Good Fodder for a Thriller

Posted by Censor Librorum on Feb 22, 2006 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

In the New York Times this morning was the obituary of Archbishop Paul C. Marcinkus. That was a name I hadn’t heard in a long time. Archbishop Marcinkus was heavily involved in several banking scandals in the 1970s and 1980s. The 1980 scandal centered on the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, a bank in Milan with ties to the Vatican. The losses ultimately involved almost $1 billion. The missing money turned out to have been lent to 10 shadowy companies controlled by the Vatican bank. The president of Banco Ambrosiano, Roberto Calvi, was a friend of Archbishop Marcinkus. Mr. Calvi was tried and convicted in connection with the Banco Ambrosiano scandal. He disappeared from Italy during his appeal, and in June 1982 his body was found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London. The day before, his secretary committed suicide in Milan jumping from a 4th floor window in the bank’s headquarters. Archbishop Marcinkus was indicted in 1982 in connection with the scandal, but never brought to trial. In 1986 the Italian constitutional court quashed his arrest warrant, ruling that as a Vatican employee he was immune from prosecution. Another Marcinkus associate, financier Michele Sindona, advised the Holy See on handling its assets and investments. When Mr. Sindona’s empire collapsed the Vatican suffered reported losses in the tens of millions of dollars. In March 1986 Mr. Sindona was sentenced to life imprisonment. Four days after his sentencing he died. The cause was cyanide poisoning. The Italian authorities were unable to determine whether he had been murdered or committed suicide. Around this time, a gay friend wondered out loud would the Vatican ever take action against gays,lesbians and others agitating for change in the Church. “No,” I said, “we’re fine. They only time they would ever thinking about getting rid of you would be if you tampered with their money. And people nosing around for the real story.” A Banco Ambrosino movie would raise a much deadly tremor out of the Vatican then the DaVinci Code a million times over. I would love to be an investigative reporter on the trail of Archbishop Marcinkus. But I don’t think I have the courage, and have too many dependents.

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