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Lawrence Fedewa

A New Year’s Resolution for Pope Francis I: Start Monetizing the Vatican Assets

Pope Francis greets Bishops

by Lawrence J. Fedewa

http://mypoliticalinsights.com/a-new-years-reso…e-vatican-assets/

 

 

 

Pope Francis I earned the admiration of many when he promised to make the Catholic Church “a poor church for the poor.” I think of that every June when the Peter’s Pence collection is taken up in all the Catholic churches worldwide. The purpose of the collection is to support the Vatican’s donations to the poor. A serious scandal occurred when it was learned a few years ago that 80% of the collection’s $80 – $100 million proceeds were used to offset the Vatican Curia’s operating deficit (National Catholic Reporter, 11/23/2013).

The larger question is, “Why does the Vatican have a deficit at all?” In fact, why is there a Peter’s Pence in the first place? The Vatican has accumulated its wealth over 2000 years and no one really knows how much net worth the entire operation has. Britain’s International Financial Times (7/19/14) quotes Italian newspaper, L’Espresso’s estimate of the Vatican’s net worth as nearly 10 billion Euros ($12 billion). But Cardinal George Pell, who oversees Vatican finances, said recently, “In fact, we have discovered that the situation is much healthier than it seemed, because some hundreds of millions of euros were tucked away in particular sectional accounts and did not appear on the balance sheet.”

Not only is the balance sheet enormous, but cash flow is even more impressive. The 800 inhabitants of th Vatican average $365,796 per capita, making the Vatican the richest state on the face of the earth! (Ibid.)

So, the fact is that nobody knows how much wealth resides in the Vatican. What we do know is that Pope Francis uttered a new standard when he said to a group of seminarians, “It hurts my heart when I see a priest with the latest model car. If you like the fancy one, think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world.”

Leaving the rest of us to wonder, how many starving children in the world could be fed with $12 billion?

In order for Pope Francis to “walk the walk”, he has to know what he is dealing with. We humbly suggest that his New Year’s resolution be, “Resolved to make Cardinal Pell’s mission to find and record the totality of the Vatican’s resources the top priority for 2018.”

Next year’s resolution should be how to monetize and distribute that wealth to the poor of the world.

 

 

Freedom’s Call to Action

Freedom’s Call to Action

Last evening I was the guest of a radio interviewer in Scotland. He began by remarking that a poem I  recorded on YouTube was so inspiring that he wanted to play it before we began our interview. He called it universal in its appeal to all people who seek freedom and justice, even though it is an American calling out to his fellow citizens. I was touched as I heard my voice and my message being heard by people in foreign lands. Later, I realized that this video was not available even on my own website. So here it

is!

Jobs and Taxes

By Lawrence J. Fedewa, Friday, December 22, 2017

The polls sponsored or cited by the news indicate that only one-third to less than one half of the American public supports the new tax cuts being finalized by the Republicans this week. The first thing to remember about these polls is that these are the same pollsters who reported that the overwhelming majority of Americans supported Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. However, the astounding ignorance of economic history reported by these polls may have some truth. Enough truth that it needs to be addressed.

The economic concepts involved are not difficult to understand, but the Democrat interpretation is being assimilated much more widely than the Republican rationale for these policies. The Democrats, since Franklin Roosevelt won the presidency in 1932 by blaming the Depression on the perfidy of large corporations, have preached that government is the answer to all our troubles and that taxes must be high to pay for all those solutions. Thus, corporations are bad, and government is good.

As Rush Limbaugh has pointed out, they have just never assimilated that the effect of Ronald Reagan’s reduction of taxes in 1984 and 1986 spawned a twenty-year era of prosperity in America. The result is that they have re-written history: Reagan’s tax policies were bad and Obama’s tax policies were good.

Here are the simple facts:

  1. “Economic expansion” means that companies are building new plants, buying more capital equipment, doing more advertising, researching more inventions, shipping more goods, and using more energy. This leads to hiring more people, which leads to labor shortages instead of labor surpluses, meaning that wages have to go up in order to attract new employees and keep current employees.
  2. Economic expansion requires more investment capital. Building plants, buying trucks, developing new products – all cost “seed” money, money spent before they produce any new income to pay for themselves.
  3. Lower taxes mean that less money is taken from profits to give to the government, But the shareholders of companies demand productive uses of the extra money – they don’t want it sitting a low interest bank account. Why not? Because expanding the company increases the value of their stock, while hording or even distributing cash reduces asset value and thus the price of the stock.
  4. So, management has to spend that money on projects that they believe will add to the growth of the company. This means expansion of some kind, whether, expansion of product line, of facilities, equipment, or advertising. Any kind of expansion means more people, more jobs.
  5. New products, new ideas, new procedures – all require new skills. So, the training departments of companies, and the curricula of colleges and vocational schools, and re-training programs of all kinds also flourish because of new needs and new markets.

 

Conclusion: tax policy which leads to economic expansion is a GOOD THING. The real value of tax reduction to the middle class and the young is not really lowering the tax rate or raising the deductions. The middle class will see its main benefits from the expansion of the economy – higher wages, more price competition, more new businesses, more money floating in the whole atmosphere.

The Democrat idea that middle class support for tax policy depends on how many dollars I am going to save on my own taxes this month or this year is totally misplaced. What are a few dollars less in my taxes compared to the new job I just got or my raise, or the new business I just started?

The underlying problem with the socialist view of the economy is that socialism views the economy as static – the classes never change: the poor will always be poor, the rich will always be rich, and the middle class can never become rich but is always on the cusp of being poor. Thus, the rich are the enemy of the other classes, because they must keep them down to maintain their own riches. This is a pie which never gets bigger.

But Americans don’t believe in that. We all think the pie can get bigger, that any poor person can become rich with talent and hard work. Americans have what is called “upward mobility” – the opportunity to change one’s place in society, to become richer, smarter, happier, and healthier.

 

The government can’t do that. Only you and I and our fellow Americans can expand our lives. And expanding our economy helps – a lot!

 

© Richfield Press 2017

 

I Walked among the Clouds

[Norman and Agnes Fedewa at the beginning. She left him alone 60 years later. He died within two years.]

I walked among the clouds until I saw
That you had gone and left us all.
Alone, I looked and cried to God above
To bring you back to my home and love.

I needed the warmth of your tender body,
the strength of your steadfast soul,
And the laughter of your sneaky eyes.
Alone, the candle of my life was dark and cold.

But nothing now could bring you back,
The sound and sense of life were gone for good.
How I cried and, weeping, cursed the God above
I was so, so lost without my precious Love.

And then I stopped and thought of where you were.
I saw you in a better place and waiting there
for me to come and love you once again
and light again the candle of your man.

Now my life goes on and I must walk alone,
and try to live with open heart and open hand,
turning sorrow into grace with anger banned,
hoping love returns to melt my heart of stone.

 LJF
December, 2017

“When knights surrender their swords, beasts shall devour maidens” – Paul Bois

By Lawrence J. Fedewa, Wednesday, December 13, 2017
This is the title of a piece by Paul Bois in the Daily Wire (October 17, 2017), the controversial Ben Shapiro’s conservative blog. This striking title raises yet another aspect of this month’s emotional outcry concerning the sexual ab of women. That is the question, “Where are the men who know about these abuses and do nothing?” Bois follows a different track, but my interest is – why don’t the men who know about this behavior defend these women? I attribute their silence simply to cowardice, whatever the source.
However, the issue is so much more complex. The basic reason a man doesn’t challenge a sexual predator who is in a position of power – perhaps his boss – is the same reason the women submit, namely self-preservation. If she refuses to submit, or files a complaint afterwards, she risks retribution from the abuser, non-support from whatever authorities she might inform, a possibly permanent reputation as a “trouble-maker” or worse, and the consequent ruin of her career. The same risks face a man who tries to stop the predator. That knight frequently surrenders his sword when he accepts a dependent position on the predator. Not always. Some guys remain stubbornly independent no matter their position. But they, like the women they are supporting, also frequently pay the price.
The underlying issue here is the belief prevalent in certain sectors of our society that aggressive behavior toward women is a sign of masculinity, often accompanied by the idea that women secretly love this treatment and that their protests are simply required by social norms.  Complicating the matter is the fact that some women really do want to be treated this way.
This brings up the issue female behavior. The modern American woman may be sexually aggressive herself, under the belief that any dependency on men is a limitation on her self-reliance. It seems a safe bet that there will soon be cases making news of men being sexually harassed by powerful women. We may soon see gender equality in this area as well as others.
Another aspect of this situation is the fashions in women’s dress. I don’t believe I have ever heard a woman admit that women dress for men. Always they steadfastly maintain that women dress for women. It is hard to believe that women long to see each other in near-naked swim suits, skin tight pants, low cut shirts, and other styles which leave little to the imagination. No matter the real answer to that question, however, men are all around these scantily clad women. So, whatever the women’s motivation, these styles give men the impression that women who dress in this way do so to attract attention to their bodies, and the people most interested in their bodies are men. This “sex appeal” really does stimulate appeal to the opposite sex. In certain industries, such as, entertainment and sports, men are expected to live in an atmosphere of constant stimulation while pretending not to notice.
Then there is the issue of conviction by the press. It appears that, if a woman has any reason to make trouble for any man, all she has to do is come up with a convincing story, hire Gloria Allred who will arrange a TV interview, and within days the accused male will be called upon to resign post haste. No presumption of innocence, no depositions, no trial, no defense, no judge, no jury.  Just go! The job of discovering evidence, assessing credibility, placing blame – all now goes to the press.
Clearly, this way of handling these accusations is neither fair nor ethical. But what is the proper way these accusations should be handled? While individual cases may differ, there are some basic guidelines any policy decisions should follow:
  1. Any institutional policy (including government) should be fair to both parties. The days of assuming that any female complainant is at fault have to be over. Women (and men, for that matter) should be reassured that their complaint will be accepted with respect and given a fair hearing. The complainant is the victim not the perpetrator.
  2.  The punishment for such behavior should fit the offense. The press is equating misdemeanors the same as felonies.  Not all unacceptable actions are equal. The woman who recently filed a complaint against a man who told her she was beautiful is not talking about rape.
  3. Victims should be encouraged to speak to their friends about the event, and to report to authorities as soon as feasible. The informed friend(s) should be encouraged to accompany the victim.
  4. There must be procedures in every venue to deal properly with all such occurrences. Many are not criminal offences, and these should not be made public until some official action by the company, office, church, club, or whatever group is responsible for the principals has been taken to determine the facts. The press should be responsible only for reporting the news, not for adjudicating the news.
  5. Finally, laws and procedures must be devised to deal quickly with these complaints. Time is not the friend of the victim or the accused.
These considerations are, in my opinion, applicable to the Franken and Conyers cases as much as to anyone else. The fact that they both resigned without seeking due process can only be interpreted as admission of guilt. The same reasoning applies to the other cases which seem to be appearing on a daily basis. Trial by the press is never an acceptable procedure.
 Although sexual abuse has been happening forever, now is our time to face up to it and, as a society, come up with appropriate solutions. Sexual abuse of women joins a growing list of painful sins which have haunted our generation, including the Catholic priest scandal, the military treatment of females, the human trafficking crimes, and the abortion tragedies. These and other gender-related practices have surfaced in this new world of ours and it is up to us to create the social norms and procedures to pass on a more moral society than we inherited.
© Richfield Press, 2017

 

Why not destroy American monuments?

Slavery, war and the artifacts left behind

Christ Church in Alexandria, Va. — an Episcopal parish where George Washington and Robert E. Lee worshiped — is depicted here. The parish vestry announced on Oct. 26, 2017, that it would remove and relocate memorial plaques in honor of both men, citing a desire to provide a “welcoming” worship space. (Wikimedia Commons)

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Destruction of historical statues, icons and documents appears to be one of the latest fads of the Left. This idea seemed a bit quaint for the “hate America” fringe until it caught fire with the Leftist establishment. The removal of the George Washington memorabilia so proudly displayed by Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, convinced many Americans that this fad has joined the leftist orthodoxy and is now a force to be reckoned with.

The primary objection seems to be that many of the most famous Americans were on the wrong side of the slavery issue. Not only does this accusation include the entire Confederate States of America, but also many of the original generation of the American Revolution. It is a serious objection and deserves an answer.

The short answer is that these historical statues and writings can teach us much about the long road our country has traveled in its quest to achieve its fundamental ideal, as stated in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Yet the writer of these words, Thomas Jefferson, and many of the signers of that Declaration, were themselves owners of human slaves. How can that be?

That answer starts with the observation that people do not always live up to their ideals. For civilization to advance, however, we must seek the best ideals and try to live by them. The most important standard we as Americans have adopted and by which we define the advancement of civilization is the Christian ideal — which has become the foundation of American orthodoxy – namely, that “All men are created equal.” Few Americans would disagree with that ideal. But most of us would have to admit that our actions have not always reflected it.

So, now we come to the most notorious violation of that ideal in American history, namely, slavery. In the New World – though not in Arabian, African, Chinese, Native American and many other cultures — slavery was limited to people of African descent. This reality led to the intermingling of slavery and racism, a factor which has complicated the issue throughout our history.

The slavery of Africans was the most contentious issue of the Continental Convention. Then, as now, there were extremists and pragmatists. The extremists on the side of maintaining slavery were Southerners, whose entire economy was built on slavery.  They had also built a whole mythology to justify their use of slaves. It included, as dogma, that the Negro race was inferior to the European race, and was therefore unable to care for its members in a civilized manner. The mythology was very detailed and so stupid, insulting and demonstrably fallacious that it will not be repeated here.

Nevertheless, there were many delegates from the Southern states who were prepared to remain under British rule rather than abolish slavery. The extremists in favor of abolition were from the Northern states and they would rather remain under British rule than found a new country that recognized slavery. Everyone at that convention wanted to revolt against Britain, but the North could not hope to win a war against the British without the South. The South could not sustain its economy if the British tariffs and taxes continued. Besides, men like Virginia Gov. Patrick Henry’s slogan, “Give me liberty or give me death” had swept the South.

In the middle were the pragmatists. Their primary goal was rebellion. Some Northerners were already known for their sentiments and their personal futures were at stake. It was clear to everyone that the two most powerful states, Virginia and Massachusetts, had to be included or there was no chance for an American Revolution to succeed. The Convention was committed to rule by majority vote, but the rural South had fewer white people than industrial New England. If the Negro slaves were not counted, the South was outnumbered and clearly was poised to withdraw from the Convention. The North sent a delegation to Canada to see if they could be induced to join the rebellion, but found no interest. In the end, they did what all politicians do, they compromised. They “kicked the can down the road.”

The issue of slavery haunted the new United States of America until the North became powerful enough to challenge the South in the Civil War. But, all that accomplished after 650,000 deaths was to establish the legal basis for abolition. The problem was far from settled. In fact, with the black migration to northern manufacturing centers in succeeding years, their competition with the white working class provided a new battleground for the racism component of slavery. The old Southern mythology gained new converts.

So, what does all this have to do with the destruction of historical monuments? Keep Reading

INSIDE: THE EARLY YEARS (a Catholic youth searches for his place in the sun)

 

Hi Everybody, 
Announcing the publication of my new memoir, telling the story of  my adventures in getting from a Catholic seminary to a happy marriage, with many stops along the way, some funny, some surprising. Like how I ended up a cabaret singer in Europe, a clothes model in Paris, a quasi-legal pedler in Denver, and other questionable activities. There is also the serious side of leaving the seminary and heading to  Trappist monastery.  Another little sidelight: much of my seminary experience is reflected in my poetry.
 Another description might be: “A love story which begins in a Catholic seminary (of all places!)
My columns, along with recent media interviews can be found on my website: 
As always, comments welcome. Thank you for your support.
Larry Fedewa
 Copies available in Kindle aand paperback at Amazon: