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Answers To Concerns Raised In 1988 By a Vatican-Based Archbishop


Q: Are you not being excessive in your zeal in promoting the consecration of Russia by the Pope and all the Catholic bishops?

A: I am not in the least excessive in my zeal. Not at all! Excess in anything is to be judged by the context to see if a thing is in proportion. Obviously, when the very existence of nations hangs in the balance, when the personal freedoms and property rights of 4 billion people worldwide is about to be lost irreparably, and the only way that this disaster will be avoided is to seek by all legitimate means to have the Pope and the bishops consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, then it is not excessively zealous to seek for this means to be used.

No one would reproach a mother for begging, even out loud, for the fireman to do his duty of putting out the fire that is demolishing the house which her family, at that very moment, still occupies. It would not be excessive zeal nor would any right-thinking person reproach her for importuning the firemen and even doing it loudly for all to hear because if they do not act soon all her children will perish in a horrible death. This is what is going to happen to tens of millions of children of the Church if the Pope and bishops do not put out the fire of Russian Communism now engulfing the world and about to devour the rest of us.

Q: Are you making unfounded affirmations about this Message of Fatima?

A: The facts of Fatima are well documented and verifiable, independent of myself and The Fatima Crusader. There are over 300 books on Fatima. They are published in many languages and countries and any scholar or student of Fatima can satisfy himself completely that we are telling the truth about Fatima. If any serious student wishes to question us about any particular affirmation that he cannot find independently of ourselves we will give our references for him to verify by himself. So far no one has ever honestly and seriously challenged the substance of anything that we have published without being shown why what we say is correct.

Q: Are you in any way afraid of a condemnation from high authorities in the Church?

A: A few years ago, a Nuncio tried to have me silenced. I wrote to Pope John Paul II and told him that an unnamed person(s) was trying to silence me for some unknown and unnamed, unspecified alleged misdemeanor. I told the Pope that if we had printed something wrong that we would withdraw it in public but if we had done nothing wrong then it was wrong for the Church officials to try to impose sanctions on me for no reason. No reasons or specific allegations were ever brought forward. That was over 7 years ago since that powerful Archbishop had personally intervened to try and stop me. With the help of Our Lady of Fatima we have been able to continue to this day. And we plan with Her help to continue as long as we can. So far no Church official has ever demonstrated anything wrong with what we publish.

Occasionally there has been a bishop who tried to insinuate that somehow what we published is not correct, but so far the truth, the facts and reason are on our side. As long as we are on the side of the Queen of Heaven, the Seat of Wisdom, Our Mother of Good Counsel, we have nothing to fear.

Q: What about the threat that "certain excesses of zeal and unfounded affirmations" will bring "upon your apostolate a condemnation from the highest Church authorities"?

A: As we have already pointed out we have not made any unfounded affirmations, nor does the writer of that threat point out any unfounded affirmations that we have made. Secondly, we have already pointed out that our zeal is not excessive.

Thirdly, if any authority is going to condemn us, there must first be a promulgated law which we have allegedly broken, and that authority must tell us what law we are supposed to have broken. He must give us a chance to defend ourselves against the charges. The authority in question must be willing to take responsibility for condemning us.

So far no one in authority has been found to take such responsibility, nor has any law been broken, nor have I been accused of any specific crime against Church law. If we have published something untrue, we will withdraw it but so far no Church authority has accused us of any specific wrongdoing on our part.

Q: What do you think brings about these threats that unnamed Church officials will condemn your Apostolate?

A: We have long been aware that our publication of the Vatican-Moscow Agreement has bothered certain bishops. Bishop Brzana did not like us stating that the Vatican-Moscow Agreement has betrayed the Church.

I demonstrated to him in an open letter published in issue No. 18 of The Fatima Crusader (see "Today's Crisis Within The Church Is Because Russia Is Spreading Her Errors" in this book) that the Vatican-Moscow Agreement is a betrayal of the Church and of individual Catholics. He has no answer to our facts and reasoning except to close his mind to the truth and use his position as bishop to insinuate falsehoods against me and The Fatima Crusader. Apparently it is the strategy of the devil and other enemies of Our Lady to try to discredit us so that all our work is rendered useless and thereby enabling the Communists to enslave all North America and the world. As long as the Vatican-Moscow Agreement is in place then the Pope and bishops will not obey the command of Our Lady to consecrate Russia.

So it is not out of spite or any motive of revenge that we return to affirm the existence of the Vatican-Moscow Agreement - it is because the lives and even the eternal salvation of so many souls are at stake.

The only armor we have against the errors of Russia being spread among us is the armor and sword of truth - as long as we refuse to denounce the errors of Russia, the Communists will be able to enslave us. Already they are now so close that they are one step away from succeeding.

Q: Aren't you disrupting the work of bishops and Cardinals when you encourage people to call, write and visit their pastors to ask them to consecrate Russia?

A: We have demonstrated, time and again that it is the duty of the Pope, Cardinals and bishops to obey Our Lady of Fatima's request that they consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a solemn public act.

We have explained the Scriptural and Theological reasons for affirming that this is their duty. Our references and authorities quoted were mentioned in our publication and at our Symposium held in Vatican City in November 1985 before clergy and some Synod Fathers - no fault with our reasoning or our sources was found.

So until anyone can show us the contrary, it is safe to assume after all we have published, that it is the duty of the Pope and the bishops to obey Our Lady of Fatima. This book gives proofs of this obligation (see Section V "The Church, (That is the Faithful, the Bishops, the Pope) Have the Obligation to Obey Our Lady's Requests").

Having established that it is their duty, it is a teaching of Vatican II that the faithful have a right and sometimes even an obligation to tell their pastors what they perceive as necessary for their salvation. (See the documents of Vatican II; Constitution on the Church, paragraph 37. See also the new Code of Canon Law, Can. 212 Sections 2 and 3.)

It is clear enough from the Fatima Message and Sister Lucy of Fatima that unless Russia is consecrated soon, the whole world will be enslaved by Communist Russia and many Catholics will be martyred and others will lose their souls by Apostasizing.

Certainly we are not disrupting the bishops' work by bringing these matters to their attention because it is their work to hear and act upon Our Lady of Fatima's requests before it is too late.

Q: Are you associated with any unapproved alleged apparitions?

A: No. We here only promote Fatima. We do not promote any unapproved Apparitions. We do not promote for example Medjugorje, San Damiano, Bayside.

Q: Are you associated with others promoting the Consecration of Russia by the Pope and bishops?

A: We are of course in communion with all Catholics and men of goodwill. It is only reasonable that if another person (or persons) of goodwill who does not belong to our Apostolate seeks to help us achieve this most important end, namely the consecration of Russia, that we do what we can to help that (group) individual achieve the common good. This does not mean that we agree with them in everything else nor does it mean that others can rightly consider us as belonging to groups which promote other causes such as unapproved apparitions of this place or that because as I mentioned above, our Apostolate does not promote any unapproved apparitions.

Q: Are you not promoting a false notion of the Church and the Magisterium namely that the Holy Father is like an elected member of a democratic parliament and makes his decisions according to the number of letters he receives?

A: Absolutely not. Nothing could be further from my mind. Let me repeat to you that I have explained myself at length in issue No. 23 of The Fatima Crusader and also in this book. See pages 31ff. To keep the answer brief here, suffice it to say that it is dogma of the Catholic Faith that all Catholics have a right - a right mind you - to appeal to the Pope in matters pertaining to Ecclesiastical jurisdiction. So I have had to affirm this dogma of Faith against a bishop who has illegally ordered Catholics not to petition the Pope for the consecration of Russia.

Obviously, if Catholics have a God-given right to appeal to the Pope for a ruling in a matter pertaining to Ecclesiastical jurisdiction it is wrong for a bishop, or even a Cardinal or that matter even the Pope to obstruct that right. This dogma was defined twice, once at the Second Council of Lyons in 1274 and once at Vatican Council I in 1870. See "The God-Given Right Of The Faithful To Petition The Pope" of this book for the references.

Vatican Council II tells us that at times we may even be obliged to let our pastors know our spiritual needs. Obviously if many Catholics feel the same way about a certain matter pertaining to Ecclesiastical jurisdiction they can get together to organize petitions to the Holy Father.

Q: Are such petitions wrong?

A: Not at all. Otherwise why would Pope Pius XII have mentioned such petitions favorably when he proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption. Petitions are also collected for the beatification and canonization of the Saints.

Q: But is it not up to the Pope to decide these questions?

A: Yes, that is quite correct. The Pope decides on matters of prophetic revelation. If I recall correctly, the 5th Lateran Council has ruled that in matters of prophetic revelation, the Pope is the sole judge.

Q: Is it not then presumptuous for you or anyone else to petition the Pope on these matters?

A: Not at all. It is precisely because the Pope is the competent judge, we go to him for a ruling. Just as the faithful who sought the proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption went to the Pope by their petitions to seek a ruling from him.

Q: Is it not clear that by the Pope's actions, that is of doing nothing more towards the solemn public act of consecration, he has already decided that he need not consecrate Russia in the explicit manner you and Sister Lucy of Fatima specify must be done?

A: First of all, let me clarify several points. The Pope is not impeccable, that is incapable of sin so we cannot conclude from his actions alone that he has done all that is necessary. It is not disloyal to make such a point because the saints themselves point out that popes on occasion by omitting to do something, were guilty of mismanagement. The most famous example of this is found in Sacred Scripture where Saint Paul rebuked Saint Peter for his silence whereby he had not upheld the defined dogma of the Catholic Faith that the law of circumcision is no longer binding since the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. So a Pope's inaction does not mean that a papal decision has been made.

Q: But I have heard that Pope John Paul II has told Cardinal Gagnon that the consecration is done. Is this not quite clear that the Pope has decided and you do wrong to further petition the Pope?

A: I hear many things. I have heard remarks like that. I have also heard them contradicted by worthy witnesses of the Pope's words. But let us be more precise because in such an important matter we cannot afford to make a mistake especially when the lives of very many millions (even perhaps a billion people) are at stake, not to mention the eternal salvation of millions endangered by the delay in the act of consecration.

First, is it not inexact for the Pope to phrase his reply to Cardinal Gagnon and say that he consecrated Russia on March 25, 1984 because he did consecrate the world? Since Russia is part of the world it is correct to say that he consecrated Russia. But it is entirely wrong for one to draw a conclusion from these words of the Pope that the Pope has conclusively affirmed that he has consecrated Russia according to the requests of Our Lady of Fatima.

Pope John Paul II has never to my knowledge affirmed that. When statements like the one allegedly made to Cardinal Gagnon reached my ears I immediately told my informant that the problem was that the Pope was not properly asked. One must ask him to consecrate Russia together with all the bishops according to the request of Our Lady of Fatima.

When the Pope has been asked to do this, specifying the request of Our Lady of Fatima, he has never affirmed that he has done it because he knows that he has not done it. In fact, before 250,000 people on March 25, 1984, after consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His Holiness John Paul II acknowledged that Our Lady of Fatima was still awaiting the consecration of certain peoples. I explain this point further in this book. That same afternoon, in the presence of 10,000 pilgrims, he again acknowledged before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima that She is still awaiting the consecration of certain people. (See "Letter Of The Holy Father To All The Bishops Of The Church".)

More recently in April 1988 Pope John Paul II has blessed a banner in a public audience which asked him to join with all Catholic bishops and consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary according to Our Lady of Fatima's request. He also acknowledged that he knew it was not yet done.

This should make it clear enough that the Pope is aware and knows that the request of Our Lady of Fatima has not been obeyed yet.

Q: But what do you say if I insist that the Pope told someone I trust that it has been done? We can't both be right.

A: The Pope made those statements I mentioned above on March 25, 1984. They were public statements before 250,000 in the morning and 10,000 people in the afternoon. They were reported in L'Osservatore Romano for the morning statement and in Avvenire for the afternoon statement. I have copies of both Catholic papers in my office.

Q: What if the Pope has since changed his mind?

A: The Pope has never given an official ruling to the Church contrary to the obvious and literal meaning of the Message of Fatima on this point. Sister Lucy, when she is allowed to speak, has always clearly stated orally and in writing that the consecration of Russia according to the request of Our Lady of Fatima has not been done. So even if the Pope were to change his mind, even if the Pope were to state privately, (or even for that matter publicly) in his capacity as a private doctor and offer his opinion that the consecration of Russia has already been done according to Our Lady of Fatima's requests - this would not of itself constitute a papal judgement. Since it is a matter pertaining to Ecclesiastical jurisdiction we are within our rights to seek an official papal ruling on this.

All this is stated to clarify the issues concerning what constitutes a papal judgement if one were needed. But as matters now stand, the Pope knows it has not been done. The Pope continues to not do it. This does not imply any moral judgement on the Pope. It is simply a statement of fact. As a publisher of a Catholic publication, one is obligated to publish the facts regarding this most urgent and important matter.

Q: Are you not being presumptuous to insist you know what the Pope has to do?

A: It is not an act of pride or presumption to acknowledge the truth. This matter is in the public domain and the facts speak for themselves.

Q: Are you not then suggesting that the Pope is irresponsible since he knows what he has to do and has not yet done it?

A: Not at all. The grace of the consecration of Russia according to the request of Our Lady of Fatima is a grace for the whole Church. The Pope cannot without the help of God's grace do this act. It is not for me to judge upon the Pope's response to grace or on his fulfillment of his duties - God alone is his judge. I have no jurisdiction in passing judgement on him.

But just because I am not his judge does not make someone else right in judging me for publishing the facts. My duty is to publish the Message of Fatima and the appropriate facts and Theology so that the Church can understand this most important point. It is for the Pope to obey the command given by Jesus and Mary once all the facts are known and understood. If there were another meaning to the Fatima Message then it is for the Pope to interpret by a Papal Act whereby he formally invokes his Apostolic Authority to interpret the prophetic Message and clearly and responsibly and authoritatively define what this Fatima Message means or does not mean. But inaction alone on the part of the Pope does not ipso facto mean that the Pope is acting perfectly responsibly. Only God knows that for certain and he, like we, will have to answer to God for his acts and omissions.

Q: But are you saying that the Pope must obey the Message of Our Lady of Fatima?

A: Most definitely, Yes. Pope John Paul II himself has stated clearly at Fatima on May 13, 1982 that the Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the Church. I have written about this at length in various issues of The Fatima Crusader.

Q: But is Fatima not a private revelation and therefore not binding on the Pope?

A: No. It is not a private revelation. It is a prophetic revelation, which is not private but most definitely public. There were 70,000 witnesses to the Great Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. It is not private but meant for the whole Church to know. John Paul II says the Message of Fatima is addressed to every human being.

I explain at length in this book that it is most definitely binding on the Pope and the bishops for them to obey the command given them by the Queen of Heaven to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart in the manner specified.

I also explain that we too are obliged to obey Our Lady of Fatima in those requests that pertain to ourselves.

Q: Has the Pope talked with Sister Lucy?

A: Yes.

Q: Does that mean that Sister Lucy agrees with what the Pope does?

A: She does not presume to judge the Pope. Her mission is to relay to the Pope and the Church the Message of Our Lady of Fatima. In this vocation she has had to state over the past 45 years that so far the actions of the popes and the bishops in this matter have not yet complied with the request of Our Lady of Fatima.

Q: I have heard that The Fatima Crusader has published that the Pope is spiritually and physically weak. Are you not blatantly insulting the Holy Father to publish this?

A: To the best of my recollection, The Fatima Crusader has never been guilty of any such wrongdoing. The Fatima Crusader has never reproached the Holy Father, as one of our enemies has falsely accused us of doing. We have never stated that the Pope is spiritually weak. We have never commented on his physical strength (though I fail to see how that could be considered an insult).

In brief, we have never insulted the Holy Father. I can see that by not replying to the blatant lies of our enemies we have allowed some people to misrepresent us by our silence. Charity and justice demand that we speak out.

Q: Have you ever affirmed the need the Pope has for our prayers?

A: Yes, most certainly.

Q: Do you not thereby imply spiritual weakness on the part of the Holy Father?

A: All of us, including the Pope were born with Original Sin. Even after Baptism and even after an intense spiritual life we all still have weaknesses left over from Original Sin. So that the Council of Trent has solemnly defined that all of us, (me, as well as you, as well as the Pope) need the help of God's grace in order to always keep all the commandments all the time. Without grace the Pope will fail in his duty. It is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church. I fail to see wherein I do wrong to ask for prayers for the Holy Father. That too is part of the Message of Fatima - to pray, pray a great deal for the Holy Father. Our Lady said the Pope will have much to suffer. It is only reasonable that we help him by our prayers.

Q: It has been reported that some bishop says that some people associated with you in some way or other affirmed that the Pope is weak.

A: I am not all knowing. I do not know what people do outside my company. Even if it were so, is it my responsibility? We are read by over 1,000,000 people and heard by tens of millions on the radio, surely I cannot be held responsible for what people at the grassroots do or say.

And even if it were so, what is intrinsically wrong with a layperson or a priest saying that the Pope is spiritually weak? Actually if it were false it would be wrong to say it. But if it were true it would not be wrong to state it if one had a good reason. The fact that a bishop gathers information about an individual who claims to be associated with me and all he can find against us is that this individual says the Pope is weak, the allegation seems to indicate to me that the bishop in question can't have much to do if he has time for such trifles. It further seems that this bishop is looking for excuses to try to silence me. We must be doing some good otherwise why would one stoop to look for excuses to criticize me and our work.

Q: Are you lacking in judgement and fidelity to the Church in publishing what a number of Cardinals have said about the consecration of Russia? Are you not putting the Cardinals in opposition to the Pope?

A: Not at all. What the Cardinals stated, the Pope himself has stated, as I explained above. The people who tell you that are the ones who are taking away from the public support the Pope wants and feels he needs before he can consecrate Russia. Pope John Paul II told Archbishop Hurley of South Africa that he was waiting for enough bishops to indicate their willingness to consecrate Russia and he would do it. It is those who accuse us of trying to put the Cardinals against the Pope in this matter who do a disservice to the Church. It seems that they lack in judgement and/or fidelity to the Church who say the Pope does not want to do the consecration or who say the consecration has been done when in fact it has not been done.

Q: Do you then encourage people to continue to petition the Pope to consecrate Russia?

A: Yes. Absolutely. Also they should petition their bishops too.

Q: Why do you encourage great numbers of people to write the Pope and the bishops? Is it because you think the Pope decides things according to the way an elected Senator, MP or Congressman votes?

A: I think your question contains an unfair implication against good politicians to suggest that they are entirely opportunistic and vote not according to their conscience but only according to how many write them. Nevertheless, it is always helpful to people in public office to know that their constituents are with them and support them in their difficult decisions to do things according to God's law. It is also a help to the Pope to know this, especially since the Pope fears to act for fear of schism by the bishops (this does not necessarily mean he is weak). Mr. Fraser explained this in issue No. 19 of The Fatima Crusader (read the article before you jump to conclusions). This article is also in this book (see "Pope John Paul II Fears Bishops' Open Rebellion"). It would strengthen his hand to know that very many of the faithful are with him as he struggles to obey Our Lady of Fatima and consecrate Russia according to Her requests.

I have explained at length in The Fatima Crusader the usefulness of gathering prayers and petitions for the Holy Father and the bishops to consecrate Russia.

If it were not so effective and important the enemies of Our Lady of Fatima would not now still try to stop us by their campaign of lies against us.

Q: You deny then that you subscribe to a theory that the Holy Father must do whatever the greatest number of letters he receives tells him to do?

A: Absolutely. It is ludicrous to suggest that I have ever subscribed to such a theory. My articles as well as those of other Fatima writers in The Fatima Crusader have never made this out to be the final arbiter of the Pope's decisions. The Pope must judge according to the teaching of Christ and the dogmas of the Catholic Faith (those taught by solemn definition as well as those taught by the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium).

It is a total misrepresentation of our thought to suggest that questions of faith or of ecclesiastical judgement are to be decided by vote rather than the truth and the Will of God.

It is precisely because the Message of Fatima and the commands given through this Message are approved by the Pope and the Church and are obviously and manifestly the Will of God that we continue to wear ourselves out by proclaiming this Message to the world. We are consoled to know that sooner or later Our Lady's prophetic words will be realized for She said, "But in the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph, the Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, it will be converted and a period of peace will be given to the world."

Q: Have you ever been asked to retract what you reported that Cardinals Stickler, Ratzinger and Mayer have said?

A: I don't know how we can retract what reliable and independent witnesses have told us the three Cardinals have said unless we get a clear statement of denial by the Cardinals. So far not one Cardinal has made such a denial. In fact we have a voice recording of one Cardinal, so we know he would not want to deny what we both know to be true. In fact the three Cardinals have never indicated the slightest displeasure with our report.

Q: I understand that the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal O'Connor, has come out and said that he knows that the consecration of Russia according to the request of Our Lady of Fatima still needs to be done.

A: Yes. One of The Fatima Crusader's readers, Mr. Greenan, told us about a brief conversation he had with the Cardinal back in the spring of 1988. He asked the Cardinal if the consecration of Russia as specified by Our Lady of Fatima had been done. Cardinal O'Connor replied,"No, not yet." When asked if he would ask the Holy Father to make the consecration, Cardinal O'Connor replied, "I'm sure he'll do it soon."

Q: Thank you for your enlightening answers. We find them very helpful.

A: Thank you. Many good people support us. Please pray for them. Also please pray for those men of goodwill who now oppose us because they are misinformed about us. Pray they will understand and will not continue to oppose Our Lady of Fatima's Peace Plan. Pray they don't slip from being in error in good faith to openly and knowingly opposing the Will of Jesus and Mary. It could be the ruination of their souls if they persist in it.

Jesus warned His bishops who delayed this consecration that they would suffer a fate similar to that of the King of France - that is public execution by this revolution.

Excerpts From "The Jesuits"

Part II

New information has come to light which indicates that the Vatican has still not broken away from the Vatican-Moscow Agreement.

Malachi Martin in "The Jesuits" published in 1987, on page 85 reports a meeting in spring of 1981 between several Cardinals and Pope John Paul II. Present at this meeting were Cardinals Casaroli, Ratzinger, Pironio, Baggio, Oddi and Angello Rossi.

Malachi Martin identifies the speaker by what congregation the Cardinal is in charge of. For the sake of clarity we shall include in brackets the last name of the Cardinal in question.

"With almost no gap in the discussion, however, Stato (Cardinal Casaroli) took up the cudgels. His approach was much more indirect than Religiosi's (Cardinal Pironio) had been. Stato reminded his Venerable Colleagues that he had been with the present Holy Father at His Holiness's two meetings with the Soviet negotiator, Anatoly Adamshin, the most recent of which had been earlier this very year of 1981. His Holiness had given the Soviets a guarantee that no word or action, either by His Holiness or the Polish Hierarchy or Solidarity's leaders, would violate the Moscow-Vatican Pact of 1962.

Stato did not need to explain to his listeners that in the late spring of 1962, a certain Eugene Cardinal Tisserant had been dispatched by Pope John XXIII to meet with a Russian prelate, one Metropolitan Nikodim, representing the Soviet Politburo of Premier Nikita Krushchev. Pope John ardently desired to know if the Soviet Government would allow two members of the Russian Orthodox Church to attend the Second Vatican Council set to open the following October. The meeting between Tisserant and Nikodim took place in the official residence of Paul Joseph Schmitt, then the bishop of Metz, France. There, Nikodim gave the Soviet answer. His government would agree, provided the Pope would guarantee two things: that his forthcoming Council would issue no condemnation of Soviet Communism or of Marxism, and that the Holy See would make it a rule for the future to abstain from all such official condemnation.

Nikodim got his guarantees. Matters were orchestrated after that for Pope John by Jesuit Cardinal Augustine Bea until the final agreement was concluded in Moscow, and was carried out in Rome, in that Vatican Council as well as in the policies of the Holy See for nearly two decades since.

Stato (Cardinal Casaroli) said he had but two questions to ask. The Vatican Council and two Popes since John XXIII had respected this guarantee. Would His Holiness also respect the guarantee? And would his Polish Hierarchy and Solidarity's leaders respect it?

The question Stato did not ask was so clear to everyone by now that he did not need to put it into words: How could John Paul II indict the Jesuits for their support of Marxist thinkers and Communist guerillas in Latin America without explicitly condemning Soviet Marxism and its Communist surrogates? Without, in other words, violating not only the Metz Pact, but his own assurance to Adamshin that "Metz", as the little-known agreement was generally referred to, would be respected during his pontificate?

Stato's message, then, was clear. He knew as well as anyone that Jesuit wanderlust from Catholic teaching could be reproved in terms that would violate no pact or agreement. But he would protect the Jesuits. Would His Holiness fight about it? Or compromise?

Probably hoping for the latter choice, Stato went on to point out that Father General Arrupe had just published an article demonstrating that no Catholic, much less a Jesuit, could rely on the Marxist analysis of human society and history in order to decide which side to take in the "struggle of the classes". The Cardinal Secretary did not point out that Arrupe had waited over three months, from December 30, 1980, until April 4, to publish it; or that the timing seemed to indicate that Arrupe had been alerted to the issue that would be considered at this very private meeting.

Stato's (Cardinal Casaroli) defense of the Jesuits was over; what he proceeded to do next was to indicate both his willingness and his ability to carry this fight over the Society of Jesus directly into the arena of papal strategy. To raise the stakes, in other words.

Stato reminded all present that his position as His Holiness's Secretary of State required him to maintain cordial if unofficial relations with the governments of the USSR and the Eastern bloc. They were at best tenuous relations, true. But it was far better than the position of other governments in relation to the Soviet Socialist fraternity. In order to maintain those relations, he would have to distance himself from any statement of the Holy See that offended that fraternity. Stato's warning, his threat of resignation and open opposition, was clear; and it was known to the others that for his own reasons, John Paul did not want to provoke a resignation or dismiss Stato.

Stato assured His Holiness and his Venerable Brothers that no one was essential in the vineyard of the Lord, and the ultimate decision was His Holiness's. However, Stato and his office had been singularly useful so far in His Holiness's guidance and fomenting of Solidarity - in all aspects of that difficult affair, political and material.

Men of the rank of those present knew Stato's role in funneling Vatican Bank funds through neutral channels - Vatican-owned and foreign-owned holding companies, for example, and offshore finance houses in which the Vatican held equity control - into the ever-emptying coffers of Solidarity. Stato's position in the Vatican made him an ex-officio member of PECA, the Vatican's Prefecture of Economic Affairs. PECA makes all major decisions regarding the movement of Vatican funds. John Paul II, meanwhile, like most Popes, is not acquainted with the intricate network of offshore finance houses and holding companies within the ramification of the Vatican Bank. Strictly speaking, Stato could veto any sub-rosa shifting of funds. And yet, if the Pontiff's present plans worked out, a great deal more money, not less, would be needed for Solidarity.

Stato (Cardinal Casaroli) had but one more comment to make. His co-operation with His Holiness this last year in the matter of funds had acquired an element of danger. The Italian government was continuing its investigation into the scandal that had erupted in the Banco Ambrosiano of Milan, sending shock waves throughout the international world of finance. For better or worse, the Banco Ambrosiano and its director, Roberto Calvi, who had been indicted in his bank's scandal, had been associated in that all-important clandestine supply of funds for Solidarity.

Of course, the Secretary was confident that all would be well for the reputation of the Holy See and the Holy Father's labors for his beloved Poland. No one could doubt his own devotion to the best interests of both the Holy See and the Holy Father. It was in this spirit that he had made his earlier comments about the Jesuits.

Even Romanità had a difficult time digesting the hard stuff of political and financial threats that Stato (Cardinal Casaroli) had chosen to shove across the table at the Pontiff.

Reprinted by personal permission of the author, Malachi Martin.