Tag Archives: Pope Francis

QUAKES, GAYS and SOME ITALIAN ECCENTRICITY

italyquake

CENTRAL ITALY SUFFERING LIKE SODOM ?!

The recent quakes in central Italy, a quake prone area but suffering its most destructive tremors in thirty seven years, was promptly blamed on Italy’s recent legal toleration of gay unions by Fr Giovanni Cavalcoli.

The Vatican soon answered back in condemnation of such a charge – it dismissed the notion that God would punish in vengeance this way as “pagan”, pre-Christian and not part of the Church’s teaching .

Not to be cowed or outdone Fr Gionvanni, who believes all quakes are the result of human sin, riposted that the Vatican needed to read its own catechism (which disapproves homosexuality).

Not long before this a priest in Trento, Fr Gino Flaim, was suspended for the embarrassment caused the Church for apparently defending paedophilia on the radio, suggesting that it occurs because “children need affection”. It has therefore to be  accepted as a sin just as all other sins must be accepted (a quite common view among Italian clergy) but by contrast he is unsure about tolerating homosexuality because that is a “disease”.  It seems that right now one folly answers another in Italy.

ARGUMENTS BIBLICAL AND PAGAN

There’s a radical, eccentric Protestantism like that of the late Rev Ian Paisley which will attribute almost any evil to Rome and the Papacy. But if proof were needed that Catholicism really can be a blind guide, muddled and pagan to the point of being almost outside the Judaeo-Christian tradition itself, the above proves it and let’s be clear why.

1) For a start, it is unbiblical nonsense or biblical illiteracy to propose all notions of divine judgement are merely pagan or pre-Christian. The judgement idea is certainly – some would say notoriously – present in the Bible and not just in the Old Testament but also the New as in the book of Revelation which depicts the world after the times of grace. However, most essentially the Bible’s messages of wrath delivered by its Hebrew prophets, though sounding violent with the violence of their era, are not to the effect that God throws thunderbolts like Zeus. Their  message is that on account of persistent, serious evil a certain divine protection is withdrawn so that the demonic forces of chaos of a fallen world more fully take over.

This understanding is behind Jesus’ response to the question about those who died when the tower of Siloam fell (Luk 13:4). Jesus denies people there died because they were more sinful than others but that such destruction could happen to any and everyone if they failed to repent their sins. For Jesus all are basically condemned before God due to sin, (original and other) and thus in need of grace, a word of relatively little weight in Catholicism which stresses earning one’s way on earth and/or in a supposed purgatory.

Even so and popularly, it is of course  held that God judged Sodom and Gomorrah for “homosexuality” and Fr Cavalcoli echoes that tradition. But that is not what even the prophet Ezekiel declares was the case  – he saw rather pride, gluttony, indolence and ill treatment of the poor (Ezek 16:49) as the sin of Sodom. To the extent the non-biblical word “homosexuality” was involved in Sodom at all (and the men to whom Lot offered his daughters would surely be bisexual rapists in modern terms), their sin was desiring “other flesh“ (Jude 7) i.e. seeking to rape angels.

2). In making any claims of a would-be “prophetic” nature, clergy should be citing the Bible before the Catechism. But the extent to which Catholicism is not listening to, understanding or citing the Bible at all, is represented by the way it has treated its monstrous sex abuse scandals.

If the Church read the Bible it would know that while Jesus and the New Testament on such subjects as divorce and homosexuality can be and have been a matter for some degree of interpretation and debate, the abuse of children is non-negotiable. Jesus appears to consider it among the very worst of sins, something it would be better to be drowned in the depths of the sea than to commit (Luk 17:3). The idea that a priestly sex abuser be passed on to the next parish rather than be outright dismissed could only be countenanced in a milieu where the Bible is not assimilated and the whole notion of sin is taken very lightly and even common reality is not seen. A lot of paedophilia is not involved with childish desire for affection as Fr Flaim imagines but perverted adults’ desire to prey on the young, use and even terrify them.

A CONFUSED ITALIAN SPIRITUALITY

Italy and its Catholicism is still chained to a degree of refined paganism through Aristotle. His legacy via medieval philosophers still supplies a series of rationalizations of biblical teachings and ethics often so inappropriate and irrelevant they can only muddle and muddy the entire spiritual atmosphere to the point of  allowing it the sort of compromises which have left the nation victim to the mafia itself.

No matter precisely what one thinks and believes about gays and homosexuality, Fr Cavalcoli was wrong. A democratic society must tolerate its minorities and Italy was not wrong to grant gay unions. God won’t send quakes and in a historically known quake area besides for just that. Religiously and socially “marriage equality” (which Italy hasn’t passed) will always be more controversial because of various implications  especially as regards the adoption and rearing of offspring. Even notable gays, including in Italy Dolce and Gabbana and in Ireland the gay activist Ken Mills, have raised questions about this. It’s not a social change that can and should be argued from “equality” alone.

Although undeniably “marriage equality” raises questions for both Christians and gays, it is and will always remain a minority issue. It is nothing like as important as the massive corruption and mafia involvement in Italian life. These truly would constitute issues for the biblical prophets. While individual priests and even popes may now and again address this endemic problem, unfortunately Italian Catholicism is so entangled in the legacy of scholastic philosophy and a cult of saints that it looks set to continue along its muddled way now under the guidance of a well meaning but contradictory, eccentric Pope.

Pope Francis has so reduced his faith to a modern quasi-Marxist ritual of good works that, once again against all biblical basics and norms (which declare that without faith it is impossible to please God Heb 11:6), he has decided that good atheists and in effect everyone who does their bit of charity is bound for eternal bliss. This new, weak and confused Catholicism, plainly unable to face the Islamic challenge in any serious way, looks set to drag Italy down with it. It is a Christian virtue to forgive enemies, but the smiling Francis can’t even see who are the enemies to forgive in the first place. While Christians suffer genocide in parts of the world and Catholics like Aasia Bibi continue to languish in Pakistan’s jail for the “blasphemy” of daring to protest her Christian identity against bullies, Francis  will speak of “our Muslim brethren” like some kind of post-Christian globalist.

It is quite possible like Tobias Jones in The Dark Heart of Italy both to love and admire Italy and to be appalled at its corruption. I didn’t make a long article longer by speculating upon possible upcoming dangers for Italy, but I do think my unusual and revealing summary of Italian life and mind, including its religion (http://wp.me/p2v96G-OA) is and will prove well justified.

 

 

 

ICHABOD- PAPAL GLORY DEPARTING? : A POEM

Pope Francis Attends Weekly Audience

 ICHABOD – PAPAL GLORY DEPARTING?: A POEM

It’s far from Peter’s Square to Tacloban
But whether near or far, Beelzebub
Is having fun. From off the papal head
Not once but thrice have faithful crowds
Been forced to see how into a saucy
Wind with its own mind, whoosh,
Away a white biretta flies. [1]
Third time occurred where formerly
Destruction fell and multitudes still
Wait and long for healing of the memory.
And there, before due time, the pontiff
Left lest gusting winds and heavy skies
Prove harbinger of more typhoon or
At the very least delay.

It’s not as though even with a skull cap
More secure the suffering masses would obtain
Quite all the consolation so desired.
Rome’s Bishop says “I walk with silent heart”.
Faced with disaster there is no reply – alone
The Lord could give such he maintains
Because he knows all and was on the cross,
But in distress reach hands for Mary, call her “Mom.”

Yet why such reticence it’s fair to ask,
And ask of him whose faith is bold to post
Even atheists to highest bliss? “Christ’s Vicar”,
If that name were true, would know the answers
Of his Lord, would speak for times and seasons,
Any signs of end, declare like prophets
On the human plight and evil’s rule.
Then too, should not this Vicar own
Those powers like Christ’s at Galilee
To send back wind and wave, command
Wild weather’s forces to be bound?

But no, despite the goodness of the man
The welcome beacon of his honesty
The sometimes insight and the love,
He’s limited. There never was nor is
A special “Vicar” of the Christ. The kingdom’s
Keys were given less to Peter’s hands
Than to his declaration of belief. [2]

And now, as though too long false claim
Had grasped excess of privilege,
The forecast last of those to carry keys [3[
Renounces glory humbly. But now so late
It’s not enough and more divestment
There must be. The omens sound
The signs appear, the head will lose authority,
Rome’s throne fall vacant while the streets around
Lie open to barbarian hordes. Impatient
For world’s evil hour, the hell hounds
Which the leader hears, strain at the leash [4]
By God held back a little time, while
From the corners of the earth winds rise
To pluck from robes and caps their majesty.

NOTES

The title’s Ichabod means “the glory has departed” and was the name given by the daughter-in-law of the priest Eli who gave birth at the time the Philistines seized the Ark of the Covenant from Israel (1 Sam 4:19-22) in punishment, it was said, for an evil priesthood.

[1] The three occasions of biretta loss were Oct 2014 in St Peter’s square, upon arrival in Manila, Philippines in January 2015 and again (but the biretta was retrieved) as Pope Francis left the typhoon ravished Tacloban because a storm was approaching.

[2] In Matt 16:16 where Peter declares Jesus the Messianic divine Son, Jesus says Peter is the little stone (petros) but he will found his church upon the big rock (petra) of faith. Or so can be deduced from the Greek text although the Aramaic Jesus would normally have spoken (but raised near the Greek city of Sepphoris he would probably have known and spoken Greek sometimes) does not make this stone/rock distinction. Since however Peter’s declaration of belief was made in Greek-speaking Caesarea Philippi and where Pan was venerated below Mt Hermon, perhaps the confession was originally and defiantly made in Greek occasioning the little/big stone distinction. Since a Messiah should not initially be self- declared (something modern scepticism overlooks when it states Jesus never claimed to be Messiah) the early church necessarily regarded Peter as their voice and prime leader in some sense. But notions of a distinctly Roman Petrine authority is a late and political development. I even regard the tension over Peter’s status and role as curiously reflected in my data for Christ’s birth (see Testament of the Magi http://amzn.to/12eP5S8) in which, via the asteroids, one can see Rocher (Rock) and Stone significantly conjunct a world point, but in tension aspect (quincunx) to a conjunction of San Pedro, Roma and Isis, suggestive of the Isis-style Marian religion that much Catholicism has been, overtaking and in uneasy relation to Peter’s original declaration.

[3] According to the much disputed medieval Prophecy of St Malachy, Pope Francis should be the last Pope who defends the church during persecutions and times of the Antichrist. He is described as “Bishop of Rome” only – the informal Francis arguably assumes this role. As one of the possible omens, lightening struck the Vatican when the last of the traditional Popes, Benedict unexpectedly retired.

[4 The world’s worst hour is when the devil descends to earth (Rev 12:12). It is likely that the leader (i.e.the Pope) known, despite his liberalism, for a more hidden obsession with the devil, “hears” threatening sounds which speak to the role of purported last pope.

IF THE POPE CAN’T READ, BUT ALL MAY PROPHESY

 A TRIP TO TURKEY

Pope Francis continues to surprise with paradoxes and contradictions. As he means well and often hits right, one dislikes even as a non Catholic to go against the  general spirit of reform and good will to criticize; but sometimes Francis  is plain myopic or eccentric, even  dangerously so.

On his recent visit to Turkey it was good that Francis urged Muslim leaders to protest the current terrorism of such as ISIL that threatens minorities, especially Christian ones. It’s nevertheless  doubtful that short of immediate political threat to their own nations those leaders  will notably speak out. I suggest they will not do so for the same reasons I gave in the article on Prince Charles who has likewise called for more protest in this line.  (See  http://goo.gl/dByOMa )

It was however highly controversial that the Pope prayed in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque (rather than like Pope Benedict before him just “contemplated” ) and towards Mecca. This will be read by some as symbolizing a kind of spiritual submission to Islam (the name means submission) and esoterically/spiritually may even in the long run make for something to that effect. It was still more controversial to declare the Koran a book of peace, perhaps especially so in Turkey where as even a recent BBC article pointed out (the very multicultural and sceptical BBC is not notably pro Christian), a century ago the population of Turkey was 20% Christian whereas it is not 0.2%. This situation owes much to a genocide of the Armenians under the Ottoman empire not admitted or regretted by Turkey but an example to Hitler for his “last solution”.

HOPING FOR PEACE

As stated in the mentioned article, in and out of the Koran, the peace understood by mainstream Islam is most essentially the peace which settles upon a world subject to Sharia Law. Mystics (like the Sufis) and heretics and nominal believers may see things differently or would like to, and there are unquestionably peaceful Muslims, but there is a strong warlike history and tone to the religion all the same. “Slay all the unbelievers wherever you find them” is explicit in the Koran at 2:19.

Anyway, a jihad/war theme is sufficiently emphasized in Koran and Hadith (the Sayings) for it not to be too lightly and easily dismissed as only “fundamentalism”. And it is surely inappropriate for Pope Francis to reduce all problems in Islam and across the religions to “fundamentalism” as though he himself is not capable of fundamentalism (not biblical but scholastic philosophical) when he supports, for example, an exceptionless doctrine of respect for life as in the case of abortions.

Pope John Paul 11 kissed the Koran. Pope Benedict rather dissociated himself from this kind of world religions ecumenism but now Pope Francis, who one wonders has he actually read the Koran, declares a scripture which has it that Muslims should not even be friends with infidels, is a book of peace,  the book  moreover which even if it is about peace contains radical denials of Christ’s status and meaning in Christian terms..

Perhaps the most peaceful thing about the Koran is its declaration that war should only be defensively pursued. This would encourage peace if it weren’t that given the many people and beliefs disapproved by the same scripture too many Muslims take the stipulation as a reason to be offended about many  things in order to go on the offensive, like the attack I mentioned on an entire Christian village because one Copt had merely put Like on a Facebook page referring to evangelism. This was deemed an insult to true religion, it must be avenged!  Few people groups are as  sensitive as the Muslim, but Pope Francis says he understands the offence Muslims feel that their religion is not considered a religion of peace. He is concerned they not feel this way. Indeed?!

LAST POPE POLICIES?

It all makes little sense, so little that one feels like saying the Pope can’t read. But it arguably makes some sense prophetically….and then, does not even St Paul hope that all might prophesy (1 Cor 14:5) rather than that the prophetic function should be limited to the smallest possible number. So I shall – sort of – declare and forecast.

It is very likely that this “last” Pope (at least the last according to the St Malachy prophecy) is intentionally or unintentionally preparing the way to a world religion through Rome that according to the late Catholic seeress, Jeane Dixon, will rapidly follow upon the death of the last Pope (whom she alleged she saw assassinated). The development should be  part of a larger Antichrist phenomenon at the end of the era. (We are at the end of the age of Pisces that Christ’s birth might be said to have inaugurated. The  Muslims of ISIL firmly believe they are in the last times, though of course they don’t link this to the age of Pisces and not even many Christians know or grasp the significance of this).

Having proposed that atheists can be redeemed by their good works, and oddly tried to make ecumenical overtures to Pentecostalism through its controversial prosperity gospel wing (in rank contradiction of his declaration in favour of a new church poverty!), Pope Francis now seems to be selling the idea that all people of faith are “walking the same path” are “brothers and sisters” and can work and cooperate beyond and against various “fundamentalisms”. http://goo.gl/B0OOOX.   Shortly before his trip to Turkey he presided over an ecumenical meeting of the world’s religions to discuss family values and ethics. “Dialogue” as against anything like the dirty word evangelization could hardly go further.

One may like to imagine cooperation does or could exist, but in reality there is, and always has been, such little cooperation between Christians and Muslims that in most places Christians have only ever been tolerated by Muslims. They are not allowed their natural human right (and even religious obligation), to declare publicly what their religion teaches. In Pakistan Christians are constantly threatened by vicious vigilante mobs ever ready to invent and believe new lies against Christians. In Egypt Christian girls and women are not safe against abduction and forced marriage. The list of abuses is endless. (In the face of this the West is either naïvely ignorant or grossly disloyal and unfair to Christians amid its bend-over-backwards concessions to multiculturalism and relativist secularist philosophies).

However, in line with Ireland’s favourite psychic Lorna Byrne who surprised many by alleging she saw a time when Christians would worship at Mecca, I suggest something of the sort is on the way – not worship at Mecca but as though at Mecca or towards Mecca like the Pope’s prayer. Chrislam, already gaining some traction in trend obsessed America, will be the next religious movement. Liberal Christians will join with Muslim moderates appalled by demonstrations of radical and medieval Sharia law. For Catholicism the drift will be facilitated through the Marian cult to which Pope Francis is much attached at the expense of Jesus. Francis is controversially opposed to anyone saying they have a personal relation with Jesus. According to The Catholic Reporter, the Pope has described as “dangerous” the temptation to believe that one can have “a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ without communion with and the mediation of the church.” http://goo.gl/OFYCLA

THE MARY FACTOR

It is Mary and the Church who present you to Jesus (rather than Jesus relating you to the Father/Creator who almost gets counted out of this Catholic equation). But it is nonetheless Mary who can unify Muslims and Christians – Muslims are impressed that Mary supposedly appeared at Fatima, name of Mohammed’s daughter. Mary is more revered by Muslims (and Hindus, Buddhists etc) than the Jesus who is not understood in special terms of Messiahship and Sonship, issues which liberal Christians have tended to soft pedal . They now ignore, are unaware of, or underplay how Jesus was understood to be the manifest side of God, the Angel of the Lord, in a perfectly Hebrew understanding of doctrine and not the late Graeco-Roman construction sceptical scholarship had made the divinity of Christ  in a way which now assists misunderstanding, doubt and apostasy from original Christian teaching.

I will not speculate or forecast on whether the Pope will be assassinated as per Dixon’s claims re a last Pope, but I do think that when ISIL (in line with the Hadith referring to the last times that inspires the radicals) promises it will overrun Rome, this can be taken as likely. If ISIL is not stopped soon, which I doubt, this could occur as early as 2017 when I think Italy, the Vatican, St Peter’s could all find themselves in some trouble.

But what we can be sure of, is no Vatican is going to have any divine protection against disaster if it imagines it can become the umbrella of some new world religious movement on terms which embrace anyone or anything based on unrealistic notions of what constitutes  faith and love. Wrong beliefs cause the candlestick to be removed as per Rev 2:5. (I won’t controversially speculate on the theme that certain churches might not have fallen into quite the degree of oppression and disaster they have if certain qualities and beliefs had originally been more in evidence). The Catholicism which once damned all other churches declaring no salvation existed outside itself, is now ready to cooperate with all unbelievers of good faith anywhere. It makes the switch not least because Pope Francis believes that we can know we are touched by the Holy Spirit whenever we have tender feelings of the heart and reach out to people – in short “feel good” and “together” (rather than experience the vision and knowledge and spiritual gifts the Spirit is said to give).

We may need to remember that according to the mentioned Jeane Dixon, the horrors of the times of the Antichrist would begin with people drawn to the very pitch of feel-good, idealistic emotions. It of course  good to be good, but God and religion are about  a bit more than that and some goodness when misdirected can lead to chaos.