Monday, January 19, 2015

On Martin Luther King, Jr., Day: Jerry Slevin on Pope Francis's Trip to the Philippines, and Catholics' Dream

And another King-day-themed posting: at his Christian Catholicism site, Jerry Slevin comments on Pope Francis's encounter in the Philippines with a street child who poured out her anguish to him immediately before the pope gave a homily reasserting the papal ban on the use of contraception:

In “dreaming” about the pope’s encounter in the Philippines with the young “street child” on the eve of Martin Luther King’s US holiday, I had a dream!  I dreamed that the pope told the young former street girl what the Vatican’s real strategy was. If he told her, I dreamed it would go something like this. Pope Francis would have said: 
(1) I was elected by frightened cardinals to keep them out of jail for crimes related to child abuse cover-ups and financial corruption; 
(2) My priority is protecting bishops, all 5,000 of them, while maximizing their wealth in their unaccountable lifetime positions; 
(3) I need to preserve the Vatican’s “richest markets” , especially in the USA and Germany, and among the billionaires of the Philippines, South Korea, Mexico, et al.  In the USA, I need in 2016 to get a friendly Republican, like the Bushes were, in the White House (God forbid Hillary Clinton gets elected!), now that low tax/low regulatory Republicans control the US Congress and, in effect, the US Supreme Court. Our US billionaire donors like that; 
(4) In the USA, I must also appeal to fundamentalist and Latino voters with a muddled mix of anti-abortion/contraception and anti-gay marriage crusades, and frequent appeals to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Junipero Serra and Oscar Romero, and of course, constant references to the devil; 
(5) In Germany, I must protect the bishops $6 billion annual governmental subsidy, including by getting divorced and remarried Catholics from taking their families and pro rata subsidies out of the Church; 
(6) I must push with my contraception ban to pump up the Catholic birth rate everywhere, especially in light of the high birth rate among our Muslim competitors; and 
(7) If after taking care of my bishops, obedient priests, opportunistic politicians, “scholars” and media supporters and, of course, our 24/7 insatiable civil, criminal and and bankruptcy lawyers, the rest of the donations, if any remains, may “trickle down ” to the poor, and to those priest abuse survivors who keep silent. 
And then I awoke from my dream.

And, of course, as I read Jerry's commentary, I think of his repeated warnings to those of us who may be inclined to view Pope Francis as a kind of Santa Claus, which, in turn, echo Sister Teresa Forcades's observation (I cited it this morning) that Catholics need to ditch the notion of a "Pope Messiah," and I become more convinced than ever that effective change of the Catholic church will come from the bottom of the church and not the top, from its margins and not from its (corrupt) center.

And certainly not from the media that dance so beautifully to the choreography presented to the media by that corrupt center . . . . 

The photo is a view from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument on 28 August 1963 as Dr. King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech; the photo was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Soerfm, and is a U.S. government photo (note that the url given at Wikimedia Commons to the government website of the original photo is a broken url).

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