The Pope

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  • #83491
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Dare i be Daniel and suggest that the current Pope appears to have broken the mould.

    First he has been a very vocal critic of inequality and certain aspects of capitalism, he has reformed the secrecy of the Vatican bank, admitted and apologised for sex abuse by his clergy, he tried to change attitudes towards homosexuality, he announced that atheists and non-catholics can go to Heaven, he is credited with being the peace-maker between Cuba and the US and now he has denounced the power crazy cardinals, 

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30577368

    Contraception and abortions and divorce, gay marriage, womens ordination, he still remains committed to existing papal policy. How long before on these the catholic church fall into line with other churches?

    #106919
    SonofRage
    Participant

    It’s weird but I like the Pope.

    #106920
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Pope Francis has urged people of all religions and cultures to unite to fight modern slavery and human trafficking, saying in his first mass of 2015 that everyone has a God-given right to be free.http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/01/pope-francis-new-year-mass-slavery-human-trafficking

    Quote:
    “All of us are called [by God] to be free, all are called to be sons and daughters, and each, according to his or her own responsibilities, is called to combat modern forms of enslavement. From every people, culture and religion, let us join our forces,”

    Next year it might be wage slavery he will challenge…we can only hope

    #106921
    ALB
    Participant

    You haven't been on a trip to Damascus recently, have you (I thought you were a Hearts supporter) ?

    #106922
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Darren O' has been trying to find out my football team allegience for years …But Frankie from the Pampas seems to be following in the footsteps of the Dalai Lama in liberal social/spiritual messages (who he rebuffedby in the interest of more cordial Vatican-Chinese diplomacy)I'm just curious to see how far he he will be prepared to go before back-tracking…You yourself mentioned somewhere we have C of E Bishops who are atheists…Could we have a Pope who finally admit to being one. Could he be the Anti-Christ.?Nah, no road to Damascus conversion, here…maybe just to many trips to the movies for the Apocalypse !!

    #106923
    ALB
    Participant
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    Could he be the Anti-Christ.?

    You mean, could the Reverend Inane Paisley have been right after all?

    #106924
    ALB
    Participant
    #106925
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Well ,its always an answer to those Bennonite methodists.

    #106926
    Dave B
    Participant

    Perhaps they the pope is slowly regressing to the original version? As in The Passing Of Peregrinus by the comedian Lucian of Samosata in the middle of the second century . circa AD 170? From ‘The Cynic Philosophers; From Diogenes to Julian translated by Robert Dobbin, Penguin Classics 2012.Page 150, on the early Christians; “ added to which, their first law giver taught them that they were all brothers, as soon as they commit the collective crime of repudiating the Greek gods, worshiping that crucified sophist himself and living by his commandments. They despise all worldly goods…. [ie Bling and the means of production- interestingly conflated]… and consider them common property…. Even though Lucian seemed to have got about a bit in that corner of the world and seemed to have been well ‘informed’;maybe he had just read and was lifting stuff from the famous Acts 2;45 “to each according to need thing” ? There is an interesting and fairly recent thesis that early Christianity was a sort of fusion of first century anti-authoritarian Greek Cynicisim (a bit like Anarcho-Primitivism) and Judaism. However there is a bit of a gap yet to be crossed admittedly between masturbating in public as a counter cultural political act (Greek Cynics) and Roman Catholicism. According to Engels the Anti Christ was the recently deceased Nero; as in the ‘Maoist’ Revelation of Saint John, written in ‘bad Greek’ in AD 69.  http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894/early-christianity/index.htm  Although it wasn’t; Fred was being a Teutonic bourgeois snob it was written in Koine or common ‘pidgin’ Greek.

    #106927
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    The Pope defends himself agains the "Marxist" label.http://www.aleteia.org/en/religion/article/pope-again-defends-himself-against-marxism-critics-5871640722276352 

    Quote:
    ..If I repeated some passages from the homilies of the Church Fathers, in the second or third century, about how we must treat the poor, some would accuse me of giving a Marxist homily. ‘You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.’ These were St. Ambrose’s words, which Pope Paul VI used to state, in Populorum Progressio, that private property does not constitute an absolute and unconditional right for anyone, and that no one is allowed to keep for their exclusive use things superfluous to their needs, when others lack basic necessities.”

     The Pope conceded that globalization has helped many people rise out of poverty, but it has also "damned many others to starve to death. It is true that global wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities have also grown and new poverty arisen.”He clarified that the Gospel does not condemn the wealthy, but the idolatry of wealth, “the idolatry that makes people indifferent to the call of the poor.”

    Quote:
    this system sustains itself through a culture of waste, which I have already discussed various times. There is the politics, the sociology and even the attitude of waste. When money, instead of man, is at the center of the system, when money becomes an idol, men and women are reduced to simple instruments of a social and economic system, which is characterized, better yet dominated, by profound inequalities. So we discard whatever is not useful to this logic; it is this attitude that discards children and older people, and is now affecting the young.

    But being the Pope of Roman Catholocism, Frankie went on 

    Quote:
    the culture of waste; that which leads people to discard babies through abortion. I am shocked by the low birth rates here in Italy; this is how we lose our link to the future. The culture of waste also leads to a hidden euthanasia of older people, who are abandoned.

    But who can disagree with his overall conclusion "Papa Francesco. Questa economia uccide" trans."Pope Francis: this economy kills”

    #106928
    ALB
    Participant
    The Pope wrote:
    If I repeated some passages from the homilies of the Church Fathers, in the second or third century, about how we must treat the poor, some would accuse me of giving a Marxist homily.

    This is precisely what James Connolly does in chapter 2 of his 1910 pamphlet  Labour, Nationality and Religion:

    Quote:
    “The use of all things that are found in this world ought to be common to all men. Only the most manifest iniquity makes one say to the other, ‘This belongs to me, that to you’. Hence the origin of contention among men.” – St. Clement.“What thing do you call ‘yours’? What thing are you able to say is yours? From whom have you received it? You speak and act like one who upon an occasion going early to the theatre, and possessing himself without obstacle of the seats destined for the remainder of the public, pretends to oppose their entrance in due time, and to prohibit them seating themselves, arrogating to his own sole use property that is really destined to common use. And it is precisely in this manner act the rich”. – St. Basil the Great.“Therefore if one wishes to make himself the master of every wealth, to possess it and to exclude his brothers even to the third or fourth part (generation), such a wretch is no more a brother but an inhuman tyrant, a cruel barbarian, or rather a ferocious beast of which the mouth is always open to devour for his personal use the food of the other companions.” – St. Gregory. Nic.“Nature furnishes its wealth to all men in common. God beneficently has created all things that their enjoyment be common to all living beings, and that the earth become the common possession of all. It is Nature itself that has given birth to the right of the community, whilst it is only unjust usurpation that has created the right of private poverty.” – St. Ambrose.“The earth of which they are born is common to all, and therefore the fruit that the earth brings forth belongs without distinction to all”. – St. Gregory the Great.“The rich man is a thief”. – St. Chrysostom.

    These people beat Gerrard Winstanley to it by over a thousand years. Mind you, the Pope is being a bit disingenous in suggesting that these passages are just about how to treat the poor rather than that the Earth and its fruits should be commonly owned.

    #106929
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Pope calls for a regulated capitalism.The world cannot wait for an economic system that will cause poverty to fix itself, Pope Francis said. "Markets and financial speculation cannot enjoy absolute autonomy," he said. There must be "programs, mechanisms and procedures aimed at a better distribution of resources, job creation and the integral advancement of those who are excluded," he said in a recently published interview. "We cannot wait any longer to fix the structural causes of poverty, to cure our society from a disease that can only bring on new crises," he said.http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1500140.htm"Liberals say popes don't know anything about sex, conservatives say they don't know anything about economics." Some Catholic business leaders have complained about Francis's emphasis on income inequality and the defects of capitalism. Ken Langone, the billionaire founder of the Home Depot and a major Republican donor, warned Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York that if the pope kept up the drumbeat, some wealthy Catholics might stop giving to church causes.American church leaders have long been advocates for the poor and immigrants. But these are edicts many conservatives felt could be ignored. The pope will visit the U.S. in September. Privately, some right-wing Republicans have grumbled about this invitation, but they can't block it.Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2015/01/13/4327978/albert-hunt-pope-francis-rattles.html#storylink=cpyFrancis has rattled the U.S. church hierarchy, notably the bishops. Francis has condemned careerism, which will make the bishops pay more attention to Catholic lives. Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis, who refused communion to any Catholic politicians who weren't on the right side of the abortion issue. Burke recently asserted that a "feminized" church, which permits altar girls, is responsible for a shortage of priests and some of the pedophilia crimes. a Francis critic, he was removed as head of the Vatican's high court. Equally important, the pope chose Blase Cupich, the progressive bishop of Spokane, Washington, to be the archbishop of Chicago, the third-largest American diocese. He succeeds Cardinal Francis George, a conservativeFrancis now is determined to make addressing climate change a moral imperative for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.http://www.fresnobee.com/2015/01/13/4327978/albert-hunt-pope-francis-rattles.html  

    #106930
    Dave B
    Participant

    I think the thing about the Whinstanley material is that we can’t know how much pre Whinstanley material there was and has been lost or destroyed by the ruling classes in control of preserving this kind of material or not. I seem to remember that Whinstanley’s stuff was rediscovered quite late by Bernstien was it? Karl had never heard of him but was just aware of the Diggers or Levellers. Whinstanley I think made a credible historical materialist analysis of Norman feudalism counterpoising it to the supposed previous and more ‘favourable’,  ‘Anglo-Saxon’, clan and Mir type system. In manner not dissimilar to Marx, eg;  Let us now transport ourselves from Robinson’s island bathed in light to the European middle ages shrouded in darkness. Here, instead of the independent man, we find everyone dependent, serfs and lords, vassals and suzerains, laymen and clergy. Personal dependence here characterises the social relations of production just as much as it does the other spheres of life organised on the basis of that production. But for the very reason that personal dependence forms the ground-work of society, there is no necessity for labour and its products to assume a fantastic form different from their reality. They take the shape, in the transactions of society, of services in kind and payments in kind. Here the particular and natural form of labour, and not, as in a society based on production of commodities, its general abstract form is the immediate social form of labour. Compulsory labour is just as properly measured by time, as commodity-producing labour; but every serf knows that what he expends in the service of his lord, is a definite quantity of his own personal labour power. The tithe to be rendered to the priest is more matter of fact than his blessing. No matter, then, what we may think of the parts played by the different classes of people themselves in this society, the social relations between individuals in the performance of their labour, appear at all events as their own mutual personal relations,and are not disguised under the shape of social relations between the products of labour.  https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm  The utilisation of the ‘class analysis’ and ‘proto- Marxist’ material in the New testament material by Whinstanley was probably facilitated by the translation and printing of it into English by Tyndale circa 1525.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tyndale  The bible was [one of?] the first book to be burned by the state. Having studied early Christianity in some depth it was a surprise to me how long this ‘leftist’ ideology persisted as part of the mainstream; it seems to run into late 4thcentury. In the second century Christianity was understood by its ‘pagan’ critics eg Celsum as then an almost exclusively ‘working class’, anti-authoritarian, anti state and communist movement popular with ‘women!’. My thesis is that it was a deadly and infectious fusion of Greek Cynicism [anarcho-primitivism] and Judiac Apocalypticism; two rampant ideologies in that region and period. Working out a historical materialist/economic analysis of Greek cynicism is a problem I think.    Judiac Apocalypticism is perhaps more straightforward. Judiac ideology was basically that an omniscient interfering all powerful god was on their side and all the shit they had to put up with was punishment to correct their ways and paternal tough love etc etc. After 500 years of imperialism and being invaded by every Tom Dick and Harry, banning circumcision and trashing their temples etc etc. They made a ‘historical materialist’ analysis that Satan and his ruling class helpers were in control of the ‘World’ economic system. [Karl said that Capitalism was vampire like after all.] When that was mixed in with the great big dirty, ugly and foul tempered camel like rich thing going through needles etc and blessed are the poor, was passed on to, ‘bacillus’ like, to the ‘gentile’ working class of the roman empire. It took off. I think there maybe a potentially historically ‘sociological and ideological’ parallel between the link between contemporary anti imperialism (from a ‘working class’ perspective and allied with the economically frustrated ‘middle classes etc)  and modern ‘proto-Marxism’.  And the Judiac ideological milieu out of which Christianity appeared to spring.  History repeating itself in different costumes? Modern Christianity is based on the writings of Paul who unlike the original gang of twelve was a proud member of the Roman ruling class; even in execution, decapitation being a privilege of the ruling class, and crucifixion for the workers. Paul didn’t seem to get on very well with the original proletarian gang of twelve and as the ‘Jesus never existed’ people eg Richard Carrier, say there is nothing in Paul’s material about what JC was about. [The die hard anti Christian atheists like Richard Carrier seem to accept that most of the Pauline material as valid contemporary historical documents; that was a shock to me and I think we as Marxists need to get up to speed on this kind of thing.] Paul after his ‘Road to Damascus’ revelation spent most of his time questioning other peoples  ‘Road to Damascus’ moments. There seems to have been many types of Christianity in the second century one of interest amongst many are the Carpocratians eg; “It claims that differences in class and the ownership of property are unnatural, and argues for property and women to be held in common”   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpocrates “Women to be held in common”; whatever your opinion is, is of interest as it was something that the diggers were ‘accused’ off.

    #106931
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Trouble with the history of Christianity is it is as contradictory as its theology is. We can cherry-pick evidence to justify any of our theses. We shouldn't forget that early but slightly later christianity soon became a state religion. After all, the word pagan meant peasant ie the ordinary people did not adopt this new religion until forced and it was the elite who quickly became the converts to it, not the anecdotal slaves.I am also minded that Christianity was also accused of being "atheistic"…in the sense that it went against the community and a city's local gods…which led to its persecution, not so much for its appeal to the poor. In a sense, anti-statist but seen as intolerant and against the common good where local observance of the city's favourite deity guaranteed good harvest …(shades of wicker man)…Christians were actually seen as anti-social cultists. Wealthy women, particularly widows, were predominantly involved and frequently the first church funders despite Pauls mysogny because it gave them a higher status and i'm sure i read some where about offering them inheritance rights. Just as the US plantation slaves and the slaves of jews in Ethiopia followed their masters religion, this association of slaves and christianity is created but i merely speculate.Once in power the repression and terror used by Christians dwarved the martyrdom they previously experienced and made the iniquisition pale in comparison. Obviously many of the Jewish diaspora converts were of the merchant class…because they were by definition settled abroad to trade. The map on Wiki is interesting showing the urban nature of Christianity.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_centers_of_ChristianityThis PDF is worth a read and challenges the accepted wisdom that Christianity started as a religion of the poor."Early Christianity: Opiate of the Privileged?"https://www.gordon.edu/ace/pdf/F&EF09Stark.pdf

    Quote:
    Karl Marx was merely reflecting the conventional wisdom of the day when he wrote that “religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature … the opium of the people. But he might better have said that “religion often is the opium of the dissatisfied upper classes, the sigh of wealthy creatures depressed by materialism.” Of course, given his relentless intellectual as well as personal materialism, Marx couldn’t conceive of such a thing. Neither can far too many social scientists. Fortunately, most New Testament historians no longer believe that the early Christians were a motley crew of slaves and the down-trodden. Had that really been the case, the rise of Christianity would most certainly have required miracles.

    Too psychological explanation for sure…conversions by the powerful to religion as far as i see has rarely been for personal salvation but social control…Wasn't that partly Constantine's purpose, to wield political power, (although he didn't formally convert and still publically adhered to his army's popular religion mithraism, another sign of acquiescence to the reality of worshipping all gods…just as the Queen changes her religion wheneve she crosses the border…from anglican catholic Church of England to presbyterian Church of Scotland.)

    #106932
    ALB
    Participant

    Here's how John Locke, writing in 1690, begins Chapter V "Of Property" of his Second Treatise of Civil Government:

    Quote:
    Whether we consider natural reason, which tells us, that men, being once born, have a right to their preservation, and consequently to meat and drink, and such other things as nature affords for their subsistence: or revelation, which gives us an account of those grants God made of the world to Adam, and to Noah, and his sons, it is very clear, that God, as king David says, Psal. cxv. 16. has given the earth to the children of men; given it to mankind in common. But this being supposed, it seems to some a very great difficulty, how any one should ever come to have a property in any thing (….) I shall endeavour to shew, how men might come to have a property in several parts of that which God gave to mankind in common, and that without any express compact of all the commoners.

    In other words, as late as 1690, political philosophers still had to refute the proposition that God gave the Earth to all humanity in common.Also, Article 38 of the 39 Articles of the Church of England (1562) declares:

    Quote:
    The Riches and Goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast.

    So, the doctrine of common ownership put forward by the early Christian Fathers was not entirely forgotten but came up again and again and had to be refuted by the defenders of private property.

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