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Catholic church decloaked

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Alinari's Meeting Between Dante and Beatrice in Purgatory. Through the Catholic doctrine of indulgence, believers can minimize their time spent in purgatory
Alinari Archives / Corbis


Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1881152,00.html#ixzz27RP9xK7X

It sounds too good to be true. Now, for a limited time — the year of St. Paul, to be specific, which ends in June — say a prayer, pop by a designated church and qualify for an indulgence that deducts time from your scorching sojourn in the cleansing fires of purgatory.
Indulgences (no relation here to bubble baths or truffles) have been part of Catholic doctrine since the Crusades. When the Church offered them for sale in the 1500s — call it mercy for money — religious reformer Martin Luther protested. These days, they can't be bought. "How does that MasterCard ad go?" muses Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "Some things are priceless." (See pictures of Pope Benedict XVI visiting the U.S.)
The pardons have fallen by the wayside in the past few decades, but they're being revived in conjunction with a new emphasis on the importance of charity in Christian life. Catholicism, with 67 million followers in the U.S., is big on formulaic repetition of the Hail Mary and "Our Father" variety. But the Vatican is starting to move away from that and toward, according to the church's Manual of Indulgences, a "greater zeal for the exercise of charity."
It's no longer enough to repeat a prescribed number of prayers; you also have to do good, such as volunteer at a soup kitchen, help resettle refugees or donate to a worthy cause. Much like how many high schoolers have to fulfill a community-service requirement, Catholics are being urged to become do-gooders. "The church's teaching has evolved," Walsh says. "Part of indulgences is not just saying special prayers, but also doing good works." (See pictures of spiritual healing around the world.)
At the core of indulgences is sin, which can either lead to eternal punishment — i.e., hell — or time spent in purgatory, a place of suffering where imperfections are scrubbed away in preparation for entering heaven. Confession erases eternal punishment, but temporal punishment remains. Plenary, or full, indulgences are the equivalent of a get-out-of-purgatory-free card. Partial indulgences simply shorten your stay.
Mike Aquilina, who attends Holy Child Church outside Pittsburgh, Pa., estimates that he fulfills the requirements for an indulgence a few times a year by visiting a saintly burial site Stateside or St. Peter's Basilica when he's in Rome on business. "God doesn't get anything out of it, the Church doesn't get anything out of it — but I sure do," says Aquilina.
Indulgences are a handy marketing tool for the church, a way of encouraging people to amp up their spiritual life. But figuring out exactly what they are and how they work can be confusing. "It brings people who aren't Catholic up short," says David Steinmetz, a professor of the history of Christianity at Duke Divinity School. (Read "Finding God on YouTube.")
The rules can confound even believers. William Damkoehler, an actor from Rhode Island, learned about indulgences as a kid in Catholic school. As an adult, he's bewildered by them. "It seems like the church is trying to get business back by offering rebates," he says.
The essence of plenary indulgences is tricky to nail down. They're granted if you meet specific criteria: go to confession, receive communion, pray for the Pope, visit a particular shrine. How do you know you actually got an indulgence? Faith.
If you merit a full pardon, it's fine to break out the bubbly. But if you drink too much champagne and start a barroom brawl? Indulgence revoked, and you're back to square one. How's that for an incentive to keep doing good works?


The pagan church will revive indulgences.

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  • android13android13 Member PExer

    Breaking Communique from The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS)


    One Week to go before Direct Actions commence against child-killing churches:

    An Update and Plan of Action from Kevin D. Annett, ITCCS fieldworker


    Direct from Dublin, Ireland


    September 8, 2012


    Breaking News Item: Vatican officials have one week to respond to ten requirements issued last May by survivors of church terror, or face permanent banishment, occupations and legal summonses


    Hello to you all,


    It's fitting that I'm writing this from Dublin, where the top Catholic prelate in that land, Cardinal Sean Brady, is implicated in protecting child rapists in his diocese and may soon resign; and where his probable replacement, Archbishop Dermot Martin, has been forced to meet with ITCCS and ACCAW activists after they occupied Dublin's main cathedral recently and one of them, John Deegan, even manacled himself to the cathedral altar during a mass.


    This direct action by survivors has the church worried, and Archbishop Martin's assistant, Rev. Damian O'Reilly, said yesterday that it was their concern about further church occupations that forced them to sit down and try to directly negotiate with survivors like John Deegan of ACCAW (an acronym meaning Anti Catholic Church Activists Worldwide, which is affiliated to the ITCCS).


    Nowhere else in the world has the church hierarchy actually bargained with their opponents; the church generally relies instead on obliging governments to shield them from the fallout from their crimes towards children. But the fact that this storm is erupting in the heart of the reputedly "most catholic" nation in the world is a sign of how desperate the church leaders are becoming. But more to the point, it demonstrates that only direct disruption and civil disobedience gets results when it comes to the oldest corporation on earth.


    Now is the time, as they say, to press the matter home.


    As John Deegan and the ITCCS said this week to Damian O'Reilly and his church bosses, the Vatican must do two simple things if it wants to avoid ongoing occupations: defrock all present and future child raping priests, and those who protect them; and make every clergy and church officer, from Pope Benedict on down, take a public, binding oath to protect children from predators and expose those who harm the innocent, even if doing so contradicts and defies church laws and customs.


    If the hierarchy equivocates on this requirement of humanity and the law, or says no, then direct actions against the Vatican and its churches will commence in one week.


    In this event, our Common Law Court will publicly convene in seven countries on September 15, to publicly share and judge extensive evidence of criminal actions by church and state. The following day, in the midst of Catholic masses around the world, a Public Banishment Order will be issued, binding on every catholic establishment. Church occupations will then follow.


    The Banishment Order will, in effect, expel the Catholic Church from our communities and declare their churches and other property open to all people for their own use, like the homeless. Church officials will then be illegally trespassing and subject to arrest. Known and suspected child rapists will also face citizens' arrests, as will anyone who protects them. And in some cases, "street corner tribunals" will be held on church property where victims of genocide and torture by the same church will tell their stories and share other evidence with the public and the media.


    Coinciding and building on these actions, our Common Law Court will start broadcasting its proceedings, which will involve presenting our cases and issuing public summonses to church officials.


    We have chosen five cases to present in the initial round of the Court, involving the most solid evidence we have of intentional genocide, child trafficking, homicide and crimes against humanity by various churches.


    This evidence will be simulcast to nearly one hundred citizen jurors in seven countries by the prosecutors of the Court, for the jurors' deliberation. And a transcript of the evidence and cases will be available online to anyone and the media.


    Finally, knowing that our battle is fundamentally a spiritual one, on Sunday, September 23, we will be staging our third and final Public Exorcism aimed at the power behind the Vatican. Our first exorcism outside the papal residence in Rome in October, 2009, was followed the next day by a fierce tornado in the heart of Rome, and an even fiercer media revelation the next month of Pope Benedict's personal complicity in protecting child rapists.


    We are at the heart of a great wind of justice and reformation.


    So in summary here is our Plan of Action:


    1. Saturday, September 15: Public Court Case against the Vatican commences


    2. Sunday, September 16: Banishment Order is read inside and outside Roman Catholic churches in seven countries


    3. Monday, September 17: Permanent Occupation of Catholic churches and institutions commence worldwide


    4. Sunday, September 23: Third and Final Public Exorcism is held aimed at the spirit and power behind the Vatican (to be televised and posted)


    Please help this all happen by agreeing to read the Banishment Proclamation inside and outside your local Catholic church, on Sunday September 16 during their mass. Contact this email and a copy of the Proclamation will be sent to you.


    (Such actions will be staged in thirteen cities in seven countries as of this date).


    Please stay tuned on Saturday, September 15 for these actions to commence: at 9 am pacific time, 12 noon eastern time, and 5 pm GMT in Europe. Live broadcasts will begin and will be posted on the internet.


    In closing, here's an item for concern, or levity, depending on your disposition.


    I learned today that our ITCCS Council of Elders in Brussels was just informed by trusted sources of theirs in the British civil service and the European Parliament that the Home Office in London has declared me, Kevin Annett, a threat to British national security allegedly for having "caused threats to the peace of mind and security of Her Majesty". I am therefore to be immediately detained and imprisoned under the Fixated Threat Assessment Protocol (FTAP) the moment I set foot on British soil.


    FTAP is a way nowadays in England to brand activists as mentally disturbed and lock them away for years, under medieval-like laws harking back to the Inquisition and Star Chamber private courts. It's also supposed to get us all too frightened to publicly protest, or speak out.


    Well, I'm not frightened, Liz. This is just more obstruction of justice - more belated attempts to fog the fact of centuries of genocide by the Crown. Your own Archbishop of Canterbury did so last January, when he ordered Anglican Primate Fred Hiltz in Canada to bury all evidence of the deaths of Mohawk children at the Church of England residential school in Brantford.


    Thus do the guilty squirm and evade judgement. But only for so long. For as Martin Luther King said,


    "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice".


    But I would add, only when enough of us make it bend.


    Spread the word, and stand ready with us and all the fallen children on September 15.

    - Kevin Annett - Eagle Strong Voice

    http://www.vaticancrimes.us/2012/09/direct-actions-to-commence-against.html
  • android13android13 Member PExer
    Vatican Murder Mystery: Was It a Gay Love Triangle?
    Nov 14, 2011 6:31 AM EST
    A salacious crime in the pope’s backyard has gone unsolved for almost 14 years. Barbie Latza Nadeau on the double homicide—and the rumored gay love triangle that could be behind it.

    On May 4, 1998, five shots rang out inside a private apartment tucked within the fortified walls of Vatican City in Rome. Dead were Alois Estermann, the newly appointed commander of the elite Swiss Guard army that protects the pope; Estermann’s Venezuelan wife, Gladys Meza Romero, a former model; and Cedric Tornay, who was a corporal in the Swiss Guard. No one heard the shots, according to neighbors who were interviewed after the murders, but the three bodies were enough proof to solve the crime, at least according to the Vatican. The Holy See’s official line was that corporal Tornay had killed Estermann and his wife before putting his 7mm pistol into his mouth and blowing his brains out. The motive was simple, they said. Tornay had been passed up by Estermann for a promotion and could not contain his rage.

    But the truth behind the Vatican’s Swiss Guard murders is far more complex, says Tornay’s mother, Muguette Baudat. Earlier this month she pleaded to Pope Benedict XVI to reopen the case and clear her son’s name. In a brief interview with The Daily Beast, she says her son was the victim of a cover-up, not the perpetrator of a murder-suicide. “My son is not the man behind such a murder,” she said. “He was not crazy and vengeful. He was actually a victim in this crime.”

    Baudat has written a letter to the current pope in the hope he will reopen the case. She believes that because Benedict was a key administrator in the Vatican hierarchy during her son’s murder investigation, he may be willing to reinvestigate the case for the sake of transparency. “He might want clear his conscience,” she says. “It would be the right thing to do.”

    When it happened, the Swiss Guard murder shook Rome to its core. Because Vatican City is a sovereign nation, it has its own police and investigative units. The pope is the head of state, and no one in the papal administration has to answer to anyone outside the Vatican walls—even though the tiny nation is tucked inside the city of Rome. Secrecy shrouded the case from the moment the news broke. In the hours after a Vatican insider leaked the news of a murder, local Italian journalists speculated that then–pope John Paul II himself had been the victim of a gunman’s wrath. It took nearly 24 hours for the Vatican to clarify that it had been the head of the pope’s protective arm who had been killed in a murder-suicide and not the pope himself.

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    Pope John Paul II greets Swiss Guard Alois Estermann and his wife, Gladys Meza Romero, during a private audience at the Vatican in 1997 (AP Photo)

    In the years that followed, reporters followed several leads in a yet- unsolved quest for the truth about what may have really happened that night. Several books have been penned about the case, but none so far have truly solved the crime. It was no secret within the Swiss Guard that Estermann was a bisexual who had a weakness for young recruits and had allegedly just ended a sexual relationship with Tornay, who was 23 at the time. One theory is that when Estermann turned his affections to another young recruit, Tornay allegedly lost his temper and killed Estermann and his wife in a jealous rage. In a book on the case called Verbum Dei et Verbum Gay ("God's Word, Gay Word"), author Massimo Lacchei writes that in the days before the murders, he had observed Estermann and Tornay at what he describes as a gay brunch and had later interviewed Tornay, who he said was clearly attached to his superior. He says, ''They were so intimate and friendly for a subordinate and a captain.”

    Another theory is that Estermann was at the core of a power struggle within the Swiss Guard itself. On one side was the über-conservative Opus Dei movement, and on the other a Masonic sect with growing strength within the elite guard. Estermann, who was appointed as the guards’ new commander just hours before he was murdered, was caught in the middle, according to a book called Blood Lies in the Vatican, written by anonymous authors who claim to be priests and insiders who live inside the Vatican walls. They maintain that Tornay was attacked and dragged to the Vatican cellar, where he was “suicided” by commandos and then later placed in Estermann’s apartment after the real assailants did their dirty work. They conclude, “The element that undermines the official truth is the fact that no one heard the five loud shots fired by the powerful pistol found under Cedric Tornay’s body.”

    One theory is that Tornay lost his temper and killed Estermann and his wife in a jealous rage.

    Tornay’s mother believes the second theory more than the first, but knows the truth could lie somewhere in the middle. She says her son was the pawn of more powerful entities and got caught in the crossfire in a situation he likely knew nothing about. She denies her son’s homosexual affair with his boss, but concedes that he may have been too trusting and therefore easily taken advantage of. Either way, she is determined to find the truth about her son.

    Pope Benedict XVI has not yet responded officially to Tornay's mother’s letter. Her lawyer Luc Brossollet says she will not let it go. “The case is full of suppressed evidence, contradictions, and lies,” he said recently. “It’s time to find the shameful truth.”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/11/14/vatican-murder-mystery-was-it-a-gay-love-triangle.html
  • android13android13 Member PExer
    MVP parts ways with Ateneo 'completely', cites irreconcilable differences over RH and Mining
    By: InterAksyon.com
    September 21, 2012 3:24 PM

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    MANILA - (UPDATED 4:07 p.m.) Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Philex Mining Corporation and the PLDT Group, has parted ways with the Ateneo De Manila University, citing irreconcilable differences with his alma mater.

    In a letter addressed to Ateneo president Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, Pangilinan said his decision to disengage from the university - where he was a key supporter of the academic and sports programs - was triggered by a document being circulated by the Society of Jesus which, "as drafted, is irreconcilable with our corporate position on mining and for me, more importantly, my conviction as a Filipino."

    Pangilinan also chairs TV5, for which InterAksyon.com is the online news portal.

    He was former chairman of the Jesuit university's Board of Trustees. Among other things, Ateneo has credited Pangilinan for "the MVP Center for Student Leadership and the new Rizal Library (and) many programs of excellence he has supported at the Ateneo de Manila are student leadership programs, Ateneo sports, Ateneo Debate Society and the Ateneo College Glee Club."

    The full transcript of the letter, which was posted online by Denis Lucindo, Philex vice president for business development, is as follows:

    I note your email of 21st September.

    I read last night the Jesuit Paper which Fr. Jojo (Magadia, Philippine Provincial of the Society of Jesus - ed.) handed to me last Sunday, and have come to the conclusion that this document, as drafted, is irreconcilable with our corporate position on mining and for me, more importantly, my conviction as a Filipino.

    Let me just highlight a few of my major concerns – by all means not complete or exhaustive:

    1. I do not agree with some of the CBCP’s pronouncements, including its recent stance on the RH Bill. At times, I believe the CBCP has taken positions contrary to the interest of our country. It should earn its rightful place in the national debating table by showing tangibly and significantly its concern for the poor and the corrupt, and sharing the burden with business and government the enormous task of nation-building – including the appropriate moral formation of our people and our leaders.

    2. The importance of mining – expressed in the development of natural wealth and national patrimony – is enshrined in our Constitution. That value as a tool for national progress is expressed in the Mining Act. For the Church to say otherwise contradicts a very basic document of our people and frustrates the people’s constitutional will, values, and preference – plus the right to improve economic welfare – 'to use these talents and multiply them, not bury them' – to use your own words.

    3. Correlatively, I’ve always firmly believed precisely in that Biblical dictum on talents – be they tangible or intangible – to improve lives. Failure to manage one’s affairs – such as weak institutions, failed regulatory agencies, corrupt enforcements – do not mean a particular business is per se evil, as suggested about mining in that Jesuit Paper. It is man’s frailty – Filipino frailty to be exact – that should be blamed, not the business. I’ve already pointed out the examples of good mining practices elsewhere. Indeed, the Filipino’s failure to manage well is shown in almost all facets of our lives – poor airports, poor sewerage, unclean air, mediocre economic growth. The list is long. Our preponderant task as a people is simply to do better – to strive for excellence. Isn’t that the Ateneo motto?

    4. As to the Church’s duty towards creation and human ecology, I submit that it is our first duty to understand its origins and workings truly. This means subscribing to, and encouraging, relentless scientific study of the universe and planet Earth – hardly a matter which the Church persecutors of Galileo can be proud of. Every human attempt at progress I dare say will have some impact 'at the expense of the environment' – even the building and maintenance of places of worship and of education. There should be no debate here, correct?

    5. The Jesuit Paper reflects in parts, ignorance of the terms of EO79 and the Implementing Rules and Regulations. We should leave that to another paper to dissect. The ultimate questions for me are:

    (i) Do the EO/IRR violate existing laws and the Constitution?

    (ii) Do they violate the call for preferential use of land and resources for mining, for purposes of agriculture, tourism, or what have you – preferential rights articulated and protected by our Constitution?

    In any event, to the extent that the terms of the Paper are non-negotiable, and do run contrary to what our laws and Constitution say and to what I believe in – that any business, even mining, can be made to serve man and God provided it is managed well and responsibly - this makes it difficult for my conscience to accept the Paper as currently drafted.

    I must say that I am extremely distressed and saddened by this recent event. And in the context of two other gruesome incidents (i.e., plagiarism and the first mining blow-up) in the recent past, I believe we have come to the irretrievable point where it is best and appropriate to draw the line in the sand, to conclude that we have little or no common interest, and to say that I’d look like a fool helping an institution which opposes my conviction diametrically and unequivocally (“non-negotiable”). The logical consequences of this are: (i) each of us can pursue our advocacies freely without having to be sensitive with regard each other’s feelings; (ii) my complete and total disengagement from the Ateneo – something which, after reflection, I must confess I welcome with some relief at this stage.

    Time to call it a day.

    M.V.P.

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