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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Blessed in its own isolation – The dark side of the Vatican


There are very few news from the smallest state in the world, but if they are any news from the Papal State, then it is hardly any good ones.

Once again, dark clouds are rising over the St. Peter’s Basilica in the middle of Rome, but this time it’s a bit more delicate and less “below the line”. With confidential and the Pope’s personal documents and information “leaking” out of the Vatican, documents about blackmail, internal conspiracy, and even murdering plans unveil a dark side of the Vatican – a side that has been covered very well under the godly blanket of heavenly imposed silence.

Pope Benedict XVI. -  German Joseph Ratzinger – expresses himself outraged about the – what he calls – “exaggerated and gratuitous” reports in media that bring the Holy See into the light of a “Rogue State” like status, or implying similar undercover actions and behaviourism which we are generally used by a self-appointed global power under one of its former presidents.

But it is not a secret that the Holy See is not necessarily one of the most democratic states on the globe. In terms of so called “western democratic values”, the Vatican fails on a full scale to implement democratic or pre-democratic standards; starting with the election of the Pope himself, which is a mere “aristocratic act” by the Cardinals in the Papal conclave. Sure, with a population of just 832, it appears that the minimum number of people entitled to vote does not seem to comply here. Technically, the Vatican is the probably last absolutistic monarchy in the world.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg, which are about to begin to unveil the full scale of the whole system beneath the surface, which is tangled between the full transparency policy of the Pope, and the obfuscation tradition of the Vatican system, which has been kept alive since the very dawns of Christianity and of the Papal system. In this system, personal cleric obedience prevails over professional qualification for an official position inside the Vatican; this rule applies to any level in the Holy See.

In the centre of gravity of this uprising scandal is the Pope’s personal butler, Paolo Gabriele, who has been accused for disclosing confidential and classified Papal material through investigative journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who has recently published numerous of these documents in an edited book. Gabriele is currently held in custody, while 5 more cardinals are being examined, but not debriefed, as it is usual in case of a serious criminal act. Once again, the Papal legal system works somehow in a different way than any conventional legal system.

Maybe it would be over the top to compare the Holy See with the defined term of a “rogue state”, but it is out of the question that the Vatican applies its own – mostly non-transparent – rules and not to those of any other enlightened and open state. The Papal State and the Papal system are in fact archaic constructs, a world that – in many terms ignored the radical changes of the past 100 years and locked itself in an isolated congregation.

In this case, Matthew 5:3 fits here pretty well: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
But who is the one who is poor in spirit? Which kingdom, and which heaven?

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