Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Joey Ratz: The Pope the RCC So Richly Deserves

I wish I'd thought up Joey Ratz, but it's Jon Stewart's. It's so Italian, though, don't you think? Hard to believe Joey Ratz is German. Joseph Ratzinger, um…Benedict XVI, is the first German Pope since…well, no one is really clear about that. There was Hadrian VI (1522-23) but the Vatican says he was actually a Dutchman. And there was Stephen IX (1057-58) but he came from Lorraine, and France and Germany changed hands so often that who knows who was German and who was French back then? But then there was Victor II, a nobleman (Gebhard of Dollnstein-hirschberg) who was pope for only two years--1055-1057. And Gebhard was a real German. He was a native of the Black Forest. Within two months of putting on his pope hat and taking the name Victor II, he condemned clerical marriages. That may come as a surprise to anyone thinking the RCC has always made celibacy a requirement. But from 313 AD-- the official start of the Christian religion--until clerical marriage was declared invalid in 1139, the marriage of priests was not forbidden. We can thank the last German Pope, Victor II, for starting the ball rolling. So. The man they called Pope John Paul II's “rottweiler” is now Pope himself. At least there won't be any surprises. Joey Ratz has been running the Vatican ever since John Paul II admitted he had Parkinson's back in 2001. This morning, I heard an idiot on the radio intone that “a new era for the Catholic church” has begun with the election of Benedict XVI. What new era? Even though today the newspapers are full of descriptions of Joey Ratz as being kind, shy, soft of voice, a great thinker, a great humanitarian…fuhgeddaboudit. Unless Benedict XVI says condoms should be used to fight the scourge of AIDS in the third world, unless he says our overpopulation is causing death and misery in the world and must be slowed down, unless he says women own their own bodies and the Vatican needs to butt out, unless he says popes are far from infallible, unless he says the RCC has been woefully remiss about condemning pedophile priests, and unless he says the RCC henceforth will not insinuate itself into politics, then we know it will be business as usual at the Vatican. If you think the Vatican was rigid, uncompromising, smug, unmoved by world suffering and power-mad under John Paul II, just wait til Joey Ratz clarifies his vision for the Roman Catholic Church.

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