by UnHerd
Thursday, 23
April 2020
Video
07:00

Far-Right Catholics blame the Pope for Covid

A new Italian documentary lays bare the hatred felt towards Francis
by UnHerd

Following the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, arch-Catholics with strong ties to the far-Right in America and Italy are apportioning blame onto one of their favourite targets: Pope Francis. This anti-Bergoglian network (Pope Francis’s birth name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio), comprises newspapers, sites, associations, foundations and figures such as Steve Bannon and Roberto Fiore (the leader of Forza Nuova). It perceives the coronavirus as divine punishment for the Pope’s relatively liberal attitudes towards migration, homosexuality and environmental protection.

An Italian documentary (not yet translated to English) that aired this week lays bare the extent of the hatred felt by those on the Catholic Right — both from within the Vatican hierarchy and political figures from abroad — towards not only the Pope, but also the decision to close churches during lockdown too:


Benjamin Harnwell, Dignitatis Humanae Institute founder and a co-leaseholder with Steve Bannon of the Certosa di Trisulti:

“The Pope says things that have no roots in the church’s history. He says some very un-Christian like things. That could be because of malice, because he is an enemy of the church.”


Matteo Salvini, leader of The League

“I support the requests of those who say, in an organized, calm, secure manner to let us back in the churches for Easter. Even if in 3, 4 or 5 days, let us assist in the Easter mass. We are allowed to go to the tobacco shop because we can’t be without cigarettes. Why not mass? For many curing the soul is as important as curing the body.”


Roberto Fiore, leader of Forza Nuova:

“The church gave in to strong international powers that forced it to stop saying mass. It did not give any sacraments and this is something unprecedented in history… With the excuse of the health emergency, they shut our churches… It’s crazy. They tell us that the stronger we are spiritually the more we react to illnesses.”


Professor Roberto de Mattei, President of Lepanto foundation (‘in defence of the principal and institutions of Christian civilization’):

“Pope Francis is surely contributing to the confusion within the church. Normally in periods of confusion, popes have been the solution to the problem throughout history. Today, for the first time in history, we find ourselves in a situation where the Pope instead of being the solution to the problem, is the cause of the problem. He is contributing to the self-destruction of the church. He is a diffuser of Satan’s smoke within the church.”


Alain Escada, President of Coalition Pour la Vie et la Famille (strong ties to far-Right parties in Italy):

“The Pope’s objective is to overturn the church. The cardinals, bishops, Catholic head of states, head of parties, presidents of association and Catholic movements around the world are all aware of this. Everyone knows he’s a subversive and therefore we must act to ensure that he leaves the papal throne. We must get rid of Bergoglio as soon as possible.”

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  • To understand the views on the current Pope it is necessary to understand peoples’ feelings on religion generally, viz. why people follow a religion at all; why they choose a particular religion or sect or version of a religion; and the views of those either indifferent to or opposed to a specific religion or opposed to all religions in general.

    Firstly, it is important to realise that according to most polls, there is still a predominance in the whole population of 70% or more following a religion of some kind, and only 20% definitely saying they disbelieve in any kind of religious view of reality.

    Why this is important, is that we do not however find this reflected in most of the media and academia, and a growing proportion of politicians, who are predominantly atheists (especially outside of the US), with one survey for example stating that only 9% of practicing scientists are also practicing any form of religion, and a clear minority of academics in general doing so.

    Why in turn this is important is because that means there is a very disproportionately influential percentage (as opposed to the entire population) of people who are very opposed to all religions, and in particular religions that impose rules, and perhaps even more importantly judgements, that to put it mildly they don’t like, especially those regarding sexual behaviour.

    To be even more clear about it, we have to understand exactly what sex is all about.

    And to quote once feted doctor and popular psychologist Eustace Chesser from his 1970s work “Who do you think you are?”

    “Sex is a trick of nature to make us:
    a) perpetuate the race
    b) sustain a family group that protects children” (due to the continued desire of the husband/wife or equivalent to stay together as sex partners)

    I’d put it differently – sex is a drug. That is the fact. There are emotional aspects to it, but not as far as one can see any that couldn’t exist without a sex act.

    Apparently some people who have had crack cocaine say that it is like “a thousand orgasms.”

    If approximately true, as seems likely, one can see why so many addicts are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get it, including crime, and risking even serious violence or death (e.g. from drug dealers they are unable to pay)

    Because it is clear humans in many cases take similar risks to get sex – e.g. murder from a partner or ex-partner of the person they have sex with, which for anybody who has ever witnessed an episode of the now thankfully “deceased” Jeremy Kyle Show, seems a fairly probable event.

    So getting sex (especially for men in my view, evidenced by men being the overwhelming consumers of pornography, which looks like clear evidence to me of men’s greater (on average) sexual need) has always been possibly the most powerful human instinct, perhaps greater than survival itself at times, so the fact that religions should attempt to regulate this activity, it is not at all surprising that many millions should find very objectionable.

    And for religion then to also decree that some forms of it are “unlawful”, “immoral” etc. it is also therefore no surprise to find infuriates the minority of the population who wish to carry out these forms of sexual activity to a degree that probably could only be imagined by the heterosexual majority if say the following were to occur…

    Suppose due to this lockdown over covid-19, the government decided that to stop the spread of the virus, it was necessary to stop married heterosexual people having sex (homosexuals however were to be allowed to be excepted from that rule, because as a minority, it was decided they weren’t required to follow this rule).

    This rule was to be enforced by all married couples being obliged to have a microchip implanted which detected if they were within a metre of each other at any time (2 metres being required by social distancing anyway, you see), in which case the police might arrive and kick down their door and drag them off in handcuffs to be imprisoned and sentenced later.

    One can imagine then perhaps how the average healthy heterosexual married (or equivalent) person would feel about the state trying to restrict his/her sexual activity; he/she might well be so angry he/she might want to destroy the current government and political system absolutely, demand a revolution.

    Because really, the mentality is of no significant difference than a drug addict, as sex is a drug – it has a powerful drug effect in the brain that reduces anxiety, gives pleasure, and in successful cases brings at least short term peace and happiness, just like any other “good drug.”

    So again, think what drug addicts are willing to do, they are so desperate for their drugs – steal or rob even, or risk violence or even possibly death to get their drugs.

    So that a sexual minority should want to exterminate totally any large powerful influential organisation – i.e. the churches, and the Catholic church (or Muslim church) in particular, as that is the only major Christian church that still opposes homosexuality and homosexual and women priests – is very likely indeed, just as many if not all Jewish persons would like to see the total suppression of any organisations (e.g. nationalist ones) that reminded them of Hitler’s regime.

    Hence “the war on populism”, because the truth is, the minorities of various kinds know that the majority is either indifferent to or positively against its behaviours, or not sharing its racial/religious type (in the case of the Jews) and thus not necessarily sympathetic to it.

    In short, nobody wants to be judged, discriminated against, though the sad reality is that they are less concerned quite often if somebody else gets discriminated against who is not a member of their group.

    And because of the latter, the group who does feel they are being discriminated against – the Christians or Catholics for example – start to actually get more angry or negative than they were previously towards the minorities who are they believe, not only getting privileges or rights they don’t have e.g. they may (so the complainant believes) get preference under “diversity laws” when applying for jobs.

    In fact, even worse, for the above reason explained (the 4th previous paragraph), the Christian groups, and for those reasons also above explained, the Catholics in particular, believe there is a campaign against their kind, which would eventually seek to outlaw religious belief per se, just as homosexuality was once outlawed and of course still is in some countries, like Muslim ones.

    And books like Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” which more or less suggests that any God believer is suffering from some form of delusion, or mental illness, confirms that view for the religious believer.

    That if the atheists who support homosexuality without any qualms whatsoever, and who dominate in academia, science and the media and increasingly so government (those who subscribe to “political correctness”, which is now pretty much the majority government view throughout Western nations) are allowed to dominate ever further, they may eventually either ban religions altogether, or more likely restrict their rights to the degree they will become a repressed minority like the homosexuals once were.

    There are already clear signs of the “politically correct” pro-LGBT governments and even other authorities trying to ban Christian symbols, such as crosses, from public places, on the grounds they may be “offensive” to others.

    So in fact, the US election – Trump v Clinton – was about a great deal more than America having a first woman president or even about nationalism, but rather the fact that the Christian groups generally sought refuge in President Trump to protect them from a Hillary Clinton “political correctness” obsessed government, which might have eventually restricted their rights to even practice their religion on such grounds.

    For example, it is not too difficulty to argue that just as if a Jewish person saw a person wearing a neo-Nazi symbol like a swastika in that form, they would legitimately feel threatened, and entitled to call for a ban on the public wearing of such symbols – probably illegal in many countries anyway, though apparently not here in the UK, or presumable Prince Harry would have been arrested for his behaviour at the party in which he wore a Nazi armband.

    And so likewise, anybody wearing a crucifix represents a party that is trying to persecute homosexuals, so also should be banned.

    So then if a Christian who wears a crucifix around their neck should be banned from doing so, then surely the public display of crosses on churches should be banned, and so on.

    Which logically then would lead to the complete banning of the Christian religion, or at least force it into being a secretive private activity, which could no longer be practiced publicly.

    Again, consider that anybody seen going into a Church would then be a suspected homosexual persecutor/hater, so that action would be illegal under “hate law.”

    So Christianity would effectively be pushed into being a secretive sect, and then (so its enemies would wish) eventually die out altogether, as has actually been the case under various communist regimes, which have banned such religious practices.

    So my “fantasy” “thought experiment” is shown not necessarily to be fiction, i.e. a “Marxist”/atheist state is quite likely to ban all religion.

    China incidentally is in an ongoing war against a spiritual group called Falun Gong, whose leader, somewhat like the Dalai Lama, has fled the country to seek sanctuary (in America, New York, at least hearing).

    So the Christian groups who hold this kind of fear – which appears historically to be a legitimate one, as religious suppression has gone on in all ages – may easily see the Pope as a collaborator with a mainly secular/atheist media and Western governmental consensus, that one might call “liberal secular.”

    Which history suggest they have good reason to suspect may mutate into repressive of their religious freedom, or even go as far as to ban their religion itself, and declare them all as criminals, subject to possible imprisonment, should they dare to practice it, or express their Christian views – ones that in the eyes of the secular state would then amount to “hate speech.”

    And of course, the Christian groups rightly point out (I mean, it is factual, not that it is necessarily the government reason behind it) that one of the government’s main actions in this “war against covid-19”, has been to shut down Churches, to force the Christians to hide in their homes, just as they had to in eras of repression of their religion.

    So whether that is the government motive or not for they admittedly generally very sparsely attended Churches, in which it appears it would be a lot easier to social distance than in the average supermarket, is for a jury to decide.

    But again, the staunch Christians might very well object to an exception not being made, and it’s not just “far right American Christians”, our very own (so to speak) Peter Hitchens in the UK, has raised exactly the same objection in regard of his own very sparsely attended local church.

    One imagines for example even a “safe” method of delivering the communion wafer could be arranged, without breaking the “social distancing” measures.

    But Western governments do not seem to be interested in this particular aspect of “human rights”, “right to religious freedom”, etc., at this particular point in time, and also are not committing themselves as yet to a definite statement that this “lockdown” in some form will ever end.

    So it appears the only rational way to deal with warring, incompatible factions – e.g. warring couples in relationships – is to find some way of peaceful coexistence.

    That is rationally going to take compromise on both sides.

    So for example the Pope allows homosexuals to attend religious services, but does not allow them to become clergy members (his main views are all on the page below or links off it)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

    But he is against abortion, and has continued to be fairly hardline on that, and of course that enrages feminists, who see abortion as a “women’s rights issue” and not a “child’s rights” issue.

    My own view is in a society which now has the most abundant, effective and freely available means of contraception that have ever existed, including even the famous “morning after pill”, if one had sex unprotected unplanned, surely it has now actually become “a woman’s choice” whether she has a child or not, without the need for any abortion?

    (if anybody wishes to explain to me in how I am wrong about that, I am “all ears”, but cannot believe I will be easily convinced).

    So this appears to be a non-issue in any case.

    So in fact, that is likely not the true issue that is enraging the feminist and atheist objectors to the denial of “women’s right to abortion.”

    Rather it is more likely the right to “sexual freedom” as has been discussed, and the wish to not “be judged.”

    And in fact, if we go a little deeper, it is just part of a whole raft of issues to do with “women’s rights”, as the Church (especially the so called “far right” part of it) still holds the general view that women should be subservient to men (in marriage, and possibly in other fields also), and women should be possessed of “old fashioned” qualities like “modesty”, “fidelity” and so on, which the feminist women and men want women to have “the right” not to do.

    So I cannot say for sure, but it is my guess that Pope Francis is actually the best ambassador for the Catholic Church imaginable, and he realistically is trying to reform it so that some kind of peaceful co-existence can occur between the Church and the atheist proportion of our society – which of course may not at all be the majority.

    There needs to be a realisation and acceptance that people are choosing to live in different ways, and neither party should attempt to take control of the state as both the “political correctness” groups and those mainly Christian and nationalist groups are both currently trying to do in the US and other places, in order to impose their will and morals on the others.

    But unless the mainly secular state can assure the Christian and other religious believing majority (in the world at any rate, it’s allegedly about 50/50 in America by some accounts) their way of life is not under threat – by e.g. forcing Christians to carry out gay marriages etc. – the Christians and indeed Muslims are going to feel the need to try to form a dictatorship to prevent their own eventual outlawing and extinction.

    And likewise, those who want to be free of the morals imposed on them by religions, need to be assured that within the law of the land they are free to do what they wish.

    For example, in the case of abortion, the state should allow it, but should not force Christian or Muslim doctors to carry it out.

    And should also point out that with the contraceptive methods available, it is an irresponsible act of a woman now to get herself pregnant unplanned, and surely the feelings of the doctors even who have to carry these operations out need to be considered, who surely cannot even actually enjoy performing such an operation.

    I would argue in fact wholly regardless of religions, we have got an ingrained selfish attitude that has spread amongst a sizeable part of the population, that does not believe it ever commits any wrong, and is not responsible for its own actions whatever it does.

    Which if you think about it, is a far more serious problem to our ongoing everyday lives than religious belief or disbelief, when we cannot even trust our neighbour to act considerately towards us, let alone “love us” or “treat us as him/herself” as Jesus recommended, as did most or all other religious founders such as Buddha.

    And in conclusion I might point out that while the “far right Christians” may consider the virus as “a judgment from God” upon Pope Francis’s actions, they have perhaps not stopped to consider that the mere appearance of Pope Francis is by that logic possibly a judgment from God upon them, for their extremism and intolerance – bearing in mind tolerance is not agreement, but merely a means to peaceful coexistence between persons of dissimilar mind or behaviour.

    Both Christians and atheists need to accept that they belong to different worlds in moral terms, and not expect members of the other world to think and behave as they do therefore, in order to have such peaceful coexistence.

    The actual problem however with the Christian religion is not Pope Francis, but rather the failure to update it since the last 19th Century in keeping with science and the one might say “new scriptures” provided by the theosophists like Madame Blavatsky, Annie Besant, etc, and more recent spiritual authors like Alice A Bailey and Benjamin Creme.

    I have discussed those persons in an earlier comment on the thread “Where is God in the covid-19 crisis?” if anybody wants to read it.

    https://unherd.com/2020/04/

  • A hateful and backward form of rhetoric and blaming to which Pope Francis himself has recently succumbed. In an interview he declared the Coronavirus to be “certainly” Nature’s response to us, and possibly her “revenge”! The Catholic Rightists seem to worship a vicious authoritarian God while the Pope now seems to worship Mother Nature. Both are false idols.

  • The explainer to this video is nothing more than a smear job. Catholicism is not a political movement. There is no left or right Catholicism only Traditionalists and Reformers. Traditionalist seeks to maintain the traditions of the Church handed down over the centuries whereas Reformers seeks to introduce the heresies of modernism into the all aspect of the Catholic faith, thereby transforming into a new church far removed from the Holy Church that Christ founded at the Last Supper. Some people, like Bannon, may try to fuse aspect of their faith and politics but this is a subjective position of the individual and more political than theological.

    As for the title of the piece it is nonsense. Faithful Catholic rightly see pandemics as a form of chastisement from God for sin and the greatest form of chastisement comes when idolatry is promoted, which was the case during the Amazon Synod when the pachamama idol was venerated in the Vatican by the church hierarchy including the Pope Frances. It is sin that is blamed not personal individuals, though Pope Frances did commit a grave sin by promoting idolatry.

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