Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Benny the Rat's Greatest Hits

I've been having a bit of an argument over at No Capital with a poster called "Bitter Scribe" about whether the Pope really meant to say those fairly nasty anti-Islamic things that he said. Bitter Scribe has been taking the position that Benny the Rat is a cloistered (ha ha) academic and not used to the hurly-burly that surrounds controversial pronouncements from the Vatican.

I say Hah! The current Pope was long one of John Paul II's closest advisors and a top-level official (the modern-day Grand Inquisitor) in the Catholic hierarchy. He was nicknamed "God's Rottweiler," apparently for his ability to sink his metaphoric teeth into some doctrinal conflict and shake it until the bone was exposed. In other words, this is a nasty guy to cross.

Beyond that, Madeline Bunting at The Guardian has come up with a list of similar rhetorical excesses to have come out of Benedict's mouth over the years, here. Apparently this is not the first time he's come out with stuff like this.

On Buddhism
"Auto-erotic spirituality."

On the excommunication of seven women who called themselves priests
"... the penalty imposed is not only just, but also necessary, in order to protect true doctrine, to safeguard the communion and unity of the church, and to guide consciences of the faithful."

On same-sex marriage
"Call[s] into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make[s] homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality."

On rock music
"[A] vehicle of anti-religion"; "the complete antithesis of the Christian faith in the redemption."

On cloning
"[A] more dangerous threat than weapons of mass destruction."

Not only that, but he won't take responsibility for the Catholic Church's deplorable history during the Holocaust, instead preferring to claim he wasn't guilty at all, and that the Nazi atrocity was not its attempted genocide, but an attempt to create a world without God. In the Guardian article, Bunting quotes someone as saying, "[Benedict] managed to claim that Jews were the 'themselves bit players - bystanders at their own extermination. The true victim was a metaphysical one.'"

No wonder Bush is on the same page as Benny the Rat; they're both convinced that the entire world is about them.

Endnote: Now before someone gets all mad at me and says, "But the whacko Islamic extremists/Ahmadinajad/whomever do it too!", I'd like to point out that these are the goddam Pope and the President of the United States we're talking about here, probably two of the most powerful and influential figures in the entire Western world. I live in a country with a significant Catholic bloc. A lot of people listen to the Pope, to one degree or another. For all we know, a lot of these more rhetorically extravagant imams making these "Death to the infidels!" proclamations (if indeed they are; I'm still waiting for good translations sometimes), are the Muslim equivalent of snake-handling Christian preachers, or the Branch Davidians. Ahmadinajad is a figurehead, and that "wipe Israel off the map" thing was mistranslated anyhow, thanks (see Juan Cole, who actually speaks the language in question).

Really, when it comes to eliminationist rhetoric, nobody's got anything on the gibbering classes of the Western Christian right wing, anyhow. What's that about motes and beams and eyes? And maybe projecting faster than a Cineplex on a Saturday night?


Anonymous GlennB said...

btw, der Panzerpapen also was in charge of a synod, and kinda railroaded it. There's an old Atlantic article about it, with the lede

When the bishops' synod on the Christian family convened in Rome last fall, there were hopes that the Church would reform its position on such crucial issues as birth control and divorce. But, despite pleas from liberal prelates around the world, the Vatican-dominated synod reaffirmed the precedence of law over compassion.

It's at http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/81feb/murphy.htm
but subscription is required (I can send you the plain text if you wish, just ask). gsb -at- mc -dot- lcs -dot- mit -dot- edu

4:48 PM  
Blogger spocko said...

This pope is a punk.

Stupid Pope story? My godchild has ciliac disease, can't have gluten. The then Cardinal Ratzinger ruled that he HAD to have a host that had SOME wheat in it, or the communion 'didn't count'


12:10 PM  
Blogger Interrobang said...

Glennb, your e-mail account listed doesn't work. Can you give me another one?

5:50 PM  
Anonymous glennb said...

try gsb -at- cape -dot- com

I've got too many email addresses, and it seems to just multiply how they can screw up... Some are just "stable, long term" forwarding addresses. Then my ISP decides it doesn't like the forwarder... Each one, of course, has different spam protection, some under my control, some not... (A couple years ago, I'd been getting 200+ spams a day, approaching 300...) A few days ago I found that the address I normally send *out* under didn't work. Sigh...

I'll check back here periodically.

1:30 AM  

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