I have to say the last two weeks, with its popeless vacuum, have been a wild, whirling time of spiritual anarchy. “Well, it’s a fine April afternoon and I’m feeling indulgent, I think I’ll…USE SOME BIRTH CONTROL! WHO’S GOING TO STOP ME? THE POPE? MWUHAHAHAHA!!!”
But those days are at an end now that there’s a new sheriff in town.
Continuing our “Nazi” theme from last week, we learn that a former member of the Hitler Youth has ascended to the role of Peter’s successor and Christ’s vicar on earth. Now this is unfair of course, as the official story is that his family was staunchly anti-Nazi and that he was guilty of nothing save being a teenager in 1940’s Germany. But he operated an anti-aircraft flak cannon! He was trying to shoot down Yossarian from Catch-22, and as Yossarian always said “The enemy is anybody who’s trying to kill you.”
I’ve heard for years that JP2’s successor would inevitably more conservative than he was, and it looks to be true, to the delight of many of our own right wing twits. The more I read about the new guy, the more I don’t like. Like how he was in charge of expelling “deviant” (that’s deviant in the theological sense, not you know…) from teaching positions at Catholic universities, he was apparently instrumental in the denying John Kerry communion conspiracy during the 2004 election, which, as a sort of Catholic, seriously disturbed me at the time. Right wingers like the Church because they see it as authoritatian and antimodern, which they like, although, as usual, it’s far more complicated than that. Right wingers love to slam what they refer to as “Moral Relativism”. You know what, I don’t like moral relativism either, but I understand what it means, but I don’t think they do. One of my favorite websites is maintained by, I think, a Protestant seminary student, who offers a far more brilliant rebuttal to this ignorant love affair than I can. I especially liked the moronic National Review article he linked to, which equates “relativism”, basically contemporary liberalism (loosely defined as the idea that people have the right to do what they wish with their personal lives) with Nazism and Communism, and contains lunatic gems like this:
In his most formative years, Ratzinger heard Nazi propaganda shouting that there is no truth, no justice, there is only the will of the people (enunciated by its leader). As its necessary precondition, Nazism depended on the debunking of objective truth and objective morality. Truth had to be derided as irrelevant, and naked will had to be exalted.
To anybody who said: “But that’s false!” the Nazi shouted, “That’s just your opinion, and who are you, compared to Der Fuehrer?”
To anybody who said, “But what you are doing is unjust!” the Nazi shouted louder, “Says you, swine.”
Relativism means this: Power trumps.
That’s right, Hitler and Stalin were radical, relatavistic liberal democrats. And when you disagreed with them, they responded by…shouting you down!
I leave you with this brilliant e-mail exchange between the good Marc Heiden and myself:
ME: Did you know Ratzinger was actually *Dean* of the College of Cardinals? Do you think he was a crusty old character, constantly trying to outwit Cardinals Tettamanzi and Arinze because of their wacky antics?
MARC: Can there be any doubt at all? And if we can take this analogy into increasingly bizarre directions, just imagine Pope John Paul II with Superintendent Chalmers’ voice discovering the College of Cardinals in shambles after a Tettamanzi – Arinze prank and shouting “RATZINGER!”
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Yes, I noted that with some irritation. Not the first time that rag has stolen one of my bits...
Rory, you should write for the Onion: http://www.theonion.com/news/index.php?issue=4116&n=1
You are truly prescient, you comedic genius, you.