The Catholic Church is the spiritual home to 1.1 billion people around the world. It’s also a big business that handles billions of dollars.
Here’s how it makes money and how it spends it.
1. The Vatican Bank has $8 billion in assets
The Vatican Bank, which has about $8 billion in assets, has often been at the center of scandal and corruption since it was founded in 1942. Pope Benedict began the process of cleaning the bank up, and Francis has continued that work.
After a while, I couldn’t continue reading the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse in six dioceses in the Catholic Church. Apart from the rising nausea, I realized the horror of each incident had begun to numb my conscience, and the sheer number of cases had numbed it still further. One case is a tragedy; thousands of cases can too easily become a statistic. Like dealing with Trump’s lies, you can get dizzy following the specific horrors committed against children, and the excuses and prevarications and silence of so many in the hierarchy. Which is why specifics matter. They reveal the core nature of the evil involved.
Many readers of our last list of 10 Dirty Secrets of the Catholic Church had the sneaking suspicion that there was more to the story—more dirty secrets to be uncovered. Well, those suspicions were well-founded.
10The Lies Of Mother Teresa
Although Mother Teresa was beatified as a saint by the Catholic Church in 2003, in reality she was far from the saint the Church would lead you to believe. In fact, Mother Teresa isn’t even her real name; she was born Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Albania. The issues certainly don’t end with her pseudonym. Researchers today have called Mother Teresa an empty “PR ploy” by the Vatican to rehabilitate their tarnished image.
The crushed and anonymous man in the crowd identifies only with the heavyweight champion and Al Capone. His ultimate dream is fulfilled by the political ascendancy of the absolute Dictator who embodies his own frustrated desires … While not every German could have become an Adolf Hitler, within every German lurked the little Hitler struggling to emerge. – Wilhelm Reich, 1946
I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters. – Donald Trump, 2016
Ironically, Americans’ taste for personal liberty lends itself to dictatorship, since their absorption in their private affairs compels them to neglect public life and deliver their country into the hands of tyrants. Under the guise of democracy, Americans neglect their first civic duty, which is to remain their own masters. – Alexis de Tocqueville, 1832
When I was twenty-one, I worked on the assembly line at National Steel Car in Hamilton, Ontario until my asthmatic lungs packed it in from all the welding fumes. During my brief tenure there, I came to know an aging German electrician named Klaus. He kept to himself a lot, thumbing through old paperbacks or chain smoking in the welding pit. But one day I made a comment within his earshot about our line foreman being a “strutting little Hitler”. Klaus looked at me sharply and growled,
“What the hell do you know about Hitler?”
That night over a few pints at the Sherman pub, Klaus told me about his life as a young man in the Third Reich. His tale bored me after awhile, with its rambling account of the problems in his marriage, their overcrowded tenement flat, and the noise from all the street fighting and torchlight marches that kept them awake at night. I wanted him to get on to the important stuff, so I said,
“But what about the Nazis? Why do you think they came to power in the first place?”
Klaus squinted at me from behind a wreath of smoke. Then he said soberly,
“They told us we could become great again, and we believed them. It made you feel you were part of something bigger and better than yourself.”
I’ve seen a lot of America over the past five years: mostly the everyday nation in its countless small towns and truck stops. Beneath its fractious politics and passions dwells a sad bewilderment that stares out from people, the kind of look I see among the loved ones of the deceased at funerals. Americans are angry, but their rage arises from a sense that their nation has disappeared. And like all people who have forgotten or never known what it is to govern themselves, Americans’ grief has made them yearn for a leader to set things straight and bring them home again.
Allow me to avoid the hackneyed observation that the Trump “presidency” represents this Fuhrerprinzip-longingamong middle Americans. Perhaps that’s a little too obvious. In a broader sense, Trumpism is the next logical step in the corporatization of America and the world, where billionaire oligarchs rule governments directly and autocratically rather than through their usual paid political minions. Small wonder that Donny Boy and Vlad “The Impaler” Putin are such good mates. Assuming it ever existed, democracy in practice is as dead as the rule of law.
Many Americans know this from experience. My days are filled with calls for help from parents who have had their children grabbed, trafficked and violated by churches or government agencies, and from people defrauded by the IRS or crushed by corrupt judges and cops. There is no longer even the pretense of accountability, legality or fairness in government, business or religion. And yet, perversely, many of the same people who are targeted and victimized by this corporatized tyranny look to that very system and its figureheads – Trump or others – for their salvation.
Wilhelm Reich called such dependent, self-destructive behaviour the Little Man Syndrome. Reich was a psychologist and political activist who worked in the slums of Berlin just prior to the Nazi takeover. He was also one of the few writers ever to probe into the mass psychology that produces and sustains totalitarianism. (1)
Why did so many ordinary people adulate Hitler? Generally, because from a young age they had each been pre-conditioned by family, religion and capitalism to see themselves as a cog-in-the-wheel “little man” of no power or importance, and to devalue and surrender their own autonomy and authority to another: a parent, “god”, a boss, or a Fuhrer. They had also learned to habitually desire their own subservience. This conditioning was adeptly exploited by Adolf Hitler, who understood, in his words,
“How fortunate for rulers that the masses of people do not think. They are like a child that seeks to be instructed, disciplined and guided by a father. They welcome the lash as they do the embrace and they love the firm hand that punishes and rewards them.”
Why do so many ordinary Americans adulate Donald Trump? For the same “little man” reason that Wilhelm Reich describes, of course; but also because of many peoples’ radical disenchantment with the political-economic system – an estrangement that is reminiscent of Germans’ attitudes during the Depression-wracked 1930’s. But there’s a third aspect to the current mania, and is demonstrated by otherwise lucid activists who have morphed into “Trumpbots” and can hear no criticism of their megalomaniac leader. That aspect is none other than the American impulse (fueled by a fundamentalist Christian legacy) to bi-polarize political differences in extremis into irreconcilable camps of “good” and “evil”.
These lethal ingredients have combined to spark a national civil war in America. It’s a war that serves no-one’s interests except America’s geo-political rivals, China and Russia, and their domestic corporate accomplices like Mr. Trump himself, who strives daily to bear the title “King Donald the First”.
I sense the spirit of Wilhelm Reich hovering over America these days and having a field day. It might observe that the nation’s political fracturing is an externalization and projection of a deep inner conflict within every American: a clash between his innate impulse towards personal liberty and community, and the atomizing influence of a stultifying corporate culture. These rival centrifugal and centripetal energies are tearing people apart at a basic level and fueling mass psychosis and personal dissociation. Just watch the evening news or any internet debate on Trump to see what I mean.
Historical moments of social dissolution like the present also give us the chance for transcendence. Even as the Little Man identifies with and votes for the Big Man dictator, he yearns for something better than winners and losers, but he fears the freedom of equality. As a social psychologist and a Marxist, Wilhelm Reich saw no purely personal remedy for the Little Man syndrome and the tyranny it sows. The cure must embrace everyone.
My old buddy Darryl Adams was a Viet Nam veteran who died last year. I remember at a public forum some decades ago Darryl was asked why vets had such trouble “fitting in” to society when they came home. Darryl replied,
“In Nam, under fire, we lived with a purpose. We were ready to die at any minute. We gave our lives for each other every day and we never did anything just for ourselves. That’s the kind of courage and love humanity is supposed to have for itself, it’s how people are supposed to live. Then after Nam we came back to this cutthroat, dog eat dog society where there’s nothing more important than grabbing what you can for yourself at the expense of some other guy. Where is the meaning in that? How the hell do you fit in to that kind of crazy, fucked up system? Why should we have to?”
Behind America’s war against itself is the promise of which Darryl spoke. Like in pre-Nazi Germany, the disenchantment that can lead to revolutionary change is sprouting in people everywhere across America. That force can go either in a liberating or a tyrannical direction, depending on how it’s channeled, and by who: either by We the People who love and are sworn to our Constitution, or by the absolute Monarch in Waiting who goes by the title of President of the United States. All of us stand at such a crossroads right now.
At the end of the day, our fate will be determined by our capacity to overcome our conditioned infantile need to defer to a parental figure, and step away from our Little Man into complete responsibility for our minds, our lives, and our nation. We will have to relearn and reclaim the liberty that we have allowed to be stolen from us. Once we take even one step down that road to revolution, the rulers we have enthroned over us will crumble: first in our hearts and minds, and then in the world.
As our own firebrand patriot Patrick Henry declared to the monarch who sparked our own revolution in 1776,
“Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the first his Cromwell, and George the Third … may profit by their example.”
And so may King Donald the First, and every other tyrant.
(1) The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich (1933)
Kevin D. Annett is an award-winning author, film maker and human rights figure of joint American and Canadian nationality. He is the recipient of the Prague Peace Award (2016). He has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of his historic work in exposing, documenting and prosecuting crimes against humanity by Church and State in Canadian Indian residential schools.
TOKYO – During Pope Francis’ recent visit to Japan, Harumi Suzuki stood where his motorcade passed by holding a sign that read: “I am a survivor.”
Katsumi Takenaka stood at another spot, on another day, holding up his banner that read, “Catholic child sexual abuse in Japan, too.”
The two are among a handful of people who have gone public as survivors of Catholic clergy sexual abuse in Japan, where values of conformity and harmony have resulted in a strong code of silence.
But as in other parts of the world, from Pennsylvania to Chile, Takenaka and Suzuki are starting to feel less alone as other victims have come forward despite the ostracization they and their family members often face for speaking out.
Their public denunciation is all the more remarkable, given Catholics make up less than 0.5% of Japan’s population. To date, the global abuse scandal has concentrated on heavily Catholic countries, such as Ireland, the U.S. and now, many countries in Latin America.
All of which could explain why the Catholic hierarchy in Japan has been slow to respond to the scandal, which involves not only children being sexually abused but adults in spiritual direction — an increasingly common phenomenon being denounced in the #MeToo era.
In a recent case, police were investigating allegations by a woman in Nagasaki, the region with the greatest concentration of Catholics in Japan, that a priest touched her inappropriately last year.
Japanese media reports said the woman had been hospitalized for PTSD. Police confirmed an investigation was underway but the church declined to provide details, citing privacy concerns.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan launched a nationwide investigation into sexual abuse of women and children this year, responding to the Vatican’s demand for an urgent response to the global crisis.
The results haven’t been disclosed, and it’s unclear when they might be ready. Similar studies have been carried out by the U.S., German and Dutch churches, with the findings made public, and government-mandated inquiries have devastated the church’s credibility in countries like Australia and Ireland.
The Japanese bishops’ conference has said it carried out various investigations since 2002, but the names of the accused, the nature of the allegations or any other details have never been released.
Broadcaster Japan News Network said 21 cases were found in the latest investigation. The conference declined to confirm that number. It’s unclear whether that includes decades-old cases like Takenaka’s and Suzuki’s.
In a rare case of the church taking action, Takenaka received a public apology earlier this year from Nagasaki Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami for the sexual abuse he suffered as a child at the Salesian Boys’ Home in Tokyo, where he was placed after his parents’ divorce.
“I think his apology was sincere in his own way. But the response has lacked a sense of urgency, and there is no sign they will take any real action,” Takenaka told The Associated Press.
Takenaka’s alleged perpetrator was a German priest, who he said initially took off the boy’s clothes to examine bruises from beatings he suffered from other boys at the home. The priest’s examinations escalated to fondling and other sexual acts, which went on for months until the priest was transferred, he said. He reported that the priest told him he would go straight to hell if he told anyone, and gave him candy and foreign stamps.
Takenaka identified his abuser as the late Rev. Thomas Manhard. The Salesians in Munich confirmed Manhard had worked in Japan from 1934-1985, when he returned to Germany. He died a year later. Spokeswoman Katharina Hennecke said the order had no information in its records about allegations against him.
Takenaka’s account was confirmed by the Rev. Hiroshi Tamura, who runs the Salesian Boys’ Home and said he was conferring with the Japanese bishops’ conference to work out a response to his claim.
Takenaka, a civil servant in his 60s, said the church needs to be proactive in disclosing details about the abuse it has uncovered, identifying offending clergy and how they were penalized. He said an outside investigation is needed and a forum for victims to come together.
“The victims are isolated,” Takenaka said. “No one knows for sure if the abuse is still going on.”
Pope Francis has emphasized the global nature of the abuse problem, summoning bishops conference leaders from around the world to the Vatican this past February and passing a new law requiring all cases be reported to church authorities.
But he didn’t refer to the issue during his trip to Japan, focusing instead on messages on nuclear weapons and nuclear disasters.
Both Takenaka and Suzuki said they had relayed requests to meet with Francis but got no answers.
“I am filled with sadness and I am filled with outrage,” said Suzuki, who wept as she told her story of being sexually assaulted by a Japanese priest in northeastern Japan in 1977.
Suzuki represents the Japan section of the American organization SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which supports victims of religious authorities.
“I want my dignity back, and I felt I had to act,” she said.
She said a few other victims in Japan have contacted her. Takenaka and Suzuki talked by phone for the first time recently, although they have yet to meet.
Suzuki, a nurse, says she was assaulted when she went to a priest for help about the domestic violence she was suffering at the hands of her husband, and other personal problems.
She says she had no expectation the priest would try to have sex with her, and wasn’t sure she even had a choice. She remembered he whispered into her ear, “You won’t regret this?” and then lifted her up in his arms and carried her upstairs to a bed.
“I could not run away or scream,” she said, adding that the naked priest was on top of her before she really knew what was happening.
“I did not ask for sex,” she said, adding that she has suffered flashbacks, depression, as well as blackouts about how even she got home that day.
Documents seen by The Associated Press show the Sendai diocese carried out an investigation by a third party of lawyers into her case in 2016.
The investigation determined the sexual act likely did happen but decided no criminal or civil responsibility could be pursued, given the passage of time and that the priest may have thought the act was consensual.
Suzuki denies she consented, and said she remains so terrified she can’t go into a church anymore.
“My whole world was turned upside down,” she said.
Sendai Bishop Martin Testuo Hiraga, who has frequently met with Suzuki, said a solution was not easy. He said the priest denied there was any sex between them at all.
“I am at a loss as to what to do,” he said.
The Catholic hierarchy around the world has largely ignored the problem of adults — seminarians, nuns and laypeople — who are sexually abused by clergy. Yet there is a large body of research that shows that adults can be sexually victimized by clergy because of the power imbalance in the relationship.
A priest can easily take advantage of a parishioner during spiritual direction or in times of personal crisis, such as when a woman has come for help because she is being abused by her husband, since she is in a vulnerable state, these experts say.
The late Diana Garland of Baylor University has argued that women often come to realize they were victims of abusive clergy only when they are asked if the sex would have happened if the pastor was her neighbor. “Overwhelmingly the answer is ‘no,’” Garland wrote in 2006. “As she says no, she begins to face the truth that he had power and authority that made meaningful consent impossible for her.”
In addition to Takenaka and Suzuki, several victims have spoken out against the religious brothers at St. Mary’s International School, a prestigious all-boys parochial school in Tokyo, alleging they were raped or molested decades ago.
The school carried out an investigation, starting in 2014, and denies any abuse is ongoing. There have been no criminal or civil cases at St. Mary’s.
Takenaka said he decided to confront the problem of abuse in the Japanese church, demanding answers from the hierarchy and helping sexual abuse victims precisely because he still believes in God.
If he became a bigger person, his emotional scars would seem small in comparison, he said.
But he remembered during Christmas Eve Mass last year, he asked in his prayers:
The coming of the Christ of God in Jesus of Naza- reth was announced by the great prophets of God in the Old Covenant – and Jesus of Nazareth came. He brought the teaching of love for God and neigh- bor from the Kingdom of God, from the Sanctum. From the heart of His love and peaceableness, He taught the way back to the Kingdom of God.
The majority of people did not accept Him and His teachings. Incited by the caste of priests of that time, the people accepted that Jesus of Nazareth was handed over to the Roman state, which had Him crucified. Jesus of Nazareth, who lived among us people as the Prince of Peace, became the Re- deemer of all men and souls on Calvary. The first followers of Jesus of Nazareth lived in aware ness of the resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. They strove to live as He had exemplified and taught them. However, a few generations after His murder on the cross through the machinations of the caste of priests back then, began the betrayal of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. An external religion was established – an unholy alliance be- tween the caste of priests and the Roman imperial
rule – that no longer had anything to do with the original teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, but which enveloped itself with the name “Christian.” The sim ple teaching of love for God and neighbor was perverted more and more into its opposite and replaced with dogmas, rites and ritual acts of pagan origin.
The betrayal of Jesus, the Christ, and His teachings is visible in the trail of blood and suffering that for centuries the so-called Christian institutions have drawn over all the Earth and caused in all cultures.
Under the abuse of His name, all people and groups who remained true to the original Christian values were mercilessly persecuted by the dominant church institutions; anyone who did not subordinate himself to their doctrine was “eradicated.”
Under the abuse of His name, robbing, murder ing, betrayal and lying were committed. Popes called for the Crusades and millions of people were brutally slaughtered.
Under the abuse of His name, people, primarily women, were accused of witchcraft and cruelly tor- tured and martyred.
Under the abuse of His name, people set forth, allegedly to “proclaim the Gospel,” and thereby whole nations were massacred, their treasures robbed and incorporated into the churches and their allies.
Under the abuse of His name, churches calling themselves Christian were considerably involved in the emergence of wars, right into the present time.
Under the abuse of His name, the churches sit on immense riches, while day after day their fellow humans die of hunger by the thousands.
Under the abuse of the name “Christian,” countless children and youth were sexually abused by priests; in homes run by churches, children were humiliated, violated and maltreated.
Millions of people, entire peoples and nations, still associate Christ, the Prince of Peace and Redeemer of all humankind and souls, with the crimes and monstrosities that the caste of priests and its deadly vassals have spread all over the Earth for nearly two thousand years. The victims hold Christ responsible for this, because with their misdeeds the wolves in “pseudo-Christian” sheep‘s clothing defiled, and defile, the impeccable name of the Christ of God.
In many countries of the Earth, with the blessing of the caste of priests, the powers that be invoke Christ while they unscrupulously impose their self- ish, violent and belligerent interests on the backs of the people, the animals, the environment and, thus, the whole Earth.
Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the All-Highest, did not teach all this, quite the contrary: He came to de- nounce the injustice and falsehood and to teach people the way of peace.
The works of discord are the works of those who see in Christ, and in all those who know His true teachings and follow Him, the greatest threat to their dark interests. Therefore, they pin their own vile filth – as documented by history – on Him and His true followers, thereby bringing the name of Christ into discredit.
Thus, the rehabilitation of the Christ of God and His teaching of peace, of love for God and neighbor.
All these facets of the abuse of His name will be extensively examined in this book, above all the falsification of the teachings of Jesus, the Christ, and its devastating consequences for humankind and for all that lives on the Earth, facets which are
becoming ever more visible today – the advancing destruction of our all-too-human world. Due to the cover-up skills of the established church institu- tions, many people are not aware of the underlying causes of this destruction. Throughout the centuries, these cover-up skills were also used to prevent people from learning the true significance of the incarnation of the Son of God in Jesus of Nazareth and His Redeemer-deed on Calvary. This will also be thoroughly explored in the following.
From the Book: The Rehabilitation of the Christ of God
Authors: Martin Kübli, Dieter Potzel, Ulrich Seifert