Reuters reports it is one of the few times in the year when the Pope listens rather than talks. In this case he listened intently to the meditations written by the socially progressive and notable Mafia fighter Italian archbishop Giancarlo Maria Bregantini and read by him as pairs of immigrants, prisoners, homeless, elderly, women, disabled, former drug addicts and the rest of the world’s rejects made the Stations of the Cross.
One meditation was addressed to American banking which sold all those junk securities and spoke of ‘all those wrongs which created the economic crisis and its withering social consequences: job insecurity, job loss, no more jobs except as sex workers, and I might add job fairs that mock the hopes of jobseekers with insulting employment and derisive wages, an economy that rules but doesn’t play by any rules and certainly doesn’t serve an purpose other than to satisfy the bankers’ greed, financial speculation by those who took easy courses like MBA instead of law at Harvard rather than Michigan, corruption, usury, loss of local industry to smuggling and trade liberalization, and suicide among presumably business owners who lost out because the suicide of successful bankers is a result much to be desired but that’s just me. Let me see I think the Enron chief killed himself, which isn’t justice enough.
The US put pressure on the Philippine Congress to pass a law permitting the concoction and sale of the same kind of financial junk, a legislative endeavor that Ronnie Zamora and I hi-jacked, rewrote, and peppered with some many flaws, internal contradictions and poison pills, all expressed in the most baffling language, that the law could never be used. Neither Ronnie nor I ever introduced a bill in Congress; we found it insulting to introduce anything to a mentally inferior body; but we were humble enough to take its homegrown attempts at legislation and sabotage them on the principle that any law dictated by another country is bound to be crap for ours. We both feel so satisfied without legislative record if you can call it that; the Speaker of the House thought it was more of a demolition job.
Other meditations bemoaned the light of battered women by men who drink beer because commercials addressed to morons say they need one more—isa pa nga in the lingo of retards; presumably to get the guts to beat up women; abused children; home-bound and lonely elderly; prisoners who endure torture; loansharks who do on a small scale what bankers do on a big; and victims of organized crime which I assume includes the biggest organized crime syndicates today: the police.
‘Today, many of our brothers and sisters, like Jesus, are nailed to a bed of pain, at hospital, in homes for the elderly, in our families. It is a time of hardship, thanks to American banking, with bitter days of solitude and even despair,’ the archbishop intoned as representatives of the downtrodden carried a cross from station to station. Don’t worry, it was made of paper and paste because we are Catholics and so decent. The archbishop did not say that the people should contribute to society and government because he was not yet prepared for self-martyrdom: i.e., die of laughter.
Father Raniero Cantalamessa, known as the preacher of the pontifical household, spoke in turn of Judas Iscariot (Harvard MBA, class of 1990) who betrayed Jesus for a bank draft of 30 pieces of silver. ‘Behind every evil in our society is money, or at least in part,’ said Cantalamessa. ‘the financial crisis that the world has gone through and that this country is still going through—is it not in large part due to the cursed hunger for gold?” Actually, it is back to dollars and away from euros.
Speaking of CEOs, he said, ‘is it not also a scandal that some people earn salaries and collect pensions that are sometimes 100 times higher than those of the people who work for them and that they raise their voices to object when a proposal is put forward to reduce their salary for the sake of greater social justice?’ In the Philippines, it is 2,000 times higher and includes the privilege to fondle the more winsome of their female employees.
Ordinary people are the Body of Christ; special people are the tumors in that body. Last Good Friday, the Vatican, now on a war footing against capitalism, reminded common folk that the one’s nailing them to the cross dress in Armani or jusi barong although it doesn’t help their looks one bit.