One of the most unusual -- and disturbing -- stories you will read for some time

by Thomas C. Fox

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NCR Editor at Large Tom Roberts passed me this to glance at this morning. This news story is reported by Inter Press News Service, which focuses on the developing world, in this case an action in Ecuador presumably initiated by the highest of Catholic church officials.

As reported, it appears, in this instance our church leadership has decided to throw out its gospel teachings and replace them with some kind of a ultra militaristic medieval cult. To what end, I have no clue. We will have to find out more.

The story follows with a Quito, Ecuador dateline:

Catholic bishop emeritus Gonzalo López Marañón has been fasting since May 24 in a park in the Ecuadorian capital to call for peace and reconciliation in Sucumb'os, an Amazon province immersed in a conflict over the Vatican's decision to put the diocese in the hands of an ultra-conservative Catholic order.

With his habitual smile, the 77-year-old former bishop of Sucumb'os is wrapped in a poncho and wearing a woollen scarf, hat and gloves, despite the sunshine in the park where he is camping out, because he has lost eight kilos in 15 days and can't shake the cold. In the past two weeks, he has had to put up with several cold, rainy days, and even a hailstorm, even though the dry season starts in June.


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