Posts Tagged “bolivia”

Pope Francis with children on Friday in Luque, Paraguay, the final leg of his Latin America trip. Andres Stapff/Reuters, via New York TimesPope Francis continues making headlines by marching to what is largely his own personal drum. In addition to his recent encyclical calling for action on global warming, he keeps finding ways to poke his nose into things a lot of people would rather he didn’t. During his trip to Latin America, as the New York Times reports, he did precisely that, by condemning capitalism in strong terms (WebCite cached article):

His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the “dung of the devil.” He does not simply argue that systemic “greed for money” is a bad thing. He calls it a “subtle dictatorship” that “condemns and enslaves men and women.”

Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week when he made a historic apology for the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church [cached] during the period of Spanish colonialism — even as he called for a global movement against a “new colonialism” rooted in an inequitable economic order.

His apology for Church atrocities in Latin American during the colonial age have been a long time coming. The missionaries who arrived with the conquistadores and acted as their enforcers sometimes were a savage bunch. Which is why it’s odd that he pressed to canonize one of the more controversial among them (cached) — but at the moment that’s beside the point.

At any rate, it’s not the first time the Pope has made noises in this direction, and because of that, he’s already aroused the ire of American conservatives, who worship at the altar of Capitalism right alongside their Jesus. The first among them to weigh in on the Pope’s latest denunciation of capitalism was Rush Limbaugh, who as Media Matters reports — and provides audio — threw a fit over it (cached). Note that he managed to wedge Obama into his tirade, even though Obama had no relation to it whatsoever. Poor little Rushie has made a multi-decade career out of being sanctimoniously enraged that there are actually people in the world insolent enough to dare disagree with him on shit. He seems actually to think that no one on the planet is permitted to say or even think anything other than what he approves of. Expect more fierce Rightists, probably many of them, to agree with crybaby Rushie and go on self-righteous tirades of their own.

Photo credit: Andres Stapff/Reuters, via New York Times.

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A variation on the old “the Devil made me do it” excuse was on the news today, concerning the plane hijacking that took place in Mexico (as reported by the New York Times):

Federal police raided a Boeing 737 at Mexico City airport and freed more than 100 passengers on Wednesday afternoon after an unstable man threatened to blow up the plane as it flew from Cancún unless he could speak to President Felipe Calderón of Mexico to warn him about impending doom, officials said. …

The man had a criminal record in Bolivia for armed robbery, and was a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, officials said. Mr. Flores told authorities that he had a divine intervention that the date — Sept. 9, 2009, or 9/09/09 — had a connection to 666 and that Mexico might suffer a devastating earthquake as a result.

Paraded before reporters at the airport by federal police, Mr. Flores smiled nervously at the cameras, chewing gun. He later gave a rambling interview in which he frequently invoked the name of God and spoke of his desire to save Mexico. He said he had seen the devil in the Mexican flag and he called on Mr. Calderon to assemble the population in the Zocalo, Mexico City’s enormous central square. “Awful things are coming,” he said.

Various news reports have called Mr Flores a “priest,” such as in this (UK) Telegraph report:

A Bolivian priest hijacked a Mexican flight from the resort city of Cancun after receiving “divine inspiration”, officials said.

I’m not sure he really is a “priest,” though, because apparently Mr Flores has an extensive criminal history and I don’t see how he could have kept up his clerical obligations while in Mexican prison(s). The media had also reported multiple hijackers initially, but after arresting a number of people on the plane, Mexican authorities decided Mr Flores had been a lone hijacker.

If anyone tells you that little superstitious beliefs … such as that today’s date, 9/9/09, is somehow significant, or that the number 666 carries some kind of profane power … are harmless, well … now you know otherwise!

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