I just can’t keep up with all the euphemisms!

At least this will be a useful one. And it is hallowed by the Pope!

Pope Benedict, facing the worst crisis of his papacy as a sexual abuse scandal sweeps the Catholic church, declared today he would not be “intimidated” by “petty gossip”, angering activists who say he has done too little to stamp out paedophilia.

Hey, Pope Ratzi. Petty gossip you, too — sideways with a rusty knife. Could you possibly trivialize child rape a little more?


  1. Sastra says

    It’s not just “petty gossip” — it’s militant petty gossip!

    No wonder he feels so intimidated.

    Bet they wouldn’t dare say such things if it were Muslims.

  2. Caine, Fleur du mal says

    Oh, it’s not just “petty gossip” – it’s petty gossip driven by increasing secularism! Once again, all of us moral-less godless types are to blame.

  3. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Petty gossip you, too — sideways with a rusty knife.

    Oh no! Now the Colgate Twins and their toadies will be able to accuse New Militant PZ of threatening to rape His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI with a sideways rusty knife. Kw*k is guaranteed to demand a camera again.

  4. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I think we can all agree that His Holiness does not appear to be taking this as seriously as he should. Many of us are rightly concerned about what seems to be the Pope’s facile dismissal of the seriousness of the situation. Like PZ, I’m deeply troubled.

    But what I cannot agree with is the persistent (almost reflexive) use of violent imagery and threats. Come on guys, aren’t we better than that? Aren’t we supposed to be the ones who advocate rational responses to important issues? How do these types of comments help?

    Lots of folks here complain that the media treat us as caricatures, but when we stop to look at why. . BLEEP-BORP-BlEEP-SPROING. . .!@#$%$###


    (Did I actually have any of you going for a second?)

  5. Phasic says

    I saw something along the lines of the following on the news-ticker thing at the bottom of the screen on a breakfast news show this morning:

    “More Vatican allegations in Catholic sex scandal”

    It’s infuriating. It’s not a sex scandal. It’s a rape scandal. The allegations are about rape, not sex.

  6. Killer Bud says

    I recently read an article where the people ruling Yemen were threatened by CONSERVATIVE Muslim clerics. The clerics threatened to declare their rulers infidels if they go through with the ban on marriages to girls as young as 8 years old.

    Muslims are being scrutinized as well, and they should be. Especially if that is considered conservative in the eyes of religious leaders in that country.

    This cycle of abuse has been going on long enough. How many more generations of children are going to be exploited in the name of religion?
    I hope no more, but as long as people can hide behind their religion and avoid persecution it wont.

    I would like to see what happened to Roman Polansky happen to the Pope. He can seek sanctuary in his gay brothel of brotherly butt buddies, but if he leaves, he should get arrested and tried in a court for his crime of aiding and abetting pedophiles.

  7. Q.E.D says

    “petty gossip”? It beggars belief. The pope is referring to the rape and abuse of children by priests as “petty gossip”. “petty gossip” that he personally helped to cover up.

    Let’s be clear about terminology: “petty gossip” = priests raping children, Ratzinger issuing orders of silence on pain of excommunication, failure to report child abuse to the police, covering up information of felonies, aiding and abeting paedophiles by moving them from parish to parish and denial of that the individuals or the church bear any responsibility.

    “petty gossip”? Ratzinger, you are a sickening, revolting, exemplar of the worst excesses of moral failure.

  8. Ryan F Stello says

    Pope Benedict…declared today he would not be “intimidated” by “petty gossip”

    Or intimidated by a healthy conscience.

  9. MAJeff, OM says

    Extradite Cardinal Law! If we can get Polanski, we should certainly be able to get Bernie.

  10. mothra says

    Remember, now that the U.N. has passed that resolution concerning respecting religion, whereby each religion determines what speech constitutes respect. It seems we may be in violation of a U.N. resolution. I guess I will follow it as soon as religion shows the proper respect for people in particular and humanity in general.

  11. Brownian, OM says

    Oh hush up, you atheist fundamentalists; the pope has bigger fish to fry.

    Why, somewhere right now an African might be putting on a condom.

  12. MosesZD says

    I read that response this morning. I almost threw up.

    Exposing a world-wide conspiracy to hide and protect child rapists is “petty gossip…” Oh my…

  13. Rorschach says


    the “sideways with a rusty knife” line is completely wrong.

    Don’t you know that the proper term is “sideways with a Leica rangefinder” ?

  14. Kirk says

    A question.

    Do you think the pope actually believes what he says in this case (deceived himself before deceiving others)?

    I think his net effect is purely evil, but I’m not sure about the answer to the question.

  15. Caine, Fleur du mal says


    Do you think the pope actually believes what he says in this case (deceived himself before deceiving others)?


  16. MadScientist says

    Benedict XVI is simply upholding tradition. Anyone remember Pius XII – the pious ass who did nothing to condemn Hitler and Mussolini? Oh no, stay silent and let evil have its way – in fact, suppress any desires to combat evil because god will reward you when you’re dead. Just look at how people defend Pius XII post mortem – there is no end to the excuses.

  17. klewismax says

    At this point we can only hope that some unwitting altar boy accidently douses the pope with holy water, and he melts away like the wicked witch. Or that hordes of flying monkeys carry off every inhabitant of the vatican and do to them what they have been doing to children for centuries.

  18. Kirk says

    Caine: the part of me that sees him as just another power-hungry manipulator agrees with you. But another part of me wonders if he has deluded himself. I think Catholicism trains you to do that, and he evidently grew up in it. But then again, you probably can’t be a deluded fuck-up and still perform all the political machinations to become pope. But some people think he’s delivering the word of God on earth.

    Do you think the pope actually believes what he says in this case (deceived himself before deceiving others)?

    Maybe PZ should start a poll on the question :).

  19. PsiCop says

    The R.C. Church does not, unfortunately, view this scandal as being legitimate. They consider it a diabolical attack on “God’s church.” To speak of it in any way other than as a euphemism or dismissing it, grants it the appearance of being genuine, and they cannot and will not permit that.

    Moreover their defenders in the Italian government have declared the scandal to be a complete fabrication, woven out of thin air by “masonic secularists” and by “certain great foreign newspapers.” Seriously, that’s what they think.

  20. Caine, Fleur du mal says


    But then again, you probably can’t be a deluded fuck-up and still perform all the political machinations to become pope.

    There ya go. The regular catholic peons, the ones who go to church, hand a constant stream of money over, some of them actually believe. I think for those who are in the game at a serious level (bishop and higher) aren’t in the least bit deluded or clouded by actual belief. It’s a completely different game in the hallowed halls of power. That is all about power, control, money and politics.

    Naturally, they have a vested interest in protecting the corrupt machine; that money has to come from somewhere. Power’s no fun when you have no slaves to control, either, so that’s a good part of keeping the faithful, well, faithful.

  21. Kirk says


    Yeah, I tend to agree.

    The ones Dennett describes in the paper (started out as believers, went to seminary, realized it was baloney, took the paycheck, kept selling the message) probably wouldn’t have the drive to make it to pope (only one, after all; lots of arms and elbows required to fight to the top).

    But I still think it would be an interesting survey.

  22. thinkmonkey says

    The Catholic Church’s direct perpetration of evils (not just raping children, but lying about condoms, oppressing women, etc.) is bad enough, but the more substantive problem is that they actually wield influence as – of all things – a moral authority. Really? The Catholic Church? A moral authority? WTF?

    The history of the Church is the history of naked power exercised for personal gain, ignorance being nurtured and spread as if it were the most precious virtue in existence, and the most horrendous violence being perpetrated on anyone who dares to dissent or deviate. The recent exposure of the Catholic Church’s rape culture is only the latest evil in a legacy of horrors extending well over one thousand years. Yet these people (and their conservative Christian fellow travelers) are allowed to set the agenda for women’s rights in this country. “Land of the free” my ass. Ours is the land of the emotionally crippled, mentally stunted, willing servants of corrupt religious authority.

  23. Caine, Fleur du mal says


    The ones Dennett describes in the paper (started out as believers, went to seminary, realized it was baloney, took the paycheck, kept selling the message) probably wouldn’t have the drive to make it to pope (only one, after all; lots of arms and elbows required to fight to the top).

    Like any field, much depends on the ambition of the individual. No, not everyone is going to make pope, but there’s a hell of a lot of maneuvering and climbing to be done to be in a position where you might possibly attain that position. There are also plenty of seriously high up positions besides pope, in this way, it’s comparable to any government. Not everyone can be president/king/emperor/prime minister/whatever; that doesn’t mean there aren’t fat positions to be had.

  24. pkiwi says

    Forget euphemisms. Morality can only be determined by god and the pope speaks for him, yes? The pope is infallible right? Well then. Pope declares pedophilia not a sin when committed by a ‘loving clergy’. End of story. Pope refuses to acknowledge the secular authorities rights to investigate as the church does not answer to earthly authority. Lay people have to get behind the pope (or in front of him if he would prefer).

    (Ok this is how it is mostly being played by the church in any case).

    (This is a variant on something I had with a Xtian recently who declared god was good. And god determined what was good and secularists/ aetheists have no ability to determine what was good. So went my thought experiement – if god declares killing puppies or rape good he is the ultimate determinant of goodness so those would now be ‘good’. Said Xtian wouldn’t play my experiment and said but god couldn’t choose for those to be good because they are not. But how did he know????)

  25. jcmartz.myopenid.com says

    Perhaps it is a matter of time when more priestly paedophilia from Latin America — where it has a monopoly on religion — and other parts of the world.


    I wonder if someone will come up with a (pointless) poll about priestly sexual abuse of children.

  26. Screechy_Monkey says

    Oh no! Now the Colgate Twins and their toadies

    Hey, speaking of the accomodationist brigade, do they have anything to say about the Catholic church’s systematic rape of children?

    Yeah, that’s what I thought. It’s ok to fuck children; it’s saying the word “fuck” that gets their hackles up.

  27. Cowcakes says

    Spot the odd one out

    Atilla the Hun
    Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
    Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh
    Adolf Hitler
    Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin
    The Pope (any pope)
    Kim Jong-il
    Saloth Sar

    Trick question, there is no odd one out.

  28. Cosmic Teapot says

    So according to the pope, everyone is guilty except the catholic church.

    The man in the gold lamé is so delusional.

  29. Rorschach says

    Petty gossip, that was awesome.
    It’s Easter weekend coming up, and all I see on TV or in the media here is coverage of RCC child abuse.

    Here is for hoping that this “petty gossip” phrase will come back and haunt the robed criminal and his despiccable pirate state of pedophile protectors.

    Do you think the pope actually believes what he says in this case (deceived himself before deceiving others)?

    A grown-up believe in Santa and the tooth fairy? Not very likely, do not forget, these people are professional liars that live in lavish wealth, and whose wealth and power depends entirely on lying, injecting guilt and promising the poor and disenfranchised a better future in heaven.

  30. https://me.yahoo.com/a/KpMnOwkG2MXPiUTWFE_czhDtTwo-#14b60 says

    Yeh, that Pope Benedict, trivalising horrendous acts whether rape between a father and daughter in Brazil or avoiding the whole paedofilaia issue hitting him now.

  31. masrick says

    nothing new here. move along, old news.


    any other group and the feds would be sweeping down, confiscating property and arresting people on the word of a child who says they were taken by van from the west coast through a underground tunnel and molested on the east coast and returned in time for mommy to come get them.

    grow a pot plant and see what happens.

  32. gr8hands says

    Of course the pope knows he’s lying. If he were incapable of knowing, he’d be spouting nonsense about what day of the week it was, and anything else on a random basis.

    The simple fact that it’s only on certain subjects, only in certain venues, demonstrates that it is a conscious, purposeful decision to lie.

    I’ve never bought into the ‘self-delusion’ thing. People know when they’re lying to themselves and others. They may have very strong reasons for those lies, but it isn’t because they actually believe them. I look forward to the day when neuroscience is able to demonstrate this completely. (P.S. that day is fast approaching)

  33. https://me.yahoo.com/a/K2PNji0at.txAjzTShOlxwLuFcVVFwbnng--#bd813 says

    On a smaller scale, the Boy Scouts have a record of covering up sexual abuse of children, also.


  34. Paul says

    Hey, speaking of the accomodationist brigade, do they have anything to say about the Catholic church’s systematic rape of children?

    It’s interesting that they avoid these issues like the plague. I suppose they would have to choose between condemning serious religious figures (yeah, right) or supporting rape.

    Really, Kirshenbaum should be all over these stories, what with that whole Silence is the Enemy campaign against rape. It’s sickening that in their attempts to cozy up to the local religions, their other moral convictions take a backseat. All in the name of being the “reasonable” atheist voice (well, she’s agnostic, but as a whole the Intersection has used “atheist but not like those mean ones over there” as their vehicle of self-promotion).

  35. Utakata says

    As fo a side, with my own personal love affair with a certain comic/cartoon style originating from Japan…I have my own euphemism for the Catholic church ministers and their proprietors: Lolicons.


    Suffice to say some of the said cartoons I’ve ran into of late that have priests that are significant characters are being depeicted as, you guessed it: lol lolicons. I wonder why…

    …well you know, the old saying: If the shoe fits, wear it.

  36. blf says

    For Rwandans, the pope’s apology must be unbearable:

    If you are an Irish Catholic, and have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, you were recently read a letter from Pope Benedict that tells you: “You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated.”

    For any practising Catholic in Rwanda, this letter must be unbearable. For it tells you how little you mean to the Vatican. Fifteen years ago, tens of thousands of Catholics were hacked to death inside churches. Sometimes priests and nuns led the slaughter. Sometimes they did nothing while it progressed. …

    To you, Catholic survivor of genocide in Rwanda, the Vatican says that those priests, those bishops, those nuns, those archbishops who planned and killed were not acting under the instruction of the church. But moral responsibility changes dramatically if you are a European or US Catholic. To the priests of the Irish church who abused children, the pope has this to say: “You must answer for it before almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon your confreres.”

    The losses of Rwanda had received no such consideration. Some of the nuns and priests who have been convicted by Belgian courts and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, respectively, enjoyed refuge in Catholic churches in Europe while on the run from prosecutors. One such is Father Athanase Seromba, who led the Nyange parish massacre and was sentenced to 15 years in jail by the tribunal. …

    At his trial, Seromba said: “A priest I am and a priest I will remain.” This, apparently, is the truth, since the Vatican has never taken back its statements defending him before his conviction.

    Perhaps it is time Catholics forced the leaders of their church to deal with a history of institutional racism that endures, if the church is truly to live up to its fine words. Apologies are not sufficient, no matter how abject. What is demanded is an acknowledgment of the church’s political power and moral culpability, with all the material and legal implications that come with it.