Voices from Russia

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Wrong on the Women Question, but Pope Francisco is a Clear Voice for Decency

00 pope francisco. i'm a sinner. 28.09.13

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Opinion: Pontiff’s declaration that he’s a sinner isn’t merely an affectation

The election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pope and head of the Catholic Church on 13 March this year seemed unprepossessing. His record as head of the Jesuit order in Argentina during the period of the “dirty war” was, in the estimation of many, disreputable. During that period, state terrorism against political dissidents resulted in the murder of between 15,000 and 30,000 dissidents, including trade unionists, journalists, and students. He was head of the Jesuit order in Argentina during much of this period and he never spoke out against the dictatorship.

Along with all the appointees of Pope John Paul II, he toed the line on homosexuality, abortion, contraception, divorce, married priests, and, of course, the ordination of women. There were early signs in his pontificate that he might be different from his predecessors in style. Reportedly, he refused to wear the sumptuous papal cape for his appearance on the balcony at St Peter’s Basilica on his election and made phone calls personally to “ordinary” people. He refused to live in the lavishly-decorated Papal Apartments, insisting on one of the guest houses where he dines with others who happen to be staying there.

Nevertheless, the orthodoxy seemed to persist. He reiterated a rebuke to the US Leadership Conference of Women Religious previously issued by his predecessor Benedict XVIfeminist influences tinged the sisters, focused on ending social and economic injustices and not sufficiently on abortion. Yet, then, there was the interview, published last week in Jesuit magazines globally, where he revealed himself as self-questioning, self-critical, sceptical of “certainties” , open to contradiction, and deeply influenced by Western élite cultureart, classical music, poetry, literature, typical influences of an upper middle-class upbringing. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is different and more interesting than some of us thought.

Asked, “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” he appeared surprised by the question. He thought about it and replied, “I’m a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It isn’t a figure of speech, a literary genre. I’m a sinner”. This frank acknowledgement of his inadequacy is almost startling and unusual for anybody. If a pope ever said it previously, it’d be hard to believe it wasn’t an affectation, but here, it seems, it isn’t. There is something convincing, too, about what he said his feelings were on being elected pope. He said that on visits to Rome he’d visited the Church of St Louis of the French, where there’s a painting by CaravaggioThe Calling of St Matthew, which depicts a story from the Gospel according to Matthew, “Jesus saw a man named Matthew at his seat in the custom house, and said to him, ‘Follow me’, and Matthew rose and followed Him”. Matthew was a tax collector and the paining shows him with four other men, gathering money, and Jesus pointing at him. Pope Francisco said that he felt like how Caravaggio depicted Matthew, as feeling a sense of resignation and awe.

Throughout the interview, he spoke about community, how he feels a sense of loss without it. When he spoke about infallibility, he spoke in terms of the Christian community being infallible (“all the faithful considered as a whole, are infallible in matters of belief”). That strong sense of community is so much at variance with the ethos of our time, in which we see people as individuals, pared off from society, pursuing individual agendas and interests. He said at one point, “I can’t live my life without others”. He said at another, “No one’s saved alone, as an isolated individual, but God attracts us, looking at the complex web of relationships that take place in the human community. God enters this dynamic, this participation in the web of human relationships”. Even for those of us among the “faithless”, this is stirring stuff, challenging the “common sense” of our time.

Pope Francisco spoke movingly about his mother and father and, particularly, of his grandmother, Rosa, “who loved me so much”. He spoke of the Catholic Church which, “sometimes locked itself up in small things”, and, later, “We can’t insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods”. There are dark passages too. He talks of “female machismo” in a dismissive reference to feminism, “A woman has a different make-up to a man”. He should be encouraged to read Judith Butler’Gender Trouble. This is followed by blather on a new theology of women, diverting attention from the scandal of the church’s promotion in its ceremonies, organisation, and culture of the supposed inferiority of women. The stuff about charity is also discomforting… why the rephrasing of Paul’s “faith, hope, and love” to “faith, hope, and charity?”

However, that aside, this is a welcome clear and honest voice for decency.

25 September 2013

Vincent Browne

The Irish Times

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/wrong-on-the-women-question-but-pope-francis-is-a-clear-voice-for-decency-1.1538583

Editor’s Note:

Francisco reminds one of John Paul I (Albino Luciani). Remember this… the cardinals elected both men. Yes, they elected Ratzinger and Wojtyła… but they also elected Luciani and Bergoglio. Many sane Catholics want the abortion, contraception, and homosexual madness to end. Mind you, the Catholic Church isn’t going to embrace abortion… it won’t “normalise” homosexuality… but it can abolish Humanae Vitae, it can take a more accommodating attitude to homosexuals (similar to HH’s, “We respect all human choices, including those of sexual orientation. However, we reserve the right to call sin a ‘sin’”), and it can tone down the abortion rhetoric. Don’t forget… Francisco did say openly, “I’m not a rightwinger”. At present, the US Catholic bishops are in bed with the very neocons who’ve interfered in Latin America for years. Oh, yes, Francisco IS a Latin American, isn’t he? That may come back to haunt them.

It’ll be interesting in the Vatican for some time yet. One last thing… none of the American bishops has followed their pope’s example. They all live high, they all have ostentatious chauffeured limos, they all suck up to Establishment politicians, and they all move in all the “right” circles. Is Francisco going to appoint men of his ilk? Time will tell us…

BMD 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The New Pope and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church: From the “Economist”… Not Spot-On at All, but it’s a “Read n’ Heed”

victory-day-09-lvov-see-how-few-protest-the-victory

This is a typical Galician Uniate nutter… can you truly take such sorts seriously? After all, they DID collaborate quite willingly with the Nazis

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Editor’s Foreword:

Here’s another piece to read n’ heed… its wrong, but it tells you the viewpoint of the papists and the Anglosphere élite, and that’s a good thing to know. Caveat lector

BMD

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Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, recently expressed hope that the new pope, Francisco Bergoglio, will continue the policy of rapprochement with the Orthodox Church and that he won’t support, what [Hilarion] calls the expansion of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, saying, “The Unia is the most painful topic in the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, in relations between the Orthodox and the Catholics. If the pope supports the Unia, then, of course, it’d bring no good”. The metropolitan is worried… it’s said that the new pope has an affinity for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC). So much so, that one Russian commentator claimed that in Francisco, “we have a Ukrainian pope”. This may worsen relations between Orthodox and Catholics.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church confuses most outsiders; it’s an Eastern rite church in communion with the Vatican. Drawing on the Christian legacy of medieval Kievan-Rus‘, it was officially founded through the 1596 Union of Brest (hence, the church’s other widespread name, Uniate). “Greek” was added later to distinguish it from the Roman Catholic Church. Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the UGCC, said that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the new pope, had a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest as his mentor, and is familiar with the Church’s rites, says . Previously, Major Archbishop Shevchuk served in Buenos Aires and got to know the future pope there. Many in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church hope that Francisco would elevate it to a patriarchate, from its status as a Major Archiepiscopate. Today, Greek Catholics make up about 15 percent of the Ukrainian population. Most of them live in the west of the country, including the city of Lvov, and they have a strong presence in the Ukrainian diaspora. After almost half a century of persecution under Soviet rule, the Church resurfaced as one of the pillars of national identity in the Western Ukraine. It’s an influential force here, although it has kept its distance from politics.

Someone once quipped, “In the rest of the Ukraine, religious people go to church; in Lvov, everyone goes to church”. The city is famous for its panoply of churches, most of them now Greek Catholic, although it still has both a Roman Catholic and an Armenian cathedral. Up until 1941, Lvov was also an important centre of the Jewish religion. In the mornings, the sound of the liturgy, sung in Ukrainian, spills out into the cobbled streets. Lvov Business School, part of the Ukrainian Catholic University, affiliated with the [Ukrainian Greek Catholic] Church, combines business education with ethics. Sophia Opatska, the School’s chief executive, said that they try to encourage “trust, openness, and ethics” in the new generation of business leaders, to help change negative trends in the Ukraine. She added that this is especially important in the Ukraine, where “business often takes on social and economic responsibilities that belong to government in democratic countries”.

On 7 April, crowds of Greek Catholics joined a procession through Lvov representing the Way of the Cross, slowing down  traffic. The Church’s leaders have already invited Pope Francisco to visit the Ukraine. The new pope himself has made no special mention of the Ukraine since his election as the Ukrainian media pointed up. All the same, many of Ukraine’s Greek Catholics eagerly await the visit of Pope Francisco, the closest they’ve had to a Ukrainian pope.

12 April 2013

The Economist

http://www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2013/04/ukraines-greek-catholic-church

Editor’s Afterword:

The Galician Uniates are the Great White Hope of not only the papists, but of the American rightwing. Indeed, they wish to separate Orthodox in the Ukraine from the MP and entice them into the Western-dominated Unia. Such is their project; it’s clear to all concerned. I’ll predict that its only result will be a strengthening of Orthodoxy and a rededication to our opposition of the Unia and all its works. The Westerners and righties will regret having stirred up this pot… they’ll have woken up a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve. Thus always to tyrants and their machinations…

Oh, one last thing… do note the deafening silence by the author on the Orthodox clergy killed and the churches stolen or destroyed by Western-financed Uniate mobs… in the West’s eyes, some people ARE “more  human” than others are. None dare call it what it is… after all, the West doesn’t engage in such things, dontcha know (their media tells us so daily, doesn’t it?)…

BMD 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Pope Francisco Refuses to Live in Spacious Papal Apartment

00 Pope Francisco Bergoglio. 16.03.13

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On Tuesday, citing his spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi, the BBC reported that Pope Francisco Bergoglio opted to stay at a modest two-room residence instead of moving to the grand papal apartment on the top floor of the Vatican‘s Apostolic Palace. Pope Francisco decided to stay in the Domus Sanctæ Marthæ hotel-style residence inside Vatican City, where he lived with other cardinals during the conclave that saw him elected earlier this month. The BBC quoted Lombardi as saying, “This morning, he let his fellow cardinals know that he’d keep living with them for a certain period of time”. Lombardi explained the pope’s decision as a desire for “a simple life” and said that Pope Francisco would live there for “a certain period of time”. In refusing to move to the palatial penthouse apartment with more than a dozen rooms, staff quarters, and a large terrace, Pope Francisco broke an over-century-old tradition. On March 13, a conclave of cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires the 266th Pope of Rome, becoming the first Latin American to lead the Catholic Church.

27 March 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/art_living/20130327/180272786/Pope-Francis-Refuses-to-Live-in-Spacious-Papal-Apartment.html

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Hopes for the New Pope

00 Pope Francisco Bergoglio. T-shirt. 23.03.13

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As I stood on St Peter’s Square awaiting the famous smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney, I felt an immense sense of satisfaction. Daily, journalists, political analysts, and the public bemoan a lack of leadership in the world. On the other hand, here, here was a definitive opportunity to see a new leader in the making. After all, irrespective of who occupies the Holy See, the papacy has a potential for leadership that’s probably only rivalled by the potential of the office of the US President.

Already, Pope Francisco shows that he’s keen to give the Catholic Church a new sense of itself. His gestures (like shunning an armoured limousine with a bodyguard and going to pray at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore on short notice) demonstrate that “leading by example” isn’t just an empty concept for the new pontiff. I have a feeling that he’ll be a respected global figure, both as a spiritual leader and statesman. Actually, if one looks around the world, there are plenty of leaders. Although I didn’t approve of his policies, the late Venezuelan President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was one. Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma is yet another example of charisma, ideas, and perseverance fusing to create a real leader. Vladimir Putin and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, despite their bitter hatred of each other and no matter what one thinks of their policies, have already left their mark on history.

Curiously enough, the emergence of major political personalities in the EU is an increasingly-rare occasion. European leaders aren’t almost universally dull and uncharismatic, but they’re also mostly mediocre intellectually. A few bright exceptions, like the clever and ironic Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of Estonia, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Tomasz Sikorski, and Sweden’s long-serving Minister of Foreign Affairs (and former Premier) Nils Daniel Carl Bildt are the only exceptions I could find. They combine sharp intellect, willingness to challenge dated truisms, and a public presence. The EU is the only area of the world where these characteristics frequently disqualify a person from achieving major public office. What started as a European post-war yearning to avoid future conflict morphed into complacency and a fear of healthy debate. Don’t mention religion (except if it’s the infamous “religion of peace” of 9/11 fame), don’t mention national history, don’t mention values… unless it’s the prescribed medley of secularist dogmas on permanent offer from Brussels… and you can count on great advancement as a political leader in the EU’s councils of the holy … er, sorry, just councils.

Hence, the result… if you’re looking for fresh thinking in Europe, you’re left with either the Front National and its imitators, the “New Left”, or clowns like Beppe Grillo (but then, who said they’re actually thinking anything?) Actually, Grillo’s astonishingly-high standing is sharp and dark testimony to European disillusionment with traditional politics and their inability to cope with it. It’s no wonder the EU can’t find its way out of the current crisis… the politics of consensus evolved into a politics of paralysis. I don’t think highly of Barack Obama’s policies and I don’t find him a very effective leader, but those European politicians who pledge their love to him look small compared to the US President. In contrast, here comes Pope Francisco, who may well try to shake up Europe’s lethargic Catholics into remembering that they are Christians… and Catholics… after all. I wish him success, but I’m not very certain that he’ll succeed in the Old World. For leadership and vision these days, it’s more logical to look to Brazil, rather than to Brussels.

18 March 2013

Konstantin von Eggert

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/columnists/20130318/180088088/Due-West-Hopes-for-the-New-Pope.html

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