Infernal Correspondence

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The Pandaemonium Club
666 Pall Mall
London, SW1Y 5ER

My Dear Wormwood,

I confess that, at first, I did not know what to make of the Vigano affair. Such outspokenness had something of the righteous wrath of the enemy about it. I feared it might bring our successful infiltration into the very heart of the Vatican to an abrupt end. For a moment I thought that there was going to be an almighty cleansing of the Augean stables. But I need not have feared. Your timely intervention has averted disaster!

Persuading Francis to take a vow of silence on the matter was a masterstroke on your part.

He, of course, saw it not only as a cunning ruse to avoid awkward questions, but also as a proof of his own spiritual and moral superiority. (How vain these humans are!)

On the contrary, as you yourself saw straight away, it serves our purposes capitally. If the Pope thinks he is holier-than-thou (or indeed than anyone else) he will hardly be enthusiastic about the ‘independent and thorough-going investigations’ that people are demanding. The very gratifying result is that our chaps can sleep comfortably in their luxury Vatican apartments.

But there is more.

If the Church authorities are not seen to be investigating and regulating themselves, then someone else will step in and do it for them. The spiritual heritage of two thousand years will fall into the self-righteous hands of the heirs of the Enlightenment: the French Revolution all over again!

It is a prospect, I admit, that I view with relish. No tumbrils, this time, of course (that was a mistake which I argued against at the Grand Council in 1790) –  but ritual humiliation before the civil courts for every prelate who dares to raise his silly opinionated head!

With my fondest wishes and deepest appreciation,

Your loving uncle,

Screwtape.

PS If you can keep Francis preaching every morning in the vein he has been recently, it will render any change of heart on his part virtually impossible. Well done.

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