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Archive for October, 2015

“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” ~Anne Frank

In many ways, seems it is still the best of times and the worst of times as Charles Dickens observes in “A Tale of Two Cities” ca. 1859. Such is the duality of human life we all must conquer one day. Hence the old adage: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Considered a key world leader, yet Pope Francis brought the most humble gift of all to the U.S. during his six-day visit here (22-28 September 2015). This being the gift of Unconditional Love, as taught by Jesus the Christ, that Pope Francis gladly shared with all he met. Thanks Pope Francis, we love you back!

Though not of the Catholic faith per se, I followed Pope Francis on television, prayed with him during mass and keep his speech transcripts for study. His unscripted speech at the Festival of Families is my favorite: “God is good, God is beautiful, God is true,” said the Pope among other good things.

Pope Francis/ Photo, Telegraph UK

Pope Francis/Photo,Telegraph UK

Once after prayers with the Pope on TV, though I had forgotten about them, I soon recover some precious computer files I thought were lost forever, truly a miracle.

Yet, my heart could not accept canonizing Fr. Serra; so I inadvertently missed that part of Pope Francis’s Mass celebrations.

Upon the Pope’s departure to Rome, I teared up as he boarded his plane and prayed for his safe return home. Despite the Church’s flawed decision to canonize Fr. Serra who allegedly mistreated his Native American converts and himself. As our mom use to say: “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” but more about that later.

The next morning, I awaken missing the Pope’s very kind face and tireless humanity being shown on TV. In recalling visions of all the grateful people he touched, it felt like I had been on an extraordinary vacation for sure. Knowing that lives were miraculously changed during this Pope’s sacred visit made me all the more joyful.

Remembering Anne Frank and Family

Born Anneliese Marie Frank on 12 June 1929, young Anne Frank died in a Nazi concentration camp (Bergen-Belsen) in February 1945, age 15. According to witnesses, within days of each other both Anne and her sister Margot, age 19, succumbed to typhus, which was rampant. This occurred shortly before the Allies broke through enemy lines and liberated the disease-infested camps.

Anne Frank, 1942

Yet, Anne’s natural zest for life, her self-determination and remarkable intellect is her real story here that lives on through her renowned dairy, first published in 1947 as “The Diary of a Young Girl” by way of her father, Otto Frank, the only survivor of her immediate family.

In January 1945 her mother, Edith Frank, died of starvation in Auschwitz-Birkenau, age 44.

In 1980, Otto Frank dies in Basel (Switzerland), age 91. Thanks to her father’s dedicated efforts, Anne Frank’s story continues. Thus, “The Diary of Anne Frank” has inspired many, such as John F. Kennedy and Nelson Mandela.

At the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, President Kennedy declares: “No place is more compelling than that of Anne Frank…her humor, her humanity and her hope illuminate the hearts of men heavily clouded by the apparent willingness of those who seek power and domain over the soul of man to again deprive people of the right to live in peace, tolerance and freedom.” Her diary is “a gift that will survive her enemies,” John F. Kennedy, 1961.

On Robben Island, some of us read Anne Frank’s Diary. We derived much encouragement from it. It kept our spirits high and reinforced our confidence in the invincibility of the cause of freedom and justice,” Nelson Mandela, 1994.

In Hollywood’s multi-award winning films “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “Judgment at Nuremberg” (recently shown during Yom Kippur, a high Jewish holiday), we are poignantly reminded to first be aware of our sacred duty towards each other and act accordingly.

Being Jewish, Anne Frank and her family were sheltered by very courageous friends during the systemic extermination of those targeted by the madness of Nazism to justify its very dark and twisted ideology of world domination, which nearly destroyed Western civilization.

Sadly, after two years in hiding, someone turned them in. The Frank family and their fellow refugees were arrested and deported to the Nazi concentration camps where most died.

The Nuremberg Trials

Today, Adolph Hitler is considered the most evil person ever, thus quickly dismissed from national debate as if a man such as this was an anomaly forever defeated. Yet, the fact is, no one alone could possibly have brought about such universal atrocities without plenty of mutual help. So we best wake up and recognize!

While Adolph Hitler was the glorified mouthpiece for the Nazi party, he had plenty of willing helpers along the way; including society’s elite experts who were equally prone to evil! Hitler’s cohorts included prominent leaders of science, economics, the military, the judiciary, and, of course, the political realm.

Confronted with the horrific realities in the Nazi concentration camps after World War II ended, the Allied nations set about to prosecute those leaders responsible for the European Holocaust and other war crimes. Military tribunals were established in the city of Nuremberg Germany, ultimately known as the Nuremberg Trials.

In the film “Judgment at Nuremberg,” a fictionalized account of the Judges’ Trial in 1947 led by a U.S. tribunal to try those jurists allegedly responsible for the judicial acts that legalized the Nazis’ systemic destruction of humanity, for me the message is simple yet profound:

Those allegedly involved in such horrific crimes against humanity, either directly or in silent compliance, routinely claimed they never suspected such was happening.

Of course, the frequent stench from the burning ovens that drifted endlessly and the violent export of thousands of their neighbors could not be denied. Yet most did anyway, despite the danger of human denial that typically keeps us from forgiving our past mistakes.

Thankfully, it was Anne Frank’s humanity in the midst of relentless inhumanity that inspires us to move toward a higher state of mind, which is beyond pain and shame.

Remembering Father Junípero Serra

Unlike the overall inspiration inherent in the Anne Frank story, for me it is rather difficult to remember Fr. Serra without experiencing the deep sorrow inherent in his story.

150430124725-01-junipero-serra-img-8598-jpg-exlarge-169

Friar Junipero Serra

Years ago, my introduction to Fr. Serra began with a history of the Spanish-Catholic missions along California’s beautiful coastline. To me, the Junípero Serra story was depressing then and now, despite the celebrated return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano annually.

San Juan Capistrano Mission Basilica

San Juan Capistrano Mission Basilica

Father Serra allegedly found nine of the twenty-one missions in California, including the Mission of San Juan Capistrano, supposedly to bring the Catholic faith to Native Americans. Of course, those of us able to discern between unity and conquest tend to see Friar Serra’s canonization quite differently.

It’s always the same really: the indigenous people are first deemed inferior or “savage” in need of salvation by the intended colonizer, and then comes their priests in priestly vestments. Some are very sincere, some very ambitious. Yet all are blinded by their self-righteous contempt of other people and their cultures, as erroneously taught by their church.

Thus, rather than respect the original people and their culture, as Jesus once demonstrated, the Catholic Church willingly became an agent of destruction in a distant land. Herein lies the inherent sorrow in Fr. Sierra’s story, which seems a veiled guilt that has yet to be recognized and ultimately healed.

Worse Than an Apology

In a fiery CNN Opinion article titled, “Junípero Serra No Saint” by Simon Moya-Smith of the Oglala Lakota Nation and culture editor at Indian Country Today, the author reiterates a seemly heartfelt apology made by the Pope recently:

“I say this to you with regret: Many grave sins were committed against the native people of America in the name of God,” he said. “I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offense of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America,” Pope Francis in Bolivia, July 2015.

Of course, even the humblest of apologies by a beloved person is not always enough, particularly without a sincere effort to make the necessary corrections. Sadly, such emptiness feels more like an unintended slap in the face rather than a well-intentioned apology!

As Mr. Moya-Smith pointedly states in his article: “We are not asking the papacy for an apology. We ask for the repeal of the papal edicts that justified the theft of Native American lands and the persecution of our people. Soothing words just aren’t enough.”

Native American Dancer & Wolf Clan Song/Photo Credit Unknown

Native American Dancer & Wolf Clan Song Lyrics/Photo Credit Unknown

On Democracy Now, a radio show titled: “Native Groups Protest Pope Francis’ Canonization of Junípero Serra…,” Valentin Lopez, chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, is its guest. In his own words, Chmn. Lopez explains the erroneous thinking behind the historic papal edicts (bulls) in dispute; the following is taken from the show’s transcript:

“The documents of discovery were documents that were issued—were papal bulls. That means they’re basically the word of God, given by the popes in the mid to late 1400s and very early 1500s. The popes issued a number of papal bulls that said that it was—that the indigenous people are pagans, savages and heathens, that the indigenous people have no soul, indigenous people are the enemies of Christ, that we should be cast into perpetual slavery, and that all our property and our possessions should be taken. And that right there was the basis for the conquering and conquest of much of the world, including, India, Indonesia, the Pacific Islands and all of the Americas,” Valentin Lopez, Democracy Now, 9/23/ 2015.

Valentin Lopez at the UN/Native News Online

“Valentin Lopez opposes the canonization of Serra. Courtesy of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,” Native News Online.

Being a descendant of African slaves in America, the erroneous religious doctrine espoused in the historic papal edicts in question is no surprise having the same history.

Despite the recent detailed letter to Pope Francis by Valentin Lopez, and other Native Americans protesting the canonizing of Friar Serra, Pope Francis declares Junípero Serra a saint.

Known for his great humanity, did Pope Francis have a deeper reason for canonizing Fr. Serra, a symbolic attempt to cleanse the Catholic Church of its historic “sins” against Native Americans perhaps? Fear of reprisal perhaps? Or, simply not knowing of a better way?

Love Does Not Punish

Since the Dark Ages, humanity has relied on corporal punishment as a means to correct bad behavior, from the light spanking of a young child to judicial corporal punishments of adults.

Even religious aspirants have traditionally practiced self-inflicted flagellation, or other forms of physical abuse, to atone for a perceived “sin” or a stubborn bad habit. Which ultimately causes more harm than good, and confuses everybody at best.

Father Junípero Serra’s renowned story of self-flagellation and the abuses of his converts is one such example of corporal punishment sanctioned by the church as atonement for “sins”. Sadly, this sweeping error not only wronged Fr. Serra and others at the time, but future generations as well.

Thus, according to the living example of Jesus the Christ, as documented in the Holy Bible, love simply does not punish.

So, there must be a better way. And, indeed there is a better way; but, we must first let go of our ancient traditions.

For Many, A Modern Reformation is Underway!

Yet, unlike the Reformation of the 16th Century, a revolution within the Christian Church that ultimately spawned major denominations, many today are more focused on inner reform and the value of applied positive thinking rather than organized religion.

Whether churchless or an avid member of the choir, many now recognize that we do have the power to change our minds and hearts. And all without the guilt and punishment usually associated with traditional beliefs.

As St. Paul aptly wrote: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (St. Paul, Romans 12:2 NIV).

Along with the new technology that advanced global communication by leaps and bounds, great texts on positive thinking to achieve sustainable peace and real happiness are now available at nominal costs or no cost online.

My favorite text is “A Course in Miracles” (ACIM, the Course): Scribed and published here in the USA by the Foundation for Inner Peace, ca. 1976, the Course is now available in 23 different languages with registered study groups worldwide.

At times reminiscent of the great romantic mystics (think Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Kahlil Gibran and his trendy classic “The Prophet”), the Course can also be very poetic. Thus, my all-time favorite Course thought is:

“Love is not learned. Its meaning lies within itself. And learning ends when we recognize all it is not.” ~ACIM, Text 12:1-3.

ACIM is a self-study course with emphasis on Forgiveness that leads to Inner Peace and Universal Love, which works when you work with it. Heretofore taught by most religions in different forms, yet ACIM is compatible with all true religions.

A Westernized version of Jnana Yoga (knowledge through union with God), in my opinion, ACIM teaches how to access the Higher Mind, alias the Christ Mind, which is exactly where we all really want to be.

Hence: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” Jesus the Christ (John 14:6, KJV).

Needed, Good Agent(s) of World Change

Sadly, in canonizing Friar Serra the progressive Pope Francis disappointed a lot of good people recently, despite their sincere efforts to persuade him against it.

Nonetheless, here is hoping and praying that Pope Francis will soon became an Agent of World Change that many see as his true calling. The following two steps would be a great advancement toward world peace and reconciliation:

  • Renouncement of the Racism behind the 15th Century Papal Edicts known as the Doctrine of Discovery.  Created to justify political recovery of Spain from the Moors (“the Blacks”) and conquest of the Americas, this toxic dogma still aid the Politics of Racism that implies “people of color” are inferior to Western traditions. Now with grave results worldwide that only the Truth, which is of God, can heal.
  • Renouncement of the traditional practice of Corporal Punishment as atonement for one’s “sins” that typically engenders more guilt and self-hatred, often transferred to others, rather than true salvation.

Otherwise, without such wise intervention, the same destructive forces continue to plague the world:

  • Racism (politics at its worse),
  • Nazism (a world driven mad with fear), and
  • Terrorism (a chronic lack of hope).

Survival is virtually impossible without the following spiritual needs, and that’s just the way it is:

  • Good words to feed our minds,
  • Good deeds to nurture our humanity, and
  • Good dreams to relax, breathe, and evolve.

Meanwhile, the sacred struggle to survive continues.

As one of our great African-American poets of the Harlem Renaissance once mused:

“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore and then run? …Or, does it explode?” ~Langston Hughes, c.1951.

In reality, we are all saints; we just have to improve our knowing.  Free the mind!

Related Links

(Updated 10/29/2015, Link “About the Moors”)

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2015. All rights reserved.

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