“The nazi inquisitor didn’t pan out. Let’s get someone more vicious.”
In this case, they opted for someone from Catholicism’s terrorist division who was at the very least overly silent during -and probably complicit in parts of- the “disappearing” of 30,000 Argentinians.
Of course, it’s not really surprising.
No one was seriously expecting Oprah to put on the stupid hat, emerge onto the balcony and say “soz for all that gay and women and paedo and AIDS stuff. Everyone gets a car!”
The choice was down to which elderly, power-mad misogynist was going to make them look the least awful while they carry on raping children and laundering money.
Much has already been made about how Pope Frank took the bus and cooked his own meal. Or that his appointment is somehow important for the de-Eurocentrification of the church. (Although he has to be the most European Latin American they could possibly have found. His parents were safely Italian.)
So yeah… maybe it’s a thing.
But here’s a little tip for navigating geopolitical symbolism. Anytime you are pointed toward something, it is to point you away from something else. And the something else in this instance is the Vatican’s intention to come out swinging.
Because, let’s be clear. The Vatican has suffered a king hit. Everyone knows it’s little more than a criminal banking enterprise run by paedophiles. There is no chance of spinning this. It’s not a beat-up. Here’s an excerpt from a comprehensive round-up of papal monetary criminality.
[D]uring the first half of 2012, the Vatileaks scandal disclosed embarrassing confidential documents, some from the pope’s own office, which were given to the Italian press. “Those in the know believe that the real core of the scandal is a power struggle over control of the Vatican’s finances,” reported Spiegel. The AIF had been give authority over all Vatican bureaus. For the first time, department heads had someone looking over their shoulder as to how they spent their funds and they didn’t like it. Conflicts arose over who had authority over whom and how transparent the IOR and other financial units should become.
Several leaks focused on Vatican finances, charging corruption and cronyism. They:
+ Styled the Vatican Bank as a rogue “offshore bank,” including purportedly “encrypted” and “secret” accounts;
+ Raised questions about the Vatican’s willingness to cooperate with international regulators trying to track suspect transactions;
+ Exposed internal debates over whether a new Vatican financial watchdog agency is actually toothless.
The documents had been given to Gianluigi Nuzzi, trusted by some Vatican insiders because of his book, Vatican S.p.A. Nuzzi collected the latest documents into another book, His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Pope Benedict XVI, pubished in the beginning of May 2012. In addition to the above, the book also disclosed the IOR laundering about $280 million on behalf of the Mafia.
According to Nuzzi, one of his informants told him, “The truth emerging in the newspapers and the official discourse within the Holy See was so different, the hypocrisy reigned supreme, and the scandals were multiplying. I’m not talking only about the pedophilia and murder cases like the killing of the Swiss Guard and the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, but about money laundering, corruption, and threats.”
The previous strategy of falsely blaming rogue operators -be they paedophiles or financial criminals- utterly failed. The problem didn’t “go away” like it did every other time in the past 1,500 years or so.
And so the vatican has selected someone from an order that has as a founding principle the willingness to do or say literally anything in defense of the church and has a 500 year history of fulfilling this. Make no mistake, these are not the actions of a confident organisation. They are the actions of some cornered orcs willing to fight dirty to maintain their inexcusably prominent role in the geopolitics of the twenty first century. (Find me another UN ‘permanent observer’ that can make as many assembly interjections as members of the security council.) The heat isn’t going to cool down because the weight of world opinion is never going to let up. Can you honestly picture a time in the near future where you will exclaim “hey, remember back when the Vatican had all those sex and crime problems? Boy, I’m sure glad they got that completely cleared up and resumed growing rapidly by endorsing contraception, gay marriage, the ordination of women and an ethical form of capitalism.”
No. they’re going for the ‘knife in the dark’ approach.
Put it this way. I will not be at all surprised to find another of God’s bankers swinging from a noose under Blackfriars Bridge on my way to work. The cardinals have replaced Palpatine with Darth Vader.
As for the fact that Frank is the first LatAm pope, again, we’re all looking in the wrong place. While Europe’s churches are entirely empty (in ‘Catholic’ Paris, more people attend mosque than church of a weekend), they are at least emptying -from a higher percentage, sure- in LatAm. If their intent was to pick a growth market in terms of congregations, they should have gone with the African candidate. But LatAm has something that neither Europe nor Africa (currently) has. Can you guess what it is? Exactly. They are bankers, after all.
So God’s board of directors is doing what any good board does -the most recent example being Yahoo- when faced with declining share in a mature market. They are consolidating around a high-margin core product (Display ad audience reach/LatAm) and replacing the old CEO with a smiling hatchet man who gives good PR. (Marissa Mayer/Pope Frank.)
It is dismaying to me that the most visible attempts to discern what goes on behind the game of thrones relies on the fiction of a shadowy new world order meeting in secret mountain bases when the motivations are in plain sight… they just don’t happen to fall out of a cable news pundit’s mouth. From the successful fifty year psy-op to get poor people to think it’s Christian to vote for billionaires’ tax cuts while taking what remains of their health care away to NATO troops training and arming a foreign-born-yet-somehow-domestic army of ‘rebels’ to the fact that 70% of retired generals take jobs with military contractors.
All of this is my way of saying I view the latest appointment as good news after a fashion. Because, in order to come out swinging, first you have to be on the ropes.
That does beg the question, of course, of exactly how many rounds are left?