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Archive for the ‘mistitled Benedict’ Category

Hoocoodanode? Vatican edition of C&L

Posted by Charles II on March 12, 2013

I’ll abbreviate Communion and Liberation as C&L for reasons abundantly obvious below.

John Allen, Jr., National Catholic Reporter, from May 2012:

For a long time it was Opus Dei, and then, even before massive sex scandals exploded around their founder, it was the Legionaries of Christ. Today, at least in Italy, it now seems Communion and Liberation’s turn to be the conservative Catholic group generating the most controversy, the sexiest news headlines, and the greatest volume of conspiracy theories.

That’s likely a special source of heartburn for Pope Benedict XVI, for whom Communion and Liberation has always been his personal favorite among the new movements in the Catholic church.

[According to an unnamed Italian newspaper] businesses with ties to Communion and Liberation control assets in excess of almost $100 billion, representing five percent of Italy’s Gross Domestic Product.

John Hooper and Lizzie Davies, The Guardian:

But even as preparations for the mass were being made, Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan – and reportedly the hot favourite to be the next pope – suffered a blow.

Anti-mafia detectives swooped on homes, offices, clinics and hospitals in Lombardy, the region around Milan, and elsewhere. A statement said the dawn raids were part of an investigation into “corruption linked to tenders by, and supplies to, hospitals”.

Healthcare in Lombardy is the principal responsibility of the regional administration, which for the past 18 years has been run by Roberto Formigoni, a childhood friend of Scola and the leading political representative of the Communion and Liberation fellowship. Until recently, Scola was seen as the conservative group’s most distinguished ecclesiastical spokesman.

The regional administration headed by Formigoni – a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s party – collapsed last October amid a welter of accusations regarding alleged corruption and misconduct.

Scola, who has headed the Milan archdiocese since 2011… entered the conclave as favourite after the Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that his supporters were confident he had the support of up to 50 of the 115 cardinal-electors.

It’s a complicated story, but the gist is that the Milan branch of C&L, a right-wing Catholic organization, is up to its eyeballs in criminal activity. Formigioni is the equivalent of its Bill Donohue and also the equivalent of their Tom Donohue. He’s a senior member of C&L. And C&L was so close to the last pope, i.e., Benedict, that Benedict had them running his household. And, oh by the way, Scola was C&L’s most senior spokesman until last year, when he “publicly rebuked the movement after its leader was found to have written to Pope Benedict, implicitly criticising the cardinal’s liberal predecessors in the Milan archdiocese.”

Quite a close call. If he’d waited a few more months, the Formigoni scandal would have broken.

And now for the piece d’resistance, courtesy of Bill Hoffman of NewsMax, last week:

Catholic League: Italian Cardinal Scola ‘Safe’ Choice for Pope

The Vatican should tap Italy’s Archbishop of Milan as the successor to Pope Benedict if it wants a safe bet, says Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

“If they want to play it safe, go with [Cardinal] Angelo Scola,’’ Donohue told Steve Malzberg on Newsmax’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’

Hoocoodanode that Scola–the favorite to become Pope– would be linked, however indirectly, to the Mafia?

Posted in mistitled Benedict, The Vatican | Comments Off on Hoocoodanode? Vatican edition of C&L

A great religious mystery

Posted by Charles II on June 18, 2012

David Kerr, Catholic News Agency:

In his eight and a half minute address, the Pope explained to that the Council Fathers had wanted to renew the external forms of the Mass so as to “make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery,” and therefore “lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist.”

Touching upon the troubled recent history of the Church in Ireland, the Pope said the “mystery” as to why some clerics would abuse those in their care can perhaps be explained by the fact that “their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit.”

I hate to harp on the sex abuse scandal. Such things are not exactly unique to the Catholic Church. But when Popes go around calling gross hypocrisy and sociopathic predation a “mystery” in the same speech as they talk of making accessibly the “mystery” of the Eucharist, they sound completely clueless.

Here’s the answer to the “mystery,” Mr Pope: Children require protection. Pedophiles and ephebophiles require exposure, condemnation, and punishment.

Posted in children, mistitled Benedict | 3 Comments »

The Catholic Crackup: Network under threat/corrected and updated

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2012


The Vatican has reprimanded the largest group of Catholic nuns [this isn’t quite correct; they are a group of nuns, laity, and non-Catholics the LCWR includes both nuns and sisters] in the United States, saying they have focused too heavily on issues of social justice, while failing to speak out enough on “issues of crucial importance,” such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In a report issued last week, church leaders accused the nuns of promoting “radical feminist” ideas and challenging key teachings on homosexuality and male-only priesthood. An archbishop and two bishops — all of them male — have been appointed to oversee the nuns. “To me, it’s quite puzzling that our work with the poor, which Jesus told us to do in the Gospels, would be the source of such criticism,” says Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK, which was harshly criticized in last week’s report.

We’re joined from Washington, D.C., by Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK, which was also heavily criticized in last week’s report.

The report highlights the point that the Church is unable to find enough priests (a factor in why they covered up the abuse scandal), yet they will not ordain women. Women, of course, would have been more likely to speak out in the face of the abuse scandal, so the scandal might have proved to be less damaging to the Church.

The group Network, which includes Catholic nuns but also laity and non-Catholics, is being chastised for doing too much of one good deed, namely serving the poor. This is a clear affront to a notion central to the Church, i.e. that conscience should rule us. If one believes that a good deed being performed by someone else is maybe not quite such a good deed as they think, one should be free to leave them to do it, while one pursues the good deeds that one thinks really are good deeds. If one is coerced to do good deeds, then they aren’t good deeds and the result cannot be good.

Campbell also points out something so blindingly obvious that the Catholic hierarchy is unable to see it: if one wants to reduce abortions (which essentially all people want), then one must not block people from using the most obvious means of accomplishing that: contraception.

My guess is that the Vatican’s pronouncement has a lot more to do with the election than with contraception. Network posts such as Ryan is Catholic, His Budget is Not, and Senator Rubio’s Not-so-just Alternative to the DREAM Act, not to mention Join Us As We Prepare For Election 2012! must drive the Vatican wild. One should note that Network, unlike ALEC, is properly registered as a lobbying group.


Update: Brother John made some important points in comments. First, the post is about Network, a lobbying group. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and Network were both criticized, and apparently for similar reasons. The Vatican has direct authority over LCWR, but not over Network. I have conflated the two (there seems to be overlap in membership between the two, so I am not certain exactly how different they are. Clearly they interact.). However, the post was about Network, not LCWR.

Brother John also pointed out that Catholic leadership has come out against the Ryan budget. I have questioned the sincerity of that, pointing out that last year, the Ryan budget received support from high levels. Quoting Jonathan Cohn of TNR from May 2011:

It seems sacrilegious to suggest the leader of the America’s Catholic Bishops has made a deal with the devil. But his latest political gesture makes me wonder if he is in negotiations.

Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York and president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter on Wednesday to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.

The letter, if it didn’t explicitly endorse the Ryan budget, did not criticize the massive cuts to the poor, elderly, and ill that the Ryan budget would have mandated. So, the Bishops are very late to this party. I, for one, believe that they are playing politics. I suspect they are trying to take some of the odor off themselves for having gotten involved in the contraception wars.

Posted in abortion, abuse of power, mistitled Benedict, religion | 15 Comments »

Unexpected Consequences?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 20, 2010

I am often mindful of the fact that the Magna Carta was intended to, at most, be a sop on the part of a harried Angevin king to a small group of powerful barons interested solely in their own grievances. It wasn’t intended to lead to greater overall freedom for all English subjects.

With that in mind, I think that the effect of Pope Benedict XVI’s recent decision that condom usage isn’t all bad all the time, especially for gay male prostitutes, may be not what he intends it to be — or maybe it is.

On the one hand, if he seriously thinks he’s going to score points with the medical community, particularly those involved in fighting HIV, for this apparent humanitarian gesture, he’s sadly mistaken. Worse yet, he’s going to inflame the hardcore reactionaries, as they will see this as the first step towards accepting condom use in general.

On the other hand, consider Africa. It’s the last semi-open frontier, as far as the major organized religions are concerned — the last one where a non-trivial number of the indigenous people aren’t already subscribed to one of the big faiths. (It’s one reason why the Mormons, whose faith was built to a large degree on anti-black racism, have opened the door to blacks in the priesthood.) There’s a big problem, though: The spread of HIV, particularly via heterosexual contacts with hookers, threatens to eliminate these potential converts before they can be converted.

What to do? How about preparing the ground for a tacit, if not official, acceptance of condom use among heterosexual couples by allowing it for homosexual contacts? That’s exactly what I’m guessing will result from this announcement of Pope Benedict’s.

Posted in Africa, mistitled Benedict, Pope Ratzinger, religion, The Vaticant, theocrats | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Miscellaneous outrages

Posted by Charles II on July 16, 2010

What part of illegal don’t you understand? So, now anti-immigrant extremists have turned to rifling confidential data bases, a crime, in order to get ICE to deport more people, some of whom may be here legally.


JUAN GONZALEZ: We begin today with Utah, where an anonymous group has distributed a list that is spreading terror and outrage among the Latino community. The list includes names, addresses, workplaces, phone numbers, birth dates and, in some cases, Social Security numbers of some 1,300 people that the group alleges are undocumented. The list was sent to law enforcement officials, state lawmakers and the media, and it urges that those on it be immediately deported. All the names are Latino, and they include over 200 children and the due dates for six pregnant women.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has called for an investigation to see if the list was compiled by someone with access to state databases containing personal information….

TONY YAPIAS: ….we have found also that some of them are legal residents or in the process of becoming citizens. We learned over the last couple days there’s a lady that’s to become a US citizen next month.

Attempt to change the subject, Epic FailJohn Hooper, The Guardian:

It was meant to be the document that put a lid on the clerical sex abuse scandals that have swept the Roman Catholic world. But instead of quelling fury from within and without the church, the Vatican stoked the anger of liberal Catholics and women’s groups by including a provision in its revised decree that made the “attempted ordination” of women one of the gravest crimes in ecclesiastical law.

The change put the “offence” on a par with the sex abuse of minors.

It’s your money Christine Harper and Joshua Gallu, Bloomberg:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s $550 million settlement with U.S. regulators yesterday will benefit the firm by ending three months of uncertainty at an affordable price. …no management changes were required; and Goldman Sachs said the SEC indicated it doesn’t plan claims related to other mortgage- linked securities it examined….Goldman Sachs acknowledged that marketing materials for the 2007 deal at the center of the case contained “incomplete information.” In its April 16 suit, the SEC accused the firm of defrauding investors in a mortgage-backed collateralized debt obligation by failing to tell them that hedge fund Paulson & Co., which was planning to bet against the deal, had helped to design it. …

For Goldman Sachs, the cost represents approximately 14 days’ worth of earnings….

Why should Goldman care about half a billion? You should see what they got from the Treasury on the AIG deal.

Oh. And see the Environmental Law Institute (via Barry Ritholtz) for this outrage: $70B subsidies for fossil fuels. $12 B for conventional renewables (and $17B for subsidies to environmentally destructive corn ethanol)

Posted in immigration, mistitled Benedict, religion, rightwing moral cripples, wrong way to go about it | 1 Comment »

More like this, please

Posted by Charles II on April 15, 2010

John Hooper, Guardian:

His [Pope Ratzinger’s] former faculty colleague, the rebel German theologian, Hans Küng,today urged Benedict’s bishops to defy him and demand sweeping reforms. In an open letter published by Süddeutsche Zeitung and other papers, he gave his backing to growing calls for a global church council, such as the one that transformed Roman Catholicism in the 1960s.

Küng said Catholicism faced its biggest crisis since the 16th century Protestant Reformation, and he left readers in no doubt that he held his old friend largely responsible.

He said that, with every day that passed, Benedict’s pontificate showed itself more incapable of meeting “the great challenges of our time”. He went on to give a long list of the pope’s alleged mistakes.

The big thing in the news is the sexual abuse scandal. But that’s only one area where the Vatican shows how hard-hearted and unregenerate (i.e., un-Jesuslike) it is. Here are what I consider much larger issues for which the Vatican simply refuses to listen to reason:
1. In a world suffering from overpopulation, hunger, and sexually-transmitted diseases, it refuses to sanction birth control.
2. In nations which suffer from tyranny, like Honduras, it stands with the rich.
3. In opening the communion table to other Christian denominations, it has actually turned back from the liberalizing policy begun under John Paul.
4. It singles out abortion as a sin worthy of excommunication, even though other sins (e.g., war, e.g., greed) result in far more deaths than abortion. Further, it refuses to put similar emphasis on any of the root causes of abortion–even poor nutrition, pollution, and smoking, all of which may be factors in spontaneous abortions.

I can’t say that many Christian churches show the kind of compassion and open acceptance of others that Jesus did. But the Catholic Church is the mother church. I don’t expect Jerry Falwell, or any of the many historically illiterate churches to be anything except blind. But the Catholic Church, with its rich history, should know better.

A global church council! Transformation! These are exciting phrases. May the wind of the Holy Spirit blow through that stale institution!

Posted in mistitled Benedict, Pope Ratzinger, religion | 2 Comments »

Benedict On Abuse Coverup: I Was Only Following Orders!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 5, 2010

Guess who got thrown under the bus in Pope Benedict’s efforts to absolve himself of any blame in the metastasizing worldwide church sex-abuse scandal?

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — who became Pope Benedict — had tried to investigate the abuses as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to Schönborn. But his efforts had been blocked by “the Vatican”, an apparent reference to John Paul.

Asked by The Sunday Times whether John Paul’s role in the cover-up of abuse should be investigated, Schönborn said: “I have known Pope Benedict personally during 37 years of amiable acquaintance and I can say with certainty that … he made entirely clear efforts not to cover things up but to tackle and investigate them. This was not always met with approval in the Vatican.”

The Groer affair became public in 1995 when former pupils of an elite Catholic school accused him of sexual abuse.

After an outcry, Groer was replaced and made the prior of a convent. He was never punished and issued only a vague apology in 1998 before retreating to a nunnery where he lived until his death in 2003. Some of his victims were offered “hush money” from the church.

Michael Tfirst, 54, one of Groer’s victims, claims to have reported the abuse to highranking church officials from the 1970s onwards. He says the church paid him £3,300 in 2004 under a contract that obliged him to keep quiet.

“There is no question that Ratzinger knew all the details of reports on abuse within the church, as there is no doubt that John Paul, his superior, took part in a massive and systematic cover-up,” Tfirst said.

Somehow I don’t think that “I was only following orders” will work here, especially for those folks who either remember the Nuremberg trials or were taught about them in grade school.

But setting aside that, the whole effort on Benedict’s part to pretend that the abuse scandal is all the fault of his (conveniently dead) papal predecessor falls flat when one notes that abuse scandals were being covered up in Germany in the 1960s — long before JPII ascended to the Papacy.

Posted in mistitled Benedict, Pope Ratzinger, Pope Ratzinger (mistitled Benedict), religion, rightwing moral cripples | Comments Off on Benedict On Abuse Coverup: I Was Only Following Orders!

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