Planet to Pope: Would You Please Be Quiet Please

Apparently Joe Ratzinger’s mom never told him that if you have nothing constructive to say it’s better to hold your tongue. Just this week Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, criticized the “arrogance” of President Obama’s decision to end the ban on funding to international organizations which provide abortion information. Also this week, the Pope — a member of the Hitler youth as a child in Germany — reinstated to good standing in the Church a formerly excommunicated bishop, who denies the Holocaust. Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Benedict is the Vatican ’s own George W. Bush — a divisive ideologue who pretends to foster goodwill — as long as you agree with him. Since his election to the papacy in 2005, Ratzinger has affirmed his opposition to a woman’s right to govern her own body and to any form of birth control except abstinence. No condoms, period. From a church leader of millions, such sentiments — ignoring overpopulation and the spread of HIV — are irresponsible at best.

Benedict’s brand of Christian brotherhood was on full display in 2006 when he quoted a 14th century text to say” “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new and there you will only find what is evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.” If that was his way of “reaching out” to Muslims, it failed, as it failed to address the equally, if not surpassingly, barbaric behavior on the part of the Roman Catholic Church during the Crusades and the Inquisition. Benedict should be apologizing, not accusing.

Besides insulting Muslims and Jews, Benedict refused to meet with the Dalai Lama, a prominent Buddhist leader, in 2007. Also that year, in Brazil , the Pope proclaimed that the native populations of South America had been “silently longing” for the Christian faith colonizers brought to that continent. Incredibly, he said that “the proclamation of Jesus and his Bible did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbus cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture.”

Several South American political leaders found Benedict’s historical revisionism wildly disingenuous; pointing out that the Catholic Church had in fact enabled “one of the most horrific genocides of all humanity” in the Americas. Like Bush and Cheney. does Benedict really believe infallibility is an elective office? His views are as medieval as the institution he serves.

Pope Benedict has found various ways and occasions to condemn homosexual behavior. Before he was pope, Ratzinger opined that homosexuality is a “more or less strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil….” He also said it “was not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account.” Last December the Pope decried homosexuality as “a violation of the human order.” Whatever happened to the Biblical injunction: Judge not, lest ye be judged? He reads the Good Book as selectively as any other self-styled theocrat, e.g., Bush ignoring Thou shalt not kill.

Of course the pontiff is entitled to his bigoted views. But he is polluting our moral and political atmosphere by foisting his backward, mean-spirited opinions on the rest of us. He is preventing his church from entering the twenty-first century as a full partner in the world community, with respect for those who hold divergent views or values. If he cannot help promote peace, harmony and constructive dialogue on this diverse, troubled planet of ours, he needs to shut his sanctimonious trap.

James is the author of Shooting the Truth: the Rise of American Documentaries (Praeger 2006), and Acting Like It Matters: John Malpede and the Los Angeles Poverty Department, (2015). He lives in Quito, Ecuador. Read other articles by James.

8 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on January 27th, 2009 at 10:24am #

    to me, judaism is by far worse a cult than christianity or islam. islam appears to me more inane and dull than the other two.
    however, judaism and christianity are by far more perilous not only to existence of biota but to our peace of mind.

    constant cultish war on nerves, unnerve most of us. by inventing nonscientific/nonexsisting categories of people, mad priests terrorize all of us.
    they invented “sin”. and once people accepted such a human ‘trait’ we and they have been trying to eradicate it even tho it does not exist.
    yes, we all may have natural shortcomings. but the mad priests have made a mountian out of a molehill and molehills out of the mountains.
    and we are now divided and needlessly fighting one another

  2. RG the LG said on January 27th, 2009 at 1:18pm #

    What do we expect?

    A pope who isn’t in bed with the far right?

    We can’t even seem to get around to having president who does more than give lip-service to changes that would make us (US) less Hitleresque … or is that Bushesque?

  3. John Hatch said on January 27th, 2009 at 1:30pm #

    One of the most bizarre and surreal scenes I ever witnessed on CNN (!). George W. Bush and Benny the Rat laughing it up in the Oval Office. These two malicious duds smirking about how they both conned the world.

    I kept thinking ‘Where’s the goddam lightning bolt?’ I guess God went AWOL too, and of course the ever insipid Wolf Blitzer was in awe.

  4. Michael Kenny said on January 27th, 2009 at 2:43pm #

    I hooted with laughter at this article! I loved the bit about “the Dalai Lama, a prominent Buddhist leader”. Wow! Bet you didn’t know that! And does he really think that his readers are so stupid as not to know that all kids were enrolled in the Hitler Youth? Come on, Mr McEnteer! If you have something serious to say about Benedict or the Catholic Church, say it! But leave the adolescent ranting to … well, adolescents.

  5. Danny Ray said on January 27th, 2009 at 2:49pm #

    I do believe that the pope has as much right to give an opinion as you or anyone else.
    Or is freedom of speach just accorded to people who believe as you do?

  6. john wilkinson said on January 27th, 2009 at 3:01pm #

    Danny — that’s what they are doing, giving THEIR opinion, to which they are entitled. But they don’t have the right to criticize the fascist pope. Oh, I forgot, he’s the messenger from YOUR God. Nope, no-one can oppose the Christian Taliban, and their blood-soaked history, that is just not done in the land of the “free”. Not just the Catholics, mind you, but your racist, reactionary, sex-obsessed, holier-than-thou, commandeering, self-enriching, hypocritical and downright mean Southern preachers as well.

  7. Danny Ray said on January 27th, 2009 at 3:13pm #

    Johnny, Johnny, Johnny, Touched a nerve there, did I?

    “If he cannot help promote peace, harmony and constructive dialogue on this diverse, troubled planet of ours, he needs to shut his sanctimonious trap. ”

    Sounds like the author would like to supress a little speach here.

  8. kalidas said on January 27th, 2009 at 7:21pm #

    Neither I, nor the RED CROSS believes there was a holocaust of millions of Jews.
    Lots of people who can read and think don’t believe it.
    I don’t believe for one second that even one single person was executed in a “gas chamber.”
    The Red Cross official records say 271,000 Jews died in all the camps combined.

    P.S. No lamp shades, soap and other nonsensical hysterical crappola either.