Archive for June 2015

“God gave it to us”–This is statesmanship?

June 29, 2015

Last week Palestinians mark 48 years since the 1967 war and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem (Palestine) and Golan Heights (Syria).  Not only did this war cause massive displacement and refugees, it started what has been one of the longest military occupations of modern times—nearly half of a century.

And don’t think that this is not getting to Jews of conscience in Israel and elsewhere.

Young Jews are bailing out of synagogues where Israel seemingly has taken the place of the God of justice and mercy. Raised on a culture of human rights they are no longer self-censoring and are organizing to hold Israel up to its Declaration of Establishment 14 May,1948j

Israel will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex;

Nice sentiments those.
Many people are euphoric over Netanyahu’s win as his far right coalition has dramatically hastened the awareness of racism and intransigence in the country.even the US is getting fed up with its client state.

Recently the largely secular country is laughing out loud at the deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely’s remarks about Israel’s ownership of the land of Israel after all God gave it to us and who are you to argue against the Holy One.

This is what passes for statesmanship in Israel today. Hareetz columnist Uzi Baram wrote that “anyone who is rational rather than messianic would go into shock and a defensive crouch.

Baram noted that even Israel’s atheists PMs tried this one out usually to the scorn of anybody with a historical understanding.and as Bram wrote “even the friendliest, has ever accepted the settlements and the horrors of the occupation as a derivative of this fact.”

This time is over. Netanyahu and his blinkered government of blind guides and reactionaries “have no chance of earning international sympathy by declaring that their policy derives from Israel’s right to the entire Land of Israel, while ignoring the suffering of the Palestinians and showing no real willingness to let them establish an independent polity.

Now where will you read serious dialogue like this?

Apparently not in our political parties. We know where the Tories stand; the Libs are scared of offending Jewish voters.Justin Trudeau just tweeted that the Libs are totally against the BDS movement.and the NDP? Not even an issue.

Night in Gaza

June 26, 2015


The truth will ultimately survive.The lies of israel, its shocking defensiveness, its utter loss of humanity and savage brutality to the people of Gaza, its substitution of hasbara (cynical spin) for honest self-reflection and maybe saddest of all, its betrayal of the highest standards of Judaism—all profoundly depressing.

On the other hand, in testamnets of brave internationalists in this case courageous Norwegian doctors, we once see the transcendent spirit of the human race.

Night in Gaza by  Mads Gilbert; translated from Norwegian by Guy Puzey; introduction by Max Blumenthal
“They say one picture is worth a thousand words; however, in case of the Gaza 2014 inferno you need both the images and the text to appreciate fully the suffering and courage of the victims of Israel’s inhuman assault on the Gaza Strip. It is only someone like Mads Gilbert, who lived through the experience as physician in the al-Shifa Hospital, who can combine both picture and word in a way that stops us forgetting the atrocity and persuades us to work relentlessly to prevent it from happening again.”
—Ilan Pappé, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

“An unforgettable eyewitness account of the slaughter is given by the two courageous Norwegian doctors who worked at Gaza’s main hospital during the merciless assault, Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse, in their remarkable book Eyes in Gaza.”
—Noam Chomsky on Eyes in Gaza


This book is a medical doctor’s account of what he witnessed in Gaza in the summer of 2014. It is the photo story you will not see on television or in the newspapers.

On July 7, 2014, Israel launched a series of aerial attacks on Gaza, followed by the ground phase of the operation ten days later. Mads Gilbert arrived in Gaza on July 13th, and worked day and night for the next two weeks at Al-Shifa Hospital, dealing with casualties, repairing serious injuries, and trying to save lives. With the help of a small, black camera ready in the pocket of his green operating scrubs, he was able to document some of the human cost paid by the Palestinian people for enduring the Israeli occupation. He also kept a daily journal about the situation, with eye-witness accounts of the havoc wreaked by the Israeli attacks, and moving accounts of his interactions with ordinary Palestinians—men, women and children—who had done nothing to deserve the horrific disruption to their lives.


What Gilbert experienced was awful, and it was immense—the sounds of bombs and screaming, bodies torn to pieces and a society reduced to rubble—but he also saw camaraderie, dignity, human courage and unflinching resolve.

Mads Gilbert is a medical doctor at the University Hospital of North Norway. He received his PhD at the University of Iowa and is a specialist in anesthesiology. He served as a leader of the Emergency Medicine Department of the University of Troms. Since 1981, he has been going regularly to Palestine as a teacher and emergency care doctor in Palestinian hospitals on behalf of UNWRA, the UN aid agency to Palestinian refugees. Over the last few years he has worked in Gaza during successive waves of Israeli attacks on the densely populated area under siege. He is co-author (with Erik Fosse) of Eyes in Gaza, which was hailed by the influential Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen as the “Best Book of 2009.”

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and author living in the United States. His most recent book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013), takes a critical view of Israeli actions and has generated considerable debate.

Unbalanced report on an Israeli war crime

June 24, 2015


The UN Commission appointed to investigate “Operation Protective Edge,” the Israeli attack on Gaza last summer, published its findings last week. As expected—to anybody with eyes and half a brain—the report strongly condemns the Israeli attacks on civilian targets–which, it says,  “may” have been war crimes.

And as usual, Israel refused to respond to any requests for information and barred the investigators from traveling to the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip or to present-day Israel.What are they afraid of? What they’re always afraid of—international scrutiny. Israel for too long has controlled the framing and the narrative. And the West has always been duped by their brilliant art of obfuscating the truth.

2,251 Palestinians were killed, including 1,462 Palestinian civilians, among them 551 children, the report states. More than 11,000 Palestinians, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children, were injured with almost 10 percent suffering permanent disabilities.

What is shocking given the carnage visited on Gazans —was the pathetic attempt to be ‘balanced’. 6 Israeli civilians, all children of God and 67 soldiers equally precious while 73 people, including six civilians, died on the Israeli side. Who are these people kidding? Who are they afraid of? Given the horrific destruction of Gazan infrastructure compared to the largely impotent Hamas rockets. Ali Abunimah said it, “This is the habitual refuge of international officials hoping to avoid false accusations of anti-Israel bias, the evidence shows that the scale and impact of Israeli violence dwarfs anything allegedly done by Palestinians.”
Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamas said that its rockets and mortars were aimed at Israeli military sites, not at civilians. He also criticized the UN investigators for the false “balance”. No kidding.

And how about this for chutzpah? Israeli officials also responded to the report  calling it “biased” and saying it has “blood on its hand for allowing the murder of Jews.” Not even a nod to the shocking disproportionate slaughter of Palestinian people. No shame at all. These are the words of a thug who represents a country which more and more resembles an army with a flag.

One never loses hope in the Jewish prophetic.On June 22 in Haaretz the fearless columnist Amira Hass wrote:

In our homes, our streets and our places of work and entertainment, there are thousands of people who killed and tortured thousands of other people or supervised their killing and torture. I write “thousands” as a substitute for the vaguer “countless” – an expression for something that cannot be measured.

The vast majority of those who kill and torture (now as well) are proud of their deeds, and their society and families are proud of their deeds – although usually it’s impossible to find a direct link between the names of the dead and the tortured and the names of those who kill and torture, and even when it is possible, it’s forbidden. It’s also forbidden to say “murderers.” And it’s forbidden to write “lowlifes” or “cruel people.”

Me, cruel? After all, our hands aren’t covered with blood when we push the button that drops a bomb on a building housing 30 members of a single family. Lowlife? How can we use that word to describe a 19-year-old soldier who kills a 14-year-old boy who went outside to pick an edible plant?

The Jewish killers and torturers and their direct commanders act as they do with official permission. The Palestinian dead and tortured that they have left behind over the past 67 years also have grieving nieces and families for whom bereavement is a constant presence. In university hallways, shopping malls, buses, gas stations and government ministries, Palestinians don’t know which of the people they encounter have killed, or which and how many members of their families and their people they have killed.

But what’s certain is that their killers and torturers are walking around free. As heroes.

Fr. Antonio Sarducci leaks Pope Francis admonition to Canadian bishops

June 22, 2015


For many years Fr. Antonio  Sarducci has been climbing the Curial pole  as the one who consistently tells the truth to the Supreme Pontiff. Unknown to most Vatican watchers, Fr. Sarducci,the brother of  the infamous  Guido the  former  gossip columnist for L’Osservatore Romano, has steadily deepened his spiritual life. After a 40 day retreat on Toronto’s Centre Island  in the year 2001, Sarducci returned to Rome a changed man. Today, mirabile dictu, he has become an intimate of Pope Francis.

Though living in Rome, Antonio  through modern communications has stayed in touch with many Toronto friends and has often leaked Pope Francis’ message to the cardinals of the Roman church.

After the groundbreaking encyclical on the environment Laudato Si  Papa Francesco immediately sent a strong missive, to all of Canada’s bishops. Fr.Tony  has graciously forwarded this to us. In the pope’s own words:

Fratelli in Christo

You all received an advance copy of my latest encyclical in which I ask you as putative leaders in the Church and indeed “all Christians to recognize and live fully this dimension of their  conversion” to ecological justice. As you undoubtedly remember in the long-forgotten 1971 Synod of Bishops document Justice in the World, our brothers in Christ in the glow of Vatican ll stated:

Action on behalf of of justice and participation in the transformation of the world appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the gospel

Apparently this has been forgotten in the last few decades, never taught in our seminaries and that is why I am asking you to awake from your slumber and stop placing the church at the heart of your ministry. As our beloved predecessor Pope Paul Vl reminded us in his prophetic Exhortation of 1975 Evangelization in the Modern World the only thing which is ultimate is the reign of God:  peace, justice and the integrity of creation. As our forefathers stated then “It makes everything else irrelevant”—and that includes, the church, the priesthood and the sacraments—everything.

In previous speeches, I have asked you to subordinate your fascination with what some have called “pelvic orthodoxy.” Catholics by now have heard this episcopal drumbeat for all too long (a one note Samba as we say in Argentina) .The faithful in case you have not noticed have made giant strides in their theological sophistication since the end of Vatican ll. They have well understood that the gospel of Jesus the poor man of Galilee is so much more than sexual ethics which seems to have consumed us celibates. They correctly name the gap between the rich and the poor, the imperialism of money, peacemaking, the cry of the excluded and in our time the deep cry of our sister, the womb that nourishes us all, the earth. As I wrote in section 2 of the encyclical

This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22).

Fr Tony has reminded me that the prophetic, to quote a song of the 60s, is “often written on the subway walls.” And he has directed me to a song by a Detroit singer Bob Seger. It is called It’s Your World

It’s Your World

Let’s talk about acid in the ocean
Let’s look at all the dying coral reefs
Let’s talk about shorter growing seasons
Let’s talk about what we’re gonna eat

Say a prayer for the victims of extinction
Say another for the redwood trees
Say another for arctic and the tundra
Let’s talk about who we’re tryin’ to please

It’s your world

The rich keep bitchin’ and the rest keep wishin’ it away
All these children have to face our mess someday

Let’s talk about mining in Wisconsin
Let’s talk about breathing in Beijing
Let’s talk about chemicals in rivers
Let’s talk about cash as king

Let’s talk about runoff from the mountains
Check the levels on Lake Mead
Let’s talk about mortgaging the future
We borrow and we borrow and we borrow, borrow, borrow

It’s your world


Apparently Mr Seger gets it. It indeed is our world. This is the great economy in which everything else must be subordinated; the earth is primary, the very basis of all human and non-human life. Destroy this base and nothing all matters. Leaders like your Prime Minister seem to have been locked into a death-dealing economic fundamentalism. I gently hinted this to him in our 10 minute meeting.

Now as your leader I am asking you “to get it.”

In section 219 of my encyclical I have directed you “beyond the personal”.

Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds. This task “will make such tremendous demands of man that he could never achieve it by individual initiative or even  by the united effort of men bred in an individualistic way.

So I am asking you to make links and common cause with those secular groups who have worked so hard in defending the earth while your parishes have absented themselves from the social struggle. Fr.Guido has told me
that the Suzuki Foundation, Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club are all active in Canada. Embrace them; learn from them .The old adage “If Catholics are not leading the parade,  they are not in it’ has sadly been true.This must stop. Humility demands that our parishes act in loving concert with those salvific elements in our society.

So, my brother bishops, I am requesting that within 30 days you convene your parish, engage the many experts, Catholic and non-Catholic, whom you have heretofore ignored and get moving. This encyclical invites you to study, prayer and necessary action in defense of our holy earth which has been maltreated for far too long.

I conclude with words from my encyclical:

It must be said that some committed and prayerful Christians, with the excuse of realism and pragmatism, tend to ridicule expressions of concern for the environment. Others are passive; they choose not to change their habits and thus become inconsistent. So what they all need is an “ecological conversion”, whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them. Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.

In solidarity with you and the earth,

Papa Francesco

Pope Francis rocks the world-and Catholics too

June 18, 2015


Pope Francis second Encyclical is entitled Praise be to you, my Lord or On Care for Our Common Home which I am sure this teaching will be known. For many of us encyclicals and papal letters are are known by their Latin names (Populorum Progressio, Octogesima Adveniens etc) so in this case Laudato si . The central question posed by Francis: “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” (no. 160).

I love the way Francis refers to our common patrimony, the earth. Much like the man from Assisi of the 13th century, he speaks in relational terms. He refers to the earth as “our sister.” Right off the bat he lays out the harm which humans have inflicted on the earth.

This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.

Francis deeply understands what economic fundamentalists such as Stephen Harper simply does not get, namely that the environment is the primal economy, the basis of all our human and non-human life. Destroy the base and nothing else matters.As the great cosmologist Tom Berry reminds us,”our real threat is from the retaliatory powers of the abused earth, not from other nations.”

The Harpers of this world are captured by one dimensional and destructive thinking of GDP and wealth production(in our case Tar Sands oil) a closed system of commercial transactions, production an exchange of goods. This is the blindness of contemporary neoliberal economics. It absolutely fails to understand that the earth and its life giving sources are primary, not secondary to runaway wealth creation. What is the pricer of earth, air and water?Instead of GDP we need to worry about Gross Earth Deficit, how our industrial economy is closing down the planet.

This is a brilliant start which should challenge somnolent pastors into action and give great hope to those who have laboured long and hard trying to bring sanity to an industrial world out of control. Catholic pastors, by and large, right now, are totally out of the gospel loop. Few have understood that they must hitch their narrow parish wagons to movements beyond their heretofore narrow parish concerns. Each parish in this country should unashamedly have a ginger group of committed activists linked to the David Suzuki Foundation, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club , all organizations which have been doing the heavy lifting in the defense of the earth.


Many young Catholics have become so disenchanted by a church which has become so depoliticized, so abstract in its commitment to our common struggle that they have left in droves.Pope Francis may give them confidence that they have been right all along, that their church has been woefully behind the call of the Master to see that “thy will be done on earth”. This includes our defense of creation, the greatest moral challenge of this century.

The Brainwashed Country: Israel

June 16, 2015

Gaza Beach

Can we really use the term war to describe a one-sided massacre of a civilian population? Last summer’s unconscionable Israeli assault on the defenseless people of Gaza claimed the deaths of 2,300 civilians of which 504 were children. Here’s a country with gun ships, Apache helicopters, Merkava tanks and missiles on another murderous rampage against the penned up people of Gaza.
And now the predictable report which concludes as it always does that this “war’ was “lawful and legitimate. “ This ‘is but another whitewash as Israel refuses to cooperate with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s inquiry, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed as biased.This is a consistent tactic: never allow internationalists into Gaza to see the horrific destruction.
Israel bends periodically when Christian bishops ask to visit the horrific destruction. In January Israel made the Vatican’s Holy Land Tour wait 24 hours outside the world’s largest prison camp before grudgingly allowing the bishops in. Even 6 months after the hard rain descended on Gaza, the shock was palpable. Lydia O’Kane, who was accompanying the group on behalf of Vatican Radio said the bishops were left shocked by what they witnessed. It was a traumatising experience for many of them with one reduced to tears at the sheer scale of destruction saying “there’s nothing left”.

No picture can fully describe the full extent of what parts of Gaza have been reduced to. The bishops’ group has been coming on this visit for 15 years. They have seen bomb sites before. But the looks on their faces said it all, as they walked along streets in silence,” O’Kane reported on Vatican Radio.

Perhaps The most shocking scene of July’s massacre broadcast in front of journalists was the callous killing of 4 children playing soccer on the beach.Peter Beaumont the Guardian’s correspondent in Israel, was sitting that afternoon on the terrace of the Al-Deira Hotel, regularly used by journalists, when the explosion occurred.

“They waved and shouted at the watching journalists as they passed a little collection of brightly coloured beach tents, used by bathers in peacetime. It was there that the second shell hit the beach, those firing apparently adjusting their fire to target the fleeing survivors. As it exploded, journalists standing by the terrace wall shouted: “They are only children.” In the space of 40 seconds, four boys who had been playing hide and seek among fishermen’s shacks on the wall were dead.”

The intrepid brave Israeli reporter Gideon Levy wrote with biting irony:

They were four skinny children of fishermen, the beach boys of Gaza, wearing shorts, looking even younger than their years. At the funeral Zakariyah’s mother could not kiss his face; it was torn apart.

The spokesman of the most moral army in the world expressed his regret, while blaming Hamas, of course, for the killing of the children, for “cynical use of them” – Hamas, after all, had sent them to play on the beach. The pilot or the soldier who pressed the button – the firing was apparently from the air – is absolved of responsibility.

Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the former executive director of The Jerusalem Fund told amy Goodman of Democracy Now of NPR;

Yes, Israel has investigated itself, and this fits into a very familiar pattern that we’ve seen time and time again, really going back to the early days of the Israeli state. After various massacres, there are investigations, which almost always result in Israel declaring itself completely innocent or finding some minuscule charge to put on people that are, you know, then prosecuted and further have those charges mitigated even after that, to the point where there is nobody held accountable for anything at all. This is a PR stunt, is what it is.

And I think it speaks volumes that that’s the approach that the Israelis are taking, precisely because they know there is no way that they can convince the world that what took place in Gaza last year—you know, wiping out 89 entire families, killing 504 children—that that’s justifiable. They can’t, certainly not, you know, given the fact that this was done through massive weapons of war against a stateless population. That can’t be done. The best that they can hope to do is to obfuscate and to confuse and to cloud people’s perception of the issue by trying to issue a report that attempts to balance out or counteract a report that’s done by an independent entity. If the Israelis believe that the only way that they can get a report that supports the conclusions that they want and finds them innocent of all war crimes is to orchestrate that report by themeless or have it put together by their friends, I think that tells you everything you need to know about Israel’s conduct in the Gaza Strip last summer.

Levy on the shame show expressed his disgust at the report of the israeli Foreign Ministry calling it “pathetic and embarrassing.”

If they think that anyone in the world will take this piece of propaganda seriously, they underestimate the intelligence and the morality of the world. It’s really almost shameful to suggest this kind of report, when, as my friend said just now, when the facts on the ground are streaming, are crystal clear, more than 500 children being killed. You can blame all the killing on the Hamas. Can you really believe that anyone will take you seriously? Really, I mean, it’s every time, again and again—, the Israeli public opinion is totally brainwashed in the recent years—no moral doubt, no discussion, no debate even. I mean, it is very clear to most of the Israelis, if not all of them, that the IDF is the most moral army in the world and that Israel should not be taken accountable for anything it has done in Gaza. This is hardly discussed even. It’s not even an issue in Israel.

It’s not kosher!

June 13, 2015


Lone soldier sentenced to military jail for eating non-kosher sandwich

After journalists called for comment, however, the IDF soldier’s sentence was reduced.

I mean what was grandma thinking?

By Haaretz | Jun. 1, 2015 |

An American-born lone soldier serving in the Israel Defense Forces was sentenced to military jail for eating a non-kosher sandwich during training, according to an Israel Radio report.

After an Israel Radio reporter asked the IDF Spokespeson’s Unit to comment, however, it was decided that the soldier would not be sent to jail, but rather would not receive his upcoming weekend leave.

The soldier lives on a kibbutz with his grandmother, who made him the sandwiches, which he proceeded to offer to his fellow soldiers.

A representative for the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit told Israel Radio that the soldier was given such a harsh sentence because his actions were unbecoming for a soldier currently in commander’s training school.

It is against army regulations to bring non-kosher food onto IDF bases, which are all kosher.

Rebel Priest part 2

June 12, 2015


Claude Lacaille’s book Rebel Priest in the Time of Tyrants (Baraka) was released in English yesterday in Montreal.This is the second part of his fraternal letter to the then pope Benedict XVl. The letter was printed in Le Devoir, May 16, 2007

Lacaille is incredulous that a fellow priest, albeit a cleric in the highest pantheon of Catholicism could be so tone deaf as to the reality in Latin America.

Increasingly it is seen that that the papacies of John Paul ll and Benedict XVl were adverse reactions to the Second Vatican Council. It is only now that the negative aspects of this one papacy have become clear. The fresh pontificate of Pope Francis has called into stark relief the failed attempt to reclericalize a Church which has come of age in terms of the importance of the lay voice, the sensus fidelium.

It was the brilliant ecclesiologist Yves Congar((1904-1995) who hammered this insight home at the Council, namely that the hierarchy is a very small part of people of God, that the sensus fidelium “is a gift of the Holy Spirit is given to the hierarchy and the whole body of the faithful together.”it was the central reality of the Church as the people of God which as Lacaille says,”the long reign of John Paul ll tried to erase from collective memory.”This has proved impossible.The new wine of Vatican ll, the centrality of baptism over Holy Orders has changed the Roman church forever. More change is to be expected much to the chagrin of papalists who wanted to freeze the church in time.

As Pope Francis said in his homily of April 16,2013


We want the Holy Spirit to sleep,We want to domesticate the Holy Spirit, and that just won’t do because he is God and he is that breeze that comes and goes, and you don’t know from where.People think it’s better to be comfortable, but that is not what the fire of the Holy Spirit brings.The council was a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit But after 50 years, have we done everything the Holy Spirit in the council told us to do? The answer, is “no.”

Open Letter to Pope Benedict part ll

What would you have done in my place? For which one of these sins do you want to condemn me, my brother Benedict? What annoys you so much in what I did? Is it that far from what Jesus would have done in the same circumstances?

How do you think I feel when I hear your repeated condemnations?

I’m returning from Chile, where I was able to see my friends from the neighborhood after 25 years; last January, there were 70 to greet me. They greeted me as a brother, while telling me: “You lived with us, like us, you accompanied us during the worst years of our history. You were showed solidarity and you loved us. That is why we love you so much!”

And these same workers were telling me: “We have been abandoned by our Church. The priests have gone back to their temples; they no longer share with us, nor live with us.”

In Brazil, it’s the same reality: for 25 years, Bishops who were committed to the landless farmers and the poor in the favelas of big cities have been replaced by conservative Bishops who fought against and rejected the thousands of base communities, where Faith was lived at the ground level of life.

All this has created an immense vacuum which the Evangelical and Pentecostal churches have filled: they have remained with the people, and it’s by hundreds of thousands that Catholics move on to those communities.

Dear Benedict, I beg you to change the way you see things.You don’t have an exclusivity on divine inspirations; the whole ecclesial community is enlivened by the spirit of Jesus. Please, put away your condemnations;you will soon be judged by the only One authorized to classify us to the left or to the right, and you know as well as I do that it’s on love that our judgment will be rendered.

fraternally yours,

Claude Lacaille p.m.é
Trois Rivieres, May 12, 2007

Canada’s Prime Minister Harper meets Pope Francis

June 12, 2015


Our Vatican correspondent Fr.Guido Sarducci planted an microphone in the papal salon where Pope Francis met Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Here is a partial transcript of the meeting;

Pope: Good afternoon Mr. Harper. Can I cut to the chase right away? What is up with you and your love in with Israel? Man you are totally offside on this issue. Have you been to the West Bank and Gaza and and seen the constant humiliation of the Palestinian people? and the 520 dead kids after the last massacre in Gaza? Do you really understand the word Nakba? These people had their land stolen by Israelis in 1948, expelled from their country and now Israel presides over the longest occupation in modern history. And you have the gall to tell me that the Holy See and Canada share a commitment to human rights and human dignity.I guess Palestinians don’t count. What is it that you don’t get?

Harper IS
PM Harper: I don’t get Canadian Muslims donating to the Conservative Party. Sorry, Holiness, a little humour there. No, my fundamentalist bible reading tells me God gave this land to the Jews and that’s that.End of story.Don’t you know your bible, Holiness?
Pope Francis: Apparently you haven’t been aware that Muslims have been on this land for 1300 years and Zionism is a European colonialist imperial adventure common at the turn of the 20th century.Who gave Great Britain the right to colonize a Mediterranean land?

PM Harper: Geez, I never thought of that.
Pope Francis: And while I got you here what have you one to Canada’s international reputation which as we say in Italy is now in the gabinetto? Every paper I read tells me you are an ecological outlaw, an enemy of the earth and God’s holy world. Canada is the worst offender against climate justice in the developed world. Is this leadership?My encyclical is coming out on June 18. I suggest you take it to heart and start coloring yourself green.

Sound fades as Harper slinks out of the salon,

Rebel Priest in the Time of Tyrants

June 10, 2015


Claude Lacaille a Quebec missionary has written a powerful memoir entitled Rebel Priest in the Time of Tyrants: Mission to Haiti, Ecuador and Chile (Baraka Books, June 2015). Lacaille was a committed Vatican ll priest who took the gospel seriously and entered into deep solidarity with the exploited poor of Haiti, Ecuador and Chile.

Lacaille reminds us of that generation of priests who were inspired by Council’s call to serve the poorest of the poor. In this way he is very close to the present pope who has shaken to the core church careerists who wouldn’t know a picket line, a slum or the struggling poor in whom Christ especially dwells.

Lacaille describes himself as “a disciple of Jesus the son of Vatican ll.” In other words he is not one of those “set decorator priests” that Eugene Kennedy describes. You remember those young fogeys, seminarians in Rome who chanted “Subito santo’” (Make him a saint now!) about their patron JP ll as he was being buried. As you will see Lacaille is not a fan of JP ll or his successor Benedict XVl both who failed in their attempts to dynamite Vatican ll

This is a moving book.

As an introduction to the book and the man, here is the first part of an open letter Lacaille wrote to Pope Benedict. It was published in Montreal’s Le Devoir, May 16,2007

Open letter to My Brother, Benedict XVl

I’m writing this letter to you because I need to communicate with the pastor of the Catholic Church and that there are no communication channels to reach you.

I’m addressing myself to you as a brother in faith and in priesthood, since we’ve both together received the mission of announcing the Gospel of Jesus to all nations.

I’m a Quebec missionary Priest for 45 years now; I committed myself with enthusiasm to the Lord’s service, at the opening of the Vatican II Ecumenical Council. I was led to work closely with particularly poor environments: in the Bolosse neighborhood in Port-au-Prince under François Duvalier, then with the Quichuas in Ecuador, and finally in a working-class neighborhood in Santiago, Chile, under Pinochet’s dictatorship.
When I read the Gospels of Jesus during my high school years, I was impressed by the crowds of poor and down-and-outs of life that Jesus surrounded Himself with whereas the many Priests who accompanied us in that Catholic college only spoke about sexual morality. On board the plane that was taking you to Brazil, you more than once condemned Liberation Theology as a false millennialism and a misguided mixture of Church and Politics. I was deeply shocked and wounded by your words.

I had read and re-read both instructions published by ex-cardinal Ratzinger on this topic.They describe a straw man which absolutely doesn’t reflect my life’s experiences and my beliefs.I didn’t have to read Karl Marx to discover the preferential option for the poor.

Liberation Theology, is not a doctrine, a theory; it’s a way of living the Gospel in proximity and in solidarity with excluded and impoverished people. It’s indecent to thus publicly condemn faithful who have dedicated their lives, and we are tens of thousands of laypersons, religious, and Priests from all over who have followed the same path. I don’t understand this doggedness and harassment we are subject to.

Just before your trip to Brazil, you silenced and dismissed from Catholic teaching Father Jon Sobrino, a committed and dedicated theologian, companion of Jesuits martyrs in Salvador and of Mgr Romero. This 70 year-old man served the Church of Latin America with courage and humility thanks to his teachings.

I lived through the dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile, in a Church bravely guided by an exceptional pastor, Cardinal Raúl Silva Henriquez. Under his guidance, we accompanied a people who were terrorized by a fascist military who pretended to defend Western Christian Civilization by torturing, jailing, eliminating and assassinating.

I lived for years in a working-class neighborhood particularly touched by repression, La Bandera. Yes, I hid people; yes, I helped some flee the country; yes, I helped people save their lives; yes, I participated in hunger strikes. I also dedicated those years to reading the Bible with people in working-class neighborhoods. Hundreds of persons discovered the Word of God, and that helped them face the oppression with Faith and courage, convinced that God would accompany them.
I organized soup kitchens, and craft workshops to help ex-political prisoners re-insert themselves in society. I picked up assassinated bodies at the morgue and gave them a burial worthy of men. I promoted and defended human rights, under threats for my physical integrity and my life. Yes, most of the victims of the dictator were Marxists, and we made ourselves close because these people were our neighbors. And we sang and hoped together for the end of this disgrace. We dreamed together of freedom.
Published in Le Devoir of May 16, 2007 part 1