The Watering Hole, Monday, February 18th, 2013: Pope-Pourri

Separated At Birth?

Separated At Birth?

On February 11th, Pope Benedict XVI, aka Joseph Ratzinger, aka Emperor Palpatine, announced that he was leaving the sinking ship giving up the leadership of the “Worldwide Catholic Church” (or NAMBLA), effective on February 28th, 2013. A papal conclave will soon be convened by the College of Cardinals to determine the next Pope, possibly by the end of March.

The New Yorker provides a few-holds-barred critique in John Cassidy’s blogpost “The Disastrous Influence of Pope Benedict XVI“, an interesting read which succinctly summarizes the regressive Papal policies of both Pope John Paul II (with then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s aid) and Pope Benedict XVI. I really recommend this article, as it clearly outlines the conflicting forces within the Church, which currently favor the conservative side.

I wholeheartedly agree with E.J. Dionne’s opinion piece from February 15th in the Washington Post, as he discusses why “The Best Choice for Pope?” is “A Nun.” As a veteran of 13 years of Catholic schooling, I can confirm that the nuns were more responsible for educating us in school subjects as well as religious subjects than any of the priests or the Monsignor of our parish. The nuns also set much better examples of Christ-like ideals and actions, as we all now know.

Yesterday, I signed a petition from Catholics United, urging Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the former Archbishop of Los Angeles, not to participate in the upcoming papal conclave.

Former L.A. Archbishop John M. Mahony

Former L.A. Archbishop John M. Mahony

From a Catholics-United Press Release on February 14th:

“WASHINGTON – After the stunning news that Pope Benedict XVI will be stepping down effective Feb. 28, Catholics in Los Angeles are urging Cardinal Roger Mahony to stay home instead of participating in the election to determine the next pope. Mahony was recently stripped of his public duties for his part in a sex abuse cover-up while he led the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Andrea León-Grossman, a Los Angeles member of Catholics United. “In the interests of the children who were raped in his diocese, he needs to keep out of the public eye. He has already been stripped of his ministry. If he’s truly sorry for what has happened, he would show some humility and opt to stay home.”

The Washington Post Editorial Board published a scathing piece on February 13th entitled “The Sins of Cardinal Mahony”; here’s a few excerpts:

“Eleven Americans will be among the 117 cardinals of the Catholic Church heading soon to Rome to select the next pope. One of them, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony…is lucky not to be in prison, for there is no dispute that he orchestrated what amounted to a cover-up of clerical sexual abuse in Los Angeles…the scale of the misdeeds in Los Angeles, the largest archdiocese in the United States, counts as a particular disgrace. And it is Cardinal Mahony, who resigned as archbishop two years ago, who oversaw the whole dirty business. For that he has been publicly censured by his successor.”

In response to his public rebuke, Cardinal Mahony, who has a master’s degree in social work, wrote that nothing in his training had alerted him to the risks involved in the sexual abuse of minors. How about common sense, respect for the law and a basic understanding of human beings?”

And, for the last word on this issue (for today’s thread, anyway), here’s Andy Borowitz.

This is our Open Thread. Your thoughts?

82 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, February 18th, 2013: Pope-Pourri

  1. Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, along with a host of political and financial players all enjoy the benefit of a double standard our country enjoys so much of these days.

    • It’s from a group that formed their own “de jeur Court”. http://itccs.org/about/

      They have their own axe to grind against the Vatican and English Crown.

      They want to arrest, try and punish people under some sort of common law right – i.e., in my opinion, little more than a well-organized lynch mob. But that’s just my first impression.

    • Not that it’s the same thing but Jesse Jackson Jr. was hospitalized for “stress” and no he and his wife are likely to spend time in prison for spending campaign money on personal things.

  2. Something else someone told me Friday night, Pope Paul I wanted to sell off all the Vatican riches. He was pope for one month. I never heard this rumor but a ‘real Jesus pope’ would be wearing burlap and not silk and satin.

  3. One of my favorite authors, Ken Follett, wrote two ‘historical’ fiction novels, ‘Pillars of the Earth’ and ‘World without End’. Both novels involve English priests and monks prior to the 1400’s. As with any ‘historical’ fiction, there is true history. Follett presents the priests and monks as greedy power seekers. Based on my experience and knowledge of the Catholic Church, I believe that Follett presented a true picture of the Catholic Church in England.

    I am a recovering Catholic and my current beliefs are agnostic as I don’t believe and I don’t disbelieve because I just don’t know. No one has proved anything to me one way or the other. The truth will be revealed to me when I die. As for now, I don’t worry much about it. I try to do the right thing.

    • The Old (Torah) and New (Christian) Testaments is the primary source of .information of ‘God’.
      The God of the Old Testament and the Son of the New Testament are entirely contradictory in attitude and behavior.

      Every attribute ascribed to God and the Son–apart from the ‘act of creation’, manifestations, and the performing of miracles—is entirely human.

      Every religion has to explain itself relative to the real world, and its agents have to resort to misdirection, the trade craft of “stage magic”, and the invocation of ineffable mystery (“God moves in mysterious ways” and “knowledge of God passeth all understanding”.) that plays upon human intellectual and experiential limits.

      The most essential component of any religion is the promotion of acceptance–faith–over doubt, which otherwise requires examination, testing and repeatable demonstration to provide surety and conviction.
      The trick is to provide some facts for a foundation of belief, and then to promote conjecture as a natural consequence of those facts, combined with the threat of dire consequences.

      Religion is just an exercise in manipulation, and the Judeo-Christian God is just a it’s ultimate construct.

      Consider polytheistic faith, where a pantheon Gods playing politics among themselves and pursuing their own desires provides a plausible explanation for the apparent randomness of human fortune. Consider also that the variety of Gods provided the believing human with options to counter misfortune or for personal elevation in some aspect of life, by making offerings and devotion to one God more than another.

      In Christianity ( and Judaism and Islam) there is only one ‘God’. in which all fortune resides ( and which supposedly therefore explains all fortunes). As relatively powerless as a deist may feel against the will and whims of multiple Gods at least the dichotomies inherent in a pantheon of Gods provides an opportunity, and therefore potential power, to influence one’s present circumstances and future fate.

      With just one GOD, there are no options, and no potential power of influence, except if one totally excepts the monotheistic construct—which is demonstrably ridiculous in the face of evidence and experience, such as a baby ( or many babies) being killed because of some conflict conducted by someone using their belief in GOD for a purpose they deem approved by GOD ( and make no mistake, GOD totally approves of wholesale slaughter of innocents, it’s all right there in the .Bible).

      I recently had a half hour discussion about God, with a guy in my class. He’s very well versed in the apocalyptic aspects of the Bible, and also subscribes.to more secular end-times prognostications such as the “New World Order” ( apparently headquartered at Denver Airport at the moment).

      We went back and forth for a few minutes as I tried to explain the difference between faith and fact, opinion and evidence, but we found no common ground or terms to properly argue, so we both recognized a certain futility.

      But then I said: “Obviously I don’t believe in your GOD, or any gods, or destiny, and therefore I don’t believe in a destiny or even a purpose.for life, which sounds like a pretty bleak and depressing perspective don;t you think?
      I mean, I might as well kill myself right now, right? After all what’s the point?”

      He agreed.

      So I continued: “Yet I’m apparently part of your GOD’s creation. So I must have a purpose. Now, as you are a believer, and are faithful, you have a purpose, So what is that purpose, and what is my purpose, and what especially is GOD’s purpose? You must know. What is GOD’s purpose?”.

      He was stumped, or at least bemused. I repeated the last question. Still nothing.

      “You don’t know, do you?” I said, and he agreed (or chose to agree, as a way of giving-up on the discussion).

      So if you don;t know GOD’s purpose, or at least your purpose and my purpose, then what you know isn’t very useful, to you or to GOD, and what you believe isn’t the same as what you know, because you clearly believe a lot more than you actually know–but you think they are the same. You, choose to believe, I choose to know, and I try not to believe what I don’t know whereas you convince yourself to believe things you don’t know.”

      He just shook his head, smiling– I could imagine him thinking ” You just don;t get it, do you, you deluded sap?”

      Frankly, my personal desire would be to deny him computer and internet access, because it wasn’t predicted in the Bible and as that book and predictions are apparently his most important life references, he could then appeal to his GOD to smite me for screwing with one of HIS disciples.

      But I work in the secular world, with a humanistic perspective–so I have chosen to exercise mercy.

      • As my middle sister says, “God works in mysterious ways, and you just have to have faith.”

        I finally told her that I thought that was the biggest cop out I’d ever heard, and that was just her way of not having to think too much (which might make her have to question her faith).

        She doesn’t talk to me much anymore. 😆

        • Back in the sixties, my atheistic roomie said, very often, that “We have to find a way to get rid of faith, or we’re all fucked.”

          Never had an argument with that notion, still don’t. Blind “faith” is a disease, a mental disability, one which disallows clear thinking and allows only acceptance of propaganda, of bullshit. It’s a demand placed on the lower mental echelons by those who seek power; unfortunately, some believe in that crap. Don’t get it, never will. Faith in the nonexistent is incomprehensible. Or damn well oughtta be.

          • I have no issues with people of ‘faith’ as long as they keep their ‘faith’ to themselves and not try to shove it down my throat. None of us know the truth. The ‘believers’ want us to think that they know the truth and the ‘nonbelievers’ wants us to think that they know the truth. When really, none of us know jack schitt. The only thing that is certain is that our physical bodies will die just like all other living creatures (fauna, flora, microbes, fungi etc…). After that, we don’t know. We can only guess and that is exactly what we all do.

            • I have no issues with people of ‘faith’ either — so long as they don’t try to impose their ‘faith’ on me.

              Meanwhile, my steady request is a simple one: show me one single solitary shred of verifiable evidence that ANY “god” has EVER existed — period — and we can talk; for a long time. But please: don’t bring only ‘faith’ to the table. That’s not even worth the time it takes to munch down a cracker.

    • I’d say he’s too young to be a total asshole. Kids will be kids. And since I have an energetic dog I’d say that’s it. Riley my golden retriever likes to play fetch with a tennis ball you throw with that flinging stick. A-Jay the German shorthair pointer waits until Riley gets the ball and then tackles him like they’re playing football. I choose to think he’s not a total asshole either. 🙂

    • Pygmy goat kids are like that sometimes. I’d go with a, b, and a little bit of c.
      There’s a pond behind my car shop with a family of pygmy goats that live inside the fence there, when the owner can keep them from getting out. I try to bring them stuff to eat when I can, because they are fun to feed. They do make that disturbing sound like a child wailing in anguish occasionally.

      • I saw a pygmy sheep at a petting zoo too. So darn cute. Of course Taylor wants a teacup pig. At the present time I inherited her beta because it was too much work at school.

  4. One of our cats liked to “tag” the other cats by hopping over them and touching them on the back. One day, the oldest was walking by the pool when she hopped over him, “Tag, you’re…” Splash!

  5. I get back from driving Taylor back to school and Stephanie Miller isn’t on Current TV. I’ve lost the will to live for the next hour or so.

  6. I have decided that in the future G.O.P. should stand for the era of the Great Obama Presidency! That ought to drive a few RWNJs crazy.

  7. Paul Ryan Calls Eliminating Food and Healthcare for 600,000 Kids ‘Smarter Cuts’

    The “smarter cuts” that Rep. Ryan is touting would slash food stamps, and throw 300,000 children off the program. The cuts are so extensive that they would eliminate food assistance for 1.8 million adults and children. Ryan’s cuts would also eliminate Meals on Wheels, federal funding for child protective services, and healthcare for disabled adults and children.

    But at least the defense industry will have plenty.

    • My husband was once a Director for Meals on Wheels and he told me that this service also checks up on the elderly. The volunteers are told to go into the house, make sure that the general area looked safe and to talk to the seniors to make sure that they were okay. He told me that Meals on Wheels volunteers had saved some people’s life. If things look out of place or behavior is abnormal the volunteers call the case manager who then stops by the house, makes an assessment of the situation and determines what needs to be done. For many seniors, the Meals on Wheels volunteer is their only contact with other people. It’s sad.

      We all know that Paul Ryan hates seniors.

  8. FACT: More Americans Have Died From Domestic Gunfire Than All Wars In U.S. History

    1,38,171 (should be 1,384,171) people have died in the most devastating war fought by Americans. Which war, you ask? World War I? World War II? The Civil War?

    None of the above. This number is from the war being fought on the streets, in the neighborhoods, private homes, schools, and work places of the United States of America. Deaths by gunfire. Domestic gun deaths perpetrated by criminals, the mentally ill; enraged husbands, angry children, and some by unfortunate accident or suicide. And the number only reflects gun death statistics since 1968.

    More guns!!

    • I had a friend from South Africa tell me that he couldn’t wait to get back to S.A. because the people here are gun crazy.
      That’s a powerful statement.

  9. One could make the argument that the Catholic church is the most, and longest ongoing, evil institution in the history of Man. I don’t think I would shed a tear if the whole damned bunch spontaneously combusted despite the fact that some good would go with the bad. I think there are enough horror stories to conclude that the institution is detrimental to continued human existence.

    • So that’s why Kansans have such lousy dental health!
      Not much else to say about their Intelligence quotients.
      The fact that their legislators unanimously approved this speaks untold volumes.

    • How on earth did you lot make it to the moon? Honestly, I am beginning to think there’s you all, meaning my Zoo family, and then some chosen few and then all that’s left is a vast majority of imbeciles.

      But who am I to talk, we have them, too, over here.

      • Well? That was before one political party was wholly controlled by extremists who are enemies of science and reason. And we had the help of some first-class German scientists.

  10. QOTD:

    “I would love to bring some Roger Ailes into this job,” – Gregory Burke, Vatican public relations manager, former Fox News correspondent and member of Opus Dei.

  11. Bobby Jindal Says Another Thing That Will Get Him in Trouble

    “Balancing our government’s books is not what matters most … (It’s) a nice goal, but that shouldn’t be our primary objective,” Jindal told a packed ballroom at the Renaissance Grand in downtown St. Louis for the Missouri Republican Party’s Lincoln Days.

    “We must not become the party of austerity. We must become the party of (economic) growth,” Jindal said. “We have fallen into a trap of believing the world revolves around Washington.” […]

    “As conservatives, we are falling into these sideshow traps” instead of hammering at the message of economic growth, said Jindal. “We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping.”

    We can’t be the stupid party, and we can’t be the party of austerity? What does that leave for Republicans?

    If Jindal doesn’t pander to the crazies, and he doesn’t pander to the fiscal hawks, all that leaves for him in the Republican Party are the crooks! Well, that’s Louisiana for ya!

  12. The Los Angeles Times gives this account of Pope Benedict’s alleged blindness:

    “Peter Seewald, a German journalist who has interviewed Benedict on numerous occasions, said that when he last saw the pope 10 weeks ago, his hearing had deteriorated and he appeared to have gone blind in his left eye.”

    So, the Pope literally turned a blind eye to the pedophile scandal.

    • God is, clearly and obviously, PISSED! Obama over Romney, the Pope “retires”, Palin is booted from Fox, and humans are causing global warming and climate change.

      If I were god, I’d be a bit pissed too. At least on the global warming stuff.

  13. Well? At least there’s one little spark of sanity in the good ol’ U.S.A. The Colorado House has passed new gun control legislation. Let us hope it’s the flake of snow that begins an avalanche.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GUN_CONTROL_COLORADO?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

    I have come to the conclusion that there are two main groups who continue to make excuses for the unfettered possession of all small arms other than the industry and lobbyists who goad them.

    1. The first, by far the largest, think that their recreation is worth a few lives lost. They want high volume of fire and public safety be damned. They are like toddlers who throw a tantrum when faced with even the possibility that a favorite toy is going to be taken away. These are the same people who fight environmentalism by leaving all their lights on and driving around town in 4X4 pickup trucks.
    2. The second group, though they may not realize it, are simply anarchists. These are the survivalists who live in joint dread and anticipation of a day when there won’t be any government or rule of law as we know it.

    Of course, neither of these two groups are able to admit their motivation even if they are self-aware enough to understand it but it’s far past time to stop placating either group. If they choose to disobey new laws regulating the possession of firearms then they are the ones making the claim that “only outlaws will have guns” a self-fulfilling prophecy by becoming outlaws themselves.

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