Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Pope Francis' aide says safeguarding the poor is the church's mission; Stephen Bannon 2014 skype-remarks in conference held in Vatican

Last updated on 8th Feb. 2017

Steve Bannon Carries Battles to Another Influential Hub: The Vatican By JASON HOROWITZ, FEB. 7, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/world/europe/vatican-steve-bannon-pope-francis.html

The above article covers the opposition to Pope Francis' emphasis on an inclusive church from some others in the Vatican, referred to as the traditionalists. The article has a very interesting part towards its end, having the response of a cardinal reported to be close to Pope Francis, about Mr. Trump becoming USA President emboldening opposition to Pope Francis to make Pope Francis follow a more orthodox approach.

The cardinal is reported to have responded by saying, "The doctrine is secure", and that safeguarding the poor was the mission of the church. The cardinal is also reported to have indicated to traditionalist colleagues that their duty is to serve St. Peter, and that "And today, Francis is Peter". [The pope is said to inherit the authority of the first Bishop of Rome, St. Peter.]

Ravi: I find the article to be really fascinating as it casts light on different approaches to the matter of serving the poor (and the needy, I guess) within the Vatican itself, with Pope Francis being firmly on the side of more service to the poor (and needy). In fact, the article states that some opponents of Pope Francis consider him to be dangerously misguided and probably a socialist!

However the focus of the article is on Stephen Bannon (senior adviser to USA president Donald Trump) and his connections and views related to the Vatican.

The article links to this article, This Is How Steve Bannon Sees The Entire World, https://www.buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/this-is-how-steve-bannon-sees-the-entire-world, which is about a 2014 talk followed by Q&A of Stephen Bannon in a conference on poverty by Human Dignity Institute, which seems to have been held in a room in the Vatican, and which he participated in via Skype. Human Dignity Institute is the Anglicised name of Dignitatis Humanae Institute which seems to have a mission statement of "Promoting Human Dignity based on the recognition that Man is made in the Image and Likeness of God". Here's the video of Mr. Bannon's talk excluding the Q&A session, Steven Bannon. Module 3 – Should Christians impose limits on wealth creation?, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWXScQaZ2uI, 10 min. 57 secs. This talk was given at Third International Conference on Human Dignity 2014. A session of it seems to have the theme of, "Poverty and the Common Good: Putting the 'Preferential Option for the Poor' at the service of Human Dignity". Mr. Bannon gave the above mentioned talk in this session's Module titled, "Should Christians impose limits on wealth creation?" Note that Mr. Bannon seems to be a Catholic.

I find the article to be very, very interesting as it gives Mr. Bannon's rather frank and uncensored views on a variety of topics. What I have given below are what struck me as important topics covered in the article. I have given these topics with some description but WITHOUT any opinion on them from my side. So readers should not presume that I agree with the views expressed in these highlights of Stephen Bannon's talk & Q&A. I would like to say that I have great respect for peace loving Muslims and peace and love parts of the Muslim religion. I am also a worshiper of the Great Shirdi Sai Baba who is reported to have frequently said, "Allah Malik" (Allah/Lord is the owner/master).

As Mr. Bannon now is in a very powerful position in the USA presidential administration, I felt it appropriate to give below the important topics along with short description at times, from the article mentioned above.

* 20th century having wars of unparalleled barbarism in history of mankind; 180 to 200 million people killed in 20th century wars. Bannon says, "We’re children of that barbarity".

* Judeo-Christian West and his perception of it being threatened by other forces like ISIS

* Various kinds of capitalism practiced in the world today - state sponsored, Ayn Rand type, and "enlightened capitalism" of the Judeo-Christian West. [Ravi: I think Bannon also refers to state sponsored capitalism as crony capitalism].

* Global reaction to centralized government

* Eric Cantor, former USA House Republican leader, losing his Republican primary challenge to unknown and relatively much less funded evangelical Christian, economics professor; this being a monumental election upset.

* the 2008 Financial crisis, and what he considers to be failure in punishing those (elite) responsible for it, and instead the middle class tax payers having to suffer for the mistakes of these unpunished elite; this created anger which fueled the Tea party movement in the USA. [Ravi: Tea Party movement seems to be Rebublicans that are against mainstream/establishment Republicans and want to change the direction of the Republican party and government(s) to more conservative 'Tea party' type principles.]

* Immense secularization of the West

* Some people in big cities in USA (like people he worked with while in Goldman Sachs, (New York city)) being closer to people in other cities in other countries like London and Berlin, than people in Kansas or in Colorado.

* Bannon's views on growing movements in Europe among young people that are against Wall Street (type) institutions/globalization but also appealing to people on ethnic and racial levels, teach self-defense classes etc. (tribalist or neo-nativist movments/Identitarians); Bannon says that large levels of "underemployment" (like 50 % of youth below 30 in Spain) tend to create such movements; Bannon states a similar figure of 50% underemployment in USA for youth below 30; Bannon's suggested solution seems to be to "sort out" crony capitalism governments and encourage entrepreneurial spirit which would help working-class and middle-class people.

* Bannon's view is that Christians who believe in Judeo-Christian West underpinnings, should view the 2008 bailouts as wrong; middle-class & working-class bailed out the elite; its about responsibility; penalizing bad behaviour/not allowing "free option for bad behaviour"; this situation is fueling populist revolt in Midlands of England and in Middle America; very unfair that bunch of elite people who went to Yale and Harvard, finest institutions in the West, and so should have known better (than to do the stuff they did leading to the 2008 financial crisis), were bailed out (by hard working middle-class and working-class folks); USA Congress took no action and looked the other way. [BTW Bannon himself says in this talk/Q&A that he went to Harvard Business School. Bannon's wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Bannon, says he has BA, MA and an MBA (educational degrees), and lists his Alma mater (associated educational institutions) as Virginia Tech, Georgetown University and Harvard University. And Bannon served with Goldman Sachs as an investment guy. So Bannon himself comes from that elite class of Americans who went to USA Ivy league educational institutions and were/are working with top Wall Street financial companies in significant positions, about whom, Bannon in this talk (2014), was being harshly critical of.]

* Secularism has been negative for upholding Judeo-Christian Western ideals

* Long history of Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam; great institution of the church of the West

* We (Western world?) are in a crisis that is not going to go away; from media it can be seen that it is a "war of immense proportions"

The article also links to an unedited audio of the event here: https://soundcloud.com/buzzfeednews/steve-bannon-at-dhi. I plan to hear it later on.

Here's another article linked in the first NYTimes article above (if I recall correctly), ‘Church Militant’ Theology Is Put to New, and Politicized, Use, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/30/us/church-militant-theology-is-put-to-new-and-politicized-use.html, Dec. 30, 2016.

I think it is appropriate for me to state my stand that I am a lover of God, and respect all religions and religious people that do not indulge in hatred and violence (except in case of self-defense) against other human beings. I also respect similar people who are not religious and do not believe in God. I am a firm supporter of religious pluralism which I take to mean as respect & tolerance for people of all religions including those without religion/faith (that do not indulge in hatred and violence towards others, except in self-defense).

I repeat that my sharing some of the views of Mr. Stephen Bannon above as reported in the article mentioned above SHOULD NOT be viewed as me agreeing to those views of Mr. Bannon. I prefer NOT to publicly comment on whether I agree or disagree with the above mentioned views of Mr. Stephen Bannon.

No comments:

Post a Comment