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April 20, 2005

Pope Ratz' resume

This just in from Pharyngula:

We have a much more serious problem with this new pope than that he had to serve in the Hitler Youth for a while or that he is a zombie: Bill Dembski loves him, thinks he's going to favor Intelligent Design creationism, and that he's going to help destroy evolution. John Lynch seems to know a bit about his background on the topic, and is unimpressed with the quality of the Catholic anti-evolution argument. Here's Pope Ratzi on evolution:

It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith. But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error…(They) point to a creating Reason and show us a creating Intelligence, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before. Thus we can say today with a new certitude and joyousness that the human being is indeed a divine project, which only the creating Intelligence was strong and great and audacious enough to conceive of. Human beings are not a mistake but something willed.

Add to that Ratz' ruthless stance towards Liberation Theologists (as JP2's right hand man, it should be noted).

And his scurrilous attacks on pluralism, tolerance, ecumenism, and free thought as forms of relativism. (The issue is not whether there are relativists who espouse these views, but rather whether there is anything intrinsically relativistic, and therefore logically suspect about these positions. The answer being no.)

Ezra's right, we should judge Ratz on what he's done lately. Like hating gays and apologizing for pedophiles. Ratz' Nazi past is a perfect metaphor for his lifelong authoritarianism. Fascism will be the core brand idea of Ratz' pontificate. He's made that much clear already. (Yes, there will be people who will be appalled that I'm using the word "fascist" in connection with their Holy Father. But seriously, Ratz made a career out of enforcing orthodoxy and compliance at any cost, denying the full humanity of gays and women, subordinating social justice to culture war, and meddling in democracies including America's.)

Incidentally, I wonder if the newly-minted Pontiff will let this little act of pragmatic defiance pass unnoticed: Archbishop OKs condoms for HIV couples. IMO, the Archbishop of Mombassa had better watch his back.


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Ah, but fascism is an ideology fundamentally rooted in modernity and mass politics, whereas the Catholic Church is a medieval institution opposed to modernity. They're both authoritarian, but fascism is a very special kind of oppression which I think can usefully be distinguished from the authoritarianism of the church.

Andrew, I agree that not every authoritarian pontiff would automatically be a fascist. Order within the church is basically all Roman Catholicism has to differentiate itself from splitter groups. Simply cracking down on dissent wouldn't automatically make a Roman Catholic pope a fascist.

What's fascist about Ratz? Primarily, his willingness to meddle in the political affairs of democracies. That and his viciousness in fighting whatever he perceives to be "leftism" or "Marism" in the Church combined with his cozy relationship with Opus Dei. (He's okay with political extremism as long as it's right wing.) His willingness to dismiss the humanity of others. That's what his adamant refusal to consider the ordination of women amounts to. (JP2 had the same problem.)

I don't know if Ratz subscribes to JP2's sick and heretical version of Marism--the one that holds that Mary had no choice but to bear the son of God. But I can only assume that as JP2's spiritual enforcer he has similar proclivities.

Just as Bush's presidency is a Gift to hard-liners in the People's Republic of China, Ratzinger's ascension is a Gift to evangelists of the protestant Christian sects and to the Latter Day Saints. The Catholic church can say goodbye to their continuing growth in Asia, Latin America, and North America. I doubt that this will help them in Europe, either. What Ratzinger lacks in humility and empathy, he fails to make up in charisma. Oh, and at his age he's unlikely to last 5 years. Most likely, he'll leave about when Bush does.

I was going to agree with Andrew. Technically, the pope is a totalitarian autocrat who fails in practice. I can see, though, how this pope could be a fascist in the most traditional sense. True fascism entails the creation of a priveledged, powerful and fanatical elite, the fascisti. It is used as a critical force to influence other segments of the population which are not as fanatical or well organized. Quickly, though the majority disagree with the views and methods of the fascisti, they see that it is better not to be their enemy. The fascisti requires an enemy though, so the weakest groups, the least popular groups are stigmatized with irredeemable faults for which all must hate them, eternally and implacably. The cardinalte left over after JPII's death was of nearly uniform mind on the 'faults' of certain people. The upper echelons of the church are in a position to create a fascisti if they desire it. If only reactionary bishops are invested, and they only ordain reactionary priests, or priests who will be pliant, they will have their fascisti. I doubt they will do it, and if they try, I believe they will fare badly, but they could cause enormous hardship with even a poor attempt.

(from the Cardinal) .."But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error.."-

This sounds a great deal like a denial of free will- rather a deterministic view for a catholic, prelate or no. (Perhaps the Very Traditionalist view of theology should be called "Heology"...)

(njorl) .."True fascism entails the creation of a priveledged, powerful and fanatical elite, the fascisti..."
Must it follow that all are 'fanatical'? It seems more reasonable to assume that a small handful of fanatics within the fascisti could be sufficient; and that a strain of pragmatic greed might be a dominant feature of a sizeable minority, as well... ^..^

Why necessarily use loaded terminology in describing pope ratz? Specifically I'm thinking of the use of Nazi and Facist.


Nazi -- 1 : a member of a German fascist party controlling Germany from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler

Fascist -- 1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

Now the second definition of fascist is more relevant, and the definition of Nazi isn't quite applicable as ratz is not a member of the national socialists (can there be reformed Nazis? I believe so, though the word itself causes an emotional gut reaction that practically precludes forgiveness on my part).

Regardless, in using these terms -- however appropriate -- might it cause a reactionary response to those very people (read here: "liberal Catholics") that could pressure the church from within to change the autocratic attitudes, regardless who's at the helm? The aforementioned silent glee of the protestant right (Martin Luther himself, at one point, claimed the pope met all the qualifications of being the antichrist, and many people still quietly suspect as much, the idiots.)

All I know is if I sit down with one of my Catholic friends I'd rather point out how frightening this man is in terms of his beliefs, (itelligent design my ass...I sure wish religion would keeps its snout out of science), and how they are extreme.

I'm hearing Nazi and fascist, but I'd rather hear extremism. Hell, it isn't as sexy of a word, but it worms into people's consciousness with a bit less fear-mongering. Hell, Bush is extreme. DeLay is extreme. This guy named Kevin I met once was extreme.

Going to the edge is only good in a spiritual journey if you have a guide to come back (and I mean this metaphorically, a la Joseph Campbell). These MEN have going to the edge and have decided to stay there, and draggin the rest of us with them to fall in the chasm at their feet.

I hope Lindsay retreats from "fascist" later today, just like she retreated from her use of "Nazi" yesterday. It is quite harsh enough--and far more accurate--to use words like "authoritarian," "reactionary," or perhaps "ultramontane." "Fascist" is very harsh, but usually connotes ultra-nationalism and a weird sort of plebiscitary populism, neither of which any Pope would employ. Not to mention Andrew's points.

There is an enormous difference between being a milquetoast and stooping to our enemies' level of false/misleading invective. There are many harsh words that fit the new Pope quite accurately.

By all means, let us use harsh language when it fits. Demotic harsh language is fine too. But please, please avoid the Coulterisms.

There are many of us who have done our homework in the history department and have seen the Bush administration for what it is... facism. From state sponsored torture, citizens taken away in the night and denied due process, the current rewrite of the House ethics committee, and the "nuclear option" war on the judiciary.

I would submit that any active supporter of this administration is indeed a facist and use of that term would be correctly applied. It is not demonization but an apt description of their political beliefs.

"Ye shall know them by their fruits" is an apt description. JPII gave a stunning rebuke to Bush on the war in Iraq repeatedly. Ratzi only issued a letter... yes it is immoral. When it came to the matter of being prochoice (which is not the same as being proabortion, but consistent with the catechism of Free will), he issues a letter to the Bishops calling for denial of the Eucharist and declaring it a sin to vote for John Kerry.

Abort a child and you burn... bomb a child and its "shit happens?" So much for the Beatitutdes and a consistent "prolife" position. JPII was but Ratzi doesn't seem to be.

The preceeding Pope Benedict was also noted for declaring the church neutral in WWI. Is this the signal to Bush and his hitlist of 25 nations ripe for intervention that the Financial Times disclosed?

Bush is drawing his moves from Hitler's play book right down to the "war on the Godless" and the parlimentary manuevers. This Pope has shown his active support for him and try as many may, you can't ignore the past. In the words of Hitler:

On October 24, 1933, in a speech in Berlin, Hitler said:

"We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out."

In a speech at Koblenz, August 26, 1934, Hitler said:

"National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary it stands on the ground of a real Christianity . . . For their interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of today, in our fight against a Bolshevist culture, against atheistic movement, against criminality, and in our struggle for a consciousness of a community in our national life . . . These are not anti-Christian, these are Christian principles!"

In the Nazi-Vatican Concordat, April 26, 1933

This is one of the passages that the revisionists are fond of quoting to try to deny Hitler's christian beliefs and motivations, but in contrast to these quotes, some of Hitler's speeches put him most definitely in the Christian camp as a fighter against atheism. For example, he said, on signing the Nazi-Vatican Concordat, April 26, 1933:

"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without religious foundation is built on air; consequently all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . ."

I'm not antiCatholic. In fact my heroes include Thomas Merton, Brother David Stedil-Rast, Sister Joan Chittester and more. But they are not at the head of the church... Pope Bene is.

"Human beings are not a mistake but something willed."

A religious statement from a religious leader. I don't see how that's supposed to bolster a scientific argument for... Oh, now I get it. Well, what did you expect?

anorpheus: "Why necessarily use loaded terminology in describing pope ratz?"

The description I liked was P.Z. Myers calling the Pope a "primate." Because he is -- both a member of the simian order of mammals, and a senior bishop.

"The preceeding Pope Benedict was also noted for declaring the church neutral in WWI. Is this the signal to Bush and his hitlist of 25 nations ripe for intervention that the Financial Times disclosed?"

Do you have a link for the FT article? I can't seem to find it.

Somep Catholics need to grow up and stop being servants of a foreign power. A map of fascism maps well with Catholocism in Europe. The insistence on deference to mortal authority because of divine authority, with the Church cherry picking which mortal authority to defer to, has a long and ugly history.

The irony is that the defense to holding the Church accountable for its acts is some politically correct drivel, parsing definitions of fascism, and forbidding the Catholics can be judged by others, while insisting that Catholics hold a higher truth that makes them superior to all others.

"Syncretism" and "relativism" are idiotic misrepresentations of what educated people in the sciences believe today, but, these misrepresentations are core to the positions of the new Pope. Pathetic. Call him on it. And point out that cozy relationship with fascism. Then point out the whiners are ignoring the record and hiding behind the political correctness or moral relativists and pro pluralists that the Pope abhors. Dirty rotten chseater.

Leave it to the Liberals to justify persecution of one group of people while battling the persecution they deem unfair. Hilarious! They are oblivious to it too.

The original Financial Times link seems to have disappeared, but these reprints and debate articles are available.

The article appeared at the same tome that Condoleeza Rice began making her statements that the middle east was going to be unstable for the for seeable future and that its ok because they're going to spread democracy. It unnerved the arab reformers who while they want to move towards democracy, they don't want the chaos and loss of human life they see goin on in Iraq.

JPII, despite his faults, was a good man and opposed facism in all its forms... including the oppression of "robber baron capitalism."

I share no such confidence in his successor however. JPII reflected a true consistent "prolife stance." He spoke out against exploitation of the third world often. In humility he atoned for the sins of his church and the clergy. Pedophilia was a sin against God to him, but to Ratzi... its a product of the liberal media.

In his JPII's own words:

"Social justice cannot be attained by violence.
Violence kills what it intends to create."
-- July 3, 1980

"This determination is based on the solid conviction that what is hindering full development is that desire for profit and that thirst for power already mentioned. These attitudes and 'structures of sin' are only conquered - presupposing the help of divine grace - by a diametrically opposed attitude: a commitment to the good of one's neighbor with the readiness, in the gospel sense, to 'lose oneself' for the sake of the other instead of exploiting him, and to 'serve him' instead of oppressing him for one's own advantage."
-- Pope condemns excesses of capitalism, December 30, 1987

"We cannot pretend that the use of arms, and
especially of today's highly sophisticated weaponry, would not give rise, in addition to suffering and destruction, to new and perhaps worse injustices."
-- Pope opposes Gulf War, Message to George H.W. Bush, January 15, 1991

"A disconcerting conclusion about the most recent period should serve to enlighten us: side-by-side with the miseries of underdevelopment, themselves unacceptable, we find ourselves up against a form of superdevelopment, equally inadmissible. because like the former it is contrary to what is good and to true happiness. This superdevelopment, which consists in an excessive availability of every kind of material goods for the benefit of certain social groups, easily makes people slaves of 'possession' and of immediate gratification..."
-- On the shortfalls of consumerism, March 13, 1998

"Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary."
-- Pope speaks out against capital punishment, January 27, 1999

"The Holy See has always recognized that the
Palestinian people have the natural right to a
homeland, and the right to be able to live in peace and tranquility with the other peoples of this area."
-- Pope calls for a Palestinian State, March 22, 2000

"NO TO WAR! War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity."
-- January 13, 2003

"When war threatens humanity's destiny, as it does today in Iraq, it is even more urgent for us to proclaim with a loud and decisive voice that peace is the only way to build a more just and caring society. Violence and arms can never solve human problems."
-- Pope condemns Bush's invasion of Iraq, March 22, 2003

"Leave it to the Liberals to justify persecution of one group of people"

Which group is being persecuted by liberals?

Does persecuted mean people who take advantage of modern education to say true things that hurt the feelings of a sub population self identified as belonging to the group?

Where is the Liberal Office of Inquisition? Who heads it?

Is it liberals who round up Palestinians and killing them? Or Sunnis? Or Shi'a? Or Ann Coulters? Or Yoruba? Or Somalis? Or Sri Lankans? Or Peruvians? Or Nepalese?

If so, I missed it, but, I don't have cable. I suspect the liberals are not justifying persecution of one group of people and this is the sign of a whiner who doesn't like facts.

Is it true razor you are a liberal? It would explain your reply. Is it true you attacked a groupd of 1.x billion people who identify with Catholicism?

You know the calling them essentially; pawns of fascism....

There is always this issue on blogs, whether it is worth getting into spats and wasting bandwidth and straying from the post. But I have concluded that it is time to stop coddling cheats.

Kinja Kahn
You misrepresent what I said to suit your own purposes. You do so because you have nothing better to offer. Typical conservative these days. Step One. Sulk. Step Two Misrepresent. Step Three, whine, using moral relativism. Step Four, refuse to take responsibility for one's position by invoking political correctness. An evil recipe.

I am pro Catholic. One of my Catholic grandparents attended seminary. I have not attacked people who call themselves Catholic, I even made it clear, because I knew such as you lurk, that I attack a subpopulation of people who call themselves Catholic.

It is pathetic for anyone opposed to moral relativism - by order to the Pope - to equate the industrial butchery of entire undesirable segments of the population, in which the Catholic Church was complicit, with someone like me denying all that is Catholic is holy and good. You are a cheat. And I am no liberal.

And it isn't like you shouldn't know better, given the recent Catholic complicity in the Rwanda slaughters, not to mention that Catholic buggery ring that the Pope blames on media in America. Shame on you. I pray for judgment from on high for us all.

Close to half of the Catholic church went Democratic in the last election, so to try to characterize all Catholics as conservatives isn't accurate.

Many Catholics spoke out against facism, the least of which was Pope John Paul II. He finished his seminary in the undergound and his entire class was added to the Gestapo's death list. At one point... only a door that he hid behind stood betweeen him and a one way ticket to Auschvitz.

There are also many conservatives that are speaking out now about facism and the dangerous trend in American politics. Arch Clinton nemesis Bob Barr has formed "Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances", a conservative coaliton that wants repeal of the most agregious parts of the Patriot Act.

Liberals and Conservatives have both made substantial contributions to this democratic Republic and both deserve a voice.

You only demonize the opposition when you want to do something to them that you know is wrong morally. You have to make them something less than human inorder to do it and deal with your own sense of guilt.

LOL what foreign power do the immature Catholics bowing to?

Do you want the Catholic Church to change, so conforming to dogma is easier for you? Like having women priests, or marriage for priests?

Perhaps you think they should dismiss the Idea that life is sacred, and just offer free abortions everywhere?
Perhaps you cry for the spread of Aids in Africa and blame the Catholic Church for their stance on condoms?

I guess in your candyland, poor africans are not capable of self control or able to have the morality the church teaches along with the anti-contraception docterine.

To say your post wasn't anti-catholic is assinine. You are simply oblivious to your own hypocricy. A typical self-consumed, greedy, immoral, LIBERAL.


Thanks for the comfirmation of what you are all about. Yourself mostly.You've quite a list of peeves ready to vent I didn't know you had and don't care about.

Successfully misrepresented or avoided every issue. Obviously haven't bothered to learn the facts on Rwanda, nor much concerned about the slaughter, while, talking pro life bullshit. Accuse others of being anti catholic and self consumed and hypocrits.

Qualified to be Speaker of the House.

So long.

Rawanda ... Yeah WHAT about Sudan you Chimp? That's goin on NOW! I have stated nothing that differs from the Church. you are all for breaking the American Catholoics away from the Church... Thats mightly liberal of you. How about this... GO MAKE YOUR OWN CHURCH, leave mine alone.

Obviously you are not serious, but, i can't resist, its not YOUR church it is HIS

lol play semantics... it's my church in the same way its my country. Wipe the tears little one go start your own church , call it someonthing aong the lines of "Razor's Church of the Pretend god".

"A map of fascism maps well with Catholocism in Europe. "

This is really not true at all. The Nazi party polled the best among Protestants in Germany - the Catholics were one of two major demographic groups that disproportionately resisted the Nazi electoral rise (the other being the urban working class). The Catholic Center party was the only party that did not lose votes between 1929 and 1933.

Anyway, on my original point at the top of this thread, Lindsey, you are quite right about all the nasty, oppressive and authoritarian things that the Pope is for. Still I would say this is not fascist. One of my pet peeves is people using 'fascism' in the second, more generic sense quoted by anorpheus - I think this dilutes the meaning of what was a very unique, fundamentally modern political movement that was pernicious in specific ways beyond simply being dictatorial - for example, exaltation of the aesthetic of violence, obsession with "national renewal," and so on. Fascism is different from "ordinary" dictatorships in both the sheer *degree* to which the state subordinates all aspects of political, cultural, social, and private life to ideology, and the much higher extent to which fascism makes use of mass politics.


Spain. Portugal. France. Italy. Poland, (home to the camps where no one saw nothing). Catholic, Catholic, Catholic, Catholic and Catholic. Living memory fascist repression and Catholic cooperation. I don't know the eastern european outline, but, it is there for those who want to find it.

Catholic is many things, hence, "catholic". To deny one thing is that parts of the church have an intimate historical connection with repressive totalatarian governments is to be anti historical. To deny that some schools within the community have provided intellectual and moral cover for repressive totalatarian governments is to be anti truth.

But why is this point disputed? What is gained by denying the record? Behind political correctness bias has come to mean, "Truth that hits uncomfortably close to home."

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