Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Pontificating

There have been lots of news stories reporting the new Pope, Benedict XVI, remarking that he prayed not to become Pope. “At a certain point, I prayed to God, ‘Please don’t do this to me . . .’ Evidently, this time he didn’t listen to me, ” he said.

Honestly, are we supposed to believe this? The man's 78, he's spent his entire adult life in the clergy, rising through the ranks, gaining more and more power, but doesn't want to be Pope. I find that very hard to believe, especially as, when Cardinal Ratzinger, he was widely regarded to be angling for as much power as possible since years back. The time to keep a low profile might have been then, or perhaps even when he blatantly set himself up as heir apparent by leading John Paul II's funeral mass, and generally disporting himself as a public figure.

The other thing he might have done well to remember when praying to be spared the 'honour' was that Jesus is supposed to have prayed a very similar thing in the Garden of Gethsemane. 'Let this cup pass from me' and all that. God didn't take much notice of his only son, so he could hardly be expected to make an exception for Ratzinger.

Anyway, I don't like the man. He's got piggy eyes, and I don't believe his reconciliatory gestures towards liberalism and ecumenism. The majority of Catholics think the best way to smooth out differences with other denominations is for everybody else to become a Catholic. And now that we have a Catholic Prime Minister too (see Hencke and Beckett's excellent The Blairs and Their Court) those of us who believe in things like the right to abortion and contraception, gay marriage and the like should be seriously worried.

I am hugely mistrustful of religion, for the same reason I'm worried about restrictions on civil lberties in the name of 'national security'. How can you have a rational and democratic society where those in authority claim to act in your best interests on information you have no access to. Religion boils down to, 'I'm holier than you so God talks to me not you - here's what he said-'. It's all too easy for politicians to adopt a similar model, saying: "We know stuff you don't know, that's why we're doing this.' But this relies on you trusting those with the information to act in your best interests - difficult for me with politicians; impossible with clergy.

2 Comments:

Blogger The guttersniper said...

"Anyway, I don't like the man. He's got piggy eyes, and I don't believe his reconciliatory gestures towards liberalism and ecumenism." I think you told him! Although I'm not sure they're piggy - more like the eyes of a drunken panda in my opinion.

4/26/2005 2:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But are there any drunk pandas that hate homosexuals?

4/26/2005 3:48 pm  

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