Friday, October 18, 2013

The Non Reform Of The Reform: Maciel's Legion Lives On Mostly Unreformed

Another group of recruiters is ordained for Grupo Integer---Oh wait, I mean priests for the Legion of Christ

One of the Catholic stories I have featured prominently on this blog over the past seven years or so is the one concerning the Legion of Christ.  I feature this story because the Legion story itself contains with in it a legion of other stories that seem to epitomize the very clericalism, corruption, sexual abuse, personality cult, and elitism that Pope Francis states he wishes to purge from the Church and it's leadership. So how is Pope Francis doing with regards to the Legion and it's legion of issues.  Not so well so far. John Allen has a story about the Legion in his latest All Things Catholic article.  It is now involved in another potential scandal which typifies how the Legion has historically done business.  Allen refers to it as 'rigging competition for teaching positions' when it is better described as 'granting preferential treatment to the children of the rich and powerful'.  After all, as far as I can see the only charism the Legion has ever had is catering to and then bilking the rich and powerful.  And as usual the Legion is denying any such wrong doing. 

Pope Francis and the Legionaries of today

The embattled Legionaries of Christ recently announced that a general chapter meeting will be held beginning Jan. 8, billing it as the next step in their recovery from the scandals surrounding their founder, the late Mexican Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado. (This would be an announcement from the same leadership that was in place when Maciel was the Legion's revered Nuestro Padre and could very well be the next leadership.)

This week, a new hiccup, albeit a relatively minor one, emerged with reports claiming that the former rector of a Legionaries university in Rome, Fr. Paolo Scarafoni, is among the persons of interest in an Italian civil investigation of rigging competitions for teaching positions. (The Legionaries issued a statement saying no one has informed them that he's a target.) (This is so typical.  There is no denial in this, only that 'no one has informed them that their former rector is a target.)

To be honest, the situation has little to do with the Legionaries. The charge is that a network of influential Italian "wise men" conspired to make sure their protégés, in some cases their own children, got teaching positions at a series of universities despite the fact those jobs were supposed to be awarded on the basis of open competitions.

It's a juicy story for the Italians, mostly because five of those alleged "wise men" are also jurists tapped by Prime Minister Enrico Letta to advise the government on constitutional reform. Reportedly, prosecutors have wiretaps that reveal these VIPs putting in the fix.

One of the campuses allegedly involved is the European University of Rome, founded by the Legion of Christ in 2004. It remains to be seen whether the charges have any merit and to what extent Scarafoni, who stepped down as rector Sept. 11, may have been involved.

The Legion has pledged to cooperate fully with the Italian probe, and they'd probably be well advised to follow through. (The Legion has their own definition of 'full cooperation'.)

So far, Francis doesn't seem to have any prejudice against the order. On Aug. 30, he appointed a prominent Legionary named Fr. Fernando Vergez, previously the head of the Vatican's telecommunications department, as the new No. 2 official in the government of the Vatican City State. The pope made Vergez a bishop on Tuesday.

That benevolence could disappear, however, if Francis were to get the impression that the Legion's past isn't really in the past.  (Maybe)


As far as I've been able to discern, not much has really changed in the Legion or in it's formation program.  On the other hand, there has been some changes with the Regnum Christi movement in the area of transparency and in their statutes. The women's branch of Regnum Christi also experienced a group breaking off and forming their own program which probably helped loosen up some of the other aspects of the RC movement.  The new group split with the blessings of Cardinal de Paolis, the Cardinal Pope Benedict placed in charge of LC/RC in 2010.  RC leadership was not so sanguine.  Cardinal de Paolis' mandate lasts until after the General Congregation in January 2014 when the Legion will once again be on it's own.  Unfortunately Cardinal de Paolis does not seem to have effected much change in the Legion itself. especially in the areas of accountability and transparency.  That's not real surprising given the man doesn't even speak Spanish.  Makes one wonder if real reform was ever the intention.

Some of the non changes:

There are still too many victims of Maciel himself who have still not received any compensation from the Legion. (including Maciel's biological sons)  There have been at least 8 Legion priests accused of sexual abuse, and this doesn't include the high profile case of Fr Thomas Williams who fathered a child with a consenting adult woman.  He chose to leave the priesthood after his year sabbatical and is scheduled to marry the mother of his pre teen child.  The Legion General Superior kept Williams indiscretion under wraps for years (Cardinal de Paolis was also aware of it) until Williams was exposed in the press.  The same appears to be true for Fr John O'Reilly, the Legions' long time numero uno in Chile.  As soon as child sexual abuse allegations hit the Chilean press the Legion took action and removed O'Reilly from the Legion school he headed.  So too did the Vatican take action.  They took the internal investigation of the charges out of the hands of the Legion and put the local bishop in charge.  I cite these two events because they happened while the Legion was under the supervision of Cardinal de Paolis, which for some reason does not seem to have changed the Legion's modus operandi when it comes to covering up the sexual abuses of Legion members.

There have been no real changes in upper leadership while the Legion has been under Vatican supervision.  Nor has the Vatican or de Paolis initiated any investigation of Maciel's history with the Legion nor initiated any internal investigation of the upper leadership.  A leadership that included some who must have abetted Maciel's fraud, embezzlement, and double life.  The same people are eligible for election to the same offices at the coming General Congregation.  Excuse me?!  How is it possible to reform a group when upper management has never been held accountable for any of the  mismanagement necessitating all the reform?  How could this be?

There is still no really well defined charism (unless it's a capacity for denial) and not much real reform of the constitutions, spiritual formation, or operating rules.  I suppose this could happen at the General Congregation, but no one who is actively seeking reform is holding their breath about that possibility.  In any event the systematic grooming and targeting of wealthy families and their children continues--and that is most likely the real charism the Legion enacts for the Church.

The same people are still in control of all the money and assets. Legion assets are controlled by an independent company Grupo Integer. It's stated reason for existence is as an advertising agency, but in fact it appears to be the accounting and investment arm of the Legion.  It's officers are relatives or friends of high placed Legion priests, most notably Fr Luis Garza Medina and members of his family--a family that just happens to be one of the wealthiest in Mexico.  Garza is currently the Director for the North American Region, which is sort of a demotion as Maciel appointed Garza as Vicar General of the Legion when Garza was quite young.  In any event, while he is no longer listed as one of Grupo Integer's officers, he is still reputed to be the man behind the decisions made by Integer.  In other words Varga is the man with all the security codes.  To this day, there is no information that indicates anyone outside a select few actually has any idea what Legion assets are worth.  Some estimates exceed 25 billion---which is close to 4 times the wealth controlled by the Vatican Bank-----and I would think,  is the real reason there is no real change in the Legion or it's leadership and perhaps why the Vatican can afford to clean up their little bank and make it transparent.  There is always Integer for other transactions.  

In any case, what we seem to have with the Legion is a non reform of the reform. Pope Francis has a challenge in the Legion.  He has already demonstrated he has no problem putting Legion and OD priests in very high places.  If he does not seriously do something more substantial with the reform of the Legion he will have sent a very very interesting message about just how seriously thinking Catholics should take his talk.  In any event, Maciel is slowly but surely making a comeback in Legion thinking and practice.  From the ReGAIN website:

"Fr. Peter Byrne has advised ReGAIN that there was a Mass in Cotija celebrated by 40 Legionary priests around their founder's tomb. Father Byrne advised us that the whole problem of the victims has been a mess. As always the Cardinal has not taken any direct responsibility.
The terrible truth is that the majority of the Legionaries do not know what we are talking about when we speak of victims, they have no idea of what happened. Now we face a future where the victims will be forgotten and the sociopath will be remembered.

About The Possibility Of Female Cardinals

As a commenter on this blog,  Agni Ashwi points out on the linked NCR article, female cardinals do not have the fire engine red in your face plumage of their male counterparts.  Perhaps there is a message here.

The idea of Pope Francis appointing female cardinals seems to be picking up steam.  David Gibson writes of this possibility in a Religion News Service article posted at NCR.  Like many others who have written on this idea, Gibson glosses over the Canonical requirements that state a Cardinal must be an ordained priest and hold or be elevated to the rank of bishop.  There hasn't been a lay man promoted to this rank since 1858, previous to the changes in Canon Law of 1917.  Gibson mentions Jaques Maritain, a lay philosopher, was tapped by Paul VI, and refused the position, but doesn't clarify if Maritain would have had to undergo ordination in order to accept the honor.  This is something of a major oversight in my opinion.  He also writes that a number of people have said JPII asked Mother Theresa and she refused.  I put in that in the category of 'not particularly believable'--at least in the sense that the offer was made seriously and not in jest.  The following is an excerpt from Gibson's article:

Could a woman vote for the next pope?

Pope Francis has said repeatedly he wants to see greater roles for women in the Catholic church, and some argue he could take a giant step in that direction by appointing women to the College of Cardinals -- the select and (so far) all-male club of "princes of the church" that casts secret ballots in a conclave to elect a new pope.

Whether it's even possible is a matter of debate. But that hasn't stopped the feverish speculation, which was sparked last month by an article in a Spanish newspaper in which Juan Arias, a former priest who writes from Brazil, wrote that the idea "is not a joke. It's something that Pope Francis has thought about before: naming a woman cardinal."

Arias quoted an unnamed priest -- a Jesuit, like Francis -- who said: "Knowing this pope, he wouldn't hesitate before appointing a woman cardinal. ... And he would indeed enjoy being the first pope to allow women to participate in the selection of a new pontiff."

That was enough to start the ball rolling. The report was quickly picked up by Catholic media in Italy and then raced around a church that, in the months since Francis' election, has been primed to expect the unexpected from this pope......

It wouldn't surprise me if Pope Francis was considering such a move.  I just have questions as to what he would expect to accomplish with it.  First, Francis' stated desire is to enhance lay involvement in running the Church and so I would expect both genders of laity to be considered for such an appointment, otherwise it's just more gender discrimination.  Second, this would have the effect of setting back women's true equality since it would give perhaps a hand full of women a token say in the election of any future pope. It would be a form of tokenism whose enactment would effectively keep women from ordination by giving a very few women another form of authority. I just happen to think this idea doesn't do much to solve some serious problems, but some dedicated and smart people are really getting behind it.  Dr Phyllis Zagano left the following comment after the linked article.

"The main obstacle now appears to be the requirement that a cardinal must be ordained. Yet that could be resolved by allowing women to be deacons, a level of ordination just below the priesthood. The idea of opening the diaconate to women has been gaining currency in recent years and has emerged as a possible path to the conclave for laypeople and specifically for woman."
You can have lay cardinals. More likely, cardinal-deacons (including women), who would be clerics, not laypeople."

Her comment, unfortunately, wreaks of clericalism and I am not a fan of clericalism.  I freely admit that is why I do not get on board with the women's ordination movement, or the diaconate for women, or women as cardinals.  I am not interested in the Vatican "allowing women to be deacons" even if it is "a level of ordination just below the priesthood". Nor does it stroke my ego that such an appointment would be have to be "More likely, cardinal-deacons (including women), who would be clerics, not laypeople."  The truth is I wish smart women like Dr Zagano would spend their time debunking the teachings that there is any Gospel evidence that Jesus ordained anyone or that our current clerical caste is anything more than an invented construct designed to enhance clerical power. Why waste time poring over St Paul to justify a female diaconate when it would be more useful to spend that same time asking whether Paul's letters justify any kind of institutionally ordained priesthood in any form. Seems to me that all Paul's letters prove is that his communities called forth their own leadership, and did that without his prior approval for such appointments.

I am not naive enough to think that Pope Francis will dismantle the entire clerical structure as he himself is way too invested in it and it's perks.  After all he played the game well enough to be elevated to Pope.  And yet, I also don't think any tinkering he does with Cardinals or the diaconate or seminaries or accountability for bishops or any other action that essentially serves to preserve the clerical system is going to stop what's coming.  There are not nearly enough priests, especially in Latin America, Africa, and the Orient to provide the Eucharist that makes Catholicism what it purports to be--a sacramental church.  Much sooner than later the people will decide the other six sacraments are more important than the one, and at that point, plumage of any color won't matter any longer and neither will token reforms for women.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

USCCB Takes On The Smell Of The Elephants

At least one elephant is credible as a balancing act.

One of the stories making the rounds this morning is the one about the USCCB sending a letter to certain GOP members of the House advising them to link reforming certain sections of the Affordable Care Act to the bill for continued funding of the Government.  This is a story that should make the rounds because it clearly shows that the USCCB is one of the guiding hands behind the Tea Party wing of the GOP.  They have not only taken on the smell of the elephant, they are one of the big bull elephants creating the biggest stink.  I don't know how the USCCB official spokesperson, Sr Mary Ann Walsh sleeps at night.  If I spent all my time writing double speak for my bosses, I'd probably need something more than Ambien to stop my mind from doing loop de loops.  Here is the official statement from the USCCB on the governemnt shutdown:

Time to Listen to the Bishops On The Shutdown

By Sister Mary Ann Walsh
As the government shutdown continues, it may be time to listen to another body – the U.S. bishops. Recent statements from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offer significant points worth considering.

They are neither Democratic nor Republican positions. They are simply principled.  (HAHAHAHAHA  ROFL  LMAO )

Consider, for example, an October 1 letter from Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, chair of the Committee on Domestic Policy and Human Development, and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace. The letter urged Congress to fulfill the role of government and meet the basic needs of people. The bishops told Congress that they “welcomed earlier bipartisan action which averted a federal government shutdown and the hardship that would have come with failure to reach agreement." (Note the date.  This letter comes after the shutdown began.)

They added that "The Catholic bishops of the United States stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future unsustainable deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people, advances the common good, and promotes human life and dignity."

The bishops noted that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says it is the proper role of government to "make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life," including food, clothing, heath care, education and culture.

The Church is a voice for the poor. It’s often the only lobby for people in desperate need. In that regard, the church has argued for universal health care for about a century. (There are a couple of loop de loops in this paragraph. The USCCB is hardly the only voice lobbying for the poor.  They must not have meant 'universal' health care because they were willing to shutdown the government to prevent women from getting most reproductive health care.)

The church has also asked Congress to protect rights of conscience as a part of the same legislative process. A September 26 letter from Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, called for respect for religious freedom. They did so as a January 1 deadline approaches for beginning to impose the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate on many religious institutions that serve the needy. As the bishops’ October 1 letter pointed out, threats to conscience rights undermine access to needed health care by driving people of faith out of the system. (There are so many loop de loops in this paragraph, it's hard to read without engendering nausea.  First there's the oft repeated abortifacient lie, then there is the omission that the September 26th letter encouraged the linking of ACA with continued funding of the government thereby demonstrating the USCCB willingness to have the government shut down, and then final sentence which is really another threat.)

Some have falsely interpreted this as a call for the government shutdown or a default on our nation’s debts. The bishops have done nothing of the kind. The bishops have been urging Congress to enact legislation like the Health Care Conscience Rights Act for two and a half years. Since July 2012, the bishops have been asking that this protection be included in “must-pass” bills such as the appropriations bills funding the government, which have long been vehicles for a number of important federal policies on conscience rights. (But they are not asking only for the protection of their rights, they are demanding private employers be able to subject their employees to the employers religious views.  This is asking for the right to discriminate against the rights of other people on the basis of personal opinion--and calling it 'conscience rights.'  We have been down this road before and it wasn't pretty.)

The bishops offer principles that uphold rights for all people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Good government protects its citizens. When it shuts down, it protects no one; and when it runs, it must be sure to respect their fundamental rights. The bishops have emphasized all of these concerns together. In this way, they offer a voice of reason. (This is just classic.  The USCCB now dares to pretend to castigate the House for doing exactly what they asked for.  Loop de loop de loop de loop.)


I'm way to dizzy to write much more here, but I encourage readers to check out Bill Lyndsey's post at Bilgrimage for his take and a whole bunch of links to other good articles on this latest USCCB attempt to create their own reality. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

More Up Is Down From The GOP Leadership And It's Evangelical Supporters

Oh those lab coats make this Up is Down trick much more believable.

Here's another example from today of just how low the Republican Party is willing to go in it's Up is Down and Down is Up campaign.  This one is so twisted it should make a person dizzy and then sick.

House GOP Pleads For Funding For Kids With Cancer After Canceling Research For Kids With Cancer

 Jennifer Bendery - Huffington Post - 10/3/2103
WASHINGTON -- The politics behind the government shutdown reached a new level of absurdity on Thursday as a group of conservative House Republicans -- the same ones refusing to fund the government unless Obamacare is delayed or defunded -- pleaded with Democrats to pass a bill only funding services for children with cancer. (This is just so twisted and obscene I can't believe these so called politicians are actually attempting this stunt.)

Dressed in lab coats, members of the Republican Doctors Caucus made the case that pediatric cancer research trials at the National Institutes of Health deserve to be funded, even if the rest of the government is not. (You should have thought about this before you shutdown the government.)
"There are times that the private sector cannot be reasonably expected to do the research and development needed because the issue, the syndrome, the disease, might be so rare that it is economically prohibitive," said Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), whose son suffers from Angelman Syndrome, a rare neurogenetic disorder.
"I ask the president himself to stop this nonsense," said Rokita. "Let us help people. Let us help children. Please." (Especially his child.)

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), a former nurse, choked up as she described the tears of parents learning that their children have cancer. She said it's up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to help those families by passing the GOP bill. (Really?  Why don't you just go back and vote to fund the government?)
 "Don't take hope away from those families. Don't take hope away from those moms," Ellmers said. "Let's give hope back to those families. I'll tell you, Sen. Reid, you will not sleep until that happens." (The better question is how are you sleeping at night after agreeing to pose in this obvious and ridiculous attempt to blame Reid for your vote in which you helped shut down the government and stopped the NIH from helping kids with cancer.)

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) also joined the group. She talked about how she has a son with Down syndrome.
"I've learned so much about the cutting-edge research and the potential, the breakthroughs that we're on the verge of discovering," McMorris Rodgers said. "Let's keep that going." (Here's another one whose child will benefit from this sudden Republican concern for sick kids.)

Of course, House Republicans could also agree to just fund the government and end the shutdown today, which would allow those clinical trials to resume, along with everything else. If House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) put a "clean" funding bill on the floor, with no strings attached, there are already enough Republicans willing to join Democrats to pass it. From there, the bill would sail through the Senate and get signed into law by President Barack Obama, ending the shutdown. But so far, under pressure from tea party conservatives to keep pushing for Obamacare-related concessions, Boehner has given no indication he's prepared to do that..... (Apparently Boehner would rather give his Tea Party faction more rope to embarrass his party and slit their own throats.)

.....For all their talk that NIH funding should be restored in this case, House Republicans have done a terrible job funding the agency in recent years.

In 2010, Cantor himself proposed a $1.3 billion cut to NIH. The 2011 House Republican budget also sought to cut $1.6 billion from the agency. In House Republicans' 2013 budget proposal put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), cuts to the agency's budget approached 20 percent.

Still, when asked Thursday about the bill to restore funding to the NIH, Cantor said he's "been insistent on making as a priority funding for the NIH, and specifically funding for pediatric medical research."

"When you have somebody young and have a whole life that potentially could be ahead of that child, I don't think there are many things, as a priority for us, as humans. (Certainly funding the government in total isn't a priority for the Tea Party.)


I have nothing to really add to the this article.  I am in a state of shock that we have politicians that would stoop to this level, using sick kids, to attempt to blame the Democrats for the fact it was these very same 'noble' Republicans who voted to shutdown the government, causing the problem in the first place. 

But if that wasn't enough, there is also the news that the religious right part of the Tea Party, those Evangelical Christians associated with the New Apostolic Reformation are calling for a military take over of the country.  Here's the stirring words of Rick Joyner from a radio show "Prophetic Perspectives"  broadcast on September 30th, as quoted in an article by Bruce Wilson at the blog Talk to Action.

I mean, there's no way our Republic can last much longer. It may not last through Obama's second term. There are a lot of people that feel, you know, it can't. There are forces right now seeking to undermine and to destroy the Republic. There's almost a glib and almost a joyful disregard of the constitution, and a belittling of the constitution. We can't make it without that -- that's our foundation, our moorings. We're heading for serious tyranny....Since it is this faction of the Republican Party which has made it their mission to undermine and destroy the government, this is another stunning example of Up is Down and Down Is Up reality.)
......I think we've been used in some wonderful and powerful ways by God, we've been one of the most generous nations in history, we've done so much good -- and that's why I appeal to the Lord -- don't let us be totally destroyed. Please, raise up those who will save us. And as I start telling friends from a long time that no election's going to get the right person in there that can restore us because the system is so broken, so undermined right now -- the whole system.
I believe our only hope is a military takeover: martial law.

I haven't been writing too much about the NAR and it's agenda to infiltrate the military for quite awhile, but maybe it's time to remind readers that this agenda is very real and this call for a military takeover is what this agenda has always been about and why the NAR has spent so much capital and effort on the Air Force Academy specifically and the military in general.  It's about creating a fascist Christian theocracy through a military takeover.  I think I've seen this kind of thing enacted in Catholic countries far too often and always with disastrous results for the 'little people'.  The fact there are real groups with real power hell bent on the same kind of the thing in this country is an ugly thought.  It's an up is down and down is up kind of thought.  It's crazy, and yet it really could become our reality if people don't wake up.  The Tea Party GOP is all too real to ignore the NAR agenda.  Can anyone say Sarah Palin?

When Up Is Down And Down Is Up You Get Tea Party Reality

Rep Randy Neugebauer dresses down a Park Ranger at the WWII National Monument for following through with the consequences of Tea Party 'governance'.

One of the definitions sometimes used to describe crazy is the lack of connection with consensus reality.  This definition can often lead to defining someone as mentally ill strictly based on whether or not the way they live their life or view life is consonant with the current cultural definition of consensus reality.  The most obvious example of this is how the American Psychiatric Association changed it's policy on gays, determining in the early 1970's that homosexuality was no longer an 'official' mental illness.  I'm beginning to think the current APA should add a category to DSM-V listing Tea Partyism as mental illness.  

Here's an illustration of Tea Party reality in which up is down and down is up.  It's taken from this article at Huffington Post.

......But Mark Segraves, reporting for NBC News' Washington affiliate, managed to capture the howler highlight of the Great World War II Memorial Bleat-n-Repeat -- Rep. Randy Neugebauer's (R-Tex.) Wednesday confrontation of a poor park ranger on the scene -- who was doing nothing more than her job -- blaming her for the closure he voted for and telling her that she should be ashamed of herself.  (This is an example of a truly crazy person who lives in a reality not connected to the consensus reality.)
Seriously, this actually happened. Per Segraves:
"How do you look at them and ... deny them access?" said Neugebauer. He, with most House Republicans, had voted early Sunday morning to pass a funding measure that would delay the Affordable Care Act, a vote that set up a showdown with the Senate and President Barack Obama. With the parties unable to agree on how to fund the federal government, non-essential government functions shut down Tuesday. 
"It's difficult," responded the Park Service employee.

"Well, it should be difficult," replied the congressman, who was carrying a small American flag in his breast pocket.
"It is difficult," responded the Park Service employee. "I'm sorry, sir."
"The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves," the congressman said.
"I'm not ashamed," replied the ranger. (Nor should she be as she lives in the real world.)
From there, Segraves reports, "a crowd of onlookers got involved," and began loudly demanding that Neugebauer lay off the park ranger, pointing out again and again that the reason everyone was in the position they were in was due to the fact that Congress very specifically put them there. Neugebauer countered that it was all really Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) fault, but that failed to impress anyone. (The kind of logic that Rep Neugebauer demonstrates rarely impresses people who live in the real world.)

What's really ghastly about this is that the whole "Harry Reid shut down the government" line is a talking point.....(And a talking point is one way politicians like Neugebauer attempt to make their personal delusional view of reality our reality.  It's a perfect example of why most Americans find Congress has gotten unbelievable.)


The line in the above excerpt that I found exceptionally indicative of Tea Party reality is the one telling the Park Ranger that the Park Service should ashamed of themselves.  Really? Why? In truth the ranger is doing exactly what the Neugebauer's of the GOP forced on the Park Service.  Does he expect her to quit her job rather than enforce the consequences of his political posturing? Consensus reality would be more likely to accept that Neugebauer is the one who should be suffering from shame.  Only truly crazy people project what should be their own shame on the innocent people charged with carrying out the results of their shameful decisions.  Apparently not in the Tea Party.

I've read a lot of analysis around this fiasco of the 2010 House of Representatives and the insanity of what the media would want us to believe is still a legitimate political party. Bill Lyndsey at Bilgrimage has done great work bringing some of the best of this commentary to my attention. From my reading I have unfortunately come the conclusion that the Republican Party is no longer a legitimate party.  It's too schizophrenic to be a legitimate party and the crazy side of the party has utterly overcome it's more rational components.  The GOP is no longer viable as a productive voice for the American people.  It is instead a divisive voice with an agenda that attacks most Americans and simultaneously blames Americans for bringing on these 'corrective' GOP attacks.

Speaker of the House John Boehner acts utterly torn between keeping his title as Speaker of the House or letting the government slide into both default and shutdown.  In truth his decision is between being a patriot and acting in the best interests of the American people or choosing his personal ego and essentially allowing his Tea Party faction to bully him into committing a virtual act of treason against the American people.  If Boehner truly cares about his legacy in American history he would do well to think long and hard about the state of his party.  Right now it looks very much like the agenda of the Republican Party on his watch is not to participate in governing,  but to destroy the government's ability to govern. That's acting as if up is down and down is up.  That's not just crazy, it's pretty close to treason.......and now we have this: Shots Fired Outside Capital

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Francis Gives Another Interview And This One Is Just As Fascinating As His Others

This new interview has some interesting observations from Francis about this clean up problem.

Another interview with Pope Francis has just been published in the Italian publication la Republicca.  It too is going to be parsed and reparsed.  The interview was conducted by Italian writer and aetheist Eugenio Scalfari.  It came about as an extension of the exchange of letters between the two men earlier in the year.  It was conducted in Pope Francis' apartment at Doma Santa Martha.  The following is an excerpt.  The interview is much longer and of course, it's well worth reading the whole interview.  I'm sure it's publication at this particular time will give Francis' Gang of 8 some food for thought.  (Scalfari's questions are in bold.)

Jesus, as you pointed out, said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Do you think that this has happened?"Unfortunately, no. Selfishness has increased and love towards others declined."

So this is the goal that we have in common: at least to equalize the intensity of these two kinds of love. Is your Church ready and equipped to carry out this task?"What do you think?"

I think love for temporal power is still very strong within the Vatican Walls and in the institutional structure of the whole Church. I think that the institution dominates the poor, missionary Church that you would like."In fact, that is the way it is, and in this area you cannot perform miracles. Let me remind you that even Francis in his time held long negotiations with the Roman hierarchy and the Pope to have the rules of his order recognized. Eventually he got the approval but with profound changes and compromises."

Will you have to follow the same path?"I'm not Francis of Assisi and I do not have his strength and his holiness. But I am the Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Catholic world. The first thing I decided was to appoint a group of eight cardinals to be my advisers. Not courtiers but wise people who share my own feelings. This is the beginning of a Church with an organization that is not just top-down but also horizontal. When Cardinal Martini talked about focusing on the councils and synods he knew how long and difficult it would be to go in that direction. Gently, but firmly and tenaciously."

And politics?"Why do you ask? I have already said that the Church will not deal with politics."

But just a few days ago you appealed to Catholics to engage civilly and politically."I was not addressing only Catholics but all men of good will. I say that politics is the most important of the civil activities and has its own field of action, which is not that of religion. Political institutions are secular by definition and operate in independent spheres. All my predecessors have said the same thing, for many years at least, albeit with different accents. I believe that Catholics involved in politics carry the values of their religion within them, but have the mature awareness and expertise to implement them. The Church will never go beyond its task of expressing and disseminating its values, at least as long as I'm here."

But that has not always being the case with the Church."It has almost never been the case. Often the Church as an institution has been dominated by temporalism and many members and senior Catholic leaders still feel this way.
But now let me ask you a question: you, a secular non-believer in God, what do you believe in? You are a writer and a man of thought. You believe in something, you must have a dominant value. Don't answer me with words like honesty, seeking, the vision of the common good, all important principles and values but that is not what I am asking. I am asking what you think is the essence of the world, indeed the universe. You must ask yourself, of course, like everyone else, who we are, where we come from, where we are going. Even children ask themselves these questions. And you?"


I want to give kudos to Terry Weldon at Queering the Church for bring this to my attention.  Unfortunately for me, I have to go to work and can not comment on this piece as I would wont, but I did want to get this interview posted for the benefit of my readers who are more than welcome to comment.  If I can put up with the touch screen on my Tablet I may add more to this post from work.