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    • To my Republican Friends July 6, 2020
      You voted for Trump even though you didn't like him. Doubted his character. Questioned his fitness for the job. Yet, your aversion to Hillary was even greater [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
    • Wormwood and Gall a Midwest Book Award Finalist May 4, 2020
      The Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA) recently named Wormwood and Gall as one of three finalists for a Midwest Book Award in the Religion/Philosophy category. The awards program, which is organized by MIPA, recognizes quality in independent publishing in the Midwest. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other co […]
      Obie Holmen
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    • “Let This Be a Turning Point” April 21, 2021
      Earlier this evening I joined with a number of my south Minneapolis neighbors to walk with lighted candles through our neighborhood. We did this so as to honor the memory of George Floyd (right) and commit to the ongoing work of racial justice in the wake of the guilty verdict today in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former police officer who had been charged […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Minnesota Governor Tim Walz: “We Need to Make Systemic Changes” April 20, 2021
      Yesterday I lamented that government authorities in Minnesota seem to be reacting to the effects, rather than the underlying cause, of the social unrest we’re seeing in Brooklyn Center in response to the recent police killing of Daunte Wright and the social unrest many fear may erupt after the verdict comes down (perhaps as early as tomorrow) in the trial of […]
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    • Ruth Krall, A Bilgrimage Bibliography April 2, 2021
       A Bilgrimage BiographyRuth Elizabeth Krall, MSN, PhDNote: Since 2015 my friend William D. Lindsey (Bill) has published my work on his blog Bilgrimage. At this time, the blog is inactive, so I have decided to pull together my various posts so that future researchers and academics can find them in one place.  I have arranged this bibliography so that more rec […]
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    • Ruth Krall, "Persephone’s Journey into the Underworld: Lessons for Our Time" February 3, 2021
      Ancient portrayal of Demeter and Persephone, Apulian red-figure loutrophoro, ca. 4th century BCE, from the J. Paul Getty Museum, at the Theoi Project websiteWhen I announced at the start of this year that I've decided no longer to maintain Bilgrimage, I also noted that if readers have something they'd like me to consider for posting here down the r […]
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    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
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    • A saint for the millenials: Carlo Acutis beatified today in Assisi. October 10, 2020
       A saint for the millenials: the young Italian teen, Carlo Acutis, who died in 2006 of galloping Leukemia, will be beatified today in Assisi by Pope Francis (last step before being officially declared a saint). Carlo came from a luke warm Catholic family, but at the age of 7, when he received his first 'Holy Communion', he displayed an astonishing […]
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    • Ronan Park and Jack Vidgen: The Travails of Gay Pop Stars October 28, 2019
      (Jack Vidgen)Quite by accident, through a comment from a performance arts colleague of mine, I stumbled across the recent bios of two boy teen singing sensations, both of whom made a big splash worldwide 8 years ago. The first, Jack Vidgen, won Australia's Got Talent Contest in 2011 at the age of 14, primarily for his powerful renditions of Whitney Hust […]
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    • Earth Day April 22, 2021
      During the early part of the pandemic, the non-human part of our world thrived ... But people will *not* do what's necessary to preserve the small gains made during the last year .... they are too selfish. Everyone's already demanding we "get back to normal". What's normal? The continuing extinction of most other animal species, plan […]
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American Catholicism: Headed Towards a Dead End

Although “nearly one-third of American adults (31.7%) say they were raised Catholic, only about one in five (20.8%) identified as Catholic” in a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. “The share of adults who identify as Christians fell from 78% to just under 71%” between 2007 and 2014. But “within Christianity the greatest net losses, by far, have been experienced by Catholics,” according to the “America’s Changing Religious Landscape” study.

The survey also showed that – since 34% of Catholics were Latino and 8% Black, Asian or other – the number of white Catholics had fallen to less than 12% of the population.

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The Moral Bankruptcy of U.S. Bishops

By their sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes tacit, support of Trump’s carnage, this episcopate has shown themselves to be devoid of morals and decency. For over three decades, American bishops have been an adjunct of the GOP. Abortion is their code word for “vote Republican.” But given the magnitude of the clerical sex abuse, they have shown their contempt for children. (See appendix if further explanation is needed.)

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The Disappearing Religious Right

“White grievances” supplant “moral values” as a major impetus to get out the vote for the Republican Party.

Data gathered after the 2020 Presidential Election show that “moral values” as a motivation to get out the vote has greatly decreased. Only 3% of voters said abortion was the most important issue facing the country according to the AP VoteCast Survey. Same-sex marriage wasn’t even a consideration.

In 2010, 43% of voters considered abortion to be a “very important issue” and 32% of voters thought same-sex marriage also to be a “very important issue” according to a Pew Research Center  survey.

The largest group of 2020 voters, 41%, said the coronavirus pandemic was the most important issue and they voted 73% for Biden per the AP VoteCast Survey. Predating the pandemic and “based on analyses of survey data of the whole U.S. population examining both [2016] voting behavior and attitudes toward blacks and immigrants … Trump’s core supporters are working-class white men, the group most racially resentful and most opposed to further immigration.” This is true especially “when we look at lower-paid working-class jobs [that] typically require high school degrees or less and tend to pay low wages.” This analysis was presented in July 2019 by Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and Eric Hoyt, directors at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Center for Employment Equity.

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Vatican Finances Now Controlled by the Company Men

The term “company men” refers to those whose loyalty can be described as willing to do whatever the company needs. During his reign, Pope Francis had appointed some men to control his finances who would allow their personal ambitions or agendas to influence their decisions. Not anymore.

FARRELL

Within four months of his election, Pope Francis had enacted his first law. It “criminalized leaks of Vatican information.” The penalty was up to eight years in prison if the material concerned the “fundamental interests” of the Holy See.

Pope Francis’ last law, enacted on June 1, 2020, is named “Norms on the transparency, control and competition of public contracts of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State.” However, “certain contracts are exempt from the legislation, contracts related to matters covered by the pontifical secret, contracts funded by an international organization [and] contracts necessary to guarantee the sovereignty and independence of the Holy See or the Vatican City State.”  

Secrecy is important for this pontiff.

Along with the new law, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Kevin Farrell, 73, as president of his newly created Commission for Reserved Matters to oversee those transactions that would remain hidden. Farrell is suspected of keeping secret even the most notorious Church scandals.

Pope Francis had named Farrell as camerlengo in 2019. The camerlengo manages the Vatican during the period between a pope’s death/renunciation and election of a new pope. This prelate also has authority to direct many of the meetings and details surrounding the conclave. Farrell took an oath before Pope Francis who gave him a scepter, a symbol of his authority, reported the National Catholic Register.

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The Next Pope

Plans for the election of the next pope are well under way. In the last quarter of 2020, there have been indications as to what the next pontiff will say and do. He will continue to make meaningless policies and procedures about child sex abuse. So thousands upon thousands of children around the world will remain at risk of being sexually tortured. All will be severely traumatized for life. Many will die.  

The next pope will maintain his predecessors’ opposition to women’s and LGBTQ person’s human rights while appearing to be liberal on issues pleasing to the American mainstream media.

In contrast to the major portion of Pope Francis’ pontificate, leaders of the Catholic rightwing are uniting behind the pope and will continue in the future, doing whatever is necessary to bolster the prestige and importance of the head of the Church.

As has been true since the 1978 election of Pope John Paul II, the pontiff will reign, but Opus Dei* will govern.

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Control of the Vatican: What’s at Stake

The Catholic Church is the only religion headquartered in an autonomous country. The sovereignty of the Holy See – the name of the government of both the Vatican City State and the worldwide Church – provides criminal and civil immunity from any other authority to Vatican residents and government officials. 

The Vatican has immense wealth. How it is earned, how it is spent, who profits remain hidden because it is shielded by self-rule. Vatican officials’ access to global financial markets is facilitated by its status as a sovereign city/state.  

As officials of an independent nation, a pope and his appointees have access to, and some influence in, many international organizations.

So there is much at stake in choosing the next pontiff, the absolute dictator of the Holy See. There will be another conclave some time after the cardinal/electors are able to safely convene when the pandemic has subsided. In a recent interview, Pope Francis indicated how long he expected his pontificate to last. Speaking about some routine medical tests, he said the doctors “were inclined to have me do a test every five years, but I told them: let’s do it annually. You never know,” he told a reporter for the Adnkronos news agency.

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Pope John Paul II was Bad. Pope Francis is Far Worse.

NEW YORK TIMES: VATICAN REPORT CASTS JOHN PAUL II IN HARSH NEW LIGHT

WASHINGTON POST: McCARRICK REPORT: POPE JOHN PAUL II KNEW OF MISCONDUCT

Pope John Paul II knew of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual relations with young seminarians and priests according to the Vatican report.

Yet currently Cardinals Francisco Javier Errazuriz, Ricardo Ezzati, Vincent Nichols, George Pell and Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta are benefiting from Pope Francis’ care. And throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis has also safeguarded Archbishop Anthony Apuron, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, Fr. Nichola Corradi, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski and Msgr. Carlo Capella.

So thousands of children around the world are still being sexually assaulted by officials and employees of the Roman Catholic Church and those who cover-up their crimes are not being held accountable.

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Preparing for the Next Conclave

Two books were released this summer: The Next Pope: The Leading Cardinal Candidates, by Edward Pentin and The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission by George Weigel.

“The Holy Father is considered to be getting on in years and he himself has occasionally hinted he would like to follow Benedict XVI into retirement at some stage …. Some of the Pope’s close associates have said privately … it will happen this year.” Pentin explained. Pentin, the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register owned by the right-wing EWTN media giant, is one of the best-connected and experienced Vatican reporters in the world.

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White Catholic Voters Driven by Baseless Fear and Dark Money

White Catholics favor Trump by 59% as shown by a Pew Research poll conducted July 27 – Aug. 2, higher than the 54% of all white voters. (In this poll, Latinos were only 18% of registered voters.)

“Swing states, such as Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin have an oversized influence on the outcome of the presidential election. Catholics comprise 20-25 percent of the population in these states,” according to the Political Science Now.

“Targeting this group proved effective for Trump in 2016, when he won the Catholic vote in the swing states of Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa by larger margins than his statewide differential. In Ohio, he won the Catholic vote by 20 points, compared to an 8-point statewide win, while in Michigan Trump won the Catholic vote by 18 points, compared to a one-point state victory,” stated Political Science Now. Continue reading

Another Vatican Scandal or Just Business as Usual?

Vatican prosecutors, working with Italian authorities, executed a search and seizure warrant” on July 15. Cell phones and iPads belonging to London financier Raffaele Mincione were seized at a hotel in Rome.

Mincione, former fiancé of Paul McCartney’s ex-wife Heather Mills, had filed two civil lawsuits in the UK’s High Court of Justice against the Vatican on June 20. Both lawsuits are related to a deal brokered by Mincione for the Vatican in 2014 – their purchase of a 45% interest, through his holding company the Athena Global Opportunities Fund, in a London building to be converted into luxury apartments.

That deal “raised questions about the Vatican’s murky finances and poor investment strategies in the past decade and sparked fresh speculation about its Machiavellian turf battles, power struggles and score-settling,” the Associated Press reported. Continue reading