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      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 […]
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How Much Does Trump Owe Pope Francis Now?

“Evangelicals helped Trump in states he was mostly going to win anyway. Catholics? Now we’re talking about Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. And that was the election.”

White Catholics voted 60% for Trump while he received only 46% of the national popular vote.

“Trump won the highest percentage of Catholic voters (52%) for a Republican candidate since 2004. White Catholics supported Trump by a wide, 23-point margin (60% to 37%). Both white and Latino Catholics cast more ballots for Trump than for Romney in 2012.”

Despite much inaccurate reporting, every poll that included the respondent’s religion conducted during the campaign showed Catholics choosing Trump at percentages higher than the general electorate. (See also here, here and here.)

Evangelicals “went overwhelmingly for Trump, but that was also true in 2012 when they weren’t even sure Romney was Christian. They aren’t the swing voters. Catholics, on the other hand, were plus-2 for Obama in 2012 and plus-7 for Trump this year.” Continue reading

Informed about sex abuse of disabled children, Pope Francis did nothing

At least 22 children were sexually abused by two priests at a school for youths with hearing disabilities in Argentina, an investigating prosecutor said Monday.

Police arrested 82-year old priest Nicola Corradi, 55-year-old priest Horacio Corbacho, and three other men last week. They are accused of sexual and physical child abuse at the Antonio Provolo Institute in northwestern Mendoza province ….

Corradi earlier had been accused in Italy of sexually abusing students at the Provolo Institute in Verona, a notorious school for the deaf where hundreds of children are believed to have been sexually assaulted over the years by two dozen priests and religious brothers ….

The association of Provolo victims in Italy wrote to Pope Francis on December 31, 2013, asking for assistance for the victims there, saying they still received no form of solidarity or support, even after the Vatican concluded they had been abused in 2012 ….

[I have deleted a sentence as it was later confirmed as inaccurate and the Washington Post article I cited has been removed. However, the rest of this article is accurate.] The Provolo group provided the AP with the letter from the Vatican dated February 5, 2016, in which the Vatican said it had forwarded the request to the Italian bishops’ conference, saying it was up to them to investigate.

“Words fail. It is appalling and heartbreaking that Corradi was not stopped by Pope Francis or by other Church authorities. Corradi’s presence at the school in Mendoza was no secret,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.

“Thanks to the Church’s inaction, Corradi appears to have been able to replicate exactly the grotesque situation he enjoyed in Verona – a ring of child molesters in charge of utterly defenseless children who could neither hear nor speak. If the allegations are true, the pope must accept responsibility for the unimaginable suffering of these new victims.”

 

(Betty Clermont is author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America and “Duped by the Media on Pope Francis, Progressives Wonder How Republicans Get Elected.”)

With an Estimated $17B in Assets, Pope Francis Creates a “Day of the Poor”

The Vatican’s securities, commercial real estate and bank accounts are estimated at $16-18 billion, its bureaucrats are still engaged in financial fraud, corruption and possible money laundering and most of the donations to the pope for charity are withheld from the poor.

On Nov. 20, Pope Francis created an annual observance for a “Day of the Poor.” In an interview broadcast that same evening, he declared, “One must always struggle for a poor Church for the poor, according to the Gospel.”

An April 2015 article in the Italian financial news, Il Sole 24 Ore, stated the assets – securities, commercial real estate and bank accounts – of all the Vatican departments and offices combined “by a conservative estimate” would be around 15-17 billion euro (approx. $16-18 billion). No outsider can be sure because Pope Francis hides almost all his fortune from any independent audits or disclosures. Continue reading

Catholic Bishops Doing a Happy Dance – For Now

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), “looks forward to working with President-elect Trump to protect human life from its most vulnerable beginning, [a] commitment to domestic religious liberty, ensuring people of faith remain free to proclaim the truth about man and woman [anti-transgender dogwhistle], and the unique bond of marriage that they can form …. We are firm in our resolve that our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees can be humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security.”

Much of this echoes the Vatican’s statement that “points of dialogue” with Trump will include “internal [domestic] subjects such as religious freedom, Catholics’ commitment and attention to the most vulnerable bands of society.”

Martin R. Castro, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, recently stated: “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.” Continue reading

Vatican Will “Dialogue” with Trump on Anti-Gay and Anti-Women Issues

Pope Francis’ right-hand man, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said on Thursday that “points of dialogue” between the Vatican and Trump will include peace and “internal [domestic] subjects such as religious freedom and Catholics’ commitment and attention to the most vulnerable bands of society.”

“Religious freedom” is the euphemism justifying anti-gay discrimination. “Most vulnerable” is a common phrase used in anti-abortion rhetoric. Continue reading

How Pope Francis Helped Defeat the Colombian Peace Agreement

Pope Francis refused multiple requests for his participation or presence during the peace process. He also advocated the ideology and vocabulary for those who opposed the peace agreement.

In April 2015, Pope Francis’ secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, sent a letter to Colombian bishops on behalf of the pope “in the hope of seeing them soon during one of his trips to Latin America.” (Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay in July 2015, Cuba in September 2015, Mexico in February 2016). Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, president of the Colombian bishops’ conference, said he hoped it would be in “early 2016 …. This date was tentatively picked as it should coincide with the eventual ratification of the peace agreement should it be completed on time.” Continue reading

Pope Francis’ Diplomatic Reach Exceeds His Grasp of History

Pope Francis formed an alliance with Vladimir Putin, an accommodation with Raul Castro and capitulated to Xi Jinping.

On Aug. 26, the pope announced his intentions for the 50th World Day of Peace to be celebrated on Jan. 1, 2017. He included “recognition of the primacy of diplomacy,” acting “within what is possible,” and having “a realistic political method.”

Two days earlier, the pontiff’s chosen Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, “remarked that it is ‘the simplicity and courage with which the pope proposes the primacy of dialogue and understanding’ that has sparked in many religious and political leaders ‘the desire to communicate with him and to get to know the actions of the Holy See and the Catholic Church worldwide better.’” Parolin is so confident that other world leaders admire Pope Francis’ “negotiations and dialogue rather than affirming truth” that he is considering creating an Office for Papal Mediation.

Pope Francis and Parolin have said that their “dialogue” with China will bring “a more fraternal world society,”  “is the only way to achieve peace,” can be an “example for the world as a whole, building bridges of fraternity and communion everywhere,” would have “immense benefits for world peace, very, very big benefits,” that “the blossom [of relations with China] will flourish and bear good fruits for the good of the same China and of all the world,”  and that they were “writing a page unheard of in history.”

The results of Pope Francis’ diplomacy, however, is that  he “has helped to underscore Russia’s renewed standing as a global power,” in Cuba “he honored Fidel Castro while ignoring the dissidents” and his new deal with China is “a huge win for Beijing‘s soft power program.” Continue reading