Monday, September 18, 2006

The Pope Is a Provocateur And Science Ninny

This past August Pope Ratzinger sacked his chief astronomer, the American Jesuit priest Father George Coyne. Father Coyne contradicted the Pope’s ignorant endorsement of “intelligent design” (creationism). The Pope won’t stand for dissent. In the Pope’s Vatican there is no room for discussion or dialogue. If you don’t agree with Pope Ratz, you are out. Last Tuesday in Germany, the Pope quoted a 14th century Christian emperor who said Muslims were evil and inhuman. He didn’t say he didn’t agree with the statement. He just let it hang in the air to do the nasty work it was intended to do. And that intention was to put all Muslims on notice that the Roman Catholic Church views Islam and all Muslims as beneath contempt. Apologists are saying the Pope wrote the speech himself and did not realize his words were provocative and that they would offend the entire Muslim world. Pope Ratzinger is many things. He’s mean, he’s vicious, he’s stubborn, and he’s unmovable. But stupid he is not. This Pope absolutely realizes that his every word reaches into the most remote areas of the world. And as God’s spokesman on earth, he expects his every word to be heeded and taken seriously. Pope Ratz recently moved the Vatican’s senior Arabist to Cairo. It is the general consensus among religious experts that the meaning of that reassignment is that Ratz sees no reason to have any discussions whatever with Muslims. The Pope has rid himself and the Vatican of his former second-in-command and he has appointed a new foreign minister. There is no one in the Vatican who looks over or edits the Pope’s speeches. There is no one who dares to advise him on diplomacy or to suggest that he change ill-advised rhetoric. Which is exactly the way this Pope wants it. Ratz managed to choke out a bland and inadequate non-apology apology at the summer papal palace yesterday. He said, "I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address, which were considered offensive." Ratz added, “These were in fact quotations from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought.” Boloney! Why make the quotation in the first place? In the same speech, why define jihad as “holy war” and say that violence in the name of religion is contrary to God’s nature and to reason? Why? To provoke and to make a public statement about how the Roman Catholic Church views Islam. This alarm bell was struck by the man that over a billion Roman Catholics see as God’s surrogate. And no matter what the Pope now says or doesn’t say, claims or doesn’t claim, this bell cannot be unrung.

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