• RSS Queering the Church

    • “Embodied Ministry” Conference 2014: Speakers April 22, 2014
      Speakers and workshop leaders Adrian Thatcher, Redeeming Gender  The churches have forgotten that, until the 17th century, the dominant understanding of sex and gender was of a single humanity, ‘man’, within which women were imperfect, malformed men. Later, a two-sex…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
    • A New British Bishop with the “Smell of the Sheep” April 16, 2014
      Pope Francis made major headlines when he chose not to live in the Vatican palace, but in smaller rooms at……, to carry his own luggage, and to drive a battered used car. This is fully in keeping with the Gospels…Read more →
      Terence Weldon
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

  • 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

    • It's Time for Archbishop Nienstedt to Resign April 23, 2014
      Yesterday, Minnesota Public Radio released video and transcripts of testimony given by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt during a sworn deposition on April 2, 2014. (To read the full transcript of the Archbishop's deposition, click either here or here.)A spokesperson for Ramsey County Attorney John Choi told MPR News that investigators and prosecutors are re […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Something to Think About . . . April 23, 2014
      Related Off-site Links:On Earth Day, an Economics for People and Planet – Helena Norberg-Hodge (Common Dreams, April 22, 2014). The Change Within: The Obstacles We Face Are Not Just External – Naomi Klein (The Nation, April 21, 2014).How Silent Spring Ignited the Environmental Movement – Eliza Griswold (New York Times, September 21, 2012).See also the previo […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

    • Pope Francis On The Possibility of Married Priests April 12, 2014
      For some reason when discussing the priest shortage, one rarely hears that one big reason is the increase in lay Catholics.  That the increase in Catholic laity is mirrored by the decrease in Catholic priests makes for an interesting statistical picture....... and in a not good kind of way.   Pope Francis has been in office for just over a year and finally h […]
      colkoch
  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • He is Risen and I am Moving April 20, 2014
      Beautiful lithograph drawing of Kutna Hora by Czech artist, Marie BrožováA glorious Easter day today in Prague, sunny, crisp, clear and a little cool (ooops it just started to rain). Yesterday, I took a bus ride to one of my favorite spots  nearby, the historic town of Kutna Hora, a Unesco World Heritage Site. It's a one hour and forty minute bumpy ride […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron)
    • The Great Tribulation April 17, 2014
      Holy Thursday  EveThanks to William Lindsey at Bilgrimage for the link to a profound meditation by Waldemar Boff,  the brother of Liberation Theologian, Leonardo Boff, entitledWhen the Great Tribulation Arrives, the Earth will at last have her well deserved rest. As we enter into the sacred triduum of Holy Week, remembering the paschal mystery of the Lord, w […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Jayden Cameron)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • 埼玉のプロミス、詳細を教えて! January 22, 2014
      埼玉には自動契約機の店舗だけではなく店頭窓口もあります。店頭窓口というのはお客様サービスプラザのこと。そこでは相談することもできますし、さまざまな疑問点を解消することもできます。金利や返済方法などはプロミスの公式ホームページにも記載されていますので自分の目で確認することができます。そして返済方式も残高スライド元利定額返済方式という記載がありますので確認することができるでしょう。しかし。残高スライド元利定額返済方式とはどんなものなのかご存知でしょうか。金利は比較するまでもなくほぼ一律。実は返済総額に大きく影響するのは一律となる金利よりも返済方式になるものです。残高スライド元利定額返済方式。非常に長い名称にはなっていますが理解しておいた方がよいでしょう。これは返済時にある残元金、これに定率となる割合を掛けて返済額を […]
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Happy Earth Day April 22, 2014
      San Francisco is what comes to mind when I think of Earth Day ... don't know why :) ...
      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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 140 other followers

%d bloggers like this: