Pondering Pope Francis in Bolivia


Politely tuning out news from the Vatican serves as a proven method for avoiding ponders I might regret the next morning. Writing about the Catholic church is like beating a dead horse, it serves no purpose. Best intentions aside, every so often the Pope makes me queasy.

Nothing is simple, or as it seems in the halls of political and religious power.

Former ambassador Otto Reich, President George W. Bush’s Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, says Pope Francis’ economic and political agenda in his trip to Latin America has gone too far. “This pope grew up in a third world country that frankly is an example of what happens when you don’t have capitalism and democracy,” Reich says. “I was very optimistic when he was named and I have been extremely disappointed in the political and economic aspects of his papacy. … He’s a victim of third world education, and Argentina is a particularly sad example.”

http://time.com/3953802/pope-francis-bolivia/

Otto Reich is referring to the pontiff’s outspoken words over the last few days of his South American trip. Pope Francis doesn’t deserve an “Otto Reiching” yet he certainly has been busy. Apologizing to indigenous people –

“I would also say, and here I wish to be quite clear, as was Saint John Paul II: I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the Church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America”

Condemning economic and environmental exploitation –

“Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money,” he said. “Let us say no to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.”

“Time, my brothers and sisters, seems to be running out; we are not yet tearing one another apart, but we are tearing apart our common home. Today, the scientific community realizes what the poor have long told us: harm, perhaps irreversible harm is being done to the ecosystem. The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished. And behind all this pains, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called ‘the dung of evil.’ An unfettered pursuit of money rules.”

All this while strategically poking fires under the nose of Bolivian President Morales, who declared Bolivia a secular state in 2006, removing bibles and crosses from government buildings in an attempt to limit church power.

Bolivian President Evo Morales presents Pope Francis with a gift of a crucifix carved into a wooden hammer and sickle, the Communist symbol uniting labor and peasants in La Paz, Bolivia, on July 8.

Pope Francis receiving a hammer and sickle crucifix from Bolivian President Morales.

This all sounds great but we’ve heard it before. Pope John Paul II apologized to indigenous people in 1992. Correct me if I’m wrong but so what? Talk is cheap, did I miss action somewhere along the line? Obviously apology means something, someone needs to champion the poor and safeguard our environment. Queasy happens when that someone is arguably the most powerful religious leader in the world. Exasperating as the slickest politician,  able to raise hopes, command attention and walk away without lifting a finger.

 

 

 

Pachamama


In Ecuador Mother Nature is Pachamama – she now has constitutional rights. In 2008 65% of Ecuador’s population voted in favour of re-writing the constitution, giving legal rights to Pachamama. Her new bill of rights was written by a group from Pennsylvania, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).

CELDF wrote –  “nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.”

Ecuador’s president Raphael Correa dubbed his countries new approach “living well”. One of the smallest, poorest countries in South America, oil production is the life blood of Ecuador’s economy. Millions of barrels of oil beneath rain forests so ecologically diverse – one hectare contains more species of trees than all of North America.

Here’s the catch – Ecuador estimates oil worth $3.6 billion pool beneath Yasuni National Park. Correa asked the world to pay Ecuador, half the value of oil reserves in exchange for keeping it in the ground. His rational – global benefits of preserving Pachamama, far out weigh short term financial gain for Ecuador. So far 300 million dollars has been raised.

Correa’s forward thinking blows me away – 30% live below the poverty line, yet this tiny nation supports initiatives to preserve and dignify Pachamama.  Ecuador’s innovative, refreshingly simple plan serves to remind us – change is possible.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/what-if-mother-nature-had-rights-she-does-in-ecuador/article7039202/

Yasuni National Park – Bing images

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Why Puma Punku Makes Me Smile


I see history as fluid. A never ending story, twists and turns dictated by centuries of set in stone religious or political bias. A few hundred years ago science got its foot in the door. Released from religious restraint and political white wash, science is turning historical stone to dust.

Gobekli Tepe, discovered in Turkey during the 90s, turns accepted historical timelines on their head. We cling to cradle of civilization Mesopotamia, yet science proves Gobekli Tepe is thousands of years older. Most people haven’t heard of it. Educators rely on unimaginative textbooks, unwilling to introduce irrefutable science because facts are few. Science believes Gobekli Tepe a place for religious gatherings. Circle after perfect circle, with reliefs of animals carved into surrounding pillars. Each pillar the exact same height, many of the animals not thought to be indigenous to the area. By all appearances it was purposely buried.

Then there’s Puma Punku. My pulse races pondering this place. Located in Bolivia no one knows who built it. By some estimates – 17,000 years old. At an elevation of 12,000 feet, granite slabs of stone weighing hundreds of tons were somehow moved from a quarry miles away. If that doesn’t make you smile; ponder the precise stone work and intricate carvings. Science deals in facts of which there are few.

Puma Punku makes me smile because it obliterates “set in stone” history with more questions than answers. I smile because we can ask those questions and hopefully expand our shallow textbook minds.

http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk/boliviapumapunka.htm

http://247facts.blogspot.ca/2012/09/puma-punku-acient-mystery.html