By Manifesto Joe
Today is reported to the be last day in office for Pope Benedict XVI (real name: Herr Joseph Ratzinger). Not that I have any stake in this at all -- to me, one of the most telling arguments AGAINST conservatism's invocation of venerable human institutions is the Roman Catholic Church. But as far as I'm concerned, it's time for a going-away party. But it should wait until AFTER Ratzo is gone.
Pope Ratzo embodies all that is corrupt and moth-eaten about Roman Catholicism. He may be just an asexual religious fanatic himself, but his just-under eight years as pontiff will be forever tainted by his determined embrace of the "traditions" of the church, which are nothing short of profound stupidity.
Pope Ratzo was a university theologian in his day, and was originally regarded as a liberal in the church. After 1968 -- a pivotal year for many globally -- he turned right-wing, and became the chief apologist for the church's increasingly absurd world view.
In the 1960s, it was common knowledge that many homosexuals were drawn to the Catholic priesthood as a sort of "cover" for their preference. (I well remember a line from William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel The Exorcist: "Basic black is in.")
Hey, those were the good old days. By the 1980s, it was equally common knowledge that a lot of vermin were going into the priesthood, too -- the pedaphile priests who had taken those vows so that they could bugger their altar boys. It took the church at least 20 more years to catch up with what the general public already knew -- that the Catholic priesthood was rife with the most loathsome kinds of perverts.
All it would take to bring this pathetic old institution in touch with the modern world is to open the priesthood to married men, and also women, for that matter. Being a serious, believing, practicing Catholic is, to me, strong evidence of mental retardation anyway. But we have to accept that a lot of people are going to do this. If they must, then what's wrong with having the priesthood open to red-blooded people with hormones, people who actually like having sex (and with OTHER ADULTS, most importantly)?
I can't find much fault with his general handling of the pedaphilia problem in the church -- he was generally regarded as firm and judicious in his approach, before and after his papacy. Nor can I knock the old boy much about his early links to Nazism -- although, since this is a theologian who has written much about the evils of relativist peer pressure, his capitulation to peer pressure as a German youth of 14 is notable.
The biggest problem with this doddering fool is that, in an age in which the church cried out for change, he did his best to keep it mired in the 14th century.
It really isn't hard to see that the refusal of men to use condoms is a serious problem in priest-ridden developing countries. Nor is it the exclusive domain of mental giants to understand that in a church that "requires" its priesthood, and nunnery, to be celibate, you're going to attract a lot of sexual pond scum, folks who look for a good "cover" for their moral depravity.
Change in the church is inevitable. It's been common knowledge for many years, among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, that the church is having trouble getting an adequate number of people to commit to a lifestyle of relative poverty and, at least officially, no sex. As fewer people, men or women, are willing to do this foolish shit, necessity will bring change to Catholicism.
Pope Ratzo will be remembered as just one more decrepit fool who held back inexorable change. And since the cardinals who will elect his successor were largely handpicked, change in this senile institution will not come soon. I think we can expect the "conclave" to just name another Ratzo type to the post.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.