Crimes Against Humanity

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Most of us probably do not give one flying fuck that Pope Benedict XVI is the first Pope in over 600 years to step down, or, retire.  I laughed out loud when, in a recent report, NPR stated "with many Catholics still shaken by the Pope's announcement..."  No, Sylvia.  More like "with many Catholics still shrugging."

I, for one, think the guy is misguided in his focus and for the head of a church that vaunts its views on peace, community, and life, he was the ultimate relativist.  In a time where politicians and cultural leaders use fear as a means to an end, should not the church urge peace and be a place of solace and community?

I, though, am not the only one to be so disappointed.
In my opinion, I offer the following statements and sentiments from the retiring pope as "evidence," if you will, of engaging in the same sort of fear-based, dog-whistle-laced demogoguery that our politicians are guilty of:
Sex Scandal
  • As Pope, he refused to open Vatican records to outside scrutiny;
  • In an interview around the time he became pope, instead of taking charge of the sex abuse scandals just starting to break, Ratzinger blamed Americans for a plot to undermine the church:
    • “In the Church, priests also are sinners. But I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower … In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1 percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type. The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts.” 
  •  Before he was Pope, Ratzinger was the Vatican's chief "doctrinal enforcer."  But mounting evidence shows that he chose not to act, or acted covertly, as allegations of sex abuse escalated. It wasn't until the abuse broke in the media that the Vatican finally started to act, under Ratzinger's order.  
Gay Marriage

  • During the 2013 World Day of Peace, the Pope's message of hope and call for world peace consisted of...wait...what?  An appeal to the existential threat of gay marriage??
    • "There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union. Such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace."
  • Let's not  forget the Pope's Christmas speech, where he took time out of celebrating the pagan-timed birth of Jesus to remind us that gay marriage is a threat to humanity:
    • "There is no denying the crisis that threatens it [the family] to its foundations — especially in the Western world,” the Pope is quoted as saying. “When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child — essential elements of the experience of being human are lost"
Moral Relativism

  • Benedict liked to make grand statements about moral relativism:
    • "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one’s own ego and one’s own desires"
  • But he sure likes to pardon excommunicated priests who are "convicted" holocaust deniers, speaking of moral relativism.
  • Oh, and let's not forget that some death is OK for Benedict's church, just not ever abortion and euthanasia, but some death is OK because not everyone in his flock might agree with, say, anti-death penalty or anti-war sentiments:
    • Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion, even among Catholics, about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

Some leadership.  This guy was anything but a source of peace, using the tactics and words of fear and division for some gain that I can't see yet.  What I do see is that his tactics have led to decline.  Fortunately for the world, these archaic views are also on the decline; perhaps what we see in Benedict is some of the last gasps of a dying mindset.



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