Eamonn McCann - The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI

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There has been a delay in producing an English-language edition of Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi’s “His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI”, which is a pity. I have no doubt copies would be snapped up in Derry quicker than you could say Habemus Papam.

The book is based on documents leaked from Pope Benedict’s innermost circle and said to reveal a web of deceit and corruption which looks set to leave the credibility of the Holy See in tatters. A hunt for the source of the leak ended with news that the butler did it. Benedict’s personal manservant, Paolo Gabriele, is now held incommunicado in a cell in a deep recess of the Vatican, perhaps praying for release, perhaps just praying.

Top Vatican sources have described the book as “a brutal attack on the Pope” and castigated the Italian media for “exaggerating and lying”. However, American journalist Greg Paul says that it exposes “the highest ranks of the Holy See as shady underhanded conspirators and conniving rivals so corrupt that J P Morgan announced that it will no longer deal with the Vatican Bank on suspicions of nefarious money-laundering.”

J P Morgan, along with Goldman Sachs, has come to be regarded as the epitome of Wall Street ruthlessness, greed and amorality and was cited last month by Barak Obama as a prime example of the reason the US needs stricter regulation of banks and finance houses.

If J P Morgan reckons you are too corrupt to do business with, you are in trouble. Although not, perhaps, in as much trouble as your customers.

I see that the new series of “The Borgias” is under way on Sky on Saturday nights. Well worth a look. Measure and marvel at the extent of the changes that have come across the Holy See in the intervening centuries.

The costumes, hardly changed, though. Purple never goes out of fashion.