Friday, April 22, 2005

The Shepherd and His Flock 

You have probably read, in Sidney Blumenthal's piece for Salon, how Bush lobbied Cardinal Ratzinger for support in June of 2004, after which the Cardinal promptly composed a letter to bishops that may have tipped the election Bush's way:
In 2004 Bush increased his margin of Catholic support by 6 points from the 2000 election, rising from 46 to 52 percent. Without this shift, Kerry would have had a popular majority of a million votes. Three states -- Ohio, Iowa and New Mexico -- moved into Bush's column on the votes of the Catholic "faithful." Even with his atmospherics of terrorism and Sept. 11, Bush required the benediction of the Holy See as his saving grace. The key to his kingdom was turned by Cardinal Ratzinger . . . .

The right wing of the Catholic Church is as mobilized as any other part of the religious right. It is seizing control of Catholic universities, exerting influence at other universities, stigmatizing Catholic politicians who fail to adhere to its conservative credo, pressing legislation at the federal and state levels, seeking government funding and sponsorship of the church, and vetting political appointments inside the White House and the administration -- imposing in effect a religious test of office. The Bush White House encourages these developments under the cover of moral uplift as it forges a political machine uniting church and state -- as was done in premodern Europe.

The American Revolution, the Virginia Statute on Religious Liberty, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights were fought for explicitly to uproot the traces in American soil of ecclesiastical power in government, which the Founders to a man regarded with horror, revulsion and foreboding.
And, if you read other lefty blogs, you are probably aware that the Vatican is already spreading the new Pope Benedict's message of love and acceptance for all God's children:
A senior Vatican cardinal has today condemned as "iniquitous" plans to allow gay marriages and adoptions in Spain, one of Europe's most Catholic countries . . . .

The Vatican denunciation was made by Cardinal Alfonso Lopes Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council on the Family, in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper . . . .

He called on municipal officials asked to perform gay marriages to object on grounds of conscience and to refuse to go through with the ceremony, even if it meant losing their jobs.

He said: "They should exercise the same conscientious objection asked of doctors and nurses against a crime such as abortion.

"This is not a matter of choice: all Christians... must be prepared to pay the highest price, including the loss of a job."
But you may not know (as we did not, until we received a hot tip from Zemblan patriot J.M.) Ratzinger's stance on Galileo, who was tried by the Inquisition and forced to recant his heretical theory of heliocentrism. Ratzinger seems to have differed with Pope John Paul II, who in 1992 offered an apology and lifted the order of Inquisition against Galileo -- for two years earlier, the Cardinal had said in a speech at Parma that “At the time of Galileo the Church remained much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself. The process against Galileo was reasonable and just.”

The above quote comes courtesy of Blumenthal fils, that is, Max, who cautions us never to say that the Pope is a Nazi:
It's wrong and it's not true. Cardinal Ratzinger was a Nazi. He no longer belongs to the Nazi party. Nor does he belong to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also known as "The Inquisition." (He did belong for 23 years, however). Let's choose our terms carefully when we discuss this Pope. Is he a Nazi? No. Fascist? Probably. Anti-democratic Medievalist? Definitely . . . .

But let's not harp on Ratzinger's
Nazi past, or his refusal to shelter Jews or join the resistance as thousands of brave Germans did. Let's focus on what he has done as an adult. Ratzinger supports the fascist cult Opus Dei, and advocated canonizing its founder, Josemaria Escriva, a self-avowed fascist who served in the dictatorship of Franco, and openly praised Hitler. Ratzinger also lobbied aggresively for the sainthood of Pius XI, the Pope who refused to condemn Hitler and provided cover for the Holocaust. And finally, Ratzinger wrote a document in 1987 claiming Jewish scripture only reaches fulfillment with the acceptance of Christ. "Only in the Catholic Church is there eternal salvation," he wrote in 2000 . . . .

Finally, we shouldn't neglect to mention Ratzinger's role in decimating the vital communities engendered in Latin America by the Liberation Theology movement. It wasn't all Ratzinger's doing; he had numerous collaborators, including
friends of Augusto Pinochet and the CIA. What Ratzinger and his counter-revolutionary clerics did had terrible consequences, not only for liberal Catholics, but for the Church in general. Pentecostal scammers have eagerly filled the void created by Ratzinger and company's cynical scheme. The Church is now bleeding members in Latin America.
And then, of course, there's this:
The Vatican has come up with new rules for pedophile accusations against priests, ordering church officials worldwide to inform it swiftly of the cases so Rome can decide how they should be handled and declaring that such cases are subject to secrecy . . . .

The new rules, apparently aimed at centralizing Vatican control of pedophilia cases, also say victims must come make their accusations within 10 years after turning 18. The rules are meant for use by dioceses and religious institutions around the world. They came in the form of a letter by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a close aide of John Paul and the guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy. He wrote that pedophile cases were subject to pontifical secrecy . . . .

By issuing the guidelines, Ratzinger wrote, "it is hoped not only that more grave crimes will be entirely avoided" but especially that church officials would apply "necessary sanctions" to "look after the holiness of the clergy and the faithful."

The letter didn't spell out what sanctions could be taken against priests suspected or proven of being pedophiles, but their removal from the clerical ranks is a possibility.
Did someone mention "formal cooperation with evil?"

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