Friday, December 11, 2009

A Friday Smorgasbord While Waiting For The Vatican's Real Response To The Murphy Report

Pope Benedict is to drop the gag on his silence on Ireland's Murphy Report. On the other hand has has been spewing forth on some other favorite topics.

Pope Benedict must be getting nervous about his upcoming meeting with Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Martin of Ireland. It seems he drug out two of his favorite whipping boys this week. As reported on Lifesitenews, last Saturday he blamed liberation theology for problems in the Brazilian church:

In an address to Brazilian bishops, Pope Benedict said the "visible consequences" of the "deceitful principles" of liberation theology have been "rebellion, division, dissent, offense, anarchy (that) are still being felt."
In his address, Pope Benedict recalled the 25th anniversary of the document "Libertatis nuntius" by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which condemned Marxist liberation theology trends, Lifesite News reports.
Pope Benedict said the "visible consequences" of the "deceitful principles" of Liberation Theology in the Church in Brazil have been "rebellion, division, dissent, offense, anarchy (that) are still being felt, creating amidst your diocesan communities great pain and a grave loss of living strength."

I don't think liberation theology has anything to do with the 'rebellion, division, dissent, offense, and anarchy' that are currently being displayed in Ireland, Australia, or the United States. The rebellion, division etc. in the West has everything to do with the strategy of sexual abuse cover up insisted on by the Vatican while Cardinal Ratzinger was head of the CDF.

Earlier this week he took on another of his hobby horses--the evil polluting media:

Pope Benedict XVI hit out at the mass media on Tuesday, accusing it of deadening sensitivity to violence, exploiting individuals and ignoring everyday acts of love and kindness.

Speaking during a ceremony in Rome's historic Piazza di Spagna, where he paid homage to a statue of the Virgin Mary, the pope said the media ''poisoned'' people's souls.

''It recounts, repeats and amplifies evil, making us accustomed to horrendous acts, desensitizing us and, in some ways, poisoning us,'' he said.

"This poison makes our faces darker and makes us smile less, stopping us from greeting one another or making eye contact.

''The mass media makes us feel like spectators, as though evil only concerns others and as though certain things could never happen to us''.

Benedict said media exposure often prevented people from looking below the surface of others to the soul underneath. (The Irish Church certainly had this concept down pat when it came to abusive priests. Too bad the media is relentlessly pointing out this compassion did not extend to victims of those priests.)

He urged the faithful to open their hearts and view others with ''compassion, love and infinite tenderness, particularly those who are most alone, most desperate and most exploited''.

The pope also criticized the media for exploiting people for profit and then dropping them once they are no longer headline news. (I'm sure the Pope is precisely relying on this phenomenon as it pertains to the Irish abuse scandal and the bishops caught up in it.)


It will be most interesting to see what comes from the Vatican after today's meeting with Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Martin. The Irish Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Leanza, has promised "decisive action". I don't know, but I strongly suspect this decisive action will probably start and end with the personal resignation of Bishop Murray of Limerick. Which means Benedict's decisive action will be to accept that resignation--and offer another meaningless apology.

I seriously doubt he will ever say anything remotely like: "These bishops were only following the orders issued by my Dicastery while I was head of the CDF, and which were the intent and wish of John Paul the Great. In truth, if I accept the resignation of Bishop Murray, I should also tender my own for having issued the policy Bishop Murray followed."

Instead we will get more of what this week has brought--Vatican statements blaming liberation theology for all the ills in South America and elsewhere, and discourses on the evil media. It's interesting to me how the attacks on the evil media tend to follow more bad publicity for the Vatican over clerical sexual abuse or some other less well thought out Papal statement.

In the meantime there is 'compassionate, blessed silence' from the Vatican on the Uganda "kill the gays" bill. I guess the Vatican doesn't want to add to the media's 'social pollution' footprint.

Not so with Pastor Rick Warren. He has finally come out against the Ugandan bill while practicing a huge amount of mental reservation. Poor Rick, maybe he needs to travel to Rome and learn how to deal with the evil media. (Kudos to Rachell Maddow for her extensive exposure of American right wing Christians and their 'influence' pedaling in Uganda.)

And now for one last little bit of potpourri. I found this article on Zenit. It concerns an American couple who founded a toy company, Wee Believers, which features Catholic toys for tots. There were two things which struck me about this venture. The first was that marketing Mass kits to girls was a nice way to set them up for either huge disappointment when the real truth hit home destroying their childhood fantasy, or it would inspire them to join the the ranks of the Women's Ordination Conference. This would be something that would not please Archbishop Raymond Burke who is featured prominently in this article.

The second thing which struck me was the founding couple of this company waxing so eloquently about the need for their workers to enjoy a living wage. I got all excited as I was thinking they were talking about American workers. I wanted to see what American community was enjoying their social justice activism so I went to their website. I found out the toys are made in Taiwan. The Zenit article conspicuously fails to mention this fact. Well, at least their Taiwan workforce is enjoying a living wage. At $76.49 a pop for the Mass Kit, I bet the founders of Wee Believers are also enjoying a living wage.

When I was play acting Mass it cost my parents my St Josheph Daily Missal and a very serious promise I wouldn't break any of their good crystal or stain my mother's white linens. I do remember my father trying to divert me into play acting at something I really could achieve--so he bought me a chemistry set. That was a mistake. No wonder you can't buy them anymore.


  1. Colleen,
    Thanks for the thought provoking article.
    When I read B16's remarks about the Brazilian church, my only response was "Huh?" With the consistent persecution of liberation theology for the last 25 years, it is disingenuous to blame any problems in Brazil on Leonardo Boff et al. If these problems exist, they are endemic to Brazilian society as a whole. Liberation theology came as a response to these conditions, not as a cause.


  2. I know David. Somehow centuries of exploitation by oligarchies had nothing to do with anything. It's all Boff's fault.