Thursday, March 14, 2013


By Chriss Street

With great joy and hope, 1.2 billion of the Catholic faithful greeted the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as Francis I, newly elected Pope, and the Vicar of Jesus Christ.  

Known for his personal humility and broad intellect, the first Americus Pope has shown a willingness to confront the moral predation of corrupt socialist politicians and their elite crony capitalist fellow travelers who engage in massive deficit-spending on themselves.  The homeland of Francis I is blessed with fertile land and abundant water, but every 10 years its people are impoverished by the grim inflation that follows massive deficit spending.
Approximately 84% of the world believes in religion; a third of those people are Christians; and over half of all the Christians are Catholic.  The Church may have lost half its membership in the traditionally Catholic nations such as Italy, 

 Spain, Poland, Germany and France; but in the Southern Hemisphere, African Black and South American Latin Catholic parishes are growing rapidly.  From Mexico to tip of Chile there are 425 million Catholics, while fast growing Catholic Church in Africa now has over 135 million.

Francis I is the first Jesuit priest to become Pope.  Known as the most intellectual arm of the Church, Jesuits have been persecuted for centuries in Europe for challenging government corruption and moral decay.  The Spanish Inquisition claimed they were too secretive, it was forbidden to belong in Elizabethan England, Louis the XV of France banned them, Otto von Bismarck forbade members from exercising religious functions, the Nazi regime declared them “public vermin”, and in the 1980s they were suppressed by right-wing Latin-American governments.  Tyrannical authority has always been concerned that the Jesuits pursuit of educating the downtrodden, would fill the minds of the poor with desires for personal liberty and economic freedom.
Growing up in Argentina in the Twentieth Century provided the new Pope with an invaluable education on how socialist governments can serially convert a rich nation into a pauper.    In 1946, Juan Perón with the support of his iconic wife, Eva Duarte, led a populist movement that elected him President.  Over the next 10 years they would claim to be working to eliminate poverty and to dignify labor, while aligning with powerfully corrupt unions and corporate interests to pilfer billions of dollars from the Treasury.

According to economist John Mauldin,
 “In 1913, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Argentina was about equal to those of France and Germany and close to that of the US. By 1950, Argentina’s GDP per capita wasn’t even half that of the United States.  Currency values plummeted. Inflation reached 5,000% at one point in the 1970s.  Prices increased by a factor of 20 billion from 1975-1991 – over 300% per year. In 1983, at the urging of the IMF, a new peso was introduced at a value of 10,000 to one of the old pesos. Ouch. And that was just the beginning!
The Peronist government elected in 1989, made a deal with the IMF, which promptly collapsed, leading to a rapid 12,000% inflation. On January 1, 1992, a new monetary reform replaced the austral currency with the new peso at a rate of 10,000 australs for one peso.  Another 10,000-fold devaluation – twice within ten years!

In 1998, I led an effort to work with the pro-capitalist government to partially re-privatize the nationalized Argentina health system into an HMO.  At the time, doctors and hospitals had to wait for 6 months to be paid for services, after paying in advance a 40% bribe to union “OBRAS” bosses.  Despite the country having highly trained doctors, corruption devastated the quality of care.  Six years of strong economic growth encouraged the pro-business government to take on the unions and crony capitalists.

My business partner in forming the medical network of doctors and hospitals was an institution of the Catholic Church named Opus Dei, which is Latin for Work of God.  The Catholic Church had been the only stabilizing force for the millions of formerly middle class Argentines reduced by deficit spending driven inflation to near subsistence.  I found the Church and their officials to be completely honest, competent and reliable.

Unfortunately, before the privatization contract was signed, the nation elected a coalition associated with the Radical Civic Union, an off-shoot of the Socialist International.  The new President announced huge increases in infrastructure spending and signed big union pay increases for government workers.  Inflation skyrocketed over the next two years.  In 2001, a series of deposit runs devastated the health of the banking system.  Shortly thereafter the country was back in bankruptcy.

Pope Francis I was obviously elected by the Cardinals to confront the decline of Christianity in competition with moral relativism of the European social welfare states.  In 2008, then Cardinal Bergoglio washed the feet of 12 Aids infected recovering drug addicts to demonstrate that Catholics should love the sinner, even if they hate the sin.  It was the Polish Pope, Pope John Paul II, who “stared down communism” in Eastern Europe and Russia.  Francis I will be a powerful moral competitor seeking to stare down the corrupt European socialist politicians and their elite crony capitalist fellow travelers.

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