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  • Rafał Barnaś, Jakub Krzemiński


Updated: Dec 11, 2020

Warsaw, August 27, 2020

There has been some information in the Polish media that some work was underway on a documentary about the alleged cover-up of pedophilia in the church by John Paul II. Before the film is released, it is worth getting to know the mechanisms of the Vatican's functioning and the position of the Pope himself in its structures.

​To understand the functioning of the Vatican City, we need to understand the role of the Roman Curia. This is the key to understanding the mechanisms that govern the Vatican.

​It is worth adding that Karol Wojtyła, becoming John Paul II, moved to the world of influential personalities that can be called at least controversial.

​Paul Marcinkus in the years 1971 - 1989 president of the Istituto per le Opere di Religione, IOR (the Vatican Bank), involved in the greatest financial scandal in the history of the Vatican.

​John Magee, personal secretary of Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II accused of sexual abuse against minors.

​Agostino Casaroli - charismatic Secretary of State of the Holy See who was the architect of the Vatican's eastern policy.

​Luigi Poggi - unofficial head of Vatican intelligence. A very influential clergyman.

​Walter Kasper - chairman of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity was one of the main figures in the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.

He had a close relationship with Cosa Nostra and the Camorra. Opponent of John Paul II's policy.

4th may 1998

On that day, three bodies with gunshot wounds were found in the apartments of the Vatican - a young guardsman Cedric Tornay, commander of the Swiss Guard - Alois Estermann and his wife. The Vatican did not allow any outsider to investigate the matter. It was reported that the motive for the crime was the homosexual relationship between Tornay and Estermann. The young guard was supposed to kill out of jealousy and then committed suicide. Tornay's mother's private investigation refuted this hypothesis. It is worth emphasizing here that Estermann was a guard who protected the Pope with his own body during the attack on May 13, 1981. From 1979, he was also a secret agent of STASI.

To better understand the mechanisms governing the Vatican, we asked Colonel Edward Kotowski for an explanation. He was a resident of the PRL intelligence service in the Vatican in 1979-1983. Kotowski is a legendary officer of the so-called white intelligence.

What is the structure of the Vatican City? What is the role of the Pope and what is the role of the Roman Curia?

The Lateran Treaties guaranteed the Holy See international legal subjectivity as well as the sovereignty of the Vatican City State. The highest legislative act (Basic Law) regulating the legal situation of the Vatican is the Fundamental Law. The Holy See does not have its own constitution, its system derives from the canon law of the Catholic Church and international treaties. It follows from the above sources of law that the political system of both entities is an absolute theocratic monarchy with an elective throne. The structure of the Holy See is well known and described in detail in the Pontifical Yearbook (Annuario Pontificio), which has been published every year for years and updated with new information every year. Everyone can buy it for several dozen euros and read about it. I would like to add that the Holy See should not be confused with the term "Vatican City" and vice versa, although it is commonly done. The Vatican State is a place where the subject of international law, which is the Holy See, functions.

​The second person, after the pope, responsible for the entirety of the policies of the Holy See and the Vatican is the secretary of state who manages the work of the Secretariat consisting of two sections. The first one deals with helping the Pope with general and daily duties. The second is to take care of relations with other countries, and its competences relate to the civil foreign affairs of the Holy See and the Vatican City State. In addition, there are numerous dicasteries (congregations) that implement the guidelines of the Pope and the Secretariat of State. It is worth recalling the Office of the Governorate of the Vatican City State. Its president replaces the pope as head of state in the Vatican. This office is the highest executive institution. He manages and administers the state. Only matters reserved to the Secretariat of State (foreign affairs) or other offices are excluded from his authority.

Is it possible that the Pope did not know about pedophilia in his immediate vicinity?

Of course he might not have known about that. Even the most perfect structure does not function perfectly enough for its boss to know all the personal problems of his staff. Especially when it concerns intimate matters, carefully hidden from the environment.

Does the Vatican have its own intelligence services?

A number of well-known Vaticanists have already spoken on this subject and the Holy See does not deny such statements.

Did Vatican intelligence have the means to disinform the Pope?

It seems that such a hypothesis should be ruled out, but it cannot be ruled out that he did not know about these issues.

Is it true that in the event of the Pope's death, no autopsy or external investigation can be carried out under Church law?

Yes! This is true! This is a very long tradition and is still followed today.

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