Sagrada Família, Barcelona, SpainIn his continued effort to encourage the world to forget the abuse of children at the hands of Catholic clergy which took place around the world at least for decades, if not centuries, and which has been systematically covered up the the Catholic hierarchy for as long, Pope Benedict XVI keeps railing sanctimoniously about the evils of “secularism.” CNN reports on his latest outburst, when he dedicated a new church in Barcelona, Spain (WebCite cached article):

Pope Benedict XVI defended religion from critics Sunday as he dedicated the Sagrada Familia church, a still-unfinished emblem of the Spanish city of Barcelona.

“This is the great task before us: to show everyone that God is a God of peace not of violence, of freedom not of coercion, of harmony not of discord,” he said.

And he pushed back against what he sees as increasing secularism in the world, saying, “I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him.”

Benedict would, of course, carry much more moral authority, if only he would finally come clean about the Catholic clerical child-abuse scandal, admit the hierarchy’s complicity in the crimes of abusive clergy, and hand over for prosecution all guilty priests, monks, nuns, and bishops remaining in the Church.

I know, fat chance that will ever happen. Nonetheless, until he does so, the Pope does not have the moral authority to pass judgement on the putative evils of secularism, or of anything else, for that matter; he remains the head of an organization with nearly the same moral fiber as the Mafia.

The Pope also could not help but spew more ridiculousness concerning same-sex marriage, which Spain recently legalized:

He also defended the traditional family, after Spain’s Socialist government legalized same-sex marriage.

“The generous and indissoluble love of a man and a woman is the effective context and foundation of human life in its gestation, birth, growth and natural end,” he said.

The Pope suggests, here, that marriage is about procreation. As I pointed out way back in 2008, however, this is not the case, as millions of childless married couples around the world can attest. If the Pope — and other marriage advocates who also love to spew the “marriage-is-only-for-making-babies” canard — are correct, then all those childless married folks should be forced either to divorce, or to have children. If he — and those other marriage advocates — are not willing to do that, then they aren’t being true to their own stated philosophy.

At any rate, it’s long past time for Benedict XVI to stop wailing and moaning about “secularism” and finally put his own house in order. This would, of course, be the Christian thing to do, following Jesus’ own teachings:

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me remove that splinter from your eye,” while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:41-42)

It’s long past time for the Pope to read his own holy book and then do what it tells him to do. (The same goes for every other Christian in the world who thinks s/he’s entitled to tell everyone else what to do, but who refuses to abide by those teachings him/herself.)

Photo credit: Katonams / Wikimedia Commons.

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4 Responses to “Pope Keeps Whining About Secularism”
  1. vtel57 says:

    Initially, the Church was a means to control the masses. Nowadays, it has evolved into a business. Controlling the masses has been relegated to secular politics. As a business, the CEO (the Pope), is just protecting his assets and acting on the best interests of the stockholders (the upper echelon of Cardinals, Bishops, Monsignors, etc.

    Hi, Psi! Just because I don't comment much doesn't mean I don't read here. You're linked on my blog also.



  2. Pope Keeps Whining About Secularism | Miscellanea Agnostica…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

  3. PsiCop says:

    Hi Eric!

    What's interesting is that, while Christianity did become a means to control society, that's not what it was originally intended to be. And by "originally," I mean the mid-1st century, prior to the writing of the gospels and perhaps just after. If you read the oldest Christian texts … the seven genuine Pauline epistles, the "lost gospel" of Q, maybe also the gospel according to Mark, the Didache, the epistle of James, the epistle to the Hebrews, and maybe a couple others … one sees no effort to "control" society. Any "control" discussed in these documents deals only with the church itself and the belief community, and not outsiders. If anything, these documents show a clear demarcation between "the Church" and "the world." Christians of that era are not concerned with others, they're concerned only with themselves and their own budding social order.

    The work of historians and theologians such as J.S. Kloppenborg, Burton Mack, J.Z. Smith, and others all show that the earliest Christians were social experimenters … they created a distinct "society within a society" based not on traditional factors such as ethnicity, vocation, geography, or social status, but on something else — i.e. their apocalyptic belief in a dual universe comprised of the "material world," ruled by the Roman state, and a spiritual world which was removed from it, but which one day reveal itself and become ascendant over it. Put as simply as possible … and this hardly does their beliefs justice … they believed that, as long as they lived according to the principles of that "spiritual realm," this might cause that revelation to take place.

    It was in the last years of the 1st century — after enough time had gone by that they'd given up on the idea of the "spiritual realm" magically revealing itself and taking control over the "material world" — that these Christians began to change their minds about it all. The magic revelation wasn't going to happen, at least not without earth-shattering changes. Other changes took place, such as dealing with "alternative teachings" that sprang up within their own Church. The response was a Church which took itself much more seriously, established "clergy" to control its members and ensure consistency, and the advent of belief in "the material world" as an outright enemy of the Church, rather than the more neutral assumption that it was merely "everything-and-everyone-outside-the-Church."

    Another way to look at it, is to read Jesus' own "core teachings" as seen in the gospels. The Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain encapsulate a great deal of the earliest Christians' teachings. There's nothing in them that suggests anything even remotely like a "social control" mechanism. It's all about the individual; it's all about humility; it's all about being of equal standing before God; and it's all about giving up control over one's own life. Above all, they had no interest in polity, as seen in the "render to Caesar" comment attributed to Jesus in the Synoptic gospels.

    This is something most people in the occidental world, believers and non-believers alike, do not understand. The difference between modern institutionalized Christianity … whether within the rigid hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, in the fundamentalist teachings of Protestant evangelicalism, in the vapid thinking of New Thought Christianity, or any of its other varieties … is so vastly different from the earliest Christianity, that the two bear no resemblance to one another beyond having the same claimed founder. In all respects they are utterly different religions.

  4. […] not the children they abused. Other, more indirect responses have been the Pope’s claims that “secularism” is the greatest evil in the world, the equivalent of Nazism … and worse, that the Nazis themselves had been wicked […]