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Feb 28 2013

Handicapping the papacy

The Rationalist has a tally of candidates for the office of pope, and I’m sorry, but despite a lingering affection for Formosus, I don’t care. The trend is obvious: old, old guys with dogmatic views, with the only drama being in how deeply conservative the new guy in the big hat will be. Nothing will change.

Worst of all, nothing will change and the media will still orgasm over which withered brain ultimately wins this archaic and poisonously irrelevant position.

57 comments

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  1. 1
    David Marjanović

    OT: PZ, can you imagine? When I try to link to this version of Pharyngula on the ScienceBlogs version, the comment gets eaten! The words “Pharyngula” and “Freethoughtblogs” are allowed, but the URL isn’t. ~:-|

  2. 2
    Dick the Damned

    Ahemmmmmm, PZ, you’re just getting a bit too ageist there. And by the way, my brain’s always been withered, so there!

  3. 3
    David Marjanović

    Back on topic:

    Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone – 4/1

    Age: 79

    Nationality: Italy

    Pros: Outspoken criticism of The Da Vinci Code suggests discerning literary taste.

    Cons: Publicly blamed the child sex scandal on homosexual infiltration of the clergy. Advanced age may count against him after last Pope pulled up before finish.

    Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi – 12/1

    Age: 71

    Nationality: Italy

    Pros: Thinks Darwin can be reconciled with the Bible, quotes Amy Winehouse on Twitter and says Church is boring.

    Cons: Sounds like he’s in the wrong job.

    Cardinal Christoph Schönborn – 16/1

    Age: 68

    Nationality: Austria

    Pros: Wasn’t a member of the Hitler youth.

    Bishop Brennan off Father Ted – 250/1

    Age: Unknown

    Nationality: Ireland

    Pros: Would bring some much needed comic relief to the role.

    Cons: Is a fictional character, but then…

    I do have to say there’s been quite the dearth of Irish popes in 1600 years.

  4. 4
    Nick Gotts

    I’m surprised Silvio Berlusconi didn’t get a mention, having shown his PR smarts by coming back from the (politically) dead several times, and looking unlikely to return as Italy’s PM despite an unexpectedly strong showing in the recent election; he could also fund the whole operation out of his petty cash drawer. Of course the required vow of chastity might be a hurdle.

  5. 5
    Nick Gotts

    Oh, and Berlusconi has recently been saying nice things about the Vatican’s late benefactor, Signor Mussolini.

  6. 6
    kevinalexander

    Of course the required vow of chastity might be a hurdle.

    Why? Doesn’t stop so many others.

  7. 7
    HappyHead

    The only Pope I have even fleeting admiration for is the 46th Pope, but that’s only because his name is Hilarius. Perhaps if “Bishop Brennan off Father Ted” gets the nod, they can have a Hilarius the second.

  8. 8
    James Barrett

    I notice that on some of the oddsmakers’ charts there’s a long-shot papabilista named (assuming best W.C. Fields accent) Godfried Danneels!

  9. 9
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @David Marjanović

    Ooh, I just read that list, rq linked to it in the lounge. I’m quite excited about Cardinal Ravasi. If he gets the job, the RCC may be marginally less shit than before. Every little helps, right? Any cardinal who “Sounds like he’s in the wrong job” is A-OK by me!

  10. 10
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Handicapping the Papacy.

    Hmmm.

    I thought the Papacy was doing a pretty good job of handicapping itself by denying reality.

    [actually reads post]

    Oh.

    Nevermind.

  11. 11
    glodson

    I’m noticing a lack of pro-choice, pro-contraception, anti-pedophile pros in the candidates.

    That’s a major con for all of them.

  12. 12
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    This seems so apropriate that I feel obliged to cross-post: A New Pope.

  13. 13
    Pierce R. Butler

    Contrary to popular opinion, Formosus did not come from, nor colonize, a large island off the coast of mainland China.

  14. 14
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Is anyone watching the live stream of the old man leaving a job?

    Who will protect the pedophile priests from the secular powers?

    Will Catholicism change in any way, becoming humane?

    “Tis all sound and fury, meaning only red Gucci shoes?

    What if he clicks his heels three time and recites: There’s no place like Rome. There’s no place like Rome. There’s no place like Rome.

  15. 15
    anteprepro

    Is it wrong that I am vaguely outraged over the fact that a Central/South American Pope is incredibly unlikely? I mean, I know that the Catholic Church is all about being a century or two behind the curve, but the dearth of non-Europeans, especially from some of the most Catholic countries in the world, should really say something to the residents of those countries.

    On a similar note, I was shocked to learn from wikipedia that three popes have been from Africa. I was less shocked when I learned that all three had power during the time that those regions of Africa were part of the Roman Empire.

  16. 16
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Why should you be outraged? What leads you to think that having a Central/South American pope will do a thing to end the inhuman philosophy of the holy see?

  17. 17
    Matt Penfold

    Well Cardinal O’Brien, before he was forced to resign due to allegations of “inappropriate” behaviour(1) with four priests in the 1980s said he gave his blessing to the Church if they decided to go for a non-white non-European Pope. Which was nice of him, don’t you think ?

    1. The precise details of the inappropriate behaviour has not been specified, but every report about them has been careful to mention how outspoken the Cardinal was about homosexuality.

  18. 18
    lclane2

    The next pope will be Geezer, the 266th.

  19. 19
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Janine –

    I think the point is that they Princes of the Church get to add “not opposing racist exclusion of people of color from power” to “not opposing pedophiles in power” and “opposing women having any power at all” to their list of sins necessary to confess.

    it’s not that a Latino pope would be better policy wise, it’s that the ability to elect such a pope would show that the has been past improvement philosophy and behavior-wise. Not unlike the no-better-than-average Obama, whose election nonetheless said something positive about the US electorate.

  20. 20
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Meh. The only positive the Vatican City can do is become a museum of a very barbaric age.

  21. 21
    Matt Penfold

    The problem is that the cardinals who will be deciding on the next Pope will have been appointed by the last two, both of whom were conservative and appointed cardinals in their image.

  22. 22
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    More liberal Cardinals would improve a corrupt ideology?

  23. 23
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Cardinal Christoph Schönborn – 16/1

    Age: 68

    Nationality: Austria

    Pros: Wasn’t a member of the Hitler youth.

    Cons: Once called for an open discussion of priestly celibacy. If not fitted with blinkers, sight of nuns could take his eyes off the race.

    First sentence of Cons belongs to the Pros and the second, if written only as an implication of the first, is stupid.

  24. 24
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I’m taking a joke too seriously, I know.

  25. 25
    anteprepro

    I think the point is that they Princes of the Church get to add “not opposing racist exclusion of people of color from power” to “not opposing pedophiles in power” and “opposing women having any power at all” to their list of sins necessary to confess.

    Ding ding ding. Along with the faint lingering stench of imperialism.

    More liberal Cardinals would improve a corrupt ideology?

    Like Febreeze in a room full of pig shit. Technically an improvement!

  26. 26
    Matt Penfold

    More liberal Cardinals would improve a corrupt ideology?

    There might have a been a greater willingness to not cover-up allegations of sexual abuse. The UK has seen relatively few examples of such cover-up because the last but one Cardinal in charge of the RCC in England and Wales refused to follow the instructions from Rome to hide instances of such abuse.

  27. 27
    David Marjanović

    First sentence of Cons belongs to the Pros and the second, if written only as an implication of the first, is stupid.

    Yeah. That’s why I didn’t quote it in comment 3.

    I’m taking a joke too seriously, I know.

    Not really. It’s a bad joke with Unfortunate Implications.

  28. 28
    glodson

    More liberal Cardinals would improve a corrupt ideology?

    There’s nothing that can save the ideology of any religion. They are all fatally corrupt as they are all based on false premises.

    But at least a more progressive set of leaders could mitigate some of the damage being done by the Church. I would much rather see the Catholic Church end. However, if it is going to exist they could at least protect the children under their care. They could at least acknowledge gay rights and approve of gay marriage. They could at least approve of the use of contraception. They could at least drop the entire pro-life bullshit.

    It wouldn’t absolve the church of centuries of abuse and evil. But it would make for improvements in the lives of others under the Catholic spell in the here and now.

    I guess it would improve it. However, that’s not really saying much considering how bad it is now.

  29. 29
    left0ver1under

    The talk I’ve heard is some are pushing for a third world pope to “show diversity”, that they are concerned for the poor. Codswallop. Many of the cardinals who will be voting from among themselves were appointed by Vindictive or by John Pall II. Many of those appointed by John Pall II were “recommended” by Vindictive, aka Ratfink.

    The cardinals who come from third world countries (e.g. Africa, South America, the Philippines) are among the worst reactionaries and “traditionalists”. They are anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-abortion, anti-human rights, etc. as well as pro-rape, pro-child molestation, pro-fraud, etc. Whoever is elected, it will be more of the same, another 70 year old virgin (if he hasn’t raped any children or women) who will drive the cult further into irrelevancy.

  30. 30
    mothra

    SF author Robert Silverberg has long had his bid in to be the next pope. His proposed names is Pope Sixtus the Seventh.

  31. 31
    Olav

    I hope the next pope will be the most conservative autocratic misogynistic child molester that they can find for the job. Someone who will make people flee the church in even greater numbers than they have done before.

  32. 32
    kieran

    Speaking of orgasms…I’ve been trying to find a recording of SPUC from scrap saturday. The backgorund to this was a debate on the Late late show where a couple said they never had sex without trying for a child. It was parodied by Dermot morgan and the scrap saturday crew and this is the result
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vZKEyCfZe8

    Oh and this was originaly broadcast on a saturday morning. Is it relevant to the present thread..vaguely due to the mention of the John paul 2 method

  33. 33
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    My desire to give any fucks about this is weak.

  34. 34
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    If you liked Hilarius, you may also enjoy Hyacinth Bobo.

  35. 35
    Rip Steakface

    I propose they make me the next pope. I’ve always wanted to wear such a spectacular hat.

  36. 36
    raven

    I couldn’t even try to get interested in the next Pope’s identity.

    1. You know it will be some twisted old guy.

    2. The big drama is how warped.

    There has been a Modernist Archaic battle going on within the RCC for centuries. The Archaics have mostly won. Pope John of Vatican II was about the only humanist to get in.

    Some Bishop or Cardinal who recently died pointed out that they RCC is centuries out of date and really needs a huge upgrade. Which will never happen.

    Far as I can tell, it has died and fossilized in place and most people don’t even care.

  37. 37
    robro

    I sent in my resume. I’m not Catholic, but after twenty years as a technical writer I’m sure I can write papal bull with the best of them. However, I suspect that like the tech industry here in the Bay Area, I’m considered just too damn old.

  38. 38
    testostyrannical

    The Catholic Church is in a position to do a lot of good with even minor revisions of their doctrine. We’d be better off if suddenly there were a global epiphany and hundreds of millions of christians realized their religion was fake. But barring that, you kind of have to take what you can get.

  39. 39
    Ichthyic

    “poisonously irrelevant”

    hmm.

    like dramatically mellow?

    I guess it’s just me.

  40. 40
    Ichthyic

    finding out who the next Pope will be has all the excitement of finding out who will become the next Godfather of the Corleone family.

    seriously. Did anyone manage to miss reading the leaked letters from a couple years back?

    pretty clear that the Vatican is little more than an organized crime ring, using kickbacks from contract deals that overcharge by orders of magnitude to fund their activities.

    pedophile scandal? The reason they don’t take such things seriously at the Vatican is because it just doesn’t fit with the daily business of running a mob family.

  41. 41
    Ichthyic

    The Catholic Church is in a position to do a lot of good with even minor revisions of their doctrine.

    the current retired Pope was billed as a serious reformer when he started out.

    no kidding.

  42. 42
    David Marjanović

    the current retired Pope was billed as a serious reformer when he started out.

    By how many people? For every cleric you can find someone who’ll call him a reformer and actually mean it.

  43. 43
    alkisvonidas

    I’ve been reading the story of Formosus, and suddenly all I can think of is the potential for a great remake:

    Weekend at Bennie’s

  44. 44
    birgerjohansson

    If you want to see how a Pope handing over to a new Pope should be done, look at this: “Papa Emeritus I hands over to Papa Emeritus II live in Linkoping” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQhPoHaJqhU
    — — — — —
    Yes, I have posted it weeks earlier, but these guys are SOOO much better qualified.
    And they don’t need any choirboys for the vocals, so they are safe.

  45. 45
    Ichthyic

    By how many people?

    go search for articles on Ratzy from around 2005.

    it’s everywhere.

  46. 46
    Ichthyic

    …even his “butler” after leaking the Pope’s personal communications, spoke at length of how he felt Ratzy was on a mission to try and end the corruption spoken of in the letters.

    My opinion is that the leaking of those letters did far more to harm Ratzy in his mission to do that, if there ever was one, than he expected, thus leading to the unprecedented “forced retirement”.

    I don’t buy that it was “for the good of the church because he was ill” claim (since you can claim that for EVERY pope that came before him), nor that it was because of the pedophile scandal.

    nope, the only thing that fits was that he was forced out by the very people mentioned in those leaked communications. They certainly don’t want any more accusations of internal corruption to come to light.

  47. 47
    markr1957

    [OT] Surprised nobody brought this up –
    http://www.newnownext.com/pope-benedict-boyfriend-georg-ganswein/02/2013/

  48. 48
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    I’ve got your next pope right here.

    To be honest, any of these three would do.

  49. 49
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    [OT] Surprised nobody brought this up –
    http://www.newnownext.com/pope-benedict-boyfriend-georg-ganswein/02/2013/

    Maybe because it’s unsubstantiated innuendo that has no bearing on how awful the pope in particular and the Catholic church in general is?

    Yes, I get it, it would be deliciously ironic if the pope were gay, but the whole meme of “everyone who supports the homophobic agenda must be a closeted gay” strikes me as a perverse form of homophobia.

    Can’t we agree that heterosexuals (and asexuals and bisexuals and any other kind of -sexuals) can be homophobic too?

  50. 50
    Ichthyic

    Yes, I get it, it would be deliciously ironic if the pope were gay, but the whole meme of “everyone who supports the homophobic agenda must be a closeted gay” strikes me as a perverse form of homophobia.

    that’s a good point.

  51. 51
    DLC

    The next pope should be Nobody.

  52. 52
    lpetrich

    In “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, historian Edward Gibbon recalled reading about what a certain medieval abbot’s vows got him.

    His vow of obedience got him the rule of his abbey and its estate.

    His vow of poverty got him great wealth.

    His vow of chastity? Edward Gibbon forgot.

    Just like the Pope.

  53. 53
    David Marjanović

    I don’t buy that it was “for the good of the church because he was ill” claim (since you can claim that for EVERY pope that came before him)

    It does make sense, though. JPII famously refused to resign, saying “you don’t climb down from the cross”. For years, therefore, Ratzinger lived in a church that lacked a functioning pope and was provisorially administered by the curia or something. Rather than just the pope suffering like unto Jesus, the entire church did, at least at the top level where Ratzinger was. Some think that, rather than comparing himself to Jesus, he wanted to spare the church another such period. Various media have claimed he’s blind on one eye and keeps falling out of his bed.

    [OT] Surprised nobody brought this up –
    http://www.newnownext.com/pope-benedict-boyfriend-georg-ganswein/02/2013/

    What, that Ratzinger and Gänswein are a pretty cute couple? Everyone knows that already. It hasn’t been news for years. It completely fails to explain the timing of the resignation.

  54. 54
    Ichthyic

    Rather than just the pope suffering like unto Jesus, the entire church did, at least at the top level where Ratzinger was.

    again, this ignores thousands of years of previous history.

    the CC is nothing less than tradition itself!

    how can you ignore all that?

  55. 55
    Jafafa Hots

    Not just you, Ichthyic.
    “Poisonously irrelevant” doesn’t seem possible.

    Is anti-relevant a word?

  56. 56
    Jafafa Hots

    I’m also a bit let down.
    When I read “handicapping the papacy” I was hoping we were hatching a plan or something.

  57. 57
    David Marjanović

    again, this ignores thousands of years of previous history.

    the CC is nothing less than tradition itself!

    how can you ignore all that?

    What do you mean by “ignore”? It doesn’t seem to have been an easy decision.

    And there is one precedent for a pope resigning without being forced to by other people. Dante promptly sent him to hell. :-)

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