Crossing St. Vinnies off our shopping list

No religion here

Any publicity is good publicity, so maybe the faithful will rally to the cause and fill the gap after fallout from the St. Vincent de Paul court loss to ex-volunteer Linda Walsh spreads. Moreover, perhaps they will look askance at a hypocrital organisation which invested a truckload of money and a barrage of lawyers with a shocking, medieval defence against one of its volunteers.

Those of us who thought the shop up the road was all about helping the poor stand corrected. “The primary function of the society,” said St Vincent de Paul’s lawyers, “is to inculcate the Catholic faith in its members.”

From the St Vinnie’s web site:

We follow the teachings of the Scriptures:

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, protect the rights of those who are helpless.

Speak out and pronounce a sentence of justice, defend the cause of the wretched and the poor.”
(Proverbs 31:8-9)

Yeah, right. Unbelievable hypocrisy.

There’s few things as repulsive as powerful religious organisations with their hand in the public till who sanctimoniously harass and belittle charitable people for not adherring to their irrational belief systems.

The case also highlights the importance of maintaining freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion in any Bill of Rights heading our way. God save us from those who want to save us!

Fantastic Catho kitsch


Scavenged from Pharangula, this delightfully symbolic piece from the planet’s premier throwback fertility cult stimulated gales of laughter in the Fringe residence. We do try always to look on the brighter side of life 🙂

Some of the hysterical captions proposed thus far:

“Jesus is the way, the wang, and the light.”

“Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.”

“Flip my switch and be enlightened.”

“Jesus loves the little children….”

“Suffer the little children to come unto me.”

“Children turn me on.”

“Jesus was hung so that we may see the light.”

For more delectable examples of primitive Catholic folk art and wonderful satire knifing credulous Catho devotees visit the seminal Madonna of the Toast site. The most recent post, examining the divine significance of peculiarly shaped pretzels is funny! There’s easy eBay bucks to be found in your local supermarket.

Pagan Easter Greetings

John Howard Easter Tribulations

Lamenting that “God often struggles for media coverage in the modern world”, the unctuous Asstralian Archbishop George Pell gave his beleaguered deity a hand, advertising to his flock to “refocus on their personal faith and morality”.

Apparently, despite the Vatican’s interpretation of the Fifth Commandment “You shall not kill”, Pell doesn’t think war is a personal moral issue. Instead, in his yearly Easter homily, he preached

a preoccupation with issues like the war in Iraq and global warming can distract people from their personal responsibilities.

With a supposed direct connection to his deity through the Vatican on the other side of the planet, Pell assured us

“Jesus calls us to address the challenges in our own hearts, families and communities before we moralise about distant worlds, where we are usually powerless.”

Really. Where did Jesus instruct us to do this? In Matthew 5:16 Jesus is recorded as saying “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works.” Nothing there about quenching this light at the borders.

To avoid hypocrisy and bearing in mind the Second Commandment, Pell must insist the Vatican take his disempowering advice, retreat back inside its Roman walls, and pull its representatives out of other countries where historically it has proven to be one of the most powerful, moralising, interventionary forces.

“Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet.” – Acts 7:48

NB Notes on the Pagan origins of Easter and its political expropriation by the Catholic Church are here. Briefly

Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (“Ecclesiastic History of the English People”) contains a letter from Pope Gregory I to Saint Mellitus, who was then on his way to England to conduct missionary work among the heathen Anglo-Saxons. The Pope suggests that converting heathens is easier if they are allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditional pagan practices and traditions, while recasting those traditions spiritually towards Christianity instead of to their indigenous gods (whom the Pope refers to as “devils”), “to the end that, whilst some gratifications are outwardly permitted them, they may the more easily consent to the inward consolations of the grace of God.” The Pope sanctioned such conversion tactics as biblically acceptable, pointing out that God did much the same thing with the ancient Israelites and their pagan sacrifices.

The Vatican Rag 11

“The invariable response to market shocks that threatened the now infamous virtuous circle of a strong currency and the bull market was decisive market intervention by the Federal Reserve and US Treasury. For example:

– Market crises triggered by the Asian meltdown, the Russian default, the collapse of LTCM, and plummeting stock prices post the NASDAQ mania, were countered by injections of liquidity by the Federal Reserve along with high profile public statements of assurance to the markets.

– The cosmetics of low inflation were fortified by debasement of Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation measures through dubious hedonic price adjustments and false productivity measures.

– A flare up in the gold price caused by a short squeeze following the Washington Agreement in 1999 was doused by fresh liquidity solicited from Kuwait, the Vatican, and Singapore. As discussed later, these maneuvers included mobilization of US gold reserves.

– The attempt to bring down long-term rates by suspending issuance of 30-year treasuries is the most recent and clumsiest of notable anti-market actions.

– In the true spirit of globalization, the government of Italy manipulated its own bond market to hide the true size of its budget deficit in order to be admitted to the European single currency. In a report published by the International Securities Market Association (November, 01), a currency bond swap was completed in 1997 to mask the true size of the country’s internal deficit. The transaction was orchestrated by Long Term Capital Management, which counted the Italian Central Bank among its clients.”

“This newly unearthed evidence leads
Pollard to conclude that the 1930s witnessed a revolutionary moment in Vatican financial
history. As a result of the Lateran Pacts of 1929, the Holy See received a cash payment
of 750 million lire from the Mussolini government, thereby stabilizing papal finances.
Nogara used this money to pioneer a new investment strategy that involved building up
gold reserves, diversifying into property, experimenting with various forms of arbitrage,
cultivating close connections with Swiss banks, and investing heavily in Italian economic
enterprises. As a result, by the middle of the 1930s, the Vatican “was placed at the centre
of a world-wide network of banking, and other financial institutions” (p. 168), and its
traditional financial portfolio had been irrevocably altered.”

“The Vatican Bank was a successful and profitable bank. By the 1990s, the Bank had invested somewhere over US$10 billion in foreign companies. Part of what made the Bank so profitable was that it offered certain illegal services; for 5%, the Bank would launder industrialists’ money, or money of those well-connected with the Catholic Church. The money laundering scandal leaked out in 1968 due to a change in Italian financial regulations, which would have mandated more transparency. To prevent the scandal that would occur when the public learned that the Vatican Bank (which was supposed to funnel all profits directly and immediately to charity) had in fact retained most of its profits and expanded its operations, Pope Paul VI enlisted Michele Sindona as papal finance advisor to sell off assets and move money overseas to hide the full extent of Vatican wealth”