Rome and her financial corruption
THE Papal system is notorious for its financial corruption. Twenty years ago this year, it was the intention of Pope John Paul I to purge corruption at the Vatican Bank, which was entangled with the Italian Mafia. But 33 days after his election he was found dead in suspicious circumstances. (Cardinal Lorscheider of Brazil has recently added his voice to that of those who are still not prepared to accept the Vatican’s version of that pope’s death).
Such corruption says much about Rome and her priests. “If the history of the (Roman) Church teaches anything, it is that covetousness, and an insatiable hunger for gold has ever been her ruling passion,” said Alexander Robertson (in The Papal Conquest and quoted in The Reformer). Rome, “Babylon the great” of Scripture, must have a strong financial foundation to maintain her power, which is essentially political; therefore she must continue her “merchandise of gold” (Rev. 18:12).
Corruption at the top invariably percolates down through the ranks. Cardinal Giordano of Naples is facing allegations of part of a loan-shark ring. He is alleged to have paid out, in this connection, sums amounting to £995,000, although his own declared earnings in 1994 were £9,800. He paid out much of that money through his head of religious works, Aldo Palumbo, who died in mysterious circumstances hours after meeting the Pope last May, when the usury scandal broke out.
In this country, a Roman priest, Seamus Hetherton, was charged with stealing a total £207,350 from the funds of the Church and a Roman Catholic Social Club. He later paid back more than £200,000 to the diocese of Southward, and the charge was dropped, but he left the country to avoid renewed police questioning. When he returned he was charged with the lesser offence of stealing £104,750, but this charge was also dropped when he pleaded guilty to three other charges of false accounting. It was stated that the lowly- paid priest never lacked for money and that he had bought a 100-acre farm.
President Clinton and Roman Catholic mass
AT the time of writing, information is being made public about special prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s report on American President Bill Clinton. Serious allegations about the President’s immorality have been circulating for some considerable time. While he has now acknowledged that he has sinned in this way, he continues to deny other allegations about obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury.
Now that President Clinton has acknowledged that he sinned, it is significant to note official reaction within the American Roman Catholic hierarchy to his partaking of the mass during his trip to South Africa last March. President Clinton, a long-standing member of a Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, went to the altar and received the Romish sacrament in Soweto. Roman Catholics across America flooded the offices of the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O’Connor, with letters and phone calls of complaint.
The Cardinal’s reaction? The action taken by the priest who gave the wafer to the President, he told his congregation at St Patrick’s Cathedral, “however well-intentioned, was legally and doctrinally wrong”. Because the President was alleged to be an adulterer? No, that seems to have been a quite insignificant detail in the Cardinal’s thinking; he emphasised that his criticism was not “a questioning of anyone’s character”. One is reminded of the Pope’s refusal to excommunicate IRA terrorists. No crime, it seems, is too great to prevent anyone continuing to be considered a faithful son of their “Holy Mother Church”, provided they do not question the authority of the Pope too strongly. President Clinton is not a Roman Catholic, so he does not yield outward allegiance to the Pope. He must therefore be debarred from mass. But, to put it mildly, it would be the President’s wisdom not to involve himself in the blasphemy of the mass, where the priest professes to offer Christ again as a sacrifice for sin – in the face of the Scriptures which assure as that Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary was offered up once for all.
As the days go by, the President is making stronger and stronger professions of repentance for the sin which he has confessed to. One does not want to prejudge the accuracy of the allegations made in the Starr report, but what a mercy it would be if President Clinton would enter into the experience of David, when he addressed the Most High: “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:4, 5)! Those who are truly repentant will look for forgiveness to the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ, not to the God-dishonouring attempt to repeat that sacrifice in the mass.