A scathing examination of the Roman Catholic Church.
Journalist Williams (Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance between the Vatican, the CIA, and the Mafia, 2015, etc.) is an unabashed Tridentine Catholic: he rejects the authority of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the leadership that has followed it. In his latest exposé, the author explores the “good old days” of the church, the many forces that caused it to change, and what he sees as a downward spiral from the 1960s onward. A bizarre mix of solid analysis and conspiracy theorizing, the book is an evocative page-turner sure to turn heads. Williams begins with an overview of the pre–Vatican II church, an entity certain of its own superiority and intent on generational obedience and participation. A mixture of high finance, Mafia dealings, Freemasonry activity, and simple cultural change led to an attempt to redefine the church in the 1960s, a change Williams views as disastrous and irreversible for the spiritual lives of believers and for the temporal power of the church as an institution. Just when readers begin to see the author as a fundamentalist curmudgeon, however, he steers into on ocean of scandal to prove his point. The breadth of controversy is staggering, as Williams presents the Vatican as the center of a crime syndicate. From secret CIA funding to offshore bank accounts to Mafia family connections to episcopal embezzlement, the list of unholy activities is amazing. The author even supports a theory that John Paul I, who died just over a month after becoming pope in 1978, was murdered because he had decided to investigate the Vatican’s financial dealings. Topping it all off is a chapter on the pedophilia scandal and a final jab at John Paul II as a heretic. Though this is a work that screams out for rebuttal, it also raises innumerable questions about how a religious body can engender such grave controversy.
Unquestionably uneven, but if only 10 percent of the author’s claims are true, his report is still quite damning.