Burch: Saint or sinner?

Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

The election of a new pope — Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, who took the name Pope Francis — was greeted warmly by Middle Tennessee Catholics.

Here in Nashville, students at Saint Cecilia Academy and Overbrook School gathered to show their support, singing and praying for the new pope. According to Saint Cecilia Principal Sister Anne Catherine, “The rally for the pope is an international initiative we heard of over the weekend. It began with some young people in Denver that said they wanted to have rallies in major cities around the U.S. and the world, celebrating the new pope and also celebrating the common love for the Catholic Church.”

All around the world, the new pope is being praised for his compassion for the poor. Now, I hate to rain on everyone’s parade, but ...

What about poor people who are gay? Cardinal Bergoglio is a theological conservative who supported the Roman Catholic Church’s hard-line stance against gay marriage. Even worse, he led a crusade against gay marriage, calling it “God’s war” against a “plan of the devil.”

What about poverty-stricken girls and women who get pregnant, but can’t afford to bring more hungry mouths into the world? Cardinal Bergoglio also supported his church’s hardline stances against contraception and abortion.

What about poor women who want to become priests? Cardinal Bergoglio also opposed the ordination of women.

In 2001, Cardinal Bergoglio washed and kissed the feet of 12 AIDS patients. But according to Maria Rachid, the secretary of the National Equality Bureau of Buenos Aires, he opposed the distribution of condoms. Is it “compassion” for the poor to deny them access to condoms, then wash and kiss their feet when it’s too late and they are deathly ill?

Cardinal Bergoglio clashed with the Argentine government, particularly former President Néstor Kirchner and his widow and successor, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, on issues such as gay marriage and the adoption of children by gay couples. Mrs. Kirchner described his beliefs as being those of “medieval times and the Inquisition.”

I think the Divine Oscar Wilde was probably correct when he said that the only sin is stupidity. Stupidity can and does kill. While Pope Francis may have compassion for the poor, his ludicrous Dark Age ideas are going to cause terrible suffering and many premature deaths among the world’s poorest people — unfortunately, the ones most likely to listen to him. To cause the premature death of an innocent person is the definition of murder. To cause the premature deaths of many innocent people is serial murder. To mislead large numbers of innocent children into believing things that are not true — such as it being a “sin” to use condoms — will be a death sentence for many of them.

The Roman Catholic Church finally had to come to terms with the serial pedophiles in its midst. But when will it finally come to terms with the serial murderers in its midst — or at the very least, accomplices to serial murder — its popes?

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

47 Comments on this post:

By: gdiafante on 3/22/13 at 9:37

Would you like to see the pope on the end of a rope, do you think he's a fool?

-Black Sabbath, After Forever

By: Loner on 3/22/13 at 9:47


Let's develop and market it...the image of the new Pope, on a bar of soap...on a rope....with the fragrance of sacramental incense...when used with Holy Water, it can cleanse the soul.....kerching!

By: Loner on 3/22/13 at 9:50

Mike Burch, thanks for the lowdown on the High One. If he is guilty as charged and if there is post-mortem justice, then the new Pope will have some explaining to do.

By: dargent7 on 3/22/13 at 9:54

Barack Obama, whether Christian, Muslim, Scientologist, runs circles around any Catholic Pope.
Say, "No to abortion, contraception, sex education, teaching of Evolution, gay rights...."
Catholicism is so out of touch, date, and is marginalized.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Toaism, all Eastern religions are far superior to telling the truth and showing the way.

By: govskeptic on 3/22/13 at 12:09

I don't suppose one should be surprised at Mr. Burch's not caring for this Pope or
any of the others as well. If one's own causes are more important than that of this
assembly of over 1 billion world wide, then criticize on Mr. Poet. While not Catholic
myself, I find Pope Francis to have a remarkable background, a lifetime of empathy
for the poor, and a man living a long life of faith and modesty true to his cause. For
that I raise a glass of gratitude to him.

By: Loner on 3/22/13 at 12:19

That Eastern religion stuff isn't working out too hot in India...more horrific rape stories everyday it seems....and they built a nuclear arsenal too...another religion of peace gone bad?

By: grid on 3/22/13 at 12:49

By all accounts, Pope Francis has dedicated himself to Catholic ideals, and done his best to follow them. We may not agree with all Catholic principles (I don't), but it appears Pope Francis has done more good than harm.

Mr. Burch, if you were looking for an emotional reaction out of this piece, I believe you'll get it...good or bad.

By: Loner on 3/22/13 at 12:56

Maybe the world's oppressed Catholics should tear a page out of Judaism's playbook and try Catholic Zionism.... the world's Catholics would all make aliyah to Rome, learn Latin, and displace the native Italians, by way of arms....and generous US taxpayer support....whadya think?

By: Captain Nemo on 3/22/13 at 1:54

Religion has been turn into a political tool by the power brokers. Christ did not teach religion, he tough lover and understanding. Something Rasputin, yogi and Jughead can not understand.

By: Mike Burch on 3/22/13 at 7:06


It seems the more liberal leaders of Argentina consider the pope to be closer to a medieval inquisitor than an enlightened man. And of course the last pope, the aptly named Ratzinger Benedict, actually held the renamed office of the Grand Inquisitor.

Some people will insist on praising Pope Francis for his compassion for the poor, but in my book there is no "compassion" in handing out death sentences to poor children by telling them to be fruitful and multiply, but not to use condoms. Compassionate people do not hand out death sentences to children. Some of the readers who post here seem to either be without consciences, or they are unable to add two plus two and get four.

The Roman Catholic church has a vested interest in lots of babies being born into Catholic families, so that they can become tithe-paying Catholic adults.

If the popes really cared for the poor, they would be honest with them, and admit that the church's policies on sex and childbearing don't come from a wise God, but from ancient desert nomads who thought the earth was flat, that women should be stoned to death if they didn't bleed on their wedding nights, and that children should be stoned to death for being stubborn. If that is the "wisdom" of God, he must be a Dunce. It that's not the wisdom of God, the popes have been selling snake oil for nearly 2,000 years.

By: Mike Burch on 3/22/13 at 7:08


If you don't have an emotional reaction to adults handing out death sentences to children, what can I say?


By: Mike Burch on 3/22/13 at 7:18


The right-wing brain seems to lack both compassion and reason. Who can explain how Hitler, Stalin and people of that ilk "thought"?

The right-wing brain seems to decide, "This is what I want, so I will rationalize things in order to get what I want, regardless of how many innocent women and children have to suffer and die."

Rather than Pope Francis acting to save children by telling them that it is very important for them to use condoms if they have sex, he will rationalize and command them to die, in order to preserve his power, and the power of the Catholic church. To people capable of compassion and reason, he is clearly wrong, and is doing something incredibly evil. But to the right-wing brain, anything can be rationalized. Look at how the GOP rationalizes turning Medicare into a voucher system, which means the poorest elderly people will suffer and die, while the richest people get even richer.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/23/13 at 7:51


There is a reason why we need both right and left spheres of the brain. With out the tandem function of both sides mankind would be just like the rest of the wildlife on Planet Earth.

I have hopes the Pope Francis will do better and bring the Catholic Church into the 21st century. After the choosing of the name foe me gives me a clue as to his intent, for change to the better.

By: Mike Burch on 3/24/13 at 1:02


I would like to think the best of Pope Francis, but men who lie to children and hand out death sentences to them are accomplices to murder, in my opinion. It the popes were mowing down children with machine guns, the whole world would be aghast. But when they do it Bibles, they receive the accolades of millions.

No wonder the world is so screwed up .

By: yogiman on 3/24/13 at 5:12


Did you read the sections of the First and Third Congresses I referred to you about the meaning of 'natural born citizen'?

Those sessions took place in 1790 and 1795.

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 7:27

yogi - Doesn't being so stupid make you tired?

By: Captain Nemo on 3/24/13 at 7:45

No it doesn't' bfra. If it did he would know that he has been dead years ago.

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 7:49

Nemo - He should be embarrassed to show his ignorance on a public discussion board, instead he just flaunts it like the fool he is.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/24/13 at 8:00

Mike I hope that Pope Francis will be the change needed to remove the evil within the Catholic faith.

I think why the world screwed is for the likes of people like yogi and Rasputin. They have no future, past or presents of mind. No understand of the world outside their tiny minds.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/24/13 at 8:03


He would have to have a sense of what that means to be embarrassed.

By: Ask01 on 3/24/13 at 8:04

Most organized Christian religion is, in my opinion, so far from what I believe Jesus actually taught, as to be yet another offshoot from the original church.

Many are conditioned from birth to accept without question whatever is proclaimed by religious leaders. They are not truly evil, but deceived. Those who perpetuate the divergence are the ones who stand indicted in the conspiracy.

When Jesus returns, as prophesized in the Gospel's approved by the church, I believe one of the first to suffer will be those who cherry pick the teachings laid out in religious writings.

As I recall, many basic tenets of Jewish faith were modified by Christ's teachings. Why then, as the presumed representative of the Almighty on Earth, cannot the Pope declare Divine Revelation and alter some of the restrictions laid out by those who shaped the early church to fit their views?

To do so would shock some die hards, but true believers would accept the Papal edict as the true word.

Now that would be a truly newsworthy story.

Just my humble opinion, however.

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 8:16

Ask01 - A very good opinion it is! A lot of the things taught in our modern day Churches, contridict what is actually taught in the Bible. Plus, since the Bible has been rewritten so many times, who is to say what was original?

By: yogiman on 3/24/13 at 8:59

The biggest question is: If the Bible is the 'tech book' of the world, why is there hundreds of different religions in the world?

Could it possible be because the people on this earth each think so differently? Could it possibly be because everyone thinks everyone else should think as they do?

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 9:03

9:59 comment - If you had brains enough to make sense, it would be a miracle! But you don't so why don't you SHUT UP!

By: Captain Nemo on 3/24/13 at 9:18

Spot on Ask01, I have seemilar opinion on this.

As for yogi's 9:59 post; if he thinks that his view is the knly view, then there is no way to anserw someone with such a closed mind.

By: yogiman on 3/24/13 at 9:19

And no, my intelligence doesn't make me tired, bfra. It makes me feel full of pi$$ & vinegar. But I am getting a little tired of your obvious ignorance on the "argument".

As I have posted before, prove me wrong and I'll admit it. But I can't see any of you admitting you're wrong; even when it's so obvious.

I'll post one more time: Read his book. Watch his interviews. Listen to him speak. Listen to his wife speak.

As I've posted before, I have "stuff" I don't know how to forward on a computer, but if you are interested in the facts I suggest you check out the First and Third sessions of Congress.

First Congress Session II, ch.3 (1790) Page 104
Third Congress Session II ch. 21 (1795) Page 415.

Then explain why Barry advertised he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii for 16 years.

I'll repeat: If he was born in Kenya (as he advertised) with a Kenyan father who was a British subject, under the laws of 1961, his mother could not pass her American citizenship down to him.

So the biggest question then is he an American citizen? Has he ever been? Do we actually have an Indonesian citizen in the White House?

Time will tell, bfra. And believe me, race hasn't a damn thing to do with it. That is unless you're a fellow communist with him.

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 9:29

yogi has been putting "time will tell" on here for over 4 1/2 years. Even after the 2nd election which Obama bet his "screw ball opponent" by a mile. yogi time has already told, you are as dumb as they come and no amount of positive FACTS will help you. Ignorance is inherited so you must have come from a loooong line of dummies.

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 9:37

"bet his" should be "beat his"

By: yogiman on 3/24/13 at 12:37


I hate to say this, but you are showing yourself to be so ignorant politically it's pathetic.

Tell me, what evidence have I posted on this site that you can prove me wrong? Why haven't you?

And what evidence have you, or any of your cohorts, posted that can prove yourselves to be right? Why haven't you? The only thing any of you have argued is [he was elected]. So I'll repeat my question: How can you win a race you aren't legally eligible to enter?

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 12:56

The same way you can't win an argument! Because you are not sane enough to understand FACTS, therefore your lies can't win anything.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/24/13 at 1:33

yogi you ignorant slut. You have never proved that we are wrong.

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 1:37

Nemo - yogi doesn't know the difference between true & false or right or wrong. Therefore the brain dead blob can't make a sane arguement.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/24/13 at 1:57

LOL bfra. In a black and white world, yogi only see black and never gray.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/24/13 at 1:59

bfra , I saw the movie The Emperor. It is a good movie.

By: yogiman on 3/24/13 at 3:04

What FACTS have you given me, bfra? I don't know of any facts you have given me. I only know of thoughts you have posted. The only argument any of you have posted was he was elected. Don't you know the Constitutional requirements to be elected President of the USA?

It sure as hell ain't just 'winning the election'.

Apparently you don't believe Barry's autobiography; that is if you have read it. Was he lying? He advertised Kenya as his birthplace for 16 years. Was he wrong, or was he lying?

By: yogiman on 3/24/13 at 3:05

I've simply posted your arguments, dumba$$. You've proved yourselves wrong.

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 3:35

yogi - You have never proved anything or posted a documented FACT in your life. You are a TOTAL LIAR, believe nothing but lies & post nothing but lies.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/24/13 at 4:38

yogi you ignorant slut, you have never proved nothing except that you can't think pass your bad breath.

By: yogiman on 3/24/13 at 4:39

What do you call a autobiography, bfra? Are you equating yourself to dumba$$? It sure looks like it.

I have referred you to several items; like things that had been repeated several times on TV and the internet, which makes me wonder if you can read or hear. Or have you just plain ignored then because you preferred "your man" in office illegally?

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 4:49

yogi poor ignorant blob!

By: yogiman on 3/24/13 at 5:09

Sorry, bfra, but you're the ignorant one. If you have a little time, look at a couple of issues on him.


Are they lies?

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 5:15

Anything you post is a lie! You research nothing! You don't look any further that the tip of your snout nose! Plus, you are eat up with stupid.

By: yogiman on 3/24/13 at 5:48

Sorry, bfra, but you're the one who can't seen beyond your nose... and it must be flat.

Unless you are present, at the scene, when anything happens, you don't know anything about it, eh? Well, tell me, how do you know so much? How do you know the man going by the name Barack Hussein Obama is actually Barack Hussein Obama? Because he told you personally? Where?

Tell me, what did the Kenyan newspaper mean when they printed; "And for producing the most powerful man in the world, Kogelo has changed dramatically. Through the Mama Sarah Obama Foundation, many product have been initiated by donors. An investor is putting up a Sh50 million hotel complete with a presidential suite in Kogelo. Besides, Sarah Obama's home receives between 30 to 50 foreign tourists on weekly basis, and more than 100 locals, just to see the US President's grandmother."

Ref: www.standardmedia.co.ke/?id=2000027214&cid=259&articleID=2000027214/

You might also like to see www.youtube.com/warm?v=tCAffMSWSzY/

By: bfra on 3/24/13 at 5:56

More stupidity by yogi!

By: Captain Nemo on 3/24/13 at 6:14

yogi you ignorant slut, you are such a waste.

By: yogiman on 3/24/13 at 7:43

I'm sure glad I don't have either of your intelligences. I'd be the dumbest damn guy in the country.

By: Mike Burch on 3/25/13 at 4:28


But is Jesus Christ any better than the Popes?

Suppose Jesus Christ is who Christians claim he is ... why didn't he save millions of Christian children during the Dark Ages from the Black Death, by telling someone about the need for better sanitation and rat control?

Why did he let all those poor children die such gruesome deaths?

It Jesus is wise and powerful, it seems he's no better than the popes, who let children suffer and die for the sake of the Roman Catholic church and its power games. If Jesus is not wise and powerful, where does that leave Christianity?