Pope John Paul II and the Church

By Peter Hebblethwaite | Go to book overview

Meanwhile, the plot had begun to succeed, and Calvi became president of the Ambrosian Bank. This was not too difficult. The directors were old, monolingual and staid. Calvi offered them vision and excitement; and he could cite, if not count upon, his friendships in the Vatican. He and Marcinkus helped each other. Marcinkus became a member of the board of Cisalpine, Ambrosiano's Nassau bank.

In 1974 Sindona crashed. He was declared bankrupt, resisted the law for as long as he could (the Italian system of appeals makes for endless delay) and finally "vanished" in August 1978. His disappearance is said to have been engineered (though Sindona has always denied this) by Licio Gelli, founder and grand master of the Masonic lodge known as P2 (Propaganda 2), and Col. Antonio Viezzer of SID, the Italian secret service.

What, one might well ask, were these eminently Catholic bankers and advisers to the Vatican doing in a Masonic lodge? It would be easier to answer if one knew what goals P2 was supposed to serve in the mind of Gelli, its founder.

When the list of 953 names of its alleged "brothers" was revealed in May 1981, they provided a cross section of the Italian "establishment" -- bankers (including Sindona and Calvi), politicians, media men, generals, admirals, secret service people. In short, the kind of team you would need for a coup d' état. †□


26
John Paul in Central America: The papacy and reform

( March 18, 1983) Pope John Paul's visit to Central America began, deceptively, with flowers and a chaotic fiesta atmosphere. He barely had time to notice that he was in Costa Rica, and failed to congratulate it on not having an army: a unique instance of unilateral disarmament.

But there were thorns amid the roses, as he had predicted in his eve-of-visit television message. Central America, John Paul said, was undergoing Gethsemane and Calvary. The judicial murder at dawn of

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