The Pope and I have never really seen eye to eye. More specifically, none of the Popes — neither the sinister smirking creep currently ensconced on the golden throne, nor the kindly-eyed cretinous gent who preceded him — have ever spoken to me or for me. One of the perks of being not-Catholic is that I remain blissfully unburdened by the demands put upon the faithful by weirdos in fancy hats. I’m also free to eat cheeseburgers on Friday. My life is enchanted, I tell you.
Generally, I tend to regard the Vicar of Rome’s pronouncements with a mixture of sporting man’s curiosity and chagrinned disinterest. Oh look, the nonce in the skirt is putting on his little morality play. Wonder what the theme is this week? Ah, it’s the evils of homosexuality and condoms. A rerun then. Yawn.
Still and all, the Pope’s words, as feeble, defensive and garbled as they are, have an indirect affect on me. We live on the same planet you know, and for whatever reason, a good chunk of my fellow humans regard this baffling jerk as an authority figure worth listening too. Worse than that, world leaders listen to this gnarled little pederast-defending knob of a man and so I must as well. It’d be one thing if he only had influence over the occasional garbage man or obnoxious twit at the end of the bar but for better or worse, this dick has the ear of Presidents and Queens, and so his ramblings shape world events.
This week, Pope Joey Ratz was lousing up Merry Old England, doing his best interpretation of the creepy uncle who shows up at your cousin’s wedding and ruins the festivities by muttering obscenities under his breath to your underage cousins. The Pope’s topic for this visit was how Atheists were to blame for the Holocaust:
“Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live,” he said.
“I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious people who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives.
“As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society …”
We’ll side step the irony of a former Hitler Youth member pointing fingers about the Holocaust and focus on the weird subtext here. And it’s barely subtext. Joey Ratz doesn’t have nearly as artistic a command of innuendo as his predecessor did. Old JP could damn you all to hell and make it sound like a come on. Joey Ratz studs his pronouncements with invective the way a wino’s ramblings are punctuated by ripple-flavored belches.
We are to believe, as the Pope so subtly hinted at, that the world would be a better, more Holocaust-free place if there just weren’t so many damned atheists stinking up the place. Perhaps someone could organize a movement to round them up and relocate them someplace. Maybe to a farm or camp where they could perform useful work.
Nevermind the long tradition of True Believers killing Jews, gypsies, communists and atheists in the name of God, it was all those Atheists locking themselves up for being, oh, yeah the argument kind of falls apart there doesn’t it? Maybe someone should have given that a minute’s thought before adding it to the Pope’s message. Can we get a rewrite ver here?
Joey Ratz was making some half-assed ecumenical pass at our Jewish friends, to commemorate the Day of Atonement, which just passed. Given this Pope’s rather ambivalent view of Jews (and anyone else who’s not a leering pederast in holy frocks) this comes off as not just empty but resoundingly hollow. Go ahead and thump that sucker. It’s rotten to the core.
Time and again, this Pope has dodged the moral high road. Life isn’t easy and humans make mistakes, repeatedly and sometimes catastrophically. The Holocaust happened because we let it happen. And that WE is a big one. Picture it in 10,000 point type, big as the moon in the night sky. Everyone is to blame, from the Gestapo agents who rounded up innocent men, women and children, to their neighbors, true believers and secular humanists, who stood there and let it happen. And since this world is round and there’s no corners to hide behind, we’re all neighbors, every last Franklin, Delano And Roosevelt. Americans are to blame. Brits are to blame. Everyone is to blame for that stain our historical record, because millions of poorly regarded lives had to end before someone would stand up and say no. And sure, a few priests and lay folk of the church were among the few early muffled voices who did try to warn the world. But you know who didn’t listen? It wasn’t just the kings and Queens of Europe and the Presidents of benighted former colonies. Pope Pius XII did nothing. He could have but like the rest of us, chose not to until it was too late.
And now, his successor a few hats down the line goes around and points fingers at one of the popular scapegoats of the day, saying it was our fault. The unbelievers. Those same unbelievers bullied for not having the guts to kill and die for abstract causes or invisible friends. Way to cast the first stone there, padre. You read that Bible or just use it to beat people you don’t like?
So the Pope’s words ring hollow, like they always do and his calls for a return to the good old faith of our forefathers falls on deaf ears. Why did the Pope go to one of the most unchurched countries in the modern world and start laying golden turds where everyone could step in them? Who knows. One of those mysteries of the faith we hear so much about. Like all such mysteries, it’s just the result of laziness and cowardice on the part of an ancient, rigid caste of deeply neurotic and scared old men who can’t face a world where their pronouncements are laughed at and their very presence a source of mocking disdain, if it’s even acknowledged at all.