The Pope Is Destroying The Church By Being Christlike.

Basically here’s what happened – the old pope signed documents telling priests to cover up for child rapists (basically the most evil thing you can do) and as a result was the first pope to resign since the middle ages.  Now the new guy is going around being as christlike and decent as he can possibly manage (washing the feet of prisoners, foregoing a foot of bullet-and-bomb-proof plexiglass (the former pope had so much faith) when in public, actually caring about the poor and not doing so in a “kiss my ring” patronizing way.  He’s like the obama of catholicism, an unusually genuine and good leader made possible by an inordinately corrupt/incompetent predecessor, who is trying to make up for all the damage his predecessor did.

So anyway, this is a natural reaction to scandal BUT it’s another nail in the coffin of the catholic church, and my reasoning is this – the whole reason the catholic church exists at all is because of the myth that they have some kind of special voodoo power you can’t get anywhere else.  The pope is ordained by god as jesus’ successor and has a special ability to infallibly interpret the word of god and is basically on a higher spiritual plane than you, so you need to follow him (and not just on facebook) to figure out things you literally can’t figure out on your own.  And furthermore you need priests because without them you can’t be absolved of your sins or baptized so you can get into heaven or avoid hell.  You need a priest to sign off on you getting off because fornication and masturbation are sins and you can only bust a nut in your wife’s vajayjay and only a priest can marry you in the eyes of god.  So you can’t be moral without them, you can’t avoid hell or get into heaven without them, you can’t have any truth without them and you can’t even have an orgasm without them (especially if you’re a ten year old boy).  I know, low blow.  But wait, there’s more.

The very notion of a reform pope who is better than the last one (especially following the pedophilia cover-up scandal) demolishes this notion that the office is infused with some kind of mystical superiority that us mere mortals must clamor to if we want to be moral or live a righteous life.  The church is no more infallible than the white house, and this is just the latest administration.  There is nothing special about the pope unless he happens to be a special guy, just like there isn’t anything inherently special about the president, and the office he holds only has as much influence as we give it.

I think people are realizing more and more that they don’t need a pope or a particular church, that they can for the most part work things out on their own through reading books by biblical scholars, learning about modern science and history, engaging others in discussion and debate and so on.  And it seems to be working because at least in the west we haven’t set anyone on fire in the name of god for maybe two or three generations…

But I can’t see any other result but that the catholic church will continue to fracture, as all the major churches have.  Christianity has gone from a spiritual north korea where you are only allowed to worship the dear leader to a spiritual 32 flavors, where they have something to suit every taste (and type 2 diabetes!).

Your thoughts?

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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38 Responses to The Pope Is Destroying The Church By Being Christlike.

  1. I’d say it’s for the best. I have an opinion very much the same as Vikram Gandhi, the church and spiritual leaders shouldn’t be pretending they are better or are needed in order to reach a certain spiritual understanding. (I love the documentary Kumare) The spiritual leaders should be preaching that you can find your own understanding, and that as great as the church can be (it’s always validating to be with like minded) you can find your own peace on your own terms with your own understanding and belief. 

  2. TheSutraDude says:

    A couple of months ago I heard somebody quip, the 3rd biggest religious group in the U.S. is ex-Catholics. I’ve not looked into the new Pope but from the little I’ve heard his behavior as Pope is consistent with his behavior in the past, being a man of the people who has made it his mission to be among those less fortunate. That’s admirable. for the same reasons I admire Bill Gates. I agree that people are parting ways from the notion that the Church is infallible.  

  3. cmdr_keen says:

    Christianity has already fractured; the Catholics are just one of a number now. Perhaps Benedict XVI’s illness was a convenient excuse, but it’s also worth noting that Benedict was close to John Paul II, and saw how a frail Pope created a leadership void that paralyzed the church. Thus, he saw the benefit in stepping aside to allow a more robust successor to energize the church and provide that leadership that’s needed.I guess I always look for the good than the bad, and really, the pedophile scandal crossed several papacies, not just Benedict’s. Just like the current political “scandals” dominating the Obama Presidency right now, you’ll interpret the situation according to your world view – I’m no exception.Religion is personal. It should remain that way, and your actions should highlight where your heart is. My two cents.

  4. It’s shameful and incredibly misplaced how you suck up to Obama so much. 

  5. just finished studying Gregorian reform.  Christians, in general, don’t handle reformations very well.

  6. Nostra_Damus says:

    Obviously alot of wrong has been commited by the church and I agree that people more and more are finding their own truth and feel that to come close to their God, they don’t need the assistance of the church. But despite its faults, the church provides solace to many people and fir that reason alone respect is the nane of the gane. Its like when you walk into somebodies house, you may not agree with how a family conducts themsekves, but out if respect , if you don’t agree withbwhat kind of philosophy is going on there, your opinions are by most expressed in a civilized manner.Unfortunately religion has not done much to unite us as a people, but neither has edicate when we deal in these manners.

  7. This is one of those hallucinations I was trying to tell you about.You’re an atheist.  Well, you’re supposed to be an atheist anyways.  But maybe that’s just one of your hallucinations too.Anyway, an authentic atheists has no interest in religion.So what’s the motivation behind this latest hallucination?  Bigotry?  Hatred?

  8. You claim the Catholic Church is coming apart at the seams, is on its way down…yet here in Milwaukee we, say, have one of our “voodoo” priests preside at a ritual where we adore what you would call a piece of bread and over 900 people–mostly young professionals and their children–show up on a Saturday night for over two hours, with confession lines going nearly out the door.And that was just the last one; there were previous events and the number of attendees continues to grow. Did you follow any of the coverage of World Youth Day in Madrid? Will you follow the coverage of World Youth Day in Rio this July? In Madrid there was a thunderstorm that swept in during an all-night vigil before the Blessed Sacrament, with the “pedophile pope” presiding. Though all in attendance were drenched the hundreds of thousands of young people from all across the globe were kneeling in the mud or dancing, everyone singing hymns and songs, expressing their love for God, the Church and yes, even the Pope. This year they are expecting between four and eight million young Catholics from around the world to come to Rio de Janeiro and if the previous World Youth Days are any indication it, too, will be a joyful event.From where I live, stand and work, the Church is alive, well and even growing. Are all the members of the Church, or her leadership, perfect? Of course not. True you and I will both have our biases, but I think there is a great deal going on in the Church that you are unaware of.

  9. In the days of nearly universal compulsory education- and the Muslim world will have to educate its girls sooner, rather than later- there is simply no need for paid clergy anymore.

  10. locomotiv says:

    the pope is like santa…to amuse the kids…

  11. n_e_i_l says:

    I’ve already had my say about Benedict’s resignation. I am impressed that you found that meme. I wouldn’t quite compare Benedict to W. He’d be something more like a John Ashcroft-turned-president. His predecessor, though, really is a parallel to Reagan—charismatic and likable, but a disaster policywise. For the pedophile priest thing in particular, JP2 and his cronies bear a lot of blame for letting that fester on their watch.

  12. agnophilo says:

    @Dame_Delirium – When I was a kid (not long ago) magicians could still get away with pretending to actually have mystical powers in the US.  Now they can’t.  A psychic did a tv show where he used cold-reading on an audience full of mourners – now everyone knows what cold reading is and why it’s bullshit.  The proverbial curtain is being pulled back inch by inch and systematically the various men behind it are being revealed.@TheSutraDude – See my comment to ancient_scribe.@cmdr_keen – True, and the point being that mystical powers are not ascribed to president obama.  Also he’s not the emperor of the united states, and even a scandal in the executive branch doesn’t necessarily reflect on him, the same way a cashier stealing money doesn’t necessarily reflect on the store manager.  People treat obama as though he were god and is omniscient, omnipotent and therefore omni-responsible (ironically they hold god responsible for nothing).  Disagree with the people who hated bush, at least they hated him for things he actually did.@Ambrosius_Augustus_Rex – I actually very rarely compliment him – most of the time I just reject the fiction that he’s hitler, marx and margaret sangar wrapped into one.@flapper_femme_fatale – There’s a lot of “I don’t wanna talk about it” in the air.@Nostra_Damus – You might find this interesting.@ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – You keep using that word.  I don’t think it means what you think it means.@Ancient_Scribe – “You claim the Catholic Church is coming apart at the seams, is on its way down…yet here in Milwaukee we, say, have one of our “voodoo” priests preside at a ritual where we adore what you would call a piece of bread and over 900 people–mostly young professionals and their children–show up on a Saturday night for over two hours, with confession lines going nearly out the door.”To quote one of our founding fathers:”If the Christian religion, as I understand it, or as you understand it, should maintain its ground, as I believe it will, yet Platonic, Pythagoric, Hindoo, and cabalistic Christianity, which is Catholic Christianity, and which has prevailed for 1,500 years, has received a mortal wound, of which the monster must finally die. Yet so strong is his constitution, that he may endure for centuries before he expires.”- John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson (July 16, 1814). From the Works of John Adams, Vol. X, p.  100Cultures change over generations, not minutes.”And that was just the last one; there were previous events and the number of attendees continues to grow. Did you follow any of the coverage of World Youth Day in Madrid? Will you follow the coverage of World Youth Day in Rio this July? In Madrid there was a thunderstorm that swept in during an all-night vigil before the Blessed Sacrament, with the “pedophile pope” presiding. Though all in attendance were drenched the hundreds of thousands of young people from all across the globe were kneeling in the mud or dancing, everyone singing hymns and songs, expressing their love for God, the Church and yes, even the Pope. This year they are expecting between four and eight million young Catholics from around the world to come to Rio de Janeiro and if the previous World Youth Days are any indication it, too, will be a joyful event.”Google (in quotes) “catholic church attendance” and tell me how much of what you find is good news.  Yes there are more catholics in some places than there were last year, but this has to do with everything from birth rates to immigration.  In the US for instance catholic church attendance is relatively stable, but only because of millions of people flooding into the US every year from predominantly catholic countries.  And even then the number of people that calls themselves “christian” is declining by 1% each year on average which is extremely fast.”From where I live, stand and work, the Church is alive, well and even growing.” From where I live it’s dying.  And in more ways than one.  There was a survey a few years ago that asked catholic ten basic questions about what they believe.  Nothing obscure, things like is the devil a literal being or symbolic of evil and does the eucharist literally become the body of christ or is it a metaphor.  Ten questions.  Something like 7% of catholics got all ten questions right, which means 93% of catholics in the US aren’t actually catholic.  They just don’t know enough about their own religion to know they’re not catholic.  Think the church here is doing well?  Or that it is, to borrow a metaphor for the pre-collapse soviet union, “all rust and paint”.”Are all the members of the Church, or her leadership, perfect? Of course not. True you and I will both have our biases, but I think there is a great deal going on in the Church that you are unaware of.”So if the members of the church are just fallible men then the church should keep the church around only as long as it serves a valid purpose, like the electric company or any other man-made institution, no?

  13. TheSutraDude says:

    @agnophilo – From where I live it’s dying too and has been for years. In fact where I grew up in the 60s though many attended church on Sundays the racism persisted which said to me the church had no effect on the lives of people unless it was preaching racism which it wasn’t as far as I know. People attended church out of some sense of guilt or something else, ritual maybe but going to church seemed not to have an effect on their lives. I sometimes heard grownups talking at Sunday barbecues about how wrong what the priest that morning said. It was more often than not wives who forced their husbands and children to go to church against their wills. They went but with eye rolls. Ironically the Church has a big problem today regarding women’s roles in the Church being subservient to men. There is an openly gay priest in a Catholic Church in Manhattan. Maybe the Vatican is unaware. Maybe it’s an experiment. Maybe they are willing to look the other way so long as gay people show up and put money in the basket.  

  14. TheSutraDude says:

    @agnophilo – And what does it mean to be a “Catholic”? Paul Ryan believes he is a good Catholic because he follows the teachings of Ayn Rand for which he was ripped a new one by American Bishops and Nuns. He claims to be a good Catholic and a follower of the teachings. So where is there a teaching when a teaching can be so loosely interpreted? 

  15. @TheSutraDude – Paul Ryan believes he is Catholic because he follows Catholic doctrine.Catholic doctrine is what makes a Catholic, not Ayn Rand who has absolutely nothing to do with Catholicism.In the New Dark Age of Stupid stating the obvious becomes a grave necessity.

  16. @agnophilo – Since you hallucinate alternative realities as a substitute for thinking, how can you possibly know the true meaning of anything?

  17. @TheSutraDude – Just because you live in La La Land doesn’t mean everyone else does.Every place I have ever lived has a vibrant Catholic community.And besides it is better to have a few smart, dedicated, faithful Christians in the Church than a bunch of hateful, butt ignorant imbeciles.

  18. TheSutraDude says:

    @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – “Paul Ryan believes he is Catholic because he follows Catholic doctrine.” You’ll have to argue that with Sister Simone Campbell who has many times said Paul Ryan has a wrong notion of what Catholicism is about. The U.S. Conference of Bishops has said the same. You’ll have to argue with Paul Ryan too. It’s Paul Ryan, not I who equates Ayn Rand and Catholicism as being on the same page. You should try reading. You might not blurt out such ignorant statements if you knew what you were talking about, even a little bit. 

  19. TheSutraDude says:

    @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – “Butt ignorant imbeciles”. See my previous comment which points out your ignorance on the matter. NYC is hardly la la land except perhaps in your butt ignorant mind. You’ll always be butt ignorant loborn. You demonstrate it to all of us again and again. 

  20. @TheSutraDude – There are many leftists out there posing as Catholics.  Sister Simone Campbell is definitely one of them.Everything the Democrat Party believes in is a breach of Natural Law.  Natural Law is a subset of Gospel teachings.Therefore it is Sister Campbell’s Catholicism that you should be questioning, not Paul Ryan’s.

  21. @TheSutraDude – NYC is the capital of Planet Imbecile.  

  22. TheSutraDude says:

    @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – It’s Paul Ryan’s and apparently your idea of Catholicism that are way off base. It’s not only Sister Simone Campbell who btw is a decent human being. The American Conference of Bishops and the Vatican itself also criticized Paul Ryan’s ideology as being contrary to Catholic principles. Go argue with them if you like. I’m just the messenger. You will have to argue The American Conference of Bishops and The Vatican are leftist too. 

  23. @Ancient_Scribe – The church may be growing in your region, but nationwide church attendance is significantly down from 20 years ago.  Experts estimate that, taking into consideration the tendency of people to tell pollsters they go to church when in fact they don’t, less than 18% of Americans attend a church more than 2 times a year.  I can’t help but wonder what percentage of that 18% are non believers that go to services because they are forced to (kids) or are guilted into it (adults with spouses or parents who would look down on them if they didn’t attend).

  24. @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – You see when you’re wrong about a thing, in this case your position that Ryan is a good example of a man guided by Catholic principles, you should just admit it.  Continuing to argue in favor a thing that clearly isn’t true makes you look the fool, like those crazy conservatives who keep claiming that someone wasn’t born in America even when all evidence says he was.  

  25. @ItsWhatEyeKnow – I am not only right about Ryan being a good Catholic, I am right about you being a Democrat Party hack.You people always come out of the sewer when your master El Presidente needs a boost.

  26. @ItsWhatEyeKnow – Is it part of your function to come on social networks and report all Democrat Party political enemies to the IRS or other government agency?

  27. @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – Lowborn?  How you doin, old girl?

  28. @ItsWhatEyeKnow – LowBorn up your ass, in your brain, out of your mouth.You Democrat Party hacks need to get a brain of your own.I’m sure LowBorn will sell you one for real cheap if you are nice.Just remember, you get what you pay for.

  29. @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – No surprise they fired you from teaching.  You really have no business around kids.  You’re a little whacko. 

  30. @ItsWhatEyeKnow – The Democrat Hack strikes again!Get that LowBorn out of your ass.  It sounds like she’s causing some damage way on up there.

  31. First of all agno the pope is actually the successor of St. Peter according to their doctrine the Catholic church was founded when Jesus (Christ) of Nazareth said “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hadeswill not overcome it.I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”. secondly we as Americans were still setting Blacks (African Americans) on fire as late as 1948 which would have been 2 generations ago (if you calculate it at 40 years a generation) and most of Blacks lit on fire were Blacks who had overstepped the “boundaries of God” by sleeping with a white woman. 

  32. DraigStudio says:

    @ItsWhatEyeKnow – I was forced as a kid and then guilted all through my 20s whenever I visited my mother. Whenever I wasnt around her I stayed far and away from religion. 

  33. @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove –  Lowborn in my butt?  That makes no sense.  No wonder they fired you. We need our children to be taught by tecahers who, at the very least, make sense.

  34. @ItsWhatEyeKnow – So are you one of those shady Democrat Party operatives who goes out and digs up dirt on your political enemies so you can destroy them?What would your mother say?

  35. @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – speaking of moms, did it bother your mom when you were determined to be unsuitable to be around kids?

  36. @agnophilo – Forgive the tardiness of my reply; we just wrapped up school and I had tests and papers to grade, scores to tabulate, etc. And now I see that Xanga may not be around much longer so I am trying to catch up on all my Xanga correspondence!I will try and address you point-by-point, as you adopted previously.1. While I do have a great deal of respect for the founding fathers, I would hardly view them as an authority on the topic of Catholic Christianity, especially considering very few of them–if any–were Catholic or very friendly toward Catholicism, though a few of them did what they could to put an end to public acts of anti-Catholic sentiment and demonstration (George Washington, for example, ordered his troops not to burn effigies of Guy Fawkes on November the 5th, as was English custom). While John Adams is certainly entitled to his opinion, and while he is a person for whom I hold a great deal of respect, I must with equal respect disagree with him based on “the Christian religion, as I understand it.” I do recognize that cultures change over generations, but I would also add that change–for its own sake–is not always good or for the best. 2. I am keenly aware-considering in four years I’ll be ordained a priest–that Church attendance is down and that there are other disheartening statistics out there. And yes, all this–from decline to growth–is influenced by many diverse factors. But you must realize that while our culture for the most part sees success and victory based on numbers and increases, the Church is not like that at all. While we certainly rejoice in growth and numbers we also know that even were there only a dozen people in all the world who called themselves Catholic, this is not a “loss!” After all, we began with twelve men and a handful of women and others, and we have suffered through far worse than we are suffering now. Remember, we are a Church that rejoices in culturally-contradictory things like virginity, truth, poverty, suffering, martyrdom, humiliation and a God who became a poor man only to die. We rejoice in other things, too, such as wealth, pleasure, prosperity, health, success, reward, and so on, but all in their proper place, and recognizing all as a gift from God, good or ill. It is His Church, after all, and should He want a Church of great numbers He will have it, and should He desire a very small Church, He shall have it. All we truly care about is that it is His Church, and we are faithful to Him. 3. You mentioned a survey that showed the great poverty of knowledge that many Catholics have regarding their faith. If the legitimacy of someone’s claim to being Catholic is based on knowledge of their religion, then I would dread seeing the results of a survey given to US citizens about US law and history! Would people who failed be deported because they aren’t really American? Rather, being Catholic is a choice and confession; the newly-baptized infant is as old as the college student who hardly knows a thing about his faith. I know very devout Catholics who love God, love the Church, but if you put their knowledge of that faith to the test they’d fail pretty miserably. But they could speak with you at length about what they do know and, more importantly, their relationship with and experiences of God. We are not gnostics, after all, believing that our salvation and membership in the Church is based on what we know. We are Catholic, and that means choosing to belong to the people of God, loving and serving that God, as faithfully as we can, in spite of suffering, failure, ignorance and all else. 4. I don’t think that the Church can be compared with a man-made institution that remains only insofar as it is “useful”; it’s not really that kind of institution. Granted, I and many other Catholics do not believe it is solely man-made but is rather an institution that was begun cooperatively between God and Man. However, I know that is not your belief, so I will stick with the human aspect of the Church.The Church is not trying to be useful; it is not trying to provide a particular service or utility. The Church’s main effort is to bring people to God, to facilitate and foster that the best it can in whatever circumstance. Sometimes that means providing charitable services, education, etc. for those who cannot otherwise obtain these things; the Church in this country, at any rate, runs or at least sponsors nearly 30% of the hospitals in this country, and does the same for more private schools and other educational institutions than any other organization. The Church isn’t trying to fulfill a particular utility in our society like the electric company or even the government; the Church operates in places without governments and without electricity anyways. The Church simply exists where the people of God are; where Catholics are, there’s the Church, which is different than, say, citizens of a country. If a hundred Americans gather in China it isn’t as though America is there with them. Yes, the Church has fallible members as does any institution–governments, schools, disciplines, fields of study, all of it–but if we began to phase out every institution based on the fallibility of its members we may as well eliminate the whole human race.

  37. @ItsWhatEyeKnow – As I mention in my comments above, I realize very keenly the statistics and numbers. However, the Church doesn’t measure success or prosperity in numbers alone. While numbers do concern the Church in significant ways ultimately our true focus is whether or not we have served to bring a single person closer to God, or not. 

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