In Bullying Around the World

Bullying in Vatican City

Vatican City is the smallest, independently recognized nation state in the world with a population of 842 people. It consists of about 110 acres of land, located within the city of Rome that is a walled enclave.

It is the center of the Holy See, which represents over one billion Catholics globally. The Holy See operates from Vatican City. It is a theocracy ruled by the Bishop of Rome, who is the “Pope.”  The Holy See started when St. Peter founded the Catholic Church in the early days of Christianity during the first century.

Global Influence
Even though the number of religious administrators of the Holy See is relatively small, their influence, amongst worldwide Catholics and many others, is enormous. The leaders of the Holy See are “the Vatican.”

The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church. In this role, he nominates all the individuals who serve in key positions for the Vatican. The Pope governs the Vatican directly, making the final decision on almost everything, except if other Vatican leaders want to overrule the Pope under certain circumstances.

The Pope governs the global Catholic Church through the “Roman Curia.” One of the Roman Curia’s main functions is to be the source of the official doctrine of the Catholic Faith.

Secrets of Bullying in Vatican City
The Pope, as the head of the Vatican, rules Vatican City as the world’s only surviving, absolute monarchy. The inner-workings of the Vatican and office bullying are not subject to public scrutiny, except on rare occasions. The Vatican makes significant efforts to keep what it does secret. Only, when there is the publication of an official doctrine or decree, or when the Pope speaks out publicly, do Catholics and others get to know the official positions of the church.

Corruption and Workplace Bullying in Vatican City
Sometimes, there are leaks of information showing workplace bullying tactics, cronyism, and corruption. One such incident occurred in 2011, when copies of faxes from Pope Benedict XVI leaked o the press. This incident got the label of “Vatileaks.”

Internal communications of Vatican leaders showed evidence of money laundering. Whistle-blowers lost their jobs, when they tried to take steps to address the problems. The workplace bullying, which happened during this period of the scandal, included a letter sent to multiple Vatican high officials that threatened to kill Pope Benedict XVI, for the public disclosure of anything about corruption.

When Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano brought evidence of corruption to the attention of Pope Benedict XVI, the archbishop lost his position as the Deputy-Governor of Vatican City. The perpetrators of the corruption went on unpunished, as if nothing happened.

After an internal investigation, the Vatican authorities arrested the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, for leaking the documents. When he went to trial in the Vatican court, he received a sentence of 18 months. Pope Benedict XVI later pardoned him.

Pope Benedict XVI was not in on the corruption, but was powerless to do anything about it. The bullying and death threats kept the Pope silent until his unexpected resignation on Feb. 11, 2013. Popes usually do not resign. They hold the position until their death. The last time a pope resigned was, Pope Gregory II in 1415. The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI came suddenly, shocking his staff. The excuse he used was his failing health, not the corruption, workplace bullying, and death threats happening at the Vatican.

Silence About Nazi Atrocities
A historical example of why people bully and the tacit support of political bullying in Vatican City was the “neutrality” shown towards Nazism by Pope Pius XII, who became Pope in 1933. Pope Pius XII got the nickname of “Hitler’s Pope,” in a book by the same name, written by John Cornwell.

The Jewish Virtual Library notes that Pope Pius XII remained publicly silent during Hitler’s rampage across Europe. Pius was completely aware of the bullying of Jewish people that pushed them first into ghettos and then sent them to concentration camps to die by the millions. A survey of the Vatican archives showed that it contained detailed information about Hitler’s genocide plans. This information came in to the Vatican during the papacy of Pope Pius XII. It is clear from the detailed historical record that Pope Pius XII was fully aware of what Hitler was doing; yet, remained silent about it, due to the pope’s anti-Semitism.

Although, Pope Pius XII did make a few modest efforts to save some Jews, when he could do so in a secret manner, he could have been much more influential. He had the chance to save many more lives, had he spoken out strongly and publicly about the atrocities committed by the Germans.

Opposition to “ Birth Bullying” by Catholic Doctrine
Those who oppose the Catholic church, think that parts of the official Catholic Church doctrine are personal issues bullying, such as:

  • The prohibition against using birth control of any kind – including not permitting condom use to prevent the spread of diseases like Zika and HIV. This is the subject of an ongoing controversy as reported by Crux Now.
  • Using the “after” pill to help rape victims avoid birthing an unwanted child.

Fusion reports that the current Pope Francis is saying birth control has some positive uses. In one of the quotes Pope Francis said, “Avoiding pregnancy is not absolutely evil.”

There is no official change in the Catholic Church’s prohibition of birth control; however, because of Pope Francis, at least there is now room for having an intelligent dialogue about it.

Pope Francis Takes a Stand Against Bullying
One man who wants to stop the bullying in Vatican City and elsewhere is Pope Francis. The Vatican started an initiative during the past two years to stop cyberbullying, which notes all the facts about cyberbullying.

As part of the Vatican outreach efforts, Catholic News reported that during May 2016, Pope Francis gave a talk about how to stop bullying, at a conference held in Vatican City.

At this event, Pope Francis met with a group of young people who are very influential on YouTube. When added together, they have over 25 million subscribers for their video blogs. The Pope asked them to help spread the message that we can get rid of bullying and aggression by listening to others more with tolerance and patience. These are the characteristics needed and to see the bullying signs to prevent bullying.

Pope Francis said to those attending the meeting that the level of global aggression needs to go down. He reminded us that the world needs people who are tender, humble, and who like to listen to others and walk together with them. He called for the eradication of arrogance and pride, because expressing those things always ends badly.

Pope Francis said that bullying is profoundly cruel aggression and war is the worst monument to such cruelty. After receiving a photo from a nun, of a child killed in a massacre caused by a civil war in Africa, the Pope noted that bullying could be a physical massacre and/or a massacre of the mind.

Pope Francis thinks that in order to build a better world, we must eliminate all forms of cruelty for a way how to handle bullying. The Pope recommended that it is better not to argue, but instead to persuade softly. His holiness reminded us all that everyone needs to feel that they belong, even if it is only a “virtual belonging,” that happens online. He said a smile, which gives hope, is better than talking too much. These methods help prevent the negative long term effects of bullying of kids, teens, and adults. Parents who understand how to define bullies and set good examples for their children can help their kids at school. Stories about bullies do not have to end in bad news.

Details about bullying in Vatican City are hard to uncover. Scandals brought out some horrible bullying information about workplace bullying in Vatican City. There is a breath of fresh air and optimism, which comes from the words of the current Pope Francis. When Pope Francis visited America, after hearing a story of a girl bullied for how she looks, he asked her to sing for him. She sang beautifully. Crying turned to smiles all around.

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