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Opus Dei To Hunt Down Vatican Whistle-Blowers 286

First time accepted submitter Aguazul2 writes "In a familiar story relocated into the bizarre world of the Vatican, a whistle-blower who brought to light excessive overpayments on contracts to friendly suppliers was sent to the USA as punishment, and further sources of leaks are now being hunted down by a crack team headed by an 82-year old Opus Dei cardinal. It's just like Wikileaks, only with parchment and quills — probably."
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Opus Dei To Hunt Down Vatican Whistle-Blowers

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  • Which is why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:28PM (#39809275)
    ...we need anonymity systems. People who are afraid to report unethical behavior are less likely to report it (shocking!), and whistleblower protections are neither universal nor reliable.
    • Re:Which is why... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:13PM (#39809997)
      You do realize that the Vatican is a sovereign state, right? The Vatican has the right to structure their reporting structure any way they want. It is not a democracy. In a democracy, the government is theoretically answerable to the people and therefore the people have a claim to being informed by whistleblowers as to inappropriate behavior on the part of government officials (and therefore whistleblower protections should exist to some degree in a democracy). The Vatican on the other hand is not in anyway a democracy. The various officials of the Vatican government are only theoretically answerable up the chain of command to the Pope, who is, theoretically, answerable to no power on earth. Someone in the Vatican government who reports inappropriate behavior to someone outside of the Vatican government hierarchy is not a "whistleblower", as, theoretically, there is no one outside of the Vatican government to blow the whistle to, they are, instead, a traitor (I am not sure if that is the correct word from the perspective of Vatican governance, but if it isn't, I am not sure what is). They have betrayed their commitments as a member of that organization (similar to someone who had reported such actions by a government official of the USSR to a western government).
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Vatican has the right... It is not a democracy

        Now that's interesting. Where do you think rights come from? I would argue that a non-democratic government has no legitimate right to do anything.

        • Doesn't really matter what you or I think. It only matters what the Vatican and Italy think, and Italy only matters because the Vatican is functionally an Italian state even if they are allowed to claim sovereignty. Plus, if anyone wants to wage war with the Vatican, they have to go through Italy first.
          • by Bigby ( 659157 )

            They'll probably have to through a whole lot more than Italy. Like if someone attacked Assisi or the Dalai Lama. You don't attack people or organizations that at least preach non-violence.

        • Re:Which is why... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @05:49PM (#39812913)

          The "legality" of a government is usually tied to some kind of justification as to how it is entitled to act as a government. There are various forms of justifications. Some a bit more outdated than the others, but none are less or more valid from a purely objective point of view. If you do not accept a non-democratic government, that's your prerogative, but it's not yours to tell anyone whether he should or should not respect the rule of someone.

          The Vatican chose to be an elective monarchy (the only one left, btw). And as long as the marjority of those concerned (read: the majority of roman catholics) accepts this legitimation, it's valid.

          It's a bit like money. It only has some value as long as people believe in its value.

          Personally, I would not accept that kind of government as mine either. But it's not on me to tell the Vatican that it cannot be an elective monarchy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Quila ( 201335 )

        Sort of like a well-known Army private reporting certain actions of the US government to the entire world? Giving that video on a DVD to his congressman (within the structure as you say) would have been protected by law, but releasing it to WikiLeaks, go to jail.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Vatican is a "sovereign" state, in that its sovereignty hinges on the Italian Government continuing to honor the treaties between the two that have set aside Vatican City as such.

        What is worse imho is how the Roman Catholic Church can flaunt local governments with this so-called "sovereignty" with regards to the affairs of the Church and its actors in those countries. So, does a whistleblower from the Catholic Church need to somehow make their way to a foreign embassy, then, and seek asylum? That's pret

      • Re:Which is why... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by evilRhino ( 638506 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @03:43PM (#39811275)
        Traitor is such a loaded word, and is misused in this context I think. A wife that leaves her abusive husband is a traitor. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and many others were traitors also.
        • Was Jonathan Pollard a traitor? The "whistleblowers" in the article are no less traitors to the Vatican than Jonathan Pollard was to the U.S. and were perhaps more rightly called traitors than Pollard (I have heard people argue that Pollard was not a traitor, but have never cared enough to follow their arguments closely enough to see if they have merit). Actually, that may not be true, some of these whistleblowers may be merely guilty of espionage (as some of them may owe a primary loyalty to some governmen
          • One man's traitor is another's patriot. One's whistleblower is another's spy. One's heretic is another's saint.

            History is the consensus choice of alternate terms based on outcome (i.e., which side won the conflict).

            In the immediate here-and-now, the choice is entirely based on the speaker's alignment with the parties in the conflict. The behavior of the organs of power is irrelevant to this. Only, perhaps, to the practical fate of the traitor/patriot/whistleblower/spy/heretic/saint. Hence, the availability

      • Re:Which is why... (Score:4, Informative)

        by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @04:34PM (#39811923) Homepage Journal

        First point: the Vatican has its own law (canon law) which everyone is supposed to follow, despite the monarchical form of government everyone is supposed to follow. So it is possible for somebody to be a whistlblower, although that itself is a crime under canon law. That's why the clergy sex abuse scandal went on so long. Canon law precludes doing anything that would bring disrepute upon the church, which is why pedophiles weren't turned over to the police.

        Second point: one of the people they are looking for is a person who suggested that the Vatican has more information about the 1983 disappearance of two fifteen year-old girls who held dual Italian-Vatican citizenship. That makes this an international incident. Their disappearance happened during a dispute between Italian organized crime and the Vatican bank. The mob had been laundering money through Banco Ambrosiano, an Italian bank in which the Vatican bank had controlling interest (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_Calvi#The_Banco_Ambrosiano_scandal). The implication is that the girls were kidnapped to put pressure on the Vatican to make good the Mafia's losses.

        That sounds a bit Dan Browne, but after he was killed in a mob hit, an Italian gangster named Enrico de Pedis was granted burial in a Vatican basilica, an honor normally reserved for cardinals. The speculation is that this was a pay off for brokering a settlement between the Vatican bank and the mob.

        The point is that it's not like the Vatican can operate in a vacuum. There are Italian interests involved here: Italian citizens, companies, and mobsters. The Banco Ambrosiano affair also involves the forgery of US securities.

    • From the article:

      'Since then, the Vatican has instead focused on finding out who leaked the letters, which it describes as "biased and trivial".'

      Yup, instead of focusing on the problem at hand, or hell, even trying to determine if there really is one, they go looking to punish whoever failed to keep the information under the skirt. Or cassock. Or whatever they call that ugly black dress they wear.

      But I guess that's religion for you. Think with your dogma, not your brain, and there is no problem a little

    • I thought that was what the confessional was for.

  • by TJ_Phazerhacki ( 520002 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:28PM (#39809289) Journal
    Most of the Catholic-church-secret-agent ones are pretty fun to watch...
    • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:41PM (#39809511) Journal
      Any time Japan tackles anything related to Christianity in an anime the results tend to be quite awesome. Wolfwood from Trigun is probably still my favorite. (Not Catholic, but still awesome-funny.)
    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      Most of the Catholic-church-secret-agent ones are pretty fun to watch...

      Well if you want the Church of England version .. you can always hunt down Gerry Anderson's The Secret Service [wikipedia.org] which features Father Stanley Unwin, the parish priest of a rural English village who also worked as a secret agent for BISHOP - a covert branch of British Intelligence that combats international criminal and terrorist threats.

      It also featured the "Minimiser", a gadget that shrinks Unwin's assistant Matthew Harding to a fraction of his normal size for the purposes of conducting secret recon

    • <quote>Most of the Catholic-church-secret-agent ones are pretty fun to watch...</quote>

      I read "ones" as "nuns".

      Sorry, I will now wash my mouth and hands.

  • by hackula ( 2596247 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:31PM (#39809339)
    Has the Vatican not been wasting vast amounts of gullible people's money on stupid shit for over a millennium?
  • It has seemed like society has been going down hill as more and more people are dishonest.

    Et tu, pope?

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by hackula ( 2596247 )
      Especially the pope. He is the head of the largest cult in history. The "Truth" is not high on the list of important things for people who believe in magic, much less preach it.
    • Actually, as slow as the organization moves, it has been cleaning up the messes, both of criminal conduct by some of its clergy [catholicherald.co.uk], and a lot of the crazy-assed 'theology' that has actually encouraged and hushed a lot of it [wdtprs.com], for quite awhile now.

      I suspect that these (and many other) crackdowns have created a lot of disgruntled people among the clergy.

      But you're right in a way - dishonesty is a symptom. It also stems from craven desires and from a lack of personal responsibility - both inside and outside of the

  • by approachingZero ( 1365381 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:36PM (#39809415) Homepage
    Never would have thought having a reputation as a whistle blower in the Catholic church would have been a career killer. Matter of fact I would have thought it would result some serious upward mobility.
  • by Fned ( 43219 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:36PM (#39809427) Journal

    "Round up all the choir boys, we need to probe them to see if they've ever leaked."

    • Damn, I have mod points and I couldn't decide whether to mod this Funny or Flamebait. Guess I'll sit it out.

      • Damn, I have mod points and I couldn't decide whether to mod this Funny or Flamebait. Guess I'll sit it out.

        Sometimes flamebait is funny.

  • by StillNeedMoreCoffee ( 123989 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:37PM (#39809445)

    Keep your legs crossed and your mouth shut, expect in the confessional where you can tell us all but no one else. Whats wrong with this picture?

    • That you used the wrong word?

    • by Quila ( 201335 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @03:28PM (#39811097)

      God supposedly already knows your sins whether you tell them or not. In fact, he knows them before you even commit the sins, or before you even think of committing them first place. Telling a priest does nothing.

      Thus the purpose of confession is so that the Church has the goods on everybody in the community.

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:39PM (#39809473)
    I assure you its more up to date than pens-and-quills. He is one of their dozen astronomers and they have state-of-art observatories around the world [wikipedia.org].
    • by ks*nut ( 985334 )
      Well, they've had some catching-up to do since they finally have pardoned Galileo and admitted that the Earth is not the center of practically anything.
      • by peter303 ( 12292 )
        A priest did suggest [wikipedia.org] the expansion of the universe before Hubble (the man) documented it. Put the "Fear of Creation" back into astronomer's souls.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Who cares what state-of-the-art equipment they have, when they still believe in ghosts and goblins? All the scientific work in the world does not for one second make up for what this circus of repressive idiots did to Galileo Galilee, or for the actions of the Inquisition, so it makes no difference if they're doing observations, their data cannot be relied upon because they think an imaginary creature created all the stuff they're looking at, with the supposedly state-of-the-art equipment you claim they're

      • by iztaru ( 832035 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:17PM (#39810065) Homepage

        Oh, come on!

        Please read history before you post.

        The only reason Galileo was not burned alive is because he was a close friend to the pope.

        It was his colleges who wanted him death because his ideas were against the ideas they had based their entire carriers on.

        The academic establishment is even more reluctant to change than the catholic church.

        • The only reason Galileo was not burned alive is because he was a close friend to the pope.

          ...and the only reason he got arrested in the first place was for misusing the pope's Imprimatur (look it up) in his book.

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:41PM (#39809509)
    Must... find... albino... assassin... religionfreak... and... send... him... after... whistleblowers... (Amen?) ------ But seriously, what a weird story this is. Isn't the Vatican supposed to be all about "The Truth Shall Set Thee Free" because, erm, Christian belief mandates it? So what is wrong with a little whistleblowing? Why is someone exposing the truth even a "whistleblower" in this particular case? Very strange story all around...
    • by Thud457 ( 234763 )

      Isn't the Vatican supposed to be all about " The Truth Shall Set Thee Free "

      No, that's the CIA.
      Draw what amusing conclusions you will from the above juxtaposition.

    • Isn't the Vatican supposed to be all about "The Truth Shall Set Thee Free" because, erm, Christian belief mandates it?

      You forgot the *first* commandment of any large organization:
      - The organization does whatever is necessary to insure its own survival.

      True at IBM, true at Merrill Lynch, true at Halliburton, true in the Oval Office and true at the Vatican.
      // except that these plumbers stop leaks of "holy water", I guess

  • by mevets ( 322601 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:43PM (#39809529)

    ... and nice red uniforms.
    I like how banishment to the States has replaced the comfy-chair as the punishment of choice.
    Too bad they didnâ(TM)t unleash this hound on the child-rapists theyâ(TM)ve hidden for so long...

  • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @01:47PM (#39809579)

    Let me clearly state from the outset that I bear no ill will against any individual Catholics who wish to abide by the religion of their choosing. But to look at the long history of the corruption and arrogance of the Catholic hierarchy and not feel completely outraged is to facilitate their wrongdoing.

    Just two recent examples: First, the child rape scandal. It was going on for decades, while superior members of the clergy would help cover up the abuse of children by pedophile priests by shuffling them around, colluding with local law enforcement to intimidate families, and paying hush money. To this day they fight the allegations, trying to minimize the impact of what they did and frame their actions as that of a small number of isolated "deviant homosexual" priests, while complaining about paying money to victims that they could be using "for the greater good." They don't talk about making reparations or holding accountable the officials who turned a blind eye or even assisted in the systemic corruption of covering up these atrocities.

    Second example: this case. So the Vatican has been shown to be corrupt in its financial dealings, and what is their reaction? Hunt down the whistleblowers, rather than punish the ones doing the actual crime! It's the same kind of thinking--what threatens the Church, in their view, is not the failure to do the morally proper thing. It's whomever exposes their leadership for the arrogant crimes they commit under the guise of being holy.

    I don't understand how Catholics can sanctify these dirty old men as the self-appointed leaders of their faith. If that's what your spirit tells you, then maybe you should consider the possibility that you're being held spiritually hostage by these people as a way to further their power, and the reality is that if you truly want to be closer to God, there are far better ways to do that than through these morally bankrupt charlatans.

    • AFAIC, anyone who still gives their money to the Church at this point *deserves* to get used. As long as they're not using my tax dollars, only the money of gullible suckers, the Pope could be throwing orgies for all I care.

      • I'm all for fools being parted from their money, but not for the bad guys getting to keep it.

        Especially when said bad guys are brainwashing people into being more fools.

  • Why is it wrong for an entity to "reward" "friendly" suppliers? This isn't like the government collecting mandatory taxes, it's an entity that largely gets it's money from willing donors, they should be able to do whatever they want with the money. If donors don't like it, they can stop donating.

    Or do all you slashdotters making fun of religious people's beliefs suddenly care that they're getting ripped off, as if you didn't feel they were getting ripped off all along anyway?

    I would think with all the wea

    • You're confusing legal and ethical. Anyone who isn't Catholic may not have any say in the matter and there may be no legal authority to stop it, but it would still be wrong if some of the Vatican administrators are using their authority to award supplier contracts to their cousins and pay double. That still doesn't make it a slashdot story, but the parallels to the wikileaks affair, and punishing the whistleblowers does.
  • Who Would Jesus Hunt Down? 'nuff said.

  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @02:02PM (#39809821) Homepage Journal

    ... is Dan Brown furiously scribbling notes for his next book.

  • Could the summary of this article have been any more anti-religious? How is this even "News for Nerds" or, for that matter, News?

  • ... OR another option for stopping the leaks would be to clean up the corruption that people are revealing. WWJD?
  • ...would let this outfit provide "spiritual guidance" (much less, give money to them) why? The RCC has a centuries long history of misdeeds and corruption. Recent events seem to indicate that they've cleaned up their act only enough to no get themselves lynched. WTF, people? Couldn't you pick a slightly less evil church to provide answers to those questions you're to afraid to answer for yourself?
  • The inquistion
    Let's begin
    The inquistion
    Look out sin
    We have a mission
    To convert the Jews
    (Jew ja Jew ja Jew ja Jews)
    We're gonna teach
    Them wrong from right
    We're gonna help
    Them see the light
    And make an offer
    That they can't refuse
    (That the Jews just can't refuse)

    Confess (confess, confess)
    Don't be boring
    Say yes (say yes, say yes)
    Don't be dull

  • further sources of leaks are now being hunted down by a crack team headed by an 82-year old Opus Dei cardinal.

    Opus Dei? If they catch the whistleblowers, will they be strangled to death by albino monks?

  • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @03:13PM (#39810943)
    Kansas governor Sam Brownback is an Opus Dei member and given his staff already monitors Twitter for mean teenaged girls http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/26/1039899/-Gov-Sam-Brownback-s-staff-demands-apology-from-high-school-girl-who-correctly-noted-that-he-sucks [dailykos.com], I'm sure he's already on Team Vatican.
  • The thing that got my attention is that one of the leaked letters discusses "the likely date of Benedict's death." Could that possibly be true? Or is the original article writer just trolling to get a rise out of conspiracy theorists? It is so bizarre, it just might be true.
  • Where is Father Guido Sarducci when we need him?

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"