Yesterday, as we began our meditations on Generosity, Robert Hanssen died in prison. He was serving 15 consecutive life sentences for betraying his country.
Hanssen has been called the most damaging spy in American history who betrayed pro-American spies to Russia and got many of them killed. Assigned to a counterintelligence unit in New York, he sold highly-classified national security information to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash plus bank funds and diamonds (!).
At first I thought to write about Hanssen would interrupt our meditations on Generosity. But in fact, he sheds light on generosity because he demonstrated the opposite, and a spiritual term is often best approached by going to its opposite first.
Following are some opposites of Generosity: acquisitive, avaricious. begrudging, close fisted, costive, greedy, selfish, unkind, cruel, harsh, mean, stingy, selfish and ungenerous.
Since Hanssen did it for the money, it would seem he excelled at all these in addition to being hypocritical and disloyal to his country and his profession.
I wrote about Robert Hanssen when I wrote my book on The Pope’s War, a history of the papacy under Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II both of whom championed Opus Dei. Hanssen was an active member of Opus Dei. As is the current archbishop of Los Angeles who recently stepped down as head of the Catholic Bishops of the U.S. And also Leonardo Leo who has been called the “third most important person in America.”
Leo, co-chairman of the Federalist Society, is personally responsible for the six most extreme supreme court judges and was recently in the news for being photographed partying with judge Clarence Thomas and his well-known benefactor, billionaire republican Harlan Crow, in the latter’s backyard.
The head of FBI during Hanssen’s tenure was Opus Dei. Opus Dei bishops and cardinals appointed under the previous two popes were greatly responsible for killing liberation theology and base communities in Central and South America.
Opus Dei was founded by a fascist priest, Jose Escriva, and its members saddled up with dictator Franco for decades. Opus Dei goes where the power is–especially finance, media, governmental institutions and courts.
They got their founder, a proven misogynist who once said he admired Hitler, canonized a saint faster than anyone else in history and succeeded in canonizing Junipero Serra. They seem very fond of money (and diamonds) and the power that goes with it.
Tomorrow we return to a positive meditation on Generosity.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, pp. 106-124.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: FBI photo of imprisoned spy Robert Hanssen. Wikimedia Commons.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you recognize that going to the opposite of a spiritual term first often sheds deep light on its meaning? What are some examples of that for you?
The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved
The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The final section in the book focuses on birthing a truly catholic christianity.
“This book should be read by everybody, not only for its ferocious courage, but also for its vision for what needs to be saved from the destructive forces that threaten authentic Christianity.” ~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope.
“In the gripping The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox takes an unwavering look at the layers of corruption in the Catholic Church, holding moral truth against power.” — Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II