Silly Pope, Evil Pope

We Have a PopeI 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!

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Silly Pope, Evil Pope

  1. Can’t recall if I sent this along or not, and you may have already seen it, but here’s the same Mr. Minchin in an animated short:

    It’s an exceptionally well-done 10 minute story about a hippie spouting off on homeopathic medicine. Now the point of view is from sophisticated upscale types I’d chew my own leg off to escape being in a room with, and not everything the hippie says is as dippy as the animators here would have it (pharmaceutical companies are assholes, there are metaphysical questions science cannot answer and should never try to) . . . but, if you haven’t seen it, you’ll enjoy quite a lot of it. And it’s really well-done.

  2. @JMF – I’m right with you. It is really good. And I hate both sides in the debate. The truth is that reality is really twisted. It is also true that such new age idiots don’t have a clue about it. I would like to think that Minchin understands these things, but it is not on display in this piece. However, he is totally correct in his observations.

    I hate the position that it puts me in. The new age idiot is correct in the abstract, but incorrect in every detail. In general, I will sound a lot like Minchin, except that I don’t have so much faith in modern medicine. A shocking amount of it is based on every bit as much faith as new age philosophy. This is something most westerners miss.

    But we all have blind spots. Except me.

  3. And scientists rather than doctors! I recall reading about how cholera was finally solved, during a London outbreak way back when. A couple of scientists made the bet that cholera was transmitted by contaminated water, not ill humors or foul vapors, so they balled up and visited the stricken sections to take samples and record data. Pretty gutsy stuff. (Cholera is curable by drinking assloads of uninfected water, not an option for miserable refugees who still get that medieval disease today.)

    From the clip you embedded, Minchin seems quite young. And there’s nothing at all wrong with young people being very passionate about their opinions, if they want to counteract existing commonly-held cliches. Later, they can learn that some of the arguments they use are similar to those used by powerful interests hoping to demean any criticism of jerkass dogmas. Maybe the idealistic young might refine their arguments, if they don’t go over to the dark side (as many do.)

    Our side does appear to be more susceptible to the "one idiot asshole" conversion than the other. A thoughtful and committed liberal seems more likely to be convinced "gosh, I’m sick of these whiner morons" than a conservative. That was Hitchens’s stated come-to-Bush moment; how he read Internet threads commenting on the WTC bombing and decided, "hell, liberals are wimpy complaining anti-American dickweeds."

    One rarely reads of conservatives learning that "gosh, innumerable racist crazy websites say just what I’m saying" and having a come-to-Chomsky moment. I’m not entirely sure why that is. Answer this and all other questions, FC, and get on that, pronto!

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