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The Wrath

The Pope's Legacy

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Gadfly, you asked for documentation regarding the phrases "right to property" and "right to economic initiative". Both can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The phrase "right to property" is used in numerous places (look particularly in the section dealing with the commandment against theft); the phrase "right to economic initiative" can be found in paragraph 2429 which begins, "Everyone has the right of economic intitiative". The Catechism is official Church teaching, the norm, if you will.

I agree with your statement that "As far as I can see, AlexL's point stands." I did in fact state in my post that the Church was opposed to capitalism as defined by Objectivism. The important part of that, though, is the phrase "as defined by Objectivism"--the Church is not opposed (and in fact is much in favor of) other forms of capitalism. That you think they are a confused mess of ideas is not relevant to the point I was making, which is that the Church is not opposed to capitalism per se, but only to certain forms of it.

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I'm interested in hearing what some of you think will be the Pope's legacy.

I believe that one day Pope John Paul II will be recognized as just one of many leaders of the most evil and destructive religion the Western world has ever known.

Edited by MisterSwig

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Yes, when it comes to the Pope this IS how I want to portray myself.  Maybe one day I will write a paper on how evil the guy actually is.  I hate the Pope ...

Any Pope will always be evil and worth strong condemnation ...

I will repeat, again, that I am actually glad that he is dead.

I completely sympathize with this attitude. It needs further justification, however.

It should be understood that Christianity is a system of pure evil (the topic of a paper I am currently writing). Christianity is dishonest and anti-civilization at the core. It preys on innocent people in order to exist. It teaches you to give up this world, your own reason, your own life, so that it can survive off of your money, your thoughts, your values, your blood. It is the biggest goddamn bloodsucker you've ever seen. It is so big that it takes years and years of careful study just to glimpse its pinky toe.

But once you see this monster for what it really is, your instant reaction should be: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

You should want to crush it dead without delay.

Now keep in mind that the Pope is riding upon the back of this monster. He uses it to drain the world of countless riches, countless human lives. He is evil, gathering black hordes of followers and preying on his unsuspecting victims.

Edited by MisterSwig

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Gadfly, you asked for documentation regarding the phrases "right to property" and "right to economic initiative". Both can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The phrase "right to property" is used in numerous places (look particularly in the section dealing with the commandment against theft); the phrase "right to economic initiative" can be found in paragraph 2429 which begins, "Everyone has the right of economic intitiative". The Catechism is official Church teaching, the norm, if you will.

I agree with your statement that "As far as I can see, AlexL's point stands." I did in fact state in my post that the Church was opposed to capitalism as defined by Objectivism. The important part of that, though, is the phrase "as defined by Objectivism"--the Church is not opposed (and in fact is much in favor of) other forms of capitalism. That you think they are a confused mess of ideas is not relevant to the point I was making, which is that the Church is not opposed to capitalism per se, but only to certain forms of it.

Yes it is. There is no "other form" of capitalism. Capitalism is laissez-faire capitalism. Anything else is NOT capitalism. It has never existed yet. This is not simply "how Objectivism defines it". It's a fact of reality.

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Yeah, in past years he has been repeatedly pissing me off.  But the fact of the matter is that he is one of the 3 people most responsible for the downfall of Soviet Russia.  To me, this outweighs his other faults.  Henry Ford was an anti-Semite and a Nazi sympathizer, but he is remembered as a great industrialist.  MLK Jr. was a Communist sympathizer but he is remembered as the father of the Civil Rights movement.  Like the Pope, some of their ideas were wrong, but their actions of greatest influence produced positive results.  The Pope's preaching of altruism didn't make anything worse; it just upheld the status quo that has existed within the Catholic church for centuries.  His anti-Sovietism actually had very positive results.

Moose,

And the other two? I imagine you had Reagan in mind. I just can't agree with the idea that it was the Pope, as the mass media keeps crowing, who was responsible for the 'fall' of communism. Communism simply collapsed upon itself, the reason being that it was untenable and unsustainable. It is a morally bankrupt system and it finally disintegrated. Pope John Paul II strongly believed in the idea that rich nations were obligated to financially aid poorer ones. He insisted on altruism as a duty. In other words, he was a socialist. I personally see nothing that qualifies him to greatness.

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RationalOne,

What is your basis for the assertion, "There is no "other form" of capitalism", other than your opinion as an Objectivist? What authority do you have to restrict the definition of words in any discussion to conform to your philosophy instead of the word's common usage in the culture as a whole? This suggests that your argument is intellectually weak, as it certainly deflects attention away from the point.

Regardless of your re-definition and restriction, I am using the word "capitalism" as it is generally understood within the culture, especially in the area of economics and history, where your arbitrary assertion "It has never existed yet" would be regarded as laughable.

Many of the posts on this particular thread show an emotionalism and immaturity, particularly evidenced by an inability to disagree without insulting, that I have found on other threads here, which leads me to think that many of the participants here are quite young and/or do not have the intellectual depth necessary for effective discussion.

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edward j williamson,

It is not accurate to state that "He insisted on altruism as a duty. In other words, he was a socialist." Catholic Church teaching condemns socialism, which you might know if you actually were at all familiar with the topic you are opining about. Equating "altruism" and "socialism" is hardly an assessment that speaks to an understanding of the concepts.

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I think Rational One's intention (correct me if I'm wrong) is to say that the concept of "capitalism" has been perverted in the culture by applying it to economies that exist in contradiction of the fundamental principle capitalism rests on: freedom.

Even though it was Marx that coined the term "capitalism," the concept itself was introduced by Adam Smith. Regardless, the underlying principle behind the concept of capitalism is "unregulation," or "<i>freedom</i>."

And so, you might be referring to the term "as it's commonly used and understood in the culture/literature," but the term has an <i>actual</i> definition that rests on the principle of freedom, not on the arbitrary whims of the "public"; any use of the term in a way that contradicts this founding principle is perversion. This is not opinion, this is fact; capitalism without freedom is a contradiction.

But, since the concept capitalism exists in this said perverted state today, we (Objectivists) are forced to talk about <i>laissez-faire</i> capitalism, not <i>just</i> capitalism, in order for people to know what we mean.

To sum up, the way the term "capitalism" is used today is actually incorrect, this is fact based on the underlying principle the concept rests on. Therefore, considering this, Objectivists use the laissez-faire modifier to express what we mean when talking to "outsiders."

Based on this and based on the context of this forum, Rational One is right in saying that capitalism as such has never existed--he presumed he was talking to readers who understood the proper definition of Capitalism.

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Felipe is correct in his understanding of what I meant except that I knew AdAq was trying to include a mixed-economy (read socialism) in as his definition of "capitalism", which is nonsense, words have certain objective meanings whether it is generally acknowledged or not. I also noticed that "AdAq" has the bad habit of resorting to ad hominem attacks and falacious appeals to age when others confront his "thinking" in various threads. Why would he do this if he is so sure of his positions?

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Felipe,

All you have done is to give me reasons for why you use the terminology you do, but it's not relevant to the discussion. Let me try to give you an analogy: say a small group of people dislike the evolution of the meaning and general usage of the word "gay" as it has come to be known in the culture. They may have perfectly laudable reasons for their position, but they may insist that the word ONLY refers it's original meaning of "happy" or "light-hearted". They then criticize an institution's position regarding gays, insisting on interpreting the institution's position as a position regarding happiness when in fact it's quite clear, by general usage, that the position is regarding homosexuality.

I know this isn't a perfect analogy, but a reasonably intelligent mind ought to be able to grasp the essentials. Let me try again: the Catholic Church does not reject all forms of capitalism, using the word "capitalism" as commonly understood in culture and in history and economics. That you maintain a "purer" meaning of the word is not terribly relevant to the discussion---you need to be able to focus on the question at hand. If your point is that the Church rejects Objectivism's concept of capitalism, then you've merely wasted time typing something that I've already posted.

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Once again Objectivism's definition of capitalism is the only objective definition of capitalism, a fully unregulated economy free from government coercion. Any other "definition" necassarily includes statist socialist elements and can NOT be the proper definition of capitalism.

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AgAd,

Your comment that started all of this was:

...the Church is not opposed to capitalism per se, but only to certain forms of it.

This is precisely the error we are addressing at present. The church <i>is</i> against capitalism, and here's why.

It's not <i>simply</i> a matter of the evolution of the word "capitalism." In your example with the word "gay," the definition of gay takes on an entirely different meaning, not a meaning that perverts the original. Capitalism, as it has "evolved," contradicts the essential characteristic of the concept, namely <i>freedom</i>. In my clarification of the term I do not acknowledge that the common use of the term is perfectly valid but just different (such as the way in which you use it in the quoted passage above), I say it is invalid.

This perversion of the concept is used to attack capitalism for flaws it does not have, flaws that can only exist in the "forms of capitalism" which you refer to.

If in your original statement, you meant to say, "the Catholic church is not against all forms of mixed statist-free economic systems, per se, just completely free ones," that's fine. But here, in this forum, we will not allow for the perpetuation of the perversion of the concept we constantly fight to defend. Therefore, saying "The Catholic church is not against capitalism, per say, just some forms of it" will be shot down and shown as wrong every time; to allow for a single degree of statist elements in a political-economic system violates the concept of freedom, thus violates the base of the concept capitalism.

Let me try to make myself even clearer. You stated that the church isn't against capitalism, just some forms of it. But the other "forms" violate the <i>valid</i> concept of capitalism, so being for these "forms" is being against capitalism. But one can't be for <i>and</i> against capitalism. Thus, though the church (and many people) claim to "not be against capitalism, per se, just certain forms," they are being deceitful: it is <i>precisely</i> capitalism they are against, but they don't have the courage to be openly evil and claim that they are against freedom.

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Felipe,

All you have done is to give me reasons for why you use the terminology you do, but it's not relevant to the discussion. Let me try to give you an analogy: say a small group of people dislike the evolution of the meaning and general usage of the word "gay" as it has come to be known in the culture. They may have perfectly laudable reasons for their position, but they may insist that the word ONLY refers it's original meaning of "happy" or "light-hearted". They then criticize an institution's position regarding gays, insisting on interpreting the institution's position as a position regarding happiness when in fact it's quite clear, by general usage, that the position is regarding homosexuality.

I know this isn't a perfect analogy, but a reasonably intelligent mind ought to be able to grasp the essentials. Let me try again: the Catholic Church does not reject all forms of capitalism, using the word "capitalism" as commonly understood in culture and in history and economics. That you maintain a "purer" meaning of the word is not terribly relevant to the discussion---you need to be able to focus on the question at hand. If your point is that the Church rejects Objectivism's concept of capitalism, then you've merely wasted time typing something that I've already posted.

Define capitalism to show exactly what it means as it is commonly used.

Basically, I don't care whether the pope acknowledged or rejected such capitalism that you may or may not be able to define. He clearly rejected the principles behind the real Laissez-Faire Capitalism, and that's enough for me to say that he was anti-Capitalist, rather than pro-Capitalist.

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...Let me try to give you an analogy: say a small group of people dislike the evolution of the meaning and general usage of the word "gay" as it has come to be known in the culture. They may have perfectly laudable reasons for their position, but they may insist that the word ONLY refers it's original meaning of "happy" or "light-hearted". They then criticize an institution's position regarding gays, insisting on interpreting the institution's position as a position regarding happiness when in fact it's quite clear, by general usage, that the position is regarding homosexuality.
Your analogy makes no sense. What we are doing here is understanding what the Pope meant by *capitalism.* In your analogy this would be like saying to the institution that the way they use the word *gay* is wrong. I have no idea where you got your analogy from.

I know this isn't a perfect analogy, but a reasonably intelligent mind ought to be able to grasp the essentials.
Ahem, argument from intimidation.

If your point is that the Church rejects Objectivism's concept of capitalism, then you've merely wasted time typing something that I've already posted.

It's you who're wasting your time if you think that Objectivists care about any other *form of capitalism* other than lassiez-faire.

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John Paul II's pivotal role in the fall of communism is indisputable. The rise of the Solidarity labor movement in Poland was the first successful revolt against Soviet hegemony in post-war Europe. And it was the Pope's trips to Poland in 1979, 1983 and 1987 that sparked the Solidarity strikes, mass protests and other forms of resistance to the Soviet puppet government. Catholic churches (which had never been closed by the government) became havens for strike organizers and underground pamphlets. In addition to his public appearances, John Paul funneled money to the resistance through the church hierarchy.

All of this is acknowledged by those who fought on both sides of the barricades. Polish dictator General Jaruzelski said the Pope's 1979 visit "was the detonator." Mikhail Gorbachev said, "What has happened in Eastern Europe in recent years would not have been possible without the presence of this Pope, without the great role even political that he has played on the world scene." Lech Walesa, founder of the Solidarity movement said, "The pope started this chain of events that led to the end of communism."

Whatever his faults, John Paul used his position to free millions of people from socialist tyranny.

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non-contradictor,

I'm not proposing that "Objectivists care about any other *form of capitalism* other than lassiez-faire". I merely am correcting the impression that the Catholic Church was against all forms of capitalism, capitalism as understood by the larger society and most historians and economists. That Objectivists, a very small group, understand the term differently than do most other humans (rightly or wrongly), is not relevant to what I was saying. And yes, I will certainly say (for the third or fourth time) that the Catholic Church is against the Objectivist understanding of capitalism.

I did say that my analogy was imperfect. But certainly one can see the parallels when you write, "In your analogy this would be like saying to the institution that the way they use the word *gay* is wrong". YUP. Many of the posts here have gone to great lengths in saying that the word "capitalism", as used by current culture, historians, economics---and yes, the insitution of the Church---is wrong. You're making my point for me.

Felipe and RationalOne,

I completely acknowledge that the Church is against Objectivist capitalism. And you may have perfectly valid reasons for saying, as you do, that your definition is the only one, just as those who insist on using "gay" only in it's original, uncorrupted sense may have perfectly valid reasons for their position. However, the Church is addressing society as a whole, not some tiny element of it. It addresses "capitalism" as "capitalism" is understood by most of society.

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Granted, but don't perpetuate the misuse of the concept here in this forum. If you are saying the church is not against "all forums of mixed statist/free political economic systems," fine. But stop saying that they "aren't against capitalism, per se, just some forms of it" because they are; by continuing to say this you are perpetuating their dirty little secret: they are pretending to be for capitalism but are actually against it.

You have entered a forum in which members adhere to the principle that words actually mean something, and this meaning must be consistent with the facts of reality and must be arrived at by the method of non-contradictory identification. Please use accurate definitions.

And since I'm on the topic of the context of the readers here, I suggest that you quit the arguments from intimidation.

Edited by Felipe

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Just a selection:

....an unbridled capitalism which puts the quest for power and profit and

the cult of an often soulless efficiency above all other

considerati ... keep clear of the evils that derive from capitalism that

sets money before people and makes people the victims of so many

injustices.

etc., etc.

Alex

That is a real serious flaw of the Pope and most religious figures- it's their condemnation of capitalism.

Also, those statements you quoted show the Pope to have a profound misunderstanding of capitalism.

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John Paul II's pivotal role in the fall of communism is indisputable.

I don't understand how his pronouncements against Communism could have had any more effect on Communist nations than any other Pope.

Indisputable facts are that Soviet Russia collapsed because it could not relate to a world economy, could not support its socialist "caretaker government" agenda, and had to resort to capitalism in order for it to survive.

The fact that the Pope made any pronouncements against Communism had little effect on such downfall, in my opinion.

Also, bear in mind that the Pope visited staunchly Communist Cuba. Has that government fallen because of his influence?

NO.

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Felipe,

I understand your distinction, and I am not trying to foist society's understanding of the term upon Objectivist's understanding.

But in saying that the Church is "perpetuating their dirty little secret: they are pretending to be for capitalism but are actually against it" is over-the-top: the Church is addressing the term as is commonly understood by the society at large, as well as most historians and economists. As such, it is hardly a "secret", as it addresses the majority understanding of the term. It is only a "secret" to you because Objectivists, a very small group, have chosen a different understanding of the term capitalism. If and when the majority of society comes to accept your definition, then I would expect the Church to condemn it. As it is, the Church already condemns your version.

In this case I merely wanted to make the distinction for the benefit of those on this forum who do not subscribe to the Objectivist understanding of the term. Not everyone on this forum is an Objectivist, as my presence here indicates (though I once considered myself as such). I would not want those individuals to think that the Church condemns all forms of capitalism, capitalism as understood by society.

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So AdAq, you freely admit that "the Church" condemns the only *moral* political system known to mankind; what does this say about "the Church"? And the reason why I think you are really here is because like a lot of other people, myself included, you realize that the left is dead, and all future battles will be between the religous right and people who follow Objectivist priciples or ideas very close to it, i.e., the secular right. Then let me give you a hint of who will eventually win this battle, in any conflict between reason and faith, REASON holds the trump card, and faith ends up folding its hand.

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Also, bear in mind that the Pope visited staunchly Communist Cuba.  Has that government fallen because of his influence?

NO.

As some contributors to this forum would say, don’t drop the context. Political change does not occur in a vacuum. John Paul II had no personal ties to Cuba and did not speak Spanish. Furthermore, the power of the Church in Cuba declined significantly after the Communists took over; not so in Poland. Poland’s economic woes seriously undermined the authority of General Jaruzelski. Castro, on the other hand, appears to enjoy widespread support despite having turned his country into a basket case. Different conditions produce different outcomes.

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Felipe,

I understand your distinction, and I am not trying to foist society's understanding of the term upon Objectivist's understanding.

But in saying that the Church is "perpetuating their dirty little secret: they are pretending to be for capitalism but are actually against it" is over-the-top: the Church is addressing the term as is commonly understood by the society at large, as well as most historians and economists. As such, it is hardly a "secret", as it addresses the majority understanding of the term. It is only a "secret" to you because Objectivists, a very small group, have chosen a different understanding of the term capitalism.If and when the majority of society comes to accept your definition, then I would expect the Church to condemn it. As it is, the Church already condemns your version.

In this case I merely wanted to make the distinction for the benefit of those on this forum who do not subscribe to the Objectivist understanding of the term. Not everyone on this forum is an Objectivist, as my presence here indicates (though I once considered myself as such). I would not want those individuals to think that the Church condemns all forms of capitalism, capitalism as understood by society.

Capitalism as understood by *society* is not a valid definition. Because a majority of people misunderstand a concept or term does not change the concept itself. We haven't *chosen* a different understanding. We define our terms by means of essentials, that means the essential similarities and differences that make a term refer to an actual concept. By using the term in an umbrella sense that you are doing, which includes all uses of the word capitalism, even if they are erroneous, you are the one causing confusion. Making the distinction is not the problem, insisting that your usage of the word is somehow more valid is. You are equating contradictory ideas, you are saying "The Church does not condemn *Capitalism and other types of government which are Not Capitalism*" Essentially that means nothing to most of us, and so you were corrected. I suggest that this argument is a matter of Forum Rules. I am sure Felipe will handle that though, as he seems to have already told you all this here:

You have entered a forum in which members adhere to the principle that words actually mean something, and this meaning must be consistent with the facts of reality and must be arrived at by the method of non-contradictory identification.  Please use accurate definitions.

And since I'm on the topic of the context of the readers here, I suggest that you quit the arguments from intimidation.

Also, what is the purpose of continually attacking the size or number of Objectivists? Do you think the validity of an idea rests on the number of adherents? Is that why you say:"If and when the majority of society comes to accept your definition," above? (I added emphasis to make clear where I got this quote)

RationalOne,

So, I wouldn't bet on the outcome...And as for any conflict between reason and faith, I would posit that there isn't any conflict---Catholicism teaches that the two are complementary, not opposed. It's a false dichotomy.

We are not concerned here with what Catholicism teaches. I think again, this is a matter of Forum Rules.

[EDIT: I've just seen the break off thread here, so maybe my post is redundant or unneccessary? I realize I haven't posted on the topic of this thread yet, so let me add that here:]

As to the issue of this thread, I was raised Catholic, but felt no more for the passing of the Pope then I would for any other complete stranger. I have no reason to respect him, although my family would disagree and I ended up having to watch all the hoopla around his death all weekend long. Having left behind the Church I reject all of it, including it's leaders, as having any moral validity, but I do not choose either to celebrate his death or to side with Americanorman. It just seems unneccessary to me.

Edited by Dominique

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Tom Robinson,

I agree with what you wrote, but are you sure the Pope didn't speak Spanish? He knew and spoke about 14 languages, about 7 of those very fluently, so I'm surprised he wouldn't know Spanish.

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John Paul II's pivotal role in the fall of communism is indisputable.  The rise of the Solidarity labor movement in Poland was the first successful revolt against Soviet hegemony in post-war Europe.  And it was the Pope's trips to Poland in 1979, 1983 and 1987 that sparked the Solidarity strikes, mass protests and other forms of resistance to the Soviet puppet government.  Catholic churches (which had never been closed by the government) became havens for strike organizers and underground pamphlets.  In addition to his public appearances, John Paul funneled money to the resistance through the church hierarchy.

All of this is acknowledged by those who fought on both sides of the barricades.  Polish dictator General Jaruzelski said the Pope's 1979 visit "was the detonator." Mikhail Gorbachev said, "What has happened in Eastern Europe in recent years would not have been possible without the presence of this Pope, without the great role even political that he has played on the world scene."  Lech Walesa, founder of the Solidarity movement said, "The pope started this chain of events that led to the end of communism."

Whatever his faults, John Paul used his position to free millions of people from socialist tyranny.

I assume that the Pope's justification for ending Communism, was to increase religious and intellectual freedom, so that citizens can freely choose their own religion, and thus choose Catholicism.

Perhaps the Pope has a better sense of life than his position suggests, otherwise, his antagonism against communism is hypocritical. I mean, to exchange political tyranny for a form of a psychological tyranny, which is what consistent Catholicism is, whose ideal political translation is that of Jesus or a Mother Teresa: If it was not his goal, then the man was a hypocrite, a pragmatist, and perhaps more admirable than in his position as the Pope.

To propogate that human beings live the consistent life as a Catholic is to insist that these humans live a tortured life.

The only loophole is the idea of forgiveness which allows people to live the life proper to a rational human being ... but then one is condemened to a life of perpetual guilt.

He surely does not propogate the values of self-esteem, reason or purpose.

I wonder what is the actually the political ideal of the Pope? Does anyone know?

By the way, it is a sad day to see the world flocking to Rome, and flocking to churches in blind sadness for this man, and I mean "blind" psycho-epistemologically.

Americo.

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