We now know who will be the next pope: Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina, Pope Francis. I have no quarrel with individual members of the Catholic Church and I am personally a man of faith. But I do have a quarrel with the Vatican and the toady, obsequious manner in which the media has been reporting on the appointment of the new "his holiness."
Media coverage of the new Pope's selection this past week has been some of the most revolting nonsense I have ever seen on mainstream television or read in popular media. This organization (the Vatican) is suspected to be home to pedophiles and pedophile protectors. It discourages condom use in parts of Africa ridden with AIDS and HIV (AIDS is bad but to the Church condoms are apparently worse). It discriminates against women, gays and lesbians. Its past bad acts are so numerous that they can only be mentioned by way of summary for fear of going mad: the Inquisition, the Crusades, the persecution of the Jewish people (and silence during the Holocaust), the African Slave trade and the sexual abuse of children in near every region of planet Earth. The details of the sexual abuse of children and the manner in which the pederasts responsible have been protected is as contemptible as it is vomit inducing. These are not crimes that can be brushed off with the occasional reference to how many bowls of soup Catholic charities have provided the homeless, how many alcoholics they've helped give up the bottle or other such good works (and of course, there are many) -- rather, they're serious crimes that appear to have been committed in a systematic fashion and were covered up. Yet this past week bore witness to the media, particularly the CBC, CNN and Fox News, fawning over the Church through largely positive coverage.
I was fortunate enough to have better things with which to occupy my time than the listening to of Pope Francis's first sermon on Wednesday, but I'm confident it did not begin with an apology -- which is precisely how it should have -- a heartfelt, sorrowful, weeping apology for the suffering and misery that his organization has spread around the world. When Joseph Ratzinger, the now retired Pope was Cardinal Ratzinger he was head of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he either covered up -- or at the very least turned a blind eye to -- child rape, indicating that the main priority of the church was not justice for victims but protection of perpetrators. It is no wonder the church is generally most popular where people are the least educated and the most poor (a fact about which it finds cause to boast). Odd as well, is the massive opaque wealth of the Church, odd particularly since it purports to be an organization concerned with the hereafter, but has accumulated wealth (useful only in the 'here now') in a Gordon Gekko/Joel Osteen like manner - the Church may be worth billions, no one really knows.
There will be no substantive Vatican reform unless the Church enacts reforms that change its nature; particularly surrounding vows of celibacy that, as Sam Harris has pointed out, help attract pederasts and sexual sadists. And the media needs to stop handling the Catholic Church with kid gloves, or any organization for that matter that purports to speak to invisible creatures in the sky. For "God's sake," enough is enough.
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