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Vatican Blames Jews, Gays, Women for “Hate” Campaign

Riot police take aim in Kyrgyzstan.

The Catholic Church is looking a bit like Kyrgyzstan today — that former Soviet state where riot police are killing protesters, who now appear to have ousted the government.

It’s looking like Thailand, where protesters have forced government ministers to flee by Black Hawk helicopter.

It’s looking like Afghanistan, where corrupt President Karzai, who recently threatened to join the Taliban, is doing everything he can to hang onto power.

Just days after the pope’s personal preacher compared criticism of the hierarchy to anti-Semitism, on Good Friday no less, and the Vatican secretary of state interrupted Easter services (!) to deliver a ringing endorsement of Benedict, his boss, the Vatican has launched a new offensive, claiming that all-powerful lobbies for the pro-choice and same-sex marriage movements hate the Church and are trying to destroy it.

Funny, I thought it was pedophile priests and paranoid prelates who were trying to do that.

When they’re not blaming Jews at The New York Times.

AP reports:

By FRANCES D’EMILIO
The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 6, 2010; 5:57 PM

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican heatedly defended Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday, claiming accusations that he helped cover up the actions of pedophile priests are part of an anti-Catholic “hate” campaign targeting the pope for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

Vatican Radio broadcast comments by two senior cardinals explaining “the motive for these attacks” on the pope and the Vatican newspaper chipped in with spirited comments from another top cardinal.

“The pope defends life and the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, in a world in which powerful lobbies would like to impose a completely different” agenda, Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, head of the disciplinary commission for Holy See officials, said on the radio.

Herranz didn’t identify the lobbies but “defense of life” is Vatican shorthand for anti-abortion efforts.

I’m a former reporter on the Gay rights movement; I’ve seen it from the inside. I’ve covered feminist issues, Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women — and I have to laugh at the notion that these people could fight their way out of a wet paper bag.

LGBT and feminist leaders spend a lot more time arguing with each other than they ever do with their opponents. Who is it that gave the world “political correctness” but Gay people?

One incident captures this in a nutshell: the 1993 “March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.” (Notice, no Trans.) I’ve still got the T-shirt, hokay?

A gaggle of progressive, non-Gay celebrities were there to support the cause — and were denied the platform to address half a million marchers because they weren’t queer. Jesse Jackson, Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas, Cesar Chavez, people of renown and accomplishment, were permitted to address 5000 early birds at a pre-march rally at the Washington Monument; while the big crowd that afternoon got lectured to by a disabled Lesbian from Fiji, who harangued everybody for not caring enough about… people like her.

I kid you not. The memory still makes me laugh. Lesbians and Gay men can’t coordinate a bowel movement, much less a human rights movement.

But the Vatican says… oh, brother.

At least they haven’t shot anybody like the riot police in Kyrgyzstan.

The New York Times, April 3:

Last week, the center-left daily newspaper La Republica wrote, without attribution, that certain Catholic circles believed the criticism of the church stemmed from a New York ‘Jewish Lobby.’

Without attribution. “Certain Catholic circles.” “New York Jewish lobby,” an apparent reference to The Times itself. It is in fact owned by a Jewish family, and it has been active in reporting about Catholic pedophilia scandals in Wisconsin, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland and elsewhere. The Church doesn’t like having its secrets exposed.

When the (Anglican) Archbishop of Canterbury noted rather mildly that the Catholic Church in Ireland has “lost all credibility,” he was barraged by attacks from Irish Catholic archbishops, who suddenly pretended to be great friends with Anglicans who “betrayed” them, despite the pope’s efforts a few months ago to steal conservative Anglicans and make them Catholics.

I’ve written previously that the Vatican’s problems are structural and have nothing to do with the all-male priesthood, clerical “celibacy” or any other issue of sex and gender. The problems originate in trying to run a church as a dictatorship, where the Big Man gets to decide everything while claiming to be God’s human mouthpiece. It’s a massive error in governance, which is why hundreds of millions of non-Catholic Christians refuse to follow the man.

It doesn’t mean we hate him; it means the system he fronts is obviously and fatally corrupt.

God created all of us; no one is better than anyone else. If you don’t get that, you don’t get anything.

God touches the souls of janitors and scholars alike; if you want to find Christ, visit the homeless, the marginalized, the despised. Queers even, intrinsically disordered though we might be.

The Church’s current crisis, which finds the Vatican lashing out in every possible direction, has nothing to do with abortion, masturbation, contraception, same-sex marriage, the priesthood of “celibate” men or the dignity of women. It has to do with priests molesting children. Period.

What the Catholic Church has done is indefensible. It’s facilitated crime against the least powerful of God’s beloved people.

If the Pope had any brains, which he apparently does not, he would have appeared in St. Peter’s Square on Good Friday in sackcloth and ashes, begging the forgiveness of all humanity for the actions of his priests.

We’d have wept at such a sight; we’d have praised God for him.

Instead he listened to a sermon by his own official preacher, claiming that criticizing the pope was somehow equivalent to the Jew-hating that killed six million souls in concentration camps.

My father was a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany. He fought and nearly died to free people he didn’t know from the clutches of hatred.

It is profoundly disrespectful to millions who suffered like him to equate a public outcry against the pope and his minions with a campaign of “hate” by feminists, Jews and Gay people.

Stop crucifying children, Benedict; resign and never show your face again. In the Name of Jesus, do the right thing for once.++

C of E Loses Its Shirt on Stuyvesant Town

Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan (Getty/AFP)

What do the Church of England and a giant New York housing development known as Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village have in common? It turns out, quite a lot; they’re both worth a lot less than they used to be.

The Church was one of the investors in Stuyvesant Town when Tishman Speyer, a real estate firm, bought the complex from Metropolitan Life in 2005, the biggest real estate deal in U.S. history. Tishman paid $5.4 billion for those 11,000 apartments covering 80 acres on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, with views of the East River. It’s now worth $1.9 billion and Tishman has defaulted.

Apparently the Church’s investment philosophy is Buy High, Sell Low. “Hey, Bishop, I know how to repair your palace. Let’s speculate in foreign real estate, we’ll make a killing!”

The New York Times reports:

Housing Complex Goes to Creditors

By CHARLES V. BAGLI
Published: January 25, 2010

The owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, the huge middle-class housing complexes overlooking the East River in Manhattan, have decided to turn over the properties to creditors, officials said Monday morning.

The decision by Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty comes four years after the $5.4 billion purchase of the complexes’ 110 buildings and 11,227 apartments in what was the most expensive real estate deal of its kind in American history.

Don’t just blame it on the housing bubble, because this deal was a stinker from the get-go. Tishman’s plan was to spend a billion dollars on renovations, then deregulate the rents and triple them. Most apartments there are rent-controlled.

But New Yorkers don’t move out of rent-controlled apartments except by order of the coroner. The rent laws are strict, many lawyers specialize in housing issues, and the residents are savvy about their rights.

Met Life built Stuyvesant Town after World War II specifically as affordable, middle-class housing. The city and the whole country had a severe housing shortage—little had been built since the Depression—and the first tenants were thrilled with their apartments.

But in 2005 Tishman and the Church of England thought they could displace the residents and fill the apartments with rich people. The first targets were the tenants already paying market rates, who saw huge increases when it was time to renew the lease. Once that was accomplished, they’d move on the rent-controlled tenants.

Maybe Rowan Williams can preach to us again about justice for the poor.

The surrender of the properties ends a tortured real estate drama in which the partnership made expensive improvements to the complex and then tried to rent the apartments at higher market rates in a real estate boom. But a real estate downturn and the city’s strong rent protections hindered those efforts, leaving the buyers scrambling to make payments on loans due for the properties, which have been a comfortable harbor for the city’s middle class since they opened in the late 1940s.

The Times doesn’t say how much the Church stands to lose on this deal, but it’s a major partner with Tishman. The property has lost 65% of its value and $3.5 billion in cash.

Were they nuts? Or just greedy?

Why not both?

The property is currently worth an estimated $1.9 billion — far less than the purchase price, which means many investors will lose some or all of their money. Those investors include Gramercy Capital, an affiliate of SL Green Realty; Wachovia bank; CW Capital; Winthrop Realty Trust; the Church of England; and a Florida state pension fund.

For tenant advocates and urban planners, the sale underscored the loss of affordable housing in the city and the highly speculative financial structures that they warned would end in disaster.

If I were a state employee or retiree in Florida, I wouldn’t be too happy either. In fact, I’d make it a big issue in the Florida U.S. Senate race. Gov. Charlie Crist has decided he wants to be a senator now; oh really?

Wachovia Bank, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, went under because of deals like these and is now a subsidiary of Wells Fargo. The money just disappeared one day; “I thought it was in my wallet but I can’t find it.”

Did they think housing would only go up?

Were they nuts? Or just greedy?

Why not both?

Last October The Times reported on a devastating court decision revealing what the new owners of Stuyvesant Town were really up to:

The state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled Thursday that the owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village had wrongfully raised rents and deregulated thousands of apartments while receiving city tax breaks.

Meanwhile English bishops in the House of Lords continue to argue for their right to discriminate against LGBT employees.

Someone, anyone, tell me again why the Episcopal Church should be dragged down by these people.++

UPDATE: Episcopal Cafe details the Church of England’s mammoth losses here.

Hello, residents, meet your new landlord, the Archbishop of Canterbury! (Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times)