Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Vatican's Alt-Right Cardinal (UPDATED)

Pope Francis engenders admiration and affection for his warm hearted and often progressive views, which clash with the previous conservative papacies of Benedict XVI and John Paul II. He's also stepped on the toes of the pedophile priest protectors on the far right of the Church's hierarchy who believe that those priestly crimes are none of the secular world's business.

One of the most notorious reactionary ringleaders is the former archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond Burke. He was demoted from that position by the Pope for his continual opposition to introducing more moderate Church positions, including a more open view of the LGBT community and fighting poverty and income inequality around the world. He was most recently pushed aside as the Cardinal overseeing the Knights of Malta, and has openly praised Donald Trump and (yes) Benito Mussolini. Now, there are reports that Burke is aligning himself with the far-right nationalist movement in Italy, after his meeting last Thursday with Matteo Salvini, leader of the anti-European Union, anti-immigrant neo-fascist Northern League Party and also a Trump supporter.

Posters slamming the Pope appeared on the streets of Rome yesterday, likely put up by Salvini's right-wing followers probably with Burke's knowledge, but were quickly removed or covered by authorities.   The alliance between the worst elements in politics with the worst elements in the Catholic Church is concerning, with elections coming up this year (France on May 7, Germany on September 24) and next year (Austria and Italy) where there are significant Catholic populations and right-wing nationalist movements that a reactionary like Burke could provide "moral" cover to. Perhaps Burke's next posting could be arranged for Tehran, where he could prosthelytize to his heart's content.

UPDATE:  Read Charles Pierce on the Burke - Steve Bannon connection. Chilling.

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