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Pope Francis I’s murky past in Argentina

Today Australia woke up to its first Latin American and Jesuit pope. Although apparently being second choice behind the former pope Benedict when he was elected in 2005, Pope Francis I was seen as an outside…

New Pope Francis I has a controversial past in his home country. EPA/Andrea Solero

Today Australia woke up to its first Latin American and Jesuit pope. Although apparently being second choice behind the former pope Benedict when he was elected in 2005, Pope Francis I was seen as an outside chance this time round.

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, comes from the region with the most Catholics in the world.

There seems to be no doubt that he is austere, doctrinally solid, and with a proven track record in Church governance as Jesuit provincial, then auxiliary bishop and Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Locally, the Argentine media speak of him with some respect due to his hard work with the poor, and consider him a strong social leader in a nation where politicians and other leaders are often regarded, possibly rightly so, in bad stead.

But there is very little on the public record about the man who now holds the Catholic Church’s highest post. It has been said he is modest, and prefers the local colectivos and trains in his travels to visit the large poor population of his diocese of more than 3 million people.

Yet it is his ties to the military dictatorship in Argentina that raises many questions both for Argentines and human rights campaigners globally. Argentina’s famous human rights campaigners the Madres de Plaza de Mayo have come out immediately condemning the appointment of this Pope.

The Catholic Church has a strong link to the darkest days in Argentine history: the period between 1976-1983 which saw the bloody repression of anyone considered subversive. Torture and killing was routine. In a damning book by journalist Horacio Verbitsky, El Silencio (Silence), he tells of how then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio hid the dictatorship’s political prisoners from a delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

And while many of his fellow Jesuits in the region have followed a more progressive line of liberation theology, Francis has not. He was prominent in the church during the brutal dictatorship of the 1970s, in which more than 30,000 people “disappeared”. He has been photographed with Jorge Videla, the military leader of the time. The Catholic Church in Argentina has long held very conservative tendencies but there were members of the Jesuit order who were involved in the “theology of liberation” and opposed the military government. Bergoglio was not. “After a war,” he was heard to say, “you have to act firmly.”

Argentine papers have reported that he was accused of having withdrawn his protection of two of his fellow Jesuits during the military dictatorship. Bergoglio said that shortly before the coup on March 24, 1976 he warned them of the danger and gave them both shelter in the house of the Jesuits.

But the two priests, Francisco Jalic and Orlando Dorio, who did social work in poor neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires, rejected this offer, according to Bergoglio. Two months later they were abducted by the military and held prisoner for five months in a secret detention centre.

Politically, Francis I is no friend of the left and was been a vocal critic of centre-left former president Nestor Kirchner and current president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. He clashed with both on issues around gay marriage (which is legal in Argentina) and Fernandez de Kirchner has famously been absent at his public speeches, as often they were directed at her.

In 2010, he led the fight of what the archbishop called a “war of God” against the government, while trying by all means to prevent the passage of the law recognising marriage between same sex couples. Bergoglio led demonstrations, mobilised priests in defense of the “family unit” and called for vigils outside parliament. “This is not just a political struggle, but it is a destructive claim to God’s plan,” he said.

After being repeatedly shunned by the government, Bergoglio has stated there is no relation between the church and the government in Argentina. Politically, he could be identified with the Peronist right in Argentina. He is a critic of free market neo-liberalism, but with authoritarian and socially conservative tendencies.

The decision by the Catholic hierarchy to move the centre of gravity away from Europe for the first time is an interesting one. Nonetheless, Bergoglio has strong connections to Italy – his parents were Italian – and the conservative wing of the Catholic Church, so the choice to move geographically may not be as much of a leap as it appears. Brazilian candidate Odilo Scherer would have been a more “centrist” candidate who has a cleaner human rights record.

But without a doubt, the appointment of a Latin American Pope will put some of the pressing issues of an oft forgotten region - such as chronic poverty and inequality under an devastating global capitalist system - on the table.

Join the conversation

137 Comments sorted by

  1. Jena Zelezny

    research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

    Why am I not surprised yet sickened and shocked at the same time? (I refer to the new pope's connection to the militaristic Argentinian regime.)

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    1. Katie Lee

      Medical researcher and sometime journalist

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Andrew's left out the other side of the story: during the junta, Bergoglio hid people, handed out ID papers, and was known to appeal personally to junta leaders for people in detention or under threat. Presumably he felt that to do so publicly would be a good way to get disappeared himself, or get his subordinate and congregants targeted. Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I think he should have stood up against the regime publicly, and there are certainly dark things in his past (perjury springs to mind), but the reality is rather more nuanced than the author has acknowledged.

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    2. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Katie Lee

      I don't think my shock is diminished by the thought that the author's article could have been more nuanced.

      Perhaps you could address your concerns to the author Katie?

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    3. Katie Lee

      Medical researcher and sometime journalist

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      That was rather the idea of the comment - criticizing the author, that is. Being shocked by the decision not to publicly stand up to the junta is not particularly unreasonable!

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    4. Sean Lamb

      Science Denier

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Julia Gillard has been photographed next to Barrack Obama - he has disappeared a fair few people now.

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    5. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Bergoglio did not become a cardinal until 2001, long after the end of the Dirty War. 'then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio' is simply factually wrong. He was at the time provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina. I accept that's not really a major error in the article.

      Bergoglio claims to have protected victims during the Dirty War. The Guardian ran the El Silencio allegations in 20111 but today posted a <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/13/papal-conclave-chooses-pope-day-two-live-coverage">partial

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    6. Andrew Self

      Postgraduate Associate at the Institute of Latin American Studies at La Trobe University

      In reply to Katie Lee

      Thanks for you comment Katie.

      I do appreciated the story is quite nuanced, as often as in this case. I do acknowledge the some of the good work he has done, and should have as a follower of Jesus.

      However I wanted to highlight the links that he had to the dictatorship in this story, as there are plenty of articles that talk about his good work. There is no doubt the Catholic Church in Argentina has been directly linked to Videla and raises questions about the current pope's involvement.

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    7. Andrew Self

      Postgraduate Associate at the Institute of Latin American Studies at La Trobe University

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      Thanks for you comments Alan and the note to the retraction. I believe you hit it on the head, and highlighted the point of the article when you state:
      'The hierarchy as a whole behaved utterly shamefully in Argentina during the Dirty War. I think it's by no means proved if Bergoglio was complicit in that or was, as he claims, a secret opponent.'

      I wanted to outline the connections with the dictatorship and the claims made against him in Argentina.

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    8. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Andrew Self

      Andrew

      We don't have, in your article or elsewhere, substantiated connexions with the dictatorship. We do have allegations against him by a single journalist who bases his allegations exclusively on two documents written by a military officer working under the junta. A case was brought in the Argentine courts and it was dismissed.

      The same journalist alleged Bergoglio provided his holiday home as a detention centre for the process, but it now turns out that Bergoglio never owned or controlled the island in question.

      By contrast you have Pérez Esquivel and the Madres del Plaza de Mayo who reject these allegations.

      I still think, as I've said elsewhere, that these allegations should be tested in an impartial tribunal. Humility needs to be more than what cassock you wear.

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    9. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Katie Lee

      The church in Argentina behaved disgracefully during the Dirty War.

      That does not necessarily include Bergoglio. He may,as Pérez Esquivel says, have lacked courage, or he may have stayed silent to enable him to help victims escape. The human rights community in Argentina has been critical of Bergoglio but broadly they have welcomed his election.

      When Angelo Roncalli, later John XXIII, was organising the escape of thousands of victims of the Holocaust he stayed as silent in public as Bergoglio.

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    10. George Harley
      George Harley is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Retired Dogsbody

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Hi Jena
      If you wish to be inured to sickening and shocking actions, stop following religions. Atheism will set you free. I swear to God.

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    11. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to George Harley

      Good one George, I had a good chuckle.

      Don't worry though I am already an a-theist I am interested in the power of religion in the public sphere however and particularly the link between the catholic church and fascism.

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  2. Robert McDougall

    Small Business Owner

    And here comes "Petrus Romanus" the last of the prophesied popes. or "Peter the Roman" whos parents are both Italian.

    Interesting the content of the article when compared against the prophecy for the last pope.

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    1. Shaun King

      Designer

      In reply to Riddley Walker

      Hardly the same. This guy is a Jesuit Priest. The "stormtroopers" of the catholic church.

      He's on a mission, a mission that's been formulated over centuries.

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    2. Yoron Hamber

      Thinking

      In reply to Shaun King

      Don't be too negative there. Jesuits favor logic thinking and science as I've read it. It will be interesting to see if he makes any changes. And yes, if he was connected to the junta it is a bad choice, but then again, what proofs is there?

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  3. Greg Young

    Program Director

    A bunch of immaculately-dressd old men withdrew into their palace, surrounded by priceless art and waited on hand and foot, to decide which of them best represents the teachings of Jesus. Hilarious. And people think they are now going to turn their attention to resolving poverty?

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    1. Yolanda Newman

      Learning support coordinator

      In reply to Greg Young

      Well said Greg. So much missing in the picture - women, children, those with disabilities..at least there were men of colour but nothing else to reflect the world's reality.

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  4. Renato Bright

    Consultant

    Where is the empirical data to support the unsubstantiated allegations in this article?

    Most links are simply to newspaper articles - even one to The Australian - and its clear how well researched and truthful articles in the discredited Murdoch press are!

    The place for rumour and innuendo is the MSM - not The Conversation.

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    1. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Renato Bright

      lets not let the facts get in the way of a good story.. we should expect a lot of jibber jabber, hear say and opinion purported as truths.

      in the end lets see the fruits of his (pope's) work and see if it makes this a better world!

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    2. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Renato Bright

      Yeah, well you won't get that kind of analysis here. Here we get only partisan doctoral students venting their spleens. A better and much more informed article can be found here: http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/another_man_from_a_far_country For starters, some of the silly claims made here are immediately put to rest. e.g., "Bertoglio has been fighting against the dehumanising aspects of secular humanism ever since he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998. He has been a champion of the poor and a stern critic of the vast inequalities in Argentine society. He led the Church in apologising for clerics who collaborated with the military dictatorship during the 'dirty war' of the 1970s"

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    3. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to Dania Ng

      "the dehumanising aspects of secular humanism"??????

      And that article claiming Pope John Paul II defeated Communism, when we all know it was Ronald Reagan that did it. (Yeah, right to both)

      And from it : "If there is anyone who can begin to roll back the dominance of secular humanism, it is a man like Pope Francis."

      Well I hope (and definiitely don't pray) that he completely fails. What a dumb article.

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    4. John Newton

      Author Journalist

      In reply to Dania Ng

      'If there is anyone who can begin to roll back the dominance of secular humanism, it is a man like Pope Francis.' That's a quote from the article Daria Ng recommended.

      I'm not sure this is what I want from the old man in the frock who preaches against contraception - which saves lives - and marriage for priests - which saves children.

      Secular humanism, with your right to believe in your own brand of invisible friend, is what we should be striving for, not against/

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    5. Andrew Self

      Postgraduate Associate at the Institute of Latin American Studies at La Trobe University

      In reply to Renato Bright

      Thanks for your comment Renato.

      What allegations are you referring to? The ties between the Catholic Church and especially the conservative wing and the military junta are well known.

      I give Pope Francis' side of events when it comes to the claims that he gave up his fellow Jesuits.

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    6. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Well, I think you ought to go back and read the article a bit more carefully. It only claims that Pope John Paul II helped defeat communism IN POLAND. Big difference there. I hope, and definitely pray, that humanity and reason are enriched in the world because a Franciscan has come to lead 1.2 billion Catholics.

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    7. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Umm....
      "The restless Poles listened and threw off the Communist yoke. Two years later the Soviet Union fell apart. What led to the fall of Communism is a complex question, but John Paul obviously played a key role."

      And that 1.2 billion people claim is an overstatement as well. I saw "No Dios" sprayed onto the side of more than one church in my last trip to South America.

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    8. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to John Newton

      The point of my posting and the quote included in it is to show how poorly informed the article above is. What you or I 'want' from the new Pope is not topical. Hateful research students are entitled to their opinions, but they must be prepared to be taken to task when they write misleading stuff. It is also for his own good - because if this is the standard of scholarship he is capable of, then he should be prepared for disappointment when he submits his thesis. If this makes people uncomfortable, they should pause and think about these research students graduating and then using their 'expertise' to inform policy, the media and the community.

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    9. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Thanks Lynne. I meant Jesuit, no idea why I wrote 'Franciscan'.

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    10. Domonic Motto

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Mercatornet is a largely right-wing, pro-Catholic, pro-Christian, conservative online 'journal' whose author is a Catholic. And you expect us to believe it's article on the pope is less partisan, more objective? Get real.

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    11. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Domonic Motto

      "And you expect us to believe it's article on the pope is less partisan, more objective?"
      Yes.

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  5. Shaun King

    Designer

    Good points. Makes the investigation into the Jesuit order worthwhile.

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  6. Murray Holdom

    Student

    Andrew, the reason why I was drawn to this article was the name given to the new pope. It's actually Pope Francis - not Pope Francis I. He becomes Francis I when a Pope Francis II emerges.

    You make some interesting points about the new pope's potentially shady associations and his possible viewpoints, but I have nothing to comment on this. The aforementioned error could simply create or prevent discussion from people for all the wrong reasons.

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  7. Jack Arnold

    Director

    So what is the difference; one Inquisitor (Ratzinger) replaced by another Jesuit?

    The real test is in policy; how does the new Pope handle child abuse that has been practised almost as a rite by about 1,000 years of pederast priests across the world?

    What is the celibate's position on condoms to prevent AIDS in Africa (especially), birth control and women's rights to control their own bodies?

    Really people, get out and read some contemporary theology then ask yourself if this whole performance has any real meaning for the 21st century.

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    1. Peter Campbell

      Scientist (researcherid B-7232-2008)

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Hear, hear. Without seeking to diminish the very serious direct child abuse issue, the catholic teaching on birth control should also be kept in sharp focus. Human misery on a vast scale caused by this one folly. In catholic countries of Europe this teaching is ignored by religious people and birth rates are the same as elsewhere in Europe. In the 3rd world the church has blood on its hands for its teaching on contraception via AIDS, via starvation of children, via further poverty from the environmental damage from over-population, via the effects on maternal health, the consequences of all the above on education that might otherwise help to address poverty.

      The catholic church could do more good in the world than all its other well-intentioned activities by changing its mind on this one thing. Religions that don't go extinct are those that find ways to evolve and change when it is expedient to do so.

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    2. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack, Ratzinger was not, as you seem to imply, a Jesuit. Quite often comments to The Conversation are dominated by a faintly alarming claim that commenters are better informed and more rational than elsewhere.

      I have to see this thread rather argues against that. The Jesuits being referenced here are mainly cartoon characters from the 16th century. Contemporary Jesuits are certainly the most progressive and reform-minded among the religious orders. Frank Brennan, for example, is not to about to…

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    3. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      Hi Alan, thank you for your considered and informative reply. As a lapsed Protestant I have little care for, or knowledge of, Papal machinations other than the Vatican banking scandal and murders (Marsancus (sp?)) requiring me to rely upon such authorities as Geoffrey Robertson QC "The Case of the Pope". Robertson states that Ratzinger was previously the head of the re-named Inquisition and directed Bishops and Cardinals to "protect the good name of the church" in all priestly pederasty cases.

      Neither child abuse nor torture are within the catechism of the Roman church and so both are equally abhorrent, in my view.

      I am reminded that Roman clergy are reported as advising the Nazis about effective torture methods and Pius XII was a Nazi sympathiser.

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  8. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    My first thought on hearing of this thug's appointment was to wonder what his role was during the 'dirty war' in Argentina. Now I know. Thanks. His appointment is a big eff you from the Catholic Church to those poor of the world capable of thinking for themselves and seeking solutions now rather than waiting for the fairy tale ending of the promised next life.

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    1. David Paton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Interested to know how you come to call him a thug. Please share your experiences/knowledge of his thuggery.

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    2. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to David Paton

      Please share your knowledge of the Argentinian dirty war with us and then tell me that anyone who didn't take a strong stand against the Generals, who tortured and murdered 30,000 Argentinian citizens, is a worthy spiritual leader.

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  9. David Paton

    logged in via Facebook

    It didn't take long did it? Day one of a new Papacy and ill informed and factually incorrect articles are being written attacking the new pope and the Catholic religion.

    Why not focus on the many positives that the Pope has in his background? Why not focus on the hope for the future of the church?

    Why do you people feel so threatened by Catholicism?

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    1. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to David Paton

      I dunno. Maybe claiming worldwide moral authority based on absurd theological theories, with conservative social edicts that interfere in people's lives, just gives people the irrits.

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    2. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to David Paton

      Been thinking about this very observation.. Suggest it is the same mindset of the school yard bully who like to beat up on the geeks and nerd and weaker people..

      makes them sort of feel good in a sick way.

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    3. David Paton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Does the church really claim to have worldwide moral authority, or did you just make that up?

      What the church does do is try to provide a moral basis for the world in which we live. It seems though that morality isn't something that appeals to modern society. We should be able to do whatever we want, to whomever we want, whenever we want, right? And not have a conscience about it, right? And we dont want a stuffy 2000 year old religion pointing out whats wrong with that.

      Its interesting, to me at least, that for 2000 years the church has provided a sound basis for society and suddenly everything it says and does is now wrong and abhorrent. Conservative? Yep i'd agree but surely that is better than the opposite when we are dealing with changes in society. And yeah maybe being being brought to account for immoral actions does "give people the irrits" as you put it.

      And whilst you may disagree with theological theory, i venture that they are not absurd.

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    4. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to David Paton

      On a personal level I don't feel threatened at all by catholicism or christianity in any form. i just feel it's unnecessary and that it is an insult to my intelligence.

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    5. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to David Paton

      Yes, 100% completely absurdist. More metaphysical gimmickry than a Las Vegas psychic fair. More badly written prose and cheap psychology than a self help book. Selling of indulgences bought a lot of real estate I guess. I'll take my moral code from secular humanism thanks. (But thanks for making stupid assumptions about my moral character and therby making an example of the overreach of moral authority that gives people the irrits) Secular humanism is not based on the shifting sands of absurdity, nor is it based on the unquestioning bowing to authority that some wish to impose on us.

      But getting back to the absurd claims. The onus of proof is on the church, and so far they've proven zilch. Everything you believe in is therefore invalid.

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    6. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Good one David

      I find it absurd that there is this chorus from the peanut gallery that make unfounded claims about the "metaphysical gimmicky" with probably little to no idea what this "gimmicky" could be.

      re: "onus of proof is on the church?"

      so concepts like "Love thy Neighbor".. that is totally absurd in this world! so sorry Jesus .. epic fail!

      and certainly "Good Samaritan parable/ metaphor" that is a totally rejected concept.. another epic fail there .. Jesus..

      or lets see.. maybe "he who has not sinned throw the first stone" .. not anymore.. everyone throws stones here or just gets stoned.. Who gives gives a single @#$% ff you are guilty or not! Even you Jesus deserve to be crucified again!

      Oh "Water into wine"! no big deal .. its call food additives! your totally out of business Jesus..

      yep .. out with the old and lets go GM everything

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    7. Matthew Thredgold

      Software Engineer/Secondary Teacher

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      Some examples of metaphysical gimmickry:
      Eternal life.
      Heaven and Hell.
      Resurrection.
      Virgin birth
      Eternal damnation.

      As Father Dougal would say "come on Ted, you don't really believe that nonsense?"

      The right or wrong of any moral pronouncements after starting from premises like that are completely by the by.

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    8. David Paton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Thats not quite true though is it, Jana? If it is "unnecessary and an insult to your intelligence", why are you reading articles about it and commenting on them? You obviously think enough of it ...or highly enough of it... to spend time reading, listening and contributing.

      I have a particularly low opinion of heavy metal music. I think its "unnecessary and an insult to my intelligence". I dont read articles on it and i dont visit websites because it simply isn't worth the effort for what i perceive to be rubbish. I am well aware that others have a vastly different opinion so i leave them to it - i certainly don't seek out columns deriding it and add my opinions.

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    9. David Paton

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Isn't it equally as daft - if not more so - to believe that the life we have, our 70+ odd years on the planet, is all that there is to our existence?

      How very very shallow.

      Anyway, my original post was not about who believes in God and who doesn't. It was about why non believers feel the need to continually contribute negatively at every opportunity. One poster here has called the new Pope a thug. I will bet anything that the poster in question had never heard of Jorge Bergoglio before yesterday yet they still felt the need to hurl abuse.

      Sad really.

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    10. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Whether we believe the "Boson Particle" exists or not

      Whether we believe the story Schrodiger's cat

      Whether we believe in Entanglement and what that mean

      Whether we believe in aboriginal dream time or the tooth fairy

      who are you the fun police?

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    11. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to David Paton

      It's JENA David, not JANA.

      Yes on a personal level I find religion unnecessary.

      On a political level I am curious about hypocrisy, double standards, oppression through doctrine, 'aid' in return for conversion and the requirement of obedience from peoples who live in abject poverty, to one of the richest organisations in the world.

      You can believe whatever you like David but I find it objectionable to impose any belief system on others under the delusion that it is good for them. That's…

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    12. James Jenkin

      EFL Teacher Trainer

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      Couldn't agree more.

      Looking forward to the Conversation's articles about the Dalai Lama's homophobia, and the Imam of Mecca's call for the annihilation of the 'scum of the earth' Jews.

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    13. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to James Jenkin

      Yes James .. cannot wait to get the dirt on the Dalai Lama!

      as for the Imam's not sure if we are ready for that

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    14. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to David Paton

      Hi David ... could it have something to do with the Inquisition? Or, perhaps the entire theological basis of Roman Catholicism is beyond the commonsense of educated, thinking people. Then again, it might have something to do with the refusal of the Roman Church to accept the scientific facts that the Earth is a sphere in a heliocentric solar system ... that the Roman church denied (and suppressed) for about 500 years.

      Then as Matthew says below, the absurd claims for moral authority over everybody in every matter paying little attention to the reality of every day life may cause some angst.

      As we told Father Fitz 40 years ago, You don't play the game, you don't make the rules.

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    15. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      C'mon Joseph ... get out an read a little in alternative theologies and you will find "Christian theology" in the Vedas from about 500BC. Possibly that wise seventh century Prophet correctly identified the "truth of the matter" when he declared that "Jesus was merely a prophet" rather than a retrospectively appointed God in Man's own image.

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    16. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Hi Jack,

      I am well aware about all the different schools of thought and i study as much as i can,, And whether, we look into Vedas or Jesus or Zoroastrian or Sharminism or Buddhism they as all a perspective of the same life force that we share..

      Regardless of the path you choose, this choice does make the others invalid, just a different view.. surely.. this right and wrong approach means there has to be winners and losers.. I suspect that this is a very limiting approach and people tend…

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    17. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      With respect Joseph, your reading sounds quite limited. Have you tried contemporary philosophy? That is, philosophy as opposed to theology or comparative religion.

      Is it valid to seek only the information that confirms your point of view?

      I watched a movie last night on SBS called 'Agora' (marketplace). It told the story of a philosopher, astronomer, teacher and mathematician called Hypatia who was ultimately killed by the christians in Alexandria under the tutelage and leadership of the…

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    18. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena,

      actions of people are just that.. we are all influenced by our culture, society, families and teachers.. And have you ever noticed that even twins that have almost exactly the same conditions grow up to be different people..

      Teaching and the accuracy of teachings may serve as a guide to behavior but there are many factors at play.. The examples you offer as some sort of evidence are what? scientific or are you just looking for something to justify your current beliefs and thoughts…

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    19. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena

      No-one actually knows who destroyed the Great Library. The candidates range from Caesar to Augustus to Christians to Persians to Muslims.

      Equally no-one knows why Hypatia was killed. The murder of intellectuals was unusual in the Late Roman Empire. Female intellectuals were not and that tradition was still going strong in the twelfth century when Anna Komnena was writing. Hypatia was 61 when she died, another detail the movie seems to have missed. The most likely explanation is that she was a victim of the civil war between the governor and the patriarch.

      I enjoyed Agora too, but a good screenwriter is not always a good historian.

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    20. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      The point I made (and the point of the movie) relates to the way in which blind ignorance is sometimes validated by faith no matter who the perpetrators are and no matter when the acts of violence occur.

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    21. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      The point I made (and the point of the movie) relates to the way in which blind ignorance is sometimes validated by faith no matter who the perpetrators are and no matter when the acts of violence occur.

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    22. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Indeed, but the Hypatia murder is most likely not actually an example of blind ignorance validated by faith. It's an example of what happens in a civil war. Inventing history is not really a terrific way for the movie to make a point. Inventing history could even be said to be a way of propagating blind, if secular, faith.

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    23. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      The movie is an allegory Alan, an allegory.

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    24. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      In what sense? it begins with a prologue stating historical propositions, most of which are wrong. You did not cite it with any qualifications at all. SBS ran an introduction that relied on anecdote to attest to the film's accuracy.

      For example Christianity is described as being recently unbanned. Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313. The empire is described as being on the point of collapse, but Egypt would remain a Roman province until 640. Even if you regard the fall of the West as the end point of the Roman Empire that would not happen until 476. And we are not even past the prologue yet...

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    25. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      In the sense that Shaw's rewriting of the story 'Androcles and the Lion' is an allegory and Brecht's rewriting of 'Antigone' (and many other plays) or Shakespeare's rewriting of Marlowe's Edward II and especially the history plays, such as Richard III.

      The film makers use of the continent of Africa shown from space is the device by which I initially assessed the movie as an allegory, that is, the past and the present/distance and close proximity are shown as relational.

      I don't believe that film presumes to transcend or displace historical studies as a discipline. The framing of the film by the reviewer had nothing to do with the film itself.

      Writers such as Brecht used history, or legend to speak to audiences about what is happening in the present. 'Agora' is not Brecht but it is a simple way of showing how blind ignorance is validated by faith.

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    26. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      That is all fine. Frequently 'historical epics' start off with prologues mentioning that they are telling one version is the story or that the film is based on historical fact.

      You did not cite the film with any qualification and the prologue contains no such qualification. You described as facts things where the director took, to say the least, considerable liberties with the historical record.

      Theodosius the Great decreed the destruction of the Serapeum in 391, 23 years before Hypatia's…

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    27. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      Historical studies, theatre and drama, performance studies, screen and cinema, and literary theory are different disciplines. I do not write from the perspective of an historian.

      I used the film to make a point about blind ignorance validated by faith. It told a 'story'. I described the film as a story-telling modality.

      I am not concerned with whether or not 'Agora' is historically accurate. I read it as an allegory and I think you know the purpose of allegory in literature, theatre and drama…

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    28. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      If Hypatia was 41 in 415 she would have been 17 in 391, a bit young to be the most famous teacher in Alexandria. That hardly matters because there is nothing in the sources to connect the Serapeum to the Great Library or to connect Hypatia to the Serapeum.

      You cannot argue that the film is allegorical and the history does not matter when you have recited things from the film as though they were history. Nor can you argue allegory when the film sets itself up with a prologue that, at minimum…

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    29. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Hi Jena,

      looks like we both learn something today.. At least i had a short brief lesson in history.. thank you Alan!

      Seems like you, yourself have some blind faith in the movies and used this blind faith to try justify your thoughts and prejudice.. Do not feel alone, this is a human trait where we all grab convenient props to try justify our prejudice.

      maybe this example demonstrates that the facts are not what they seem so to come out and make strong assumptions based on these fictitious plots.. maybe, just maybe we should be more thoughtful and not so quick to then condemn based on these fictitious plots..

      Maybe if you truly wish to demand respect of others you should take a leaf from your own book of advice.. Give away everything you own to the poor and you may then respect yourself!

      From my perspective poverty starts in the mind and know some 'rich' people that are very poor.. even with all their wealth they feel as if they have nothing.

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    30. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      1. I am merely suggesting that historians cannot be certain about when Hypatia was born and when she died. It matters because this cannot be the only incidence of such uncertainty.

      2. I did not say that history does not matter. I said that I did not care whether the film is historically accurate because I read it as allegory. The film-makers do claim that they researched the topic however and they provide their sources if you care to investigate.

      3. I can name a particular contemporaneous…

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    31. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      Joseph, allegory is not history - the film 'Agora' is an allegory. I read it as an allegory not as history. How many times do I need to say this.

      You really need to read comments carefully before you swoop in with your 'lesson' for the day - like a demented and blood thirsty vulture who presumes his prey is weakened. The figure I have just used is a simile. As per the dictionary meaning, a simile is a "figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g., as brave as a lion, crazy like a fox)."

      Alan's authority has not been established, just his stamina and capacity for distortion and mis-reading.

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    32. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena,

      so what connection does this "allegory" exactly work with the advice you gave me -

      "With respect Joseph, your reading sounds quite limited. Have you tried contemporary philosophy? That is, philosophy as opposed to theology or comparative religion."

      as for modern philosophy have you read any of Ken Wilber' s works? a brief history of everything is safe start

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    33. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      If you want to call mysticism philosophy and Ken Wilber a philosopher then OK, that's up to you.

      I was hoping you might go in the direction of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Pierre Bourdieu, Giorgio Agamben or Judith Butler to name a handful.

      Anyway, that's it for me. I don't really want to get into any more discussion if Ken Wilber is your example of a philosopher.

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    34. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Dear Jena,

      all these books? i know you will probably not believe this! but there is reading something and then there is EQ with all its related learning, plus some life experience.

      Maybe you should stop reading so much.

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    35. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      In this thread I have cited actual quotations from Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. Let me add a statement by the head of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo:

      '“There is always time. When someone commits a crime or a mistake, even if it is not considered a crime, there is time to think over and make a mea culpa. I think it is a supreme Christian act to confess a sin, to repent and feel contrition,” the founder of the human rights organization told reporters of Milenium radio station.
      Carlotto explained that…

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    36. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      That's an interesting comment, Jena. And you have come to such a conclusion through careful study of Christian philosophy and history? Interesting, indeed.

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    37. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Matthew Thredgold

      "The onus of proof is on the church, and so far they've proven zilch. Everything you believe in is therefore invalid" ... My goodness! No, you see, the onus is not on those of us who differ from secular humanists to prove anything. And if I say what I believe in is valid in as far as I am concerned, then it is valid for me. Feel free to throw nonsensical barbs at people, no one is stopping you to look as silly as this person here, who is just so full of secular humanist wisdom that she can't stop sharing with thousands who choose the 'shifting sands of absurdity' instead: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1bO45C9AtQ&feature=player_embedded

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    38. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jeana (sorry, couldn't resist it; and you can call me what you want, I won't get offended). How old are you? I bet you have never experienced any of the historical periods you speak of so authoritatively. And I am wondering, could you point out to us an example where you have had religion 'pushed' onto you by anyone here? se pierden

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    39. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Gosh, jena. The Great Library in Alexandria was not 'destroyed' by Christians (though it was damaged in 391 a.d. in riots apparently instigated by Christians, it was not until 642 a.d. that the restored Library was destroyed by a Muslim ruler (http://www.mediahistory.umn.edu/archive/alexandria.html). As for the story of how Hypathia came to grief, here's some alternative reading: http://catholicbridge.com/catholic/cyril_hypatia.php Ain't it strange that real scholarship can be found on a Catholic…

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    40. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      "...a simple way of showing how blind ignorance is validated by faith". No need to watch or read anything popular culture produces, as 'allegories'. You provide a great example here, to fuel a silly circuitous argument. It would have been better to have done some background work, methinks. That is, if you seek credibility, otherwise, please don't let any of us interrupt with mere facts.

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    41. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Hi Dania

      No-one really knows who destroyed the Great Library. The page you cite on the subject is wrong on other details. The library cannot have been destroyed on the orders of 'Omar, Caliph of Baghdad' because Baghdad, an 'Abbasid foundation, was not built until 737.

      The second article, an attempt to exonerate Cyril, is equally unconvincing. Junior officials of the period did not suddenly decide to assassinate a prominent member of the upper class, in defiance of the governor, without first talking to the leader, or someone very senior, in their own faction. Cyril instigated the feud, Cyril directed the affrays. It is beyond logic to say that Cyril was not responsible.

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    42. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Since you ask Dania, I am sixty-two in September. This is my second PhD. I am now researching in a different environment and with a new topic, namely family violence and child sexual assault with the family institution.

      I am not going to comment on anyone who has written on this blog to you or anyone else.

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    43. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      Jena I too agree, I'm glad someone with more insight than I has given so much more information.
      I have always admired "La Madres", they were able to enter the political realm on their own terms using their rights as mother's seeking their abducted children or to at least have their bodies returned.
      I have wondered why the pope never gave his mother due recognition considering she was the one who gave him life, nurturing his faith and her duty as a Catholic mother to foster a vocation in at least one of her children.
      The hand that rocked the cradle here rules all Catholic Christendom.

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    44. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      Erm, okay. Let's take these interpretations allegorically then, shall we? It seems to me that that an allegory ought to be as good as any other. But I doubt it. Left wing allegories seem to be better than others.

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    45. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      So then, jena, you would have no clue of actual nazis or other such shadowy figures, I take it? Just relying on hearsay, and secondary sources? Good luck with your PhD, an interesting and difficult topic.

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    46. Alan Grieve

      Retiree

      In reply to Dania Ng

      I reject the allegory argument from Jena. I reject the allegory argument from you. Typing 'allegory' is not a get out of jail free card.

      Once I ratcheted up my suspension of disbelief I enjoyed the film as a cinematic exercise. As history, which its makers have repeatedly claimed, it's nonsense.

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    47. Jena Zelezny

      research for second PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences (Performance Studies/Theatre & Drama/Dramatic Literature/Visual Arts) at La Trobe University

      In reply to Dania Ng

      The nazis killed my grandmother Dania and probably other relatives of which there is no trace. I spent a year in the Czech Republic trying to find them.

      My father fled his country, which was then under a communist regime, in 1948. He was a pilot so he simply flew away in his plane in the middle of the night and landed in the American zone of Germany. The friends he left behind were locked up.

      When I speak of nazis who were 'rehabilitated' I refer to people like Albert Speer. There are many…

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    48. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to David Paton

      What the church does is try...... It seems though that morality isn't someting..
      The church itself doesn't live up to the moral basis of society it is trying to provide itself for Petes' sake.
      I'm sure retired bishop of Parramatta Kevin Manning regrets stating "we're a church of contradictions", but a truer word was never spoken.

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    49. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      Jena mothers who were forced to relinquish their newborns born out of wedlock, are a receiving a National Apology from the Prime Minister on Thursday March 21st, many are Catholics who were abandoned by their parents too.
      Ashamed of the church I embraced for it's a part of this tragedy, especially after learning there was a facility in place in Melbourne for women in situations "created by clergy" and their double standards, I have supported all mothers past and present in my limited way.
      That would've included your mother too.

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    50. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Jena Zelezny

      I am sorry to hear of your family history, Jena. I fully acknowledge the hurt and harm done to you and your family. I certainly mean no disrespect by asking if you know first hand of the historical events from which you draw support for the points you have made. I don't say this lightly. I have experienced first hand life under a communist regime, where abortion was enforced on women, and state-institutionalised rape was routinely practiced. I also happen to have relatives from an Eastern European…

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    51. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      I reject your rejection of my rejection, Alan. Lighten up. The point of the debate I wanted to highlight is that there is no real agreement on Hypatia's killing. All we can rely on is the fact that politics was central to it - a Machiavellian phenomenon, where violence was a means to achieve political power. The difficulty for me here is in accepting the thesis that the event was solely driven by the apparent inherent nastiness which is attributed to Christians by Jelna.

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    52. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Dania Ng

      There are "... perfect communist or nazi state(s)"?

      Really?

      Here's me thinking each are as bad as the other.

      Dania, what's your take on dictatorships? Can hardly wait for your response.

      Also, given that the majority of the world are not Christians, how do you suppose they manage without a "Christian moral compass".

      For example, Buddhists manage, so do nonreligious people. Every day I manage not to rape, pillage or murder.

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    53. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Sorry, but judging from your comments here and elsewhere, I somehow think that no explanation or argument will suffice to still your appetite for putzing around. Have a nice day enjoying your Christophobia.

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    54. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Thank you for your apology, but not necessary. Unless you were apologising for not answering my question regarding 'perfect' totalitarian regimes - I didn't know they were possible. I was rather hoping you would elaborate.

      As for your claims regarding your perception that I am phobic about Christianity, I have not displayed any such indication on any of my posts here. In fact I admire a great many people of the Christian faith such as the recently retired Father Bob Maguire, the very brave Father Peter Kennedy, Tim Costello does excellent work and, I am glad to say, many more.

      One thing these people have in common is that they do not pretend to hold moral superiority over other people of different faiths or no belief at all.

      Cheers

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    55. Venise Alstergren
      Venise Alstergren is a Friend of The Conversation.

      photographer, blogger.

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Exactly. ""The onus of proof is on the church. "" They're the ones who've got into court screaming rape. They are the people who have to prove the case. Which is why they are so full of waffle and cant.

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    56. Venise Alstergren
      Venise Alstergren is a Friend of The Conversation.

      photographer, blogger.

      In reply to Venise Alstergren

      PS: They've had two thousand years to make a case and have failed-which is why the CC has had to turn all its attention to Africa and South America. The sillier, or less informed, the people the greater the chance they will believe such arrant nonsense.

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    57. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Hmm, well - that's the point, that there is no perfect 'regime'. Whilst there is so much condemnation of Christian-enabled societies, the irony is that everything else is and was so very different and inhuman when compared to the former. So I would've thought that readers of my comment will get the sarcasm behind my labeling such regimes 'perfect', especially in view of the context created by the entirety of the comment itself. There is little thought behind the strident screeching of condemnation…

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    58. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Venise Alstergren

      Ah, so you're the person in this clip? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1bO45C9AtQ&feature=player_embedded
      I thought so ... Now that you were not able to actually get any rosaries near your ovaries, I suppose the next project will be to stand with a placard in front of as many of the 1.2 billion Catholics as possible, demanding that they 'prove their case'. I am sure a fertile imagination can think of new ways in which to demand this.

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    59. Dianna Arthur
      Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Environmentalist

      In reply to Dania Ng

      Please accept my apologies for not realising your use of sarcasm - it is difficult to know what to think when someone with whom one has not previously exchanged comments as being told I am merely "putzing" around.

      Not really the foundation for good communication when you start with insults. Is that your Christian "moral compass" at work or are you just not pleased to see my comments?

      It is true you have not stated specifically that Catholicism is better than other religions. However, you clearly…

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    60. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Dianna Arthur

      Sorry for not replying sooner, I tend to come in here less regularly now.

      I have no 'favourite' religion, I am not religious. Since I grew up in a Christian context, I guess my moral compass has been influenced by it, and I am grateful for it - but I am not a 'practicing' Christian, let alone a Catholic. Never been one, never will. This, however, does not prevent me from appreciating the overall set of moral principles shaped by milennia of Christianity which have underpinned the very moral foundations…

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    1. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to Andrew Self

      A publication owned by a far left insurgent and former member of the Argentinian Liberation Army. And we should expect an objective article about a Catholic?

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    2. John Perry

      Teacher

      In reply to Dania Ng

      That's a rather simplistic assessment of a well-renowned and interesting newspaper, in which Clarin also has a stake. Would you be more sympathetic to an article written in, say, La Nacion? Please ...

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    3. Dania Ng

      Retired factory worker

      In reply to John Perry

      Simplistic? How so? It is an ideologically leftist publication. Leftist ideology is inherently critical of Christianity or any religion. And so how can we assess it as being objective? Furthermore, how can we assess anything that is argued on the basis of information drawn entirely from such publications as objective? Yes, I would have liked to see what La Nación, though a conservative paper, has to say on the topic as well. And perhaps what publications like the Clarín have to say. Indeed, I doubt the author here has even bothered with articles such as this one: http://www.clarin.com/pope-francis/The-Pope-under-Juntas-rule_0_885511688.html Which makes his analysis biased. Now, if the new Pope was for same sex marriage and abortion, I bet this article would have used different sources to set a much more favourable tone. But this is just deja vu, I rememebr exactly the same garbology being generated with the previous two popes.

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  10. Alan Grieve

    Retiree

    Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, himself a victim of torture during the Dirty War and Nobel laureate, has rejected the charge of complicity.

    'I do not consider that Jorge Bergoglio was complicit in the dictatorship, but I believe that he lacked the courage to participate in our struggle in our struggle for human rights in the most difficult moments.'

    'No considero que Jorge Bergoglio haya sido cómplice de la dictadura, pero creo que le faltó coraje para acompañar nuestra lucha por los derechos humanos en los momentos más difíciles.'

    http://www.adolfoperezesquivel.org

    (Spanish included in case I have bungled the translation)

    Bergoglio apologised for the complicity and inaction of the Argentine church after he became archbishop of Buenos Aires.

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    1. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Alan Grieve

      Another apology, now it's mercy and forgiveness, you get sick of hearing it after a while, the whole institution is made up of apologies using diplomatic immunity as an olive branch.
      Let's start talking about justice, real justice man to man instead of little boys playing marbles.

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  11. Baz M

    Law graduate & politics/markets analyst

    From what I have gathered about this gentlemen, his name has been mixed with the fascists of the day. I'm not sure how much of this was his personal actions (although some has been pointed out by the writer) as opposed to the general stance of the Argentinean Catholic Church of the day.

    On social issues, he is openly and evidently opposed to gay marriage, but from what I gather a great advocate of the poor, and lives a modest lifestyle.

    His Italian roots I don't think should be an issue for many, whom may view him as less South American because of it, as there is a large Italian community in Argentina and the man seems to have lived most his life growing up in Argentina.

    All in all, it seems he will disappoint many in liberal circles whom are advocates for the gay and lesbian community, but will leave advocates of social justice, and poverty content, if not happy.

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    1. Lynne Newington
      Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Researcher

      In reply to Baz M

      Now he's inviting Mugabe to his big day, with his track record of crimes against humanity....
      Fortunately for him he can't be nabbed as the Vatican is a sovereign state [big or little letters I'm not sure].

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  12. Lynne Newington
    Lynne Newington is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Researcher

    If Cardinal Pell's comments in today Herald Sun is to be taken seriously, nothing is going to change.
    If issues he faced in Argentinia is anything to go by, this Pope will be well accustomed to dealing with similar issues experienced here in Australia and worldwide.
    Clergy unable to maintain the dicipline of celibacy/chastity, will continue to use women as concubines bringing children into the world without recognition of their rights according to universal law is just one of many.

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    1. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Hi Lynne ... and you have hit the nail right on the head!! The consequences of this appointment are that "nothing will change" in an always changing world.

      So the celibate clerics will continue to molest little children, oppose the right of women to have control over their own bodies, advocate against gay marriage (even though there are many gays within their ranks) discourage condom use in HIV/AIDS environments and live off the fat of the land with every possible tax exemption available under law.

      Still, it makes a pleasant break from Ms Grattan trumpeting the woes of Australian politics.

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  13. Alex Cannara

    logged in via Facebook

    So, big deal, the previous guy was in the Hitler Youth.
    ;]

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  14. Dianna Arthur
    Dianna Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Environmentalist

    I have no evidence for this, but am beginning to suspect that somewhere in a vat in the Vatican they're cloning these pope dudes.

    The more they change the more they stay the same.

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  15. Michael Glass

    Teacher

    "Argentina’s famous human rights campaigners the Madres de Plaza de Mayo have come out immediately condemning the appointment of this Pope."
    *Why did the Madres de Plaza de Mayo immediately condemn the appointment of Pope Francis?
    *What reasons did the Madres give for this condemnation?
    *What does this condemnation say about Pope Francis?
    *What does it say about the Madres de Plaza de Mayo?
    *If the Madres de Plaza de Mayo had come out in support of Pope Francis, this would have been highly significant; as they have immediately condemned his appointment, what significance does their condemnation have?

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  16. Venise Alstergren
    Venise Alstergren is a Friend of The Conversation.

    photographer, blogger.

    The sickening display of sanctimonious crap issuing from our MSM was awesome. Not once did they suggest the new Pope's association with General Jorge Videla and the brutal regime of torture and slaughter of thousands of Argentinian people in the late 1970s. There is even evidence to suggest that he hid some of the worst offenders in his own home.

    Then there were the hosannas for his humility and how the Catholic church needs "moral leadership". Bollocks! The Catholic Church is loaded with so-called…

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    1. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Venise Alstergren

      Venise,

      yes how sickening and rude! The old man is preaching the environment, elderly and those in need!

      Dam what is he thinking! there is nothing moral about that!

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    2. Venise Alstergren
      Venise Alstergren is a Friend of The Conversation.

      photographer, blogger.

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      The people in the most need are the people in Latin America and Africa. By denying them the chance to use condoms the Catholic church ensures ever more people scrambling for an existence in the same plot of land. THIS IS MORAL?

      How can anyone take a pope seriously when they address the environment? Catholic dogma ensures unlimited breeding. This entails greater and greater destruction of the environment in order to produce all the things nine billion people need.

      Please, if you are going to have a crack at me, do so when you have something intelligent to say.

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    3. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to Venise Alstergren

      I believe the Church would rather that we do not have sex at all.. so why would you need condoms at all in that case! so not sure what your point is?

      Is it moral to promote free for all sex orgy? is that what your arguing for? is that what you consider to be moral?

      the reason i had a jab is that there are doom and gloom bad press accusations, including all the sins of the world onto one man's shoulder's.. I think that maybe, this is a little over the top and it is helpful to look at this as an opportunity for positive change rather than the one sided negative opinion that seems to be promoted as a truth.. Sorry, if trying to present a balanced view offends you.

      I will say that positive criticism is a good thing and nobody should be above scrutiny.

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    4. John Perry

      Teacher

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      "I believe the Church would rather that we do not have sex at all"

      Yikes.

      If the church can't even get their own "celibate" priests and brothers to keep their pants on, how do they manage to direct the bedrooms and car back seats of Catholics worldwide?

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    5. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to John Perry

      John,

      thank you for yet another example of generalizations and accusations.. Next you will go and beat up poor father Bod for talking too much on his radio program! Maybe there will be someone out these that will make some sort of jilted claim.

      I know that it is challenging.. ie sex within marriage.. Lets not ever suggest that commitment and love be conditions of a relationship and that sex is only then enjoyed as part of this commitment. We are after all mere mortals and it is…

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    6. John Perry

      Teacher

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      "another example of generalizations and accusations"

      Oh, of course. I apologise. There is absolutely no evidence that the Catholic clergy have sexual relations, consensual or otherwise, whilst in frock.

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    7. Joseph Bernard

      Director

      In reply to John Perry

      "another example of generalizations and accusations"

      Oh of course there are clergy that have sexual relations..

      Are you implying that every single priest, nun and brother are guilty of breaking their vows?

      of the 400,000 plus clergy would you like to hazard a number? or are you happy to besmirch them all based on what hearsay?

      Are you happy to just point the finger and feel justified while sipping your cafe late while people like Fr Chris Riley actually risk their lives rescuing homeless children? There are hundreds of examples of Clergy that help people around the world everyday, but lets pretend none of that exists.

      Looks like a case of the Life of Brian's "What have the roman's ever done for us?"

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    8. John Perry

      Teacher

      In reply to Joseph Bernard

      "Oh of course there are clergy that have sexual relations"

      Well in that case you won't object to the availability of condoms and their not being limited by Catholic ideology. Which was your original point, and the original source of my objection.

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  17. Protourism Roma

    logged in via Facebook

    For the Pope istallation,so many people,kings,leaders and presidents are in Rome that for security reasons the italian police closed all the area around the Vatican!
    Franc www.protourism.biz

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  18. George Harley
    George Harley is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Retired Dogsbody

    I have not read all the comments so excuse me if I repeat a thought. Am I the only older, secular type person that thinks when he hears the Popes name, of Francis the Talking Mule?

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  19. George Harley
    George Harley is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Retired Dogsbody

    Sorry, but I will not read 132 comments on this conversation. I do not have to. Reading of one would make me think that any single one of them might support a god. Not going to happen.

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  20. rick jones

    avid reader of scripture

    Why am I not suprised that a jesuit priest had ties to a dictator in argentina and what's sad is in this generation a jesuit priest not only became a pope but isn't hiding the fact he is a jesuit. In times past jesuits had to keep that title a secret because they were the soldiers for the pope and killed in the name of the pope. Mainly christians that didn't believe in their dogma such as praying to mary, idols, etc etc., they were burned at the stake and tortured to death. Catholicism is nothing…

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