I'm Michael Voris coming to you from Rome in advance of next week's Amazon Synod.
Although a majority of Catholics probably don't think in these terms when pondering Rome and the Vatican, it is a pool of intrigue, of personal politics of destruction, of competing agendas based on personalities.
Truth is, it's always been this way to one degree or another, it's just that pilgrims and visitors don't think about it because, well, they don't have to.
But, according to Church Militant friends in the Vatican — and yes, we do have friends inside — what's very different under the papacy of Francis is the vindictiveness and pettiness that is the normal course of business here.
Things have gotten so bad, in fact, that people who work here have taken to calling this pontificate "The Reign of Terror."
Despite the politics and machinations underlying all the intrigue, the truth is there is still actual work that needs to go on. Running a billion-plus person operation does require that people show up every day and actually do actual work.
For example, there are marriage cases that need to be reviewed, priests cases that need investigation, accounting issues that need auditing, personnel decisions and so forth.
In addition to the spiritual aspect, which has been relegated to the back of the bus, there are also temporal concerns which need addressing — the show, as they say, must go on.
And that is why the intrigue is so dangerous. It has reached such levels of personal vindictiveness that the actual work of the Vatican has come to a virtual standstill.
Various cardinals and archbishops have many, and deep, secrets to hide; and between the threat of blackmail, or being exposed as not being on board with the trajectory of the Francis papacy, or just plain old revenge, there is a pall of fear hanging over the Vatican.
Take, for example, just the area of finances, the costs to run the place day to day. The Wall Street Journal in fact highlighted this just yesterday.
For example, the Holy See's deficit doubled in 2018 to roughly €70 million, which is nearly $80 million U.S.
In response, Pope Francis has ordered the head of the Vatican's financial oversight council, Cdl. Reinhard Marx, "to study all measures deemed necessary to safeguard the economic future of the Holy See and to ensure that they are put into effect as soon as possible."
There are a number of reasons that the deficit is ballooning.
First, there are simply less donations coming into the Vatican.
When it was announced that Francis took some of the Peter's Pence collection last year — half a million — and gave it to support the migrant influx into the United States from Central America, many American Catholics called it quits.
The enormous scandal involving the U.S. Papal Foundation which broke in the wake of the Theodore McCarrick scandal also gave many Americans pause about donating a dime to the Vatican.
Likewise, Legatus, an association of U.S. Catholic business owners, also publicly stated it was withholding its annual donation of almost a million dollars until the sex and money scandals were cleared up.
Additionally, the seemingly non-stop circus of synods and extraordinary meetings and last February's sex summit all combine to drain the budget. And this month's Amazon Synod has extraordinary costs associated with it. Even heresy has a hefty price tag.
And if dealing with budget deficits and financial shortfalls isn't difficult enough just on its own, when you layer on top of that personal agendas, the Vatican has become one big, dysfunctional mess.
For example, there is a practice here politely known as "demotion by promotion" — meaning when it's determined someone needs to be pushed out because they disagree with the Pope or his henchman who are running the show day to day, a person is either made an example of, like Cdl. Raymond Burke or Cdl. Gerhard Müller, or that person is simply shipped up and out to another assignment, like a nuncio office somewhere else on the planet.
The moving of influential personnel out of the Vatican and into the diplomatic corps is a routine practice, a signal sometimes, in fact, that Francis sees those men as enemies who cannot be at the Vatican.
They are removed by promotion; that way everything appears copasetic but in reality is just a cover for malfeasance and revenge and punishment.
Another fallout from this huge dysfunction is that the middle management, the folks who actually administer the day-to-day operations of the various curial offices, are being fired, shifted around, demoted, transferred and laid off.
This has created a massive headache in administration because first, there is a huge shortage of bodies to get the actual work done, and second, many of the people being axed were the ones with experience, who knew how the wheels turned — in short, how to get things done.
There is hardly one curial office that has not been severely impacted by this, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — the CDF — which handles some of the most difficult cases in the Church.
There is an enormous backlog which is causing havoc, and the situation is directly attributable to Pope Francis' dismissal of senior middle managers who knew all the protocols and how to keep the machine moving.
But the CDF isn't the only congregation impacted, and it's not just a financial calculus going into these decisions.
It's also ideological — in fact, according to our sources, it's largely ideological.
According to them, Francis is, in their words, turning the Vatican into North Korea.
The operating principle inside these walls is fear. For all the talk about caring for humanity and reaching out to the most vulnerable, none of it should be believed.
The truth is for those who work for the Pope in the Curia, his papacy is a tyranny racked with fear, uncertainty, constant instability and revenge — all masked over by a false humility.
Some of this actually bubbles to the surface from time to time, like when Pope Francis publicly scolds them at annual meetings, insulting them and accusing them of various things, like gossip and pettiness.
The reality, according to sources, is that Francis has set up an out of control, unaccountable, alternative curia, and, to do so, has denuded the existing staff and offices, creating havoc and mayhem behind the scenes.
His alternative curia is, for example, responsible for locking down all information regarding the Theodore McCarrick investigation and to deflect all inquiries, in short, waiting the scandal out until interest in it has passed.
But this costly alternative curia is also leading the charge against Church doctrine in reformulating and carefully parsing existing teaching.
Lots of Catholics are becoming red-pilled to the outward manifestations of this. What they do not see is what we have just reported: a scuttling of tradition, protocols, best practices and good accounting practices, all at the service of creating an alternative-style Catholicism.
It takes a lot of energy and effort to dismantle a 2000-year-old Church.