In the world of inflated egos and calculated demagogues, I was reminded yesterday that the most power-hungry political player in the world may not be Tom DeLay, but actually Pope
What pushed my buttons was the following article:
Pope Benedict XVI sent a veiled message to China on Thursday, inviting countries that don't have diplomatic relations with the Vatican to establish ties soon in a move that could complicate the Holy See's relations with Taiwan.
The pope made the comments in a speech in the Apostolic Palace to diplomats of the 174 countries accredited to the Holy See.
"I'm thinking also about the nations with which the Holy See still hasn't entered into diplomatic relations," he told the ambassadors.
Premier Wen Jiabao said April 21 that China was willing to build relations with the Vatican if Pope Benedict XVI breaks ties with rival Taiwan
Beijing's communist government ordered Chinese Catholics to break ties with the Vatican in 1951. Roman Catholic churches in China are run by a government-sanctioned group that recognizes the pope as a spiritual leader but has no formal relations with the Vatican and appoints its own priests and bishops.
The Vatican is the only European government that has official relations with Taiwan.
My first response was who the hell cares if China has diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
But then I began to wonder: Ratz must have some pretty big balls to set himself upon the world stage within a month and to begin pontificating about who will and who won’t recognize his authority. Its like, “Look at me everyone! How dare you refuse to see God’s ordained power invested in me!”
I mean, what century are we living in? Why should any government have diplomatic ties with the Vatican? Who’s next? Perhaps the head of the Southern Baptist Convention should start sending subtle hints to world leaders intimating that they want to be recognized as a big power player on the global stage.
The fact is, the Pope’s not-so-subtle hints are a reminder that the Vatican has power because world leaders chose to give it power. And it is not just world leaders, but also the media. But why should any country – nay, any democracy – have diplomatic relations with an institution whose structure consists of a rigid, top-down bureaucratic patriarchal structure whose leader is decided in secret? (Oh wait, does that describe the electoral college?)
[X-posted at Freiheit und Wissen]