3 May 2011

Beatification of a... criminals' friend?

On May 1, a day which has not at all been chosen randomly, but strategically, as the 1st of May has always been the traditional day of all the workers of the world (and, obviously, a special day for the secular left), Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II has been beatified, just six years after his death. For the Catholic Church is a necessary step to sainthood.

John Paul II has been beatified, without taking into account the all those aspects which could be considered "a bit controversial" (obviously, all this has been strictly forgotten during these days):
  •  his omissions in reporting cases of child abuse,
  • his alliance with the Latin American dictatorships
  • his alliance and friendship with very discussed prelatures as Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ
  • his relentless war against modernity, against the Basic Christian Communities, against the Liberation Theology and against the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.
Beatification (thanks Wikipedia):
Beatification (from Latin beatus, blessed) is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name 
 Go on reading. We'll jump somewhere else and come back.

If you enter the cathedral of San Salvador and look to the right of the nave, you will see the image of a smiling priest. But do not get confused! That priest smiling represented in the giant painting is NOT the Bishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, murdered in 1980 by death squads of the government of ultra-right. That priest, with that gentle smile, is San José María Escrivá de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei, the Catholic organization (merely a very very powerful sect, linked to the ultra-right)  and of whom Karol Wojtyla was clear and secure political ally. 
The alliance was so strict and strong that John Paul II sanctified the Basque priest without considering the closeness of this priest to the Franco's dictatorship, the Spanish anti-Semitism, the outrageous purchase of a noble title, and all the complaints coming from all Europe about the manipulation of the process of sainthood. What mattered was to provide a Catholic saint to the ruling class, fiercely anti-communist, who plays a Catholicism in which money and power were celebrated as a path to salvation.

To find the few signs reminding Monsignor Romero, the traveler who visits El Salvador-including Barack Obama who arrived there last March- must find a chapel, often closed, placed outside a cathedral (strictly controlled by the Opus Dei). Even if the faithful and the humble little market outside is all about and for Romero, all the glory of god -the official god- is reserved to the founder of the Opus Dei.

Why are we speaking about Bishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero? Because Romero was killed by death squads of the Governement (ultra-right), and just few months before his martyrdom, 7 May 1979, the Central American bishop had presented a dossier on human rights abuses in his country to John Paul II. Among the documents there were photos of the body of a young priest tortured and murdered by the military. Romero was released from the hearing saying he was "dismayed" by the coldness the pope demonstrated to his complaint.:

"You must have better relations with your government" 

were the categorical words of the pope.

With those words the way to holiness had ceased to be a mystery: it responded to a political and worldly logic, which meant for Karol Wojtyla the  alliance with the dictator Augusto Pinochet and the executioners of Plan Condor .

This explains why, after 31 years, the process of beatification of Bishop Romero has been lost in the archives of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, while the cause of the founder of the Opus Dei followed an accelerated path. Several witnesses, including Ernesto Cardenal, priest and minister of Nicaragua repeated what Wojtyla said publicly: that the beatification of Romero as a martyr was not appropriate because "it would have been exploited by the left."

Go on reading:

A very similar path was taken by John Paul II to help another of his allies: Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, a kind of Opus Dei super-ultra-right: intolerant to all other religions and a man who was a symbol of anti-conciliar church, now very close to the government of Felipe Calderón in Mexico. Although there is evidence that since 1976 the future pope was informed of severe criticism towards Macie (they were public):

  • this two concubines,
  • he various children he personally raped for years,
  • allegations of theft,
  • embezzlement and other crimes
Maciel was intended to fast track a holiness by the pope. 

Only after the death of Wojtyla Maciel ceased to be a living saint, and only after the demise of this, in 2008, the Catholic Church was forced to stop covering the faults of this criminal. With Maciel,  the Pope Woityla repeated what he had done for decades: the practice of silence. The pope was informed with certainty and had played an active role not only in covering up Maciel crimes, who went far beyond the sexual abuse, but also in silencing all other sexual abuse practiced by hundreds of pedophile priests, beginning with the Austrian Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër and the American Bernard Law.

So, yesterday John Paul II was beatified. The protector and ally of Escrivá Maciel and the enemy of Romero (left alone in his martyrdom); the relentless witch-hunter in Latin America's Catholic Church which, in the Eucharistic Congress held Medellin in 1968 decided something which couldn't be tolerated by the Big Men who rule the world: the "preferential option for the poor people ". 

It was against the liberation theology that John Paul II made the first of his many trips abroad. In January 1979 he went to Puebla, Mexico, for the third Latin American bishops' conference, which impressed a hard turn conservative. Since then hundreds and hundreds of progressive religious were removed and silenced by Pope John Paul II. The first was one of the greatest theologians of the Council, Bernard Häring. Among the major figures, there was Pedro Arrupe, Jesuit superior general, Bishop of migrants and prostitutes, the Frenchman Jacques Gaillot, who was assigned to the non-existent diocese of Partenia, the bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, Samuel Ruiz, sensitive to the Zapatista world and the indigenous …

Thus, between glory and smoke of incense we have ended up with a beatification which has been delayed the minimum necessary to maintain the decency of a process that the slogan "saint now" pretended to jump.
And, obviously, the "feast" had been thought strategically, with the lack of respect the established Catholic Church (and the Popes) had always showed towards the poors. In Rome, a merchandising kitsch, (the "blessed Wojtyla" pins and patches) invades Via della Conciliazione. The same happens in Wadowice, in southern Poland, the second most important point of the celebrations: here the pope was born 91 years ago. Over half a million pilgrims visit the town each year, and all its hotels and convents, churches and restaurants. A museum dedicated to John Paul II has opened, just yesterday, another thousand suqre meters of exhibition space.SO much has a pope to show? Where is the Francis of Asisis' spirit?

Also in this context, the image of John Paul II, with his very generic message of peace and love, is hiding the reality of the Polish Catholic church flattened every day by its tight alliance with the ultra-right,  racist , anti-Semitic and ultranationalist party.  

It is not a coincidence that the Polish situation is similar to that of the other country where the "wojtylism" has rooted more deeply: Italy. The Catholic hierarchy has never been separated from the government of Silvio Berlusconi,  in spite of the continuing sex & corruption  scandals, the alliance with the Northern League (racist) and the absolute lack of charity towards the migrants. The Italian prime minister (Berslusconi) continues to buy their silence by granting huge economic benefits in terms of funding or tax exemptions to private (religious) schools, preventing any debate on ethical issues on artificial insemination, homosexual marriages, palliative care. This even though several scientists, including the anesthesiologist Lina Pavanelli, have studied how the same Wojtyla deliberately stopped his treatment, accelerating the death, which the church considers a mortal sin for ordinary believers. Wojtyla is the conservative, always uncompromisingly against any form of contraception and against the use of condoms in combating AIDS. 

This is the man who’s been beatified.

1 comment:

LaMaga said...

ehm, scrivo qui anche se non son pertinente al tuo post:)

Non so come mai ma ho visto che mi hai lasciato un commento sul mio post ma...non compare!!! Tutto per dire che non ho voluto non pubblicarlo, ma non posso pubblicarlo :)

Comunque, spero che la tua gamba stia meglio! io mi son stortata una caviglia ancora in India, (ma non yoggando), però va meglio ora.

Circa il tuo post, che dire...io sono molto ignorante su tutto ciò, non son stata battezzata e non mi son mai interessata alla chiesa. Wojtyła mi ha sempre lasciata fredda ma certamente non conoscevo tutte queste connessioni di cui tu hai scritto.

Per quanto riguarda Berlusconi e i rapporti con la chiesa, onestamente ti dirò, son un po' stanca. Di demonizzare Berlusconi, intendo. Per me lui, aimè, non è il problema, ma solo il risultato. I rapporti chiesa-stato si son stabiliti alla nascita stessa della repubblica e il grande monopolio della DC e del suo maledetto De Gasperi anzitutto hanno creato il tacito accordo. Che l'influenza della chiesa sia tanto presente in Italia nonostante la nostra presunta laicità non è secondo me un fatto berlusconiano ma un impegno dei politici (di sinistra, destra, sopra e sotto) che son ben contenti di avere come alleata alla letargicità del paese questa grande potenza.

ps: conosci certamente Zeitgeist...che ne pensi?