The Socialist Pope

Written By: - Date published: 1:26 pm, December 29th, 2014 - 54 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, climate change, Conservation, discrimination, Environment, global warming, International, poverty, science, socialism - Tags: , ,

Pope FrancisThe ranks of Aotearoa’s trade unions and leftie movements including the Labour Party are full of catholics, most of them lapsed. It is something about the combination of the new testament preaching that we should address poverty and love one another and drive the money changers from the temple that obviously strikes a vein with us, yours faithfully included.

The Labour Party originally included the support of many Irish Catholics. Peter Fraser, Bob Semple and Paddy Webb amongst others, went to jail for their opposition to the first world war or to conscription based in part at least on their view that the English, who had just fought with the Irish, did not deserve or justify support. If you want to get a feel for the time have a read of this.

The Catholic Church has always had this undercurrent of radicalism. But thanks to the clogging hysteria of the conservative clergy it was often opposed to progressive change, rather than supportive of it.

The latest head of the Church, Pope Francis aka Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is trying to change all this.  He is the first Pope from Latin America. He was previously a Chemical Technician and a Nightclub Bouncer but became a Priest at the age of 33 and since then has dedicated his life to God.

Wikipedia records that throughout his life he has “been noted for his humility, his concern for the poor and his commitment to dialogue as a way to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, beliefs and faiths.”

He has been creating a stir lately. The Guardian has been following his actions closely.  He has held out a hand to Muslims, he has suggested that the Catholic Cardinals are failing in their obligation to live frugal lives, he has been instrumental in ending the United States blockade of Cuba and he is in the process of urging Catholics world wide to do something about climate change.

As part of his Christmas Message he called for Jesus “to look upon our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria, who for too long now have suffered the effects of ongoing conflict and who, together with those belonging to other ethnic and religious groups, are suffering a brutal persecution.”  He also appealed to God “to give comfort to the families of the children who were killed by the Pakistani Taliban at a school in the city of Peshawar”.

In perhaps his most radical and challenging statement just before Christmas he talked about the fifteen ailments that had affected the Vatican’s bureaucracy.  The Vatican sounds like it has its own version of Dirty Politics happening.  According to the Guardian:

Chief among the pope’s list of sins was the “terrorism of gossip”, which he said could “kill the reputation of our colleagues and brothers in cold blood”. He denounced the “pathology of power” that afflicts those who seek to enhance themselves above all else, and the “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that has made leaders of the Catholic church forget they are supposed to be joyful.

Francis, the first pope born in the Americas, has refused many of the trappings of office and made plain his determination to bring the church’s hierarchy closer to its 1.2 billion members.

To that end, he has set out to reform the Italian-dominated Curia, the Vatican’s civil service whose power struggles and leaks were widely held to be partly responsible for Benedict XVI’s decision last year to become the first pope in six centuries to resign.

In his Christmas greeting, Francis used biblical references to condemn the “disease” of feeling “immortal and essential”.

“Sometimes [officials] feel themselves ‘lords of the manor’ – superior to everyone and everything,” he said.

“These and other maladies and temptations are a danger for every Christian and for any administrative organisation … and can strike at both the individual and the corporate level”.

In relation to Cuba he played a major role in ending the blockade.  He sent letters to the leaders of both countries urging them to end the blockade, was instrumental in resolving the issue concerning the exchange of prisoners, and then the Vatican hosted a meeting between the parties in October at which time most issues were resolved.

Climate change may present his most difficult challenge.  He wants to persuade the world to enter into a meaningful agreement.  As reported in the Guardian:

But can Francis achieve a feat that has so far eluded secular powers and inspire decisive action on climate change?

It looks as if he will give it a go. In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on the subject to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions.

The reason for such frenetic activity, says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is the pope’s wish to directly influence next year’s crucial UN climate meeting in Paris, when countries will try to conclude 20 years of fraught negotiations with a universal commitment to reduce emissions.

“Our academics supported the pope’s initiative to influence next year’s crucial decisions,” Sorondo told Cafod, the Catholic development agency, at a meeting in London. “The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion.”

The pope intends to issue a Papal Encyclical, an importantly ranked document distributed to Bishops, urging all catholics to take action against climate change on moral and scientific grounds.

He sees the links between poverty and environmental devastation:

In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. In October he told a meeting of Latin American and Asian landless peasants and other social movements: “An economic system centred on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it.

“The system continues unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash commands.

“The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness”.

But it is anticipated that his evangelical zeal to do something about climate change will raise opposition within Christianity, particularly amongst the conservative Christian movements in the United States.

The Guardian article quoted Calvin Beisner, who is spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.  This organisation has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion.  According to the article Beisner has said:

“The pope should back off. The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”

The Alliance looks like it has funding from the anti environmental movement to push a particular christian message.  I am still trying to work out how an organisation whose members believe in creationism can lecture the Pope that he is wrong on the science of climate change.

But all strength to Pope Francis.  If he keeps this up I may think about going back to church!

54 comments on “The Socialist Pope”

  1. RedLogix 1

    he has suggested that the Catholic Cardinals are failing in their obligation to live frugal lives

    And there is a crucial element. Any organisation where the top leaders loose touch with the lives of ordinary people will inevitably collapse. If Francis can maintain this energy he will save the Catholic Church.

    Given that a very large portion of Christians globally are Catholic this is an astonishing turnaround for an institution that was still battles with a foul legacy of child abuse and centuries of failure to adapt to the changing world. Still a long journey to go, but at least the Pope is pointing in the right direction.

    If he could now do something about the celibacy thing – I would be bloody impressed.

    • tracey 1.1

      failing to do so for most of the 1600 years of the church. pope has mostly been a position of politics power and greed. it is why guys like frank and jp2 stand out like sore thumbs

  2. he is by far the best one they have had since that one who was assassinated..

    ..and i noted in the general debate thread that these will be trying times for bill english..

    ..as a card-carrying catholic..

    ..his drill-baby-drill!/fuck-the-poor..! policies go head to head with what his spiritual boss is ordering catholics in positions of power to do..

    ..and he is telling them in no uncertain terms..

    ..to care for the poor/end inequality..

    ..and now..to stop screwing over the planet..

    ..two things english isn’t and is doing..

    • The Al1en 2.1

      “he is by far the best one they have had since that one who was assassinated..”

      Who was that then?

      Last pope definitively listed as murdered was Gregory V (996–999)
      Do you mean him?

    • disturbed 2.2

      100% Phillip, as for Bill English’s policies on climate change,

      the first words that came out of English’s mouth when he got Finance was ” We cant afford roads and rail both at the same time?

      How come we did for the last 70 yrs. before that?

      Talk about “aspiration” he had none.

  3. Ad 3

    He is what I’ve been hoping for, for some time.

    My personal wish list as a regular Mass-goer for St Francis’ term is:

    – revive Vatican II and accelerate implementation
    – pace yourself Pope; you’ll need a decade to bed it all in
    – overturn the ban on priests marrying – and form the ground for female priests
    – force some structure around what Vatican and parish assets may be used for, and focus income on the poor – esp with UN, ADB, and other major aid agencies
    – keep expecting more from clergy and us Catholics in our lives

    • Clemgeopin 3.1

      Great points.

    • RedLogix 3.2

      Good to hear your perspective Ad.

      At the same time Sanctuary below @ 4.0 makes some strong counterpoints as well. My partner is from a fundamentalist Catholic family and says that she agrees with what you are both saying.

      • Sanctuary 3.2.1

        “…My partner is from a fundamentalist Catholic family and says that she agrees with what you are both saying…”

        Deliciously theological of her! But has she met Father Ignatius, of the Inquisition? I am sure he’ll drive the devil of doubt from her mind…

        • RedLogix 3.2.1.1

          She agrees with the desperate need for the kind of reforms Ad outlines, but at the same time is vividly aware of the depth of obstinate dogmatic idiocy still alive in the Church.

          Yet there is no question in my mind that if the fundies win this battle, the Church will have no future.

    • Sanctuary 3.3

      The Catholic church already has some hundreds of married ex-Anglican/Protestant priests. The answer to clerical celibacy – which is what the marriage debate is really about – is for the Catholic Church to adopt what the Eastern Orthodox church already does, namely allow men to marry before entering the priesthood but not after. I’m not sure of what the angels-on-heads-of-pins ecclesiastical argument is, but I would imagine that since marriage is seen as a sacramental union that that unites two people into a forever indivisible single entity, being married and a priest means you are technically celibate since sex with your wife is within a single union… Hey, I also know all about the dogma behind transubstantiation and the definition of the trinity and they are just as silly!

      • RedLogix 3.3.1

        namely allow men to marry before entering the priesthood but not after.

        Useful perhaps as a transition step.

        My understanding was that behind the dogma, the celibacy nonsense was intended mostly to ensure there would be no families for the Church to support, nor heirs to claim inheritances – and that this policy is largely responsible for the immense wealth the Church has accumulated over centuries.

        Whatever the motivation – it has been an appalling mistake that may yet inflict immense damage on the Church. The policy should have been changed sometime in the 1800’s – that fact that we are still talking about it now is testament to a very strong undercurrent of bloody minded fundamentalism that also runs deep.

        • Anne 3.3.1.1

          Behind most religious dogma there is a practical motivation. Take the banning of pork from the Jewish diet. Back in ancient times they wanted to discourage people from eating pork because of the presence of diseases in the pigs of the day, so they gave it a religious connotation in order to stop people eating it.

          The institution of marriage is another one. In order to reduce the high incidence of venereal diseases, somebody introduced the holy matrimonial meme in an effort to improve the health of the population.

          • RedLogix 3.3.1.1.1

            Indeed. It’s very helpful to try and draw a distinction between those aspects of a religion which are essential and those which are not.

            The essential, inward aspects relate to teachings about justice, compassion, love, selflessness and purity of motive; while the non-essential, outward aspects are about how the rules the community had to follow in order to adapt or survive in that era.

            When you strip away all the outward aspects it’s pretty striking how all the religions actually say pretty much the same thing. They may express it differently, but the underlying message is congruent.

            Fundamentalists are people who believe in a God they have created from their own limited imaginations. They call themselves believers, but in reality what they believe in is their own vanities and fantasies. Most people however are not all that creative or imaginative and in order to flesh out and decorate their fantasies about God they depend heavily on all the rituals and dogmas, all those outward, non-essential aspects of their religion.

            And over time the inner, the essential and the actual reason for their belief becomes obscured and invisible to them.

  4. Sanctuary 4

    “…The Catholic Church has always had this undercurrent of radicalism….”

    Maybe since Vatican II, but remember the Catholic church was loathed by socialist revolutionaries for good reason and reactionary Church officials have always supported extremist right wing reactionary causes everywhere.

    It is the luxury of the separation of church and state and anti-secularism that allows people with short historical memories to see the church as a force for social enlightenment. In fact, that tradition – with it’s “liberation theology” only goes back fifty years. Coming from the Spanish speaking and from South America, Pope Francis will be well aware both of the deeply reactionary nature of Catholicism and the impact of liberation theology. He must know he is playing with fire. His Catholic spring won’t last long.

    The Catholic church has always supported the most extremist, anti-enlightenment, and anti-humanist political movements it can think it can get away with.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      I am referring to new testament type radicalism which compared to the stuff in the old testament was pretty revolutionary, the rich man being able to fit through the eye of a needle type radicalism. I agree the church has acted as a counter to many progressive movements. Hopefully this is now changing.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        A memorable old line, which is probably the result of a translation error:

        http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-25583,00.html

        Nonetheless over time I’ve come to think that the real meaning intended is conveyed just as well by the mistake as the literal.

        • Murray Rawshark 4.1.1.1

          The answer I got to that one is that, for god, all things are possible. Miracles are his daily staple, and require no more effort than John Banks picking his earwax.

        • Ad 4.1.1.2

          Jesus was regrettably a piss poor theologian, very context -driven, and his parables often have too much financial subtlety for my liking. And the previous Pope loved his bling and tailored shoes too much.

          Give me St Francis and the others who gave it all up any day.

    • Ad 4.2

      Agree with the repressive history of the church. And it’s never going to repent its patriarchal divine right, or convert to Liberation Theology. It is broken. And not entirely fixable, redeemable, believable.

      But.

      It’s bigger than the UN.
      It has more spiritual power over the world than any institution.
      It’s shrines are venerated by millions of pilgrims whether Christian or not, every year.
      It’s moral force leaves The Internationale, let alone NZ Labour, in its dust.
      And it’s done it – uniquely – for 2 millennia. It’s got roots 2 millennia before that.

      Membership forces the same sickly personal compromises that Labour supporters will be familiar with.

      For me, its values are my most basal motivator. I trust my devotional assent to it more than my assent to Labour (or any) politicians. But choosing to be inside, make change, and pray he hangs in there, are worth it.

      • mickysavage 4.2.1

        Thanks Ad. I agree it is an institution with a great deal of history and a great deal of resources that has achieved some good in the past and may be able to achieve a great deal of good in the future.

  5. greywarshark 5

    Looking at Red Logix link I came on a comment that shows how prosperity religonists might think. It’s God’s money really, he is just channelling it through to you to increase for his greater glory. An angel investor! Yeah right.

    Here’s a website with a lot of useful insight into this. http://www.angelfire.com/wy/Franklin4YAHWEH/camelthroughneedle.html What ever the exact translation, the principle remains the same. If you have SELF-MADE wealth, it demonstrates you do not have the SELFLESS attitude required for and developed through salvation.

    Even if a wealthy person ‘discovers’ and accepts the Word of God, if they retain the products of their self-made life they (he or she) will always feel able to go back to that if they don’t like what God is doing – and there WILL be times when (s)he doesn’t like what God is doing in his/her life!

    That is why they must be shed before progress can be made – a virtually impossible thing for a self-made man to do on his own! That is why the wealthy young man looked so downcast!

    “But with God, all things are possible” and through Him, wealth can be re-established, but with the right attitude, and for the Glory of God, not self.

    • Ad 5.1

      ‘Supply-Side Jesus’ has his problems.
      Google that phrase for a great cartoon.

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        Al Franken ? That surprises me a lot.

        And while I was googling about on him I found this fascinating article:

        Franken took the opposite approach. Instead of running away from the progressive accomplishments of the Obama era, he embraced them, railing against bankers, advocating for student loan reform—even defending the Affordable Care Act. Franken ran as an Elizabeth Warren-style Democrat, running a populist campaign that didn’t shirk discussion of the specific policies Democrats could pursue to help the middle class. And voters rewarded him. “This wasn’t a safe seat,” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, said in an e-mail. “He earned his victory by being a proud populist Democrat for six years and inspiring voters.”

        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/al-franken-minnesota-senate-model-progressive-campaign

        Franken went on to increase his vote by 10% in the 2014 mide-terms – when most Dems went backwards. There is a lesson here.

      • BassGuy 5.1.2

        Wow, some parts of that just seem overly familiar, particularly “I came from the humblest of roots, and yet now I am one of the richest men in Judea.”

        Supply-Side Jesus for government!

        …again.

  6. BLiP 6

    What is Christianity other than the practical application of socialism?

  7. Murray Rawshark 7

    The evangelicals in the US and elsewhere are hard to see as any sort of Christians. I prefer to see them as conservative Jews who give some blonde bloke with a beard a figurehead role. As the only Swede born in Palestine 2000 years ago, he must have some role, I suppose. They follow the Old Testament (at least the hateful parts they like) and have little time for anything the blonde bloke was supposed to have said.

    There is also a very repressive movement within Catholicism, particularly in Latin countries. Opus Dei and the many “Church and Family” organisations will not lie down for the Argentinian.

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.1

      Right wing bible thumping pro Israel, pro war against the Muslims, conservative Christians of the US evangelical style are usually not even Christians – they are HERETICS who have totally inverted the teachings of the Gospels and the Beatitudes.

  8. Ergo Robertina 8

    ”The ranks of Aotearoa’s trade unions and leftie movements including the Labour Party are full of catholics, most of them lapsed. It is something about the combination of the new testament preaching that we should address poverty and love one another and drive the money changers from the temple that obviously strikes a vein with us”

    Perhaps; a bigger factor maybe is Catholic families produce scrappers who love a fight and feel at home in an atmosphere of conflict. I say it as someone who grew up in one, and observed many others; you survive or struggle in that environment.

    In my view the Pope should not venture into climate change politics to this extent – producing the inevitably colourful attention-hogging fight with right-wing USA Catholics – until its own house is in order. This means addressing the child abuse horror, which involves more than carefully targeted strong words that downplay its extent.

    • Ad 8.1

      I kind of agree. Ecological theology remains weak and unsupported in any structural sense.

      I want the Church to focus its financial might towards overturning the damage of the “1% Economy”. That means an almighty clean out of its financial staff, its financial and asset base deployment, and start being an exemplary employer that stops damaging and wasting people’s lives and starts enabling their perpetual spiritual and material liberation.

      Not that I want much.

  9. johnm 9

    The Pope is a good man. But the issues he addresses are long gone out of control: climate change, inequality, war and violence. political corruption, greed, environmental destruction. He’s a good straw man crying in the wind for what might have been.

    E.G. war Criminal Tony Blair converts to Catholicism: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/aug/28/blair-conversion-catholicism

    The Pope despite wanting otherwise just serves the current corrupt rotten order. Order known as neoliberalism currently and American world dominance. The well to do Catholics I know don’t take the slightest scrap of notice of what he says: Rome is another Planet to them.

    • Ad 9.1

      You are not surely saying the Pope should give up because Tony Blair converted?

    • tricledrown 9.2

      The Pope at least is giving hope!
      he is an cleaning up the church getting rid of the papal aristocracy.
      His leadership is a breath of fresh air.
      He is not frightened of tackling any issue.
      Lives in a humble apartment a man of the people!
      I see only one other world leader who is in that league the president of Uruguay !

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        Lives in a humble apartment a man of the people!
        I see only one other world leader who is in that league the president of Uruguay

        I have seen something similar myself in person. It is deeply inspiring.

        Regrettably our media prefer to tell us how our PM holidays in Hawaii and has halved his handicap while in office. And 70% of the population suck it up like mana, when our grandparents would have been offended by these things. This is why religion (and emphatically not the debased materialistic, fundamentalist versions of it) are still relevant.

        • BassGuy 9.2.1.1

          This bombardment of stories about Key on holiday is starting to drive me a bit nuts.

          Am I supposed to feel good that Key can afford to sod off overseas at will and play golf?

          Should I feel pride in a country that has created so much need, yet refuses to support those who struggle, while gifting with largesse to one man who already has so much?

      • Clemgeopin 9.2.2

        I see only one other world leader who is in that league the president of Uruguay !

        Here he is:
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20243493

  10. OncewasTim 10

    The kethlik church is a strange beast is it not? From my experience it can be a representation of religious extremism.
    I’ve met kethliks with a concern for ‘societal welfare’ – usually the Kitty V’s conducting jumble sales in order to support the downtrodden (often at the expense of neglecting their own out-of-control-offspring), and with ‘left of centre poltiks; they seem to want to keep secret.
    Then I’ve met a few at the other end of that swinging pendulum (swinging – the operative word).
    Someone should really do a study on just how well the likes of Blinglish and his ilk fit with what the kethik church (a braod church apparently, and one that’s acceptable whilst the Labour Party’s broadness is apparently NOT).

    Anyone ever followed the growing up of a Sacred Heart/Marist/St Pat’s kethluk?
    Christ! I’ve encountered a few and none of them have been pretty sights!
    There’s the poor little rich boy psychopath
    The P heads
    The wife beaters
    The closet homos desperate to find their sugar dads
    The P.I. branch of the above that usually try and keep it all on the down low – just as the Natzis do.

    I think maybe kethluks see things in terms of there being a “right Wing”, and then a “wrong wing”

    Sure as shit tho’ theire’a a Blinglish or two that’ll never ‘get it’ (until of course it all jumps up and bites them in the bum)

    • McFlock 10.1

      um – okaaaaaayy…

    • BLiP 10.2

      . . . I’ve met kethliks with a concern for ‘societal welfare’ – usually the Kitty V’s conducting jumble sales in order to support the downtrodden (often at the expense of neglecting their own out-of-control-offspring), and with ‘left of centre poltiks; they seem to want to keep secret . . .

      Hmmm . . .

    • Murray Rawshark 10.3

      I’ve met those ones as well, but I have also met catholics who are genuinely good people. Most of the latter were not met in Anglo colonies.

      • OncewasTim 10.3.1

        As have I …. they’d be those I acknowledged first (the Kiity V’s). AND …. at LAST, a Pope that gives a shit and who seems to understand human beings.
        What took so long!
        The good thing is the Fox News miks are beside themselves

  11. Sirenia 11

    Peter Fraser was a staunch Scottish Presbyterian, not an Irish Catholic

  12. Maui 12

    Religion doing what it should be doing and helping the world, and not having its head up its arse.

  13. Has anybody pointed out the oxymoron of a socialist Pope?
    I thought the Pope was God’s mouthpiece and not the elected delegate of all Catholics to represent them to God.
    No wonder Peter Fraser was a Presbyterian where the congregations reputedly elect their ministers.
    Pope’s seldom take the side of liberty against fascists or dictators like Hitler and Franco.
    Certain Catholics have done like Archbishop Romero of El Salvador who was assassinated.
    Pope Francis has been accused of failing to oppose or publicly condemn the role of the Church in the Argentinian ‘dirty war’. He lived not to tell the tale.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/14/pope-francis-argentina-military-junta
    I think most Pope’s have been mouthpieces of the more conservative elements of the ruling classes over history.
    Francis still serves the ruling class but as a liberal.
    I think that he recognises that inequality and injustice is so bad that he wants to dissociate the church from the 1% in the hope of forestalling a revolution.
    To wit his role in restoring diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA.
    He wants to avoid the Church becoming redundant along with its accumulated wealth and property.
    I don’t see him succeeding.

    • tricledrown 13.1

      Some of that accumulated wealth has gone,in the US the Catholic church is nearly bankrupt.
      The Catholic Church is facing legal action in just about every country in the world for child abuse compensation.
      This Pope has said he will cooperate fully with authorities and their will be no hiding place in the church for any perpetrator!
      Unlike Ratbagzinger who was in charge of covering up the abuses for john paul the 2nd.Ratzinger was more worried about the colour of his handmade shoes!
      The only worry now is if Francis is killed or dies before more reforms are carried out.

      • mac1 13.1.1

        I was in Ireland this year and visited a graveyard containing the bodies of over a hundred boys killed and abused by “Christian” brothers in the West. I was very affected by this. The next church I visited was a modern church up on the high moor lands and I left a note in the visiting book, commenting on the modernity of this church and hoping that the promising tone of the new papacy that would no longer excuse, condone and conceal the brutality of the Industrial School I saw, where these boys lived and died. Many more lie hidden and as yet undiscovered.

        What kicked me about this was that the Industrial School was part of a model village built by an English Quaker industrialist who was reacting to the plight of rural Ireland at the time of the Famine. The Quaker meeting house became the centre of the Christian Brother’s Industrial School.

        I left the Catholic Church as a young man to become a Quaker later on.

        I do have hope for a renewed Catholic Church with this new Pope Francis. There is a message just in his chosen name. What and who I am was formed by 21 year s of Catholic upbringing. There is a lot of good and ethical teaching in the Catholic Church.

        Remember the Papal Encyclical, “Pacem in Terris” from John XXIII? He wrote there can be no just war while nuclear weapons exist. I became a pacifist as a result, and found a spiritual home in a peace church, far from authoritarian dictates and the belief in intercession.

        The Socialist Pope may just allow by his example a truer identity of Christian expression to grow. I hope so, as a new year looms.

    • Ad 13.2

      You have no idea what he has done already.
      Its more fun expecting change in the church under St Francis than losing 3 elections, 4 leaders, and dump trucks of policy under Labour.

      As an activist in both, I know.

  14. Sable 14

    Been reading the twaddle from the MSM hucksters again have we. The Pope has little to do with thawing US relations with Cuba. This is purely a cynical move by the US to try to isolate Cuba from the influence of Russia and China with which it has political and economic ties. The Pope may have been used as window dressing to distract the gullible but that’s about all he has had to do with any of this….

  15. MrSmith 15

    Open wide suckers, here’s another few spoon full’s of false hope and hypocrisy, from the crown/clown Princes of false hope and hypocrisy.

  16. Ergo Robertina 16

    There’s an interesting piece in NZ Catholic from earlier this month (reading the paraphernalia while visiting family) of how Catholic executives in the public sector negotiate the ”secular environment”. Apologies if a bit off-topic but I thought it relevant to how the church relates to the world.
    Dale Bramley, Waitemata DHB’s chief executive, refuses to sign certificates that allow abortion to be carried out. ”I’ve had the discussion with my board, and they understand and someone else signs.”
    Parkinsons NZ CEO Deirdre O’Sullivan refuses to provide Parkinsons NZ funds to stem cell research. ”Sometimes, my organisation does it, and I would have to live with that, but I’ve been fortunate that I have been respected [in my decision],” she said.

    There should be clear disclosure for anyone donating to an organisation whose chief executive pushes their religious agenda.
    I’d find myself being sympathetic to the DHB boss if his qualms were about signing NGO contracts that don’t pay a living wage (especially if it was more than a Clayton’s someone-else-signing-same-outcome).

    • RedLogix 16.1

      It’s a tricky boundary and always has been. In general it is wrong to force people into actions that contradict deeply held personal beliefs and values.

      If you happen to agree with the those ethics – then they are heroes. If not then they are demonised.

      For instance – personally I would be hopeless in the military. I would prefer to be killed than to kill. That would make me a dreadful coward in the eyes of most people.

      Yet at the same time, my failure to fight would (in some small measure) contribute to the peril of my nation. At that point I need to choose between my personal values and the the greater good of my community. Which do I place a greater value on, my life or that of my nation?

      (In real life the choice is rarely so clear or explicit. Images of naive farm boys loading their bloody horses onto transports for an adventure in WW1 still leave me aghast. Or as a long deceased uncle who survived every major battle of that war once said to us, “Any man who goes TO a war – is a fool.” Those were his only words ever on that topic.)

      This interplay between personal and collective ethics goes on all the time. We never escape it.

      • Ergo Robertina 16.1.1

        ‘In general it is wrong to force people into actions that contradict deeply held personal beliefs and values.’
        ‘If you happen to agree with the those ethics – then they are heroes. If not then they are demonised.’

        In New Zealand taxpayer funded roles, like highly remunerated DHB chiefs, need to be administered without deference to religious tenets.
        I guess if the person’s conscience can be indulged by not signing a particular certificate, and getting someone else to with the same outcome, it’s harmless.
        When I said I’d find myself sympathetic to a Catholic CEO who did not sign an exploitative contract with low paid workers, I’m acknowledging the quandary you’ve touched on in cheering on non-conformists if you agree with their cause. For me the corporate hold over our public sector and economy is such that any source of an alternative value system – religious or otherwise – might be welcomed by me within strict boundaries, but we must keep the principle of a secular state.
        That’s already slipping with the likes of the state housing sell-off to church-aligned NGOs.

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