Daily Archives: May 3, 2013

Pope Francis, Employment, And The Balance Sheet

No "unjust unemployment" among them, I am told...

No “unjust unemployment” among them, I am told…

“That [38 Euros] is what the people who died were being paid. This is called slave labour,” he said. “Today in the world this slavery is being committed against something beautiful that God has given us – the capacity to create, to work, to have dignity. How many brothers and sisters find themselves in this situation!

“Not paying fairly, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking at how to make a profit. That goes against God!

“There are many people who want to work but cannot. When a society is organised in a way that not everyone is given the chance to work, that society is not just.”

Another faux pas from the Pontiff and, alas, one which shows an amount of superficiality and shallow thinking that cannot but greatly alarm.

The start is good, with the Pope rightly lamenting the exploitation to which too many are still exposed, most notably in the Third World. One could discuss at length to which extent the decolonisation is responsible for it, but there is no denying the Holy Father expresses here a perfectly legitimate concern. The fraud on the pay is a sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance, and I am unable to see how shameless exploitation of a situation of great need would not amount to it.

Where the Pontiff derails in an embarrassing manner – and you see all the difference with a refined thinker like his predecessor – is in the easy populism, sweeping generalisations and general anti-Capitalist sentiment with which he builds on the premise. These slips into easy populism show a mediocrity of reasoning that would rapidly kill even the prospects of a Labour politician. Decidedly, this Pope bears all the marks of the Jesuit from South America.

The first one is the slip with the balance sheet. Every company who wants to survive looks at the balance sheet first, second and third. Those who don’t, fail. Prudence in expensive decisions – like the one whether to hire – is the Alpha and Omega in a company’s success. This prudence, this insisted looking at the balance sheet, is what makes companies and all their stakeholders – shareholders, employees, clients, & Co. – also thrive. When the Pope blames companies who “look only at the balance sheet” he is certainly not thinking at sweat shops in Sri Lanka, but rather at Capitalism as an economic phenomenon, because here he is not complaining about exploitation, but about decisions from which the life itself of a company depends.

What else should a company look at, one would want to ask the Pontiff, if not at the balance sheet? If General Electric were to say “come on, let us hire one person we don’t need for ten we do; we can’t look only at the balance sheet after all”, how long does the Pontiff think General Electric would survive? And where does he think would be the profit if this company were, in the long term, to whither and then die? Will, then, this “not looking only at the balance sheet” be very profitable to the hundreds of thousands of families deprived of one, or all income? Make no mistake, this is nothing resembling Catholicism: third is third-rate Peronism of the kind that causes hyperinflation, widespread misery and military coups.

Then there is the other pearl, the one with the unjust society that does not give work. What the Pope says is that if a society fails to ensure full employment, this society – and the economic system it uses – is unjust.

Where I hail from, this is called diritto al lavoro, meant as “right to be employed by someone”. The decade-long flag of the Italian Communist Party, this most cretinous slogan has been for decades the epitome of everything that is absurd, albeit it clearly aimed at something positively evil but not at all absurd: communism.

Now as then, the stupid readily believe such crap, as the idea that work be something they just have an entitlement to is very appealing to them. This goes, in my experience, together with another observation: that those so ready to talk about their right to have a job aren’t generally very noted for their desire to work hard, and vice versa. I wonder if there is a link?

Now, I do not want to say Vatican populism in matters of employment has started with this Pope; but it is fair to say such South-American whiffs of Anti-Capitalism are fairly new not only in the virulence of the attack, but most importantly in the incredible superficiality of the delivery. This isn’t even parish priest level; this is incompetent parish priest level, and frankly gives ground – not for the first time – that this is by far not the smart brain that was sold to us. Smart people are smart even when they go around sloganeering. This one tried to swim once where he can’t touch, and almost drowned.

This is what happens when the Cardinals pick as Pope a Jesuit from South America. Mark my words, this Papacy won’t be any fun. Except, of course, for those blessed by a strong sense of humour and able too see the Pope’s exploits sub specie aeternitatis.


Confession And V II

Some recent posts on the usefulness of traditional confessionals rather than those strange, vaguely creepy rooms where the priest is locked in with the penitent – who could be a woman, or a young girl – are probably a fitting occasion to make some consideration about different perceptions of the Confession.

I do not doubt most among the V II priests who hear confession believe in the sacrament, and my experience of Novus Ordo confessors is actually, on the whole, reassuring (the only serious exception was… a Jesuit). Still, even the most conservatively minded priest cannot escape the pernicious effect of the environment created by the modern confessionals.

Sitting in front of each other unavoidably creates the wrong atmosphere: the accent is on a chat about our sins rather than our sincere repentance. It certainly doesn't do much for perfect contrition.

Then there is the matter with the posture: in a well-made confessional you kneel, and the priest sits. This isn't casual. It isn't two friends having a chat here, but one wretched sinner utterly ashamed of his inadequacy, and another one acting on Christ's behalf. The difference is substantial.

Then there is the separation: it is nothing less than shocking how simple devices like the grate could be abandoned. Not to see the priest on the other side (which in a big church often means not knowing who he is) helps the penitent to think that on the other side of the grate is, in a very concrete way, Christ Himself. Again, this helps to reach perfect contrition greatly. Compare with the smiling bloke and think what helps you more…

It is no surprise to me that the confessional itself has been attacked after V II, because I do not labour under the misapprehension that V II was anything good. In fact, what has happened to the confessionals and the practice of going to confession shows once more that V II was the work of the Devil, enabling and even encouraging all the abuses subsequently made in its name, and of which V II was indubitably the cause. If you want to attack the Sacraments, you must attack the ways they are executed, so that their sacredness and the grace they impart is at least diminished.

The Devil, who used V II to enter the doors of the Church, made himself comfortable inside and started to attack pretty much everything Catholic; it would have been unrealistic to expect that Confession would be spared.

As to building new confessionals (you will see beautiful pieces of craftsmanship around), I think at least in England good results can be achieved fast, and at little expense. I have often noticed that in the London area confessionals were often “built in”, with a room divided into three: the central part for the priests and the two lateral ones for the penitents, with grate and all. The “chatting rooms” you find around are very often the same room, with the grates and barriers removed. It would therefore be very cheap to reinstall the grates, with a suitable place to kneel, and have things exactly as they were, and should be.

The answer to the present mess is, if you ask me, not only to go back fast to a more traditionally oriented practice concerning confessionals and confessions; but also to grasp whence the problems came and why. Unless we understand that the evil inbuilt in VII is the cause of pretty much every problem plaguing the Church nowadays – including the darling of the secular media: the pedophile priest scandal – we are going to wander in darkness as to the appropriate remedies.

The return to sanity – in this as in every other matter – goes through the demolition of all the innovations of V II; then I would be at a loss to mention to you one single “improvement” introduced after Vatican II that was not damaging to the Church and to the spiritual lives of the faithful.

Vatican II must go, and good riddance. There can be no middle way. A tree is judged by its fruits, and it astonishes me we see poisoned fruits wherever we turn, but there are those who insist the tree in itself is good.



Conclave: BBC Incompetent Beyond Belief

The BBC Reblog

Mundabor's Blog


One struggles to believe the BBC was once considered a professional broadcaster. 

This rubbish has been online since the 28 February, so it has been online for now 8 days undisturbed. It truly beggars belief. 

It is difficult to pick where to start, but let us select some of the most outlandish observations: 

1) “Two-Pope Problem”. 

I though it was Two Popes, but I am not a mother tongue. Still, at the moment there is no Pope, and when one is elected there will be one Pope.

One. Then zero. Then one. Not difficult. 

When a BBC Director-General resigns, the BBC does not write any article titled “the Two-General-Director Problem”. 

2)   “Antipope” 

Cue the outlandish “Antipope” theory; not read anywhere else, not picked up by anyone, not taken seriously even by my cat; but apparently good enough for some BBC hack. “Antipope” must sounds good; one of those words…

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