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Nov-05-2013 18:33printcomments

Mediating the Media... Hosannas For Jorge (Pronounced Whore-hey)

The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light. -Matthew 4:16

Pope Mbz
Courtesy: ndtv.com

(DAYTONA BEACH) - A field day is being had by the media these days, singing the praises of Francis The Humble. And I for one think it's just peachy-keen. I mean, if we can't actually have a Second Coming, the next best thing is a humble Pope. What I mean is. a Pope for the Poor, who doesn't do extravagant stuff like wearing red loafers or cruising around in that Mercedes Popemobile. Instead, he eschews the opulence of the Papal apartment in favor of the threadbare guest house, probably on the American Plan.

It's rumored that Francis has even thrown out all the pigeons, a useless extravagance that his predecessor kept around, in case he wanted to send a message back to Germany, or make like a symbol of peace by releasing one of them from the balcony. In fact, the Emeritus One did just that last year on the occasion of the Altar Boy of the Year Awards, you remember? And a bloody Adriatic seagull nailed the sucker before he got two flaps away from the balcony.

It was a bad day for those of us of the True Faith, and especially a bad omen for the 3,000 carefully selected altar boys assembled in St. Peter's Square.

The American media as usual are right in the forefront of all the current adulation. Lawrence O'Donnell, that popular MSNBC show host, recently had as his guests two unbiased observers, one a Catholic priest who's the editor of the Catholic publication America, and the other a Catholic priest who's the President of Fordham University. Surprisingly, they were in agreement that Pope Francis is the best thing that's happened to the Church since they fried Joan of Arc. And of course, just to add depth and a different perspective, Lawrence himself is a good ol' boy from a Catholic School bringing-up. The only thing missing was maybe a nun or two and Bill Donahue, the President of that Catholic lay men's organization, which would have provided an even more balanced and objective forum.

Time Magazine, weighing in for unbiased reporting from the print media, published more than one riveting article written by knowledgeable Catholic luminaries, pointing out how Francis has already proven to be a fresh breeze blowing through that stuffy old Vatican, with all sorts of humble new innovations. For example, he's going to convert some of those lavish bishops' residences into homes for retired priests and homeless choir boys, hopefully not concurrently.


And there was one unconfirmed report that he's already ordered Pope Emeritus Ratzinger to take a pay cut to three quarters of his former Peter's Pence stipend, which will now be slashed to a scant $150 million a year. Francis himself will be making do with minimum wage, which in Italy is about 10,000 lira, or about ten bucks, an hour.

Even The Nation, which is a lefty sort of mag, and usually pretty grouchy about this sort of thing, has supplied a couple of thoughtful, searching articles (October 14) that conclude that, while it would be better not to have a Pope at all (you can see how dissidents talk these days), or at least not an infallible one, they, The Nation's editors, apparently say they gotta hand it to old Francis I for some of his progressive moves.

I, in turn gotta hand it to The Nation for their unbiased reporting. Such as: "The Pope has reined in the Vatican Bank, moving it toward compliance with European standards of transparency." Like the European Central Bank and that old see-through Bank of England. Zowie. That's quite a switch from laundering Mafia money and being as untransparent as JPMorgan Chase and those Libor traders. You might even say that with the Pope's new transparency, the Holy See is now the Holy See-through. (Sorry about that little joke there.)

The Nation, in a separate piece by Katha Pollitt in that same issue, goes like: "Pope Francis seems a lovely man. He washes the feet of prisoners, drives a Ford Focus and lives in the Vatican guest house." Even out of context, there's nobody that could knock that statement except maybe a Chev dealer.

It was also pointed out how progressive Francis is about "a theology of the woman," and he proved it by bringing up the Virgin Mary to demonstrate that he really thinks women are cool. He and his sister, apparently, are real buddies. Best of all, he recently proclaimed - with his fingers making the sign of the cross behind his back - that the culture of "the woman" is essential for the Church, provided they don't get too uppity about it, like trying to be priests or whatever.


You have to remember how essential nuns are in the scheme of things, like scrubbing floors around the Curia, not to mention women worldwide selling turkey raffle tickets. You know, the backbone of the Faith.

But when you look at Francis I's background when he was a humble Cardinal nee Jorge Bergoglio, you have to admit it was predictable that he'd be not only transparent but easy to see through. For example, during the Dirty War in Argentina he was perfectly up-front about playing ball with the Junta when they kidnapped two priests. As Superior in the Society of Jesus in Argentina (The Jesuits), he didn't finger the two priests' arrest by the Navy, but rather, transparently, didn't do anything about it.

The martyred victims' assertions that Bergoglio handed them over were obviously false because after being tortured for a while, they were finally found alive five months later, drugged up and half naked, so they were obviously in no shape to sound rekliable. And besides, the subsequent criminal case against the humble Cardinal in 2005 was thrown out by that Argentine court, because by this time he was working in Rome where he'd landed a job at the Vatican. So he wasn't available to testify anyway. So who are you going to believe, a transparent Cardinal or a couple of half naked druggies? You know how these court thingies get out of hand when lawyers are looking to make a name for themselves, especially Argentinian lawyers.

And later, when an Argentinian judge, Alicia Oliveira, asked him why he hadn't spoken up against the Junta, Cardinal Jorge (it's pronounced like "whore-hey,") replied that "he couldn't. That it wasn't an easy thing to do." In other words, that it wasn't smart to be that transparent. Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize along about that time for speaking out, said: "Perhaps he didn't have the courage of other priests. " Well, as I understand it, priests aren't supposed to be courageous, like some old Junta rebel.

Hey, we can't all be martyrs. Besides, he had a lot of other stuff to do at the time, like visiting and washing the feet of the poor in the slums of B.A. Just to give you an idea, in 2001, during police repression of the riots against the Junta, Bergoglio contacted the Ministry of the Interior and asked if the police could please distinguish between peaceful protesters and those ordinary old rioters that were doing stuff like vandalism, the way they do at G-20 meetings. It isn't recorded if the police did or not, but you have to hand it to Jorge for trying, right?


Besides he was demonstrating his courage in other ways. He directly opposed the Argentinian government when they attempted to legalize some instances of abortion, in one case that of a mentally handicapped woman who had been raped. Like the true martyr he is, Bergoglio chided the government, saying: "In Argentina, we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a retarded woman can be condemned to death." So much for the rumors that he sided with the government.

Is Francis I's position on priestly child abuse clear? As Jack Nicholson would say - Crystal. Over the course of 14 years as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was falsely accused of not taking action to protect children, and not extending namby-pamby apologies to priest-victims and their parents. Actually it was always his position that the best way to protect children was to keep priests around to shield them. And later, he told Gerhard Ludwig Muller, successor to old Benedict himself in running the Vatican's kid-rape program. to introduce "necessary procedures," such as to handle this stuff internally without bothering those snoopy police officers, who don't know anything about chastity or holiness, or even pedagogy, anyway. Crystal.

As recently as 2011, Bergoglio condemned child trafficking and sex slavery except when it is carefully monitored under the oversight of the Church, which knows best about these things.

And that's why you have to applaud all of the articles and broadcasts in America's popular media these days about Francis the Humble and the new Vatican he is running. Because the American media - whose readership, viewership and even advertisership is at least 40% Catholic - choose to leave out completely any mention or discussion of that old chestnut priestly rape and sodomy.

Because, with their journalistic insight they have the maturity to realize that the Pope, the Church and the hierarchical structure of the clergy know best about these things, not the cops, so it should be left in their hands. What happens in the Church, stays in the Church.

So Hosannas for Jorge (Whore-hey), the humble Cardinal who became an even humbler Pope.

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Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post's history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.

At 18, Bill's first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army's CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.

He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.

Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.

You can write to Bill Annett at this address: bilko23@gmail.com

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