Pope Benedict is smoking something. Part of the reason I left the Church after high school was I couldn’t reconcile the attitude that the pontiff displayed in his celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth yesterday. And I look to the continued vitriol dripping from the purpose-driven pastor, and the legislation by the former special prosecutor, and the actions of my country in the United Nations, and I fear for humanity.
With all the threats to the human species: the destruction of the planet by technological deterioration; the destruction of the planet by military excess; the decimation of the ecosystem by apathy; the depopulation through greed, causing starvation, rampant disease, and the execution of millions which repeats each decade when a new oppressed group seizes weapons and power and takes out their grievances on their oppressors, the head of the Catholic Church decides that he needs to attack those whom the Almighty has blessed with sexuality.
With a smarmy, poorly-written play on words making homosexuality equal to deforestation, Benedict further rode down the path of intolerance, ignorance, hate and division. Merry Christmas. Had global warming been a greater issue fifty years ago, I’m certain that he would have equated saving the rainforest with keeping the races segregated; the same way the Vatican spoke so eloquently about helping persecuted Jews during World War II; and the Holy See spoke up during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, which saw Africa pillaged and Africans enslaved and scattered across the globe in a diaspora which still hasn’t been rectified. Why does The Roman Catholic Church, THE institution of God’s love on planet earth, miss the larger points in favor of banning women from preaching the gospel, and forbidding priests to marry?
I believe in God. And I believe in the possibility of people. What I have trouble with, and this is where mega pastors who preach hate, from Farrakhan to Warren, catch hell is that they preach to the small mind, they pick and choose which words of God they want to listen to, they fail to grasp the message and instead cling to the syllables that were written by men just like them.
The Pope is preaching hate, no matter what language and no matter what context. He is preaching division and intolerance. The celebration of Jesus’ birth (“He’s the reason for the season,” as my aunt likes to say) is supposed to be a time of love, understanding, renewal, companionship, and awe at the miracles that each of us as an individual is, and who we have to thank for that gift. It’s not about the toys we can accumulate, or the flat screens we can acquire. And it’s definitely not about raising ourselves up by stepping on and keeping others down. It’s about celebrating the angels, in ourselves and each other, not demonizing others.
Why do people forget that?