An avowed fascination with military force; an overwhelming need for attention; a gift for gulling the less discerning while lying from dawn to dusk; an extraordinary inability to empathise with those who suffer worst from bigotry, abuse of power and lack of health care; a complete lack of scruple in forwarding dangerous and often racist conspiracy theories; a total inability to absorb the basic principles of the constitution he has sworn to defend – these are the most obvious shortcomings of the present incumbent of the US presidential Oval Office, Donald Trump.
Yet in the month that saw his poll ratings plummet following a disastrous PR miscalculation, the same individual found himself lauded by an almost equally attention-greedy Catholic cleric, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.
Author of a 2018 poison-pen attack on Pope Francis on the day the pope was to say Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Viganò on June 6th 2020 praised Trump’s militaristic rhetoric in condemning the mostly peaceful city protests that swept the US in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
These protests were provoked by “deep state” operatives, according to Viganò – in defiance of copious evidence that they were in fact merely a legitimate expression of solidarity with all victims of racial oppression – and therefore entirely in line with Catholic social teaching.
In the midst of a global respiratory Pandemic with still unknown outcomes, we are by now accustomed to freakish occurrences but even so Archbishop Viganò’s leap onto the neo-fascist bandwagon set in motion by Trump in 2016 seems grotesque. First time round, in the 1930s, Fascism attracted some early support from less discerning European Catholic bishops, but in the end that alignment worked out so badly for everyone, including the churches, that few could have predicted this latest development.
As Trump was soon also reprimanded for his plan to deploy US troops to suppress the constitutional rights of US citizens – by, for example, retired general and former US defence secretary Jim Mattis – and Trump’s poll ratings were meanwhile ‘tanking’ – why would anyone with a grain of sense want to align with Trump’s most obvious lunacies at this juncture?
Probably Viganò’s own predilection for conspiracy theories is part of the answer. Seeking to tie the pope into an alleged but illusory ‘deep church’ plot to hide the homosexual genesis of the church’s clerical abuse disasters, it might seem logical to use Trumpian tactics to do that. Viganò is also a ‘disruptor’, as ready to foment enmity within the church as Trump is to perpetuate and take advantage of adversarialism in US politics.
Yet with US Catholic support for Trump falling rapidly – as scales fall from eyes – Viganò’s own naked ambition is too patently visible. Thwarted in his clerical career by his own talent for conflict when based in the Vatican (the ‘vatileaks’ affair) his use of Trumpian ‘deep state’ rhetoric is now more likely to increase his own isolation.
Neo-fascism – exaggerated nationalism; the cult of a ‘leader’ who idealises violence; contempt for due legal process; deliberate exploitation of the human weakness for seeking scapegoats for one’s own anger – is in the process of being disowned even by the very US constituency that Viganò seeks to attach to himself.
For a Catholic to choose Trumpism in the wake of yet another lynching of an African American – in plain sight – is too obviously in total contrast to the central meaning of the Christian Creed.
Especially when it is recalled that Trump’s rise to political prominence began with a racist lie against the US president who welcomed Viganò’s arrival as papal nuncio in Washington in 2011 – Barak Obama.
Fascism was always both awful tragedy and grotesque farce. In Archbishop Carlo Viganò’s latest leap of ambition the tragic farce of the campaign against Pope Francis is most starkly revealed.
[NCR] Tweet from Trump puts controversial Archbishop Viganò back into US politics
From Mary Vallely (somehow unable to get this facility to work just now on her own device):
“I was pleased to read this statement from the Irish Bishops Summer Conference today.
(If only homophobia and misogyny were equally condemned. We have a long, long walk to equality but it is a positive sign amidst the anomalies of the likes of Vigano, Voris, Boris and the present POTUS. I think that extreme narcissism can make one seriously unhinged.)”
“Racist attitudes are learned early in life. They can and must be countered in homes and in school communities where the fundamental dignity of every person is celebrated. Saint Paul affirmed that there is no place among Christians for racist ideas of any kind: ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ (Galatians 3:28). In post COVID19 times a key priority and option for the Christian must be the promotion and defence of the equal dignity of each human person as a child of God and member of the one human family.” (ICBC))
Ugh. Donald Trump. Is that where we are? Dragging him out to the desert. We can’t, and I mean can’t continue to attempt to find the source of the duress. This is a human element we can’t escape unless we take ourselves out of this insulated opinion where the mere political players are cast into this desert. It’s us. IT’S US!!! We’ve all spent a lifetime of tax-paying and dedication to banks and ensured this system was kept alive and ever-expanding. Would you like to hear the good news? Trump has deployed three nuclear air-craft carriers with all the necessary combative trimmings (the military likes to refer to them as strike groups) to the Pacific to face off against China. This makes for a splendid Covid-19 response, no? Here I thought The Great Pause was a time for self-reflection and balance? No, Trump got bored. But it’s not him. IT’S NOT HIM.
Trump doesn’t make ONE MOVE without getting a go-ahead from a high and mighty tower.
Oh, and Covid-19, Cuba – interferon in the 1980s – developed to treat coronaviruses. Did you know that there is a plant-based natural preventative (that can also have a specific treatment developed and is being tested by the University of Lethbridge – guess who was quick to that possibility 😉 ) – it’s currently legal in Canada? CBD oil derived from the cannabis plant is neuroprotective/regenerative and anti-viral. It is used by patients of all ages to treat epilepsy and other conditions like MS, Parkinson’s, and arthritic pain. CBD is non-psychoactive and can be grown in Canada, at home, but we should be petitioning the government to allow us to let it grow wild like the alder bushes which can allow for ease of export via cottage industries. Ugh.
Once we get into the position where we start to FIGHT (legislatively and through peaceful protest) for our freedoms, everything will be reset. How do 1.2 billion Catholics get together? How protective is our religion? Do we sit idly by and wait for an intervener? Do we become the working group that starts to collectively say NO! to that level of oppression that we fund on a daily basis?
I don’t mean to disrupt your thoughts and actions. Picture me as your young son, pre-teenager who is asking these questions. Young people ask these questions all the time today. “Dad, how long do you figure we got once the plastics overtake the fishes in the sea?” “Mom, with hundreds of millions of tonnes of munitions rotting at the bottom of the oceans, do you think we’ll get cancer from our food source there?” Your children may not ask YOU these questions but these questions are being asked daily. They don’t need to know the source of the disparity and they don’t care to know – what they do care about is that WE CARE. They are not looking for scapegoats – they continue to seek truth and solutions to this day. Instead this infected system (that doesn’t require masks or sanitizers) continues to churn out university graduates who are set in motion doing the same things that we’ll have to develop technologies to address. Innovations to tackle innovations…ugh.
Do me a favor – don’t get in scapegoat mode. You have no business being there because this is the SYSTEM YOU PERPETUATED. I don’t mean to criticize. I’m looking for a critical mass of support now. Once Catholics start to show their talents in unity, we’ll get the lift we need.
Oh, and the Sustainable Development Goals Act of Nova Scotia was provincially legislated on October 30, 2019. The SDG Act calls for circular economics with regenerative technologies (Laudato si anyone) – this is the reparation that is being called for in the global youth v. government lawsuit and perhaps Canada’s legislators’ requirement to bring it into effect. Why MY home province – do they know how much this will be politically manipulated here? I’ll be a wanted man. You don’t know the half of it. Good thing I was born in a fishing community…
May peace be with you.