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Pope Francis speaks

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 am, September 26th, 2015 - 98 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, climate change, Environment, International, poverty - Tags: , ,

Pope Francis is a breath of fresh air. While I have some pretty fundamental issues with aspects of Catholicism, there’s no denying that Francis is saying many things that need to be said. He’s given two important speeches recently, the first (full text) to the US Congress:

Pope Francis electrifies Congress with speech laying out bold vision for US

Republicans and Democrats united in praise for pope, who called on Congress to transcend division and act on climate change, immigration and poverty

Pope Francis has electrified Congress with a call for action on climate change, immigration, poverty and capital punishment, laying down a challenge for the United States to transcend division and rediscover its ideals.

The pontiff triggered standing ovations – and squirming – in a historic address on Thursday which deftly mixed politics, policy and pageantry, casting an unfamiliar reverence over Washington which wrong-footed conservatives and liberals alike.

In a highly symbolic move:

To underscore his message of helping the poor, Francis went straight from the U.S. Capitol in his small black Fiat to have lunch with homeless people, telling them there was no justification for homelessness.

The second speech (last night our time) was to the UN (full text). A powerful address:

Pope Francis demands UN respect rights of environment over ‘thirst for power’

Pontiff tells general assembly the environment should enjoy the same rights and protections as humanity and expresses concern for persecution of Christians

If corporations can have the same legal rights as individuals, why not the environment? Greenpeace suing polluters for assault?

The pope demanded justice for the weak and affirmed the rights of the environment on Friday in a forceful speech to the United Nations that warned against “a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity”.

A day after making history by becoming the first pope to address Congress, Francis for the first time asserted that nature – as well as humanity – had rights.

“It must be stated that a true ‘right of the environment’ does exist,” Francis said.

An attack on the environment was an assault on the rights and living conditions of the most vulnerable, he said, warning that at its most extreme, environmental degradation threatened humanity’s survival.

“Any harm done to the environment, therefore is harm done to humanity,” Francis said. “The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species,” he concluded.

Fine words on deaf ears.

98 comments on “Pope Francis speaks ”

  1. Detrie 1

    Indeed. My weekly Bernie Sanders email this morning also referenced the Popes speech, but to be largely ignored by lawmakers and elected representatives worldwide who are mostly there for the power, money and/or their own egos.

    … “Pope Francis is looking in the eyes of the wealthiest people around the world who make billions of dollars, and he is saying we cannot continue to ignore the needs of the poor, the needs of the sick, the dispossessed, the elderly people who are living alone, the young people who can’t find jobs. He is saying that the accumulation of money, that the worship of money, is not what life should be about. We cannot turn our backs on our fellow human beings.

    He is asking us to create a new society where the economy works for all, and not just the wealthy and the powerful. He is asking us to be the kind of people whose happiness and well-being comes from serving others and being part of a human community, not spending our lives accumulating more and more wealth and power while oppressing others. He is saying that as a planet and as a people we have got to do better…”

    Sounds a lot like democratic socialism to me, as seen by the likes of Michael Joseph Savage long ago – And now being systematically dismantled by John Key and co who only worship ‘efficiency’, money and power… Those politicians showing any humanity are mocked.

    For those who have forgotten https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Joseph_Savage

    • Clemgeopin 1.1

      +1. Great words, Detrie. Thought provoking and challenging. Thanks.

    • Sabine 1.2

      Did you read the speech Sanders gave at Liberty University?
      T’was a thing of beauty. Really it was,

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_Ns1oyr0pk

      Liberty University ( a christian college for forced birthers and other others Greed is good Christians)

      While I enjoy this popes speaches, I can still not reconcile with the church of my upbringing as essentially they still have an issue seing women and children as more then just mere chattle to be owned by Man and be dealt with by Man.

      As for his global warming warnings and the likes, eventually the very rich will see and taste that their high end luxury feel good things taste like shite and are not good for human consumption.

      • Clemgeopin 1.2.1

        Yes, I did watch that speech a few weeks ago. The welcome and reception he received from those young people was astonishing.

        “I can still not reconcile with the church of my upbringing as essentially they still have an issue being women and children as more then just mere chattel to be owned by Man and be dealt with by Man”

        I don’t believe that Christ’s teachings or the modern Catholic Church’s teachings hold or expose that view, as far as I know.

        • sabine 1.2.1.1

          the bible is very clear about the role of the women and the children. and the church has not changed its stance on reproductive rights and choices, and when one looks at the laws in certain south american countries were girls as young as 11 have given birth in the name of Jesus (couse he would cry or something) or in the name of God (who essentially with the aide of the holy ghost raped a young girl and got her pregnant, which could result in her being stoned to death, luckily for young mary her betrothed still married her despite her being damaged goods) etc etc, the modern church still very much espouses the same views as a few hundred years ago. They just stopped burning the witches.

          I lived for 9 years in a convent in very catholic bavaria, and the Sisters of Anna are a somewhat liberal congregation, but that view on the ladies, and the inherited sin being the fault of the ladies, and the men being the head ship and the ladies the helpmeet is still very much alive.

        • tinfoilhat 1.2.1.2

          “I don’t believe that Christ’s teachings or the modern Catholic Church’s teachings hold or expose that view, as far as I know.”

          I tend to agree Clemogeopin, while I think the catholic and christian church still has some way to go on this issue it’s certainly the least worst of the major religions in this respect by some margin.

  2. TeWhareWhero 3

    “Dickens was writing at a time when the periodicals could smell radicalism a mile away, and in the most unlikely places. ‘Jane Eyre’ had been censured for ‘moral Jacobinism’ and anti-Christian ‘murmuring against the comforts of the rich and against the privations of the poor’ ….. Charles Kingsley’s ‘Alton Locke, Tailor and Poet’ had just been given hostile reviews in The Times, Blackwood’s, the Edinburgh Review, and the Quarterly for advocating socialism cleverly disguised as Christianity”.

    David Craig – introduction to Hard Times 1967.

    • Sabine 3.1

      Have a look at the artwork of Kaethe Kollwitz, who was quite famous in Germany. She lived and worked within the workers shacks as her husband was a doctore there. She painted a lot o the misery the Proletariat lived daily.
      There was a reason that Bismark ‘the iron Chancellior’ created health benefits, accident sickness benefits and old age pension in his work to create a ‘Welfare State”.
      T’was to undermine the dreaded socialists and unionist and he knew if he did not act he would have issues on the hand.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Socialism_(Germany)

      he 1880s were a period when Germany started on its long road towards the welfare state it is today. The Social Democratic, National Liberal and Centre Parties were all involved in the beginnings of social legislation, but it was Bismarck who established the first practical aspects of this program. The program of the Social Democrats included all of the programs that Bismarck eventually implemented, but also included programs designed to preempt the programs championed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Bismarck’s idea was to implement the minimum aspects of these programs that were acceptable to the German government without any of the overtly socialistic aspects.
      Bismarck opened debate on the subject on 17 November 1881 in the Imperial Message to the Reichstag, using the term practical Christianity[6] to describe his program. In 1881 Bismarck had also referred to this program as Staatssozialismus, when he made the following accurate prediction to a colleague:
      “It is possible that all our politics will come to nothing when I am dead but state socialism will drub[force] itself in. (Der Staatssozialismus paukt sich durch.)”[7]
      Bismarck’s program centered squarely on insurance programs designed to increase productivity and focus the political attentions of German workers on supporting the Junker’s government. The program included Health insurance, accident insurance (workman’s compensation); disability insurance; and an old-age retirement Pension, none of which then in existence to any great degree.
      Based on Bismarck’s message, the Reichstag filed three bills designed to deal with the concept of Accident insurance, and one for Health Insurance. Retirement pensions and disability insurance were placed on the back burner for the time being.[8]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A4the_Kollwitz
      n 1891, Kollwitz married Karl, by this time a doctor, who tended to the poor in Berlin, where the couple moved into the large apartment that would be Kollwitz’s home until it was destroyed in World War II.[7] The proximity of her husband’s practice proved invaluable:
      “The motifs I was able to select from this milieu (the workers’ lives) offered me, in a simple and forthright way, what I discovered to be beautiful…. People from the bourgeois sphere were altogether without appeal or interest. All middle-class life seemed pedantic to me. On the other hand, I felt the proletariat had guts. It was not until much later…when I got to know the women who would come to my husband for help, and incidentally also to me, that I was powerfully moved by the fate of the proletariat and everything connected with its way of life…. But what I would like to emphasize once more is that compassion and commiseration were at first of very little importance in attracting me to the representation of proletarian life; what mattered was simply that I found it beautiful.”[8]

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Fox News Columnist Goes Off The Rails, Links Pope Francis to Satan

      Seething over this Pope’s demonstrated compassion towards the poor, his embrace of immigrants, and his exhortations to preserve the natural environment, the Republican Party has apparently settled on a strategy of, quite literally, demonizing him. In a stunningly wretched column truly worthy of the unofficial mouthpiece of the GOP, Fox News Channel’s “Senior Judicial Analyst” and former Judge, Andrew P. Napolitano makes the breathtaking leap to linking Pope Francis to the Biblical Antichrist:

      Yeah, didn’t take long.

      • Clemgeopin 3.2.1

        From your link:

        “This is the dog-whistle about Pope Francis now being transmitted by the Republican Party to its Evangelical base. The right-wing Washington Times and Newsmax, neither of which I will link to, have also laid the “F” word at the Pontiff’s feet this week, using the same terminology. The coordination among the right’s media organs reflects the degree of fear occasioned by the Pope’s embrace of what they consider “leftist” positions on climate change and immigration, two of the GOP’s most sacred cows. The first, climate change, goes directly to the source of their funding, the fossil fuel industry, the most visible personages being Charles and David Koch. In terms of sheer political clout in the Republican Party nothing approaches fossil fuel conglomerates and their desire for deregulation permitting them to drill, dig and pollute at will. There is a reason that every single GOP’s Presidential hopeful either denies outright or claims insufficient knowledge of climate science. It is a required policy position demanded by their donors. Those same donors have the most to fear from a marked shift in public opinion regarding the reality of climate change. That is why this Pope must be marginalized at all costs. Napolitano, who is Catholic, attacks the Pope on changing Catholic policy towards annulments and abortion, but the core of his message–and the message of other prominent voices on the right–is to paint Francis as an anti-capitalist demon. The “central planning” shibboleth waved by Napolitano and his ilk–a clear allusion to Marxism–is a reference to any government regulation of corporate interests, most importantly those of the fossil fuel industry.”

        “The second issue striking fear into the heart of the GOP is the Pope’s inclusive message on immigration. Anti-immigrant hatred is the only glue that holds the Republican coalition together, as has become glaringly obvious in the candidacy of Donald Trump and the scrambling by the rest of the GOP field to keep up or even outdo him with anti-Latino and Hispanic positions. Without this glue the entire Republican structure begins to fall apart, and the interests of the Kochs and others like them are imperiled.

        It’s bad enough that the Republican Party tries to manipulate the genuine religiosity of its base supporters to preserve its own wealth and power. In trying to foment fear and hatred of this Pope through such dog-whistle rhetoric, the Republican Party has succeeded in debasing itself even more than it has already done with its ignorant policies”

        Those words expose the real gospel of the pro-wealthy, pro-corporate, anti-worker, anti-union, anti-beneficiaries, anti-underdog, anti-poor money-worshiping RW politicians of the world, including the ones claiming to be ‘Christians’! Shame on them.

  3. One Two 4

    That people have been sucked in by this particular version of the pope comes as little surprise, such was the level of the previous incarnation they wheeled around.

    What he has effectively called for through the speech is for the UN to become a Global Governance force

    Perhaps the ‘worlds power brokers’ (including the Vatican) will become benevolent entities…..

    Hollow words from another hollow suit in a costume

    • RedLogix 4.1

      is for the UN to become a Global Governance force

      An inevitable and necessary development. At some point in the near future the world leaders will rapidly adopt this for fear of the consequences of not doing so.

      • One Two 4.1.1

        The UN is run and managed by the same ethical standards currently bringing ruination to this planet, its inhabitant and the ecology

        The UN, or more accurately, those who founded and funded the institution from the ashes of ‘The League of Nations’, are not the saviours that folk would prefer them to be

        Tell me RedLogix…

        How do you imagine life, under a singular Global Government ?

        • sabine 4.1.1.1

          Well, i thought the TPPA was just excactly that….a unified world government by corporates and executed by the ‘selected’ presentational government of the individual ‘sovereign’ countries.

          No?

          I wuz wrong?

        • RedLogix 4.1.1.2

          Like most people you conflate two different things – the scale of governance and it’s character. Most people look at the character of the national scale governments we have, and conclude that one on a global scale could only be worse.

          But that’s a bit like arguing, because the Auckland City Council is a bit dysfunctional – therefore we have to shut down the NZ Government in response.

          Indeed imagine this country had no national scale government, imagine it was indeed just a collection of about 200 little local councils, each a sovereign entity to itself. It’s own laws, taxes, borders, passports – the whole nine yards. And whenever someone suggested a single govt for the whole country, everyone said it was crazy – how would you imagine life under such a thing?

          So why is it so crazy to suggest that in a global world, that a global scale of governance is also necessary? After all, most of the really important challenges, like global warming, are global in nature – therefore demand responses at that same level.

          The second question is – what would be the character of such a global entity? How do we make it democratically accountable? How do we ensure it acts ethically? How does it serve the interests of justice in a diverse and chaotic world?

          These are really no more than the same questions any sovereign nation must face for itself – but writ larger. And I might add – something entirely appropriate the Pontif should address himself to.

          • One Two 4.1.1.2.1

            Like most people you conflate two different things – the scale of governance and it’s character. Most people look at the character of the national scale governments we have, and conclude that one on a global scale could only be worse

            You have made that up of your own accord, which given the fantastical diatribe which follows, is unsurprising

            Taking the current global power base and then concentrating that power even further, won’t lead to the utopian state of existence those who are proponents for global governance, imagine it would be

            The final statement is just bizarre if I am read it correctly, and the ‘questions’ being orders of magnitude greater in complexity, unless you want every living being to be created or shaped into, and from the same mold.

            That you have not been able to answer the question posed in a meaningful way indicates to me that some further consideration is what you need to give this particular subject

            ‘Like most people’ , not enough quality of thought given

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.2.1.1

              Taking the current global power base and then concentrating that power even further

              What makes you think a global agreement would do that?

  4. Ergo Robertina 5

    And it’s amazing that amid all this PR puffery Francis found time to canonise Junipero Serra, who ”advocated and oversaw the whipping, beating, flogging and extermination of Native Americans in what is now California”. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/22/pope-grant-sainthood-brutal-missionary

    I read in another article that Serra hasn’t even got the requisite number of miracles; imagine the backlash if Ratzinger had tried this on.

    • Sabine 5.1

      the catholic church does as the catholic church does.

      Even these people know that they will burn, when the rest of us burn. To expect anything more is day dreaming.

      • Ergo Robertina 5.1.1

        Misses the point of my comment. I’m interested in how the brand success of Francis has captured the media’s and lefties’ collective imagination, setting the agenda and effectively neutralising the few critics who aren’t so hard of thinking as to be taken in by the spin.
        Having said that, I wouldn’t have thought a modicum of insight is that much to ask (we’re not talking atonement or contrition). The sainthood is probably a backhander to boost tourism.

        • sabine 5.1.1.1

          What I am saying is that despite his ways he is still a catholic. So the new saint did what was considered absolutly appropriate in his time, burning witches, or burning natives where is the difference, if it will save them form the fires of hell and allows them to enter the heavens purified.

          He is a roman catholic first, and a social agitator/democrat/leftie/socialist later. The fact that his left leaning ideas stem directly from the beatitudes is something that is lost on a lot of fundamentalist old testament christian that get most of their verses from Levicitus and or the book of Deutoronomy.

          so, basically both things make perfect sense for the pope, he will preach to house the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and heal the sick or Do unto others as you wish others do unto you, and in the same day will give sainthood to some sick twisted bastard that had absolutly no regards for the human rights of a native heathen.

  5. Rodel 6

    Will be interesting to see how right wing so called christian,Fox News attacks the left wing christian pope.

  6. weka 7

    So the Catholic Church is still the Catholic Church and even with the best will in the world it would take time for such an instutition to change. I’m less interested in whether Pope Francis is a harbinger of that change than I am in the content of what he is saying and how that will affect people and influence them to change. I don’t hold out a lot of hope about the US Congress, but I do think his words on climate change, poverty, justice will have reach in other ways and work more subtly. But could still be critical nonetheless. What other leader of his power and influence is talking about climate change to his own people in this way?

    If he is truly advocating the rights of nature (haven’t looked closely at that yet), that is as radical as it gets.

  7. Morrissey 8

    He said broad, uncontroversial things that pleased the Obama administration. Climate change, immigration, poverty, capital punishment—nobody, not even one of the moral pygmies running for the Republican nomination, would be too upset by what he said about those issues.

    The Holy Father failed to speak out against the United States regime’s worldwide network of torture, kidnapping and “targeted assassination” (a technical term for indiscriminate slaughter) by unmanned drones.

    He failed to even mention the massive U.S. support for the Al Qaeda/Islamic State insurrection in Syria, or the U.S. support of such vicious and blood-soaked regimes as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Jordan.

    He failed to utter a single word about the U.S. regime’s ongoing program of attempting to destroy democracy in Latin America.

    He failed to mention the persecution and imprisonment of political dissenters like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Asssange and James Risen.

    What did the Pope have to fear from speaking truth to power? They weren’t going to clap him in irons and let him rot, before hauling him in front of a kangaroo court, like they did to Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning.

    Why did the Pope say nothing controversial?

    • weka 8.1

      Speaking out about nature’s rights is radical, more radical than the things you mention. How many people do you know who are willing to speak up about this? Why aren’t you?

      • Morrissey 8.1.1

        Yes, it’s important, indeed vital. But “more radical” than speaking out for freedom, justice, democracy and human rights?

        Interesting to see your take on things.

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          More radical because the issues you name are largely already known to the people with the privilege to change in the world and are now being argued about. Nature’s rights until now has been the preserve of native peoples and very few other peoples are even aware of the need or the politics. How many posts have you seen on the standard about justice/democracy/human rights issues? How many have you seen about nature’s rights?

          Without nature there is no such thing as freedom, justice, democracy and human rights. Climate change will make this obvious (how can we ensure access to justice when the house is on fire?). Some humans are now starting to consider the rights of nature again, and if we are successful with that it will radically transform everything we do including social justice issues because to understand the rights of nature you have to stop thinking in terms of capitalism, competition, greed, violence, consumption, all those things that underpin social injustice.

          • Morrissey 8.1.1.1.1

            What you say about the urgency of taking action to stop the desecration of nature is perfectly true.

            I am not impressed, however, by your lack of enthusiasm for democracy, human rights and justice. Do you think that to save the planet, we need to turn a blind eye to the massive crimes being carried out by governments like the United States?

            Again: why do you think the Holy Father failed to confront his audience in Congress by addressing these issues?

            • weka 8.1.1.1.1.1

              If you think what I said is lack of enthusiasm, then you have misunderstood what I meant.

              “Do you think that to save the planet, we need to turn a blind eye to the massive crimes being carried out by governments like the United States?”

              Not at all, but I suspect you do. The shift in understanding is that those things are not different. Nature and humans are not different systems. Humans are part of nature. Everything that humans do comes from that. In terms of nature, it’s a nonsense to think that social justice issues are separate from nature. It’s the belief that they are separate that creates the separation that destroys nature and allows us to treat each other so badly.

              • Morrissey

                Not at all, but I suspect you do.

                ???!!?

                Could someone tell us what poor old “weka” is trying to say here?

                • weka

                  Well “Morrisey”, you are the one bringing up the issue of the environment vs social justice. I’m saying that that’s a false dichotomy that’s reflects a kind of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place. I’m also suggesting that you are projecting something, because it’s certainly nothing that I’ve said or believe. You misunderstood my comment and interpreted it through your own cultural lens.

                  • One Two

                    Weka

                    Regrettably, the ‘man made constructs, entities and frameworks’ come before the natural world, because that is how the ‘entire system’ operates and has been designed to function

                    As long as fraud and corruption through legal, financial, economic, social and political frameworks remain as the dominating powers, there is little room for the natural world to rejuvenate and heal

                    Somewhere along the timeline that will reverse as sure as night follows day, however it is most likely not going to be because those who control the levers of power suddenly become altruistic

                    Due to the order of man, those man made constructs must first be dealt with, one way or another

                    • weka

                      Or the entire system (and how it is designed to function) comes from ways of working that are inherently anti-nature. When you establish nature’s rights, that has to change.

                      However, I’m not sugesting that one comes before the other either way. I’m saying that the conversation about either/or is rooted in problematic thinking about nature and social justice.

                  • One Two

                    When you establish nature’s rights, that has to change

                    Human Beings (man/woman kind) will bestow rights upon the natural world through human constructed (legal) frameworks and / or by force ?

                    Perhaps I am making assumptions, so could you please share how natures rights would / should be established by unnatural constructs

                    We are on the same page regarding ‘anti nature’ by design

                    • weka

                      Had to think about that for a bit. I don’t see human endeavour as inherently unnatural. We’re part of nature, so I thinkt it’s more useful to look at which of our actions work with nature and which work against and where we have the capacity to override nature’s usual correction systems in catastrophic ways. Nuclear war would be one obvious one. Ditto CC (and most persistent pollution).

                      As for cultural processes we use to manage ourselves collectively, I think it’s the same. We’ve evolved to be species that organises collectively, so which of our actions are working with that and which against?

                      All rights as understood by humans are bestowed and all are backed up by force of law (or not as the case may be). There’s various things going on re nature’s rights, some of it I’m uncomfortable with (giving bits of nature personhood in the way we have to corporations for instance), some of it I find pretty interesting (Moana Jackson’s work with iwi on what they want and how that might work constitutionally, you can find some of that that online). Ultimately the reason we need to establish nature’s rights is because we’ve forgotten them. Many cultures over time have assumed them and their relationship with nature is quite different to ours. Making laws is a way of remembering and retraining.

                      (Bolivis has written nature’s rights into its constitution but afaik has yet to figure out how that will work in practice).

        • Paul 8.1.1.2

          Naomi Klein connects inequality, capitalism and the destruction of the planet well.
          The issues are interlinked.

          • Morrissey 8.1.1.2.1

            Of course they are linked. Noam Chomsky has repeatedly made the link between conservation and democracy; people like our friend “weka” seem affronted that you can’t have one without the other.

            The Pope of course would agree with Chomsky and not with weka. I am still at a loss as to why he failed to raise the embarrassing subject of America’s massive crimes when he had the perfect opportunity.

            • weka 8.1.1.2.1.1

              “people like our friend “weka” seem affronted that you can’t have one without the other.”

              It’s fine that you don’t understand what I meant. It’s also fine that you don’t want to talk about this in a genuine way. But please don’t tell lies about my position on things.

              • Morrissey

                You are the one who defended the Pope’s silence about America’s crimes, and his exclusive concentration on uncontroversial topics. I know exactly what your position is on these “things”.

                • weka

                  Liar (bet you can’t link to anything to support what you just said).

                  • Morrissey

                    I bet I can. I’ve got better things to do with my time right now, but keep your eyes peeled, my friend.

                    • weka

                      you’re still lying “Morrisey”.

                    • Morrissey

                      You can call me a liar as often as you want, but it doesn’t change the fact you have embarrassed yourself, yet again.

                    • weka

                      Score on the ad hominems and lack of argument substance. Yet again.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      You’re mistaken Morrissey. I’m not sure how you can interpret Mr. Bergoglio’s remarks as anything other than condemnatory of ‘crimes’.

                      As Weka says he went far beyond that. I’ll be surprised if you can find anything to support your assertion at 8.1.1.2.1

            • Paul 8.1.1.2.1.2

              I know. It was a great chance to confront America’s military industrial complex.
              The Pope’s own continent has suffered much from the US’s crimes and invasions.

            • Ad 8.1.1.2.1.3

              The Pope was far softer on Congress than he was the UN (where he was excoriating) for the simple reason that the US is the primary donor base for the entire Catholic church. It’s where you go and get your three loaves and two fishes from.

              Note of course that straight after the US Congress speech, he went straight over to a bunch of homeless people and had lunch with them. Ain’t no other politician in the US doing that at the moment.

              • Morrissey

                He was “excoriating” in the United Nations? They must have changed the definition of that word to mean “timid, roundabout, mealy-mouthed, indirect and generalized to the point of deracination.”

                His short and incomplete list of the world’s troubled regions had been carefully chosen for him: “Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region”. His politically nervous advisors obviously forbade him from making any embarrassing references to what country was behind the bloody insurrections in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, and Libya. Note also that he completely neglected to mention the continued attempts to destabilize Latin America.

                Perhaps the most damning part of his speech came when he praised the (American) negotiators of the recent deal with Iran for their “sincerity, patience and constancy”. Then again, maybe the Pope was having a go at black comedy.

                • Ad

                  He generally took them to task for failing to prevent the wars raging across the world and protect minority groups from persecution. He singled out the persecution of Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and Africa as a source of shame for the global body.

                  “These realities should serve as a grave summons to an examination of conscience on the part of those charged with the conduct of international affairs. Not only in cases of religious or cultural persecution, but in every situation of conflict — as in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region — real human beings take precedence over partisan interests, however legitimate the latter may be.”

                  The pope implied that the U.N. and its member nations, including the U.S., had lost sight of the common humanity they are obligated to serve.

                  “It must never be forgotten that political and economic activity is only effective when it is understood as a prudential activity, guided by a perennial concept of justice and constantly conscious of the fact that, above and beyond our plans and programs, we are dealing with real men and women who live, struggle and suffer, and are often forced to live in great poverty, deprived of all rights,” the pope said.

                  And check this out for a cold shot against bureaucratic machines designed to help people: “The most pressing threat to this focus on justice and humanity, is the bureaucratic exercise of drawing up long lists of good proposals,” rather than internalizing the urgency of their common goal.

                  Now, granted he is speaking not only to the UN, but also to his own organization (because they now have to take everything he says as self-criticism), but he is drawing the UN to account in far harsher terms there than he ever tried in Congress the previous day.

                  • RedLogix

                    Besides for his visit and speeches to be of any lasting value, they must ultimately persuade and inspire.

                    Insulting your hosts with a laundry list of their shortcomings isn’t likely to help much.

                    • Morrissey

                      Besides for his visit and speeches to be of any lasting value, they must ultimately persuade and inspire.

                      He would inspire more people if he showed a little courage and actually spoke out for prisoners of conscience like Chelsea Manning. Let’s leave the lofty words, sonorous phrases and ringing declamation to empty vessels like Barack Obama.

                      Insulting your hosts with a laundry list of their shortcomings isn’t likely to help much.

                      Speaking truth to power, as the Pope has failed to do, is awkward but it is not an “insult”. Besides that, the Pope is there for the people of the United States, specifically the Catholic faithful, not the politicians who pretend to represent them.

                      Do you think my (brief and incomplete) list of U.S. crimes is a “laundry list”?

                    • Grindlebottom

                      Insulting your hosts with a laundry list of their shortcomings isn’t likely to help much.

                      Very true. Remember the 96 minute long ramble at the UN by Gaddafi in 2009? As well as demanding an African seat on the Security Council, he suggested that those who caused “mass murder” in Iraq be tried; defended the right of the Taliban to establish an Islamic emirate; wondered whether swine flu was cooked up in a laboratory as a weapon; and demanded a thorough investigation of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

                      He castigated the UN for failing to stop 65 wars since 1945, waved around a copy of the United Nations charter and tore it up, and suggested the Security Council be renamed the “terror council”.

                      It was pretty amusing stuff, reminds me a bit of Donald Trump, though some of it was right on the button. But he didn’t have a lot of friends left when the revolution came.

                    • Morrissey

                      One “Grindlebottom” pours scorn on the late Colonel Gaddafi for suggesting

                      those who caused “mass murder” in Iraq be tried

                      I note that Grindlebottom uses scare quotes: does this mean he thinks the illegal U.S.-British aggression against Iraq was not mass murder?

                      Perhaps he should try going to Baghdad or Fallujah to say that.

                    • Grindlebottom

                      Nope, not at all Morrissey. The “scare” quotes are there only to indicate “mass murder” is the term he used (or how it was translated to English).

                      When I said it was amusing, it was the rambling style of delivery, which was disjointed, and punctuated with his riffling through and flinging around notes, and the odd things he came out with, that still make me smile.

                      As far as I’m concerned he was right on the button with some stuff though. Those who concocted and manipulated evidence against Saddam Hussein, and ordered the invasion and occupation of Iraq, are war criminals and should be tried. They never will be though. He was also right to criticise the makeup and selective morality of the Security Council, and the toothlessness of the UN when it comes to preventing many wars and atrocities.

                    • Morrissey

                      Well done Grindlebottom. A fine explanation.

            • Ad 8.1.1.2.1.4

              I’ve never seen a good study linking the formation of patriarchy under the Judeo-Christian orders with the rise of property and environmental collapse.

              Linking capitalism and environmental destruction is shooting fish in a barrel.

              Linking religion and environmental destruction would be interesting. And I don[t just mean Weber.

              • Morrissey

                Very interesting comment, Ad. There’s a doctoral thesis in there for you, my friend.

                • Ad

                  Mary Daly never really had a crack at this except for rhetorical arm waving, and Hardt and Negri are no good on religion at all.

                  Still, a better weekend for gardening than writing, so I better get out there.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      nobody, not even one of the moral pygmies running for the Republican nomination, would be too upset by what he said about those issues.

      Actually, the RWNJs are thoroughly pissed at what he’s saying.

    • Did he say anything about over population?

    • weston 8.4

      hes apparently recently allowed his priests to take confessions from women who have had abortions .I guess thats generous all things considered ! .Personally id have been more impressed if he adressed the particularly stupid rules arround celibacy in the priesthood which effectively turn ordinary men into kiddie fuckers arround the globe .Just how bad does the smell have to get ???

      • joe90 8.4.1

        celibacy in the priesthood which effectively turn ordinary men into kiddie fuckers arround the globe

        Celibacy huh, who fucking knew?.
        //

      • Thom Pietersen 8.4.2

        Celibacy was required/invented so that the church of Rome did not lose its property through inheritance, that’s it, no Jesus teaching here.

        I reckon a lot of kiddie fiddler priests are there because they confessed their urges and a life devoted to god was suggested to remove them from temptation – I don’t think celibacy caused fiddling per se. Asking for forgiveness for wanking and having a sneaky healthy adult sex satisfies most I’m sure without going full paedo.

      • Grindlebottom 8.4.3

        Hes apparently recently allowed his priests to take confessions from women who have had abortions .I guess thats generous all things considered !

        Yes but, it only applies for this jubilee Year of Mercy, and only if the women repent and seek absolution. After this it’s back to having to crawl off to the Bishop.

        He tossed out the Church’s longstanding requirement for two convincing miracles to be ascribed to the beatified Junipero Serra so he could quickly canonize an American saint in time to coincide with his visit to the US. (The first miracle ascribed to Serra is a pretty dodgy case of someone supposedly cured of lupus after praying to him. Lupus patients can go into remission and there have been several cases of Lupus patients whose symptoms disappear and who turn out to have been misdiagnosed.)

        This pope knows how to manipulate the plebs to work his market. Good on him for saying the things he has, but I doubt he’ll have much influence on many other than the most ardent believers.

  8. Ad 9

    Right now I would much rather be Catholic than Labour (I’m both).

    Pope Francis is where I am at on a whole bunch of fronts.

    • weston 9.1

      when i was a kid i lived nxt door to a family of catholics They had a very large family and evenso just had a pretty standard sized house but the kids were overflowing the walls , Even as a kid i felt sorry for the poor overworked and harried mother i remember seeing her wacking a tiny baby in a cot the youngest of about twelve in an effort to stop it crying .i doubt this lady ever had a moment to herself and all because of a cruel and thoughtless edict from above Thou shalt breed untill thou is exhausted ! .One of the other things that stand out in my mind about this religeon is pictures of bishops and cardinals with silly hats on their equally silly heads sitting arround on golden thrones holding golden chalises just like romen emperors of old about the only thing missing was the hareem but then i suppose thats what the alter boys are for !! Sorry ad that prob sounds quite offensive but im afraid i cant get excited by popes

      • Thom Pietersen 9.1.1

        Mind you it’s a race with the Muslims for baby making capacity. Don’t pretend (nowadays) it’s anything more.

        Fuck dogmatic religion.

        • Ad 9.1.1.1

          Since you are on a roll about Catholics, why don’t you tell us how you feel about Muslims then?

          Go right ahead.

          • Thom Pietersen 9.1.1.1.1

            Oh boo the fuck hoo – dogma… superstition etc, do you understand the harm? Muslim, Catholic, or sky fairy… no respect.

            And that my friend makes me the bigot I am.

  9. Ad 10

    The thing about Anthony Robins’ post is how it recognises the symbolic power of what this Pope is doing.

    Yet trust so many lefties to polish off unfiltered anti-Catholic loathing.

    “The sainthood is probably a backhander to boost tourism.”
    “mind you its a race with the Muslims for baby making capacity.”
    “Just like Roman emperors of old about the only thing missing was the harem but then I suppose that’s what alter boys are for!!”
    “This pope knows how to manipulate the plebs to work his market.”
    “Just how bad does the smell have to get??”
    “Insulting he hosts with a laundry list isn’t going to help much.”

    Rob’s piece actually has some nuance and understanding about it. Too many commentators about simply can’t get past their own raw anti-Catholic prejudice.

    • Grindlebottom 10.1

      Just putting things in perspective, Ad. The Pope and the Catholic Church are a mixed bag of good and bad, and Francis’s influence on policymakers is probably going to be limited, if anything. He may have got a standing ovation from Congress, but so did Netanyahu.

      You’ll note even Rob’s final sentence in his post is: “Fine words on deaf ears”.

      • Ad 10.1.1

        Willfully negative perspective.
        When is the last time you ever heard anyone say strong pro-environmental, anti-capitalist anything to the the entire US Congress, to their faces, live on television?
        Any politician?
        Any religion leader?
        Anyone?

        Seriously, Netanyahu was it?

        Applause is now the measure of worth?

        And the first sentence Anthony wrote was: “Pope Francis is a breath of fresh air.” That’s the point.

        • Grindlebottom 10.1.1.1

          Fair enough. I hope what he said makes a difference to those in power, though I doubt it will until the general population worldwide somehow wrests back governing power from the neoliberal elites who’ve successfully seized it. Though I don’t buy into their sky fairy story, I have to agree it’s good to see a Pope demonstrating some real moral leadership on issues like poverty, inequality, and environmental concerns as a leader of a significant Christian voting population.

          • Ad 10.1.1.1.1

            It doesn’t have to make a jot of difference to those fossils in Congress – he’s using the massive global coverage to speak to his 1.5billion plus adherents, and to the wider public.

            His words get repeated across every tv station, and every Catholic mass, and every Catholic publication, every single day.

            That’s influence no other person on the planet can claim.

    • Ergo Robertina 10.2

      ”Rob’s piece actually has some nuance and understanding about it. Too many commentators about simply can’t get past their own raw anti-Catholic prejudice.”

      Nope. Throwing in the generic disclaimer of having ”fundamental issues” with some aspects of the church before launching into an admiring cut and paste job ain’t nuance.

      ”Yet trust so many lefties to polish off unfiltered anti-Catholic loathing.”

      Not true of the quote you used from me.
      A backhander is the least evil motivation I could ascribe to such an action.
      The Church can’t use an ‘of its time’ excuse for what it does, as it’s not of its times, or it would move with them. So what’s it actually about?

  10. Mike the Savage One 11

    Pope Francis is the star of the times it seems, but his stand on anti abortion and also anti population control is something to be concerned about. We still have many Catholic dominated countries with some of the highest birth rates in the world, besides of largely Muslim nations. So how can you reconcile population growth with sustainability I wonder? Here are some statistics, some more current than others, and while there is perhaps some difference between more developed nations like Italy and the Philippines or some places in South America, there is still reason enough to ask some questions:

    http://populationalert.org/CatholicsByCountry.htm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_fertility_rate

    The planet does not grow in size, will deliver less suitable conditions to grow food for the still growing world population, perhaps Pope Francis will welcome the condom and pill and get real now? Many of his “believers” seem to have already got the message.

    • Ad 11.1

      Are you really saying that the planet does not have enough resources to feed it population?

      How much of the earth’s resources do the top 5% of humanity control again?

      • weka 11.1.1

        The issue isn’t one of who is in control (although that is an issue in itself obviously). It’s about any given area’s capacity to produce food (and other resources) for the inhabitants. The only way we can consider that globally is if we have fossil fuels. Take fossil fuels out of the picture (via climate change or peak oil or both) and the ability to grow food and ship it where it is needed changes drastically. Add to that a more unstable climate and we lessen food production more, plus we lose reliability which is pretty crucial to feeding large populations.

        If all the world’s governments and business people became socialists overnight, nothing in what I have just said would change. What might change is that we transition to sustainable agriculture and do the work of figuring out how many people each place can feed. At the moment the powermongers are preventing that.

        Even if we are not at overshoot already, we will be at some point. For the people who believe population isn’t an issue, I’d like to know when it will become an issue, because as pointed out, it’s a finite planet so at some point space and fertility run out.

        Indications are that we are in resource overshoot already.

        • Ad 11.1.1.1

          I agree that food production needs fossil fuels for scale.
          But if you are thinking about food production without fossil fuels, you are thinking about an entirely different and world to the one we have for the foreseeable future.

          • weka 11.1.1.1.1

            You don’t believe in climate change and peak oil? Peak phosphorus? Peak soil? What timescale are you thinking in?

            • Ad 11.1.1.1.1.1

              I really have no idea how long any of those will take.
              And i do kind of get tired of waiting for some future crisis or apocalypse to make sense of the world.

              I am on the side of people who want to act for the good, and honestly i don’t care if it makes a jot of difference overall.

              We should act for good anyway.

        • Mike the Savage One 11.1.1.2

          You got it, most do not get it, still reliant on systemic conditions based on large scale fossil fuel use.

      • Mike the Savage One 11.1.2

        Hah, there may be land and other resources “controlled” by a few, but used to produce or extract what most need. I am absolutely convinced that the present world population of humans is not sustainable, it is only so while fossil fuel is exploited, and once that is gone, many countries will use nuclear energy, besides of solar and wind and wave energy for electricity.

        The land is already over-stressed in many agricultural areas and rain forests are not being chopped down to make land available for agriculture for no reason. Much will be turned into desert one day.

        The chocolate you eat also likely contains palm oil from land that was once native forest.

        Perhaps you think we should all live like humble South Asians, be vegetarian and live in tiny lots of flats in high rise buildings, or other dwellings, like in slums, to be sustainable. I dread most people would consider that inhumane.

    • Northsider 11.2

      There is no problem with people being born. There is a problem with distribution of resources.
      You are a bigot.

      • Mike the Savage One 11.2.1

        More and more humans means fewer of the finite resources usable per capita. Simple maths really, and do you support the destruction of native forests and soil erosion, all for the purpose to produce more food for growing populations? Do you also support over fishing of the oceans?

  11. Mike the Savage One 12

    “In a highly symbolic move:

    To underscore his message of helping the poor, Francis went straight from the U.S. Capitol in his small black Fiat to have lunch with homeless people, telling them there was no justification for homelessness.”

    WOW, this was NOT at all reported on by our usual John Key friendly MSM, indeed NO mention of such events, just the usual drivel, and then on to Kate the Princess, and so forth.

    I fear the dictatorship here is profound, that is the way the MSM have been compromised and are complicit in only telling us what we are supposed to hear, and read, under self censorship, following standards set by the PM and his underlings.

    I shiver every night, at the thought of what this country and society has become.

    Years ago, I would NEVER in my wildest nightmares have imagined that the main TV and radio stations would have Paul Henry and Mike Hosking as lead opinion makers, employed at overpaid salary rates. A total disgrace, that is what this little nation has become, sorry to say so.

  12. Clemgeopin 13

    Is Pope Francis the Anti-Christ?
    This video ‘may’ help you make up your mind.

  13. Jono 14

    It’s refreshing to to hear the pope run contrary to the right wing capitalist ideologue agenda. I think the Labour Party should listen to the message Pope Francis brings.

    • Clemgeopin 14.1

      EVERY person and EVERY party in EVERY country should listen to his great message. One does not have to be a Catholic to do so.

      • weston 14.1.1

        are you serrious clem ??any vid that needs stirring music piped in at full volume is just properganda in my book i could only stomach about five mins of it but isnt he just stating the bleeding obvious ??Hes prob got umteen vassels washing and ironing his frock everyday if not every five minutes ! because afterall clenliness is godliness and of course god loves the colour white !All the well scrubbed gushing devotees in the audience just put me off my dinner more than impress me id be more impressed if i saw him in a slum offering to wash the feet of a gangrene sufferer of electing to carry some water for them or something oh and btw i dont hate catholics i just find it hard to take them serriously !! appologies for the spelling

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