Volume , Number 0
There are no articles.Commentary
There are no articles.Culture
There are no articles.Features
Ustan b. Reinart
Law & Order
John M. Laforge
Press The Press
Dru Oja jay
Lee Siu hin
Z Papers on Vision
An interview with Betsy Leondar-Wright
Gay & Lesbian Community Notes
Herbert P. Bix
European Union News
Eleanor J. Bader
There are no articles.
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
No Hope for the Pope
I t should have come as no surprise, but somehow liberal Catholics in the U.S. were caught off guard when the conservative Cardinal John Ratzinger became Benedict XVI. With this new hardline Pope in place, U.S. liberals, both Catholic and non-Catholic, are going to have to come to terms with some hard realities about the Pope and the Vatican.
As became very clear in the media commentary on the papal election, the world-wide Roman Catholic church—especially the rapidly growing communities in Africa and Asia, as well as large parts of South America—is deeply conservative on issues of moral and sexual theology and orthodoxy. While Catholics in the United States, as well as European countries such as Germany and Ireland, are far more inclined to be liberal leaning in their stands on sexual morality, they make up just over 10 percent of world Catholics. The fact that Roman Catholicism—which under the pastoral care of Pope John Paul II had become aggressively involved in secular politics—takes an overwhelmingly right-wing, condemnatory stance on anything it sees as deviating from traditional Catholic sexual morality is going to present an unprecedented problem for progressives in the United States and around the world.
Since his election the U.S. media has attempted to separate Pope Benedict XVI from his former persona as arch-conservative Cardinal John Ratzinger. Noting his humility and conciliatory statements—he stated that he was “a simple and humble worker in the Lord’s vineyards”—even the New York Times , which had been highly critical of Ratzinger’s work as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, managed to rehabilitate him as “shy, orderly, funny” and printed charming stories of his drinking German beer and playing Mozart on his piano.
For decades the U.S. liberal establishment and U.S. Catholics have held onto a fantasy of Vatican II as the defining moment of post-war Catholicism, not just for Europe and the Americas, but for the world. John XXIII was, in many people’s eyes, the Kennedy Pope and Vatican II was his Camelot—a glorious, Roman Catholic version of the New Deal and the New Frontier that would move Catholicism from the medieval past into the beautiful future of social equality in which mass would be celebrated in the vernacular, nuns’ habits would be modernized, and the Pope mobile would replace the traditional chair as a form of papal transportation.
While Pope John XXIII was a progressive pope in many ways— his love of the people was a direct and moving contrast to the public austerity and rigidness of his predecessor Pius XII—he also vigorously upheld traditional Catholic morality. In his 1959 Ad Petri Cathe- dram he proclaimed that there was one revealed truth, which was to be found in Catholicism, and that to hold this in “contempt” would “result in incalculable losses to the individual and the whole social structure.” In his 1961 Mater et Magistra he affirmed that, according to natural law, the role of human sexuality is permissible only in marriage and that, “Everyone [i.e., non-Catholics as well] without exception is bound to accept these laws.” Most important, John XXIII urged new efforts in the Third World and the ordination of “native clergy” to work with their own people. This was the beginning of a massive church effort of conversions akin to those that occurred in the great territorial conquests of the 15th and 16th centuries—and the basis for the cultural and theological makeup of the church today.
Under his successor Paul VI there was a shift to a more hard line on issues of personal morality as he reaffirmed the church’s stand on birth control, divorce, and celibacy for priests. Along with urging more missionary work in the Third World, he also insisted on a larger role for non-European and U.S. Catholics and clergy, thereby shifting the makeup of the College of Cardinals to make sure some of them came from Third World countries.
Of course, the greatest shift in tone came from John Paul II who, following the lead of his predecessors, made insistent demands that the church’s teachings on sexual morality and reproduction be followed not only by Catholics, but be enacted into secular law. He issued numerous statements condemning legislation that promoted reproductive rights, abortion, access to alternative means of reproduction, anti-discrimination laws to protect gay people, and laws protecting alternative families.
Benedict XVI’s honeymoon period will undoubtedly end soon, given the fact that the day before his election he spent considerable time in a homily decrying “the dictatorship of relativism.”
The reality is that the church has hardly changed its mind about sexual issues—ever—and is not about to now. But there is a second liberal illusion about the Vatican and the Roman Church that goes hand in hand with this—i.e., that the Pope and his faithful followers do not have a great deal of power. This may have been true 75 or 100 years ago, but is not true now. The Roman church, in the last 50 years, has regrouped and reinvigorated itself as a player and is more powerful than it has been for almost 200 years. On the world stage this has been seen over the past 30 years, beginning with the papacy of Paul VI and the Vatican’s unceasing efforts to stamp out liberation theology in South and Central America. But that was only the beginning.
One of the most important places that this power may manifest itself—aside from the Vatican attempting to influence U.S. politics—will be in the United Nations as primarily Catholic Third World countries will be voting on funding for birth control, AIDS prevention, and sex education. (Already we have seen alliances between some primarily Catholic countries and Islamic countries on votes about freedom for women and sexual issues, especially the relaxing of regulations on homosexuality.)
In November 2003, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the Vatican’s spokesperson on family affairs stated, “Relying on condoms is like betting on your own death,” claiming—as scientific fact—that condoms are too permeable to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. Although the World Health Organization countered this with the information that condoms are a highly efficient means of preventing the spread of HIV, Trujillo responded, “They are wrong about that.... This is an easily recognizable fact.”
This blatant, deadly, and intentional misstatement of scientific fact has been carried from the Vatican by bishops and cardinals, mostly in Asia and Africa where the church is growing quickest and where AIDS is spreading the fastest. For example, 20 percent of the population of Kenya is HIV positive, but the Roman Catholic clergy has repeatedly condemned condom use as immoral, stating that as a form of birth control it is against “natural law” and promotes promiscuity. The church also publicizes and reiterates the lie about condom permeability. As AIDS spreads across these countries, the death toll climbs higher and higher.
This is, sadly and ironically, history repeating itself. In the middle ages and the Renaissance the Vatican’s Inquisition would kill people for not adhering to church doctrine. Now people face a hastened death for following doctrine. Karl Marx succinctly noted, history repeats itself, “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”
Michael Bronski has been involved in gay liberation as a political organizer, writer, editor, publisher, and theorist since 1969. His most recent book is Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps (St. Martin’s, 2003).
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.