It is 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 cooperators, the Prelature has established and/or taken over many Catholic media outlets including EWTN, the National Catholic Register, and LifeSiteNews. It was through 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 Prensa (Spanish) to name a few.
Vaticanist and former journalist 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, LifeSite News, the Italian daily La Verità and the Spanish religious web site Info Vaticana. 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.
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 web page 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.
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 LifeSite News, La Veritas, and the Spanish religious web site Info Vaticana.
Let’s begin with Info Vaticana, 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 Info Vaticana would now be carrying the journalist’s blog Stilum Curiae.
Info Vaticana 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,” Info Vaticana 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, La Verità 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 LifeSite News, 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), LifeSite News, 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’s testimony by Diane Montagna, Rome correspondent and journalist for LifeSite News. Before joining LifeSite News, 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.
It is obvious that Marco Tosatti is an important member of Opus
Dei and no important member of the Opus Dei acts without the full approval
of the Prelature headquarters.
It logically follows that the Opus Dei was - and is - behind
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò's apparently selfless denouncement
of Francis as an enabler to homosexuality and pederasty in the Vatican
and the Roman Catholic Church at large.
This is most interesting considering that Francis is no more than
a golem of the Opus Dei.