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Monday, February 11, 2013
Abdication of a Pope || A Unique Historical Moment
The first American Indian presented to a Roman Catholic Pope was in chains and presented as a curiosity, like a spotted leopard or an unusual potted plant. The Borgia Pope was this man. He signed a Papal Bull that established as a historical fact that Indigenous People (worldwide) were animals, without souls. He did this under pressure from slave merchants. The Pope had previously established that “Christians with souls” could not be sold as slaves. So the church defined their non-white human relations as animals. The Borgia Pope was in fact a shareholder in the slave merchandising business, at the wholesale level.
John Ratzinger never would meet with any American Indian. The fact that he established, or canonized, a so-called “American Indian Saint”, this magician’s trick is an old favored techniques of oppressors to disguise and mask over their real and actual treatment of the relatives of the canonized.
I was relieved when John Ratzinger abdicated the so-called Throne of Saint Peter. On reflection, however, it seems an act of questionable honor. Issues of personal honor and truthfulness have been a question with John Ratzinger from day one.
Now that he is soon to be a private citizen, some would ask if he will now be arrested, or at least questioned, before the bar of justice, about his well known participation in the protection of child abusing priests who populate, in considerable, protected number, the Catholic Church.
At least he is to be commended for getting out of the way. Once again the people of this waiting world can cast forward their hearts and minds and hope for a new leader who will make a difference. It is possible, even though unlikely. If the Cardinals had any courage and imagination they would put forward an unknown, lowly priest. What would have happened to Human History had the Church elected San Francisco as the Pope of Rome?
Old Pope John Paul included some American Indian religious leaders in a few and historic inter-faith formalities at the Vatican. I participated, with a number of Catholic Priests, in New York City an inter-faith ceremony about atomic weapons. I carried out in that ceremony a very Sacred Pipe, one that was held and blessed by many elders, over many generations. The Catholic Priests did not like it one bit.
Over the hours of news video I have been watching on the abdication of John Ratzinger, and when people are asked if Ratzinger was a “good” Pope, everyone starts out by talking about John Paul. Ratzinger is being “praised” only in the most neutral and passive phrases. As a long time student of body language; I found John Ratzinger’s eyes, hands and general way of speaking to be insincere. His hands looked to like tiny claws. There was not the warm friendly nature of a wave in his use of his hands. It looked artificial. Form over content. He was also a little obsessed with the rare and valuable vestments in the Vatican closet. He pulled out the most rare and valuable of the vestments for his appearances. I thought this was an odd fetish.
The College of Cardinals in Rome has a unique opportunity, unprecedented in fact, in human history. They have the power to put forward a formidable, powerful voice for change and reform, and peace….or just appoint another mediocrity. When one looks at the character and history of millionaire Cardinals: makers of favors, and empowerment agents for dictators, merchants and criminals, the outcome is predictable. For several generations now, the world is having a great deal of difficulty in establishing effective leaders anywhere.
As a Keeper of American Indian religious ceremonies, I will offer my prayers and meditations that the Church will find us someone who will make a difference. I invite all people of every religion and faith to do the same. There has not been a better moment in a thousand years for men in power to do the world a great service.
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