FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Pope’s Predicament

The trouble with being Pope is one must spend so much time contemplating things celestial that things terrestrial get overlooked. That helps explain the occasional papal activities that cause the non-papist to react with astonishment. In 2004 it was the promotion by Pope John Paul II of Cardinal Bernard Law, formerly of Boston, to Archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica, that astonished.

Cardinal Law’s promotion followed a tenure in Boston marked by priests under his jurisdiction engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct with young boys. After he was named in more than 500 sexual abuse related lawsuits he abandoned the $20 million three story church-owned house in which he’d been living, gave up being Cardinal and two years later moved into the Basilica in Rome.

His new assignment was pleasant. The basilica in Rome had undergone extensive renovations and its occupant received a monthly stipend of $12,000. Commenting on his ascension, Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer who represented a large number of the Boston sexual abuse victims said: “He apparently is being transferred to a position that is comfortable and appears to be some sort of reward. The Vatican either doesn’t understand the problem of clergy sex abuse, or it doesn’t care.” Pope Benedict XVI has now proved that he is as unconcerned with matters temporal as his predecessor.

On January 25, 2009, out of the celestial blue, Pope Benedict announced that he was revoking the excommunication of four Bishops who had been ordained by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The Archbishop himself was excommunicated in 1988 for consecrating the four bishops who, like him, rejected practices endorsed by Vatican II. One of the newly minted Bishops was Richard Williamson, a man who denied the holocaust. (Denying the holocaust was not his only claim to fame. He also publicly stated that September 11 was an event staged by George Bush in order to give him a pretext to invade Afghanistan).

On January 25 the Vatican announced that Bishop Williamson’s excommunication was being lifted. Following the announcement it was disclosed that Benedict was unaware of Bishop Williamson’s views on the holocaust.

On January 22, two days before his reinstatement was announced and expounding on his oft-stated views, Bishop Williamson told Swedish Television that no more than 300,000 Jews had died during WW II and that of those “not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber.”

In an interview with Der Spiegel online 4 days after his reinstatement was announced, the bishop explained that the reason he did not believe the holocaust occurred was because of his research on the subject in the 1980s. He relied on the Leuchter report which said, among other things, that it was impractical to construct the gas chambers allegedly used to kill Jews and made many other bizarre claims to explain why the events never happened. He did not, apparently, spend any time reading any of the many criticisms of the report that might have given him pause. In response to a question as to whether he intended to visit Auschwitz in order to see it for himself, he indicated that that was not necessary. He was instead planning on reading a book called: Auschwitz: Technique and operation of the Gas Chambers. In that same interview, the interviewer observed that the bishop was consistently anti-Semitic to which he responded: “St. Paul put it this way: The Jews are beloved for the sake of Our Father, but our enemies for the sake of the gospel.”

Pope Benedict was reportedly surprised at the bishop’s views. When he decided to re-communicate the bishop the Pope had neglected to first google him, a non-ecclesiastical process that would have disclosed the bishop’s peculiar views. Being now informed, the Pope has demanded that the bishop recant his views on the holocaust or remain an ecclesiastical outcast. Recanting is a way of saying publicly you no longer believe what your past actions indicate you clearly believe, thus enabling the church to save face. Joan of Arc’s recanting that she heard voices (a recantation she subsequently recanted resulting in her burning) and Galileo’s recanting his correct celestial theories are historical examples of the practice. I am sure the church will be glad to have Bishop Williamson recant since it will show that appearances sometimes to the contrary, the church does not tolerate anti-Semitism.

[The day my most recent column about KBR was published a $579 million fine was imposed on it for paying $180 billion in bribes to get $6 billion in contracts in Liberia. The payments occurred when KBR was still part of Halliburton. Halliburton is the company of which Dick Cheney was president before he became vice-president of the U.S. Dick Cheney is an honorable man. He paid no bribes. They were paid by people who worked for him. The buck stopped with them.]

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a lawyer living in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at: brauchli1@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail