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Belmont Club

Francis

March 13th, 2013 - 2:27 pm

The verdict on Pope Francis I is already in. A left-wing posting site  notes in horror that a “priest on CBC says anti-gay pope who hid political prisoners on an island from human rights groups is ‘with the times,’”  that is to say Francis can’t be with the times. Another poster says, “worrying questions raised over Pope Francis and hiding of political prisoners from human rights commission,”  another way of saying  that Bergoglio was not on the “correct” side of the Argentinian civil war. The Guardian’s Hugh O’Shaughnessy puts the case more clearly and says that Francis now has a chance to make up for his “sins” in that conflict.

What one did not hear from any senior member of the Argentine hierarchy was any expression of regret for the church’s collaboration and in these crimes. The extent of the church’s complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina’s most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio’s name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment

One would have thought that the Argentine bishops would have seized the opportunity to call for pardon for themselves and put on sackcloth and ashes as the sentences were announced in Córdoba but that has not so far happened.

But that is to shade the truth. As a Wikileaks State Department cable points out, the Argentinian Roman Catholic clergy was divided also; they were chaplains to both sides in the de facto civil war.  And both sides committed atrocities. If apologies are in order, they are probably in order all around. Nevertheless  Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, was, according to the State Department cable, a political opponent of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Argentina.

(SBU) Von Wernich’s conviction and sentencing are a significant milestone in Argentina’s ongoing efforts to seek justice in the cases of major human rights violations from the 1970s. They also draw attention to the support given by Roman Catholic clergy to both sides in the Dirty War. Many on the political left allege the Church was complicit with atrocities committed by the state and believe the Church has failed to account or atone for its actions. As noted above, the Church has not yet disciplined nor defrocked Von Wernich but has sought to distance itself from the unauthorized, maverick operations of rogue priests. Nonetheless, at a time when some observers consider Roman Catholic primate Cardinal Bergoglio to be a leader of the opposition to the Kirchner administration because of his comments about social issues, the Von Wernich case could also have the effect, some believe, of undermining the Church’s (and, by extension, Cardinal Bergoglio’s) moral authority or capacity to comment on political, social or economic questions.

So in terms of the current context of Latin American politics, Bergoglio stands in a position analogous to that of John Paul II  in relationship to the politics of Eastern Europe.

He is in de facto opposition to the Left; on the wrong theological side, as far as the Guardian is concerned, of the “religious” — if that word can be used in an atheist context — debate.  In other words, he’s not a big fan of Chavez, Castro, or Kirchner.

The political divisions of the world — left wing vs right wing, sexual politics, abortions, etc — are all reflected by factions with the Roman Church and it is inevitable that the leader of the world’s Roman Catholics should be caught in the middle of things. What has shocked the Guardian is why  Francis — and not some left wing cardinal — is the new pontiff of the Roman Church.

In the Leftist narrative, Marxism and atheism, with their fellow-traveler belief systems like sexual politics and nature worship, are always the coming thing.  They are what the Church must become. Why then did the Roman Church — forever dying but never dead and increasingly Third World in character — not elect some gay-marriage friendly, left-wing, liberation-theology clergyman? God knows there are enough such candidates around.

It is because, as Walter Russell Mead points out, the liberation theologians and their adherents have weeded themselves out of the church. They have basically left the institution. What remains are those who are willing to sign up to the doctrine as it stands. The stats show that “liberation theology” is really the belief system of Catholic oldsters. The young Catholics are increasingly conservative; that is “traditional.”

As other blogs have noticed, support for female priests is at 72 percent among Catholics aged 45-64, but at 68 percent among those 18-44. Only 11 percent of older respondents oppose birth control, but that number ticks up to 15 percent among the young. Support for eliminating the requirement for priestly celibacy falls by a whopping 15 percent from the older to the younger generation. …

The reason younger respondents are more conservative than the Boomers is likely because the rise of the non-affiliated “nones” has picked off the more “liberal” Catholics among Gen Y. Boomers unhappy with the Church’s teachings often remain in the Church, but in the next generation those with more liberal instincts tend to leave the faith altogether.

In the coming decades, then, we’re likely to see a smaller, but more fervent Catholic Church. The “cultural Catholic” will increasingly become an endangered species. However, that smaller church will probably grow: Religious people have more kids, and people are drawn to communities that have strong beliefs.

The young are looking for a challenging faith, the faith of their fathers. They are not looking for a career in academia or social work.

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Top Rated Comments   
"Following an unrepentant Nazi"

That lie is getting old.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The classic conversion experience is finding that joy and love exist. Like most things the intellect prepares you for it, but it never takes you to that point.

Some people think you find this conversion within the Church. That the priest can teach it to you. But you can search high and low for it in the buildings and rituals and never once happen upon it.

It comes in glimpses and often appears in fullness when you least expect it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzhhFRqjF_o

Then you understand what the Church is: not a place of redemption but at best a crowd of those seeking it. You will never find it there, but the fact that you came looking, thinking it there meant that it would find you.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (59)
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Well, let's see... Why is the narrative not that Bergoglio rescued the political prisoners and agreed to put them on his private island in order to keep them from being killed? Isn't that the more likely scenario? Why is he not a noble Schindler, conspiring to save people in the midst of evil with his personal resources rather than a conspirator supporting the military dictatorship? Would the NGO really have been able to do anything other than puff themselves up to three times their actual size; have they ever?

And I understand that when the "other" side won he was banished to the hinderlands, where he worked among the most forgotten people in the country - and THAT is what led ultimately to his selection as the new Pope.

And as to what took down the dictatorship, credit is owed more to the RN, RAF and Paras in the Falklands, who proved that a military dictatorship was not much good if it could not even get the military part right - rather than the Church.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I had heard that Francis I is the first Jesuit to become Pope. Is that right?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Pope Francis does not become Pope Francis 1 until there is a Pope Francis 2.

For the moment he is Pope Francis.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Francis I is a revolutionary. He took a vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience. From all indications, he takes those vows seriously. That is his revolution.

Jesus Christ is the true revolutionary; Marxism, Coca-Cola, and Obama are merely corrupt imitations.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I remain convinced that "liberation theology" like "Green politics" were the two most brilliant examples of Gramsci agitprop to come from the Left. The KGB officer who dreamed up the concepts probably received the Order of Lenin.

The supreme tragedy of the Soviet Union was the two concepts were conceived about a decade too late. The Soviet Union had already imploded due to its own contradictions before the Gramsci agitprop could have significant impact.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think the endurance of that agitprop was enhacned by the demise of the USSR.

Without stark, daily evidence that the philosophy of Militant Mediocrity could cross thread a bowling ball despite - or because of - its wonderful Five Year Plans, today people can go on and on about the Worker's Paradise.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Socialism (Marxist-Leninism) is a form of heroin that nations become addicted to. Countries like Greece and/or cities like Detroit are analogs of the addicted homeless person begging for quarters so they can score one more hit. That's the future that awaits us if socialist demagogues like Obama are allowed to fulfill their political agenda.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The USSR is an example of the Walking Dead, a Zombie nation, in which long after death it still stumbles through the living, feasting, infecting, and leaving nothing but wreckage in its wake.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I am thankful for Pope Francis I. He seems like the correct response to the way the Church has been going...conservative and prayerful theology. It doesn't hurt that my Dad's and son's name are also Francis, or that I attend St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. ;)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Given the Left's historical tendency to slaughter priests and nuns when it gains power in a Catholic nation, is it all that surprising that a priest would take the side of the Right in Argentina?

Of course, the media imbeciles would never remind anyone of this. But taking just the Spanish Civil War, wiki tells us:

"a death toll of 13 bishops, 4,172 diocesan priests and seminarists, 2,364 monks and friars and 283 nuns, for a total of 6,832 clerical victims as part of what is referred to as Spain's Red Terror."

Yeah, sure. If I'm a priest, I want to side with those guys!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Church still calls out to the hearts of men not because the bends with every wind of fashion but because she preaches the glory of Christ crucified. The Left hastes Christ and the Church, as greifer notes, because they cannot co-opt the Magisterium. No totalitarian state can allow the voice of Truth to sound in their developing hell.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why was Marie Claude's post "reported?" I read it anyway, and it is innocuous.

Again, I have to say that I am not at all happy about this "new management" of PJM. Who are they? What is their agenda? Why do they not like PJM's users and audience?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
il y a des cons partout ;-)

a bet? this is going to be reported too !
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Sparklesalt,

this kind of interface seems to become generalised on all the blogs, at least the anglo-saxons blogs that I read, Daily Telegraph, the Economist, the american thinker... in France we get moderated, at least in the pro EU medias

It appears that Facebook is still free, until the siteowner decideds to ban you...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I suspect that you (and also Wretchard himself last post) got reported because somebody meant to click "Like" but accidentally hit "Report Abuse" by mistake. It's just another symptom of a poorly designed interface. I suspect we'll all be reported sooner or later.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Without any direct knowledge of what the PJ Media MiniTru guidelines are; I suspect that the combination of the "M****m" word, and the word "combat" was the trigger. Anything that implies that they might not be welcomed with open arms as they take over our civilization is ne kulturny and by definition racist to all politically correct institutions.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
--All that holds it together is memory and tradition: the White Tree in the courtyard — or in the Church’s case, the crucifix behind the altar.

No. The Holy Spirit holds it together.

It is not a memory or a nostalgia, it is the never ceasing love of God for His Son. This love is oured out, self giving, into the Church.

Pope Francis has changed much already. He will change more. Just as Benedict did, and JPII. The Church is always changing, ever becoming, closening itself to Christ. It is Christ who never changes.

The Left that hates the Pope does so because it hates Christ. It hates Christ because it is in league with the Devil. Many good people may be unaware that they are in league with him, but that is how it works.

The Church does not derive its strength from is values. It derives its values from its strength, that it is the vessel of the Holy Spirit on Earth, and the House of God.


Surely how else than the Holy Spirit can you explain the miracle of a humble, pro catechism Jesuit?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Finding that joy and love exist."

Indeed. It's the family in the Seventh Seal, not mourning but joyful as death engulfs them. The love across centuries in Doomsday Book, a scifi novel by a secular author who captures Catholicism at its purest.

I was thinking about Chaucer yesterday. The sheer joy and fecundity and community of the pilgrimage. When I was taught that bok in college, it was all smarmy comments by professors about lecheous monks and hypocricy. But something else shines through, at close reading. Look at the joy of the Wife of Bath. Look at a culture that is a seamless garment. There are seamless garments that are not prison houses or dystopic prison cells. We've forgotten that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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