Los Angeles Times
May 23, 1981 - p. 8
Masonic Lodge Scandal
Shakes Italian Regime
ROME The Italian Cabinet appears certain to be reshuffled and the government could fall in the wake of revelation that several prominent politicians belong to a secret Masonic lodge, parliamentary sources said Friday.
The membership list of the P-2 Lodge was published Thursday by order of Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani, and among the 963 people named were two Cabinet ministers, 30 members of Parliament, the leader of a government party, the chief of the defense staff and the heads of the secret service.
Lodge brothers included Michele Sindona, serving 25 years in jail in the United States in connection with the collapse of his banking empire, and Roberto Calvi and Paolo Bonomi, two Milan financiers arrested this week for fraud.
All members swore loyalty to Licio Gelli, the lodge's grand master who fled abroad during investigations into allegations he was involved in a gasoline fraud scandal last year that is said to have cost the government up to $2 billion.
"Membership of the party and adherence to the Freemasons cannot be other than incompatible," said Flaminio Piccoli, secretary of the Christian Democrats, which head the four-party governing coalition.
Another coalition party, the Social Democrats, whose leader Pietro Longo was on the Masonic list, took a more relaxed view. But the small Republican Party regards the matter with alarm.
"The P-2 Lodge, ostensibly a Masonic organization, in reality seems to have been a center of hidden and corrupt power . . .," party secretary Giovanni Spadolini said.
The Socialists, without whom the government cannot survive, have not declared their position. President Sandro Pertini has demanded that the government clarify the whole issue.