Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25: Today's feature - The Pope

I never thought it would come to this. Though born into the United Church of Canada,  I was raised by a Scottish mother who, in her turn had been raised a fearsomely Presbyterian of   that glum and severe Presbyterianism of the highlands. He was also a lay preacher who could make a saint feel guilty.

I no longer have any conventional, religious beliefs. I do, however,  have a belief in many principles expressed in the scriptures. Thus my long disagreement with so many of our clergy who speak within safe limits. The preach about being saved and going to heaven. And that's safe. Some are bored by that. Some get all excited. But few are going to waste time quarreling about it.

But going to heaven and living on clouds (which sounds quite unpleasant) is not the underpinning of the message of Jesus. He talks more about the damage of greed, of self-interest, of abuse of others,   of self-love...but the Christian churches don't say much about that. They will support wars in which we kill people pretty indiscriminately.  Offhand, I can't recall a war in Canadian history when the churches were critical of our role. In World Wars One and Two, most Christian churches in Germany supported Hitler, just as the Papacy supported Mussolini.    In that war of Christians against Christians, almost all the churches were happy to support 'their' side.

That's why I've found Pope John to be  quite different. (Though I would never say that in the presence of my highland ancestors.) Here's something he said quite recently.

 "Gratuitousness is a word not to be forgotten in this world, where it seems that
if one doesn't pay, one cannot live, where the person, the man and the woman,
that God created in fact at the center of the world, to be also at the center of
the economy, has been thrown out and we have at the center a lovely god, the god of money. Today the god of money is at the center of the world and those who can come close to adore this god get close, and those who cannot end in hunger, sicknesses, exploitation. Think of the exploitation of children, of young

That pretty much describes the history of New Brunswick and, indeed of the whole, western world.

It explains almost every war we have ever fought. It explains why our children are never born to have equal opportunitiess. It explains the millions of refugees who are being denied shelter and food. It explains why refugees died in just one incident in the Mediterranean and, for the most part, we really didn't give damn. Compare that to the news coverage of the death of Prince.

The quotation above is from the Pope, but is part of a larger news release by the pope and other clergy.  However, I am having great difficulty getting this transferred to my screen. Bear with me. It's long but it's worth the read. And, as you read it, think of this in the context of New Brunswick. Think, too, of what our mining companies are doing in South America (and here) and in Congo.


I did it! I'll bet you've never read anything like this on the Irving press Faith page. Here, religion means conforming. But that's not at all was religion really means.
Thre's really not much to read in today's Irving press - unless you're terribly bored and lonely.

Norbert Cunningham and Steve Malloy disagree with each other in their columns on dropping tuition fees for university students whose parents earn less that $60,000 a year. I can agree with both of them. We shouldn't be arguing with each other over this. That's a problem down here. We argue with each other - and never mention the real problem.

It's not fair that some students get free tuition, and others don't. But that's the best we're going to see - at least at the start. And it's certainly not the fault of those who earn over or under $60,000.

The fault, almost certainly, is that the wealthy of this province, the ones who actually run it,  have no limits in greed. Let's not argue with each other. Let's demand action to the issue of tax avoidance. Do that, and everybody can can get an education. And everybody can get food and a place to live.
Canada&World is no better. On page B1, our prime minister condemned  the murder by beheading of a  Canadian by Phillipine terrorists. I would be more impressed if he were to condemn the brutal record of Saudi Arabia cutting off heads, feet, hands, whipping, and invading a country for no clear reason. And Justin Trudeau is the man who approved the sale of weapons to  him.

And, with a little thought, he might consider why The Phillipines got so violent. It was invaded by the U.S. about 1900 for no other reason than to give American capitalists a post to get in on the Asia trade. Native peoples were slaughtered by U.S. troops. They were also tortured.. In fact, that's where they invented waterboarding. Following that, they were for over 40 years under an American dictator. And when the Americans gracefully left The Phillipines after world war 2 (leaving behind a people in poverty), they made sure to leave it under a thieving and brutal dictator.

There's a reason why some countries have disorder and terrorists.

However, while he's in a mood to denounce terrorists, he might say a word about the U.S. in Guatemala, and in South America in general. Or its murder of over a million men, women and children in Iraq, or the "civil" war in Syria the U.S. set up, or the U.S. record of torture.

B4 had a story that looked interesting. The Canadian government is thinking of reviving its military role to become one of peacekeeping again.  But there are two reasons not to get all excited about this.

1. Our active days of peacekeeping were many years ago. Essentially, we did it  as agents of the UN. It was very successful. But Canada was then much less a U.S. colony than it is today.

2. The U.S. doesn't give a damn about peacekeeping or about the UN.  It's the U.S. they want to be the chief world body, not the U.N.  Now, other countries are expected to be loyal to the U.S. - just as Britain and France and Germany and others are. That's why Canada is now sending  'non-combat/combat' troops to Syria. That's why Canadians died in Afghanistan.

That's why our  last 'peacekeeping' mission was to Haiti. We were, in fact, a cover for the real purpose of that disturbance. The U.S. has equipped an invasion of thugs from the old dictatorship, then used that as an excuse to invade Haiti and exile the elected president. (The U.S. didn't approve of his policies.) Canada, very foolishly, sent troops ( with other American colonies)  to make it look like a legitimate peacekeeping operation.

Peacekeeping was an excellent idea. But to adopt it now would take more courage than I have seen in many years of Canadian government.  Obama would probably come to slap the wrist of Justin - as he recently slapped the wrist of the British prime minister, Cameron.
And I'm so glad that no New Brunswicker would ever do a thing like this. (or...?)

And, at last, somebody noticed.

Gee. You'ld think the following story would have made the Irving press right away. I know the papers make a lot of money out of car advertising. But Mr. Irving has more respect for us readers than he does for advertising money.

It's been well-known for 15 years and more that the extreme Muslim terrorist organization, Al Queda, has close cooperation with the U.S. Lately, it has been serving the U.S. in Syria - and Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia supply it with weapons and money.

I have lots more. But it's time for this little boy to have supper, and watch Thomas the Tank Engine.


  1. I think you made a slight error on the name of the current Pope.

  2. O_O_O-O
    Sorry Francis, and John Paul II, and John XIII, and John Paul I, and John X. (And the other twelve.)