10 Comments

  1. Kristen from MA

    This is the same person who encouraged priests and bishops to keep quiet about any sexual abuse they knew about until after the statute of limitations had expired. Funny that he thinks anyone – out side of Opus Dei – gives any moral weight to anything that comes out of his corrupt mouth.

  2. Brian

    xJane, thanks for the story. I’d be interested in reading the text (translated, of course) of what he said, as the news report from MSNBC featured just a few snippets. Context is everything. Not that I disagree with what I have seen.

    Kristen, I’m sensing some hostility here, and it’s hurting your argument. A good point would be to question whether it is hypocritical for a man who wears Prada shoes and has rooms in an actual, literal palace to question society’s materialism. (I could then respond that a message can be valid despite a flawed messenger, you could rebut, and we could have a jolly civil time.) Instead, you have chosen to throw accusations without substantiating them, on a wholly different topic, with an insult or two tossed in for good measure. Logical fallacies aside, your response borders on calumny.

    My feelings on the matter: Yes, [Western] society is wildly over concerned with material possessions and the accumulation of power. Yes, I include myself among that society. No, I don’t think the point is invalid because it is made by a man with a diamond encrusted hat, particularly because the message is the same given by Jesus, a man with “no place to lay his head.”

    Speaking of which, it’s 2AM, and I’m not Jesus.

  3. I couldn’t find the text, the best I could do is link you to a different source which focuses on the other aspects of his speech. I felt that the MSN article was pretty fair; Zenit is of course going to be religiously biased.

    You are correct that Kristen is making emotional arguments; but they are not to be dismissed for just that reason. She is not making things up. There may be evidence that Benedict, before he was Pope, did encourage a cover-up. Additionally, Opus Dei’s questionable positions are well known; it could be validly argued that they are a cult who do only what the pope says.

    You are also correct that the message may not be in question simply because of the messenger. However, I will state the argument against that: “Hello, Pot. This is the Kettle. You’re black!” Just as you did, an argument that the world needs less materialism should be accompanied by an acknowledgement that one does not live up to this ideal (unless one does). If it is not, especially if [Prada shoes/jewel-encrusted hat/palace, &c.], it is likely to be discounted by those hearing it as being “hypocritical”. It is possible that he did make these caveats, and indicated that he would be turning to a life of poverty and service, giving back ill-gotten art and valuables, and selling the rest. However, that would certainly be bigger news than his admonishment to the “secular” world, so I tend to think that’s not what happened. I continue to be on the lookout for the text of the speech.

  4. Two thoughts:

    I think it is interesting that Benedict is not, as far as I know, offering to give up his power.

    I find myself quite offended at the way he throws around the term “pagan”. Also, I’m not sure that he is completely historically correct in describing a hunger for power and money as a pagan attribute.

    NOTE: reposted because I accidentally deleted it, sorry, Elaine!!!
    -xJane

  5. I find the catholic church’s tirade against “paganism” rather amusing considering the pagan origins of most of catholicism’s rites, philosophies and culture.

    Ratzinger (i.e. Mr. Pope man) was not the smartest pick as pope. He is, I think, undoing a lot of the goodwill that John Paul worked to build between catholics and non-catholics. He pretty much the personification of hypocricy.

  6. Brian

    Quick off topic address of the “cover up” angle. It seems (after a few hours of research) to revolve around two documents. The first, Crimen sollicitationis, was released in 1962, and dealt primarily with cases where priests solicited sexual acts during the sacrament of Confession, but also with other sexual misdeeds, including abuse of minors.

    The *gasp* factor of this document is its insistence upon utmost secrecy, upon pain of excommunication, for all those involved in the tribunal, should accusations go that far. This would be for two reasons. First, naturally, is to allow accused and accuser to speak without fear of exposure or embarrassment. Second, and more peculiar to the Church, would be because, since this is primarily about things that happened in the Confessional, there is a certain seal of secrecy on the whole matter. What a cover up theorist might miss is that the document states that, in case of abuses, the victim has an obligation to come forward and make known what happened. Those who mention this against Ratzinger usually say something to the effect of him “enforcing” this for years before becoming pope.

    The second document in question is Instruction De delictis gravioribus
    This is the one put out by Ratzinger as head of the CDF, and it sets out for the offenses mentioned above that 1, The matter of prosecuting it is reserved for the CDF, and 2, the statute of limitations for such internal prosecution is 10 years (or ten years from the 18th birthday of the victim in the case of underage sexual acts.) In any case, these are internal procedures for the possible disciplinary measures involved, and as one bishop said “These matters are confidential only to the procedures within the Church, but do not preclude in any way for these matters to be brought to civil authorities for proper legal adjudication.”

    My point about this whole matter is that, while it may be a complex affair open to multiple possible interpretations of intention, making accusations about the character of another person whom you do not know based on partial knowledge of a possibly scandalous act is irresponsible and, well, not very nice. I take great offense at this in general, including a ridiculous forwarded email I received just last week about Sen. Obama, who it is probably no surprise that I have little love lost for. I managed to convince the sender precisely of the irresponsibility of forwarding half baked accusation over such a viral medium as the internet. In any event, I have to go bring my car into the shop, I’ll wrap it up later.

  7. Elaine: I agree, “pagan” seems to still be the catch-all for “not-good”, especially in Catholic circles (if I had a dime for every time that word was used the NOR…). Given, as Craig reminds us, the ties the Church (and the Christian world at large) has to pre-Christian paganism, it becomes quite amusin.

    Craig: I agree with you, but would like to indicate a caveat. Many Catholics felt that PJP2 grew too liberal in his dotage and a (relatively) young, strong replacement was necessary. I knew PB16 would win when I heard his name suggested—he has been far more popular with the more conservative sectors of the Church for some time—and it was quite depressing to me, since, as a liberal ex-Catholic, I would have liked to see someone who thought more like PJP2. There was talk for some time that PB16 would “soften”, and I have to admit that he hasn’t offended a whole country for some time, but it seems to me that it is unlikely.

    Brian: I find it problematic that citizen priests may not be liable to local laws, which is how I read “prosecuting […] is reserved for the CDF”, even if “these matters […may] be brought to civil authorities” (not, I note, criminal). People should be subject to local laws, even if they are ignorant of them. One of my major beefs with this is how can the Church punish these people? The worst they can do is excommunication, which for many of the victims, I might imagine is very slap-on-the-wrist, even if they are believers.

    I admit that I have not investigated support for the allegations that, as Defender of the Faith, the current Pope may have encouraged a coverup. I have, however, heard it from valid news sources (not merely speculative blogs or forwarded emails), which leads me to believe it has some credence.

    I salute you for your efforts to keep people from repeating false information (news sources reporting on blogs is very problematic, and I cringe whenever I hear of it). The internet is a ready medium for slander. It is also a valid medium for news that the mainstream media doesn’t report, for whatever reason. It’s a fine line.

    P.S. did the email allege that the Senator was a muslin? 🙂

  8. Yeah, I’m aware that for some Catholics, John Paul 2 was seen as too liberal, and for a lot not nearly liberal enough. It’ s just sad that the world leader of a chuch that supposedly has over a billion members is so amazingly ethnocentric and apparenltly blind to his own blatant hypocrical rants. He’s not only just offended whole countries, but entire geographic regions and religions.

    It’s not very inspiring to say the least, and considering the imperfect, yet impressive legacy of JP2, it’s pretty sad.

    I do like a nice muslin curtain. Just so long as it’s just one shade and not a mixture of two different colours. That’s just icky.

  9. I’m thinking of doing some kind of craft and calling it “Mulin for Obama”. I found that to be one of the funniest articles to come out of this current election cycle.

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