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Pope Francis’ and Trump’s Common Ground

“There’s an expectation that the relationship between President Trump and Pope Francis will be difficult to establish [but] that is not the case at all,” Louis Bono, temporary charge d’affaires in the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, said. When the pope and Trump meet on May 24, “They’ll have the opportunity to speak frankly if there are any areas of differences, but more so, to focus on those areas where we do have common ground and to identify how we can work together further,” Bono said.

In a White House Rose Garden ceremony on May 4, Trump decried the “attacks against the Little Sisters of the Poor” before signing his executive order on “religious freedom.” He invited the sisters present to stand beside him and shook the hands of two of them.  Trump congratulated them and told the sisters that they “sort of just won a lawsuit.” He added, “I want you to know, your long ordeal will soon be over,” referring to  their lawsuit against Obamacare that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Continue reading

The Un-Reformed Vatican

Every pope “possesses supreme, full, immediate and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely” according to the Code of Canon Law.

Members of the Roman Curia are appointed and granted authority by the pope.

Pope Francis has also changed the Curia administration. First he created a Secretariat for the Economy and a Council for the Economy. Next, he created a Secretariat for Communications. He replaced the management of the Vatican Bank and the Vatican’s financial “watchdog,” the Financial Information Authority. In the past year, he created new departments for Integral Human Development and another for the Laity, Family and Life replacing five previous councils. Also, the pope appointed 27 new members to the Congregation for Divine Worship, changing the department through its personnel.

Yet the anglophone media has declared in scores of reports that Pope Francis’ struggles to “clean-up” the Vatican but is thwarted by his subordinates, often characterized as “conservatives.” (e.g. herehere, here, here) Continue reading

Pope Francis Granting Anti-Semitic Group Same Status as Opus Dei

In a March 3 homily, Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, confirmed that negotiations to reunite the SSPX with the Catholic Church were ongoing. “Full communion” would be “within a few months,” Vatican reporter, Andrea Tornielli, wrote the same day. Fellay “needs time to explain and to gain broad acceptance for the agreement among the Society,” he noted.

French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the traditionalist order of priests in 1970. He named them after Pope Pius X who, in 1907, described Modernism as “the synthesis of all heresies.”

The SSPX was declared “schismatic” in 1988 when Lefebvre ordained his own bishops without the approval of Pope John Paul II. All four of the new bishops incurred an “automatic” excommunication.

Anti-Semitism

The Simon Wiesenthal Center “condemned” Bishop Fellay for calling Jews “enemies of the Church” and asked the SSPX to renounce their anti-Semitic theology in January 2013.

Pope Francis was elected on March 13, 2013.

The Southern Poverty Law Center stated the SSPX “remains a font of anti-Semitic propaganda” in 2015. The SPLC had placed the SSPX on their “Hatewatch” list in 2009 because of the virulent anti-Semitism of its leaders.

Some of the Society’s members are “accused of anti-Semitism,” Germany’s international news, Deutsche Welle, noted in January 2016. Continue reading

List of Sexual Predators Protected by Pope Francis Grows and Grows

The Catholic Church has long been known for gut-wrenching sex abuse scandals. But this personal involvement by a pope is unprecedented.

____

Fr. Mauro Inzoli is now facing a second Vatican trial after new evidence emerged against him as reported on Feb. 25.

The Vatican found the Italian priest guilty in 2012 of sexually abusing young boys and he was defrocked. But Inzoli is friends with Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio who “intervened on behalf of Inzoli and Pope Francis returned him to the priestly state in 2014, inviting him to ‘a life of humility and prayer.’” Inzoli was later seen at a conference on the family.

In June 2016, a civil court convicted Inzoli of eight incidents of sexual violence between 2004 and 2008 against five children aged 12-16. Fifteen more crimes were barred by the statute of limitations. (Two out of three sexual assaults in the U.S. go unreported. An Australian report found a 33 year gap on average between the sexual abuse and the date reported.)

Inzoli was sentenced to four years and nine months. The Vatican had withheld information from their canonical trial from the civil prosecutors. “Of course, the pope could have allowed the Vatican to share this information with civil authorities if he so desired,” noted Michael Brendan Dougherty, senior correspondent at TheWeek.com.

The Inzoli case is one of several in which Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be laicized (defrocked). Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry. At the same time, Francis also ordered three longtime staffers at the CDF dismissed, two of whom worked for the discipline section that handles sex abuse cases.

Dougherty wrote:

Pope Francis and his cardinal allies have been known to interfere with CDF’s judgments on abuse cases. This intervention has become so endemic to the system that cases of priestly abuse in Rome are now known to have two sets of distinctions. The first is guilty or innocent. The second is “with cardinal friends” or “without cardinal friends.”

____ Continue reading

Cardinal Burke Frenzy – Another Failure of the U.S. 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.

While there is enough blame regarding 2016 polling to go around, as regards the Catholic vote, 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.”

Both inferred that Pope Francis had an effect on U.S. Catholics that was detrimental to Trump. Both ignored that the PRRI polls (here and here) upon which they based their reporting showed that although Clinton led, support for Trump by white Catholics exceeded both the total electorate and white voters in general. Other polls reported that nearly two-thirds of Catholic registered voters are white and that “the IBD-TIPP daily tracking poll  – rated by Nate Silver as the most accurate national poll of the last presidential cycle in 2012 – consistently pointed to a Trump win among Catholics.” Continue reading

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.”)