Why Does the Pope Play the USA as Fool?
Blog of Jerry Slevin, a lifelong Catholic believer and a retired Wall Street lawyer
The Pope continually treats the USA as a “damned fool”. And why not? From President Obama on down to Catholic leaders like Joe Biden, Leon Panetta, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, the Pope and his subservient hierarchy in the USA get a pass almost no matter how badly Catholics and even political leaders are treated. Meanwhile, the Prime Ministers of Australia and Ireland on behalf of their citizens properly and publicly challenge the Pope, who then reacts to their fair demands. Listen up, please, Mr. President!
How does Pope Benedict XVI treat the USA as a fool and why does the USA permit this, you may fairly ask? Here is how and why. I will tell you. Now President Obama in his new term must stand up to the monarchical Pope and his subservient U.S. hierarchy, at least for the sake of defenseless children in the USA. Enough with the President’s fawning laughter at Cardinal Dolan’s bad humor and with Leon Panetta kissing the Pope’s ring, as he just did publicly. The President won re-election, despite the Pope’s major effort to prevent that. It is time, in the name of religious liberty, for President Obama to help Catholics protect their children from Vatican tyranny and the horrors it visits on innocent U.S. children.
The Pope treats the USA as a fool by his interference is internal U.S. political elections and decisions and in his protection of too many priests who continue to sexually abuse U.S. children. For additional information on the political interference and child abuse cover-ups, please see my, “Will The Next Pope Be the Vatican’s Last Pope?”, accessible by clicking on the heading at the top here or clicking on to: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-cT
The President must also set up promptly a national investigation commission into child sexual abuse in organizational settings, like Australia’s PM, Julia Gillard, has just done and Ireland’s PM, Enda Kenny, also did. Local states and counties in the USA have failed, and will continue to fail, at adequately protecting defenseless children from priest predators, and they have failed for over a half century now.
The Boston, LA, Philly and Kansas City dioceses’ priest abuse scandals overwhelmingly prove this failure. In the USA alone, Vatican experts estimate over 100,000 child victims of priest sexual abuse so far. Many of these innocent victims are shunned by the Catholic hierarchy and very often have to depend on governmental assistance to survive. Meanwhile, the hierarchy spends hundreds of millions of dollars on lawyers to make sure bishops are not held accountable.
If, as expected, the President appoints Denis McDonough, as his new Chief of Staff, Denis will need to understand, as I expect he will, that the President’s duty is to protect all U.S. children both from sexual predators, as well as from armed madmen, in organizational settings like churches and schools. This is especially important now because Denis’ brother is reportedly a Catholic hierarchy member who had been involved extensively in overseeing canonical legal matters relating to numerous alleged predatory priest cases in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis where Denis grew up.
Of course, Denis cannot and presumably will not expect that President Obama would play favorites when defenseless children’s safety is at stake. Denis is reportedly a proud father of three young children and will surely concur with President Obama here, notwithstanding what any of his relatives’ views may be if in any way contrary. In any event, President Obama must make this clear to Denis.
The current Chief of Staff, Jack Lew, an Orthodox Jew, recently made this very clear publicly to Jewish educational leaders in New York. Denis, if appointed, should consider following Jack’s lead and also consider making a strong public statement to Catholic leaders to remove all doubts.
President Obama must soon also appoint, as the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, a person without disqualifying prior ties to the U.S. bishops. For further explanation of why this is so important, please read my, “Obama’s Next Ambassador and Pressing the Next Pope”, accessible by clicking on the heading on the top here or clicking on at: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-cH
Please post all or parts of these statements, or links to them, everywhere you consider appropriate. Thank you.
Why President Obama Must Read the Latest “LA Confidential”
Blog of Jerry Slevin, a lifelong Catholic believer and a retired Wall Street lawyer
If it wasn’t already clear to fair minded people, the judicially ordered release of the Los Angeles Archdiocesan secret, at times obscene, priest abuse files, after years of stonewalling by Cardinal Mahony, just makes clear once again how the U.S. Catholic hierarchy flouts laws and treats easily managed local criminal justice officials as complete morons. And the hierarchy so far has gotten away with it.
Recently, experts at the Vatican conference on priest abuse of children reportedly estimated that so far over 100,000 children in the USA alone have been sexually abused by priests. Yet to date not a single U.S. bishop has been held criminally responsible for the crimes the LA files confirm once again the Catholic hierarchy routinely facilitates. With declining numbers of domestic priests, and women and married men needlessly excluded from the potential priest pool, more sexual deviates will likely be ordained needlessly and more predators will likely be retained criminally. It’s just arithmetic, you know! Priests are paid little, but generate per capita considerable revenues for the well fed Catholic hierarchy.
The LA files, like the Boston, Philly, Milwaukee, and many other U.S. dioceses’ previously released secret files, make clear, this is no coincidence. Rather it appears clearly to be a worldwide personnel policy orchestrated from the Vatican that is clearly anti-children.
What is holding up President Obama? Why doesn’t he step up here? Please see my statement, “Why Does the Pope Play the USA as a Fool”, accessible at: http://wp.me/P2YEZ3-ey
Please also watch the upcoming award winning HBO documentary, “Mea Maxima Culpa”, beginning airing on Feb. 4. It recounts the obscene story of over 200 deaf boys allegedly sexually abused by a single Milwaukee priest, while local law enforcement and Catholic hierarchical officials failed to act over several decades. A Milwaukee Federal bankruptcy judge just reversed then Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s shameful earlier attempt apparently to deny Milwaukee abuse survivors financial relief by trying to transfer $55 million of diocesan funds to a cemetery trust beyond the legal reach of the abuse survivors.
Again, what are you waiting for, President Obama?
A Catholic’s Easter lament: Dogmatic, tone-deaf bishops
By JOEL CONNELLY, SEATTLEPI.COM
Published 04:00 p.m., Saturday, April 7, 2012
A painful truism of this Holy Week, Christianity’s most important days of the year: Moral leadership in America’s Catholic Church is starting to flow from lay persons in pews and priests who deal with human problems, not prelates on thrones wearing white, red and purple hats.
Just look around to events from Rome to Berlin, and from Worcester, Mass., to Seattle.
In the Archdiocese of Seattle, our bishops issued a letter saying parishes will become signature-gathering centers for Referendum 74, a ballot measure designed to roll back same-sex marriage. But the state’s marriage equality law was sponsored by a Catholic state senator and signed into law by a Catholic governor.
Archbishop Sartain and Bishop Elizondo talk about treating all persons with “respect, sensitivity and love,” but then urge support for a campaign put together by the National Organization for Marriage — an outfit that wants to “drive a wedge” between blacks and gays, “sideswipe” President Obama and make opposition to marriage equality “an identity marker” for young Latinos.
A Q-and-A, just put out by the Washington State Catholic Conference, tells the faithful: “The Catechism of the Catholic Church does teach that homosexual ACTS are intrinsically disordered, not persons.”
A question to Archbishop Sartain, who does not seem to want to take questions: How do I, as a layperson, treat my friends who are gay and lesbian?
When with a telltale, sheepish grin a friend says he/she is seriously in love, my standard refrain is along the lines, “Why you lucky dog! Have you kids set a date?” Friends take pleasure in other friends’ happiness.
What’s, then, the approved party line for gay friends in love? a) Sorry, the church says what you are doing is “disordered,” or b) I love you as a sinner but I hate your sins, or c) My bishops have written: “For all unmarried persons, chastity means that they refrain from sexual relations.”
Do purple skullcaps dull the mind? The Jesus of the Gospels preaches human decency, not dogma. Life experience teaches us that the essence of marriage is the same whether people are straight or gay. Two people affirm their love and make a commitment to each other. Lots of gay and lesbian couples are raising children: Should they be denied the right to raise those children as legally married couples?
Catholic governors in Washington, Maryland, New York and California have not submitted to church dogma, or the hierarchy’s convoluted reasoning. And a vast majority of young people — including Catholic young people — want the happiness of friends whatever their age or race or sexual preference.
The hierarchy is tone deaf in many ways and places, be it in heavy-handed attacks on contraception coverage in health insurance or cruel treatment of Catholics who are not docile and do not submit to discipline.
A small Catholic college in Massachusetts was forced during Holy Week to rescind its invitation to Vicki Kennedy, widow of Sen. Edward Kennedy, to be this year’s graduation speaker. She was to speak as co-founder and president of the group Common Sense About Kids and Guns.
The order came from Worcester Bishop Robert McManus, whose spokesman told National Catholic Reporter that McManus acted because of Kennedy’s “positions on pro-choice versus pro-life and the sanctity of marriage.”
What a cruel, vindictive action, and what a reflection on the kind of men running the church.
“I am a lifelong Catholic and my faith is very important to me,” Kennedy said. “I am not a public official. I hold no public office, nor am I a candidate for public office. I have not met Bishop McManus nor has he been willing to meet with me to discuss his objections. He has not consulted with my pastor to learn more about me or my faith.”
The bishops don’t learn. They may think of themselves a shepherds, but America’s Catholics are not sheep. They may not consult people in the pews — or meet with those, like Kennedy, that they are judging — but laypersons (and many priests) are consulting their consciences.
A key lesson: Moral authority is earned. It is not simply acquired when a bishop/cardinal/Pope is installed. The American (and Irish, and Dutch, and Belgian , etc.) hierarchy has forfeited a lot of that authority through its handling of the priest sex-abuse scandal.
The despair is mitigated by the good works and wise words from those in the pews.
As Pope Benedict XVI used a Holy Thursday sermon to tell priests to obey orders, Medina, Wash., lay Catholic Melinda Gates was speaking from conscience about contraception at a conference in Berlin.
Contraceptives are not a code for abortion, she said, nor an invitation to promiscuous sex. “We are talking about giving women the power to save their own lives and their children’s lives — and to give their families the best possible future,” said Gates, talking of the need for birth control in the developing world.
Gates discussed the instruction in faith she received from sisters in a Catholic high school: “In the tradition of great Catholic scholars, the nuns also taught us to question received teachings. One of the teachings most of my classmates and I questioned was the one saying birth control was a sin.”
She didn’t question lessons on service, and giving back, and social justice, worthy grounding for the future co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The bishops will just have to deal with conscience-driven Catholics. In fact, they could listen and learn.