Tag Archives: Pope Francis

The pope’s shameless legions


Being a person who believes in no religion but has been taught to respect those who do and hoping they refrain from trying to convert or save me, I admit to liking Pope Francis very much as a person and inspirational leader and hope he can convert some of the scowling dumb-asses in this country to think about climate change and individual rights and the plight of immigrants, in whose shoes they refuse to place themselves in fear they might just start understanding their suffering and come to their aid, which would certainly infuriate their rancorous leaders demonizing them as criminals, terrorists and parasites sucking our system dry.

Amidst the pomp and pageantry of the pope’s invocations, the business moguls and politicians and glitterati of America fawn over and grovel before him in hushed tones like chastened sinners, temporarily humbled, and forgiven. Oh how magnificent they are in their new-found benevolence and humility. How wonderful it must feel; to be rich and famous and powerful and take time out from shitting on the little guy and bow before the pope and utter kind things about him when all the while you can’t wait for him to get his pious ass back to some place like the slums of Rio to pass his benedictions and blessings on to those poor saps who believe in his socialist bullshit and leave us to our merciless onslaught on democracy while we praise it as the savior of civilization.

The business moguls and politicians and glitterati of America fawn over and grovel before him in hushed tones like chastened sinners, temporarily humbled, and forgiven. Oh how magnificent they are in their new-found benevolence and humility.

When the pope critiques our capitalist system, he gets to listen to our conservative politicians and media pundits and heavyweight Catholics—the big time Catholics who for years ignored and denied the hideous rape of their children by their priests—explain how they “appreciate the pope’s deeply felt compassion and humility but he doesn’t understand our democracy and capitalistic system of government and how well it works for ALL Americans.”

Oh, he understands all right. He doesn’t see us as we see ourselves, does he, so inebriated are we with our greatness, our wealth, our reality shows of rich women getting drunk and squabbling over nonsense, our crazed hero-worship of athletic heroes in violent sports in over-priced venues, our descent into drugs of every kind at every level of society, our white police shooting black men down in the streets, our obscene narcissism in glorying in the trappings of material wealth, our hordes of mindless obese gobblers of artificial food, our defense of individual arsenals to supposedly fight our own feared government but that lead to monthly slaughters of innocent people, our enormous military power hogging money that could be spent on the needy as our homelessness spirals out of control, our meddling in countries where we do not belong with the propagandistic excuse it makes us safer and insures our national security, our massive and paranoid intelligence institutions that spy on us and warn us after starting these horribly tragic wars that “we know best, and you don’t, so trust us.”

This pope probably watches American television, which is everywhere, and observed a beaten down John Boehner, a good Catholic and former altar boy and basically a good guy, tormented by the hard-hearted zealots in his House of Representatives who want to cut taxes and eliminate regulations for the rich corporations and take away what’s left from the poor so as to “balance the budget and get the economy back on track.” Yeh, sure.

There is suspicion Boehner possibly, upon the visit of his pontiff, felt profound pangs of guilt and shame in meeting Francis while knowing he had been going along for four years with a bunch of bloodless pricks with no other interest but shafting the poor. So he quit, weeping like a kid who lost a Little League game.

This pope, if he can keep from gagging, probably turns on Fox News and watches the cruel expressions and listens to the cruel words of people like Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity and the rest of the rabble denouncing our black president as a Kenyan, a Muslim, a non-American, and, cloaked in the right language, “a nigger with the gall to think he can govern us old white fogies when the country belongs to us. The idea of this black bastard and his black wife and black children actually greeting the pope!”

Temporarily, the Marco Rubio’s and Ted Cruz’s and Chris Christie’s and Carly Fiorina’s and Rick Santorum’s take time out from their vicious attacks on any policies to help the needy to appear both proud and beneficent as they stand blessed by their beloved pope, so ensconced are they in papal purity. Meanwhile, their bankrollers, the Koch brothers and the Texas billionaires and the rest of that scabrous lot continue their assault on a country they’re trying to buy and wait patiently for this altruistic and obviously naïve pope Francis to get the fuck out of this country so they can take it over.

Trump, smartly staying out of this ghastly spectacle, bides his time, knowing that money talks and bullshit walks. He likes the pope, of course, might even consider him a good friend some day, wink, wink, somebody who might need a big fat donation down the line, ey? Get rid of that tin-can Fiat and step into my private plane, Frank…. §

Dell Franklin writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he lives with his dog Wilbur. His work can also be read online at dellfranklin.com.



Pope Francis in America

by Dell Franklin


Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Our great author, John Steinbeck, who appeared to have little use for religion, might have liked this Pope. Steinbeck was all about the little guy who was not blessed with great physical strength, intelligence, drive and luck. He felt those who possessed these rare gifts should try and help those without them, for life and survival was so difficult, the world so merciless and unfair in many cases. I believe this Pope believes those with these gifts should be humble, compassionate and generous, not arrogant, greedy, selfish and inhumane.

So what must this Pope think of us, as a country, when he certainly observes our burgeoning oligarchy disguised as a democracy. What must he think about super pacs supported by billionaires like the Koch brothers, who despise our safety nets and wish to turn the entire country into a company town tossing crumbs to the over-worked peons? I had a political science teacher back in 1962 who warned our class that the greatest threat to our then thriving democracy was capitalism unchecked, in that it would evolve to the degree where money and material items and the trappings of wealth could become more important than our humanity.

So what must the Pope think of the mean-spiritedness of conservative Catholics like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and a few others so gorged with acrimony and persecution they actually want to de-fund Planned Parenthood and Obamacare, which have been created to help people without the means to help themselves and are therefore cast as parasites so un-American they are dragging down “America’s Greatness”? What must the Pope think of Donald Trump’s cannibalistic rhetoric, his racism, his bragging, his arrogance, his propensity to intimidate and make people feel small, and the mobs of strictly white hordes steeped in stupidity who idolize him and wish to see his ideas put into action?

Did the Pope see the Republican debates, where a Carly Fiorina displayed a hypocrite’s adoption of a lie to make her point about fetuses to curry favor with fanatics? Does he see people running for our highest office who are stooping to the lowest, most selfish and cynical common denominator so that in the end they can actually shaft these misguided and misinformed fools whose votes they seek? Did he notice those running for office in America fawn over him for political advantage and that their behavior is nauseating?

I’m sure this Pope assumes our people are good, not that we have become a crumbling empire ripe for demagogues, and that we are thinking only of our own self-gratification instead of the future of the planet and the concern for those with disease, are homeless, and who suffer daily and seem to feel they have no way out of their situations—here and everywhere throughout the world.

This Pope, who has rankled those bishops in the Vatican that have feathered their own nests with luxury and avoided confronting the sexual abuse of children by their priests and generally behaved like expedient politicians above the people, eschews the trappings of his mantle and associates himself with those who worship what HE, as Pope, represents.

What they should really worship is the man himself, Francis. One wonders, do those at the Vatican who for centuries reveled in the luxury, politics and pomp of their mantles despise Francis for so blatantly eschewing these rewards and driving around in a tiny Fiat? Do they feel he is embarrassing them, show-boating, and a fool? Or do they realize that Francis, having seen the world at its worst and walked among the downtrodden, would feel ashamed of himself to wallow in materialistic success while those still suffer. This Pope leads by example.

This Pope has an aura of greatness, such as we’ve seen in people like Franklin Roosevelt, Churchill, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, in that whole civilizations liked and trusted these people and would follow them anywhere. Like those fore-mentioned, there is an inclination to feel Francis is one of those very mortal beings who come along once in a lifetime and is special and will make a difference if we just let him, if we listen to what he says, and follow him.

In Cannery Row, Steinbeck’s main character, and in many of his books his personal mouth-piece, Doc Ricketts, sits and watches a parade pass by in Monterey, Calif., and observes some bums and talks to a man named Richard Frost.

‘It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

The Pope would know where he stood with one of our greatest writers. Donald Trump and those running for office and fawning all over the Pope would probably call Steinbeck a crackpot and probable communist. What about the rest of the country? What do we really think of what Steinbeck said and what Pope Francis preaches as we exalt him? §

Dell Franklin writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he lives with his dog Wilbur. His work can also be read online at dellfranklin.com.

Open Letter to Pope Francis

From a Christian reprobate

Dear Pope Francis:

I’ve fallen from grace.

I don’t believe much religious bullshit anymore.

I used to believe the way Kim Davis does, loving the sinner and hating the sin, refusing full rights to those who don’t belong in the Kingdom of God.

Still, I loved those sinners. Enough to track them down and tell them about the Lord.

“Oh, you’re going to give me some of that Jesus crap?” a youthful homeless man with heavy beard, and bright scornful eyes, asked me on the beach where I’d taken to a little street evangelism.  He smiled at me, took a swig from a beer can in brown paper bag. “Listen, kid. Give it up! It’s a crock of shit.”

I knew somehow there was nothing I could say that would convince him otherwise. I left him alone. It took me a long time to realize just what he meant.

For years, I steeped myself in church doctrine, theology, fundamentalism, prayer, good works, and even considered full-time ministry as a young man. I started out with the extreme conservative Southern Baptists, got a good solid education in the Bible, then moved to the spirit-filled charismatic and Pentecostal family where I learned to whoop and shout, “Glory! Halleluja!” and speak in tongues, then switched to the more staid and even-tempered American Baptists, who enjoy family barbecues and picnics, until finally I settled with the Episcopal Church, where my faith journey as a Christian pretty much died.

It died in the midst of a dispute with a mean-spirited bishop, the dissolution of a small church through bitter infighting and petty squabbling, and a host of other church-related ills and bloodletting that’s common throughout the faith world, not just among Christians.

I mostly don’t have anything in common with the church or religion today. I avoid them whenever possible. Yet, I know there are fine and lovely people who believe.

I got tired of talking about Jesus years ago.

I don’t mind when people practice their religion, so long as they keep it to themselves. I don’t mind when they go to church, sing hallelujah, and don’t let their religion turn them into assholes or cause them to muddy the public square with self-serving screeds about gay marriage, going to war with Iran, and barring Muslims from participating in American politics.

I do mind when religious hucksters turn politics into a circus not unlike a Scopes monkey trial, where they subvert not only civil rights and the separation of church and state, and intelligent political dialog, but access to knowledge and information, and the freedoms of certain citizens.

I’ve always understood God wants everyone to be free, and love is the driving force, the compelling narrative, of that story, which ends with redemption. I don’t buy the damnation story, or that gays can’t be married; it’s sounds too much like ISIS.

So, I guess I’m a Christian reprobate, or as a good Calvinist would say, “a sinner who is not of the elect and is predestined to damnation.”

Oh well, I’ll do the best I can to live fully every moment of the time I have left here and won’t fret about whether I can marry my gay lover, or whether I’m going to heaven or hell. But I would, nonetheless, Holy Father, appreciate your blessing because I’m a rogue who needs love too. §

Stacey Warde is publisher of The Rogue Voice. He can be reached at stacey.warde@yahoo.com.