“Pope condemns ‘pagan’ love of money, power” [MSN]
Paraphrasing from the New Testament, Benedict decried “insatiable greed” and said “the love of money is the root of all evil.”
“Have not money, the thirst for possessions, for power and even knowledge, diverted man from his true destiny?” the pope asked. Benedict blasted modern society’s thirst for these new “pagan” idols as a “scandal, a real plague.” The pope urged the faithful
to “shun the worship of idols. Do not tire of doing good!”’
Do I really need to pick this apart and spell out exactly what’s wrong with this picture? A spiritual monarch, appointed by a 1500 year-old entrenched, insular oligarchy, wearing Prada & silk & gold robes, paying no tax, living in a fucking palace the size of a city (with his own private army), who is treated with more deference and reverence and suckingthefuckup than any living king, queen, prime minister, president or rock star, “blasting” the world for daring to pursue material gain?
And all this before he flies to Lourdes, a place where the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared to a peasant girl a century (or something) ago, and which (like practically all other similar places) is now a massive cash cow for any opportunistic seller of glow-in-the-dark Mary statues to set up a stall and rake in francs from the gullible hordes. “Shun the worship of idols”, he says…Lourdes, a place where Mary, mother of Jesus, is idolised & worshipped & prayed to by Catholics as much as her famous son, or his infamous father (this in a supposedly monotheistic religion); a place where this Mary-worship is cashed in on, on a daily fucking basis by shrewd vendors of religious garbage. Though the hordes of Lourdes may not be Ratzinger’s fault, his physical presence there legitimises and condones the very behaviour he’s apparently railing against. Lourdes is the very embodiment – and perfect combination – of idolatry & the love of money. It is the one place you’d expect Ratzi to single out for special excoriation. You’d think if the gottfuehrer was really out to emulate the J-man and kick the money-lenders out of the temple, he’d go up and down the route to Lourdes getting medieval on the stall-holders with their cheap trinkets and cynical cashing in on vulnerable, gullible peoples’ willingness to be deceived and fleeced – or even single them out for a special Papal “blast”. But I won’t hold my breath. After all, the very thing that’s made the Catholic church one of the most wealthy (but also most secretive) non-corporate, non-governmental organisations in the world has been its long history of deceiving people out of their wealth through appeals to peoples’ fear of hell, or simply taking what they want at the point of a sword or a set of thumbscrews. Why the hell should anyone expect a career hypocrite (the latest in a long line of such hypocrites, born from an environment of the purest hypocrisy) to suddenly change his spots? Why should we expect any action on this facet of Papist hypocrisy when we can’t even expect them to effectively apologise for and pursue the perpetrators of decades of child-rape?
So, no, kids, he’s not serious. This is an empty, populist platitude, like so much of what we in the real world hear from this man and many of his silk-robed generals & lieutenants & associate wizards on a regular basis. A king – an emperor, no less – chiding us for wanting the good things this life has to offer. After all, that’s what most of us want. Not the best, not the top-tier version of everything. Just good things. Hell, most of us just want things that work. A car that starts, a washing machine that washes, doors that lock, a dog that barks, a computer & connection that are fast enough to just load webpages without too much staring at that little bastard hourglass. And if we can afford stuff that might make our lives a little easier or a bit more enjoyable, leave us to enjoy it. Ratzi’s “avoid the love of money” platitude is just a standard call & response to make middle-class Catholics feel good about themselves and assuage any guilt they may have at their own material success, all the while knowing the majority of their Catholic brethren just struggle to eat enough in a day, let alone have the luxury to dream about Aston Martins or houses at the beach (how many residences does Ratzi have again? At least as many as the old Czar of Russia, I’ll go out on a limb and assume). While Ratzi continues the Vatican’s reprehensible “only have sex for kids, condoms don’t work and might even kill you faster” routine, millions of Catholic third-world citizens, already in severe straits, are condemned to even more poverty & hardship through having children they can’t afford to feed. Ratzi then congratulates them on their Christ-like poverty from his gold throne, or from the platform of his gleaming, bullet-proof Mercedes.
I’m not a religious man (just thought I’d spell that out), but it’s at times like this I have lots of admiration for people such St Francis of Assisi. I may not have agreed with Frank on how best to spend one’s life, but the fact that he actually practiced what the bible apparently preaches about avoiding materialism, instead of just preaching it to others as he grew wealthy and fat off their toil, demands my respect. Until his death, St Francis railed against the pursuit of wealth and fame and was enraged by the cult of personality that had grown around him in his later years. If Ratzi had half that guy’s balls I’d – well, shit, I’d be really, really, really surprised. A Catholic demigod, not being a fucking hypocrite? I’d be sticking a thermometer in the ground to see if hell was freezing over.
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