Archive for the ‘Catholic Church’ Category

Habemus Papam, habemus tango

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Didn’t take long! Tango “Francisco”, about and in honor of Pope Francis I:

Meanwhile, his security detail is struggling to figure out how to keep the pontiff safe:

Today he celebrated Mass at the shrine of the Virgin of Aparecida, in front of a huge crowd gathered for World Youth Day.

Brazil: The Pope in a pickle

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Drudge summarizes:

The protestors were out last night,

Going in the Fiat wasn’t such a good idea – nice thought, but very dangerous.

Lady in White met Pope in white

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Cuban dissident Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, was able to exchange greetings with Pope Francis yesterday at the end of a general audience held in St. Peter’s Square

Soler handed the pope two letters from the wives of political prisoners, according to the French news agency AFP. Soler later told the media that the pope had given her a blessing and asked her to continue her fight.

Carlos Eire points out that

It may seem like an insignificant encounter to some, but this is a big deal, and the rulers of the Castro Kingdom will gnash their teeth when they see this photo. The Cuban flag draped between the two figures in white will be a great irritant to the tyrants, because they refuse to accept the fact that Cuba belongs to all Cubans, not just to their slave-drivers and those slaves who agree to submit to the lash. .

So, even though this was a brief encounter, it delivers a potent message.

It’s definitely an improvement over the prior pope’s refusal to meet them while he was in Cuba.

Argentina: Cristina’s discomfort

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Andres Oppenheimer writes on how the Argentine president may be hurt by “Francismania”

Finally, a third group of political analysts believes the “Francis effect” will hurt the Fernández government, because the pope’s messages against authoritarianism, intolerance, and hubris will be read by most Argentines as indirect criticisms of Fernández.

“A clash is inevitable, and the clash will end up hurting Cristina,” says Jaime Duran Barba, an Ecuadorean pollster who advises opposition leaders here.

My opinion: Despite Fernández’s last minute turn to embrace “Francismania,” the pope’s emergence as the most popular figure in Argentina will end up hurting her.

Granted, Pope Francis will most likely not make any political statements about Argentine politics. He is expected to make his first visit to Argentina as pope in December — after the October mid-term elections — so as not to interfere with local politics.

But in his homilies during his first Latin American visit to Brazil this coming July, his frequent criticism of autocratic measures, political arrogance and hubris will inevitably be read by many here as indirect barbs at the president.

At the very least, “Francismania” will have a dampening effect on Fernández’s ability to circumvent the rules of good democratic behavior — and civility — to get reelected at any cost.

As Drudge says, “developing…”

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Stanford Victims Will Benefit From $300M Settlement

Imprisoned priest Francisco Jalics breaks silence over Pope Francis, clearing him for involvement in ‘Dirty War’
Jalics had been silent for years in a German monastery. He once thought then-Cardinal Bergoglio played a role in his arrest

Social Justice And Pope Francis: Choosing Freedom Over Serfdom

After Frosty Past, Pope Meets Argentine Leader

Making nice? Argentina’s Kirchner and Pope Francis meet in Rome (+video)
Beneath the cordial meeting today between new Pope Francis and President Kirchner lies a rocky and strained relationship that stretches back to 2004.

[Additional video below the fold]

Indians, police clash at Rio complex near Maracana to be razed for 2014 World Cup

Brazil’s opposition
The Minas medicine
Aécio Neves ran his state well. But he may struggle to convince voters that his formula is right for the presidency

Wave of prawn deaths baffles Chile city of Coronel
Thousands of dead prawns have washed up on a beach in Chile, sparking an investigation.
Hundreds of dead crabs were also washed ashore in Coronel city, about 530km (330 miles) from the capital, Santiago.

Ten years later, Colombia nabs rebel linked to Uribe inauguration attack. What’s with the “rebel” thing? The guy’s a terrorist.

Starbucks buys coffee farm in Costa Rica (h/t DP)

African Politicians Laundering Money Through Cuba

Daughter of Oswaldo Paya demands international inquiry into his death

Dominican Republic detains 35 soldiers and police, 4 French citizens in drug investigation

République dominicaine : démantèlement d’un réseau de trafic de drogue vers la France

Ecuadorian diplomacy fails in his attempt to change the IACHR reforms

Guatemala ex-ruler Rios Montt on trial for genocide
The trial of the former military ruler of Guatemala, Efrain Rios Montt, for genocide and crimes against humanity has begun in Guatemala City.

Seldom Tried Honduran Dishes Made from Unusual Root Crops (h/t DP)

Heads of state at the Papal inauguration, Bayly style (in Spanish),

Mexico’s attorney general says no motive yet in US car shooting that wounded 2 CIA agents

Panama Canal Minister: Deepen Port of Savannah

Petroperú to Take Over Former Talisman Concession in Peru
Petróleos del Perú SA plans to take over operations at Block 64 in northern Peru, an important step for the state-owned oil company to return to upstream operations.

Puerto Rico: US army drills ‘did not cause illnesses’

Venezuela Acts to Ease Dollar Shortage

Chavez trek

The week’s posts:
Pope Francis not dancing to Cristina’s tune

Yoani Sanchez meets Marco Rubio

Latino demographics: Integration is the key factor

Mexico: Will PEMEX reforms come to pass?

Correcting my error on my article on Pope Francis



Pope calling!

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Pope Francis has been keeping in touch with his friends at the old neighborhood: Pope calls Argentine kiosk owner to cancel paper delivery

Around 1:30 p.m. local time on March 18, Daniel Del Regno, the kiosk owner’s son, answered the phone and heard a voice say, “Hi Daniel, it’s Cardinal Jorge.”

He thought that maybe a friend who knew that the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires bought the newspaper from them every day was pulling a prank on him.

“Seriously, it’s Jorge Bergoglio, I’m calling you from Rome,” the Pope insisted.

Daniel’s father, Luis Del Regno, said they delivered the paper to the former cardinal’s residence every day.

On Sundays, he said, the cardinal “would come by the kiosk at 5:30 a.m. and buy La Nacion. He would chat with us for a few minutes and then take the bus to Lugano, where he would serve mate (tea) to young people and the sick.”

FP Passport reports that he also called his dentist to cancel appointments.

This reminds me of my late uncle in Puerto Rico, who, when he was the Pope’s age, would get up every morning, put on a suit and tie, walk to the newsstand and the coffee shop and chat with the regulars.

Pope Francis not dancing to Cristina’s tune

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

In spite of the cartoon,

The Economist points out that

A discomfited government puts a brave face on the election of Pope Francis, while its propagandists use history as a political weapon

Cristina rushed to present the Pope with a nice mate set, like the ones you can buy at Ezeiza airport, and unwrapped it for him,

At The Economist (emphasis added),

The president’s trip to Rome looked like a swift exercise in damage limitation. Her initial letter of congratulation was stiff, in contrast to the enthusiasm expressed by other Latin American leaders. When news of his election broke, her supporters in Argentina’s Congress refused to interrupt a eulogy to Venezuela’s late president, Hugo Chávez. While private television channels streamed uninterrupted footage from the Vatican, state-owned Channel 7 preferred a children’s cartoon.

One of Ms Fernández’s closest backers then raked up an accusation that Cardinal Bergoglio, when head of the Argentine branch of the Jesuit order in the 1970s, had been complicit in the crimes of Argentina’s cruel and repressive military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983. Horacio Verbitsky, an investigative journalist who as editor of Pagina 12, a newspaper, has been chief propagandist for the Kirchner governments, claimed in 1999 that Father Bergoglio had handed over two Jesuit priests to the navy, which held them for five months. The priests had failed to heed his warning that they should leave the poor district where they worked, for their own protection, after a lay worker had joined the Montoneros, a guerrilla movement.

This week Mr Verbitsky published a foreign-ministry document of 1979 which appeared to suggest that Father Bergoglio had recommended that one of the priests, Franz Jalics, who had fled to Germany after his release, should be denied a passport because of his suspected links with leftist guerrilla groups. The new pope was deceitful, argues Mr Verbitsky: while pretending to help the priests publicly, he had privately worked against them.

At first glance, the document looks damning. But academics who have studied Argentina’s political violence of the 1970s think there is no evidence that Father Bergoglio helped the dictatorship, and he himself has rejected that allegation. Marcos Novaro, a sociologist at the University of Buenos Aires, thinks that Father Bergoglio did not want Father Jalics to be granted a passport because he was afraid he would be killed if he returned to Argentina. Father Jalics himself stated this week that Father Bergoglio did not inform on him and his colleague. Loris Zanatta, a historian of the Argentine church, says he has found much documentary evidence of the Jesuits’ efforts to free their colleagues. Others add that Father Bergoglio personally led these.

Mr Verbitsky’s allegation against Pope Francis is an example of the way in which, under the Kirchner governments, history has become a political weapon. The government has promoted trials of retired military officers; unlike previous trials in the 1980s, which ended in an amnesty after threats of military coups, these ones have not included any guerrilla leaders. Several senior officials are former Montoneros, as is Mr Verbitsky. In referring to the past, Ms Fernández never criticises the guerrillas, who were responsible for some 600 deaths and whose terrorism provoked the formation of a right-wing death squad and the 1976 military coup.

A Google search turns up 204,000 results on “Montoneros Cristina Fernández,” going back to her college days.

That was then, this is now: After her Papal mate photo-op, Cristina declared that the Pope talked about “our motherland”, which she interpreted as meaning Latin America, when the Pope probably meant Heaven. Jaime Bayly riffs on that (in Spanish),

And a question,
Cristina: smokey eye look, or full Alice Cooper black eye look?

Correcting my error on my article on Pope Francis

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

On my BlogHer article last week, I erroneously misquoted (“a champion of liberation theology”) Mark Rice-Oxley‘s statement, which in fact said “A champion of those who rejected liberation theology.”

Indeed, as Mary O’Grady explained yesterday,

Father Bergoglio believed that Marxism (and the related “liberation theology”) was antithetical to Christianity and refused to embrace it in the 1970s

I did more research on Pope Francis, and found the he rejected Marxist liberation theology while embracing the poor. Then-Archbishop Bergoglio used to take public transportation to Buenos Aires’s worst slums (and police no-go zones), and officiated Mass,

sponsored marathons and carpentry classes, consoled single mothers and washed the feet of recovering drug addicts

From the pulpit at the cathedral he sternly criticized the Kirchners and denounced the country’s extreme poverty.

I also asked Carlos Eire, T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History & Religious Studies at Yale University, on the new Pope. His reply,

The way I see it today — which may change as we get more information — his concern for the poor does not at all make him a liberationist socialist. He seems to be taking the same approach as John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who dished out condemnations of the callousness and materialism of Western culture while at the same time condemning the evils of communism.

Their focus is materialism, an attitude that runs against Christian ethics, not capitalism per se. (Liberationists tend to see capitalism itself as evil, and communism as the utopian cure).

Check out also Ed Morrissey’s interview of Kishore Jayalaban of the Acton Institute, if you didn’t watch it in yesterday’s Carnival,

I apologize to all my readers (and to the Pope, too).

In more papal news, his motto will now be

miserando atque eligendo” (Latin for “because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him”), a phrase taken from a homily by the Venerable Bede, an 8th century English monk, describing Jesus’ call to Matthew to follow him.

Very fitting.

The Pope Francis Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 18th, 2013

LatinAmerWelcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. This week’s big story: Pope Francis, the first Latin American Pope.

Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope
Argentines who want their country to be the next Venezuela see Francis as an obstacle.


Pope Francis appears for first angelus
Pope Francis appeared before more than 100,000 people massed in St Peter’s Square on Sunday for his first Angelus prayer and asked the faithful to pray for him.

Muchas gracias for a ‘triple first’ of a Pope

Popes and Dopes
Some journalists are remarkably ignorant–or at least think their readers are.

Vatican denies Dirty War allegations
The Vatican has denied that Pope Francis failed to speak out against human rights abuses during military rule in his native Argentina.

Video: Will Pope Francis go left on economics?

Jaime Bayly on the Pope (in Spanish)

Earth to Evo Morales

Brazil’s oil royalties
Counting the barrels

Presidential elections in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama

Exhumation of Pablo Neruda’s remains set for 8 April
A court in Chile has set a date for the exhumation of the remains of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, as part of an inquest into his death.

National Science Foundation Celebrates Inauguration of Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile

Colombia’s Peace Process Sans Chávez

In First U.S. Trip, Cuban Dissident Yoani Sanchez Vows To Turn Up The Heat

Report Grand Jury Investigating Robert Menendez

Ecuador preacher sentenced for homophobic comments
The former Ecuadorean presidential candidate Nelson Zavala has had his political rights suspended for a year and been fined for homophobic comments.

The Falklands referendum
Loud and clear
The islanders seek to sway world opinion by voting to stay British

British Media Focus on Bergoglio’s Falklands Remarks

This Map Helps Explain the Falklands Dust-Up

Chicken and avocado stuffed naan

Chavez’s legacy is worse than Calderon’s

Spicy, Spicy

Mexico’s Education Breakthrough
Why February 2013 may be remembered as a turning point for Mexican schools.


Contrary to prior reports, Paulson Not Planning a Move to Puerto Rico

Body of Chavez makes final journey
The body of Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez is being escorted to its resting place in a Caracas museum.
For now, that is.

Chavez madcap wake

Venezuela says permanently embalming Hugo Chávez’s body faces ‘technical’ difficulties

Latin America after Chávez

The Narrative of the Dead

Lukoil learns the hard way

ROS-LEHTINEN: Venezuela after Chavez: What comes next?
U.S. dithering won’t encourage democracy

The week’s posts and podcasts:
Yoani Sanchez in NYC

Crazy in Venezuela

At BlogHer, Francis I: The First Latin American Pope

Pope Francis I loves tango

BREAKING: New Pope elected – an Argentinian porteño

Falklands: The votes are in, but Cristina can’t believe it

Hugo’s mummy

Silvio Canto’s

Willie Lawson’s

Francis I: The First Latin American Pope UPDATED

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Read my article on the new Pope at BlogHer
Francis I: The First Latin American Pope.

Please read Correcting my error on my article on Pope Francis regarding liberation theology.