Tuesday, 19 November 2013

George Monbiot, Pope Francis the 'reformer' and Junipero Serra

George Monbiot, in an article in the Guardian, explores the myth of Pope Francis, the Liberal, the Reformer.

I quote from his article. It's worth reading.

For Pope Francis the liberal, this promises to be a very bloody Sunday

Francis is the poster pope for progressives. But the canonisation of Junípero Serra epitomises the Catholic history problem

"Nowhere is the church's denial better exemplified than in its drive to canonise the Franciscan missionary Junípero Serra, whose 300th anniversary falls on Sunday. Serra's cult epitomises the Catholic problem with history – as well as the lies that underpin the founding myths of the United States.

You can find his statue on Capitol Hill, his face on postage stamps, and his name plastered across schools and streets and trails all over California. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II, after a nun was apparently cured of lupus, and now awaits a second miracle to become a saint. So what's the problem? Oh, just that he founded the system of labour camps that expedited California's cultural genocide.

Serra personified the glitter-eyed fanaticism that blinded Catholic missionaries to the horrors they inflicted on the native peoples of the Americas. Working first in Mexico, then in Baja California (which is now part of Mexico), and then Alta California (now the US state of California), he presided over a system of astonishing brutality. Through various bribes and ruses Native Americans were enticed to join the missions he founded. Once they had joined, they were forbidden to leave. If they tried to escape, they were rounded up by soldiers then whipped by the missionaries. Any disobedience was punished by the stocks or the lash.

They were, according to a written complaint, forced to work in the fields from sunrise until after dark, and fed just a fraction of what was required to sustain them. Weakened by overwork and hunger, packed together with little more space than slave ships provided, they died, mostly of European diseases, in their tens of thousands.

Serra's missions were an essential instrument of Spanish and then American colonisation. This is why so many Californian cities have saints' names: they were founded as missions. But in his treatment of the indigenous people, he went beyond even the grim demands of the crown. Felipe de Neve, a governor of the Californias, expressed his horror at Serra's methods, complaining that the fate of the missionised people was "worse than that of slaves". 

As Steven Hackel documents in his new biography, Serra sabotaged Neve's attempts to permit Native Americans a measure of self-governance, which threatened Serra's dominion over their lives.

The diverse, sophisticated and self-reliant people of California were reduced by the missions to desperate peonage. Between 1769, when Serra arrived in Alta California, and 1821 – when Spanish rule ended – its Native American population fell by one third, to 200,000.

Serra's claim to sainthood can be sustained only by erasing the native peoples of California a second time, and there is a noisy lobby with this purpose. Serra's hagiographies explain how he mortified his own flesh; they tell us nothing about how he mortified the flesh of other people."

How will Pope Francis deal with this matter? The prognosis is not good.

Why? Well here's a little Irish and Australian History and current affairs for my readers and other interested parties.

When the English King Henry II invaded Ireland, in 1169, he did so with the approval and 'Authority' of the then Pope, Pope Adrian IV.

The authorising document, Laudabilter, issued in 1155, by Pope Adrian IV, noted that the Irish Christians were heretical, and that Henry's invasion was being actioned and authorised by the Pope to save their souls.

The unspoken deal worked like this : "you can take the land as long as you promise attempt to convert the heretics, bringing them back into the 'fold' and thus saving their souls; those who refuse are condemned by their refusal, and therefore annihilating them is of no consequence, as their refusal condemns them to hell."

This became a 'standard' by which colonisation and extirpation of Aboriginal 'heathen' Peoples was supported by the Holy Roman Empire for centuries. It was and remains a commercial venture, more than a spiritual one.

The Magdalene Laundries.

The Industrial Schools in Ireland.

The Indian Residential Boarding Schools in Canada and North America.

Institutions that were extant into the 1990s and that were the subject of intense Church and Government activity in terms of 'damage limitation' exercises across the globe. The story of Kevin Annets 'trial' by which he was removed not just from his ministry as a United Church Pastor in Port Alberni, but his entire career destroyed, his family disrupted and his name slandered, over a simple yet illegal land deal that if exposed threatened commercial interests, and their friends in Government as well as the Church.

There are living Survivors of these Institutions, seeking some kind of resolution and justice.

In July this year, the 4 orders of Nuns involved in the Magdalene Laundries refused to hand over ANY compensation to the remaining Survivors of those hellish prisons. The Irish Government is still indemnifying the Vatican with regard to it's liabilities, and it is still falling short in meeting the needs of Survivors in terms of services, transparency and accountability.

The same applies to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada and North America, and the living Survivors of those horrid 'boarding schools'. All the so-called Truth and reconciliation processes have been reduced to management processes, rather than genuine healing processes. Spin more than substance.

And this affects the next generation, the next, in as much as intergenerational trauma is a scientific and experiential reality. What is unresolved gets passed on. Pain is transmitted. Children get hurt.

In all these stories, there were and are commercial interests at stake, as well as a culture's very existence and peoples lives.

What would Jesus have the Vatican and other Churches involved do? What would he have the Governments do?

One can see this in some more detail in the way the Aboriginal People of North Western Australia are being 'served' by the Australian Government today.

Tony Abbot, who replaced Julia Gillard, is a good friend of Archbishop Pell, who has been 'managing' the 'scandal' of Church cover-ups of serial pedophiles who had free rein within Church orphanages and Aboriginal Residential Schools.

Julia Gillard instigated the current Judicial Inquiry underway  in Australia into these matters, her removal has suited the Church more than it has suited the Australian electorate.

 Such is the Power of the Vatican.

The 'intervention' in the North Western Territories was pushed forward after Aboriginal Leaders refused to give over their land rights in exchange for more Government help with their problems. The 'intervention' was mooted on the false charge that there was widespread sexual abuse of children within the Aboriginal Community and the Government had to step in. A cruel irony. such is the Power of the Mining conglomerates.

The reality is that anyone who expects meaningful reform in the Catholic Church does not understand the true character of this Institution. They are naive, which is understandable. Whilst it is true that it's history, and the details are well documented, they are not widely known,much less understood.

The same applies to corporate driven State Governance, wherever it exists....

Furthermore, the only way to counter this is widespread public information campaigns based on confirmed data, documented evidence and crucially, the voices of those who have been oppressed..

For example, I have rarely heard Survivors voices been given a fair hearing in the mainstream media, and this includes the Guardian, who misquoted my own words, my meaning and my intent, which was and remains wholly honourable, in this report in 2010.

My case is the rule, rather than the exception I know there are many, many voices more worthy than mine, many whose needs are far greater. I think I got away lightly compared to the horrors others have survived. Or not. So many did not survive.

I gave a full and detailed account of myself, outside Lambeth Palace, as I was waiting to see the Pope with other protesters, and activists, to Helen Pidd. Her editor 'edited' the piece and reduced my statement to farce. I have been writing on this issue for more than 5 years. I have been living with the realities on my own experience for all of my life.

The BBC gave sycophantic fawning coverage to Pope Benedict's 'tour' of the UK and it's bias did untold damage to Survivors efforts to bring their voices to the public.

It is  the media were made to account for themselves, in as much as their 'reportage' of these matters has exacerbated the problem, rather than helped to resolve it.

Kindest regards


Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe

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