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(Only three other people received this award.) Gehlen, who was not a Catholic, was touted as a formidable ally in the holy crusade against godless Marxism. “It gets a little crazy,” he said, “when you let one thing [anticommunism] take over to the extent that you forgive everything else.” The SMOM had given a different prestigious award in 1946 to another high-level CIA operative, James Jesus Angleton.After the war he and his well-developed spy apparatus—staffed largely by ex-Nazis—joined the fledgling CIA. “It had to do with counterintelligence,” An-gleton told Mother Jones, when asked why he was chosen for such a distinction.During World War II, Angleton was head of the Rome station of the OSS.Later, on his return to Washington, he ran what was tantamount to the “Vat-ican desk” for the CIA.But the CIA’s interest in the Catholic church is not limited to intelligence gathering.
In 1941, the year before the OSS was officially constituted, Donovan forged a close alliance with Father Felix Morlion, founder of a European Catholic intelligence service known as Pro Deo.
Protestants, Jews, Muslims and di-vorced or separated Catholics are ineligible.
“The eight-pointed white cross stands out everywhere as a symbol of charity toward mankind and as a comfort and consolation to the sick and the poor,” says Cyril Tou-manoff, official historian of the SMOM.
A year-long Mother Jones investigation has revealed a number of unlikely channels—both overt and covert—which the agency uses to bring its influence to bear upon that policy. John Paul’s recent trip to Nicaragua could not have been matched by any American’s for the contri-bution it made to President Reagan’s Central American initiative. C., that the pope’s forth-coming trip to Poland, where 90 percent of the people are Catholic, will re1 spark the anti-Soviet upris-ing so vital to Reagan’s plans for Eastern Europe.
Since World War II, the CIA has: It was in this last regard that the CIA supported factions within the Catholic church that were instrumental in pro-moting and electing the current pope, John Paul II, whose Polish nationalism and anti-Communist credentials, they thought, would make him a perfect vehicle for U. Dark Knight of the Soul Every year in late June a bizarre ritual takes place in Rome.Although the order has no land mass other than a small headquarters in Rome, this unique papal entity holds the status of nation-state.