1. In the 2016 presidential election, American Catholic voters expressed a preference for financial deregulation by a margin of 52 to 45. American Evangelicals expressed such a preference by a margin of 81 to 16. What this says is that a majority of American Christians 1) do not understand why individuals need protection from the machinations of corporations in America and worldwide, or, 2) just do not care, or, 3) believe corporations are more righteous and entitled than individuals in the first place and actively seek to protect financial companies FROM customers and employees.

    Once upon a time I would have thought (3) to be impossible. I no longer do. We are dealing with something worse than the ignorance of (1) or the apathy of (2). Tomorrow, for instance, the church people will find themselves telling us what a great decision the Supreme Court made against all workers today by 5 to 4 in Epic Systems vs. Lewis. (Of the five in the 5/4, by the way, Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Kennedy are Catholic and Gorsuch was merely raised Catholic. Just sayin’—–because bad decisions from the Justices of one church DO mean something.)

  2. So it had nothing to do with the law on how the justices made their (bad in your opinion) decision; just the fact that they are Catholic? Really stupid comment. I’m sure you weren’t disappointed when that rotten Catholic Roberts voted for Obamacare.
    By the way, the decision allowed individual arbitration – so I’m not sure where the slap to individuals is.

  3. No, when five guys can interpret law “one way” while four equally capable other jurists can interpret law “another way”, law really has nothing at all to do with it. It’s ideological, and as I predicted, you church guys will be out defending the right of corporations to band together for every purpose under the sun and dissing the right of individuals to do likewise. The question is “when do people notice that hoodoo?”

  4. I say again, how did you feel when Roberts sided with Obamacare ? Was he a church guy then?
    If you want to discuss the merits of unions vs. corporations; then do so. Don’t imply this is a catholic thing.

  5. Without full transparency of its own finances, the Vatican and this pope are hypocrites when speaking of “economic ethics” for others.

  6. Odd.

    I don’t recall financial deregulation being on the ballot at all.

    Amd the Epic Systems v. Lewis case had nothing to do with economics or deregulation. And the facts were quite clear. The vote was five justices who can actually read what the law says and four justices who think it’s their job to write new laws if they don’t like the old one.

    Kennedy wrote the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, so apparently being Catholic doesn’t affect his viewpoints.

    Gorsuch is an Episcopalian.

    This case was consolidated with Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris and National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc..

    In each of these cases, an employer and employee entered into a contract providing for individualized arbitration proceedings to resolve employment disputes between the parties. Each employee nonetheless sought to litigate Fair Labor Standards Act and related state law claims through class or collective actions in federal court. Although the Federal Arbitration Act generally requires courts to enforce arbitration agreements as written, the employees argued that its “saving clause” removes this obligation if an arbitration agreement violates some other federal law and that, by requiring individualized proceedings, the agreements here violated the National Labor Relations Act. The employers countered that the Arbitration Act protects agreements requiring arbitration from judicial interference and that neither the saving clause nor the NLRA demands a different conclusion. Until recently, courts as well as the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel agreed that such arbitration agreements are enforceable. In 2012, however, the Board ruled that the NLRA effectively nullifies the Arbitration Act in cases like these, and since then other courts have either agreed with or deferred to the Board’s position.

    Held: Congress has instructed in the Arbitration Act that arbitration agreements providing for individualized proceedings must be enforced, and neither the Arbitration Act’s saving clause nor the NLRA suggests otherwise.


    Note that the National Labor Relations Board switched horses when Barack Obama packed it with his appointees.

  7. One can only wonder what was going through the authors mind when in writing on “economic and financial issues” he did not get into a discussion about “corrupt politicians”.

    For those familiar with Thomas Reese’ economic and social views from his writings at America, National Catholic Reporter, and so on the source of his disappointment is obvious. “Considerations for an ethical discernment regarding some aspects of the present economic-financial system” lays out a moral framework for consideration of certain issues in national and international economic-financial systems.

    It is not complete; it is a rather brief compendium of previous statements and teachings, which is why it has forty-nine footnotes.

    For example, it does not mention subsidiarity, the principal that things ought to be done by the lowest level of an organization rather than at the highest when possible.

    It addresses some new, or newly recognized, issues such as the use of “fiscal havens” as a mechanism for beggaring the populace of a country:

    “The offshore system has also ended up aggravating the public debt of the countries whose economies are less developed. It was in fact observed how the accumulated private wealth of some elites in the fiscal havens is almost equal to the public debt of the respective countries. This highlights how, in fact, at the origin of that debt there are often economic losses created by private persons and unloaded on the shoulders of the public system. Moreover, it is noted that important economic players tend to follow, often with the collusion of the politicians, a practice of division of the losses.”

    What it does not do, because doing so is not the job of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, is wag a finger in the face of genuine or supposed “bad guys”, or issue flowery prescriptions for remedies.

    That is the job for the chief executive, the Holy Father, who applies these moral principals and considerations to ever-changing conditions.

  8. The IOR had no choice but begin to produce audited financial statements in 2012 in order to continue doing business in international markets.

    In its latest report, “IOR assets worth Euro 5.7 billion at the end of the year of which Euro 3.7 billion related to assets under management and under custody.”
    This is minor compared to total Vatican assets (commercial properties, investments, gold reserves, bank accounts) which, due to lack of transparency, “by a conservative estimate” would be around 15-17 billion euro (approx. $16-18 billion) in 2015.–135101.php?uuid=AB2NFPSD

    The first and only Vatican auditor, “Libero Milone, was kicked out last June for investigating where he should not have.”

  9. I don’t see how the fact that the IOR, like all international banking entities, required an audit detracts one jot from the audited financial statements.–135101.php?uuid=AB2NFPSD

    fails to support “due to lack of transparency”.

    What it describes is the difficulty in documenting and valuing what is called in the U.S. Government accounting as “heritage” and “stewardship”assets: churches, works of art, and other tangible assets which do not have a readily auditable component as do investments, gold reserves, and bank accounts.

    Despite thirty years of efforts, for example, the U.S. Department of Defense, facing many of the same problems, is unable to account for its assets and obtain an audited financial statement:

    fails to support the allegation that “The first and only Vatican auditor, “Libero Milone, was kicked out last June for investigating where he should not have.”

    The facts appear to at best be in dispute and at worst other than what Milone claims:

    “The Vatican’s Sept. 24 statement voiced ‘surprise and regret’ at the allegations. It said that by speaking out, Milone ‘failed in the agreement to keep confidential the reasons for his resignation from office,’ noting that, according to the statutes of his department, Milone’s task had been to ‘analyze the budgets and accounts’ of the Holy See and its related administrations specifically.”

    “‘Unfortunately, the office directed by Milone exceeded its powers and illegally commissioned an external firm to carry out investigative activities on the private lives of representatives of the Holy See,’ the statement said.”

  10. It’s not a “Catholic thing”. It is (and is going to be) the unfortunate coincidence of five Catholic males making one bad decision after another all by themselves—–usually against the real Catholic ideas of social justice. People need to notice who is doing that and from WHAT religious indoctrination they find their personal justifications.

  11. Not a “Catholic” thing; yet you continue to to make the point that it was 5 Catholics who made the ruling. Again, how did you feel when the Catholic John Roberts cast the deciding vote for Obamacare? I’ll bet you were pretty happy with the Catholic then… hmmmm?
    For what its worth, I would prefer to have men and women of conscience sit on the courts – especially those who are strict constitutionalists.

  12. I predicted we would have certain church people out defending this, and sure enough, here you are, arguing

    1) That all Republicans and Trump in particular did not make “deregulation” a major feature of their 2016 campaign, that therefore, “financial deregulation was not on the ballot”

    2) That it’s great for incorporated employers to arm-twist millions and millions of employees into signing arbitration agreements (which most of them never wanted) as a “condition of employment” in order to have a job at all——for the purpose of circumventing any right to collective action.

  13. It is not possible to be a “person of conscience” and a “strict constitutionalist” at the same time. It is well to remember that both the Romans and the Jewish High Priests were the “strict constitutionalists” of their time—-and they crucified Jesus for being in the way of their “strict interpretation” ideas of their day. All the folks who cling to the mindset you are defending would do it again in a heartbeat to either Jesus or anyone else who questions them. If a legislature can pass laws which marginalize certain individuals, then the “strict interpreters” are to enthusiastically go along—–dragging their claims pf “conscience” with them. It is the crock of crocks.

  14. ok – good point. I’ll vote for strict constitutionalists. That way, we can remove justices legislating from the bench.

  15. Before commenting I reviewed the 2016 campaign and confirmed that the Republicans and Trump did not make financial deregulation a feature of the 2016 election season.

    The job of a judge is to APPLY THE LAWS AS WRITTEN to the facts presented to the court.

    An alternative approach is conclude that judges should, using their superior minds and insights, write new laws in opinions to save the legislatures the trouble.

    Under our Constitution, Congress and Congress alone has the authority to legislate.

    Justice Gorsuch, a proponent of the position that judges are to apply the laws AS WRITTEN to the facts, wrote in the majority opinion:

    “And so they have cast in this direction, suggesting that one statute (the NLRA) steps in to dictate the procedures for claims under a different statute (the FLSA), and thereby overrides the commands of yet a third statute (the Arbitration Act). It’s a sort of interpretive triple bank shot, and just stating the theory is enough to raise a judicial eyebrow.”

    “Perhaps worse still, the employees’ theory runs afoul of the usual rule that Congress ‘does not alter the fundamental details of a regulatory scheme in vague terms or ancillary provisions – it does not, one might say, hide elephants in mouseholes.’ Whitman v. American Trucking Assns., Inc., 531 U. S. 457, 468 (2001). Union organization and collective bargaining in the workplace are the bread and butter of the NLRA, while the particulars of dispute resolution procedures in Article III courts or arbitration proceedings are usually left to other statutes and rules – not least the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Arbitration Act, and the FLSA. It’s more than a little doubtful that Congress would have tucked into the mousehole of Section 7’s catchall term an elephant that tramples the work done by these other laws; flattens the parties’ contracted-for dispute resolution procedures; and seats the Board as supreme superintendent of claims arising under a statute it doesn’t even administer.”

    Justice Ginsburg, a proponent of judicial legislating and substituting her judgment for that of the Congress, wrote in the minority dissent:

    “To explain why the Court’s decision is egregiously wrong, I first refer to the extreme imbalance once prevalent in our Nation’s workplaces, and Congress’ aim in the NLGA and the NLRA to place employers and employees on a more equal footing. I then explain why the Arbitration Act, sensibly read, does not shrink the NLRA’s protective sphere.”

    as her segue into a long history lesson which explains what Congress SHOULD HAVE DONE had it her insights, and would have done had it her great mind.

    “It takes no imagination, then, to comprehend that Congress, when it enacted the NLRA, likely meant to protect employees’ joining together to engage in collective litigation.”

    “Likely” does not cut it.

    And, of course, religion played not role whatsoever.

  16. Most people do not want to be strong-armed into joining unions. The unions got away from their core duty of representing the rights of workers and into the business of being a money conduit for the democrat party. When that occurred, union members who did not agree with the political leaning of their union and its representatives (100% democrat) called b.s. – and fought to have their union dues held. The unions feeling their power slipping, doubled down and tried to crush dissenters in their ranks. This resulted in the many lawsuits by union members against their union leadership and thus is leading to the downfall of unions in general.

  17. It was a good point—-a very good point. Jesus was one of those who attempted to “legislate from the bench” when he took it merely upon himself to put two commandments over the top of 611 others—-enraging his would-be overlords. They removed him from the bench.

  18. Justice Scalia, who was a Catholic, noted that his job was to be a strict constitutionalist.

    The oath of office for a justice:

    “I, ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as ___ under the Constitution and laws of the United States; and that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    So, if conscience and the Constitution are mutually exclusive, and you believe you cannot do both, then as Justice Scalia suggested it’s time to seek other employment.

  19. People don’t want to be strongarmed into avoiding any form of redress or waive hard fought rights.

    The stagnation of wages and erosion of availability of benchmarks of middle class existence coincide with the slow death of legalized labor. As is the increasing dependence on illegal alien labor in agriculture.

    You not only cheer the death of organized labor, you cheer the slow death by a thousand cuts of the middle class.

  20. Jesus, who in the New Testament is divine, had authority to legislate.

  21. organized labor killed the middle class – lets look at GM in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s (as one example). Ever higher wages and benefits for lower quality of work product and output. The union makes a demand – the company says no – the union strikes – the company doesn’t produce and thus “make a profit” – the company searches to cut costs (to stay afloat) and asks for concessions from unions. The union bosses say no – so the company lays off people, moves production to Mexico or China or goes out of business.
    I was part of a union and saw this first hand. The union mentality of “breaking the company” worked – so the companies said forget this and closed shop. Now the union members can complain about how the company screwed ’em out of a job.
    Its simple resource allocation.

  22. Still waiting to see how you felt about Roberts voting for Obamacare. Your silience is deafening. I guess the only good Catholic is a liberal judicial ruling Catholic.

  23. In your zeal to give me a party line, you fail to understand the real issue here. This was a case which began as a class action suit to combat systematic wage theft. Undue liberties taken at the expense of workers using coercion. By all means explain how stealing money workers are entitled to is a good thing worthy of legal protection.

    Wages have stagnated in the face of inflation. Money is concentrated at the top thanks to systematic corporate malfeasance and gaming of financial markets. Corporate health and responsible governance giving way to consolidating numbers of shareholders and stock manipulation. Breaking the company being an actual management goal. As seen by the demise of many large retailers.

    The heavy use of illegal alien labor is a direct result of opposing unionization. Especially the farm workers union in the mid 70’s.

    BTW bringing up unions in the first place was an irrelevance. This had to do with a right to class action lawsuits, not union membership or actions.

  24. There was nothing wrong with Roberts voting to not destroy PPACA on technicalities, as he was twice asked to do.
    My guess is his wife got to him on that one and said “John, Don’t You Dare” (as any “good” Catholic woman would do).

  25. But they killed him over that disputed assertion, you recall.

  26. “I don’t recall financial deregulation being on the ballot at all.”

    As always, you are right. The record-breaking support for Trump had nothing to do with financial deregulation. It was all about Trump’s promise to Make America White Again.

  27. Nor did I see “Make America White Again”.

    One would think as we go through year two that folks would have gotten over it and would be spending their time trying to figure out how to not select terrible candidates and expand outreach to people who have jobs and would like to keep their money.

  28. He was not a judge, he was a defense attorney, he was a propitiatory sacrifice.

    Your analysis of Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis is wide of the mark and basically calls for the justices to violate their oaths of office.

  29. “While acknowledging that “global economic well-being appears to have increased in the second half of the twentieth century with an unprecedented magnitude and speed,” the authors argue that “at the same time inequalities proliferate between various countries and within them.”

    That “global economic well-being” which “appears to have increased in the second half of the twentieth century” can be attributed to the growth of free market economies, as the even poorest countries of Africa abandoned the false hopes of socialism to enter the worldwide free(er) market and receive fair, competitive prices for their raw materials and produce.

    It’s a strange thing to me that The Roman Catholic Church dabbles in modern economics here, while it’s a rare, obsolete model of a feudal society from the Dark and Middle Ages. The church has vast wealth and land holdings, while presiding over the consciences–and therefore, the lives–of some of the poorest countries of the world!

  30. Scalia said that any judge who thought that capital punishment is immoral — as taught by John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, should resign. Cafeteria Catholicism, conservative style.

    Scalia also was quite prepared to ditch original intent if it suited his prejudices. I give you the case of Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005), about a woman in California who was growing marijuana for medicinal uses, which was legal under California law, but illegal under Federal law. She was not selling it, nor was she even giving it away, nor was it taken out of California. Scalia wrote an opinion against Raich, basing it on the Commerce Clause. Clarence Thomas, of all people, called him on it, saying that Raich grew and used

    marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers. … By holding that Congress may regulate activity that is neither interstate nor commerce under the Interstate Commerce Clause, the Court abandons any attempt to enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power.

    Thomas wrote: “The Necessary and Proper Clause is not a warrant to Congress to enact any law that bears some conceivable connection to the exercise of an enumerated power”. He went on to say “Congress presented no evidence in support of its conclusions, which are not so much findings of fact as assertions of power,” and concluded: “Congress cannot define the scope of its own power merely by declaring the necessity of its enactments”.

    The gist of Thomas’ dissent comes straight out of original intent:

    Respondent’s local cultivation and consumption of marijuana is not “Commerce … among the several States”. Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that “commerce” included the mere possession of a good or some personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana.

    With regard to originalism in general, Thomas Jefferson wrote

    Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the Covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment… laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind… as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, institutions must advance also, to keep pace with the times…. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain forever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

  31. No, it was not part of the Trump campaign, except as easily deciphered messages to Trump’s racist supporters. It is, however, a firm part of the Trump domestic policy.

  32. I did not get the secret decoder ring.

    Nor do I see it in Trump’s domestic policies.

  33. Not accurate.

    First of all, he did not believe John Paul II taught that capital punishment per se was immoral.

    That is a position that many Catholics, including Pope Benedict XVI, hold.

    He said this after saying at a January 25, 2002, conference on religion and the death penalty: “In my view, the choice for the judge who believes the death penalty to be immoral is resignation rather than simply ignoring duly enacted constitutional laws and sabotaging the death penalty.”

    Scalia, who insisted he was “judicially and judiciously neutral” toward capital punishment, said that he did not find the death penalty immoral. “I am happy to have reached that conclusion,” he continued, “because I like my job and would rather not resign.”

    That position is anything but cafeteria Catholic of any kind.

    The justices have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. If a justice reaches a point where she or he cannot in conscience do that, resignation is the moral option rather than violating the oath of office.

  34. Propitiatory is a three-dollar word useful only for obscuring the truth about who Jesus was, why he was here, and what he did.

    As for SCOTUS, I am aware that certain church people are positively gleeful about a court which will take away as much as possible from individuals and place it “constitutionally” into the hands of their “betters”. Future generations will be writing about the regrettable error in that thinking.

  35. Hearing no evil is easy when your hands are over your ears.

  36. Hearing no evil is easier if you’re a calm rational person and not a neurotic.

  37. “By all means explain how stealing money workers are entitled to is a good thing worthy of legal protection.”

    This ruling did not say stealing money workers are entitled to is a good thing worthy of legal protection.

    What it said was that NLRB Act is not the appropriate legal basis for a lawsuit.

    “This had to do with a right to class action lawsuits, not union membership or actions.”

    No, this had absolutely nothing to do with a “right to class action lawsuits”.

    Read the opinion.

  38. Thank for you for the sermonette from your portable soapbox.

    Unfortunately ever single thing you wrote lacked any basis at all in facts or law or theology.

  39. Jefferson’s above-cited comments had nothing to do with judicial originalism, which he strongly advocated:

    On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. – Letter of Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823.

    What he was saying is that the people should not hesitate to AMEND the constitution as needed if changing times so require. Because the amendment of the constitution is the job of the people, not oligarchs.

  40. “For the Son of Man came not to be serve but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matt.20:28.

    “Propitiatory” sums that concept up nicely.

  41. You brought up organized labor in your comment – duh.

  42. You brought it up first when chiming in about unions. Derp.

  43. You are right Unions have sometimes gone too far and their demands led to the closing of plants and mines and the members lost their jobs. It happened with Atlantic Steel iron mine in Wyoming and I am sure others could list other places.

    BUT that also ignores the reality that the Unions pushed for safe working conditions, health care for workers and their families, AND living wages. Without the Unions many never would have gotten those things.

  44. Always remember, I would not be giving you these sermons if you were not so busy heckling my original comments. As for theology, it is what we make it—–kind and sensible or not. There is no single “theology”.

  45. Do you understand the difference between writing original comments and writing replies for no purpose but to argue with other people? Leave me alone and I will leave you alone.

  46. I agree – there has to be a balance where the company and union work together.

  47. Jesus indeed did come to serve, but not as a ransom sent by God to appease God. Even though this concept is knocked around in theological circles for the purpose of reconciling irreconcilable scriptures, it never made any sense. Jesus came to show people the way, the truth and the life—–in the simple and beautiful concept of making the love of other people the first priority. Your citation comes in this context:

    25 So Jesus called them all together and said, “You know that the rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. 26 This, however, is not the way it shall be among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; 27 and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of the others— 28 like the Son of Man, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”

    Its instruction to us is not for some to “order” others to accept one-way theological observations. We are to serve them by being truthful with them on all subjects and by seeking to promote their interests and welfare as thoroughly as we promote our own.

  48. Seems like they did OK with their work – at least in bringing forward important ideas. You might have disagreed and wanted something else or maybe an argument that would better convince you to change your mind. If you read through the comments you can see that, for many, any suggestion that need might have precedence over production is not going to be acceptable.

  49. Or, just be a good jurist with the “help of God” one asks for. This would probably include a question as to why any oath of office for a Supreme Court Justice prescribed by Congress is not itself a constitutional infringement on the separation of powers implicit in THREE branches of government. It is, after all, the court which declares the actions of Congress constitutional or not——not the other way around.

  50. I believe the heckling crack more or less ended it.

    Your last sentence makes sense only if you believe the SCOTUS can rewrite the Constitution to order.

    If you do, write Ginsburg a fan letter and let her know.

  51. Is there some “crack” I can make which would really cause our exchanges to be “ended”.
    How about PLEASE?

  52. “We are to serve them by being truthful with them on all subjects” A good place to start is to be truthful about what scripture says. Jesus says He gave His life as a ransom. You say that isn’t true.

    Then He took the cup, gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin. (Matt.26:27-28).

  53. It would be better to be truthful with them about what scripture IS, than what is SAYS, especially when you are messing around with the over-written KJV, a work of linguistic “art” as much or more so than “fact”. “Ransom” is not the best modern English word choice for the context here. Additionally, some of what is in the Bible simply never happened at all (in ANY translation), such as the Tower of Babel story, and that truth should be acknowledged in order to abolish the inerrancy myth.

    That aside, when I speak of being truthful with people on all subjects, I am speaking of science, reason, real education and public policy. We are to be seeking honest objectivity as it is discovered by humans on earth—-then telling what is known, not something else. It is not acceptable, for instance, to tell people that environmentalism doesn’t matter because the Revelation end time events are going to unfold so soon that everything else is moot. This kind of malarkey, as you know, is completely routine in many churches. It ain’t Jesus and it ain’t the Holy Spirit.

  54. “Ransom” is not the best modern English word choice for the context here. “

    The Greek word used here is “lytron.” It is the same word used at least three times in the OT to refer to the price of freeing a slave or a captive. Ransom is as good a translation as any. So is “propitiation.”

    Nobody here said that environmentalism doesn’t matter. But if you’re going to counter every biblical concept you don’t like with “a lot of that never happened” then I’m sorry but you’re not in much of a position to say what “ain’t Jesus” or what is.

  55. 1. The point was that the IOR produced financial statements involuntarily, not from a desire for transparency.
    2. Il Sole 24 Ore is a “national daily business newspaper.” Therefore it presumes its readers’ knowledge of business and accounting terms. “Real estate” refers to, primarily the thousands of apartments in Rome owned by the Vatican and “without considering the functional properties which do not have a market estimate.” “Heritage” and “stewardship assets” are not “real estate” that have a “market” value. “Securities portfolios” are primarily stocks and bonds.
    Every entity, including the IOR, that produces a financial statement meeting “generally accepted accounting principles” places a value on it’s commercial real estate (like apartments), financial portfolios (including gold reserves mentioned in the IOR financial statements) and “liquid” assets like bank accounts. The IOR is the only Vatican department that produces an audited financial statement.
    3. I do not know anything about U.S. gov’t finance. I do know the U.S. government does not claim to be the world’s highest “moral authority” and does not preach to others about fiscal morality and ethics. Its purview is legality.
    4. Yes, I know what the Vatican’s official statement said about Milone.

  56. Why not? I start with the Tower of Babel. It did not happen because any engineer will tell you it could not have happened. It does not factually explain the origin of languages, which any even half-educated person knows. Worst of all, the story makes God look awful and ridiculous if it had have happened as reported. Being honest about such things is why I am actually in a better position than you to talk about the good aspects of Jesus. I am not roped into or obligated by some group to the repetition of flat-out falsehood.

    As for environmentalism, the entire Republican Party is lying about it every day, LED by the people at church. They think shutting down or scaling back the measurement of climate change is “draining the swamp”. Don’t try to kid me Shawnie. Church is in terrible, terrible shape for what it is falsely propounding and what it has adopted for its Spirit Guide in The White House.

  57. Surely you are not suggesting that the Tower of Babel as described by Genesis was literally intended to reach “heaven” in the sense of God’s dwelling-place, are you?

    Do you also think that “sky-scrapers” don’t exist because it is impossible to scrape the sky?

    As for draining the swamp… the issue is corruption and fraud, not simply derailing climate change for its own sake. Just a couple of months ago I had a regular poster here argue to me that the accuracy of climate-change science didn’t matter as long as it got desirable environmental legislation passed. That is PRECISELY the kind of mendacity that has the voters so disgusted with the establishment on every level, not just environmentalism — and religion has precious little to do with THAT.

  58. It does not matter whether you and other voters are “disgusted”. It matters whether you are correct, whether you even care about being correct. It matters whether you even want to be truthful with other people. At this moment, Republicans as driven by conservative church do not. The United States is being ruined as a result, led by a lying evil clown you elected and celebrate from church

    You and millions of church people will tell me all day long that every word of the Bible is true, God-breathed, inerrant and sufficient for all we needed and deserved to be told from God. Then when I confront you with something in it which is as ridiculous as the Tower of Babel story you want to waffle on it as though I am somehow misinterpreting. Of course the story says its top was intended to reach unto heaven. It also explains that the Lord was concerned that nothing would be restrained from men who spoke the same language so he intentionally mixed up the language that men may not understand one another’s speech. A decent creator/God would not do any such thing—–and as a matter of fact he didn’t. The story is a fable. Thing is—-you actually know it is a fable and will swear it’s all true anyway.

  59. You do know, don’t you, that the same word denoted the sky, the atmosphere, and also “heaven” in the celestial sense? Jeremiah describes a stork “in the heavens” knowing her course. Presumably the prophet knew quite well that the stork was not flying about God’s throne.

    The ancient chronicles of Egypt record Amenhotep III describing both the Luxor Temple and the Soleb Temple as having towers that “reach into heaven and mingle with the stars.” Therefore those temples don’t exist, right? Except that their ruins exist to this day.

    “A decent creator/God would not do any such thing” Pfft. I’ve heard any number of people, atheists in particular, pontificate about what a “decent” God would or would not do. And yet “decent” would hardly describe what tends to ensue as soon as those same atheists get a hold of a little power. One of my best friends grew up in what was proudly declared in 1967 to be “the world’s first officially atheist state” — and could not wait to get away from it.

    “It matters whether you are correct, whether you even care about being correct.” Funny that’s exactly what I tried to tell our resident liberal foul-mouth who didn’t think accuracy mattered as much as political expediency — of the liberal variety, of course. And if that mendacity continues in evidence it is going to matter a great deal going forward whether voters are disgusted or not.

  60. 1. When they weren’t required, why incur the expense? When they were required, it complied. Problem solved. Time to move on.

    2. The IOR financial statements meet international accounting standards.

    The other components of the Vatican State are, like other sovereign states, not required to produce anything in the way of financial statements.

    On to (3) where the rest of the issues lie.

    3. Yes, you do not know anything about the U.S. Government’s financial statements. More importantly you do not know anything about the audit process or the application of accounting standards to financial statements.

    I mentioned the Department of Defense because I worked on devising standards for audits in which it was included, and on developing approaches and solutions to the problems of auditing a previously unaudited entity with vast non-financial assets.

    Briefly, in order for an outside auditor to audit financial statements the following requirements need to be addressed:

    1 – Entity

    What is the entity being audited? In the case of the “Vatican” in reality there is sovereign government, a religious denomination, other entities – orders, dioceses, charities, and the like and most of them do their own financial statements because they are legally independent. The auditors need to have the entity clearly defined.

    2 – Accounting Standards

    What accounting standards are we going to use? In the USA there is actually a body of standards specifically for Catholic charitable institutions, another for dioceses. The U.S. Government had to devise specific standards since it is not a for-profit with stockholders. Frankly those standards are quite inadequate, but you have to know what the rules are to assess if the entity is compliant with them.

    3 – To Whom Is The Report?

    SEC entities report to shareholders who buy and sell their stock. Charities report to donors. Government entities generally report to the legislatures. Small businesses report for the most part to lenders (banks). Each has different requirements.

    Somehow I don’t think reporting to a small group of people who have doubts about the finance of the “Vatican” is going to be able to worked into a coherent paragraph.

    4 – How I Do I Value Assets?

    This was and remains one of the biggest issues in governmental accounting. What is the Washington Monument valued at? Resale value? Cost to build? Priceless?

    Your article on assets touched on this. What is the Vatican museum itself worth? What are the contents worth? What support do I have for the valuations (the auditors need to test them)?

    Once I get that settled, I need to actually go out and count and document each and every asset, be it a monstrance, a painting, or a set of vestments. This could take decades.

    5 – Are There Controls in Place?

    There are multiple standards worldwide, but the auditors need assurance that a testable system of internal control is in place in order to ensure that assets are recorded, guarded, and accounted for correctly with reasonable assurance.


    Items 4 and 5 are what preclude being able to issue an audit opinion on the Department of Defense, and on the U.S. Government as a whole. I would expect the problems in auditing the “Vatican” to be multiples more difficult, and were I to wet thumb it, I would estimate a 20-year multi-billion dollar effort assuming everyone did their job.

    Notice none of this has to do with “moral authority”, fiscal morality, or ethics.

    4. Yes, Milone provided his assessment sans any support whatsoever.

  61. I’m not an atheist. I believe Jesus and his Holy Spirit can indwell people and be the light of the world in and through those people—-IF— we do not insist on fibbing about what religion is. In 1967, I was in church, not in the “world’s first officially atheist state”.

    The problem with the Tower of Babel story is not with how tall the tower was (if anything was actually built), or with what its builders thought they could reach with it. We can certainly forgive men of old for not having the faintest idea what sky actually is or where heaven might physically be. The PROBLEM is with how the Genesis author (with a completely fake air of authority) depicts God as petty and capricious with men and offers up a false explanation of the literal source of various languages on earth.

    For you, this story and all others in the Bible HAVE TO be somehow justified as true, no matter WHAT other evidence constantly unfolds. Your faith would collapse without being buttressed by this kind of phony baloney. This is precisely why you are “disgusted” with those who wish tell a more simple truth on any subject, based on humans’ collected observations. I wish “loving the neighbors” was good enough for the Evangelicals who call themselves “conservatives”. Since it isn’t, they are now mentally captured with Mr. Trump’s pugnaciousness. Go kick butt with him, Shawnie. You’ll love it until you someday don’t.

  62. Oh, the irony from Shawnie5, re mendacity.

  63. False from Bob Arnzen.

    Great, factual post, FriendlyGoat. Right on.

  64. Did I say you were an atheist? No, what I said is that everyone, PARTICULARLY atheists, seems to have an opinion on some action or decree of God’s being “unfair” or capricious. I’ve had those moments myself. But that matters little more than it does when small children frequently protest their parents’ decisions as “unfair” or “lame” or what-have-you because they lack the maturity and experience to divine the reasons behind them. Even if you DON’T believe the Tower of Babel story literally, the fact that it is a part of the scripture which Jesus taught from non-stop from the beginning of His ministry to the end of it indicates that it reveals something very significant about the human condition.

    Since Trump appears in your fevered imagination to represent Satan in the flesh…imagine, if you will, the bulk of the people in one of the world’s hemispheres united by one language, one history, one interest, one government, one law — and Trump in absolute control of ALL of it.

    Perhaps this image might give you an inkling of how advantageous a bit of diversity is to the human race — at least in the absence of a perfect ruler such as will one day supercede all others. In any case, I do not intend to discuss the Tower of Babel any further.

    “This is precisely why you are “disgusted” with those who wish tell a more simple truth on any subject” No, the voters are disgusted with people who do NOT wish to tell simple truths lest they interfere with the furtherance of their desired agendas. You are talking without listening — much like your party was doing a year and a half ago.

    “I wish “loving the neighbors” was good enough for the Evangelicals who call themselves “conservatives”.” I wish everyone, conservatives and otherwise, loved their neighbors in such a manner as God requires. But the fact is that we DON’T. No more than we can keep the entire law in both thought and deed. No more than we can be “perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” That is the entire point of the Sermon on the Mount. That is why we needed the Savior and the “propitiation” that Jesus spoke of quite matter-of-factly and you very blithely dismissed, although according to John 16:7 it was the prerequisite for the empowering indwelling of the Holy Spirit that evidently you DO believe in.

    You can, of course, toss Jesus’ admonition to “love thy neighbor” just as easily as you can toss His claim that He was spilling His blood for the forgiveness of sins. That, I’m sorry to say, is what makes your position ridiculous.

  65. That may be the only coherent thing you’ve posted today.

    Wrong, but coherent.

    But since I’ve better ways to spend my time, you’re blocked.

    Do have a nice life.

  66. Nobody said you were an atheist. What I said is that everyone, PARTICULARLY atheists, has an opinion on some action or decree of God’s being unfair or capricious. I’ve had such moments myself. But that matters little more than it does when small children protest their parents’ decisions as unfair or lame or whatever because they lack the maturity and experience to discern the reasons behind them. Even if you DON’T believe the Tower of Babel story literally, the fact that it is a part of the scripture which Jesus taught from consistently from the beginning to the end of His ministry indicates that it reveals something very important about the human condition.

    Since in your fevered imagination Trump appears to represent Satan incarnate…imagine, if you will, the bulk of the people in one of the world’s hemispheres united by one language, one history, one interest, one government, one law — and Trump in absolute control of ALL of it.

    Perhaps this image might give you an inkling of how beneficial a bit of diversity is to the human race — at least in the absence of a perfect ruler such as will one day supercede all others. In any case, I do not intend to discuss the Tower of Babel any further.

  67. And no, the voters are disgusted with people who do NOT wish to tell simple truths lest they interfere with the furtherance of their desired agendas. You are running your mouth without listening — much like your party was a year and a half ago.

    I wish everyone, conservatives and otherwise, loved their neighbors in such a manner as God requires. But the fact is that we DON’T. No more than we can keep the entire law in both thought and deed. (Matt.5:28). No more than we can be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matt.5:48). That is the entire point of the Sermon on the Mount. That is why we needed the Savior and the PROPITIATION that Jesus spoke of quite matter-of-factly and you very blithely dismissed, although according to John 16:7 it was the prerequisite for the empowering indwelling of the Holy Spirit that evidently you DO believe in.

    You can, of course, toss Jesus’ admonition to love thy neighbor just as easily as you can toss His claim that He was spilling His blood for the forgiveness of sins. That, I’m sorry to say, is what makes your position ridiculous.

  68. Tell, me, are you really that stupid, or are you just pretending to be stupid for some odd effect? Trump has told racists, it’s OK to be racists, racists are “good people”. That has nothing to do with his idiotic impulses to deregulate everything in sight.

    WRT deregulation, have you ever come across “Chesterton’s Fence”? The English essayist, GK Chesterton, wrote about deregulation by giving an analogy of a fence blocking a road. He said that he would oppose taking down the fence until the one who wants to take it down can tell him why it was put up. It probably was put up for a good reason, and that reason may still exist.

  69. Did you read what Jefferson wrote? He was addressing originalism head-on, saying that it was stupid to assume that the originators were all-wise and their ideas were not to be tampered with.

  70. Right. Those who support the KKK and the Nazis are “good people” — and don’t pretend Trump didn’t say that.

    That you could not decode it merely speaks to your inabilities to see what he said. But Trump supporters should be expected to be both stupid and dishonest.

  71. It’s never too late to become one of the conservatives who actually does love the neighbors. “The fact is that we DON’T”, as you say, is why Trumpism could capture Evangelicals at the rate of 81%.

  72. John, I’m not stupid; just sloe…
    I work in a heavily regulated industry. The rules exist (mostly) for good reason. Often enough, some regulations are written to such an unreasonable standard that it negatively impacts the businesses that it regulates. This obviously causes problems for the owners, employees and eventual funding source for the regulators themselves. It’s good to re-evaluate the rule book every once and a while.
    FYI- your average regulator has less time in the industry than the guy working on the shop floor and has no clue why the rule was written.
    Also, no need for name calling; we hardly know one another.

  73. Of course I read what Jefferson wrote. I’ve read many things that Jefferson wrote. Nowhere did he ever say that the judiciary was to tamper with the constitution — he was dead set against that. I repeat, the job of amending the constitution belongs to THE PEOPLE, and the proper process for such change is prescribed within the document itself.

  74. There are no conservatives OR liberals, or any other human beings for that matter, who love their neighbors the way God would have us do, because we are fallen beings. Again, that is why a Savior was necessary. Reading comp not your forte, eh?

    The only reason why Trump captured, as you put it, the states that Barry O walked away with four years before was the Dems’ complete and blatantly contemptuous refusal to even address the people’s very real and very legitimate concerns about illegal immigration, judicial legislation, tax reform, religious liberty, job creation, and the failure of Obamacare. And I’ve seen no indication that the Dem leadership has learned a single thing from the experience. So if Trump wins another four years, congratulations on your creation.

  75. Do you have Jefferson saying that the judiciary wasn’t to tamper with the Constitution?

    The concept of judicial review was discussed in The Federalist Papers. Alexander Hamilton asserted in Federalist No. 78 that under the Constitution, the federal courts would have not just the power, but the duty, to examine the constitutionality of statutes:

    [T]he courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges as, a fundamental law. It, therefore, belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.

    As Chief Justice Marshall said in Marbury v Madison, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department [the judicial branch] to say what the law is.”

  76. Ah, instead of a “living constitution”, you want a “dead constitution”.

    The actual definition of “judicial activism” is “a judge made a decision I disagree with”.

  77. Given that your statement “How is deregulation racist?” makes no sense, my question stands.

    Yes, I have also worked in highly regulated industries — telecommunications, utilities and finance (I’m a retired computer programmer). And I can give you plenty of examples of stupid regulations. However, Trump is removing regulations just for the sake of removing them, without thinking of why they were there in the first place. Trump is both stupid and ignorant, the poster boy for the Dunning–Kruger effect, in which stupid people think they are more intelligent than they actually are. Trump proclaiming his intellectual superiority reminds me of Wile E Coyote proclaiming himself to be a “Super Genius”.

  78. Um, I quoted Jefferson in my original reply to you. On every question of construction….etc. Go back and read it.

    Judicial review is NOT the same thing as judicial tampering with the constitution. The former takes the constitution as originally written/amended and ratified by the people and evaluates whether a law is consistent with it. The latter assigns new meanings to constitutional text that the people never agreed upon and evaluates a law against that.

    Judicial legislation is a violation of our right to to representation that we fought a revolution over. And Washington in his farewell address gave a very grim and prescient warning about such encroachments:

    It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free Country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective Constitutional spheres; avoiding in the exercise of the Powers of one department to encroach upon another…If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument — of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield. — Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796

  79. We do have different views of what Christian religion is for and about. You are summing up your view that Jesus is a “get out of jail free” card (for use mainly after physical death), offered to those who are hopelessly irredeemable because——well, because—–scripture says they (we) are all hopelessly irredeemable. I am of the view that Jesus can transform a person instantly from one who didn’t love others to one who does—-in the here and now while we are still physically alive. Churches, of course, are all over the map in the various kinds of group-think (aka stated doctrine) they develop and espouse on these kinds of thoughts. That’s why (after having been associated with many kinds of churches over a 45-year period), I now believe that most people have a better chance of acting out any real “born again” experience independently than if hanging around in a church clique.

    You see, groups can make you crazy to the point of blaming Trump on people who didn’t vote for him instead of blaming Trump on the people who did vote for him. Nutso stuff is all over the churches these days. Get free of it.

  80. The common get-out-of-jail-free canard has been around since Paul was writing (Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? May it never be!). Of course one can not remain in indifference to the Spirit’s guidance — it is the indwelling of Christians by the Spirit that produced the great transformation from the moral deadness of the pre-christian world. But the kind of perfection that Jesus talked about is not achievable in this lifetime because we continue to bear the burden of fallen mortal flesh. Sanctification is a life-long and difficult process. And it never gets started at all without the propitiation that you scoffed at.

    Small wonder that you sniff at propitiation and disdain the fellowship of other believers, in direct opposition to Christ’s direction that we love and admonish and encourage each other as one body before Him. You seem to think that you are nearing perfection yourself. I’m sure (as is true of most “perfect” people) that those acquainted with you would have a different impression.

  81. How do you know Trump is removing regulations “just” to remove them? What basis do you have for that statement? He did say he wanted to remove two old regulations for every new one issued – but to imply that this is reckless is wrong. OR, are you saying this because you disagree with the regulations that he has selected to remove?
    FYI – the reduction of regulations government-wide has had a positive influance on the psyche of the American people and economy.
    Your arguments are without merit and combined with your anti-Trump whining makes you sound like a third-grader.

  82. In American history, we had “fellowships” of church people all over the South supporting slavery, then supporting Jim Crow. In the North, we had some church people who were dedicated to ending both. Today we have a lot of church people fighting tooth and nail against government health care programs and some others who promote them vigorously so that poor people and old people can actually receive health care. You need to be careful about what you eat with a spoon from Church. It can just as easily as not be 1) baloney, 2) excuses for perpetuating meanness. You have demonstrated to me how you are currently indoctrinated. The sooner you get yourself free, the happier you will be.

  83. LOL! Begging your pardon, but I also have been involved with several different churches (Catholic-educated, some time in a middle-of-road Baptist church, currently United Methodist) and hardly eat anything “from a spoon.” If I had waited for the priests and nuns to teach me scripture I’d still be waiting.

    Having a considerable background in history and language I have studied scripture for myself and have come to many conclusions, some of which line up with traditional church teaching and some which do not. Which is entirely OK, given that we are blessed with access to scripture that earlier generations did not have and therefore have the responsibility to search it out diligently, as did the Bereans who were referred to in the book of Acts.

    Thank you for your concern for my happiness — it has been quite a wonderful life, actually.

  84. You’re welcome. I actually am concerned about your happiness, sensing as I have, that you are rather mad at me and/or other (non-Marxist) lefties, and knowing, as I do, that people who write LOL into comment-section arguments are never really laughing. (If they were laughing, they wouldn’t be arguing.)

    I do agree with you that the Catholic Church is a hard place from which to get good teaching. It alone can be all over the map as we witness from its production of both Pope Francis and Nancy Pelosi on the good end and Roberts/Alito/Thomas/Scalia/Kennedy/Gorsuch and Paul Ryan and Mike Pence on the “less-than-good” end. Methodists (I once was one) now have that problem too, since they have decided that yelling at each other about gay stuff is more important than much else (or so I hear). But your searching is a good thing. Staying on the move is a good thing too.
    In my life association with Methodists, Mennonites, Baptists, Bible Church, Assemblies of God, Church of the Nazarene, two polarized (left and right) kinds of Lutherans, and one (now-defunct) mega-church, I learned that you really do not want to stay long enough to calcify with any of their doctrines. You don’t ever HAVE TO.

  85. Newsflash – 5/24/2018: President Donald J. Trump issued a directive on Thursday ordering federal agencies to further deregulate space travel, allowing more private companies to enhance the space program.


  86. Thank you for saying absolutely nothing substantive.

  87. Since you wrote nothing substantive, you saved me the trouble of responding substantially.

  88. Translation: I, Bob Arnzen, am running away from here, rather than discuss the fact of Trumps racism, and I am blaming Hobson for my cowardly withdrawal. I am a conservative.

  89. Again, the translation is “I, Bob Arnzen, am running away from this conversation and am blaming Hobson for my cowardice. I am a conservative.”

  90. Wholly irrelevant to the conversation, but you felt you had to say something, no matter how inane and immaterial.

  91. I don’t deal well with name callers and provocateurs.

    If you happen – and based on reading your posts it seems unlikely – to post a substantive comment which could support a discussion instead of personal assessments and name-calling like the one I am currently responding, a conversation may ensue.

  92. I don’t deal well with name callers and provocateurs.

    If you happen – and based on reading your posts it seems unlikely – to post a substantive comment which could support a discussion instead of personal assessments and name-calling like the one I am currently responding, a conversation may ensue.

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