Poped Out

Okay. I’m officially sick and tired of all the fuss about who the next pope will be. ABC’s Diane Sawyer is in Rome, so is CBS’s Scott Pelley, and hanging around the Vatican is CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Give me a break.

A conclave of celibate old men, disproportionately Italian, disproportionately European, who espouse strange doctrines largely dreamed up during the Iron Age, will don their scarlet drapes and matching hats and eventually send us a smoke signal indicating they have secretly elected an old, probably white, guy who will climb into his bullet-proof pope-ride and tell Catholics around the world many things that they will subsequently ignore.

Amen.

25 Comments

  1. ansonburlingame

     /  March 12, 2013

    And because you object to the fundamental purpose of the institution, the Catholic Church, you pass ridicule on the whole matter.

    There are 1.2 Billion Catholics around the world and some of them care deeply about this process that you are “sick of”. Well go vote in your next union leader and I will get “sick of it” as well, I suppose!!!

    The selection of a Pope MATTERS, whether you like it or not, to a huge number of human beings. And you ridicule it. Sure does not sound like a “kind, tolerant and loving” point of view.

    Anson

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    • Actually, Duane should be complemented for using the expression “strange doctrines”.
      The reality is that certain papal bulls – more specifically “Dum Diversas” (1452), and “Romanus Pontifex” (1455) – granted christians the right to take non-christians as perpetual slaves. This was established basis non-sensical, convoluted, self-serving “reasoning” that enslavement was warranted as non-christians (pagans) did not have souls. Accordingly, the genocide of native americans in North-, Central-, and South-Americans was justified.
      Rodrigo Borgia or pope Alexander VI, one of the most criminal popes promoted this idea in the bull “Inter Caetera” (1493). The following should be familiar: “Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur”.

      Edwino

      Like

      • Anonymous

         /  March 12, 2013

        “The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived.”

        I wasn’t, Ed, but I am now. How appropriate!

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      • Thanks, Edwino. Holy Spirit, anyone? The HS is supposed to be running things in the Church, at least that’s what I hear.

        Like

    • What is the fundamental purpose of the institution? To most of us, it’s purpose seems to be corruption, oppression, mass murder, sexual abuse, and discrimination.

      Like

    • I didn’t know I was supposed to be “kind, tolerant and loving” toward an institution that historically has done such horrific things and continues to insist that poor people around the world not have access to the one thing that would most help to alleviate their poverty: contraception.

      Thanks for clearing that up.

      Like

  2. LisaF

     /  March 12, 2013

    LOL, you are tired. I am leaving for a long awaited and planned trip to Italy on Friday. This date was picked to avoid the crowds. Ha ha, joke is on me. If these old man do not decide by the following Friday, the day we are scheduled to tour the Vatican, we will not be able to visit the Sistine Chapel.

    Just a side note I recently learned, in the Holy See have plenty of cash. That is because Deutsche Bank Italia – which until now provided credit card service – has ruled that the Vatican does not fully comply with EU safeguards against money laundering.

    Is there one institution on earth that isn’t corrupt to it’s core?

    Like

  3. The history of mankind is part and parcel with the history of religion, a cultural phenomenon that evolved in humankind in parallel with abstract thought, self-awareness and the certainty of death. Formal religions like Catholicism have raised to the level of fine art the ability to organize and control populations, sometimes for good but historically for the power and self-serving importance of the clergy. Protestants are really not very different, except that they seem less tied to ideologic ritual.

    The latest issue of Smithsonian has a good article on that, entitled “First Blood”. It is an interview with a man the author calls simply “the greatest historian of early America alive today”, one Bernard Bailyn. His expertise centers on the 17th century (the 1600’s), a time when early settlers fled from the horrors of the Inquisition in Europe and religious persecution, a time when life was short and brutal, a time when those same settlers brought genocide to the dense pagan population of the new world in the name of their own religion.

    Here are a couple of excerpts from the article:

    “It’s all a bit of a blur, isn’t it? That little-remembered century—1600 to 1700—that began with the founding (and foundering) of the first permanent English settlement in America, the one called Jamestown, whose endemic perils portended failure for the dream of a New World. The century that saw all the disease-ridden, barely civilized successors to Jamestown slaughtering and getting slaughtered by the Original Inhabitants, hanging on by their fingernails to some fetid coastal swampland until Pocahontas saved Thanksgiving.”

    and,

    “Bailyn has not painted a pretty picture. Little wonder he calls it The Barbarous Years and spares us no details of the terror, desperation, degradation and widespread torture—do you really know what being “flayed alive” means? (The skin is torn from the face and head and the prisoner is disemboweled while still alive.) And yet somehow amid the merciless massacres were elements that gave birth to the rudiments of civilization—or in Bailyn’s evocative phrase, the fragile “integument of civility”—that would evolve 100 years later into a virtual Renaissance culture, a bustling string of self-governing, self-sufficient, defiantly expansionist colonies alive with an increasingly sophisticated and literate political and intellectual culture that would coalesce into the rationale for the birth of American independence. All the while shaping, and sometimes misshaping, the American character. It’s a grand drama in which the glimmers of enlightenment barely survive the savagery, what Yeats called “the blood-dimmed tide,” the brutal establishment of slavery, the race wars with the original inhabitants that Bailyn is not afraid to call “genocidal,” the full, horrifying details of which have virtually been erased.”

    The pageantry and trappings of churches are meant to inspire awe and respect among the masses, visible symbols to religious certitude that convey the message: “We know the truth and if you conform to our teachings, you may be saved from death and live forever.” How can it not be true, given this architecture, this art, this solemnity? (Point of reference: the Gaudi church in Barcelona, shown last Sunday on 60 Minutes.)

    Today’s Christianity is on the wane. It no longer dominates in the First World where mere survival is no longer a matter of desperation, but it is still growing in the Third World – that appears to be its future. Meanwhile, however, anachronistic as they are, the old ceremonies still inspire awe and the media flock to it like filings to a magnet. I too find it tedious, and yet it all has a fascination to it as well. It is human behavior on display.

    The full Smithsonian article is available at this link.

    Like

  4. writer89

     /  March 12, 2013

    The one element of this that interests me is that if they do choose an American pope, it could start a shift in Catholic thinking great than the shift that took place under Pope John. The rest of us could even notice the impact. Or not.

    Like

    • You know, I actually thought there was a chance that an American might be pope, but, alas, the institution is not ready for that. And besides, the American cardinals being considered weren’t all that reform-minded anyway.

      Like

      • Actually, Argentina IS in America. South America. What you are referring to is a Pope from the United States. The choices this time around weren’t so great, anyway! But Francis is Italian, so it’s a moot point. Do you think they would actually choose a person of color?

        Like

        • No, I didn’t think color was in the forecast, but I will quibble with you about the “America” designation. Sure, “America” technically references the continent, but it has another meaning that has become the dominant one. Your point sort of ignores the evolution of language, which though messy, is how we get to what words mean as we use them today. And for most English speakers, which you and I are, “America” means “United States of America.”

          And I don’t think the Italians or the Argentinians would consider someone born in Argentina an Italian, even if he had Italian parents. Man, this stuff is confusing, no?

          Duane

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  5. Troy

     /  March 12, 2013

    I like the their doctrine on birth control. What a joke. Peddling their influence in parts of the world where birth control is of necessity. They would rather see children lying on the ground dying of hunger, thrist, and disease than to promote any form of birth control. The only smoke they really blow is the smoke they blow up their followers asses….

    Like

    • The one thing we know now about Francis is that there will be no change on the Church’s birth control doctrine. The insanity will continue.

      Like

  6. ansonburlingame

     /  March 14, 2013

    To all,

    Someone above posed a good question, “what is the purpose of the institution”. Actually it is pretty clear, at least to me. It is the same purpose as the institution of religion in whole. And humans have “been at it” since any man or woman started to think about something more than the next meal to be had or where to shelter in a storm.

    Humans are unable to control events that swirl around them, anytime and anywhere. Many humans, even most perhaps, look to something else to take control. Thus religion, looking for that al powerful thing or things that can sweep aside adversity and make things “right”.

    Modern men with all our intellect and technology still ponder many of the same issues confronted by earlier man and we still don’t have the answers. Churches seek those solutions and answers and none of them in the history of mankind have gotten it all right as well.

    Go ahead and just try to abolish religion of any sort. Just let smart people decide all matters of right and wrong or even let some pretty dumb ones give it a shot as well.

    Simply as a matter to improve my understanding of different cultures, not a religious quest at all, I have begun to read the Al-Qur’an, in its entirety. It is a much easier read than our Bible for sure. After about six Surahs (Chapters) into it, I have concluded that Allah was a really big bully, far more so than the God of the Old Testament. But actually both come across to me as bullies, all powerful whatevers with lots of do’s and don’t’s and some rather harsh punishments, now or later for any transgressions.

    I can easily challenge the “church” any church or relitious institution for some ot its solutions for problems down through history. But some good men, and women too, still seek the “right answers” and I wish them all the best in doing so and will keep an open mind and heart to their suggestions, most of the time.

    Anson

    Like

    • Anson,

      I disagree with you that religion, especially the Christian religion, and the Catholics in particular, is about providing answers or sweeping aside adversity to make things “right.”

      Religion began as the first form of government and it was intended to “control” people. It gave followers a list of laws and the associated punishments for failure to obey. And this law and order was attributed to some supernatural being or beings as told to the designated leader, such as a Pope.

      Catholics held sway in Christianity for more than 1,000 years, until folks like Martin Luther and John Calvin protested, thereby giving the world Protestantism. Undeterred, the Catholics continued their reign of terror through the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the genocide of Native Americans from Mexico to Chile.

      Then there is slavery. The Catholics’ official support for slavery and the slave trade was incorporated into Canon Law by Pope Gregory IX in the 13trh century.

      Even today, the Catholic leadership continues with its abuse of power. The pedophilia scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. The Catholic clergy in Africa have informed their flocks that birth control and condoms in particular are against God’s will. As a result, Africa has the highest rate of HIV and AIDS in the world. God’s will, my ass.

      Further, the Catholics had no interest in allowing any in their flock to provide “answers” to anything. That function was left to the high mucky-mucks in the Church. Critical thinking, not to mention criticism itself, is verboten. And science? Well, I give you Galileo, who was sent to his room for 359 years for his transgression of proving the earth was not the center of the universe.

      And on and on I could go. I do acknowledge though that Catholic Charities is one of the best in the world providing services to the poor and the sick. I just hope they keep their money for those purposes rather than helping to bail out the archdioceses that have gone bankrupt paying damages for the church-enabled sexual abuse of children.

      To me the Catholic clergy is anachronistic and isolated from the real world. The Pope, whoever he is, is like a blind man coaching a football team. The red dress and ruby slippers don’t help either.

      So, yes, I will continue to mock the Catholics so long as they continue to enable crimes against humanity and then fill the church coffers with money that’s used to pay off the victims of those crimes.

      Herb

      Like

      • Herb, your critique of the Catholic Church (with which I heartily agree) reminds me of Edwin O. Wilson’s theme of how human culture evolves in parallel with biology. It is striking, is it not, how quickly that happens? Biological evolution takes millennia – the appendix shrinks, toes become less functional, brain capacity increases. But cultural evolution is lightning fast in comparison. The Catholic Church’s control of the masses (pun intended) through restriction of literacy, torture and threats of hellfire, as you point out, are a good example of cultural memes.

        But other examples abound, illustrating the “butterfly effect”, and I can think of no better example than the two Koreas. Then there’s Iran, a country which was becoming a secular society when it lapsed back into fundamentalism and Sharia law. What contrasts! Nazi Germany, the USSR. Finland, a model of successful socialism. Amazing. Whence still-young America? The possibilities are myriad, but one I see is a breakup into scattered states governed by heavily armed and religiously-oriented militias. Anything is possible.

        Like

    • Anson,

      You wrote,

      Modern men with all our intellect and technology still ponder many of the same issues confronted by earlier man and we still don’t have the answers. Churches seek those solutions and answers and none of them in the history of mankind have gotten it all right as well.

      As Herb noted above, the Catholic Church, as well as most churches, aren’t about seeking “solutions and answers.” They found the answers long ago, in a book written or edited mostly by priests at a time when men were still in the grip of superstition and largely ignorant of the value of science and the scientific method.

      I don’t at all disagree with you that “some good men,and women too” are seeking answers. I call them scientists.

      Duane

      Like

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