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The Right Wing Got A Pariah And The OWS Got A Hero: When The Vatican Shrugged

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Rev. Dan Vojir       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

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The New Christian Right/Republican Pariah: The Vatican

John Hagee called Rome "The Great Whore" and now the rest of the Christian Right will be calling it something else: The Satanic Socialist. Yesterday, a letter from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace suggested that banks and capitalism should have better ethics (gasp!) and consider the poor (GASP!!!). 

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Global economic well-being, traditionally measured by national income and also by levels of capacities, grew during the second half of the twentieth century, to an extent and with a speed never experienced in the history of humankind.
But the inequalities within and between various countries have also grown significantly. While some of the more industrialized and developed countries and economic zones -- the ones that are most industrialized and developed -- have seen their income grow considerably, other countries have in fact been excluded from the overall improvement of the economy and their situation has even worsened.
Take that, Fat Cats!! So now "social conservatives" around the country are having conniptions and twisting the presumption of the Vatican into a pretzel:

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Joshua Pundit:
Perhaps this Pope will next appear in a 'kill the banksters' OWS tee shirt, just as he was once happy to done a keffiyah, today's equivalent of a Nazi armband.
...while some flatly deny it altogether:

The truth of the matter is that "the Vatican" -- whether that phrase is intended to mean the Pope, the Holy See, the Church's teaching authority, or the Church's central structures of governance -- called for precisely nothing in this document.
Not since the candidacy of John F. Kennedy has the Vatican (and Catholicism) taken such a hit: it's positively un-American! And as we pointed out in a previous article, (The Christian Right's Latest Strategy), denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention NEED the poor to STAY poor - at least poor enough to avail themselves of faith-based largesse. Any form of distribution of wealth such as the Vatican professes just won't do. Not at all.

What the Religious Right (Republicans) fail to perceive is that they are up against the juggernaut of the Vatican PR machine which controls most of Christianity's self-perception: if Rome is for a more just system of economics to ease the suffering of the poor, then that's what ALL of Christianity wants. Going against Rome in matters of faith is one thing, but in the matter of morals, it's another story.* And as for an historical "compassionate" image, the RR(R) has Jerry Falwell, while the Catholic Church has ... Mother Theresa. No contest. 

Another aspect of this seemingly sudden apostasy from capitalism: the Vatican is still smarting from its own brush with financial scandal when the Vatican bank was relieved of $30 million by the Italian government for money laundering. Coupled with the fact that the Vatican has always had more money than God, the papacy may still be in the position to think a bit more like Dolly Levi: "Money's like manure: in order for it to do any good, you have to spread it around!" 

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Of course, the Vatican did not say "Everybody on Wall Street Is Gordon Gecko scum!" because it couched its wording in vague tones very carefully. Specificity was not necessary. Let the National Review (above) rail against the press for jumping to conclusions: a light touch was all that was needed for people to think that the Church was now "left of Nancy Pelosi" as the Rev. Thomas Reese** said. 

Perhaps the most formidable foe the papacy will have will come in the form of the VERY anti-Catholic NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) headed by people like Peter C. Wagner and Cindy Japan-is-shaped-lie-a-dragon Jacobs. ... and David Barton, who, for all his mincing demeanor is not afraid to take on the papacy (as long as he maintains the pedestal that Glenn Beck put him on). 
What The Papacy Hath Created ...
The world is in economic turmoil. And so is its Christianity: to spread the wealth means more government and government regulations. Right Wing ministers who are demanding a bigger role in politics to reduce government are shouting "Socialist!" Dominionists are hurriedly meeting behind closed doors to plot an anti-Catholic strategy (isn't Benedict really an Islamic terrorist? ). Republican Presidential candidates are frantically sizing up the Catholic vote and considering when to carry rosaries. Catholic bishops who depend upon the wealthy and corporations are screaming "WTF?!" The OWS movement is rejoicing wildly at this "gift from heaven". 
And somewhere in the depths of the papal palace there is the sound of one man laughing.

*Henry VIII not withstanding: he got a whole lot of land and a bunch of monasteries - something Rome has never forgiven, nor forgotten. 

** senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University .


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Rev. Dan Vojir is has been writing/blogging on religion and politics for the better part of ten years. A former radio talk show host (Strictly Books " Talk America Radio Network) and book publisher, Dan has connected with some of the most (more...)

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