Friday, February 17, 2012

A Vatican Power Struggle?

Letters recently leaked from the Vatican suggest that a power struggle may be going among the various members of the College of Cardinals. The Roman Catholic Church has not disputed the contents of the letters, but claims that the media has vastly overstated their importance. The College of Cardinals is a secretive organization, and it may very well be that this sort of thing goes on all the time but is not usually reported to the public. Nonetheless, the documents contain some allegations that sound more serious than general, day-to-day operations.

The first missives to be published date from last spring. In them, Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganĂ², at the time the deputy governor of Vatican City, fretted that he would be ousted after making enemies in his effort to combat overspending and cronyism in the awarding of contracts. He pleaded with his boss, the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the pope to let him stay on. Instead, Archbishop ViganĂ² was named the papal nuncio, or ambassador, to the United States.

Letters and documents by other Vatican officials followed, including some that suggested that the Vatican was not adequately complying with international legislation to prevent money laundering.

One anonymous document published in a national newspaper last week cited reports that a Sicilian cardinal had spoken vaguely about a plot to kill Pope Benedict XVI before the end of 2012.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, called the reports “delirious and incomprehensible.”

One of the biggest problems with religious and spiritual groups, especially large ones, is that whenever a group of people get together you get politics. And politics are bad for spiritual realization. They detract from the group's true purpose and cultivate animosities that can lead to infighting. Aleister Crowley may gone a little too far in putting together his guidelines for A.'.A.'. when he stipulated that each initiate could only know one other person in the order, but there's certainly some merit to the general idea. As Crowley commented in Magick Without Tears, "I am afraid you have still got the idea that the Great Work is a tea-party. Contact with other students only means that you criticize their hats, and then their morals; and I am not going to encourage this. Your work is not anybody else's; and undirected chatter is the worst poisonous element in human society."

Wise words, those.

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Hypnovatos said...

An old Kabbalistic edict, and one mentioned often times in various grimoires during rituals, is the avoidance of idle chatter, and avoiding all unnecessary conversations. Not only do they distract from one's focus on the Divine, but it tends to lead to opinion and even worse, gossip. The power of letters formed into words is often times forgotten, but all it takes is a glance at the magazines in the check out counters. Everyone has an opinion on every media star, who is mean, who deserves a child, who doesn't, who is cheating and who is faithful. Rarely, if ever, have the people writing the words sat down with the person they are discussing, let alone the people reading the magazines and chittering away over coffee.

Ananael Qaa said...

Gossip certainly has a contagious quality even though it communicates little real information. I can see a great deal of wisdom in limiting it within an organization like the A.'.A.'. that is dedicated to spiritual development, especially from a Thelemic perspective (in which a very important aspect of the Great Work is minding your own business).

The obsession with celebrities is even sillier than gossip about individuals in one's social circle. A person's public image may have nothing to do with what that person is really like, and when that's the case celebrity gossip enthusiasts are exerting a whole lot of mental energy on somebody who doesn't even exist.