Randy Engel
The strange case of Archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt Part IV Opus Dei's Role in the Viganò Affair
Catholic Inquisitor November 2018
By Randy Engel
December 26, 2018


This is the fourth and concluding installment of my series on Archbishop John C. Nienstedt and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Papal Nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016, whose name by this time is recognizable by most Catholics in the pews as the author of the eleven-page, "time bomb" testimony released on August 25, 2018, on moral corruption in the Church.

I believe Viganò's initial testimony is essentially correct in confirming the existence of a massive hierarchial and clerical homosexual "collective" that operates within and without the Vatican, as well as in key dioceses around the world. I documented that very same collective in the United States and the Vatican 12 years ago in The Rite of Sodomy – Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church in which more than 40 homosexual/pederast members of the Catholic hierarchy were identified.

However, there are at least two major deficiencies that I find most disconcerting about the Viganò August testimony that I would like to mention here.

First, as far as "truth-telling" in the McCarrick case is concerned, the full truth is that Cardinal McCarrick is a third-generation homosexual predator, the first and second generation of leaders in this particular line being homosexual Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York and his successor, homosexual Cardinal Terence Cooke.

This means that Viganò timetable is hopelessly flawed, as the rise of the homosexual network in the Roman Catholic Church dates back almost 100 years, ten decades before Francis came on the scene and before the "Uncle Teddy" scandal hit the streets.

Second, Viganò ends his initial testimony with the admonition: "Let us heed the most powerful message St. John Paul II left us as an inheritance: Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid!"

Are we talking about the same John Paul II who defended to the death the notorious serial pederast Cardinal Hans Groër, O.S.B. Archbishop of Vienna, who claimed an estimated 2,000 victims (no typo) during his long clerical career? Are we talking about the same John Paul II who put more clerical homosexual prelates into the hierarchial ranks than any other post-conciliar pontiff, second perhaps, only to the sodomite Pope Paul VI? And lest we forget, are we talking about the same John Paul II, during whose pontificate of more than 26 years, the most vile and salacious "sex initiation" programs – programs which attack body, mind, and soul – were visited upon countless innocent parochial school children?

With specific reference to McCarrick, the record of John Paul II is chiseled in stone:
  • He appointed McCarrick bishop of Metuchen, NJ on November 19, 1981.

  • He appointed McCarrick archbishop of Newark, NJ on May 30, 1986 by which time it was common knowledge among New Jersey priests that McCarrick was a sexual predator.

  • He appointed McCarrick archbishop of Washington, D.C. on November 21, 2000.

  • He elevated McCarrick to the cardinalate on February 21, 2001.
When it comes to blame regarding the ascendency of "Uncle Teddy" up the clerical ladder, it's clear that the main culprit was John Paul II and not Francis.

Did Viganò write this because he concluded that these facts about John Paul II have disappeared down "the memory hole"? Was Viganò blinded by the fact he himself was ordained a bishop by John Paul II after being appointed Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Nigeria? So why does Viganò think he can give Pope John Paul II a free pass?

And speaking of free passes, Viganò mentions the names of several homosexual cardinals and bishops, but fails to identify them as such, including Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the catamite of the late Cardinal John Wright. It would have been very timely for Viganò to heap coals upon Francis' head for the pope's unbridled praise of Wuerl when the cardinal archbishop of Washington, D.C. retired on October 12, 2018, but so far, he hasn't done that.

However, the real question that I will address in this article is: In what way is Opus Dei behind Vigano's actions? For instance, given the aforementioned accolade to John Paul II, could he be acting in deference to Opus Dei's desire to continue the myth of "John Paul the Great?" Or is there another Opus Dei purpose behind this?

Because this article is not a detailed review of Viganò's original testimony, nor his second testimony of September 29, 2018, symbolically released on the feast day of the archangels, Saint Michael, Saint Rafael and Saint Gabriel – the patrons of the different fields of apostolate that make up Opus Dei – nor his third testimony which was recently published on October 19, 2018. Nor is this article a regurgitation of Viganò's Statement on the Archbishop Nienstedt controversy which has already been refuted in Part III of this series at https://akacatholic.com/a-rebuttal-to-carlo-vigano-on-the-nienstedt-case/. The former nuncio has not as yet replied to my September 12, 2018, challenge of his interpretation of events surrounding the Nienstedt homosexual scandal.

Rather, this article is an in-depth look at the hidden hand of Opus Dei in the Viganò affair and the role that the Prelature has played in bringing the affair to world-wide attention with such astonishingly speed and continuality. The Viganò affair is not a matter of the usual slow Vatican "leaks," but a carefully orchestrated and coordinated "tsunami" of "The Work," which acts in secret and hides behind its unidentified members and "apostolates."

Opus Dei Domination of the Catholic Media

It is also crucial that readers understand the pervasiveness of Opus Dei's voice and point-of-view in the Catholic media – and that these influences are rarely, if ever, identified as coming from Opus Dei. During the last three decades, using its numeraries or wealthy supernumeraries or philanthropic co-operators, the Prelature has established and/or taken over many Catholic media outlets including EWTN, the National Catholic Register, and LifeSiteNews. It was these three media sources that originally brought the Viganò story to the attention of Catholics the world over.

Other Opus Dei media outlets that promoted Viganò's allegations of corruption at the Vatican and the call for Pope Francis' resignation include Our Sunday Visitor, Catholic Canada, Catholic News Agency (CNA), and ACI Presna (Spanish) to name a few.

With this in mind, the significance of this installment concerning the public figures and the media-outlets involved in the Vigano affair will be clearer. I will begin with the pivotal roles played by two Italian Vaticanists, Aldo Maria Valli and Marco Tosatti in the proposed writing, editing, translation and publication of the Vigano testimony.

Valli Blog Reveals Details of Initial Contact

Thanks to Valli's posting on his blog of August 27, 2018, titled "So Monsignor Viganò gave me his memorial. And that's why I decided to publish it," we have some important information on the initial planning stages of Viganò's testimony.

According to Milanese journalist Aldo Maria Valli, he received a surprise phone call at his home from Monsignor Carlo Maria Viganò in "almost summer" of 2018, that is in late May or early June.

However, Philip Pullella of Reuters puts the same initial phone call and meeting several months earlier in March 2018.

The discrepancy in dates is of utmost importance because if the March date is correct, then it would demonstrate that Viganò had "in conscience" decided to write his exposé months before the McCarrick scandal involving a minor became public knowledge in mid-June 2018. This would also mean that at least five months went into the planning, timing and execution of Viganò's testimony before its release on August 25, 2018.

Now, back to the initial phone call from Viganò to Valli.

Viganò explained somewhat nervously that he needed to meet privately outside the Vatican with Valli, and the latter invited the former nuncio to his home for dinner. According to Valli, he and Viganò were casual acquaintances. Each knew the other largely by reputation but not personally.

Viganò drove himself to Valli's home on the outskirts of Rome at the appointed day and precise time. And after familial introductions were made between Valli's wife, Serena, and their daughters, a formal meal commenced. during which time Viganò freely lamented the sorry state of affairs at the Vatican.

The former nuncio talked at length, uninterrupted, about his extensive diplomatic career including his experiences as the head of the Vatican City Governorate and papal nuncio to Nigeria and the United States. At some point in his monologue he cited names and circumstances of persons and events related to the Church's financial solvency and other controversial matters of state.

Valli and his family listened with a sympathetic ear as the 77-year-old diplomat stated his desire to carry out his duties with integrity even in the face of opposition and praised his host for the "courage and freedom" he has demonstrated in his writings.

The dinner ended, Viganò took his leave, and promised Valli that they would meet again.

After his guest had left, Valli said he believed that the initial meeting was a kind of "trial" by which the nuncio sought to determine the trustworthiness of the journalist, and he believed that a close bond of trust and friendship had indeed been forged between Viganò and himself.

Sometime in mid-August 2018, a second meeting was scheduled, again at Valli's home. This time Viganò focused specifically on the McCarrick homosexual/pederasty scandal in the United States and the recent release of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's August 14, 2018, report on clerical sex abuse in five Catholic dioceses. So the second meeting must have occurred after August 14, 2018.

The nuncio made it clear that everyone in the United States and the Vatican knew about McCarrick's sexual liaisons with seminarians for years before news of the sexual assault of a minor broke out publicly in late August 2018.

One would be surprised if, indeed, Valli himself, had not been privy to rumors and gossip of McCarrick's habituation to sodomy via the Vatican grapevine, as this writer knew that McCarrick was a sexual predator of seminarians as early as 1987.

Viganò made a point of stating that the sex abuse issue in the Church centers largely around homosexuality and pederasty, and not pedophilia. Oddly enough, Valli claimed he and his wife "were stunned" by the comment, but he offered no explanation why that would be, given the many clerical homosexual scandals that have ravaged the Vatican in recent years.

Finally, Valli interrupted his guest to ask "Why are you telling us these things? And what do you want from me?"

Viganò briefly explained that he had written a preliminary testimony or memorial on the corruption in the Vatican, including Pope Francis' role in the cover-up of the McCarrick scandal. He added that he would give the document he prepared not only to Valli, but also to another Italian blogger, an Englishman, an American and a Canadian. Translations of the original document written in Italian would be put into Spanish and English.

As the second meeting ended, Viganò promised to meet again with Valli in a few days at which time he would present the journalist with the testimony. Valli had already made up his mind to cooperate with the enterprise.

Viganò's third meeting with Valli took place at a secret location, at which time the journalist read the 11- page memorial and agreed to publish it on his blog.

In a later phone call, Viganò informed Valli that the date for the publication of Viganò "time bomb" was set for Sunday, August 26, 2018, when Francis would be returning to Rome from his Dublin trip by plane and the pontiff would likely be engaging in one of his notorious spontaneous press conferences. Wasn't that very clever of Viganò?

It was also at this time that Viganò announced that he planned to go abroad to a secret residence and would remain incommunicado for a period of time. Valli said the two men said goodbye for the last time, but this would turn out not to be accurate, and Valli would continue to have communication with the former nuncio.

Valli's interim report, "Viganò Speaks: I'm not the crow and I do not act for revenge. I just want the truth to emerge," appeared on August 28, 2018. In August 31, 2018, the UK Catholic Herald reported that Viganò had given new interviews to Valli as well as Catholic World Report and LifeSiteNews.

On October 9, 2018, Valli ran another interview with Italian scholar Alessandro Gnocchi on his own blog in support of Viganò. To his credit, Gnocchi insists that the recent scandals at the Vatican are decades old and can be traced back decades prior to the Second Vatican Council.

On October 19, 2018, Viganò sent Valli his third communique on the Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet's open letter disavowing Viganò arguments. Viganò's response was titled "Monsignor Viganò: 'Here is how I respond to Cardinal Ouellet. It's time to come out in the open." According to Viganò, his testimonies are "to be continued." About that, there can be no doubt.

So Where's the Opus Dei Connection?

Thus far, Viganò has not mentioned Opus Dei in any of his public statements, and neither has Valli. Nor has the Catholic/Vatican press or any secular media mentioned a possible connection between the Viganò affair, Valli and Opus Dei.

About all that most Catholics outside of Italy know about Valli is that he is a journalist, a popular blogger, a "conservative" Catholic, and is married and has six children.

If you look at Wikipedia's biographical data on Aldo Maria Valli, you will learn some other things about him: He was born on February 3, 1958, in Rho, a municipality of Milan; he graduated from Sacred Heart University in Milan with a degree in political science; from 1980 to 1984, he was the editor of the publishing house Ares and the monthly Studi Cattolicaici, to which he still contributes; by the 1990s, he has established himself in the field of Italian radio and television; in April 1995 he moved to Rome and became a Vaticanist which included following 40 of John Paul II's journeys around the world; and in the latter part of his media career, he joined TG 3, then TG 1 (the Italian state-owned television news broadcasting offices).

The only reference made to the Prelature in the Wikipedia biography of Valli was the TG 1 television special titled Opus Dei, which aired on September 28, 2008. It traced the controversial history of Opus Dei and its founder and mission.

This fact, in itself, is not any particular proof that Valli is a member of Opus Dei. His association with Ares and Studi Cattolicaici, however, is proof of his strong affiliation to Opus Dei.

You see, Ares is the Milan publishing house of Opus Dei and has exclusive rights in Italy for the works of Josemaría Escrivá, and Studi Cattolicaici (Catholic Studies) is the monthly magazine of Opus Dei. It is "a magazine of culture, a means of dialogue with modern society in its articulated pluralism of ideas and opinions," and has a wide-international circulation.

So at the age of 22, Valli was assigned the editorship of two of Opus Dei's prize entities, which means he was initially a celibate numerary of Opus Dei, and later, after he married, he continued his membership in Opus Dei as a supernumerary. Opus Dei would never had outsourced two of its most important literary flagships to an outsider.

So Aldo Maria Valli is an important member of Opus Dei.

Let's move on to Italian journalist, Marco Tosatti

Marco Tosatti Pens Viganò's Testimony

The announcement that the well-known Vaticanist and former writer for the liberal Italian daily La Stampa (Turin), Marco Tosatti, had aided Viganò in the writing of the former nuncio's testimony broke into the headlines of Rome papers on August 28, 2018. Tosatti's story is similar to that of Valli's.

Tosatti said that Viganò had surprised him with a phone call "a few weeks" before their actual meeting at Tosatti's Rome apartment on August 22, 2018. The officially retired journalist, who has covered Vatican news for decades, said he knew the former nuncio as an acquaintance, but not as a friend.

When Viganò arrived for the August 22 meeting, he brought with him a draft of his statement which Tosatti recognized as not being suitable for publication. It needed much revision in both style and content. Tosatti said it took three hours for him and Viganò working side-by-side to re-work and edit the 11-page text to conform to standard journalistic requirements. In addition, charges against prelates that could not be substantiated were removed.

When Tosatti completed the text to Viganò's satisfaction, he then proceeded to draw up a list of publications that would be willing to publish the memorial in its entirety. These included the U.S. – based National Catholic Register, LifeSiteNews, the Italian daily La Verità and the Spanish religious website InfoVaticana. In addition, like Valli, Tosatti would publish the explosive testimony on his blog, Stilum Curie.

Time also had to be given to having the Italian document translated into Spanish and English.

The date of release was set for Sunday, August 26, 2018, in order to coincide with Pope Francis' last day in Ireland and his return plane flight.

Before Viganò left the apartment, he told Tosatti that he feared for his life., and he was unsure if he could go through with the arrangement.

When the journalist took him to the door and attempted to kiss the prelate's ring, his visitor refused to let him. Tosatti said that Viganò was crying when he left the apartment.

Tosatti later recalled that it was he who finally convinced Viganò to release his testimony in light of the earlier Pennsylvania report, which had opened a rare public relations opportunity for the former nuncio to make his case. Interestingly, when Tosatti (who like Valli has been a leading critic of Pope Francis) was interviewed by Reuters on August 28, 2018, he denied that there was any "conservative conspiracy" afloat and said that the timing of the Viganò testimony was "a mere coincidence."

Like Valli, Tosatti has continued to respond to the Viganò story. On October 8, 2018, Tosatti responded to the October 6, 2018, Vatican (non) statement issued by Cardinal Ouellet instructing Viganò to abandon his rebelliousness and return to the Francis fold. On October 19, 2018, Tosatti received Viganò's third testimony (letter) which lashes out, this time, against Cardinal Ouellet concerning Ouellet's silence on matters directly related to Viganò's earlier charges against Pope Francis.

Tosatti's Connections to Opus Dei

On June 24, 2010, Marco Tosatti gave a very personal interview to reporter José M. Ballester Esquivias.

Tosatti told the reporter that he was a cradle Catholic and that his early childhood was irrevocably shattered by the death of his famous sports writer father in an airplane crash in 1949, when Tosatti was still an infant. For most of his adult life he said he was an "anti-religious person," although his interest in returning to his Catholic roots was gradually stimulated by his professional journalistic career, which involved his regular contact with Pope John Paul II. Rediscovering the historic fact of the Resurrection was for him a turning point in his conversion.

His conversion, Tosatti said, was also greatly influenced by the writings of Opus Dei's founder, Josemaría Escrivá, especially Camino (The Way), the handbook that guides the spiritual life of Opus Dei adherents. Although he has stated that he was not a numerary or supernumerary of Opus Dei, the record is clear that, as a journalist, he has maintained close and favorable ties with the Prelature.

For example, in 2014, Tosatti was a defender of Opus Dei Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, who had given permission for the sexual predators of the infamous U.S. – based Priestly Society of St. John to reestablish itself in his diocese. Livieres also raised the Society's founder, homosexual/pederast Father Carlos Urrotigoity, to the number two position in the chancery as vicar general, with access to a bevy of young men at the local seminary.

Every year, the Information Communication Service of Opus Dei in France in connection with the faculty of communication of Opus Dei's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome hosts various seminar and special press events for hundreds of journalists from all over France. On Tuesday, June 17, 2014, the day after the annual Opus Dei Eucharistic Celebration to honor the feast of St. Escrivá, Tosatti, who speaks fluent French, gave a talk sponsored by Opus Dei on the theme "The Popes and the Diplomacy of Gestures," at the Espace Bernanos Catholic cultural center in Paris.

Like Aldo Maria Valli, Tosatti has appeared as a guest at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome to discuss topics of interest to other journalists.

On November 14, 2015, on the Spanish pro-Opus Dei webpage titled Opusdeialdia, a question was posted on the merit or lack of merit of ex-numerary Maria del Carmen Tapia's book Beyond the Threshold: A Life in Opus Dei, published in 1997.

In responding to the question, the commentator noted:
    Marco Tosatti published an article in La Stampa de Torino on December 21, (2001), in which he summarized the history and evolution of the image of Opus Dei in Italian public opinion during the last years. The journalist added that, in his opinion, the upcoming canonization of Josemaría Escrivá (held on October 6, 2002) would not raise controversy.

    Tosatti affirmed that Maria del Carmen Tapia – who in 1992 had repeatedly expressed her disagreement with the beatification – now declared that she "bows to the Pope's decision..."
Given Tosatti's attachment to Escrivá's written spiritual direction, and his personal and professional defense and promotion of Opus Dei, it is clear that he is definitely in the Opus Dei camp. And there is another, not so subtle connection, from a media angle.

A Second Look at Tosatti's Media Recommendations

In connection with the Viganò affair, there is a need to re-examine the media outlets that Tosatti recommended to Viganò at their August 22, 2018, meeting – National Catholic Register and LifeSiteNews, La Veritas, and the Spanish religious website InfoVaticana.

Let's begin with InfoVaticana, which was launched in 2013 in Spain by two young men, Gabriel Ariza and Fernando Beltrán. It publishes in Spanish and Italian.

The religious website's goal is to try to "fill a gap in the vigorous analysis of what happens in the Church." Pretty ambitious for two young men, no?

On June 30, 2017, Gabriel Ariza posted a story on Marco Tosatti explaining that InfoVaticana would now be carrying the journalist's blog Stilum Curiae.

InfoVaticana is owned by Grupo Intereconomia, which in turn is owned by Julio Ariza Irrigoyen, Gabriel Ariza's father, a wealthy and prominent businessman, journalist and politician from Navarra. Julio Ariza completed his law studies at Opus Dei's collegial flagship, the University of Navarra, and yes, he is a married supernumerary of Opus Dei.

Under the Opus Dei system of building media anonymous "apostolates," InfoVaticana is an Opus Dei clone.

Next, comes the Italian daily, La Verità, (The Truth) which went on the Milanese newsstands in 2016. The director and founder of the paper (and digital version) is the Italian journalist and television producer Maurizio Belpietro. In one of its promotions, LaVerità names more than 25 prominent journalists and commentators who write for the newspaper. The list includes a number of Opus Dei members and associates including economist and banker, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, a former President of the IOR (Vatican Bank) and well-known Opus Dei supernumerary. So, I believe we can say that La Verità is, at least, Opus Dei "friendly," especially since it was among the first Italian publications chosen to run the Viganò testimony of August 2018.

Finally we come to three of Opus Dei's most important U.S. – based media outlets which have played a major role in the Viganò saga – the National Catholic Register, formerly owned by the Legionaries of Christ, EWTN which bought the Register in 2011, and LifeSiteNews , a popular internet news service cofounded by the Canadians Steve Jalsevac and John-Henry Weston. The Opus Dei connection is through Jalsevac, who is Catholic.

Since November of 2017, when I started OD WATCH, a news column critical of Opus Dei, which appears regularly on AKA CATHOLIC, I've been monitoring daily, the Prelature's media outlets, aka "media apostolates" around the world, especially in Spain, Italy and the United States. The NCR (bought out by EWTN ), LifeSiteNews, and EWTN itself have been at the top of that list from the beginning as primary Opus Dei media outlets. They still are, even more so after the Viganò case.

The role that all three played in promoting and sustaining the Viganò affair, day after day, has confirmed my initial beliefs that Opus Dei is the hidden hand acting behind the scenes to move the Viganò matter forward.

The reader is free to accept my findings, or await a more detailed report on my investigation of Opus Dei's world-wide media outlets that should be ready early next year.

In the meantime, the reader can chew on another Opus Dei bone, this one related to the translation of Viganò' testimony by Diane Montagna, Rome correspondent and journalist for LifeSiteNews. Before joining LifeSiteNews, Montagna was the Rome correspondent for the English edition of Aleteia, which has had a long-time relationship with Opus Dei. But most importantly, she holds a License in Sacred Theology from the International Theological Institute, Gaming, Austria, one of Opus Dei's most important educational entities for studies on marriage and family in Europe.

Opus Dei's "Charism" of Public Relations

Many Catholics around the world are blissfully unaware that Opus Dei even exists, but even those who do know about Opus Dei are not aware of the Prelature's "charism" of communications and public relations. This "charism" has a great deal to do with Opus Dei's role in the Viganò affair, and deserves at least a brief explanation, although one could write several volumes on the subject.

Opus Dei's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome was established in 1984. It is comprised of four schools of theology, canon law, philosophy, and Church communications.

Opus Dei's school of Church communications [School of Social Institutional Communication] was created in 1996. The program is open to priests, religious and laymen, including media and public relations staff from diocesan offices.

Officially speaking, "the school's programs offer courses in four key areas: the nature of communication and the elements upon which it is based; The Church in cultural context; the theological, philosophical and canonical content of the faith and its impact on the identity of the Church as an Institution; and the application of these theories, practices and communication techniques to institutions of the Church, bearing in mind their particular identity."

Some Catholics might ask why the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, has need of public relation academicians and prompters when the only product it is "selling" is the eternal truths of the Catholic Faith necessary for the salvation of men. However, Opus Dei does obviously believe that such a high level of professional business and communications acumen is needed. What this actually means in practice is very well shown by briefly citing the life and times of Opus Dei's most famous numerary and master of interlocution, papal image-maker and molder of Catholic opinion Joaquín Navarro-Valls.

Joaquín Navarro-Valls – The Papal Gatekeeper

Like the young Karol Wojtyła, the young Navarro-Valls was a consummate actor who had a passion for the theater. He became the second most important man at the Vatican, next to the pope himself, when Pope John Paul II appointed him head of the Holy See Press Office in 1984.

Born in November 16, 1936, to an affluent Spanish family, Navarro-Valls attended the Cartagena German school in his hometown and later studied medicine and psychiatry at the University of Granada and University of Barcelona. He also served in the Spanish military.

According to the Prelature's official obituary of Navarro-Valls, published on the day of his death, July 5, 2017, the young man's first contact with Opus Dei came when he was a medical student in Granada and he applied to the Albayzín (Granada) Hall of Residence. He was quickly recruited by Opus Dei and became a celibate numerary. Later, at the direction of Opus Dei, he attended the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain, where the talented and multi-lingual scholar and physician accumulated two additional degrees in journalism and communications.

From 1970 to 1975, Navarro-Valls joined Msgr. Josemaría Escrivá in Rome to promote the interests of Opus Dei and to enable Navarro-Valls to gain practical writing and reporting experience as a foreign correspondent for the Spanish tabloid ABC.

Popular with his fellow journalists, Navarro-Valls was later elected president of the Foreign Press Association in Rome.

In 1984, Pope John Paul II, who was well acquainted with Opus Dei from his years in Kraków, appointed psychiatrist/ journalist Navarro-Valls to head the Vatican Press Office and modernize the Vatican's communication vehicles, a task for which the 48-year-old numerary had had long preparation. It was also the same year the pope bestowed pontifical status upon Holy Cross University.

From that time until the death of John Paul II on April 2, 2005, Navarro-Valls never strayed from the pope's side. He accompanied the pope on all his many travels around the world, including the pontiff's vacations. He became the pontiff's constant companion, confidant and advisor, and also the gatekeeper of persons given access or refused access to the Holy Father.

Navarro-Valls' first book was appropriately titled, Manipulation in Advertising (1970). When one considers that following Navarro's appointment, everything that John Paul II publicly said or wrote was first filtered through his publicist – well, it's the stuff that horror films are made of.

Navarro-Valls' appointed mission, unfortunately, wasn't as much promoting the Catholic faith, as it was in "selling" John Paul II, or to be more accurate, the public image of John Paul II. In a more honest and transparent time one would have quipped, "Navarro-Valls not only made the man, he also made the man a saint."

Most biographers of John Paul II have assiduously avoided this particular issue.

They have also avoided what would seem to be another effect of Navarro-Valls: under John Paul II, Opus Dei quickly rose in power and influence at the Vatican and Navarro-Valls became a household word among Catholic families the world over.

At the same time Navarro-Valls continued to "sell" the "holiness" and " omniscience" of Opus Dei, he retained his status as a high-level numerary within the inner circle of Opus Dei in Rome. This meant that Navarro-Valls continued to live at the Villa Tevere, the headquarters of Opus Dei in the suburbs of Rome, that he had an Opus Dei confessor, and that he reported on a regular basis to his assigned "spiritual director," to whom Navarro-Valls was required to spill out his guts, in typical Opus Dei fashion, on everything in his life, including the alleged corruption of the Vatican and Catholic cardinals and bishops of dioceses around the world. In short, what Navarro-Valls knew, Opus Dei knew.

I suspect that McCarrick's name was on the top of a running list of names of sodomite hierarchy, clergy, and religious that Opus Dei acquired from its favorite and omnipresent numerary, Navarro-Valls. I believe this because I knew that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then Archbishop of Newark, was a homosexual and a predator of young seminarians as early as 1987, the year I started investigating leads for The Rite of Sodomy. If his name went to the top of my list, it presumably was also on the top of Navarro-Valls' list.

As far as his professional work as the pope's spokesman, it appears that Navarro-Valls played and manipulated the Vatican press corps as well as Jascha Heifitz played his Stradivarius – that is to say "exquisitely." For instance, It is no secret that Navarro-Valls openly played favorites among the Vatican press corps. As John Allen, Jr., former Rome correspondent for the liberal National Catholic Reporter and current editor of CRUX news service, admits, he was lucky enough to be one of Navarro-Valls' favorites. But as Allen candidly points out in his biographical notation of Navarro-Valls on the occasion of the numerary's death, "There were some journalists, either because of the size of their audience or because he trusted them, with whom he would share insider information, and others whose phone calls and emails he would never return (https://cruxnow.com/obituary/2017/07/05/joaquin-navarro-valls-take-will-not-look-upon-like/).

After his ascent to the Papal throne, Pope Benedict XVI kept Navarro-Valls on for one-year, at which time the Opus Dei numerary announced his retirement and was replaced by the Jesuit superior Reverend Father Federico Lombardi – the Jesuits being the time-honored enemies of Escrivá and Opus Dei.

On July 11, 2016, Father Lombardi retired and was succeeded as director of the Holy See Press Office on August 1, 2016, by American Greg Burke, an Opus Dei numerary like Navarro-Valls, which means that Opus Dei was back in the driver's seat when the Viganò story was published.

Now the question before us is, "Is Opus Dei using Archbishop Carlos Viganò to manipulate the Catholic media and play the Catholic laity for fools, as Navarro-Valls did, for purposes about which we know nothing?

In light of this possibility, it is interesting to note that since the Viganò affair began, a number of secular media sources have referred to the generic term "conservative forces" as being behind the initial Viganò exposé and its continuing exposure. But neither the secular nor the Catholic press has explicitly identified Opus Dei as being the primary culprit in this contemporary game of thrones. Is this because of the effectiveness of Opus Dei's program to keep itself hidden?

Former journalist, David Gibson, Director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University in New York and a Francis supporter came the closest to hinting at something like this when he observed that, "This whole thing was carefully coordinated with conservative Catholic media and carefully timed (https://www.voanews.com/a/defenders-rally-around-pope/4547910.html)."

Robert Moynihan in his August 26, 2018, Letters (Moynihan Report) from Rome rules out any suggestion that "Viganò is serving someone else..." Moynihan says that the former nuncio comes from a wealthy Milanese family, and is therefore "acting in Prima Persona – as an independent agent."

However, Moynihan fails to explain how Viganò, who just a few weeks ago couldn't write a literate press release and needed the help of at least two journalists, Valli and Tosatti , has somehow managed to write two more eloquent and informative testimonies (three if we count the Nienstedt response) with more to come.

Nor has Moynihan explained how Viganò, hiding away at a secret location, has managed to get his beautifully timed and technically well written media releases into world-wide circulation in multiple languages.

Now if we look at the relatively powerful "new movements" in the Church including the "conservative" Legionaries of Christ, Regnum Christi, and Communion and Liberation, as well as Focolare, and the Neocatechumenal Way, none can compare with Opus Dei in terms of a world-wide mega-media outreach and control of the Catholic media especially in the United States, and Rome.

Putting the Viganò/Opus Dei Puzzle Together

Thus far, this writer has concretely documented that that Viganò's top two ghost writers have serious connections to Opus Dei as has the official translator of Viganò public works.

I have also demonstrated the connection between the American and Italian publications that brought Viganò's initial and continuing complaints to the attention of the American and Italian Catholic population.

But there are important pieces of the Viganò/Opus Dei puzzle that are still missing.

For example, we do not yet know the exact nature of Viganò's relationship with Opus Dei, when that relationship began, who initiated that relationship, the extent of the role Opus Dei has played thus far in his media campaign against Vatican "corruption," and if Opus Dei has provided Viganò with any information and documentation on the past and current sexual abuse scandals currently rocking the Holy See.

Of course, the reason that we don't know the answer to these questions is because Viganò, the champion of transparency, has, so far, kept this information on Opus Dei secret from us.

The only thing we do know about that relationship is that it has been "friendly," at least in the past. According to Opus Dei records, when he was Papal Nuncio in the U.S., Viganò was the main celebrant of a Mass for Opus Dei's founder, Josemaría Escrivá, on his feast day, June 26, at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C.

A Little Humility Please

A final comment on Viganò's transparency: I think it would be somewhat refreshing and salutary for the former nuncio to acknowledge the fact that others have blazed the trail in bringing the Homosexual Collective to the attention of Catholics. He and his Opus Dei writers for his Opus Dei writers could in humble honesty stop pretending his pronouncement against sodomy and pederasty are somehow new and visionary.

Such a pronouncement was dramatically positioned in Viganò's third testimony of October 19, 2018. He opens with his repeated claim that he desires only "to bear witness to corruption in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church," even though it has been and remains a "painful decision." He then repeats his condemnation of the "plague" of homosexuality. "It is hypocrisy to refuse to acknowledge that this scourge is due to a serious crisis in the spiritual life of the clergy and to fail to take the steps necessary to remedy it," Viganò says.

Of course, this is exactly what Saint Peter Damian said in his magnificent treatise on clerical sodomy, the Book of Gomorrah written in 1049. That's nearly 1000 years ago, folks. And Father Enrique Rueda wrote in his classic text, The Homosexual Network – Private Lives and Public Policy written in 1982. That's 36-years ago, folks. And my own 17-year- old, 1300-page study, The Rite of Sodomy – Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church published in 2006. That was 12 years ago, folks.

So, Viganò is really a Johnny-come-lately with regard to the very real dangers posed by the Homosexual Collective, whenever and wherever it has raised its head in civilized society. Some of the names and the faces of homosexual Vatican prelates mentioned in his testimonies may be new to some, but the tails that have bound them together to their Master, have been recognizable down through the centuries. And the Master's name is Satan.

Coming Full Circle with Nienstedt

Since the Viganò and Opus Dei dog and pony show erupted on the scene last August, there has been a nagging question in my mind related to Viganò's motivation in mounting his anti-homosexual and anti-Francis media campaign.

Certainly, Viganò has placed a well-deserved albatross around Francis' stiff, modernist neck for which he deserves credit.

But let us not forget that Viganò continues to carry an albatross around his own neck in the person of Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, formerly of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Napa Institute of Irvine, California.

Now if Viganò can plainly see the gross moral splinter in McCarrick's eye and is demanding his pound of flesh from Francis on the cover-up of McCarrick's homosexual/pederast, why has Viganò failed to see that same-sized splinter in Nienstedt's eye?

The reader will remember Viganò's two-page Nienstedt memo that the former Vatican emissary sandwiched in between his first and second testimonies.

That would have been the perfect opportunity to make amends for having interfered in the archdiocesan investigation of Archbishop Nienstedt in April 2014. And it would have demonstrated that Viganò is sincere in his attempt to purge the Catholic hierarchy of homosexual predators. After all, Nienstedt was charged with the same delicts as McCarrick including the sexual solicitation of seminarians.

But Viganò didn't do this. He did just the opposite.

Why then the selective outrage? Why is McCarrick a "monster" and Nienstedt not?

Let the Two Beasts Devour One Another

In closing, I'd like to state that if anyone believes that my criticism of Archbishop Carlos Viganò is somehow a maneuver to let Francis off the hook for his many moral and doctrinal trespasses against the Catholic faith, I would highly recommend a thorough reading of my open letter to Francis titled "On a Papal Commission of Inquiry into Homosexuality, Pederasty and La Lobby Gay in The Catholic Church" released on November 9, 2013.

This concluding article in the Nienstedt series reflects the wisdom of the old adage that the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. That is to say, the fact that the team of Viganò

and Opus Dei are issuing valid criticisms about Francis's tragic and heretical papacy does not make Viganò and Opus Dei a friend of Catholic traditionalists.

In this account of the ongoing battle over corruption of the Catholic Church, I leave the door open on the question as to whether or not Viganò has been an innocent dupe or one of the cunning "coordinators" in this planned media campaign we are now witnessing.

As for Opus Dei and Francis, I say, "A Plague o' both your Houses."

The End

© Randy Engel


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Randy Engel

Randy Engel, one of the nation's top investigative reporters, began her journalistic career shortly after her graduation from the University of New York at Cortland, in 1961. A specialist in Vietnamese history and folklore, in 1963, she became the editor of The Vietnam Journal, the official publication of the Vietnam Refugee and Information Services, a national relief program in South Vietnam for war refugees and orphans based in Dayton, Ohio... (more)


Receive future articles by Randy Engel: Click here

More by this author

May 14, 2024
A Documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part IV

May 10, 2024
A Documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part III

May 6, 2024
A documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus: The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part II

May 3, 2024
A documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus: The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part I

June 18, 2023
The life and times of Archbishop John R. Quinn & friends: A study of the West Coast homosexual network, Part IV

June 12, 2023
The life and times of Archbishop John R. Quinn & friends: A study of the West Coast homosexual network, Part III

June 9, 2023
The life and times of Archbishop John R. Quinn & friends: A study of the West Coast homosexual network, Part II

June 6, 2023
The life and times of Archbishop John R. Quinn & friends: A study of the West Coast homosexual network, Part I

February 13, 2023
A defense of Catholic sexual morality & condemnation of the Synodal Way, Part I

August 26, 2022
Bishop James T. McHugh: The forgotten man in the McCarrick equation (Part 5)

More articles


Stephen Stone
HAPPY EASTER: A message to all who love our country and want to help save it

Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
FLASHBACK to 2020: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Cliff Kincaid
Press Conference on America's 'Reefer Madness'

Jerry Newcombe
Throwing Israel under the bus

Pete Riehm
Leftist accusations are latent confessions

Tom DeWeese
City of 'yes, I want to be a slave'

Curtis Dahlgren
The year the tree trimmer gave the commencement address at Yale

Randy Engel
A Documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part IV

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 18: American Marxism: The Biden Regime—Obama's Third Term

Marsha West
Is the “Christian Right” doing the right thing in God’s eyes?

Victor Sharpe
'He who is kind to the cruel ends by being cruel to the kind'

Tom DeWeese
Competing titles: Tennessee House falls victim to ‘Agenda 21’ Conspiracy Theory vs Tennessee bans Agenda 2030, other glo

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Pillars of society: Reclaiming traditional motherhood in modern times

Randy Engel
A Documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part III
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites