Monday, April 04, 2005

The Bestest Pope Ever!

It's remarkable I think that since the two days before the Pope died, there has been no other news worth reporting on CNN, MSNBC and Faux Snooze. It's like the world stopped and since there's nothing else to talk about, I too must say something about the pope. According to everyone on the above mentioned snooze programs, he was the bestest pope ever and he rode around it the bestest pope mobile ever. Not to pile on, but here are some of his accomplishments that I noticed (and I'm not a pope watcher).

He's the bestest pope ever because he freed women from the dominance of men by allowing them to become priests / priestesses, he punished pedophile priests and protected their victims, he abolished poverty in third-world countries by allowing his followers to use birth control and limit the sizes of their families.

Oh wait a minute - I was dreaming.

Here's some reality-based commentary by lightiris on DailyKOS.

Sr. Jeannette Normandin was a prison chaplain in a Massachusetts women's prison for years and dedicated her life to working in the community helping needy women make something of their lives. She also worked extensively with the AIDS community in trying to alleviate suffering through real works based on real solutions. She touched the lives of many. Jeannette Normandin made the mistake, one day, however, of sprinkling water during a baptism and was summarily fired--as well as evicted from the home she shared with members of her order.

Okay, she broke the rules, so she had to be punished, just like all those priests who molested children, right?

Recall what was going on at the time in Massachusetts in 2000. As a routine matter, child-molesting priests were sent to expensive spas for "treatment," were provided apartments and salaries when they were determined to be unfit for parish duty, and were shielded from authorities at all costs. Indeed, hush money was offered to families to keep the sexual abuse quiet. And one 70-year-old nun, with an extraordinary lifetime of service, is evicted from her home and fired from her job for participating in a baptism. Her story was reported far and wide in these parts as illustration of the rampant hypocrisy of the Catholic Church.

Bernard Cardinal Law, under whose administration the molestation and rape of hundreds of Massachusetts children went virtually unchecked, is now leading a life of comfort and authority right in the Vatican. His bio on the Vatican's website doesn't mention his immoral, unethical, and in the minds of some, criminal behavior. It doesn't mention that under his watch the lives of hundreds of children and their families were destroyed, their futures irrevocably harmed. He is a holy man.

Well, but at least he is honored for helping the poor, right?

Vatican policies endanger the lives of women and children in developing nations all over the world. Extraordinary political pressure, religious coercion, and the calculated dissemination of factually inaccurate information are used to consistently deny women and children responsible health care and policy. Understand that no other organization with as many resources and as many spheres of influence is as obstructionist in matters of family planning as the Catholic Church. So I say this without any reservation: any organization, its leaders included, that would actively lobby to deprive third-world women of contraceptives and family planning choices should be roundly condemned by all people of conscience. I abhor the efforts of the Catholic Church to derail birth control initiatives in third-world nations as well as their intense lobbying efforts to derail and suppress United Nations funding for family planning programs. Such policies result in untold suffering, disability, and death to innocents who have no voice, no agency, and no recourse. Such policies, in my view, epitomize evil and under no circumstances should they be accepted or tolerated simply because they exist under the imprimatur of a particular religious faith.

The resources of the Catholic Church would be better spent in helping women gain some control over their reproduction than in foisting their obviously injurious policies on vulnerable women and children. There is absolutely nothing Christian or Christ-like in the organized subjugation of women.

... the hypocrisy is stunning. Those who call themselves "religious moderates" turn their backs on the suffering of the world's poor women and children every time the Catholic Church is praised, every time they tolerate Pope John Paul II being held up as a Holy Man, every time they are respectful of the pomp and ceremony [read: atrocious squandering of money...] to prop up an organization that actively seeks to retain a human hierarchy in which women are second class and are to have no real control over their reproductive future.

There is nothing moderate about respecting a religious faith whose precepts and practices hurt others. That so-called tolerance, I would argue, while well-intentioned, is little more than indifference bordering on cowardice. And those who object to the Catholic Church's policies must object to the individual in charge of shaping and managing those policies--and that means holding the Pope--every Pope--accountable. I daresay so many of these very same people who are mourning the loss of a "great man," who preach religious tolerance as some sort behavioral acme, are screaming for the heads of Rumsfeld and Bush when it comes to the evils committed under the banner of U.S. governmental policy. But where is the moral outrage here? Oh, yeah. I forgot. He's a holy man. We must respect the world's faiths and religions. Such a romantic concept.

Athena had her own diary, too:

Prepare for days on end of men in dresses wailing about the loss of a great man who "everyone" agrees was something special. And prepare for slavish sermoning on the part of the SCLM who appeared to be afraid to raise the pedophile scandals despite endless hours of banalities.

And we know that all the little women of the Vatican are running around cleaning up since all of the church "fathers" are coming to town.

I am in mourning - for the loss of a female-centered spirituality that once existed and is now considered subversive. And for the loss of so much female vitality in the service of the "great men of God."

Meanwhile Booman's Tribune is working toward gender parity on the front page. It's a woman-friendly place where I've been hanging out a lot these days. You might enjoy checking it out.