Smelling A Ratz
There has already been a lot of commentary here on The Left Coaster concerning Pope Ratzenberger Benedict the Sweet 16, but I had to get my $2 worth in anyway.
Watching the succession of Pope Ratzenberger the other day left me with a cold feeling inside. I couldn't put my finger on the reason right away, but as the week unfolded and more news stories about Pope Ratz came out, it's growing clearer that strings were pulled to win his election - and he's well connected to string pullers.
Watching him standing on that balcony, basking in the glory, one could almost see what he was thinking written all over his face. It was as if he was thinking "At last! The power is mine!" As 'God's Rottweiller', he's no stranger to wielding power, and as a conservative who is opposed to the changes made to the Church by John XXIII, that power will likely be used to 'restore' it to the pre-Vatican II state. But as the Pope has no temporal power to speak of, he's going to need such help if he's going to resume the Crusades against those who are not controlled by the Papacy.
The news that Pope Ratz has been directly involved with the Bu$h family in the past is a good place to start wondering about him:
The Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1999 to promote ecumenical understanding and publish original religious texts, said a foundation official. The foundation, based at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Geneva, is listed by Dun & Bradstreet business credit reports as a management trust for purposes other than education, religion, charity or research.
Remember Deep Throat's Advice? To their credit, Newsday presents this pertinent fact about Neil Bu$h:
The federal Office of Thrift Supervision sanctioned Bush for having "multiple conflicts of interest" in his role as a director of Silverado Savings and Loan, a Colorado thrift whose failure cost taxpayers $1.3 billion. Bush paid $50,000 in a settlement. Gary Vachicouras, a theologian and foundation official in Geneva, would not explain in a telephone interview yesterday why Bush, who has no clear public connection to religious causes, was on the first board.
I'm beginning to smell a Ratz.
The charter members of the board were all well-known international religious figures, except for Bush and his close friend and business partner, Jamal Daniel, whose family has extensive holdings in the United States and Switzerland, public records show.
Besides then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, founding board members included former chief rabbi of France Rene-Samuel Sirat; Jordan's Prince Hassan, a Muslim dedicated to religious dialogue; the late Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, another prominent Muslim; Olivier Fatio, director of the Institute of the History of the Reformation; and foundation president Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Damaskinos.
Was Neil a member to show these religious types how to maximize their 'investments' at minimal cost to themselves? His Silverado experience would speak volumes! But this post is about Pope Ratz.
There is much to be concerned about him. His basic make-up screams Inquisition:
Cardinal Ratzinger, who chose the name Pope Benedict XVI, is known for his ultra-conservative views. Cardinal Ratzinger appears to represent the old guard. Will this ultraconservative Pope unite Catholics and bring them into a more enlightened twenty-first century, or will his actions attempt to return the church's 1.1 billion-members to the 16th century?
It's clear! Sixteenth Century is the New And True Way of the Crossers! Check out a few of the planks in his platform:
* Since 1981, Ratzinger has been prefect of the Congregation for the Docenterine of the Faith, chief guardian of the church's orthodoxy; maintaining and enforcing its hard line on issues such as birth control, abortion and women in the priesthood.
* Ratzinger told the Catholic News Service that he thought that the pedophile priest scandal was being driven by a media set on making the Catholic Church look bad: "I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign ... one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the Church. It is a logical and well-founded conclusion."
Only if one isn't swayed by the facts of the case. There is evidence that shows swaying the public isn't outside the purview of this Pope or the organization he now leads.
Emoting For The Crowd
Playing for sympathy is also evident, likely to be an element in the creation of favorable opinion through a 'cult of personality' to facilitate Pope Ratz' program (or is it pogrom?). He's reportedly ailing, yet one person who knows him fairly well says "he had never heard of any major ailments. He seems healthy. He comes and eats and drinks whatever he wants." (Thomas Frauenlob, director of St. Michael's seminary in Traunstein, Germany, where the pope studied as a youth and still visits annually).
I somehow doubt that a sickly man would earn the sobriquet of 'God's Rottweiler'! But I digress.
Iss Ratz Nicht Ein Gut Leetle Nazi?
Questions are asked about his involvement with the Nazis, which is dismissed because of the involuntary nature of his service to the Third Reich. I have to disagree with this assessment.
I have elderly coworkers who were once citizens of the Third Reich. Certain aspects of their thinking and attitudes still to this day reflect their formative years under National Socialism as practiced by the Nationalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei. These attitudes were very much at home in Richard Nixon's Silent Majority of Good Orange County (CA) Republicans. It is no different with Pope Ratz. As John in DC puts it at AmericaBlog:
I looked up the word "Nazi" online:
* Nazis (naht-seez, nat-seez)
A German political party of the twentieth century, led by Adolf Hitler. The Nazis controlled Germany from the early 1930s until the end of World War II. The party's full name in English is National Socialist German Workers' party; Nazi is short for its German name.
Despite the word socialist in its name, it was a fascist party, requiring from its members supreme devotion to the German government - the Third Reich (see fascism and socialism).
There is evidence that Pope Ratz is involved with some of the shadier aspects of Roman Catholicism - Opus Dei, which requires supreme devotion as well. There have been questions asked about Ratz' connections to what amounts to the Vatican's CIA and their cult-like recruiting activities.
The Nazis rose to power by promising the people that Germany, which had been humiliated after World War I, would become powerful again.
As prefect of the Congregation for the Docenterine of the Faith (formerly known as the “Holy Office of the Inquisition”), Pope Ratz would share similar feelings over the lost influence of the Church dating back to the Reformation, and may well have ambitions toward restoring that lost control and influence. He certainly wouldn't be the first 'religious' figure with access to huge sums who had to meddle in geopolitical affairs with an eye toward establishing control and influence over someone else's nuclear arsenal!
The Nazis opposed communism and free intellectual inquiry.
Max Blumenthal makes some wonderful points about intellectual inquiry and Pope Ratz:
Calling Pope Benedict XVI, aka Joseph Ratzinger, a "medievalist" is not just an empty insult. This guy literally believes the Earth is the center of the universe, or perhaps something even crazier. Check out what he said about Galileo in a speech in Parma, Italy, on March 15, 1990: "At the time of Galileo the Church remained much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself. The process against Galileo was reasonable and just."
He also said this at that time, which I consider to be more expository of Ratz' antipathy toward rational thought: "But Galileo did not limit himself to attacking Aristotelian-Thomist philosophy. Leaving the terrain of science, he went further and entered the realm of theology as well. To harmonize them with the Copernican theory, he proposed to modify the traditional interpretation of various texts of Scripture that mentioned the movements of the sun and earth."
We can't have that, now can we?
Back to AmericaBlog's John in DC and his discussion of the definition of Nazi:
Desiring to form a master race that would rule the world, they fought the influence in Germany of peoples not of "pure" descent. Their power was particularly directed at controlling Jews in Germany and in the countries that Germany conquered in war. After depriving Jews of their property and confining them in concentration camps, the Nazis employed the Final Solution of killing them in large numbers; an estimated six million Jews lost their lives (see Holocaust). Also marked for extermination were the mentally and physically handicapped and "enemies of the Reich" such as Slavs, communists, Gypsies, homosexuals, Christians who resisted the government, and defenders of intellectual freedom.
As we know from the Fundamentalist branch of Christianity, those who are non-believers are anathema to dogma. It is no different in Roman Catholicism, just not as openly expressed. Recall the citations I offer above concerning Pope Ratz' attitudes toward gays and the poor, about his meddling in the US election which could only benefit the political ambitions of the brother of the man who advised his 'religious' promotion organization on money matters. He is very clearly obsessed with regaining the power enjoyed by previous Popes, power to be wielded in the never-ending quest to rid the world of disbelievers and those whose behaviors are not sanctioned by the elites:
All I'm saying is that the man is hardly a picture postcard of the anti-thesis of Nazi thought. The comparison is valid for discussion at the very least, lest we ignore history altogether.
By his answers will you know him!
Dr. Matthew Fox of the Friends of Creation Theology has a list of 22 questions he feels that Pope Ratz should answer (I will present only to those I feel most pertinent to my post):
1. You come from Bavaria, that part of Germany that most admired Hitler and first voted for him. Did you ever denounce Hitler or fascism? If so, when? If not, why not?
2. If you denounced Hitler why do you support today the Spanish priest Escriva who admired him publicly and why did you rush Escriva, founder of the opus dei movement, into canonization thus leaving the impression that fascism is a path to holiness?
3. If you denounced Hitler then why do you carry on in his ways such as:
* 1) bookburning and denouncing of thinkers and theologians?
* 2) whipping up hostility toward homosexuals as he did?
* 3) excluding women of all decision-making and leadership?
* 4) create scapegoats including people of religions other than Catholic along with women and gay people?
4. Do you want to put gays in concentration camps like Hitler did? (In the second of two documents you wrote and the past pope signed denouncing homosexuals you did not cite even ONE scientific study of homosexuality but cited your catchechism five times. Is this anti-intellectual attitude not another Galileo case in the making?)
5. Do you know the difference between ideology and theology? Why have you destroyed the latter by condemning theologians while you create ideological churchmen by your loyalty oaths?
9. Do you agree with Lord Acton that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely?" What are you--the champion of papal infallibility (as in "the fuhrer is always right")--doing to prevent that from happening in your organization?
12. Did Jesus ever say anything at all about condoms or birth control or homosexuality or the ordination of women? (In fact, today's scholarship shows how many women were in position of leadership in the early church.) Then why are you so sure of your absolutist position?
13. You complain about "the dictatorship of relativism." Isn't there also -- and more easily -- a dictatorship of absolutism?
14. Why do issues of social and economic injustice play so little a role in your definition of morality which seems to be 98% about sex? (Hint: Saint Augustine!) [How Very Republican! - ed]
19. Are you the first Grand Inquisitor to be elected pope? What does that tell us about the state of the Roman Catholic Church at this time in history? How does that feel to be treading such fresh ground?
21. Why do you denounce Buddhists as "atheists" and "autoerotocists?" Why do you condemn Hindus? Protestant churches? Pagans? Goddess worshippers? Native American believers? Feminists? The practice of Yoga? (You write that it gets you "too much in touch with your body"). Is your church--mother of Inquisitions and Crusades and anti-Semitism--without sin and the holder of all spiritual wisdom? Why did your church never excommunicate Hitler?
These are valid questions. Hitler was raised a Roman Catholic, although he 'respected only the power and organization of the Roman Catholic Church, not its tenets', taking advantage of this power and organization, for example, by using Catholic Croats to do his dirty work in Southeastern Europe and adding to the sectarian problems of the 1990s. Hitler never renounced his Roman Catholicism; he remarked to one of his generals: "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so" [Adolf Hitler by J. Toland, p. 703 (1976, Doubleday, New York NY) quoting p. 31 of Heeresadjutant bei Hitler 1938-1943 by General G. Engel (1974)].
We progressives regularly connect the stated ambitions and known actions of the radical American right wing with those of Hitler's followers, and any student of history can see for themselves from where these analogies are drawn.
Certainly, the actions of the Catholic Church in the past indicate a certain sympathy to the Nazi cause. In July 1933, the Nazi government concluded a Concordat with the Vatican which stated: "The German Reich guarantees the freedom of the profession and the public exercise of the Catholic Religion... ecclesiastics shall enjoy the protection of the State in the same manner as the employees of the State... The teaching of the Catholic religion in the elementary, vocational, secondary and superior schools shall be a regular subject and shall be given in conformity with the principles of the Catholic Church." And when it became evident that the Nazi cause was lost, the Catholic Church aided and abetted the escape from proscecution of many war criminals.
Some were Catholic priests were in fact criminals themselves, as illustrated by the case of Paul Touvier:
Paul Touvier was the only Frenchman convicted of World War II crimes against humanity. He spent much of his life on the run, sheltered by elements in the Roman Catholic Church. Twice convicted for treason, he was pardoned by French President Pompidou at the behest of leading Catholic officials. When new charges were brought, he went back into hiding, moving from convent to monastery, and living off handouts from individuals and church groups until he was arrested at a Catholic priory in 1989.
And what did Touvier have to say about the Jewish refugees who were lined up against the wall of a cemetery and shot one by one, first in the back, then in the head, on his orders?
I cite this example not to smear all Catholic priests but to point out that there is an element in the Catholic Church which actively harbors extreme Nazi attitudes. We cannot say that Pope Ratz isn't one of these based on the evidence I present.
Consider his recent comment that 'he would brook no dissent and would block debate on issues such as women priests, priestly celibacy, abortion and homosexuality.' Does this not sound like a man obsessed with control? Is it such a huge leap from desiring such control to taking Nazi-like actions to impose it? History's example of the Inquisition certainly suggests that the leap is quite short.
His own religious peers aren't looking forward to Ratz' Papacy. Bishop Desmond Tutu - a man who knows something about persecution himself - had this to say:
South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu called Benedict a 'rigid conservative' out of step with the times. "We would have hoped for someone more open to the more recent developments in the world, the whole question of the ministry of women and a more reasonable position with regards to condoms and HIV/AIDS," Tutu said.
And a German woman - likely a Catholic herself, adds this:
"In my opinion the man is simply too old for this office," said Agnes Straubinger, a resident of Munich in Ratzinger's native Bavaria. "How will the Catholic Church ever progress if it always bases itself in the past?"
She's ignoring the evidence! Pope Ratz' intentions are to prevent any such progress! He will use any means, any method, commit any act, all in the name of preserving and expanding that in which he believes:
His "primary task" would be to "reconstitute the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers," he said in Latin at a Mass in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. "He is clearly a person who believes in absolute truth and the clarity of truth - and the possession of truth by the Roman Catholic Church" says Chester Gillis, chair of the theology department at Georgetown University in Washington. "He is very unbending about that."
The new pope's choice of the name Benedict, harking back to the saint who helped Christianize Europe in the sixth century, suggests that he sees his role as reinforcing the faith on an increasingly secular continent, the hearth of Christianity where the ashes appear to be cooling. Against the dominantly secular and relativist mood in Europe, Benedict seems likely to present a firm Catholic conviction, rooted in a starkly black-and-white view of the world. Benedict has dismissed anyone who tried to find "feminist" meanings in the Bible, and last year told American bishops it was appropriate to deny Communion to those who support abortion and euthanasia.
He has natural allies in the American religious right despite comments he's made in that past that their denominations as "not proper churches." They have the same goals of organizing the 'faithful' under their control, and then using these willing zealots to eradicate those who would oppose the goals of those in control at the top:
"Conservatives and hard-liners in the church will have been given a boost" by Cardinal Ratzinger's election as pope, says Graham Watson, leader of the Liberal group in the European Parliament. "We can expect them to be more militant now. It's going to be even more important to build a secular force to drive that agenda forward."
It really is the Crusades all over again!
"Our concern is that [Benedict XVI] has a more narrow approach to the religious content of Western societies, that he wants to return to the centrality of Christianity in Europe," says Tariq Ramadan, a controversial Muslim theologian who has been active in interfaith dialogue.
More correctly, it's like the Spanish Empire again, using religion to further political and economic efforts toward control and domination. But instead of a hereditary monarchy benefiting from these efforts, it is a Zaibatsu of multinational corporate interests which benefits. The Catholic Church has great sums of money available to it despite the relative poverty of the majority of its membership. This economic power was glimpsed briefly during the scandal surrounding the sudden death of Pope John Paul I and mystery surrounding the activities of Vatican Bank President Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, including about the same time that Neil Bu$h was playing the depositors of Silverado Bank for suckers.
Suffice it to say that the Catholic Church and the BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse have a lot of things in common. If the Protestants and Jews who largely make up the BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse can come to some kind of an understanding with the Pope, he can provide the moral cover for the Oil Wars while they provide him with the muscle necessary to break the will of those apostate Muslims who refuse to see 'reason'.
NObody Expects The American Neocon & Catholic Inquisition, Inc.!
Think Abu Ghraib here. Just because there's no use of the infamous rack in Iraq doesn't mean that torture isn't going on. Think of the possibilities for American Neocon Christians and Roman Catholics to 'comfort the afflicted' and 'offer solace' to the Muslims and other, non-Christian religions in oil producing regions! They could use the methods of the conquistadors to impose the rule by faith-based governments which would then impose a state religion upon those so conquered! It worked well on the Left Coast of the Americas for centuries - at least until those apostate American Reformationists arrived.
But I think that they have since learned how to play the game that 'God's Rottweiler' wants to play. The only thing remaining is to decide who gets what part of the spoils - and the souls.
Since there's no dollar value on souls, I'm guessing that Ratz will get those.
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