs.

    Bene­dict took the scan­dal as a per­sonal betrayal and a wound on the entire church. In a sign of his desire to get to the bot­tom of the leaks, he appointed a com­mis­sion of car­di­nals to inves­ti­gate along­side Vat­i­can investigators.

    His but­ler, Paolo Gabriele, was con­victed and sen­tenced to 18 months in prison, although Bene­dict ulti­mately par­doned him

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 14, 2013, 8:52 am

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