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Italian Geo-Strategist Fuels Debate Over Pope Benedict’s Resignation

An article published recently by an Italian geo-strategist and university professor has again sparked questions concerning the reasons for Pope Benedict XVI’s surprising resignation in 2013. Professor Germano Dottori, a professor at the Institute for Strategic Studies at LUISS-Guido Carli University in Rome, wrote an article in the the 4/2017 issue of Limes, a geo-strategic journal, which was later picked up by Italian journalist Alessandro Rico and Italian commentator and author Antonio Socci, as well as by Giuseppe Nardi of Katholisches.de in Germany.

While discussing the role of the Catholic Church with respect to larger geo-strategic considerations – such as the vast immigration into Italy and the apparently growing bonds with the Orthodox Church in Moscow – Dottori makes the following stunning, but substantiated, comments (translation kindly provided by Andrew Guernsey):

The conflicts between the Church and the United States did not become less, even with the passing of John Paul II. They instead continued during the pontificate of Pope Ratzinger, in the course of which, what exacerbated them was not only the [policy and strategic] investment made by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood during the so-called Arab Spring, but also the firm desire of Benedict XVI to achieve an historic reconciliation with the Patriarchate of Moscow [under Patriarch Kirill], the true and proper religious coronation of a geopolitical project of Euro-Russian integration, which were in his intentions strongly supported by Germany and also by Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy – but not by that more American-friendly one [Italy], which is to be recognized in Giorgio Napolitano [Italian President, 2006-2015].

How it has come to an end is well-known to everyone. The Italian and papal governments were simultaneously hit by a scandalous, coordinated, and unusually violent and unprecedented campaign, even involving more or less opaque maneuvers in the financial field, with the final effect coming to a head in November 2011 with Berlusconi’s departure from the Palazzo Chigi and, on February 10 [sic – 11], 2013, the abdication of Ratzinger. At the height of the crisis, Italy progressively saw its access to international financial markets closed, while the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) [the Vatican Bank] was temporarily cut out of the Swift 4 circuit.

In spite of the considerable change made both in Italian politics and in the Vatican, the difficulties have, however, continued to persist, a fact that confirms their structural nature and does not allow for our envisaging any short or medium-term simplification of the context within which our government will have to assume in the future the most important decisions in the field of its foreign policy.

Here an Italian expert in geo-strategic studies thus claims that both the Italian government under Berlusconi and the papacy of Benedict XVI were toppled due to financial maneuvers that put both states in jeopardy. Alessandro Rico published, on 17 May, an article entitled “Ratzinger costretto ad abdicare dal ricatto di Obama” (“Ratzinger Forced to Abdicate Due to Obama’s Blackmail”) in the Italian newspaper La Verità. Rico himself puts the Dottori statement in context with the 20 January 2017 Open Letter to President Trump, published by the traditional Catholic newspaper The Remnant, which called for an investigation into a possible U.S. intervention against Pope Benedict XVI. As Rico points out, Pope Benedict at the time stood in opposition to President Obama’s collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood, especially with the pope’s Regensburg address in which he criticized Islamist fundamentalism. The U.S., as Rico along with Dottori explains, was not in favor of a papal rapprochement with the Patriarch of Moscow which could further support a European rapprochement with Russia. A partial basis for this desired rapprochement could also be a rejection of the moral relativism of the West.

When speaking about the financial pressure that was, in 2013, put on the Vatican by excluding the Papal State from the SWIFT system – which interrupted the credit card payments in the Vatican City, and thus in the Vatican museums – Rico also recalls: “Strangely, this [SWIFT] function was re-established immediately after the resignation of Benedict XVI.”

We recall here, too, that as recently as March of 2017, several influential Catholic voices – among them Archbishop Luigi Negri and Ettore Gotti Tedeschi (the former head of the Vatican Bank) had supported The Remnant‘s request and suspicion. My husband Dr. Robert Hickson, a retired professor from the Joint Military Intelligence College and the Joint Special Operations University, also points to the “importance of financial warfare, especially in the cybernetic world, as part of fractal warfare, whereby a small change (a “delta”) may lead to a great and disproportionate effect.”

Antonio Socci, in his own post on this new Dottori revelation, refers back to another interview which Dottori had previously given to Zenit, on 13 November 2016. Dottori then said, when asked about the recent Wikileaks scandal concerning Hilary Clinton’s staff and its influencing of the Catholic Church, as follows (and as again kindly translated by Andrew Guernsey):

Documents turned up in which a strong desire emerges from Hillary’s staff to spark a revolt from the inside of the Church in order to weaken the hierarchy. They made use of associations and grassroots pressure groups, following a consolidated scheme from the experience of the colored revolutions. We’re not yet at the smoking gun, but we’re close. Although I have no proof, I have always thought that Benedict XVI was driven to abdication by a complex plot, ordered by those who had an interest in blocking reconciliation with the Russian orthodox, the religious pillar of a project of progressive convergence between Continental Europe and Moscow. For similar reasons, I believe that Cardinal [Angelo] Scola’s race to succeed [Benedict XVI] was also stopped, who, as the Patriarch of Venice, had conducted negotiations with Moscow. To be certain, however, we will have to obtain more evidence. From Wikileaks we have also become aware of operations of psychological conditioning recently undertaken towards Pope Francis. They miserably failed: Bergoglio is renewing the Church, to strengthen it, and certainly not to weaken it as some wanted, and he signed a true and proper armistice with Kirill [of Moscow], amidst so much division within the reciprocal spheres of influence. Right below the coast of the United States, in Cuba [where Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill signed the document].

While Antonio Socci is quoting some of these words of Professor Dottori, he explains that this does not mean that Pope Benedict’s sudden resignation was forced. In Socci’s eyes, it rather shows us that there is a “colossal mystery” which, amidst many pressures, surrounds Pope Benedict’s choice, finally, to resign.


Correction: when this text was first published, we had stated that La Verità is “a publication which has no inclination toward traditional Catholicism at all, but, rather, sharply rebukes traditional and conservative Catholics in that same 17 May issue” in which Alessandro Rico. Mr. Rico himself contacted us to correct the record, stating: “I would also like to signal that it is not completely true that ‘La Verità’, as written in your post, has no inclination towards traditionalist Catholicism. Quite the contrary: many leading figures of Italian traditionalist Catholicism publish their contributions on that journal, which is one of the few, if not the only one, to host their pieces.” We have removed that portion of the sentence from our article accordingly.

This post has been updated. 

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