Since the publication of Malachi Martin's WINDSWEPT HOUSE (Doubleday, 1998) early this summer, everyone who has read it is asking the same question: Is it all true? The brilliantly conceived and eleg
5/15/2004 12:54:00 PM
By PAUL LIKOUDIS
-The Wanderer (from an article first run in 1999)
Since the publication of Malachi Martin's WINDSWEPT HOUSE (Doubleday, 1998) early this summer, everyone who has read it is asking the same question: Is it all true?
The brilliantly conceived and elegantly written novel presents Vatican City as a nest of intrigue, where the Holy Father is cautiously temporizing as disloyal cardinals subvert his Papacy and scheme with government and business elites in London and Brussels to advance the New World Order.
Believing that the Church must be a key player in the New World Order - primarily for financial reasons - and that Catholic doctrine on key issues must be "moderated," "transformed," or simply dropped in order for the Church to be accepted as a player in the new power structure, the Pope's unfaithful cardinals plot to isolate John Paul II.
That plot - along with dozens of other subplots, ''wheels within wheels " - boils rapidly, making WINDSWEPT HOUSE a thrilling, if somewhat disconcerting, novel.
The novel's title, WINDSWEPT HOUSE, takes its name from a grand home in Galveston, Texas, occupied by an old, very wealthy, and prominent Catholic family which over the centuries has provided valuable services to the Holy See. Two members of that family, brothers - one a priest, the other a lawyer - are the novel's chief protagonists, but they are merely pawns in a high-stakes chess game on which hinges the future social, economic, political, and spiritual development of the world.
Of course, if the work is entirely fiction, Martin's latest book can be dismissed as merely the product of an overly stimulated Irish imagination. If it is largely true, every Catholic should both appreciate the peril the present Pontiff is in, and pray that the Lord have mercy on His Church.
Is WINDSWEPT HOUSE true? That's the question THE WANDERER put to Martin in a recent telephone interview.
Q: How is Windswept House selling since its release in June?
A: The book is selling steadily, all over the country, with no dip in sales yet. Almost 55,000 copies in hardcover are in circulation, and the book is expected to come out in paperback within a year.
Q: What are the reviewers saying?
A: The reviewers are doing a gang review with my book and Andrew Greeley's White Smoke, which is a novel about the election of a Pope. The extraordinary thing is that the reviewers are calling Greeley a conservative compared to me. Greeley is saying that we can elect another Pope and go on with the same ecclesiastical behavior and treatment of the Church, but they should elect a good liberal Pope. My book is radical, because it says the organization is spent, and can't go on. That's the implication of Windswept House.
There have been no bad reviews as far as I know.
Q: Have you received any comments from any important Church leaders?
A: Yes, I have. I cannot quote names. Some approved highly, some disapproved highly, with those disapproving challenging the thesis of the story. Those who approve say it's about time someone started telling the truth.
Q: In general, what reaction has there been among most readers?
A: Those who correspond with me or talk to me on the radio shows I have been doing are thanking me for "telling it like it is." Then they ask: Now what is to be done? What are we to do? That is the question answered in the sequel to Windswept House, which I am writing now.
Q: The burning question among Wanderer readers who have read the book is: How much of Windswept House is true?
A: To speak in percentages, roughly 85% of the fictional characters mirror real people, and roughly 85% of events in the book mirror real events, except those which are obviously mythic, such as the final stay of the Slavic Pope in Poland. We are talking about real events and real people masked in the form of a novel; nowadays it is called faction, a term coined by Norman Mailer, but an art form really created by Taylor Caldwell.
Q: Is there such a place as Windswept House? Are there really such people as the Gladstones? Is there as much intrigue in the corridors of the Vatican as you suggest?
A: The answer to all three is yes; and with regard to the last, the answer is yes, and more.
While we believe and know by our belief that the Holy Roman Catholic Church is centered in Rome in the person of the Pope, we also know that clustered around his persona, whoever he is, there has grown up a highly skilled chancery and this is seated in a sovereign Vatican City State which enjoys a prestige and global position that no other organization enjoys.
It would be impossible, humanly speaking, and only a miracle could prevent it from happening, that such a spiritual power clothed in sociopolitical garb and living for so long - roughly 1,700 years in full vigor - for the intrigue not to be intense.
If one wants reasons for that, consider a few points: The Vatican has 180 ambassadors who desire to be represented diplomatically with the Holy See. That costs money and personnel, which countries are willing to spend. Apparently, it is worth it.
Second, the Pope has 80 personal ambassadors in over 80 countries, including all the highly industrialized countries and around the world.
Third, the nominal membership of the Catholic Church is almost one billion. It is the only example today of a global organization up and running, even though it is inefficient in terms of promoting its religious mission.
There Is No Evangelization
Q: Regarding that "inefficiency," your book presents a scene in which Pope John Paul II laments the fact that Pope Paul VI's "new evangelization" never got off the ground, and, in fact, your book shows Vatican intriguers boasting about their successful "antievangelization" efforts around the globe over the past 30 years. Can you elaborate on that?
A: There is no doubt that throughout this global organization, there is no vibrancy, there is no burning initiative, there is no manifest movement to convert, to spread the Catholic faith as the Catholic faith. There is no evangelization. We have even gone so far as to have our Churchmen suggest that the Gospel of John should be revised to meet the new concept of Catholicism.
This new concept is enshrined in the movement we call ecumenism, exemplified by the agreement signed with the Orthodox in Lebanon a year ago, in which all the parties agreed not to evangelize each other.
Q: Since you mention the revision of St. John's Gospel, what did you think of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin's famous speech at Hebrew University during Lent, 1995 when he described the Gospel of John as a well of anti-Semitism?
A: That was certainly one of the clearest manifestations of the apostasy into which His Eminence Cardinal Bernardin and other members of the Sacred College have fallen: They have decided that for the good of humanity the Roman Catholic organization should collaborate completely with the New World Order and its demographic and educational exigencies - population limitation and the takeover of schools by the state. His Eminence is not alone in this apostasy. Without rnentioning names, you can safely say that over one-third of the Sacred College shares his point of view.
Q: Is this view assumed for religious reasons primarily or is it as you suggest, for financial reasons?
A: Their choice has been made because they have lost the Roman Catholic faith. They are sincerely attached to the New World Order's promise of peace and plenty.
Q: Is there such a mountain as Aminadab outside of Jerusalem, at the peak of which is a Masonic Lodge? Some readers suspect you are referring to Tantur, a gathering place for some of the most liberal Catholic ecumenists in the world. Is Aminadab Tantur?
A: No. Aminadab is an actual hill or mountain, and from it you can see the Lebanese mountains, the Mediterranean, and the mountains of the Sinai peninsula. The Masonic Lodge building at the peak is an invention, but there is a large lodge in Israel to which Catholics, Muslims, and Jews be long. This ecumenical lodge believes that all these religions have a contribution to make to the sociocultural and sociopolitical stability of nations. It is purely and simply on the natural plane.
Q: You describe a gruesome murder in Century City (Chicago) when introducing readers to your Cardinal Leonardine (Bernardin). There are a number of people who will be very disturbed when they see that murder described, because they know you are recording an event that actually took place. If you have the story on that ritual murder, why not tell it as fact, and not fiction?
A: Because I am writing a novel, and I am not blaming any body, living or dead, nor am I fixing any responsibility to anyone no more than any novelist does. Let those who write factual reports please write it. It is about time they fulfill their duties.
Q: How do you know a common effort among business and Church elites to create a New World Order exists? For example, did you ever see any evidence documenting the meeting you de scribe in Strasbourg between top European business leaders and Vatican officials?
A: Strasbourg was a novelistic ploy. There have been several meetings and get-togethers. These are very quiet meetings. They are very private. How does word get out? There is always diplomatic communication and people who pass papers on. It is impossible for such powerful men to get together regularly and to hone their policies to suit each other, without word getting out. It doesn't become public knowledge because no one will talk about it publicly.
This year, for example, between May 29th and June 2nd, the Bilderbergers met in King City, Ontario. There has never been a word about that, even though the purpose of the discussions was to talk about global communications control, an issue that affects every one of us. Attending it were several prominent Americans, including Vernon Jordan.
Q: One of the strongest criticisms of your book is that it is fiction, and it can easily be derided as "just fiction. " If all you say is true, why didn't you name the names? Why didn't you name Agostino Cardinal Casaroli instead of inventing Cardinal Maestroianni, etc.?
A: I am a Roman Catholic priest and have a reverence for prelates and their privacy, no matter how off course they might be. And a certain amount of reverence is implied by fictionalizing their characters and actions.
Besides, it keeps the book in a certain literary genre which is safe to use from the point of view of the public record. And I am not going to write a book judging morally the present regime of cardinals and prelates in the Church unless absolutely necessary for the good of the Church.
A Superb Intelligence System
Q: What do you think generally of the level of skill and competence - from a merely secular point of view - of the staff members in the Secretary of State's office? How do they rate with their peers in the world?
A: They rate very highly, especially the Second Section, which deals with foreign nations. Most recently, there is no doubt that they, under the stimulus of the present Pope, achieved notable results in their struggle against the UN demographers proposing very drastic means of population control.
They out-maneuvered them; they have cultivated parliamentary procedures matching the most malignant of their opponents, because malignant those opponents were in Beijing and Cairo. So they get good marks for that. The measured statement the Second Section allowed the Holy Father to make criticizing President Clinton for partial-birth abortion was strong enough to let the world know that Clinton had committed an abomination.
One of their chief levels of skill is the collection and use of information. They have an Intelligence system which is superb. That is why many nations want representatives in the Vatican. They want the information.
Q: What kind of information are we talking about?
A: The coded messages sent over the wires and in diplomatic pouches are about the stock market, industrial production, academic conditions, economic conditions, family conditions, and so on. They cover every aspect of human life. The Vatican must have this information because it has a very large portfolio invested in every sector.
For example, the Vatican has all the details on what really happened in Burundi between the Hutu and the Tutsi. It won't publish the information because it would reveal the infidelity of the clergy to their Catholic principles: the collapse of the clergy and the bishops, and taking sides and indulging in killing. It was a disgrace. Tribalism won out.
Then there is the fact that it was the Vatican which provided Boris Yeltsin with the shortwave radio he needed to address the Russian people from the top of the tank during the coup.
Now here's the rub for a man like me: I find that lock, stock, and barrel, this skill and intelligence, this romanitas, is now backing the New World Order, fighting for certain things, but backing the New World Order nevertheless, and that's where the difficulty comes.
But it all goes back to Pope Paul VI's closing comments to the bishops in December, 1965 at the end of the council, in which he said that the Church will now collaborate with men in building the human habitat.
Q: But this isn't new, is it? Is this not the 20th-century equivalent of Church and king collaborating as they did 1,000 years ago?
A: The Church never, but never, asserted that it's mission was to help man build a better world. The Church has always asserted that its mission was to save souls to help men get to Heaven. They promulgated laws to make men more moral and less sinful. But to join hands and make religion sub sidiary to the socioeconomic well being of nations is nonsense.
Q: Isn't the Church at the mercy of the New World Order?
A: Yes, if Churchmen insist on not relying on Christ and the queenship of our Lady and rely on purely human means to perpetuate the organization. Whether they like it or not, the Church is perpetual, but the organization they are trying to perpetuate with concessions to the New World Order has nothing to do with their divine mission. There now is an established tradition in realpolitik dating from the reign of John XXIII in 1960 when he refused the mandate of the Virgin as she appeared in Fatima.
The Vatican-Israel accord signed at Christmas, 1994 exemplifies to an extreme degree the length to which the new realpolitik can lead Churchmen.
Q: Doesn't the Vatican-Israel accord signify the failure of the Holy See's diplomatic corps which you previously appraised as the most highly skilled in the world?
A: It means precisely the following: that the Holy See as a financial power was out-maneuvered.
The Burden Of Peter
Q: Often, when an American prelate is praised by the secular media for his ability to "get things done in Rome" - prelates such as Cardinal Bernardin or Pittsburgh's Bishop Donald Wuerl - reporters use the word romanitas to characterize their skill.
No one who reads your book will ever think highly of romanitas again, because the word is loaded with the concepts of blackmail, murder, intrigue, hypocrisy. Is this really what romanitas signifies?
A: It is what romanitas has come to signify in the present epoch. The romanitas of a man like Cardinal Consalvi, the secretary of state dealing with the Congress of Vienna after the Napoleonic wars, cannot be compared to what we have today. Consalvi not only matched wits with giants like Metternich and Castlereagh, but also secured the advantageous position of economic independence of the Holy See. But he did this without conceding one inch either to the rampant republicans or to the very dictatorial attitudes of the imperialists.
The compromisers today are such that romanitas is a means of perpetuating a bureaucratic class which is no longer interested in genuine evangelization.
Ecclesiastical romanitas started in earnest with Pope Sylvester I in the fourth century. He was provided a public identity and power from the Emperor Constantine, and from then on dates the constant enmeshing of the spiritual power with temporal surroundings. Before that, the Church was utterly separate, independent of the temporal power.
The skill Vatican diplomats have developed over 17 centuries has given them a group instinct for where the gravamen of human power in any particular epoch is moving. For a long time it was used for survival; but the enmeshing often became dangerous for the morality of clerics. It also enabled the Church to escape from dilemmas posed to it over 1,700 years, and the guiding light in all cases was always the behavior of the man who was elected Pope.
Q: On the levels of skill and intrigue, how would you compare the diplomatic skill of Churchrnen such as Cardinal Richelieu with Cardinal Casaroli, and do you think Casaroli's accomplishments will be compared to those of Richelieu?
A: Richelieu was, and remains, unmatched for the skill which he used, alone, to change the map of Europe disastrously for the Roman Catholic Church, because he ended up promoting the Protestant powers.
Q: Is the same going on today?
A: Yes, but in an inverse way. The Pope today is as impotent as was Pope Urban VIII in the time of Richelieu. On top of that, the present Holy Father has the added difficulty that there is a complete lack of fervor and enthusiasm for the Catholic cause throughout Europe and the Americas.
The reason this Pope does not get rid of cardinals and bishops who violate traditional rules is that he happens to share the view of the relationship between Pope and bishops according to the postconciliar version of the doctrine of collegiality.
Q: You write in Windswept House that the Pope has his own vision for Europe and the development of the modern world, and he even has a few good men working in support of his plan, against the machinations of the professional intriguers.
Will the Pope succeed over time, or is he in an ecclesiastical end-game?
A: This Holy Father will not succeed in changing the onrush of events which will culminate once he leaves the scene, either by resignation or by death. He simply can not outmaneuver his opponents.
His Papacy has been successful in this basic sense: that nobody can ever doubt his consciousness of carrying the burden of Peter. He has carried the message of Christ all over the world, and given millions the richness of the Gospel.
With his encyclicals, he has provided Catholics with a sheaf of new principles and fresh insights with which they can navigate the New World Order, which will not be a friendly place for Catholics.
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