This is interesting

Only got a few minutes here so I’ll make it quick.

Pope Francis has removed the conservative US Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the Congregation of Bishops in Rome.

Cardinal Burke was taken off the Congregation for Bishops, which is the group most responsible for deciding who becomes a bishop in the future.  He is being replaced by the far more moderate Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington.  With this move, it’s a clear sign that Pope Francis wants a change in the ideological base with which the church chooses its Bishops.

Burke was one of the Bishops that in the past had suggested that Catholic politicians who supported women’s rights to reproductive freedom should be prevented from taking Communion.

From the Milwaukee, WI Journal-Sentinal:

Burke and retired Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali were among more than a dozen members of the Vatican old guard who were removed from the 18-member congregation on Monday.

Among those appointed was Washington, D.C., Cardinal Donald Wuerl. While conservative, Wuerl is seen as a bridge-builder and less dogmatic than Burke, who has promoted the denial of communion to pro-abortion rights Catholic politicians and in recent interviews appeared to question the new pope’s plans to reshape the Vatican bureaucracy known as the curia.

Monday’s appointments are seen as the key to securing Francis’ legacy.

Burke was definitely in Francis’ way to doing whatever reforms he intends to do:

In a recent interview with EWTN, a U.S.-based Catholic cable network that spotlights conservative views, Burke questioned Francis’ ability to reform the Vatican bureaucracy.

“The service of the Roman Curia is part of the very nature of the church, and so that has to be respected,” Burke said.

“I can’t imagine that somehow the Roman Curia is going to take on a completely different figure. It just doesn’t make sense,” Burke said. The interview was broadcast Thursday as the centerpiece of a program that highlighted concerns about the direction of the church since Francis was elected in March.

Francis’ own top collaborators, namely a “kitchen cabinet” of eight cardinals he tapped to help him change the Vatican’s Byzantine and often scandal-ridden ways, have said that the old curial system “is over,” as one put it, and will be replaced by “something different.

So this is encouraging.  I’m still a very long way from darkening the threshold of the church any time soon, but this is a badly needed start on returning the Catholic Church to its actual Christian roots and mission.

Also, too, open thread.

122 replies
  1. 1
    Cervantes says:

    Pope Francis has removed the conservative US Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the Congregation of Bishops in Rome.

    Good riddance.

    The evidence mounts: the new guy may, indeed, be OK.

  2. 2
    Punchy says:

    Burke-aked by Don Franky…

  3. 3
    beltane says:

    The Burkean bells are ringing.

  4. 4
    geg6 says:

    Well, I’ll never go back, no matter what Francis or any other pope might do. They ruined the whole god thing for me forever and the best I can do is to eventually feel I can thank them for that (I’m not there yet).

    But this is pretty big stuff right here. Even bigger than all his pretty words that have the liberal world swooning. Changing how the Curia works is how you change the church from it’s recent insanity. He’s got a tough struggle ahead of him and he may not be able to do it, especially given his age. But booting some of these entrenched assholes and putting in some more moderate prelates into the hierarchy is the first step. For all my Catholic friends, I hope he gets it done and that he has really good bodyguards and food tasters.

  5. 5
    Violet says:

    So encouraged to see the steps Pope Francis is taking. It’s big fun to watch conservative heads explode every time Francis does something like this. I hope he’s got a food taster.

  6. 6
    gnomedad says:

    First Amendment!! Who does this guy think he is?

  7. 7
    Dave L says:

    Other than setting a new tone, there really isn’t much Francis can do to change the church. This is probably the area where his power is greatest: personnel. Nearly every current bishop in the world was appointed by JPII or Benedict, and you can see the difference that has made right here in the US, where the bishops used to be a force for social justice (think Cardinal Bernardin) and have now become a spiritual arm of the Republican Party. But changing bishops takes a long time (the incumbents have to die) so going after the bureaucracy was always going to be the most important tool available to Francis.

    Moreover, Francis has been very open about how much he wanted to change things in the Curia and elsewhere, so this sort of thing shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. And yet, it is so heartening to see him moving from fine words to concrete action – this is the sort of thing that lets you know that he’s serious. Here’s hoping he enjoys many more years of vigorous good health.

  8. 8
    Tim F. says:

    Donald Wuerl is a bridge builder? Yikes. Dr. Mrs. Dr. F. is (was) Catholic so on a lark we attended midnight mass in 2001 at St. Paul’s, the big cathedral in Pittsburgh, bishop Wuerl presiding. Most of you remember people were still pretty freaked out at the end of 2001. I imagine that most religious authorities took the no-brainer approach and told their flock that terrorism only works when people are scared, we become strong when we look after each other, the kingdom of heaven (or the book of life or whatever) waits for people who live a good life, etc. Instead the good bishop Wuerl spent his entire homily explaining why obstetricians are exactly like the terrorists because sanctity of human life etc. That was the last time we’ve been in a church.

    In related news Wuerl used to demagogue the crap out of homosexuality until a friend of mine who does gay activism in Pittsburgh suggested that he change the subject or they would release some photos. Wuerl promptly went on a bender about abortion that as far as I know is still going on. I never did find out what those photos showed.

  9. 9
    Barry says:


    It’s amazing just how much power a pope wields. And given that this guy probably has a decade or so to go, he’ll be able to make some serious changes.

  10. 10
    gnomedad says:

    I keep thinking that what defines this Pope is that he took Jesus seriously when he said “the Sabbath was made for Man, not Man for the Sabbath.” This is not to say that he will never cave to dogma (he DID get to be Pope, you know), but still …

  11. 11
    MattF says:

    Francis is digging in for the long haul– and I imagine that the counter-revolutionaries are, right now, setting out their own strategies. We shall see.

  12. 12
    Raven says:

    Y’all need to jump over and read Pat Lang. None of this is going to change anything about gay marriage or abortion.

  13. 13
    Feudalism Now! says:

    Wuerl is a bridge builder in the sense that he does what he is told. You don’t have a lot of choice amongst American bishops, if you want to enact change. The ‘liberal’ social justice bishops are out numbered by the GOP bishops, the conservatives will ignore and stymie a leftish bishop. Wuerl is a conservative, but he is a spineless conservative. Francis will ride him and his other replacements like a jockey. Between the financial shake up and the political shuffling, Francis appears to be setting up for a long term change. Don’t expect any big doctrinal changes for a few years, but maybe Francis’ successor will have the tools to do it.

  14. 14
    maurinsky says:

    He’s an improvement, but the church will still be wrong on anything to do with women and probably the gays.

    (I sing in a Catholic church, and the priest has basically talked about how much he loves Pope Francis every since he was installed, and I would say that the sermons have become decidedly more liberal since then….then again, this priest was rebuked by the local Archbishop for participating – not as an officiant, but as a reader – in his nephew’s gay wedding).

  15. 15
    aimai says:

    @Tim F.: Yeah, I read a long piece about Wuerl and I was not as excited as other people seem to be about his selection. I mean, I think its very significant and extremely important in the specifically US context if they removed Burke before the next election cycle. The whole “won’t give communion to democratic candidates for election” thing was just revolting. But that is actually just sheer self protection on the part of the Catholic Church. I think they know that although it may have helped the Republican party with protestants it didn’t change Catholic voting habits at all and was bringing the Church very close to the kind of overt politicking which could theoretically make its tax status at issue. In addition with the Catholic Church having massive financial issues qua hospital non profit they probably don’t really want to keep pissing off the Democrats over things like electioneering.

  16. 16
    Belafon says:

    @Raven: No one expected it to, especially since Francis basically keeps hinting that he’s opposed to both. What this does change here in the US is the Catholic Church’s participation in politics somewhat. He hasn’t come out and said it, but being from South America, I’m pretty sure Francis is highly attuned to the US and it’s politics, and I am beginning to think that he did not like the Church being a branch of the Republican party.

  17. 17
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Shouldn’t be long before the pope is murderized.

  18. 18
    geg6 says:


    Weurl is going to do whatever is best for Donald Weurl. He’s a toady and a coward, which is why he was a perfect pick for the bishopric of DC. Believe me, he’s a liberal compared to the asshole that’s bishop here in Pittsburgh right now. Many people here would be happy to have him back if it meant getting rid of that creep, Zubick.

  19. 19
    jonas says:

    Like Tim F. pointed out, there really isn’t much daylight between Wuerl and Burke when it comes to conservative doctrine — Wuerl just smiles more nicely when saying it. Wuerl was also the guy who threatened to hold Catholic health and welfare charities in D.C. hostage if the district recognized same sex marriage. He later backed down, but he earned serious douchebag points in the meantime. But this, on top of a big smack down recently of the medieval loons in the traditionalist Pius X Society, is a sign that this pope is working on dragging the Church — kicking and screaming at times — into the modern world.

  20. 20
    geg6 says:


    This. I don’t know anyone that expects the Catholic Church to change its stance on either. But what they can and should expect is for the church to stay the hell out of secular issues like politics.

  21. 21
    MattF says:

    OT, Guardian article on N. Korea marking anniversary of Kim Jong-Ill’s death:

    And I quote:

    Conspicuously absent was Jang Song-thaek, who was executed after being accused of corruption and trying to overthrow the government.

  22. 22
    Feudalism Now! says:

    @MattF: Being dead has put a damper on his social presence, unlike Kim Jong Ill.

  23. 23
    Ash Can says:

    @Tim F.: Good insight (and reminder).

    Pope Francis is not perfect as far as the progressive agenda most of us here embrace is concerned, nor will he ever be. To believe or expect otherwise is futile. Nevertheless, this is a significant step in the right direction — most immediately, the direction of getting the USCCB the hell out of GOP politics. The fact that Wuerl is still a demagogue, albeit less of one than the guys Francis is dumping (a very low bar indeed), may mean that Francis doesn’t need to employ a food taster quite yet. Like Belafon points out above, the guy’s from Argentina, FFS, and is therefore obviously no ingenue when it comes to politics far more dangerous and overtly evil than we’re used to here. He’s made it this far, so he knows a thing or two about avoiding/staying one step ahead of the long knives. Relatively small steps now may look like not enough to us, and ultimately will leave something to be desired given the Church’s basic dogma anyway, but they can pay off pretty big in the long term.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Yes, I do believe that this is a concern.

    After all, JPI was threatening to take a closer look at some of the Vatican’s finances, and died rather abruptly (and fortuitously, for some) and replaced by a guy who wasn’t so inquisitive.

  25. 25
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    It’s hard to be present when you’re dead.

    “Conspicuously absent” indeed.

  26. 26
    GregB says:


    Wasn’t missing Kim Jong Il’s funeral due to his death cited as one of the reasons for his execution?

  27. 27
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Eternal President of the Republic Kim Il Sung would like a word with you.

  28. 28
    Mr. Longform says:

    I feel like the Church was doing its best to lose me for the past 40 years. They could have had me. I was a devout young person, really interested in all the tradition and was even kind of drawn to all the rules and regs (I know – weird, right?) Theological speculation is really appealing to some people, too, and they can be pretty good at that. But then somewhere along the line the Church seemed to join the Republican party. And then the pedophilia scandal was exposed and I basically haven’t stopped barfing since. Francis is the first ray of hope that there might be some focus on the right stuff. If I still prayed, I’d pray for his success. Maybe I’ll give it the old Christmas try.

  29. 29
    NonyNony says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Shouldn’t be long before the pope is murderized.

    I would assume that Jorge Mario Bergoglio learned from his predecessors and has an extensive file of blackmail material set to be automatically e-mailed to WikiLeaks should anything sudden happen to him. Possibly with a password he has to provide once a week or so to make sure, or maybe the old fashioned way (hand the file to some trusted friends and hope they do what you asked them to).

    He’s not a wide-eyed naif and he has made it pretty clear that he understands just how corrupt and horrible the internal workings of the Vatican are (in fact he made a point of saying that he wants to clean them up). I can’t imagine he got into the position he’s in now without quite a bit of leverage, and I can’t imagine he’s doing what he’s doing without quite a bit of insurance. The man isn’t an idiot.

    If he does die suddenly, I fully expect within six months of his death for some truly shocking and horrible revelations to come out about certain members of the College of Cardinals. You don’t go into cleaning up a pig sty without a shovel and you don’t go into cleaning up a mass of political corruption with historic ties to the Mafia without protection. It’s just common sense, and something that I doubt that someone who grew up and lived in Argentina during the Peron and post-Peron revolution era wouldn’t understand.

    I no longer consider myself Catholic, and there’s a lot to loathe about the Catholic Church, but I’ve got quite a lot of respect for Bergolio – he grew up in terrible circumstances, clawed his way up to Bishop and is now the Bishop of Rome. And not just a passive figurehead Bishop of Rome doing what the conservatives want done the way the last 2 Popes have been – he’s serious about cleaning out the Augean Stables that is the Catholic hierarchy. That takes guts, balls, a legion of foodtasters, and some heavy-duty blackmail material to use as leverage. I strongly doubt that the man doesn’t have all of those things…

  30. 30
    RSR says:

    It’s a catch-22 situation in that the Cardinals elect the Pope and the Pope elevates the Cardinals.

    Here in Philly we got a new archbishop (who should be elevated to Cardinal soon, if tradition holds) a couple years ago. Even though the AB is a Capuchin, and very conservative. He has also led a movement to pseudo-privatize the parochial schools, and archdiocesan cemeteries. The schools issue dovetails with the education reform movement in the city, which is also moving to a pseudo-privatization scheme, with outside philanthropic boards calling the shots for a combined pool of public, charter and parochial schools.

    This new AB will likely be leading the archdiocese for decades.

    But if Francis is setting the stage to elevate more moderate clergy to positions of power, it’s a good thing, although it too may take decades.

  31. 31
    Citizen_X says:

    @Raven: Why? How many Cardinals does Pat Lang have?

  32. 32
    Nutella says:

    Two points I found interesting in Sooner’s post:

    It’s not only Burke who was removed from the Congregation of Bishops, it was ‘more than a dozen’ of the 18 members. That’s a big change.

    Burke had the nerve to challenge the pope in public and tell him he could not change the curia. Not too clever of him in an organization whose head guy holds so much power.

    Tasters definitely called for, I’d say.

  33. 33
    maya says:

    Is it too soon to become a Popebot?

    I believe today is Frankie the First’s 77th birthday. Shame Marilyn Monroe isn’t still around.

  34. 34
    Raven says:

    @Citizen_X: so don’t.

  35. 35
    Ash Can says:

    @Mr. Longform:

    I feel like the Church was doing its best to lose me for the past 40 years.

    There’s good reason you’ve felt this way. JPII favored the more conservative elements in the worlwide Church, and then Benedict doubled down and expressly declared his intention to rid the Church of its more liberal and progressive elements and make it a smaller and more ideologically pure institution. He worked to push people like us away, and came right out and said that he was doing it.

    Like I said above, I don’t expect miracles from Pope Francis, and I think it’s unfair both to him and to ourselves to do so. But as time goes on and Francis continues to exceed (admittedly minimal) expectations — e.g. demanding that the Latin Mass cultists adhere to the edicts of Vatican II, and making them put it in writing on top of it — I’m starting to think it might be, it could be, that we may have another John XXIII in Francis: someone who “threw open the windows of the Church and let the fresh air in,” and dragged the Church at least partially into modern times (and made it catch up a little with the laity and with modern society in general). And this is not even to mention the outreach to non-Catholics that John XXIII did, not in an evangelical sense but in a simple act of friendship and respect and solidarity on issues affecting real people in the real world. I only hope that Francis also takes on the pedophilia problem, and that he has a far longer reign than JXXIII did.

  36. 36
    Joel says:

    Somewhere, David Brooks has a sad.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Raven says:

    @tybee: he’s on the blog roll.

  39. 39
    Belafon says:

    @Joel: Any time he has a sad, an angel gets its wings.

  40. 40
    MomSense says:

    Sending good thoughts to Yatsuno this morning.

    Not a Catholic but I am certainly enjoying Pope Francis so far.

    Considering decapitation for my sinus headache because nothing else seems to be working. Apparently sinus infections can take months to clear up. If there is a god, this sinus thing is a serious design flaw. Not so intelligent design, god!!

  41. 41
    aimai says:

    @MattF: “Conspicuously absent” by reason of death? How rude of him.

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    and replaced by a guy who wasn’t so inquisitive.

    No one expects the Financial Inquisition!

  43. 43
    balconesfault says:

    Francis is lucky that conservatives in the Church can’t filibuster his appointments.

  44. 44
    maya says:


    That takes guts, balls, a legion of foodtasters….

    Probably why he sneaks out at night to administer to the poor whilst getting a bite to eat. At different Pizzerias each night.

  45. 45
    Raven says:

    The md is now 1hr late for the appt.

  46. 46
    aimai says:

    @MomSense: My husband has suffered from massive, multi year sinus infections. The only thing that has worked is a combination of flonase (inhaled steroids) and now (urgh) nasal irrigation with a modern neti pot. This has finally brought the infections and chest colds to an end. But his night and morning routines are horrendously long.

  47. 47
    GregB says:


    Damn that Obama!

  48. 48
    shortstop says:

    @Ash Can:

    I only hope that Francis also takes on the pedophilia problem

    If he doesn’t, everything else he does, even including real service to the poor, will be meaningless. It is not possible to overestimate the scope of betrayal and pure venality involved in a massively powerful institution systematically enabling rape of the most vulnerable humans.

  49. 49
    shortstop says:

    @aimai: Keep an eye on his eyes if his family has a history of las cataratas. The third baseman used Flonase and wound up having two cataract surgeries in his 40s.

  50. 50


    Conspicuously absent was Jang Song-thaek, who was executed after being accused of corruption and trying to overthrow the government.

    It would have been substantially creepier if they had brought his corpse.

  51. 51
    MomSense says:


    MULTI YEAR??? Oh my. Please send your husband (and you) my sympathies. I’ve been doing the flonase and the mucinex and now antibiotics and apparently it may be many courses of antibiotics. I haven’t gone the neti route yet but that is definitely an option.

  52. 52 I try to be amused says:

    @Dave L:

    This is probably the area where his power is greatest: personnel.

    They say “Personnel is policy.” Does the Vatican’s corporate culture allow for rapid promotion over more senior people? Francis needs to stock the Vatican with younger people who are more aligned with his views.

  53. 53
    Mike in NC says:

    Have they labelled Francis the “Red Pope” yet?

  54. 54
    Ash Can says:

    @shortstop: I don’t think his other work would be entirely meaningless, but I agree with everything else that you say. His actions so far make me hopeful that he will eventually address it, but the fact that he hasn’t done so yet makes me wonder what he’s waiting for. Granted, he hasn’t been in power that long and has a huge amount on his plate, but the track record of the Church in general on this issue is so abysmal I can’t help but fear the worst. I’m hoping he has the commitment to do it, but also fear that, even if he does, it’s so ingrained, and among such powerful elements within the Church, that it would be a Herculean task involving lots of strategy and groundwork (and more than a little good luck).

  55. 55
    catclub says:

    @NonyNony: “That takes guts, balls, a legion of foodtasters, and some heavy-duty blackmail material to use as leverage.”

    But how do you get a Pope to resign? You make it sound like he has been some massive force in the church. I don’t see it. I am not sure what I do see in his moves, but a large movement for cleaning out the Curia, getting a Pope to resign, and installing Bergoglio does not sound plausible, when combined with: Ratzinger and JPII have appointed all the Cardinals who elected Ratzinger and Bergoglio.

  56. 56
    shortstop says:

    @Tim F.:

    In related news Wuerl used to demagogue the crap out of homosexuality until a friend of mine who does gay activism in Pittsburgh suggested that he change the subject or they would release some photos.

    Not trying to be obnoxious, but why didn’t your friend simply skip the threat and release the photos? Is he a staunch RC who believes the church can/should be reformed from within and he’s holding out hope that Wuerl’s opinion will change if he can’t speak out against gay people publicly? What other reason is there for protecting someone who actively hurts LGBT people while having sex with men himself?

  57. 57
    GregB says:

    @Ash Can:

    From a Machiavellian standpoint, it would certainly be in his best interests to consolidate his power and neutralize the ability of his detractors to counterstrike before he takes on such a massive task.

  58. 58
    Shinobi (@shinobi42) says:

    Both Burke and Rigali served in St. Louis, which begs the question, WHY DO YOU KEEP DOING THAT TO ST. LOUIS CATHOLIC CHURCH?

    The last thing that city needs is help keeping their catholic population conservative. There are probably more cathoic schools per capita there than anywhere else. Give them a liberal already, jeez.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Ash Can says:

    @shortstop: Aaaand the instant I hit the “submit” button on my reply to you, I recalled this. So yes, we can say that he is addressing it, but as the article says, it remains to be seen whether this commission will result in any real positive changes. Let’s hope Francis has the will and the ability to make it so.

    ETA: Beaten by seconds by Thoughtcrime. :)

  61. 61
    Shinobi (@shinobi42) says:

    @Ash Can: I never thought of JP2 as conservative. I feel like he was more an “Obama” figure in the church, many conservatives saw him as far too liberal, and liberals saw him as too conservative.

    Keeping in mind of course, that from a secular point of view, any catholic figure head is going to be fairly conservative. Within the church, he was moderate, which is why the Cardinals swung so far to the right with their next pick.

    Oh I’m sorry, I meant God.

  62. 62
    liberal says:

    OT: Billmon responded via twitter to a case of a “real life Walter White”.

    Maybe someone could become a “good” Walter White…by manufacturing dimethyl fumarate.

  63. 63
    Poopyman says:

    @MomSense: Mrs. P has had several episodes of possibly the same sinus infection for months. She’s gone through a number of courses of antibiotics, although she’s really hesitant at this point to do any more, for obvious reasons. She’s also trying to limit the Flonase. She refuses the neti pot, which I just don’t understand. I use one all the time, and although you get pretty intimate with snot, at least its your own and it makes your sinuses feel so much better.

    By all means give the neti pot a try. And instead of the prepackaged mix, use 1/4 tsp NON-iodized table salt and 1/4 tsp baking soda in 8 oz lukewarm water. Much cheaper and does the same thing.

  64. 64
    Ash Can says:

    @shortstop: Talking out of turn here since you weren’t asking me, but it seems to me that if the photos were simply released, Wuerl would have been made to step down and the very conservative Church hierarchy would simply have appointed another very conservative prelate in his place. Using the photos as a threat actually effected a change in Wuerl’s behavior. I’ll take the latter over the former any day of the week.

  65. 65
    nastybrutishntall says:

    @shortstop: Go to a Chinese herbalist / acupuncturist. I got sick of taking antibiotics 4-6 times a year in my late teens / early 20s for recurrent sinus infections and being told there were no other options. Tried everything under the sun (homeopathy, naturopathy, ayurvedic, etc). Chinese herbal medicine worked so well I became an acupuncturist / herbalist.

    A lot of the formulas have 1000+ years of written history, and many Rx’s have come into the canon during large-scale pandemics, so there are some very good antimicrobials that, because it’s all polypharmacy, still work after all these years without having engendered resistance.

    And, btw, yes, look up studies on Medline, etc. Most people think “herbs” are what you pick up at the healthfood store, and don’t even realize there’s an actual 2000+ yo written, evolving empirical discipline behind Chinese medicine. Most tablets / powders you get from an L.Ac. are going to be non-consumer, with lab testing to back them up for contaminants / species ID / etc., and we depend on the purity of our products for our livelihoods, so it’s nothing like the Wild West of the retail supplement trade with all the adulterations etc.

    My 2 cents. :-)

  66. 66

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: Absolutely and positively. I guarantee you this guy will succumb to some mysterious illness in the not so distant future.

  67. 67
    nastybrutishntall says:

    Moderation help, please! I mentioned “h3erbal m3dicine”. Is that it?

  68. 68
    kindness says:

    I’m not Catholic but being part Irish and raised in the NY suburbs I am intimate with the workings of the church. And this whole thing makes me say:

    “Ha ha”

    Gotta love it.

  69. 69
    brendancalling says:

    I find it equally awesome that he had Rigali removed. That Fucker protected a LOT of child rapists.

  70. 70
    fidelio says:

    @Raven: !!!! I hate it when that happens. It’s as if your time is entirely without value in the world.

    I’m always tempted to prorate reimbursement, figuring my time as worth at least $40/hour.

  71. 71
    Ben Franklin says:

    Francis gets some creds when he banishes the Peds, and not before.

  72. 72
    fidelio says:

    @MomSense: The latest thing in sinus surgery is stent placement, to hold the passages open so they can drain. (Warning: link has endoscopic images) Failure to drain properly is supposed to be one of the reasons some of us live in Sinus Hell, also know as I have a barometer right here in my head, dammit.

  73. 73
    shelly says:

    But is the Pope white?

  74. 74
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Ash Can: True. It’s not likely that there would be a photo of a Bishop having an abortion, though. Caging a bishop with photos can only go so far.

  75. 75
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @Ben Franklin:
    You want children banished? That seems somewhat harsh.

  76. 76
    Violet says:

    @MomSense: Okay, tried to post to you re: Vi ta min C as a possible thing to try for your sinus infection, but it got marked as spam. Google New Zealand man, Vit amin C, coma, and it should come right up. It works on viruses. I have used it to avoid getting sick if I take high doses on the front end of a virus, but it can also work if you’re currently sick. You take until your intestinal system shows effects of it–that’s kind of a rough guide to know when your body has enough. Wait a bit, then take more. You need to keep taking it for it to work.

    Also for me, aspirin with caffeine works (can’t post brand name). Reduces inflammation, which helps how you feel and helps drainage.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  77. 77
    Bobby Thomson says:

    I’m sure this was in the works before Burke’s interview last Thursday, but the timing is hilarious.

  78. 78
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @shelly: Does the Pope shit in the woods?

  79. 79


    Not trying to be obnoxious, but why didn’t your friend simply skip the threat and release the photos?

    Maybe he thought it was better to keep the current guy around than to force him to resign. After all, once he resigns, the Church will just appoint somebody new who will likely be just about as bad and who the friend won’t be able to keep under control with incriminating pictures.

  80. 80
    scav says:

    Doesn’t South America preserve more of the hard-ball leftist tradition that’s been smoothed away elsewhere? no way is the head beanied boy on the left, but hardball still a part of the regular game, as it were. not sure, but we’ve locally lost the haymarket haymaker lefty tradition so they now faint and scream unfair! if we look at the cross-eyed.

  81. 81
    Matt says:

    Meh. Call us back when he’s defrocked Cardinal Dolan and the rest of his co-conspirators to molest children.

  82. 82
    raven says:

    @fidelio: Long wait, good news. Neurosurgeon judges it’s a joint issue and does not feel any surgery on the stenosis is called for.

  83. 83
    catclub says:

    @Shinobi (@shinobi42): “I never thought of JP2 as conservative. ”
    So just a coincidence that all the cardinals he appointed were described as conservatives. Also the crackdowns on any liberalizing movements.

  84. 84
    catclub says:

    @scav: Uruguay is legalizing marijuana.

  85. 85
    Death Panel Truck says:

    I’m not in the least religious, but I hope Frankie has an official food-tester. That’s prolly how they got JP I back in ’78. :)

  86. 86
    Cacti says:


    Meh. Call us back when he’s defrocked Cardinal Dolan and the rest of his co-conspirators to molest children.

    And when Cardinal Law is put on a plane back to Boston.

  87. 87
    scav says:

    @catclub: Yes, but that’s a policy, and that particular one can come from multiple directions. I’m wondering more about style of political infighting. Not out and out brawls in the commons, but more than sternly worded totebags at different grocery stores.

  88. 88
    Another Holocene Human says:

    Pope Franky as FDR? Well, this is interesting.

    Booting the mob out of their bank is impressive but let’s not forget that banking regulators in the EU made it happen by freezing assets and shunning their bank until they straighten the fuck up. It’s not like the Vatican got religion on their own.

  89. 89
    Violet says:

    @Matt: This kind of thinking always surprises me. So, any incremental positive changes aren’t worth celebrating?

    I think Pope Francis is moving pretty fast for a massive institution like the Catholic church. The changes are incremental but they’re real.

  90. 90
    Another Holocene Human says:

    re: sinus, is it caused by mold? Been reading up on that lately.

  91. 91
    NonyNony says:


    But how do you get a Pope to resign? You make it sound like he has been some massive force in the church. I don’t see it. I am not sure what I do see in his moves, but a large movement for cleaning out the Curia, getting a Pope to resign, and installing Bergoglio does not sound plausible, when combined with: Ratzinger and JPII have appointed all the Cardinals who elected Ratzinger and Bergoglio.

    I have almost no idea. I don’t see many ways to square the moves that Bergolio has been undertaking with the idea that he was selected by the same group that was appointed by JP2[*] who also picked Ratzinger as his successor. There are a few explanations of the politics that make sense, but almost all of those explanations hinge on the idea that a small group of liberalizers[**] holding onto some pretty damn incriminating evidence that could potentially destroy a number of Cardinals in the Church and using it to fix the Church rather than for their own ends. It is not a plausible scenario, and it’s the kind of thing that works better in a movie than in real life, but I don’t see how the past few years can be explained without SOMETHING shady like that going on in the wings. Bergolio is kicking people out of positions they’ve held for years, shutting down radical groups in the church and doing a lot of other things that piss off the wrong kind of enemies (the kinds that will stab you in the back literally, not just figuratively). I don’t see how he can still be breathing if he doesn’t have insurance.

    [*] It’s funny that I never think of Ratzinger as “Benedict” and I think of the current Pope as Bergolio rather than “Francis” but JP2 will always be JP2 and not Karol Wojtyla to me. Probably because he was pretty much Pope the entire time I was being raised Catholic. Weird though.

    [**] And by “liberalizing” I mean folks who say “hey, let’s tone down all this carping about sinful sex and sexuality and focus on social justice issues”. “Liberalizers” who want to drag the church kicking and screaming into the 20th century. Kind of. Because you will notice, if you read carefully, the Church is still quite hostile to the ideas of democracy. As it has been since the Enlightenment and probably will be forever. (And that’s at the root of a lot of the social justice focus at the top of the Church right now, make no mistake – JP2 allied the Church with capitalists and democrats because of the Soviet Union, but the ideals of the Church fundamentally conflict with both capitalism and democracy as concepts. It gets downplayed A LOT here in the USA because we have a strong secular religion that worships the flag and money both, and the Church is afraid of making Americans choose. But it’s there.)

  92. 92
    Amir Khalid says:

    Late one morning a few years ago, I was at a hospital waiting to be called into a doctor’s room for my appointment. This MOTU type — big dude in a fancy suit, late thirties to early forties, his attitude entitled as all fuck — starts making a scene: Why have I been kept waiting so long? Doesn’t the time on the appointment card mean anything to the doctor? Don’t you people know who I am, how precious my time is? Etc., etc. All as if he’d never been in a doctor’s waiting room before. (He’d taken time off from hs busy schedule, presumably of his own volition, to accompany his dad to the appointment.) Meanwhile, the doctor (not the one I was waiting to see) was clearing a slight backlog, and his other patients were, um, patiently waiting their turn.

    It’s one thing if you’re waiting for the doctor to come swanning in from God knows where, which I presume is your situation, but this dick clearly annoyed a lot of other people.

  93. 93
    scav says:

    @Violet: Well, NASA hasn’t accomplished anything whatsoever as there are no boots on the moon Mars yet and it all doesn’t count anyway because, you know, like, Sputnik was totally Ruskie. There’s still a lot of PR in this, and time alone will tell, but it a few things have been shaken hard and judging from some of the outraged squeals, he’s making enemies I approve of at least.

  94. 94
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    For example, sending his consigliere Ratzi the Nazi to “investigate” Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle, who made noise by withholding half his income tax as a protest against the shitty grade Z movie star’s program to update and expand the US nuclear arsenal.

  95. 95
    handsmile says:

    With all the comments above about Pope Francis and food-tasters, this article (a month old admittedly) may be of interest:

    “Pope Francis is ‘mafia target’ after campaigning against corruption'”

    It should be noted that the Vatican immediately downplayed this warning from the Italian anti-mafia prosecutor, “there is no need for alarmism” (via AFP):

    Duration of papacy: John Paul I: 33 days; Francis I: 280 days (and counting)

  96. 96
    ET says:

    Some of these very conservative bishops/cardinals are very out there and it seems Pope Francis dislikes that whole “cult of personality” thing that seems to have become prominent in the church hierarchy.

  97. 97
    Origuy says:

    @nastybrutishntall: I think you had the “ffarmacee” word in there.

  98. 98
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Amir Khalid: What the MOTU types and other self important people don’t understand about medicine could fill an ocean. Things like: not every patient is a widget that can be easily and quickly repaired so the doc can get to them and spend hours on their awesomeness. If medicine were that cut and dried then it would be a massive piece of software that just required the proper inputs to get the correct answer. I can always count on non-science, non-medical people of upper income to think this way, and of course to think that the doc spending time on anyone other than them is a waste, and now, probably the fault of Obamacare giving their precious healthcare to moochers. Selfishness and lack of empathy to the n’th degree.

  99. 99
    MomSense says:

    Thanks everyone for all of the suggestions. I can’t have surgery or take certain medications because of a blood disorder but I am going to try the Vitamin C and neti pot and look into Chinese medicine.

    Having a barometer in your head is no fun!!

  100. 100
    Suffern ACE says:

    @ET: IDK, from my protestant perspective, it makes sense that certain high ranking bishops aren’t going to wait around for post mortem miracles to be sainted. Why wait for the benefits of sainthood?

  101. 101
    fuckwit says:

    Vatican’s Byzantine

    WHAAT??? Byzantine? Now Francis is going to bridge the centuries-old east-west schism with the Orthodox church?

    That’s the most jarringly weird metaphor. The Vatican is, by definition, not Byzantine. The Byzantine church is, well, Byzantine, by definition. I bet there are Greek-Americans reading that sentence and going WTF?

  102. 102
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Are you saying the Roman Curia is reinventing the wheel that was created in Constantinople?

  103. 103
    shortstop says:

    @scav: Yes, I have to admit I’m enjoying the screeches of outrage from the conservatives in the flock. Last year they were lecturing us about papal infallibility and now they’re telling us the new guy is all wet. Conservative Catholicism cannot fail, etc. Good show.

  104. 104
    Keith G says:


    He’s not a wide-eyed naif and he has made it pretty clear that he understands just how corrupt and horrible the internal workings of the Vatican are

    He cut his teeth watching Argentine politics of the 60-80s. I bet there is not much he hasn’t seen.

    @shortstop: Just an hypothesis; The photos in question never existed.

    Generally speaking, Pope Francis would be stupid to push the doctrinal change that some here are looking for, even if he believed in them. While changes in doctrinal direction would be dreamy, changing the attitude of how the doctrine is considered and how the bureaucracy operates will be a big f-ing deal, if he succeeds.

    Focusing on the humans who are the Church instead to the doctrines that run it is a huge improvement.

  105. 105
    Jay says:

    Wait, Burke is an ex-Wisconsinite so…didn’t the rape of all those deaf kids happen in his neck of the woods (it was at a Milwaukee school, if memory serves)? If Burke is one of the powerful men who dragged his feet on that, that could be another reason he’s being kicked to the curb, or perhaps the new Pope is just slowly sweeping out everyone left who was associated, even vaguely, with it.

    I hope that’s the case.

  106. 106
    Violet says:

    @MomSense: Best wishes for a swift recovery and hope you feel better soon!

  107. 107
    Paul in KY says:

    @Dave L: The incumbents don’t have to die. The Pope can remove/reassign them as he sees fit.

    Hope he has a good food taster.

  108. 108
    Paul in KY says:

    @Shinobi (@shinobi42): He was definitely conservative. He was from Poland, for crap’s sake.

  109. 109
    NonyNony says:


    That’s the most jarringly weird metaphor. The Vatican is, by definition, not Byzantine. The Byzantine church is, well, Byzantine, by definition. I bet there are Greek-Americans reading that sentence and going WTF?

    If they’re used to the commonly accepted use of the word Byzantine as a slur against overly complex systems of bureaucracy, then I doubt they’re confused at all.

    Interestingly enough, the hierarchy of the Byzantine Church is barely Byzantine at all. While the hierarchy of the Roman Church is incredibly Byzantine. Kind of like how you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway. Or how the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. Or how you can pickle a cucumber but you can’t cucumber a pickle (maybe not that last one).

  110. 110
    Paul in KY says:

    @catclub: Completely coincidental…

  111. 111
    Paul in KY says:

    @shortstop: You need to talk up ‘papal infallibility’ as much as you can with them. Remind them about comments they made about that precious doctrine, etc. etc.

  112. 112
    aimai says:

    @shortstop: Thank you for this warning. I’ll do that. And get him to discuss it with his eye doctor.

  113. 113
    thalarctos (not the other one) says:

    @Violet: apropos food-tasters, it is my understanding that the Pope takes his meals in the cafeteria at the Vatican guest house where he lives. It’s much harder to poison only one person under those circumstances.

  114. 114
    shortstop says:

    @Paul in KY: Oh, I do, Paul. I do, I do.

    Sorry, my mouth was full of popcorn and that came out garbled.

    @aimai: Possibly not a concern if he has no familial history (my husband does). But still, a word of warning.

  115. 115
    Paul in KY says:

    @shortstop: Boy oh boy, would like to be there with you when you do that, Sounds like fun!

  116. 116
    Shinobi (@shinobi42) says:

    @Paul in KY: I guess all of the Catholics in my life bitching about how liberal he was must have confused me.

  117. 117
    TriassicSands says:


    Can a pope be impeached and removed? I get the uneasy feeling that Pope Francis may have a fatal “accident” or “heart attack” sometime soon.

  118. 118
    Bulworth says:

    So EWTN, which has been slobbering over conservative popes and trying to bully around any dissidents for the past few decades is now “concerned” about the church with Francis at the helm. May they all go suck a bag of….

  119. 119
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople.

  120. 120
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    Nobody’s business but the Turks’.

  121. 121
    Heliopause says:

    this is a badly needed start on returning the Catholic Church to its actual Christian roots and mission.

    Er, I’m guessing you really don’t want that. The Christian root mission was to convert as many non-believers as fast as possible because Jesus was going to return and end all this nonsense very, very soon. The Christian root mission was aggressive evangelism. I’m guessing you really don’t want that, what you want is a non-aggressive, ecumenical church that makes you feel more comfortable with them.

  122. 122
    Paul in KY says:

    @Shinobi (@shinobi42): These Catholics must be really, really, really, really conservative.

Comments are closed.