mercoledì, febbraio 04, 2009

Popery dopery doooo

So let's say you're born in Germany at a spectacularly bad time to be born in Germany, and you get forced to be in Hitler Youth because that's the law in those days. And then after a stint in Hitler Youth, you're forced into support corps for a military carrying out one of history's more obviously lamentable agendas, because that's the law in those days. And then after the war you become a priest, and life goes on, and one day you want to be pope. Should the sole condition of having participated in your country's genocidal war effort when refusal to do so could have meant your death at worst and your discomfort at best prevent you from being pope? No, right? Because that wouldn't be fair, right?

Wrong. Let's try another question. Let's say you're born at any time in history with a clitoris. After you do whatever else you do, you become a nun, and life goes on, and one day you want to be pope. Should the sole condition of having been born with a clitoris prevent you from being pope? YES! Because the Catholic Church is not about fair. And Ratzinger being pope even though, as a child, he didn't resist the murderous Nazi war machine even unto death is not about fair. The Catholic Church sets its own rules, and its rules are that women aren't allowed positions of authority, and former members of Hitler Youth are allowed to be pope. Don't like it? Heretic! Because the one thing you really, really need to be a Catholic and not a heretic is to respect the hierarchy of the church. At the moment that means respecting Ratzinger, and in general terms it means respecting the fact that women cannot lead or preach within the church.

Anyways, one group of people who Ratzinger is working himself into believing respect him are the Lefebvrists, otherwise known as the Society of Pius X. Since he has decided this, and started to convince himself their rebellion against the hierarchy of the church and rejection of Vatican II might not be as schismatic as all that, some of them are allowed to be Catholics again instead of just another bunch of racist traditionalist fruitcakes who dress in frocks and vote for extreme-right parties.

Now, is that mentalist Aryan Williamson a nutcase Holocaust denier? Yes, and now that the Merkel herself has raised a stink and everybody in the world is pissed off about it, the popists are doing something about his re-admittance. But that's not all. This group that the church is working itself into reintegrating into the hierarchy didn't feature Williamson as an adherent by accident. Did Lefebvrists attempt to shelter Paul Touvier, the fugitive from justice wanted for the hands-on murder of seven Jews, and who may have facilitated murder of many more? Yes. Did they express heartfelt nostalgia for the murderous Vichy regime, calling those who threw it over 'barbarians without faith or law'? Yes. Did they encourage their French adherents to vote for the ultra-right party headed up by Jean Marie Le Pen? Yes.

Are they a bunch of racist, fascist shitwads? Look, if it shelters, expresses and encourages like a bunch of racist, fascist shitwads, it's probably a bunch of racist, fascist shitwads. But you know what? Fine. Being Catholic isn't about not being a racist, fascist shitwad, it's about respecting the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and not consecrating bishops unless the pope tells you you can. And the pope, in the case of Williamson and some other Lefebvrist 'bishops', has decided to effectively give that permission 20 years retroactively. Because Ratzinger is magic. So . . . Welcome Back, Cracker.

Like it or not, that's the nature of Catholicism; it blows. I respect individual Catholics, particularly those who love the Church too much to abandon it to its own iniquities, and who struggle as they can to make it a kinder phenomenon; the massive outcry they've raised about Williamson has got a pope, for the first time in living memory, to admit he might have made a mistake about something.

But that's the thing, there's a limit, when you go beyond these smaller squabbles. Struggle too much with the Church on a more macro level – confront it with the dictates of your conscience in terms of, say, believing that women who are fit for it should be allowed to preach, that priests would be able to serve and understand the lay community better if they were allowed to openly lead loving and reproductive lives with the partner of their choice, that women should force their husbands to wear condoms if they've already got more mouths to feed than they can afford, or that being a racist, fascist shitwad should preclude someone from having a position of authority in your church – and suddenly you're not quite Catholic anymore.

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