GONE WITH THE WIND

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The Salad và the DressingAtila Sinke GuimarãesBook đánh giá of Gone with the Wind in the Vatican (Via col Vento in Vaticano), Anonymous (Milan: Kaos Edizioni, 1999), 297 pp.

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English version, Shroud of Secrets (Key Porter Books Limited, 2000)
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The book Via col Vento in Vaticano (Gone With the Wind in the Vatican) has been attracting a lot of attention in the Catholic milieu. I had read about the Holy See’s wrath against this publication and press speculations regarding the authorship of the work. The book appeared under the pseudonym of I Millenari (the millenarians). Recently, Msgr. Luigi Marinelli, a 72-year-old retired ecclesiastical, admitted that he was one of its principal authors. It was issued in Milan last February by a small publisher & received little publicity until the Sacred Rota, a specialized Vatican court, demanded the destruction of all copies. I was following this new focus of the scandal at a distance when I received a copy of the Italian edition from John Vennari, editor of Catholic Family News, & a request for a review. Thus I find myself within this polemic, offering the reader my opinion on this controversial topic.As for its contents, the book is extremely violent. Khổng lồ give a general idea for the reader, I will make a voil d’oiseau through its pages và point out some of the highlights. In the 300 pages of his work, the author accuses the Vatican, among other things, of favoring a “consumerist Church”, (p. 16), of suppressing freedom of expression (p. 20), and of being a grand gossip center (“un villaggio de lavandaie”). He says that Vatican diplomacy began with the betrayal of St. Peter (p. 22) và that a system of absolute và unlimited power nguồn reigns internally in the Holy See (p. 32), a system contrary lớn the fundamental rights of the human person (p. 35). He accuses the Vatican of unjustly brandishing the anathema of heresy against those who denounce this “cancerous infection” inside the Holy See và follow “the passion of the mystical Christ” (p. 40). He also accuses the Vatican of habitually shielding the crimes committed by career-climbers in “court conspiracies” (p.43), and of covering up the theft of files that recount the dissatisfaction of subordinates with their superiors (p. 57-9).The book further accuses John Paul II of being a plaything in the hands of the Curia, which sends him off traveling so that it can direct the internal politics as it so desires (p.63). The majority of those chosen to become Bishops, it goes on khổng lồ say, are chosen by the exchange of favors, và not by merit (p. 79), and the author says that even the lower dignities are bought và sold in the “marketplace of monsignors” (pp.85-6). He compares maneuvers of ecclesiastical politics to Mafia tactics (Cosa nostra) (p.103), with subordinates forced lớn obey silently & mindlessly (p. 106). He states that it is very common for those who vày not walk the line lớn be cast “into the dust and the mud of calumny”(p. 109). He compares the control that the Prefecture of the Pontifical House exercises over the Pope khổng lồ a Masonic stratagem (pp. 109-10), and affirms that the Curia is controlled mainly by two currents, the Piacentini (those who come from Piacenza) & the Romagnoli (those who come from Romagna) (pp.113-122). “Morality in the Vatican is infested with intrigue, corruption, favoritism và endorsements,” says the tác giả (p. 126). Backstabbing & denunciations are also the common orders of the day (p. 130). Homosexuality is viewed with complaisance in the Vatican, he accuses, and then names Paul VI as one implicated (pp. 135-44). He tries khổng lồ describe with details the career struggle of the ambitious and points to those linked to Masonry as those who are most successful (p. 161). Khổng lồ climb the career ladder, some who knew “the weaknesses” of Paul VI threatened to expose these things lớn the press (p. 169).21 He affirms that, with the knowledge of Msgr. Giovan Battista Montini (the future Paul VI) when he was the pro-Secretary of State of Pius XII, a Jesuit priest delivered khổng lồ the Soviets a danh mục of Bishops & priests who were there in clandestine, và that these were imprisoned and killed (p. 170). He also declares that Masonry has infiltrated the whole Vatican (pp. 223-242), emphasizing that Paul VI was particularly pleased lớn choose Michele Sindona & Roberto Calvi, known Masons, lớn important administrative roles in Church finances (p. 226). He emphasizes the “condemnation to lớn a forced retirement” that is the sentence for ecclesiastics who disagree with the reigning politics (pp. 250-1). These & many other accusations are launched against the Holy See like a mudslide. Undoubtedly it is an extremely disagreeable offensive for the Vatican progressivist since many of the accusations, despite the lack of proof, have in their favor the appearance of truth, given what is known about the process of self-demolition of the Church in this sad post-conciliar phase. What would make it even worse would be if it were indeed proved that the tác giả had, as a hidden card up his sleeve, evidence of what he has affirmed. On the other hand, it must be considered that works of detraction that have authors who have left movements are generally written with a rancorous & vengeful tone marked by a self-love wounded by not having their real or imagined qualities acknowledged. The same could apply here to a possible Monsignor who would have been disgusted with the direction of the Church. These are facts that should be taken into consideration in following with a non-sensationalist interest the pathway of the discussion of this book. Having briefly described the subject of the book, I will go on to examine the khung in which this material is presented.Regarding the actual credibility of the work, the first thing that attracts attention is the fact that the author was anonymous. At the first moment of its launching, no one had the courage khổng lồ assume the responsibility for what is being affirmed here. Even though now Msgr. Marinelli has admitted reluctantly lớn have been one of the principal authors, my observation remains valid. It seems to me somewhat contradictory that someone who would make such serious accusations of the Vatican based on things that supposedly occurred there would refuse to give the name of the witnesses who can tư vấn these accusations. This is especially the case since the book offers almost no other proof for such allegations except for the value of these witnesses. The anonymity of the tác giả immediately removes the book from the ambit of serious literature & launches it into the world of intrigues and gossip. In this world & from this perspective I can understand why the author does not want lớn appear. Because the accusations are so numerous and so grave that if his name would be known & if he could not present real proofs for what he says in the book, most probably he would spend the rest of this days responding lớn legal processes of defamation và slander. In fact, judicial processes have already been brought against Msgr. Marinelli (1).Another element that does not testify favorably is the fact that the tác giả has allowed himself khổng lồ “invent” many of the supposed testimonies that he published. For example, he imagines a conversation, putting the words in quotes, of a personal talk between Paul VI & only one interlocutor, an Archbishop (p. 174). One could say that, to lớn be honest in his citation, the author would have khổng lồ have had direct knowledge of these words from either the Pope or the Archbishop - which seems highly unlikely - or at least he would have heard the talk on a tape recorded without the knowledge of either party. However, it seems unlikely that he would now attack the các buổi party who would have verbally confided khổng lồ him the conversation. It is likewise improbable that he would have taped the conversation. & if, in fact, he had done one or the other, why didn’t he affirm this in the text? Therefore, the most probable thing is that he invented the dialogue, imagining what was said. Thus the book leaves the ambit of apparently true intrigues & gossip and moves khổng lồ the sphere of a mere novel. I cite other example: The author has also imagined a conversation that would have taken place in a confessional between a repentant Satanist & a priest (pp. 220-1). Now, if the author was the priest & is revealing what took place under the seal of confession, he is committing a sacrilege. This violation would tend lớn discredit the rest of his work. If he is the penitent, he is confessing publicly matters that would be morally harmful khổng lồ him. Neither hypothesis seems probable to me. The probable is that once more the tác giả has invented conversations. This sensationalist behavior lacks seriousness. As for the authorship, in an introductory lưu ý of the work, the advertiser tells us that it was written by a group of writers. In fact, the amount of gossip contained in the book is so enormous and covers so many subjects that this leads one khổng lồ suppose that there really were various collaborators. However, by the unity of the style that it adopts, one can easily conjecture that it had a final editor, or even only one author who gave a unity lớn the work. I will not enter into the discussion about the authorship of one or various persons, and will use the term “the author,” without taking sides. I center my analysis on the unity of the work. In the various expositions of themes, there is almost always the same order: the presentation of the intrigues, a brief resentful and radical judgment, a defense for the reform of the Church, & an appeal to lớn a phrase of Holy Scripture or some Saint who corroborates the “sentence” given. The language employed is almost always a uniform fluent Italian, colorful, aggressive & vulgar. In the aggressive style it adopts even when it lacks sufficient proof - which seems to me to be in the great majority of cases - one notes an extraordinary resentment. The vulgarity of language is expressed principally in the use of coarse or even improprietous terms, turned toward giving personal offense, conceding to lớn temperamental explosions or raising the easy laughter of fools. In my view, these points reveal a unity in the final edition.Saying that the style pays tribute to lớn the vulgar is not to anathematize popular language. I am a fan hâm mộ of wise popular expressions & simple language. Nor vì chưng I affirm that the book does not have the merit of a certain màn chơi of erudition. I willingly acknowledge that the tác giả is a well-educated ecclesiastic. With regard to lớn popular and erudite language in Italy, let me digress a bit. In a highly cultured, intellectualized và politicized people lượt thích the Italian, erudition is a patrimony of even the lower classes. I remember one winter Sunday morning I was walking very early along a street in the center of Rome (near Gesù). Even though I was in a hurry, I had lớn stop lớn observe a beggar, all in tatters, gazing intently at a bookstore window featuring the latest releases & choosing the book that he would probably buy on Monday. He certainly would prefer khổng lồ have the pleasure of a new book than a new jacket, or at least, a clean one. Days before, the gas delivery man, while exchanging empty iron bottles for full ones in the trang chủ where I was staying, carried on a competent conversation with the master of the house on the philosophy of Plato, complete with citations & the mention of various works. I could give many other examples. Yet, even while being erudite, Gone With the Wind pays tribute lớn certain vulgarities which, in my view, would be better not to lớn exist in a work that intends to lớn analyze the most noble institution on earth: the Holy See. And even while I am well aware that for some time progressivism has dominated the Vatican, I do not believe that one should “throw out the baby with the bath water.”Regarding the orientation of the work, some persons have commented upon this book as if it were a conservative work, which would actually be attacking the progressivism installed in the post-conciliar Vatican. Does this opinion in fact correspond to reality? It seems lớn me in part true & in part false. Let me explain.Without a doubt, the book expresses in certain points an admiration for the prophecies of Our Lady of Fatima, for Latin in the Liturgy, for the Gregorian chant. It also presents itself as anti-Masonic and somewhat anti-communist. In these points it can awaken the legitimate sympathy of traditionalist Catholics. In addition khổng lồ this, the work here và there presents some facts that, if true, would not place Paul VI or John Paul II in an enviable position. However, at the same time and in a contrary sense, one can lưu ý that the book shows a great admiration for John XXIII, considering him a prophet (pp. 69-74), & accepts Vatican Council II as a good và an indisputable acquisition (pp. 7-8, 37-8, 65-6, 74, 207). It recommends a total reform in the Church (pp. 8,65f, 284) along the lines of the democratic reforms defended by Archbishop John Quinn (pp. 19-20, 28, 34, 65-6, 97, 102) (1), who is praised by name in the work (pp. 65-6), and supported by radical movements such as We Are Church and Call To action (2).Among these reforms would be the election và deposition of Bishops by the people, not excluding that this system be applied even lớn the Pope (pp. 97-102). Lượt thích Quinn, the tác giả supports the realization of a new council lớn effect these changes (p. 66). It seems lớn me that the execution of these reforms expresses the exact sense of the title Gone With the Wind in the Vatican. What should be blown away with the wind would be the present hierarchical system that still remains in the Church. “The hour has arrived to liberate the Church from the bitterness of the shackles of a system that holds it prisoner!” exclaims the author (p. 102). The book also combats ecclesiastical pomp, ceremony và power. As a consequence, it defends a “poor và servile Church” (p. 40), và goes so far as to lớn qualify the fact that the Church has power & goods as “sin” even “prostitution” (p. 43). Thus the tác giả reveals his sympathies for the more aggiornate and radical aspirations of Catholic progressivism. Confirming this tendency are references in the book praising Savonarola as a prophet và martyr (pp. 11, 43, 277). Yet, as is known, Savonarola established a theocratic republic with communist hues in Florence. The book makes a defense of false progressivist ecumenism, which supposes salvation in all religions. It supports the thinking that “all those who vày not find themselves inside can avail themselves of other providential means for crossing the ocean to lớn the final kết thúc of man … or, that is, by means of other religious beliefs, which with difficulty and less agility lead men to lớn salvation” (pp. 37, cf. Pp. 41f, 70). He also defends evolution in moral principles (pp. 51-2), which is the principal characteristic of “situation ethics,” all so agreeable lớn the progressivist current. Therefore, from a progressivist viewpoint, the book presents an enormous quantity of intrigues & gossip that ultimately aim at the abolishment of the hierarchical và sacral institution in the Church. In an opposite sense, there are various elements that - intentionally or accidentally - try to make the book acceptable to the conservative palate. In summary: a progressivist salad with a conservative dressing. It seems interesting khổng lồ me to lớn consider further a subtlety that I’m not sure if the author was aware of or not. The book, as I said, firmly attacks the Roman Curia và attributes lớn the present system the blame for all the immoderations that would have taken place if the intrigues & gossip presented are true. Thus, what would be proven would be the existence of nepotism, simony, group interests, personal greed and moral scandals of various orders - detraction, calumny, betrayal, theft, blackmail, escroquerie (illicit money deals), sexual corruption và homosexuality, among others.The tác giả does not refrain from making a strong insinuation that John Paul I would have been assassinated at the order of Cardinal Achille Silvestrini (pp. 118-9). Even if all this were true, it seems khổng lồ me that one could not necessarily attribute the blame for this lớn the hierarchical và sacral system that still exists in the Vatican. The author would have proved that the men who occupy positions in the Holy See were bad, but not the system. Further, the examples cited are almost in their totality post-conciliar examples. Therefore, the men who are being accused are directly or indirectly, in a proportion greater or lesser, linked khổng lồ the progressivist current. From this it follows that the suspicion for abetting the evil should be attributed lớn the progresivist current. Up until the installation of progressivism in the Vatican, the book does not point out practically anything wrong. Therefore, given that the innumerable intrigues are true, two conclusions follow: 1. The accusation that such “vices” are inherent to lớn the hierarchical structure of the Holy See is illogical; 2. On the contrary, this proves that progressivism would be the real cause of these evils. Therefore, the author’s accusations of a progressivist bent against the Curia would turn against progressivism itself - like the boomerang that turns back khổng lồ strike the one who threw it. This being the case, the true title of this work could be Gone With the Wind in Progressivism.1.

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See Guimarães, “Toward the Yeart 2000: The Strange Council of Archbishop Quinn” in TIA booklet Petrine Primacy Challenged.2. See Guimarães, We Are Church, Radical Aims, Dangerous Errors, Dallas, TIA, 1997.