Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nobody Expects the Papal Inquisition!

Although elevating of the leader of what used to be the Inquisition to pope was a big hint.

Pope Benedict XVI, acceding to the far-right of the Roman Catholic Church,
revoked the excommunications of four schismatic bishops on Saturday, including
one whose comments denying the Holocaust have provoked outrage.

The decision provided fresh fuel for critics who charge that Benedict’s
four-year-old papacy has proven increasingly focused on appeasing
traditionalists who are hostile to the sweeping reforms of the Second Vatican
Council in the 1960s that sought to create a more modern and open church.

A theologian resigned to the church’s diminished status in a secular world,
Benedict has favored a smaller church of more ardent believers over a larger one
with looser faith. But his focus on doctrinal debates has come at a

So the pope wants fewer, more obedient Catholics, and doesn't mind alienating Jews, Muslims, women and rich liberal Americans to get it. I'm the last person to argue with the Church choosing to become poorer, smaller, and less relevant to the present.


NutellaonToast said...

As deplorable as his actions are, it makes a kind of sense. What interest does a religious organization have in being attractive to other religions?

Of course, embracing holocaust deniers is taking that a tiny-bit too far, but hey, you win some and you lose some.

Susan of Texas said...

True. And it's refreshing to see him admit to his belief that Roman Catholicism is the only real religion, and everyone else's is just made up.

I guess some times you have to tolerate a few Nazis and their fans to get what you want. The pope had to join the Nazi Youth to get into seminary (I read), so he did. Could this be that moral relativism conservatives are always going on about?

atheist said...

I'm the last person to argue with the Church choosing to become poorer, smaller, and less relevant to the present.

Dear Susan of Texas,

A couple of years ago, just after the election of Benedict XVI, I had a conversation with my favorite aunt, who was a Catholic nun years ago. My aunt isn't really a Christian at this point, but does consider herself to be a 'spiritual' person. She's very easy to talk to, and is very accepting.

My aunt was talking about how John Paul II had been a decent Pope, and a leader who took seriously his duty as the hub holding together every spoke of the Church, every Catholic constituentcy, and turning them all together. Controversial issues such as reproductive rights, upon which the Chruch hierarchy considered compromise impossible, were softpedaled in the socially liberal USA. The tendency of some priests to sexually abuse their young charges, potentially so corrosive toward all of Catholicism, was addressed with a certain amount of openness.

Yet, for all this tolerant leadership, my aunt still found the entire religion stultifying and impossible to support. The anti-contraception stance was one that she found particularly dangerous and damaging. The organization was a relic of the Middle Ages, lost in the postmodern whorl. And with the elevation of Benedict XVI, a cleric renowned for his conservatism, she feared that this bad state of affairs would only get worse.

My reaction to this was pretty detatched, and was similar to yours. And it's still my reaction, more or less. It will still be interesting to see how this shakes out, though. Maybe the Catholic church will just ditch people in the USA/Europe and pick up more in Africa/Latin America. Maybe there won't be that much effect. Maybe something rather uglier will happen. I don't know.

Susan of Texas said...

I think you're right, and the Church has found and will find it easier to convert poorer people. In the south the Church is very active helping new immigrants.

I don't know where things are going, but I think most people need religion in their lives. Maybe that will change in time.

atheist said...

Maybe that will change in time.

I hope so too. Maybe there's a way to speed that change.

Anonymous said...

It's always funny to watch the likes of atheists and Texas snark merchants tell the Pope how to run the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, nobody's telling the Pope how to run the Catholic Church. In fact, everything I've seen here agrees with his view that primitive rituals should be reserved for those who support them whole-heartedly. Fuck off.

So...when are we going to see the militarization of the varied Christoid denominations? Catholics have a pretty good start with military/religious orders. The global 30 Years war should be a pip.

Susan of Texas said...

Anon, I'll never tell the pope how to run his church. I'll just sit and watch him chase Jesus' flock away while telling them they aren't good enough for God.

Anonymous said...

Pantload, out of curiosity, do you really think that the Knights of Columbus or whoever are planning to start another Thirty Years War, or are you just funnin' us?

Susan of Texas said...

Look at his name again and guess.

atheist said...

It's always funny to watch the likes of atheists and Texas snark merchants tell the Pope how to run the Catholic Church.

Know thy enemy, etc. etc.