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    • Synod’s Gross Distortion of International Pressure & Gay Marriage. October 20, 2014
      There only two paragraphs In the synod’s final “Relatio” referring specifically to homosexuality. The second of these, which was approved by the comfortable margin of 159 to 21, states (in a modified Google translation): 56 It is totally unacceptable that the Pastors…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
    • Two (or Three) Steps Forward, One Back Is Still Progress. October 19, 2014
      Much of the gay/ progressive commentary on the final synod statement has expressed “disappointment” that it omitted the language of welcome that had been included in the interim report released after the first week. A post by Frank DeBenardo at…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
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      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • Where Are You? October 26, 2011
      Greetings to all others who grace these pages! Thank you for stopping by. If you still have a reader pointed here, this blog no longer publishes in this location, but can be found at this new link. Please subscribe to the new feed, get the new blog via email or read us by liking us on Facebook or by following me on Twitter.If you want more, please feel free […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Fran)
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • LGBT Catholics Respond to Synod 2014's Final Report October 19, 2014
      A compilation of quotes and links to articles and commentaries about the final report of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, also known as the Synod on the Family.The respectful language of the midterm report is gone. A return to what we've heard for decades will dishearten LGBT people, same-sex couples, and our families.Wh […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • The Soul of My Love October 19, 2014
      I am not of this world nor the next,not of heaven, nor of purgatory.My place is the placeless,my trace is the traceless.It is not the body nor is it the soul,for I belong to the soul of my love.I have put duality awayand seen the two worlds as one.One I seek, One I know.One I see, One I call.He is First, He is Last.He is the Outward, He is the Inward.I know […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

    • I'm Going to Sit at the Welcome Table One of These Days: A Sunday Sermon October 19, 2014
      The first thing we need to know about the old Negro spiritual "I'm Going to Sit at the Welcome Table" is that it originates among people in bondage. It was developed and sung by slaves, by people who had no welcome at all in the world in which they lived. They had no welcome because they owned nothing at all. They were, quite precisely, the ow […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • Photos You Requested As My Book Received Booker-Worthen Prize October 18, 2014
      Someone (I think it may have been you, Mary Q?) asked that I share photos when I received the Booker-Worthen prize this past Thursday. Unfortunately, no photos were taken.But so I won't leave you entirely in the lurch, and since you asked, I've snapped photos of the front (above) and back of the program (below).As you'll see, the awards ceremo […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
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    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • More Reflections and Reviews October 19, 2014
      I just finished watching the very interesting crime film, The Calling, with Susan Sarandon (the lead) and Donald Sutherland (in a supporting role). Ms. Sarandon is the local police investigator charged with tracking down a serial killer, who appears to be dispatching his victims for religious reasons. Donald Sutherland has a brief, but memorable cameo as a C […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron )
    • Synecdotal Ruminations and Reviews October 16, 2014
      The Road Through the WildernessIt's been a month since my last posting at this blog, and I've been busy immersing myself in Czech culture on a deeper level, especially its past religiosity and its present seemingly atheistic present. I've been plowing through some classic films of the Czech New Wave and some more recent ones that deal with our […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron )
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • プロミスの返済は残高スライド元利定額返済方式 September 11, 2014
      返済に影響するものは金利だけ、そう考えているのであれば今一度利用している消費者金融のホームページを確認してみましょう。実は返済方式も返済に大きく影響するものなのです。例えばプロミスで見てみましょう。返済方式として残高スライド元利定額返済方式が採用されています。これがどういったものなのか、金融専門書を確認しても出てくるものではありません。そもそも、本来であれば管理均等返済方式や元金均等返済方式というのが返済方式の中でも一般的なものですが、残高スライド元利定額返済方式とは新たにできた造語だからです。今では多くの消費者金融がこの返済方式を採用しています。プロミスではこれによって月々の返済の最低金額が決められています。例えば借り入れが2万7000円までであれば1000円の最低返済額、5万5000円までであれば2000円 […]
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Ouch ;) October 19, 2014
      I've started going to physical therapy for my hurt back. My first assignment is to go a number of stretches every day. Some are pretty easy but there's one that's especially hard .... it reminded me of this funny bit from an episode of Frasier in which Niles and Daphne take yoga instruction :) ...
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

Gerald T. Slevin: Is Pope Leading a New “Children’s Crusade” to Help Romney Win?

Another outstanding piece this morning by Jerry Slevin.  In this essay, Jerry sketches the historical and political background to the intervention of the Vatican and the U.S. Catholic hierarchy in the 2012 elections, noting the connection of papal politics (and the politicking of the USCCB) to the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church.  Jerry’s essay follows: 

Of the many stories generated by the medieval wars, or Crusades, against Islamic rulers that were frequently supported actively by various popes, few are more fascinating than the ones about the so-called 13th Century “Children’s Crusade.” The stories, which relate to the exploits of a  large numbers of itinerants, including many docile and idealistic youth, suggest a uniquely organized effort to rescue the Holy Land. As with most wars, including the Crusades, what seems fairly clear is that children were frequently disproportionately among the casualties, directly or indirectly, including these youthful Crusaders. Then as now, the welfare of children seemed to be a low priority for a generally celibate clerical caste, notwithstanding Jesus’ clear Gospel mandate to protect children.

As the U.S. elections soon arrive, the pope is desperately leading another crusade that disproportionately negatively affects children. The pope is flexing his U.S. election year muscles to rally and bring out conservative Catholic voters in critical swing districts by opposing contraception health insurance, as well as the other “hot” wedge issue, gay marriage, that the pope claims, without real evidence and without addressing contrary evidence, hurts families, including children.

The pope’s longstanding worldwide effort against government support of effective and voluntary birth control family planning for the poor, in particular, has contributed clearly and unnecessarily to hundreds of millions of “unplanned” children worldwide, including many in the U.S., who are often  consigned to lives of miserable poverty.

What is the pope’s goal with this heartless anti-contraception crusade? Firstly, the pope’s power is apparently thought to be directly related to his efforts to maximize the size of the Catholic population worldwide, especially when compared to the higher birth rates in many non-Catholic countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as the increasing Islamic populations in Western countries. Reproducing more Catholics seems to be a clear papal objective, especially since in many countries, including in the West, the pope is also facing currently a growing Catholic exodus over major papal failures, including the pope’s inability and/or unwillingness to adopt effective measures to curtail the worldwide epidemic of priest sexual abuse of innocent children.

After centuries of pursuing papal power politics by varying alliances with more powerful European absolute monarchs, the popes, following the loss in 1870 of the Papal States and a half century of self-imposed seclusion in the Vatican, emerged in the 1920’s with a new power politics strategy aimed at the newly democratic and unstable European scene. The popes realized they could use their “mystical” influence over Catholic voters to cut deals, especially with budding dictators seeking a papal imprimatur for their less popular, fascist parties. In 1929 with Mussolini in Italy, in 1933 with Hitler in Germany and in the late 1930’s with Franco in Spain, Pius XI, aided after 1929 by his Secretary of State and successor, Pius XII, concluded pacts that helped legitimize these fascist dictators in exchange, among other things, for financial subsidies and special privileges for the national Catholic Churches in those countries.

In the U.S., the popes did not significantly use their new-found electoral power to exchange papal influence over Catholic voters for governmental favors until the 1980’s when Republican Ronald Reagan got electoral help from  John Paul II in exchange for, among other things, extra U.S. support for Poland’s Catholic dissident movement.

This pope and his U.S. bishops realized that an effective rallying cause for many conservative Catholic voters was the anti-abortion or so-called “right to life” movement, which already had considerable political momentum under its original lay founders and leaders. Since it cost the pope little to actively oppose abortion politically, especially since natural law arguments related to the right to life position coincided to a degree with a longstanding Catholic moral tradition, the pope and U.S. bishops made the anti-abortion issue their foremost election year wedge issue.

From the 1980’s to the present, the pope and his U.S. bishops have used the anti-abortion issue as their principal “weapon” to induce conservative Catholic voters to vote Republican, although in the 2009 pact of the pope’s U.S. hierarchy with Republican supporters available HERE, the anti-gay marriage “weapon” was also featured prominently.

The challenge apparently for the pope was to find a novel way to use these weapons against Obama, who had recently been showing signs of getting increasingly aggressive against the U.S. bishops for their ongoing cover-up of priest sexual predators. The new papal attack was launched against Obama’s proposed rules requiring making available free contraceptive insurance for all employees of Church-controlled institutions, such as universities, but not for direct employees of the Church.

Since contraception generally negates the need for an abortion and, in that sense is “pro-life,” the U.S. bishops and their Republican allies, including Paul Ryan, also pushed the definition of life back to begin at the moment of conception. By this extended approach, some issues could be raised, however disingenuously at times, by the anti-abortionists against Obama’s health insurance rules.

Depending, it appears, on the day of the week and the particular audience he is addressing, Romney’s “etch a sketch” position may or may not conform to the pope’s position, but that does not appear to matter much to this politically pragmatic pope. What does clearly matter, however, is maintaining iron discipline among Catholics he controls for an unquestioned conformity to the pope’s pure abortion wedge-issue position.

This was just made clear again by the disgraceful treatment of a U.K. theologian who was shabbily dumped at the last minute from a teaching position at the Catholic University of San Diego in California, as noted HERE.

The anti-gay marriage wedge issue appears to attract some additional conservative Catholic Republican voters, especially among some seniors, that adds to political clout the pope can offer the Republicans. In U.S. electoral politics, a shift in just a few votes in identified districts in a handful of so-called swing or battleground states can make critical difference in an election. This year with elaborate “computer data mining” of extensive voter information, the key locales can be identified with some precision. In some of these locales, the papal push against abortion and gay marriage, exploited by well-funded and non-stop campaign ads, could be the difference; hence, the potential value to Republicans of papal clout.

What is in it for the pope? In the almost half century since the pope condemned the birth control “pill” as a “mortal sin,” the Catholic hierarchy, and especially parish priests, have said little effectively to American Catholics about birth control. Since American Catholics have overwhelmingly rejected the dogma, there was little to gain by hammering the issue. Nevertheless, there appear still to be “single-issue” conservative Catholic voters who are “pro-life”, so the pope and U.S. bishops have resurrected this wedge issue with an anti-Obama twist, for what it may be worth the Republicans.

As with Pius XI’s deals with Mussolini, Hitler and Franco, in the first instance the pope has an opportunity for financial gains if the Republicans are elected. American papal donors appear to be overwhelmingly Republican and, especially the top 0.01%, stand to save billions in U.S. taxes if Republicans gain the White House. It is reasonable for the pope to assume some of these tax savings will fund larger tax-deductible contributions to the pope and U.S. bishops, who are increasingly strapped due to billions spent on the priest sex abuse cover-up.

The power of the top 0.01%, in the U.S. and worldwide, is hard to over-estimate. As just brilliantly and boldly described by Reuters’ top editor, Chrystia Freeland, in her book, Plutocratsdescribed HERE, increasingly the world’s billionaires are dominating governmental policies worldwide. As she also notes, the richest man in history is Mexico’s Carlos Slim.

The Catholic Church’s most successful fundraiser for decades was Fr. Marcial Maciel, the disgraced sex-abusing head of the cult-like religious order, the Legion of Christ. Under Maciel, the Legion operated as a well-oiled cash machine that preyed on wealthy donors. As indicated in the recent book by Jason Berry, America’s award winning investigative reporter on the Catholic Church’s financial and child sex abuse scandals, Maciel had cultivated Carlos Slim as a financial source. As recently as 2004, as many of Maciel’s perverse misdeeds were becoming more widely known, Slim was televised with Maciel at a NY Waldorf Astoria fundraiser for the Legion that was co-hosted by another plutocrat, Citigroup’s then CEO, Sanford (Sandy) Weill. Berry’s recent book is Render Unto Caesar: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church described HERE.

Maciel reportedly funneled considerable funds to senior Vatican bureaucrats, including John Paul II’s secretary. How much money plutocrats have already, or will soon be funnelling, to papal fronts or causes may never be known in this post-Citizens United world of anonymous donors.

A special feature in this election is the pope’s clear efforts to protect his U.S. bishops from Federal prosecutors, especially given Obama’s prosecutors’ key role with respect to the recent first conviction, for a child endangerment crime related to one of his priest’s sexual abuse, of  a U.S. Catholic bishop, Finn, of Kansas City. Bishop Finn is an Opus Dei member and a protege of Philly’s Cardinal Rigali. Rigali is a long time Vatican colleague of the current pope. Rigali just saw his former top Philly priest personnel aide, Monsignor Lynn, sentenced to up to six years in prison for child endangerment in connection with another priest’s sexual assault of a young altar boy.

For an analysis of the importance of Romney to the pope’s goal of protecting U.S. bishops from Federal criminal and bankruptcy courts, please read, “After Elections, Who Will Prosecute More Predatory Priests? Constitutional Lawyer Obama or the Three R’s of Romney, Ryan & Ratzinger?”, available HERE.

What the foregoing indicates clearly is that little has changed in some fundamental ways since the Middle Ages in papal efforts to use political power for the benefit principally of papal princes and their corrupt Vatican bureaucracy. This will end soon, as prosecutors from the International Criminal Court and elsewhere invade the Vatican armed with enforcible subpoenas directed initially at secret files on the worldwide abuse cover-up, as well likely on the Vatican financial scandals. Amen!

Cross-posted from Bilgrimage, 3 Nov. 2012.

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