For decades, there have been U.S. Cardinals and Bishops who have served the conservatism and the Republican party. These members of US Catholic royalty played profoundly significant roles in bringing the USA to where it is today, buried in debt, embroiled in wars, run by politicians with primary allegiance to corporations, not to mention the thousands of victims of sexual predations by Catholic priests who were protected and hidden.
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This will be remembered as a major part of the legacy of Pope John Paul and Ratzinger, the right wing lieutenant who replaced him as Pope Benedict. These leaders of one of the most top-down hierarchical power systems in the world allowed, and it must be concluded, encouraged Cardinals, Bishops and other spokespeople to engage in the most highly partisan actions and campaigns.
That is rapidly changing. Pope Francis is light-years better than his last two predecessors. That doesn't make him perfect, far from it, but he has already begun to defang the American vipers who have shamed the religion of Catholicism with their truly evil machinations which enabled the massive growth of the military industrial, intelligenence complex and the huge wealth inequality that now dominates the USA.
Patricia Miller details the good news in her Salon article, The Pope Francis revolution: Inside the catastrophic collapse of the Catholic right,
"For years they struck fear in the hearts of progressive Catholic candidates. They could, and did, help destroy presidential campaigns. The media took them seriously, reporting on their pronouncements as representative of a significant bloc of conservative Catholics."
"...now, many of their leading spokesmen--and they are almost all men--have been discredited within a stunningly short period. Former lights of the Catholic right like Bill Donohue and Cardinal Raymond Burke have seen their clout dissipate almost overnight."
The list of these religious frauds-- men who pretended to be spiritual leaders, while taking the USA deeper into the hell that is sociopathic, narcissistic corporate state, where greed rules-- is small. But the men fouled the nation with their sick values, inflicting the worst political forces of darkness upon the American people.
Miller covers, in her Salon article, Bill Donohue first-- one of the most loud and obnoxious of the right wing partisans who prostituted their purported Catholic faith to attack Democrats, liberals and progressives. She describes how Donohue has finally taken the dive into his own cesspool of verbal excrement,
"Catholic League President Bill Donohue is being widely pilloried for asserting in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack that "Muslims are right to be angry," and that Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier played a role in his own death. "Had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive," Donohue said in a statement that horrified even fellow conservatives."
But let me digress. There's no doubt that people like Donohue would attack me as being anti-Catholic, even a Catholic hater. That's they way they use their powerful pulpits. I've made my position on religion clear with my
Creating a Set of Laws for All Religions, Like Asimov's Laws of Robotics (comments re-opened.) It's simple. I respect Catholics and members of any faith that respect other religious beliefs and values. That means they don't try to legislate THEIR morality. I'm not anti-Catholic. I'm anti vile, hyperpartisan Catholics who pretend they are only serving their religion.
was another soldier for the GOP, and hence war and corporatism, hiding beneath the mantle of Jesus's church's vestments. Burke used his position, as, at the time, Cardinal for the archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri to attack presidential candidate John Kerry, saying he would refuse to give Kerry, a practicing Catholic, communion. Other American Catholic bishops followed his example. Bill Donohue also slammed Kerry hard. There's good reason to speculate that had these two not played such a hyper-partisan role in the elections, Kerry could have won the presidency.
Miller gives examples of several other former high profile Catholic partisans who have fallen out of favor, including Austin Ruse, head of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute and Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, who, while outside the official Catholic Hierarchy was, Miller characterizes, "useful to the right-wing elements of the U.S. bishops' conference in that he full-throatily trumpeted the message that Catholics couldn't vote for pro-choice candidates in ways that the conference itself couldn't, helping to solidify the bishops' tacit alliance with the Republican Party."
So... what happened to cause the downfall of these former rightwing Catholic rock stars? Miller cites Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, for an explanation:
"Pope Francis is no left-wing revolutionary, but he has let it be known that he doesn't like a mean church. The leadership is no longer giving them cover."
..."If you let extremism, particularly religious extremism, go where it goes, eventually it walks itself off a cliff, The rhetoric of violence embraced by the right got them on Fox and even the mainstream media was seduced for a while, but eventually they undid themselves because they are not representative of mainstream spirituality. Now, even people who are legitimately conservative want to distance themselves from people like Donohue and Ruse."
Pope Francis is no liberal, but he's taken a stand on wealth inequality, on capitalism, even shown more tolerance towards gays. It appears that he is not going to tolerate the hyper-partisanship that his predecessors allowed, even supported and encouraged.
Who knows how different the world would be now if CIA friend and supporter Pope John Paul had not vilified and defrocked Liberation theologist Catholics throughout the world. The depth of the damage the right wing Catholic church has done WILL be documented in historic accountings. But now there is some hope. The next presidential election may not have the toxic spewings of the likes of Burke and Donahue, or, at the least, their strength and influence will have been diminished. Hopefully this same political neutralization, at the least, is playing out across the globe.
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