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Part I
16 Jan 2006

While Mass is being said in the Sistine Chapel and tourists are being shown the works of Michelangelo, deep within the bowels of the Vatican sits a large, circular room with 13 separate chambers, each leading to a distinct catacomb.

When a mummified body is placed in front of each doorway, a young child is then brutally sacrificed with a long, golden knife during what is said to be a secret induction ceremony for new members of the Illuminati, better known as the New World Order.

As a young freelance reporter in Rome during the early 1980s, I heard many rumors of these secret ceremonies from local shop owners, several drunken priests and a couple of local clairvoyants or fortune-telling card readers, one who apparently advised and guided the film career of the famous Italian film director, Federico Fellini.

Although a product of a Catholic education and graduate of Notre Dame High School before going on to college, I still couldn’t help but wonder if the stories about the brutal child sacrifices were actually true.

While on a story assignment or covering the weekly Papal address, I remember sneaking around the Vatican, on one occasion taking a flight of stairs down to the basement level in search of the secret room and the catacombs.

Of course, I never found the secret room or a hidden doorway leading to the tombs, my secret Indiana Jones hunt for the Satan’s Den interrupted by a Vatican security guard who escorted me to the top of the stairs after showing my press card and saying I was lost.

“One night alone in this place and I know I could break the biggest story in my lifetime,” I thought to myself, as I walked through St. Peter’s Square and looked up at the sculptures of the 12 Apostles staring down at me from the Vatican roof. 
Rome is like a huge small town with many neighborhoods, functioning like dozens of little villages within the city proper, each having its own distinct feel and flavor.

That particular day after trying to uncover the exact location of the Illuminati’s secret induction ceremonies, I stopped for cheese and a glass of white wine on the first narrow, cobblestone street next the Vatican, known in English as the “Street of the Whores.”

According to the locals, the street received this rather unusual name since for hundreds of years it housed many of the whores whose primary clientele were the Vatican cardinals, bishops and priests, as well as any visiting members of the clergy.

After World War II, the prostitution on the street eventually moved to a more secretive location, making way now for stores engaged in the lucrative business of selling religious paraphernalia like rosaries, pictures of the Pope’s and holy water. 

As I sat having a glass of wine and going through the Italian papers, the main headline read how Cardinal Paul Marcinkus, head of the Vatican Bank from 1971 to 1989, was indicted by Italian authorities (in 1982) as an accessory in the $3.5 billion collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, an Italian financial institution with close ties to the Vatican Bank.

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