I was raised Catholic, so I have a certain fondness for the church. But it more than this. The truth is that I like the idea of religions being old. So the Catholic and Orthodox churches strike me as more valid. The idea that one would reform these churches but only do it around the edges as happened with Protestantism, strikes me as kind of pathetic. And let’s face it, the Catholic Church is wonderfully, hilariously ridiculous. The whole thing with the censer during mass? That’s some seriously medieval stage craft there!
This all comes to mind since Cardinal Ratzinger has announced he is stepping down from the Pope gig. I think this is great. We need special occasions and the choosing of another Pope is a great opportunity. I also like that it highlights some of the nuttier aspects of the Pope gig. Think about it: how can he step down when he is infallible? Now we’re supposed to believe that he will be infallible just up through the end of the month? And clearly, his body is fallible, because that’s his reason for stepping down. (If he dies before the end of the month, I will rethink God’s existence, because that would be just like Him.)
All of this is not to take away from the many church controversies. My biggest problem is the church’s stand on condoms. How many millions of people have died as a direct result of this? It is unconscionable, and really deprives the church of any moral authority in my mind.
But much more talked about, if on a smaller scale in terms of number of victims, are the child rape cases and the church’s culpability in them. (In its defense, this seems to be a problem with all churches and similar institutions to one degree or another.) But occasional contributor Mike Blottin directed me to Tim Minchin who puts this subject into perspective in a musical form.
Note that this applies much more to the “nice” Pope John Paul II than to the “angry” Pope Benedict XVI. But in terms of taking these guys seriously at this point, Minchin is totally correct: fuck the motherfuckers!