Probably not, but Pope Francis and his low tax billionaire donors seem intent on trying to do so. Indeed, if US voters by the November 2016 elections fail to wake up, the pope could even succeed, at least on matters crucial to the Vatican and their subordinate US bishops. Pope Francis comes from a centuries old tradition of absolute papal monarchs who exploit secret communications and media manipulation. This has been made clear in revealing and well documented detail once again by Betty Clermont here, the stalwart Catholic grandmother and author of The Neo-Catholics. She connects many of the dots that too many in the media seem oblivious to, apparently out of indifference or self interest. What a disappointing shame many in the media are!
The pope has recently confirmed his top down and secretive approach to transparency and media matters with his new clerically controlled Vatican Secretariat for Communications. Now both Vatican finances and information will be tightly controlled by a majority of Vatican clerics answerable ultimately only to an unaccountable pope selected by unaccountable cardinals. The names and committees may change, but the monarchical structure continues. Will Pope Francis’ mythical reformer facade survive his farcical “familyless” October Family Synod or even his US elections’ focused September US visit? Can the papal “spinners” spin that fast? Time will tell, but time is running out for the pope’s “Mañana Strategy”. Catholics are running out of patience and tolerance for the pope’s continuing stall strategies.
Pope Francis, with his planned September US visit, is preparing to step up his diversionary efforts to help elect next year a US president, preferably another named Bush. This troubling papal political interference in US elections seeks the return on a long term basis of a “Vatican friendly” (1) US Supreme Court majority (as up to 5 of the 9 current Supreme Court Justices may be replaced by appointees selected by the next US president), and (2) US Justice Department/Criminal Division, each as had existed mostly under the last two “Vatican friendly” Bush presidencies. Much has changed adversely for the pope, however, since US Republican House leader John Boehner asked him many months ago to address the US Congress. These include (A) ongoing child abuse cover-up criminal proceedings in Minneapolis that could involve the seemingly troubling roles of the brother of President Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff and possibly even the pope’s US ambassador/nuncio, (B) the troubling recent disclosures about the pope’s top financial aide, Cardinal George Pell and Ireland’s former Primate, Cardinal Sean Brady, (C) the vague, almost illusory, Vatican announcement, under pressure from brave abuse survivors Peter Saunders and Marie Collins, of a “captive tribunal” for bad bishops to be set up over five years (after the pope’s own predicted departure date), (D) a Catholic revolt over clerical sex abuse cover-ups in Chile, (E) an overwhelming papal rejection vote on same sex marriage in Catholic Ireland, and even (F) the child abuse allegations about former US Speaker Dennis Hastert that US leaders, including Boehner and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, apparently missed addressing earlier, raising questions as to why no US leaders to date have called for a long overdue national investigation into institutional child sexual abuse. Indeed, the possibility that Hastert, the second in line constitutionally for eight years to be US president if the president and Vice President were unable to serve, might have been a child abuser would make the earlier presidential scandals of Clinton and Nixon seem almost minor by comparison. It seems clear that attention to Hastert’s alleged misdeeds will soon expand quickly to protected institutional child abusers, including US Catholic bishops.
Whatever it takes the pope now, it appears, is acceptable for the Vatican to secure US national political and judicial protection, even if necessary by changing the child abuse subject, including with a diversionary climate encyclical, some selective and hurried Hispanic canonizations (Fr. Junipero Serra and Archbishop Oscar Romero) and multiple wasteful and mainly media driven US papal extravaganzas. The Vatican seems hellbent to try to head off a US national investigation of institutional child sexual abuse, like the massive investigation now underway in Australia and the one now beginning in the UK. The “pope of the poor” seems as profligate in his expenditures for bishops’ protection as were the German “Bishop of Bling” and Newark’s Archbishop Myers on their lavish bathtubs. Incidentally, the Bling Bishop just represented the Vatican in good standing at the US bishops’ semi-annual conference. So much for the pope’s bishop accountability approach.
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