I don’t envy the Pope. While sure, it would be nice to wield as much power and influence as he does, it would come at the price of getting hated on by a pretty significant portion of the world. I suppose he tries to balance it out by focussing on his legion of sycophants blowing white smoke up his ass, but at some point you’d imagine he gets a bit down on himself for having to be such a prick all the time. If I’m rude or incivil to someone who, perhaps upon reflection, maybe doesn’t deserve the sharp side of my tongue, it follows me around for days. I can only imagine what it must be like to know you’re responsible for the deaths of millions of poor children and women following your boneheaded advice about condoms (for fear of hell).
Add to that the fact that you’re primarily responsible for an organization whose edifice is rapidly crumbling, particularly among places where the public education systems (which your organization had a hand in building, let’s not forget) are paying off and churning out critical thinkers. Perhaps the only organization in the world with worse PR problems than British Petroleum. An organization whose public face (besides yours) is that of ludicrous and notoriously unpopular failed U.S. presidential candidates. An organization that is the punchline to pretty much every paedophilia joke under the
son sun, a reputation for which you made a significant contribution.
No I can’t imagine it’s easy wearing the big pointy hat. Not only do you have to carry around this completely justified international hatred, but you have to do it whilst simultaneously digging holes deeper and deeper for your organization to sink into. After all, what kind of religious institution learns to change with the times and find new ways of doing things without relying on centuries-old practices rooted in patriarchial attitudes and zealous political gamesmanship? Certainly not the Catholic Church:
Pope Benedict XVI issued a blistering denunciation Thursday of priests who have questioned church teaching on celibacy and ordaining women, saying they were being selfish in disobeying his authority.
In 2006, a group of Austrian priests launched the Pfarrer Initiative, a call to disobedience aimed at abolishing priestly celibacy and opening up the clergy to women to relieve the shortages of priests. They issued a revised call to disobedience in which they said parishes would celebrate Eucharistic services without priests, that they would let women preach, and they pledged to speak out publicly and frequently for a female and a married priesthood.
In his homily, Benedict said the dissidents claim to be motivated by concern for the church. But he suggested that in reality they were just making “a desperate push to do something to change the church in accordance with [their] own preferences and ideas.” “We would like to believe that the authors of this summons are motivated by concern for the church, that they are convinced that the slow pace of institutions has to be overcome by drastic measures, in order to open up new paths and to bring the Church up to date,” he said. “But is disobedience really a way to do this?”
First of all, kudos to the CBC for choosing the best possible picture of the Pope to accompany this article:
Second of all, what kind of dug-in asshole do you have to be to look at a golden opportunity to deflect a whole ton of criticism and say “no, I’m going to dickishly chastise them instead”? Remember that time the Pope got all kinds of kisses and smiles from pretty much everyone for saying that there just might be some extreme circumstances in which condoms weren’t completely evil? Can you imagine what kind of tailspin he could pull the church out of if he granted priests the right to marry? For an organization that claims to be the stalwart defenders of family values, what could be a better way to rehabilitate the church’s image than to get people talking about priests and sex in contexts that don’t include police and the phrase “our little secret”?
But no… it was not to be. Il Papa resolutely decided that modernity and reform, like sanity and evidence, are concepts that are not welcome within the hallowed halls of the Vatican. He also managed to find his inner “cranky old man” (which was hidden just underneath his outer “cranky old man”) to tell Catholics everywhere that disagreeing with his backwards-ass rules was “selfish”. Of course, never mind the good that could have been done for the church, not to mention the priests rankling under the absurd celibacy vows, if the Vatican had slackened its rules. No no no, disobeying the big chair – that’s selfish.
This is, I suppose, what comes from having not only a rigid and inflexible moral code, but a rigid and inflexible dogma based on it. While the rest of humanity learns to adapt their behaviour to new experiences and information, the church stands resolutely for whatever it was they stood for 500 or 600 years ago, right or wrong. They have to – it’s part of the job. If they start making exceptions and allowing changes, then they have to find better defenses for hundreds of their immoral and shockingly harmful beliefs and practices. Even when it probably serves their best interest to do so, allowing social mores to interfere with their supposedly immovable commitment to the will of YahwAlladdha would result in the collapse of the entire enterprise.
And so instead of being dragged into the modern era where sex between consenting adults is hardly worth a mention (boy, do I wish that were the case), the Pope is demanding that everyone else be dragged, kicking and screaming, back to the era when Catholicism actually made sense.
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*“Seriously, I’d kill for a shag right now”