Friday, February 19, 2016

Donald Trump Vs Latino-Socialist Pope Francis

Donald Trump is now embroiled in a holy war with Pope Francis over immigration. The pontiff, ending a trip to Mexico, told reporters Thursday that anyone advocating building a wall — as Trump has between Mexico and the US — is “not Christian.”

Trump responded swiftly, issuing a signed statement slamming the leader of the world’s Catholics as “disgraceful” for questioning his religion. Francis was asked by a reporter flying back with him from Mexcio, “Can a good Catholic vote for this man [Trump]?”

The pope responded: “Thank God he said I was a politician, because Aristotle defined the human person as ‘animal politicus.’ So at least I am a human person. As to whether I am a pawn — well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people.

“And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”

Francis’ week-long trip to Mexico included a public Mass at the US-Mexico border. In his sharp response, Trump rebuked the pontiff.

“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as president I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current president,” Trump said.

“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. They [immigration advocates] are using the pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.”

Trump added that the Vatican would want him as president if terrorists struck the Holy See.

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened. ISIS would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians,” Trump said.

“The Mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them. The Pope only heard one side of the story — he didn’t see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States. He doesn’t see how Mexican leadership is outsmarting President Obama and our leadership in every aspect of negotiation.”

On Wednesday, Pope Francis traveled to Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, where he stood across the border from the United States and paid homage to “migrants who have perished trying to reach the United States just a stone’s throw away,” according to Reuters. He then blessed crosses next to which “shoes of migrants who died” were laid, and added, “No more death! No more exploitation!”

Not content to rabblerouse on behalf of an inundation of the world’s great economic superpower – a free and open superpower with an extraordinarily beneficent immigration policy – Pope Francis then attempted to shame Donald Trump and other Republicans who favor a border wall.

He told reporters, “a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”

To which Trump responded, “If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened.”

The Pope obviously has his priorities well in order: he says he can’t judge homosexuals who consider themselves Catholic, but he’s happy to judge anyone in favor of border control. He’ll rip capitalism – the very economic system acting as a magnet from the Marxist countries of Latin America – and jabber about global warming, but say little to nothing about the Christians and Jews being slaughtered in the Middle East by Muslims.

That’s because the Pope is a devotee of a less radical version of liberation theology, a philosophy that mashes up Marxism with Catholicism and was ripped by Pope John Paul II (“does not tally with the church’s catechism”) and Pope Benedict XVI (“singular heresy”). Pope Francis has introduced liberation theologists back into the Vatican.

As The Guardian (UK) reported last year:

J Matthew Ashley, chair of the theology department at the University of Notre Dame, where Gutiérrez is also professor, says the pope has been greatly influenced by the Argentinian variety of liberation theology, which is called the theology of the people.

“There are many points of similarity between Gutiérrez’s theology and Pope Francis’s thought, addresses and actions. Both have emphasised that opting for the poor requires getting to know the poor, becoming friends with the poor… both have a great respect for the spirituality of the poor, particularly in everyday life,” Ashley says.

But it seems that the Pope’s distaste for borders runs only one way: away from the Vatican. The Vatican, like many ancient cities, is surrounded by massive walls. Those walls were built over a thousand years ago. Its immigration policy is incredibly strict: while 800 people live within Vatican City, just 450 or so are citizens.

The security at Vatican City is second-to-none: the Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City State has 130 members, armed with guns. Virtually the only crime in Vatican City is pickpocketing in St. Peter’s Square. St. Peter’s Square is typically policed not by the Swiss Guard but by Italian police.

Meanwhile, according to CNN, the Vatican Bank holds $8 billion in assets; the Vatican has over $1.2 billion in assets off the books; it holds countless priceless assets, of course. How about spreading the wealth around? Why not build bridges?

Why not welcome thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees or Latin Americans seeking to enter the United States illegally into Vatican City? Thus far, the Pope’s big move in favor of open immigration has been to accept two families into Vatican parishes. That, by the Pope’s own lights, is insufficient.

It’s time for the wall to come down, Pope Francis. Gorbachev didn’t build the Berlin Wall, but he tore it down when the time came. Pope Francis can be just as historic. He can offer free, unchecked and permanent entrance not merely into St. Peter’s Square but into the Vatican itself; he can redistribute the wealth of Vatican City to help migrant families. After all, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be – even the Vatican — is not Christian, we’ve recently heard. Such exclusivity isn’t in the Gospel.

How about it, Pope Francis? Why not open this gate? Why not tear down this wall? Unless, perhaps, there’s often an excellent reason for gates and walls.

Pope’s Trump Attack Distracts from Real Problem of Mexican Church’s Narco Donations. Pope Francis threw himself into the middle of an already overheated Republican presidential race when he questioned frontrunner Donald Trump’s Christian faith.

Pope Franics made it appear as if his unprecedented remarks were motivated simply by a concern over Trump’s goal of building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, but I have little doubt the pope’s broadside has less to do with whether or not there should be a border wall and more about pandering to Mexican Catholics.

In fact, the pope is taking on Trump to boost his own popularity with Mexican Catholics and also to divert attention away from long simmering questions about the Mexican church’s relationship with narco donations.

Catholic Holy Death Cult in Mexico.
Because the Catholic Church is struggling to stem defections among Mexican Catholics to Pentecostal Christian sects, the pope came prepared to demonstrate he was a friend of working class Mexicans. The American political debate over illegal immigration was tailor made for pontifical sound bites.

By diverting attention to a brawl with Trump, the pope can continue avoiding a peculiar problem in Mexico: huge cash donations to the Mexican church from cartel bosses.  The dirty donations are so common they are called narco limosnas (narco alms).

No money laundering laws are violated so long as the Mexican clerics do not kick back any of the cash to the traffickers, but it is a problem the U.S. government has pleaded with the Church to address.  Attacking Trump’s faith is about as good a diversion as possible to avoid having to tackle narco alms.

Pope Francis likes to wear a reformer’s mantle.  In going after Trump, he said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges…. this is not in the gospel.” When I heard that, I could only think of the fact that Pope Francis has steadfastly refused all public calls to open the Vatican’s Holocaust files and bank records from World War II. 

This issue is particularly timely because of evidence that the Vatican may have profited during World War II through secret investments in German and Italian insurers, and that those companies reaped outsized profits by escheating the life insurance policies of Jews sent to the death camps. When he was the cardinal of Buenos Aires, he said those files should be opened.  Now, as pope, he has avoided the issue.

The pope’s criticism of Donald Trump could apply to the Vatican’s own intransigence over its wartime archives.  “Building walls” (or in other words keeping the files under lock and key inside the Secret Archives), instead “of building bridges” (opening the archives to historians), is “not the gospel.”

No one, of course, questions Pope Francis’s faith as a Christian simply because he is not tackling narco-alms or opening up the secret Holocaust files. The same should apply to political candidates.  The pope is free to disagree with any politician, but to interfere in American politics is likely a misstep.  And to do so with a moral judgment about faith violates a secular and religious red line that should be sacrosanct.

Is Mexico's Catholic Church knowingly accepting money from the country's murderous drug cartels?

In the decade since Mexico's competing drug cartels began their bloody battles, the country's media has published a long string of stories exposing the unholy financial ties between Mexico's drug cartels and its Catholic clergy. Now the consecration of a massive new church in the Mexican province of Hidalgo is adding new fuel to the fire.

A few months ago, the impoverished village celebrated the construction of an ostentatious 1,000-acre house of worship, dominated by a massive, gleaming silver cross. Modestly affixed to the church's entrance is a bronze plaque praising the the project's sole benefactor, Heriberto Lazcano, a man described as a "proud and committed Christian." 

El Verdugo Luzcano shot dead by the Mexican Army.
But as it turns out,  Lazcano is more than a devout Catholic.  He's also one of the most feared and vicious drug lords in the country—a gangster who's earned world-wide notoriety as the head of one of Mexico's most ruthless drug cartels.

Thanks in part to his to his willingness to eradicate entire families without a blink, Lazcano is more commonly known to his peers by his street-name, El Verdugo (“The Executioner.”) Originally trained as a member of the Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales, an elite Anti-Drug unit of the Mexican Army, he and thirty of his Special Forces colleagues defected to the opposition in the late nineties, after Mexican drug lord Osiel Cárdenas Guillén spent millions of dollars to convince them to serve in his personal army. 

Guillen's potent paramilitary force eventually gave rise to Los Zetas, a group denounced by the DEA as one of the most dangerous drug cartels in the world. Distinguishing himself from the pack with his with his brutal methods,   Laczano soon became the top dog at the cartel. But his well-documented history of violence and bloodshed did not stop the Church from accepting (and celebrating) his largesse.

Which isn't that surprising. 'The Executioner'  is far from the first high-profile gangster to donate huge sums to Mexicos's Catholic Church. In fact, according to the Mexican media, millions of dollars in drug money is donated by the mob to various Catholic dioceses ein Mexico very year. 

In January, a well-known Catholic priest made headlines after he presided over the marriage of Sinaloa Cartel chief Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to his dewy new wife. The lavish ceremony, held in Guzman's mountain hideaway, took place while Guzman was on the run from Mexican authorities.

Officially, the Church harshly condemns the use of “dirty money” to fund good deeds, and there is no evidence that the corruption in Mexico is condoned by Vatican higher-ups.  But as anyone who's watched The Godfather can attest, the Catholic Church has had a long tradition of turning a blind eye to unsavory financial dealings, from the Mafia’s links with the Catholic Church in Italy, to its  harboring of Nazi gold confiscated from fleeing  Jews during World War II.

But as it struggles to overcome a string of scandals, and with its membership steadily ebbing,  can the Church still preach the gospel of Christ while turning a blind eye to gangster loot? In Mexico, for the moment at least, the answer seems to be yes.