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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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      . . . help us sing the story of our land.Recently my friend Pete and I watched Terrence Malick's 2005 film The New World. It's a beautifully rendered historical drama depicting the founding of the Jamestown settlement in Virginia and inspired by the historical figures Captain John Smith (played by Colin Farrell), Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher) […]
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      And two more Thanksgiving videos for you this morning (with greetings and a statement of appreciation for readers outside the U.S., who aren't celebrating this American national holiday): the video at the head of the posting, featuring Appalachian singer Sam Gleaves reminding us that we're brothers and sisters under the skin despite our incidental […]
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The Papal Visit Brings Forth Ugliness From the Right

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

In a recent press release, Catholic League president Bill Donohue warned, “Pope Visits To U.S. Occasion Ugliness.” Donohue then went on to describe the activities of several Catholic and non-Catholic Progressive leaning organizations during the last two papal visits. As is his wont, Donohue recklessly tarred dissent (by the Women’s Ordination Conference, for example) as anti-Catholic behavior. Donohue demagogically conflates progressive and liberal dissent with hate. There are important differences between hate and dissent, regardless of the source.

But with the ascendancy of the more open-minded Pope Francis, the Catholic League president all-too-conveniently overlooked much of the ugliness aimed at the pontiff from the Right.

On his upcoming visit to the United States Pope Francis will be addressing Congress. A significant portion of his message is expected to focus on the need to take action against Global Warming. This is not sitting well with many conservatives including conservative Catholics who would prefer that Francis talk about culture war memes such as abortion and the supposed war on Christianity.

One of these is Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) — a Tea Partier and a vocal gun rights activist — who once described Native Americans as “wards of the federal government.” He has also signed a pledge to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes. It would be an understatement to say that he is at odds with Francis over economics and the environment.

So, to that end, on September 17, 2015 Representative Gosar published a piece on the conservative website Townhall.com entitled, “Why I Am Boycotting Pope Francis’ Address to Congress.” The statement is a long list of grievances against the successor to Saint Peter — and it is not short on hyperbole. Gosar complains, for example, that Francis may discuss climate change, but he…

…has adopted all of the socialist talking points, wrapped false science and ideology into “climate justice” and is being presented to guilt people into leftist policies. If the Pope stuck to standard Christian theology, I would be the first in line. If the Pope spoke out with moral authority against violent Islam, I would be there cheering him on. If the Pope urged the Western nations to rescue persecuted Christians in the Middle East, I would back him wholeheartedly. But when the Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one.

It goes on like this.

If the Pope wants to devote his life to fighting climate change then he can do so in his personal time. But to promote questionable science as Catholic dogma is ridiculous.

Gosar claims:

I have both a moral obligation and leadership responsibility to call out leaders, regardless of their titles, who ignore Christian persecution and fail to embrace opportunities to advocate for religious freedom and the sanctity of human life. If the Pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend. It is my hope that Pope Francis realizes his time is better spent focusing on matters like religious tolerance and the sanctity of all life. As the leader of the Catholic Church, and as a powerful voice for peace throughout the world, His Holiness has a real opportunity to change the climate of slaughter in the Middle East… not the fool’s errand of climate change.

“Socialist talking points?” “Leftist policies?” Really?

Gosar’s condescending screed is full of stuff like this: “…when the Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one.” Such language is not civic in nature, but instead, full of hatred and hostility.

Unfortunately for Gosar, this partisan sniping reveals a breathtakingly bad understanding of Catholic social teaching (of which, both the “Option for the Poor” and “Stewardship of God’s Creation” are of great importance). He should know this since he boasts of his Jesuit education.

Then there is conservative writer Maureen Mullarkey who recently inked a poison pen piece entitled, “Francis and Political Illusion” in which she describes Francis as “an ideologue and a meddlesome egoist.” Mullarkey subsequently published a piece entitled, “Pope Francis Is A Leftist And Must Be Called Out”. In it, she complains that Francis is not being harsher on Islam “when innocents are slaughtered in Paris by the same forces that are shedding Christian blood in the Middle East… .”

Such ranting should be no surprise coming from Mullarkey who is a contributor to the journal First Things, the well-known outlet for Catholic and Evangelical neoconservatives.

None of this is new.

As I pointed out in 2013 when Rush Limbaugh, Jeb Bush and Bill Donohue himself engaged in some ugliness by mischaracterizing Pope Francis’s criticisms of libertarian economics as a call to Marxist revolution. This is far from the first or only time a Catholic has been called a Marxist or a Socialist for wanting to use the power of government to ensure that capitalism be fairer and less predatory.

While it is true that a lot of ugliness has been directed at Pope Francis: Bill Donohue just isn’t being straight with us about the direction from whence it mostly comes.

A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: Washington DC

Given the magnitude of the media coverage the next week, this is the BIG EVENT for this pontificate. Ever since popes crowned the Holy Roman emperors, with few exceptions they have sought geopolitical influence and power.

Pope Francis “is due to meet President Obama and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. [He] will be going with a particularly dense international agenda: the Holy See, after all, is playing a frontline role in many of the planet’s most burning issues.”

“The Pope’s grip on the world stage means his pastoral actions will have widespread political implications. This prediction … appears in the White House and State Department’s documents.”

“The first time a pontiff will be addressing Congress rivals a presidential inauguration and State of the Union wrapped into one.”

“The improbability of a pope standing before a joint meeting of Congress comes in an era of wider acceptance of the Catholic faith as it intersects with public life and US politics, and indicates a comfort level between the two that wouldn’t have been imaginable several decades ago.”

“Some Jesuits say quietly that Bergoglio, despite being a Jesuit, is closer ideologically to Opus Dei … Bergoglio’s ‘personal, undisputed, austerity has always lived with a determined and sustained pursuit of power, first in his congregation, then in Argentina and now the universal Church. Bergoglio is a strategist and a politician,’” noted Oscar Chamber, professor at the Salesian Center for Studies in Buenos Aires and Franciscan Theological Institute. (Opus Dei is a secret society of multinational financiers)

Pope Francis’ favorable rating among liberals has fallen 14 percentage points from 82 to 68 percent according to a recent poll. I would like to think that the other third still believes in “the collapse of the American media into utter and complete substanceless” as regards its reporting on the pope and/or remembers that two and half years ago most Americans understood that Catholic prelates carried water for the Republican Party and other plutocrats around the world, and that these same prelates elected Bergoglio as pope.

This guide is meant to provide the information omitted by that media.
Continue reading

A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: New York City

Given the magnitude of the media coverage the next week, this is Pope Francis’ best opportunity to strengthen his geopolitical influence and power.

Please see “A Subversive Guide to the Pope’s US Visit: Washington DC and Philadelphia.” My purpose is to provide information omitted by the mainstream media.
Continue reading

A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: Philadelphia

Given the magnitude of the media coverage the next week, this is Pope Francis’ best opportunity to strengthen his geopolitical influence and power.

Please see “A Subversive Guide to Pope Francis’ US Visit: Washington DC and New York.” My purpose is to provide information omitted by the mainstream media.
Continue reading

A Current Murder in the Vatican?

A Vatican trial for Pope Francis’ ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Archbishop Josef Wesolowski, age 67, was scheduled for July 11 but was halted due to the archbishop’s “illness.” Wesolowski was accused of soliciting sex for money from Santo Domingo’s poorest boys and possession of child pornography.

Had the trial taken place, testimony would have confirmed that the pope allowed Wesolowski to remain a free man for 14 months regardless of how many times the pope said he was taking “action” against prelates on the issue of sex abuse; and that, during this time, Wesolowski acquired more than 100,000 computer files of pornography with disturbing photos of children who were likely victims of human trafficking – an issue on which Pope Francis wants to be seen as a world leader. At a July 21 conference for mayors from around the world held in the Vatican, the pope told the group he hoped they would address “how climate change affects the trafficking of people.”

Wesolowski’s body was discovered on August 28 in his Vatican quarters. The next day, the Vatican announced that an autopsy was performed by “a commission of three [unnamed] experts, coordinated by Giovanni Arcudi, Professor of Forensic Medicine … From the first conclusions reached by the macroscopic examination, it is confirmed the natural cause of death was a cardiac event.” No mention was made where the postmortem was conducted. Continue reading

Pope Francis and His Men Urge Expansion of War in the Middle East

Citing the deaths and suffering of Christians, in the past six months Pope Francis:
• called for “concrete participation and tangible help in the defense and protection of our brothers and our sisters.”
• urged the international community to “take action” in the face of “unacceptable” crimes against religious minorities, particularly Christians.
• said the international community would be justified in stopping Islamist militants in Iraq.

In contrast, the commercial media widely reported that Pope Francis said, “People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian.” He further criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another.” And the New York Times reported: “The sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks in the Middle East have created a boom for American defense contractors looking for foreign business.” Continue reading

Pope Francis Means Business in Cuba

“For the umpteenth time, Cuba’s Cardinal Jaime Ortega shows his corruption and iniquity. And for the corresponding umpteenth time, the Vatican and the Pope (current and past) will do absolutely nothing about it,” noted Alberto de la Cruz who tweets and blogs “Reports from Cuba.”

Pope Francis will be visiting the Pearl of the Antilles – as Cuba is known for her natural beauty – September 19-22. Pope Benedict XVI went in 2012 and Pope John Paul II in 1998.

De la Cruz was referring to an incident this past 4th of July at a celebration hosted by the head of the US Interests Section in Havana. Officials from the U.S. and accredited diplomats were in attendance. When two members of the opposition to Castro approached Ortega to deliver a list of 51 political prisoners compiled by the Forum for Rights and Liberties, the cardinal claimed that there were no political prisoners on the island and that “the information all of you [the opposition] receive comes from ‘worm-infested’ Miami.” Continue reading


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