"Emminent theologians" and "experts on the Vatican" do not write novels. Novels are the domain of the superficial fantisizer, the dreamer, the `Walter Middy' who is out of touch with reality and finds escape from his gnawing sorrow and mourning over dead ambitions.
When someone writes a book, there is always the final cause, the purpose or goal for writing. People write for profit, for vanity, for instruction and for destruction, and for entertainment.
It is particularly a matter subject to suspicion when an ex-Religious and defrocked priest starts to write about the Church. It is even more suspect when the author of a book deceitfully pretends that his work is just "a work of fiction."
`Fiction' is make-believe. It is the figment of an individual's imagination, with or without some foundation in reality. By its very definition, `fiction' in literature means a `novel.'
A novel pretending to use real life titles for offices in the real life Roman Catholic Church? And it is around this real environment that imaginary events take place?
There is a blanket disclaimer printed in the book VATICAN authored by Malachi Martin which astounds the intelligent reader. After reading this disclaimer, the reader should ask himself, or herself: "What is there in this book that can be taken for truth?" The answer, of course, would have to be: "Nothing!"
Here is what Martin writes: "This is a work of fiction. In order to create a dramatic climate that imitates reality, the author has used the correct names of certain offices and posts in the Catholic Church and elsewhere. However, it is not the author's intention to suggest that the real occupants, past or present, living or dead, of any such office, engaged in any activity mentioned or suggested in this book."
If you are an intelligent reader _ and I assume you are or else you would not be reading The Seraph _ you will experience a mental `red flag' going up. You will want to read that state of `general absolution' once again. Maybe even a third time.
What is the man saying? He is pretending to absolve himself from guilt. What kind of guilt? He wishes to forestall any impending expression of righteous indignation on the part of the Catholic Church for his disrespectful innuendoes and attempts at clever disguise.
His books are `works of fiction.' Yet, Malachi Martin, is billed as an "eminent theologian" and an `expert on the Vatican". Eminent theologians and experts on anything do not resort to writing novels. Theologians deal in intellectual realities; experts in other fields cautiously concern themselves with facts _ not fiction. Now, this ex-Jesuit _ who may have left the Society of Jesus for real reasons but supplies the public with fictional ones _ claims that he's just writing a story and is using a real institution to serve as the mold for that `fiction.'
Martin pretends to `imitate reality' by using the Catholic Church as his "Charlie McCarthy." The Church is to be his dummy. The persons occupying real offices will be made to say things which this "Edgar Bergen" will put into their mouths! But, they are not `real persons' according to Malachi!
I ask you, how many people do you really (not fictionally!) think will be able to make the necessary distinctions that must be made in these `fictional novels'? You know, and I know, that the majority of people are going to accept whatever the author writes, not as fiction, but as fact. And that's a fact.
The effrontery practiced by Martin is that he puts his own sentiments or manufactured sentiments into clearly identifiable persons. Take for example, his deliberately recognizable name for Pope Pius XII, "Profumi." That he certainly means Pope Pius XII is clear from the fact that Mussolini ruled and died in the reign of Pope Pius XII. Martin places the following words in Pope Pius XII's mouth: "Il Duce will be slaughtered and bled like a pig by the Communist partisans .He must be saved, Maestro .for the sake of Italy. And for the sake of much more."
It is no co-incidence that on a talk show with Art Bell, Malachi Martin alluded to the suffering and death of our Lord on the Cross, saying that "He bled like a pig." It was not a Catholic who called in to protest such gross vulgarity describing the sufferings of our Lord, it was a Protestant.
Quite apart from the vulgarity and lack of sensitivity involved, what even more curious is the allusion that Christ "bled like a pig" and Mussolini would be "bled like a pig" by the Communists.
These words were placed in the mouth of a Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. The next line is even more enigmatic: "He must be saved, Maetro for the sake of Italy. And for the sake of much more."
I wonder how many readers paused to consider these words and the purpose for which Martin placed these words _ Malachi Martin's words _ into the mouth of a "fictional Pope, Eugenio Profumi" who happened to be the "real imitation" of a real Pope, Eugenio Pacelli.
The entire book is nothing more than a boring collection of newspaper notes fashioned into even more boring and relentless verbiage. The book does nothing to uplift one's flagging idealism, but serves only to picture the Catholic Church as the majority of Her enemies and their dupes would like to see Her. Here is where Malachi Martin reaps financial reward and, perhaps the real purpose of his writings: To make the Catholic Church, the Bride of Jesus Christ, look like a slut in the eyes of the whole world.
A word about his other books. I haven't had the time to waste on them as I would genuinely like to. However, once the author's style is recognized, it is not too difficult to know what to expect. The reader is not disappointed.
In his book The Final Conclave, Martin suggests to his readers how St. Peter died. Even though tradition has it that St. Peter was crucified head down because he did not feel worthy to die like his divine Master, Martin describes the fictional death of St. Peter in this way.
Christians are burning and screaming while Romans are laughing through the smell and the smoke of burning flesh.
It's Peter's turn, we are told. But, thanks to the gods! Peter is going to be spared. Oh, he's going to die alright. There is nor reprieve from that. Not the fire, but the sword will send him to heaven. But, how?! How is it that Peter would not suffer the same fate of the others? How is it that, even though there is s shrine in Rome on the spot where St. Peter was crucified, even though this matter had never been disputed, we are given a dose of `new history'? Malachi Martin will supply the `fiction' once again: " `By the grace of Afranus Burrus, Jew,' the centurion mutters quietly and dutifully, as he tenses for the strike. Simon Peter is not for burning. Burrus, a Christian convert with influence in high places, has obtained as last favor for Simon Peter that he die by the sword."(The Final Conclave).
We are not supposed to reproach or rebuke Martin because, after all, everything that he suggests to us is fiction. He told us that from the beginning.
Well, then, how did this change in history take place? Simple. All it required was a few lines on his typewriter or computer, and all two thousand years of history was changed by an insignificant "eminent theologian" and "expert on the Vatican" _ not to mention an "exorcist" of many years.
We find a centurion mumbling to himself on page 8 of Martin's book. "By the grace of Afranus Burrus, a Jew" Peter will not die crucified head down. No. He will be `honored' with the cold blade of a centurion's sword.
Who is this thus far unheard of individual, Afranus Burrus? I struggle with the temptation to suspect a contrived name here. A name contrived by the penchant of Malachi Martin to use various pseudonyms for himself. Anyway, this `Afranus Burrus' is a "Christian convert with influence in high places." That, it appears, is how Mr. Burrus was able to obtain this last favor for Peter. Apparently, Mr. Burrus did many favors for Simon Peter. But, of course, you must not believe this because, after all, Malachi Martin will assure you that it is nothing but an imaginary story.
The next step, obviously, is to take the Catholic Church and the Catholic Religion as nothing more than a fiction _ that is, an imaginary story; a novel.
And this explains the tremendous following that Malachi Martin has among ignorant Catholics all over the country. Calling these people `ignorant' is a kindness. For, someone who is ignorant is someone who lacks knowledge about something. Ignorance is dispelled by having objective facts from which judgments can be made. You can't make a judgment with fiction. But that is exactly what Malachi Martin expects to do and knows that he will succeed. He succeeds because he has the enemies of the Church on his side.
If you do not wish to believe that, then just look at the kind of people who shower praise upon his books.
It is a pity that Jesus did not know any Jews in His time whom He could convert and be spared the ignominious death on the Cross. It would seem that in the mind of Malachi Martin, Peter was more important and more influential than Jesus. After all, the best that Jesus could do was to have someone like Nicodemus who followed Him by night for fear of the Jews, go to Pilate to get Christ's body for a decent burial.
Are Martin's books worth the time and expense? Perhaps St. Paul summed up the answer to this and like questions when he wrote to Bishop Timothy:
"Dearly beloved: I charge thee, in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus, Who will judge the living and the dead by His coming and by His kingdom, preach the word, be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke with all patience and teaching. For there will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their own lusts, and they will turn aside rather to fables (novels). But do thou be watchful in all things, bear with tribulation patiently, work as a preacher of the gospel, fulfill they ministry."
It is difficult to conceive that an eminent theologian would have the time to spend writing silly novels. Judging from the many who follow Malachi Martin enthralled by his fables, a reasonable man would conclude that the time spoken of by St. Paul to St. Timothy has come!
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