Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Borgia Pope


I'm the cat with the bass and drum. Going 'round like bom, bom, bom!

Today, internet checking Catholics awoke to a snapshot of two-scantily clad "cat woman" dancers doing a sexy split in front of Pope Francis.

That was curious enough. But one really had to watch the full 2:27 minute video of today's papal performance of the Rony Roller Circus to take in the full bizarreness of the scene.

What's grooving? I'm moving. I like your style of womping.

Mundabor nailed it:
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Evil Clown “celebrates” the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter.
Please observe:
  1. The people, or actually the almost total absence of them. The Romans have more sensus catholicus than this old, lewd idiot.
  2. The nudity and revealing outfits, and the moves of the young women.
  3. The music. Again, this is the feast of the chair of Saint Peter. Please, Lord, make the man die soon.
  4. The prelates. Embarrassed and embarrassing. I think they were thinking point 3 above.
  5. The old creep wants to kiss the little girl at the end. Someone call the police.
I want 16 pints of rum and then I go bom, bom!

Some of the Borgia popes were imperfect men. But myths have grown up around them that are probably false. For example, Alexander VI almost certainly did not preside over an orgy called "The Banquet of Chestnuts."

But one imagines that if he had, the ambience might have been a bit like this. No, no one actually had sex today in St. Peter's square (as far as I know). But the women did look like strippers, and they writhed and jiggled and lightly touched each other's bums (to which were affixed cat tails) to a pulsating disco beat.

Glowing up in the dark of the night. And so I go ooh, ah-ah-ah-ah!

And in full cheesy burlesque show fashion, just when the "excitement" was at its peak, the strippers yielded to a fat fire eater and a little girl twirling a hoop.

Through it all, the Pope appeared to me to be half-scowling, half-bored, sitting on his lonely throne, a jaded veteran of too many such performances. Maybe this time he'll like the cat theme, his two lieutenants, one on the right, one on the left, idly speculated.

I'm so cool and I'm so groovy. When I go bom, bom, bom!

And a captive row of twelve prelates nervously smiled, perhaps afraid the wrong body language would get them thrown into the papal dungeons.

Most of the people in the small audience laughed. A few looked like they were holding back tears.

I'm the cat with the bass and drum. Going 'round like bom, bom, bom!

Also, today, the Pope made a "tweet":
Jesus entrusted to Peter the keys to open the entrance to the kingdom of heaven, and not to close it.
That is open to multiple interpretations, I think, none of them very good.

Some took it as "pro-migrant."

I took it as: I, the heir of St. Peter, can do anything, including holding the doors of heaven open if I choose.

So don't cross me.

Bom, bom, bom.

Etc.


MAHOUND FLASHBACK: Gaddafi and Berlusconi Together in Pictures

"It feels good to be a gangsta."
For the fun of it, I occasionally republish posts from the first twelve-months of this blog. I was fond of this one for the pictures (obviously).

Original publication date: April 18, 2015.

With Libya all but in the hands of ISIS, and Italy under sea-borne invasion by Muslims using Libya as a jumping off point (and they're now murdering Christian hangers-on in transit), I thought it would be appropriate to remember in images two former leaders from a more innocent time. It was only a few years ago...

"Damn! The casual look upstages me again!"
"Before I formally address the nude, could I please hold your hand?"
"You always look different!"
"You always look the same!"
"Is that Old Spice?"
"It IS Old Spice!"
"A potpourri gift basket from the Libyan people to the Italian people!"
"Is it permitted?"
"Of course, Orrence, you're one of us now!"
"I can't release my hand."
"I can't release my hand either. I think my joker of an assistant put superglue on the gun barrel."
"I want to introduce those of you at this pool party to my homeless uncle."
"No fair. The deal was I would dress up as Crockett and YOU would dress up as Tubbs."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Anti-Milo "Pedophile" Hit Piece Was From Never Trump PAC


The left hates Milo Yiannopoulos. Many will do anything to stop him from writing and speaking, including using physical violence, as we saw recently in Berkeley.

I don't think anyone on the right hates Milo. A few do not like him. Some are uncomfortable with him. Many are skeptical or at least neutral.

However, there is a large contingent on the right that hates Donald Trump. Call them (as they like calling themselves), "principled conservatives."

A few days ago, some principled conservatives decided to get back at Donald Trump by trying to ruin the career of Milo Yiannopoulos.

That doesn't sound very principled or conservative, does it?

It doesn't even really make sense.

Or to put it more strongly: what sort of foul excuses for human beings would involve themselves in an effort as nasty and sick as that?

On Sunday a #NeverTrump website called the Reagan Battalion released shocking audio of Milo Yiannopolous allegedly promoting sex with 13 year-olds. The audio was a clip from a 3 hour long podcast interview Milo had in early 2016.
Obviously, the Reagan Battalion was out to get Milo.
And they did.
Around noon on Monday CPAC announced Milo would no longer be speaking at their conference this year. [And later that day, Simon & Schuster canceled Milo's upcoming book Dangerous, even though it had been trending at #1 on Amazon through pre-orders.]
The Reagan Battalion – a group that pretends to be conservative – then gloated at the news that they had helped end Milo’s career.
The Gateway Pundit goes on to identify Reagan Battalion as a Never Trump PAC that served wholly or in large part to promote the Quixotic anti-Trump candidacy of Evan McMullin.

And indeed, the "About" tab on their Facebook page yields this URL:

www.stopdonaldtrumppac.com

Here is Reagan Battalion's gloat:


The blurb is telling. They don't even explicitly mention the "pedophilia" allegations. Instead they accuse Yiannopoulos of making "anti-semitic and hateful comments," and "spreading hateful views." In the manner of the most illiberal SJW they praise free speech but then claim that "hate, racism and intolerance" should not be given a "platform."

They might as well have put on their leather and bashed Milo's head in with a metal pipe.

But the last sentence reveals that it wasn't really about Milo after all:
This incident is proof that thorough vetting is required by conservative entities before they decide to elevate and promise (sic) people as conservative standard bearers.
Gee, who do you think they're really talking about there?

They couldn't touch Trump. He won, after all. So in a kind of hissy fit, they decided to go after Milo in an attempt to prove their stupid point about Trump.

Somehow, I doubt Ronald Reagan would have thought very much of Reagan Battalion or their tactics.

And by tactics, I mean lynching people.

But then, maybe I don't understand principled conservatism.

Monday, February 20, 2017

BREAKING: Milo Yiannopoulos Disinvited from CPAC


Update (3:30 PST): Simon & Schuster just announced it was cancelling Yiannopoulos' upcoming book Dangerous. In addition, Breitbart is considering dismissing him as Technology Editor.

A few minutes ago, Matt Schlapp, Chairman of the American Conservative Union, announced on Twitter that the recent invitation to Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) had been withdrawn. Schlapp explained that this was due to Yiannopoulos appearing to endorse pederasty in a podcast interview about a year ago. Yiannopoulos had recently issued a "clarification" of the interview on his Facebook page, but Schlapp dubbed this "insufficient."


A few hours earlier, CPAC had announced that President Donald Trump would be speaking at the conference.


WARNING: GRAPHIC. Here is the long original version of the podcast (some of he relevant remarks begin at about 1:01:30). Yiannopoulos' "clarification" is here.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

George Takei Creates Twitter Poll on Trump, then DELETES it when the Results Don't Go His Way



In the wake of President Trump's recent press conference, Star Trek celebrity and social media activist George Takei created a Twitter poll. It looked like this:

Takei had created other Twitter polls in the past, and as might be expected, the results were always what he wanted. If you're polling a group that you believe is largely made up of your own followers - people who probably agree with your politics - this is not surprising.

However, it didn't turn out that way this time. With a bit more than seven hours to go, the results looked like this:


At this point, Takei's preferred option was still ahead, but only barely. And sources suggest that soon after, "The 'Unfair' News Media" started to take the lead.

But unless someone has a more recent screenshot, we shall never know with certainty, because a few hours later, the poll looked like this:


It's kind of symbolic of how these sorts of people approach politics and even, I suppose, life, don't you think?

They can't accept the results of a democratic election. They can't even accept the results of a silly Twitter poll.

Is nothing sacred?

As of this writing, Takei hasn't commented on the matter. But he seems to be back to his regular schedule of three anti-Trump tweets an hour.

As a friend (and voter) said, "What a wimp."

*************

Update (11:00 AM PST): Takei is now commenting on the incident. He says his poll was "hijacked" by Trump supporters (and as a result he banned them). That's an interesting theory of the democratic process.


Update (12:00 Noon PST): After people roundly made fun of the above tweet, he deleted it along with a number of others. Now he claims to be creating "troll traps":

At Logan Presser, Patrick Stewart Goes Off on Breakfast (Brexit)

Logan director James Mangold, and actors Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen and Hugh Jackman

I like Patrick Stewart.

As you'll see in the short video, Stewart made a funny Freudian flub, but he acknowledged and recovered from it with wit and charm.

But is a press conference for the new X-Men movie really the place to go off on an anti-Brexit rant? And do we really need to know that Stewart and some of the other principles in Logan believe their film can be interpreted as a subtle rebuke to nationalism or Donald Trump or whatever?

I mean, there was a child there (Dafne Keen). Is this how grownups behave?

The left believes everything is about politics. Or rather, they think they have a sacred duty to impose their politics on anyone at any time. It's not merely that they're wrong.

It's that it's so bloody boring.

Here's that short part of the press conference. Stewart begins speaking at about 0:30. Following that, and just for the fun of it, I've also included a very silly Next Generation spoof song that A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics put up yesterday. You either like Pogo or you don't.



Friday, February 17, 2017

Ahmed Zewail Dies - One of Only 3 Muslims to Ever Win a Nobel Prize in the Sciences (Jews have won 160+)


Ahmed Hassan Zewail died last August at the age of 70. Zewail was an Egyptian born Muslim who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1999. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1982 but moved back to Egypt in 2011.

In 2015, Aziz Sancar, a Turkish Muslim, won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He also is a naturalized American citizen and currently lives in North Carolina.

The first Muslim (perhaps) ever to win the Nobel Prize in the sciences was Pakistani-born Mohammad Abdus Salam, who shared the 1979 Physics prize with two other winners. I say "perhaps" because Salam was a member of the Ahmadiyya sect, which ironically had been declared an heretical non-Muslim religion by his home country, five years earlier. Salam was educated and lived much of his working life (though not all) in Europe and the United States.

If we go by Pakistan's definition, only two Muslims have ever won a Nobel prize in the sciences. But it would be ungenerous to go by Pakistan's definition. By all accounts, Salam believed himself to be a Muslim and even cited the Koran in his acceptance speech.

So, I think it's fair to say that three Muslims have won prizes. It's also fair to say that none of the three would have won prizes without being partially educated and having done work in non-Muslim countries.

It also should be noted that all three men were fairly "Westernized" in their personal lives. Dr. Sancar married an American biochemist. Dr. Salam married a renowned British molecular biologist (although, notoriously, he never broke off an earlier arranged marriage with a cousin in Pakistan). And Dr. Zewail married a secularized Syrian woman. Here is the Zewail family at the Nobel prize ceremonies:


Here is Dr. Sancar and his wife:


And here is Dame Louise Johnson, second wife of Dr. Salam:


But going back to the Nobel awards themselves, since 1901 when the Prize was set up, there have been 659 winners in the sciences - physics, chemistry, medicine and economics.

3 have been Muslims.

160+ of the winners have been Jews.

Here is another way to look at those numbers.

Non-Muslims have won the prize at a per-capita rate 65 times that of Muslims.

Jews have won the prize at a per-capita rate 110 times that of non-Jews.

Jews have won the prize at a per-capita rate 4,400 times that of Muslims.

Islamophiles will of course have answers to these rather sad (for Muslims) statistics:

The Islamic world used to be more scientifically advanced than the West. I believe the current accepted scholarship shows that assertion to be a myth. But even accepting it, it forces the question, what happened for the last 500 years?

Most of the Muslim world was under Western colonial dominance (or the lingering effects of that dominance) during the period of the Nobel Prize. That of course forces the question of why it was under such dominance. And then of course there were the Jews, who, throughout much of the period had to contend with much more than mere dominance (for much of it they didn't even have a country to dominate) - discrimination, pograms, expulsions and the murder, within the space of only a few years, of one-third of their number.

It's all a Zionist plot. It's difficult to argue with that.

Of course, if non-science prizes are counted, Muslims have won 13 total prizes, including 2 in Literature and a whopping 8 in Peace.

As Dr. Evil might say, making scare quotes with his fingers:

"Irony."

Indeed, in recent times, Muslims have dominated the Peace prize, at least on a per-capita basis. One of the winners was Yasser Arafat.

See (the Islamophiles might say), most Muslims are moderates. Only 8% of all Muslim Nobel Prize winners have been terrorists.

To be serious, there's a short clip on YouTube of the late Dr. Zewail claiming that one of the distinguishing features of Islam is that it lays a strong emphasis on knowledge. I have no doubt that Zewail was an extremely intelligent man who deserved his Prize, but that particular claim is preposterous.



Theologically and philosophically, Islam has a huge bias against the acquisition of knowledge - or at least against the acquisition of empirical knowledge. An utterly unknowable, arational and often explicitly arbitrary God completely and directly controls every atom of the universe at all times. Thus, the universe itself becomes largely unknowable, arational and arbitrary.

Islam has been intellectually sterile since its inception. This claim is of course counter to the silly multicultural meme that Muslims invented virtually everything ever, including the fountain pen. But look for an historically prominent Muslim scientist and you will find, precisely, none. And the most well-known philosophers from the Muslim "Golden-Age" were either Jews or decidedly unorthodox Islamic "free-thinkers" who were branded heretics or apostates by many.

Today, a determined and talented Muslim individual may occasionally burst through those social and intellectual obstacles, often with much help from Western individuals and institutions, and in the process moving fairly far away from Muslim practice and tradition. But it's obviously rare.

In the modern sciences, three men did it.

And their wives didn't wear the hijab.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

BOMBSHELL: Marine Le Pen is Now Favored to Win the Presidency of France



Today, the prediction markets posted an 8 point shift in percentage odds for the two leading candidates in the French presidential race. Marine Le Pen of the National Front is now favored to win.

As far as I am aware, this is the first time Le Pen has ever been the favorite.

Let me emphasize that she is now favored to win the presidency itself, not merely the first round of voting where she has been the favorite for many months. Le Pen will almost certainly win the first round by a substantial margin and (according to the prediction markets) go on to beat Emmanuel Macron of the leftist On the Move party or Francois Fillon of the centrist Republicans in the second round.


The National Front emerged as a major competitor in the 1988 presidential elections under Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. But until the last few years, it had never polled higher than 20%. In the 2002 vote, Jean-Marie Le Pen came in second in the first round of voting with 17% of the vote but then ;got embarrassingly crushed, 82% to 18% in the second round. This essentially showed that at that time, virtually no one outside of the National Front's circle of enthusiastic supporters would consider voting for the party under any set of circumstances.

In the 2007 and 2012 elections, Marine Le Pen failed to qualify for the second round, receiving 10% and 18% of the vote, respectively.

But against the background of increasing Muslim crime, rioting and terrorism, support for the National Front has recently increased. And it's reputation as an "extremist" party with little potential for cross-over support has been to some extent moderated or reduced.

The National Front has been dubbed "far-right," but this is quite misleading. the party is almost certainly more left-wing or socialist on economic issues than the Republicans. It attracts support from such seemingly diverse constituencies as the French working class, the homosexual community and traditionalist Catholics. Perhaps the two issues that define the party and unite its supporters are its populist stance against "Europe" and "the elite" and it's opposition to the further Islamization of France.

In some ways it's a similar coalition to that which got Donald Trump elected this past November.

It's important to note that the polls have not yet "caught up" to the prediction markets. As I reported a few days ago, the most up-to-date polls have Le Pen losing to either Macron or Fillon in the second round. But in recent democratic elections in the West, the prediction markets have been more accurate than the polls. Le Pen partisans might also take heart in the fact that even the prediction markets have under-predicted the strength of "anti-elitist" sympathies as seen in both the Brexit vote and the recent presidential election in the United States.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

NOT A PARODY: Father Dan Fitzpatrick Isn't a Woman but He is About to Marry One

Fr. Dan with a woman


The post referred to a real priest, and it actually used the real name and a real photo of the man.

And yes, he was a man. Calling him a woman was part of the parody.

Why would I do such a mean thing? Actually, it was an attempt to give "Fr. Dan" a taste of his own medicine. The young liberal priest from the English diocese of Hexham and Newcastle had publicly endorsed the claim that the Holy Spirit was female. Fair enough - this is the sort of thing that liberal priests do. But a Catholic blogger picked up on it and wrote at least one critical post. In turn, the touchy Fr. Dan then threatened to sue the blogger, going as far as to have a lawyer write her a letter. At the same time, many of his parishioners and Facebook friends competed in an online game to see who could call the faithful Catholic blogger the nastiest names.

Fr. Dan as a "woman"

This was against the background of Fr. Dan, who by then was a minor celebrity for appearing on television and radio, preaching about how Jesus was all about love and tolerance.

The post went quasi-viral, which suited me just fine. I half-expected to get a letter from Chris Ross, his solicitor.

I wrote two other posts that referred to Fitzpatrick. One featured a "vine" that he had placed on his own Facebook page. It showed the good father in a plaid shirt, looking like he had just gotten out of bed, air drumming to a Phil Collins song. As soon as I put it up, he took the vine down. Spoilsport.

Fr. Dan as a frat boy

But it really did seem to me that, while he may have truly been a man, he wasn't acting very much like a priest, what with his lawsuit hissy fits and music vines and all. Indeed, I called him a "frat boy."

Well, it turns out he didn't really think of himself as a priest either.

A bit more than a year ago, Fitzpatrick left the priesthood to take up with a divorced woman. They are about to be "married."

The article below, published in the Guardian but written by Ex-Father Fitzpatrick (he now calls himself Dan Murtah) reads in some ways like a parody itself. While still a priest he meets an old female friend at a pub fundraiser featuring traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing. "She was confident, funny and easy to talk to," he reports, and "she informed me she had recently got divorced."
We became friends over the following months and I began to fall in love, which needless to say isn’t allowed if you are a priest...You definitely shouldn’t take them to the cinema and sit on the back row (oops).
After telling us that he took off his "dog collar" for the last time in late 2015, he reveals this about his interior moral struggle:
I was also told that I could not break my vow of celibacy – but it turns out that it was as easy as making it.
But it was still quite a sacrifice:
The decision would cost me my home, my job and a lot of friends.
Leaving the priesthood cost him his home. That's rough.

Apparently, he now intends to earn a living as a stand-up comic.

The narrative voice reminded me a bit of Matthew Broderick in the second half of the movie Election.

Not only did Murtah leave the priesthood on his own initiative (the article makes it sound as if he did not get permission from the Church), but he appears to have apostatized. There's no mention of God in the entire piece except as part of an expression - "God knows what he’d (the Pope) think of me having sex." But in truth, I suspect he lost his faith much earlier. Perhaps he never really had it.

Sure it's funny. It's also very sad.

A moment that changed me: leaving the priesthood for love by Dan Murtah.
Arriving at the fundraiser late, I ordered a pint and then manoeuvred myself through the sea of ceilidh dancers that separated me from familiar faces. I was spat out the other side of a do-si-do without so much as spilling a drop when I literally bumped into her.
A friend introduced us, but it wasn’t necessary. We had met before in Cologne as 19-year-olds when we were enthusiastic young Catholics on a pilgrimage to see the newly appointed Pope Benedict XVI. During the 10 years that had passed, she had trained as a nurse and got married. I had become a Catholic priest.
When I was ordained I made a promise to the bishop to be celibate for the rest of my life. It was easy to do at the time. I had trained for six years in an all-male college away from home – and as a heterosexual man, very little temptation came my way. I was so confident about being celibate that I happily discussed it on TV and radio. The prospect of never having children was daunting, but I was happy to make that sacrifice to become a priest.
That evening at the fundraiser we rekindled our friendship to the soundtrack of a tin whistle. I put my foot in it at one point by asking her how her husband was and she informed me she had recently got divorced. She was confident, funny and easy to talk to – the same qualities that had attracted me to her a decade ago in Germany.
We became friends over the following months and I began to fall in love, which needless to say isn’t allowed if you are a priest. Well, it is – but you shouldn’t do anything about it, apart from suppress it and go to confession, of course. You definitely shouldn’t take them to the cinema and sit on the back row (oops).
Then, in a scene resembling an episode of Ballykissangel but without anyone dying, she also fell in love with me. It was at this point that I had to make the most important decision of my life. I wanted to be a priest – I believed it was my calling and I knew that I was good at it – but I also wanted to be with her. My parents were very supportive; however, the decision would cost me my home, my job and a lot of friends. And yet in 2015, at the age of 29, I took off my dog collar for the final time and walked away from the Catholic priesthood.
Pope Francis had ignored my request for guidance: the letter I got back from a Vatican secretary told me to speak to my bishop. So I did. And after many meetings, I finally told him I was choosing love over the church. He was adamant that it wouldn’t last and I would come crawling back within a year.
I was under a lot of pressure from the church to abandon her. I was told I was “destined for great things” if I stayed – because Jesus did say success is everything (he didn’t actually). I was told that ordinary life was boring – that’s right, you ordinary lay people (yawn). I was also told that I could not break my vow of celibacy – but it turns out that it was as easy as making it. Breaking the vow didn’t upset me or make me fearful, and ultimately it made me happy. Of course it did: being with a partner is a natural part of being human.
I am currently barred from marrying my fiancee in a Catholic church; they still see me as a priest, so I would need consent from the pope. He’s recently been putting women and priests with homosexual tendencies in their place, so God knows what he’d think of me having sex. Just in case I change my mind, I’m told he won’t grant permission until after I’m 40 (that’s in a decade). So I can’t marry. Actually I can – in a registry office, on a beach, even in an Anglican church, thank you Henry VIII. Although we have yet to make a decision.
It’s been just over a year since I left and I am thankful for the experience of being a priest. I am currently using the knowledge I gained to teach religious affairs and I am managing to find humour in my former life in the standup comedy I do. I really thought that from time to time I would regret my decision, but I never have. Since I left, I have had the freedom to question my old beliefs, take a step back from church and focus on discovering the world for myself.
Other priests in similar situations can have very different experiences. I know men who have left the priesthood for love and have felt lost ever since – wanting to be priests again but being told that they can’t be. I know men who have pushed away the person they love because they are scared to leave the priesthood – and who can blame them when they were trained at a young age, then given a home, living expenses and prestige? I also know men caught between both worlds, unable to leave the priesthood and unable to leave their lover. This inevitably leads to secret affairs and even secret children in situations akin to Bishop Brennan’s in Father Ted, but a lot less funny.
It was reported last week that due to the low number of priests in Brazil, Pope Francis will ask priests who left for marriage to return. If this is true, it will be reminiscent of Simon Cowell bringing Dermot O’Leary back to The X Factor because audience figures had fallen. Dermot might have returned, but these men should stay away for their dignity. Some will see the return of married priests as a victory over harsh Catholic rules – maybe in time it will be – but for men who will be asked to return now, it is an affront to their marriages. The pope will want these men to give up their lives again; not because the church suddenly recognises the value of their relationships, but because it is desperately low on priests.
The decision I made to leave the priesthood was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. However, it means that I have the life I have now – and I am spending it with the person I love.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BREAKING: Cardinal Coccopalmerio is a No-Show at Press Conference

Where's Cocco?

This morning there was to have been an eagerly anticipated press conference featuring Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, answering questions about his recently published pamphlet endorsing the "liberal" interpretation of Amoris Laetitia.

However, Cardinal Coccopalmerio failed to show up, pleading a "diary clash." This was later explained as a conflict with a meeting at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

In his short work, published by the official Vatican publishing house on February 8, Coccopalmerio had argued that all the sacraments including communion should be open to those "living in situations not in line with traditional matrimonial canons" including the divorced and remarried and even cohabiting couples.

And the press conference had been anticipated by many as another move in the escalating cold war between the Pope and his opponents.

A short question and answer session occurred anyway in which Don Giuseppe Costa, the director of the publishing house, explained that the Cardinal's book was not an official response from the Vatican and that on Amoris Laetitia, "the debate is still open, we encourage it."

The theologian Maurizio Gronchi then made a joke about the "confusing" passages in the Gospels that homilists attempt to explain every Sunday.

It is virtually certain that Cardinal Coccopalmerio did not cancel because of an appointment clash. But it is a completely open question as to why he cancelled or indeed, why the quasi-official press conference was organized in the first place.

*********

What is clear is that this growing crisis is in part now a farce. And I'm not just talking about the non-appearance of Coccopalmerio. Consider the general issue: Pope Francis publishes a document that, it is claimed, contains ambiguities that leave open the possibility of an heretical interpretation. The Pope refuses to clarify the meaning of the document in the face of an official query by four cardinals, and a thinly veiled smear campaign is mounted against them by Francis and his allies. Nevertheless, the heretical interpretation is endorsed by various groups of bishops around the world, and these appear to be affirmed by the Pope - either tacitly with silence or in one case via a quasi-public letter. Does that mean that this is the actual meaning of the document? The Pope still won't officially say. But now, what is in effect his own publishing house declares that it "encourages" debate on the question.

The Pope won't explain what Amoris Laetitia means but encourages debate on it.

And yes, some are actually suggesting that this is a good thing - an example of the Pope's openness to dialogue, etc.

Happy Valentine's Day.