The Banning of Imprimatur

Posted by Censor Librorum on May 27, 2008 | Categories: Arts & Letters, Politics, Scandals

Two best-selling authors have accused the Vatican of blacklisting them in Italy after they discovered secret documents that suggest a 17th century pope had funded the Protestant hero William III (William of Orange).

Rita Monaldi and her husband, Francesco Sorti, have sold more than a million copies of their historical novel Imprimatur. The novel tells the story of Atto Melani, an Italian castrato, probable lover of nobleman Mattias de’Medici,  and spy at the court of King Louis XIV of France.atto.JPG

Imprimatur was dropped by its Italian publisher, Mondadori, despite reaching No. 4 on the bestseller list on its release in 2002. Mondadori decided not to reprint the book because of pressure from the Vatican, Sorti said.

Mondadori, which is owned by media magnate and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, refused to comment.

The authors said they found documents from a papal envoy discussing the “large sums” that William III owed Pope Innocent XI. Documents from Innocent’s family records show the Holy See sent 150,000 scudi (about $7.5 million today) to William via an intermediary.

“When we found the documents we had already started to write the book, but we decided to include the discovery as part of the storyline,” Monaldi said.

The documents appear to indicate that Pope Innocent XI bankrolled William of Orange in order to help him defeat the French under Louis XIV, whom he hated. Innocent stood by as  Catholic king, James II of England as overthrown. He did nothing to aid him because of James’ support of Louis XIV in matters of collecting revenues from church properties.

With James II gone, England was firmly established as a protestant nation; and the Catholics in Ireland were dispossessed and eventually  descimated by protestant overlords.

The revelation by the book that Innocent XI supported a heretic and enemy of the church to carry out a personal vendetta–and  to collect the debt of his family’s money–embarassed the Vatican and derailed his case for canonization once again.

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