Archive for October 2012

Billy Graham betrays gospel values in huge ads

October 29, 2012

Evangelist Billy Graham today (Oct. 29) has placed a huge one page ad in major US papers  endorsing Republican Mitt Romney for the American presidency.  It also ran in  Canada’s rabid right wing paper the National Post. Here it is:

“The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.”

It is clear Graham  endorses Romney without naming him. The ad is a betrayal of the gospel and once again shows up Graham’s long history of poor biblical scholarship, naivete and support of the unsustainable American corporate agenda. One can only hope its influence is negligible.

Billy Graham has always been a very decent human being, a huge cut above today’s clownish televangelists. He was created by the Luce’s Time Magazine in the late 40s as the perfect evangelist for post-war America. A fine preacher, albeit of emotion-laden altar calls with little substance or analysis behind them. Graham was a dyed-in- the- wool fundamentalist who used his influence to peddle American exceptionalism, military power, and the suburban captivity of the gospel. As Scottish  preacher George McLeod told him decades ago, “Billy, your theology does not make it past the gate post.” In short Graham was long on emotion and very short on any critical social analysis. He was a status quo man who never did get the civil rights movement, the peace movement or the women’s movements as authentic inroads of God’s Spirit.

To his credit later in life he did confess to a serious lack of biblical scholarship. It shows up in this sad ad. Today he  is almost virulently anti-gay as well.

Anybody with a historical memory recalls his defense and friendship with Richard Nixon, his support of every American war.

In short there was not a prophetic bone in his body.

Notice the ad makes no reference to the growing economic gulf in the States or any reference to the poor, certainly Biblical bench marks. As for his defense (and virtual blessing ) of the state of Israel is downright embarrassing.As well Graham bequeaths to us his son the anti-Muslim Franklin Graham the chief promoter of  the ad.

The money for this horrible ad must have cost a pretty penny. But then money is no object today in American politics.

For bible people, money (mammon) and biblical justice are a poor fit. As for Graham, this is a regrettable swan song.

Jim Manly, prophet and Lorne Gunter, pundit

October 27, 2012

Former  MP and United Church minister Jim Manly has returned to Canada on October 25  after being detained for 3 days in in an Israeli jail.His crime was attempting to breach the illegal blockade of Gaza. Manly was accompanied by a stellar crew of European legislators who were attempting and succeeding to keep the spotlight on Israel’s ongoing oppression of Palestinians.

Typical of the ugly coverage of Manly’s conscience voyage was the Sun Media’s column of Lorne Gunter. He referred to Manly et al as being on “a shop of fools,” Gunter is typical of the right wing press and ex-members of the Alberta Report. There part of the punditry who know nothing of life in the West Bank or Gaza and like the PM Harper, reflexively parrot Israeli propaganda.

Gunter reflects SUN MEDIA’s criminal use of the sacred trust of media. He is a pundit.The Sun is full of pundits.Conrad Black’s papers are similarly pundit papers, full of ideologues which parrot the ultra right view of their owners. These papers and these chains no longer hire investigative reporters to actually go the West Bank and Gaza and actually report what they see. Pundits of course are cheap to hire. Predictable opinions, usually slavish to their ideological masters are their stock in trade.Their employers are too profit-driven to actually pay a reporter to go and use his or her  talents and actually report what he sees. Anybody who spends any time in Israel comes back disgusted by the colonialization and humiliation of the Palestinians.

So here’s the Middle East expert Gunter , sitting at his computer, ridiculing a great man of conscience Jim Manly for daring to fracture the official line, the received consensus of the Sun Media. Manly on the other hand now isa justice-loving man of God, a Christian of the highest repute, well-respected by all who know him.At 79 he could have put his feet up in retirement but prophetic fire still burns inside him. But to Lorne Gunter and his ilk he is dismissed as being on a “ship of fools.”

It is Gunter, Harper and John Baird who are in a bubble, traducing our formerly respected international opinion. No longer honest brokers they have no idea or understanding how Israel is viewed globally.In European polls Israel with its cache of nuclear weapons is ranked as the most dangerous country in the world, followed closely by the US. Middle Eastern nations , Iran while disliked, is farther down the list,

Pundits like Gunter so quick to dismiss true moral agents like Manly seem to be totally unaware that Israel has consistently refused nuclear inspectors in its country, refuses to sign any Non-Proliferation Treaties while vigorously condemning a country which has every right to develop nuclear power and which is years away from anything like a bomb. Here is a country, Israel,  which has consistently ignored UN and Security Council resolutions about land conquered in war, continuously fills the Occupied Territories with settlers born outside Israel while refusing the right of return  of displaced Palestinian natives.

Bravo for Jim Manly, a great defender of Palestinian dignity.

As for pundits like Lorne Gunter, get on a plane and walk around Israel/Palestine. Until you do, your words lack any credibility.

Jimmy Carter, American prophet

October 25, 2012

He is 88 years old and still humming on eight cylinders, his moral compass intact.

Jimmy Carter is America’s greatest living ex-President, unafraid to speak truth to power. In this case  his own country and Israel.

On October 22, 2012  Carter let the weak but bellicose Israeli PM  have it  saying that  Benjamin Netanyahu lacked the courage of his predecessors and that he had abandoned the two-state solution that has been the accepted framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that Netanyahu has decided the one-state option is the one he’s going to pursue,” Mr. Carter said,

As for Obama Carter stated what everybody knows—you can not successfully run for president without placating the Israeli lobby and no-nothings like billionaires such as the Las Vegas gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson and the notorious Koch brotherts, both rabid Israel-firsters. Having abandoned the powerful Torah values of biblical prophetic justice, these men have substituted Israel as a surrogate god.

“The U.S. government policy the last two to three years has basically been a rapid withdrawal from any kind of controversy” said carter.

He added: “Every president has been a very powerful factor here in advocating this two-state solution. That is now not apparent.” No kidding.

Carter of coursse knows of what he speaks, having been to Israel and the Occupied Teritories over 30 times. He has seen it all and his Christian conscience demands that he speak.

Even before he was elected in 1976,Carter had been to Israel(1973) when there  were merely 1,500 illegal settlers..Today there are over 350,000 making a two-state solution almost impossible. He laid alkl of this out in his 2007 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” .

A quick aside here. After this book  was released Canadian academic the right wing Munk Centre’s Janice Stein  a regular on the TVO’s  Agenda, went ballistic. Having never been to the Occupied Territories she slammed Carter, the frequent visitor.

Carter said on Monday that the situation is “worse now than it’s ever been for the Palestinians” because of the expanding settlements and lack of prospects for change. Describing himself as “grieved, disgusted and angry,” he said the two-state solution is “in death throes,” which he called “a tragic new development that the world is kind of ignoring.”

Jimmy Carter will long be remembered as a brave political figure, much like George McGovern. Netanyahu’s fate is oblivion, like NIxon a third-rate politician.

George McGovern, American hero and prophet

October 22, 2012

“Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave.This chamber reeks of blood. Every senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval [hospitals] and all across our land—young men without legs, or arms, or genitals, or faces or hopes. There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure. Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor or courage. It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes. And if we do not end this damnable war those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us.”

Wow, what can you say of this speech? Nothing, but prophetic might be a word that comes to mind. George McGovern, who was roundly defeated by Richard Nixon for the American presidency in 1972, died ,age 90 on Sunday. The speech was delivered in the US senate in 1970.

The journalist Chris Hedges writing about McGovern’s unquestionable integrity and fundamental decency wrote

McGovern’s moral condemnation was greeted in the chamber with stunned silence. When one senator told McGovern he was personally offended by his remarks, McGovern answered: “That’s what I meant to do.”

Nixon of course thrashed McGovrn.Americans are constitutionally unable to process bad news.They are eternally optimistic, believe they are the exceptional nation, can solve all problems by imposing military solutions.

These solutions as history shows always end up by the poor paying the price in money and blood. Wealthy white men like Bush and Cheney, war shirkers deluxe, have never had any compunction about sending minorities to do the dirty work in far off lamds.Remember Michael Moore confronting the Congressman in Fahrenheit 911. Only 1 of 450 in Congress had children in Iraq.

McGovern held up the mirror to his Senate colleagues. They were deeply offended as the guilty always are when the prophetic comes to town.

Men like McGovern are the real American heroes.

Vatican ll: the end of hierarchology

October 17, 2012

The failure of major dioceses to honour the Jubilee of the Second Vatican Council is shocking beyond belief, given that the Council has universally been acknowledged as the most important Catholic event since the Reformation.

So why the silence? Why the failure to celebrate the highest teaching a Church can proclaim, that of an ecumenical Council?

Well, for starters it was the end of “hierarchology” as Council giant the ecclesiologist Yves Congar called the predominant orientation of the laity at the time.This was a period of abasement, of radically playing second or third fiddle in a huge church, the world’s largest. Few people studied theology. It was the preserve of the Catholic clergy who basically brokered God to the lay people.There was little confidence among the vast majority of Catholics pre Vatican ll.

When one looks back on that period—it is amazing the prestige that the ordinary priest had in those years. Many of course were true servants, pastoral in their orientation. As well many   turned out to be inadequate coasting on the unearned respect of their cohorts.The priestly caste had power—free meals, no parking tickets, the power of life and death over parishioners. Ask women of that period about  the hard liners they met in the confessional.

It all turned at the Council. Suddenly the Church’ s self-definition was “the people of God”. There now was a universal call to holiness—not just for priests.

Lumen Gentium’s words rang out:

The followers of Christ called by God not in virtue of their works but by the design of grace, but by the design of grace, and justified in in the Lord jesus, have been made sons(sic) of God in the baptism of faith and partakers-of the divine nature and so are truly sanctified…It is there fore quite clear that all Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life…therefore all tare invited and obliged to holiness and the perfection of their own state of life…

Baptism not Holy Orders now became the central sacrament of Catholicism. Talk of empowerment!

The next 50 years saw the laity “pick up their pallets and walk” to quote a Jesus story. Lay people began to radically outnumber clergy in theologates and institutes; nuns flew by priests, women began outnumbering men in the academic world. People awoke and became engaged particularly after the episcopal coverups  of sex abuse.

The times were a changin…and many clerics including the curia could not adjust. And here we are today, an almost totally lay church stalemated by clericalism.

In many ways it’s pure physics—action/reaction…and the reactionaries have just about run out of steam. principled resistance  to the Council’s betrayal is gathering steam.

1976: No women need apply!

October 16, 2012

A little history is in order here following yesterday’s post on Cardinal Collins’ lame justification for excluding females from the priesthood.

In 1976 Pope Paul Vl requested that the Pontifical Biblical Commission, a permanent Vatican body of twenty biblical experts, study the scriptural evidence for and against women’s ordination. David Stanley SJ was one of these experts.

The Commission’s report was unanimous in finding,”the New Testament by itself alone will not permit us to settle in a clear way and once and for all the problem of the possible accession of women to the presbyterate priesthood.” Furthermore the Commission voted 12-5 in favour of women priests with one abstention and two absentees. The Bible, especially the New Testament, teaches very clearly the equality of man and woman in the spiritual domain (relationships with God) and in the moral area (relationships with other human beings). But the problem of the social condition of woman is a sociological problem that must be treated as such.”

That problem of course has been solved in enlightened jurisdictions. Few can defend female marginalization or exclusion given the powerful “sign of the time” which has exploded in our era—feminism! Women are equal: full stop,

The ultimate answer could only come from the ”living tradition” and that must include the sensus fidelium how the baptized  are discerning. And then the bombshell, Humanae Vitae, the birth control encyclical  which sadly sealed the reputation of a very good man, Pope Paul Vl. He simply got  caught between the demands of living  tradition and rancid traditionalism.The Commission’s overwhelming support for change was deep-sixed. The Church has never been the same. Poor Paul never wrote another encyclical. History has been cruel toa very good shepherd who guided the church through the post Vatican ll years. Sadly, he should have listened to Cardinal Newman :To live is to change and to live well is to change often.

Inter Insigniores the Vatican’s response was given in Rome a few months later: No women need apply. Even at this time, huge numbers rejected the conclusion. David Stanley resigned in disgust. He accused the authors of “flagrant disregard” for the evidence of the New Testament. And that was the end of Stanley’s job teaching scripture at the Jesuit run Gregorianum. Stanley would not be the first scholar thrown under the Vatican train. Under John Paul ll and his enforcer Josef Ratzinger  many more would be sacrificed.The Grand Inquisitor had returned.

Archbishop misses on CBC

October 15, 2012


The  Archbishop of Toronto Thomas Collins was finally corralled by Michael Enright for a long interview on CBC last sunday.Enright had been trying to interview Collins for a long time and he finally got his wish.Enright is a good “generalists” and he did a fair job of grilling the Archbishop but in the end what was needed was somebody with a deeper theological acumen to challenge  Collin’s weak responses.

I choose one here.

Collins used the hoary chestnut of “Jesus only chose males” or actually “ordained” males and that is why we can’t have female priests.One simply does not know where to start here.

Maybe(and most obviously) would be the historically conditioned era of the first century, a rigidly patriarchal time.Still it is  beyond doubt that Jesus was a feminist for his time.The Archbishop stated that Jesus did not ordain  any women–true, but he did not ordain anybody else either.The only priest in the NT is Jesus himself. The  word “hiereus” is never used except in reference to Jesus. Jesus is a liberal Jew, a layman  engaged in the renovation of a stagnant Judaism. To eternalize the anti-female historically conditioned attitudes of the time as valid for eternity is ridiculous. It leaves no room for an evolving tradition, a deeper anthropological understanding. What Collins was defending was Traditionalism not tradition.The genius of the Catholic church is that it actually does change.

In mid Council (1863) Pope John XXlll released Pacem In Terris, a pacific love letter to the world—not just the Church. The roly poly Vatican legate had been living in the world for decades. He was hip to what was happening.So in this 1963 encyclical he pointed out the obvious

“Far from being content with a purely passive role or allowing themselves to be regarded as a kind of instrument they (women) are demanding both in domestic and in public life the rights and duties which belong to them as human persons.”

John was in synch with Betty Friedan! Feminism was and is a gift to the church. Women were finally demanding absolute equality, the whole megillah of seven sacraments including Holy Orders. So John was hinting that  Rome better get with it. Women by virtue of their dignity as humans and full baptized members of the church should be able to assume any position open to males—including pope.

Now we are fifty years on and  the Roman church still defending the indefensible, still championing the narrow worldview of the first century, still making women second-class citizens,

This openness to the feminine was merely one of “the signs of the times” the Church was beginning to pay attention to. There is more truth to be broken open! History is not stagnant, New insights are brought forward by the Spirit. Pay attention to what God is saying. The total equality of women with men is accepted today—in enlightened jurisdictions but  not yet in the Catholic church and in rigidly authoritarian and largely Muslim countries.

Our great fenmale prophet Sr. Joan Chitrtister has written:

The patriarchal society is essentially a violent thing in which man, the males of the system, own, administer, shape, or control all the major facets of the culture-is a stifling thing.

Indeed it iis stifling and downright embarrassing for Catholics to watch the all male religious institutional leadership continue to resist the call of the Spirit.

Chittister further writes:

Patriarchy is theologically incongruent. The image of God has become totally male though God in scripture  said it was otherwise….It rests on four interlocking principles: dualism,hierarchy, domination and essential inequality. It takes biological differences, imposes hierarchy on them, gives hierarchy dominative power and justifies all of it on the theory of intrinsic inequality. But none of it stands to be justified by the life and teachings of Jesus.

Exactly so.and to have an Archbishop to continue to justify an all male priesthood is very sad indeed.

More on this next time.

Fr.Charlie McCarthy, Catholic prophet

October 14, 2012

I  love Charlie McCarthy.

No. not the  dummy who sat on Edgar Bergen’s knee in the halcyon radio days.

Charlie McCarthy is a Melkite priest in communion with Rome who is one of the founders of PAX CHRISTI ,the Catholic anti-war,pacifist group..A former university prof, Charlie, the father of the has been resolutely laying out the nonviolent Jesus to a peerage of tin ears  in the American episcopacy.The latter of course seem transfixed on what has become known as “Pelvic orthodoxy” an obsession with sexual issues.When it comes to the ultimate pro-life issue  WAR they have been virtually silent. Not Charlie.

He recently sent this email to his supporters(Count me as one).

Chris Hedges is one of the great non-aligned prophetic Christian voices in the USA. If you have not read his books, start now! The son of a brave Presbyterian pastor, he has been indefatigable in resisting the American empire and its corporate agenda. He is in the tradition of Gore Vidal who always maintained that the USA has one party—the Corporate Party with two wings. This has never been more true than today where there seems little to choose between the two parties—especially when it comes to war,Israel and the shocking amount of money wasted on the military.

Charlie’s anger as you will see is legitimately aimed at those in the Christian churches who have drunk the imperial Kool Aid in supporting foreign wars.

Chris Hedges gave this talk last  Sunday night, October 7, 2012, in New York City at a protest denouncing the 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. The event, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, was led by Veterans for Peace.

Charlie McCarthy writes:

This talk by Chris Hedges describes in detail what popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, ministers and pastors of the Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant and Evangelical Churches have been supporting and fostering—by their appalling silence or by their active cheerleading—as a Way to follow Jesus. This is the life into which they have been catechizing, nurturing and sending your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces who are in their congregations, schools and universities. Without the U.S. British, Italian, French, etc. institutional Churches’ tacit or explicit support, millions of boys and girls, men and women, young and old, would be alive, happy and healthy at this hour instead of being dead or brutally, agonizingly and forever maimed in body, soul, mind and spirit. But, instead of drinking of the cup that Jesus drank and removing themselves and their Churches and their people forever from the mass murder operations of states, they instead guzzle-down Christian Kool-Aid laced with the cyanide of the spiritual and moral debacle of 1700 years violent Constantianism. Do read the Chris Hedges’ article below, and then pass it on to the spiritual leaders of your community. It might help them to “put down the Kool-Aid” and authentically proclaim what Jesus proclaimed about violence .

HEDGES writes:

Many of us who are here carry within us death. The smell of decayed and bloated corpses. The cries of the wounded. The shrieks of children. The sound of gunfire. The deafening blasts. The fear. The stench of cordite. The humiliation that comes when you surrender to terror and beg for life. The loss of comrades and friends. And then the aftermath. The long alienation. The numbness. The nightmares. The lack of sleep. The inability to connect to all living things, even to those we love the most. The regret. The repugnant lies mouthed around us about honor and heroism and glory. The absurdity. The waste. The futility.

It is only the maimed that finally know war. And we are the maimed. We are the broken and the lame. We ask for forgiveness. We seek redemption. We carry on our backs this awful cross of death, for the essence of war is death, and the weight of it digs into our shoulders and eats away at our souls. We drag it through life, up hills and down hills, along the roads, into the most intimate recesses of our lives. It never leaves us. Those who know us best know that there is something unspeakable and evil many of us harbor within us. This evil is intimate. It is personal. We do not speak its name. It is the evil of things done and things left undone. It is the evil of war.

We do not speak of war. War is captured only in the long, vacant stares, in the silences, in the trembling fingers, in the memories most of us keep buried deep within us, in the tears.

You can read Hedges piece on TRUTHDIG (top of this piece) an excellent website devoted to “digging below the headlines.”

Vatican ll luminaries honoured-but not in Canada

October 12, 2012

The Three Giants

of Vatican ll era

Lash, Baum and Orsy

On Wednesday October 11 Sacred Heart University bestowed three leading theologians and luminaries with honorary degrees for their affiliation with the watershed moment for the Church, the Second Vatican Council

The night before  their honorary degrees were granted the three giants participated in a lively panel discussion moderated by Michael Higgins the vice president for Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart.

Higgins arguably Canada’s finest public Catholic intellectual was formerly president of St.Jerome’s University in Waterloo and St.Thomas University in Fredericton, NB.

“Sacred Heart University was a product of the Second Vatican Council – it was inspired by the Council’s boldness of vision, its theological insights and its rediscovery of the charism or gift of the laity,The Council continues to provide the ever-unfolding energy for renewal and expansive thinking that is at the very heart of the mission and self-understanding of Sacred Heart University. Our conception, gestation and future as a Catholic institution of higher learning are tied to the nurturing genius of the Council.”

Sacred Heart University is absolutely unique in the North american Catholic landscape. Grounded in the mission of the Catholic intellectual tradition, it was founded in 1963 – just a year after the opening of the Second Vatican Council – and was the first Roman Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States to be led and staffed by lay people. With its direct historical affiliation with the Council, Sacred Heart dedicated the year of the Council’s 50th anniversary to honoring its remarkable work and how it radically reshaped the Church.

Who were the “giants” honoured by the university?
92 year old Hungarian-born Father Ladislas Orsy entered the Society of Jesus in Budapest, and was ordained in 1951 in Belgium. A professor for decades, he has taught canon law at the Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University in Rome, Fordham University, the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and is currently a visiting professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. He is the author of nine books and legions of articles on topics in theology and canon law.

78 year old Nicholas Lash is a visionary from Great Britain who was a priest before pursuing a career in academia. He was elected to the Norris-Hulse Chair of Divinity in 1978, becoming the first Catholic to occupy a chair of theology at either Cambridge or Oxford since the Reformation. Lash, now an Emeritus Fellow of Clare Hall at Cambridge, is the author of scores of publications and is a regular contributor to the international Catholic weekly newspaper, The Tablet.

89 year old Canadian Gregory Baum who drove all the way to Bridgeport for the event, attended the Second Vatican Council as a theological expert at the Ecumenical Secretariat, the commission that oversaw three conciliar documents – On Religious Liberty, On Ecumenism and On the Church’s Relation to Non-Christian Religions. Baum received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from McMaster University, a master’s in mathematics from Ohio State University and a doctorate in theology from the University of Fribourg. He has been a professor of theology and sociology at University of Saint Michael’s College in the University of Toronto and then served as professor of theological ethics at McGill University’s Faculty of Religious Studies. Currently, Baum is associated with the French-Canadian Jesuits.

How is it that Sacred Heart made such a deal about the Council and the living men who promoted it and the Canadian episcopacy has said very little about this signal event in the history of the Church?

“That’s not too hard to unpack” said Roberto Anderson one of the Canadians at the  event.” Vatican ll defined the church as the People of God and baptism as the central sacrament. The Holy Spirit does not belong to the bishops or the pope, it is no longer the preserve of the clerical caste, The vast bulk of the baptized are lay people.They are the majority of the sensus fidelium and the clerical leadership of the  Church must “hear” them. This is new and the John Paul ll bishops resent it. They are not used to “listening” to the wisdom of the baptized.It is a new moment which they have not grasped much less internalized.It is painful for them to “share power.

Edward Poznan, another Canadian added.”All this is true enough.We should not be too depressed about the present dysfunction of the Church. The Council has just begun.We may lament the present situation but as Fr.Orsy said, you cannot stop the tsunami of the Spirit unleashed at the Council.I liked his remark that “a church can not be packed in armour.Good ideas  really can break rocks.”

Professor Baum in his usual precise style stated that “the Church redefined its role to the world and lay people discovered their baptism as full members of the church.Now they were intrinsically related to other baptized members in other churches.We were no longer a ghetto.

Professor Lash was very succinct in his remarks.He encouraged all in attendance not to  be afraid. “Lay people” he said,” are the freest Catholics in the broader communion.”He brought a huge chuckle from the assembly by referring to many studying in the seminaries as “dog collared young flockists.” an apparent reference to Pope Benedict’s idea that the Church was being shrunk to a “little flock” of true believers.

For Canadians the question remains: Why are so few Catholic institutions not celebrating  the Council’s Jubilee and why are so few Catholic principals of Catholic universities so mute in promoting the vision.

D and P suffering from episcopal meddling

October 6, 2012


The Canadian Catholic development organization is one of the jewels of the Canadian church. Formed after Pope Paul Vl’ appeal to the churches of the north to heed the  cry of the poor(see Populorum Progressio, 1967), D&P has been a much respected international player for decades.

Recently, the present Tory government  hacked 70% of its funding with the result that their fall programs have been curtailed. What a waste of time and energy.

However the worst curtailment has come from their own bishops now under the leadership of Toronto’s Collins and Edmonton’s Richard Smith..

They simply have trashed the  fall programme as it is deemed too critical of the Canadian government. Anybody who has followed the Harper government knows that it is anything but progressive or development friendly. Their record on climate change is abysmal. Their stunning tilt toward Israel and abandonment of  the suffering Palestnians is there for all to see.Can anyone imagine John Baird as Foreign Minister.His latest scold of the UN is laughable.

Rebuffed by the international community for a seat on the Security Council on account of  its adulation of Israel and its horrible ecological footprint, it now lashes out at the international body. This is one government churches need to oppose on many fronts and Third World development is surely one.

Here’s the point.

The bishops do not wish to upset the Harper government.There is not one ounce of prophecy in this body. instead of speaking truth to power they are cozying up to power for their own institutional reasons. And as to their own development people they use microscopes to find any group in the 3rd world offering any family planning.Then they go ballistic. No they deep-sixed  the Development and Peace fall programme. This is unconscionable.

One of the reasons it is playing footsie with the Tories is that on immigration they want to keep the foreign priest pipeline wide open.That’s all we need in the Canadian church!

I have heard fro too man sources that these imports are simply not up to the Canadian reality. Poland and India are not sending us  their best. As far as Africa—especially Nigeria—not a good scene. One would welcome progresssive priests from anywhere but not more reactionary,thoroughly Romanized curates.The days are long gone when Catholics will tolerate anybody in from to them—as long as he is ordained and can say the words of consecration. It is bad enough that we have accepted reactionary Anglicans who can’t stand female priests and bishops,

Instead of fighjting Rome for the obvious—drop the ban on women and married men– these bishops are relying on imports who are totally unaware of the Canadian reality, have huge language problems and generally bring a slavish Roman theology to the best educated generation of Catholics in history. It is not working and it will not work.

What was working was  D and P until the bishops began to create a climate of fear with their meddling.