Shakespeare on the Pope Blessing the CIA Director

beyond thought, Thank you for helping to keep the world safe“’Tis too much proved – that with devotion’s visage
And pious action we do sugar o’er
The devil himself.”

 (Hamlet, act 3, sc. 1)

Comments. If the director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, can get a blessing from the Pope, it is high time to dial up Milton and from his Paradise Lost call up Lucifer suggesting an equivalent undertaking. Of course, it is entirely possible that the Pope had not been informed of drone strikes, mass killings at weddings, at funerals, at markets and other venues. Nor of the 1.3 million victims in Iraq. Plus torture, targeted killings of people on the black list (orwellianly called ‘disposition matrix’) and arbitrary jailing of suspects with no reason given and no defense allowed.
The Pope saying to the CIA director, “Thank you for helping to keep the world safe” exceeds the power of the imagination of anyone blessed with the power of thought without the blessing of the Pope.
According to a Catholic dogma issued in the 1870s, the Pope is infallible (sic). At the time the debate extended for a long time – with the foreign cardinals arguing for fallibility (i.e. the Pope can make a mistake) and the Italian cardinals arguing for infallibility. Those in favor of fallibility were called the “fallibilists” and those in favor of infallibility, “infallibilists”.
All cardinals were housed in Rome at the Vatican’s expense with understandable weight and concern for the budget. And in Italian, to go bankrupt reads “to fail”.
Worried about the time taken for a final deliberation (and the ensuing extended cardinals’ residence), the Pope (Pius IX) was heard saying, “These fallibilists and these infallibilists will make me fail.” By the way, the “infallibilists” won.
Therefore we can conclude safely (I’d almost say infallibly) that the CIA has kept the world ‘safe’, and, what is more, with the Pope’s blessing. And no, this is not a nightmare, this is the real thing.

Tips for Use.  What could be more accurate in describing the devotion’s visage with which so many attempt to shelter crime under a veil of devotion, when not of sanctity (as it almost seems the case in the instance).

In the play. Part of the conversation between Polonius and Ophelia – he tells her to read or pretend to read a book while waiting for the arrival of Hamlet. All is part of a scheme to find out what is really bothering Hamlet.

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