Posts Tagged ‘Pope Francis’

The Pope’s despair about Christmas is unworthy

November 21, 2015

The Christmas and New Year holidays are important, but for most people the holiday season has ceased to be a celebration of anything religious a long time ago. The holidays are important primarily as the annual time of renewal, and in the Northern hemisphere, as a sign that the shortest day has been left behind, and the journey to summer has begun. It is a celebration of the Sun – Sol Invictus – and that custom goes back to long before the celebrations around the winter solstice were hijacked by Christianity. As a paean to the Sun it goes back into prehistory, and at least to the last ice-age some 20,000 years ago.

The annual renewal and the “proof” that this is a perpetual recurrence is the fundamental under-pinning of a primal human need. That, no matter how desperate it may seem, life goes on. That no matter how dark or painful or grievous the days are, the Sun will shine again. It is, above all, a reaffirmation of hope. With all the horrible things that happen around us (always have and always will), it would be all too simple, in the dark days of winter, to give in to hopelessness and despair. But the annual renewal is not, I think, a time for desperation and depression. In spite of Syria or Iraq or Mali or Lebanon or Paris, it is the time that is needed to rekindle hope and not to succumb.

If I have any belief, it is that the world will not end and the hope that humans can do better.  And we will need that belief and that hope again next year, and every year to come.

And so I find the Pope’s rant about Christmas to be a cry of despair and frustration – and unworthy.

Daily MailThe Pope has called Christmas a ‘charade’ during a sermon in which he reflected on recent atrocities around the world. Among the acts of inhumanity he denounced were the Paris attacks, which left 129 dead, and the bombing of a Russian airliner over Egypt, which killed all 224 people on board. Christmas festivities will seem empty in a world which has chosen ‘war and hate’, Pope Francis said yesterday at the Vatican.

‘Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes… it’s all a charade. The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path,’ he said in the Mass at the chapel of the Santa Marta residence. ……. There are wars today everywhere, and hate, ……… God weeps, Jesus weeps’.

In the coming holiday period, and with all the barbarism and cruelty that is so apparent, it is all the more important to inspire hope, hope in the future and that things can be better. It is necessary in the renewal process that people are inspired to believe that they can act to make things better. We are talking about human behaviour and I refuse to believe that it is not possible to influence that behaviour. There must be a time to sorrow, but this coming holiday is not a time to wallow in tears. It is almost as if the Pope believes the hate and the barbarism are Divinely Inspired and are not subject to human influence. Is weeping the only remedy available? Is he just an observer?

In inspiring that hope and belief in the future that we need in large measures, I find the Pope wanting.

Pope opposes gay marriage but is afraid to admit it

October 1, 2015

The Pope had a secret meeting with Kim Davis while he was in the US. That was actually the defining moment of his visit.

I don’t like any organised religions. I find them – every one – oppressive in the space of ignorance. So, I don’t have a very high opinion of any “religious leaders” in their formal roles. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is a decent, well-meaning guy but, as Pope Francis, he has the task – uneviable though it may be – to oppress not only his own catholics with dogmatic mumbo-jumbo, but to try and spread his particular creed of ignorance to others not of the faith.

I found the circus surrounding his recent visit to the US irritating, not just because of the “populist”, politically correct facade he presented, but even more because of the fawning media hanging on his every word, and the politicians slobbering over his pronouncements as they tried to pander to their catholic voters. (There are 70 million catholics making up 22% of the US population).

But just one secret meeting is the real take-away from his 6 day visit. Publicly he said all the right things about minorities and he even met victims of abuse by priestly members of the catholic church. (Though, when he was reported as saying that “God weeps” for these victims, I wondered whether that was all his God could do? And was his God weeping at His own inability to do anything for the suffering that He had caused?)

His secret meeting was with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to authorise gay marriages.

HuffPoThe Vatican has confirmed that the meeting between Pope Francis and Kim Davis took place. “I do not deny that the meeting took place, but I have no further comments,” Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement. 

A Kentucky clerk who went to jail for defying a federal court’s orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses says she met briefly with the pope during his historic visit to the United States. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, didn’t deny the encounter took place but said Wednesday in Rome he had no comment on the topic.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her husband met privately with Pope Francis last Thursday afternoon at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., for less than 15 minutes, said her lawyer, Mat Staver.

Why was the meeting in secret?

And how come the fawning media missed this even though the Pope was being scrutinised for every second of his visit?


Several thousand journalists recently covered Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States — and yet, his meeting with controversial Kentucky clerk Kim Davis remained a secret until two days after the pontiff left the country. 

Robert Moynihan, who first reported the news Tuesday night for Inside the Vatican, a magazine he launched in 1993, met Davis in her Washington hotel room shortly after her Sept. 24 meeting with Francis, but sat on the scoop for days as the pope’s trip made headlines. 

…. Moynihan wrote that Davis told him about her meeting with Francis shortly after it occurred, though he did not specify where or when she gave the account:

“The Pope spoke in English,” she told me. “There was no interpreter. ‘Thank you for your courage,’ Pope Francis said to me. I said, ‘Thank you, Holy Father.’ I had asked a monsignor earlier what was the proper way to greet the Pope, and whether it would be appropriate for me to embrace him, and I had been told it would be okay to hug him. So I hugged him, and he hugged me back. It was an extraordinary moment. ‘Stay strong,’ he said to me. Then he gave me a rosary as a gift, and he gave one also to my husband, Joe. I broke into tears. I was deeply moved.”

…… ABC News’ Terry Moran asked Francis if he would support individuals, including government officials, who refuse to carry out duties such as issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they believe doing so violates their religious liberty.

Francis said that “conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right.” When Moran asked if his response includes government officials, Francis responded that, indeed, “it is a human right.”

The messages I take are that

  1. The Pope actually disapproves of gay marriage, but
  2. He is afraid to say that publicly (because it is not politically correct).

For the Pope to claim conscientious objection as a human right is almost naiveI find that conscientious objection is one of those flexible concepts that every government thinks that others must do but never accepts within its own ranks. Nazi soldiers were wrong – and were even war criminals – for obeying orders and not being conscientious objectors. But I can’t see any government anywhere which would accept conscientious objection within the ranks of its own armies. Or its bureaucrats such as Kim Davis. “Your whistle-blower is a good guy, but my whistle-blower is a traitor”.


Another declared Saint who is probably in purgatory (if not in hell)

September 24, 2015

Pope Francis is taking a big chance by “fast-tracking” people to sainthood with a much diluted quality control system. Some of his declared saints may actually be in the Other Place. On his visit to the US he has taken the entirely political decision to name the “18th-Century missionary Junipero Serra a saint, in a move cheered by Hispanic Catholics but criticised by some Native Americans. …. The Pope had “fast-tracked” his canonisation, meaning that there was no need to show proof of two miracles”.

Normally the quality control process for declaring a saint is quite involved (even if there is no way of measuring the success rate of the canonisation process)

  • First stage: individual is declared a ‘servant of God’
  • Second stage: individual is called ‘venerable’
  • Third stage (requires a miracle attributed to candidate’s intercession): beatification, when individual is declared blessed
  • Fourth stage (requires a further authenticated miracle): candidate is canonised as a saint for veneration by Church

Beatification in the Catholic church is just another politically inspired honours system.

The Catholic Church teaches that it does not, in fact, make anyone a saint. Rather, it recognizes a saint. In the Church, the title of Saint refers to a person who has been formally canonized (officially recognized) by the Catholic Church, and is therefore believed to be in Heaven. By this definition there are many people believed to be in Heaven who have not been formally declared as saints (most typically due to their obscurity and the involved process of formal canonization) but who may nevertheless generically be referred to as saints. All in Heaven are, in the technical sense, saints, since they are believed to be completely perfected in holiness. Unofficial devotions to uncanonized individuals take place in certain regions. Sometimes the word “saint” is used to refer to Christians still sojourning here on earth.

There are over 10,000 named saints and beatified people from history, the Roman Martyrology and Orthodox sources, but no definitive head count. The assumption that they are all in Heaven is just an assumption, a judgement made by the fallible living.

But for entirely political purposes, Pope Francis has waived the need for any “authenticated” miracles for Sera. The usual assumption is that somebody declared a saint is already well established in Heaven. Once a saint he can be prayed to and requested to intercede with God. But in the case of this new saint, that may not quite hold. St, Junipero Serra may well qualify as having been heavily involved in the genocide of the indigenous population.

The church’s quality control system is fundamentally flawed since the actual quality achieved is never measured. Some declared saints are likely not actually in Heaven but in the Other Place. A few might even be stuck in limbo – in Purgatory. Junipero Serra could be one of them. (The fallback safety of course is that the Pope is infallible).

Native NewsSerra was the first Padre presidente and architect of the California mission system from 1769 until his death in 1784. His policies unequivocally led to atrocities against our ancestors; he does not deserve the honor of sainthood.     .

On Sera’s watch more natives died than were born:

One way to answer the question of whether Junipero Serra was really good for the Native Americans he purported to serve was how natives were treated on the missions themselves. The backlash against Serra began when historians began to look at birth and death records on the missions and discovered that more natives were dying under Serra’s watch than being born — not a great indicator that Serra was saving native lives. The contemporary picture of the missions is less a “bucolic arcadia” than a feudal labor camp, with natives beaten if they violated Catholic teachings or didn’t work hard enough. Serra’s defenders point out that no native was forced to convert to Catholicism and live on the mission if he or she didn’t choose to; his critics point out that once someone chose to convert and live on the mission, soldiers would be sent after him if he tried to escape.

So what happens when a Catholic prays to a declared saint, supposed to be in Heaven, but who is actually in the Other Place? Perhaps the intercession is granted by Lucifer rather than the Other Guy?


The Trump effect: Even the Pope switches to English for his greetings to the US

September 21, 2015

Pope Francis is going out of his way to be a populist Pope. It makes him seem – in my perception – to have few convictions which cannot be overturned to suit perceived public opinion. The Pope will soon move on from Cuba to the US for a 3 day visit. He has sent a video greeting to the US and it seems he has been listening to Trump. He has recorded the video in English though most of his speeches in the US are expected to be in Spanish.

Now if only some of his audience would use English a little more.

“I look forward to greeting the pilgrims and the people of Philadelphia when I come for the World Meeting of Families,” Francis said in a video shared Sunday by Archbishop James Chaput of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. “I will be there because you will be there! See you in Philadelphia!”

Catholics unlike socialists, atheists and Muslims are acceptable as Presidential candidates across all sections of US society.

Pope’s fatwa presents a cosmic teapot and passes the buck on global warming

June 16, 2015

A draft of the Pope’s 192 page fatwa, due on Thursday, was leaked in an Italian magazine over the weekend. The Vatican protests that it is not the final version.

If the leak is correct, the Pope does not claim that he believes in the man-made global warming fantasy. He does not claim that he has received some Divine Revelation. He stops short of declaring jihad. Instead he takes a populist position but in a rush of cowardice he passes the buck to “numerous scientific studies”. For those (such as The Guardian and Huff Po) expecting authoritative support from the Catholic God, through the Pope as his infallible mouthpiece, this fatwa may be as explosive as a wet christmas cracker.

“though other factors may be involved, numerous scientific studies indicate that the majority of the global warming in recent decades is due to the large concentration of greenhouse gases… emitted above all due to human activity,”

He blames the developed world for the lack of development in the third world. He forgets that the developing world desperately needs to use fossil fuels to continue their development. He makes the fundamental mistake of thinking that the development of one part of the world is at the expense of other parts. He forgets, in his ignorance, that the poor are not poor because the rich are rich. This following section is from a translation at Bishop Hill

For poor countries, the priority should be the eradication of poverty and social development of their inhabitants; at the same time the scandalous level of consumption of certain privileged sectors of their population must be considered and better counter corruption. Of course, they must also develop less polluting forms energy production, but for this they have need to rely on help from countries that are grown much at the expense of pollution today the planet. The direct exploitation of abundant solar energy requires that you establish mechanisms and subsidies so that developing countries can have access to technology transfer, for technical assistance and financial resources, but always paying attention to concrete conditions, since the compatibility of the systems with the context for which they are proposed is not always properly assessed. The costs would be low when compared to risk of climate change. In any case, it is above all an ethical choice, based on solidarity of all peoples.

As usual the Pope – just like idiot Muftis promoting jihad – operates in the Space of Ignorance and as his “authority”, he presents the views of others operating in the Space of Ignorance.

The man made global warming “theory” is based on untestable hypotheses.  Climate “science” is not science it is advocacy.

Human emissions of carbon dioxide are less than 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

Carbon dioxide emission sources (GT CO2/year)

  • Transpiration 440
  • Release from oceans 330
  • Fossil fuel combustion 26
  • Changing land use 6
  • Volcanoes and weathering 1

Carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere by about 15 GT CO2/ year. The accuracy of the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by transpiration and by the oceans is no better than about 2 – 3% and that error band (+/- 20GT/year)  is itself almost as large as the total amount of emissions from fossil fuels. ….. 

Bertrand Russel with his “cosmic teapot” pointed out that the burden of proof lies upon those making scientifically untestable claims rather than shifting the burden of proof to sceptics. To paraphrase what he wrote

Many orthodox global warmists speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in political IPCC  reports, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Or as he elaborates

To take another illustration: nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think man made global warming just as unlikely.

O ignorant priest! O cowardly priest!

And not specifically for this Pope but for all “priests” everywhere and including the “high priests of false science” and the high priests of jihad : O who will rid us of these troublesome priests.

You cannot kill for free speech but you have to be prepared to die for it

January 16, 2015

The Pope just said that, if the limits to free speech are exceeded, then violence is to be expected. In spite of his separate statement that violence in the name of God was never justified, he has effectively condoned a violent reaction if and when some limit to “free speech” is exceeded.

Pope Francis says freedom of speech has limits

Pope Francis has defended freedom of expression following last week’s attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – but also stressed its limits. The pontiff said religions had to be treated with respect, so that people’s faiths were not insulted or ridiculed.

To illustrate his point, he told journalists that his assistant could expect a punch if he cursed his mother.

But his handlers at the Vatican soon realised that he was effectively saying that at some level of perceived insult, a violent reaction was to be expected and, by implication, justified. They tried to put the cat back in the bag, but they cannot get away from the fact that even a playful punch at an assistant was, and was intended to, represent a violent reaction:

Yahoo News: The Rev. Thomas Rosica, who collaborates with the Vatican press office, issued a statement early Friday stressing that the pope was by no means justifying the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

“Pope Francis has not advocated violence with his words on the flight,” he said in a statement.

He said Francis’ words were “spoken colloquially and in a friendly, intimate manner among colleagues and friends on the journey.” He noted that Francis has spoken out clearly against the Paris attacks and that violence in God’s name can never be justified.

Leaving aside this Pope’s attempts at populism, he does not address the fact that all organised religions – and not least Catholicism – are fundamentally opposed to and deny free speech. They are all concerned with telling, and imposing on their members, what to think and how to behave.

Those who like to quote Voltaire and his “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”, need to admit that what he actually said was not that “free speech” was a right, but that “free speech was worth dying for”.

It could be argued that the Pope was saying the same thing. You cannot kill for free speech but you have to be prepared to die for it. The terrorists in Paris were killing because they felt insulted not because they were for or against free speech. The Charlie Hebdo journalists died for their right to express whatever they wished.

(Sometimes I wonder why something so simple is made so complicated. Of course, every individual can say or express whatever he likes. And of course he must take responsibility for that. He is not immune to the consequences of what he says. The problem comes only when the “free speaker” demands immunity from any prosecution and protection from any unpleasant consequence. The risk of retaliation – whether legal or not – must be taken by the speaker. Equally, the retaliator has no “right” not to be offended. The offense lies in his mind and he must take responsibility for his actions.)

But the Pope is not alone in being confused. His confused message is just an example of the many confused responses to the brutal murders at Charlie Hebdo’s office and the Jewish supermarket in Paris. Initially, there was universal condemnation of the killings and the “Je suis Charlie” meme was used to show solidarity with the victims and as a manifestation of support for free speech.

But it soon became clear that the manifestations of support were not as simple and unified as all that. The Left were – in their confused minds – supporting free speech and condemning violence by Islamic terrorists. But by some mental calisthenics they were also showing solidarity with moderate Islam. The confused Prime Minister of Turkey went to Paris and stood arm-in-arm with Hollande and other leaders and then went home and condemned the journalists for their insults to Islam and for the new Charlie Hebdo issue. The confused members of Pegida suppressed their dislike of the media and joined the wave of manifestations, to demonstrate their opposition to the Islamicisation of Europe. For them the attack was proof of the evil in Islam. They tried not to show too much sympathy for the Jewish victims but focused on the evil attackers. A confused Barack Obama did not know what to do and so – as usual – did nothing. Confused orthodox Jewish papers removed all women from their pictures of the Paris manifestation. A confused Angela Merkel joined the Paris manifestation and then went home and joined a pro-Muslim demonstration for balance. A confused David Cameron joined the Paris manifestation and then was quick to point out that he was only against the Islamic terrorists.

Al Qaeda in the Yemen claimed that they were responsible.

After a few days, while the support for free speech in the face of Islamic barbarism continues as the main theme, the message has now started to be diluted. Charlie Hebdo had gone too far and the reaction – while not justified – was to be expected. In other words the irresponsible journalists were – to some extent – culpable. By their racism and irresponsibility they had invited retaliation. The co-founder of Charlie Hebdo accused the editor of dragging himself and others to their deaths. The Pope said much the same.

SalonThe previously ubiquitous hashtags of #JeSuisCharlie were suddenly replaced by declarations that “I am not Charlie Hebdo, and torn commentators searched for alternative symbols to cling to in the wake of tragedy, such as Ahmed Merebat, the Muslim police officer killed by the terrorists as they made their getaway.

In the matter of three days, the staff of Charlie Hebdo had transformed from heroic symbols of free expression to the latest in a long line of racists whose right to say what they say we’ll defend to the death, even if we don’t particularly like what they’re saying.

But the events of Paris were not about free speech. They were – primarily – about Islamic terrorists who killed to satisfy their warped and twisted view of the world. They killed innocent Jews in a supermarket and journalists with a rather juvenile sense of humour. And while the Islamic fanatics may not represent the main body of moderate Muslims, the fringe that is radical Islam exists where it does because the main body of Islam exists where it does.

And the origins of most of the Sunni Islamic extremism are still rabid Saudi Arabian clerics and Saudi Arabian money.

When the Pope meets with the Mufti of Istanbul but lacks the courage to meet the Dalai Lama

December 15, 2014

Though I have fond memories of the Jesuits who ran my school, I have not a very high regard for the courage of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has apparently been a breath of fresh air but I am having second thoughts. All his apparent actions on trying to combat the paedophilia that is inherent in the celibate church and his apparent attempt to be inclusive of homosexuals and even gay marriage, now seem to me to be more concerned with damage control and of improving the image of the church rather than with effecting any real change.

It may be that even this “superficial” behaviour by an “outsider” in the Vatican shows a level of personal courage that is unusual and commendable. But I now begin to think that Pope Francis too is more concerned with being seen as politically correct. The Nobel peace prize winners have been at a congress in Rome and the Dalai Lama requested a meeting with the Pope only to be rejected.

BBC: Pope Francis will not meet the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama because of the “delicate situation” with China, the Vatican says. The Dalai Lama, who is visiting Rome, had requested a meeting. A Vatican spokesman said that although the Pope held him “in very high regard”, the request had been declined “for obvious reasons“.

The “obvious reasons” had everything to do with political appeasement of the Chinese government and nothing to do with ethics or spirituality or even any sense of right or wrong. There are almost 100 million Catholics and 25 million Muslims in China. The Chinese government sees terrorists among their Muslim minorities but the Catholics mainly as being deluded but not as subversive. The Pope has no problem in visiting mosques and meeting Muftis. The rejection of the Dalai Lama must be put into the perspective of his other meetings. I’m quite sure that in both these cases he is following the instructions of the Cardinal bureaucrats of the Vatican.

Pope Francis prays with Rahmi Yaran, Mufti of Istanbul (right) during a visit to the Sultan Ahmet mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque, in Istanbul, on Nov. 29, 2014. REUTERS/ Osservatore Romano


Why bug the papal election if not to influence the election – or the next Pope?

October 30, 2013

The report is that the NSA eavesdropped on the papal election. That they may have done so does not surprise. But if they did they must have had some purpose – one presumes. And what other purpose could there be except to either influence the election itself, or to gain influence over whoever was elected pope?

Were the US cardinals privy to the bugging by the NSA? Were they perhaps getting secret text messages from the NSA as to how the election was progressing? Perhaps they were even getting instructions. How heavy was the betting on the outcome of the election? Any possibilities of spot-fixing? The Sistine Chapel is supposed to have the means to scramble all mobile signals but getting past these ought to be child’s play for the NSA.

The possibilities are endless. It has all the makings of a wonderful conspiracy theory. Maybe even another book by Dan Brown? Perhaps the NSA can even listen in on Pope Francis using his hotline to his Superior.

And wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were true?

I shall be following Papal pronouncements with great interest to see how closely Pope Francis follows a pro-US line!!!!!!!!!


US secret services allegedly eavesdropped on cardinals before the conclave in March to elect a new pope, Italian weekly magazine Panorama claimed Wednesday.

“The National Security Agency wiretapped the pope,” the magazine said, accusing the United States of listening in to telephone calls to and from the Vatican, including the accommodation housing cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio before he was elected Pope Francis.

The allegations follow a report on surveillance website Cryptome which said the United States intercepted 46 million telephone calls in Italy in December 2012 and early January 2013.

Among those, “there are apparently also calls from and to the Vatican,” Panorama said.

“It is feared that the great American ear continued to tap prelates’ conversations up to the eve of the conclave,” it said, adding that there were “suspicions that the conversations of the future pope may have been monitored”.

Bergoglio “had been a person of interest to the American secret services since 2005, according to Wikileaks,” it said.

The bugged conversations were divided into four categories: “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial systems”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights,” it claimed.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said “we have heard nothing of this and are not worried about it.”

%d bloggers like this: