Q&A July AD
Our Lady of the Rosary
Apropos-The gates of hell shall not prevail because....
Q&A-Money laundering? Vatican Bank money
Medjugorje? Discernment of Spirits?
Review: Judge Napolitano-It is Dangerous to
Words from the Fathers, Doctors,
Popes and Saints
The Church’s “Divine Founder
permits ... a regrettable inclination to evil ... even at times in the most
exalted members of His Mystical Body. But our Divine Savior governs and guides
the Society which He founded directly and personally ... or by singling out from
the body of the Church ... men and women of conspicuous holiness, who may point
the way for the rest of Christendom to the perfecting of His Mystical Body.”
~ Pope Pius XII,
Mystici Corporis, 40, 66. 39.
Perhaps Pope Pius is calling
you to be one of those “men and women of conspicuous holiness”!
Question: A Glenn Beck video says
that Obama put the Vatican on a list countries “of concern” as possible money
launderers as punishment for the Church’s opposition to Obamacare. What is
money laundering? Why would the Vatican be of concern to U.S. Authorities.
Answer: The State Department summary
report, “2012 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Major Money
Laundering Countries” does include the Holy See in its table
“Countries/Jurisdictions of Concern” and says that this is the first time that
the Holy See has made the list.
It should be noted that the United States are also on the list, under the more
significant heading “Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern.”
Being on the list, in any of its three categories does not imply that the
Jurisdictions in question are thought to be engaged in any sort of criminal
activity. Weak laws and banking procedures that respect customer privacy or
don’t ask questions are what get many countries listed, while the sheer size of
the economy is responsible for other listings, including the United States and
United Kingdom. There is even evidence that the Obama Justice Department has
engaged in laundering Mexican drug money, perhaps in connection with its arms
“How Money Laundering Works”
by Julia Layton is available on the Internet.
Briefly, money laundering involves taking profits from illegal operations
(particularly drug trafficking) and making them look as though they originated
in some legitimate source. This is generally facilitated by depositing the
profits in a bank that keeps its transactions highly private, and then moving
that money through several, similarly private, banks, offshore and around the
world. Since illegal profits are often received in cash, countries that don’t
require their banks to report large cash deposits are favored at the beginning
of the money laundering stream. The use of “bearer instruments” (where money is
paid to the “bearer on demand” and there is no mention of the instrument’s
owner) are favored later on in the stream. The State Department report
identifies the procedures which make money laundering easier, and can be read
for a fuller understanding. The comprehensive report identifies the performance
of each money laundering country in dealing with each of these procedures.
The Glenn Beck video in
question is called “Catholics under attack” which appeared on GBTV on 13 March
Beck is a former Catholic who is unable to distinguish between cultural
conservatism and orthodoxy. He fails to note the high degree to which the Holy
See supports Obama programs like socialized medicine, “green” environmentalism,
globalized finance, and world government. He seems not to have considered the
possibility that the “contraceptive mandate” may have been a “bone” thrown to
the normally wimpish American bishops so that they could appear to the faithful
as defenders of the Catholic Faith—the
US government provides ample access to contraception for those who want it,
bishops or no bishops.
But, is the Vatican Bank
actually laundering money? The Italian government (if not Obama) seemed to
think so, and seized €23 million (about $29 million) from the Vatican Bank’s
account at a Rome bank, and placed the Vatican Bank’s Chairman Ettore Gotti
Tedeschi, and Director Paolo Cipriani under investigation. Agence France-Presse
Meanwhile the Corriere della Sera daily said Italian prosecutors
were probing a series of documents seized during raids on Gotti
Tedeschi's home and office this week as part of an investigation into
money-laundering at the bank.
The report said investigators were focusing on accounts at the Vatican
bank held by "politicians, shady intermediaries, contractors and senior
(Italian) officials" as well as "people believed to be fronts for mafia
Investigators have reportedly found "property investments and Church
property sales that could disguise money transfers to fronts and the
need to 'launder' through firms and banks not subject to direct controls
like the IOR." [ IOR=Istituto per le Opere di Religione=Institute
for Works of Religion, a.k.a. the Vatican Bank ]
The Vatican on Friday defended itself against the growing scandal around
the IOR, saying Gotti Tedeschi's departure was due to "objective
reasons" and stating its commitment to "transparency" at the bank. In
its statement, the Vatican also emphasized that Italian prosecutors
should respect the Holy See's "sovereign prerogatives" under
Gotti Tedeschi and his former deputy, Paolo Cipriani, are already under
investigation in Italy for allegedly laundering 23 million euros ($29
Vatican watchers say Gotti Tedeschi was ousted due to a long-running
dispute with Secretary of State Bertone and a reaction against his
efforts to bring the Vatican bank in line with international regulations
The IOR has a somewhat
tarnished reputation, going back to Pope Paul IV’s appointment of Mafia financer
Michele Sindona as his financial advisor. Sindona brought in huge sums of
money, said to belong to the Gambino crime family, laundering it together with
fellow Freemason, Robert Calvi, Chairman of the Banco Ambrosiano of
Milan, in which the Vatican was heavily invested. After Banco Ambrosiano’s
collapse, Calvi was arrested for violation of Italian currency export laws, and
was later “suicided”—found hanging under London’s Blackfriar’s bridge, an
apparent connection to the underground P2 Masonic Lodge. In 1984, the Vatican
Bank agreed to pay $224 million to one hundred twenty creditors of the failed
Banco Ambrosiano as a “recognition of moral involvement” in the bank's
collapse. Sindona, associated with the collapse of Long Island’s Franklin
National Bank (costing the Holy See an estimated $30 million), was poisoned
while in prison for murder. Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, head of the Vatican Bank
from 1971 to 1989 was indicted in connection with the collapse of Banco
Ambrosiano, but at the Vatican’s request, was granted diplomatic immunity.
Retiring after a stint as Governor of Vatican City, Marcinkus died, from
undetermined causes, in his home in Sun City, Arizona in 2006. His obituary is
Late in 2011, Pope Benedict
committed to enforce the European Union’s anti-money laundering laws in Vatican
Should anyone think that the
modern Church is opposed to socialism or socialized medicine, Archbishop Zygmunt
Zimowski, the Holy See’s delegate to the United Nations’ sixty-fifth World
Health Assembly, “reaffirmed the Holy See's support for Resolution WHA64.9 on
‘Sustainable health financing structures and universal coverage,’ which urges
member States to aim for affordable universal coverage and access for all
citizens on the basis of equity and solidarity.”
Socialism is, of course, a
species of theft, with those in power taking from the producers and
redistributing to the unproductive. Whenever you see the adjective
“Sustainable,” you may also expect sins against human life as well. To be
“sustainable,” a socialist society must ration care, and limit the number of
people requiring care. Whether or not Catholic institutions pay for them, a
“sustainable” healthcare system will involve contraception and abortion. As a
large healthcare provider Itself,
the Church will benefit by having the state take from the rich to give to the
Church. It seems hypocritical at best to complain that the government is
violating the Catholic conscience while being on the receiving end of the
Medjugorje? Discernment of Spirits?
Question: A few weeks back, after
the Friday evening holy hour, we had a discussion about apparitions said to be
taking place at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Does the Church have an
official position on the genuineness of these apparitions? How does the Church
judge such things?
Answer: The Bishop of Mostar, the
diocese in which the parish of Medjugorje is located has a rather comprehensive
report, “Međugorje: Secrets, messages, vocations, prayers, confessions,
commissions,” on his website.
The report gives an overview of the people involved and what they claim to have
happened. Bishop Ratko Perić is generally negative, although the last paragraph
suggests that the investigation is ongoing. Many Medjugorje devotees remain
enthusiastic, nonetheless. “Apparition people” tend to judge reality by
comparing it with the apparition, rather than the other way around.
On our parish website we have
an excerpt from Adolphe Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on
Ascetical and Mystical Theology (Tournai: Desclee), that
discusses the evaluation of private revelations.
We also have a review of Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., A Still, Small,
Voice: A Practical Guide On Reported Revelations,
(San Francisco: Ignatius, 1993).
Briefly, the Church considers
all revelations after the death of the last Apostle to be private in nature.
While not necessary for the Church as a whole, the private revelation may be of
great utility to the recipient and those to whom it is communicated. It is the
responsibility of the bishop of the diocese in which the revelation is said to
have taken place to investigate and permit or prohibit belief in the revelation
and to allow or prohibit its public celebration. Prior to Vatican II it was not
allowed to publish books on a claimed revelation until the bishop pronounced
favorably upon it.
In making his evaluation, the
bishop (through delegated priests) will attempt to discern whether the
phenomenon comes from God, the devil, or some natural source. He will carefully
consider all of the allegedly revealed information to see if in any way it
contradicts the teaching of the Church—clearly a revelation about a Fourth
Person of the Trinity, or a revelation that Mary was not assumed into heaven
would have to be bogus. He will consider the mental state of the visionaries,
and the degree to which they might profit from his approval. People with a
reputation for lying or flights of fancy, as well as those standing to turn a
good profit will be judged not to have received a revelation from God. Often
there will be no more than the subjective testimony of the visionary, and the
bishop may have no hard evidence that the revelation took place at all, and even
less evidence of its source. Ultimately, if the testimony seems genuine, there
is no contradiction of the Faith, and the contents of the revelation seem to
foster a more positive spirituality, the bishop may declare it “worthy of
belief” and allow local veneration. “Worthy of belief” does not mean
“obligatory of belief,” so Catholics are not obliged to give their assent or
veneration. Some claimed apparitions are never declared worthy, and substantial
time may pass before a decision is made. The apparitions at Fatima in 1917 were
not declared “worthy of belief” until 1929, even though tens of thousands of
people witnessed the miracle of the Sun which accompanied the last apparition on
The Vatican issued a standard
set of guidelines—“Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment
of presumed apparitions or revelations,” which, this May 29th, became available
Of course there remains the problem of Modernist bishops and theologians
attempting such discernment—lacking a belief in objective truth, no supposed
mystical message can ever be said to contradict Catholic doctrine. Perhaps we
can expect a Fourth Person of the Trinity sometime soon. “Quaternity”? No
doubt, they will “dialogue” about it.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for
Napolitano-It is Dangerous to be Right....
Napolitano, Andrew P., It is Dangerous to be
Right When the Government is Wrong.
Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011.
xxxiv+283 pages, hardbound. $14.73 from
Living in the early
twenty-first it is common to hear politicians and theologians going on about the
“rights” of people to things like education, healthcare, food, a place to live,
a retirement plan, and even things like the arts, sports, and entertainment.
Rarely does one hear how these things came to be rights, except perhaps, through
some presumed doctrine of “fairness,” where everyone is supposed to have equally
the same goods in life. Even more rarely is the source of these goods
discussed—where do they come from if everyone has a right to receive them, but
no one has the corresponding responsibility to produce them. Somehow they are
expected to come into existence by virtue of a government mandate.
Judge Napolitano reduces this
concept of fairness mediated by government as the source of our rights to
absurdity, and pronounces the philosophy of rights being given to each man by
God and known through the natural moral law. This concept is not new with
Napolitano, but is the common possession of Western philosophy, Christian,
Jewish, and even atheistic. In America it is expressed by Thomas Jefferson in
our Declaration of Independence:
hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
God created man with a
physical body informed by a spiritual soul having the faculties of intellect and
will. The intellect and will enable man to determine what he needs and wants,
both in his spiritual and his physical capacities, and how to satisfy those
needs and wants. His primary resource is his own self, mind and body, which
belongs to no one else below God. He is free to use the unclaimed resources of
the earth, and makes them his own by making creative use of them. Jefferson is
said to have listed “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” rather than
“Life, Liberty and Property” due to the mistaken notion of his time that one man
could be another man’s property.
Napolitano is not an
anarchist. Positive law has its place as long as it is restricted to protecting
the natural rights of people. A man should have the protection of law so that
no one comes and steals the crops he has grown or the home he has built, but law
exceeds its bounds when it coerces men in such a way as to deprive them of their
lives, freedoms, or goods for the benefit of someone else or of the state. Only
to deter future crime, to rehabilitate the criminal, or to keep him from
committing new crimes, may these basic rights be infringed by law.
Law, according to the Judge,
should protect one from harm, but not from insult or offense. He gives the
example (pg. 203) of a woman on a bus “making a picnic lunch of live
cockroaches, soft dog food, and rotten eggs—all sautéed in garlic and onions” as
a behavior that is offensive to most people, but which should not be prohibited
by law as it harms none of them.
In my estimation he carries
this concept too far a few paragraphs later (pg. 204) in trying to protect the
offensive behavior of two teenagers who get on the bus and stage simulated acts
of violence, one “pulling the pin on a (very realistic) hand grenade, while the
second teenager stabs his friend with a fake, rubber knife.” In this case, the
passengers cannot just look away from the behavior, for they may reasonably
think that they are in physical danger, and someone may get hurt by reacting to
this reasonable fear.
Likewise, when Napolitano
writes about “victimless crimes,” he fails to recognize that such crimes may
actually have victims—if not in the perpetrators themselves, perhaps in the
family members who love and depend upon them.
In any event, It is
Dangerous to be Right makes an important contribution to the discourse in
our age of bloated and intrusive government.