| Sycophant or Leader: Will new Pope insist on seeing Gaza this time?

Will the Pope insist on seeing Gaza this time?Stuart LittlewoodRedress Information & Analysis.

Or should he, too, boycott Israel until Jerusalem and the Christian and Muslim communities are freed from occupation?

CNN reports on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s reception at the Vatican and plans for the Pope to visit Israel in May.

Recalling the shabby treatment of religious leaders on previous visits to the Holy Land, let us hope Pope Francis takes a firmer line than his predecessor and insists on seeing Gaza and ministering to his terrorized flock there.

In May 2009, when Benedict was Pope, the Vatican told the Israeli press that the Holy Father would refrain from visiting Gaza. The word “refrain” was a peculiar one in the circumstances. “The Pope will refrain from visiting Gaza…” smacks of abstinence, as in refraining from sexual intercourse. Setting foot in Gaza was as sinful as sneaking into a brothel, it seems. Israel’s hoodlums, of course, were keen to prevent him seeing how the tiny, overcrowded enclave had been devastated 16 months earlier by their murderous blitzkrieg codenamed Operation Cast Lead. And the Pope went along with it.

Gaza’s isolated and besieged Catholic community was none too happy with the Pope’s attitude, judging by the reaction of their redoubtable old priest, Father Manuel Mussallam. “We will ask him why he came, what he intends saying to the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, and why he isn’t coming to Gaza,” said Fr Manuel. “We’ll tell him that this is not the right moment to come and visit the holy places, while Jerusalem is occupied.”

Time for the Pope to join BDS?

Having decided to go to Palestine (via Israel) it was imperative for the Pope to include Gaza or it would look like he didn’t give a damn about the appalling persecution in the very land where Christianity was born. He might as well hammer one more nail into Christendom’s coffin. Then again, should he be going to Israel at all while Jerusalem, Bethlehem and many other places dear to Christian and Muslim religious belief are under the jackboot?

Indeed, has it finally come to the point where the Pope ought to do the decent thing and boycott Israel – join the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement? Admittedly, it’s a tough call, given the Catholic Church’s considerable interests out there.

But we have seen enough wimpish conduct by Christian leaders while Israel defiles the Holy Land. The previous November, while the Israeli regime was planning its vicious assault, codename Operation Cast Lead, on Gaza’s Muslims and Christians after softening them up with two years of blockade and starvation, we were treated to the spectacle of the archbishop of Canterbury joining the chief rabbi on a visit to Auschwitz to show joint solidarity against extreme hostility and genocide. The archbishop called it “a place of utter profanity” and spoke of the collective corruption and moral sickness that made the holocaust possible.

Would the pair show the same spirit of righteous solidarity by visiting Gaza? The scale of horror might be different but the moral sickness is just as obscene. And this being the Holy Land the profanity is many times worse.

The Pope too had been to Auschwitz to pray for the people murdered there. “I had to come here as a duty to truth and to those that suffered,” he said and spoke of the Nazis’ mania for destruction and domination.

Very commendable. But he wasn’t so keen to come and pray for those suffering in Gaza, victims of much the same kind of criminal insanity. Nevertheless, he turned up at Israel’s Yad Vashem holocaust memorial and the Western (Wailing) Wall, and hobnobbed with the chief rabbis – but not with his brave priest and the shattered congregation in Gaza. What had happened to his “duty to truth”?

After my visit to Gaza in late 2007, 18 months after Israel’s merciless squeeze began, I wrote:

Fuel is running out, so are basics like washing powder. Shattered infrastructure and food shortages mean serious public health problems. Power cuts disrupt hospitals and vital drugs cannot be kept refrigerated. Thousands look death in the face as medicare collapses.

A friend emailed: “Today in Gaza we have no cement to build graves for those who die.”

The subjugation and dispossession of Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land continues. It remains a mystery to me why our largely Christian democracy in Britain slavishly supports the Middle East ethnocracy that’s doing this…

The last six years have seen things go from bad to worse – much worse. Palestinians in the Holy Land, and especially Gaza, need to be shown that the Christian church cares about them even if nobody else does. So, where are these extravagantly robed and mitred “men of God” when needed?

No repetition of the Benedict debâcle, please

Archbishop Rowan Williams, visiting in 2010, did manage to get into Gaza. But as far as I could discover he made no public statement about the wretched conditions there, nor did he reveal his findings to the House of Lords where he had the support of a large gaggle of bishops. This despite his claim to be “in a unique position to bring the needs and voices of those fighting poverty, disease and the effects of conflict, to the attention of national and international policy makers”.

And despite his declaration that “Christians need to witness boldly and clearly”.

And despite his urging greater awareness of the humanitarian crisis to ensure that the people of Gaza were not forgotten.

The Israelis, I heard, refused him access to Gaza from the start and only at the last minute allowed the Archbishop an hour or so, just enough for a quick visit to the Ahli Hospital and nowhere else. For that concession one wonders if he had to sign a gagging order.

His website, however, described how he, like the Pope, hobnobbed with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and paid respects to Yad Vashem and the holocaust. He also talked with the president of Israel, who no doubt enjoyed his guest’s frustration at being prevented from seeing the horrors that had been inflicted on Gaza.

And news of any get-together with senior Islamic figures on the ground was conspicuously absent, leaving a question-mark over his commitment to interfaith engagement.

Why on earth did he agree to fraternize with Jewish political and religious dignitaries when it was clear that his wish to carry out his Christian duty in Gaza would be obstructed? Does Lambeth Palace not realize that meekly accepting such insults only serves to legitimize the Israelis’ illegal occupation and gives a stamp of approval to the brutal siege of Gaza, the daily death-dealing air strikes against civilians, the persecution of Muslim and Christian communities, and the regime’s utter contempt for international law and human rights?

One can only hope the Vatican realizes it too and avoids a repetition of the Benedict debâcle.

The Israelis walk all over fawning sycophants masquerading as Western political leaders. Our spiritual leaders, however, are supposed to be made of sterner stuff and to have the moral backbone to face down evil.

_________________________________________________________________________

Collective Punishment 1

Israeli occupation’s violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque on the rise ~ MEMO.

Al-Aqsa Mosque compoundThe Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – Al-Aqsa Mosque (black dome) and the Quba al Sakhra Mosque (Dome of the Rock; golden dome)

So-called Temple organisations in Israel have filed a demand to the Israeli ministerial council to employ a rabbi in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to place a Jewish Menorah on top of the Dome of the Rock, the Al-Aqsa Foundation has revealed.

The Foundation described how Israeli extremists are also demanding that the Menorah be lit on Jewish occasions, such as the current Hanukkah celebration.

According to the Foundation, the demand was revealed on Tuesday; however, the application was actually made eight months ago. Officially, there has not been a response to the demand, but remarks, correspondences and certain measures on the ground since then appear to lay the foundation for trying to realise it.

Such measures, the Foundation said, make clear that the Al-Aqsa Mosque faces grave danger from Israeli extremists, who are supported by a number of senior Israeli officials.

In a statement, the Foundation explained how a number of Israeli groups working under the name of Temple organisations sent different messages to Israeli officials asking them to employ a rabbi in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The officials included Israel’s Economic Minister Naftali Bennett and the head of Jerusalem’s Municipality, among others. The organisations claim that they have not received responses from any of the officials.

However, Israeli extremists continue to become emboldened. MEMO received information from different sources that on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, Israeli extremists attempted to bring a Menorah inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In response, Palestinians worshipers protested to protect the holy site, resulting in severe clashes.

Israeli extremists also lit Menorah candles outside the Mosque on Tuesday evening, and warned that they would light them inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday.

________________________________________________________________________

Related articles

sheepoA

Good_Vs_Evil1

| New Pope Francis nearly got sacked in run-in with Benedict XVI over Prophet Mohammed!

Pope Francis’ run-in with Benedict XVI over the Prophet Mohammed ~ Alasdair Baverstock, The Telegraph.

____________________________________________________________

Pope Francis came close to losing his position within the Catholic Church after he criticised his predecessor seven years ago.

____________________________________________________________

 

Pope Francis' run-in with Benedict XVI over the Prophet Mohammed

Pope Benedict XVI meets the archbishop of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio at the Vatican, 13 January 2007 Photo: AFP/GETTY

In 2005, then Pope Benedict quoted from an obscure medieval text which declared that the Prophet Mohammed, founder of the Islamic faith, was “evil and inhuman”, enraging the Muslim population and causing attacks on churches throughout the world before an apology was issued.

Reacting within days to the statements, speaking through a spokesman to Newsweek Argentina, then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio declared his “unhappiness” with the statements, made at the University of Regensburg in Germany, and encouraged many of his subordinates with the Church to do the same.

“Pope Benedict’s statement don’t reflect my own opinions”, the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires declared. “These statements will serve to destroy in 20 seconds the careful construction of a relationship with Islam that Pope John Paul II built over the last twenty years”.

The Vatican reacted quickly, removing one subordinate, Joaquín Piña the Archbishop of Puerto Iguazú from his post within four days of his making similar statements to the Argentine national media, sending a clear statement to Cardinal Bergoglio that he would be next should he choose to persist.

Reacting to the threats from Rome, Cardinal Bergoglio cancelled his plans to fly to Rome, choosing to boycott the second synod that Pope Benedict had called during his tenure as pontiff.

“The only thing that didn’t happen to Bergoglio was being removed from his post”, wrote investigative journalist Horacio Verbitsky in his column in left-wing daily newspaper Página/24. “The Vatican was very quick to react.”

Cristina Kirchner, the Argentina president, stated at the time that such diatribes were “dangerous for everyone”.

__________________________________________________________________

Higgs Bosun Joke

Related articles

 

 

ad hom 1

| Pope Francis has a clear priority: Stop and prevent the sexual abuse of young boys!

Pope Francis has a clear priority: stop and prevent the sexual abuse of young boys ~ GEOFFREY ROBERTSON QC, The Independent.

________________________________________________________

Years of molestation by priests remains an appalling stain on the Vatican!

________________________________________________________

As the world absorbs the news of the appointment of the new Pope, it is time to ask how the next Supreme Leader of the Catholic Church can meet its most urgent challenge, of stopping its priests sexually molesting small boys.

There have been, on a realistic estimate, over 100,000 such victims since 1981 when Joseph Ratzinger became head of the Vatican office which declined to defrock paedophiles and instead approved their removal to other parishes and other countries.

These widespread and systematic sexual assaults can collectively be described as a crime against humanity. The church cannot atone just by paying compensation. Unless the new Pope installs a policy that minimises danger to children, he, like Benedict, will become complicit in ongoing but avoidable abuse.

Zero tolerance

First, and most obviously, there must be zero tolerance for paedophile priests. They must be automatically defrocked as soon as their Bishop learns of their crime. There must be no delay, and certainly no appeal to the Vatican – it was there that Ratzinger’s preference for avoiding scandal permitted so many paedophiles to be forgiven, and then to re-offend. There is ample evidence now, from Ireland, America and Europe, that the Vatican has conspired to thwart prosecutors and protect clerical criminals.

The Pope is the source of Canon law, which directs that allegations of child molestation be investigated in utter secrecy, by a “trial” loaded in favour of clerics who if found guilty are “punished” for the most part by orders for prayer and penitence. This must be changed, by recognition that child molestation is a serious offence which cannot be dealt with in a secret ecclesiastical procedure.

Allegations must be reported to the police. The Vatican pretends that it made this change in 2011, when new “guidelines” were issued reminding Bishops to co-operate with law enforcement authorities, but only when local law requires it (and many countries still do not have laws compelling the reporting of child abuse).

These “guidelines” are not incorporated into Canon law: Bishops are not told to hand evidence over to the police, and priests are not required to inform on brothers whom they know (often through confession) to be molesting children. There is no duty to suspend a suspected priest.

Even in countries where local Bishops have bowed to political pressure and announced that public prosecutors will be told of sex abuse allegations, there is always a qualification: “Only if the victim consents”. It is all too easy for young victims and trusting parents to be counseled that the victim’s best interests lie in allowing the church to deal with the matter “in its own way” without involving the police.

So criminal priests escape prosecution because officials, in order to protect the reputation of their church, pressure and persuade families to have complaints dealt with in secret under Canon law processes.

Papal courage

Abolishing the role of the Vatican and of Canon law in covering up for paedophile priests, will take some papal courage, but will be relatively easy beside the radical changes necessary to stop the abuse from happening in the first place.

The reform most often suggested is to abandon celibacy. This would not be doctrinally difficult – Christ’s disciples appear to have been married, and the rule was a dogma introduced in the 11th century and almost abolished by 16th century reformers.

But marriage does not “cure” paedophilia. Moreover, many abusive priests are not paedophiles: their disordered personality can often be ascribed to conditions that would prevent them from forming satisfactory heterosexual relationships. Essentially, abuse happens because they are too weak or emotionally immature to resist the temptation.

That temptation arises because the church indoctrinates children at their earliest rational age – usually at seven – that the priest is the agent of God. Communion is an awesome miracle performed by the God-priest, and then the impressionable and nervous child is made to confess his sins and seek forgiveness from God, represented again by the priest.

Father Tom Doyle explains the phenomenon of children’s unflinching obedience to priests’ sexual requests as induced by “reverential fear” – the victims have such emotional and psychological dependence on the abuser that they unquestioningly obey – and do not tell for many years afterwards.

It follows that the only reform that would tackle the evil of clerical sexual abuse at its source would be to raise the age, from seven to (say) 13, at which children are first given communion and confession, which inculcates their reverence for the priesthood.

Pity the children

Other churches (and the Jewish faith) leave indoctrination and spiritual commitment rituals until teenage-hood: by this stage, young people are much more capable of resisting sexual advances, and have more courage to report them.

Could a Pope ever contemplate this reform? The Jesuits say, “give me the boy at seven”, and now we know what that has meant for so many boys. The Vatican newspaper, worried that indoctrination at seven is not producing sufficient life-time allegiance, has been arguing that the age of first communions and confession be reduced to five.

If the new Pope cannot bring himself to deliver small children from the spiritual hold of the priest, then Parliaments may have to step in to protect children of tender age from immersion in religious rituals.

Geoffrey Robertson QC is author of “The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuses” (Penguin 2010)

Jorge Mario Bergoglio: first Latin American, first Jesuit and first Pope Francis to lead the world’s Catholics

So what happens next for Pope Francis?

Jerome Taylor: Pope Francis I is both a continuation of the past and something very different

Pope Francis: the humble man who moved out of archiepiscopal palace into a simple apartment

Argentina celebrates as their own Catholic leader is elected Pope Francis

_________________________________________________________

Gay Mafia 1

| Ungodly racket! For any new Pope: the challenge of the Vatican Bank!

For any new Pope: the challenge of the Vatican Bank ~ Jon Snow, Channel 4 News.

Nothing so defines the mystery and suspicion that lies at the heart of the Catholic church than the Vatican Bank. For all its secrecy and lack of transparency, you might think St Peter had set it up himself.  In reality it was set up in 1942. Today it symbolises one of the core practical challenges for any incoming Pope.
Since the bank’s foundation, it has seen suicide, unexplained death, allegations of money laundering for the Mafia, and seen priests and several of its own directors investigated by US and Italian fraud and organised crime police.

When I was based here in the late 1970s, an American archbishop led the Vatican Bank, Paul Marcinkus. I met him several times. He exuded an eery air of arrogance and self satisfaction.

13 vaticanbank g w For any new Pope: the challenge of the Vatican Bank

As far back as 1973, Marcinkus was questioned by a US federal prosecutor – William Aronwald, and the head of the US organised crime and racketeering section of the US Department of Justice. As head of the Vatican Bank, the US authorities wanted to know what Marcinkus knew about fake bonds totalling $14.5m, which had been delivered to the Vatican Bank in 1971. They had uncovered a  demand on Vatican headed notepaper for $990m of the stuff.

A freelance journalist, Mino Pecorelli, whom I had met and talked to about the bank, and who had been investigating Marcinkus himself, was found dead in mysterious circumstances in 1979.

It was at this point that the US authorities gave up on the bank, having failed to penetrate its extreme secrecy. But then in 1982, the body of Roberto Calvi, head of the collapsed Banco Ambrosiano, was found hanging from London’s Blackfriars Bridge. Once again the Vatican Bank and Marcinkus were in the frame. It transpired that surprisingly this grand cleric had been an overseas director of the bank located in an office in the Bahamas. Italian police tracked activity involving Banco Ambrosiano to both the Mafia and a masonic lodge in Italy. The Vatican Bank denied any involvement but still paid out $25om to Banco Ambrosiano’s creditors.

Marsinkus died seven years ago, his secrets went to the grave with him.

Ironically, it was the birth of the euro, and Italy’s decision to join in 1999, that forced the Vatican Bank’s hand. They had to join too. Assorted EU officials have described the intense difficulty in persuading the bank to comply with EU anti-money laundering regulations.

The truth is that during the Cold War the Vatican Bank had proved a convenient conduit for laundering money to anti-communist movements beyond the Iron Curtain. There was a culture of international permissiveness where the bank was concerned.

It was only in 2009 that the Vatican Bank finally signed up to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice for the settling of disputes involving their compliance with EU rules. The bank’s director told reporters that it did so in order to be able to continue issuing euros emblazoned with the image of the Pope.

But the trouble with the bank continued. The Bank of Italy this year put a block on Deutsche Bank Italy from managing any financial activities on behalf of the Vatican Bank. This was because the Vatican had failed to meet another deadline for signing further compliance agreements with Brussels.

Interestingly, one of Pope Benedict’s last acts was to remove the bank’s Italian director and replace him with an outsider – a German aristocrat. The previous incumbent had come under huge pressure after a case with the Italian authorities in which 20m euros had been impounded by magistrates concerned with its origins. The cash has now been released.

But talk to anyone in this town, and no-one is convinced that a bank, designed to hold the donations and gifts of the faithful, is yet complying with the highest spiritual and temporal aspirations of Catholic worshippers.

Related posts:

  1. The Pope’s resigned, so?
  2. Another cover-up at the Vatican?
  3. More complications ahead of the Pope’s visit
  4. What reception will the Pope receive in Britain?
  5. Why Benedict is no John Paul

_______________________________________________________________________

vatican bank 1