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I'm not a Catholic, and I never would have considered becoming one before this new pope came along, but after two popes playing geopolitics games and hiding Church crimes...especially the sex crimes, my impression is much more favourable than when Benny was still in charge!

I'm surprised that his hard-hitting speech on the environment doesn't show up here, and even more surprised that he's done a 180 from the last guys, and is telling the powerful and prominent Catholics that preventing abortion and birth control isn't enough to consider yourself a good Catholic! From the speech:

1. "This system is by now intolerable: farmworkers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, people find it intolerable ... The earth itself ... also finds it intolerable."

2. "And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea, one of the church's first theologians, called 'the dung of the devil.' An unfettered pursuit of money rules. That is the dung of the devil."

3. "Working for a just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labor is not mere philanthropy. It is a moral obligation. For Christians, the responsibility is even greater: it is a commandment."

4. "It is not enough to let a few drops fall whenever the poor shake a cup which never runs over by itself."

5. "I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the Church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America."

6. "The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain 'free trade' treaties, and the imposition of measures of 'austerity' which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor."

7. "Our common home is being pillaged, laid waste and harmed with impunity. Cowardice in defending it is a grave sin. We see with growing disappointment how one international summit after another takes place without any significant result." .................................

............................................

The Pope said he's often asked why he focuses so intently on what some Christians call the "least and the lost."

Read the Gospel, Francis answered on Tuesday, specifically Matthew 25. In that passage, Jesus says that in the Last Days, Christians will be asked whether they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick.

"This is the heart of the Gospel," the Pope said.

In our age of capitalist christianity, it's no wonder that Prosperity Gospel adherents, who have turned the New Testament message upside down, are shocked and bewildered when pointed towards the Gospel of Matthew or especially Acts. ch. 5.

On another topic, the speech also called attention to the plight of Christians in the Mid-east, who are in danger of being erased in nations like Syria and Iraq...where some of the first Christian communities were established. Thanks to "regime change" and giving money and guns to "moderate" rebels, these communities are subject of ethnic cleansing right now. Ever since the fall of Saddam, I haven't heard much of anything coming from conservatives and assorted warhawks about the blowback faced by Christians in the ME.

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I'm not a Catholic, and I never would have considered becoming one before this new pope came along, but after two popes playing geopolitics games and hiding Church crimes...especially the sex crimes, my impression is much more favourable than when Benny was still in charge!

This is probably the most politically active pope in the last couple hundred years in my opinion.

WWWTT

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Taking a strong stance on moral/ethical issues a rational thing for the leader of a religion to do.

The trouble is he frequently strays into areas where he clearly has no clue what he is talking about. His latest rants about capitalism are a case in point: no economic system has ever done more to help the poor than capitalism. Obviously, the system is not perfect but there are simply no credible alternatives to capitalism as a basis for economics. That fact that the pope can't see this completely undermines any message he might have about helping the poor.

Edited by TimG
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The trouble is he frequently strays into areas where he clearly has no clue what he is talking about. His latest rants about capitalism are a case in point: no economic system has ever done more to help the poor than capitalism.

The catholic church benefits from more poverty and more poor people. Poorer societies are generally more religious.

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He's less harmful than popes from the last couple thousand years... That's something I guess...

I'd be more impressed if he gave the gold and silver Catholics stole from the New World back.

It's like listening to Obama talk about closing Guantanamo...talk's cheap.

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I'd be more impressed if he gave the gold and silver Catholics stole from the New World back.

It's like listening to Obama talk about closing Guantanamo...talk's cheap.

Hey.... Let's not go nuts here... It's still a sin to use a condom.... And they need that gold.... Can't help too many people all at once! They might lose their worshippers.....

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This is probably the most politically active pope in the last couple hundred years in my opinion.

WWWTT

Some of the Catholic historians say he is a throwback to Pope John ( I forget the number) who called together the Vatican II Conference and reforms back in the early 60's.

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Taking a strong stance on moral/ethical issues a rational thing for the leader of a religion to do.

The trouble is he frequently strays into areas where he clearly has no clue what he is talking about. His latest rants about capitalism are a case in point: no economic system has ever done more to help the poor than capitalism. Obviously, the system is not perfect but there are simply no credible alternatives to capitalism as a basis for economics. That fact that the pope can't see this completely undermines any message he might have about helping the poor.

My beef with what a lot of economists write (from various ideologies) is that they act like economics is a science and it's not! Latest example in recent years would be the Keynsians, like Paul Krugman, calling for a revived New Deal when Obama first became president.

Krugman has written numerous editorials in the NYTimes complete with charts and statistics on why a new deal would fix all of America's economic ills, but he has never considered that America of 1930's was a far less populated nation with vast undeveloped territories and unmined resources. That is certainly not the case today! The industrial boom that allowed the building of a vast military industrial complex from scratch was fueled by cheap, easily accessible oil (only the costly garbage is left in the US today), and the rise of the middle class after WWII, owed much more to the vacuum in industrial capacity caused by the War and the tolerance of the capitalist class than it did with the theories of John Maynard Keynes. And the supply-siders are just as bad, but I won't go into that.

Also, this Pope is a scientist with an advanced degree in chemistry; maybe he wasn't a specialist in biology and ecosystems management, but the global warming deniers look like idiots attacking him for talking about a subject he can't understand when he's addressing the climate issues.

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Also, this Pope is a scientist with an advanced degree in chemistry; maybe he wasn't a specialist in biology and ecosystems management, but the global warming deniers look like idiots attacking him for talking about a subject he can't understand when he's addressing the climate issues.

Actually, all the Pope has done is with his AGW comments followed by his unhinged anti-capitalist diatribe is confirm that the obsession with CO2 mitigation has nothing to with science and is simply a vehicle for left wing ideologues to push their social/economic agenda.

If this discussion was actually about science there would be no serious discussion of futile CO2 mitigation exercises and the focus would be almost entirely on adaption.

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To TimG - "unhinged", "anti-capitalist", "diatribe", "obsession", "left wing ideologies" - this is to be accepted by objective posters as an intelligent review of a position on an issue?

It may make no difference to you but you are losing me as one who respects your views.

Edited by Big Guy
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My beef with what a lot of economists write (from various ideologies) is that they act like economics is a science and it's not! Latest example in recent years would be the Keynsians, like Paul Krugman, calling for a revived New Deal when Obama first became president.

Economics can be a science if you follow the scientific method.

Krugman has written numerous editorials in the NYTimes complete with charts and statistics on why a new deal would fix all of America's economic ills, but he has never considered that America of 1930's was a far less populated nation with vast undeveloped territories and unmined resources.

People make incorrect models of reality all the time in science. For example, Newtonian physics doesn't take into account the fact that the speed of light is constant in all inertial reference frames.

Also, this Pope is a scientist with an advanced degree in chemistry; maybe he wasn't a specialist in biology and ecosystems management, but the global warming deniers look like idiots attacking him for talking about a subject he can't understand when he's addressing the climate issues.

Crazy religious man who think he represents god on Earth is a scientist? That's a laugh.

If he cares so much about addressing climate issues, why is he against condoms and birth control? If the catholic church said 'condoms and birth control are okay' then it would help reduce future global population.

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The trouble is he frequently strays into areas where he clearly has no clue what he is talking about. His latest rants about capitalism are a case in point: no economic system has ever done more to help the poor than capitalism. Obviously, the system is not perfect but there are simply no credible alternatives to capitalism as a basis for economics. That fact that the pope can't see this completely undermines any message he might have about helping the poor.

Bullcrap. I read the full transcript of his speech. Just because you disagree with his economic views doesn't mean his arguments aren't valid or he's "uneducated".

First, the Pope seems fairly educated on economics and international economic theory, and based on his language is even versed in economic theories like Marxism (which he never explicitly promotes/endorses) and Dependency Theory (which was created by a fellow Argentine). The Pope admits he doesn't have the answers to what a new, more Christian-like economic system would look like, but he's still legitimate in criticizing a system and the people who act in this system that exploits people on the fringes of the economy so harshly. Capitalism as it currently functions is a very un-Christian economic system.

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The entire Vatican is rather un-Christian. I have a hard time taking what this mad-man and/or fraud who claims he speaks for a god in the clouds says very seriously.

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

vatican-library.jpg

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Capitalism as it currently functions is a very un-Christian economic system.

This statement explains why you can't see past the Pope's silly rhetoric. Capitalism is not christian or un-christian. It is simply an economic system that distributes economic decision making and has no moral context. The moral context comes from the framework of laws put in place by societies that use capitalism because these frameworks set out the principals for resolving the inevitable conflicts and these principals require a moral basis and can vary greatly from society to society.

I find it interesting that the Pope claims to not have any alternatives because the only real alternative to the distributed economic decision making that is at the core of capitalism is a system with various forms of centralized economic decision making and all of the examples of societies with centralized economic decision making have been complete failures and resulted in more injustice than capitalism has ever created. I guess he knows this so he may simply be a cynical opportunist throwing red meat to a left wing crowd instead of being simply clueless.

Edited by TimG
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This statement explains why you can't see past the Pope's silly rhetoric.

I was careful to say "Capitalism as it currently functions is a very un-Christian economic system". This includes the laws that govern how the system functions, as well as the entrenched habitual behaviours of both businesses and consumers.

I find it interesting that the Pope claims to not have any alternatives because the only real alternative to the distributed economic decision making that is at the core of capitalism is a system with various forms of centralized economic decision making...

That's not true at all. Are you saying syndicalism is an economic system with "centralized economic decision making"? It's the exact opposite, it's an economic system where the workers, as opposed to a small group of owners or politicians, control business.

Edited by Moonlight Graham
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I was careful to say "Capitalism as it currently functions is a very un-Christian economic system". This includes the laws that govern how the system functions, as well as the entrenched habitual behaviors of both businesses and consumers.

If there are problems with the legal frameworks governing property ownership and commercial contracts then you should say that. Calling all of it "capitalism" is simply wrong because you end up implying that there is a desirable alternative to capitalism when one does not exist.

Are you saying syndicalism is an economic system with "centralized economic decision making"? It's the exact opposite, it's an economic system where the workers, as opposed to a small group of owners or politicians, control business.

"syndicalism" is capitalism where corporations are run to maximize profit for the owners which in this case are the workers. There is no material difference between a syndicate and a company where the workers own shares in the company. One of the problems with syndicalism is it does not explain where the capital required to maintain a functioning enterprise comes from. Logically, it would have to come from the workers since they benefit from any profits but I some how doubt that the people who came up with this pseudo-capitalist model considered such awkward questions. Edited by TimG
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Actually, all the Pope has done is with his AGW comments followed by his unhinged anti-capitalist diatribe is confirm that the obsession with CO2 mitigation has nothing to with science and is simply a vehicle for left wing ideologues to push their social/economic agenda.

If this discussion was actually about science there would be no serious discussion of futile CO2 mitigation exercises and the focus would be almost entirely on adaption.

As Big Guy has already pointed out, you're the one who's 'unhinged' on the climate issue, since you make great efforts to advance implausible theories of low atmospheric sensitivity to carbon that are advanced by a small (less than 3%) contingent of climate researchers who may only be acting from political and obvious financial motivations.

This is equivalent to joining the fringe on any other scientific issue, so why would you expect the Pope to side with a small coterie of cranks when...more than likely he has traveled the world himself quite enough, to notice a lot of the growing ecological damage being done to this world.

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you make great efforts to advance implausible theories of low atmospheric sensitivity to carbon

The actual data, the scientific literature and the IPCC WG1 report supports my view. You simply like to cherry pick the views of the AWG zealots who choose to fixate on the extremely implausible high end of the estimates. Edited by TimG
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Economics can be a science if you follow the scientific method.

People make incorrect models of reality all the time in science. For example, Newtonian physics doesn't take into account the fact that the speed of light is constant in all inertial reference frames.

Economics is as much of a science as psychoanalytic theory is a science! In both fields there are particular theories that explain absolutely everything...even when results don't match their predictions! As many physicists who are critics of new T.O.E.'s like String Theory point out, if a theory explains every result, then it actually explains nothing!

Crazy religious man who think he represents god on Earth is a scientist? That's a laugh.

Where do you get the idea that he thinks he's God?

I didn't have time to deal with the fundamentalist atheist comments yesterday from you and others, but this notion advanced by Dawkins and others that 'belief in God or religious supernatural beliefs is delusional' or 'all our beliefs need to be scrutinized for scientific accuracy' is atheist equivalent of religious dogma that is not or likely cannot be proven! And if you actually took it seriously , your libertarian beliefs on economics and climate change are on the fringes of reality and fail any sort of real scientific testing.

Maybe it's all of the fundamentalist atheism coming at us today makes me prefer to identify with naturalism rather than call myself an atheist or even use secular humanism.

If he cares so much about addressing climate issues, why is he against condoms and birth control? If the catholic church said 'condoms and birth control are okay' then it would help reduce future global population.

So, why isn't he fixing everything? If that's the question, it seems obvious that any reformist leader at the helm of a large, conservative organization with a deeply entrenched bureaucracy is going to have be pragmatic about making changes and not over-reaching.

I'm not a Catholic, and this is an issue that is ultimately up to the members of the Church to decide for themselves; but from the outside, he has changed course from the two previous popes who ignored issues of poverty and inequality and focused laser-like on personal morality issues, especially on women's sexual conduct. Just the fact that he's saying 'let's give this a break and take a look at the larger picture of suffering in this world is a big step. Remember Pope Benny was most actively involved in persecuting nuns he considered too liberal....like...not only was opening the priesthood for women beyond discussion, he was trying to drive women from having any active role in the Church. So far, by ending the attacks, Francis has made progress on women's issues.

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The actual data, the scientific literature and the IPCC WG1 report supports my view. You simply like to cherry pick the views of the AWG zealots who choose to fixate on the extremely implausible high end of the estimates.

The AGW zealots who make up every climate scientist not employed by the Koch Foundation apparently.

My first principle when dealing with technical issues that I do not and won't have the time to develop expert opinion on myself, is to go with the consensus of expert opinion....which doesn't look good for your side.

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