“A true world political authority” was called for by Pope Benedict XVI during his Dec. 3, 2012, remarks to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, citing his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate. The same council had “called for the establishment of a ‘central world bank’ to regulate the global financial industry and the international money supply as a step toward the world authority envisioned by…Pope Benedict.” The council’s president is Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.
Africa is the “lung” of the Catholic Church, according to the pontiff, the only area experiencing real growth in membership and priests. Unfortunately for the population of sub-Saharan Africa, this means they will get fewer condoms to fight the spread of AIDS, beefed-up assaults on women’s rights and health, a powerful ally for homophobic governments and a Trojan horse of seemingly benign rhetoric and charity masking increased exploitation of the continent’s labor and natural resources.
The “Goldman Sachs’ Global Coup D’etat,” was announced on Nov. 27, 2012. “As Europe descends into an austerity-induced economic crisis, Goldman Sachs’s people are managing the demise of the continent.”
Two weeks later, the European Central Bank, headed by Mario Draghi, former Goldman Sachs International vice chairman and managing director, was given “the authority to directly police at least 150 of the euro zones’ biggest banks….The deal foresees banks with assets of 30 billion euros, or larger than one-fifth of their country’s economic output, being supervised by the ECB rather than national supervisors….Critically, it also gives the ECB authority to widen its authority to smaller banks if problems arise.”
Some of Goldman Sachs’ financiers who brought austerity and submissive national economies to Europe are also advisers to the Vatican.
“Perhaps the most prominent ex-politician inside the European Central Bank is Peter Sutherland….He is now non-executive chairman of Goldman’s UK-based broker-dealer arm, Goldman Sachs International.” Sutherland also carries the title Consultor of the Extraordinary Section of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, the Vatican department which controls their vast real estate and investment portfolios.
Mario Monti has maintained an excellent relationship with the Vatican. Monti is an international adviser to Goldman Sachs whose appointment as Italian prime minister in November 2011 was highly praised by Italian churchmen, his photo appearing on the front page of the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, six times in his first two months in office. Monti, a frequent visitor to the Vatican, has already been endorsed by the Church should he decide to seek a second term as head of a new coalition.
Early in 2010, Mario Draghi went to the Vatican to discuss the Greek financial crisis with Hans Tietmeyer, former president of the Deutsche Bundesbank and first choice of Popes John Paul and Benedict for president of the IOR (Vatican Bank); the then IOR president, Opus Dei member and former president of Santander Consumer Bank SpA, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi; and then president of the Bank of Greece, the technocrat later installed as unelected prime minister, Lukas D. Papademos. Draghi said in an interview at the time that Greece needed to “slash the minimum wage, pensions and benefits – including deep cuts in the health service.”
“For years, tinfoil hat crazies who’ve bookmarked Glenn Beck’s websites and often appear as ‘experts’ on Fox so-called News have warned us about a one-world government… But when the tinfoil hat is removed, you can see that a sort of one-world government has already been established in a far more subtle form, through the rise of Goldman Sachs and their colleagues in the Wall Street elite,” Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks wrote on November 27, 2012.
Mario Draghi was given a draft of Benedict’s Caritas in Veritate for his input before it was published. In addition to a “true world political authority,” the Pope’s encyclical called for a global unitary monetary system “so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth” and “the construction of a social order that at last conforms to the moral order,” i.e. misogynist and homophobic.
(It is difficult to quote the Pope without taking his words out of context because he, as do all his hierarchs, always add something about “peace” blah blah blah “justice” blah blah blah “helping the poor” while they carefully orchestrate public protests and use the Church’s incalculable assets and media access to install governments around the world which work against peace, justice and helping the poor.)
The encyclical was taken seriously. In September 2010, a European Parliament conference debated the “political relevance” of Caritas in Veritate.
At least one commentator understood Benedict was proposing the Vatican as an alternative United Nations.
It seems laughable that the Pope could imagine the Vatican as an accepted parallel to the U.N. But sub-Saharan Africa has one of the world’s lowest adult literacy rates and the Church’s systemic worldwide sexual torture of children apparently has not been covered by the area’s media. When anger against the Catholic Church for supervising the sexual assault of children reached its peak in 2010, under pressure the Vatican ordered all bishops to prepare plans for the protection of children. While “more than half” of the bishops from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia responded, African bishops did not even reach that level of disinterest knowing, I guess, that there would be no consequences for a lack of response.
So Africa is where the Vatican is positioning its massive resources to compete with the U.N. especially in the areas of education and charity.
Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea is president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican agency which controls the Church’s vast international network of charities including Caritas Internationalis and U.S. Catholic Relief Services which is partially funded by American taxpayers. Based on Sarah’s recommendations, the Pope issued a moto proprio (decree) Dec. 1, 2012, that all bishops were to insure that all Catholic charities have a distinct “Catholic identity.” Helping the poor and sick were no longer sufficient objectives unless the money also furthered the “Church’s teaching” and “promoted the faith.”
….the new rules [reflect] alarm among some Church leaders about the influence of secular organizations that fund charitable work, including some United Nations agencies, while also promoting a liberal social agenda on matters such as contraception, abortion and gay rights….Sarah became concerned that some U.N. agencies and major international nongovernmental organizations were using their money and influence to undercut traditional African values on the family and sexual ethics….[Sarah] condemned a Western “theory of gender” that, he said, underlies efforts to force Africa “to write laws favorable to…contraceptive and abortion services (the concept of ‘reproductive health’) as well as homosexuality.”
“Now Is the Time to Invest in Africa,” according to the May 30, 2012 Goldman Sachs report.
The Economist magazine finds that six of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies in the last decade were in sub-Saharan Africa, while the IMF predicts that Africa will be home to seven of the top ten fastest growing economies in the next five years. Conferences to discuss Africa’s untapped potential have mushroomed. Policy makers and scholars are talking about an international race for Africa. There is no doubt that many parts of sub-Saharan Africa are posting impressive statistics, often eclipsing the emerging market darlings, even as the darlings themselves are engaging with Africa in interesting ways.
“Ratzinger the African” is the headline of an article dated Dec. 11, 2012, by noted Vatican reporter, Sandro Magister. “Benedict XVI is betting on Africa…Africa is currently the most dynamic continent from the point of view of the expansion of the Church and of Christianity in general, and where vocations are the most numerous in terms of percentage.”
The pontiff can boast of many recent diplomatic successes in sub-Saharan Africa: new nunciature headquarters, more Vatican and African ambassadors assigned to each others government on a permanent resident basis, signing two new diplomatic accords, three accord frameworks, and “a couple of partial conventions….Today, only three African countries, all of them with an overwhelming Islamic majority, do not yet have an exchange of representation with the Vatican.”
Since November 2010, Benedict has elevated five sub-Saharan archbishops to cardinal. He has appointed a dozen Africans to positions in Rome, some to important posts in addition to Turkson and Sarah. A Nigerian is head of protocol of the Secretariat of State. A monsignor from the Democratic Republic of Congo is secretary of the Council for Health Care Workers, vital to making sure the poor don’t receive needed contraceptive and reproductive health services.
Tanzanian Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa is adjunct secretary of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide, the Vatican department which controls its own “mini-financial empire.” (In 2010, the Vatican admitted “possible errors” in managing properties owned by Propaganda Fide, reported to have assets worth €9 billion.)
West Africa’s economy is based on oil production and that is were the Pope has made two trips. His first “apostolic journey” to Africa was in March 2009, the trip made famous by Benedict’s remark that the distribution of condoms would make the AIDS epidemic worse. Visiting the West African countries of Cameroon and Angola, the pontiff “held private talks with political leaders in the two countries, both of which have been accused of corruption and squandering revenues from natural resources.”
When Benedict left for his second “apostolic journey” to West Africa in November 2011, Monti, prime minister only three days at the time, was at the airport to talk to the Pope before his flight.
Benedict was greeted as a head-of-state with a 21-gun salute after he landed in Cotonou, Benin, and was met by President Thomas Yayi Boni. Cotonou is the economic capital of Benin where the pontiff “with a larger retinue of advisers than usual on his travels” met with “Benin’s political, religious, business and cultural leaders at the presidential palace.” .
Within weeks of the Pope’s visit, “The West African country of Benin invited Indian companies to help develop its oil and gas sector. ‘There are a lot of unexplored mineral reserves in Benin, especially in the oil and gas segment,’ said Chirstophe Kaki, director of cabinet, ministry of petroleum and mineral resources.”
(Similarly, before Benedict left to visit Mexico and Cuba in March 2012, Monti accompanied the Pope to the airport. Less than a month later, Mexican President Felipe Calderon met with Cuban President Raul Castro and Havana Cardinal Jaime Ortega to “discuss possible business ventures, including oil deals.” Mexico was considering leasing exploration blocks in Cuban territorial waters which are part of the Gulf of Mexico. A consortium led by Spanish oil giant Repsol YPF was drilling the first of a series of wells which officials hoped would hold 20 billion barrels of oil.) __
Whatever Goldman Sachs’ exact plans for Africa, the Vatican will support the governments which will make it so. Except for the reigns of Popes John XXIII and Paul VI (1958-1978), the Vatican has forged alliances throughout history with the wealthy and powerful to the detriment of the populace, just as they have done with the U.S. Republican Party, European technocrats imposing austerity, and other plutocrats around the world.
Pope Benedict was just named the fifth Most Powerful Person in the World in the December 2012 issue of Forbes. He trailed behind only Obama, Merkel, Putin and Bill Gates – Draghi is No. 8 – a testament to the Church’s effectiveness.
P. S. My apologies to anyone who also read my earlier diary “European Plutocrats Covered Up Vatican Money Laundering.” I had read about the ties between Goldman Sachs and the Vatican while researching the information for the money laundering blog, but being one of those Americans who fail to notice Africa, I could only imagine the Church’s usefulness to Europe’s financiers as continuing to provide them with a worldwide, hidden “offshore” financial network. It took me awhile to understand how the Church would be a partner to the plutocrats’ rapacious greed in Africa as well as the rest of the world.)
Clermont is author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America (Clarity Press, 2009).
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