Pages from Michael Butler's Journal
STORIES OF THE PAPACY
I was raised a pagan. Even though my Grandfather was a deacon of the Presbyterian church and had contributed the bells to the church, I was never baptized.
In my early twenties, I was living with Linda Christian and Tyrone Power. I was very much in love with them. As Ty had before me, I came under Linda's strong influence to become a Catholic. I asked Sargent Shriver to help me with instruction and he arranged this with his Monsignor. When I was baptized at St. Patrick's in New York City Ty was my Godfather. I had wanted Linda to be my Godmother but that was considered too far out and Lorelle Hearst stood for me.
Like most converts I became very involved with the Church. I eventually was part of Opus Dei, which at that time was a powerful lay organization which had tremendous political and economic influence, particularly in the Spanish speaking world. My field of work then was with INTRAFI and Butler Overseas. Due to this connection I was a member of the Finance Committee of Vision, South America's largest multi-national publication. I had contacts with Peron and was really fearful that he represented the greatest threat to the peace of the western hemisphere. He had the active support of the Pope, Pius XII. Furthermore, by rumor and our intelligence, we were besieged by stories that Argentina had become the hideaway for many prominent Nazis. These rumors added fuel to the tales of The Vatican's disregard for the fate of Jews suffering in the Nazi pogroms throughout Europe. We wanted to change that. As I was actively involved with The Vatican in some negotiations, I became the natural candidate to try to sway their position.
I was working with the Curia to acquire a papal title. These negotiations were going very well because I early realized that such an honour would require "good works"--what my favorite playwright, Christopher Moore of POPE JOAN would call a "handlers fee." It looked as if I would receive the title and I proceeded to negotiate with the Italian government to acquire the island of the title's name. The island was in the Mediterranean Sea north of Naples and Capri. Its possession was necessary to me. Having the title without the island was of no interest. I wanted to be the Count of Monte Cristo.
Well, as luck would have it, the Italian government could not give clear title because the island had belonged to the Italian royal family who would never give it up to the politicians who had driven them into exile. So my supreme fantasy, driven by the Dumas story, never came to pass.
I am getting ahead of my story of Pius XII. He granted me two audiences. The first one was while the Monte Cristo plans were moving ahead. He was quite surprised when I suddenly brought up the subject of Peron. The Pope stated that they were not supporting the Peronist movement, putting down the constant and persistent flood of intelligence that the Church was right behind Peron. The audience ended in some acrimony.
The next audience, after Monte Cristo was a dead issue and Peron even stronger in power, was more disappointing and quite disquieting. It was obvious that the Pope was out of it, surrounded by a bevy of Cardinals, and as was commonly said, "a bit ga-ga."
When I returned to my hotel, The Grand, a cable was waiting for me from my irreverent and beloved partner in discos, Olivier Coquelin. It said, "How was she--was she wearing Capezios?"
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