The following is just a starter list that I throw out off the cuff. I’m sure I can add to the list, but this will give you an idea.
I was a bit of a dullard back in the day, the mid-1980s. I was a deacon on my way to Nicaragua to deliver medicines to the Catholic clinics and Mass stipends to be distributed to priests by a religious community of nuns. On the way I sat next to a CIA guy working a cover as a communications guy for State at the local embassy in Managua (he was delivering massive cargo bins acting as his “diplomatic pouch”). This arrangement of being companions on the flight took two days for him to arrange, which delayed the trip. C’est la vie. Anyway, after what seemed like ten million questions on the longest portion of the flight leaving from Miami, he gave me his card and said that if I had any problems I was to request to see only him at the embassy. Usually, CIA are to keep their identities quiet, but conditions in Nicaragua were such that they let that rule be loosened up really a lot, kind of unique in the whole world. At one of the stops on the way, I think San Salvador, he watched over his cargo bins outside the plane, but then quick ran into the “airport.” He came out with an expensive bottle of whiskey, which he gave to me, asking me to give that to Cardinal Obando y Bravo of Managua who he knew I already had an appointment to see. Since it wasn’t for me, I thought this was acceptable. Maybe I am mistaken. Anyway, I was then obliged by the CIA Whiskey guy to see number 2 at the Embassy instead of himself within a period of 72 hours from landing. Sometimes, when they work with the naive, like me, they get what they want anyway.
Years later, over in Italy, the top brass of the anti-mafiosi of the Guardia di Finanza, insisted, strongly, repeatedly, with follow-ups, that I allow myself to be shuttled by police round about Italy, wherever I needed to go. All I had to do was to call the local police station and they would come with a car. Quite the bribe as I was at the time about 100 kms from Rome and local transport was often cancelled, meaning I would have to walk miles up a mountain. However, to his consternation, frustration, anger, I never took advantage of this offer. He was wanting me to spy on the Cardinals up in the apartments on top of San Callisto, which I’ve often called the Vatican’s Pentegon. I was, in fact, up there quite a bit. But the spying? Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. The pressure was put on for quite a number of years, sometimes benevolent pressure, sometimes malicious. Anything malicious I would follow up on right away until the cowardly backed down. That’s always the case.
This was going on about the same time the Italian Ministry of Defense wanted me to spy on some Mafiosi for them in southern Italy. The bribe was their offering me an assignment in a nice parish to be arranged by the liaison between the Ministry of Defense and the Holy See. The bribe came with the price of betraying penitents who came to sacramental Confession. Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. Meanwhile, stories of what happened to priests who didn’t cooperate were coming my way. Interesting, but not having effect.
So many stories flood into memory as I write this, but in an effort not to make this too long, let me just add some mentions of things from right around the world. There are those, particularly in the CIA, who are convinced that I am some sort of agent of said agency. You would think they would have noticed that I’m a priest. Anyway, the items or most extraordinary assignments I’ve been offered from which I could provide, um, information, are myriad. Since it’s not thought that I’m actually a priest (that being some sort of tricky cover, I guess), the bribes have sometimes been more, let’s say, secular in nature. For instance, I recall being shown NON-pornographic pictures of women which pictures nevertheless certainly objectified women also as sex objects. That may entice some 007 guy to go along with whatever so as “get some”, but I’m married to the Church with the wedding vows at the consecrations at Holy Mass. And anyway, also someone who is not a priest should not be interested in objectifying women or in taking advantage of pre-objectified women.
I call to mind a certain bribe that was given by the chief priests and received by the Apostle Judas Iscariot, thirty pieces of silver, the price at which they valued the Son of the Living God.