Vatican Intrigue: Imagine This In Paperback!

I suspect many of my readers would pick up a paperback if the back jacket had this as a plot. I need to state the following are the actual underpinnings of a Vatican trial starting this week.

A cardinal who allegedly induced an underling to lie to prosecutors. Brokers and lawyers who pulled a fast one over the Vatican No. 2 to get him to approve a disastrous real estate deal. A self-styled intelligence analyst who bought Prada and Louis Vuitton items with the Vatican money that she was supposed to send to rebels holding a Catholic nun hostage.

Vatican prosecutors have alleged a jaw-dropping series of scandals in the biggest criminal trial in the Vatican’s modern history. The once-powerful cardinal and nine other people are accused of bleeding the Holy See of tens of millions of dollars in donations through bad investments, deals with shady money managers and apparent favors to friends and family.

But the prosecutors’ case also suggests that Pope Francis and his top lieutenants were not only aware of some of the key transactions, but in some cases explicitly authorized them, even without full documentation or understanding the details.

When it comes to intrigue and crimes the Vatican has always been a source of plots and strange characters making deals and mayhem. This trial is but the latest public example of that fact.

Pope Francis Takes Step With Gay Rights, Akin To Bill Clinton

It is clearly a sign of either how much weighty news or bombastic rhetoric is created each day when the words of Pope Francis expressing support for same-sex civil unions is not the event that would create continuing top-of-the-fold conversations. While following the news of a pope creating a major and truly significant break from his predecessors regarding gay people, a correct position for religion, and all of society, I was aware of just how hard it is to steer headlines away from the chaos of this year. That, in and of itself, is a story we need to ponder.

But the words from Francis are powerful and very important. He made a public statement that the world-wide church needed to hear. “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Francis said in the documentary, “Francesco”.

“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

As a gay man, but not a Catholic, I have a range of feelings about the pope’s words. While many in the world have moved far beyond civil unions for gay people to the socially responsible and correct legal construction of gay marriage there is still much work to be done for allowing freedoms with sexual identity. In regions of the world where bigotry still has a grip and the Catholic hierarchy is less tolerant of homosexuality, this message was most important to be planted by a pope.

Words matter, as I often note on this blog when talking about leadership. I have long approved of the tone and focus of Francis, knowing the Vatican requires more light and less dogma. But it also needs to be stated that until church doctrine is changed the words of a pope will not alter the harm that is done to gay members of that faith.

Traditional Catholics are wedded to the idea a smaller church that holds to never-changing doctrine is better than a larger church that wishes to adapt to a modern world. As a person of faith, I can grasp the over-arching argument traditionalists hold, but know the best path taken comes down to applying Jesus’ teachings in our lives.

I view the opposition to bigotry as more powerful and uplifting than the harsh restraints and words of damnation. I am inspired by those in religious callings who speak about income disparity, racism, or poverty, as this pope has done continuously. The old and worn-out tropes about contraceptives, abortion (and gasp!) homosexuality are not connecting to younger people who do not live in the cloistered world–and have no desire to do so.

I thought of President Bill Clinton this week when this news of Pope Francis was reported. In the 1992 presidential campaign, he spoke about the need to not dismiss or undermine gay people in our military. From his promise the Clinton administration moved to enact ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. It was not a President Truman type moment regarding the military, but it was a start. From there larger steps were taken as the years progressed. That is how governments and large institutional changes begin and evolve.

With a first step.

When tolerance is too often threatened and marginalized in the world there is really only one way to greet the words of Pope Francis. With a smile and two-thumbs up.

Now step two……

Ex-Pope Benedict XVI Still Proving His Absurdity


Readers know the Catholic Church does not get many accolades on Caffeinated Politics.  It is not hard to fathom why that is the case.  One only needs to follow the news.  And have a dose of common sense.

Former pope Benedict XVI has once again launched into one of his mentally-detached wanderings.  He has now accused opponents of wanting to silence him while associating gay marriage with the Antichrist.   This is also the same knuckle-dragger who called homosexuality an “intrinsic moral evil” and said pro-gay groups promote “deceitful propaganda.”  That is such a rewarding line coming from the Vatican!

The former Prada-wearing pontiff was never a part of the modern world.  His glee over kneeling before a rotting body part from ‘a saint’ is far more to his liking then seeing the smiles of a couple who are able to carry a baby home following a technological conception procedure.  His pleasure comes far more from the memories of indulgences and the infallibility of a pope than knowing gay couples can wed.

His latest rants are further proof as to why he is a living relic.  He also proves why there needs to always be a dead pope before a new one is elected.  Benedict XVI’s back-seat driving and desire for relevance are causing headaches for his successor. Pope Francis might read some of the history of the Catholic Church to see how the matter might be resolved.

And so it goes.

International Association Of Man Boy Love Concludes Conference At Vatican

Pope Francis closed out his extraordinary summit on preventing clergy sex abuse by vowing Sunday to confront abusers with ‘the wrath of God,’ end the cover-ups by their superiors and prioritize the victims of this ‘brazen, aggressive and destructive evil.’

And cue the yawning.  We have been here before with this crowd and their faux anger.

When I heard the news report from the Vatican it made me think of Nikita Khrushchev blustering at the UN Assembly in 1960.   Oh, the outrage!

We are now many years past the time when the Catholic Church needed to drop the facade that they are willing, or able too confront and deal with their myriad examples of pedophilia.

This weekend we learned from a German Cardinal that church files on priests who sexually abused children were destroyed or never even drawn up, a move which allowed pedophiles to prey on others.  That is nothing short of stunning.  What that news means is instead of the perpetrators being dealt with harshly it was the victims who were regulated and silenced.  (Who are the stooges who then sit in church every week and give money so some well-heeled church lawyer can work to keep the rapists behind the pulpit out of legal trouble?)

Today  190 Catholic bishops and religious superiors sat in supposed rapt attention as more abuse scandals continue to spark a credibility crisis for Catholics.   And for the Pope, too.

This blog has not been shy to call out the darkness which surrounds the Catholic Church over this issue.  There needs to be only way to address the crimes of the church, and that is through the criminal justice system.  Having old men who have groped and raped boys sent to some serene location to spend out their days is not what will stem the sickness that has infested this denomination.  Farming the molesters out to some new church so to begin anew with their crimes underscores the craven minds who operate in the Vatican

We know, as a society, who should over-see the ones who commit sex crimes.  There are many in the church who think only the clergy should regulate and punish the abusers.  To them I say, and know the majority of this nation would agree, that civil authorities must be the ones stepping in and administering the law.   Saying Hail Mary a 1,000 times for undressing a choir boy does not compute with the sense of right and wrong in this nation.

There are issues that must be tackled and addressed within the Catholic Church.  Two of them are obvious.  Women must be admitted to the priesthood.  And priests must be allowed to marry.

While pedophilia is not linked to those two measures, they would strengthen the church.  In so doing the church would have a better understanding what it means to have children and care for them.  It also needs to be understood that misogyny and abuse go hand in hand–and this church has both in truckloads.

As a result of too much darkness, lack of transparency, a bureaucratic heavy hand, and an all-male cast we have today within the Catholic Church the largest man-boy love association running a world-wide network of perversion.  And it must come to an end.

Pope Francis: Not So Fast On Addressing Sex Abuse Scandal

The bishops of America’s 196 Catholic dioceses and archdioceses all gathered in Baltimore this morning with one mission.  They were settled to vote on measures to tackle the ever-deepening crisis in their churches.  The escalating sexual abuse scandals clearly show a deep rot in the religious structures they have established.  But even before their first cup of coffee had the chance to cool the bishops received surprising news–troubling news if one cares about the law and ethics.

Pope Francis had asked them not to vote on any of their proposals.

The pope does not want U.S. bishops to act to address bishops’ accountability on sexual abuse until he leads a worldwide meeting of church leaders in February.  There is no way to give words to how wrong and disappointing that news is to a nation that is just sick and tired of reading about the abuse of children.

When even tiny steps toward fundamental changes are proposed, and ready to be acted upon, there comes the edict from the top to cease any action.  I would not need to have my glasses on this morning to see where the fault lies–straight inside the walls of the Vatican.  So while the Pope and his crew will not speak to the issue allow me to make a comment.

What is at the core of concern for the Vatican and their ever-growing group of craven men, who wilt at taking responsibility, is the issue of who should over-see the ones who commit sex crimes.  There are many in the church who think only the clergy should regulate and punish the abusers.  To them I say, and know the majority of this nation would agree, that civil authorities must be the ones stepping in and administering the law.    Saying Hail Mary a 1,000 times for undressing a choir boy does not compute with the sense of right and wrong in this nation.

There is a reduction of faith, day by day, in the ability of the Catholic Church to take steps to remedy a problem which spans the globe.  Bland words and papal blessings are not getting the work done.  And now even a body assembled to make little steps forward was upended before it even was able to really start.

It was reported the bishops retired for a day of prayer following the news from the pope.  If anyone needs to be praying it is parents who still allow their child to ever be alone with a priest.

Stunning News Of Sexual Predator Cover-Up By Pope Francis

Where does one begin?

The Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States has purportedly written an explosive letter claiming that Pope Francis knew about sex abuse allegations against disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for years but chose to cover up the charges and elevate the cardinal’s position within the church before accepting his resignation last month.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò wrote that “corruption had reached the very top of the Church’s hierarchy” as he called on Francis to resign. The extraordinary 11-page letter came as Francis began the second day of a visit to Ireland that has been dominated by the sexual abuse scandal.

It was published on Sunday by The National Catholic Register and LifeSiteNews.

If true…..where does one begin…….?

Catholic Priests And The Twisted Views Of Sexuality

If the accusations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick bear out — including a case involving an 11-year-old boy — will Pope Francis revoke his title as cardinal? Sanction him to a lifetime of penance and prayer? Or even defrock him, the expected sanction if McCarrick were a mere priest?

And will Francis, who has already denounced a “culture of cover-up” in the church, take the investigation all the way to the top, where it will inevitably lead? McCarrick’s alleged sexual misdeeds with adults were reportedly brought to the Vatican’s attention years ago.

The matter is now on the desk of the pope, who has already spent the better part of 2018 dealing with a spiraling child sex abuse, adult gay priest sex and cover-up scandal in Chile that was so vast the entire bishops’ conference offered to resign in May.

Obviously something is seriously wrong in the Catholic Church when it comes to pedophiles in vestments.   The church needs to stop the insane celibacy rule which only exists until the choir boy has his jeans down in the vestry in front of the priest.

The issue of not allowing for open sexuality in the private lives of priests has contributed to the indefensible crimes which take place far too often in that denomination.   Let priests marry, have homosexual relationships if they desire, and act like every other member of their congregation.   The church has for too long tried to control the sexual side of their entire membership.   From the horrible ideas they plant in youngster’s minds about masturbation, to the banning of contraceptives leaves the vast majority of both Catholics and non-Catholics rejecting the insanity from the pulpits.

There is never an end to the horrible stories of not only abusive priests but the cover-ups which reach to the papal offices.

Meanwhile the lowly parishioner is asked to dig deeper and provide more money—lawyers after all–do not come cheap when trying to explain why Father X has abused yet another kid.  And then been routed to another parish.

Pope Francis Fears About State Of World

While I was on Holiday break from this blog many events took place which at any other time would have made for a comment or quick opinion posting.   While most are left in the bin of  ‘old news’ I did wish to post about one story which really registered with me.

Pope Francis used his Christmas Day address to call for “peace for Jerusalem” and for a two-state solution to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  I mention this as the Middle East has long been a lifetime interest of mine.  As a child I wished to travel there and anyone who sits around our dinner table knows of my desire for the Bedouin experience via camel in the desert.  My very first post on this blog in 2006 was about the Middle East.  My love of history often takes me there through the pages of books.

So when Francis acknowledged “growing tensions” between the two sides and urged a “negotiated solution … that would allow the peaceful co-existence of two states” it again underscored what has been the rational sentiment about this complex region.

It was not a too-subtle message to President Trump who on December 6 very stupidly and without any understanding announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, instead of Tel Aviv.  There is common knowledge that Trump does not read, has no interest in history or policy, and has only the most surface of background in which to make his moves as president.  It is not as though he has no one to provide the needed information, but he refuses to avail himself to the briefing books.

It’s the second time Francis has spoken publicly on this subject. And for that I much applaud this pope.  On the day of Trump’s wrong-headed announcement the pope made a plea to respect the city’s “status quo” to avoid “needless conflict.”   When Francis spoke at Christmas it followed the only action the UN could take–128 countries backing a non-binding U.N. resolution that said any decisions regarding the status of Jerusalem were “null and void” and must be cancelled.

Popes are a barometer at times–minus Hilter’s Pope.  Francis made his concerns about the “winds of war” which “are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline”.

Folks like me hear those words, and they make an impact.  But when there is nothing to guide the moral side, stir intellectual curiosity, or play to the pages of history (as with Trump) then it is just noise.

And so it goes.