Here are the rosary beads I bought at the Vatican. Entwined with them are worry beads I purchased in Jerusalem:
As you know the Cardinals of the Catholic Church have decided on a new pope. Francis I will bring a new outlook to the papacy. As he is a Jesuit with a vow of poverty I hope he decides to sell off most of the Vatican art collection to fund hospitals and other good works. If he does something radical like this he will say more about his commitment to eradicate poverty than a hundred sermons.
Before I left Rome I heard that the report into the leaks at the Vatican, one of the reasons for Pope Benedict resigning, will be given to the new pope.
For my previous post on some of the scandals that have emerged in the last few weeks go here.
The report is known throughout the Vatican as the Relatio (Narration). It is held in two stiff, unmarked red folders and is around 300 pages long. Currently it is in a safe in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St Peter’s Square.
In the folders is the report of three cardinals/investigators, appointed by Benedict to report on the leaking of documents from his study. The cardinals, include a leading Spanish member of the Opus Dei fellowship, Cardinal Julián Herranz.
Some of what is in the report is said to be truly compromising. According to rumor, they reveal a gay sex ring in the Vatican. If the church is speaking against homosexuality while some of its most senior clergy practice it, its crimes go beyond hypocrisy to betrayal of the spiritual well being and peace of mind of its followers.
I am intrigued at the symbolism and superstitions that revolve around the Vatican and the Sistine chapel, where the Cardinals spent most of their time deciding on the new pope.
First of all, the silver and gold keys in the Vatican coat of arms symbolize the golden and silver gates in the Egyptian occult system, which the soul passes through on its way through birth to death. These are also the keys of the kingdom Christ gave to Peter.
The large Perugino fresco – Delivery of the Keys – in the Sistine chapel depicts this moment. For what these keys mean in the occult system see this video. If you have a more mundane explanation please comment below.
As I edit The Manhattan Puzzle, my next novel in the puzzle series, I am genuinely looking for people who wish to input their ideas about the occult symbols that the Vatican uses.
The prayers from the Vatican and from the Sistine Chapel are believed by hundreds of millions to be enhanced by the sanctity of the individuals and the power that resides at the site of the Vatican.
The Vatican is an impressive place. The obelisk in the centre of the open area in front of St Peter’s was taken by the Roman Emperor Caligula from Heliopolis, Egypt, to decorate the spina of his circus on this site, and is the last visible remnant of that circus.
The obelisk represents the sun god Ra. It was also believed in Egypt that the god resided within the obelisk.
All the obelisks from the Roman period, except for the Vatican obelisk, fell and were re-erected in different locations.
In 326, the first church was built near the site after the Emperor Constantine gave the lands in that area to the Christian church. The Vatican is the powerful legacy, seventeen hundred years later, of the support of the first Christian Emperor for Christianity.
I wonder what he would have thought of the scandals engulfing the church. Perhaps he wouldn’t have been surprised at all. I wonder what Pope Francis thinks of it all.
I am creating these posts to record the results of my investigations into developments at the Vatican and the implications for the puzzle I uncovered in Istanbul. For a fictional account of that go here.
The recent resignation of the pope throws a new light on everything that has happened so far. To any of you who are superstitious you will also have noticed the lightning strikes on the Vatican within hours of the announcement and the meteor strike over Russia, which injured over 500, 2 days later.
If you are superstitious you may want to stop reading at this point.
Because of the above events I have been researching the pontiff’s decision to go. As you know from a previous post on this site the last pope to resign did so approximately 700 years ago. When you read The Istanbul Puzzle you will see that a 700 year cycle features prominently.
But, you will say, that means nothing. And I agree, which why I am I must reveal the results of my recent researches for you:
* Corriere della Sera, Italy’s best selling daily newpaper, reported on Monday, the day the pope resigned, that the chief executive of the Vatican’s Institute for Works of Religion (IOR) had meetings with Monte Paschi’s, the Italian bank at the centre of a nine billion euro scandal.
* Corriere della Sera listed sets of numbers it said identified IOR (the official Vatican bank) accounts used to transmit funds to Monte Paschi, which played a part in the downfall of the bank. Italian prosecutors are looking into the allegations of bribery.
* Three days after the pope’s resignation Italian police arrested the former head of Monte dei Paschi’s finance department. This is the man at the centre of the alleged fraud and bribery at Italy’s third largest bank.
* Prosecutors in Sienna, involved in this case have requested to speak to Emilio Botin, one of Europe’s most senior banking figures, the previous chairman of Spain’s Santander.
* About 40 million euros was seized last week as part of the investigation.
My gut feel on these events is that the pontiff was tipped off about the investigations that were dragging the Vatican bank into a scandal that had been tipped to reignite the eurozone crisis. My guess is that his wishes, for major change and a clean out at the IOR, had been resisted by the officials involved and that he resigned in protest. This is my informed guess.
Cicero was right in 43BC when he said, in a speech in the Senate in Rome, “The sinews of war are unlimited money.”
The release date for The Manhattan Puzzle, the next novel in the series, has now being brought forward. In The Manhattan Puzzle you will find out what I have uncovered working on the inside in one of the world’s largest and most secretive financial institutions.
It’s not pretty.
To those who disagree with me, below, I give you Benedict’s own words: “We can reveal the face of the church and how this face is, at times, disfigured,” Benedict said in his final homily on Ash Wednesday.
I also point out the view of the Washington Post:
“VatiLeaks, as the scandal came to be known, dragged the fusty institution into the wild WikiLeaks era. It exposed the church bureaucracy’s entrenched opposition to Benedict’s fledgling effort to carve out a legacy as a reformer against the backdrop of a global child sex abuse scandal and the continued dwindling of his flock.
It showed how Benedict, a weak manager who may most be remembered for the way in which he left office, was no match for a culture that rejected even a modicum of transparency and preferred a damage-control campaign that diverted attention from the institution’s fundamental problems.”
That Washington Post article goes on to speak about “corruption and abuse of power” within the Vatican, and resistance to the popes’s efforts to clean it up. Inflated payments to providers of services to the Vatican is only the tip of the corruption iceberg.
Still don’t believe in corruption at the Vatican? Will you believe the pope’s own butler, speaking last year: “Seeing evil and corruption everywhere in the church, I finally reached a point of degeneration, a point of no return, and could no longer control myself,” Paolo Gabriele said to Vatican investigators.
For those who wish to distance the Catholic Church from the Vatican Bank – at length in a comment below – please be aware of the fact that Cardinal Bertone presides over the Vatican Bank, a post he appeared to use to impede Benedict’s financial reforms.
Pope Benedict resigning is a serious puzzle.
Paul Poupard, a French cardinal, told Le Figaro, the leading French newspaper, that he knew from the very first words of the speech that Pope Benedict was leaving.
“I understood from the very first words and I said ‘My God’,” Cardinal Poupard, is reported to have said in Le Figaro.
Cardinal Paul Joseph Jean Poupard has been a cardinal since 1985.
Cardinal Poupard has made it clear that he was “in the know” regarding yesterday’s events. It is highly likely that others knew what was about to be announced too.
It has also been reported today that the pope had the battery replaced in his pacemaker a few months ago and that he has no specific illness.
This move by the pope is more than likely the result of persuasion. Please keep in mind these facts:
* This is not the first Pope Benedict – the last one was an Anti-pope, known for his oppressive laws against the Jews.
* The last pope to step down was Celestine V. Celestine was born in 1215. He was a Benedictine monk. He was imprisoned by his successor and died ten months later. Some say he was murdered.
* Celestine wasn’t the first pope to abdicate. John XVIII retired to a monastery in 1009 and died shortly afterwards.
* Benedict IX, who was said to have had gay orgies in his palace, was paid to resign the papacy in 1045. St. Peter Damian called him a “demon from hell in the disguise of a priest.” Pope Victor III wrote of Benedict IX as having a “life as a pope so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it.”
* In 1415 Gregory XII was persuaded to step down to end the schism between Rome and the rival papacy in Avignon.
There is something going on that we don’t know about. Whether this is a to do with Joseph Ratzinger’s public opposition to homosexuality, his championing of the European Union’s Christian roots and opposition to abortion or something else we are unlikely to be told any time soon.
Some say St. Malachy predicted all this.
Malachy was an Irish saint and the archbishop of Armagh, who lived from 1094 to 1148. Malachy described the penultimate pope, as “Gloria Olivae,” or “Glory of the Olive.”
Pope Benedict XVI was not a Benedictine priest, but he chose the name of Benedict, the founder of the Order of Saint Benedict, also known as the Olivetans. The olive branch is part of the symbol of the Benedictine order.
Malachy prophesised that the last pope would be Peter the Roman:
“In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock among many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people.”
Whether you believe that the end of days is coming, or if some just want this all to come, for their own ends, is up to you. Whatever the truth, these are interesting times.
If you have been following the story of the puzzle series (The Istanbul Puzzle – The Jerusalem Puzzle) over the last twelve months you will have noticed that certain things have been revealed by a book discovered deep under Istanbul.
The next book in the series, out October 10th, 2013, will reveal what the puzzle means and take the series to the new world, where many questions will be answered.
I hope you will come along with me on this journey as we explore the dark side of power.
Corriere della Sera, the leading Italian daily, suggested the secret report at the end of last year into the Vatileaks scandal by three cardinals loyal to Benedict, may have been a reason for the resignation.
Some believe the findings of the shelved document may have revealed a major conspiracy to discredit Benedict’s papacy.
Others say relatively liberal comments by the Vatican’s new minster for the family are evidence of a battle between Benedict and progressive elements in the Church.
La Repubblica said Benedict’s decision to stand down was designed to end the feud between his leadership and other senior figures that was “poisoning the Vatican”.
Benedict will continue his ordinary duties until the 28th February at 8pm.
The resignation may also have an impact on the Italian elections.
A Vatican spokesman confirmed on the 12th February that Pope Benedict would keep the name Benedict on retiring and live in the Vatican, not far from the Papal residence. Padre Federico Lombardi said of Benedict’s new title: ‘His name will remain Benedict XVI. He added that his title could be ‘Emeritus Bishop of Rome’ – in other words, a second Pope.
The prospect of two Popes in the Vatican is not one to look forward to. A shadow may be cast over the work of the new Pontiff. Vatican staff may have divided loyalties. A house divided is weakened.
There is also news that a scandal-disrupted trip, to Mexico and Cuba in March 2012, persuaded Benedict to consider the idea of stepping aside, a Vatican official is reported to have said yesterday.
The visit to Mexico was haunted by the scandal revolving around Rv Maciel Degollado, the Mexican founder of the Legionaries of Christ, a powerful, arch-conservative religious order, associated with John Paul’s papacy. Father Maciel was reported to have raped seminarians, fathered children and to have been involved in drug abuse before he died in 2008.
An Italian book, The Secret Papers of Benedict, (pub. 2012), claimed a high-ranking Vatican official vowed he had discovered corruption and mismanagement in the awarding of building contracts at the Vatican.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, will organise the conclave to choose Benedict’s successor.
It is widely believed that Sodano is aligned against Cardinal Bertone, who took over from Sodano as Secretary of State, the leading Papal official.
When I was growing up I heard nothing about the beauty and wonders of Istanbul. I heard a lot about the wonders of Paris and Rome, but nothing positive about Istanbul. And I am a voracious reader of newspapers and magazines. Istanbul was the city of Midnight Express, a one-sided depiction of pure violence, and occasionally a political story would appear about a coup or a new government.
Imagine my surprise when I went to Istanbul to discover:
1. A museum that was the largest cathedral in Christendom for a thousand years, Hagia Sophia, which displays many of most important Byzantine artworks and mosaics ever created. This building influenced mosques everywhere and inspired millions. This is simply one the most important buildings in the world. Everyone should see this.
2. A palace, Topkapi, containinig Moses’ rod, original harem buildings, a treasury containing an 86-carat pear-shaped diamond, perhaps the most beautiful in the world, priceless art and artifacts and a view over the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn that thousands died for their masters to possess.
3. A Grand Bazaar and Spice Market, a vision of ages past, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world dating from early Ottoman times.
The list goes on too, the remains of a Roman Hippodrome, gigantic fortified Byzantine city walls and palaces, and mosques that are as beautiful as any in the world. The views everywhere in the city make Istanbul perhaps the most beautiful city in Europe and certainly one of the most beautiful in the world.
So why have all these treasures been ignored, and why do we rarely see mention of the beauty of Istanbul anywhere? Is it simply that many people just haven’t been there? I believe so. And I hope you enjoy Istanbul as much as I do if you go there.
Before you go though, one last treasure must be mentioned. The vast majority of Istanbulers are among the friendliest and kindest people in the world. Perhaps they are its greatest treasure.
To go to the 6th puzzle click here.