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THE VATICAN DIARIES  A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Power, Personalities and Politics At The Heart Of The Catholic Church

A Book Review by Anne Frandi-Coory

Vatican Diaries

 

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It really is a joke that the Vatican considers itself a city state in its own right! More like a private boarding institution full of petulant school boys with eccentric masters in control of such departments as Congregation For Catholic EducationCongregation For The Causes of SaintsCongregation For The Clergy, Congregation For Institutes of Consecrated Life And Societies Of Apostolic Life etc. and where the competition for supremacy  over doctrinal matters is fierce.

What bothered me the most about the goings on in the Vatican as revealed in this book, was the total shutdown of any discussion about the thousands of cases of sexual abuse of children in USA, Australia and Ireland; the total lack of any consideration of the harm done to children by paedophile priests. The Vatican is a well-oiled machine that protects the Church at all costs, and I mean ‘all costs’!

The only noteworthy global/political stance the Vatican has taken in recent times, in my view,  was when Pope John Paul ll warned the USA of the terrible consequences if it invaded Iraq: ‘Four years earlier [George W ] Bush had dismissed Pope John Paul’s cautionary warnings about war during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, leaving deep resentment at the Vatican. In the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s demise, as terrorism, factional fighting and anti-Christian attacks increased, the Vatican said, essentially, “We told you so.”‘

It is truly incredulous how petty and ridiculous are the secrecy, the bitchiness, and to think this is the headquarters that directs the Catholic Faith for followers around the world! What a waste of time and money!! All the money the Catholic Church rakes in globally would surely feed the world’s poor? Instead it allows the clergy and the pope, to live in palaces, eat like kings, and be waited on day and night!

Just like Mother Teresa was a ‘cash cow’ for the Catholic Church, so too was the Legion of Christ whose Mexican founder, Marcial Maciel Degollado,  fathered several children to several different women but who the Vatican sponsored and feted because of the huge numbers of new priests flocking to his seminaries and the vast amounts of money his order collected in donations. He also embezzled millions for his own private use, and was accused of sexual abuse, but the Vatican protected him until he died.

And heresy isn’t a problem for the Catholic Church either these days, not if it brings in billions of dollars worldwide like the Lefebvrists do. This schism within the Holy Church, for which several bishops and priests were excommunicated, strongly advocates for the pre-Vatican Council ll Tridentine Rites, including the use of Latin for Mass. For this faction of Catholicism, strict Tradition is everything. It does show how little the sexual abuse of children by paedophile priests concerns the Vatican hierarchy when compared to apostasy.

The chapter in the book titled SEX   lays open the arguments within the Church about the problem of homosexuality of priests and it’s  very interesting indeed. There is little doubt that homosexual relationships between priests are condoned within the Vatican, and within parishes. In one case, a priest was caught on a hidden camera, attempting to seduce a young man on a white couch in his office!  It was a set up, and the whole affair was broadcast on Italian TV.  A few years ago, an investigation carried out by the Church,  employing expert psychiatrists, confirmed what the Church has always denied; that the Catholic priesthood is a haven for homosexuals and that teenage seminarians are the attraction. Also, research has revealed that by far the largest numbers of child abuse victims are pre-pubescent boys. One particular psychiatrist believes that celibacy is the prime cause of the fact that so many paedophiles join the priesthood. Many followers are dismayed that the Church will not soften its stance on celibacy, even though it allows its Eastern Orthodox priests to marry. One psychiatrist went so far as to advise the Vatican that allowing priests to marry would encourage more ‘socially mature’ men to become priests. The following is a significant expert opinion quoted by the author: ‘Dr Martin P Kafka, a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School, said he thought homosexuality, while not a cause of sexual abuse, was a “likely risk factor” that deserved further study. He stated that in comparison with the general population, abuse cases in the Church disproportionately involved homosexual male adults who’d molested adolescent males. The no-gay-priests faction did its best to ignore the fact that Dr Kafka had also wondered whether celibacy could also be a ‘risk factor’ in sexual abuse.  [My emphasis]

Is there a secret document emanating from the Congregation for Catholic Education, which oversees seminaries around the world, stating the Vatican’s new position on admitting homosexuals into the priesthood? Nothing has been confirmed, but… “The document’s position is negative based in part on what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says in its revised edition, that the homosexual orientation is ‘objectively disordered.’ Therefore independently of  any judgment on the homosexual person, a person of this orientation should not be admitted to the seminary and, if it is discovered later, should not be ordained.” One can’t help wondering whether the Catholic Church is no longer attracting enough priests into its fold because of the dwindling faith of its congregations or perhaps because of its restriction on the ordination of homosexuals?

This chapter also reveals the Vatican’s rules on the use of condoms and other forms of contraception, and once again I am amazed at the ridiculous pettiness of the detail of what is and isn’t allowed! For instance: “condoms are acceptable for prostitutes, because the sex they engage in is already sinful”…but some in the Vatican are concerned because that “would lead the Church to support the use of condoms for all ‘fornicators’ including sexually active teenagers.” I won’t go into the detail of the Vatican’s rules about the use of condoms for the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS, but they border on the utterly ludicrous!

The Vatican Diaries is a must read, especially for the faithful, because you really should know the truth of what is happening within your own Church!  It is not just a salacious exposé…John Thavis has written an engaging and at times, very funny book. He obviously has friends within the Vatican whom he trusts and admires, and he has been working as a journalist in this field for over thirty years. I did enjoy the chapters about the Vatican Museum, and the character of an irreverent priest who translated documents into Latin, and who constantly embarrassed tourists and the Vatican hierarchy who  would have dearly loved to have fired him, if he hadn’t been such a brilliant Latinist!

The comings and goings, the antiquated white and black smoke  used to inform an anxiously waiting public about progress in the election of a new pope, are enlightening, humourous, and left me wondering why an extremely wealthy city state still used smoke signals, emitted from a belching, cough inducing stove. Oh that’s right, Tradition.

 

-Anne Frandi-Coory 31 August 2016

Also here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/myhomelibrary/

 

 

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One of the damned being dragged to the fires of hell by demons – Part of Last Judgment hanging in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican

 

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Pope Francis is now the Pope and leader of the Catholic Church. Still, nothing has changed!

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World News: VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI baptized 21 newborns in an intimate ceremony in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday that marked the end of the Christmas season.

Standing under Michelangelo’s magnificent “Last Judgment” fresco, the pope poured water on the foreheads of 13 baby boys and eight baby girls. Some babies screamed, others squirmed, some slept through it. Benedict prayed for their “life and health so they can grow and mature in the faith.”

Or perhaps to be molested by paedophile priests.   Until the pope and the Vatican hierarchy make changes within Catholicism, nothing will change! Call me a cynic, but years of being brainwashed with stories of hell-fire and brimstone as a child, have made me so. The nightmares a large part of my childhood. (Whatever Happened To Ishtar?) The Last Judgment fresco is an amazing artistic achievement by Michelangelo, I have seen it for myself in person.  But the scene which covers most of a wall in the Sistine Chapel is horrifying, and is what is promised for our innocent children if we do not baptise them in the ‘Faith’. What he is really saying is: get them young, so they can grow up indoctrinated in the ‘Faith’ and the money will continue to roll in and continue to  enrich the Vatican.

‘The Pope was quoted as saying  that, in an ever-changing society without firm cultural references, it has become more difficult to educate children in the faith, and urged parishes and parents to cooperate. The babies — aged between four weeks and four months — are all children of Vatican employees.’

What a contrast in the two images, but an accurate portrayal. The fact is that not all in Catholicism is light & happiness, that is the problem.  There are too many dark, dark depths that have not been dealt with satisfactorily by the Pope and the Vatican power brokers, and until that is done, they should not be allowed near children.  Anyway, that’ s my opinion.

I feel vindicated in writing about the generational sexual abuse in Catholic Lebanese and Italian families which I uncovered during the research for my book ‘Whatever Happened to Ishtar?’ . If  paedophile priests were sexually abusing children why would we be surprised when we find fathers and uncles doing the same thing?  At last the abused can speak out about what has been covered up by the Catholic Church, not for decades, but for centuries!

The woman’s testimony below reminds me how complicit nuns were, if not in the sexual abuse, then certainly in the physical and emotional abuse, of children in Catholic orphanages and schools.    My brother wrote a story in his early teens (Hypocrisy of the Catholic Church; my brother’s story) about the time he and our mother were starving,  yet they were  turned away by a fat priest who was on his way to his roast dinner which the pair could smell wafting from the kitchen of the presbytery.

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Ex – Italian victim & priest,  Domolo speaks out. Caption above: “We are victims of paedophile priests”

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The Vatican, under global pressure,  has just raised the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse, to twenty years from the time the victim turns eighteen.  However, most human rights activists agree there should be no statute of  limitation as occurs in most western countries.

Excerpts from Associated Press:

VERONA, Italy – Italian victims of a paedophiliac clergy want such sexual abuse declared a crime against humanity, and they launched an international appeal on Saturday during the first public gathering of such victims in Italy.

Organizer Salvatore Domolo, a former victim and an ex-priest, said the group is looking abroad for solidarity because justice for pedophile victims is hard to come by in Italy with a statute of limitations of 10 years.

“Here there is no hope. By the time a victim arrives at the awareness of having been a victim, legal intervention is not possible,”  Domolo said in a country that has long been reluctant to confront the Vatican in its own backyard.

“The complicity of the hierarchy, together with the enormity of the numbers and vast geography of these crimes, should lead us to consider that we are facing a crime against humanity carried out by a political-religious organization,” Domolo told a news conference before the victims met, his delivery bearing the cadence of a homily.  “With this gathering, we want to ask civilian justice to do its duty in full freedom and truth, without being intimidated by the clerical culture.”

The meeting was held opposite Verona’s heavily visited Roman colosseum and advertised with placards outside. Passers-by were free to enter, but few did.

Another will be held in Rome at the end of October, but Verona was chosen for the first gathering because it is the home of a school for the deaf where 67 former students have alleged suffering sexual abuse, paedophilia and corporal punishment from the 1950s to early 1980s.  About 40 former victims inquired by e-mail — but many are still reluctant to come forward, organizers said.

The Vatican has been reeling for months as thousands of victims around the globe have spoken out about priests who molested children, bishops who covered up for them and Vatican officials who turned a blind eye to the problem for decades. In the latest admission, hundreds of victims came forward in Belgium with tales of horrific abuse linked to at least 13 suicides.

While Italian bishops have acknowledged 100 sexual abuse cases that warranted church intervention in the last decade, victims believe the true number in Italy is much higher because the reluctance to speak out in Italy is especially strong.  “This gathering is fundamental because we live in a social situation in which the presence of the Catholic church reduces the possibility of talking about the situation,” Domolo said. “They do it all over the world, but in Italy even more. That we are just now having the first gathering of victims indicates that only in the recent months is something exploding in Italy.”

Domolo, now 45, said he had been a victim of his parish priest from age 8 to 12, and that he was forced to confess “as if I had sinned.   The church has known for 50 years this has been going on but kept it quiet in a disgusting way,” he said.

Domolo was a priest for 15 years. He renounced both the priesthood and his Roman Catholic faith after meeting another victim on a trip to Ireland in 2001. A man named Francesco from Padova, who did not give his surname, told the group he had been abused both by priests and nuns who used punishment as an excuse to touch him inappropriately. “The worst was my family. They refused to believe it was true,” he told the group, adding he has only been able to come to grips with it through therapy.

A 58-year-old deaf woman, who only gave the nickname given to her by the nuns of Verona’s Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf, carefully annunciated her words as she told her story. During her 15 years at the institute, she was only alone with priests once a week for confession. Recalling her first confession, she said she asked the nuns what to say, and they asked her what she had done. “I told them I scratched myself everywhere because I had too much wool clothing. The nuns said, ‘Tell them you touched yourself.”‘

At that, she said, the priest asked her to lift her clothing to show him where. And so it continued, she said, “little by little, week after week. We girls didn’t do anything, and we had to confess. The priests, who sinned, did they ever confess, I ask?”

Pope Benedict the chief hypocrite of the Catholic Church

Updated 21 May 2015….the pope may have changed, but the Catholic Church hasn’t. Pope Francis appears to be making changes at he Vatican, but nothing convinces me that the welfare of child sex abuse victims has been put at the front and foremost by the Church.  In fact, it is still protecting paedophile priests, and Cardinal George Pell.

Can you believe that  Pope Benedict,  ex chief of the  Office of the  Inquisition until 2005, (re-named the Office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or CDF) truly believes that homosexuality between consenting adults is evil, along with divorce and abortion, yet through Canon Law, exonerates, forgives and protects from the criminal law of legitimate nations, paedophile priests who have  raped and ruined the lives of thousands of children. In his warped view, paedophile  priests are afflicted with an illness they cannot control!  It says much about the Catholic religion and their Canon Law; it considers gay relationships within the priesthood as  the most grievous of sins and  offending priests are to be excommunicated immediately! Yet those priests sodomising boys are protected by the Vatican while the victims are forced into silence.  As long as the paedophile priests  say extra hail marys after confession they will be protected forever by the Vatican.  This is the pope who has publicly stated that to ordain women as priests is an equivalent evil to sodomising children.

The Pope  visited African countries recently and warned against the evils of divorce and contraception but neglected to warn the people  about the paedophile priests who have been sent to that continent in their hundreds to shield them from certain imprisonment in Europe, Ireland,  America and other countries,  for the sexual abuse of innocents;  in order to protect the Vatican’s   vast assets and the reputation of the Catholic Church.  The welfare of the children so sexually abused is not considered.  It is estimated that when the child sexual abuse scandals do break in developing countries (in Asia as well) the total number of victims added to those already uncovered, could reach in excess of 100,000, and will as usual be the tip of the iceberg.

The little book with so much to say about Catholic paedophile priests and the Vatican ‘State’ which protects them

I bought a book on Saturday at one of my favourite   little book shops.  It is  adjacent  to the Sun Theatre in Yarraville and I often spend time looking for that special book  when I  go to a movie at the theatre.  This particular book is a ‘Penguin Special’ and is so up to date, it features the visit of  Pope Benedict to the UK in the last few days.  If you are, or have been,  a Catholic, this book will stun you.  I had believed the Vatican to be corrupt in the past, but I am absolutely incredulous at what the author has uncovered in his book.  That the pope and the officials at the Vatican could be so hypocritical and uninterested in the plight of all those hundreds of innocent victims is criminal.

The Vatican and the pope protect,  from outside scrutiny, their highly secret documents and decisions regarding  abusive priests, through the process of Canon Law and  constantly declare that the Vatican is a sovereign state and by definition beyond the reach of the national criminal law of other countries.  However, Geoffrey Robertson the author of  ‘The Case Of The Pope; Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse’ explores the legality of recognising the Vatican as a state.  He documents the vast numbers of child sex abuse cases around the globe which reached new heights during the reign of  the two previous popes before Pope Benedict, when he as Joseph Ratzinger, headed the Office of  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.   The three were a formidable team.  When the first sex abuse scandals involving numerous priests erupted in America in 2001, various cardinals, Bishops and other Vatican spokesmen blamed: “Jewish journalists working on the  New York Times”, “petty gossips”, “natural enemies” of Catholics, “the American problem”, modernity, “the media’s treatment of Catholic church leaders is comparable to Hitler’s treatment of the Jews”.  When scandals broke in Ireland these spokesmen had to re-think who to blame.

“……Congratulations sent to Bishop Pican, with the approval of Pope John 2nd and Cardinal Ratzinger, for refusing to  report his paedophile  priest to the police, were congratulations circulated to bishops to encourage them to do likewise.  This really disposes of the  fallacious argument that the Vatican would be quite content for law enforcers to arrest its guilty priests”.

I wont quote any more from the book because you really need to read the book to grasp the extent of the scandals and the extreme failure of the Catholic Church to protect the innocent.  It is all about the protection of reputations, and wealth; no matter what the pope tells the families in his audiences, children are well down the list of priorities in the Vatican machine.  You will be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of victims individual priests abused.  The sections on the extensive results of research carried out into  celibacy and the effect on priests, the fact that around 80% of victims are boys,  and the lifelong consequences of the damage done to victims, is both heartbreaking and riveting.

How corrupt is the Vatican?  This so-called state which appears to be above international law, is currently being investigated for money laundering and several million dollars  have been seized!

– Anne Frandi-Coory 21 May 2015

 

reverse-of-book-case-of-pope

 

Guido Cagnacci: Allegory of Human Life (1601-1663)

Updated 16 November 2013 … The Italian painter Guido Cagnacci encompasses it all in his beautiful painting which depicts the “cyclical regeneration of life out of death”.  He knew the realities of life and death.  His nude woman was the personification of beauty and fecundity, fundamental to the eternal  cycle of life and  the antithesis  of patriarchal  Catholicism. The Church created the dichotomy of the female; the virginal mother vs the whore.  Easy to commit ‘sins’ against the worthless latter and be forgiven in the confessional.  Within the flawed doctrine of Catholicism this is implicit.

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See posts: Are We But  a Flock of  Sheep? & Saint?  Pope?

& Australian Royal Commision into The Institutional Sexual Abuse of Children

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The power brokers behind the Vatican machine are very astute.  Every so often they target some obscure person for beatification; the penultimate  stage before sainthood.  They don’t have to pay millions of dollars for publicity and enhancement of Catholicism because it is all free once this ‘news’ is released to the Global Media.  But the global congregation is growing weary of the sheer numbers of abused children.  The Dead Sea Scrolls have revealed that so much of Christianity is based on fantasy. The latest canonisation  into sainthood scams regarding the 19th Century cardinal John Henry Newman and Sister Mary MacKillop are nothing but   pathetic attempts at diversion from the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by Catholic clergy around the world and especially the latest discoveries in Belgium.  This has been going on for centuries but in the past the Church always covered it up.  Priests’ sexual gratification and its secrecy was paramount;  children’s welfare wasn’t an issue.  The Church just ignored the abuse and shifted the offending priests around the parishes where they carried on with their proclivities.   Perhaps The Church’s fantastical teachings made it easy for priests to delude themselves into believing that they weren’t really having sex with their victims.  It was women, those evil temptresses they had to avoid.  I cannot believe that the problem is solely down to paedophilia.  It is much more psychologically complicated than that.

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Sexually abused children suffer and grow into adults who continue to suffer for the rest of their lives, that is if they haven’t committed suicide; and by the way, suicide is another sin in the eyes of the Church so the victims are condemned to “go to hell” as if they haven’t already been there. In some cases priests refuse to bury them!   Little Boys are as fair game as little girls; in the latest investigations into the Belgium abuse cases involving Catholic clergy,  girls and boys from two years of age were repeatedly raped.  Celibacy is a joke and the Vatican’s continued stance on celibacy, that Jesus was celibate,  is rubbish; he married twice and fathered children.  His second wife was called Lydia, but Mary Magdalene, his first wife, was always labelled by The Church as a prostitute and Mary, mother of Jesus, was promoted to the pedestal of sainthood and mother of God because, The Church’s doctrine would have us believe,   hers  was an Immaculate Conception.  Some parts of Catholicism were taken from paganism so they had to have a replacement for the ancient  mother goddess such as the Babylonian Ishtar.  In the grottos around the Middle East whatever figurine of a goddess was in residence,  was removed and replaced with a statue of the Virgin Mary.

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(See my book ‘Whatever Happened to Ishtar? – A Passionate Quest To Find Answers For Generations Of Defeated Mothers‘).

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Previous Post: Scandal in the ADF

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7 News Item: Pregnant Nun Image Sparks Outrage:

Pregnant nun image sparks outrage
An ice cream advertisement featuring a pregnant nun has been banned in the UK, media reports say. The Italian ice cream brand Antonio Federici launched the magazine campaign with the attached tagline text: “Immaculately conceived … Ice cream is our religion.” According to the British Advertising Standards Authority it reportedly received 10 (is that all?) complaints from magazine readers who said the ad was offensive to Christians, especially those who practice Catholicism. “We concluded that to use such an image in a light hearted way to advertise ice-cream was likely to cause serious offence to readers, particularly those who practised the Roman Catholic faith.” an official statement from the ASA says. A UK advertising watchdog says the imagery used to illustrate Immaculate Conception was likely to be seen as mocking Catholic beliefs. The Italian company said the ad, featuring in The Lady and Grazia magazines, aimed to gently satirise religion and that the notion of conception represented the creation of their ice cream product. Where’s the outrage about predatory priests? one person asks in the comments section of the news item.

Yes, even Islamic countries engage in child sex, incest  and pornography:

Sex scandal rocks Iraqi’s Shi’ites

A top-level Shi’ite cleric has been defrocked over sexually explicit videos posted on the Internet that have outraged devout communities across Iraq and tarnished the image of the sect’s highest religious body.  [Go Internet!]

Munaf Hamdan Naji al-Mosawi, a close aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for 11 years, has gone into hiding after intimate footage apparently recorded on his mobile phone ended up in the hands of neighbors, who marched to his home in Amara to demand the return of their religious donations, according to Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) sources – religious figures in Amara and Najaf, where Sistani’s office is based.

IWPR sources say the footage, which became public when Mosawi lost his phone’s memory card, allegedly shows the cleric naked and involved in sexual acts with his wife and, in a separate video, another woman with whom he had a muta’a, or temporary marriage. Locals who have seen the complete contents of the card claim there are images of as many as 18 other women.  (see my post: Pornography; A Major Commodity

It is the hypocrisy that infuriates me and makes me sick.  As with Catholic priests, these men have the  audacity  to lecture the populace on purity, honesty and integrity.  I was once told by an Iranian woman that there was no child sex or incest in her country, which I found difficult to believe at the time.  Then, later,  I read many personal accounts written by women living in Iran and other islamic states.   They were horrific tales, such as the multiple rape of young girls within their own countries, not to mention the disgusting behaviour of these men when they visit Western countries.  Their hypocrisy knows no bounds it seems. These same men allow the stoning of women and in cases where wives who are raped and sodomised by their husbands, complain, their children are taken from them and the women banished from their homes.  One such wife who was brutally sodomised (which is punishable by death in these countries!) had her bowel perforated, and after surgery to remove her bowel and a colostomy performed, she returned to the family home where her husband ranted at her “you stink, don’t come near me!”  She went back to the abuse, did not report it to the authorities, because she knew that under Islamic law, she would be the one to be punished, and if she wasn’t  killed, she would never be permitted to see her children again.

Priests are allowed to continue abusing children because their crimes are never reported to police; they are just shifted around from parish to parish, to carry on preaching purity to parishioners.  The Pope apologises and the paedophile  priests confess to another priest; a paltry penance is served (like saying three rosaries!) and all is forgiven; they can then begin abusing all over again, with a clean slate, knowing their all-powerful God will forgive them yet again; who cares about the  damage done to the children left by the wayside?  I believe that the depth of sexual abuse and pornography within these male powerhouses is far greater than anyone realises .  We have just seen the tip of the iceberg but women and children are at long last finding a voice with the help of technology, such as the internet. The Catholic Church is run by patriarchal men as are Islamic states; men have been protected  for centuries, for far too long.

My ancestor Pope Benedict XIV

Am I proud to have a pope as an ancestor?  I am told that Pope Benedict (Benedetto) XIV was a relative of the Mansi family to which my maternal great grandmother,  Raffaela Marisi Mansi,  belonged.  He was born in Bologna in March 1675 to Marcello Lambertini and Lucretia Bulgarini,  who  named him Prospero Lorenzo.  The present pope, Benedict XVI is of course German and so were the Mansi side of my grandmother’s family.  They moved to Italy in the 17th Century during prosperous years in the silk trade.  Anyway, I don’t know who dug up this information, but it was eventually passed on to me because I was writing up the family tree.

I am not fond of popes really, but at least this particular pope, on the surface, seems to have been  a reasonably good one as popes go, solving problems up and down the Italian peninsula and successfully coercing Jews to convert.  So many popes and priests sired illegitimate children that the authorities had  to open foundling homes.  Raffaela herself was raped by a Catholic priest in Rome when she was thirteen years old.  (See my book   ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’ ) Like today, the priest in question didn’t have to answer to anyone, least of all his God who  would forgive him anything as long as he confessed and did penance.  When it was discovered that my poor great grandmother to be was pregnant, she was shipped off to London to have  the baby girl who was put in a Catholic foundling home to be saved from ‘original sin’ and an after-life spent in limbo, where-ever that is. Life on earth didn’t come into it.  Raffaela’s  life, and that of her daughter, were ruined as no ‘decent’ man would want to marry a fallen woman or a fatherless one.  Even so, generation after generation of my Italian forebears were devout Catholics.

When my brothers and I were living in a Catholic orphanage in Dunedin, boys were separated at age five from girls, it didn’t matter if the girls were their sisters.  The nuns told me years later they had to segregate the boys from girls otherwise they would not have  received funding from the Government.  But then weren’t all western  governments Christian?  How much easier it was then for Catholic  Priests to molest little boys unhindered.  They had done so for generations.

Quoted from a biography of Pope Benedict XIV: His pontificate coincided with a period when Europeans were turning against the Church, and the prestige of the Holy See was in decline. [Sound familiar?] He ruled that the baptism of the children of Jews or pagans without the consent of their parents was valid but illicit, as it would be dangerous to baptize children who might lose their faith when they reached the age of reason; when a Jewish or pagan child was baptised without parental consent, the children should be taken away from their parents to be raised in a devout religious manner [in an orphanage?]   My emphasis.

In my case, it didn’t work! Why doesn’t the Vatican concede defeat and allow priests to marry and couples to use contraception?  Perhaps then all children born will be wanted and paedophiles will stop gravitating toward a life of debauchery in the priesthood.

More about the origins of the Italian surname Mansi and a snapshot history of Venice

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