Sunday, January 26, 2014

On Extinction Level Events, and other abstractions: A Eulogy of Love by Kevin D. Annett

Nobody can think globally, anymore than one can seriously imagine one's own death. And so when Fukushima exploded three years ago and as our skies and oceans became laced with toxicity, none of it seemed as real as the trivialities of my life. 

Basically, I tried not to think about what lay across the waters. And so even now, as we are being slowly radiated to death in what has become an obvious Extinction Level Event, our planetary fate remains abstract to ourselves: more important than the trivialities, of course, but not more real. And being human, I guess I'm not unusual in that way.

But as with the advance of old age and mortality in general, our creeping global megadeath is clearly an unshakeable fact that our timid hearts and minds must somehow encompass, before the ending. Even if there is no way out for any of us mammals and fishes, the fact will inevitably be confronted, one way or another.
Heroism leaps to mind, of course. “If we are to die, let it be like men”, or perhaps, “Somehow we must act, so that posterity will know that not all of us were complicit with the crime”. Of course, if we do indeed lack any chance of human posterity, perhaps that second quote doesn't fit. But the sentiment is the right one.

Are we being punished for our enormous crimes? Absolutely, if punishment is tantamount to a simple logical consequence. Is some angry deity or unknowable agency engineering our demise as a big cosmic retribution for our naughtiness? I doubt it. That kind of pettiness seems only too human, and surely we've all had enough of projecting our own shadow.

A logical consequence. We rely on a deadly technology we never really understood, we use our garden earth as a dumping ground for all our unnatural waste, and we tear ourselves and each other to pieces, and yes, one day, it will all turn around and chew us up. It's happening as we breathe, or more specifically, as we breathe in all those unseen, glowing plutonium atoms.

No sermon is intended. It's probably too late for any of that, anyway, and besides, I've done enough funerals to know that it isn't words that mourners need.

But since we're on the subject, I've realized recently that much of what I have done for so many years has come down to being a eulogist at the funeral of my own culture; and now, it seems, of my own species.
Back in the old country, my ancestors called the practice “keening”, or the Caoinaimh, “the beautiful remembering”, which is what you'd do at the passing of a great Irish chieftain or bard: recount in song and story the tale of his life, to sum it up and encourage the hovering soul to pass on to the next world. The Remembering went on for three days, normally, while the relatives all got drunk.

In my sunny moments, I like to think that such is the fate of our people: simply, a passing on through a good remembering, amidst much revelry. But the Void tends to stare back at me, even in such moments, with its inscrutable question mark.

Here in the West, we don't know anything about death and passing, except how to fear it. But the best moments for me have come at deathbeds and funerals, simply because the totality is suddenly there, as well as a deep and very sweet cherishing of every breath we the living can still draw.

After my blacklisting by the church, I was still on call at one Vancouver mortuary where the local manager knew of my troubles and didn't mind. And knowing my precarious situation, the good fellow used to pass on to me as much work as he could, especially those funerals that none of the other clergy wanted to touch.
A lot of those were what's called Public Trustee Funerals, where some poor sod in a rooming house or shitty hotel somewhere dies “intestate” and alone. Then just me and the manager and the solitary corpse would do the entire final service ourselves, as my words and the canned, sombre music and perhaps even a sympathetic remembrance somewhere would say goodbye to an entire life.

Those farewells felt like the most important ones I ever did, and not just because the abandoned guy in the box deserved some respect at his final passing. Something else was always present then that wasn't around when the place was crammed full of people. I could feel that "something" as tangibly as my aching love for my own daughters, but it was just as enigmatic. It came and went. And it was everything.

I knew at those lonely moments that there is indeed a soul, and it reposes not in our brief mortal coils but throughout and beyond us, pointing always to that alone which is real.

Perhaps it's the same way when an entire people die: none of the noise and bustle will matter, ultimately. Only that presence will matter; and through it, the real world.

My own piece of that big soul does assure me, now and then, that our present moment in history, like all moments, is just part of the road along which we are learning, or maybe just treading. Death hangs over us these days wherever we are, and is closing off our options quicker than we are allowed to realize: and the last people we should turn to are those who pretend they're in charge.

For this is a reckoning time. And a time for the good remembering.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Caucasian Healing Fund Show : A Parody By Kevin Annett

Author's Warning: None of this stuff about Mister X is made up.

Welcome to The Caucasian Healing Fund Show - where our panel of experts get to match their acumen with other pale contestants who have gotten away with spectacular crimes!

And here's your nice host, Wink Harper!


Wink: Thank you, and hello to everybody. It's good to be back. Well, tonight we have a special treat for you: a featured guest who really personifies the spirit of our program. I know you'll all get a kick out of him. But first, let's introduce our panel.

(Mall music)

Panelist number one is a newcomer on the show: he's a commodities speculator, an arms dealer and an elder with the Anglican Church of Canada. Let's welcome Peter!


Panelist number two hails from Burlington, Ontario: she's a mother of three and a founding member of the Campaign to Keep Canada Bland. Say hi to Margaret!


And our third panel member is appearing at the special request of tonight's guest and his lawyer: won't you please welcome David, a senior consultant with the prestigious public relations firm of Manning and Sons.

(mild applause)

Okay panelists, you know the drill. You'll try to guess the identity of our guest within the time alloted. Tonight's guest has been in the news and he's a convicted felon, which should make your job easier. Please refer to him as Mister X. So let's get down to it. Panelist number one?

Panelist #1: I'll cut to the chase, Wink. I think Mr. X is really the Prime Minister. Am I right?

Wink: (laughing) Sadly, no. But a good guess.

Panelist #1: Shit.

Panelist #2: Wink, I have a question. Mister X, are you a Christian?

Guest: Well, I like to think so.

Panelist #2: What do you think about all the homosexuals in the church?

Guest: Which ones?

Panelist #2: Oh, they're always careful to hide themselves. They could be anywhere.

Guest: I try not to be judgemental about that sort of thing.

Panelist #2: So you don't mind condoms lying under the pews and in the baptismal font, Mister X?

Wink: Panelists, let's keep our questions to X focused on his identity, shall we? Panelist number three, you haven't said anything yet. How about it?

Panelist #3: I have nothing to ask yet, Mr. Harper. I'm assessing the situation for my client.

Wink: Good for you. Ok then, anybody else?

Panelist #1: Listen, X, are you a former Prime Minister?

Guest: No.

Panelist #2: I bet you're a cross dresser.

Wink: Panelists, I can see this is going nowhere. I'm declaring our guest the winner.


Wink: So why don't we ask him to introduce himself for the audience and the panel. Mister X?

Guest: Thank you Wink. My name is Reverend Russell Crossley and I live in Victoria, British Columbia. I'm a retired minister with the United Church of Canada.

Panelist #2: I knew it! He is gay!

Wink: Please, Margaret. You had your chance. Russell, tell us what you're famous for.

Guest: Well, in 1997 I did some time in a prison. It was all a big mistake, really, for which I have officially apologized, kind of.

Wink: That's very reconciliatory of you, Russ. But why not tell us what you were charged with?

Guest: Oh, just going out now and then with a few people from my church ...

Wink: I read in the papers that you were found guilty of raping women for over thirty years, in many different congregations in Ontario and British Columbia. You even raped under aged girls.

Guest: Well, rape is too harsh a word, Wink. I prefer to use the term “excessive affection”.

Wink: How much time in prison did you actually do, Russell?

Guest: I was pleased that the judge in his Christian charity gave me only a year's confinement, Wink. I was out on good behaviour in four months.

Wink: Wow, four months. That's pretty impressive for a serial rapist, even in Canada.

Guest: It's true. But like I always say to my parishioners, you must never underestimate the power of divine intervention. And a good lawyer, of course.


Wink: You must have more going for you than a good lawyer, Russ. You seem to have some friends in high places ... and I don't mean in heaven, of course.


Guest: Yes, the national church was kind enough to pay all my legal fees and solicit excellent character references for me from some prominent politicians, and a former Superintendent of the RCMP.

Wink: Well aren't you the well connected one! But tell me Russ, how did you get away with raping all those women for over thirty years?

Guest: Fairly easily. I was moved around a lot by my superiors. The church isn't one to condemn a man just for a few little indiscretions, Wink. We believe in forgiveness and reconciliation. Besides, I was the one who came out the loser ...

Wink: Pardon me?

Guest: Yes. All that bad publicity. It hurt to see myself talked about like that. But I grew from the experience. It was a chance for me to learn some humility and forgiveness.

Wink: Oh, so you're the victim, then, not all those women?

Guest: Well, isn't that obvious? I mean, they've moved on. But I had to go to jail. Sunday attendance in my Victoria congregation even dropped for awhile when I was in jail.

Wink: Your congregation? You mean you weren't defrocked for raping your own parishioners?

Guest (laughing) Defrocked? What do you think I am, Wink, a whistleblower?

Wink: You mean you kept your job as a minister after going to jail for rape?

Guest: Why, naturally! Why should I lose all that income and hurt my pension on top of being victimized by all those women? I'm glad the church saw it that way, too. The United Church even gave me an official testimonial dinner after I came out of prison.

Wink: Amazing. So what now, Russ?

Guest: Oh, I'm writing a book about the whole experience. An inspirational work. The church is publishing it. I know it will be of real help to all the other clergy who find themselves in a similar situation.

Wink: Do you have any regrets, Reverend?

Guest: Only that I've lost touch with so many of the women involved. Like I said, I've forgiven them. I hope we can be reconciled: you know, maybe go out for dinner ...

Wink: Thanks, Reverend, I think we get the point ...

Guest: I sincerely hope so, Wink. For everybody's sake.

Wink: So that's our show for tonight, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for watching. And until next week's show, don't forget: stay positive!

(Applause and canned music)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Urgent Update 14 January, London UK: Persecuted ITCCS member David Compan's wife arrested and held by police to force David to surrender.

David Compan, illegally targeted under England's police-state "thought crime" laws for his public support of our campaign to expose high-level child trafficking, has eluded detention in Charing Cross mental hospital; but in response, Wembley police have today arrested and are holding David's wife to force him to surrender. 

Demand the release of Pritame Bal, Davids wife, from Wembley police station, and an end of the government's campaign to silence ITCCS members.
Concerned people are urged to protest at the station:

Wembley Police Station, 603 Harrow Road
HA0 2HH Wembley
Phone: 020 87333189
Officers William number 117QK and Ross Benson number 96304

David's incarceration as an undiagnosed "mental patient" is being orchestrated by social worker Elizabeth Scully of the "Mental health assessment team" at The Claybrook centre, 37 claybrook Rd., Hammersmith, London W6 8LN - phone -020 7386 1271, fax 020 7386 1267.

These attacks will be discussed in an exclusive interview with Kevin Annett and Coventry ITCCS members on Peoples' Voice TV in England on Wednesday at 5 pm and 6 pm GMT (London), or 12 noon EST. Tune in to .

Issued by ITCCS Central, Brussels
14 January 2014

Monday, January 13, 2014


Land Rights and Human Rights on Trial: Turning the Tables on Genocide and Ecocide

The Case of the Ahousaht People, Weyerhauser, and the United Church of Canada

A First hand Account and Dialogue with Rev. Kevin Annett

With respondents Quisia Gonzalez and Teckla Negga Melchior 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

1-3 PM at the Chapel of Peace Community Church, 40 East 35 St., New York, NY 10016

A common law court is convening in 2014 on Canada's west coast to place in the docket a corporation, a church and a government that are equally responsible for the destruction of indigenous people and their forests.

The man who exposed this historic crime and brought Canada and its churches to account for genocide and child murder, Kevin Annett, will tell the story and describe how common law will seek to turn the tables on the perpetrators of crimes against humanity and the earth. During 2013, Kevin also helped prosecute and depose former Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, at the first International Common Law court proceedings against the Vatican in history. (see

Kevin will also invite participants to reflect on how the trauma perpetrated on all of us and on our world can be exposed and overcome, to allow us to reclaim and reconstitute our stolen liberties and our world. "The land and society must rest from usury, oppression and fear, as must every soul"

RSVP and information: and

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Fallen among the Humorless, and other Impious Recollections by Kevin D. Annett

The recent news that my old Alma Mater, the Vancouver School of Theology, has just been sold off to become a wing of the Economics Faculty at the University of BC strikes me not only as highly appropriate, considering the spirit of the place, but a definite kind of poetic justice. It also prompted me to compose the following fond remembrances of my life as a budding young theologian there, in the late 1980's.

With the usual apologies to Lard Ass and company.


Woe to you, teachers and Pharisees, hypocrites! You cleanse the outside of the vessel, but inside you are full of plunder and every evil thing! - Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 23:25

The first day of school was always a real thrill for me, but seminary was different. The wall of strange and judgmental faces that met me in the assembly hall that morning didn't bode well. Nor did the saccharine niceness that dripped from the walls of the Vancouver School of Theology (VST).

“Hi!” exclaimed one of the stern faces that morphed mechanically into an affected niceness in the oddly dissociated manner that I grew used to while in the church world.

“Hi” I replied.

“Welcome!” said the now grinning young man who looked like a college fraternity President.

I nodded and returned his smile, an automatic gesture that everyone else at VST did so compulsively, and that I quickly imitated: so much so that my jaws usually ached by the end of any school day.

“I'm Brian” he exclaimed, extending his hand.

I took it reluctantly and said my name.

“I'm so glad the Lord has brought us together!”

“Uh huh” I replied, wondering if he was hitting on me.

“Oh! And our prayer circle is every night, downstairs in the lounge!”

He's a Pentacostal, I thought.

When I was a kid in Winnipeg, we had a neighbor who was a Pentacostal, and the old lady kept trying to get my family to leave what she not inappropriately called the “spiritual jello” of the United Church of Canada and come over to the real Christians: her group.

We declined, especially my Dad, who did however get a few well placed digs in to her about removing the crap from your own eye first, or something. So the neighbor didn't talk to us after that, which was a shame, considering how cute her only daughter was.

But on that first day at seminary, I was tempted to lambaste my newly acquired evangelical associate in a similar manner. Unfortunately, I labored then under an extreme sort of low spiritual self estimate based not surprisingly on the fact that I actually didn't have any faith. That hobbled my capacity to challenge the Tartuffian idiots around me, meaning that I mostly kept quiet and smiled a lot.

The lunchtime buffet wasn't bad, however, which made up for all the other stuff that day.

After a whack of prayers and a long-winded oratory by the guy who passed for the school Principal - whose homily to we hushed crowd of fifty or so fresh fish reminded me, by its astounding self-congratulation, of the pep talk I had received on my first day at the campus law school - our saintly crowd of novice seminarians retired to the hog fest spread out for us like some latter day Loaves and Fishes, minus Jesus, of course.

That's where I first met Lard Ass.

The guy was a legend at VST, and not just because of his massive girth. Reverend Jim McCullum ran the place like it was his own private cabana, partly because he was drinking buddies with the Principal and had dirt on the guy, whom I'll get to in a minute. But all I knew about Reverend Lard Ass that first day was his prodigious bulk that stood between me and the sagging smorgasbord like a No Go sign.

Everybody called Jim Lard Ass behind his considerable back, his faculty colleagues included. His behavior only served to cement the appellation. For after the obligatory invocation delivered by a proud and loud first year student, Lardo made a direct beeline for the food like it was Christ Incarnate, and shoved his way in front of everybody to be first in line.

I was as shocked as the rest of the crowd, but none of us said anything, and, being Canadians, we all politely stepped back to let the Hulk wade into the feast, which he did with a vengeance. Lardo reminded me of my Uncle Lloyd, who wasn't nearly as fat as Jim McCullum but had the same compulsive need to cram into his maw anything that had once moved: especially at smorgasbords.

Uncle Lloyd had more of an excuse for his piggyness than Lard Ass, of course, being a child of poverty during the Depression and a survivor of a German prisoner of war camp where he was rarely fed. Lloyd had also come also to being shot by an S.S. Company soon after he'd been taken prisoner by them at Normandy in 1944, and so he ate the way other veterans booze. But Lard Ass was just a greedy pig, and not just about food.

The Reverend Hulk actually loaded down two full plates with everything in sight before lumbering to the nearest table with a stupid self-satisfied smirk that reminded me of the kid who rips off a chocolate bar from the local grocery and crams it in his mouth before anyone catches him. Jim McCullum started filling his gorge like a dog in heat.

And that wasn't the worst part. Stuffed to his gills and belching like a longshoreman, McCullum had the gall to stand up later, before any of us had finished our meal, and proceed to lecture us about that day's “lectionary reflection” from Paul's letter to the Romans: concerning, you guessed it, on the need for restraint, moderation, kindliness and consideration towards others in all matters of faith and life.

Uh huh.

Oh well, the incident was in fact a fair and accurate introduction to life at VST and in the church, and also into the battle for my own soul. But I won't get preachy on you. I haven't even had my dinner yet.

I ran into my new holy roller friend, unfortunately, after Lard Ass's homily. The squeaky clean young guy was belching too, but a lot more subtly.

“You have to join us tonight!” he exclaimed, touching my arm in a manner not befitting a purely spiritual encounter.

“Well, my wife and I have something to go to” I lied to him, emphasizing the word “wife”.

“You can bring her!” he shot back. “Please come!”

The whole day was beginning to feel like I was caught in a Monty Python re-run, trapped to cycle through absurdity until the end of time. And the insanity wasn't over.

Shaking off my dogged pursuer somehow, I ended up in the student lounge to pick up our orientation material. Classes were to commence the next day, and I still didn't know my theological ass from a hole in the ground. I couldn't figure out the academic program at all, since it was based on something called Competencies, which were various hoops one had to vault through to achieve the inestimable status of clergy person.

Competency: how fitting a term for what they were trying to make us.

Ironically, I never felt competent as a minister, despite all my preparation: not in the face of the daily unpredictability and chaotic mix of death, grief and banality that falls upon even the least engaged pastor. The ministry has nothing to do with being “competent”, except from the viewpoint of the church number crunchers and those bloodless little twerps who occupy head office and equate true spiritual witness with the balancing of the annual budget.

Anyway, bewildered by the whole registration procedure to say nothing of the whole atmosphere, I sought help at the head office, where I nearly collided with the school Principal, the aforementioned buddy of Lard Ass, who had so wowed us earlier that day with his glowing “My, aren't we God's chosen ones” speech.

His name was Bud Phillips.

If this was a movie, the music would go somber just about now. For Bud was deeply creepy, as witnessed by his decision that same week to arbitrarily sack two of the longest-serving school secretaries to free up the funds needed to renovate his fancy home, next door to the seminary.
The guy, as befits any jerk, was all smiles.

“Settling in?” he inquired, his eyes cold and uncaring.

“Uh, well, yeah, but I need some help ...”

“Lois here can help you” Bud said curtly, on his way out.

Lois didn't help me. Nor did anybody else. It was a strictly learn as you go operation, and I discovered quickly how it all worked: Follow the rules, don't laugh at Lard Ass, and for god's sake, keep smiling!


Kevin has an obvious passion for social justice and the poor which needs to be tempered with an appreciation of the pastoral responsibilities and compromises needed to function as a minister to middle class congregations ... It is not clear whether Kevin yet appreciates the need to pastor to the wealthy as well as to those in need.” - from the Mid Term Review, Division of Ministry and Education, Vancouver School of Theology (VST), March 1988

Woe to you who are rich, for you have your comfort! - Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 6:24
A Conference room at VST, sometime during October, 1989. Kevin Annett is undergoing his final year end Ordination Interview by a panel from the B.C. Conference of the United Church of Canada.

Panel Chair: So can you please clarify what you meant exactly in your statement when you wrote, “God stands with the poor and all victims of the system against that which oppresses them”?

Kevin: Well, just that. That's my reading of the Gospels.

Panel Member 1: (gruffly) So you mean God doesn't stand with the rich?

Kevin: Not according to Jesus.

Panel Member 1: That's your reading of our Lord, is it?

Kevin: I don't see what other conclusion you can come to.

Panel Member 2: So what does that mean for you, in the ministry, Kevin? Are you saying you'll only be able to minister to poor people?

Kevin: I guess so. I wouldn't feel I was being faithful to my own calling, otherwise.

Long pause.

Panel Chair: I'd like to suggest we take a short break.

Kevin Annett was the only member of the 1990 VST graduation class to fail his first round of Conference Ordination interviews. He was then asked by the Conference Panel to re-write his statement concerning his personal calling in United Church ministry.
Three weeks later, Kevin appeared again before the same Interview Panel.

Panel Chair: I assume we've all read Kevin's statement ... are there any questions?

Panel Member 2: Thanks Bob, I have one. Kevin, this is quite a different statement than your first one. I especially noticed that you've moderated your views about your own calling. So I'd like to know how genuine that is.

Kevin: How do you mean?

Panel Chair: Kevin, let's put it this way: now you say that you would in fact be able to minister to rich people.

Kevin: That's right.

Panel Chair: How, exactly?

Kevin: By not being like them. By bringing them the news of the Gospel of the poor one Jesus and asking them to shed their lives of everything that stands between them and him.

Panel Member 1: You mean, like giving away all their money to poor people, right?

Kevin: That's one of the ways, sure.

Panel Member 2: But could you pastor to the rich as human beings, as people with needs of their own, just as important as the poor?

Kevin: (hesitantly) As important? (pause) Well, yes ... I mean, to a point ...

Panel Member 1: To what point? What do you mean?

Long pause

Kevin (subdued and strained): Okay. I meant, yes, I could. I would see them as part of the broader body of Christ and I would approach them as I would the poor.


Panel Chair: Okay, I think that answers your questions, eh Marilyn? Thank you Kevin.

After his second Ordination interview, Kevin Annett was approved by the Conference Panel for acceptance into ordained United Church Ministry. He was so inducted on May 6, 1990, at Naramata, B.C., proving once again that it's never about who you are, but what you say.


Perhaps inevitably because of the guy's enormous bulk, I kept running into Lard Ass McCullum, even when I was away from the Vancouver School of Theology.

One of the times our paths crossed was during my year long internship at a United Church in North Bay, Ontario, where I was to learn the skills of my trade, up close: sadly, under the tutelage of a walking filing cabinet named Reverend Jim Sinclair who had aspirations to be elected Moderator of the whole church.

McCullum was good buddies with Sinclair, the Two Jims having known each other in school. And while North Bay Jim wasn't as fat as VST Jim, he was just as much a company man: hence, their mutual concern about me.

I quickly learned all this one afternoon after church when Anne and I were invited to the Sinclairs' place for tea. Anne was enormously pregnant by then with our first daughter Clare, and she mostly sat and chatted with Donna, Jim Sinclair's wife: another big wheel in the national church. But Reverend Jim took me aside and informed me that Lard Ass (not his name for the behemoth) would be “dropping by” to talk over my “progress”.

I tried unsuccessfully to imagine Lardo “dropping by” anywhere, but sure enough, his Lardship appeared soon after, bearing his usual mean and hungry look.

It turns out the whole thing was a set up. After a recent sermon I'd given in Jim's mostly middle class church about the Christian obligation of personal poverty in a world of suffering, some alarm bell must have been rung back in VST or at head office in Toronto: the first of many, apparently, when it came to yours truly. Sinclair had asked McCullum, as a supervisor of interns, to come to North Bay and “provide oversight” of my work, which is United Church Newspeak for holding an inquisition.

And so there sat the three of us in Sinclair's sanctum sanctorum in the basement: me, the blushing young intern, Lard Ass, doing his Jabba the Hut imitation, and Jim Sinclair, acting all wise and beneficent in his soft cop capacity.

Holy banality, Batman! These church types are really stupid, in retrospect. For how could they have not seen back then that I represented a lethal virus in their corporate bloodstream, and needed to be expunged forthwith? But smorgasbords are to clergy and theologians what donut shops are to cops, and all that extra lard clearly impedes the gray matter.

It's not like I didn't give the pharisees ample warning about me, after all, which is why I don't feel much pity nowadays for the entire litigation-besieged pack of fools. For I was perfectly honest with Lard Ass that day in Jim's study, the moment he asked his first leading query about “how I saw” my goal in ministry.

I was still a tad peevish about Fat Boy's grabbing all of the egg rolls at the VST pig out the previous year, so I didn't hold back.

“I feel that Jesus is the role model for all ministers, not just spiritually but in his lifestyle. Like in the Book of Acts. We need to be showing our congregations the way back to a Gospel community where wealth is held in common and there aren't any rich and poor among us.”

McCullum frowned at my words, glanced at Sinclair, and remarked with a slight wheeze,
“Yes. I read that in one of your papers. I see you really do have a messianac complex, Kevin”

As opposed to an obsessive compulsive complex to stuff one's face? I almost replied.

We stared at each other, he plotting, me trying to make sense of his rudeness and stupidity.

Soft Cop took over.

“I wouldn't say that's Kevin's problem” said Sinclair with an avuncular smoothness, as he emphasized “problem”. “He's just a bit lopsided in his emphasis on prophetic versus pastoral ministry”.

I heard that dichotomous expression a lot in the United Church: “prophetic versus pastoral”, as if one can bind a wound with one's eyes shut. The term was just more church Newspeak: a trendy way to say, don't upset the money givers in the pews with a lot of social justice talk.

In short, Big Jim and Little Jim were telling me to shut up and keep my social conscience hermetically sealed and apart from what is quaintly called “normal church life”. That's known as being “pastorally competent” in the church. That bloody “C” word again.

Well, trying to make plutocrats happy is never an easy job, but I knew I had to try if I was ever to graduate and get the golden ring of entry into the ministry. And as I would prove at my final ordination interview, shit, I could lie about myself like the best of them.

So I grit my teeth and assured Fat Boy that I would try to gain a better balance between the two P's, and would work with Jim Sinclair to “become more pastoral with rich people as well as the poor”: a quaint but ridiculous idea, in practice, since their needs and situation differed so profoundly, especially when you tried bringing the two groups together in the same congregation, which nobody ever really attempted for very long. When I tried to do exactly that, later, in Port Alberni; well, you know what happened.

And so everybody seemed happy for the time being, including my wife. And our child Clare Rose was thus born happily ever after on a deeply frigid Sundaymorning to the acclamation and hugs of Jim and Donna and all the other nice church people who would years later deny and denigrate me and even destroy my family when I stopped trying to remain hermetically sealed.


And as a finale: Crazy Walter meets the Fucking Primate

In his more coherent moments, my buddy Crazy Walter from Vancouver's skid row would wander from his voyeuristic pastimes in and around First United church and seek the greener pastures of the University of BC campus, where abounded aplenty thrown away food, comfy couches and young nubile students. He also knew that I attended the seminary there. So much to his delight, and mine, generally, Walt would show up unannounced at VST and seek me out, usually in a loud voice, and hang with me in the student lounge or sit in on various classes where he'd pretend to be a visiting scholar.

His ruse worked more often than not, since your average seminarian or theology professor is about as sharp as an eraser. Walt never got the bum's rush from VST because nobody there quite knew whether or not he was indeed some eccentric savant rather than his actual street guy self. And of course, the long hair and beard definitely gave him an arcane J.C. quality.
But even with all that, staff and students alike gave Wally and his ripe odor a wide berth whenever he ensconced himself in the VST lounge, slurping the free coffee and regaling me and anyone within earshot about his latest ecstatic and usually sexual revelation, proving that rubby or not, he could bullshit as good as the rest of them.

And Walter was thus poised the day the Primate came to visit.

Anglicans are generally weird, and not just because they're Englishmen. Their wannabee papism prompts them to employ not just absurdly pretentious but downright incomprehensible gestures, including the names they adopt for themselves.

Take “Primate”, for instance.

That's what the Alpha Male is called in the Anglican church in Canada: he's the top official, who lies just under the Archbishop of Canterbury. And guess who was coming to dinner at VST that day?

I could tell something was up when the normal Sycophant Index among the school crowd began climbing steadily as lunch time approached. Well dressed big shots and their mink-coated wives started clustering in the VST rotunda, and students began hurrying around, speaking in hushed and excited whispers. Principal Bud even descended from his office for a few moments to flash his perfect smile at everyone and pump the flesh of all those potential donors.

Walter never let anything slip by him, and from his perch next to the coffee machine, he proclaimed in a loud tone, What the fuck is goin' on?”

One of the few students who associated with me until he was told not to, an American Methodist named Rich Lang, ducked out of the lounge to go and see.

“Probably some cluster fuck” mumbled Walt to me, emptying the last of the coffee from its urn as several students gave him one of those typically Canadian passive aggressive fuck-off-and-die looks.

Just then I noticed out the window that a collosall limousine had pulled up, from which emerged a scowling bearded fellow in a funny hat and huge gold cross who was adorned in a flowing purple and red robe.

Rich popped his head into the lounge and with a provocative grin, he announced, It's the Anglican Primate”

Exactly as if he'd been struck by a thunderbolt from the Almighty, Walter jumped up and with a wild and aroused look of rapt joy, he bellowed, The Primate? The FUCKING PRIMATE? He's HERE?!”

Walt hurried to the hallway and stood facing the arriving dignitary, who of course stepped into the rotunda just as Wally did. And with his hips visibly quaking in anticipation, my buddy turned and thrust his considerable ass towards the cleric and his crowd of austere hangers-on while loudly emitting the kind of primal grunts and moans that undoubtedly does it for your average baboon in estrus.

It's all a stage, for sure, and Walt had suddenly seized its front and center. The Primate and his crowd were riveted into a shocked stupefaction as they watched the bearded trickster perform his little mating dance for them. The entire place was instantly silent, save for Walt's groans and the sound of Rich and I screaming our heads off with laughter.

“Oh god, boys, it's those fucking colors he's got on ...” Walt gasped to us as his bum kept rolling ans reaching out to the object of his affection, and we two soon-to-be-disciplined students rolled around on the floor hysterically, trying to breathe.

George Orwell was right, of course, when he observed that the only thing the rich and powerful ever really fear is to be laughed at publicly. And so after its momentary eclipse at the hands of the unwashed, official church decorum quickly recovered; and gathering their briefly-shattered authority, the Primate and his unamused flock turned their collective back on Walter with a decided sneer and hurried off to the reception hall and lots of free food and booze.

That didn't faze Walt one bit, naturally, and he called out to the departing Most Reverend Whoever,

“Oh come on, not again! Just up and leave without even leaving your fucking phone number?!”

Rich and I, somehow, were still breathing by then, although spent and quaking. The other students in the lounge had long since departed, hurrying past our irreverend shrieks with the kind of career conscious disdain I would encounter only too often in the years that were to follow. None of them would even look at Walter, his heretical gyrations not only way beyond the pale but an object of genuine fear for all of them.

Finally, the three of us sat together once more, alone, in the VST lounge. Walt's eyes were aflame and deeply happy, and he let out his high pitched giggle that he always employed during the passing of the collection plate down at First United.

A gruff campus security guy poked his head into the lounge just then, and he mumbled something into his walky talky.

“Well?” said Walter.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Pope is anti-capitalist? Right! And I'm the Czar of Russia! Reflections on Human Credulity and Papal Realpolitics by Kevin D. Annett

I guess I.Q.'s just dropped again. For why else would otherwise intelligent (read: non-catholic) people now believe that Jorge Bergoglio, the Vatican's latest figure head, is championing the world's poor by confronting the evils of global capitalism – just because he says he is?

Lots of popes have condemned capitalism over the years from atop their pile of riches, privileges and corporate investments, with the kind of outstanding hypocrisy Rome has always excelled in. Like George Carlin used to joke, as bullshit operations go, the papal religion wins, hands down. So Pope Francis' furtive rhetoric is hardly original.

Given all that, by way of an analogy, I somehow doubt that we'd have taken Don Carlo Gambino of the Brooklyn Mafia seriously if he'd have suddenly denounced organized crime. But then again, mobsters never claim to speak for God, although they are generally loyal, dues-paying catholics.

Words are cheap and easy, of course, especially for popes, who'd have us all believe that they alone speak for God, and that by paying the Vatican either cash or credit (the Almighty deals in both, apparently), we will somehow free the souls of our loved ones from an imaginary purgatory.

But for the sake of some honesty, people, let's forego delusions for a moment and stare at the cold reality of Mammon Central in Rome.

Despite all of Jorge's talk of dismantling capitalism, the Vatican Bank is still laundering mega bucks for the Mob and shearing the flock of over $50 billion every year, just from catholic collection plates alone. Nor has the Vatican disinvested itself from its shares in Monsanto, Big Pharma, the global arms trade or any of its other lucrative investment portfolios.

Jorge's audibly bleeding heart notwithstanding, all that looted wealth in the Vatican still rests in its grasping paws, along with the vast lands and resources stolen by Rome over the centuries. Nor have I heard Senor Bergoglio order the shelling out of church money to the poor, or the opening of catholic churches to the homeless.

Has the pope in his new found empathy asked for governments to annul all of the church's tax exemptions and privileges by which ordinary citizens are soaked every year? Realistically, if the pope was serious about dismantling capitalism, the first thing he'd do is to end such special favors, including by cancelling the lucrative financial concordats between Rome and over a hundred nations, that routinely channel your tax money into Vatican Bank coffers.

Of course, the last pope who tried reforming that Bank died of poisoning after 28 days in office, back in the fall of 1978. And Jorge Bergoglio is still very much alive. Go figure.

The truth of the matter, boys and girls, is that Pope Francis is lying. But there's a method to his mendacity.

Words are mere camouflage for the actual intentions of rulers: Machiavelli taught that centuries ago. And so when Pope Francis condemns “capitalism”, he's not referring to the whole economic system. Neither bankers nor pontiffs are that stupid. Rather, he's speaking of the western power bloc, specifically the American axis. For all the evidence shows that the Vatican has chosen sides in the geo-political battle for global supremacy being waged between Washington and Beijing - and not with Yankee Doodle.

Following the money is always good advice, and ever since Bergoglio's appointment as Frank the First, considerable millions from the Vatican Bank have been secretly transferred to German banks and “undesignated” offshore accounts tied to Chinese and Arab companies, according to church insiders. Equally significant is that, uncharacteristically, the Vatican has forged close diplomatic ties with “communist” China and even recognizes the “official”, state-funded catholic church in that country.

When in China, as they say; and so anti-capitalist rhetoric is just what the doctor ordered these days for an ailing Church of Rome seeking an ally in the east. And it's equally true that, as a Latin American, Jorge Bergoglio has had to play to his power base: specifically, the (by catholic standards) left-leaning clergy of that region. When one considers the magnitude of dirt on Bergoglio held by third world Bishops who are well aware of the pope's intimate ties with the former Argentine military junta, it's hardly surprising that Bergoglio is employing his Liberation Theology cue cards these days.

All of this adds up to the usual brand of realpolitic posing as morality that popes have practised for centuries. And of course, all this progressive talk is a huge distraction from the fact that the Vatican and its entire church was formally declared a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) by international Tribunals in Belgium and America in August of 2013.

According to the United Nations, a TCO is any group that launders money, traffics people, or commits other crimes across borders: an apt description of the Vatican, Incorporated. Once convicted, such a body is a rogue organization whose assets and property are forfeited, and whose top officers can be arrested on sight. And so you can bet your rosary beads that Bergoglio and Company are shit ass worried, these days, especially in the wake of the deposing of a previous pope and top cardinal. And so, naturally, these convicted felons are all desperate for a new image.

I assume this is all obvious to some of you. So let me pause for a moment, and not ignore the Idiot Gallery and its Benefit of the Doubt concern that I may be going too hard on the kindly-looking guy in the white robe. What if, despite all of the above, Jorge is sincerely trying to “do good” (ouch) and reform the system? Shouldn't we give the guy a chance? That, at least, is what some of my less cognizant critics ask.

I guess my first response to such an attitude is to say that I was one of those odd Christian clerics who tried to bring honesty and dare I say, Gospel teachings, into a corporate church that has far fewer assets and corpses to account for than does the Church of Rome. And you all know by now what happened to me when I tried that. The truth is, no-one gets to where Bergoglio is without being a company man who long ago traded in his conscience for a position.

I also want to reassure those folks who so desperately need to see a positive quality in unaccountable rulers that granting them any sort of yea or ney is hardly within our power, since self-governing institutions are going to do whatever they want anyway, with or without our approval. If you want to believe against all the evidence that Jorge is really a saint in papal clothing, that's your choice. But whatever your attitude, you're still going to end up funding Mr. Bergoglio with your tax money, and thereby help him oversee the biggest child rapist protection racket in the world. And that makes you an accessory to a crime, under the law.

Criminal complicity sure is a bitch. But don't believe me. Just wait and see.