The Vatican: Opus Dei, Espionage, Death and Terrorism

By Denny Ortuño | 25 May 2007
Aporrea.org

The Vatican is the only country in the world that denies having its own intelligence service. The Pope and all highly placed Catholics deny even the slightest espionage activity or connections of the Holy Throne with international intelligence.

However, over the course of several centuries the traces of secret Vatican operations surfaced in one country or another. According to researcher Eric Frattini, a Holy Alliance was created in 1566 by order of Pope Pius V to kill the Protestant Queen Elizabeth of England, and return England to Catholicism with Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland. All of this with money from Philip II, who financed the Holy Alliance.

In 1996, Carl Bernstein published, along with Italian Marco Politi, the book His Holiness: John Paul II and the Hidden History of Our Time. This book discloses the details of the joint crusade led, in the 80s, by the now blessed KAROL WOJTYLA and the US administration of RONALD REAGAN. Cooperation between the two was aimed to overthrow the socialist bloc and prevent the advance of leftist movements in Latin America. This collaboration materialized in multiple joint operations.

During the time of John Paul II, a record number of spy scandals were noted. Vatican contacts, together with the CIA, conducted a large joint operation in 1982. By the end of the 1980’s this had expanded into an almost daily exchange of information including even pictures from satellites. For 20 years the Vatican has been a worldwide espionage center.

In his book The Vatican Papers, the well-known Italian publicist Nino Lo Bello claims that the Vatican has the world’s most efficient and widespread spy network. This network is known as Sodalitium Pianum. Sodalitium Pianum was formed in 1909 by Pope Pius XII to monitor and report to the Holy Office any deviations from orthodoxy. At first they were merely busy with the silencing of less orthodox theologians by prohibiting publications and by removing them from teaching positions.

In Europe is it well known that for more than 50 years American intelligence was a main partner of the Holy Throne. Their joint activities began during World War II when the Americans financed the creation of the secret Catholic service Pro Deo. In 1945, the future president of Italy Julio Adreotti became the Secretary for this service’s director, Andrés Morliona. In 1992 Morliona confirmed the close ties between the Vatican and the Central Intelligence Agency.

— The evidence of operations by the Vatican and American intelligence has been seen in the Hungarian events in 1956, and during PINOCHET’s rise to power in Chile. However, the greatest attention was received by an operation agreed upon by REAGAN AND JOHN PAUL II, on 7 August 1982, when they agreed to support the Solidarity movement in Poland.

— Operation Pez Volador. Carried out during John Paul II’s reign, it consisted in the sale of Exocet missiles to the Argentine dictatorship, to be used in the Falklands War. The dictatorship paid a Panamanian-based company called Bellatrix for those missiles. The certificate was signed by Paul Marcinkus — chief of the Vatican Bank — wherein is admitted that the Vatican Bank owned 58% of Bellatrix.

— The “College of Russicum” was funded by a declaration of Pope Pius XVI on 15 August 1929. Its first director was the Jesuit Erbini, who was responsible for the Vatican’s policy in Russia in the 20s. Data that agents are prepared by the “Russicum” for infiltration into the USSR was confirmed in 1999 by the Italian Association of Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR), and by Schmidt-Eenbaum in the book Intelligence Services of North America, Europe and Japan. Schmidt-Eenbaum is a renowned German expert in the field of special services, and the author of books on the activities of spies in West Germany.

Vatican: United States, Spies and Something Else

— Vernon Walters, General and former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) visited the Pope seven times between 1981 and 1988.

— In 1995 the Catholic clergy was accused of espionage and two Roman Catholic priests were expelled from the Ukraine. The collapse of the Union began not in the Baltic region, but rather with Western Ukraine. The Vatican took part in the creation of the Ukrainian national organisation UNA-UNSO.

— After the war, a wave of arrests of highly-placed Catholic officials rolled across Europe: During 1948 in Hungary, Cardinal Mindstsent was arrested for intelligence activities; during 1951, in Romania, Bishop Shubert was also arrested. During 1952 in Bulgaria, Bishop Bossilkov was even sentenced to death.

— In 1998 there was the mysterious death of the head of the Papal Guard Alois Estermann (Estermann was a military officer whose career had been accelerated by his membership of Opus Dei). Commander Estermann was an agent of the Stasi (East Germany’s secret police) in the Vatican, according to former Italian judge Ferdinando Imposimato in his book, Vatican: A State Affair. The mother of Cedric Tornay — the supposed killer of Estermann — insists that there was a fourth character in the Vatican offices and that a mysterious assassin committed the triple murder.

— A KGB agent, Oleg Tumanov, described in detail in his memoirs the interception in the mid-1980s by Soviet Counter-Intelligence of a “microfilm with instructions of the NTS and the secret service of the Vatican”; and the secret department of the so-called Russian Catholic college in Rome (“College of Russicum”), where, according to his data, religious figures were prepared for destructive activities in the territory of the USSR.

— The Opus Dei also became one of the main donors to Solidarity with financial support from Catholic, German, even Jewish organisations.

— A surveillance center was set up in Bogotá, Colombia, with a powerful computer of strategic capacity that was connected to the Vatican. All data and political activities of Latin American priests and religious people were registered. It was due to that intelligence data and information that the “death squads” assassinated Father Ignacio Ellacuria and Monsignor Oscar Romero in El Salvador.

— Vatican money has financed the dictatorships of Argentina, Somoza in Nicaragua, Duvalier in Haiti, and the Salvadoran dictatorship, among others.

The Vatican: Opus Dei and the Extreme Right Wing

— Some time ago, the Belgian parliament placed the Opus Dei on a list of “dangerous religious sects”, which it had to subsequently withdraw due to the uproar of Opus Dei numeraries and supernumeraries from around the world.

— In 1983, the Spanish government led by Felipe González issued a decree-law to expropriate José María Ruiz-Mateos, member of the “Work”, of various enterprises and commercial activities which existed around the RUMASA group, and included some well-known banks. The justification given by the government was that the control exercised over Rumasa by the Opus Dei could be used to negatively impact the Spanish economy, causing an eventual fall of the government.

— Opus Dei founder José María Escriva de Balaguer rushed to Santiago de Chile in 1974 to celebrate Thanksgiving with three of his “spiritual sons”: General Pinochet, Admiral Merino and General Leigh.

(L to R) Air Force General Leigh, Army General Pinochet, Navy Admiral Merino, and Police General Mendoza.

— Two people served Balaguer’s policy with zeal: Monsignor Josef Ratzinger, prefect of the Order for Doctrine and Faith, and Monsignor Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

— The president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe and the leader of the Chilean right Joaquín Lavín, would become members of Opus Dei in Latin America.

— Aristides Calvani, known member of Opus Dei, was at that time Chancellor of the government headed by the notorious Opus Dei member Rafael Caldera.

— General Ovidio Poggioli, is the son of one of the founders of Opus Dei in Venezuela in the decade of the 60s.

— The coup that enthroned Pedro Carmona, was run by a group of military officers who were protected by retired General Ruben Rojas, in partnership with ultra-conservative businessmen and politicians. Some of them belonged to the extreme conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei.

— The defense minister of Pedro Carmona, Hector Ramirez Perez, is a protege of Rojas, while Carmona’s choice for interior minister, Jose Rodriguez Iturbe, belonged to Opus Dei.

— Officials of the former government of the Spanish Popular Party led by former prime minister José María Aznar have also been identified as members of Opus Dei, such as his former defense minister, Federico Trillo. Aznar himself, meanwhile, has sent one of his sons to study at the University of Navarra, owned by Opus Dei, while in the UK the Education Minister Ruth Kelly admitted recently belonging to the “Work”.

Far from the image that the Vatican seeks to impose on the world, of a Church imbued with a spirit of solidarity towards humanity.

Much further afield are the example and morality that the Vatican seeks to impose on America, where corruption, crime, falsehood and immorality are the horizon that guides the interests of this institution founded on dogmas, infallibility and ignorance.

This article has been translated from Spanish.

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