Friday, December 26, 2014

The Pope's Christmas Message Let's the 1% Off the Hook

What would Jesus think of such obscene opulence?
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Yesterday, the day Christians believe the son of god was born, the head of the Catholic Church, an Italian/Argentinian named Francis spoke to some of his supporters in the city state we know as the Vatican.

He said a number of things including commenting on abortion saying, "infants killed in the womb" is a product of, "a culture that does not love life.".

He’s right, capitalism does not “love life” but he didn’t say that because capitalism must be protected, people must not think in terms of systems. He is implying women don’t love life, or the men that support their right to control their own bodies?  How many women who have had abortions has he spoken to?  He condemned ISIS of course for the group’s slaughter of those that don’t share the group’s ideology.  He asked the “..savior of the world..”   to “look upon” Christians and others who are suffering “brutal persecution” in Iraq and Syria. The Middle East was a major topic for the pope actually as he also made references to the displacement and killing of children, not just in the womb but through the conflict and “bomb attacks” particularly in the place where the “Son of God was born.”.

It’s a nice speech as far as the capitalist class goes as it blames everyone equally for all this mayhem.  There’s no talk of a system anymore as in general the only time they talk of systems is when they refer to the political/economic system known as communism (Stalinism) and that’s failed, gone.

The pope “appealed” for an end to the conflicts in African countries and called on Palestinians and Israelis to talk. No suggestion that they are not equal partners in that conflict. That the Zionists have the US behind them, or that Christians should support them because they are told that the conflict indicates the return of the creator of the world and the peace religious leaders conveniently say is impossible in the material world will be found in some imaginary place in the cosmos.

The pope does a lot of appealing but never points to the source of the problem. We are all “sinners” you see, all equally guilty, complicit in the slaughter of people throughout the world.  The little child scooping plastics up in that Bangladesh river, the starving Sudanese woman, the striking African miner, Jamie Dimon, and Dick Cheney, they’re all guilty because it’s a human problem you see.  We are born bad---it is human nature that is the problem so we can never have peace on earth. The conflicts in Africa, the reason the Congo is never peaceful for example has nothing to do with having the misfortune of being rich in raw materials and forever in the eye of those who can profit from them. Satan is in all of us.

The conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria Israel Palestine have nothing to do with politics or economics.  Along with “appeals” the pope asked that "indifference be changed into closeness and rejection into hospitality, so that all who now are suffering may receive the necessary humanitarian help to overcome the rigors of winter, return to their countries and live with dignity." I’m not sure who he “asked” but I think it’s all of us. We should just be nice.

The pope’s message is to be expected, as the dominant church of capitalism with him as its spokesperson, the culprits must be sheltered; we must all be thrown in the mix with them in order that they don’t stand out.  The system of production that we know as capitalism is in the clear, there’s no mention of such a thing. For the Goldman Sach’s gang and those like them, all is well.  As despicable as ISIS and other religious fanatics are, the scale of their mayhem pales when it comes to the slaughter the US 1% has inflicted on the world in the post WW2 era. I cannot let the deaths of some three million Vietnamese drift in to the dustbin of history. Some of the main architects of that are still alive and wealthy, sheltered on US soil. They are also responsible for the unnecessary deaths of 67,000 US workers and the destruction of their families. The illegal attack on Iraq has caused untold horror for the men, women and children in the region.

The crisis in Africa is not a natural disaster it is a market driven disaster and those that perpetrate this situation are responsible, the pope ignores this.

There are millions of decent people, Catholics who for one reason or other choose to ignore the horrific history of this organization and its reactionary role in society.  I can only wonder at why they stay but if they must, surely they must fight for change openly and vigorously inside this man made male dominated institution.

The shift we see under Francis is a product of pressure form below; particularly from women and especially here in the US where Catholic women and nuns have been stepping forward.  The Vatican is also concerned about the damage done by the pedophiles and the covering up of their activity. Then there is the competition for souls (and money) and the Vatican has taken a beating from the evangelicals in that sphere, particularly in Latin countries.

I know Catholic friends are very impressed with Francis and welcome his moves toward change and they are impressed for all the right reasons.  But for me, the Vatican cannot be reformed, it is a state within a state, a corrupt institution that serves the interest of capital and those whose wealth is stolen from the backs of millions of workers and poor people. It has blood on its hands and the violent suppression of the Liberation Theologists stands out as an example.

The first question one might ask Francis is what was he doing when the Argentinian Junta was flying dissenters, democrats, leftists, union activists, over the Atlantic and dumping them in the ocean?  What about the “Disappeared”? The Nuns on the Bus are more responsible for any progressive moves the Catholic Church makes than Francis or any of the 100 or so misogynists that make policy.

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