159 2 mins 9 yrs

No Pope yet, the Cardinals can’t seem to make up their minds.  So we have only black smoke thus far (white smoke issues forth when there is a new Pope selected, demonstrating a rather anti-modern sensibility to toxic emissions and racial preference). 

The faithful and the amused await word down in St. Peter’s Square.  When in Rome and all that, but for myself I think I’d be satisfied watching the highlights on tape delay.  Rome is a great City for sin and I’d be looking to mingle with the sinners rather than the saints if I had half a chance. 

Hopefully we Catholics can have a new Antichrist (Well Ian Paisley may read ATW) soon and  not be without the head of the joint for too much longer.

**UPDATE:  White Smoke!  Either we have a new Pope or Snoop Dog is visiting the vatican.

***Further Update:  Pope Francis I.  From South America.

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159 thoughts on “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

  1. It must be quite a difficult job trying to find at least one which is not a raging sexual deviant.

  2. Friar Pietro is the guy responsible for smoke at the Vatican conclave. There’s no smoke without Friar.

  3. Ithangyou

    Now, please don’t mention Harri, Pope .. and ring in the same sentence, and Harri just shudders 😉

  4. BTW

    It is a bit of a long shot granted, but If I was chosen as Pope, the first thing I would do is have a boot sale ( Yard sale) for those over the pond, and sell all of the Vaticans treasures, and give all most of it away to the starving cheeeeldren of the World.

    Too late, they have just chosen someone else ;-(

  5. Too late, they have just chosen someone else ;-(

    Those starving children of the World will just have to stay hungry.

  6. CNN is broadcasting a live feed from a webcam showing the famous chimney

    http://edition.cnn.com/ (alas, night has now fallen in central Europe)

    and when I looked in this afternoon, a pigeon or dove – I swear to God – alit on it and did a crap right onto it. Now it is well known that these paraclete things are messengers from God, and I can’t help thinking that this gesture was a divine comment on the whole procedure, or perhaps an aweful warning about a certain candidate that was close to being chosen.
    He does work in strange and wondrous ways.

    And scarcely had I said that:: HABEMUS PAPAM!

  7. Noel – My writing may be the equivalent of that pigeon’s deposit. I hit the send button on the post and next thing I know the Smoke Smoke issued forth.

  8. Good, hopefully first time on the agenda will be to take back the Malvinas from you lot 🙂

  9. Good, hopefully first time on the agenda will be to take back the Malvinas from you lot 🙂

    You could be right!:

    “We come to pray for all who have fallen, sons of the Homeland who went out to defend their mother, the Homeland, and to reclaim what is theirs, that is of the Homeland, and it was usurped,” he claimed in a mass at the metropolitan cathedral, 30 years on from the violent conflict with Great Britain.

  10. Interesting (via Wiki): On April 15, 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, accusing him of conspiring with the junta in 1976.

  11. Petr, that’s not surprising, senior church figures in both Chile and Argentina conspired with the juntas in power at the time. Not to mention closer to home under Franco in facist Spain…

  12. Right well if this Argie wants a bit of argie bargie wiv us over the FALKLANDS – bring it on Papa. Our Queen might be 10 years older than him – and she’s got a dodgy tummy at the moment – but she could still take him, and that old bag Christina single handed 😉

  13. I am delighted by Conclaves choice in Francis the First. A very humble man yet doctrinally conservative with a strong emphasis on social justice.

    The fact that he is Argentinean and a Jesuit is just the icing on the cake.

  14. Troll

    After our little bible discussion last week I thought the previous comments of our new Pope might interest you

    “We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least, The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”

  15. //Our Queen might be 10 years older than him – and she’s got a dodgy tummy at the moment – but she could still take him, //

    Colm, As I’ve said before: A Queen can’t take a Queen en passant.

    Well, so far so bad – A conservative who sidled up to the fascist junta – Not very impressive.

    Ah well, let’s give him a chance. This is of course the last chance. If the church doesn’t reform itself, dump a lot of the junk and try to do the Christian thing and embrace all people equally, but especially those oppressed, persecuted and ostracised, then it is doomed, and the next chap appearing on that balcony will be a tourist guide.

  16. The first Jesuit and the first Francis. Let’s hope this pope will bring about many positive ‘firsts’ for the Church. Though he is a bit old and I believe (some reports say) he only has one lung…maybe he’s just a placeholder?? Hope not…hoping for the best.

  17. Pope Frank 1? If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve 🙂

    Anyway what did anyone expect? A new Pope is like the opposite of a new iPhone announcement:

    “This changes nothing. Again.”

  18. Petr

    I see no evidence for those accusations. This is a man who slept in his own apartment rather than the religious palace. Who gave up his limo so that he could use the bus and who cooked his own meals.

    I can think of no better choice from within Conclave.

  19. In all seriousness though, does it make much difference who is Pope ?. Surely apart from ritual mass going the vast majority of the world’s Catholics do not listen to the doctrinaire pronouncements from the Vatican and does it have much political influence anymore following the exposure of the abuse scandals . Surely it’s only the ‘celebrity’ of having a global religious leader and the pomp and glamour and tradition of the Historic Vatican that keeps the institution newsworthy anymore.

  20. Good point, Colm. I noticed on the TV that they had to keep reminding viewers how important this event is, although of course never explained why, apart from the predictable lines about the world’s biggest church and political influence etc.

    Now back to Arsenal vs Bayern M.

  21. Regardless of who sits on the throne of John the Bap the conservative old boys club is never going to let a progressive lead the multi – national.

    All I can say is Allahu Akbar

    (ducks and runs for cover)

  22. The popedom is rather monarchish. Colm’s 9:06 post could be easily transformed into a post about the British monarchy. Seems this pope’s papa was Italian so choosing him wasn’t such a stretch. I think (and I’m certainly no expert and haven’t read all that much about him) it will be interesting to see if he can ‘grow’ the church or at least stem the flow of Catholics (particularly Latinos) to evangelical churches on this side of the world. While he is apparently very conservative, his focus has been more on outreach. He pronounces the rules but doesn’t condemn those who don’t live by them. It is said that Jesus ‘picked’ Peter and his rock upon which to build the Church because Peter was ordinary…not known for his brains or leadership skills.

    “He chose for its cornerstone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward—-in a word, a man… All the empires and the kingdoms have failed because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by a strong man upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”

    so says GK Chesterton

  23. There is gloom bordering on despair in traditionalist (as opposed to conservative) circles tonight. Liturgically this man has been with the philistines so we can expect a shabby papacy with no progress on arresting the dumbed down farce the Mass has become in much of the world.

  24. ” Surely it’s only the ‘celebrity’ of having a global religious leader and the pomp and glamour and tradition of the Historic Vatican that keeps the institution newsworthy anymore.”

    I agree with that Colm, but the Roman Catholic Church like the Church of England needs a leader that the faithful can believe in.
    A man who will sincerely re-examine the current practices and priorities of the Church with those of its Founder Jesus Christ.
    It is not perfection that is needed, it’s repentance and a facing up to all that is wrong within the Church. From that everything else flows.

  25. mairin

    It’s not the same as the Monarchy at all really. The Monarch is a constitutional figurehead with no pretence of real political power. The Pope is a genuine Chief Executive and he is charged with practically leading the policies and direction of the Catholic Church and it’s global impact.

  26. //It’s not the same as the Monarchy at all really. The Monarch is a constitutional figurehead with no pretence of real political power. The Pope is a genuine Chief Executive//

    Then there’s that thing about the title being inherited by the eldest son.

  27. “Then there’s that thing about the title being inherited by the eldest son”

    Well with all the in house sexual shennigans going on in the Church, it could happen 😉

  28. I was referring to these bits: does it have much political influence anymore following the exposure of the…scandals . Surely it’s only the ‘celebrity’ of having a …leader and the pomp and glamour and tradition …that keeps the institution newsworthy anymore.

  29. Colm –

    Your 9.06pm could have easily substituted presidents for popes and the White House for the Vatican. I suppose the one thing which unites both congregations is religious belief.

    “The Monarch is a constitutional figurehead with no pretence of real political power.”

    Well, we disagree on this, but that’s a mulberry bush I won’t be going around again. However there’s a difference in any case between power and influence. Clearly the Monarchy retains influence at least. The Queen, who, we’re told, is “above politics” issued a proclamation on gays last week. Today, at least until Rome came to a decision, saw Prince Charles and Camilla dominating the news with their visit to a camp in Jordan full of Syrian refugees, complete with interviews from both about how affected they are by the suffering.

    I’m sure this has nothing to do with Cameron’s decision to send military hardware to whoever it is fighting the Assad regime.

    One thing’s for sure, the Royal family ain’t above politics.

  30. The Queen, who, we’re told, is “above politics” issued a proclamation on gays last week.

    No she didn’t. She signed the Commonwealth Charter

    “Through the Charter, Commonwealth leaders commit to upholding: democracy; human rights; peace and security; tolerance, respect and understanding; freedom of expression; separation of powers; rule of law; good governance; sustainable development; environmental protection; access to health, education, food and shelter; gender equality; and the importance of young people and civil society.”

  31. One thing’s for sure, the Royal family ain’t above politics.

    To state the bleeding obvious.

  32. Peter –

    Yes, that was it, the Commonwealth Charter. Full of commie silliness it is.

  33. The Prince of Wales says the plight of Syrian refugees is “heartbreaking”, while on a tour of a camp in Jordan.

    Gosh, that Assad must be a right rotter. Cameron’s plan aid the rebels must be right.

  34. Pete

    You make my point for me. The Queen issues ‘proclomations’ and makes speeches – such as the annual “My government will etc etc. just as the Government instructs her to.

  35. Full of commie silliness it is

    Really? Quite a bit of what I quoted from it is stuff that you bang on about here rather a lot. Although I do get that you are opposed in principle to environmental protection.

  36. On the contrary, I’m a zealot for real environmental protection – i.e. private property.

    I do get you’re for destroying the environment with windmills.

  37. He hates the government hurting the environment but AFAIK has never criticized any private despoilage.

    If a private concern rips off the top of a mountain in West Virginia or dumps arsenic into a river in China, its cool, a blessing.

  38. Cris
    I don’t see him demanding the injustice be balanced by confiscation in that statement. I do see it as a plea to reality especially in South America, where communist regimes abound, yet still such inequality. What a shock.

  39. Colm/Noel…I didn’t write that I was comparing the pope with the HM’s monarchy. I specifically said I was referring to a specific post of Colm’s.
    I
    I could be wrong but the pope has spoken out against overreaching capitalism as well as left-leaning gov’ts. As far as what happened during the junta…it’s an interesting story but as of yet still a story and all sides need to be fleshed out. It sounds as though he’s been caught out with the baby-stealing scandal but for tonight at least, I’m waiting until more info is available.
    I know I might be in the minority on ATW but I care more about the papacy than HM and her heirs.

  40. I do see it as a plea to reality especially in South America, where communist regimes abound, yet still such inequality. What a shock.

    Someone from the U.S. castigating inequality in South America?

    Jesus wept!!

  41. There is only one true communist regime in Latin America. It is Cuba.

    Whose people live in poverty and who don’t have any political or speech rights.

  42. BTW, excellent spotting, Petr, with your sources above. You were certainly quick off the mark.

    The media will probably give the old boy a bit of grace after his election (?), but if he is guilty of such collaboration with the Junta, it will have to come out.

    Hopefully this will also generate some interest in those crimes and who caused them and who facilitated them. Those Argentinian nationalists may be celebrating their local hero a bit too soon.

  43. Cheers, Noel. As you say, if there was clear collaboration it will come out in the end. At the very least there was silence which in itself shameful.

  44. While it doesn’t make up for the silence entirely and what that meant for victims…the Argentinian Catholic Church apologized for its silence in 2005, I think.

  45. Yeah, good catch Petr.

    In terms of the accusations, the CBS piece seems to be the most damning;

    Bergoglio also was accused of turning his back on a family that lost five relatives to state terror, including a young woman who was 5-months’ pregnant before she was kidnapped and killed in 1977. The De la Cuadra family appealed to the leader of the Jesuits in Rome, who urged Bergoglio to help them; Bergoglio then assigned a monsignor to the case. Months passed before the monsignor came back with a written note from a colonel: It revealed that the woman had given birth in captivity to a girl who was given to a family “too important” for the adoption to be reversed.

    Despite this written evidence in a case he was personally involved with, Bergoglio testified in 2010 that he didn’t know about any stolen babies until well after the dictatorship was over.

    “Bergoglio has a very cowardly attitude when it comes to something so terrible as the theft of babies. He says he didn’t know anything about it until 1985,” said the baby’s aunt, Estela de la Cuadra, whose mother Alicia co-founded the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in 1977 in hopes of identifying these babies. “He doesn’t face this reality and it doesn’t bother him. The question is how to save his name, save himself. But he can’t keep these allegations from reaching the public. The people know how he is.”

    Suffer little children indeed

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57574147/jorge-bergoglio-who-is-the-new-pope

  46. Actually, the apology was last year and not in 2005 as I stated above. This article somewhat http://news.yahoo.com/papal-election-stirs-argentinas-dirty-war-past-063146008.html defends the pope’s actions/failure to act during the dirty war. It’s from Yahoo News but it sums up the pope’s position on the accusations. With that said, it appears there is enough evidence showing that he did know of the baby-stealing long before he said he did. Mea culpa.

  47. I suggest we let the dust settle a bit, he probably has good points and bad points like the rest of us.

  48. Personally, I want to know as much about the man as I can learn from all sides. I’ve already ordered books and saved about 15 articles to read for the weekend. I still see him as a ‘transition pope’ given his health and age but in the interim I want to know as much as possible.

  49. Well I am not suggesting that he get a pass on anything, but usually in the rush of stories on these occassions some have more merit than others. Accordingly, I am not weeping with joy or sorrow at the moment.

    Certainly things can be pointed out by anyone who wants to, it is part of the discussion. I am just waiitng a bit before I draw any firm conclusions.

  50. Your post title may take on an unintended, darker meaning, mahons.

    Considering the noise that was made about the fact that his predecessor was conscripted into the Hitler Youth at the age of 14, then a mature and educated leader, with responsibility for a church and its flock, to say nothing of his obligation to promote the tenets of Christianity, who fails even to speak out against mass murder, torture, rape etc. once it’s being done by a right-wing Junta, well, if those stories are true, he has a lot of answering to do. Bloody hell, the Junta murdered not only countless members of his flock but also priests and, I believe, a bishop who had more courage.
    It really says something about the priorities of the assembled cardinals yesterday that they apparently passed over this history.

    It will be noted that he showed no such reticence when condemning publically and loudly the democratically elected leader of his country when she wanted to bring in same-sex marriage.

    Some things are apparently more disturbing than mass murder and torture.

  51. //. I am just waiitng a bit before I draw any firm conclusions.//

    Mahons, would you wait as long before drawing conclusions about a German bishop who was apparently quite pally with and never said a word against those other Brownies?

  52. It would seem that once an organisation, whether religious, political, commercial, or whatever, reaches a certain size the governing ethos moves away from ‘being of service’ to its patrons to one where ‘protecting the system’ becomes paramount.

    The Christian Church, the NHS and our beknighted govenment being just the most recent examples. Pratically every global corporation, – not just banks, – also seem to follow the pattern.

    Sprinkle enough goodies to keep them coming, but always be prepared to ‘raise the drawbridge’ if things go wrong. If you get my meaning!

  53. Noel – I am gratified and astonished at your breathtaking depth of knowledge of this man and his role in the 1970s in Argentina less than 24 hours after he became Pope. I only heard of him after the Papal announcement, but of course you have been following his career for decades and can favor us with your insights.

    For myself, although I am certain that the media and the internet could never be wrong or have conflicting or unverified stories in the first few hours of a major story, I still feel the need to digest the news and who this individual may or may not be. Would that I could be so certain so quickly.

    At the moment there seem to be conflicting stories as to what he may or may not have done during those times. There were certainly bishops who were tied in to that awful dictatorship.

    If it turns out he cooperated with the Junta is some bad acts then that will become quite a problem for him and the Church. Adolfo Perez Esquivel (1980 Nobel Peace Prize Winner from Argentina and victim of the Junta) is denying any connection between the new Pope and the Junta. So lets see.

  54. To be fair, the Guardian piece I linked to yesterday (which was written two years ago) has now been amended:

    This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio’s complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio’s “holiday home”. This has been corrected.

    Mahons is right insofar as we must ensure we’re being accurate if we make claims. We don’t want to go all Allan on this thing.

  55. I’m just waiting for Allan’s theory on who really put this new Pope in the vatican ? 😉

  56. //astonished at your breathtaking depth of knowledge of this man and his role //

    When someone of his authority (we do know he had that) lived under an inhuman dictatorship (we also know that) when he could have made a huge difference by speaking out (ditto) and didn’t (well, you said you’d never heard of him), then I’d say it’s very much a case of the dog that didn’t bark.

  57. Noel – I don’t know what he did or didn’t do, or what he could have done but did not do. And neither do you at the moment. He does not appear to have raged against the machine to the extent of beign thrown into prison himself, Lets see what develops.

  58. //And neither do you at the moment//

    Actually, I do, and so does everyone know that he didn’t bark at the Junta, but then barked loudly enough at a democratic government trying to introduce laws that upset his sexual sensitivities. If he had caused a ruction then, he would have been a figure celebrated in Arg. for his courage in those dark days, and he isn’t, as I said above.

    So he is guilty of either cowardice or respect for the Junta.
    This was a totally different situation to a leading cleric speaking out in, say, China or even Nazi Germany, where the rulers despised the Catholic Church and any condemnation from the pulpits would have led to even more repression on the church (this happened in Nazi Germany).

    The Latino dictators from Franco to our time were by contrast all champions of the Church, of conservativism and traditional social morality in general, or at least pretended to be. They could very much have been held back from their worst excesses by strong words from the Church. They would never had dared go against it. And it very much looks like the new Pope was one of the majority who, probably in favour of their social and political policies, acquiesced to their many crimes.

  59. he didn’t bark at the Junta, but then barked loudly enough at a democratic government trying to introduce laws that upset his sexual sensitivities. If he had caused a ruction then, he would have been a figure celebrated in Arg. for his courage in those dark days, and he isn’t, as I said above.

    Vincent Browne had that very point on his show last night. Not a whisper about the junta murdering and ‘disappearing’ people left right and centre (including priests btw), and then he finds his voice about people of the same sex having the temerity to want to marry each other. Unimpressive, to say the least.

  60. Noel – I am without the benefit of your decades of study regarding this man’s history, or is that hours or minutes of study? If it is established that he acquiesced to their many crimes or favored them as some of his brethern did, then that will be a problem. At the moment there are conflicting stories comming out and I don’t think anything is set yet. As I noted above a famous Argentine human rights advocate who is unshy about denouncing bad guys says this Pope wasn’t as you portray him.

  61. //or is that hours or minutes of study?//

    More like seconds of common sense.

  62. Seconds is about right when it comes to premature speculation (my second least favorite premature thing that ends in “tion”).

  63. So what’s the favourite, I can’t work it out..? come on ‘spill the beans’ and be quick about it 🙂

  64. I don’t think Pete will like the new pope.

    At a mass in Buenos Aires last year, on the 30th anniversary of the invasion of the Falklands, the Pope referred to the British as ‘usurpers’ and called for the Argentine dead to be thanked.

    He said: ‘We come to pray for all who have fallen, sons of the Homeland who went out to defend their mother, the Homeland, and to reclaim what is theirs, that is of the Homeland, and it was usurped.’

    ‘The Homeland cannot exclude from its memory, anyone who was called; it has to take charge of so many hearts with scars, and say thank you to them, to those who stayed on the island or those submerged in the water, to all of them.’

    At another anniversary service in 2008, he referred to those who sought to ‘de-Malvinise history and reality’.

    Source.

  65. It’s complicated (and gets emotional) when discussing what the pope can and cannot do as pope, Noel. There’s church doctrine and church discipline. Ultimately the pope has the power to revise the disciplines but not the doctrines. And the church is only supposed to interfere or intervene in sovereign politics when laws and actions defy the doctrines. Hence, it’s a duty to speak out against gay marriage and refuse to allow women priests because they are doctrines and the pope can’t change them because they are god-given and bible-based. But if a pope were truly progressive, he could conceivably change the rules on priest celibacy because that concept is a discipline or man-made.
    Prior to this election, I thought the main topic would be where was the new pope during the sex abuse scandal and how did he handle it and how does he say it should be handled…but this guy’s history has shoved that topic way into the background. Also, look at how some in N Ireland see, for example, Father/Monsignor Faul–saint or sinner? one-sided or fair-minded? It depends on who you ask but if you could ask him, I bet he’d say he was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Priests in war zones often play both sides of the coin at one time or another for a variety of reasons. Cognitive dissonance abounds.

  66. the new pope was exiled by the Argentine govt for speaking out against them. He was teaching math to underprivileged youths when he was saved by Pope JohnPaul and was made archbishop of Buenos Aires. And this just happened in early 2000.

    don’t confuse who this man is. He is adamantly opposed to abortion. He is adamantly opposed to euthanasia. He has called the pro-choice movement a culture of death. He opposes same-sex marriage, which he has called demonic in origin. He opposes gay adoption on the grounds that it is discriminatory to the child. He opposed Argentina’s legalizing of same-sex marriage. He called it a real and dire anthropological throwback.

  67. Most of the things you mention, Troll, are based on church doctrine…except for the adoption bit. Any pope is duty-bound to uphold church doctrine…that’s in his contract so to speak.

    From the Charlie Rose interview with Cardinal Dolan:
    “Addressing the claim by some within the Catholic church that the choice represents a shift for the Vatican, one that could lead to reform, Dolan said Pope Francis will be limited by the nature of his role as pontiff. “In one way … reform is at the essence of the pope’s job description … because he is echoing Jesus,” Dolan said, before adding, “Most people mean will he change church doctrine. That he can’t do. We have to remember that again, the job description of the pope is to preserve, to conserve the integrity of the faith and pass it on.”

    He wasn’t really exiled by the way…

  68. I saw the interview, and He was exiled by the Cristina Kirchner government. He was sent to the northern slums of Argentina to shut him up and keep him from the press. He literally was cast out by the government because he refused to go along with Cristina Kirchner and her husband, who was her predecessor. The Jesuits, of his order, had many left-wing members that agreed with the Kirchners, and their “modernization” so they cast him out, which they did by exiling him placing him out of the way into the impoverished slums of northern argentina, it was in an outrage that Pope JohnPaul then placed as the head of the catholic church in Argentina.

  69. Pope Francis was a favorite of Pope JohnPaul II. He is considered one of his protege. Those a really big shoes to fill and I doubt he will be able to reach a quarter of JohnPauls achievements, but that’s who his mentor was and JP was the last centuries most powerful political post.

    Ask the pols and the soviets.

  70. From what I have seen of the new Pope he has a kind face and there is a humility about him. He reminds me of Pope John Paul.
    I wish him well. I hope he will lead the Catholic church into a new era of spiritual growth and reformation.

  71. …being sent to the northern part of of his own country to teach is not an exile. An exile is The state of being barred from one’s native country. It’s a gross exaggeration to use the word exile.
    Hi A8! As always I am hopeful too. I think he could make headway on certain issues but his hands are tied on many others (pope on a rope).

  72. really, so exile has only one form?

    Pope JohnPaul II called it an exile and placed him at the head of the Church in Argentina to liberate him. I Guess Eleanore of Aquitaine wasn’t exiled either while she was locked in her castle by Henry.

  73. Troll

    How can being sent to work with poor people in another part of the country be considered exile. Surely for a genuine Christian it should be seen as a privilege. Are they lesser people than the richer cosmopolitan elite ?

  74. they sent him there to shut him up, he did not complain the current Pope of the time did.

    You are purposely missing the point.

  75. marin2,,
    there are many lovely and devout Catholic people. Archbishop Vincent Nichols impresses me as a true Christian, focussing as he does on the person of Jesus Christ.
    The Catholic church is still influential despite its faults failings and sins. If the new Pope can cut through the cronyism and vested/hidden interests he will be doing all of Christendom a huge service.

  76. Troll

    You are trying to make a martyr where there isn’t one. If John Paul complained about it he was wrong to do so. I get the point. Your judgement is wrong.

  77. It was more of a demotion. He was born in the region and was free to travel. And at the end of the day, it was his own order who sent him there…perhaps at the behest of the Argentinian gov’t but the Jesuits removed him there.

  78. I’m definitely not trying to make a martyr out of him, and I am relating his situation in the exact terms that Pope JP put them.

    If you have a problem with it you have a problem with the former Pope. Not me.

    You can rationalize it any way that makes you feel warm and cozy, what I said is what the late Pope said.

    dig him up and tell him he was wrong

  79. woops…there goes his sainthood. It would be interesting to dig him up to see if he has decomposed…if not, it would be a sign of sainthood? I don’t have time to look up where I read it but I think it was Francisco Uno’s biographer who used the word “exile” though it was JP who promoted him and returned him to Buenos Aires (and I might go work for a few weeks in the BA office at the end of the year so I’ll check out Francisco Uno’s stomping grounds but I won’t be washing feet…feet are creepy).

  80. //And the church is only supposed to interfere or intervene in sovereign politics when laws and actions defy the doctrines. Hence, it’s a duty to speak out against gay marriage //

    Mairin, I think I get your point: the then bishop was supposed to speak out against the democratic government when it introduced laws to allow same-sex marriage but wasn’t supposed to speak out against the fascist govt when it introduced mass murder, rape and torture.

  81. not really, Noel. I don’t think it’s a good comparison. I accept the church hierarchy will not accept gay marriage for the reasons stated above. I’m no longer part of that club by choice. The church is not a democracy and majority doesn’t rule. It’s a club one can choose to belong to or not. If you accept the doctrine or find you can live with it, then that’s your choice. If not, you leave…freedom of religion and all that. I think everyone caught up in the dirty war had to weigh whether they could do more good speaking out and likely lose their lives or work behind the scenes and do the best they could at the time. We don’t know the specifics of Francis I’s actions or inactions yet. “What did you do in the war, Papa?” is the question.
    Again, using N Ireland as example…I know many good, good people who kept their heads down and mouths shut but it doesn’t mean they condoned what was going on around them. Some NI priests/brothers just went about their daily routine in their parishes and schools because it was important for residents and parishoners at the time. Others spoke out, harbored IRA members, ministered to them, etc. With that said, I think the church outside of Argentina should have speaking/shouting about the horrors going on.

  82. Well I think the Church is entitled to speak out against or in favor of anything, even when i don’t necessarily agree with them. One of the things I find is that Church is often drilled by all sides because its policies don’t fit neatly into either liberal or conservative worlds.

    I am not sure that the full story here is that he didn’t act against the Junta or that he acted in support of them. There seem to be stories going both ways, and perhaps it is a bit of both.

    He certainly does not seem to have a record as an outspoken public foe of the Junta during that time who advocate mass demonstrations against them. It is a period of time that deserves attention.

  83. There are many who are not outspoken against wrong acts.

    I’d think that many here might fit that definition. As 99.99% of humanity at any point in time might fit the definition.

    Is this the standard? That if you are not publicly outspoken against injustice, you are presumed to be in sympathy with injustice or that you are some kind of coward? ( Not nearly as brave as those who protested against the junta from the safety of London or Dublin )

    If that is the new, retroactive, standard, who here volunteers to have themselves judged based by it?

  84. //Aah but if general Galtieri had outlined plans for same sex marriage….//

    Exactly, Colm. Did you notice that, apart from euthanasia, all the things Troll listed, against which Francis has apparently been very active, all have to do with our genitals?

    It’s like in Ireland in the old days where sin = sex. You could batter you wife, get plastered drunk, punch a cop into hospital, even join a terrorist organisation (for some people that was even a sacrament) – all no problem. But don’t you dare don a condom, get divorced, get too close to someone of the same sex etc etc.

    //He certainly does not seem to have a record as an outspoken public foe of the Junta//

    That’s what I’ve been saying all along. Someone of his status – a Catholic bishop with impeccable conservative credentials – could have made a huge difference by speaking out against mass murder. The people would have listened and the Junta would not have dared stop him. If he had spoken out, he would be a celebrated hero for his courage in Arg. The fact that he obviously isn’t more than suggests that he chose not to use his power.
    All that remains to be seen is whether he was a coward or – like so many of the higher clergy – tacitly supported the policies, if not the murders, of the generals.

    And I’m not criticising the church for the fun of it. If they had chosen another JPII, or even better a JohnXXIII, I would be as hopeful as anyone else that he’ll do a good job. But to tackle the big problems now facing the church they needed a man of absolute integrity and courage and a clean background. For all the good work Francis also undoubtedly did, it looks like he was a bit closer to Assassin than Assisi.

  85. “Years ago, I used to have this t-shirt.”

    Aaah, Pope John Paul II. Born as Karol Józef Wojtyła.

    Isn’t he the guy that stood in for you when you chickened out of making a stand against those oppressors from the Kremlin, Petr?
    You know, those State Communist guys crushing those little people in Poland?

    Bless his memory!

  86. He apparently has a pretty good record for advocating for the poor which has nothign to do with genitals (unless that includes the poorly endowed).

    There are accounts 9and not just his) that he hid people, assisted in escapes and privately lobbied for the release of certain prisoners. Perhaps, and again I don’t know yet, he was more effective in that way than he would have been otherwise.

    There isn’t sufficient information to conclude that he could only have been a coward or a supporter.

  87. Correction

    Would it not be true that there is no evidence that he was any sort of coward or supporter, if he acted as you state above?

  88. Isn’t he the guy that stood in for you when you chickened out of making a stand against those oppressors from the Kremlin, Petr?
    You know, those State Communist guys crushing those little people in Poland?

    Actually I was an active opponent of Stalinism, and suffered harassment and threats for my trouble. Remember, Agie, you don’t know my background.

  89. Is this the standard? That if you are not publicly outspoken against injustice, you are presumed to be in sympathy with injustice or that you are some kind of coward? ( Not nearly as brave as those who protested against the junta from the safety of London or Dublin )

    He was in a position of authority. Thus, people may have expected him to be more outspoken than your average Joe. I don’t really think it’s a question of cowardice actually; the Vatican has an inglorious history of (at minimum) tacitly supporting fascist regimes. He was probably just following orders.

  90. If St Peter for all his impetuous bluster could and did fail his Lord and experience His forgiveness, then let’s wait and see what Pope Francis does.
    No human being is infallible, but humility and repentance we can all aspire to!

  91. Okay Petrkin.
    I accept that.
    I don’t know your background, but I admired Pope John Paul, and Lech Walesa. I don’t think we should poke fun at brave men and women, wherever they may be found.

  92. Interstesting blurb about the Cardinal in Argentina during the dirty war: Cardinal Pio Laghi; In 1974, he was sent to Argentina. His six years there coincided with the worst excesses of the military dictatorship in what was known as the “dirty war”. Many in Argentina believe that the church hierarchy supported the generals in their misrule, and that Laghi – who played tennis regularly with one of the leaders of the junta, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera – turned a blind eye to the murder and “disappearances” of thousands. “Perhaps I wasn’t a hero,” Laghi said later of his time in Buenos Aires, “but I was no accomplice.” The debate that his conduct generated was enough, however, to ruin any chance he ever had of becoming pope.

    …he explained the “theology of liberation”, the church’s “option for the poor” that was part of the inspiration for the Sandinistas. Theology, Laghi had said, “is like spaghetti”. Liberation theology, he went on, “is spaghetti ruined by too much seasoning”…so Petr, next time A8 gives you a hard time about being young, just tell him you’re well seasoned…;-P

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/23/obituary-pio-laghi

  93. Petr

    Do you condemn the absence of political / speech / travel / other rights by the regime in Cuba?

  94. mairin2
    It seems to me that the great tragedy of the Church Universal was to become identified with the Roman State; a State Church.
    That meant anyone with ambition professed faith and became a bureaucrat -or worse!
    This is the problem facing the Vatican today. It has taken on all the trappings of a State, run by celibate men…
    A recipe for trouble, if ever there was one!
    ps.
    I don’t regard Petrkin as young. I regard him as intelligent, idealistic and naive. He has consistently failed to explain the rationale behind his sloganeering, which makes it difficult to take him seriously.
    Likeable -yes!

  95. I don’t regard him as a sloganeer.Not much of one anyway.

    I think that he is wrong sometimes, and that he is wrestling with things more than he lets on.

  96. just teasing A8…I haven’t checked in much lately now that we’re back in our office but you were teasing him about being young a while (maybe a long while) back….I was referring to that. He’s likeable when he’s not being contrary and so are we…;-) Off to lunch; see you later maybe.

  97. Sorry Phantom,
    but to my mind he goes for the revolutionary short soundbite and not much else.
    He doesn’t explain his position. He doesn’t have a view as to how to make things better, only doifferent.
    He is ATW’s own “Rebel without a Cause.”

  98. The anti government guys here are much more the sloganeers, Agit. Look at their body of work here.

  99. You mean Pete?
    Pete’s been exposed as a fraud. rogue.
    We both agree that we need government, but there is currently too much of it and there are too many politicians. Certainly on this side of the Atlantic.

    One pf the great strengths of ATW is NOT agreeing with each other, but allowing each (opinionated) person the opportunity to explain their thinking on an issue.
    The arrogant poke fun at people’s spelling or pov, and we descend into insult slinging.
    A good communicator knows that you try to hear what people are saying, not HOW they say it. Petr is an exception. He is obviously educated. He has no problem expressing himself.
    He just doesn’t really say anything!

  100. Pete is not the only one. Let’s not pick on him here. He had the bravery to paint himself into a corner, with no way out.

    Many of the guys yelling for low tax still want their tax funded goodies, including war without end everywhere, and only curbing the safety nets that don’t benefit themselves personally.

  101. “He had the bravery to paint himself into a corner, with no way out.”

    That ain’t bravery, Phantom..

    😉

  102. A8, When I was just out of school, I had a friend who was a self-professed (self-educated) socialist (even communist) and we debated our corners ad infinitem. The first time he came to my humble abode, which was rather nice for someone who had spent most of her life until then as a struggling student, he proceeded to say things like: “Wow, I didn’t realize your place was so small” “Your stereo isn’t very good, is it?” “That television is so old; how do you stand to watch it” My brie wasn’t the best brand and the beer was domestic…etc. After a while, I burst out laughing and declared that he was the most materialistic communist I’d ever met! He took a redner as they say!

  103. mairin2
    Without boasting I did 18 years of unpaid voluntary work. 5 in Israel on kibbutz, 7 in a Christian interdenominational community, sand 6 as a twon councillor.
    I wore other people’s castoffs, ate in communal dining rooms and slept in rooms with six other guys.
    I never had a bank book ’til I was 37, never had a house ’til I was 40.
    I regret nothing.
    Appreciate all I have,
    and my faith remains the very centre of my life.

  104. Agit8ed –

    “We both agree that we need government, but there is currently too much of it and there are too many politicians.”

    *shrugs*

    Not my fault.

  105. “*shrugs*
    Not my fault.”

    Your ego is that big you should think I am blaming you?!

  106. Phantom,
    I speak conversational Hebrew, but I am rusty.
    I read newspaper Hebrew slowly.
    I can read and get the sense of Old Testament Hebrew. The root verbs are mostly the same, but the past, present and future tenses are more difficult.
    I know a very few words of Arabic. My Dad was fluent in Egyptian Arabic.
    Why?

  107. Just curious

    I like toying with languages, but hate to say that I don’t speak others.

  108. IMO languages are the greatest tool of mental / intellectual exercise Phantom.

  109. Fluent in Spanish, reasonable Irish,can get by in Basque & Catalan and a bit of Italian.

  110. How great is that?

    Fluent in Brooklynese, can read the headlines in El Diario ( local Spanish paper )

  111. Phantom,
    I have been toying with the idea of doing another Hebrew course on kibbutz in Israel just for the heck of it. (And if I can persuade Mrs Agit8ed to come with me.) The problem is that they usually only take people up to the age of 28. You pay for your tuition through work. I haven’t pursued it yet, but they might bend the rules for us because of my past involvement.
    We wanted to do the Camino d’Santiago, but the doctor doesn’t think my lungs would cope with the weather extremes.
    At least on kibbutz it’s warm and relatively flat, plus the healthcare is fantastic.
    The best way to learn a language is to live there, and if you do a language course in Israel, they usually take you on a cost free trip around the country. You get to see the holy places, the desert, the borders etc.

  112. I found that learning Italian improved my English. No-one told me that would happen. Imagine how bad it used to be.

  113. Now I just need to learn English 🙂

    can read the headlines in El Diario

    Small acorns my friend. Learning any language is a process.

  114. “Fluent in Spanish, reasonable Irish,can get by in Basque & Catalan and a bit of Italian.”

    You’re such a showoff Paul… 😉

  115. “I found that learning Italian improved my English. No-one told me that would happen. Imagine how bad it used to be.”
    I think we are all grateful for any improvement made to yourself Pete.

  116. Pete, I find in English speaking countries people aren’t taught the grammatical framework of the language. It was only when I started learning other languages that the grammatical concepts of English became clear.

  117. Paul McMahon –

    That’s it.

    I got an English Language O Level at 16 without knowing the difference between a verb and a noun. Not only did I catch up on that when I had to take Italian lessons, I had to think about where definite articles go and what past tense to use. Learning Italian was the best English grammar education I had.

  118. “I got an English Language O Level at 16 without knowing the difference between a verb and a noun.”
    So the system failed you at an early age the Pete?
    Is that when the bitterness set in? 😉

  119. Learning Irish is very difficult. I remember my first Irish teacher telling me it’s really very easy because it’s very phonetic…but what he didn’t tell me was that the letters don’t represent the same sounds as English and then there’s all sorts of combinations that make new sounds and if one stands next to another it’s silent, etc. Every year I take at least one Irish course and go to the Irish language days at the IAC and NYU. But usually I just end up remembering certain words and phrases. I’ve been trying to read/translate a phrase on a flag outside a new restaurant that opened up near work but it’s been so windy, the flag keeps flapping and I’m giving myself whiplash trying to read it.

  120. Irish grammar and phonetics are extremely difficult when compared to some other languages Mairin.

  121. mairin,
    you have to use it!
    Being a reserved Englishman when I finished my language course I hardly spoke any Hebrew.
    It was all in my head, but I was scared of making mistakes. It wasn’t until I went down to the Red Sea for paid work that I had to use it. Then it just flowed, because your mind tunes into it. In the end I was actually thinking in Hebrew.

  122. It was all in my head, but I was scared of making mistakes

    There’s an aid for that Agi. It’s called alcohol.

  123. You’re right, A8. And I have the problem with fear of making mistakes too. I’ve never learned any language well enough to think in it other than English (and even that’s questionable) but I imagine that would be awesome.

  124. Huh!
    Not according to many here on ATW..
    Ernest and I are still regarded as silly old farts who ramble and rumble.

  125. I’ve learned bits of about 7 languages – I’m currently learning Croatian – and as far as I’m concerned not one of them was anywhere as difficult as Irish.

    One of the problems with Irish is that you don’t have a citation form of a noun to begin with, from which other forms are normally derived. Another is that the verb comes at the start of a sentence. This phenomenon is in conflict at least with many theories of cognitive psychology (actually, Irish is fundamentally irreconcilable with Chomsky’s universal grammar, and a language like that shouldn’t really exist). But one of the most infuriating is that inflections are at the start of words, and sometimes at the end of them too. And not only are nouns inflected at the start, but the whole phoneme changes, thus /f-ineog/ becomes /v-ineog/ and “h-ineog/ etc.

    In Irish, things occur always in some sentence context, citation forms of nouns and verbs are very difficult to find and very vague. Especially the very “to be”. I often wonder how something abstract like “To be or not to be” can be translated into Irish.

  126. ” I often wonder how something abstract like “To be or not to be”
    In Hebrew,
    “Lichiot oa lo lichiot. Zot ha’shayala!
    Did you know I can speak Hebrew with a Scottish accent?
    Do you think that would impress Allan? 🙂

  127. //Did you know I can speak Hebrew with a Scottish accent?//

    I thought Hebrew was always spoken with a Scottish accent.

    Agi, you should have learned Aramaic, then maybe you’d understand better what Jesus wants you to do.
    As it is, a lot seems to get lost in translation.

  128. I often wonder how something abstract like “To be or not to be” can be translated into Irish.

    Seimi’s yer man Noel.

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