Pope Benedict Resigns


In a move that surprises a great many people, Pope Benedict XVI, aka Cardinal Ratzinger, has announced that he will abdicate his throne (he is, after all, the monarch of the Vatican) and step down as pope at the end of the month. The timing is odd, with Lent and Easter on the way.

There has immediately been much speculation as to why. He says that he is simply getting too old, at 85, to carry out the duties of the office, but that has been true of dozens of popes in the past and none of them stepped down. Popes simply don’t resign their position, they stay the pope until they die. So that fuels speculation that perhaps the decision is linked to the ongoing sex abuse scandal, which revolves a great deal around his own behavior as cardinal in ordering bishops not to involve the police in handling any priests who molested children. We may never know for sure, of course.

The College of Cardinals will meet to choose a successor, a process over which Ratzinger may have a good deal of influence, but it is unlikely they will make a decision before he formally steps down at the end of the month. And that means that I will be the only infallible person in the world from that time until the new pope is sworn in (or whatever it is they do). I’ll do my best to handle the pressure.

The whole notion of papal infallibility is absurd to the core, especially since he’s only infallible at certain times, when he’s speaking “ex cathedra.” That means “in the chair.” So apparently he can make mistakes if he’s sitting on a barcalounger or a futon.

But all joking aside, let’s have a balanced view of this man. I think he should be in prison for the cover up of so many child-raping priests and most of the dogmas of the church that I don’t laugh at, I despise. But he was also outspoken in his support of universal access to health care, for stronger anti-poverty programs, against the death penalty and for more open immigration policies. I’ll give credit where credit is due on those things, even while hammering him for nearly everything else.

Comments

  1. says

    If he wanted to go down in history as an amazing human being, now that he’s old and ready to die, he’d dump the whole child molestation issue, take the blame, and – jesus-like – go to prison. The crowd would go wild. It’d be a classic on the order of Warren Buffet’s “OMG I hardly have paid any taxes my whole life, that’s just so WRONG, buh-BYE!” manuever.

  2. says

    Actually, “ex cathedra” translates as “from the chair.” Ablative case, not accusative. It is actually an expression dating back to the Roman Empire, meaning an official who is issuing a proclamation or making a judgement as an official rather than as a private citizen; a modern equivalent would be a judge issuing a statement from the bench (as opposed to from a barcalounger or a futon.) The infalability claimed by the Pope applies only when he is speaking in his official role as chief priest of the Roman Catholic Church and not to, say, his views regarding Captain Kirk and Captain Picard.

  3. says

    The whole notion of papal infallibility is absurd to the core, especially since he’s only infallible at certain times, when he’s speaking “ex cathedra.” That means “in the chair.” So apparently he can make mistakes if he’s sitting on a barcalounger or a futon.

    But he does have a blessed toilet where he takes his holy shits. But at his age, are the shits infallible? Depends.

  4. loren says

    He says that he is simply getting too old, at 85, to carry out the duties of the office, but that has been true of dozens of popes in the past

    It’s true of just three. Benedict is already the fourth-oldest pope in history, and he’s just a couple of months away from being #3.

    Unless you meant it as popes who continued to hold office despite being too old to carry out their duties, along the same lines as Strom Thurmond or William Douglas. Maybe there’ve been dozens of those, but that’s not a legacy worth continuing.

  5. raven says

    He could just be getting too old and in poor and failing health. That is not unusual at age 85.

    Modern medicine has made it possible to keep the body going long after the mind fails.

    Having people in offices that don’t actually know they are even holding an office is becoming more and more common.

    This is exaserbated by Gerontacracies. The churches are big on those.

    THe LDS church is a true Gerontacracy. It is rumored that the last four Mormon Popes ended up neurologically impaired. The current one hasn’t shown much sign of awareness for quite a while.

  6. TGAP Dad says

    Good f***ing riddance to the ex-nazi, child-molestation conspirator, religious bigot (which, I guess, is implied in “pope”), anti-science bastard. We need another Sinead O’Connor moment with an equally big name celebrity on a live show.

  7. lldayo says

    But poor old Ratzo, he does look pretty wacked in the recent photos.

    You would too after surviving an assassination attempt by the Jedi.

  8. raven says

    One headline I saw was, World reacts with shock and grief as Pope Resigns”.

    I don’t see why. Who cares really?

    Old men warped Cardinals are common enough. Popes are as generic and replaceable as lightbulbs.

    Don’t like the current Pope/? Popes are like buses, there is always another one coming along. Chances are you won’t like the next one any more.

    Ratzinger never looked all that happy about being Pope anyway. The child sexual abuse scandals just kept happening, tens of millions are leaving the RCC, and no one pays much attention to their silly and malevolent rules any more.

    The RCC is the ultimate don’t ask, don’t tell organization. The priests pretend to have something worthwhile to say and the members pretend to follow them.

  9. slc1 says

    Re TGAP Dad

    Once again, there is no evidence that Mr. Ratzinger or any of his family members were ever membesr of the Nazi party so calling him an ex-Nazi is inaccurate.

  10. wyst says

    The timing is odd, with Lent and Easter on the way.

    Actually, given the resurrection myth at the center of the church, I’d have thought it was perfect timing. Having the Pope reborn on Easter seems like something they would find uplifting.

  11. says

    Best (mock) headline I’ve seen on the matter so far: “Ratzinger resigns: too pooped to pope.”

    As for why he is quitting now, I’ve seen a lot of speculation. One line says he’s stepping down so that he can hand-pick a successor; as “pope emetrius”, his choice will carry a lot of weight with the cardinals. Another says that he has become such a magnet for scandal — he was, after all, at the heart of the pedophile issue for decades, and issued several orders threatening clergy with dire consequences if they involved the police — that he is stepping down so as to avoid staining the papacy itself.

    And it may just be exactly what the press releases say: he is old, sick and wants to retire to spend his remaining days away from the crowds and duties.

  12. says

    But he was also outspoken in his support of universal access to health care, for stronger anti-poverty programs, against the death penalty and for more open immigration policies.

    I never heard one peep from him on any of those issues. Either our right-leaning “news” media simply buried all that, or he was careful only to advocate progressive policies when he was sure it wouldn’t be heard by enough people to upset his right-wing allies.

    And besides, he may have advocated all of this, but he also advocated a lot of policies that contradicted or at least mitigated them: universal healthcare — but don’t let women have too much power to take care of themselves; stronger anti-poverty programs — but don’t let poor people have any means of reducing the number of mouths they have to feed; against the death penalty — but call the cops on a guy who exposes one of his Church’s religious hoaxes; more open immigration policies — to keep countries that oppose birth-control from dealing with the consequences of their authoritarian short-sightedness. (What’s the majority religion in Latin America again?)

  13. slc1 says

    Re Raging Bee

    What’s the majority religion in Latin America again?

    As we sit here today, the Raping Children Church, but the fuckken born agains are making considerable strides.

  14. Reginald Selkirk says

    The timing is odd, with Lent and Easter on the way.

    It makes sense to me. Catholics give up things for Lent.

  15. busterggi says

    And which pedophile cover-up Cardinal will take his place? Its not as if all the potential replacements aren’t pretty much just as involved as Ratzi.

  16. says

    But he was also outspoken in his support of universal access to health care, for stronger anti-poverty programs, against the death penalty and for more open immigration policies.

    I never heard one peep from him on any of those issues. Either our right-leaning “news” media simply buried all that, or he was careful only to advocate progressive policies when he was sure it wouldn’t be heard by enough people to upset his right-wing allies.

    Not only all that, but the Catholic hierarchy he’s personally put in place in the USA has studiously ignored virtually all progressive issues, especially the continuing scandal of the widespread use of the death penalty in this nation, and the US’s dreadful record when it comes to the criminal justice system and its impact on those the Catholic Church claims it seeks to protect and advocate for.

    We get daily blasts from Catholic bishops on the evils of Obamacare (over the rights of sperm to find a home), yet when was the last time any of them spoke out forcefully against a death penalty case?

    And it’s not just in the US. In the UK, rather laughably, the Catholic hierarchy keeps wanting to pick fights with atheists, blaming them for all the evils of today’s society, and has refused to cooperate with the Irish government as it tries to sort out the mess left by decades of child abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church.

    No, sorry, the Pope may have paid lip service to certain progressive causes, but his words have had a virtually no practical impact when it comes to the policies he put in place around the world.

  17. Nathair says

    He says that he is simply getting too old, at 85, to carry out the duties of the office, but that has been true of dozens of popes in the past

    It’s true of just three. Benedict is already the fourth-oldest pope in history

    You have confused being “too old to carry out the duties of their office” with being exactly the same age as Ratzinger, they are nothing like the same thing.

  18. TGAP Dad says

    @11 slc: IIRC, Pope Ratzi was Hitler Youth. If true – and there are multiple reports of this, but I remain willing to be convinced otherwise – then I think the distinction between “Nazi” and “Hitler Youth” is essentially meaningless.

  19. says

    From the article slc1 cited:

    Eight years later, following his surprise resignation Monday, Israeli leaders lauded Pope Benedict XVI as a friend who helped promote dialogue and coexistence.

    And how did Pope Palpadict do this? By replacing Jews with another scapegoat, and inviting Jews to come over to the more pleasant side of the scapegoating game. In other words, he dodn’t solve any problems, he simply invited Jews to be part of the problem.

    Seriously, one of his first official acts was to blame “neopaganism” for the Holocaust — even though said Holocaust was perpetrated in an overwhelmingly Christian nation, by a regime his Church had supported because it promised to fight liberalism and atheism. He took ZERO responsibility for his Church’s role in religious bigotry, or for the authoritarian mindset that led to the Holocaust.

    So what “dialogue” did Palpadict promote, exactly? What was said in this dialogue? And how did it benefit Jews, or Israel? Did he ever, for example, offer to mediate between Israel and Palestinians? Offer a specific peace plan?

  20. slc1 says

    Re TGAP Dad

    At the time, it is my understanding that it was a requirement that all German boys join the Hitler Jungen. Both Joe and his brother were members, however, according to Wikipedia, Joe, at least, avoided going to meetings on the grounds of ill health. As I understand it, Joe’s father was forced into retirement for being insufficiently supportive of the Frankenberger regime.

  21. says

    Here’s more from that article:

    But he also had a series of missteps that angered Israel and Jewish groups, most notably when in 2009 he lifted the excommunication of a traditionalist British bishop who had denied the extent of the Holocaust. Jews were also incensed at Benedict’s constant promotion toward sainthood of Pope Pius XII, the World War II-era pope accused by some of having failed to sufficiently denounce the Holocaust.

    His 2009 visit to Israel drew a lukewarm response from officials at Yad Vashem, who found Benedict’s speech lacking. Israeli officials considered it a glossing over of the Nazi genocide since the pope never mentioned the words “Nazis” or “murder” in his speech and left out the figure of 6 million Jews killed.

    Oh yeah, a real strong supporter of justice for Jews. Not.

    Here’s why I suspect he’s quitting: he’s so fucking tin-eared and ignorant that even his supporters are forced to sit him down and tell him he’s doing a shitty job — even by Vatican standards! Yet another right-winger proving himself dead wrong about everything.

  22. Abby Normal says

    One more point on the plus side for this otherwise reprehensible person, he softened the church’s stance on condoms, allowing the possibility of their use to prevent HIV transmission, especially if it wouldn’t interfere with procreation. In essence he said that, with the exception of a husband and wife creating a child, all sex is a sin. But if you’re going to sin anyway, using a condom to prevent disease at least shows respect for you partner and is therefore a lesser sin than callously infecting someone.

  23. slc1 says

    Re Raging Bee @ #23

    To no one’s surprise, Mr. Bee, one of the blogs leading Israel bashesr, bad mouths Benedict because he didn’t propose his own peace plan, instead of merely urging the parties to settle their differences. The folks in Israel know who their friends are and Mr. Bee ain’t one of them.

  24. Michael Heath says

    I do not think it’s a stretch to argue that Mr. Ratzinger’s ability to avoid justice is partly due to President Ford pardoning Richard Nixon. I’ve long-perceived that pardon as a juncture point; now the highest ranking individuals are above the reach of U.S. justice. The media doesn’t even ask the question anymore.

    Especially troublesome is the two primary justifications Mr. Ford gave. Those justifications set a standard so low such individuals know they can act with impunity. They were (paraphrased):
    1) President Nixon’s suffered enough and,
    2) prosecuting him would result in great societal divisiveness and therefore divert the federal government’s attention from other pressing priorities.
    As if either are worth even an iota of attention relative to analyzing the accused’s behavior to U.S. law.

    I also think Ford’s pardon is also what enabled President Bush to torture people without fear of prosecution. President Obama’s criminally culpable failure can also be viewed through this context. Criminal via the treaty Reagan signed where Obama fails to prosecute President Bush and the relevant players in Bush’s administration that participated in our using torture.

  25. eric says

    The whole notion of papal infallibility is absurd to the core, especially since he’s only infallible at certain times, when he’s speaking “ex cathedra.” That means “in the chair.” So apparently he can make mistakes if he’s sitting on a barcalounger or a futon.

    There may be something to this. I find I make a lot more mistakes in the barcalounger than I do in, say, a deskchair. Though the differential number of beverages consumed in the two seats may have something to do with that.

  26. wholething says

    Are you sure he is resigning and not just giving up the Papacy for Lent?

    I’ve heard of priests giving up celibacy for Lent.

  27. says

    To no one’s surprise, Mr. Bee, one of the blogs leading Israel bashesr…

    I’m not bashing Israel here, so why is my ALLEGED “bashing” of Israel even relevant here? (But hey, thanks for acknowledging I’m a leader — so when are you going to start following me?)

    …bad mouths Benedict because he didn’t propose his own peace plan…

    I didn’t “bad-mouth” Benedict, I asked what he had done for Jews or Israel that was so praiseworthy. And I offered a peace plan as something good he might deserve credit for doing. You do know what those question-marks in my comment mean, right?

    And besides, why is the idea of Palpadict proposing his own peace plan so unreasonable? I think that if a plan offered by a widely-respected non-involved party hit the table, it would at least have generated a lot of hope, interest, and momentum for a movement to resolve longstanding differences and make some sort of permanent deal.

    Of course, such an offer would have involved removing at least some Jewish settlements from Palestinian land, which would have blown the whole “reaching out to Jews” image, which is probably why he had nothing to offer but mealy-mouthed urgings instead. He’s really not one for standing up to powerful interests, is he? Letting women die in hospitals and calilng it a “culture of life” is so much easier, innit?

  28. says

    Oh, and how was the Pope being “outspoken in his support of universal access to health care” when his Church was SUING IN COURT to overturn Obamacare on transparently bogus “religious freedom” grounds?

  29. baal says

    But he was also outspoken in his support of universal access to health care*

    *except condoms and even when the primary purpose was disease prevention.

  30. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    “ex cathedra” translates as “from the chair.” Ablative case, not accusative. It is actually an expression dating back to the Roman Empire, meaning an official who is issuing a proclamation or making a judgement as an official rather than as a private citizen – Gregory in Seattle

    This chimes with my belief that the RCC is best regarded as the ghost of the Western Roman Empire. The largely Catholic areas of Europe correspond pretty well to the outline of the Empire, the Pope has Pontifex Maximus among his titles of honour as the Caesars did, the official language is Latin, and I believe many bishoprics and archbishoprics still correspond to late Roman administrative divisions.

  31. says

    I think Ratzi watched as JP II got so infirm he had to be wheeled around for obligatory public appearances like an incontinent mannequin. He wants to spare himself that humiliation while he still has the faculties to make that decision.

  32. laurentweppe says

    In a move that surprises a great many people, Pope Benedict XVI, aka Cardinal Ratzinger

    Aka His Holiness, Panzer the First
    Come one: at least give credit where is due: the future ex-pope has an awesome pet-name

    Besides, frankly, this means that we will be spared another televised papal agony, which should definitely be considered a positive aspect of his legacy.

    ***

    I never heard one peep from him on any of those issues. Either our right-leaning “news” media simply buried all that, or he was careful only to advocate progressive policies when he was sure it wouldn’t be heard by enough people to upset his right-wing allies.

    Don’t Blame Benedict XVI for that: he even wrote last december a tribune published in the fucking financial times demanding that Christians fight poverty, defend the equal sharing of the world’s ressources, care for the poor & the weak. Beyond the diplomatic wording and the reference to the immotality of the soul & other catholic dogmas, it’s prettu much the Pope saying ex-cathedra “Fuck You Paul Ryan”
    So if you never heard about it, it’s not for lack of effort from the pope himself: Blame Fox, not Panzer.

    Of course, the problem of the catholic church is the problem of virtually any relifgion which ends up in a dominant position: if your message contains something about taking the side of the downtrodden, you’re going to be at odds with the ruling class, which will soon start looking for another sect, more accomodating with things like the hereditary transmission of wealth or the preservation of a justice system where the plebs are not treated the same way as the nobility. And by the way, said sect does not need to be theistic in nature: The Church of Randology is popular among rich bastards who want to pretend that they were born smarter than the rest of us.

    ***

    Pope Ratzi was Hitler Youth. If true – and there are multiple reports of this, but I remain willing to be convinced otherwise – then I think the distinction between “Nazi” and “Hitler Youth” is essentially meaningless.

    The problem is that, at the time, being an Hitler youth was mandatory: from 1936 to 1945, if you were a 10 years old german, you were dragged into the Hitler Youth, wether you liked it or not. Günter Grass was an Hitler Youth, then ended up conscripted in the Waffen-SS by an increasingly desperate nazi regime. If you consider that a 10 years old kid, or a 16 years old terrified teenager enlisted by bullies prone to harm the families of the recalcitrants deserve the moniker “nazi” I truly hope that you will never be in a position of power.

  33. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    As for why Ratzi is retiring, age and ill health seem adequate explanation. There’s a rumour he has Parkinson’s disease, which causes a decline in cognitive as well as physical capacity – and the usual treatment, L-dopa, can cause psychosis. I doubt he is capable, or ever was, of understanding the depth of the damage done to the RCC by the child rape coverup scandal, and his own part in it. I heard some revolting spokesbishop bleating that what was really important was Ratzi’s talents at praying, not the passing difficulties* that arise in any Papacy.

    *That wasn’t the exact phrase, but the meaning was the same.

  34. says

    d.c.wilson: At the time, JP-II’s supporters spun it as him honestly letting the world see their Pope as a real person with real frailties. Not sure if that was JP-II’s actual intent, or whether it accomplished anything, but it sounded nice at the time. And it was kinda consistent with the image of a Pope getting out in the world, for better or for worse, rather than just signing edicts from the comfort of his posh Vatican digs. Which is at least a nice gesture, and kinda Christ-like as Popes go.

  35. TGAP Dad says

    @24 slc:

    I have personally met one (ex-) member of the Hitler Youth, and he was quite clear that membership was not mandatory. His perspective was that it was a necessary stepping stone to quality schooling, career, etc. as well as building your social acceptability, analogous to the way American politicians must look pious and attend church to be electable. Maybe a better analogy would be to the Soviet organization the Young Pioneers. The Hitler Youth was an organization you had to join if you wanted to curry favor with the Nazi party, and have a decent chance of advancing in that system. I find the statements in which pope Ratzi tries to distance himself from his involvement in Hitler Youth to stretch credibility.

  36. zmidponk says

    In a move that surprises a great many people, Pope Benedict XVI, aka Cardinal Ratzinger, has announced that he will abdicate his throne (he is, after all, the monarch of the Vatican) and step down as pope at the end of the month. The timing is odd, with Lent and Easter on the way.

    Bear in mind that it has recently been confirmed that Star Wars VII is going to be made, and it all falls into place.

  37. slc1 says

    Re TGAP Dad @ #40

    Money quote: By December 1936, HJ membership stood at just over five million. That same month, HJ membership became mandatory for Aryans, under the Gesetz über die Hitlerjugend law. This legal obligation was re-affirmed in 1939 with the Jugenddienstpflicht and HJ membership was required even when it was opposed by the member’s parents.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler_Jugend

  38. Reginald Selkirk says

    d.c. wilson #36: I think Ratzi watched as JP II got so infirm he had to be wheeled around for obligatory public appearances like an incontinent mannequin…

    No sympathy here, considering the church’s stance against euthanasia.

  39. says

    In fairness to Ratzinger, I really don’t put much weight in his membership in the regular German army or the Hitler Youth. He was stil pretty much a kid, and he needed to do what he could to get connections and opportunities in a very conformist and totalitarian society. None of that means we can call him a “nazi” as if he had voluntarily joined the Nazi Party or the SS.

    OTOH, he wasn’t a fascist back then, but he’s since become one: same authoritarian attitude, same terror of “anarchy” and clinging to rigid rules for reassurance, even the same willingness to find a powerless minority to scapegoat in order to avoid personal responsibility. He may never have joined the Nazi Party, but the rigid authoritarianism that underlay that party clearly did permanently imprint itself on him; and it shows in almost every action he’s taken as Grand Inquisotor.

  40. Doug Little says

    So who do I put my money on getting drafted? I’m not up on the stats of the main players. What kind of traits are desirable?

    * Nazi Sympathizer
    * Enabler of Molesters
    * Contraception Denier, bonus if within high AIDS affected population
    * Wealth horder

  41. says

    The popealope may have all sorts of reasons for leaving but I doubt that among them is concern for anyone but himself.

    I do think that he wants to be involved in picking his successor; think Putin and Medvedev.

    As for his Hitler Youth membership, I can’t find a lot about HIS comments on the matter. Plenty of other people have said that he was or wasn’t a member, willing or otherwise but he himself has, afaia, never been candid about the situation.

  42. TGAP Dad says

    To all my better-informed commenters:

    I appreciate you correcting my knowledge on Pope Ratzi’s Hitler Youth past. Like I said, I have actually met an ex-HY member, at an event in the 80s, and his was not the experience he related to us after the main lecture in the Q&A. I’m not sure quite how to process this, but it certainly doesn’t change the well-documented participation in shielding child-molesting clergy. Or his dissemination of misinformation on contraception in Africa. Or his anti-gay bigotry. Or… You get the point.

  43. slc1 says

    RLe TGAP Dad @ #48

    No disagreement that the man’s reaction to the child rape scandal was abominable and unconscionable. The point is, the condemnation of him is not enhanced by posting incorrect information. There is plenty to beat him up over without making charges to which the evidence seems to indicate he was not guilty of.

  44. iangould says

    Supposedly, he quit now precisely because Lent and Easter, the most physically demanding time of year for a Pope with all the ceremonies he’s supposed to attend or officiate at, is just around the corner.

  45. Ichthyic says

    …if we ignore the times when he said that condom use aggravates the problem of Aids in Africa.

    seconded. the deaths in Africa alone that can be laid at this Pope’s feet, directly as a result of HIS policies, and even his personal visits to Africa to elucidate these egregious policies should have him branded as a traitor to humanity and have charges filed against him in international court.

    no, sorry, this might be the worst pope, EVER. there is NOTHING he has done that can counter the direct destructive impacts his policies have had globally.

    Minchin had it right; fuck this motherfucker.

    There is plenty to beat him up over without making charges to which the evidence seems to indicate he was not guilty of.

    let me beat that horse some more, just to enlighten you as to why people still talk about this:

    Joseph Ratzinger joined the Hitler Youth in 1941 when, according to him and his supporters, it became compulsory for all German boys. Millions of Germans were in a position similar to that of Joseph Ratzinger and his family, so why spend so much time focusing on him? Because he is no longer merely Joseph Ratzinger, or even a Catholic Cardinal — he is now Pope Benedict XVI. None of the other Germans who joined the Hitler Youth, were part of the military in Nazi Germany, lived near a concentration camp, and watched Jews being rounded up for death camps has ever become pope.
    The pope is supposed to be the successor of Peter, leader of the Christian Church, and symbol of unity for all Christendom. The past actions — or inactions — of such a person matter a great deal if anyone is going to treat him as any sort of moral authority. Ratzinger’s recollections of his youth in Nazi Germany makes it seem as though all the problems, violence, and hatred existed outside his local community. There is no recognition that resistance to the Nazis existed — or was needed — just outside his door.

    this is why it’s important.

    http://atheism.about.com/od/benedictxvi/i/RatzingerNazi.htm

  46. laurentweppe says

    And as demonstrated by Ichthyic here, one does not demonstrate their ideological purity without inventing a fictional ennemy to hate. Joseph Ratzinger, the reactionary theologist heavily suspected of playing a central role in the hiding & abetting child molesting priests does not provide enough outragine for a successful trip in rightful ragelaland, so here comes the imaginary Nazi Mass Murderer Of Africans Who Uses AIDS To Wage War Against Humanity: now that’s one hell of a comic book villain everyone can love to hate.

  47. Ichthyic says

    so here comes the imaginary Nazi Mass Murderer Of Africans

    are you denying his policies in Africa have had disastrous effects?

    speak up if so, so I can alleviate your fucking ignorance.

    there’s nothing fictional about it.

  48. Ichthyic says

    …frankly, ratzi IS bordering on comic book villain status.

    the question is, why on earth are you trying to play it down?

  49. slc1 says

    Re Ichthyic @ #51

    Let’s see here, Joe the rat was drafted into the military when he was 16 years old, just like millions of other German boys. He was in an anti-aircraft unit, not the SS, where the real criminals were. Unless Mr. Ichthyic is going to claim that all members of the Wehrmacht were war criminals and Nazis, a preposterous claim, then calling Joe the rat an ex-Nazi is factually wrong. As I pointed out in comment #43, membership in the Hitler Jugend was compulsory, starting in 1936, so calling all members of that outfit Nazis is also preposterous.

    Let’s concentrate on the legitimate accusations against Joe the rat, namely the coverup of child molestation, his reactionary policies, and the diatribes against the use of condoms in Africa to prevent the spread of HIV, including the preposterous claim that condoms increase the spread of HIV.

  50. slc1 says

    By the way, one of things I find fascinating about all the popes since Pius XII, including Joe the rat, is that, to a man, they were effectively Socialists in their views on economic issues. All of them, to a man were critical of Capitalism, rather astounding when you think about the Raping Children Church being a reactionary organization.

  51. says

    Ratzinger’s recollections of his youth in Nazi Germany makes it seem as though all the problems, violence, and hatred existed outside his local community. There is no recognition that resistance to the Nazis existed — or was needed — just outside his door.

    Yeah, he wasn’t that big a part of the problem, but he clearly didn’t do anything to make himself part of a solution either. This inaction of his stands out all the more when contrasted with his predecessor, who actually took some personal risk to RESIST tyranny, at least by conducting clandestine masses in the woods, and setting a small personal example of not letting one’s integrity be completely compromised by fear and conformity.

    The fact that his shining example was replaced by exactly the opposite example, really says a lot about the Church’s priorities.

    (And no, Ratzinger is not the worst Pope ever…which says a lot more about the Church than it does about Ratzinger.)

    …so here comes the imaginary Nazi Mass Murderer Of Africans Who Uses AIDS To Wage War Against Humanity: now that’s one hell of a comic book villain everyone can love to hate.

    We’ll leave the comic-book writing to you, laurent, since you seem to be the most imaginitive one here. And you can take full credit for all of your ideas, since none of us contributed to the plot you describe.

  52. slc1 says

    Re raging bee @ #57

    Oh come on, the man was all of 17 years old when Germany surrendered. His predecessor certainly was not a major figure against the puppet Communist regime in Poland at the age of 17 and younger.

    Joe the rat was in the same position as millions of other German teenagers in the war years. He was no more and no less responsible for Frankenberger’s crimes then they were. With all due respect, I suggest that we concentrate on Joe the rat’s actual transgressions, rather then his imagined transgressions.

  53. says

    With all due respect, I suggest YOU reread what I wrote. Where did I “imagine” that Ratzinger was in any way responsible for Hitler’s crimes? In fact, I pretty explicitly said the exact opposite.

  54. says

    Also, we’re not saying the Pope was evil back in WW-II — we’re saying he wasn’t all that extraordinary or brave. That’s perfectly excusable for ordinary people, but shouldn’t the Pope be someone who’s exhibited something more than just plain ordinary conformity, followed by ordinary waffling about his past?

    As the article said, he did more than some, but not hearly as much as some others. Couldn’t the church have found a Catholic who did more, or who learned better lessons from such a huge atrocity? Couldn’t they have found someone who didn’t have to plead mediocrity to explain his past?

  55. says

    Here’s a little more from that article cited above, which explains why we’re right to consider Ratzinger’s past actions important:

    It’s curious that one of the lessons which Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, draws from the experiences of German Catholics under the Nazis is that Catholics should become even more obedient to their ecclesiastical leaders rather than more free to adopt independent courses of action. Ratzinger believes that greater fidelity to Catholic doctrine, as defined by the Vatican, is necessary to counter movements like Nazism.

    This is important: after all the horriffic evils that were enabled by obedience and conformity, his answer to the problem is…more conformity.

    You don’t have to be morally perfect to hold such a position, but it’s not unreasonable to expect such a person to have come to terms with their moral failings, even the moral failings that occurred in youth when we don’t usually expect a great deal. It was an understandable mistake or failing not to do more against the Nazis, but still a failing that he hasn’t come to terms with — it sounds rather like he is in denial. In a sense, he has yet to repent; yet he was still considered the best of all the candidates for the papacy.

    And this guy is your shining example of a “friend who helped promote dialogue and coexistence?”

  56. says

    Oh come on, the man was all of 17 years old when Germany surrendered.

    That’s not old enough to ACT, by any stretch — but it sure as Hell is old enough to SEE, to NOTICE, to THINK, and to LEARN. What did Ratzinger learn in his formative years?

  57. laurentweppe says

    This inaction of his stands out all the more when contrasted with his predecessor, who actually took some personal risk to RESIST tyranny

    John Paul II was older than Panzer the first: he was aleady a young adult when Hitler & Staline sandwiched his country while Panzer was still in primary school. Age matters.

    ***

    And you can take full credit for all of your ideas, since none of us contributed to the plot you describe.

    That plot is the masterpiece of Ichthyic alone: I just summarized it with less flourish.

  58. Ichthyic says

    Let’s see here

    …and what follows entirely misses the point of the article i posted just above it.

    man, obliviousness is your stock and trade these days.

    Bee gets it.

  59. slc1 says

    Re Ichthyic

    Mr. Ichthyic and I are in agreement that Joe the rat is a despicable human being for the reasons I cited in comment #55. My only point is that calling him an ex-Nazi is inaccurate and unreliable as no evidence that he was ever a Nazi int he first place. Being drafted into the Wehrmacht and being drafted into the Frankenberger Jugend doesn’t cut it.

  60. Steven Jones says

    The infallibility clause is not as crazy as is being glibly claimed. John Henry Newman believed in the infallibility of Pope and Church even before his conversion to Catholicism. In 1854 the then Pope defined a doctrine infallibly. This means the change control process took 1800 plus years. One of the problems which caused the “delay” was that one of the top theologians, Thomas Aquinas, had questioned this doctrine 600 years before. In other words, the Catholic Church spent 600 further years discussing his and others’ objections. That it was finally declared infallible was to end discussion once and for all and had nothing to do with hubris on the part of an individual Pope who presumably was glad to get the matter out of the way. It was the same deal in 1950. On this occasion the infallibility clause was even more nuanced. The Catholic Church had been long vexed over the issue of Marian apparitions (the physical appearance of the Virgin Mary in the World) for hundreds of years. They also knew it was unrealistic to force Catholics to believe in all of this so they found a compromise. They simply declared infallibly that the Virgin Mary possessed the capability to physically appear in the World. Not only that, she could appear to Catholics, protestants, Jews, atheists etc. – anyone in other words.

  61. says

    The infallibility clause is not as crazy as is being glibly claimed…

    Actually, it’s more of a tautology. The Pope, by definition, is the sole and final authority on matters of Catholic doctrine, therefore his word on Catholic doctrine is infallible. And if you don’t accept the premises on which this conclusion is based, then you’re not a Catholic and your opinion doesn’t count.

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