Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

Pope Francis “played” in Washington

October 3, 2015


The truth finally emerges: Pope Francis did not hold a private meeting to express his support for Kim Davis’s efforts to block gay marriage licenses.
According to an official Vatican statement, Kim Davis was among “several dozen persons” attending a reception at the Vatican embassy, “the pope did not enter into the details of the situation,” and “his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support.”
Like many of us expected Pope Francis seems that he did not request Kim Davis be invited. As a matter of fact he was “played” most likely by Carlo Maria Vigano, a conservative church official who was appointed by Pope Benedict as Vatican ambassador to the United States.

Francis relies on the locals to fill him in on ‘who’s who” and would not even know about Davis.It is not exactly news that very many JP ll/Ratzinger bishops are not in love with Francis and Vigano would be one.
This pathetic trick almost hijacked Francis’ vist to the USA. Most Catholics werfe incredulous after listening to Davis gush about this “secret meeting.” Francis would never allow this to happen.
Many are calling on Vigano to resign.
Michael Sean Winter, a writer and reporter with the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) and a Visiting Fellow at Catholic University, believes that if Vigano approved a controversial, albeit short, meeting between Kentucky county official Kim Davis and the pope, he should step aside. “Seeing as the meeting happened at the nunciature in Washington, it could only have happened with the approval and participation of the nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano,” Winters wrote about the meeting. “If the President visits a foreign country, and the ambassador, against the advice of the State Department, nonetheless introduces the president to someone who causes a controversy that reflects badly on the president, that mistake is laid at the feet of the ambassador, not the president. If this meeting was all the nuncio’s doing then he should, in conscience, quit too.”

Vatican press secretary Fr. Federico Lombardi laid out the broad context of the putative “meeting”.

“Pope Francis met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City. Such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the Pope’s characteristic kindness and availability.”
As far as this so-called intimate blessing of Davis’s position, fuhgeddabout it.

Watch what happens to Vigano in the next year.

Jimbo was a good priest

July 22, 2015


He was a very good pastor who just retired. Jimbo was a Vatican ll guy who lived the vision. In the end he outlived the reactionary papacies of Woytyla and Razinger, the failed attempt to return to the status quo ante of clerical control and top down management. He really believed in the sensus fidelium, that the Spirit was not the province of celibate leaders but really belonged to the people of God. And oh yes, baptism was the central sacrament not Holy Orders.

Years ago his parish was flooded with evacuees from one of those sad right wing orders which proliferated under the previous two papacies. He did what he could under the harsh regimes of bishops imposed by Rome. In every parish he raised up the lay voice to leadership positions and he then retired with much respect and his dignity intact. He was enthused by the new Francis pontificate.

He told me about his sadness at seeing so many young people leaving the church, at looking out and seeing only the grey heads at mass. He wanted to dedicate his remaining years to alleviate this sad scene.

In many ways Jimbo was constrained by the lack of freedom he had as an official rep of an authoritarian church which seemed fixated on the pelvic issues. Lay people had a much greater freedom to speak. He knew that every parish had the Catholic thought police which would report every putative deviation from what is seen as “orthodoxy’.
Jimbo did not feel free (nor did many other clerics) to really say what was on his mind. He knew he would be derricked by the ecclesial politburo who got where they were by swearing fealty to the Polish pope that they would never ever deny the birth control encyclical or mention horribile dictu the ordination of married men or women. He would be out on his ass with no pension. Many priest friends told me this. What do you do ahen you are 55 and out of a job? While it was true the ratio for celibacy was that it gave you more freedom to speak truth to power because you had no family, that was only partially true. In the top down military command centre, you obeyed or took a hike.
I told Jimbo it was obvious to me why youth had deserted the institute—and the synagogue as well. Young people are really idealists at heart. They want to be engaged in history and their parishes never were. My former students all told me the same thing. They left our school on fire for the call of the kingdom and when they had kids of their own and went into parishes there simply was no engagement or it was one issue abortion and that was it.
The priests never twigged that having male clerics telling women what to do with their bodies was a very bad optic. And that celibates should be the last to lecture married people and women who have few rights in the Catholic church
The most recent example of this is the radical failure of the Catholic church to confront the climate change issue. Maybe 1 or 2 parishes in Toronto have their young people engaged here but most are doing nothing—or maybe greenwashing a bit. Jim Wallis of Sojourners said this

Ultimately, as followers of Christ, climate change is about our faith, our theology, our moral identity, and our calling as God’s children.Climate change is not another issue to move higher up the list of our concerns. Rather it is the concern central to all other issues.”

Wallis also said that you have to ask yourself about any parish meeting, is this connected to a movement outside the church? If not you are wasting your time.Pious navel gazing, a church outside of history, no cross, no crown.The old Catholic truism, if we are not leading the parade we are not in it. What do I have to learn from Suzuki, Friends of the Earth or the Sierra Club. Every Catholic parish should be linked to one of these organizations.

So the young go where the action is, where there is life and this sadly is decidedly not in Catholic parishes.

It was once—when Youth Corps thrived but the bishop canned that, too much lay control.

I do not know how Jimbo can change this. Pope Francis is sending radical signals but the gatekeepers in major dioceses are the JP ll dogmatists who have never shown any interest in justice of any kind.

Sheep without a shepherd, Jesus said as he looked at the turgid leadership of his time so he as a layman started the kingdom rolling.

That’s where the action is.

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.

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

Irish Catholics warn the hierarchs

May 28, 2015


Yes, its an old joke…the Bride of Christ wants a divorce but there are things to be learned about Irish Catholicism here after 60% voted for gay marriage or “marriage equality.”

One of the first is that you can’t put the genie back in the bottle or new wine into old wineskins.

For generations the Irish church was dominated by celibate clergy, full of themselves and the power slavishly granted to them by a supine laity. They were an arrogant lot. And they got worse under John Paul ll and Ratzinger.They, like bishops all over the world were placed in positions of power to shut down dialogue and stifle the lay voice. It never worked. The people demanded to be heard.

Now we just celebrated Pentecost where the Spirit is given to the whole church bur because of the long run of Constantinian Catholicism the bishops took over and like in any institution the ugly face of power prevailed.Hardly the message or style of Jesus of Nazareth.

As time went on, more and more Catholics became educated and at Vatican ll the Church was defined as the People of God and baptism not Holy Orders was enshrined as the central sacrament. Since Vatican ll Catholics “picked up their pallets and walked” and achieved a measure of maturity. Father no longer knew what was best. You simply could no longer ignore the Spirit in the 99% demanding to be heard and taken seriously.Ireland paid a terrible price for shutting the sensus fidelium down in the people. The best educated generations of Catholics in history kept ignoring the autocratic JP ll bishops who continued to believe they were the Church. The sad thing is that many have thrown out the baby with the bathwater.Not good.The great gifts of Catholicism need to be reappropriated in a nore democratic model of church.

The International Theological Commission of 2014 stated

The importance of the sensus fidei in the life of the Church was strongly emphasised by the Second Vatican Council. Banishing the caricature of an active hierarchy and a passive laity, and in particular the notion of a strict separation between the teaching Church (Ecclesia docens) and the learning Church (Ecclesia discens), the council taught that all the baptised participate in their own proper way in the three offices of Christ as prophet, priest and king. In particular, it taught that Christ fulfills his prophetic office not only by means of the hierarchy but also via the laity.

Ireland is but the tip of the iceberg in the Catholic world.Tensions will continue to proliferate as the Vatican ll priests retire and the JP ll ones attempt to reverse the fruits of the Spirit and the lay voice. The Pope will be promoting the sensus and the JP ll bishops now in place will either be converted or be like the Irish bishops, totally ignored as yesterday’s men.

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin not a favorite among the rump of Irish JP ll bishops was honest in his appraisal of this ne moment: “The church needs to take a reality check… It’s very clear there’s a growing gap between Irish young people and the church, and there’s a growing gap between the culture of Ireland that’s developing and the church.”

Oscar Romero beatified

May 24, 2015


The following is an editorial I wrote in March of 2005 on Oscar Romero.

Yesterday, “the saint of the Americas” was beatified in San Salvador

Oscar Romero: uncanonized saint of the Americas
“It is as much as certain that after this pope, Oscar Romero will be canonized as a saint.” Rembert Weakland, retired archbishop of Milwaukee

With this issue we celebrate the 25th anniversary (March 24, 2005) of the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the uncanonized saint of the Americas. CNT has long championed the late martyred archbishop, not only as an epicscopal template for our times, but also as a lens through which we can view lamentable changes in the Roman Catholic church. Romero acts as a bridge between the church of promise, the unfulfilled hope of the Second Vatican Council and the failed restoration of Pope John Paul II.

A little history is in order.

In 1977, El Salvador was in turmoil. The fourteen families controlling the country viewed with alarm the growth of popular organizations and unions. The Church, inspired by the preferential option for the poor articulated in 1968 at Medellin,Colombia, increasingly began to defend those same rights. One of the most dynamic persons was Jesuit Rutilio Grande.

In the first half of 1977, repression, in the form of murder, kidnapping and the expulsion of priests, became commonplace. On Feb.23, Oscar Romero became the archbishop of El Salvador. Progressives were disappointed in the choice, much preferring the more dynamic Bishop Rivera y Damas. Romero was considered a “safe” choice, a man who could be relied upon, one who was deemed “spiritual” and “bookish” by observers. On the other hand his experience in a rural diocese had made him aware of the suffering of the campesinos. Nobody doubted his deep integrity and honesty.

On March 12. his friend Rutilio Grande was brutally murdered .This conservative friend of “the privileged and the powerful,” according to Fr. Vincent O’Keefe, a Jesuit who knew him in Rome, now became the voice of the oppressed. He often said; “It is my lot to gather up the trampled, the dead and all that the persecution of the church leaves behind.”

As the repression deepened, Oscar Romero made the transition from the gray abstraction of chancery life and institutional housekeeping to the Christlife of solidarity with the suffering poor. Holy Week no longer was merely nostalgic. “Liturgical acts are not unincarnated but set in the midst of real life.” For him, that life was increasingly drenched in blood. In May, a wholesale slaughter took place in the Aguilares area which further strengthened his commitment.
Persecution is the sign of the church. We have mutilated the gospel a great deal; we have tried to live a very comfortable gospel,”he said.

Isolated by careerist bishops

In the next two years, Romero’s homilies, which often ran for 90 minutes on the radio and in the Cathedral of San Salvador, consistently called for an end to human rights abuses and a desire for reconciliation. The split with other bishops became pronounced. Romero had no problem recognizing the Spirit in popular organizations, while the other bishops seemed locked into false dichotomies, which attempted to reserve God’s activity to the church. The hierarchy became divided especially when Romero was nominated in November 1978 for the Nobel prize by 118 British parliamentarians. This helped shine a light on the appalling conditions in El Salvador.

By 1979, the grumbling of wealthy landowners, other bishops and the papal nuncio had reached the Vatican. In May, four of the five Salvadoran bishops made the shocking accusation that Romero was attempting to impose a “Marxist” pastoral praxis on the church.They said Rutilio Grande was a “turncoat leftist”, murdered by other leftists and made other outrageous charges. In December 1978, the pope placed an “Apostolic Visitor” in the San Salvador diocese. Usually this is seen as a vote of no-confidence. In May, 1979, Romero was called to Rome, but kept waiting by John Paul II.

“I was very much concerned about such an attitude shown toward a bishop of a diocese,” he noted in his diary. He realized that “negative information about my mission has preceded me at the Vatican.” John Paul II seemed obsessed about “unity” in the diocese rather than the staggering abuses of the Salvadoran people. “I replied that I also desired this but unity could not be simulated. It had to be based on the Gospel and the truth.”

Romero, discovering that he was about to be virtually fired, wrote candidly to Cardinal Baggio: “The roots of the present problem are not to be found in the character and personality of the persons but in the highly unjust and conflictive situation of the country. Gospel guidelines and Latin American bishops’ statements of Medellin and Puebla must be in large measure conflictive.”

Romero continued with his defence of the poor, each Sunday listing the death-squad victims. On Feb. 17, 1980, he publicly asked President Jimmy Carter to stop U.S. aid to El Salvador, believing it to be going to military repression .
Unknown to him, the Vatican had planned to fire him. Cardinal Oddi, the head of the Congregation for the Clergy, four days before Romero’s death, decided to reassign the pastor somewhere else in Latin America. “The Salvadoran government viewed his activity “to be in favour of communism.” On March 24, 1980 Romero was gunned down saying mass.

Outpouring of grief

Immediately a tidal wave love engulfed the slain Archbishop from around the world . But John Paul II was silent. His failure to praise Romero, will rank as one of the low points of his pontificate. While condemning the violence, he was mum on Romero. Many anticipated that the pope would have immediately flown to San Salvador and finished the bishop’s mass. His tepid response was shocking. As papal biographer Tad Szulc says, “His treatment of Archbishop Romero and his continued treatment of Romero’s memory are an injustice like no other he has done anyone.”

On Palm Sunday, March 30, bishops and prelates attending Romero’s funeral received a lesson in just what the archbishop was dealing with. The Cathedral was firebombed and forty persons died. Several bishops, including Hamilton’s Paul Reding were radicalized.

In the wake of overwhelming support for Romero, John Paul II finally acknowledged that Romero had “united his life with the service of the poorest of the underprivileged.” Tad Szulc’s conclusion is valid: “The pope protested more about the Polish government’s plans to build a road to the Polish shrine of Czestochowa than he did about the shooting war against his Church in El Salvador.”

John Paul II would make it his business to appoint no more potential Romeros in the church. His next 25 years would be spent in obsession about “orthodoxy,” as if a bishop would be anything but, and forgetting that “justice was a constitutive part of the gospel.” He would make it his business to appoint docile bishops, servants rather than brothers, of the man at the top of a monarchical church, even though such a church was repudiated by Vatican II. The Canadian episcopacy, a major player in justice initiatives and human rights causes in the 1960s and 1970s, became virtual accomplices in what theologian Richard McBrien called, “A slow motion coup in the Catholic church.” Oscar Romero, twenty-five years after his death, Rome to the contrary, remains the prototype of the Christian bishop who authentically reads “the signs of the times” and strives to incarnate God’s reign in history.

Jewish prophetic alive and growing in USA

May 15, 2015

You gotta love Greg Williams.

He and his pal Dan Fischer had the prophetic nerve to do what all Jewish prophets have done—intervene, say to the people, you are going in the wrong direction.


Dan Williams                                                                   Greg Fischer

What was their crime?

On May 12 they protested inside the Temple Israel synagogue in Westport, Connecticut. Now I believe the people who hosted the friends of the Israel Defense Forces are good people but like too many Jews outside of Israel are simply ignorant about what is transpiring there. Well, Williams and Fischer simply wanted to remind fellow Jews about the reality.Their brave intervention was highlighted on The Electronic Intifada.

In a letter to local media, Williams says that he and Fischer were violently assaulted after they entered the temple and explained that they wanted to read a “testimony by Nabila Abu Halima, a Palestinian woman who lives in the Gaza Strip, who watched her son be murdered by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead [in 2008-2009], and who had to flee her home during last year’s Gaza massacre.”

After they were violently restrained, the pair started to read their statement anyway and began to shout “Free, Free Palestine!”
“Our intention was simple: to read the statement at the FIDF’s meeting,” Williams writes, “which was hosting a brigadier general in the occupying, colonizing army that is responsible for her suffering, and the suffering of so many other indigenous Palestinian women.”
“We were there, first and foremost, because we are Jews,” Williams adds, “and we wanted to take responsibility for the racism in our community that fuels Jewish American support for the Zionist Apartheid regime’s continued occupation of Palestinian land.”

“To say that the IDF empowers women is to say that Palestinian women don’t matter,” Fischer told synagogue security as they tackled him to the ground, according to a press release from him and Williams sent to The Electronic Intifada. “Events like this normalize the brutal occupation.”

As he was being detained by synagogue security, Williams told staff members, “I am a Jew coming to a synagogue today. I want to be part of a religion based on emancipation and democracy, not one based on colonialism, white supremacy, and apartheid,” according to the pair’s press release.

Williams said he was shocked to learn after his release that several schools had been put into lockdown after attendees at the talk made what he called a “false report to police that he and Fischer were armed.”

“We were nonviolent,” Williams said. “The real threat to children is the IDF. If people felt so threatened by two protesters chanting ‘Free Palestine’ and reading testimony from Gaza that schools went into lockdown, imagine what it is like for one of your community’s schools to become a bomb shelter during an IDF raid.”

FIDF raises millions of dollars each year to support the Israeli army. It helps fund “lone soldiers,” young American Jews who travel to Israel to participate directly in military occupation and other activities involving gross breaches of Palestinian human rights.

FIDF recently released a video publicizing its support for a sniper from Texas who took part in Israel’s assault on Gaza last summer that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians including at least 547 children.

One response to this travesty on the Electronic Intifada read

Jews who support Israel often do so out of ignorance about what Israel has become. They are also terrified of knowing anything different, so anyone armed with the truth is indeed a terrorist! American Jews, you see, still have a heart and true Jewish principles are alive in those hearts. Upon learning the truth, most Jews are COMPELLED by conscience to renounce their support for ethnic cleansing and incremental genocide committed in THEIR NAME!

This terrifies the leadership of the Israeli regime and the likes of AIPAC. The truth, however, cannot be hidden forever. People are awakening!

Williams and Fischer’s full statement will be posted tomorrow,

The Dollar Man

April 28, 2015


Televangelist Creflo Dollar a superstar of the prosperity gospel recently blasted “the enemy” for criticizing his dream of buying his pastors and staff at World Changers Church International a $65 million private Gulfstream G650 jet. Carol Kurville undressed this “reverend”on the Huffington Post.I wonder where Creflo studied scripture. Maybe the University of Centre Island or some other diploma mill.

This biblical illiterate is hardly alone when it comes to disfiguring Christianity but his gall is beyond belief.

“Let me tell you something about believing God,” he’s shown saying in a YouTubevideo of a sermon given at the World Dome, his 8,500-seat sanctuary in College Park, Georgia. “I can dream as long as I want to. I can believe God as long as I want to. If I want to believe God for a $65 million plane, you cannot stop me. You cannot stop me from dreaming.”

No,Mr Dollar but you got all the wrong dreams if you are referencing Jesus of Nazareth.The “prosperity gospel” has long preyed on the poor, the weak and the vulnerable who desperately want to escape their harsh conditions.They are told that believing in Jesus will make you richer.It does make the Dollar man rich.He really does need a private jet to spread his confusion among the vulnerable.

Poor willy Loman had ‘wrong dreams” in Arthur Miller’s great play Death of a Salesman but he only hurt himself and his family but this guy is over the top
Dollar’s initial request reportedly entailed asking 200,000 followers to donate $300 each to fund the effort, according to Christian Post. The fundraising page has since been taken down.

Dollar claims it was the devil that stirred the campaign against him. He believes Satan was trying to discredit him in order to stop the gospel from spreading.
You’d think anybody who is still blaming Satan has long ago surrendered any scriptural credibility. But no,the beat goes on.

“The enemy has got to discredit the voices of faith and grace and truth because he don’t want you to know that you can walk on the water if you can look at Jesus. I’ve got to discredit that man before he starts showing people Jesus,” Dollar said during the sermon.

Only in America? No but mainly in America among the poor and fundamentalist. Remember the 50 million books sold on the end times. The Late Great Planet Earth is the all time “religious” best seller.

Now here comes Creflo and the Jets.


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