Monday, March 29, 2010

Pope Won’t Be “Intimidated” by “Gossip”

As the New York Times reported this morning, the Pope did not directly address the pedophile scandal in his Palm Sunday message yesterday. Pope Ratz said, “Jesus leads us toward the courage not to be intimidated by the gossip of dominant opinion.” I can’t imagine how Pope Ratz arrived at that interpretation of Jesus’s message as it relates to the mess Ratz has made for himself. But surely, even a spineless, pedophile-enabler such as Pope Ratz would not equate his recent richly-deserved humiliation over facts that have been uncovered, with the intimidation and crucifixion of Jesus. And surely, Pope Ratz could not have been referring to the teaching of Jesus in “The Sermon on the Mount” about “turning the other cheek” as related in the Bible in Matthew and Luke. Because the passage in Luke ends with “Do to others as you would have them do to you”, and that is a teaching Pope Ratz rarely has adhered to. The very idea that Pope Ratz would relegate all the facts that are being released about his culpability in the pedophile priests scandal to the category of “gossip” which he is not going to be “intimidated” by, shows how little the Vatican and the Pope care about the children who have been harmed by their inaction, obfuscation, lying and yes, about their intimidation of others. The Vatican’s position, as well as the Pope’s position on pedophile priests is indefensible. The Vatican told Father Brady in Ireland to force a 10-year old and a 14-year-old to sign secrecy oaths about being molested. The Vatican was wrong. Psychiatrist Dr. Werner Huth told the Vatican in 1980 that Father Hullermann could not ever be trusted around children. The Vatican let Hullermann minister to children for decades. The Vatican was wrong. No matter how it backs and fills and reinvents history and defends itself, the Vatican was wrong. And the world needs to hear the Vatican admit it was wrong. If the Pope as Archbishop and as Cardinal did not know what was going on in his diocese, it’s no excuse...he should have known. If he gave a damn about children as much as he cared about doctrine and dogma, he would have known. Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger was wrong. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was wrong. Pope Benedict XVI is wrong. The Vatican has been wrong and is wrong and there is no getting around it. Today, NYT columnist Ross Douthat says that Pope Ratz may have been wrong about the first charge against him (that he allowed a pedophile priest to return to ministry while archbishop of Munich in 1980); but the second charge is unfair. The second charge was about Father Rembert Weakland in Milwaukee and it was about a case 20 years after the last allegation of abuse. That’s bogus. The Vatican, the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, the pedophile priests have all been unfair to the children in the Roman Catholic faith. Get a grip, you RCC apologists! We’re talking children here. We’re talking about priests forcing children to engage in sex acts. We’re talking about the Vatican hiding all this stuff for decades! You want unfair? While the Pope dissembles and talks about not being intimidated, he should think about the two boys in Ireland who were forced by the Vatican to sign an agreement that they would not rat out the Roman Catholic Church. How’s that for unfair and intimidating? What do you suppose Jesus would think about that, Pope Ratz?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Make No Mistake...GOP Rage is About RACE

This morning’s Op/Ed column by Frank Rich is headlined: “The Rage Is Not About Health Care”. And after chronicling and chapter-and-versing the obstructionist ways the conservative GOP assholes have reacted to every move the United States has made to stamp out racism, Frank Rich wrote: “After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence. The arch-segregationist Russell of Georgia, concerned about what might happen in his own backyard, declared flatly that the law is ‘now on the books.’ Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now. Last week McCain even endorsed Palin’s ‘reload’ rhetoric.” We have a black President and we have a Hispanic Latina in the Supreme Court. And the ultra-conservative branch of the Republican Party—THE TEA PARTY—is foaming from its mean, ignorant, KKK-based, death-breath mouth. The current stupidity coming out of Palin, Perry and Boehner is hate-based racism, pure and simple. This group is fomenting racist hatred and inciting violence from morons who throw bricks. As I see it, the recourse is for normal, sane, balanced, thinking Americans to call out these idiots in every media venue available. Only 20% of the people in the United States want to be linked with racists. We need to let the media know that. And the media needs to call a halt on its lily-livered cowardly non-response response to the racist Tea Party. The media needs to let the Tea Party know the United States of America wants no part of Tea Party bigotry.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Vatican Attacking Truthtellers Not a Good Plan

The New York Times had two articles today on the pedophile scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. Rachel Donadio reported in her article (“Pope May Be at Crossroads on Abuse, Forced to Reconcile Policy and Words”) that yesterday an unsigned editorial in the Vatican newspaper (“L’Osservatore Romano”) “criticized The Times for an article published Thursday on the abuse issue. The Italian editorial said that Benedict had always handled such cases with ‘transparency, purpose and severity,’ and accused the news media of acting ‘with the clear and ignoble intent of trying to strike Benedict and his closest collaborators at any cost.’” In view of the fact that Archbishop/Cardinal/Pope Ratzinger has NEVER handled abuse cases with transparency, and in view of the fact that the news media is simply telling the truth (which truth, is now available via documents that lawyers have released), it’s beyond stupid for the Vatican to claim people are trying to discredit Pope Benedict XVI. And by beyond stupid, I mean: Desperate and idiotic. I am currently reading a book by James Lee Burke, an author I love in the mystery genre. The book is “The Tin Roof Blowdown”. Burke’s protagonist, Dave Robicheaux, lives is New Iberia, LA. This book is not only about murder and mayhem in Robicheaux’s parish, but it’s about Katrina and the woeful response by our government, then ruled by so-called president, George W. Bush. In the book, there is a black priest named Jude LeBlanc, who is dying of cancer. Father LeBlanc is a junkie because of his pain. He lives with and sleeps with his girlfriend who is a prostitute and a junkie. Still, the priest gives communion and absolution to sinners who ask for it, and he gives aid and comfort to whomever he can--once a priest, always a priest. I mention this only to say that I believe that if a priest such as Jude LeBlanc exists, he is more morally correct and in tune with God and the precepts of Jesus Christ than Pope Benedict XVI.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yeah, I Know...Old News...Pope Ratz Is Fallible

This morning, the New York Times treated us with two stories about the pedophile priest scandal plus an editorial for good measure. 1) “Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys” by Laurie Goodstein; 2) "Abuse Scandal’s Ripples Spread Across Europe” by Katrin Bennhold, Nicholas Kulish and Rachel Donadio; 3) Editorial: “The Pope and Pedophilia Scandal”. So now that everyone knows that the Roman Catholic Church has been actively trying to keep all this pedophilia a secret, now that we know the RCC has been more interested in protecting its own corrupt ass than keeping children from harm, and now that we know all the high mahoffs in the Vatican, right up to the present pope, have been protecting pedophile priests and throwing the abused kids under a bus, we are left with two interesting issues: 1) Why are so many RCC priests pedophiles? 2) What is the Doctrine of Infallibility? Numero Uno: As you may imagine, I have my own theory. Many men who are attracted to the priesthood in the RCC are stunted in their emotional growth. Pedophiles are at least 85% heterosexual and researchers say the emotional development of many pedophiles is arrested. Ergo, with all that arrested development running around in the Roman Catholic Church, you are going to find a lot of pedophiles in the RCC. And, let me say, it’s not the requirement that RCC priests be celibate that is the problem. It’s the guys who are attracted to that kind of life that is the problem. Numero Duo: The Doctrine of Infallibility Okay. The RCC says that the Holy Spirit part of the Trinity would not allow the church to be wrong in its beliefs or teaching. Therefore, the teaching of the RCC is infallible. And not only that, when the Pope teaches with the authority of being the Pope (ex-cathedra), he also cannot be wrong. And when a pope is found to be wrong, then he simply was not speaking or teaching ex-cathedra. Now here is why all of that is bullshit. Everything in the Bible, everything taught in every church anywhere has been written and/or taught by a human being. All teachings taught are taught by human beings who err all the time. And just because a human being says, “God told me”, does not make it necessarily true that it came from God. And just because a human being says, “this is a perfect teaching that God himself handed down to me” does not necessarily make it true. The human being could be crazy as a loon. We all can take whatever we want on faith that it is a true teaching of God. But since all religious teachings have been handed down by a human being, we really don’t know if it is a true teaching of God or not. And that is why no human being can say for sure that a teaching is from God and therefore is infallible. It may be a teaching from God, or it may be a lie some guy is telling, or it may be a nutty vision. But since we are human beings, not one of us knows for sure. Not you, not me, not the guys at the Vatican Council in 1870 who defined the infallibility of the Pope, and certainly not the Pope. So believe what you like. But for sure, no one in the God-business has a pipeline to God. God-business guys are flawed human beings like the rest of us. And no religious teaching is infallible because all of it has been reported by a human being, and you know how reporters are.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Now It’s Nuns

This must be historic. To my knowledge, this is the first time that nuns have been officially accused of sexual abuse. While Pope Ratz is dividing his time between accusing others of his crimes and apologizing for all the crimes those others have committed, pedophile priest abuse scandals are popping up all over. Not the least of which are the claims of sexual abuse in the Regensburg Diocese in Bavaria. This morning, the New York Times reported: “The claims of sexual abuse in Regensburg have attracted particular attention because the brother of Pope Benedict XVI, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, directed a choir there from 1964 to 1994, raising questions about whether he would have known about sexual abuse at a school linked to the choir. Monsignor Ratzinger has said that he knew nothing about the sexual abuse, and he apologized for slapping students during his tenure.” Later on in the NYT news story, the Regensburg Diocese spokesman, Clemens Neck, was quoted. Neck said that in addition to the accusations against four priests and two nuns, other victims had come forward with accusations against men who had since died. Mr. Neck said both of the accused nuns have dementia. Lucky for them. So we’ve got Pope Ratz’s brother slapping kids around in his choir, four priests and two nuns molesting kids in his diocese, and neither Brother Ratz nor Pope Ratz knew anything about it. You believe that, I’ve got a worthless newspaper in Philadelphia run by a worthless public relations blowhard I’d like to sell you.

Monday, March 22, 2010

“Pope Does Little to Assuage Irish Anger”-NYT

No kidding! What a surprise! The New York Times headline this morning says it all. The Pope’s letter to Catholics in Ireland who have been abused by pedophile priests was a bust. Why? Because Pope Ratz didn’t call anyone to account. He simply pointed his finger of blame at everyone except himself and said everyone, from bishops to priests, was “sinful and criminal” and then he asked Jesus to forgive them. Ireland isn’t buying it. So when is Pope Ratz going to go before the world and finally admit, “It is I, Lord. I am to blame for the pain and suffering in the world caused by pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church”? Probably when hell freezes over. However, if what the Bible has been saying about sinners and particularly those who do harm to little children is true, then Pope Ratz will be in hell when it freezes over, and he will be there with all the other lying, immoral, unethical, greedy, gluttonous blaspheming Popes since 500 AD.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How Do You Solve a Problem Like the Pope?

Pope Benedict XVI has pointed the finger of blame at everyone but himself in this priest abuse scandal. And it becomes clearer every moment that it’s Archbishop/Cardinal/Pope Ratzinger who is to blame for every child who has been molested by pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church for the past 30 years. For thirty years, the decisions, rules and requirements for secrecy ordered by Ratzinger to be followed by all priests regarding pedophile priests in the RCC have allowed pedophile priests to continue in their criminal perversions. Yesterday, Pope Ratz sent an eight-page pastoral letter to Catholics in Ireland. He apologized to the people who have been harmed by pedophile priests. But he did not accept any blame for his own actions. And he didn’t address the problem of pedophile priests that is burgeoning in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. Pope Ratz confined his apologies to people who had been harmed by pedophile priests in Ireland. In that eight-page letter, Ratz criticized bishops for “grave errors of judgment and failure of leadership”; Ratz blamed local Catholic leaders for betraying parishioners; he spoke of “a well-intentioned but misguided tendency to avoid penal approaches to canonically irregular situations”; he even had the balls to attribute Ireland’s priest-abuse problem to “a misplaced concern for the reputation of the church and the avoidance of scandal, resulting in failure to apply existing canonical penalties.” But he never once admitted that it was he himself that had committed each of these errors. He blamed underlings. Pope Ratz's culpability is a fact that can be researched and verified by anyone who wants the information. Now that everyone in the world can search out this information for himself and confirm that Pope Benedict XVI is the perpetrator of all the errors of judgment and failures in the Roman Catholic Church for the past 30 years that have lead to this horrendous betrayal by the church of the children and their parents in the RCC, it is a monumental problem for the Vatican (the city-state in Rome that runs the Roman Catholic Church) and all of the Pope’s henchmen in the Curia (the administrative apparatus of the Vatican). How is the Vatican and Curia going to handle this Pope Benedict problem? Don’t for one moment assume the Vatican will ask, “what would Jesus do?” Because Jesus--as a model for righteous behavior--has not been a consideration in the Vatican since well before Popes took up their regal residence in the Vatican palace around 500 AD. The Vatican has only ever been concerned with power and image. It’s the Vatican, after all, that in all its arrogance and grandiosity decided unilaterally in 1870 that popes are infallible. A more perfect example of nonsense and balderdash never existed. The better question would be--how would the Cosa Nostra handle such a serious problem with its Capo di Tutti Capi? Just asking...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pope Ratz Doesn’t Give a Damn About Children

Given the facts that are now emerging about priest abuse in Germany in 1980, one can only conclude that then-Archbishop Ratzinger (who became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005) knew about the abuse of children being committed by Father Peter Hullermann and didn’t care. Or, after he sent pedophile priest Peter Hulllermann into therapy he didn’t keep apprised about the Hullermann case because he didn’t care. It’s one way or the other. But Pope Ratz didn’t care about children being abused. He cared only about the image of the Roman Catholic Church. The New York Times reported today (“Church Was Warned About Priest, Doctor Says”): “The German archdiocese led by the future Pope Benedict XVI ignored repeated warnings in the early 1980s by a psychiatrist treating a priest accused of sexually abusing boys that he should not be allowed to work with children, the psychiatrist said Thursday. ‘I said, ‘For God’s sake, he desperately has to be kept away from working with children,’ the psychiatrist, Dr. Werner Huth, said in a telephone interview from Munich. ‘I was very unhappy about the entire story.’ “Dr. Huth said he was concerned enough that he set three conditions for treating the priest, the Rev. Peter Hullermann: that he stay away from young people and alcohol and be supervised by another priest at all times. “Dr. Huth said he issued the explicit warnings — both written and oral — before the future pope, then Joseph Ratzinger, archbishop of Munich and Freising, left Germany for a position in the Vatican in 1982. “In 1980, after abuse complaints from parents in Essen that the priest did not deny, Archbishop Ratzinger approved a decision to move the priest to Munich for therapy. “Despite the psychiatrist’s warnings, Father Hullermann was allowed to return to parish work almost immediately after his therapy began, interacting with children as well as adults. Less than five years later, he was accused of molesting other boys, and in 1986 he was convicted of sexual abuse in Bavaria.” Hullermann returned to his priestly duties, which included working with children, while he was in therapy, the NYT said. He refused one-on-one therapy and consented only to be involved in group-sessions. It was reported that Hullermann was not highly motivated to change his ways and only sat in therapy sessions to ensure that he would not be sent packing from the RCC. The Vatican is now claiming that Archbishop Ratzinger was not kept in the loop, so he didn’t know Hullermann kept abusing children after Hullermann’s so-called therapy. That doesn’t fly. In 1982, as Cardinal Ratz, Ratzinger made himself head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Ratzinger himself turned over all authority for handling abuse cases to the congregation. It was this organization that kept all matters concerning pedophile priests secret--at the direction of Cardinal Ratzinger. Pope Ratz cannot have it both ways. Either he knew about the abuse and didn’t care about the children, or he didn’t know about the abuse because he didn’t care about the children. Since it has been highly documented that as Pope John Paul II’s Enforcer, Cardinal Ratzinger was a hands-on control freak, there is no doubt that he knew all about Hullermann’s criminal activities with children. And he knew all about Dr. Huth’s recommendations. His response was to ignore the warnings and to keep reports about pedophile priests secret. The NYT also reported: “The former vicar general of the Munich archdiocese did not respond to repeated attempts to contact him for comment at home. Phone calls to the archdiocese for reaction on Thursday night were not answered. On Wednesday, speaking generally about the question of Father Hullermann’s therapy, a spokesman at the archdiocese, Bernd Oostenryck, said, ‘Thirty years ago, the subject was treated very differently in society.’” It may be true that in podunk communities around the world the subject of pedophilia was treated differently thirty years ago. But obviously, from what Dr. Huth told the New York Times, the Vatican was told by a psychiatrist thirty years ago exactly what the Vatican would be told today: you cannot let a pedophile near children under any circumstances EVER. But the Vatican, at the direction of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, ignored it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

And That’s the Problem, Cardinal Brady

Yesterday, Cardinal Sean Brady of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland unintentionally addressed the crux of the problem of child molesters in the RCC. Brady issued an apology in Dublin for the way he handled accusations of child abuse decades ago. He said he was “ashamed” that he took part in forcing boys to sign secrecy oaths about a priest who had abused them. However, Brady said, “We had no guidance. We were in uncharted territory, and now we have higher standards, thankfully.” There you have it: THE PROBLEM! That a priest or an archbishop or a cardinal or a pope or ANYONE would feel he needs written guidance as to what his response should be when a ten-year-old is molested by a priest, is a horrendous indictment of the Roman Catholic Church. That a priest would actually force a ten-year-old to sign an oath of secrecy about being molested by another priest is unbelievable. That the Roman Catholic Church would approve of such behavior at any point in time, whether now or twenty or a thousand years ago, is a horrible condemnation of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Brady said he was “not a manager and not a bishop” at the time he participated in forcing the ten-year-old to the oath of secrecy. Like that absolves him from responsibility? That is disgusting. And the Roman Catholic Church is defending its policy of keeping mum about pedophile priests by claiming that it helps to protect the victims. NO! IT DOES NOT! AND IT NEVER DID! The policy of the RCC regarding keeping pedophile priest abuses a secret has always and ONLY protected the priests and the church. Oh! And another thing. The New York Times reports today: “Some Irish church officials have said the problem has been deepened by confusion over the interpretation of a 2001 directive by (Pope) Benedict, then a cardinal, reiterating a strict requirement for secrecy in handling abuse cases. The directive also gave the authority in handling such cases to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Benedict was prefect of the congregation from 1982 until becoming pope in 2005.” So, when Pope Ratz was Archbishop Ratz, he not only moved pedophile priest Peter Hullermann around in Germany from Diocese to Diocese to keep Hullermann’s molesting crimes secret, but when Cardinal Ratz became "The Enforcer" for Pope John Paul II, Ratz turned over the authority for handling abuse cases to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which he himself ruled with an iron hand. Is there any doubt about Pope Ratz’s profound, deep and long-standing involvement in protecting and shielding pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church? Not by me!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pope Mouthpiece Parses Word “Responsibility”

It’s fitting that today-- St. Patrick’s Day--Pope Benedict XVI focused his weekly audience on Ireland’s priest-abuse scandal. The Pope’s comments to Ireland came a day after the Vatican acknowledged Germany’s priest-abuse scandal. The Pope said he “hoped” a forthcoming letter--which in part deals with Ireland’s priest abuse problem--would help “repentance, healing and renewal”. Good luck with that Pope Ratz, since you are the one who moved around a buggering priest in Germany and allowed him to force hundreds of young boys to service him sexually for 30 years. The facts that are coming to light about priest abuse in Germany and the then-Archbishop Ratzinger’s culpability are bad enough. But now, Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s internal prosecutor, is dissembling about what the word “responsibility” means as far as Ratz is concerned. And even though Archbishop Ratzinger was THE GUY who approved of moving pedophile priest Peter Hullerman from Essen to Munich and knew Hullermann was active in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany for 30 years, yesterday the Vatican forced an auxiliary bishop to take the fall for now-Pope Benedict. That is so ugly. The New York Times reported this morning that Monsignor Scicluna said, “It depends what you mean by responsible. If he was involved in the decision, he would be. If he was not involved, it’s a responsibility that comes from his office, a ‘the buck stops here’ sort of thing.’ But I think that the person concerned has already taken responsibility for what he did; the answer to that question has already been given.” Oh for God’s sake! The Pope and his lawyers are total unrepentant weasels! I gagged when Andrew Young took the fall for John Edwards and said he was the father of Rielle Hunter’s baby. (At least Young finally told the truth.) But for the Pope to have his mouthpiece parse the word responsible and then for the Vatican to make an underling falsely confess...PULLEEZE!!!! I will now discharge my bounden duty to be The Reminder. Remember that all the problems the US and the world are facing today is because of crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration. And remember that the office of Pope has a woeful track recorder. In the past, Popes have committed murder, Popes have had all manner of sex in the Vatican, Popes have been engaged in money laundering for the Mafia, and a Pope was a Nazi-sympathizer. Look it up for yourselves. There is no more reason to expect ethical behavior from a Pope than to expect ethical behavior from Karl Rove.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pope Ratz Personally Hid Molester’s Abuses

Oh this is a fine howdoyoudo! It turns out that Archbishop/Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was the one who allowed Father Hullermann of the Archdiocese of Essen to be transferred to the Archdiocese of Munich. So, not only did Pope Ratz know about the abuse, the New York Times reported today that it was Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger who reviewed the case of accused molester Father Hullermann and Ratzinger personally allowed Hullermann to transfer from the Diocese of Essen to the Diocese of Munich and continue molesting boys. One of the charges against Hullermann in Essen was that he forced an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex. And now after 30 years of abusing boys and after hundreds of victims have come forward, the priest, Peter Hullermann, as of yesterday has finally been suspended from his priestly duties. From the NYT article, the level of ignorance in the Roman Catholic Church about pedophilia is stunning. People were quoted as saying Hullermann was down to earth and popular, that he was “loving and appropriate” with children, that “if we can no longer believe in forgiving sins, we might as well close the whole store.” It’s not about whether Father Peter Hullermann seemed sweet and kind, it’s not about forgiving sins. It’s about the fact that a pedophile cannot be cured. A pedophile can NEVER be around children. It’s about the fact that after being convicted of sexually abusing minors in 1986, this priest was given an 18-month suspended sentence with five years of probation, fined 4,000 marks and was returned to priestly duties with no oversight whatsoever regarding his working with children. And the person who allowed this man to abuse children for 30 years is Pope Benedict XVI. It’s impossible to find an analogous situation to explain to people what returning pedophiles to priestly duties with children is like. Because it’s like nothing else. It’s not like hiring a convicted bank-robber to work in a bank, because no bank would hire a convicted bank-robber and besides he wouldn’t be harming children. It’s not like hiring a recovering alcoholic to tend bar, because some can do it successfully and besides, they wouldn’t be harming children. When the Roman Catholic Church knowingly allows pedophile priests to continue to work in the church with children, the church has also committed the crime. The church is aiding and abetting. The church is a criminal. And let us be clear, pedophilia has nothing whatsoever to do with homosexuality. If a pedophile is also homosexual, it’s a coincidence because 85% of pedophiles are straight. What is mind-boggling about this case and the Pope is that Pope Benedict is adamant about homosexuality in the church--it is not to be tolerated, although it harms no one. And yet pedophile priests who cause lifelong injury and harm to children are coddled and protected by this Pope.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pope Ratz and Brother Ratz

When the now-Pope Benedict XVI was just lowly Cardinal Ratzinger—better known as Pope John Paul II’s Enforcer--he said that the buggering of little boys in the Roman Catholic Church was “an American problem”. Now it turns out that Cardinal Ratz not only allowed a buggering priest in his Archdiocese in Munich in 1980 to return to pastoral duties after a period of bogus therapy but the offending priest went on to commit further abuses. AND Pope Ratz’s brother Ratz, Msgr. Georg Ratsinger was slapping kids around in a choir he directed in a German boarding school from 1964 to 1994. Not only that, two students in that boarding school have come forward with abuse claims. On Friday, the New York Times reported: “Experts said the scandals could undermine Benedict’s moral authority, especially because they cut particularly close to the pope himself. As head of the Vatican’s main doctrinal arm, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he led Vatican investigations into abuse for 4 years before assuming the papacy in 2005. “What is at stake, and at great risk, is Benedict’s central project for the ‘re-Christianization’ of Christendom, his desire to have Europe return to its Christian roots,” said David Gibson, the author of a biography of Benedict and a religion commentator for ‘But if the root itself is seen as rotten, then his influence will be badly compromised.’” So much for abuse in the RCC being an American problem. The NYT also said, “The scandal is not limited to Germany. This week, two dioceses in Austria suspended five priests pending investigations into allegations they had molested students. The church in the Netherlands has said it would open an investigation after more than 200 people came forward in recent weeks.” The Pope’s apologists are saying, of course, that he didn’t know any of this was going on. NONSENSE! As John Paul’s Enforcer, Ratz knew EVERYTHING about JPII's realm and dynasty. And JPII knew all about the abuse and molesting going on in churches and church schools around the world. What I don’t understand is why these big-time moral authority guys (read, all the Popes) can’t man-up and admit when they are wrong or when they’ve made major bad decisions. Popes, without exception, weasel out. Naturally, Pope Ratz has put JPII up for sainthood. When I hear of these guys in the God-business who have made huge moral mistakes being beatified and canonized, I always think of Livia in “I Claudius” (so wonderfully played by Sian Phillips) begging to be made a goddess, after all her shenanigans, murders, and nasty double-dealing. It's as though they believe, as Livia did, that if they can sit on Mount Olympus they won't have to face up to Judgment Day.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Truth About Scientology...Again

Simple logic makes it difficult for many of us to believe in religions that are under 200 years old. And yet, Mormon founder con-artist Joseph Smith bamboozled enough people in 1826 to believe in a religion brought to him by an angel named Moroni, that today Mormons are still finding plenty of new converts. Whether the angel took those gold plates back to a realm far-far away named Moron, is not known. And nutcase Escriva de Balaguer of Spain started the Roman Catholic cult Opus Dei in 1928. It had strange practices including daily mortification with a whip and the requirement that devotees turn over all their worldly goods and assets to the cult. By the 1990’s word was leaking out about intimidation, forced labor, and Opus Dei members being kept prisoner. Nevermind, Pope John Paul II had Balaguer canonized in 2002. In 1954, Sci-Fi writer, L. Ron Hubbard cynically started a cult called Scientology which he later admitted was a hoax. And although exposes are routinely mounted regarding this religion, the warnings seemingly are never heeded. Hubbard was so crafty that he said he had in fact started Scientology to bilk the gullible, but then, to his amazement, all of his writings turned out to be the truth. In 1982, L. Ron’s son, L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., was interviewed on “20/20” telling horror stories about Scientology and his admitted role in its heinous practices. And in June of 1983, “Penthouse” magazine printed a 9000-word interview with Hubbard, Jr. about the inner workings of Scientology and its Nazi-like shenanigans. But either no one was listening, or, as detractors have alleged, people were scared to speak out lest they be punished or killed. In any case, Scientology is still alive and well. Yesterday, the New York Times printed a 2600-word article, “Defectors Say Church of Scientology Hides Abuse”. People who have left Scientology (and it ain’t easy) are now able to access Internet sites that cater to Scientology defectors who are disillusioned and broke. They are all talking to each other and publicly spilling the beans. So let's hope people are finally listening and that Scientology’s methods of intimidation and scare tactics no longer work. May I say that I absolutely believe every word ever printed about the evils of Scientology. I also believe that Scientology’s prime propagandists John Travolta and Tom Cruise are so frightened of what the church’s enforcers will put in print about them--all of which would be true because taped confessions are part of Scientology’s “auditing” methods and they are archived just in case of defection—and they are toeing the party line until death them do part. Scientology morphed from being a laughably on-the-cheap do-it-yourself psychotherapy system in 1954, into having mega-buck centers and opulent so-called churches around the world. I remember seeing pictures of the original e-meters that looked like nothing more complicated than two cans on a string. After years of living on a boat, being on the run, fleeing from tax audits, fraud claims, being addicted to drugs, sex and his own self-aggrandizement, L. Ron Hubbard died on a ranch in California in 1986. David Miscavige, who now controls Scientology, said of L. Ron Hubbard in 1987 that Hubbard had deliberately discarded his body to conduct his research in spirit form and was now living on a planet a galaxy away. L. Ron, Jr., who used the pseudonym Ron DeWolf for years because he was scared of what Scientology might do to him, made a big bucks settlement with Scientology in 1986 in order to pay his medical bills. He signed papers prepared by Scientology, retracted things he’d said previously and agreed to comment no further. He died in 1991. Yesterday's NYT article about Scientology is very good. The “Penthouse” article which can still be accessed on the Internet—“Penthouse Interview With L. Ron Hubbard, Jr.”-- is an eye-popper. Miscavige and everyone who has anything to lose by negative Scientology PR, say all the negative stories are a pack of lies. They say the folks who have defected and have lost years of their lives and all of their money are liars. Film director Paul Haggis who was in Scientology for years says he has now come to believe that what the defectors say is the truth. If Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson) ever pulls her earnings out of Scientology, the whole house of cards may tumble down. Maybe she, Tom Cruise and John Travolta at long last will have the guts to defect.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Washington Post Headline aTad Overstated

This morning, the Washington Post featured this head: “Democrats’ Ethical Lapses Could Threaten Hold on Power” In the first place, the Democrats haven’t had a “hold” on power since the Clinton era. When Obama became president, the Democrats merely gave the nation a chance to bring to an end the deadly stranglehold the Republicans had on the federal government. But secondly, even if the Dems had a hold on power, how come the recent ethical lapses in the Democrat Party were endangering that hold? For eight years, from 2000 through 2008, the Republican Party’s egregious ethical lapses did not threaten its hold on power. And those ethical lapses were not the puny ones the WP is referring to today in the Democrat Party. The Republican Party’s ethical lapses included an unnecessary war in Iraq; granting unheard of powers to the executive branch of government; lies and cheating in the Justice Department; lies and cheating in the State Department; lies and cheating in the Defense Department. When the WP talks about the Democrat’s gaining the upper hand, it is referring to the Dems’ reclaiming control of Congress in 2006. However, the Repubs’ never turned loose its control of the federal government until Obama was elected. Which control, let us be clear, was gained by the Repub’s using illegal means of coercion, wiretapping, threats, blackmail, and giving itself wartime powers never intended to be used when the US mainland was not threatened by war. And even the WP had to admit that the ethical lapses it referred to were “not as severe” as the Repubs’ lapses--Jack Abramoff going to jail, for one, and Mark Foley putting the make on Senate pages, for another. But let’s face it, the media seems to be only too willing to jump on the Repub bandwagon when the party cries “foul” or makes up bogus charges. It’s as though the media is still scared to death the Repubs will exact retribution if it doesn’t toe the GOP party line.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

How Do We Know Karl Rove Is Lying?

First, as is my wont, and, as I see it, my duty, let me remind you: Everything that is going wrong right now in the world, in the USA, in your city, in my city and in our back yards is due to the malfeasance, misconduct, and crimes of the Bush administrations from 2000 through 2008. Do not forget that. There, that done, back to Karl Rove. Karl Rove, the man with the title of being President George W. Bush’s senior adviser and deputy chief of staff during the Bush years, has just come out with a book, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight”. Now let’s all stop being coy and acting like we didn’t know what was going on while GWB held the title “president”. For eight years, Karl Rove was the president of the United States. So when Rove writes a book which is a defense of George W. Bush’s presidency, Rove is defending himself. And how do we know there are major lies in Rove’s book? The book is by Karl Rove, what other evidence do we need? But also, Rove is telling the same lies he told while he was president and, according to the review in the New York Times this morning by Peter Baker, apparently Rove has added some new lies. “For the most part,” Baker writes of Rove’s memoir, “his book is an unapologetic defense of Mr. Bush and his presidency, and takes aim at Democrats, the news media and others for what he describes as hypocrisy, deceit and vanity.” According to Baker, Rove writes that “the White House” genuinely believed the reports about Weapons of Mass Destruction. He asks and answers the question, “Would the Iraq War have occurred without W.M.D.? I doubt it...Congress was very unlikely to have supported the use-of-force resolution without the W.M.D. threat. The Bush administration itself would probably have sought other ways to constrain Saddam, bring about regime change, and deal with Iraq’s horrendous human rights violations.” No, Mr. Rove, that last sentence is total sophistry—it sounds plausible but it is total bullshit. The first goal of the Bush administration was to take over Iraq by force. The second goal of the Bush administration was to kill Saddam Hussein because he was powerful. The rhetoric about regime change and human rights violations was thrown into the mix to justify attacking a small country that the US feared might pose a threat in the future and whose oil we wanted immediately. When Rove says “the White House” he means Karl Rove and Rove’s minions. But even if he meant George W. Bush, it rings hollow. GWB could not and did not think a cogent thought for eight years, due to being an idiot and to his medications for, among other things, being an idiot. Rove asks and answers two more questions: “So, then, did Bush lie us into war? Absolutely not.” Baker reports that Rove says the White House had only a “weak response” to the harmful allegation, which became “a poison-tipped dagger aimed at the heart of the Bush presidency.” “So who was responsible for the failure to respond? I was. I should have stepped forward, rung the warning bell and pressed for full-scale response. I didn’t. Preoccupied with the coming campaign and the pressure of the daily schedule in the West Wing, I did not see how damaging this assault was.” Oh please! That’s not the point. The point is, and Rove should have said, “I did not see how damaging this assault was to my plan. I thought we’d bamboozled the entire world." Dubya supposedly is writing a memoir called “Decisions”. But it’s not out yet. The ghostwriters no doubt needed to see how the ventriloquist would rewrite history before tackling the dummy’s version. Now that Rove’s book is out, The Decider’s deciders can decide which lies to print and which lies to let lie.