Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Farewell Pope Benedict XVI, You Will Not be Missed.

So Pope Benedict XVI resigned.  Funny because the only way I thought you can get out of that gig is by dying.  But apparently I was wrong, 600 years earlier was the last papal resignation.  I guess there is now a big commotion in Vatican City with all the Cardinals fighting over the Pope’s white frock, smoking handbag, jewelry, gay headgear and bedazzled disco stick.  With the Pope sighting old age as the reason for his resignation, I am quite perplexed because the last Pope literally died of old age while on the job.  Maybe all that tweeting in Latin got the best of him.  Who knows… But with only a couple of weeks to go before our big fairy Godfather leaves the Holy See, let’s take a look back at what exactly this Pope achieved in the few years that he was the Head of the Catholic Church.
It is no secret that I never liked Pope Benedict XVI because he is unfortunate and frightening looking.   Another reason, perhaps a better one, is his ultra conservative views in a world that the Catholic Church has lost complete and total touch with and thereby causing the Church to alienate many of their loyal patrons.  After all, isn’t a Church suppose to evolve with society instead of trying to repress and regress society into a distant past that isn’t reconcilable with the present?  Well, I guess this didn’t matter much to Pope Benedict XVI, during his reign he managed to make matters worse in many facets of society and the world at large.

While being God’s representative on earth Pope Benedict XVI managed to exacerbate the HIV epidemic in the world and especially in Africa with the Church’s staunch stance on anti-contraception.  He belittled women with the Church’s opposition to abortion and his opposition to female clergy.  He also displayed a fundamental misunderstanding of gay people making us out as being “evil’ and/or being “unnatural”.  Apart from hating us queer folk, the biggest reason I really dislike Pope Benedict XVI is the fact that he protects pedophiles.

The Pope’s protection of pedophiles goes back as far as 1985.  While occupying a senior position in the Vatican, this Pope was alleged to have urged that no action be taken against a Priest who had been convicted of molesting a girl as young as six, lest it further damage the reputation of the Church.  He has also been accused of failing to act on information about a priest who had abused more than 200 children, and of supporting a system where suspected Priests were quietly moved to new parishes rather than be challenged.  This makes me sick to my stomach and I really don’t know how one lives with oneself when you knowingly move sex predators around to new unsuspecting communities allowing these monsters to further prey on children.

The fact that Pope Benedict XVI resigned is good news to me and speaks boat loads about his character.  He was believed to have been chosen by God and he quits.  Just as he has failed the Church and all Catholics around the world he failed God too.  Currently, there is a lot of speculation about who his successor will be.  We all know how it will be decided, but from what I have read I am not going to get my hopes up that the next Pope will be more liberal and understanding of the world we currently live in.  Chances are that the next Pope will also be an ultra conservative who will be advocating a very similar stance as our resigning Pope.
Some say that I am over critical of the Catholic Church and that I have approached Pope Benedict XVI with an unfair bias.  Perhaps that is true, but it is unfortunate that during his reign he never once did anything to cause my bias to be corrected, in fact he only supported it more.  So I say farewell Pope Benedict XVI, go on your merry way into your retirement.  You will not be missed but you will forever be remembered as the Pope who quit.

Till next time.


parepidemos said...

I think that your utter dislike of the person has blinded you to the extent that you are unable to see any good; that's a pity.

Pierre le Roux said...

@parepidemos, perhaps you are right but can you give me one example of the good that was done that is directly traceable back to this Pope's actions.

parepidemos said...


Well, firstly, it's important to remember that no pope has ultimate power or control. As a gay man I wish B16 was more open to GLBT rights concerning marriage, but I know that'll not happen - with any pope.

You asked for a positive example: I have more than one.

Within a month of becoming pope, B16 removed Marcial Maciel (who abused seminarians) from his leadership of the once-powerful Legionaries of Christ, packed him of to a monastery placed the LC's under new management. B16 has also met numerous people who have been sexually abused by clergy - something his predecessor 'ignored'. B16 has also pushed groups of national bishops to implement a zero tolerance policy in this area. As a result, most Catholic conferences have made significant improvements. Contrary to what some think, the pope doesn't have the authority to mandate a common policy - simply because national laws differ. He hasn't gone as far as I had hoped, but given the constraints, he has done quite a bit.

In other areas, from as early as 2005, B16 has repeatedly warned about the dangers of rampant capitalism - something that has born horrible effects (especially on the poor) since the various economic crashes - sorry, 'recessions' - which began in late 2007. He has also been a vociferous opponent of such things as the death penalty, the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and has welcomed leading scientists such as the (non-believer) Stephen Hawking to become members of the Vatican's Academy for Science. He has established an annual meeting called the "Court of the Gentiles" at which people of different faiths - and none - come together to discuss common ways of improving human existence; this in itself helps to break down barriers.

Pierre, As I said, I know that it would be pointless to expect - or even hope for - any pope to stand up in favour of gay marriage (which you're lucky to have in SA and which we'll soon have in the UK) or abortion etc...it just ain't going to happen. However, although I'm not the greatest fan of B16, I must admit that he hasn't turned out to be the conservative rottweiler that many expected (and some wanted) - and I also acknowledge he has done good. Apologies for the lengthy comment :)

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