I was a teenager when the man that is frequently described as "the most dangerous cleric in modern history" died. Although I was an Irish Catholic I knew little of the man whose dour faced portrait had adorned our classroom walls. The nuns insisted upon his infallibility and as an altar boy I paid lip service to that and to his papacy until he died; then one day I overheard a Jewish boy who I knew slightly talking about the Pope's sins of omission with regard to Italian Jews en route to Auschwitz and the infamous zyklon B showers; to this day, t'is the most dastardly Catholic deed since the crusades and the inquisition.
Pius' successor: Angelo Roncalli, who became John XXIII was quite the opposite; his war record involved saving many Jewish families from Nazism by forging catholic baptismal certificates; he was affable, down to earth and a man who wanted to drag the Roman Catholic church kicking and screaming into the twentieth century. He lived to preside over the opening session of Vatican II, which he initiated, and then died unexpectedly; I always thought rather conveniently, leaving the curia to slash and burn their way through many of the reforms. On the bright side Vatican II officially cleared Mary Magdalene of selling her body in the fishermen's red-light district of Magdala: an appalling lie, invented by Pope Gregory I in 597 C.E., in which he combined three separate women from the New Testament into one. In a homily which reads like a locker-room, masturbatory, male fantasy, Gregory combined Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany and a woman who is not named but is referred to as a 'sinner'. The Catholics were to brand this amazing woman, the apostle of apostles and doubtless Jesus closest earthly confidant as a whore for close to 1500 years. At the same time Vatican II, allowed Galileo ["And yet it moves...'] to resign from the flat earth society without requiring personal fire insurance.
We move on to Paul VI. Papal names usually indicate the thrust of the papacy and Paul's nominal predecessor [Paul V, who like Paul of Tarsus was a Jew and a businessman] founded the Vatican Bank in 1605. Paul VI presided over his fair share of scandals; however, the rampant criminal activity [murder, thievery and total mayhem] and the freemasonic 'suicides' and mafia involvement in the Vatican Bank stood head and shoulders above all the other evils of his reign.
Google John Paul and Karol Jozef Wojtyla's smug face pops up, unwanted and uninvited. Ironically and paradoxically, Albino Luciani, the ill-fated and genuine John Paul has all but disappeared from the internet. Well, disappear this saintly man did, and under mysterious circumstances after only thirty-three days on the throne of Saint Peter; don't pass autopsy; destroy the evidence; hush everything up and straight to the crypt. John Paul was a humble man of God who had vowed to return the Roman Catholic Church to the status of the 'Church of the Poor'; he had also vowed to clean up that Machiavellian viper's nest of self-serving manipulators known as the Roman curia; break up the gangs of freemasons within the Vatican itself, and above all purge the Vatican Bank of thieves, swindlers and con men. John Paul's plans were in place the day before his death, but Cardinal Jean Villot, his Secretary of State and the spy within betrayed him. Unfortunately, the devil's progeny got to John Paul before he could act…
John Paul II was an actor rather like Ronnie Reagan, and a puppet; although in fairness he did manage to divert serious funds to the solidarity movement in his native Poland and is therefore at least culpable of political meddling, but probably, the puppet master himself 'panzer cardinal' Josef Aloisius Ratzinger who also suffered from Latino McCarthyism allowed that to happen-a win/win-ensuring the Pope's cooperation in other fields. Ratzinger succeeded John Paul II as Pope becoming Benedict XVI and one can say that between the two of them they managed effortlessly to drag Roman Catholicism back into the nineteenth century. I imagine both Roncalli and Luciani were whirling in their sarcophagi.
By and large, the achievements of Pope Francis are yet to be realized. He has only been Pope for a couple of months and right now the honeymoon period is in full swing [a 94% approval rating among 1738 catholic voters.] He actually seems quite comfortable in his position so join me as we take a close look at his style of leadership and the early goals for the papacy.
Like John Paul, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a man of the poor. As a total non-believer in coincidences I tend to think that he has actually modeled himself somewhat on Albino Luciani, An Argentinean, he comes from immigrant Italian parents but I do not think that he has the depth of poverty and sacrifice 'en familia' that Luciani had. All the same, he has parked the bullet proof pope mobile and bought a trendy new Mercedes jeep and, of course, he takes the token bus once in a while.
He also showed up to pay his own pre-conclave hotel bill in person and spent Holy Thursday washing the feet of inmates, including a Moslem woman at a detention center outside Rome. He eschewed the opulent 12-plus-room papal apartment on the top floor of the Apostolic Palace with its apple strudel kitchen and million dollar views to live in a small suite in the Vatican hotel, the Casa Santa Marta, where he can cook for himself on a two ring electric stove. [Nota Bene: these may be extremely shrewd moves when one considers what happened to Luciani].
Since his election, Francis has won positive reviews for his informal style, his off-the-cuff homilies and his professed desire to reach out to the poor. He recently focused upon food: "Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry," he tells us. [Around 1.3bn tonnes of food or one-third of what is produced for human consumption, gets lost or wasted every year, according to the United Nations' food agency.] Since taking office in March, Pope Francis has said he wants the 1.2 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church to defend the poor and to practice greater austerity itself. He has also made several calls for global financial reform, but notably he has avoided mentioning the Vatican Bank which makes the worst of the world's major banking institutions look positively honest.
All of the foregoing amounts to good PR; however, and to be truthful Bergoglio of Buenos Aires lacks the originality of Luciani when he was Patriarch of Venice. Never mind, the press is lapping it up with spaghetti and Chianti and the faithful are drooling in anticipation. Dare we take a glance at the negative signs?
Francis has long been known for his conservative views on social issues. The Vatican said in a statement recently that Francis had reaffirmed the doctrinal evaluation and criticism of U.S. nuns made last year by the Holy See under his predecessor, Benedict XVI. The assessment accused the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization that represents most U.S. female Catholic orders, of promoting "radical feminist themes" and ignoring the Vatican's hard line on contraception, artificial insemination; same-sex marriage, divorce and abortion. Let us not forget 'omerta' surrounding issues of pedophilia among the clergy. Nuns of the Catholic Church have been calling, begging for reform for women. Now they are faced with a new pope, known for his orthodoxy.
If women of the Catholic faith believe that their status in the church will be elevated with Francis at the helm, they are mistaken. His faith flies in the face of reality. It has been fifty years since the Vatican II promised fundamental reform for women's involvement in the church. Since then, precious little has changed. Women still cannot be ordained as priests, or even as deacons. This should define a sense of what the status of women is within the Catholic Church.
In conclave, the cardinals weren’t looking for a man that would heed the call of the Catholic faithful for a reformer. What they were looking for is a skilled bureaucrat who can lead them out of the cesspool of sex abuse scandal with the minimum drain on precious funds. Lets face it, the claimed 1.2 billion adherents is a figment of the curia's imagination, and the Catholic Church is increasingly the maker of its own irrelevance, and that’s the one thing that Francis will not be able to blame women for.
It appears that Francis may endorse his predecessor's near-lunatic ideas about contraception in Africa. Even as he kissed the feet of twelve AIDS patients at an Argentinean hospital, a disease that might have been prevented by the use of a simple contraceptive device, the condom, which prevents the exchange of bodily fluids, Bergoglio was supporting Catholic dogma that established a death sentence for countless millions of men, women and children in the third world
Finally, allegations that Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, collaborated with Argentina's brutal military dictatorships have been circulating for decades. The Pope, and the Vatican he now heads, have vehemently denied these allegations; however, the regime's own documents now seem to prove, not only did Bergoglio fail to help those in life-or-death situations, the new Pope actively collaborated with those who kidnapped, tortured and murdered thousands of men, women and children. Critics claim the Vatican also shares the blame. Global Research reports that the Vatican supported the collaboration between the Argentinean Catholic Church and the dictatorship during the so-called 'Dirty War.' In 1981, another new pope, John Paul II, traveled to Buenos Aires in a show of support with the junta, kissing General Galtieri and uttering not a word about the tens of thousands of Argentineans who'd been kidnapped, tortured, murdered and disappeared.
The way I read the signs, there are three possibilities for the papal incumbency of Francis, two of them linked to John Paul, Albino Luciani, of whom Cardinal Carlo Confalonieri aptly observed at the pope's funeral Mass in 1978 "He passed as a meteor which unexpectedly lights up the heavens and then disappears, leaving us amazed and astonished." The other is associated with that plaster saint John Paul II who should have had the decency at least to have chosen a totally different name.
Perhaps Francis has read the John Paul Memorial Survival Manual and knows that now that he has passed the thirty-three day mark the Guinness Book of Records is no longer interested in his continued existence because he will never be a contender for the 'longest papal reign'. So for now it is best to consolidate his power base; be sure of the loyalty of the Swiss Guard and the Vatican Police as well as cultivating a few spies of his own within the treacherous curia before revealing his plans for Vatican III. After all, it is best to avoid a large and unwanted dose of digitalis in one's after dinner cocoa if at all possible!
Or maybe he's just another puppet, and an actor like John Paul II who will deliver the lines he gets from the curia, and at the same time win the hearts and minds of the Catholic faithful by introducing a soporific period of apparent goodness and light. Meanwhile, the priceless old Vatican carpets will remain lumpy with all the evil deeds that have been swept under the corners by Benedict and his henchmen in the curia.
Then there's Malachy's prediction [not to be confused with that of Malachi, who ran out of popes with Benedict XVI, unless Francis is Peter the Roman in disguise]. I predict that Francis will be the most two-faced politician since England's Harold Wilson [the famous reversible turncoat] with a public face stolen from John Paul; acting lessons from the ghost of John Paul II with his strings being adeptly pulled by the curia and Pope Emeritus Benedict who is alive and well and lurking in the Vatican shadows. The status of women will likely deteriorate and women world-wide will watch aghast as the ordination of pedophiles, homosexuals and transgender candidates continues as long as the Vatican medical panel can find evidence of at least one small testicle. Without contraception the average lifespan of an African child will remain at around six years and ninety-nine percent of adults over thirty will be clerics, politicians or businessmen [or their friends and family] the rest having joined their children much earlier in the family plot. The abuse of children will receive a lot of publicity delivered with crocodile tears and false humility, while at the same time new and inventive ways will be found to cover up the vile deeds and protect the abusers. Third world poverty will become the number one table talk at the sumptuous dinner tables of the rich and famous, where it will remain amongst the discarded lobster shells, the left over beef Wellington and the empty wine glasses. There will be brave words and propaganda on the subject of Human Rights, meanwhile the world's power mongers will be privately assured of the Vatican's ongoing support of their abusive global practices in exchange for the appropriate quid pro quo. Finally, the deposits at the Vatican Bank will continue to swell as will the 'patrimony' of the Roman Catholic Church; in short nothing will change.
I truly hope and pray that I am wrong.
In writing this article, the author acknowledges numerous sources on the World Wide Web.
Author: Rev. Malachy Egan
Article Date: July 2013
ENOUGH POPES FOR A LIFETIME. UPDATE #1."
Since I wrote the above article in mid June, Pope Francis has initiated an investigation into the notorious Vatican bank; he has appointed a five member pontifical commission to review the management and operations of the Institute for Religious Works [IOR].
The members of the commission comprise of three cardinals, a senior cleric and, presumably to give an illusion of transparency, Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor and former US ambassador to the Holy See. Glendon is politically connected to the US Republicans through Bubbya Bush and Mitt Romney; anti abortion; anti contraception; anti women's advancement within the church and anti feminism generally.
Pope Francis appears to acknowledge the need for "reforms". This latest initiative follows the appointment of a close friend of the pontiff, Father Battista Ricca ,as prelate of the IOR following a new inquiry into money laundering. On June 28, A senior Vatican cleric, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, suspected of helping wealthy friends bring millions of euros into Italy illegally [for a percentage of course] was arrested and taken to the city's Queen of Heaven jail.
Beyond a long history of corruption and sleaze, it was not clear what role the bank had, if any, in these latest developments, and it remains to be seen whether this initiative is more Vatican smoke and mirrors, or an actual move toward reform.
ENOUGH POPES FOR A LIFETIME. UPDATE #2."
PAPA FRANCO, ANOTHER ACTOR? HERE IS WHAT WE HAVE SEEN FROM HIM THUS FAR...
As I predicted the self-centered ghost of John Paul II is haunting Papa Franco who has 'nudged' the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to hurry up sainthood for the dead Polish Pope based on what appears to be fictional evidence of the necessary two miraculous healings.
Karol Josef Wojtyla, the man who turned a blind eye to the sex abuse scandal, who silenced all dissent within the Church and who supported the crooks at the Vatican bank while the Panzer Cardinal deftly pulled his strings is on his way to catholic immortality. Meanwhile, Pope John XXIII and John Paul who were saintly men remain in limbo.
Back in South America [at considerable expense to Catholic adherents] Brazil's Copacabana Beach is the site of mass hysteria! Did the Brazilians, long famous for wearing next to nothing on the beach finally discard the final gram or so of bikini fabric?
Sorry, no... But Papa Franco drew a reported three million flag-waving, rosary-toting faithful for the final evening of World Youth Day, hours after he chastised the Brazilian church for failing to stem the "exodus" of Catholics to evangelical congregations.
Pope Francis's called for Brazilians to build up their church like his namesake, St Francis of Assisi, "Jesus offers us something bigger than the World Cup!" he said, drawing cheers from the crowd in this football-mad nation. Some might have responded, "And the Church of Rome offers us verbiage but no charity."
Of course, the pope is worried about dwindling congregations, which equals dwindling cash receipts, even in a poor country like Brazil where if every adherent gave only one dollar each year to the church, the take would be some $1.2 billion dollars.
In by far the most long-winded [and touted as the most important speech of his four-month pontificate], the pope took a direct swipe at the "intellectual" message of the church that so characterized the pontificate of his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Speaking in ecclesia-babble, Francis, probably no more understandable than Benedict before him, stated "Without the grammar of simplicity, the church loses the very conditions which make it possible to fish for God in the deep waters of his mystery."
Pope Francis offered a breathtakingly blunt list of explanations for the "exodus" and the sorry state of the church. "Perhaps the church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas," he said. "Perhaps the world seems to have made the church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions. Perhaps the church could speak to people in their infancy but not to those come of age. Perhaps the world's rich could do much more to wipe out vast inequalities between the haves and the have-nots."
Perhaps, quizas, peut etre...
One star-struck journalist supposed that, History's first Latin-American pope who has rallied the Church on behalf of the poor and who lives more austerely than predecessors, has called for a "culture solidarity" to replace the "selfishness and individualism" prevailing in modern society. Fine words indeed, but sadly they are just that, words!
Back at Catholic HQ in Vatican City, the spin doctors and church strategists are burning the midnight oil and riding a fine wave of publicity. The Vatican Bankers are counting dinarii; shredding incriminatory evidence and doing everything that they can not to cooperate with the pope's five member pontifical commission, and of course, the curia are doing what they have done so superbly for thousands of years: scheming to maintain the status quo despite any vague papal hint or suggestion of change.
And in the third world? Poverty stricken and disease ridden, the poor people of Africa, Asia, Central and South America struggle onward, enjoying truncated life-spans due to starvation, AIDS and other diseases long eradicated in Washington, London and the Vatican City. For most of them the promise of eternal life offered by the Catholic Church is their only hope, and I am beginning to suspect that that solitary lifetime wish is all that the Church will ever offer, despite Papa Franco's fine words!
Thirty-three days was enough to get Albino Luciani, John Paul, killed; four months ought to be sufficient time to produce some concrete results! Put the Vatican's money where your mouth is, Papa Franco!
ENOUGH POPES FOR A LIFETIME. UPDATE #3."
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WARNS OF RISING SEAS: VATICAN IDENTIFIED AS MAJOR SOURCE OF GLOBAL WARMING...
Papa Franco has warned that the Catholic Church's moral structure might "fall like a house of cards" if it doesn't balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make the church a merciful, more welcoming place for all.
After Six months of El Secondo Dictadura de Franco, Francis set out his vision for the church and his priorities as pope in a long winded and 'mea culpa' interview with La Civilta Cattolica this September.
The 12,000-word article, which is prolix and boring expands on the pope's comments over the summer about gays [which, at least, made the wannabee bishop of New Westminster so happy] and acknowledges some of his own faults.
The only personal fault the papa Franco glosses over is his interminable loquacity and startling ability to state the obvious, for example: "We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible," he said. "The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time."
Translation: "The rules are the rules and the Dictadura Romana knows that nobody gives a hoot. I, papa Franco helped make the rules; Catholics ignore them at their peril, therefore I shall sulk and do nothing except advance global warming with my unending and ineffectual blather about this, that and what little bit I know about the 'other'
It is all so much hot air: the honeymoon is over except for the unknown percentage of Catholics who are delighted with the status quo. Behind this arcane papal facade the curia rub their hands together and it is business as usual!
ENOUGH POPES FOR A LIFETIME. UPDATE #4."
PAPA FRANCO IS THE 'PIN-UP' POPE
So says the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland of Pope Francis, [you can read an article by George Monbiot here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/18/pope-francis-liberal-bloody-sunday-catholic].
Frankly, behind the man who is pope is a Vatican propaganda department with a superb ability to spin, shade, edit and refocus through smoke and mirrors that has not been seen since Josef Goebbels and the national socialists.
Papa Franco has denounced capitalism and wears a thin, almost transparent cloak of sincerity that rivals that famous emperor of children's stories. [An innocent child is yet to yell: "Look! The pope isn't wearing any clothes!] He rails against poverty, however, has not sold a single bauble from the Catholic jewel chest to relieve the wretched poverty of Africa and other third world countries.
Papa Franco is going to reform the Vatican Bank risking assassination by the Mafia; reform the Curia, thus risking assassination by the cardinals and their cronies. I wonder who will get to lace his bedtime cocoa with digitalis first?
He has decried the church's sexual excesses, but has carefully ignored the vile crime of worldwide pedophilia, and despite the massive efforts of his propagandists his human rights record is highly suspect, to say the least.
Pope Francis talks in circles, yet supports the current status quo and doctrinal values of the church with the misplaced fervor of a crusading knight. For example, he signals that he will not waste his time attacking gays and lesbians, and that he thinks that women deserve much more from the church, but at the same time the pope does nothing to change church policy towards them.
But there are more sinister skeletons in Papa Franco's closet, as George Monbiot states so precisely: "It's his failure so far to engage with or even acknowledge the past horrors over which the church has presided. From the destruction of the Cathars to the Magdalene laundries, the Catholic Church has experimented with almost every kind of extermination, genocide, torture, mutilation, execution, enslavement, cruelty and abuse known to humankind."
The Spanish Civil War [1936 to 1939] was the forerunner to WWII and the involvement of the Catholic Church in support of Francisco Franco's successful overthrow of the legal government of Spain was pivotal to the fascist dictator's success. Spain is yet to fully recover from Franco's genocide and Spain is a virtual tax haven for the Catholic Church to this day.
So, what does our poster boy pope do? Last month he beatifies 522 of Dictator Franco's Nationalist rebel fighters killed by Republican soldiers during the Spanish civil War, without acknowledging the role the church played in Franco's revolution and subsequent dictatorship. Meanwhile the Spanish Government refuses to assist relatives to retrieve the remains of their loved ones executed by Franco's goon squads and hastily buried in roadside graves.
In July, in Eire, where the catholic church has hit rock bottom [unlike Spain, where it is sinking faster than the Titanic] and the scandals and depth of abuse has stunned the world, four religious orders that enslaved women in the notorious Magdalene laundries refused to pay compensation to the surviving victims. The pope was far to busy having his publicity pictures taken to respond to this travesty of Catholic justice, and do the decent thing.
Today is the three hundredth anniversary of the Franciscan missionary Junipero Serra, and the Catholic Church and the pope are determined to canonize this fanatical colonizer. Jonathan Freedland, also of the Guardian states: "Serra's cult epitomizes the Catholic problem with history - as well as the lies that underpin the founding myths of the United States.
You can find Serra’s statue on Capitol Hill in the USA, his face on postage stamps, and his name plastered across schools and streets and trails all over California. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II, after a nun was apparently cured of lupus, and he now awaits a second miracle to become a saint
"So what's the problem? Oh, just that he founded the system of labour camps that expedited California's cultural genocide."
I had always thought that the British invented the concentration camp during the Boer War, but now realize that Serra had the original patent on 'Arbeit macht Frei'. But never mind because Papa Franco is OK with things like that as he so ably demonstrated in Argentina during the notorious dictatorship of Jorge Videla.
The honeymoon is over and now begins the winter of our discontent [except with the Catholic sheep. where it will never end] and it has become very obvious that in papa Franco, what you see is definitely not what you get and quite obviously by extension, is not what you are going to get.
I hereby claim that my prediction made when Pope Francis ascended the throne of Peter has come to pass in its totality. In Rome it is business as usual.
Sad, don't you think?
ENOUGH POPES FOR A LIFETIME. UPDATE #5."
Surprise, surprise... Papa Franco is 'Person of the Year'. He hasn't actually achieved anything except accelerate global warming with huge papal flapdoodle emissions! Example: the latest Vatican PR campaign to clean up the Panzer Pope's image, probably an early move in the beatification process by falsely claiming that Benedict did not cover up the pedophile priest scandal. I wonder how Franco will get past the Hitler Youth and Wermacht issue? [He does have personal experience with right wing dictators...]
Yeah, and as a just a matter of fact, our erstwhile pope was pontificating about the status [non-status] of Catholic Women and dangling the carrot of a woman cardinal in front of the press; only to totally ignore women, and appoint nineteen MALE cardinals
Time got it wrong: it's not Person it's MAN OF THE YEAR, but they got the cover picture absolutely bang-on!
"Love God with all your heart,
and love your neighbour as yourself."