Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Big Vatican Smoke-in

Bloody Ratzinger! I bloody knew it! He had it wrapped up right from the start I suppose... with his steely-eyes, his ultra-conservative agenda, and his threats to "fucking well kneecap any one of you fuckers who doesn't vote for me!" (intoned in Latin during the pre-Conclave hootenanny). Of course they stretched it out for a couple of days to give it an air of mystery and legitimacy. Gotta give the public their holy smoke after all.

We can expect a stiffening (tee hee) of the Catholic stance on condoms then. With Roman Catholicism a major cultural force in many nations in sub-Saharan Africa this essentially translates into playing a significant contributing factor in the continuing decimation of that region by AIDS. The Conclave had a real opportunity to pick out a guy with a less than murderous stance on condoms. Those 115 men had it within their power to make a massive positive difference in the world (even if they picked a bloke who was identical to Ratzinger on every other issue; that alone would have been a huge thing). But they blew it.

Well, I guess at least Ratzinger's fairly old.

Those of us who grew up steeped in Catholic doctrine of course, immediately upon hearing that Cardinal Ratzinger had chosen to become Pope Benedict XVI, dug out whatever material we could find on the last Benedict (Pope between the years 1914 and 1922) to see where the new guy is drawing his inspiration.

The fact that Benedict XV was a war pope may or may not have any significance. Ratzinger himself was a soldier in WW2 (a draftee into his local home guard) and if there's one positive thing he can be relied upon for, it will be his uncompromising anti-war stance. Ratzinger is a serious peacenik. That doesn't make up for all the other shit that Catholicism is responsible for; but it is nonetheless a good thing to have one major global voice constantly denouncing war in these evil times.

Benedict XV was also a critic of the blossoming capitalist system that he had seen emerge during his lifetime. I suspect Benedict XVI may very well decide to run with that theme (as did JP2 let's not forget).

Here's an extract from an encyclical (dated November 1st, 1914) from Pope Benedict XV:
But there is still, Venerable Brethren, a deeper root of the evils we have hitherto been deploring, and unless the efforts of good men concentrate on its extirpation, that tranquil stability and peacefulness of human relations we so much desire, can never be attained. The apostle himself tells us what it is: "The desire of money is the root of all evils" (I. Tim vi. 10). If any one considers the evils under which human society is at present labouring, they will all be seen to spring from this root.

Once the plastic minds of children have been moulded by godless schools, and the ideas of the inexperienced masses have been formed by a bad daily or periodical press, and when by means of all the other influences which direct public opinion, there has been instilled into the minds of men that most pernicious error that man must not hope for a state of eternal happiness; but that it is here, here below, that he is to be happy in the enjoyment of wealth and honour and pleasure: what wonder that those men whose very nature was made for happiness should with all the energy which impels them to seek that very good, break down whatever delays or impedes their obtaining it. And as these goods are not equally divided amongst men, and as it is the duty of authority in the State to prevent the freedom enjoyed by the individual from going beyond its due limits and invading what belongs to another, it comes to pass that public authority is hated, and the envy of the unfortunate is inflamed against the more fortunate. Thus the struggle of one class of citizen against another bursts forth, the one trying by every means to obtain and to take what they want to have, the other endeavouring to hold and to increase what they possess.
Incidentally, just before I had to hand back the Papal Infallibility I'd been "looking after", I made a few pronouncements. Meditate upon them, for they are the Word of God.
  1. Astral Weeks really is the best album ever recorded.
  2. Economics is bunk.
  3. That Jim Bliss guy is a really good catch ladies. It's a Sin in Mine Eyes that he's been single for so long. Sort it out.


Anonymous God said...

Right Jim. It's actually all my fault. But hey, I'm not infallible.

Anyway, I'm going to use this guy to get up George W Bush's nose until 2008, then I'll see about getting a more sensible president in. Should be a doddle. It is my country after all. After that, this Benedict bloke can come up here and play a kazoo for eternity (we thought the harps were getting a bit stale) and then there'll be a job going for you if you want it. And it's a job for life, which is more than you can say for most these days. You get a nice uniform and a company vehicle, although we might have to fit some pedals.

Anyway Jim, I have a world to create, and I'm running a bit behind. Catch you later.

19/4/05 20:23  
Blogger L said...

I love the fact that one of his nicknames is "God's Rottweiler"

20/4/05 03:20  
Anonymous iotar said...

Bagsy, I'm forming a death metal band called Ratzinger. With (in)appropriate umlauts, naturlich! First album: Defender of Orthodoxy. Look out for the single Benedictus/God's Rottweiler coming out on Stella Maris Records.

20/4/05 09:25  
Blogger Jim Bliss said...

iotar, I demand inclusion! I can play those haunting little piano melodies that often start or finish a Death Metal track.

L, he's apparently well-known for ripping out the throats of rabbits with his teeth. Hence the nickname.

God, whatever you say Dude. You know me; always willing to do my bit. If I have to wait a few years for The Big Hat, then so be it.

Gloria in excelsis deo. And ting.

20/4/05 09:46  
Blogger john b said...

I was rather hoping he was planning to follow in the footsteps of Benedict IX, rather than Benedict XV...

20/4/05 11:09  
Anonymous iotar said...

Jimster: Perfectly reasonable demand. Actually, I was hoping you might give me a hand with some fake church organ/angelic choir mumbo jumbo for the opening of Benedictus. If we can get some good samples of Ben16 himself too that'd be cool. But let's get our priorities right: I've got to design the T-shirts first.

More on this after the SMDO Dalston Tour.

20/4/05 15:09  

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