Daily Archives: April 7, 2013
First of all, let us make clear the President in Italy is a very powerful man. Besides a wide-ranging immunity from prosecution – the most obvious reason why Berlusconi wants the job – the President is a kind of “Supreme Ayatollah” over the country, particularly in the (rather frequent) situations of instability and no clear majority in Parliament.
The President can steer who becomes Prime Minister, and whether or not there should be new elections, and with whom as Prime Minister; he nominates on his own five of the 15 judges of the Constitutional Court, and the five life senators (of course, when places become vacant). He is the head of the Army, and the Carabinieri swear freedom not to the Republic, like all civil servants, but to the President. He could give them the order to arrest the Prime Minister and all the Government, and they would obey like a shot. Last time I looked, He was the direct head of all the Secret Services, and informed of all the best kept State secrets; far more, if you ask, than the Prime Minister himself. He has other things beside: presidential pardon, head of the organ controlling the Judiciary (this is largely ceremonial) etc.
These are not symbolic powers. President Leone triggered a new election to screw the Commies in 1971, and President Scalfaro (the greatest of them all, and a truly hardliner Catholic) famously disbanded Parliament in 1993, completely destroying the Socialist Party in the following election. I could make further – if less extreme – examples. Basically, among the great Western countries only the French President has more power than the Italian one.
Traditionally, everything is done to have a “bipartisan” candidate, and Presidents have been – with one or two exceptions; Pertini and Saragat come to mind – prestigious politicians enjoying the trust of very many, be they of right-wing (Segni, Cossiga) or rather Left-Wing (Napolitano, the actual one) background.
The President is a very powerful man, and should be – though he not always was in the past – a man of unimpeachable character. The President represents the democratic Institutions, and the chosen one is one requested to be ready to die for his country, and the one Italians are requested to, if necessary, die for.
In the case of many of them – Einaudi, Segni, Cossiga and Scalfaro first; other like Ciampi and Napolitano were rather all right – there is no doubt this was the case. Besides being powerful, the President is the Country’s flag, and as we get to elect him rather than getting the nincompoop royal loins have generated (why does the name “Charles” come to mind now?…) we should do it right.
It is, therefore, more than alarming that some of the wrongest possible names have been circulated in he last weeks: Dario Fo and Emma Bonino.
Dario Fo, the former clown candidate of Grillo’s formation – I have written about it – was intermittently in the news for a couple of weeks, but the absurdity of the name became soon evident to the most stupid. Unfortunately, another name got some traction: Emma Bonino.
Bonino used to be the epitome of everything the sane part of the country, particularly the women, hated: the kind of person who would smoke marijuana in front of a policeman to get arrested (several of these stunts); a rabid, and I mean rabid abortionist; a ferocious divorce activist; and a first-class “liberated” woman, which you can safely assume is code for whore.
But Bonino was different than her old boss, the truly satanic Marco Pannella. At a certain age, she endeavored to be taken seriously, and managed to “recycle” herself into a kind of “institutional” figure. EU Commissioner, Member of the European Parliament, Minister. Her CV now sounds innocuous to most Italians; but make no mistake, she is every bit the old bitch.
Emma Bonino is one of those people who made the Nazism of modern times mainstream. Therefore, she can be a Nazi and pass for mainstream at the same time. It would be wrong to say that she has changed, though there might be a little truth in that; it is far more pertinent to say those who knew her for what she is have died and the new generation is not so different from her.
Emma Bonino is certainly running, and she has some cards to play: EU and government experience, the reputation of having “aged well”, the clearly shown ability to “do what is required” and adjust to public perception. Still, I don’t think she will make it. The smell of the past has largely evaporated, but I think it’s still too evident for the Number One Job. If you ask me, she just doesn’t have the standing. Always if you ask me, she will be used as expendable card to advance, at the right time, the candidature of someone far more fitting like Romano Prodi: more prestigious jobs both in Italy and Brussels, known worldwide, respected everywhere, and one of the most honest politicians I have ever seen in any country. Unfortunately, one who might abandon us in the matter or perversion, then he is a “rose water” Catholic too.
But better than Bonino, every day of the week.
Interesting, if tragic, developments in Bangladesh, where four bloggers have been arrested for having written comments “insulting to Islam” (possibly something like “fake religion soaked in violence and blood, created by a bloodthirsty pedophile”; but I have no exact news). Muslim hardliners want the death penalty for blasphemers of Islam (see above for a possible definition), the others want to tell them where to stuck their ideas.
The four now risk up to ten years in jail, and the matter caused the blood pressure to rise all over the country. Apparently 90% of the Country is Muslim, and again 97% of those Sunnis.
Being Bangladesh a very poor Third-World country I do not doubt they are recipient of more than generous transfer from a number of UNO organisations, which means they get an awful lot of money from Western countries.
One is curious to see how the West, always oh so attentive to the instances of even perverts by us, will react to this rather, ahem, unedifying “human rights situation” in a Muslim country.
The BBC coverage will also be interesting to follow. Remember, these are the people who gave order to call the terrorists “fighters” after the 7 July 2005 bombs who killed 52 innocent people going about their business.
I truly do not know why, with all the names at their disposal, they had to pick “religion of peace”.
Beautiful homily yesterday at the daily mass of the Pope at the Casa S. Marta (sigh). News and translation in English of the most relevant part courtesy of Father Z. Emphases from the translation.
“How’s our faith? Is it strong? Or is it sometimes a bit superficial? (all’acqua di rose – “like rose water”, meaning banal, an insufficient substitute, shallow, inadequate)” When difficulties come, “are we courageous like Peter or a little lukewarm?” Peter – he pointed out– didn’t stay silent about the Faith, he din’t descend to compromises, because “the Faith isn’t negotiable.” “There has been, throughout history of the people, this temptation: to chop a piece off the Faith”, the temptation to be a bit “like everyone else does”, the temptation “not to be so very rigid”. “But when we start to cut down the Faith, to negotiate Faith, a little like selling it to the highest bidder”, he stressed, “we take the path of apostasy, of disloyalty to the Lord.”
In just a few lines, the Pope sends a fair number of rather clear messages.
1. The faith isn’t negotiable.
2. This means it must be told whole.
3. There will always be the temptation to accommodate and choose comfort and popularity, but
4. we must choose to be rigid and, consequently, hated,
5. because otherwise apostasy can’t be far away.
Behind the rhetorical questions, and the very soft presentation “(“a bit” superficial; “a little” lukewarm) the message is pretty brutal, and not susceptible of misinterpretation. So much so in fact, that there isn’t much to comment, either. When the Pontiff talks of “dialogue” the ambiguity of the word does force one – and not only myself; the SSPX has also made the same considerations – to examine what is meant by it; but this here doesn’t leave space for many doubts.
In real life – I mean, in the daily duties of a Pope; duties that go beyond talking, and extend to actually reigning – I can imagine a whole range of situations in which the Pope will be allowed to put his words in practice.
Firstly, there is the issue itself of dialogue with other religions, where the Pope will now clearly avoid “chopping off a piece of the faith”; like, for example, chopping off Christ and Holy Ghost in one fell swoop by saying that Muslims believe in the same God we do, and make clear at the end of every dialogue there is the Christian aim of conversion.
There there is the issue of “ecumenical” talks with our fellow Christians. Here, I doubt the Pontiff will accept my contribution to the talks, but I do not doubt the Pontiff will resist the temptation “not to be very rigid” and will say to the chaps (and chapesses) that, well, there is only once Church, and it’s not the one where they are now.
There there are the issues internal to Catholics, where – if the Faith is to be transmitted whole – the issue of religious freedom will have to be addressed, and someone will have to tell the poor boys and girls the Church cannot change the Truth and, therefore, the teaching on religion freedom can’t be changed, either.
It goes on, and on, and on… from the chastisement of the Liberal Catholics to the deserved punishment for liturgically creative nuns, first of all the unidentified beings of the LCWR (too many examples here: just type “LCWR” in the search line); all without forgetting the Jesuits, our Sodo-mass friends, provided they are still Christians and, of course, survive.
I could go on, but you get the gist. The Pope has, with his homily, promised he will be very rigid, and he will have plenty of opportunities to let the fact follow the words.
Stimulated (or you might say: terrified) by the recent appointment of a Jesuit as, erm, bishop of Rome, I have decided to visit more in detail the site of one of their provinces. Not being very good at Spanish, I decided to focus on the site of the British Province.
The “who we are” site tells us there are 20,000 Jesuits around, but doesn’t tell us anything about their age. Strange, say I…
But then it gets scary: on the same page our heroes describe their mission as the promotion in society of “that justice of the Gospel which is the embodiment of God’s love and saving mercy’.” What? The “justice of the Gospel”? What is this, a new religion? It is as if Christianity were turned upside down, and would keep its eyes away from heaven to make of earthly justice the true centre of its concerns.
You see this pattern again in the very revealing heading “faith and justice”. Again, it can only be a new religion that dares to put the faith and earthly cares in the same breath. I thought Faith is “the virtue by which we firmly believe all the truths God has revealed, on the word of God revealing them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived”. To mention “justice” in the same breath sounds like obsession and complete loss of perspective. Again, it truly sounds like a new religion, with a secular deity, the Goddess Social Justice, not only put near the God of the Christian, but with the second put at the service of the first.
On the relevant page, more scares await. We are informed that
“Our mission today is the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement”.
Read it again: promotion of justice is an absolute requirement of the service of faith. Heavens, the Blessed Virgin’s service of faith must have been a disaster! Jesus Himself falls tragically short of the mark of these people! Unless, of course, they want to dream of a Jesus as Messiah of The Good News Of Social Justice that mysteriously escaped the attention of two thousand years of Christian faith. The rest of the page sings the same song, which the popular opinion would express with the well-known expression that social justice “is their religion”; and truly, it seems they do not want to leave anyone in doubt about that. Unsurprisingly, their Jesus is an angry communist struggling – and perhaps, who knows, even dying – for social justice.
But let us not despair, and let us see whether at the bottom of all this there is a sincere desire to convert souls to Christ, and be it the extremely earthly Christ they seem to have in mind; then, social justice this or social justice that, Christ must come first, surely?
Hhhmmm… Let me see if there is an “evangelisation” header…. Hhhmmm… no, there isn’t…. so, “evangelisation” doesn’t have the rank of “social justice”…. strange….. But wait, what do I have here?
“Inter-faith”? Let’s click it.
“Inter-religious dialogue is not about conversion; it is about understanding. The aim is to encounter people of different faiths with sensitivity and respect in order to discern in the meeting the movement of God’s Spirit which ‘blows where it wills’. For Jesuits, dialogue with people of other faiths is a major dimension of their commitment to be companions of Jesus and servants of his mission”
To think this is the order St Francis Xavier co-founded. To think this is the order that regained Poland to Catholicism. To think this is the order that carries Jesus in its very name.
Not only is the statement above a complete renunciation of every evangelisation work (tellingly absent from the site, and with “dialogue” being a “major dimension” of their work) but the accent on the “movement of God’s Spirit” which “blows where it wills” clearly point out to the appreciation of non-Christian religion as “willed” expressions of “God’s Spirit”, expressions which must therefore be “respected” as perfectly legitimate as we “discern” the way “God’s Spirit” “willed” in them. Notice they say they are “companions of Jesus”, but this is a Jesus meant to remain strictly on their side whilst heathen remain such.
This is new age crap all right. I struggle to even see Christianity in this, as if you take evangelisation away from Christianity the entire edifice must surely crumble.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
How can one take all this away from the Christian message and still call himself a Christian? How can one think that this is not an “absolute requirement” of the “service of faith”, but “social justice” is?
I might browse the site of these old deluded nincompoops – or outright minions of Satan; one of the two – further, but frankly I have enough and I think you have enough of this nonsense, too.
Again, the mildest one can say is that these people have forgotten what Christ is about, which in people calling themselves Jesuits is truly beyond the pale. I haven’t found in my browsing one word about Salvation, Heaven, or Hell; they will be there if one looks long enough, but it is clear in these people’s mind there is no attention for the after life whatever; instead, there is a shocking obsession with trying to build a social paradise on this earth, as if this were the real essence and greatest value of the message of Christ. This is Liberation Theology without the Kalashnikov.
Please also consider this is the site of the English Province; unless there is a centralised structure, I can imagine there might be even worse statements in the Internet presence of other provinces, particularly the South-American ones.
I cannot imagine anyone being a Jesuit for a lifetime and not being influenced by having this utter crap around him all the days of his life. I cannot imagine any Seminary of the the Jesuits -particularly a South-American one – not having spread more or less this same rubbish for decades. I cannot imagine any of the people who have lived in such an environment being sincerely concerned with evangelisation rather than the un-Christian “dialogue” as expressed above. For proper liturgy the Jesuits haven’t cared in their best years, so you can forget that, too.
I could never have imagined that one of them; one who led them as a head of a Province, and formed them as head of a seminary, and even comes from the worst place for a Jesuit of them all, would have become… bishop of Rome.
Pope Francis has now the opportunity to fight this cancer. If he even recognises the disease, that is.