Sunday, 9 July 2017

What A Carry On At The Vatican!

Msgr. Luigi Capozzi.
Fun-loving Vatican insider with influence.
The truth about the Vatican sex-and-drugs scandal | Catholic Culture

It's reassuring to learn that in the Vatican at least, some things just never change. Everything is carrying on much as it was in the 16th Century.

You might have missed the latest piece of gossip because it seems such events are now scarcely worthy of the epithet 'news'. There simply isn't anything to justify several column inches of news print of several minutes of airtime to report something that scarcely raises an eye-brow these days. It was just another gay sex and drugs party in the Vatican involving a middling official with friends and considerable influence in high places. It was just another example of the hypocrisy we have come to expect of the Catholic clergy.

Now, what would be news is if we went a whole year without another sex and drugs, financial or rent-boy scandal at the Vatican, or even (not that this is even remotely possible) a whole year without another child sexual, emotional and physical abuse scandal involving Catholic priests and/or nuns complete with institutionalised cover-up or even active facilitation of it, somewhere in the world

This latest involved a certain Msgr. Luigi Capozzi, who was widely tipped for a bishopric. He and a number of young male guests were arrested recently for possession of cocaine when Italian police paid a sudden unannounced visit to his apartment because of complaints from residents of the noise and of the constant stream of young male visitors. Msgr. Luigi Capozzi, was reported wrongly at the time to be a senior Vatican official and a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). He is in fact the personal private secretary to Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts: the Vatican body charged with the interpretation of canon law.

However, Capozzi's relatively lowly position raises some more intriguing question. His prestigious Vatican address, for example, is normally reserved for senior figures, as is having a front and back door: one leading onto Italian soil; the other onto Vatican territory - very handy if you don't want either authority monitoring your movements. He also has the use of a Vantican-registered car (again not something someone in his position would normally have). This renders him virtually immune to Italian police stop and search - a Godsend for anyone wishing to transport illegal substances across Rome. Normally, these privileges are reserved for senior Vatican officials - or someone with special connections or with 'persuasive' powers.

Of course, none of this can be laid at the door of the Pope (Uncle Frankie) Francis who has repeatedly talked about a root and branch purge of corruption and a complete overhaul of the Vatican but one might expect his much-vaunted reform of the Catholic Church to at least have made some impact in the Vatican at least, even if there s little sign of much change in the rest of the church where scandals continue to break with monotonous regularity.

Cardinal Pell.
Still, maybe Pope Francis is struggling to cope without Cardinal Pell who has had to step down as controller of Vatican finances while he vigorously defends the charge of complicity in sexual abuse of boys in his native Australia. Cardinal Pell was widely assumed to have been whisked away from Australia to avoid just this sort of thing. Despite the scandals swirling around him in Australia, Pell was presented as a central figure in Pope Francis' 'reforms' and part of the team who were going to clean out the endemic corruption from the Church.

He almost immediately fell foul of other senior Vatican officials when he demanded they return to the Vatican Bank the many millions of Euros they had misappropriated and stashed away in unaccountable slush funds under their personal control. Pell needed this money to help with the Vatican Bank's little insolvency problem caused by the money-laundering operations it was running for organised crime syndicates going bad.

Cardinal Pell was given a warning shot early on to mind his own business. Soon after his appointment, anonymous Vatican insiders began leaking details of how much Vatican Bank money Pell was spending on furnishing the luxury apartment he had quickly acquired for himself in Rome. Even Pope Francis is reported to have intervened and asked Pell to try to control his excesses and not to be quite so obviously self-aggrandising.

In a way, it's reassuring to know that there seems to be very little even 'Reforming' Pope Francis can do to prevent these systemic abuses of power and privilege to which the Catholic clergy evidently feel entitled. It is little different now to the days prior to the Reformation when the arrogant and conspicuous gluttony, debauchery and money-making scams that the Catholic Church existed to facilitate for it's clergy, led to the outrage that allowed the Protestant Reformation to flourish.

These days, with the Protestant churches also mired in similar scandals, these revelations can only serve to drive even more people out of the clutches of these disgusting creatures.

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