Win The Pope’s Lamborghini


In November 2017 auto maker Lamborghini gifted the Pope a custom Lamborghini Huracan. Thanks but no thanks replied the Vatican, seems the Pope is more of a conservative Popemobile kind of guy. The Vatican asked Sotheby’s in Monaco to auction it for charity in May 2018. The winning bid of over $900,000 US fell through, the Vatican was stuck with a Lamborghini signed and blessed by the Pope.

Pope’s white Lamborghini offered in sweepstakes; winner gets trip to Rome

Pope Francis blesses a Lamborghini presented by representatives of the Italian automaker at the Vatican Nov. 15, 2017. The car will be offered as a prize in a raffle and the proceeds given to charity. (Credit: CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano.)

So what’s Lamborghini to do with a luxury car signed and blessed by the Pope? Offer the possibility that anyone could drive a blessed Lamborghini of course! For a mere $10 per ticket the prize is staggering. You and a friend flown to Rome, put up in a four star hotel, handed keys to your sweet ride at a ceremony attended by Francis himself and Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of Lamborghini. According to contest entry site Omaze, his Holiness is “gifting it to YOU.” See contest home page link below.

https://www.omaze.com/experiences/pope-francis-lamborghini

Curiously Omaze omits pertinent contest details such as closing date. However, the site is quick to dangle “free spin” perks to those who buy in. The site asserts “Proceeds from this campaign will benefit a number of causes working to transform lives around the world. Your support will help rebuild villages that have been devastated by violence and war, assist victims of human trafficking, provide medical care and education to those living in poverty, and more incredible, live-saving work. Donations will be distributed through Charities Aid Foundation of America [CAFA, a 501(c)(3) public charity] to causes working to support these communities in need.”

Hang on, I stand corrected – buried deep within the fine print a closing date of January 30, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST. Entrants must be 18 and not residents of Belgium, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Singapore, Sudan, Syria or Thailand. Why Belgium? Thailand?

Catholic charity is no stranger to raffling off gifts to the Pope. In 2015, $12 bought a chance to win unwanted Papal gifts including a new four wheel drive Fiat Panda, a Homero Ortega Panama style hat, a leather suitcase, an espresso coffee maker, watches and bicycles gifted to the Pope. It’s hysterical!

In practical terms I suppose the Pope has to do something with all the gifts bestowed upon him. Maybe I’d feel better if proceeds went to victims of Catholic abuse, hard to say let alone put into words how absurd the notion of raffling off a Pope signed Lamborghini strikes me.

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The Pope Is Fuming


The Catholic Church rarely crosses my mind, there are vastly more important issues to dwell on, but every so often a Vatican news ticker begs pondering. The headline tonight on Vice read “”Police Broke Up A Drug Fueled Vatican Priest Orgy”. Do tell .

I was hooked at “Monsignor The Pope is reportedly “fuming” after cops allegedly busted up a Vatican based, drug fueled, gay sex orgy in the apartment of a high-ranking priest.”

According to Vice, Italian media site Il Fanto Quotidiano was first to detail shenanigans at an apartment owned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A apartment inhabited by one of the Pope’s key advisors, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio. The apartment, also known as Palace of the Holy Office was reportedly raided following complaints by neighbors of odd behavior and “comings and goings” of visitors.

Police arrested Luigi Capozzi, an aide to Cardinal Coccopalmerio and reported party planner. Although arrested, Monsignor Capozzi hasn’t been charged. Vice did claim Capozzi was taken to hospital until such time as he could detox from drugs consumed at the soiree, it’s unclear if charges will ever be filed or if Rome will make it all go away. Il Fatto Quotidiano suggests Cardinal Coccopalmerio will likely face accelerated retirement in the wake of Capozzi’s arrest. Either way, the Pope is pissed.

Can’t you hear the “how could you be so careless” papal admonishments? The Pope has every right to fume. Long gone are glory days of do as I say, not as I do. Who do these sexually frustrated pedophiles think they are? Calling bullshit on numskulls doesn’t get much easier than this.

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/ywgpa5/police-broke-up-a-drug-fueled-vatican-priest-orgy

Captives of Moral Laundry


Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries join Canadian residential schools in epitomizing my disdain for the Catholic church. Namesake of supposed prostitute Mary Magdalene, laundries imprisoned “fallen women” for guidance and reeducation – or so it began in 1765 Dublin when pious missionaries filled the first asylum by offering street prostitutes a “safe warm place”. Not even close – it seems the nuns had stumbled upon a system of  diabolical perfection.

Very quickly, the church realized unpaid labour was key to sustainable wealth – what better source of slave labour than fallen women. Morality, an easy sell in predominantly Catholic Ireland, thought nothing of “fallen” evolving to include unwed mothers, pregnant victims of rape, bastard children, women deemed mentally incompetent and orphans. Practically overnight, institutions sought “permanent” inmates to sustain lucrative laundry contracts from the state and military.

Any woman could find herself incarcerated at Catholic institutions. Prisoners without charge or trial, inmates without sentence, recourse or representation. Persons deemed morally inconsequential, thrown to the whim of repugnant moralists without explanation or hope. At birth infants became property of the church,forcibly removed for adoption. As if moral incarceration, disregard for legal and civil rights, forced labour and physical abuse weren’t enough – relinquishing infants didn’t release inmates from moral condemnation, unpaid labour was far too valuable.

Magdalene institutions evolved into perfectly acceptable social norms. So much a reality of Irish life, government awarded lucrative laundry contracts and diligently returned escapees to the nuns. Between 1765 and 1996, roughly 30,000 “morally wayward” women and children became prisoners of Catholic nuns. Laundry contracts fizzled in the early 60’s with modernization responsible for mechanized washing. Unfazed by implications,  Catholic nuns courted a fresh source of income. MB Games, subsidiary of toy maker Hasbro was setting up shop in Ireland, someone had to assemble their games.

Anyone over 40 recalls Mousetrap, Trouble and Kerplunk – board games rivaling Monopoly for space on rumpus room shelves. How could we know Catholic nuns met unmarked Hasbro trucks at Magdalene gates, or that “fun for the whole family” were packaged by prisoners of Catholic morality. ( To this day Hasbro refuses comment ).

In 1993 a mass grave containing 155 corpses was unearthed at one on the laundries. ( It seems the nuns lost a considerable sum of money on the stock market, forcing the sale of a piece of land – did they forget about the bodies, pray new owner wouldn’t dig during construction? By 2001 media attention forced the Irish government to admit abuse, while remaining steadfast on their assertion laundries were private institutions, absolving themselves of knowledge or collusion. A 2009 inquiry heard testimony from 1,500 survivors, resulting in 2,000 pages of unsatisfactory findings. In 2011 the United Nations Committee Against Torture “urged” further investigation. February 5, 2013 the UN committee published evidence of state “collusion” in atrocities. February 19, 2013 Prime Minister Enda Kenny formally apologized for “the nation’s shame”

“Therefore, I, as Taoiseach, on behalf of the State, the government and our citizens deeply regret and apologise unreservedly to all those women for the hurt that was done to them, and for any stigma they suffered, as a result of the time they spent in a Magdalene Laundry.”[49][50]

The Taoiseach also outlined part of the compensation package to be offered to victims of the Magdalene Laundries. He stated:

“That’s why the Government has today asked the President of the Law Reform Commission Judge John Quirke to undertake a three month review and to make recommendations as to the criteria that should be applied in assessing the help that the government can provide in the areas of payments and other supports, including medical card, psychological and counseling services and other welfare needs.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalene_laundries_in_Ireland

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-21345995

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/05/ireland-magdalene-laundry-system-apology

The Catholic church has no intention of apologizing, nor will they contribute to a compensation fund for survivors. A jaw dropping article (linked below) published July 2013 in Catholic League describes “lies” in “Myths Of The Magdalene Laundries”. Yikes!

MYTHS OF THE MAGDALENE LAUNDRIES

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Man of the Year


While at work the other night, a friend sent a text – in hind sight a rather mischievous one, as he knew I would drop my jaw. Time announcing Pope Francis as the 2013 man of the year didn’t sit well.

“For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs, and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is Time’s 2013 Person of the Year” 

Time’s reasoning alone makes me bristle. Their statement declares – plain as day – that the Catholic church has until now has been sitting in an ivory palace. You don’t say? To continue; Pope Francis is being honored for “balancing judgement and mercy” – holy crap, am I the only one throwing up in my mouth?

Truth be told – this ponderer was prepared to cut new Pope some slack. As self appointed masters of morality go, Francis presented himself as a whiff of fresh air. Silly me – his announcement of a committee to address issues of abuse; more accurately “education and counselling” for clergy incapable of keeping their hands off the choir boys – provided Bishops didn’t have to answer to anyone, made me gag. Way to man up Francis; that should be enough to stifle anguished children.

In fairness to Francis – he didn’t ask for Time’s decision.

President Obama, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Syria President Bashar Assad, Iran President Hassan Rouhani, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gay rights activist Edith Windsor and Miley Cyrus were the other finalists. Taking some solace in rising above Ted Cruz and Miley Cyrus does little to settle me down; despite picking up the pieces of my blown mind that Cruz or Cyrus were considered even for a second.

Reminding myself Time is a media giant, one that prospers based on advertising worries me. Time executives deemed Francis the best cover story in terms of sales and ad dollars. Pondering what that tells us about society, look no farther than possible candidates Cruz, Cyrus, or Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – a close minded right wing fanatic, a vacant little twerker, and founder of a billion dollar empire – what’s so great about any one of them? In my wildest dreams, it eludes me how any of them made a lick of difference in the world – Pope Francis has millions upon millions of twitter followers; are “likes” and “followers” the new measure of a man?

Looking at the list since Time started featuring a “person” of the year in 1927, I find a few odd choices. Controversial at the time, but not – in my pondering opinion – as blatantly absurd. Adolf Hitler in 1938, Ayatullah Khomeini in 1979 – strange choices, chosen by Time for their “news worthiness”, good or bad. Fair enough Time if that’s how you gauge your picks, and explain yourselves for doing so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Person_of_the_Year

I’m irked about Pope Francis because Time failed to make this distinction. On the heels of the Vatican’s recent announcement to create a committee for purposes of educating the clergy as to why sexually abusing children isn’t a good thing – an Inuit priest was under investigation for 80 counts of sexual offences involving children.

Time – give credit if and when it’s due – otherwise, explain yourselves accordingly. Who knows, maybe Francis is the Pope to purge the church of pedophiles; he has his work cut out, and global job fair to organize once parishes are swept clean. A Pope who managed  publicly to de-frock sexual criminals would indeed be a worthy person of the year. Until then – Time’s choice strikes me as plain silly. Silly, as in a desperate attempt to appeal to fundamentalist hogwash.

Bad Bishop of Limburg


When the head of the world’s richest corporation suspends one of it’s executives for extravagance and an overly lavish lifestyle – I stand up and take notice. When that CEO is the pope, executive the Bishop of Limburg – you have my full attention. This is worth pondering; the Catholic church isn’t an institution known for airing their dirty laundry.

So what does it take for the Vatican to draw the line? At what point does the pope stand at attention and declare – “oh hell no”? It appears the Bishop of Limburg knows the answer to those questions – Bishop Tebartz-van Elst probably shouldn’t have spent $42 million renovating his official residence. Even if he bathed in holy water, a bath costing $20,000 is hard to explain. Travelling on a first class ticket to visit the poor in India is a no brainer. Perhaps his nickname – the “Bishop of bling” sealed the deal. Lies to the court under oath about spending, certainly didn’t further his cause.

What does the church do with a suspended Bishop? If this were a sexual abuse scandal, he might be hustled off to another diocese or “retired” to a sleepy little corner of the world. The Bishop of Bling is only 53 years old – retirement not much of an option. Pope Francis has a true papal quandary to resolve; abusive priests are old news – public admission of flagrant, self serving excess, poses an entirely new set of considerations. The outcome should prove interesting.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/pope-removes-germany-s-luxury-bishop-from-diocese-1.2186497

Image from theguardian.com

Searching For the Wrong Eyed Jesus


If you haven’t pondered this documentary – now is the time.

http://kickass.to/middle-americana-searching-for-the-wrong-eyed-jesus-2004-t1261658.html