Cardinal Maradiaga’s Poisonous Fruit

Vaticanologists are making much of a major speech by one of the eight cardinals the pope has designated as leaders of reform, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga.

The speech is ambitious: It offers a comprehensive re-reading of the Church’s role in politics, and of the government in economics. The cardinal makes bold, sweeping assertions in a tone as confident as Karl Marx or Ayn Rand: “With the New Evangelization we restart (start anew) from the beginning: we once more become the Church as proclaimer, servant, and Samaritan.”

Does the cardinal really mean that the Church ever ceased to be these things? If so, when? And by what authority does the speaker makes this implicit attack on all his predecessors? By the experience of the Church in Latin America, where large swaths of his flock have fled to Pentecostalism?

Which popes, precisely, is he accusing here:

Too many times [the Church] gives the impression of having too much certitude and too little doubt, freedom, dissension or dialogue. No more excommunicating the world, then, or trying to solve the world’s problems by returning to authoritarianism, rigidity and moralism, but instead keeping always the message of Jesus as her sole source of inspiration.
Such grand and unsupported attacks on an institution’s past are a common rhetorical device of revolutionary movements, which demonize the past, thus gaining the power to shape the future.

Power is the point here: For all his protestations of “humility” and “service,” the cardinal imagines a Church that will have extensive political and economic power, wielded through laymen and politicians whom it can mold. In what shape political and economic principles does he hope to mold them?

Cardinal Maradiaga makes his sympathies clear when he quotes as an authority on the morality of international investment the Swiss radical Jean Ziegler – a longtime defender of Fidel Castro, who has called the United States an “imperialist dictatorship”:

The globalization of the exchange of services, capital and patents has led over the past ten years to establish a world dictatorship of finance capital. . . .The lords of financial capital wield over billions of human beings a power of life and death. Through their investment strategies, their stock market speculations, their alliances, they decide day to day who has the right to live on this planet and who is doomed to die.
Ironically, Ziegler here denounces foreign investors for threatening poor people with death; on other occasions he has condemned the United States for forbidding its citizens to do business with Cuba.

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga makes a point

Globalization has helped tens of millions in long-impoverished places like India and China move from grinding poverty to relative prosperity – even as wealth stagnated or shrank in Europe and North America. Talented people in developing countries are no longer doomed to subsistence agriculture or foreign-aid handouts; increasingly, they can compete against better-paid, comparatively privileged workers in richer countries. This reality is something Jean Ziegler prefers to ignore.

The Cardinal elaborates on Ziegler’s conspiracy theory, writing himself:

The effects and consequences of the neoliberal dictatorships that rule democracies are not hard to uncover: they invade us with the industry of entertainment, they make us forget about human rights, they convince us that nothing can be done, that there is no possible alternative. To change the system, it would be necessary to destroy the power of the new feudal lords. Chimerical? Utopian?

The Church decidedly bets on living the globalization of mercy and solidarity.

So democracies like ours are “neoliberal dictatorships,” which the Church will help reform through the “globalization of mercy and solidarity,” that is, by helping governments to seize wealth from some people, skim its own share off the top, and distribute that wealth to others. Those “others” will doubtless be grateful, as Hugo Chavez’s supporters were in Venezuela; indeed, they will form powerful voting blocs dependent on state redistribution of wealth, as directed by humble clergymen.

This shows no awareness of decades of research about the true causes of poverty: the lack of clear property rights, political corruption, crony capitalism, populist politics, and centralized bureaucracy. Such problems cannot be solved by foreigners, but by local action to build up a culture of enterprise and institutions that protect small business owners. But it’s much more convenient, comfortable, and conducive to grabbing power to blame everything on the Yanquis

The good cardinal has already shown in the past his proclivity for shifting blame. In May 2002, the cardinal explained who was really to blame for the sex abuse scandal: Jews in the media.

Tiny coteries of evil investors cause starvation in the developing world, while cabals of Jewish journalists try to smear the innocent bishops. Is it all clear now? Based on Manichean, conspiratorial analyses such as these, we humble, loving “Samaritans” must reject the pharisaical Church of the past, and march forward to use the guns and prisons of the state to enforce “mercy” and “solidarity” among the classes and the nations.

In Quod Apostolici Muneris, the great Leo XIII frankly condemned socialism as a Satanic counterfeit of the Gospel. If I might be permitted to cite this pope from the Church’s compromised past:

they assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law; and by a scheme of horrible wickedness, while they seem desirous of caring for the needs and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by title of lawful inheritance, or by labor of brain and hands, or by thrift in one’s mode of life. . . .But the boldness of these bad men, which day by day more and more threatens civil society with destruction, and strikes the souls of all with anxiety and fear, finds its cause and origin in those poisonous doctrines which, spread abroad in former times among the people, like evil seed bore in due time such fatal fruit.
We see that fruit today.  And I’m not biting. Neither should you.

John Zmirak

John Zmirak

  • Manfred

    Thank you for very timely piece Mr Zmirak and for your accurate critique of Cdl Maradiaga’s positions. May I humbly ask that every reader go to your first link “major speech” and read the entire speech? Cdl M. describes Vatican II as the most important Catholic event in the 20th century and the event where the “difficulties” between the Church and modernism were resolved. Both statements are patently false as the appearance of the Mother of God at Fatima, the vision of Hell, and the subsequent revelations to Lucia over the decades were the important event for the World in the 20th century. Modernism was condemned as the worst of all heresies by Pius X, Vatican I and the Oath against Modernism which every priest had to take once a year until 1965. How could a belief system, which had been formally declared a heresy by one ecumenical Council, be declared legitimate at the very next Council? That is the very essence of modernism: NOTHING IS PERMANENTLY TRUE.
    It is obvious from Francis’s speeches that he shares the same beliefs as the Cdl. Francis is the first Pope trained and ordained AFTER Vat. II!

  • JMR

    Rather than giving the Church the benefit of the doubt as a caring mother of a large family, Mr. Zmirak appears to be placing his economic ideology and nationalism above his Catholicism – as if true Gospel is only true to the extent it supports US policies as preferred by the conservatives. The US does spew corrupting culture – is this a false statement. The US has a reelection rate of 90+% for its congressional and senate seats – this is a type of dictatorship. When the US media and Hollywood can influence outcomes of elections such that a President like Obama can get elected – twice, we do have a type cultural elite dictatorship. Much if the world economy is built on slave-type labor in places like China and elsewhere – does this enhance the dignity of the human being? These are facts. And, might there be a better, third way which take the benefits of the market asked economy but realizes that such an economy is merely a “tool” for human’s to realize their dignity – rather than a socialist society which subordinates men to a godless government or a corporate-capitalist society which subordinates men to a godless marketplace or un-elected leaders of companies?

  • Peter Northcott

    Despite being a big Zmirak fan, one of the things I’ve been observing recently in the blogsphere is that it seems to be proving deconstruction as true.

    Everyone’s analysing and critiquing, all making their own conflicting interpretations, and it’s making our Faith a farce.
    We can only evaluate whatever’s being said in the context of time, not immediate knee-jerk reactions which I think are proving so damaging.

  • Jack,CT


  • Chris in Maryland

    I am half-way through it, and I find this statement a startling abdication of the moral authority given to the Church by Jesus. “Too many times she [the Church] gives the impression of having too much certitude and too little doubt, freedom, dissension or dialogue.”

    What, pray tell, is the Church “too certain” about? This is the same re-hashed contemporary mush this generation have been trying to confect for itself. Are they out of their minds?

    I contrast this to the wonderful and stirring speech given yesterday at the Magnificat Conference by Fr. Robert Barron – when he declared what the so-called “New Evangelization” is about – its the eternal message of the Church: “Christ is Our King – he is not our President – and we’re not voting Him out – he The King of the Cosmos – and we are going out through the open door of the Church – to the world – as our ancestors did – and proclaim Him to the World!”

  • Lawrence Hall

    Sometimes one misses the Habsburgs.

  • PNP, OP

    There is no compromise with modernism. . .it is a totalizing ideology that demands complete surrender. The Church can (and should) acknowledge what truth there is in modernist thought, but reconciling with the fundamental tenets of its philosophical stance is impossible. The essence of modernism is a rejection of the possibility of a transcendental realm, a dimension beyond the merely physical (time and space). If our telos (goal) is always and only embedded in the spatial and temporal, then there can be no salvation coming from heaven. That’s modernism and it is at its root poisonous to the faith.

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP
    Notre Dame Seminary, NOLA

  • Manfred

    Post Script. Readers would do well to re-read Fr. James Schall’s column of September 28th this year where he compares statements from both Justice Anthony Kennedy and Pope Francis and admits he can find no difference in the logic they endorse. While Mr. Zmirak is writing on Cdl. Maradiaga, the Schall piece would seem to suggest that Pope and the Cdl are cut from the same cloth.

  • Theodore Seeber

    You’re one to talk, John Zmirak. I see no difference between what you are accusing this Cardinal of and your own Free Market as the Solution Instead of Christ utopian dreams.

    You hate socialism so much that you’ve mistaken Apotstolic Communitarianism for it. Who do you worship, Christ or Mammon? Private property has a purpose- and the property owner a duty to charity, one that he can’t throw away at a whim.

  • Amadan

    Alan Dershowitz campaigned vigorously against this man in both 2005 and 2013 .

  • Chris in Maryland

    Amen Fr. Neri!

    As Fr. Barron said at his Magnificat Day keynote yesterday, the purpose of Vatican II was not to let the “modernism into the Church – it was to send the Church into the modern world and convert it”.

  • Chris in Maryland

    Problem #2 with the Cardinals speech – rejection of tradition. To wit: “Many of the traditions established in the Church could lead her to a veritable self-imprisonment. The truth will set us free, humility will give us wings and will open new horizons for us.”

    This is detached from reality. There are few, if any, traditions left in the “contemporary” Church. This seems like a speech intending for a “spirit of Vatican 2 – Part 2.”

  • Howard Kainz

    The Cardinal in his speech emphasizes that the Church is “the people of God,” and sees this as the major change emerging from Vatican II. Well, who are the “people of God”? If it consists of Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, and Catholics for Choice, we are in trouble. I think of the analogy of the experts who counseled Pope Paul VI to legitimize contraception; in the view of many, these experts represented the “people of God.” This was one example where hierarchy was of the utmost importance. The “buck has to stop” somewhere, and decisions have to be made. But the Cardinal speaks as if he wants to deemphasize and maybe dismantle hierarchy.

  • Mm

    Lay Catholics need to educate clergy such as Maridiaga- such economc decisions are properly the realm of lay prudential judgement- not clerical. It needs to be done charitably & remember we have the recent Popes on our side- they have seen the results of concentrated gov’t power.

  • Seanachie

    Cardinal Maridiaga and like minded churchmen would be well served not to bite the hands that feed/enable them (U.S. Catholics’ generosity enabled by the opportunities afforded by capitalism). Not surprisingly, Cardinal Maridiaga appears to reflect the political and economic philosophies that have poisoned Central and South America. I wonder if the good cardinal and Ziegler ever question why hundreds of thousands enter the U.S.(“the imperialistic dictatorship”), many illegally, every year?

  • Fr. James Farfaglia

    I just read the Maradiaga speech while puffing on a cigar and drinking a bit of Jameson. Keeping in mind that he is coming from a Latin American experience and more than likely sees the seismic shift that is taking place away from a focus on European popes, I would say that his remarks are theologically deficient when he expounds upon the Vatican II Lumen Gentium eccesiology of People of God. His exposition of the concept is at best deficient and even erroneous. Lumen Gentium makes is very clear that there is an essential difference between the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of the faithful. If I was giving the speech, I would have explained all of this with great clarity and precision. His remarks leave a lot of room for misunderstandings and confusion.

    I would say that the presence of Cardinal Pell in the G8 could provide the balance that is needed here.

    I am not quite comfortable with the analysis from The Catholic Thing article. Conservatives tend to get nervous when prelates start talking about the poor, social reform and the rest of it. Again, I think that the Cardinal could have been more precise in his language.

  • Sunil Korah

    While people in the U.S. may be unmitigated supporters of Capitalism, you should realize that this does not hold true elsewhere. Capitalism per se is quite contrary to the Christian approach to life. It can at best be a starting point. (That is also not to say that Communism or a godless Socialism are the only alternatives). I am in India and here we see the good side and the bad of U.S. initiated globalization. If you really listen to Catholics around the world, you will probably realize that the Cardinal is more in tune with their thoughts than you are.

  • Chris in Maryland

    Contrast these words of Jesus: “The poor you will have always with you.”

    …with these words of Cardinal Maradiaga:

    “If Jesus calls the poor ‘blessed’ it is because he is assuring them that their situation is going to change, and consequently it is necessary to create a movement that can bring about such a thing….”

    Yes – the world worships money and power. Yes – the United States worships money and power. Other worshipers of money and power are India, China, Russia, England, Cuba, Italy, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Japan Singapore, Indonesia, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico. All the earth worships money and power.

    Cardinal Maradiaga – seems to be saying that once everyone has money and power – then justice will reign. And the purpose of the Church is to help “the poor” get money and power.

    Yes – America is a GOLDEN CALF.

    Likewise – the ideology of Maradiaga is a GOLDEN CALF. It is not centered on Christ – it is centered on politics.

  • Paul Frantizek

    Maybe it’s just the reaction to this one speech, but I’m growing alarmed and dismayed by Cardinal Maradiaga’s prominent role in the Church.

    Purging the error of Liberation Theology was one of the great achievements of Pope JP II and Benedict. To see it undone and watch the Church readopt an economically failed and socially divisive teaching is disconcerting.

    If the past ten years have taught us anything, they’ve taught us of the state’s intrinsic shortcomings as a regulator of economic life.

  • Nick Palmer

    Like many above, I’m troubled by Cardinal Maradiaga’s words. And I think that Chris’s words above ring quite true: there are quite a few false gods here.

    Good reading would include Elizabeth Scalia’s “False Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life” to reflect on the idols each of us (yes, me most of all) hold so dear.

    To complement that I suggest Reverend Maciej Zieba’s “Papal Economics: The Catholic Church on Democratic Capitalism, from “Rerum Novarum” to “Caritas in Veritate” ” for an historical and current (as of Pope Benedict XVI) look at the Church’s (or popes’) take on political/economic systems.

  • Sue

    I wish I could remember the details of the children’s tale where some evil person pits two people against each other by deceiving each that the other is doing dastardly things against the other. That seems to be the gist of what is happening between the people of the US and the peoples of other countries dominated by liberation theology. The problem is not so much communism vs capitalism. The problem is “globalism” which seeks to use communism and capitalism as puppets for the show while picking the pockets of the audience.

  • Rosemary

    I wonder what Maradiaga would be saying today if the capitalist pigs of the West had not beaten back Hitler from the doors of the Vatican.

  • Rich in MN

    I’ve got a dumb question for my fellow comboxians: What exactly is the “vetting” process that the Pope uses when deciding whom to consecrate a bishop? It looks like JPII made that decision regarding Cdl Maradiaga on 10/28/78 (only 12 days into his pontificate), and then JPII made him Cardinal in 2001.

    Tons of ink (not to mention billions in legal fees and settlements) has been expended over episcopal negligence/ malfeasance in the sex abuse scandal. (And, given the demographic/statistical facts exposed in the John Jay Report, I would just love to see someone write a book about the relationship between the protecting of abusive priests and the influence of the “gay lobby” — but I digress….) But I have not read a single sentence on how someone with some arguably unorthodox, relativistic views could end up a cardinal — at the behest of a decidedly orthodox Pope. I realize that Cdl Maradiaga has held a firm stance against abortion and contraception, but that as a reason strikes me as analogous to a physics professor being given a prestigious appointment because he steadfastly affirms the existence of gravity.

  • Dr Robert Brown

    This seems little else than a Central American complaining about US wealth and power.

    Does the Cardinal have a problem with patents? If so, is he advocating that those who invent something–even software–don’t have the right to some of the profits.

  • Militaris Artifex

    Theodore Seeber,

    You write “Private property has a purpose- and the property owner a duty to charity, one that he can’t throw away at a whim.” In reply, I agree that he has a duty of charity, but he can, and may, very easily throw away that duty and his soul along with it. To the best of my knowledge God has not appointed you, nor me, to use the force of law to prevent that property owner from doing what you assert he is unable to do. God gives us several means by which to convince that property owner of his ressponsibility to God. Again to the best of my knowledge, none of those includes confiscation of property nor the initiation of force.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  • U.S. Catholic

    This Cardinal has been floated as serious papabile.

  • Alejo

    It’s articles like these that alienate a lot of people on the “peripheries”. “Conservative” Catholics in the US have, in their insatiable desire to reconcile American economic and political ideology, become more WASP than the WASPs themselves. America is not a new Israel whose decisions are infallible and whose economic policy is the zenith of human knowledge. Try walking around the streets of Latin America and seeing the incredible chasm between the rich and the poor and then explain to those poor that their lot in life is their own fault and that if they only recognized property rights and Anglo-Protestant economic individualism they would prosper. What’s sad is that the US’s future might be looking a lot like Latin America.

  • Don

    Both the Cardinal and Pope Francis have said some things that I can only read (though I try to read them otherwise) that strongly imply that they loathe the Church that developed under JPII and BXVI. They are absolutely right that the Church needs to get out of its essentially defensive posture and evangelize the world, but I am concerned about “how” they intend to accomplish that. They clearly see in those pontificates an utter failure to fulfill the “promse” if VII by embracing and being “open” modernity. I fear that they are going to be all mercy, all the time with no emphasis on the need for repentance and assent to the teachings of the Church. Where the teachings clash with modernity, we will just downplay them – quit obsessing and not talk about them all the time. And I am afraid Christianity will become primarily “about” the poorand making their cirumstances better rather than “about” the call to worship and serve Jesus Christ.


    Cardinal Maradiaga, take your socialist nonsense elsewhere. We don’t need you to lecture us or condemn the popes before this one as somehow hopelessly misguided. Take your radical views back to South America where they can do even more damage.

  • Howard

    “I wonder what Maradiaga would be saying today if the capitalist pigs of the West had not beaten back Hitler from the doors of the Vatican.”

    I don’t know, Rosemary. What’s more, YOU DON’T KNOW EITHER. You talk as though the true Savior of the Church is Capitalism. I had a professor one time who expressed his shock at the news that FDR had died by saying that he had thought of FDR as a kind of 4th person of the Blessed Trinity. It appears you still think that!

    What if the Church had to endure a tyrannical madman who controlled the whole civilized world and was bent on her destruction? Uh, that has happened already several times. The Church was here before your favorite economic model, and She will be here after it, too.

  • Wendy Gardner

    This is why people are getting nervous. Our new Pope sounds the same. Instead of saying Catholics should do something, he says they don’t, as if he was the one to come up with helping the poor and treating people with respect even when we don’t agree with them. It is the Catholic version of the Obama Apology Tour.

  • Don

    Howard – I do become very concerned when the Church is viewed primarily as a vehicle advocating for redistrubution of wealth to the poor. When it does that it becomes an inherently political institution. One comment of Pope Francis that really sticks in my craw is his statement that he wants a “poor Church for the poor.” Well, inmy view the Church should be “for” everyone – not just “for” the poor. The fear some of us have is that Cardinal Maradiaga and others with his view will make Christianity “about” programs to help the poor when it should be first and foremost “about” worshiping and serving Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Don

    Ok, I just read the speech again. There is much truth in it. Pastors do need to have the smell of the sheep. The Church must regain its missionary zeal and carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. The Church must become “evangelical” again and it will take both clergy and lay proclaiming the Gospel to accomplish its work. Young Catholics should be taught and trained to evangelize from an early age. This is what we need!

    But…I really don’t like the negative implication in both Pope Francis and Cardinal Maradiaga that there has been something “wrong” with the Church under BXVI and JPII; that they somehow failed to properly understand and implement this aspect of Vatican II. This attitude is summed up in the final statement of the Cardinal’s speech (though it can be gleaned throughout):

    “And to conclude, the Pope reminds us that the mission of the Church is the mission of Jesus Himself. And to do the right thing, and to become authentic, all she has to do is return to Jesus (ibid).”

    As though the Church has wandered away from Jesus or somehow forgotten him, and Pope Francis is bringing him back. Really?

  • Allan Wafkowski

    I waited for a clarification from the Vatican, but none came. This more than suggests that the pope is in agreement with the cardinal. Which means what? I would think it means that the pope too is a Modernist.

  • Chris in Maryland


    It is a big mistake to view this matter through the lens of politics, which is the mistake that Cardinal Maradiaga is making. He is fusing The Church with Progressive politics. Faithful Catholics who you might call “conservative” do not worship at the altar of the USA, or any other state for that matter.

    Cardinal Maradiaga is not proclaiming the Catholic faith in this speech – he is proclaiming politics. This is an irnoic reversal for a prelate who lays a central claim to Vatican II – as Vatican II made this very distinction, which Cardinal M is ignoring. Politics is the domain of the laity, not the clergy and Bishops.

    Seeing America as a “new Israel” is certainly part of Mormon ideology, it is certainly not the ideology conservative Catholic people, and you can’t conflate the two just because some Mormons (e.g., Glenn Beck) are conservative. Conservative Catholic people do not support the global march of Progressive American ideology. Indeed, seeing “Progressive America” as a “new Israel” is a part of the American progressive political ideology – which is what the Mormon Harry Reid believes in, and what is rampant right now under the current Administration and its State Dept.

    And we don’t have to go to Latin Ameica to see poverty – we have it right here – for example – in Baltimore.

    Those who worship money and power are always going to fight to hold onto their money and power, wherever they are on the gloge. This has never changed, and will never change.

  • ron a.

    I submit all this “liberation theology” stuff is unChristian—the politicizing of something distinctly unpolitical. It repeats the critical error (misunderstanding)of the Jew during Jesus’ time here on earth. It was the zealot, a fire-brand for many, who expected the “messiah” to free his nation from Roman domination and re-establish the Jewish Kingdom. Jesus’ unwillingness to effect this ‘liberation’ helped lead to His passion and death. Christ’s liberation (mission) was then, and is now, a liberation of a different sort! The ‘supernatural’, to be sure, was not embraced by many then—and, just so, in our own day. And, as we know, that included a High Priest, or two.

  • Peter O’Reilly

    I am completely taken aback by the Cardinal’s speeches in Florida and Texas. Referring to Vatican II, the Cardinal says, “In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council.” I completely missed the signing of this peace treaty between the Church and modernism. I thought the main tenet of modernism was a denial of the transcendent and the spiritual. Somehow I missed it. Maybe it was because of the later distractions of the war in Vietnam, the Sexual Revolution, and the Civil Rights Movement. I do not mean to demean the impact of these events, but I missed the ceasefire between Modernism and the Church. Three days after this column, I am still taken aback. Maybe the Cardinal was right, and there was a truce.

  • Rosemary

    Thanks, Howard, but we are not speaking German today, are we!
    My point is that it’s easy to stimagize globalism on the one hand while quietly enjoying the infrastructure it has helped establish. RE; HITLER – YES I DO KNOW WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED: Do you really think that Hitler would have allowed the pope to live? How naive can you be?
    Instead of whacking away at the capitalists, perhaps there could be some mutual appreciation between the Church and capitalists instead of class warfare.
    You are silly to say that I would agree that Roosevelt is the fourth Person of the Trinity. I am not old enough to consider that. He was a white-man’s-burden socialist, clueless on how an economy runs – much like our present president – anyway who was only too happy to use the capitalists to further his agenda.
    I would not be so smug, Howard, about the perdurability of the earthly Church structures. God and man must work together to help Her flourish and nurture. Many good soldiers died while fighting the evil juggernaut in WWII. I would not be so quick to dismiss the fact that the Vatican greatly benefitted from the Allied assault on tyranny – funded by the lives and taxes of even more good people. The Church does not exist “in spite of” the tyranny it has had to endure through the centuries but “because of” some saintly people who answered God’s call to defend the good. We must never take that for granted, as you seem to do.

  • jacobum

    I watched the closing of the Miami Synod on EWTN. I was particularly interested in hearing Cdl Maradiaga’s speech. Catholic orthodoxy it was not. Sounded more like liberation theology mixed with some “Modernism” wrapped in the “Progessive” talking points of the Democrat Party. As one of my Cuban friends would say..”He puts me nervous!”. More importantly there is an old adage that says..”Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”. There is a lot of truth in that. The Point? This is one of Pope Francis’ chosen 8. That in itself might be understandable. What is not is the scandalous selection of Msgr Ricca for the Vatican Bank, combined with the repeated “ambiguity” of the Pope’s remarks, plus what can be charitably described as “moral exhibitionism” wrapped in “ostentatious humility”…all of which begins to “Put me a bit nervous” Cardinal Bergoglia had stated that he was not a disciplined person. One would not expect him to so readily confirm it as Pope Francis. Seems to me that without self-discipline none of us can/will accomplish much. If this Cdl is a major influence on Pope Francis then we must fast and pray very hard and very frequently for the Pope and the Church. Finally, we had better tighten the lug nuts and fasten our seat belts because only the Lord and Mother Mary know where the roller coaster ride is going to stop.

  • Father Clifford Stevens

    John Zmirak is guilty of something resembling character assassination in his critique of Cardinal Maradiaga. He needs to go to Confession and publicly repent of what theologicallt is called rash judgment: imputing dishonorable motives to someone he does not like. This is religious of the most virulent kind.

    I would like to hear what he thinks of Pope Francis.

    Father Clifford Stevens
    Boys Town, Nebraska

  • Paul Becke

    ‘Globalization has helped tens of millions in long-impoverished places like India and China move from grinding poverty to relative prosperity – even as wealth stagnated or shrank in Europe and North America. Talented people in developing countries are no longer doomed to subsistence agriculture or foreign-aid handouts; increasingly, they can compete against better-paid, comparatively privileged workers in richer countries. This reality is something Jean Ziegler prefers to ignore.’

    A shockingly uninformed ‘take’ on the ‘ministrations’ of the stateless multinationals, who pay neither allegiance nor taxes to any country.

    US hyper-capitalism, unbridled worship of Mammon (not to speak of Moloch) has led to utter degeneracy and societal dysfunction at home, typified by the gun lobby, a multi-billion porn and prostitution industry, and the inevitably ensuing, high level of violence – compounded of course by the rocketing levels of poverty, with the ‘outsourcing’ of jobs abroad.

    On the other hand, far from globalisation proving a godsend by raising the standard of living of the poor in the less developed countries, it has led to catastrophic, mass destitution for the many; and those in work, are sometimes so suicidal, as on the slave-ships of yore, they’ve had to put nets outside the windows of the factories.

    Many Indian farmers have been driven to suicide, ruined by the legal shenanigans of the oppressive GE seed and herbicide companies, such as Monsanto.

    I’m baffled how you could so blithely extol US hypercapitalism.

    In India, I think the epidemic of murderous rapes would almost certainly be the result of internet pornography in conjunction with aspects of the prevailing culture, particularly in the countryside.