American Taliban: Washington’s Evil Cult of Authoritarian Theocrats


Roman Catholic theocratic fascist William Barr; a self-confessed enemy of America's Constitution

As the nation lurches closer towards being ruled by a tyrannical dictator with unwavering support from the Republican Party, the American people are ignoring an even greater threat to their waning secular democracy – rule by tyrannical theocrats. 

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The rise of theocrats in powerful positions of authority is particularly disconcerting because not only was America created as a secular nation with a secular Constitution, but because the theocrats running the federal government represent a very small minority of the population. And now Trump has given that vicious minority what they elected him to do in the first place; another radical Christian extremist, William Barr, in a powerful federal government position. 

J. Beauregard Sessions was a legitimate threat to America’s secular government as Trump’s attorney general, but his theocratic aspirations paled in comparison to Trump’s latest theocratic cabinet member – a conservative Catholic malcontent who is unlikely to ever defend the U.S. Constitution because it is a secular document. It is noteworthy that Sessions only stated that, according to his mind, the separation of church and state in the Constitution is a concept that is unconstitutional. However, his replacement ardently believes that America’s government is duty-bound to enforce god’s laws because there is no place for secularism. 

In a 1995 essay, Barr expressed the extremist Christian view that “American government should not be secular;” secularism is an abomination in Barr’s theocratic mind despite the law of the land is unmistakably secular. Furthermore, Barr contends America’s government is supposed to be imposing “a transcendent moral order with objective standards of right and wrong that flows from God’s eternal law;” eternal law best dictated by the Vatican and taught in public schools at taxpayer’s expense.

It is true that as attorney general William Barr will defend Trump’s criminality and corruption; it is one of the only reasons Trump nominated him. However, the real danger to the nation is Barr’s belief that the government’s primary function should be defending and enforcing his god’s moral edicts while ardently opposing any legislative branch effort to make secular laws according to the secular Constitution.

As noted by Michael Stone a couple of weeks ago, in addition to the racism and misogyny one expects from a radical conservative Christian, “Barr is also a bigot when it comes to non-religious people and others who respect the separation of church and state.” 

Barr epitomizes the typical extremist religious fanatic by blaming everything from crime to divorce to sexually transmitted diseases on what he alleges is “the federal government’s non-stop attacks on traditional religious values.” In fact, he joins no small number of Republican evangelical extremists who demand that taxpayers fund religious instruction, specifically Catholic religious instruction, in public schools. Barr, as a matter of fact, has called for the United States government to subsidize Catholic education and categorically called for federal legislation to promote Vatican edicts to “restrain sexual immorality;” an explicit reference to his religion’s ban on homosexuality, extramarital sex, and “artificial” birth control. Don’t believe it? 

In an address to “The Governor’s Conference on Juvenile Crime, Drugs and Gangs,” Barr condemned the idea of adhering to the U.S. Constitution’s mandated separation of church and state in the public education system. The theocrat said: 

This moral lobotomy of public schools has been based on extremist notions of separation of church and state or on theories of moral relativism which reject the notion that there are standards of rights or wrong to which the community can demand adherence. 

Barr also penned an article in The Catholic Lawyer where he complained vehemently about what he asserted was “the rise of secularism;” something he claims is anathema to a nation he believes should be ruled by theocrats. Barr attempted to give an answer to “the challenge of representing Catholic institutions as authorities” on what is considered right and wrong, or morally acceptable in a secular nation. In discussing what Barr termed was “The Breakdown of Traditional Morality,” the new attorney general complained thus:

We live in an increasingly militant, secular age…  As part of this philosophy, we see a growing hostility toward religion, particularly Catholicism. This form of bigotry has always been fashionable in the United States. There are, today, even greater efforts to marginalize or ghettoize orthodox religion… 

Barr is also a bigot when it comes to people who respect the Constitution’s separation of church and state in providing equal rights for all Americans whether theocrats agree or not. Barr’s belief that government is bound to enforce Vatican dictates is what drives his assertion that, for example, equal rights laws demanding that colleges treat homosexual groups like any other student group is inherently wrong.  

He claims treating LGBTQ people like everyone else is detrimental because: 

“[Equality] dissolves any form of moral consensus in society. There can be no consensus based on moral views in the country, only enforced neutrality. 

It is noteworthy that what Barr considers “enforced neutrality” is what most Americans understand is the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights for all Americans. If this country was not plagued with religious extremists, bigots, misogynists, and hate-driven conservatives there would never be a need to “enforce neutrality,” or protect all Americans’ equal rights guaranteed according to secular law. There is no such thing as equality in Barr’s theocratic mind and the idea of the government not enforcing the privilege and superiority the religious right has enjoyed for too long is abominable, and now he wields federal government authority to right that abomination.  

It is too bad that Barr’s religious mind incites him to believe the federal government’s job is enforcing his religion’s concept of “morality,” and that the purposely-conceived “secular” law of the land is “militant” and “hostile toward religion, particularly Catholicism.” If any American believes Barr will defend the Constitution, or equal rights, or freedom from religious imposition, they are deluded beyond belief. As the religious right’s attorney general, Barr will be the de facto enforcement arm of the evangelical extremists and aid in implementing all of the horrors a theocratic dictatorship entails – beginning with an increased government assault on women.

For an idea of how an avowed anti-choice theocrat leading the Justice Department will be the enforcement arm of the evangelical extremist cult, consider Trump’s latest evangelical edict forbidding medical professionals from giving women medical options the religious right and Vatican oppose.

Trump and Pence issued a gag order banning the term “abortion” as a woman’s option to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. The order will certainly face lawsuits, but instead of defending a medical professional’s ability to practice medicine, or exercise their freedom of speech, the theocratic-led DOJ will defend the religious right’s assault on women and medical professionals’ free speech because such speech is opposed by evangelicals. Trump’s latest theocratic edict was, by the way, a direct result of the evangelical right’s strict adherence to Vatican dictates banning women’s bodily autonomy and self-determination regarding reproduction. 

There is no good outcome going forward with an avowed theocrat serving as the nation’s top law enforcement official. This is particularly true since Barr has made no secret that he considers the secular government “militant” and “bigoted” for  not promoting “god’s eternal laws” of right and wrong. The very inconvenient truth for Americans is that long after Trump and Barr are out of power, the theocratic authorities will continue unimpeded because Trump has dutifully created a hard-line conservative judiciary specifically to ensure that America as a secular nation is, for all intents and purposes, coming to an end after resisting theocracy for over two centuries.

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Exorcism, The Vatican Death Cult, and Mental Health


'There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness and conditions such as epilepsy, which cause alarming seizures in otherwise healthy individuals. When society did not understand the cause of conditions that science has learned to identify and treat, people turned to religion to cope, and the results were at best scarring for the individual and at worst, deadly.

A young German woman that had suffered seizures all of her life was killed after ten months of exorcisms because her family believed that she was possessed by demons. Denied food and water, subjected to violent rituals, the 23 year old died horribly and needlessly at the hands of people blinded by their own ignorance.

Another epileptic in Pakistan was tortured by a witch doctor after his family asked that he be exorcised of his demons. He was attacked with iron rods and his fingernails pulled out all because he had suffered several seizures. By the time his family decided that he needed medical help, he succumbed to the injuries.

The two cases I’ve cited might easily have come from medieval texts or church records from another century, but they did not. The first case might be familiar to many, for it occurred in 1975. The victim’s name was Anneliese Michel and the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based on her case. It was this tragedy that prompted the Roman Catholic Church to offer exorcists medical training in order to distinguish between a medical condition and a demonic possession.

The second case occurred in 2010, and the victim, Asif Qadri sparked a murder investigation, but it was too little too late for him. A father of two whose only crime was epilepsy died miserably because of religious superstition.

The sad fact is that people in the modern world are using exorcism as treatment for epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disease. This is not happening in primitive villages in remote places. This is happening in modern Europe, Asia and North America. An east London exorcist told BBC Newsnight in 2012 that demons can “deceive doctors” into treating possession as mental illness.

See the backwards thinking here? 

 The Catholic Church, known for exorcisms, claims to perform the ritual only when the person in question has been cleared of any medical conditions. This is still not acceptable, because it is always a medical condition. The only evil possessing the victim of mental illness or epilepsy are those that deny a person proper medical care in order to partake in a superstitious ritual that has no place in modern society. Outside of Catholic clergy, the people performing exorcisms are being paid thousands in order to abuse a human being.

What does it say about our society when something like this is legal? Vatican approved or not, exorcism involves denying an epileptic medication that could prevent seizures. It involves terrifying a mentally ill person that may already dealing with something frightening within themselves and causing irreparable damage. It involves physical abuse, including beatings, asphyxiation, starvation and methods of torture last seen in Spanish dungeons during the Inquisition. 

The moment a vulnerable person is subjected to this sort of cruelty is the moment that religious rights to mete it out should no longer apply. There is absolutely no justification for this sort of brutality. Until a better effort is made to educate people and it is made illegal, people will continue to suffer and die in the name of nonsense, and the unfair stigma attached to mental illness and other conditions people mistake for demonic possession will remain. 

--Beagle'

Exorcism, The Vatican Death Cult and Mental Health

There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness and conditions such as epilepsy, which cause alarming seizures in otherwise healthy individuals. When society did not understand the cause of conditions that science has learned to identify and treat, people turned to religion to cope, and the results were at best scarring for the individual and at worst, deadly.

A young German woman that had suffered seizures all of her life was killed after ten months of exorcisms because her family believed that she was possessed by demons. Denied food and water, subjected to violent rituals, the 23 year old died horribly and needlessly at the hands of people blinded by their own ignorance.

Another epileptic in Pakistan was tortured by a witch doctor after his family asked that he be exorcised of his demons. He was attacked with iron rods and his fingernails pulled out all because he had suffered several seizures. By the time his family decided that he needed medical help, he succumbed to the injuries.

The two cases I’ve cited might easily have come from medieval texts or church records from another century, but they did not. The first case might be familiar to many, for it occurred in 1975. The victim’s name was Anneliese Michel and the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based on her case. It was this tragedy that prompted the Roman Catholic Church to offer exorcists medical training in order to distinguish between a medical condition and a demonic possession.

The second case occurred in 2010, and the victim, Asif Qadri sparked a murder investigation, but it was too little too late for him. A father of two whose only crime was epilepsy died miserably because of religious superstition.

The sad fact is that people in the modern world are using exorcism as treatment for epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disease. This is not happening in primitive villages in remote places. This is happening in modern Europe, Asia and North America. An east London exorcist told BBC Newsnight in 2012 that demons can “deceive doctors” into treating possession as mental illness.

See the backwards thinking here?

The Catholic Church, known for exorcisms, claims to perform the ritual only when the person in question has been cleared of any medical conditions. This is still not acceptable, because it is always a medical condition. The only evil possessing the victim of mental illness or epilepsy are those that deny a person proper medical care in order to partake in a superstitious ritual that has no place in modern society. Outside of Catholic clergy, the people performing exorcisms are being paid thousands in order to abuse a human being.

What does it say about our society when something like this is legal? Vatican approved or not, exorcism involves denying an epileptic medication that could prevent seizures. It involves terrifying a mentally ill person that may already dealing with something frightening within themselves and causing irreparable damage. It involves physical abuse, including beatings, asphyxiation, starvation and methods of torture last seen in Spanish dungeons during the Inquisition.

The moment a vulnerable person is subjected to this sort of cruelty is the moment that religious rights to mete it out should no longer apply. There is absolutely no justification for this sort of brutality. Until a better effort is made to educate people and it is made illegal, people will continue to suffer and die in the name of nonsense, and the unfair stigma attached to mental illness and other conditions people mistake for demonic possession will remain.

–Beagle

'There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness and conditions such as epilepsy, which cause alarming seizures in otherwise healthy individuals. When society did not understand the cause of conditions that science has learned to identify and treat, people turned to religion to cope, and the results were at best scarring for the individual and at worst, deadly.

A young German woman that had suffered seizures all of her life was killed after ten months of exorcisms because her family believed that she was possessed by demons. Denied food and water, subjected to violent rituals, the 23 year old died horribly and needlessly at the hands of people blinded by their own ignorance.

Another epileptic in Pakistan was tortured by a witch doctor after his family asked that he be exorcised of his demons. He was attacked with iron rods and his fingernails pulled out all because he had suffered several seizures. By the time his family decided that he needed medical help, he succumbed to the injuries.

The two cases I’ve cited might easily have come from medieval texts or church records from another century, but they did not. The first case might be familiar to many, for it occurred in 1975. The victim’s name was Anneliese Michel and the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based on her case. It was this tragedy that prompted the Roman Catholic Church to offer exorcists medical training in order to distinguish between a medical condition and a demonic possession.

The second case occurred in 2010, and the victim, Asif Qadri sparked a murder investigation, but it was too little too late for him. A father of two whose only crime was epilepsy died miserably because of religious superstition.

The sad fact is that people in the modern world are using exorcism as treatment for epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disease. This is not happening in primitive villages in remote places. This is happening in modern Europe, Asia and North America. An east London exorcist told BBC Newsnight in 2012 that demons can “deceive doctors” into treating possession as mental illness.

See the backwards thinking here? 

 The Catholic Church, known for exorcisms, claims to perform the ritual only when the person in question has been cleared of any medical conditions. This is still not acceptable, because it is always a medical condition. The only evil possessing the victim of mental illness or epilepsy are those that deny a person proper medical care in order to partake in a superstitious ritual that has no place in modern society. Outside of Catholic clergy, the people performing exorcisms are being paid thousands in order to abuse a human being.

What does it say about our society when something like this is legal? Vatican approved or not, exorcism involves denying an epileptic medication that could prevent seizures. It involves terrifying a mentally ill person that may already dealing with something frightening within themselves and causing irreparable damage. It involves physical abuse, including beatings, asphyxiation, starvation and methods of torture last seen in Spanish dungeons during the Inquisition. 

The moment a vulnerable person is subjected to this sort of cruelty is the moment that religious rights to mete it out should no longer apply. There is absolutely no justification for this sort of brutality. Until a better effort is made to educate people and it is made illegal, people will continue to suffer and die in the name of nonsense, and the unfair stigma attached to mental illness and other conditions people mistake for demonic possession will remain. 

--Beagle'

Saudi Arabia Holds All Male Women’s Rights Conference


ob_8757bf_o-saudi-arabia-womens-conference-570

Saudi Arabia Holds All Male Women’s Rights Conference

The laughably prestigious University of Qassim in Saudi Arabia held one of the biggest women’s rights conferences in the Arab world last year. Ironically, the institution managed to hold the event without the advice or attendance of a single woman.

Themed around the topic of “Women in Society” the conference, held every year at the University, is supposed to set a benchmark for tolerance and progress in the region. Delegates and speakers from more than fifteen countries showed up.

As is to be expected from Saudi Arabia, a country firmly under the grip of Sharia Law, zero women attended the event. Perhaps more hypocritically, a single woman is yet to speak at a University of Qassim summit.

The picture below was published by an Arab newspaper, Okaz, last year and surfaced in the French-speaking press today.

Saudi Arabia is still ranked 127th out of 136 countries for gender parity.

ob_8757bf_o-saudi-arabia-womens-conference-570

A New Inquisition | The Vatican Targets US Nuns


A New Inquisition: The Vatican targets US nuns
  • Franciscan Sr. Pat Farrell (CNS/Sid Hastings)
  • Sr. Nzenzili Lucie Mboma: “It is painful to see the Vatican carrying on these kinds of things.” (Jason Berry)
  • Pope Benedict XVI greets U.S. Cardinal William Levada during the pontiff’s general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican in 2011. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Vatican City    

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles, a joint reporting project by NCR and GlobalPost.com, examining the background and the principal players in the Vatican’s investigations of U.S. women religious.

Franciscan Sr. Pat Farrell and three other sisters crossed St. Peter’s Square through the fabled white columns, paused for a security check and entered the rust-colored Palace of the Holy Office.

It was April 18, 2012, and on entering the palazzo, they were aware of its history, that in this same building nearly 400 years earlier Galileo had been condemned as a heretic by the Roman Inquisition for arguing that the Earth orbits around the sun.

Today, the palazzo houses the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that enforces adherence to church teaching. As president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Farrell and her executive colleagues had an appointment with the prefect, Cardinal William Levada, about the congregation’s investigation of their group.

They were walking into what Fr. Hans Küng, the internationally renowned theologian who has had his own battles in the palazzo, calls “a new Inquisition.” (See related story.)

The sisters were accused of undermining church moral teaching by promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” To many sisters, the congregation’s action is a turn toward the past, causing a climate of fear and a chill wind reaching into their lives.

The Vatican wants control of LCWR, an association of 1,500 superiors, representing 80 percent of American sisters, most long active in the front lines of social justice.

The main leadership council of American sisters embraced the Second Vatican Council’s social justice Gospel, which has taken sisters to some of the poorest corners of the world to work with politically oppressed people, particularly in Latin America. But a stark drama of attrition has unfolded as the Vatican II generation reaches an eclipse. Since 1965, the number of American sisters has dropped by more than two-thirds, from 181,241 to 54,000 today.

In contrast, the rate of women joining religious orders has surged in Korea, South Vietnam, sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Caribbean. Nowhere has the increase been more pronounced than in India. Five of the 10 largest religious institutes of women have headquarters in India, where only 1.6 percent of the population is Catholic.

“While India has nearly 50 million fewer Catholics than the United States does, it has over 30,000 more women religious,” wrote Jeff Ziegler in Catholic World Report.

The Vatican crackdown of LCWR has exposed a schizophrenic church. Interviews with missionary sisters in Rome, from India and other countries, register a deep fault line between cardinals immune from punishment, and sisters who work in poor regions with some of the world’s most beleaguered people. Religious sisters from other parts of the world view LCWR’s conflict with foreboding. How far Pope Benedict XVI goes in imposing a disciplinary culture, policing obedience over sisters, is an urgent issue to many of these women — and one sure to color this pope’s place in history.

The doctrinal assessment delivered by Levada was an intervention plan; he appointed Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle to approve speakers for LCWR gatherings and overhaul its statutes. “You can impose silence, but that doesn’t change anyone’s thinking,” Farrell reflected several months later at the convent in Dubuque, Iowa, where she lives.

“This is about the Vatican II church, how we have come to live collegially with participatory decision-making,” Farrell said. “When I entered in 1965 we studied and prayed with [the Vatican II] documents, implementing new charters. … We’re in a line of continuity with the early history of our communities, assessing unmet needs, going to the margins to help the homeless, people with AIDS, victims of torture and sexual trafficking.”

“When Vatican II requested nuns to search their history, Rome believed in a mythology of plaster statue women,” said Syracuse University Professor Margaret Susan Thompson, a historian of women religious. “They found instead nuns who took the job literally, and became controversial for doing so.”

The leadership conference endorsed women’s ordination in 1977 — 17 years before Pope John Paul II reinforced the church’s ban on it with the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Farrell says LCWR has not campaigned for women’s ordination. Nor has it endorsed abortion. The doctrinal congregation’s demand that the leaders speak out against abortion and gay rights is a battle over conscience, forcing words into superiors’ mouths.

“These women are really rooted in Christ and committed to the poor,” said Sr. Nzenzili Lucie Mboma, executive director of Service of Documentation and Study on Global Mission in Rome. A Congolese member of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Mboma had two friends murdered in political violence in the 1960s, during her novice years. “It is painful to see the Vatican carrying on these kinds of things,” she said.

“In certain parts of the church we have an us-versus-them mentality,” said Fr. Míceál O’Neill, an Irish Carmelite prior in Rome with background as a missionary in Peru. ” ‘Us’ is religious, and ‘them’ is officers of the Holy See.”

“We have a church that is doctrinally conservative and pastorally liberal,” O’Neill said. “The Vatican is trying to assert control, ‘we are in charge.’ … Many people are saying the two churches are not coming together.”

“There is a fundamental problem of honesty.”

Farrell, 65, came of age in Iowa in the years of Vatican II. She joined the Franciscans at 18, and in her 30s worked with Mexicans in San Antonio. She moved to Chile in 1980 during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Disappearances were common. “It was routine for police to torture people in the first 72 hours,” she said. Demonstrations were banned, yet protests were the only way to put a spotlight on abductions when lives were at stake.

She joined “lightning demonstrations,” unfurling banners of the anti-torture protest movement in congested traffic, spreading leaflets that gave people information on the missing, who were airbrushed out of news reports. At one point she was arrested, with 100 other people, but coverage in a growing clandestine media saw them released the same day.

In 1986, she moved to El Salvador with a handful of sisters to help people reeling from a civil war with U.S. military support of the Salvadoran government. Farrell spent her first weeks sleeping at night in a church sacristy, getting to know people, and eventually moving into a sprawling refugee camp, living with villagers displaced by military bombings. American sisters were a nonviolent presence, giving thin cover to locals.

“We learned never to leave the road because any area off defined footpaths could have land mines,” she explained. “I remember walking down one long hill with trembling knees to meet a group of soldiers who entered the camp. Part of our role as internationals in the camp was to keep the military out and I was on my way down to ask them to leave. That time they did, thank God.”

Religious processions common to Latin America took on heightened meaning. For a newly repopulated community to show up en masse, with banners of saints and the Virgin Mary, conveyed “a political statement,” Farrell said: “We are not afraid. We have a right to be here. Our faith continues to be a source of strength to us.”

In 2005, Farrell returned to her Dubuque convent. Elected to the LCWR board several years later, she was midway through her one-year term as president when LCWR leaders made their annual trip to Rome in 2012 to update church officials on their work. With Farrell were Dominican Sr. Mary Hughes, past president; president-elect Franciscan Sr. Florence Deacon, and Janet Mock, the executive director and a Sister of St. Joseph of Baden, Pa.

Before their appointment in the Palace of the Holy Office, they held an hour of silent prayer in a Carmelite center.

The sisters had met once with the doctrinal congregation’s investigator, Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, but had not seen his report. The sisters were expecting some conclusion to Blair’s inquiry but had no indication about what it would entail. Blair was not in the meeting that day. They were to meet with Levada, who was about to turn 76 and retire to his native California.

After a cordial greeting, Levada read aloud an eight-page, single-spaced assessment that his office was just posting to the Internet. The assessment accused the sisters of “corporate dissent” on homosexuality and failure to speak out on abortion. The assessment also castigated LCWR for ties to NETWORK, a Washington-based Catholic lobbying group that supported the Affordable Care Act, and the Resource Center for Religious Institutes, a group in Silver Spring, Md., that gives religious orders canon law guidance on property issues.

Leaving the Holy Office, Farrell felt numb. “It was in the press before we had time to brief our members,” she recalled.

“The reaction of rank-and-file sisters was anger. Now there is a stage of deep sadness and concern for the climate in the church and the misrepresentation of religious life,” she said.

A darkly ironic twist involves the doctrinal congregation’s handling of the clerical sexual abuse crisis. The congregation has processed 3,000 cases of priests who have been laicized for abusing youngsters. Several hundred are reportedly pending.

Yet those procedures, which Benedict, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, put in place as prefect in 2001, have a large loophole. The office has not judged bishops and cardinals whose negligence in recycling abusers caused the crisis.

The most glaring example is Cardinal Bernard Law, whose soft-glove treatment of pedophiles ignited the Boston scandal. He resigned as archbishop in 2002 and in 2004 he was named pastor of a great Roman basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore, with a $10,000 per month salary and a highly influential role in choosing new American bishops.

Law was a driving force behind a preliminary investigation of all American religious orders of women, according to several sources interviewed here, and a May 15 report by Robert Mickens, the respected Vatican correspondent for the British Catholic weekly, The Tablet. Law, who has not spoken to the media in a decade, refused an interview request. But Cardinal Franc Rodé, 78, retired prefect of the congregation that oversees religious orders, confirmed Law’s role. In a wide-ranging interview at his residence in the Palace of the Holy Office, Rodé said, “It was the American milieu in the Roman Curia that suggested it.”

The “apostolic visitation” of all but the cloistered communities of U.S. women religious was the initial phase. The doctrinal congregation’s aggressive investigation of the main leadership group soon followed.

“Some people say this is an attempt to divert attention from the abuse crisis, like politicians do,” a missionary sister from a developing country with her order in Rome, said of the doctrinal congregation’s investigation. She asked that her name not be used because the order depends on donations from U.S. Catholics channeled through dioceses.

“The Vatican is trying to assert control, to say, ‘We are in charge,’ ” she continued. “This envisions a different church from Vatican II. Many people are saying that the two churches are not coming together.”

LCWR has indeed pushed the envelope by giving forums to theologians who have questioned celibacy and the evolution of religious life. As liberal theologians clamor for change, LCWR has collided with the doctrinal office over freedom of conscience, a core principle of Vatican II.

Rodé, as prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, ordered the 2009 visitation of American sister communities. He told Vatican Radio of his concern for “a certain secular mentality … in these religious families and perhaps also a certain ‘feminist’ spirit.”

Rodé was also prompted by a 2008 conference he attended on religious life at Stonehill College near Boston. Dominican Sr. Elizabeth McDonough, a canon lawyer, accused LCWR of creating “global-feminist-operated business corporations” and “controlling all structures and resources.”

“I’m unaware of any such facts that would back up that claim. It sounds like a sweeping indictment of the direction many orders have taken which the hierarchy found offensive or disloyal, summed up in the ‘radical feminism’ catch phrase,” said Kenneth A. Briggs, author of Double Crossed: Uncovering the Catholic Church’s Betrayal of American Nuns.

“Most orders were scrounging to come up with funds to support retired sisters, often selling off property that belonged to them to do so. It seems clear to me that the aim of the Stonehill meeting was to paint a picture of disobedience as a pretext for a crackdown,” Briggs said.

Rodé in an interview brushed off suggestions that the apostolic visitation was unfair.

Rodé had requested $1.3 million from religious communities and bishops to cover travel and other expenses for the visitation, which he appointed Mother Mary Clare Millea, superior general of Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to carry out.

The funding request raised eyebrows among many missionary orders.

“Why would you want to pay them to investigate you?” asked one of the missionary sisters in Rome.

The study by Millea has not been made public.

“Vatican II was the most important event that changed the Catholic church,” said Sr. Nzenzili Lucie Mboma. “Jesus was a carpenter. He didn’t build cells, but windows to see every culture.”

She paused. “Why is this investigation happening?”

Also in this series: German theologian Hans Küng still resists the ‘Roman Inquisition’

Coming in this series: Next: The bishops and cardinals who are investigating the sisters have poor records on sex abuse cases.

[Jason Berry, author of Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, writes from New Orleans. Research for this series has been funded by a Knight Grant for Reporting on Religion and American Public Life at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting; and the Fund for Investigative Journalism

The Vatican Occupation of America


How Rome Didn’t Decline and Fall (Yet)

Bill Annett Salem-News.com

The Vatican Occupation of America – A Tragi-Comedy In Three Acts III The Vatican Numbers Game.

Priests give Hitler salute at a Catholic youth rally in the Berlin-Neukolln stadium in August 1933.

 

America, the new Rome

 

(SASKATCHEWAN) – Question: (From the inquisitive student in the back row) “How can the Vatican, which has no defense or military budget of $750 billion (as in the United States), with no army, navy or air force – except for a platoon or so of those Swiss guards carrying pike poles and those funny hats)  manage to control, dictate to and obtain absolute fealty from (including the payment of enormous amounts of money under “concordats”) literally every legitimate (about 178 of them)  “free world” government, not to mention 800 million people around the globe?”

Answer: “An excellent question, back-row student. The answer is by parading itself as the next thing to God. The American model is typical, and one of the most successful. Let us consider the American model. Watch closely.”

In our last class, entitled “Sex And The Single Church,” we were considering “Catholic Education,” which is held high as a beacon and often referred to in hushed tones by distinguished politicians, celebrities and talk-show hosts who are obviously graduands of an excellent Catholic educational institution, along with emotional nostalgia over Knute Rockne, the Gipper himself and the football supremacy of Notre Dame. As a result, the priestly control of education in Catholic America has a subliminal but huge implication for intellectual freedom, that handmaiden of “religious freedom.”

Consider the following catechism, offered up by Dr. Sydney Mumford, as far back as 1984:

  1. The pope is the infallible leader of mankind, and, when he speaks for the Church in matters of faith and morals he, like Caesar’s wife, can neither be wrong nor above reproach.
  • The Virgin Mary returned to the earth six times in 1917 and told three peasant children of Fatima, Portugal, what the Western world should do to avoid destruction by Soviet Russia.
  • It is a grave sin for an American Catholic deliberately to join the Masons or Odd Fellows. (Contrary to popular belief, the Knights of Columbus are not Odd Fellows. They just look like it. – Ed.)
  • No good Catholic may positively and unconditionally approve of the principle of separation of church and state. (Rick Santorum is a good Catholic. -Ed)
  • Thomas Aquinas is the greatest philosopher of all time. (So is Phil Donahue. No relation to Bill Donahue, the soothsayer of the American Catholic League. -Ed.)
  • It is a sin to teach the evolution of man as a whole from animal life. (Although Archbishops may be referred to as “primates.” -Ed.)
  • In general, no Catholic has a moral right to secure a divorce and remarry even if married to a syphilitic, insane or adulterous murderer; and any Catholic who does remarry after such a divorce is guilty of adultery.
  • The Reformation was a backward step in human history, and many of the worst evils of fascism and communism flow from it.
  • It is a grave sin for a Catholic under ordinary circumstance knowingly to own or use a Protestant Bible.
  • The pope is the head of a sovereign temporal state which has coequal rights with that of the government of the United States.
  • The rights of the Church as educator are prior to and superior to the rights of the state as educator, and no government has the legal right to infringe upon this divine prerogative.

Since differences in schools, curriculum and teachers produce differences in behavior, there is a huge implication for science, the study of demographics and population growth and presidential elections. Catholic hospitals, for example, sharply restrict the delivery of family-planning services, to the dismay of any non-Catholic couples who are naïve enough to use these facilities for fertility related services.

With recent advances in medicine that have allowed embryo transfers, test-tube babies, and artificial insemination,  the Church’s negative response runs counter to its pro-life position. The Church claims that such conceptions are against “natural” law, with elaborate theological reasoning, all of which is sheer lunacy.

Instead of armed forces, the Church uses psychic weap­ons, such as the threat of excommunication. Over the centuries, the Church devised an elaborate system of controls that rely upon what amounts to “psychic terrorism” applied to the faithful by celibate moral experts whose sole domain is the adjudication and wrestling to the ground of a Church invention known as “sin.” Sin differs from crime in that for the latter you go to jail, for the former you go to the confessional and donate a little something to the Church, concerning which, all monetary roads lead to Rome and the Vatican Bank.

The distinction between Catholic Church tyranny and that of other historical tyrants is that the former is a tyranny of virtue. Just as American advertising has established the principle that if you lie long and strongly enough, people will buy the lie, the Church line can counter the truth without producing the appearance of a lie. (On Madison Avenue, the message that “saving 15% on your car insurance,” bombarded by an insurance company ad nauseum convinces the buyer, although the fact is  that the company has the most expensive premiums in the industry.)

“Goodness” has allowed the Vatican tyranny to flourish as Christian love  for two thousand years. Oddly, today  only 50 percent of all Catholic Americans polled believe in papal infallibility, but they buy the product anyway. This spread between belief and action has been the historical reason for the Church’s success as a basic profit center, but it also bears the seeds of its undoing.

In practice, American Catholics ignore the wishes of the hierarchy and produce family sizes identical to non-Catholics. They use the same contraceptive methods with the same frequency and are resorting to abortion at the same rate. Even as recently as 1960 Catholics had, on average, one more child than non-Catholics. No longer. Along with a gradual exodus from the Church by all concerned.

As a result, Catholic “religious freedom” must continue to fight a rear-guard action against the encroachment of a more enlightened generation and the advent of the worldwide web, social media and universal communication. Rearguard action has been attempted, such as attempting to encourage greater immigration of people from Catholic nations, such as Latin America, to replace the eroding American family constituency, but the handwriting is increasingly on the wall.

Church reactionaries to the demographic reality of the shrinking Catholic presence in America enlist the ancient cliche, “You should never criticize another man’s religion.” That innocent-sounding doctrine, born in a Protestant America before the arrival of a significant Vatican presence, is full of danger to U.S. security. It ignores the duty of every good citizen to stand for the truth in every field of thought, including the favorite of all righties, national security. It illuminates the central principle that a large part of what the Vatican calls religion is also politics and economics.

Which takes me back to  my Dad and his injunction when I was a little boy that I apologize for bad-mouthing the Church. So here, in these three installments, albeit 75 years later,  I come as close as I can, Dad, to an essay on tolerance.

“We will forgive you,” said Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “if you will forgive us.”

Catholic clergy and Nazi officials, including Joseph Goebbels (far right) and Wilhelm Frick (second from right), give the Nazi salute. Germany, date uncertain. [Photo source, Holocaust Encyclopedia]

Except that in this instance, the “you” in the equation, despite all the Latin mumbling, hasn’t said mea culpa yet.

First published by:

THE CANADIAN SHIELD  April 17,  Volume 3, Issue #18

______________________________________________________

Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post’s history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.

At 18, Bill’s first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army’s CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.

He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.

Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.

You can write to Bill Annett at this address: bilko23@gmail.com

Vatican Facism Catholic Nazism Catholic Nazi Vatican Power Catholic Power vs Democracy Catholic Hitler Catholic Dictators

 

ICC Urged to Probe Vatican for Sexual Abuse, Cover-Up


Via “Democracy Now”
ICC Urged to Probe Vatican for Sexual Abuse, Cover-Up

Two U.S. groups are asking the International Criminal Court to investigate Pope Benedict XVI and three top Vatican officials for crimes against humanity over the alleged cover-up of rampant sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy. In a new complaint, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests say the Vatican has “enjoyed absolute impunity” for failing to prevent and punish rape and sexual assault. The ICC filing is being described as the most comprehensive international effort to date to hold the Vatican accountable for sexual abuse.

See all headlines for this show

Vatican Islam Alliance – The Crusade Against Atheism and Secularism


Vatican Islam Alliance – The Crusade Against Atheism and Secularism
Christians and Muslims
The enemy of my enemy
Last week the Vatican published an extraordinary letter, of the man-bites-dog genre. The letter was from Cardinal Tauran, head of the Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and addressed simply to his “Dear Muslim friends.” Putting aside 1300 years of bitter rivalry, Cardinal Tauran called on his Muslim friends to unite with the Church to combat a common foe: you, me, and everyone else who objects to Godexpert domination of society.Cardinal Tauran warned Muslims to face up to “ a reality which Christians and Muslims consider to be of prime importance … the challenges of materialism and secularisation.” Then he got down to brass tacks:

[T]he transmission of such human and moral values to the younger generations constitutes a common concern. It is our duty to help them discover that there is both good and evil, that conscience is a sanctuary to be respected, and that cultivating the spiritual dimension makes us more responsible, more supportive, more available for the common good.

Christians and Muslims are too often witnesses to the violation of the sacred, of the mistrust of which those who call themselves believers are the target. We cannot but denounce all forms of fanaticism and intimidation, the prejudices and the polemics, as well as the discrimination of which, at times, believers are the object both in the social and political life as well as in the mass media.

There are more code words here than you can shake a stick at. “Conscience is a sanctuary to be respected” is a code word for placing God experts above the law, so they can ignore rules that apply to the rest of us because God’s commandments (as communicated by them) are superior to the common sense solutions devised by mere mortals. Thus, for example, religious organizations must be free to discriminate against Jews and same-sex married couples, whether or not the law allows anyone else to do so. “Transmission of such human and moral values to the younger generations” is a code word for taxpayer financial support for the religious brainwashing of children, teaching them that people like you and me deserve to be tortured in hell forever. “Discrimination in the mass media” is a code word for the free expression of views like those you are reading now, views which I would have a hard time publishing in, say, Iran – a state of affairs leaving Cardinal Tauran green with envy.

Protestants rebelled against a Church grown decadent and secularized

This is not the first time Christians have reached out to Islam for cooperation against a common foe. To appreciate the magnitude of the irony, it is necessary to remember that Islam burst out of Arabia in the 7th century largely as a rebellion against a decrepit Roman empire of the east. The Arab barbarians who swept north as far as Hungary and west as far as Spain destroyed the institutions of Christian civilization as they went, replacing them with a desert offshoot of Jewish monotheism. Not until the end of the 11thcentury did Christendom strike back, with its ultimately unsuccessful Crusades to recapture Palestine. By the time the Protestant Reformationbroke out, a neutral observer might have predicted that Islam, not Christianity, would ultimately dominate Europe. Indeed, one of the principal reasons why the Habsburg emperor Charles V failed to crush the upstart Martin Luther like a bug was that he was too busy defending Vienna itself from an Ottoman Muslim siege.The Reformation itself was in many ways a rebellion of those motivated by Godliness against a Catholic Church that had grown rich, decadent, and (worst of all) secularized. Protestant reformers sought to purify Christianity against the influence of the “Whore of Babylon.” There was low-level violence between Protestants and Catholics throughout the 16th century, but the carnage commenced in earnest in 1618, with a dispute over whether a Catholic or a Protestant would rule Bohemia.

The resulting Thirty Years War, as it became known, was the greatest man-made disaster ever visited upon Europe, far worse than World War II. Things went poorly for the Protestant side from the outset. Not only was their man displaced from Bohemia, but the Jesuit-dominated Habsburg emperor Ferdinand II decided that this would be a great opportunity to wipe out Protestantism once and for all. Ferdinand’s generals piled up victory after victory, and it looked like he was going to succeed.

Then Protestant diplomacy kicked into gear. The 17th century version of Cardinal Tauran persuaded the Ottoman Muslim Sultan, Murad IV, that if Ferdinand prevailed against the Protestants, the balance of power might be disrupted, and perhaps he might then turn to the east. The ploy worked, at least initially. Next thing you know, Muslim armies were drawn up alongside Protestant armies to face down a common enemy, just like the coalition the Vatican is trying to array against humanism today. In fact, the Protestant-Muslim alliance was not as farfetched as one might think; theologically, both believed in predestination of the elect, as opposed to the Catholic doctrine of free will.

People who speculate on the “what-ifs” of history have a hard time with what would have happened if the Muslim-Protestant coalition had destroyed the Habsburgs. My guess is that we’d all be praying to Allah today, since the Habsburgs were the only force that ever prevented the Muslims from overrunning the rest of Europe. What actually happened back in 1626, though, was that over on the other side of his empire Murad suffered an embarrassing defeat against the Persians, and thus hastily withdrew his armies from the Protestant camp. The abandoned Protestants then surrendered without a fight, signing a treaty at Bratislava giving Ferdinand nearly everything he wanted.

Are Catholics getting ready to say ‘Yes’?

Ferdinand proceeded to squander his success, largely because the Jesuits persuaded him that his brilliant military commander wasn’t religious enough, but that’s another story. Today’s story is the travesty of Christians once again trying to ally with Muslims against a common enemy. When Cardinal Tauran gushes about the common “human and moral values” of Islam and Christianity, is he talking about polygamy? The Church prattles on until it’s blue in the face about marriage being between one man and one woman, yet is now delighted to ally with those who say no, it’s between one man and four women. Is he talking about genital mutilation? Al-Azhar, the Muslim equivalent of the Vatican, says it’s a critical part of Islam; when the Cardinal urges the rights of conscience to defy laws of the state, does he mean the anti-mutilation laws as well?Is he talking about evolution? The Catholic Church, unlike many Protestants, today acknowledges the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution. Islam most emphatically does not. Since this is all about cynical politics rather than moral principles, would the Church be willing to throw evolution over the side in order to cement a more perfect union against humanism with its Muslim allies?

For your sake and mine, let’s hope this latest Christian-Muslim joint venture turns out as poorly as the one back in 1626.

Related articles:

  1. Fischer: Only Difference Between Liberals and Terrorists Is That “So Far [Liberals] Haven’t Taken to Killing People”
  2. At Ralph Reed Confab, Obama Portrayed as Enemy of Faith and Freedom
  3. Confused critics: Are you ‘an enemy of what is good about America’?
  4. Religious Right Makes Michael Bloomberg Enemy Number One For His “Insult To God”
  5. Boykin: There Can Be No Interfaith Dialogue Between Muslims and Christians

Luis Granados is a Washington, DC attorney and a student of the scandals of religious history. His weekly God Experts blog relates a current headline or anniversary to a curious episode from the past. Someday, he will publish a book called Damned Good Company, a collection of stories of humanist heroes through the ages who bucked the prevailing God experts.

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