Posted by Charles II on February 25, 2013
Despite the seamy authoritarian side of the Catholic Church that was exposed by the sex abuse scandal, there is a lot to love about the Church. Its art represents extraordinary human spiritual exploration.
Our friend Brother John has been doing a pilgrimage to the holy sites of Italy. He has produced a terrific set of photos and posted them online:
The Vatican Museum
There are more photos and commentary on his site.
Posted in religion, The Vatican, The Vaticant | 2 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on January 22, 2013
David Leigh, Jean François Tanda and Jessica Benhamou:
Few passing London tourists would ever guess that the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in New Bond Street, had anything to do with the pope. Nor indeed the nearby headquarters of the wealthy investment bank Altium Capital, on the corner of St James’s Square and Pall Mall.
But these office blocks in one of London’s most expensive districts are part of a surprising secret commercial property empire owned by the Vatican.
Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church’s international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.
Since then the international value of Mussolini’s nest-egg has mounted until it now exceeds £500m.
Posted in The Vaticant | Tagged: religion as business | 3 Comments »
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: AIDS, HIV | 1 Comment »
Posted by Charles II on April 14, 2009
One of the great issues of the day when John F. Kennedy was running for President was whether he would be independent of the Vatican. Prior to that, it had been impossible for a Catholic to serve as president because of the fear, stoked by Protestant bigotry, that the Holy See might use its influence and the threat of excommunication to coerce a president to act at their behest. When JFK was elected, we thought that issue had been laid to rest.
Now, the Catholic Church is resuscitating those fears by leaning on politicians to trim their political beliefs to suit the church. The latest chapter, which had been furiously denied by all sides, has now been reported by an Italian newspaper, Il Giornale (via Il Guardiano):
The Vatican has vetoed three of Barack Obama‘s potential nominees as US ambassador amid a growing dispute between the White House and the Roman Catholic church over the new administration’s support for abortion rights and the lifting of a ban on stem cell research.
Vatican sources told Italy‘s Il Giornale newspaper that among those rejected were Caroline Kennedy and two other Roman Catholics who were unacceptable to the pope because they have publicly stood against church dogma.
The conservative Il Giornale described the vetoes as part of a “trial of strength between Barack Obama and the US church that involves the Holy See”, amid uproar among the church’s hierarchy after America’s principal Catholic university, Notre Dame, invited the president to give an address and receive an honorary degree next month.
Catholic candidates need to be asked whether their first loyalty is to the United States or to Rome.
Posted in The Vaticant, theocrats | 6 Comments »