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Spadaro-Figueroa Article and the Media: Ad Majorem Francis Gloriam

The phrase Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – For the Greater Glory of God – is the motto of the Jesuits and their founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola. The point of Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro and Presbyterian pastor Marcelo Figueroa’s July 13 article in the Jesuit weekly, La Civiltà Cattolica, is the greater glory of Pope Francis. He is the “courageous” pontiff opposed to the “ecumenism of hate” formed by American “Evangelical fundamentalists and Catholic Integralists.”

Spadaro is an Italian theologian and editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, the content of which is approved by the Vatican Secretariat of State. Spadaro’s book, Cybertheology: Thinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet, was published in 2012. He built a website in the early ‘90s, then a blog, “was on Twitter in 2005 and Facebook pretty much as soon as it opened to the public,” he said in an interview.

Spadaro was contacted by Pope Francis shortly after his election. His  first interview with the pope eventually took place soon after “Who am I to judge,” taken out of context, made headlines and went viral. The comment by the pope in Spadaro’s interview that “It is not necessary to talk about abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods all the time,” extracted from a very lengthy interview,  also made headlines.

Spadaro did several more interviews with Pope Francis becoming his “mouthpiece” and one of his “trusted advisers.”

The Argentine Figueroa is a longtime friend of Pope Francis. The pope was not satisfied with the Spanish edition of the official Vatican newspaper,  L’Osservatore Romano, as directed by the Argentine Silvina Pérez, according to Vatican reporter, Sandro Magister. He wanted an edition just for Argentina to “promote direct access to [his] actions, gestures and texts,” wrote papal biographer, Austen Ivereigh.

In January, Pope Francis chose Figueroa, a radio-show host, to be director of the first national edition of the L’Osservatore Romano since it began publishing in 1861. As to contributors other than Pope Francis, “They don’t need to write solely on the pope’s thinking, but rather on themes related to his mission and which stem from his universal moral influence,” Figueroa said.

Terrorists

According to Spadaro and Figueroa, unlike participants in the “ecumenism of hate,” Pope Francis “gives no theological-political legitimacy to terrorists.” Both should know Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s history as head of the Argentine Jesuits during the most brutal years of the Dirty War in which 30,000 of his compatriots were killed by a military junta.

Rita Arditti, author of Searching for Life: The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and the Disappeared Children of Argentina, “describes the magnitude of the abuses of power that existed at all levels – including within the judicial system and among the highest leaders of the Argentine Catholic Church – as well as detailing the set patterns for the disappearances, tortures, and murders. Fortunately, the vivid descriptions of the tortures (such as torturing children in front of their parents, torturing the fetuses of pregnant women and inciting guard dogs to attack) are mercifully brief.”

“The junta assumed the posture of defender of the Church and the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina were their accomplices. Patriotism came to be associated with Catholicism,” noted Kenneth P. Serbin, history professor at the University of San Diego. “So it was almost natural for the Argentine clergy to come to the defense of the authoritarian regime.”

Bergoglio cooperated with the junta as detailed by Emilio Mignone in his book, Church and Dictatorship: The Role of the Church in Light of Its Relations with the Military, published in 1986. ( See herehere and here)

On November 25, 1977, the Jesuit Universidad del Salvador awarded an honorary doctorate to Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera, head of the site where “thousands of young Argentines were tortured and murdered in a reproduction of Auschwitz.” Roberto Pizarro, rector of University Academy of Christian Humanism, thinks it was “inexcusable” for Bergoglio to have “cultivated a relationship” with Massera, a stain on his record for which “Argentines, the Jesuits and the two hundred billion Catholic in the world deserve an explanation.”

In a series of interviews made available on July 22, 2012, former junta General Jorge Videla boasted of his “excellent, cordial, sincere and open” relationship with the Church. The bishops had little choice but to respond. Such an important statement would not have been issued without the approval of Bergoglio, at the time the cardinal primate of Argentina.

Los Obispos de la República Argentina, 104º Asamblea Plenaria, 9 de noviembre de 2012, “acknowledged the Church’s failure to protect its flock during the 1970s” but absolved their leaders of any guilt. “We have the word and testimony of our elder brothers, the bishops who preceded us about whom we cannot know how much they personally knew of what was happening. They tried to do everything in their power for the good of all, according to their conscience and considered judgment.” The bishops declared Videla’s interviews to be “completely divorced from the truth of what the bishops were involved in at that time.”

The bishops’ statement also equated “the suffering because of state terrorism” with “the death and devastation caused by [the quickly crushed opposition] guerrilla violence.”

Bergoglio was elected pope four months later.

Fundamentalists

Spadaro and Figuero also state that, unlike those who confuse the “religious element” with the “political one,” Pope Francis does not “appeal to the values of fundamentalism” such as “abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral or tied to values.”

As cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio “clashed with the progressive Kirchner administration sharply over issues of abortion, contraception and sex education,” noted Wikipedia’s “Catholicism in Argentina.” Kirchner called Bergoglio the “spiritual head of the political opposition,” reported the BBC.

The progressive Pres. Fernandez’ relationship with Bergoglio was “strained due to her support for same-sex marriage and the leftism of her administration.” A week before the vote on legislation approving same-sex marriage, Bergoglio wrote a pastoral letter “harshly criticizing the initiative.” The legislation was a “’move’ by the father of lies [Satan] meant to confuse and deceive the children of God,” he wrote as documented in “Catholicism in Argentina.”

In 2012, when the Fernandez administration “pushed for mandatory sex education in schools, free distribution of contraceptives in public hospitals, and the right for transsexuals to change their official identities on demand,” Bergoglio accused the president of “demagoguery, totalitarianism, corruption and efforts to secure unlimited power,” according to AP reporters in Buenos Aires.

Creation of Ad Majorem Francis Gloriam in the Catholic press

By 2013, the U.S liberal media considered American Catholicism to be corrupt because of the sex-abuse scandal and the bishops’ support for the Republican Party. When the new pope announced he was breaking with tradition and taking the name “Francis” because he wanted “a poor Church for the poor,” progressive U.S. Catholic publications like America, Commonweal and the National Catholic Reporter began creating an image of a pope they hoped would rehabilitate the reputation of their Church.

All three had veteran reporters who had covered the Church in Latin America and would have no excuse for not knowing Bergoglio’s history: That he was an opponent of liberation theology as championed by the Jesuits,  who was appointed and promoted up the ecclesial ladder to cardinal by Pope John Paul II who tried to crush liberation theology.

Nevertheless, they endowed Bergoglio with every Jesuit virtue even though he had broken the vow all members of the Society of Jesus take to “never strive for or ambition any prelacy or dignity outside the Society.” (There are a few Jesuit hierarchs, but nowhere in proportion to their numbers.) When he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992, he “formally left the Society,” per Ivereigh, meaning he never again lived in a Jesuit community.

At the time of his election, some Latin American Jesuits “said quietly that Bergoglio, despite being a Jesuit, is closer ideologically to Opus Dei,” at the top, a right-wing society of plutocrats and their supporters highly favored by Pope John Paul II.

With the exception of one report in Commonweal, the liberal Catholic press altered Bergoglio’s history and his right-wing politics.

Petty details were manipulated. The fact that Martha’s House where Pope Francis lives was built to be “more comfortable and less strenuous on elderly cardinals” than staying in the Apostolic Palace where they especially suffered from the summer heat was omitted. Certainly no one would begrudge that Pope Francis has two valets and two personal secretaries, but even trivia became essential to the false image.

These publications that had championed freedom fighters in Latin America and the survivors of clerical sex abuse were mute when, a month after his election, Pope Francis chose Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga as head of this Council of Cardinals, some would say vice pope at the time.

The cardinal had “blessed” the 2009 coup against the constitutional and progressive Pres. Manuel Zelaya, per a report “Opus Dei in Honduras, The Catholic Church in the Coup” by sociologist Marco Burgos. Rodriguez was condemned by Noble Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel: “The path you have chosen to be an accomplice of the military dictatorship is not the way of the Gospel. You cannot be against your people and allow violence and repression in the name of supposed safety and law and the committing of serious human rights violations.”

Pope Francis also chose Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa for his select group of advisers. Errazuriz was an ardent defender of the brutal dictator, Gen. Augusto Pinochet. (Hugh O’Shaughnessy Pinochet: The Politics of Torture, pp 77-78) Errazuriz “famously argued that lawsuits against those involved in the Pinochet regime should be dropped since ‘excessive justice could be detrimental to reconciliation and social peace,’” reported The Irish Catholic.

The retired cardinal archbishop of Santiago had made more recent headlines in Chile for protecting the pedophile, Fr. Fernando Karamina. Karadima “is the worst scandal of the Chilean Catholic Church. [P]ower is the true point of the case. The abuses were not possible without a network of political, social and religious power working for 50 years,” Chilean political analyst Ascanio Cavallo, Dean of the Journalism School of the Adolfo Ibáñez University stated.

(In 2015, Pope Francis appointed a bishop in Chile who was accused of covering-up Karadima’s crimes. In a taped personal message to parishioners protesting the appointment, the pope chastised them to “Think with your heads and don’t be carried away by any accusations made by lefties.”)

George Pell was another cardinal chosen for the pope’s elite group. Pell’s connections to Australia’s worst predator priest, Gerald Ridsdale, has been widely reported. Pell’s “Melbourne response” cheated clerical sex abuse victims out of an adequate compensation. His “Ellis defense” against an abused alter boy suing the Church was to “instruct his lawyers to crush this victim.” A Royal Commission found that Pell “placed the Church’s financial interests above his obligation to victims of clerical sex abuse as part of an aggressive legal strategy to protect the assets of the Sydney archdiocese.”

Over time, these publications ignored the fact the Pope “Francis” never asked the leaders of dioceses, religious orders or the Vatican to divest any of their assets “for the poor.” (Vatican securities, commercial real estate, gold and bank accounts “by a conservative estimate” are worth around around 15-17 billion euro according to the Italian financial daily, Il Sole 24 Ore.) The pope, in fact, packed the Vatican with vulture capitalists and those who support them.

While Pope Francis does give to charity, how much money is available for this purpose has become secret during his pontificate. His two predecessors disclosed the amount of the annual contribution from Catholics around the world “in support of the Holy Father’s charity” known as Peter’s Pence, as part of the Consolidated Financial Statement of the Holy See and the Governorate of Vatican City State. (See here and here.)

That information has been eliminated by Pope Francis. (See here, here and here.)

That the Peter’s Pence collection for 2013 totaled 378 million euro is known only because it was revealed in Emilio Fittipaldi’s book, Avarice: Documents Revealing Wealth, Scandals and Secrets of Francis’ Church, published Nov. 5, 2015.

The Catholic liberal press maintains a Jesuit halo above the pope although he removed the only Jesuit of any importance in the Vatican, Fr. Federico Lombardi, and replaced him with former Fox News correspondent and Opus Dei member, Greg Burke, as head of his Press Office.

Creation of Ad Majorem Francis Gloriam in the Progressive Religious Press and Mainstream Media

Had the liberal Catholic press practiced journalistic integrity would the other media have responded differently?

In the initial few weeks after his election, the U.S. media did credible reporting of Bergoglio’s biography including interviews with eyewitnesses to the pope’s cooperation with the junta, his right-wing politics (like the aforementioned AP report) and his defense of the pedophile, Fr. Julio César Grassi. Fr. Lombardi attributed this to an “anti-clerical, left-wing” campaign against the new pontiff.

Coverage of the “humble” new pope in contrast to his predecessor, however, must have resulted in more clicks, readers, viewers – that is, more advertising revenue – and directed future reporting.

When Pope Francis asked “Who am I to judge” homosexuals, his words were taken out of context. He was responding to a reporter’s question specifically about Msgr. Battista Ricca, “a trusted person” Bergoglio had appointed to “a key role within the [Vatican Bank] with the power to access all of the proceedings and documents” per Sandro Magister who also outed Ricca as “Prelate of the Gay Lobby” on July 19, 2013.

In his July 28 response, the pope claimed he had investigated this and found Ricca to be innocent. Besides, “if a person, lay or priest or sister, has committed a sin and then has repented, the Lord forgives … If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, well who am I to judge them?” It could be said that the pope was defending his decision to keep Ricca in place while letting others know that trashing reputations via the press – source of the Vatileaks scandal rumored to have caused Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation – would have no effect on him.

Since then, Ricca has not been heard of but Fr. Krzysztof Charamsa was fired by the Vatican after announcing he had a male partner. Pope Francis refused to accept an openly gay man as French ambassador to the Vatican.

Mum’s the word from the U.S. media also when Pope Francis went on to declare same-sex marriage an “anthropological regression,” “disfiguring God’s plan for creation” that will “destroy the family.” The pope wrote there is not “an even remotely analogous correspondence between homosexual unions and God’s plan for marriage and the family.”

Silence in December when Pope Francis approved another decree that men with “deeply rooted homosexual tendencies” couldn’t be priests.

Silence on June 29, when the pope gave the highest award possible to lay persons to Alan Sears, head of the  Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-gay hate group.  Sears was one of “America’s most active anti-gay activists” invited by Pope Francis to a Vatican conference on “traditional marriage.”

Pope Francis’ words in the first Spadaro interview that “I am a son of the Church. The teaching of the Church, for that matter, is clear [about abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive]” went unreported. So have the pope’s scores of declarations against women’s right to reproductive health and the human rights of gay and transgender persons.

Pope Francis’ has popularized the phrases “ideological colonization,” “gender theory,” and “conscientious objection.” These phrases are “used by conservatives around the world [to] avoid overtly homophobic language and to frame their arguments in secular terms,” Ana Campoy wrote. “The global religious right continues to make clear that they are willing to sacrifice essential freedoms in the name of ‘traditional’ views on sexuality, gender, and family,” noted Peter Montgomery.

Pope Francis considers females like the 11-year-old girl in Paraguay, denied an abortion after allegedly being raped by her stepfather in the mostly Catholic country, and Savita Halappanavar, whose requests for an abortion were refused in Ireland because “this is a Catholic country,” to be disposable. Halappanaver died from septicemia. If made available, their abortions would have been “what the Mafia does, choosing one life over the other” according to the pope.

Silence when Pope Francis refused the Dalai Lama’s request for a meeting while he attended a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners in Rome. Archbishop Desmond Tutu appealed to the pope: “I am deeply saddened and distressed that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, should decline to meet the Dalai Lama.’”  Outside the U.S., the Dalai Lama is the most admired religious figure in the world, according to a study released by YouGov, an international internet-based market research firm.

Silence that Pope Francis is seeking reconciliation with the anti-Semitic Society of St. Pius X.

More minutia in service to Ad Majorem Francis Gloriam. Cardinal Raymond Burke never adjudicated anything while Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, as far as I know. Yet, he became “the United States’ most influential Catholic in Rome” according to the Washington Post because he supposedly had one meeting with Steve Bannon three years ago – the report was discredited by journalist Terry Mattingly – and, along with three other cardinals, Burke had asked Pope Francis to clarify his ambiguous statement regarding civilly remarried Catholics receiving communion.

Spadaro/Figueroa can claim that Pope Francis “moves under the urge of inclusion, peace, encounter and bridges” because the progressive media didn’t report that, in response to the four cardinals, the pope raged that they have “a nasty spirit in order to sow division,” are psychologically “born from something missing, from trying to hide one’s own sad dissatisfaction behind a kind of armor” and are a “cancer of the Church.”

Pope Francis’ Protection of Pedophiles Kept Secret by the U.S. Media

By open letter and video message handed to Pope Francis in May 2014, former students at the notorious Provolo Institute for the Deaf in Italy begged the pope for justice. More than one hundred deaf and mute children had been sexually abused at the boarding school. The letter told Pope Francis that one of the Italian perpetrators, Fr. Nicola Corradi, held current a position at the Provolo Institute in Argentina.

The pope took no action to stop Corradi.

Corradi and four others in the Argentine school were arrested in Nov. 2016 and charged with raping and molesting at least 22 children.

Other reports poured in and “it’s now thought that as many as 60 children fell victim to abuse.” Prosecutors said the alleged anal and vaginal rapes, fondling and oral sex took place in the school, on the grounds and chapel. “Victims said they were taken to the Casita de Dios (the little house of God) where they were forced to perform sexual acts on one another and made to watch other students being abused,” according to a report from Buenos Aires.

“One of the alleged victims said she witnessed how a girl was raped by one priest while the other one forced her to give him oral sex,” reported Crux. Another accused a nun “of making her wear a diaper to cover up a hemorrhage after she was raped by a priest” when she was five years old, the AP wrote.

“The tormentors” knew “the other children wouldn’t hear the screams as they were deaf,” per Breaking News.

In April, Pope Francis sent Fr. Dante Simón to investigate. Simón concluded that “A few (cases) have been dismissed … For example, a girl or a boy falls in love with a priest, and he doesn’t respond back. The boy can be very spiteful like a woman can. So, they denounce him (the priest),” Simón said on May 19, as reported by the Buenos Aires Herald.

The civil court asked Simón to turn over all documents in his possession relating to the Provolo Institute. The pope’s envoy refused because “the Church [has] independence in its internal investigations. Therefore, the collected information may not be shared with the ordinary judiciary,” noted Diario Uno.

In 2013, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, the Vatican ambassador to the Dominican Republic, was accused of sodomizing poor street boys. Pope Francis was informed in July. He dismissed Wesolowski in secret leaving him a free man. The archbishop was finally arrested by the Vatican in September 2014 only after “there was a serious risk that the nuncio would be arrested on Italian territory at the request of the Dominican authorities and then extradited,according to Corriere della Sera.

Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Miranda Melgarejo of Ayacucho, Peru, was secretly dismissed by Pope Francis in May 2013 for sexually abusing minors. Neither the public nor the civil authorities were notified and Miranda remains a free man.

Without any investigation or canonical trial, Pope Francis removed the “Bishop of Bling.” Yet, BishopAccountability.org has compiled the names of 57 other bishops accused of sexually abusing minors who remain free and in good standing.

Trump and Catholics: Another Well-guarded Secret

During the campaign,  Trump proclaimed, “The Little Sisters of the Poor, or any religious order for that matter, will always have their religious liberty protected on my watch and will not have to face bullying from the government because of their religious beliefs.” Pope Francis had visited the nuns while in the U.S., encouraging their lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. Houses of worship are exempt from having insurance that provides coverage for contraception. Like other religious organizations, the nuns are required to notify the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in writing of their religious objection in order to be granted an exemption to providing coverage for contraception for their employees

In the final days of the campaign, Trump gave an interview on the Catholic EWTN, the largest religious media network in the world. Trump again sympathized with the Little Sisters of the Poor. “Religious liberty” was in “tremendous trouble” and that “the biggest issue right now is the Supreme Court judges,” Trump said.

“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,” reported Pew Research.

Trump won the Evangelical vote as expected. “Catholics? Now we’re talking about Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. And that was the election,” noted political reporter, F. H. Buckley.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State is the most powerful man in the Church next to the pope. [W]hen you look at Parolin, you’re basically looking at the face of authority in the Pope Francis era,” Crux editor, John L. Allen, Jr., recently wrote.

Parolin congratulated Trump the day after the election and praised the president-elect: “[T]he future leader has already spoken like a leader.” “Asked about the polemics that arose earlier in the year between Trump and Pope Francis over the question of [building walls], Parolin responded, ‘Let’s see how the president acts’ …. Normally, they say it is one thing to be a candidate and another to be president, to have that responsibility. It seems premature to make judgments,” Parolin concluded.

The only time Pope Francis has ever spoken about Trump by name, he said “I think that we must wait and see” when asked about the inauguration.

On May 4, before signing his executive order on “religious freedom,” Trump decried the “attacks against the Little Sisters of the Poor.” Trump told the nuns who were present, “Your long ordeal will soon be over. … We are ending the attacks on your religious freedom” and invited several to be on stage with him.

When asked about Trump on June 27, the same day the president banned transsexuals from serving in the military, Parolin replied: “You cannot be in a rush. A new administration that is so different and unique, and not only for political reasons, compared to the previous ones, will need time to find its own balance.” He reiterated that “time is needed to judge” Trump.

The Pope’s Own Media

Literally volumes could be written about the U.S. media’s vast number of omissions and distortions regarding Pope Francis. However, it is not entirely their fault.

The first change Pope Francis made in the Vatican was creating a Secretariat for [his] Economy, and put Cardinal Pell – whose only financial experience was cheating sex abuse survivors out adequate compensation – in charge.

The second change was to create a Secretariat of Communications two years ago and appoint Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò as prefect. Viganò said the Secretariat’s mission is primarily “communicating the pope, his magisterium, his gestures, [and] the work of the Roman dicasteries to the Church around the world.” Since then, there has been a constant flurry of press conferences and press releases Ad Majorem Francis Gloriam.

No one cares that the only commission Jesus gave to his Church was to preach the Gospel.

The Inevitable Result: An Alternative Universe

Granted, nothing about Pope Frances matters much to the vast majority of Americans. What does matter is the integrity and trustworthiness of the media.

As most already know, preceding the national conventions, “a high volume” of “positive media coverage … propelled Trump to the top of the Republican poll.” After the nominations became official, “Clinton and Trump’s coverage was virtually identical in terms of its negative tone. Were the allegations surrounding Clinton of the same order of magnitude as those surrounding Trump?’” asks Thomas E. Patterson in a report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

What other dishonest news are we being fed?

The liberal Catholic media was so distraught that after four years of prostituting themselves Trump had won the Catholic vote anyway, they concocted the alternative fact in April that Catholics had really chosen Hillary Clinton. “According to an analysis of American National Election Studies … Catholic voters narrowly went for Democrat Hillary Clinton, 48 percent to 45 percent,” reported America.  “For academics, ANES is considered the gold standard of survey research” opined the National Catholic Reporter.

To begin with, “data collection for the American National Election Studies for 2016 began in early September and continued into January, 2017,” a period during which, as a composite, we know Clinton lead in all the polls.

Secondly, despite much inaccurate reporting (the Washington Post led with “Donald Trump has a massive Catholic problem” followed by the New York Times “Clinton Challenges Trump for a Traditional Republican Bloc, White Catholics”) every poll conducted during the campaign that included the respondent’s religion showed Catholics choosing Trump at percentages  higher than the general electorate. (See also herehere and here.)

Huffington Post  repeated the mendacity of the liberal Catholic press as fact.

On Aug. 8, NPR’s Lulu Garcia Navarro interviewed Joshua McElwee, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter about the Spadaro/Figueroa article. Garcia Navarro asked, ”How did Catholics vote in this recent election?” McElwee: “In the last election, the latest numbers are that they voted for Hillary Clinton but by a very small margin, 1 or 2 percentage points, among Catholics in the U.S.”

Not only did Garcia Navarro allow this to stand unchallenged, she asked McElwee, “What has been the reaction [to the article] among the Catholic community here in the United States?” Then she allowed McElwee to misrepresent the objections made by Republican Catholics without providing an opportunity for them to respond.

Trump claimed he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not “lose any voters.” Similarly, nothing can quash the liberal media’s Ad Majorem Francis Gloriam.

In reality, the first part of the Spadaro/Figueroa article is so painfully ignorant of American history, Protestantism and the Religious Right that the entire article, including their conclusions, should have been dismissed. Garbage in, garbage out.

In reality, Americans of good will are trying to heal the polarization of our people and tone down the rhetoric. Spadaro/Figueroa exacerbate the divisions with the same “shocking rhetoric” for which they accuse “a successful U.S.-based digital platform, the Church Militant” – in reality an obscure fringe group.

Spadaro/Figueroa broad brush all American “value voters” – who, by definition, are those who hold the same positions on abortion, contraception and denying human rights to gay and transgender persons as does the pope and every hierarch he has appointed or promoted – as an “ecumenism of hate” which

  • “Promotes conflict, a xenophobic and Islamophobic vision that wants walls and purifying deportations.”
  • Where “intolerance is a celestial mark of purism.”
  • Who “project divinity on political power.”
  • Where “sectarian millenarianism and dominionism prepare for the apocalypse.”

All American “value voters” are a “spurious alliance” characterized by

  • “Triumphalist, arrogant and vindictive ethnicism.”
  • “Raising the tones of the conflictual, exaggerating disorder, agitating the souls of the people by painting worrying scenarios beyond any realism.”
  • A “fundamentalism not the product of a religious experience but a poor and abusive perversion of it.”
  • Who “manipulate anxiety and insecurity.”
  • Who “want a ‘holy war’ or to build barrier-fences crowned with barbed wire.”

The religious left and mainstream media unanimously praised the article.

Massimo Faggioli, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University and a contributor to liberal Catholic journals, said the article would “be remembered in Church history as one of the most important to understand the Vatican of Francis and the United States and American Catholicism.”

As already stated, other than as a cause for skepticism about the U.S. media’s veracity, Pope Francis has little influence except for his direct and indirect responsibility for the current and future victims of brutal sexual assaults here and around the world. By hiding this pontiff’s culpability and not holding him accountable, liberal journalists have demonstrated zero decency. The screams of the children are not being heard by the intentionally deaf for-profit media.

(I’d like to thank Dr. William Lindsey and the other administrators of The Open Tabernacle website; Kathy Shaw, tireless editor of the Abuse Tracker website, and the administrators of the caucas99percent website for allowing me to post my blogs. None have advertising but they do accept donations.)

(Betty Clermont is author of The Neo-Catholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America.)

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6 Responses

  1. Astute to take the Jesuit motto and turn it on Francis!
    A powerful case against Francis’ popular perception.
    BC rests her case with strong facts. The pro-Francis lobby will ignore because they would have a difficult time refuting compelling conclusions from Francis’ actions.
    Two small questions: “Few Jesuits do become bishops but with the permission of their superior. Bergoglio did not have this permission when he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992. He “formally left the Society,” per Ivereigh, meaning he never again lived in a Jesuit community.” Is it a matter of record Bergoglio didn’t have permission when appoint auxiliary bishop.
    Secondly, Did Lombardi resign that Burke was promoted?
    Still, a mystery when many conservative RCs appear to have strong objections against Francis when he is their man!?

    • Thanks so much for your comment. No, “it’s not a matter of record” that Bergoglio didn’t have permission, but there have been insinuations that such was the case given the problems between the Jesuits and JPII, remarks by Jesuits who served under Bergoglio, and the politics of Pres. Menem during that period who said that RCC “matters” were handled between him and the Vatican.
      The pope accepted Lombardi’s “resignation” but there was no indication that Lombardi was ready to leave prior to his replacement.

    • Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I should not write anything based on suppositions and have deleted the matter of whether or not Bergoglio did or did not have permission.

  2. Betty….This is a very, very important and well documented historical overview. Many very sincere thanks. Jack

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