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Tom Hayden discussing the crisis in Venezuela- from Tikkun

I received the intro and article below from Rabbi Lerner at Tikkun. I have a somewhat limited page on ESRA here on Spirit in Action but there is more at Tikkun’s site.

I think it is important to not only be aware of the real background on current events and to share that information.

That helps prevent the 1% and their minions from easily spreading the lies and manipulation that inevitably lead to mass death and suffering in support of their greedy objectives.


My comrade from the 1960s Tom Hayden has an important perspective on the current conflict in Venezuela that you won’t get from NPR or most of the media, much less from the politicos who every day send you emails begging for your money. We at the NSP support an extension of democracy both to countries around the world and also to us in the U.S.–please read our “money out of politics” plan called the ESRA Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Until it has mass support in this country, there is no stopping US corporations and the super wealthy from getting their way both here in the US and around the world. RabbiLerner.Tikkun

Tom Hayden discussing the crisis in Venezuela, February 25, 2014.

It’s difficult to grasp the facts behind the murky fog of Venezuelan crisis. Based more or less on intuitions, but also credible documents, some blame most of the crisis on the CIA. Some national security types, abhorring populism, claim that the Venezuela state is consolidating dictatorial power precisely by winning so many elections! Others, while friendly to Venezuela, blame the Caracas government for failing to address the problems of violent crime and economic malaise.

President Barack Obama may or may not know what various US operatives are doing. We have seen evidence of a “state within the state” before, going back as far as the CIA’s operations against Cuba. In Obama’s time, the president correctly named the 2009 coup in Honduras a “coup”, and then seemed powerless to prevent it. At his first Summit of the Americas, a friendly Obama shook the hand of Hugo Chavez before Obama’s top adviser tried to sabotage the warming of relations.

Call me naive, but I do not believe President Obama wants to see President Maduro overthrown. Chaos would follow. The US would be blamed. Relations with Latin America would freeze below zero. The president probably thinks Maduro should thrash in his own domestic contradictions.

But there’s another US “government”, a secret network that works tirelessly to undermine any Latin American threat to the dominance of American capital and military power. They understand that the president must be provided with “plausible deniability”, and so they keep Obama out of the loop. Sometimes they operate through the CIA, sometimes under Republican-Democratic “democracy promotion” programs, sometimes through third parties such as the Florida-based FTI Consulting. Democratic Party political consultants and pollsters have worked for Venezuela’s opposition. It’s difficult even for a president to keep a grip on it all. And that being the case, transparency disappears for the US Congress and public.

Obama’s public statements this week certainly gave moral support to the street demonstrations. While also including a vague call for “dialogue”, Obama is playing with fire. Obama immediately needs to rein in the entire entourage of US-supported agents of destabilization and issue them a clear cease-and-desist order, or he and the US government will be blamed for what may happen in the weeks ahead. He needs request and support whatever consensus emerges this week from the region’s elected governments and the United Nations.

The American Congress and public are becoming used to street protests overthrowing elected governments regardless of the issue of national sovereignty. “Humanitarian intervention” in the affairs of other nations means willfully ignoring sovereignty where egregious human rights abuses are at stake and no negotiations are possible. The argument is somewhat attractive up to the point where it revives the Law of the Jungle. In the case of Venezuela, not only sovereignty but representative democracy are at stake, in a region which only recently began to shed the US-supported rule of oligarchs and generals.

The forgotten facts amidst the mounting frenzy is that President Maduro won the April 2013 Venezuelan election by slightly under two percent, and his alliance were victors by ten percent in last December’s nationwide municipal elections.

The losers of those Venezuelan elections have turned into Leninists of the Right, seeking to create a counter-revolutionary situation in which the government apparatus crumbles and they seize power. The leaders want martyrs in the streets. In their apocalyptic view, a coup in Venezuela would spiral swiftly into the collapse of the oil-dependent Bolivian, Ecuadoran and Nicaraguan governments, and be a deathblow to Cuba.

If this frightening vision fails, the anti-Maduro forces will regroup and resume their strategy of destabilization on a permanent basis, a virtual civil war in the guise of a political conflict, in hopes that a segment of Maduro’s present voting bloc – estimated at fifty to 56 percent – switches sides in a future election out of simple desire for “normalcy”.

The peace and justice movement in the US, along with Congressional allies, have a potentially-important role in pressuring Obama, and secretaries Kerry and Hegel, to rein in the agents of America’s dirty wars. A Congressional coalition led by the Miami Cuba Lobby is already agitating for Maduro’s demise. Where are the Congressional progressives? Despite frequent denials by US officials, for example, the State Department’s own Inspector General [http://oig.state.gov/documents/organization/13682.pdf ] found that the Pentagon and US “democracy programs” supported individuals and groups “actively involved in the brief ouster of the Chavez government” in the 2002 coup attempt.

You can read more of Tom Hayden’s smart commentaries in the Peace Exchange Bulletin at TomHayden.com

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The Israel Lobby Is Killing Iran Negotiations In Favor Of War- MJ Rosenberg 

Editor’s Note:

Please be aware that “the Israel Lobby” is not equivalent to “American Jews.” As M.J. Rosenberg notes, most American Jews are far more progressive than the organizations that officially speak for them (because most American Jews are not affiliated with those organizations). The Israel Lobby gets much of its strength from a minority of American Jews who back their positions with lots of money, and by the Christian Zionists.

Also, please note that this article appeared on Tikkun Daily blog–and you can subscribe to that for FREE! All you have to do is sign up attikkun.org/tikkundaily/join-tikkun-daily/. So sign up now!

And if you happen to be in the Bay Area Nov. 29th, you don’t have to be Jewish to come to our Chanukah celebration at 5:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall at 1606 Bonita Avenue (at the corner with Cedar) in Berkeley. Details at http://www.beyttikkun.org. Celebrate with us the first recorded national liberation struggle against Western imperialism!
The Israel Lobby Is Killing Iran Negotiations In Favor Of War

by: MJ Rosenberg

The Israel Lobby has truly gotten out of control.

The Obama administration is close to an agreement with the Iranian government to achieve a decade’s long goal. Iran would give up any plans it might have to develop nuclear weapons (verified by international inspections) in exchange for the lifting of some international sanctions that are doing significant damage to the Iranian economy.

This development – the possibility of ending a possible Iranian nuclear threat and ultimately normalizing relations with Iran after a four decade freeze – was made possible by an event few anticipated. That was the election of a moderate Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, who has been authorized by the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, to explore if the United States (and the Europeans) are serious about peace in exchange for a no-weapons pledge. Fortunately, in the Obama administration, the Iranians have a negotiating partner eager to improve U.S.-Iran relations if Iran gives up the nuclear bomb option.

Negotiations commenced and moved more swiftly than anyone expected. A week ago Secretary of State John Kerry was about to announce the first step toward a breakthrough when, apparently, the French government objected, putting the process on hold and giving the Israel lobby the opening it wanted to kill the negotiations. By itself, of course, the French position counts for very little in Washington. Two examples: the French opposed the Iraq war and they supported bombing Syria. They were simply ignored. No, France does not count for much in Washington. But the lobby, that is a whole other thing.

Nonetheless, the French have provided the delay the lobby needed. And it has gone to work. Here is the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman saying [ http://twitter.us4.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=855aabd7ccd7a77e987004677&id=a09201af33&e=6aaf00c2a2] that Kerry’s Iran opening is “chutzpah” that he hopes “will unite American Jews” in opposition. Here is Alan Dershowitz, the lawyer and pro-Israel spokesman, likening Kerry to Neville Chamberlain and, like Foxman, saying [ http://twitter.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=855aabd7ccd7a77e987004677&id=191ff0f8d2&e=6aaf00c2a2] that the “entire pro-Israel community must unite” against the Iran deal.

Far more significant than either is the memo [ http://twitter.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=855aabd7ccd7a77e987004677&id=7622bcfb67&e=6aaf00c2a2] that the official lobby, AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) sent to Congress:

To avoid any misunderstanding in Tehran, America must clearly signal that it will consider no easing of sanctions until Iran has verifiably suspended its nuclear program. If Iran’s nuclear activities continue, the United States and the international community should escalate sanctions and reinforce President Obama’s message that a credible military option is on the table to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Not surprisingly, AIPAC’s position is identical to that of Prime Minister Netanyahu and the very opposite of the Kerry approach. As is normal in any successful negotiations, Kerry is utilizing a step-by-step approach: offering some lifting of sanctions in exchange for some verifiable evidence that Iran is moving toward eliminating its nuclear weapons potential. AIPAC (and Netanyahu) are demanding that first Iran suspend its entire nuclear program (they make no distinction between civilian and military) and then the United States will consider the “easing of sanctions.” Chutzpah?

Given that the statement itself quickly segues to a military threat (“credible military option”), it is obvious that Netanyahu and the lobby understand that no country would accept a deal in which it gives up everything in exchange for maybe something later. No, the goal of the lobby’s position is achieving the “military option.” And that is what is so amazing about the lobby’s position.

It is one thing for the lobby to constantly thwart America’s efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian agreement. Although it is short-sighted and not in the interests of the United States or Israel, the lobby’s position does not directly fly in the face of U.S. security interests. Yes, one can argue that continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will ultimately threaten American lives and regional interests in general. But that is a supposition, one that is not provable.

The Iran case is different because the Obama administration is seeking to avoid a war that would jeopardize American lives. Once the bombs fly, the United States would be in another deadly Middle Eastern war, which is the last thing the United States wants. As was demonstrated by the Syria debate, the American people virtually stand as one in opposition to another war.

But the lobby apparently feels differently. Although it says (following Netanyahu) that its goal is to prevent an Iranian bomb, it is rejecting the administration’s surprisingly successful effort to achieve that result by laying down conditions that it knows cannot be fulfilled. It wants the “military option” because its goal is not eliminating any Iranian nuclear threat but in eliminating the Islamic Republic as a regional power.

In theory, neither the lobby nor Netanyahu should be able to get away with any of this. After all, the administration is acting in the interests of the United States while they are acting in support of Netanyahu’s.

They might get away with it. That is because Congress may allow them to. Republicans oppose everything President Obama does. By definition, if he does it, it is wrong. Choosing Netanyahu over a president they despise is as natural to them as shutting down the government or refusing to confirm judicial appointments. As for the Democrats, they receive a significant amount of their campaign funding from the lobby. Unlike supporting the Syrian intervention which was a minor lobby initiative, thwarting an agreement with Iran in favor of the military option is the lobby’s (and Netanyahu’s) number one initiative. Those who support negotiations could literally pay a price for it.

But it would not be as much of a price as Netanyahu and the lobby would like them to believe. According to the polls (see the American Jewish Committee poll here [ http://twitter.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=855aabd7ccd7a77e987004677&id=da2ec3b1c5&e=6aaf00c2a2] and the recent Pew poll here [ http://twitter.us4.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=855aabd7ccd7a77e987004677&id=85b11ba212&e=6aaf00c2a2]), the overwhelming majority of American Jews are progressives who support Democrats because they find the Republicans to be antithetical to every value they hold dear. Jews are overwhelmingly pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, pro-affirmative action. pro-labor, pro-immigration, pro-regulation and, to put it in Republican terms, pro-big government. No matter how much they might earn, they are never with the anti-tax crowd, believing (as the Torah teaches) that it is the obligation of the well-off to support those who aren’t.

Forget all that. When it comes to real matters of national security – like avoiding an unnecessary war – a president and Congress needs to do the right thing without regard what any lobby is saying. The supreme national interest – American lives – must come first. And the lobby and Netanyahu need to be told that they are, to put it gently, out of line.

For the sake of world peace, of Israel and Iran, and, above all, of the United States, these negotiations must succeed.

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Red Flags Round Pope Francis | Tikkun Magazine

I admit to being one thoroughly taken in by the new Pope’s recent speeches and demeanor. I have felt a surge of hope, and a release of much of the old judging, resentment, disappointment and anger at the church throughout history based on my feeling that in emulating Saint Francis this Pope could actually make the church a force for good.

I do not know if I am indeed a fool for my feelings-I think adding to the positive hopes and beliefs floating about in the world can always encourage better outcomes-but at the same time I will not be a blind fool;-) It is important for the people of Earth to realize that NO Pope, politician, military, religious, or civil leader of any type has the power that WE have to create a positive future for our planet and all living beings.

We have the ability to create the world we want, individually and together. Part of the ability includes being aware and informed and taking actions. Should the majority of Catholic people adhere to the council described in the article and support the inherent justice of Liberation Theology then the hierarchy of Rome would have to join in and “lead, follow or get out of the way”.

I left the church as a teenager because of many things, the leading among them being the church’s essential participation in colonization and genocide in the Americas, including what was then the current mess in South America (described in the article below).

I never left the teachings of Jesus because no matter what the church does or does not do, no matter whether you believe him a Messiah or simply a great teacher-Jesus was telling the truth. His words, like the words of the Buddha, are a simple to understand outline of how to be a good person and make the world a better place.

I was thrilled when I discovered Liberation Theology-and that a Bishop of the church, De Las Casas, opposed the colonization and genocide of the Americas from the very start (he was aboard Columbus ship on the very first voyage). De Las Casas was my first lesson in the important truth that history, tho written by the winners, has ALWAYS had two sides. There have always been people of deep moral conviction who worked to protect and help all living beings not just their own in-group.

So, in that spirit of embodying the Love out of which all things arise, and serving the greater good of all living beings I share this article by Matthew Fox about the new Pope. As he says in the article, I too hope that this Pope will abandon the service to self group who brought him to power and truly emulate the saint whose name he has chosen; because in so doing he would be aligning himself with the great mass of Catholic people, and indeed of all humanity, who believe in the value of all life over the ideas of selfishness, greed, hierarchy and control.

Red Flags Round Pope Francis

by Matthew Fox
March 18, 2013
Jorge Bergoglio

Cardinal Jorge M. Bergoglio SJ, (later to become Pope Francis) celebrates mass at the XX Exposición del Libro Católico (20th Catholic Book Fair), in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Credit: Aibdescalzo/Creative Commons

Like everyone else on earth, I wish the new pope well and I hope he truly emulates some of Francis of Assisis priorities of defending Mother Earth who is in so much peril, living simply (how one does that in a palace like the Vatican surrounded by an obsequious court is another question), speaking out on behalf of the poor, impoverished, sick, and neglected, and speaking out on those social and economic structures that institutionalize injustice. I also hope he cleans up the rats nest of corruption, pedophile cover-up, ego mania, and power-addicted prelates who run the curia that in turn runs the Vatican. Good luck and Gods Blessing!

Looking at the popes simple lifestyle while cardinal in Argentinarejecting the bishops palace, living in an apartment, rejecting a limousine and taking the bus to work, cooking his own meals, and speaking off the cuff since being made popegives one hope (again, not sure how it translates to a world of pope mobiles and court hangers-on in the last monarchy of the Western world, the Vatican). But good luck there also.

But Red Flags do emerge as we learn more of this man who is heralded as the first non-European pope in 1,400 years, the first citizen of the third world, and more. One has to be a bit careful here of the hagiographic hype that gushed upon us from CNN and elsewhere the day he was elected. These starry-eyed journalists wallowing in pious sentimentalism for a few days have not done their homework about the recent papacy (or past papacies). I have. That is why I wrote The Popes Wars: How Ratzingers Secret Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved. Here are some areas to watch out for:

1. This pope opposed liberation theology and base communities in Latin Americathat theology being the grassroots church that took seriously the teaching of Vatican II that the church is the people not the hierarchy. Many heroes of that movement were killed and tortured throughout Latin AmericaOscar Romero being the most visible. Bergoglio was nowhere to be seen standing with them. Quite the oppositehe fought liberation theology tooth and nail as head of the bishops conference and he was an effective instigator of papal attitudes in this regard (the CIA under Reagan linked up with Pope John Paul II to kill liberation theology as I prove in my book, The Popes War).

Can he change as pope? One prays. But dont bet the farm on it. One tends to dance with the ones who brung yaeven to the top of the clerical heap.

Protest against Communion and Liberation

Demonstrators protest against the Communion and Liberation ecclesial movement for the suspension of an officer from the Lombardy Region. Credit: Creative Commons/Mattia Luigi Nappi.

2. This popes allegiance is not to the principles of justice enunciated by Vatican II (or of freedom of conscience or of empowerment of laity or of national bishops conferences independence, or of sensus fidelium. etc.) but to Communion and Liberation. (See chapter seven of my pope book). Communion and Liberationalso called CL is a neo-fascist movement supported strongly by the past two popes (the women who will cook and wash clothes for Ratzinger as pope emeritus are CL people). CL is all about obedience, all about hierarchy, all about centralizing power in the pope, all about pronouncing on sins of the flesh (i.e. homosexuals, birth control, abortion, women sans rights). CL is much like Opus Dei though less secretive and Italian based rather than Spanish basedvery powerful and very rich and in fact larger and more influential today than Opus Dei (though not as embedded in the American media or supreme court or CIA and FBI).

3. Not only was Ratzinger, who published often with their publishing house, a champion of CL, but Cardinal Law was also a big cheerleader of CL, as is Cardinal Cordez, a very influential German bishop who actually invokes Pope Gregory VII as an example for our timesthe pope who said the pope may be judged by no one and the Roman Catholic church has never erred, nor never shall err to all eternity. Yikes!

Dictator Jorge Videla

Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla at the opening of 1976’s “Exposición Rural” in Palermo, Buenos Aires. Credit: Creative Commons/Edgardo E. Carbajal.

4. Serious questions persist about this popes refusal to stand up to the military juntas torture programs during the years of dictatorship in Argentina. Two of his fellow Jesuit priests were torturedalong with 30, 000 other Argentinians who were murderedand he was silent (some say he was complicit but not enough facts have been uncovered to say either way). What is clear is this: in general the hierarchy of Argentina stood by even when one of their own, a liberation theology bishop, was murdered along with 30,000 others. Photos exist of Bergoglio giving communion to the notorious murdering dictator, General Jorge Videla, who was convicted in 1985 of murder, torture, and many disappearances. An Argentine historian who was in the country during the dirty war writes: while the upper echelons of the Church were supportive of the military Junta, the grassroots of the Church was firmly opposed to the imposition of military rule.

5. This reminds one of Nazi times in Germany where some, but not many, bishops stood up to be heard. Bergoglio dismissed two Jesuit priests committed to liberation theology. The result? They were kidnapped and tortured for six months and six parishioners of theirs were disappeared. One of the priests, Fr. Orlando Yorio, accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over [including six other people] to the death squads. The second priest has spent his life since in seclusion in a German monastery.

It should be noted that secretary of state Henry Kissinger and the United States supported the military coup and junta just as it supported the Pinochet coup and dictatorship in Chile. The Chilean hierarchy opposed Pinochet however (except for Pope John Paul IIs legate Cardinal Sodono, who was so close to Pinochet that he received a special award from him when he left to become John Paul II s hand-picked secretary of state in the Vatican). CL is fiercely opposed to liberation theology.

Can this pope confess and move on? One hopes so.

6. Bergoglios connection to the right-wing faction of the German church is very clear. When an Argentinian autobiographer says, he is not a third world priest, he is noting that he has resisted the call for systemic justice of liberation theology. What is he then, since he lived in the third world most of his life? Very late in life, in his late sixties, Bergoglio traveled to Germany to get a doctorate in theology. I think one can conclude that he was also receiving a deep marination in the kind of right wing German thinking that Ratzinger and his cronies represent. That plus more link ups with CL and Cardinal Cordes, cheerleader of CL. The German bishops are the most influential in the church, due to the fact that Germany gives more money to the Vatican than any other group because its lay people are taxed whether they go to church or not. Pope Francis represents them far more than the third world unfortunately.

Can he change? One does believe in and pray for miraclesin this case that he flies the cage of CL in favor of the church far larger and diverse than tribal sects.

7. Bergoglio called the gay rights movement a work of the Father of Lies (though he says one should be nice to gay people). The president of his country called his opposition to gay marriage medieval and smacking of the inquisition in its tone. I see no evidence that he even considers womens rights to be an issue. Do not expect any theological depth or breadth beyond what we have been witnessing for forty-two years, years of schism in my opinion, from two (now three?) popes who have stuffed Vatican II even though in Catholic theology a council trumps a pope and not vice versa. Thus, they are in schismnot those who follow the principles of Vatican II. All Catholics are free of all hierarchy since the present hierarchylike the 115 cardinals in the papal conclaveare in schism. Get moving. Start true base communities in the spirit of Jesus and Vatican II.

In short, the new pope is presented as a pastoral person. His visiting AIDS victims and his walking in the slums and riding buses to work attest to this. His charm and spontaneity with the press and people since becoming bishop of Rome attest to the same. But the papal job is much more than one-on-one pastoral action. Love is not just about charity; it is also about justice. Is he up to that? Will he take on power structures of economic injustice and support those who do? We shall see.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien

Cardinal Keith O’Brien “had to recuse himself from the papal conclave because three priests accused him of sexual misconduct with them,” writes the author. Credit: Creative Commons/Gavin Scott.

8. A key to his job today is cleaning up the church itself which is mired in pedophile scandals and their cover-ups, financial scandals, rings of gay prostitutes blackmailing curia officials, blatant in-your-face hypocrisy around such issues as homosexuality (the Cardinal of Scotland had to recuse himself from the papal conclave because three priests accused him of sexual misconduct with them, even though that cardinal was a loudmouth ranting anti-gay voice in Scotland). How many other of the homosexuality is evil preachers in the Curia and elsewhere are having gay sex on the side? By the way, do they use condoms? They say that would be another sin.

Of course the on-going Inquisition which was brought back by the two previous popesI list 105 of their victims in my book of which I was only onewill the new pope address that? As a Jesuit you would hope he has some intellectual awareness that goes beyond CLs theology of Obey the Pope. As a Jesuit one would hope that he would have been exposed to the vast depth and width of the Catholic intellectual tradition no matter what the neo-fascist and anti-intellectual sects tell usthat the pope is the only teacher, a heresy in itself. Maybe he was playing a game all along with the German wing to get electedand now will let the Spirit open things up and cut bait with his right-wing handlers. One can hope. One would expect a Jesuit pope to have some respect for Teilhard de Charin, Karl Rahner, Anthony de Mello and other Jesuits whom the fierce right wing castigates.

Where does he stand on the New Inquisition fostered by Cardinal Ratzinger and his minions? We shall soon know. Is he able to throw off the narrow shackles of the C&L and Opus Dei sects and serve the whole church? We shall soon know. Can he overcome the sin of sexism so rife in ecclesial Boys Club circles? We shall soon know. Can he end the unmentionable cover up of priestly pedophiles by the hierarchy and fire all those who did so and put millstones around their necks (figuratively at least) as Jesus proposed for all those who endanger children? We shall soon know.

The key to the work of this pope is the person he appoints as secretary of state. That is the person who must clean up the curia. Will he appoint someone who can take on that heavy task? Or will he appoint someone who is content to keep the power games and cover-ups and hypocrisy going on there essentially as they have been for forty-two years? One of the 115 who got him elected in order to keep things as they are? Stay tuned.

It is false thinking to look up to the papacy to represent Jesuss teaching at this time in history. Look to yourself and the base communities of many stripes that put justice and love ahead of power games, sentimental pomp and papalolotry. One action I am involved in currently, along with Andrew Harvey, is the Christ Path Seminar, which is an effort to resurrect the real story and teaching of Jesus and the Cosmic Christ tradition. The Holy Spirit may be doing a very great thing in ending the papacy as we know it and starting Jesuss message over again through the people, not the ecclesial potentates. Surely we all pray that Pope Francis will join that work and be part of the rebirth of the Christ message.

Already some good things have resulted from Bergoglio as pope. The press (usually non-mainstream press invented by the Internet that bypasses the ruling financial, political, and religious elite) is finally taking a critical look at the history of the American government in Latin America (its role in the military coups of Argentina and Chile to name a few); and the new press is finally taking a critical look at the dark and fascist side of recent church history, a side I lay out in detail in my book, The Popes War, which has been studiously ignored by the mainline press. In my book I tell the truth about Opus Dei, Communion and Liberation, and more coddled children of the past two schismatic papacies. To shed light on these dark sects, as the non-mainline press is finally doing, is already a positive result of the papacy of Pope Francis. Will he and it be able to tolerate the light? Stay tuned.

St. Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen. Credit: Creative Commons/Энциклопедия конопли.

In closing, let us call on the recently canonized saint and Doctor of the Church, the twelfth-century reformer Hildegard of Bingen. Her words to the pope of her day follow:

O man, the eye of your discernment weakens..You are neglecting Justice, the Kings daughter, the heavenly bride, the woman who was entrusted to you. Her crown and jeweled raiments are torn to pieces through the moral crudeness of men who bark like dogs and make stupid sounds like chickens which sometimes begin to cackle in the middle of the night. They are hypocrites. With their words they make a show of illusory peace, but within, in their hearts, they grind their teeth like a dog who wags its tail at a recognized friend but bites with its sharp teeth an experienced warrior who fights for the Kings house. Why do you tolerate the evil ways of people who in the darkness of foolishness draw everything harmful to themselves? They are like hens who make noise during the night and terrify themselves.

It is difficult to find a more apt naming of the curia today than these words of Hildegard who also said: The Catholic chair of Peter will be shaken through erroneous teaching The vineyard of the Lord smolders with sorrow The injustice of the clergy will be recognized as thoroughly despicable. And yet no on will dare to raise a sharp and insistent call for repentence. She raised such a call. One hopes that Pope Francis will do so also.

Matthew Fox is a spiritual theologian and author of twenty-nine books, the latest being Christian Mystics and The Hidden Spirituality of Men. He is a visiting scholar with the Academy of the Love of Learning and his web page is www.matthewfox.org.