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Shroud of Secrecy

by Luigi Marinelli, The Millenari

Buy the book: Luigi Marinelli. Shroud of Secrecy

Release Date: 01 April, 2000

Edition: Paperback

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Buy the book: Luigi Marinelli. Shroud of Secrecy


Hiding from the Vatican or from the critics?

The message that there is [illegal activity] in the Curia is hardly news, but these prelates endlessly repeat the allegation, claiming that power and honors go to the treacherous, incompetent and cooperative, while those sincerely devoted to truth, justice and service are humiliated and ostracized. I have no doubt that nepotism and avarice dominate Vatican politics but these Milinari sound like the guys whose candidate didn't win, whining about how unfair the process is. On one hand, they chronically point out that clerical office is not about careers and all should be done in service to the poor and disadvantaged, but then they refer to numerous cases of "deserving" prelates who were overlooked or shut out of higher office. Do they actually point fingers? Well, sometimes. But it's hard to tell when they're being serious, when they're speculating, or when they're just being cute.

The editor explains that this book's authors are native Italian speakers with a strong Latin streak and that a "faithful translation would have been unreadable". The significance of this warning soon becomes apparent. Their tedious diatribe is constantly interrupted by "stories", which begin abruptly and end ambiguously. Some are sophomoric jokes, some are allegories and some are actually presented as true events, occasionally including actual names, more often just vague hints. In at least one story, they get mixed up, confusing Pius XII with Paul VI. All the stories are artless and are usually followed up by a threatening Bible verse from Jeremiah, Malachi or Jesus, usually railing against the priests and Pharisees. The verses are rendered in bizaarely stilted English ("Why smitest thou me?") and, with perhaps [traditional] Catholic style, are devoid of chapter and verse references. The Milinari's use of quotes, puns and metaphors is grating, self-impressed and not quite on target, ironically like the very monsters they are battling.

The editor pretends to help by supplying marginal glossary entries for the uninitiated, explaining such difficult concepts as "gospel", "Decalogue" and "Marcus Aurelius", but ignoring the likes of "Telepeace", "loggia", and "Sertillanges". And sometimes he gets it wrong. ("The Beatitudes are the nine blessings spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.")

The signs that Satan is at work in St. Peters are the dogged reluctance of the Curia to embrace the likes of mystics like Padre Pio or to validate the latter apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There's more: the loss of Gregorian chant and "eligiac" Latin has reduced the Mass "from ritual to theatre". Homosexuality is yet another plague in the ministry. (Yet oddly though, the authors think that priestly celibacy is an idea whose time has finally gone. It's hard to keep one's traditions properly sorted.)

The cause of the Vatican's woes, you see, are a couple of powerful feuding Italian families who control all the appointments in an uneasy and constantly shifting standoff. No, actually it's because they're all Freemasons, which are the real diabolical threat, along with their junior organizations, Rotary and the Lions Club. (They actually say this.) Well, some of them are Communists or Satanists, and maybe the Magyars are involved too. (At least they stopped short of "perfidious Jews".) The Pope is not at fault however, because the Curia is always sending him out of town on meaningless pilgrimages and showy jamborees. (And the notorious Cardinal Ratzinger is apparently innocent as well.)

The Milinari aften point to popes and theologians of the past as models of proper behavior, bet these aren't the guys I would pick. Innocent III? Julius II? Pius XI? Not exactly sterling examples, but that may be a matter of whose hagiography you read.

When they aren't dishing rumors and gossip, the authors do reveal some decent ecclesiology, emphasizing the need to include the laity in the decision processes, as well as the actual Holy Spirit, not just a verbal simulation. But they are inconsistent, such as when they bemoan the recent process of letting dioceses nominate their own bishops.

These guys have their heart in the right place, but their attitude is naive, sentimental and puerile. I'd hate to leave the great clerical cleanup in their hands. If you want a thoughtful analysis of just what's wrong with the Church hierarchy, read Gary Wills' "Papal Sins".

From Amazon.com



Hiding from the Vatican or from the critics?

The message that there is corruption in the Curia is hardly news, but these prelates endlessly repeat the allegation, claiming that power and honors go to the treacherous, incompetent and cooperative, while those sincerely devoted to truth, justice and service are humiliated and ostracized. I have no doubt that nepotism and avarice dominate Vatican politics but these Milinari sound like the guys whose candidate didn't win, whining about how unfair the process is. On one hand, they chronically point out that clerical office is not about careers and all should be done in service to the poor and disadvantaged, but then they refer to numerous cases of "deserving" prelates who were overlooked or shut out of higher office. Do they actually point fingers? Well, sometimes. But it's hard to tell when they're being serious, when they're speculating, or when they're just being cute.

The editor explains that this book's authors are native Italian speakers with a strong Latin streak and that a "faithful translation would have been unreadable". The significance of this warning soon becomes apparent. Their tedious diatribe is constantly interrupted by "stories", which begin abruptly and end ambiguously. Some are sophomoric jokes, some are allegories and some are actually presented as true events, occasionally including actual names, more often just vague hints. In at least one story, they get mixed up, confusing Pius XII with Paul VI. All the stories are artless and are usually followed up by a threatening Bible verse from Jeremiah, Malachi or Jesus, usually railing against the priests and Pharisees. The verses are rendered in bizaarely stilted English ("Why smitest thou me?") and, with perhaps stereotypically Catholic style, are devoid of chapter and verse references. The Milinari's use of quotes, puns and metaphors is grating, self-impressed and not quite on target, ironically like the very monsters they are battling.

The editor pretends to help by supplying marginal glossary entries for the uninitiated, explaining such difficult concepts as "gospel", "Decalogue" and "Marcus Aurelius", but ignoring the likes of "Telepeace", "loggia", and "Sertillanges". And sometimes he gets it wrong. ("The Beatitudes are the nine blessings spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.")

The signs that Satan is at work in St. Peters are the dogged reluctance of the Curia to embrace the likes of mystics like Padre Pio or to validate the latter apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There's more: the loss of Gregorian chant and "eligiac" Latin has reduced the Mass "from ritual to theatre". Homosexuality is yet another plague in the ministry. (Yet oddly though, the authors think that priestly celibacy is an idea whose time has finally gone. It's hard to keep one's traditions properly sorted.)

The cause of the Vatican's woes, you see, are a couple of powerful feuding Italian families who control all the appointments in an uneasy and constantly shifting standoff. No, actually it's because they're all Freemasons, which are the real diabolical threat, along with their junior organizations, Rotary and the Lions Club. (They actually say this.) Well, some of them are Communists or Satanists, and maybe the Magyars are involved too. (At least they stopped short of "perfidious Jews".) The Pope is not at fault however, because the Curia is always sending him out of town on meaningless pilgrimages and showy jamborees. (And the notorious Cardinal Ratzinger is apparently innocent as well.)

The Milinari aften point to popes and theologians of the past as models of proper behavior, bet these aren't the guys I would pick. Innocent III? Julius II? Pius XI? Not exactly sterling examples, but that may be a matter of whose hagiography you read.

When they aren't dishing rumors and gossip, the authors do reveal some decent ecclesiology, emphasizing the need to include the laity in the decision processes, as well as the actual Holy Spirit, not just a verbal simulation. But they are inconsistent, such as when they bemoan the recent process of letting dioceses nominate their own bishops.

These guys have their heart in the right place, but their attitude is naive, sentimental and puerile. I'd hate to leave the great clerical cleanup in their hands. If you want a thoughtful analysis of just what's wrong with the Church hierarchy, read Gary Wills' "Papal Sins".

From Amazon.com


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