Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Part 1 Windswept House A VATICAN NOVEL....History as Prologue: End Signs

Windswept House A VATICAN NOVEL 
by Malachi Martin

History as Prologue: End Signs 
DIPLOMATS schooled in harsh times and in the toughest ways of finance, trade and international rivalry are not much given to omens. Still, today's enterprise brimmed with such promise that the six Foreign Ministers who gathered in Rome on March 25, 1957, felt that everything surrounding them—the rock-solid centrality of Europe's premier city, the cleansing winds, the open skies, the benign smile of the day's climate—was fortune's very cloak of blessing drawn about them as they laid the foundation stone for a new edifice of nations. 

As partners in the creation of a new Europe that would sweep away the squabbling nationalism that had so often split this ancient delta, these six men and their governments were one in their faith that they were about to open their lands to a wider economic horizon and a taller political sky than had ever been contemplated. They were about to sign the treaties of Rome. They were about to create the European Economic Community. 

In recent memory, nothing but death and destruction had been spawned in their capitals. Only the year before, the Soviets had underscored their expansionist determination in the blood of Hungary's attempted uprising; any day Soviet armor could roll across Europe. No one expected the U.S.A. and its Marshall Plan to carry forever the burdens of building the new Europe. Nor did any European government wish to be clamped between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. in a rivalry that could only deepen in the decades ahead. 

As if already accustomed to acting as one in the face of such reality, all six ministers signed on as founders of the EEC . The three representatives of the Benelux nations, because Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were the very crucible in which the idea of a new Europe had been tried and found true. Or at least true enough. The minister representing France, because his country would be the beating heart of the new Europe, as it had always been of the old Europe, Italy, because his country was the living soul of Europe. West Germany, because the world would never shunt his country aside again. 

So the European Community was born. There were toasts to the geopolitical visionaries who had made this day possible. To Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet of France; to Konrad Adenauer of West Germany; to Paul-I lenri Spaak of Belgium. And there were congratulations all around. It wouldn't be long before Denmark, Ireland and England would see the  wisdom of the new venture. And , while they might require some patient help, Greece, Portugal and Spain would join as well. Of course, there was still the matter of holding the Soviets at bay. And there was the matter of finding a new center of gravity. But no doubt about it: the nascent EEC was the cutting edge of the new Europe that had to come if Europe was to survive. 

When all the signing and sealing and toasting were done, the moment came for the distinctively Roman ritual and privilege of diplomats : an audience with the octogenarian Pope in the Apostolic Palace on Vatican Hill . 

Seated on his traditional papal throne amid the panoply of Vatican ceremonial in an ornate sala, His Holiness Pius XI I received the six ministers and their entourages with smiling countenance. His welcome was sincere. His remarks were brief. His attitude was of a longtime owner and resident of a vast property giving some pointers to newly arrived and intending residents. [His holiness never was, and is quite apparent with the current snake  posing as something called a pope, similar to a Pharisee of the Lords Day. dc] 

Europe, the Holy Father recalled, had had its eras of greatness when a common faith had animated the hearts of its peoples. Europe, he urged, could have its geopolitical greatness again, refurbished and burnished anew, if it could create a new heart. Europe, he intimated, could again forge a supernal, common and binding faith. 

Inwardly , the ministers winced. Pius had pointed to the greatest difficulty facing the EEC on the day of its birth. Beneath his words lay the warning that neither democratic socialism nor capitalist democracy nor the prospect of the good life nor a mystic "Europa " of the humanists could provide the engine to drive their dream. Practically speaking, their new Europe lacked a glowing center, a superior force or principle to bind it together and drive it forward . Practically speaking, their Europe lacked what this Pope had. Lacked what he was. 

His points made, the Holy Father traced three crosses in the air as the traditional papal blessing. Some few knelt to receive it. Some who remained standing bowed their heads. But it had become impossible for them to associate the Pope with the healing balm of the God he claimed to represent as Vicar, or to recognize that balm as the only cohesive factor that could mend the world's soul; neither could they acknowledge that economic and political treaties were not the glue that binds the hearts and minds of mankind. 

And yet, frail as he was, they could only envy this solitary, enthroned dignitary. For, as Belgium's Paul-Henri Spaak later remarked, he presided over a universal organization. And he was more than the elected representative of that organization. He was the possessor of its power. He was its center of gravity. 

From the window of his study on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father watched the architects of the new Europe climb into their limousines in the square below. 

"What do you think, Holiness? Can their new Europe develop strongly enough to stop Moscow? " [almost 67 years later the answer is definitely NO dc]

Pius turned to his companion—a German Jesuit, a longtime friend and favorite confessor. "Marxism is still the enemy, Father. But the Anglo Saxons have the initiative'' On this Pope's lips, Anglo-Saxon meant the Anglo-American establishment. "Their Europe will go far. And it will go fast. But the greatest day for Europe has not yet dawned." 

The Jesuit failed to follow the papal vision. "Which Europe, Holiness? The greatest day for whose Europe?" 

"For the Europe born today." The Pope's answer was unhesitating. " On the day this Holy See is harnessed to the new Europe of the diplomats and politicians—to the Europe centered in Brussels and Paris—on that day the Church's misfortunes will start in earnest." Then, turning again to watch the limousines departing across St. Peter's Square, "The new Europe will have its little day, Father. But only a day." 

No more promising enterprise had ever hung in the balance, and no more important piece of Vatican business had ever been transacted between a Pope and his councillors , than the issue on the papal docket this February morning of 1960. Since the day of his election to the papacy just over a year before, His Holiness John XXIII—"good Pope John," as he was quickly called—had moved the Holy See, the papal government and most of the outside diplomatic and religious world into a new orbit. Now it seemed he wanted to raise the world as well. 

Already seventy-seven years old at his election, this roly-poly peasant of a man had been chosen as an interim Pope; as an inoffensive compromise whose brief reign would buy a little time—four or five years had been the reckoning—to find a proper successor to guide the Church through the Cold War. But, within months of his enthronement and to everyone's astonishment, he had opened up his Vatican in a surprise call for an Ecumenical Council. In fact, nearly every Vatican official—including every advisor who had been summoned to this confidential meeting in the papal apartments on the fourth floor of the Apostolic Palace—was already hip deep in preparations for that Council. 

With a directness natural to him , the Pope shared his mind wit h the handful of men he had gathered for that purpose—a dozen or so of his key Cardinals, plus a number of hishops and monsignori from the Secretariat of State. Two expert Portuguese translators were present. 

" We have a choice to make,'' His Holiness confided to his advisors. " We prefer not to make it alone." The issue, he said, revolved around a now world-famous letter received by his predecessor on the Throne of Peter. The story surrounding that letter was so well known , he said further, that it needed only the barest outline this morning. 

Fatima, once among the most obscure towns in Portugal, had become suddenly famous in 1917 as the site where three little peasant children— two girls and a boy—had been the recipients of six visits, or visions, of the Blessed Virgin Mary . Along with many millions of Catholics, everyone in this room today knew that the Fatima children had been given three secrets by the Virgin. Everyone knew that, as their visitor from Heaven had foretold, two of the children had died in childhood; only the oldest, Lucia, had survived. Everyone knew that Lucia, now a cloistered nun, had long since revealed the first two of the Fatima secrets. But it was the Virgin's wish, Lucia had said, that the third secret be published by "the Pope of 1960"; and that simultaneously the same Pope was to organize a worldwide consecration of "Russia" to the Virgin Mary . That consecration was to be performed by all the bishops of the world on the same day, each in his ow n diocese, each using the same words . That consecration would be tantamount to a public worldwide condemnation of the Soviet Union. 

The Virgin had promised that if the consecration was done, Lucia had said, "Russia" would be converted and would cease to be a threat. How - ever, if her wish was not fulfilled "by the Pope of 1960," then "Russia would spread its errors throughout all nations," there would be much suffering and destruction and the faith of the Church would be so corrupted that only in Portugal would "the dogma of the faith " be preserved intact. 

In the course of her third Fatima visit in July of 1917, the Virgin had promised to seal her mandate with tangible proof of its authenticity as a message from God. She would perform a miracle at noontime on the following October 13. And in that very hour on that very day, along with some 75,000 people who had come, some of them from great distances— along with newsmen and photographers, along with scientists and skeptics, along with many reliable clerics—the children had witnessed an astonishing miracle. 

The sun had violated every possible natural law. Breaking from a heavy and unrelenting rain that had drenched everyone and turned the terrain of that remote place into a mud bog, it literally danced in the skies. It had showered a rainbow flood of brilliant colors. It had plummeted downward until it seemed certain to plunge into the crowd. Then, just as suddenly, it had retreated to its normal position and shone as benignly as ever. Everyone was stunned. Their clothes were as immaculate as if just laundered and pressed. All were entirely unharmed. All had seen the dancing sun; but only the children had seen the Virgin*

"Surely"—good Pope John retrieved an envelope from a humidor-sized box resting on the table beside him—"the first thing to be done this morning must be obvious." Excitement ran among his advisors. They were here, then, for a private reading of Lucia's secret letter. It was no exaggeration to say that tens of millions of people everywhere awaited word that "the Pope of i960 " would reveal the portions of the third secret that had been so closely guarded until now , and would obey the Virgin' s mandate. With that thought in mind, His Holiness underscored his exact and literal meaning of the word "private." Certain that his admonition of secrecy was clear, the Holy Father handed the Fatima letter to the two Portuguese translators; and they in turn rendered the secret text, viva voce, into Italian. 

"Now." The reading completed, the Pope quickly pinpointed the choice he preferred not to make alone. "We must confide that since August of 1959, we have been in delicate negotiations with the Soviet Union. Our aim is to have at least two prelates from the U.S.S.R/s Orthodox Church attend Our Council." Pope John frequently referred to the coming Second Vatican Council as "Our Council." 

What was he to do, then? His Holiness asked this morning. Providence had willed that he be "the Pope of 1960." And yet, if he obeyed what Sister Lucia clearly described as the mandate of the Queen of Heaven—if he and his bishops declared publicly, officially and universally that "Russia" was full of baneful errors—it would spell ruin for his Soviet initiative. But even aside from that—aside from his fervent wish to have the Orthodox Church represented at the Council—if the Pontiff were to use the full authority of his papacy and his hierarchy to carry out the Virgin's mandate, it would be tantamount to branding the Soviet Union and its current Marxist dictator, Nikita Khrushchev, as criminal. In their rage, wouldn't the Soviets retaliate? Would the Pope not be responsible for a fresh wave of persecutions—for the ugly death of millions—throughout the Soviet Union , its satellites and surrogates? 

To underscore his concern. His Holiness had one portion of the Fatima letter read out again. He saw understanding—shock in some cases—on all the faces around him. If everyone in this room had understood that key passage of the third secret so easily, he asked, would not the Soviets be just as quick? Would they not rake from it the strategic information that would give them an undoubted advantage over the free world? 

" We might still hold Our Council, but . . ." There was no need for His Holiness to finish the thought. Everything was clear now . Publication of the secret would set off repercussions everywhere. Friendly governments would be gravely disturbed, The Soviets would be alienated on the one hand and strategically aided on the other. The choice the good Pope had to make came down to bedrock geopolitics. 

No one doubted the good faith of Sister Lucia. But several advisors pointed out that nearly twenty years had elapsed between the time in 1917 when she had heard the words of the Virgin and the time in the mid-1930s when she had actually written this letter. What guarantee had the Holy Father that time had not clouded her memory? And what guarantee was there that three illiterate peasant children—not one of them twelve years old at the time—had accurately transmitted such a complex message? Might there not be some preliterate and childish fancy at work here? Indeed, might there not be something even more debilitating for the truth? Troops from the Soviet Union had entered the Spanish Civil War raging only miles away at the time Lucia had written her letter. Had Lucia's words been colored by her own fear of the Soviets? 

There was one dissenting voice from the consensus that was forming. One Cardinal—a German Jesuit, a friend and favorite confessor to this Pope, as he had been to the last—could not remain silent in the face of such degradation of the role of divine intervention. It was one thing for ministers of secular governments to abandon the practicalities of faith. But surely such banality should be unacceptable for churchmen advising the Holy Father. 

"The choice to be made here," the Jesuit argued, "is simple and prima facie. Either we accept this letter, do what it says, and then await the consequences. Or we honestly disbelieve it. We forget it all. We suppress the letter as a historical relic; we carry on as we are going and, by our deliberate decision, we strip ourselves of a special protection. But either way, let nor one of us here doubt that we are talking about the fate of all mankind." 

For all the trust His Holiness placed in the Jesuit Cardinal's expertise and loyalty, the decision went against Fatima. "Questo nan e per i nostri tempi" the Holy Father said. "This is not for our times." Shortly after that day, the Cardinal scanned the brief release distributed to the media by the official Vatican press office. Its words would stand forever in his mind as a curt refusal to obey the will of Heaven. 

For the good of the Church and the welfare of mankind, the statement declared, the Holy See had decided not to publish the text of the third secret at this time. ". . . The decision of the Vatican is based on various reasons: (1) Sister Lucia is still living. (2) The Vatican already knows the contents of the letter. (3) Although the Church recognizes the Fatima apparitions , she does not pledge herself to guarantee the veracity of the words which the three little shepherds claim to have heard from Our Lady. In these circumstances, it is most probable that the secret of Fatima will remain forever under absolute seal." [So basically he robbed every Catholic of their free will to decide for ones self, concerning their personal Journey with The Creator dc]

" Ci vedremo" The Cardinal set the release aside. "We shall see." He knew the drill . The Holy See would have amicable words with Nikita Khrushchev. The Pontiff would have his Council. The Council would have its Orthodox prelates from the Soviet Union. But the question still to be answered was whether His Holiness, his Vatican and his Church would now undergo the consequences promised at Fatima. 

Or, to frame the issue in geopolitical terms, the question was whether the Holy See had harnessed itself to "the new Europe of the diplomats and politicians'' as the good Pope's predecessor had foretold. "On that day" that frail old man had said, "the Church's misfortunes will start in earnest'' 

" We shall see." For now , the Cardinal would have to settle for that. One way or the other, it would only be a matter of time. 

The Enthronement of the Fallen Archangel Lucifer was effected within the Roman Catholic Citadel on June 29, 1963; a fitting date for the historic promise about to be fulfilled. As the principal agents of this Ceremonial well knew, Satanist tradition had long predicted that the Time of the Prince would be ushered in at the moment when a Pope would take the name of the Apostle Paul. That requirement—the signal that the Availing Time had begun—had been accomplished just eight days before with the election of the latest Peter-in-the-Line. [That they actually did this says everything about Rome and it's Church, it is heading for an ugly crash. dc ]

There had barely been time since the papal Conclave had ended for the complex arrangements to be readied; but the Supreme Tribunal had decided there could be no more perfect date for the Enthronement of the Prince than this feast day of the twin princes of the Citadel, SS. Peter and Paul. And there could be no more perfect place than the Chapel of St. Paul itself, situated as it was so near to the Apostolic Palace. 

The complexity of the arrangements were dictated mainly by the nature of the Ceremonial Event to be enacted. Security was so tight in the grouping of Vatican buildings within which this gem of a Chapel lay that the full panoply of the Ceremonial could not possibly escape detection here. If the aim was to be achieved—if the Ascent of the Prince was actually to be accomplished in the Availing Time—then every element of the Celebration of the Calvary Sacrifice must be turned on its head by the other and opposite Celebration. The sacred must be profaned. The profane must be adored. The unbloody representation of the Sacrifice of the Nameless Weakling on the Cross must be replaced by the supreme and bloody violation of the dignity of the Nameless One. Guilt must be accepted as innocence. Pain must give joy. Grace, repentance, pardon must all be drowned in an orgy of opposites. And it must all be done without mistakes. The sequence of events, the meaning of the words , the significance of the actions must all comprise the perfect enactment of sacrilege, the ultimate ritual of treachery. [Spirit of antichrist dc ]

The whole delicate affair was placed in the experienced hands of the Prince's trusted Guardian in Rome. A master of the elaborate Ceremonial of the Roman Church, so much more was this granite-faced, acid-tongued prelate a Master of the Prince's Ceremonial of Darkness and Fire. The immediate aim of every Ceremonial, he knew, is to venerate "the abomination of desolation." But the further aim now must be to oppose the Nameless Weakling in His stronghold, to occupy the Weakling's Citadel during the Availing Time , to secure the Ascent of the Prince in the Citadel as an irresistible force, to supplant the Citadel's Keeper, to take full possession of the Keys entrusted to the Keeper by the Weakling. 

The Guardian tackled the problem of security head-on. Such unobtrusive elements as the Pentagram and the black candles and the appropriate draperies could be part ot the Ceremonial in Rome. But other Rubrics— the Bowl of Bones and the Ritual Din , for example, the sacrificial animals and the victim—would be too much. There would have to be a Parallel Enthronement. A Concelebration could be accomplished with the same effect by the Brethren in an Authorized Targeting Chapel. Provided all the participants in both locations "targeted" every element of the Event on the Roman Chapel, then the Event in its fullness would be accomplished specifically in the target area. It would all be a matter of unanimity of hearts, identity of intention and perfect synchronization of words and actions between the Targeting Chapel and the Target Chapel. The living wills and the thinking minds of the Participants concentrated on the specific Aim of the Prince would transcend all distance. 

For a man as experienced as the Guardian, the choice of the 'Targeting Chapel was easy. As simple: as a phone call to the United States. Over the years, the Prince's adherents in Rome had developed a faultless unanimity of heart and a seamless identity of intention with the Guardian's friend, Leo, Bishop of the Chapel in South Carolina. 

Leo was not the man's name. It was his description. The silvery-white mane of hair on his large head looked for all the world like a scraggly lion's mane. In the forty years or so since His Excellency had established his Chapel, the number and the social importance of the Participants he had attracted, the punctilious blasphemy of his Ceremonies and his frequent and ready cooperation wit h those who shared his point of view and ultimate goals, had so established the superiority of his operation that by now it was widely admired among initiates as the Mother Chapel of the United States. 

The news that his Chapel had been Authorized as the Targeting Chapel for such a great Event as the Enthronement of the Prince within the heart of the Roman Citadel itself was supremely gratifying. More to the point, Leo's vast Ceremonial knowledge and experience saved a lot of time. There was no need, for example, to test his appreciation of the contradictory principles upon which all worship of the Archangel is structured. No need to doubt his desire to encompass the ultimate strategy in that battle, the end of the Roman Catholic Church as the papal institution it had been since the Nameless Weakling had founded it. [Lucifer is not and was not an Archangel, he was locally created as a son type by the Paradise Creator Son who created  this neck of the woods, far removed from the Central Universe of Perfection. dc ]

There was no need even to explain that the ultimate aim wasn't exactly to liquidate the Roman Catholic organization. Leo understood how unintelligent that would be, how wasteful. Far better to make that organization into something truly useful, to homogenize and assimilate it into a grand worldwide order of human affairs. To confine it to broad humanist—and only humanist—goals. 

Like-minded experts that they were, the Guardian and the American Bishop reduced their arrangements for the twin Ceremonial Events to a roster of names and an inventory of Rubrics. 

The Guardian's list of names—the Participants in the Roman Chapel— turned out to be men of the highest caliber. High-ranking churchmen, and laymen of substance. Genuine Servitors of the Prince within the Citadel. Some had been selected, co-opted, trained and promoted in the Roman Phalanx over the decades, while others represented the new generation dedicated to carrying the Prince's agenda forward for the next several decades. All understood the need to remain undetected; for the Rule says, "The Guarantee of Our Tomorrow Is Today's Persuasion That We Do Not Exist." 

Leo's roster of Participants—men and women who had made their mark in corporate, government and social life—was every bit as impressive as the Guardian had expected. But the Victim, His Excellency said—a child—would be truly a prize for the Violation-of-innocence. 

The checklist of Rubrics required for the Parallel Ceremonial centered mainly on the elements that had to be ruled out in Rome. Leo's Targeting Chapel must have its set of Vials containing Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Check. It must have the Bowl of Bones. Check. The Red and Black Pillars. Check. The Shield. Check. The animals. Check. Down the list they went. Check. Check. 

The matter of synchronizing the Ceremonies in the two Chapels was familiar for Leo. As usual, fascicles of printed sheets, religiously called Missals, would be prepared for use by the Participants in both Chapels; and, as usual, they would be in flawless Latin. A telephone link would be monitored by a Ceremonial Messenger at each end, so that the Participants would always be able to take up their parts in perfect harmony with their Cooperating Brethren. 

During the Event, the pulse of every Participant's heart must be perfectly attuned to make Hate, not love. The gratification of Pain and the Consummation must be perfectly achieved under Leo's direction in the Sponsoring Chapel. The Authorization, the Instructions and the Evidence—the final and culminating elements peculiar to this occasion— would be an honor for the Guardian himself to orchestrate in the Vatican. 

Finally, if everyone did the needful exactly according to the Rule, the Prince would at long last Consummate his Most Ancient Revenge upon the Weakling, the Merciless Enemy who had paraded through the ages as the Most High Merciful One for whom the darkest of darkness was light enough to see all. 

Leo could imagine the rest. The Enthronement Event would create a perfect covering, opaque and velvet smooth, to conceal the Prince within the official Church membership of the Roman Citadel. Enthroned in Darkness, the Prince would be able to foment that same Darkness as never before. Friend and foe would be affected alike. Darkness of will would become so profound that it would obscure even the official objective of the Citadel's existence: the perpetual adoration of the Nameless One. In time and at last, the Goat would expel the Lamb and enter into Possession of the Citadel. The Prince would usher himself into possession of a house— The House—that was not his. 

"Think of it, my friend." Bishop Leo was nearly beside himself with anticipation. "The unaccomplished will be accomplished. This will be the capstone of my career. The capstone Event of the twentieth century!" 

Leo was not far wrong . 

It was night. The Guardian and a few Acolytes worked in silence to put everything in readiness in the Target Chapel of St. Paul. A semicircle of kneelcr chairs was set up to face the Altar. On the Altar itself, five candlesticks were fitted with graceful black tapers. 

A silver Pentagram was placed on the Tabernacle and covered with a blood-red veil. A Throne, symbol of the Prince Regnant, was placed to the left of the Altar. 

The walls, with their lovely frescoes and paintings depicting events in the life of Christ and of the Apostle,, were draped in black cloth suitably embroidered in gold with symbols of the Prince's history. 

As The Hour drew near,, the genuine Servitors of the Prince within the Citadel began to arrive. The Roman Phalanx. Among them, some of the most illustrious men currently to be found in the collegium, hierarchy and bureaucracy of the Roman Catholic Church. Among them, too, secular representatives of the Phalanx as outstanding in their way as the members of the hierarchy. 

Take that Prussian fellow just striding in the door, for example. A prime specimen of the new lay breed if ever there was one. Not yet forty, he was already a man of importance in certain critical transnational affairs. Even the light from the black tapers glinted off his steel-rimmed glasses and his balding head as if to single him out. Chosen as International Delegate and Plenipotentiary Extraordinary to the Enthronement, the Prussian carried the leather pouch containing the Letters of Authorization and Instructions to the Altar before he took his place in the semicircle. 

Some thirty minutes before midnight, all of the kneeler chairs were occupied by the current harvest of a Prince Tradition that had been planted, nurtured and cultivated within the ancient Citadel over a period of some eighty years. Though restricted in numbers for a time, the group  has persisted in protective obscurity as a foreign body and an alien spirit within its host and victim. It permeated offices and activities throughout the Roman Citadel, spreading its symptoms through the bloodstream of the Church Universal like a subcutaneous infection. Symptoms like cynicism and indifference, malfeasance and misfeasance in high office, inattention to correct doctrine, neglect of moral judgment, loss of acuity in sacral observance, blurring of essential memories and of the words and gestures that bespoke them. 

Such were the men gathered in the Vatican for the Enthronement: and such was the Tradition they fostered throughout the worldwide administration headquartered in this Citadel. Missals in hand, eyes fixed on Altar and Throne , minds and wills deep in concentration, they waited in silence for midnight to usher in the feast of SS, Peter and Paul, the quintessential holy day of Rome. 

The Targeting Chapel—a large assembly hall in the basement of a parochial school—had been furnished in strict observance of the Rules. Bishop Leo had directed it all personally. 

Now, his specially chosen Acolytes bustled quietly to put the final details in order as he checked everything. The Altar first, placed at the north end of the Chapel. Hat on the Altar, a large Crucifix with the head of the corpus pointing to the north. A hairbreadth away, the red-veiled Pentagram flanked by two black candles. 

Above, a red Sanctuary Lamp gleaming with the Ritual Flame. At the east end of the Altar, a cage; and in the cage, Flinnie, a seven-week-old puppy, mildly sedated against the brief moment of his usefulness to the Prince. Behind the Altar, ebony tapers awaiting the touch of Ritual Flame to their wicks . 

A quick turn to the south wall . Resting on a credenza, the Thurible and the container holding the squares of charcoal and incense. In front of the credenza, the Red and Black Pillars from which hung the Snake Shield and the Bell of Infinity. A turn to the east wall . Vials containing Earth, Air, Fire and Water surrounding a second cage. In the cage, a dove, oblivious of its fate as a parody not only of the Nameless Weakling but of the full Trinity . Lectern and Book in readiness at the west wall. The semicircle of kneeler chairs facing north toward the Altar. Flanking the kneeler chairs, the Emblems of Entry: the Bowl of Bones on the west side nearest the door: to the east, the Crescent Moon and Five-Pointed Star with Goat Points raised upward. On each chair, a copy of the Missal to be used by the Participants. 

Finally, Leo glanced toward the entrance to the Chapel itself. Special vestments for the Enthronement, identical to those he and his busy Acolytes had already donned, hung on the rack just inside the door. He checked his watch against the large wall clock just as the first Participants arrived. Satisfied with the arrangements, he headed for the large connecting cloakroom that served as vestry. The Archpriest and Frater Medico  should have the Victim prepared by now . Barely thirty minutes more, and his Ceremonial Messenger would open the telephone link to the Target Chapel in the Vatican. It would be The Hour. 

Just as there were different requirements for the physical setup in the two Chapels, so too for the Participants. Those in St. Paul's Chapel, all men, wore robes and sashes of ecclesiastical rank or faultlessly tailored black suits of secular rank. Concentrated and purposeful, their eyes trained upon Altar and empty Throne , they appeared to be the pious Roman clergy and lay worshippers they were commonly believed to be. 

As distinguished in rank as the Roman Phalanx, the American Participants in the Targeting Chapel nevertheless presented a jarring contrast to their fellows in the Vatican. Men and women entered here. And far from sitting or kneeling in fine attire, as they arrived each disrobed completely and donned the single, seamless vestment prescribed for the Enthronement—blood red for Sacrifice; knee length and sleeveless; V-necked and open down the front. Disrobing and enrobing were accomplished in silence, with no hurry or excitement. Just concentrated, ritual calm. 

Once vested, the Participants passed by the Bowl of Bones, dipped in their hands to retrieve small fistfuls, and took their places in the semicircle of chairs facing the Altar. As the Bowl of Bones was depleted and the kneeler chairs filled, the Ritual Din began to shatter the silence. Ceaselessly rattling the Bones, each Participant began talking—to himself, to others, to the Prince, to no one. Not raucously at first, but in an unsettling ritual cadence. 

More Participants arrived. More Bones were taken. The semicircle was filled out. The mumbling cadence swelled from a softly cacophonous Sussurro. The steadily mounting gibberish of prayer and pleading and Bone rattling developed a kind of controlled heat. The sound became angry, as if verging on violence. Became a controlled concert of chaos. A mind gripping howl of Hate and Revolt. A concentrated prelude to the celebration of the Enthronement of the Prince of This World within the Citadel of the Weakling. 

His blood-red vestments flowing gracefully, Leo strode into the vestry. For a moment, it seemed to him that everything was in perfect readiness. Already vested, his co-Celebrant, the balding, bespectacled Archpriest had lit a single black taper in preparation for the Procession. He had filled a large golden Chalice with red wine and covered it with a silver-gilt paten. He had placed an outsized white wafer of unleavened bread atop the paten. 

A third man, Prater Medico, was seated on a bench. Vested like the other two , he held a child across his lap. His daughter. Agnes. Leo observed with satisfaction that Agnes seemed quiet and compliant for a change. Indeed, she seemed ready for the occasion this time. She had been  dressed in a loose white gown that reached to her ankles. And , like her puppy on the Altar, she had been mildly sedated against the time of her usefulness in the Mysteries. 

"Agnes," Medico purred into the child's ear. 'it' s almost time to come with Daddy." 

"Not my daddy . . ." Despite the drugs, the girl opened her eyes and stared at her father. Her voice was weak but audible. "God is my daddy . . 

"BLASPHEMY!" Agnes' words transformed Leo's mood of satisfaction exactly as electrical energy is; transformed into lightning. "Blasphemy!" He shot the word again like a bullet. In fact, his mouth became a cannon shooting a barrage of rebuke at Medico. Physician or no, the man was a humbler! The child should have been suitably prepared! There had been ample time to see to it! 

Under Bishop Leo's attack. Medico turned ashen. But not so his daughter. She struggled to turn those unforgettable eyes of hers; struggled to meet Leo's wild glare of anger; struggled to repeat her challenge. "God is my daddy . . . !" 

Trembling in his nervous agitation, Prater Medico gripped his daughter's head in his hands and forced her to look at him again. "Sweetheart," he cajoled. " I am your daddy. I've been your daddy always. And , yes, your mummy too, ever since she went away." 

"Not my daddy . . . You let Flinnie be taken . . . Mustn't hurt Flinnie . . . Only a little puppy . . . Little puppies are made by God . . ." 

"Agnes. Listen to me. I am your daddy. It's time . . ." 

"Not my daddy . . . God is my daddy . . . God is my mummy . . . Daddies don't do things God doesn't like . . . Not my . . ." 

Aware that the Target Chapel in the Vatican must be waiting for the Ceremonial telephone link to be engaged, Leo gave a sharp nod of instruction to the Archpriest. As so often in the past, the emergency procedure was the only remedy; and the requirement that the Victim be conscious at the first Ritual Consummation meant that it would have to be accomplished now . 

Doing his priestly duty, the Archpriest sat down beside Frater Medico and shifted Agnes' drug-weakened form onto his own lap. "Agnes . Listen. I'm your daddy, too. Remember the special love between us? Remember?" 

Stubbornly, Agnes kept up her struggle. "Not my daddy . . . Daddies don't do bad things to me . . . don't hurt me . . . don't hurt Jesus . . ." 

In later years, Agnes* memory of this night—for remember it she finally did—would contain no titillating edge, no trace of the merely pornographic. Her memory of this night, when it came, would he one with her memory of her entire childhood. One with her memory of prolonged assault by Summary Evil. One with her memory—her never failing sense—  of that luminous tabernacle deep in her child's soul where Light transformed her agony with Courage and made her struggle possible. 

In some way she knew but did not yet understand, that inner tabernacle was where Agnes truly lived. That center of her being was an untouchable refuge of indwelling Strength and Love and Trust; the place where the Suffering Victim, the true target of the assault on Agnes, had come to sanctify her agony forever with His own. 

It was from within that refuge that Agnes heard every word spoken in the vestry on the night of the Enthronement. It was from that refuge that she met the hard eyes of Bishop Leo glaring down at her, and the stare of the Archpriest. She knew the price of resistance. Felt her body being shifted from her father's lap. Saw the light glinting on the spectacles of the Archpriest. Saw her father draw close again. Saw the needle in his hand. Felt the puncture. Felt the shock of the drug again. Felt herself lifted in someone's arms. But still she struggled. Struggled to see. Struggled against the blasphemy; against the effects of the violation; against the chanting; against the horror she knew was still to come* 

Robbed by the drugs of strength to move, Agnes summoned her will as her only weapon and whispered again the words of her defiance and her agony. "Not my daddy . . . Don't hurt Jesus . . . Don't hurt me . . 

It was The Hour. The beginning of the Availing Time for the Prince's Ascent into the Citadel. At: the tinkling of the Bell of Infinity, all Participants in Leo's Chapel rose to their feet as one. Missals in hand, the constant clickety-clack of the Bones as grisly accompaniment, they chanted their full-throated processional, a triumphant profanation of the hymn of the Apostle Paul. "Maranatha Come, Lord ! Come, O Prince. Come! Come ! . . 

Well-rehearsed Acolytes, men and women, led the way from vestry to Altar. Behind them, gaunt but distinguished-looking even in his red vestments, Frater Medico carried the Victim to the Altar and placed her full length beside the Crucifix. In the flickering shadow of the veiled Pentagram, her hair almost touched the cage that held her little dog. Next according to rank, eyes blinking behind his spectacles, the Archpriest bore the single black candle fro m the vestry and took his place at the left of the Altar. Last, Bishop Leo strode forward bearing chalice and Host, adding his voice to the processional hymn . "So mote it be!" The final words of the ancient chant washed over the Altar in the Targeting Chapel. 

"So mote it be!" The ancient chant washed over Agnes* limp form, fogging her mind more deeply than the drugs, intensifying the cold she had known would envelop her. 

"So mote it be! Amen! Amen!" The ancient words washed over the Altar in the Chapel of St. Paul. Their hearts and wills as one with the Targeting Participants in America, the Roman Phalanx took up the Mysteries Refrain set out for them in their Latin Missals, beginning with the Hymn of the Virgin Raped and ending with the Crown of Thorns Invocation . 

In the Targeting Chapel, Bishop Leo removed the Victim Pouch from his neck and placed it reverently between the head of the Crucifix and the foot of the Pentagram. Then, to the resumed mumbling-humming chorus of the Participants and the rattling of Bones, Acolytes placed three incense squares on the glowing charcoal in the Thurible . Almost at once, blue smoke curled through the assembly hall, its pungent odor engulfing Victim , Celebrants and Participants alike. 

In the daze of Agnes' mind, the smoke and the smell and the drugs and the cold and the Din all merged into a hideous cadenza. 

Though no signal was given, the well-rehearsed Ceremonial Messenger informed his Vatican counterpart that the Invocations were about to begin. Sudden silence enveloped the American Chapel. Bishop Leo solemnly raised the Crucifix from beside Agnes' body, placed it upside down against the front of the Altar and, facing the congregation, raised his left hand in the inverted blessing of the Sign: the back of his hand toward the Participants; thumb and two middle fingers pressed to the palm; index and little fingers pointing upward to signify the horns of the Goat. "Let us invoke!" 

In an atmosphere of darkness and fire, the Chief Celebrant in each Chapel intoned a series of Invocations to the Prince. The Participants in both Chapels chanted a response. Then, and only in America's Targeting Chapel, each Response was followed by a Convenient Action—a ritually determined acting-out of the spirit and the meaning of the words . Perfect cadence of words and will between the two Chapels was the responsibility of the Ceremonial Messengers tending the telephone link. From that perfect cadence would be woven a suitable fabric of human intention in which the drama of the Prince's Enthronement would be clothed. 

" I believe in One Power.'* Bishop Leo's voice rang with conviction. 

"And its name is Cosmos," the Participants in both Chapels chanted the upside-down Response set out in the Latin Missals. The Convenient Action followed in the Targeting Chapel. Two Acolytes incensed the Altar. Two more retrieved the Vials of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, placed them on the Altar, bowed to the Bishop and returned to their places. 

" I believe in the Only Begotten Son of the Cosmic Dawn. " Leo chanted. "And His Name is Lucifer." 

The second ancient Response. Leo's Acolytes lighted the Pentagram Candles and incensed the Pentagram. 

The third Invocation: " I believe in the Mysterious One." 

The third Response: "And He is the Snake with Venom in the Apple of Life." To the constant rattling of Bones, Attendants approached the Red Pillar and reversed the Snake Shield to expose the side depicting the Tree of Knowledge. 

The Guardian in Rome and the Bishop in America intoned the fourth Invocation: " I believe in the Ancient Leviathan." 

In unison across an ocean and a continent, the fourth Response: "And His Name is Hate. The Red Pillar and the Tree of Knowledge were incensed. 

The fifth Invocation: " I believe in the Ancient Fox." 

The fifth lusty Response: "And His Name is Lie." The Black Pillar was incensed as the symbol of all that is desolate and abominable. 

In the flickering light cast by the tapers and with the blue smoke curling around him , Leo shifted his eyes to Flinnie's cage close by Agnes on the Altar. The puppy was almost alert now, coming to its feet in response to the chanting and clicking and clacking. " I believe in the Ancient Crab," Leo read the sixth Latin Invocation. 

"And His Name is Living Pain," came the fulsome chant of the sixth Response. Clickety-clack, came the chanting of the Bones. With all eyes on him , an Acolyte stepped to the Altar, reached into the cage where the puppy wagged its tail in expectant greeting, pinned the hapless creature with one hand and, with the other, performed a perfectly executed vivisection, removing the reproductive organs first from the screaming animal. Expert that he was, the Attendant prolonged both the puppy's agony and the Participants* frenzied joy at the Ritual of Pain-Giving. 

But not every sound was drowned by the Din of dreadful celebration, haint though it was, there was the sound of Agnes' mortal struggle. There was the sound of Agnes' silent scream at the agony of her puppy. The sound of slurred and whispered words. The sound of supplication and suffering. ' God is my daddy! . . . Holy God! . . . My little puppy! . . . Don't hurt Flinnie! . . . God is my daddy! . . . Don't hurt Jesus . . . Holy God ... " 

Alert to every detail, Bishop Leo glanced down at the Victim. Even in her near-unconscious state, still she struggled* Still she protested. Still she felt pain. Still she prayed with that unyielding resistance of hers. Leo was delighted. What a perfect little Victim. So pleasing to the Prince. Perilously and without pause, Leo and the Guardian led their congregations on through the rest of the fourteen Invocations, while the Convenient Actions that followed each Response became a raucous theater of perversity. 

Finally, Bishop Leo brought the first part of the Ceremonial to a close with the Great Invocation:: " I believe that the Prince of This World will be Enthroned this night in the Ancient Citadel, and from there He will create a New Community." 

The Response was delivered with a gusto impressive even in this ghastly milieu. "And Its Name will be the Universal Church of Man. " 

It was time for Leo to lift Agnes into his arms at the Altar. It was time for the Archpriest to lift the chalice in his right hand and the large Host in his left. It was time for Leo to lead the Offertory Prayer, waiting after each Ritual Question for the Participants to read the Responses from their Missals. 

"What was this Victim's name when once born? " 


"What was this Victim' s name when twice born? " 

"Agnes Susannah!" 

"What was this Victim's name when thrice born? " 

"Rahab Jericho!" Leo laid Agnes atop the Altar again and pricked the forefinger of her left hand until blood oozed from the little wound . 

Pierced with cold, nausea rising in her, Agnes felt herself being lifted from the Altar, but she was no longer able to focus her eyes. She flinched at a sharp sting on her left hand. She absorbed isolated words that carried a dread she could not voice. "Victim . . . Agnes . . . thrice born . . . Rahab Jericho ... " 

Leo dipped his left index finger in Agnes' blood and, raising it for the Participants to see, began the Offertory chants. 

"This , the Blood of our Victim , has been shed * So that our service to the Prince may be complete. * So that He may reign supreme in the House of Jacob * In the New Land of the Elect." 

It was the Archpriest turn now. Chalice and Host still raised aloft, he gave the Ritual Offertory Response. 

" I take You with me, All-Pure Victim * I take you to the unholy north * I take you to the Summit of the Prince." 

The Archpriest placed the Host on Agnes' chest and held the chalice of wine above her pelvis. 

Flanked at the Altar now by his Archpriest and Acolyte Medico, Bishop Leo glanced at the Ceremonial Messenger. Assured that the granite-faced Guardian and his Roman Phalanx were in perfect tandem, he and his celebrants intoned the Prayer of Supplication. 

" We ask You, Lord Lucifer, Prince of Darkness * Garnerer of all our Victims * To accept our offering * Unto the commission of many sins." 

Then, in the perfect unison that comes from long usage, Bishop and Archpriest pronounced the holiest words of the Latin Mass. A t the elevation of the Host: " HOC EST EM M CORPUS MEUM . " At the elevation of the chalice: "HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI, NOVI ET AETERNI TESTAMENT! , MYSTERIUM FID El QUI PRO VOBIS ET PRO MULTIS EFFUNDETTJR IN REMISSIONTM PECCATORUM. HAE C QUOTIESCUMQU E FECERITIS IN MEI MEMORIAM FACIETIS." 

Immediately, the participants responded with a renewal of the Ritual Din , a deluge of confusion, a babel of words and rattling bones, with random lascivious acts of every kind , while the Bishop ate a tiny fragment of the Host and took a small sip from the chalice. 

At Leo's signal—the inverted blessing of the Sign again—the Ritual Din slipped into somewhat more orderly chaos as the Participants obediently formed into rough lines. Passing by the Altar to receive Communion—a  bit of the Host, a sip from the chalice—they also had an opportunity to admire Agnes. Then, anxious not to miss any part of the first Ritual Violation of the Victim, they returned quickly to their kneeler chairs and watched expectantly as the Bishop focused his full attention on the child. 

Agnes tried with all her might to free herself as the weight of the Bishop came upon her. Even then, she twisted her head as if to look for help in that unmerciful place. But there was no glimpse of help. There was the Archpriest waiting his turn at this most ravenous sacrilege. There was her father waiting. There was the fire from the black tapers reflecting red in their eyes. Fire itself aflame in those eyes. Inside all those eyes. Fire that would burn long after the candles died. Burn forever . . . 

The agony that enveloped Agnes that night in body and soul was so profound that it might have enveloped the whole world. But not for a moment was it her agony alone. Of that much she always remained certain. As those Servitors of Lucifer violated her on that defiled and unholy Altar, so too did they violate that Lord Who was father and mother to her. Just as He had transformed her weakness with His courage, so also did He sanctify her desecration with the outrages of His scourging, and her long-suffering with His Passion. It was to Him—to that Lord Who was her only father and her only mother and her only defender—that Agnes screamed her terror, her horror, her pain. And it was to Him she fled for refuge when she lost consciousness. 

Leo stood once more at the Altar, his perspiring face flush wit h new excitement at this, his supreme moment of personal triumph. A nod to the Ceremonial Messenger by the phone. A moment's wait. An answering nod. Rome was ready. 

" By the Power invested in me as Parallel Celebrant of the Sacrifice and the Parallel Fulfiller of the Enthronement, I lead all here and in Rome in invoking You, Prince of Al l Creatures! In the name of all gathered in this Chapel and of all the Brothers of the Roman Chapel, I invoke You, O Prince!" 

The second Investment Prayer was the Archpriest to lead. As culmination of everything he waited for, his Latin recitation was a model of controlled emotion: 

"Come , take possession of the Enemy's House. * Enter into a place that has been prepared for You. * Descend among Your faithful Servitors * Who have prepared Your bed, * Who have erected Your Altar and blessed it with infamy." 

It was right and fitting that Bishop Leo should offer the final Investment Prayer of the Targeting Chapel: 

"Under Sacrosanct instructions from the Mountaintop, * In the name of all the Brethren, * I now adore You, Prince of Darkness. * With the Stole of all Unholiness, * I now place in Your hands * The Triple Crown of Peter * According to the adamantine will of Lucifer * So that You reign here. * So that there One Church be, * One Church from Sea to Sea, * One Vast and Mighty Congregation * Of Man and Woman , * Of animal and plant. * So that our Cosmos again * Be one, unbound and free." 

At the last word and a gesture from Leo, all in his Chapel were seated. The Ritual passed to the Target Chapel in Rome. 

It was very nearly complete now , this Enthronement of the Prince in the Weakling's Citadel. Only the Authorization, the Bill of Instructions and the Evidence remained. The Guardian looked up from the Altar and turned cheerless eyes toward the Prussian International Delegate who had brought the leather pouch containing the Letters of Authorization and Instructions. All watched as he left his place and strode to the Altar, took the pouch in hand, removed the papers it contained and read out the Bill of Authorization in a heavy accent: " 

By mandate of the Assembly and the Sacrosanct Elders, I do institute, authorize and recognize this Chapel, to be known henceforth as the Inner Chapel, as taken, possessed and appropriated wholly by Him Whom we have Enthroned as Lord and Master of our human fate. 

"Whosoever shall, by means of this Inner Chapel, be designated and chosen as the final In-the-Line successor in the Petrine Office, shall by his very oath of office commit himself and all he does command to be the willing instrument and collaborator with the Builders of Man's Home on Earth and throughout Man's Cosmos. He shall transform the ancient Enmity into Friendship, Tolerance and Assimilation as these are applied to the models of birth, education, work, finance, commerce, industry, learning, culture, living and giving life, dying and dealing death. So shall the New Age of Man be modeled. [From July 1963 dc ]

"So mote it be!" The Guardian led the Roman Phalanx in the Ritual Response. 

"So mote it be!" At a signal from the Ceremonial Messenger, Bishop Leo led his Participants in their assent. 

The next order of Ritual, the Bill of Instructions, was in reality a solemn oath of betrayal by which every cleric present in St. Paul's Chapel—Cardinal, bishop and monsignore alike—would intentionally and deliberately desecrate the Sacrament of Holy Orders by which he had once received the grace and power to sanctify others. 

The International Delegate lifted his left hand in the Sign. "Do you each and all," he read the Oath,  l having heard this Authorization, now solemnly swear to accept it willingly , unequivocally, immediately, without reservation or cavil?" 

We do! "

" Do you each and all now solemnly swear that your administration of office will be bent to fulfill the aims of the Universal Church of Man? " 

"We do so solemnly swear." 

"Are you each and all prepared to signal this unanimous will with your own blood, so strike you Lucifer, if you are unfaithful to this Oath of Commitment?" 

"We are willing and prepared." 

"Are you each and all fully consenting that, by this Oath, you transfer Lordship and Possession of your souls from the Ancient Enemy, the Supreme Weakling, to the All-Powerful Hands of our Lord Lucifer?" 

"We consent." 

The moment had arrived for the final Ritual. The Evidence. 

With the two documents positioned on the Altar, the Delegate held out his left hand to the Guardian. With a golden pin, the granite-faced Roman pricked the tip of the Delegate's left thumb and pressed a bloody print beside the Delegate's name on the Bill of Authorization. 

Quickly then, the Vatican Participants followed suit. When every member of the Phalanx had satisfied this last Ritual requirement, a little silver bell was rung in the Chapel of St. Paul. 

In the American Chapel, the Bell of Infinity rang its distant and assenting response lightly, musically, three times. Ding! Dong! Ding! An especially nice touch, Leo thought, as both congregations took up the recessional chant:

"Ding! Dong! Dell! * Thus shall the Ancient Gates Prevail! * Thus the Rock and the Cross must fail * Forever! * Ding! Dong! Dell!" 

The recessional line formed in order of rank. Acolytes first. Frarer Medico, with Agnes limp and frighteningly pale in his arms. Finally, the Archpriest and Bishop Leo kept up the chant as they retraced their steps to the vestry. 

The members of the Roman Phalanx emerged into the Court of St. Damasus in the small hours of the feast day of SS. Peter and Paul. Some of the Cardinals and a few of the bishops acknowledged the salutes of the respectful security guards with an absentminded cross of priestly blessing traced in the air, as they entered their limousines. Within moments, the walls of St. Paul's Chapel glowed, as always they had, with their lovely paintings and frescoes of Christ, and of the Apostle Paul whose name the latest Peter-in-the-Line had taken.  [All this darkness under John the 23 XVII d.c ]

For the Pope who had taken the name of the Apostle, the summer of 1978 was his last on this earth. Worn out as much by the turbulence of his fifteen-year reign as by the pain and physical degradation of long illness, he was taken by his God from the central seat of authority in the Roman Catholic Church on August 6. 

During sede vacante—when Peter's chair is vacant—the practical affairs of the Church Universal are entrusted to a Cardinal Camerlengo. A Chamberlain. In this instance, to the unfortunate Pope's Secretary of State; to His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Claude de Vincennes, who , Vatican wags said, had all but run the Church anyway even while the Pope still lived. 

An unusually tall, well-built, spare-fleshed man, Cardinal Vincennes possessed from nature an overdose of Gallic gumption. His moods, which ran the gamut from acerbic to patronizing, regulated the atmosphere for peers and subordinates alike. The sharp lines of his face were the very badge of his unquestionably supreme status in the Vatican bureaucracy. 

Understandably, the Chamberlain's responsibilities are many during sede vacante, and the time to carry them out is short. Not least among those tasks is to sort the dead Pope's personal papers and documents in a thorough triage. The official object of the exercise is to learn of unfinished business. But one unofficial by-product is the chance to discover firsthand some of the innermost thoughts of the recent Pope concerning sensitive Church affairs. 

Ordinarily , His Eminence would have conducted the triage of the old Pope's documents before the Conclave had met to elect his successor. But preparations for the August Conclave had absorbed all of his energies and attention. O n the outcome of that Conclave—more precisely^ on the type of man to emerge from that Conclave as the new Pope—depended the fate of elaborate plans prepared over the previous twenty years by Cardinal Vincennes and his like-minded colleagues in the Vatican and around the world . 

They were men who promoted a new idea of the papacy and of the Roman Catholic Church. For them, no longer would Pope and Church stand apart and beckon humanity to approach and enter the fold of Catholicism. It was time now for both papacy and Church as an institution to collaborate closely with the efforts of mankind to build a better world for everyone. Time for the papacy to cease its reliance on dogmatic authority and its insistence on absolute and exclusive claim to ultimate truth .[ They never had the truth to begin with , to be absolute about anything! dc ] 

Of course, such plans were not elaborated within the isolated vacuum of in-house Vatican politics. But neither had the Cardinal Secretary shared these ideas merely from afar. He and his like-minded Vatican associates had entered into a compact wit h their secular boosters. Together, by that compact, all had undertaken to do their part in effecting at last the desired and fundamental transformation in Church and papacy. 

Now , with the Pope's death, it was agreed that this Conclave was well timed to effect the election of a complaisant successor to Peter's chair. With Cardinal Vincennes running the show, no one doubted that just the type of man required would emerge as victor—as Pope—from the Conclave of August 1978. 

With such a load riding on his success, it was not surprising that His Eminence had put everything else aside, including the personal documents of the old Pope. The thick envelope with its papal emboss had rested unattended in a special pigeonhole in the Cardinal's desk. 

But the Cardinal had made a gross miscalculation. Once shut in under lock and key as is the practice for Conclaves, the Cardinal Electors had chosen a man for the papacy who was totally unsuitable. A man utterly uncongenial for those plans laid by the Cameriengo and his associates. Few in the Vatican would forget the day that new Pope had been elected. Vincennes had literally bolted out of the Conclave the instant the heavily locked doors were opened. Ignoring the customary announcement of "a blessed Conclave," he strode off toward his quarters like vengeance incarnate. 

Just how serious his Conclave failure had been was borne in on Cardinal Secretary of State Vincennes during the first weeks of the new papacy. Those had been weeks of continual frustration for him. Weeks of continual argument with the new Pope and of fevered discussions with his own colleagues. The triage of papal documents had been all but forgotten in the sense of danger that pervaded his days. He simply had no way of predicting for his associates how this new occupant of Peter's Throne would act and react. His Eminence had lost control. 

Uncertainty and fear had exploded when the totally unexpected came to pass. Within thirty-three days of his election, the new Pope died, and the air in Rome and abroad was full of ugly rumors . [No rumors about it, John Paul was assassinated. dc]

When the newly dead Pope's papers had been gathered in a second embossed envelope, the Cardinal had no choice but to place them on his desk wit h the first. In the organization of a second Conclave to be held in October, all of his efforts were trained on correcting the mistakes made in August. Hi s Eminence had been granted a reprieve. He had no doubt that his life depended on his making the most of it. Thi s time he must see to the choice of a suitably compllaisant Pope. 

The unthinkable had pursued him, however. For all of his gargantuan efforts, the October Conclave had turned out as disastrously for him as the one in August. Stubbornly, the Electors had again chosen a man who was nor complaisant in any sense of the word . Had circumstances permitted, His Eminence would surely have taken time to unravel the puzzle of what had gone wrong during the two elections. But time he did not have.

With the third Pope on the Throne of Peter in as many months, the triage of papers contained in the two envelopes, each bearing the papal emboss, had at last taken on its own urgency. Even at the heel of the hunt, His Eminence would not allow those two packets to slip from his hands without a careful screening. 

The triage took place one October day at an oval conference table in the spacious office of Cardinal Secretary of State Vincennes. Situated a few yards from the papal study on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace, its tall Palladian windows forever surveying St. Peter's Square and the wide world beyond like unblinking eyes, that office was but one of many outward signs of the Cardinal Secretary's global power. 

As custom required, the Cardinal had called two men as witnesses and aides. The first, Archbishop Silvio Aureatini—a relatively young man of some note and huge ambition—was a watchful, quick-witted northern Italian who looked out on the world from a face that seemed to gather toward the end of his prominent nose the way a pencil gathers at the tip. 

The second man. Father Aldo Carnesecca, was a simple and insignificant priest who had lived through four papacies and had twice assisted at triages of a Pope's papers. Father Carnesecca was treasured by his superiors as " a man of confidentiality". A gaunt, gray-haired, quiet-voiced man whose age was hard to determine, he was exactly what his facial appearance, his unadorned black cassock and his impersonal manner indicated: a professional subordinate. 

Such men as Aldo Carnesecca may come to the Vatican with great ambitions. But with no stomach for partisan jealousy and hate—too conscious of their own mortality to step over dead bodies on the upward ladder, yet too grateful to bite the hand that originally fed them—such men hold on to their basic, lifelong ambition that brought them here. The desire to be Roman. 

Rather than compromise their principles on the one hand or cross the threshold of disillusionment and bitterness on the other, the Carneseccas of the Vatican make the most of their lowly state. They stay at their posts through successive papal administrations. Without nourishing any self interest or exerting any personal influence, they acquire a detailed knowledge of significant facts, friendships, incidents and decisions. They become experts in the rise and fall of the greats. They develop an instinct for the wood as distinct from the trees. It was not a surprising irony, therefore, that the man most fitted to conduct the triage of papal documents that October day was not Cardinal Vincennes or Archbishop Aureatini, but Father Carnesecca. 

At first, the triage proceeded smoothly. After a pontificate of fifteen years, it was only to be expected that the first envelope containing the old Pope's documents was a fat one. But most of its contents proved to be copies of memoranda between the Pontiff and His Eminence, and were already familiar to the Cardinal. Vincennes did not keep all of his thoughts to himself as he tossed page after page over to his two companions. He peppered them with commentary on the men whose names inevitably cropped up. That Swiss archbishop who thought he could cow Rome. That Brazilian bishop who had refused to go along wit h the changes in the Mass ceremony. Those traditionalist Vatican Cardinals whose power he had broken. Those traditionalist European theologians who m he had retired into obscurity. 

Finally, there remained only five of the old Pope's documents to deal wit h before turning to the triage of the second Pontiffs papers. Each of the five was sealed in its own envelope, and each was marked "Personalissimo e Confidenziale Simo." Of those envelopes, the four marked for the old Pope's blood relatives were of no special consequence beyond the fact that the Cardinal disliked not being able to read their contents. The last of the five envelopes carried an additional inscription. "For Our Successor on the Throne of Peter." Those words , written in the unmistakable hand of the old Pope, put the contents of this document in the category of papers destined exclusively for the: eyes of the newly elected young Slavic Pope. The date of the papal inscription, July 3, 1975, registered in the Cardinal's mind as a particularly volatile rime in his always strained relations with His Holiness. 

What suddenly transfixed His Eminence's attention, however, was the unthinkable but unmistakable fact that the original papal seal had been broken. Unbelievably, the envelope had been slit at the top and opened. Obviously, therefore, its contents had been read. Just as obviously, the slit had been mended with a length of thick filament tape. A new papal seal and signature had been added by the old man's successor; by the Pope who had died so suddenly and whose own papers still awaited triage. 

But there was more. A second inscription in the less familiar hand of the second Pope: "Concerning the condition of Holy Mother Church after June 29, 1963." 

For one unguarded moment, Cardinal Vincennes was unmindful of the other two men at the oval table. His whole world suddenly shrank to the tiny dimensions of the envelope in his hands. In the horror and confusion that paralyzed his mind at die sight of that date on a papally sealed envelope, it took a moment for the date of the second papal inscription itself to register: September 28, 1978. One day shy of the death date of that second Pope. [HELLO, CONNECT THE DOTS FOLKS dc]

In his bafflement, the Cardinal fingered the envelope as though its thickness might tell him its contents, or as though it might whisper the secret of how it had found its way from his desk and then back again. All but ignoring the presence of Father Carnesecca—an easy thing to do—he shoved the envelope across the table to Aureatini. 

When the Archbishop raised that pencil-nosed profile again, his eyes were a mirror of the Cardinal's own horror and confusion. It was as if those two men were not staring at one another, but at a common memory they had been certain was secret. The memory of victory's opening moment. The memory of St. Paul's Chapel. The memory of gathering with so many others of the Phalanx to chant ancient invocations. The memory of that Prussian Delegate reading out the Bill of Instructions; of thumbs pricked with a golden pin; of bloody prints pressed onto the Bill of Authorization. 

"But, Eminence . . ." Aureatini was the first to find his voice, but the second to find his wits . "How the devil did he . . . ?" 

"Even the devil doesn't know that." By sheer force of will , the Cardinal was beginning to regain something of his mental composure. Peremptorily, he took the envelope back and pounded it onto the table in front of him. He cared not one whit for the thoughts of either of his companions. Confronted with so many unknowns , he needed to deal with questions that were doubling back on themselves in his mind. 

How had the thirty-three-day Pope got his hands on his predecessor's papers? Treachery by one of His Eminence's own Secretariat staff? The thought caused the Cardinal to glance at Father Carnesecca. In his mind, that black-robed professional subordinate represented the whole Vatican underclass of bureaucratic drones. 

Of course, technically the Pope had a right to every document in the Secretariat; but he had shown no curiosity in the matter to Vincennes. And then again, just what had the second Pope seen? Had he gotten the whole dossier of the old Pontiff's papers—read them all? Or only that envelope with the crucial June 29, 1963, date now written in his hand on its face? If the latter were true, how did the envelope get back into the old Pope's documents? An d either way, who had restored everything just as it had been on the Cardinal Secretary's desk? When could anybody have succeeded in doing that without attracting attention? 

Vincennes fixed again on die final date written on the envelope in the second Pope's hand. September 28. Abruptly , he rose from his chair, strode across the room to his desk, reached for his diary and flipped its pages back to that date. Yes, he had had the usual morning briefing session with the Holy Father; but his notes told him nothing relevant. There had been an afternoon meeting with the Cardinal overseers of the Vatican Bank; nothing interesting there either. Another note caught his eye, however. He had attended a luncheon at the Cuban Embassy for his friend and colleague the outgoing Ambassador. After the luncheon, he had stayed on for a private conversation. 

The Cardinal reached for his intercom and asked his secretary to check the roster. Who had been on duty that day at the Secretariat's reception desk? He had to wait only a moment for the answer; and when it came, he raised a pair of dull eyes to the oval table. In that instant, Father Aldo  Carnesecca became much more for His Eminence than a symbol of the Vatican's subordinate class. 

In the time it took to replace the receiver in its cradle and return to the table, a certain cold light seeped into the Cardinal Secretary's mind. Light about the past; and about his future. His large frame even relaxed a bit as he fitted all the pieces together. The two papal dossiers on his desk awaiting triage. His own long absence from his office on September 28. Carnesecca on duty alone during the siesta hour. Vincennes saw it all. He had been circumvented by wile , outwitted by guileless-faced guile. His entire personal gamble was over now. The best he could do was to make sure the double-sealed papal envelope never reached the hand of the Slavic Pope. 

"Let us finish our work! " Glancing in turn at the still ashen-faced Aureatini and the imperturbable Carnesecca, the Cardinal was clear in his mind and entirely focused. In the tone he always used with subordinates, he rattled our a series of decisions that ended the triage of the old Pope's papers. Carnesecca would see to the dispatch of the four private envelopes addressed to the Pontiff's relatives. Aureatini would take the other papers to the Vatican Archivist, who would see to it that they would gather dust in some appropriately obscure cranny. The Cardinal himself would see to the matter of the double-sealed envelope. 

Quickly, then. His Eminence began the triage of the relatively few papers the second Pope had accumulated in so abbreviated a reign. Certain that the most significant document left by that Pope already lay before him , he skimmed rapidly through the contents of the dossier. Within a quarter of an hour, he had passed them to Aureatini as destined for the Archivist. 

Vincennes stood alone at one of those long windows in his office until he saw Father Carnesecca step from the Secretariat into the Court of St. Damasus below. He followed the progress of that gaunt figure all the way across St. Peter's Square toward the Holy Office, where that priest spent a good part of his working life. For a good ten minutes he contemplated Carneseccas unhurried but: always sure and purposeful gait. If ever a man deserved an early place in Potter's Field, he decided, surely it was Aldo Carnesecca. Nor would he have to make a note in his diary to remember. 

At last, the Cardinal Secretary turned back to his desk. He still had to deal with that infamous double-sealed envelope. 

It was not unknown in papal history that, before final disposition of a dead Pope's papers, someone in a position to do so might have had a quick look even at documents marked "Personalissimo e Confidenzialesswo." In this case, however, the inscriptions of not one but two Popes placed the contents beyond all but papal eyes. There were some barriers that would keep even Vincennes at bay. And in any case, he was confident he knew the substance of the matter.  

Nevertheless, His Eminence mused, it was possible to put more than one interpretation on the biblical admonition: "Let the dead bury the dead." Without humor or self-pity, but with his own fate certain in his mind, he lifted his telephone with one hand and the envelope in the other. When Archbishop Aureatini came on the line, he issued his final curt instructions regarding the triage. "You forgot one item for the Archivist, Excellency. Come pick it up. I'll have a word with him myself. He will know what to do." 

The untimely death of His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Jean  Claude de Vincennes occurred in an unfortunate automobile accident near his birthplace of Mablon in the south of France on March 19, 1979. Of the notices that told the world of such a tragedy, surely the driest was contained in the Pontifical Yearbook for 1980. In that fat, utilitarian directory of Vatican Church personnel and other serviceable data, the Cardinal's name and no more appeared in alphabetical order in the list of recently deceased Princes of the Church.

Papal Evening

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