Pope to resign

The BBC reports that Benedict XVI is unexpectedly resigning as pope. I guess you could call it an ex cathedra announcement. /caruso


        1.  If this Doritos comparison holds, then the new Pope will be more “Blazin'”, “Jacked”, and flavor enhanced than the last one.

      1. Actually, Vatican insiders are saying that the P is leaving so that he can devote all of his efforts towards his passion for show tunes.

        1. I look forward to his starring role in Oklahoma next Fall, especially if he’s still wearing the pope hat.

          1. ‘There’s never been a better time to start in life-

            It ain’t too early and it ain’t too late!

            Starting as a farmer with a brand new wife-

            Still be living in a brand-new state!

            Brand new state-

            gonna treat you great!

            Gonna buy you barley, carrots, and pertaters,

            Pasture for the cattle, spinich and termaters,

            Flowers on the prarie where the June bugs zoom,

            Plen’y of air and plen’y of room,

            Plen’y of room to swing a rope!

            Plen’y of heart and plen’y of hope.’

        1. Try to look at the sunny side: now the church will scramble to come up with a new pope for the masses to quiche up to. 

          1. Benedict’s resignation letter was served on a silver platter.  There’s no plate like chrome for the hollandaise.

  1. Can we have the obligatory picture of the pope as the evil Emperor shooting Sith lightning from his hands, only this time it’s the picture of the emperor being thrown down the Death Star shaft by his apprentice, Darth Vader, please?  

        1. It’s about the pope – no need to be fair. 

          Also, the only young Germans at the time not in the Hitler Youth were from prosecuted monitories. All other were legally obligated to “join”.

          1. True, but it doesn’t mean he did either. I’d rather focus on his previous job as priest relocation coordinator.

          2. As the allies drew close to his position and his unit fell apart, he deserted and went back home. So – he didn’t desert when conscripted, only when faced with danger. That simple reinforces cowardice rather than painting the picture of someone willing to risk all to make a moral stand.

          3. He was 16 years old.

            Alexander the Great was 16 when he became regent of Macedonia.  Two years later he was conquering the known world.

          4. @NinjaSquirrel: So I’m guessing that you’re an absolute paragon of virtue and, had you been in the same situation, would have proudly rejected to join the Wehrmacht, gladly sacrificing your life (and, potentially, that of your family) to make a moral stand?

          5. @twitter-435480404:disqus
            I’m guessing that NynjaSquirrel probably doesn’t consider himself/herself to be the successor of Peter as appointed by Jesus Christ at the behest of the creator of the universe either……

        2. I have a relative who put herself and her child in great danger for several years making a very different choice (to be part of the underground, despite being a US citizen who could have just taken the next mode of transportation out of Dodge)….so no, that is not sufficient excuse for someone who is *supposedly* a man of faith and honor.  There were other choices.  He made his.

          1. Normally I would agree, but we are talking about the POPE!  In particular, THIS POPE.  Defending him by calling others absolutists is absurd comedy.

          2.  You’re defending a person who claims to speak for God on earth and you’re accusing people of absolutism?

        3. LOL, don’t make me laugh, no choice? There were plenty of people that stood up for their beliefs and paid with their lives. OK let’s resolve this…

          What would Jesus have done in the same position?

          For example, a good friend of mine is half french. his grandfather at the out break of the war was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness, the Nazi regime did not welcome them. So he was offered a choice. recant or suffer the consequences. He ended up in Auschwitz and thankfully managed to not get gassed.

          There’s always a choice

          1. I wrote “not much choice”, not “no choice”.

            What would Jesus have done? Now you´re making me laugh. What would Chuck Norris have done?

            Anyway, I´m sure each and every one of you commendable people would have gladly given your life to make a point in his place, especially being an impressionable teenager who had been indoctrinated with Nazi values as long as he could think.

            Have you ever thought that maybe teenagers of the same age that were helping the resistance had themselves been brought up to do just that?

            As long as I don´t see any of you gladly giving your lives for a cause that 90% of your peers wouldn´t call a good one, without the benefit of a late birth to have the proper perspective, I´ll take your heroic declarations with a grain of salt.

            Btw this has nothing to do with the whole pope BS which I couldn´t find more contemptible or the atrocities the Nazis committed. It has only to do with how much self sacrifice a 16 year old kid is capable of and can be blamed for not making.

          2. “What would Jesus have done? Now you´re making me laugh. What would Chuck Norris have done?”

            As much as I’d love to see that, the Pope (if you believe all the fairy tales) is meant to be “the vicar of christ” and not “the vicar of Chuck Norris”. 

            ” I´ll take your heroic declarations with a grain of salt.”

            Not my heroism, and I know exactly where you stand now as you obviously don’t seem to be up for any self sacrifice. You know what there are plenty of examples of 16, 15, 14 and younger to this very day making plenty of self sacrifice. None of which the current “vicar of Christ” has shown much of. The fact that you think a 16 year old can’t possibly show any self sacrifice just shows up your own naivety. 

          3. Have you ever thought that maybe teenagers of the same age that were helping the resistance had themselves been brought up to do just that?

            Not sure why a Calvinist is supporting the Pope.

          4. Reply to Antinous:
            I´m certainly not supporting the Pope, as I thought I had made clear in my previous post, quite the opposite. I just don´t like self-righteousness in the face of no-danger-at-all. I don´t doubt people, even very young people, can be capable of sacrifice but I doubt everyone who proclaims themselves to be ready for it would make good on that promise if shit got serious.

          5. Reply to your later comment:

            It´s always astounding to have someone give such a steadfast assessment of my character from an internet comment. It must be a grand feeling to be so sure about the world and anything in it. As you have helpfully pointed out, I´m probably to naive to ever hope to achieve such unerring judgement of complete strangers.

            Just to avoid any further misunderstanding on your or Antinous´ part: I don´t give a fuck about the pope and there´s no meaningful difference to me between someone proclaiming themselve “the vicar of christ” or “the vicar of Chuck Norris”.

        4.  And still many, many “acceptable” Germans paid the ultimate price for resisting Nazism and Hitler.

    1. Shine what you might have heard. Ratzinger is in fact stepping down so he can focus his remaining energy on the new Bravo series “The Real Pederasts of Vatican City.”

  2. Among the many things that can be told about this news:* This is proof that the Christians’ god is fallible, as the Pope is supposedly elected by divine inspiration. And since the infallibility of god is the basis of most Christian faith, this basically means that their religion is worthless – and they proved it themselves.

    * This is a huge sign of how Italian politics are changing, and with them the politics of Europe in general. Let me explain: Palpatine will resign four days after the upcoming election, in which all of the former Church-backing parties are expected to finally fail epically after 120 years of stranglehold on the country. This essentially means that the Church will have to begin paying taxes just like everybody else, and that priests are going to be accountable for their actions (and what is that Catholic priests do?) before Italian justice instead of the Vatican’s. No Church influence in the Parliament – or less so – amounts to a HUGE social revolution in many ways, including economically. And when Italy falls (or rises, depending on your side), all the other Church-occupied parliaments follow.

    * Essentially, he is running before it is too late.

    * Probably Baphomet or someone just as nice will take the papal seat now.

    1. I’m not replying as a Christian but it seems to me that you’re distorting things here. No Christian knows the mind of God – though of course some claim to be able to interpret his will. Hence “God moves in mysterious ways, his miracles to perform”. So your argument doesn’t really work. God is infallible, but also incomprehensible in human terms. Thus all you are doing is saying “I don’t understand how God could allow this” which is just what Christians would expect you to say. There’s nothing profound in not understanding why things happen. 

      Just because something is worthless to you doesn’t mean it is worthless to others. And since several hundred million people are Christians (and a lot more some other variety Theism) then to say “it is worthless” is just an arrogant way of repeating that you don’t understand.

      If we’re going to live by reason then we must die by it as well.

      1. Except as I understand it, the workings of the head of the Catholic Church are supposed to be infallible and directly inspired by god (Papal Infallibility .  So while this might indicate not that god made a mistake, but that the workings of the church are fallible, which to the Catholic Church, is actually a worse idea to be spread around.
        Now they can just claim that god did want him to be Pope before, but now has decided that someone else should take the helm as god’s representative on earth, so I don’t think that part of info’s theory holds water, but the other part is ok.

        1. You need to research more.  The Pope is only infallible when he speaks “ex cathedra”.  In the past millennium it’s only happened about twice a century.

          1. Well, there you go, I learned something today, thanks!

            The other part of my statement still holds though…

          2. Are we to understand the “ex cathedra” and “vaguely and carefully because this bit’s on the record” mean the same thing?

        2. No need to focus on the inscrutable, how about focusing on the fact that once the last pope died, the papalcy has not received respect even in deference to the tradition, so this moves seems politically motivated to me.

          1. Benedict has degraded the brand which the previous CEO, despite his flaws, managed pretty well.

      2. “God is infallible, but also incomprehensible in human terms.”
        I love how this sentence cancels itself out. 

        1. Ever noticed how rhetoric, etymology, linguistics in general, logic, persuasion and influence are missing from the catholic education system??

          1. Depends on the Catholic education system. The Jesuits are famous for their expertise in all of those areas.

            Which goes a long way toward explaining why the Jesuits are locked out of any real power in the Church hierarchy, and why they’re not really allowed to become Popes themselves.

      3. Sure, I will go with that: live and die by reason.  Here’s mine:

        Just like with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, there is no such thing as God. Ergo: the Pope is just a guy in a funny hat and it matters not one iota whether it’s Joe Ratzinger or some other old wrinkly bigot.

      4. “And since several hundred million people are Christians (and a lot more some other variety Theism) then to say “it is worthless” is just an arrogant way of repeating that you don’t understand.”

        Humans create meaning from all manner of arbitrary patterns.

      5. “If we’re going to live by reason then we must die by it as well.”
        I’m stealing this, just so you know. :)

      6.  “Just because something is worthless to you doesn’t mean it is worthless to others”

        If you’re gonna reduce religion’s value to that, you’re basically equating it with “American Idol” (in my opinion) or the “Star Trek” franchise (in the opinions of others). I’ll say this for “American Idol” and “Star Trek,” they’ve both resulted in only a miniscule fraction of the bloodshed and mayhem visited upon the world by various flavours of Theism.

        1. What if you gave both sides of ‘Kirk vs. Picard’ the same kind of financial and political clout enjoyed by major religions. I’m betting bloodshed myself…

          1. The fans, maybe. But the creators of the franchise are more civilised. If you remember the DS9 episode where the crew goes back in time and O’Brien notices that ToS Klingons look different from the TNG ones, Worf doesn’t go crazy with bloodlust; he just winces and says “we don’t talk about that.”

            Consider: more blood has been shed by Christ worshipers arguing over the correct way to cross oneself than by *Klingons* over a far more serious discrepancy!

      7. “God moves in mysterious ways, his miracles to perform”

        I’m pretty sure that’s just a cop out for when pesky atheists counter all your rationalistic and evidence-based arguments for the existence of God.  I mean, if you guys really believed this crap you wouldn’t bother with the rationalistic and evidence-based arguments in the first place.

    2. The Pope is the head of the Chatholic church, he does not represent all of Christianity, neither does deliberate misunderstanding of somebody else’s faith bring down a church or invalidate thier beliefs.

      1. “Neither does deliberate misunderstanding of somebody else’s faith bring down a church or invalidate thier beliefs.”

        To be fair all that’s required to achieve this is a lack of cognitive dissonance and some common sense. It’s no different to ‘bringing down’ someone’s faith in Santa Clause.

        Belief in a higher power is perfectly understandable – I even have a few simulation-based theories myself; but following an organised religion is just silly; please don’t expect the uninitiated to treat it as anything but.

      2. Last time I did any thinking about it I came to the conclusion that the catholic church couldn’t possibly be christian.  The whole all men are equal thing seems fairly fundamental – but catholics and catholic churches seem to stand specially separate from everyone else.

        1. “Last time I did any thinking about it I came to the conclusion that the catholic church couldn’t possibly be christian”

          So how is your rationale different from plenty of protestant sects, who tend to be even more exclusionary?

        2.  Well, following the line of succesion, they are christian, then some people decided that they weren’t christian enough and you got the protestants more than a thousand years later.
          Not taking sides here, just clearing up that they basically built up the system of religion for christianity.

        3. Most Catholics say that Catholicism is separate from Christianity. At least the ones that I know.

          1. I’ve never heard anyone attempt to make that argument in the past, that because they are a specific form of Christianity that they are “separate from” all others. How did they frame it?

            Either way, how Catholics would consider themselves separate would probably be much different than how Protestants and peregrinus intend to portray.

          2. Me: “But Christians…”
            Them: “I’m not Christian; I’m Catholic.”

            I’ve heard it many times.

          3. I think that it’s an acknowledgement that Catholicism has become more of a brand than a belief in many of its historical territories.
            It’s not just a vacuum cleaner! It’s a Hoover!

    3. Eh, it’s not a great argument, from a theological point of view. The obvious argument is that God didn’t pick Benedict, people picked Benedict. God was supposed to “inspire” them, but they can mis-hear. And, regardless, what proof do you have that they/God were wrong? Benedict could have been carrying out God’s plan these past five years.

      Athiest here, but it bugs me when people’s arguments aren’t logically sound.

      1. I agree – but wanted to chime in and whisper that ‘logically sound’ and ‘talking about religion’ is a little bit oil and water.

        If benedict hasn’t been carrying out god’s plan, then god’s not paying attention to his messenger boy – impossible for an all-seeing fella.  So by the doctrine’s own *logic*, god would then either be rubbish, or not all-seeing, and hence not godlike.

        If indeed he has been carrying out the plan, then I reckon god has decided the catholic church is just too embarrassing, and is administering the death blow.  (S)He’ll simply move on to another religion, or sect,  or cult, or whatever.  After all, they all are belong to him, since there is only one true god.

        1. Religion is logically sound. But the starting premises are faulty. 

          Obviously when the Cardinals chose a 78 year old man for a lifetime position then they are not expecting a long term incumbent. 

          1. Religion is not logically sound. It is illogical and open to abuse, and is frequently abused. Logical soundbites are threaded and stitched together with fragrance-waving and trite connective phrases like ‘god moves in mysterious ways’ (so don’t question what I’m doing).

            Anyone pretending they have special access to a deity needs a good check-up. From oracles in caves through to the pope, it’s a load of specious nonsense that causes harm. Religious institutions, supposedly vested with various shades and hues of ‘supreme rights’ fight tooth and nail to prevent change and increase influence.

            Human beings are en masse somewhat dreadful at co-existing peacefully. They need organising and influencing, unfortunately, and that’s where religion steps in. If civil society steps up to the mark we’d be better off – but that’s difficult with religion in the way.

            We may never be rid of it, but by God, I hope to live in an age where we learn to treat it as the tool it is.

          2. “Religion is logically sound”

            It’s consistent, but sound is hardly the case considering the state of apologetics.

          3. An internal logic can be applied to any fantasy. That doesn’t doesn’t make it any less of a fantasy.

            The point being made here is that, according to the RCC’s logic, Popes are only supposed to leave the Vatican “feet first” because the Invisible Bearded Sky Man(tm) doesn’t choose as his human representatives quitters or those who are unworthy or unable to carry out the job while they’re alive.

            And here we have someone resigning from the job, so once again they’ll have to make up a BS reason for why it’s in line with the Big Guy’s wishes.

      2. But isn’t there a simpler explanation? Meaning, why do you take into account explanations which you do not believe in?
        If you want to disprove things in terms of the catholic theology, then you already lost.
        Like I said elsewhere. I simply believe this pope is not popular enough and everybody there feels he needs to be replaced in order to have the church remain strong.
        He wouldn’t be as tired if he were popular.
        Either that or its a bad health issue which they wouldn’t want to admit outright either.

    4. You must be joking, or seriously deluded. “All of the former Church-backing parties” will likely still hold comfortable majorities in the next Italian Parliament; in fact, even what was born as “the Italian Communist Party” is now a moderate, centrist party with lots of links to Catholic organisations. The Catholic stranglehold over Italian politics is stronger than ever: there is no recognition of homosexual partnerships in any form, research over ethically-sensitive areas of science (embryos etc) is all but banned, Catholic schools are now funded by the State, sex-ed is basically nonexistent… I honestly struggle to see one single political battlefield the Catholic Church didn’t dominate in Italy in the last 20 years.

      “The Church will have to begin paying taxes just like everybody else”? Not quite. They lost an appeal in the EU courts on some matters (tax due to Church properties involved in commercial activity, basically), but the (new) government kindly amended the laws to explicitly exempt them anyway. The only financial problem they have at the moment is the fall in donations from the US; Italian interests are well looked after, but traditionally they are a drop in the ocean compared to US funds.

      This Pope wasn’t very involved in day-to-day Italian politics, for a number of reasons (one being that the centre-right, natural-ally parties were led by one Silvio Berlusconi, not exactly an example of Catholic virtues); but this doesn’t mean his minions didn’t take care of business. If anything, they did it very effectively without resorting to overt campaigning. 

      Believe me: one reason the next Pope will likely not be an Italian is that there is nothing left to conquer in the country, the “internal” market is completely dominated. The next Pope will come from outside Europe, so that they can either target a fresh market, or try to recover the US one.

  3. Just skimming twitter about this and already there are sniggering hints that he’s leaving due to shady affairs.

    So…. yeah?

    1. There’s always going to be a 30% of the population who thinks that he’s resigning for “other” reasons. The fact is, he’s 85 and has been very visibly more frail of late. He’s always said that older, infirm Popes should resign their office and retire. Most won’t because of precedent – it’s very hard to be the first in 600 years to do something. He’s doing this not just for himself but for his successors.

      Another thing to bear in mind here is that the Church doesn’t move – much – because of media pressures and public perception, so this is as good a time as any to trot out that old standby: “Popes come and go. The Church is Eternal.”

      If you believe in that sort of thing, that is…

        1. Yeah, whatevers. They may just elect a young, forward looking Pope.  Or they may pick a septuagenarian to look after the place for a few years.  The Church doesn’t think in news cycles – it thinks in decades and centuries.

          1. The Church doesn’t “think”, it’s not a coherent organism. It’s much more like a national State: it has factions, and political wars, and a cultural debate.

            What will dictate the next Pope are considerations of practical importance for the immediate future: how do we pay our bills next month, how do we sell our products, who can I vote without getting  my budget cut, who can better represent my faction, etc etc.

      1. “He’s doing this not just for himself but for his successors.”

        Probably something he’s said a lot in his long career.

      2. Yeah, you’re probably right, seeing a he didn’t even resign when it came to light that he was covering for hundreds of child molesters. Sad, really, when you think about it. The Vatican is an evil organization.

        1. The organization itself is not evil and sexual abuse is not a “feature” of Catholicism.  

          In fact, sexual abuse is likely to happen in *any* organization.  And it’s especially likely to happen in organizations where there are differentials between age and power.  Case in point: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/10/pupils-accuse-third-teacher-abuse-school  Nothing Catholic about this school. And yet here we are in a scandal with sexual abuses of children.  

          1. The organization itself is not evil and sexual abuse is not a “feature” of Catholicism. 

            Yes, the organization itself is evil for any reasonable value of “evil”.

            This is not because Catholic priests molest a disproportionate number of children.  This is because the organization itself devoted an incredible amount of time, resources, and manpower to covering up incidents of child molestation, shielding perpetrators from justice, and shutting up the victims.

            But that’s far from the only evils committed by the church.  Try googling “Magdalene laundries.” 

          2. I think you are failing to make the most important of distinctions here.  All of the crimes you mention are crimes of people.  The Church did not cover up it’s crimes, the People did.

            This may sound, on it’s face, like the NRA saying “people kill people, not guns” and I’d forgive you for thinking that.  But it’s *not* true in this case.  Because we see the same institutional disease in *all* organizations.  The Catholic Church just *happens* to be the biggest organization on the planet and is *destined* to have more than it’s fair share of Social Disease.

            The Church is not evil though some – some, not most, not many, not all! – may be.

          3.  @boingboing-df5779828118eec88dbfa716853e103d:disqus
            1. Your argument has become purely semantic and is therefore entirely unconvincing.
            2. Even so, you’re ignoring the fact that the Roman Catholic Church claims a certain aspect of moral authority for itself.  So it’s not just a matter of any organization looking after it’s own — this organization claims to be the arbiter of morality for the entire human race.  Furthermore, the pedophiles and their protectors use this reputation as leverage to subvert justice.  That’s pretty much definitional evil to me.
            3. You didn’t google Magdalene laundries, did you?  The church directly causes suffering.  Evil.

          4. tnmc:

            Listen to the interview with Patrick Wall in this episode of “This American Life”:


            and then tell us the RCC did not cover up its priests’ crimes as a matter of institutional policy, formulated by the Church hierarchy — the organisation’s leadership. Bernard Law, Roger Mahony and who knows how many other Cardinals and bishops were involved in the same sort of practises.

            We’re talking about obstruction of justice, attempts to bribe and intimidate victims, two sets of books, slush funds, code phrases and other systemic behaviours seldom seen outside of RICO indictments.

            Any organisation that covers up child abuse as a standard operating policy fits even my very narrow definition of the word “evil,” and the scale and extent in the case of the RCC is not to be dismissed simply by citing incidents in other organisations.

            Finally, this is not about “the People.” Indeed, when it’s convenient for them Ratzinger and his cronies believe the People (i.e. the laity) should serve the Church (i.e. the organisation and hierarchy) rather than vice-versa — hence the “correctors” that have been sent into American dioceses over the past decades to (ultimately) keep the laity in line lest they think their donations entitled them to opinions on Church doctrine.

          5. “The Church did not cover up it’s crimes, the People did.”

            All the way to the top. “The People” are “The Church” seeing as there is no heavenly intermediary who has approached us in over 2000 years.

          6. @boingboing-df5779828118eec88dbfa716853e103d:disqus 

            All of the crimes you mention are crimes of people. 

            And what the fuck do you think the Catholic church is made up of?!  Robots? No:  PEOPLE.
            What a bunch of crap you’re spewing.

          7. @boingboing-df5779828118eec88dbfa716853e103d:disqus And maybe, just maybe, if people stopped thinking and saying things like, “Well, this shit happens! What do you expect?” THIS SHIT WOULD STOP HAPPENING so much.  They shrugged, you’re shrugging … it’s rather disgusting.  You’re trying to brush off the blame. Don’t do that.  I don’t care if it happens elsewhere! It doesn’t make them any less responsible for their evilness. 

          8.  However, covering up sexual abuse and protecting the abusers from the consequences of their behavior has been a feature of Catholicism for centuries. The church has entire organizations created mostly to do just that that operate under orders from the highest levels. And that’s just the most blatant and scandalous example of the church acting against the welfare of its followers in order to maintain authority.

          9. “sexual abuse is not a “feature” of Catholicism”

            You’d think it was, what with the lengths they went to protect everyone but the children they were tasked to protect.

          10. Yes it is, and YES IT WAS. It most certainly was.

            They covered that shit up. You cannot defend that. Stop defending it. 

          11. I’m not defending it.  Stop thinking I am. I’m just saying it’s not the institution itself that is guilty.  You might as well say that the very institution of the Government of the United States, the *institution* of the Presidency of the United States – not Obama but the Office itself – is guilty of extrajudicial murder for the drone attacks it has perpetrated against innocent parties in Afghanistan and that the United States, the nation state itself, is *evil* as a result.

          12. tnmc:

            Sometimes an institution itself is so dysfunctional and corrupt that it is indeed culpable. It’s well understood and not particularly controversial that, after a certain amount of time, any institution’s primary goal becomes self-preservation — even if that also means preserving the problems it was meant to solve, or sweeping other problems that emerge from the institution’s infrastructural systems under the rug. If those systems are outdated or severely flawed to begin with, the situation is worse.

            The institution begins demanding exclusivity in its members and leaders, codifying it or integrating it into institutional culture. In cases where there are severe flaws as described above, organisation’s leaders understand that to reach that position of power and to serve the institution they have to act unethically or even immorally as a condition of the job. They may not admit it to themselves, they may come up with rationales to explain it away, but that’s what happens — especially in highly hierarchical institutions.

            I was discussing this the other day regarding the manifesto of the fugitive ex-cop in California which — despite its clear reek of mental derangement — brings up some very real problems with the LAPD. But that institution is so fundamentally dysfunctional, so suffused with violence and corruption that even whistle-blowers are twisted by the organisation’s culture and by their despair at changing things. When they finally do express themselves in public, they are so damaged and (in the case of this person) deranged that they do so in a way that makes it easy for the organisation to discredit their legitimate points.

            So yes, you may very well say that the institution of the U.S. Presidency bears some blame for extra-judicial murder, because the institution demands that its leaders do everything they can to preserve the institution. In the case of the Presidency, there are checks and balances and a degree of public accountability put on it — not on Obama himself, or on any individual President, but on the Executive Branch.

            There is no such accountability with the institution of the Roman Catholic Church, which has behaved in this case precisely as one would expect of an ancient and fundamentally bent and extremely hierarchical institution that’s managed to preserve itself for almost 2000 years.

            The Roman Catholic Church as an institution has demanded that not one but several Popes and hundreds of other officials cover up child abuse, because not covering it up would have meant calling into serious question some of the core mechanisms meant to preserve the institution.

            And let’s be clear, you have been doing everything you can to defend the institution: when it’s preserving itself, you laud the institution itself by saying it “thinks in decades and centuries”; when it demands its leaders do evil to preserve it, though, suddenly it’s not the hierarchy and leadership but “the People” who are to blame and the layperson is just as guilty as the successive leaders who’ve carried out these policies over decades. As always, the defenders of religious institutions want to have things both ways.

            Stop making excuses for this rotten institution.

          13. @boingboing-df5779828118eec88dbfa716853e103d:disqus 


            I’m just saying it’s not the institution itself that is guilty. 


          14. I long debated whether to reply but a new headline appearing in the National Post has convinced me I should:


            So here we have ANOTHER institution which has extensively covered up abuse.  Penn State, the Mounties, all sorts of schools…this is a grand societal problem not one of Catholicism specifically which is what I was trying to argue.

            Unfortunately,gracchus, for the most part aside, nobody seems to be able to detach themselves emotionally from their disgust at what the Church has done and dispassionately argue the point here.

            Let me clarify, I’ve been arguing my point as thought exercise – can an institution, in and of itself be guilty of an offense perpetrated by a small subset of it’s members and therefore be considered evil.

            Gracchus, I take you point about “beige dictatorship” (most eloquently discussed here:  http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2013/02/political-failure-modes-and-th.html) and I think there is merit in that.  However, I don’t think you can call the Church as an organization, intrinsically evil any more than you can the Mounties evil.

            For the record, I’m the very definition of lapsed Catholic, though I’m also not a Roman Catholic.  The Church I was born into has a married priesthood but the Church is in full communion with Rome.  I never, ever, witnessed nor heard about any abuse growing up in the Catholic School system in Canada.  

            I am NOT defending the Church.  When you – gracchus – write:

            “And let’s be clear, you have been doing everything you can to defend the institution: when it’s preserving itself, you laud the institution itself by saying it “thinks in decades and centuries””

            Let me add that that line comes directly from a priest who is a very good friend, happily married with three kids, holds down a full-time job as well as ministering to his faithful at weekends.  It is not meant to “laud” the Church, merely to convey it’s thinking. Anyway, I’ve had enough of trying to discuss detailed, complex arguments on this forum, it’s clearly not really possible.  Too much gets lost in translation.

          15. @boingboing-df5779828118eec88dbfa716853e103d:disqus  AND PENN STATE IS ALSO TO BLAME.  The actual institution is to blame just as much as the individuals, because they ****encourage the culture of abuse******. Just like the LAPD and NYPD as institutions are responsible for the shitty things they do, just as much as the individuals.

            These abuses don’t happen in a fucking vacuum.

          16. “AND PENN STATE IS ALSO TO BLAME.  The actual institution is to blame just as much as the individuals, because they ****encourage the culture of abuse******. Just like the LAPD and NYPD as institutions are responsible for the shitty things they do, just as much as the individuals.
            These abuses don’t happen in a fucking vacuum.”Ok, Marilove.  Gotcha.  Understand.
            Now that we understand your perspective, every organisation on the plant is guilty.  The LAPD, NYPD…let’s pre-suppose al Quaeda.  NObody is immune from your wrath of Truth.
            Let’s not prosecute the PEOPLE WHO COMMITTED THE CRIMES, let’s take the tack of blaming the institutions.
            I’m sorry, I was an NYPD officer.  I was forced to rape that poor girl.  
            I’m sorry, I was a Catholic priest, I was forced to sexually assault that poor boy.
            I’m sorry, I was an teacher at a Music College in Manchester.  I was forced to assault that student.
            I’m sorry, I was an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and I was forced to sexually assault that poor Native woman because….welll?
            Yeah, these abuses don;t happen in a fucking vacuum alright,
            But here’s the question I’m asking and *YOU* are avoiding:
            Are these *Catholic Specific* crimes?
            Is CATHOLICISM itself DIRECTING people to commit sexual abuse crimes?
            Yes or no? 

          17. Let’s not prosecute the PEOPLE WHO COMMITTED THE CRIMES, let’s take the tack of blaming the institutions.

            Are you being deliberately obtuse? The Catholic Church systematically covered up the crimes and transferred abusers to new venues where they could find fresh victims. If you don’t have anything to contribute but histrionics, please take a nap.

          18. @google-671726d9526b3fd4a191b163ef077566:disqus Antinous / Moderator “Are you being deliberately obtuse? The Catholic Church systematically covered up the crimes and transferred abusers to new venues where they could find fresh victims. If you don’t have anything to contribute but histrionics, please take a nap.”
            Histrionics?  Please.

            Were there cover ups   Yes.  Should those people be brought to justice?  Yes. 

            This is besides the point I have been trying to make.  All the comments are doing is saying the Catholic Church is evil.  So I ask, “Is the institution of Penn State University intrinsically evil?”

            Because they also systematically covered up sexual abuse.

            That is my point,  

            The Church is just an institution like any other, like Penn State.  In any institution sufficiently large there will be a certain percentage of deviants abusing their power.  This is a problem of society as a whole, not particularly of the Church.  Or Penn State.

            Focusing on the Church as an institution rather than tackling the problem from a general societal point of view is unhelpful, in my view.

            Time for my nap.  Bye.

          19. Heaven knows where this is going to show up in the nesting, but it’s a response to the repeated claim by tnmc that because there are instances of sexual assaults and abuses at individual schools, for example, the Catholic church should not be faulted for its role in aiding and abetting violent criminals for centuries….

            When abuses are uncovered at a particular school, is it also discovered that the faculty member responsible has received an all-expenses-paid transfer to an identical or better position at another school in another area?

            This would be the difference in culpability.  This would be why it is necessary to acknowledge the illegal, immoral, and dangerous actions of the Catholic church, not just the specific individuals directly involved in each of the millions of cases.

  4. So the guy that was responsible for shuffling the child molesters and keeping them from the law is quitting before the Italian Gov’t takes control of the affairs? Yeah. So what countries don’t have extradition treaties with Italy? That’s where he’ll go.

      1. You called it.  Seems he’s going to stay on living in Vatican City.  Probably knows he wouldn’t last a day without being arrested if he steps onto any other soil.

    1. One could only hope, but if the U.S. couldn’t throw its weight around to get Bernie “The Shuffler” Law returned to face justice after he fled to the Vatican under cover of darkness, I doubt any other country will get Ratzinger.

    2. If he was worried about those charges, he’d have stayed in power: nobody will ever be able to extradite the Pope, not this decade nor the next. He’s not running, btw: he’s retiring to a cloistered monastery in the Vatican. It’s quite a self-imposed punishment, all considered.

  5. This is bad news for me.

    I dislike him a lot, but he was doing a great job. He was tone deaf, reactionary, nasty, and not even Catholics liked the guy. He was driving people out of Church, showing its moral decay and its disgusting contempt for human rights.

    So, I wanted him to live a really long time and keep being the image of the Catholic Church. Too bad he quit

    1. I agree, but I trust the cardinals to vote an equally or more repulsive critter into the papacy again. One can hope.

      1. One of the ‘high ups’ has already stated they’ll look to another conservative candidate. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll pick someone in touch with the modern world, and not a misogynist, bigoted fossil in his late 70s.

    2. They’ll be going for another conservative with retrograde views who places the institution above the people, which should do nicely to continue alienating the younger Western laity already so inclined. In addition, there’s a good chance the next Pope will be from Africa (Turkson and Arinze are in the top 3 contenders) which will rub the Bill Donohue types the wrong way.

      Put another way, a conservative black Pope has the potential to put a major dent in the flow of cash from America to the Vatican for a generation. I’m not crying at the prospect.

      1. As a frequentist, I have to say: it helps to be a Cardinal. Although you are right, it’s no necessity.

        1. Yeah, it’s like running for US President without being a Senator first: you can do it, but you probably ain’t gonna win.

        1. and i believe they once (or currently?) went so far to prove #1 that a check for testicles was ritually conducted (to testify!).  (whaat, no castrato popes?? weren’t there saints that castrated themselves? and thus they couldn’t be pope??)  nothing says sexually warped like Catholicism.

        1. Given their reactionary nature, I think it’s actually “Must be proficient at Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect and dBase”

  6. Nothing else to say but “good riddance.” Not that the resignation of the Dick Cheney of Popes (“Sure I’ll be on the selection committee — I select *me*!”) changes the fact the entire organisation is corrupt and broken, but Ratzi was incapable of doing anything except making a rotten situation worse.

    I’ll take what good news I can get, though. The next capo of this racket is likely to be African, and it’ll be lots of fun to see the reaction of conservative white Catholics in America to that.

    1. “…it’ll be lots of fun to see the reaction of conservative white Catholics in America to that.”

      I know, I already get good reactions from them when I explain that Jesus would have been very, shall we say, ‘swarthy’.

    2. Most of them wouldn’t have a problem with that.  The racism in the American conservative movement is mainly among Southerners, either Protestant or secular, and the Catholics (who were traditionally Democrats) got brought in over the abortion issue and foreign policy.  The US Catholics’ objection to Obama was mainly that he was a Democrat (until he started telling the church to pay for birth control and “evolving” on gay marriage.)

      The interesting question will be whether the next Pope fixes birth control policy, which the US Catholic rank and file radically disagree with the leadership about. Fixing the celibate priesthood would be much more important for them, but I’d be surprised if we see that.

      1. A lot of American Catholics, like a lot of Americans in general, are pretty damned racist. As with a lot of American racism, it’s a generational thing — Boomers and older — and a class thing, but church attendance (and, more to the point, tithing) is also a generational and class thing. An African Pope is going to make a lot of them blow a gasket.

        With regard to birth control policy, the next Pope will be faced with the same medium-term conundrum Ratzi faced: the RCC’s demographic future depends on encouraging large families in Africa and Latin America to expand the flock, while its financial future depends on placating the American and European laity who (as you note) want more reproductive choice.

        I guess the Church could always bring back indulgences for those Catholics in the G-20 nations who are willing to pay. Didn’t work out so well for them last time around, but it’s not like they have a lot of options.

    1. For the record: here, the bookmakers place Cardinal Peter Turkson on top of the list.

      Sadly, from my personal experience with African priests, it would not change much in terms of papal HIV prevention policy. I’m not really familiar with the opinions and beliefs of the Cardinals, though.

      It would have a huge political impact in Africa, noted.

  7. The UN should be asked to monitor the vote.

    On 2nd thoughts – if the pope is god’s go-to guy on planet earth, why can’t we all vote, like on Twitter or something?  Surely an omniscient, all-powerful deity would fix the deck and ensure the same outcome no matter who votes.  Why even vote?  Were I afflicted with Belief, I could not question whoever put on the pope’s nice hat – because God’s Will be done and all, right?

    So someone, please just put on the hat as soon as he puts it down.

  8. I had about a second and a half of elation at this before I realized that he would likely be replaced by someone just as bad or worse.  Sooo… That was a bunch of snow we just had wasn’t it?

  9. The announcement was made in Latin and then translated into a bunch of languages….all European.

    This despite the fact that the majority of Catholics are now in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

    That does not bode well for the theory that the next choice will be a Pope of color.

    1. The official languages spoken in most of Latin America and Africa are in fact european languages (spanish, portuguese, french and english).

  10. So no one has yet mentioned the St. Malachy prophecy?

    In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end.

    Nostradamus-like, in 1595 he predicted the popes in obscure imagery, and the next one is the last one, taken to mean the end of the world, or at least of Rome and the Vatican.

    I believe the next one is to be “Peter of Rome”, whatever that’s supposed to mean.


    Ratzinger was “Glory of the Olives”, which I suppose one must assume refers to the tiny testicles of the countless victims of his coverups.

    1. “Nostradamus-like”

      It’s almost like speaking in ovebroad terms can be applied to anyone and anything anywhere. What accuracy!

      1. My point isn’t that there’s any supernatural power of prophecy at work, but rather that the details of this particular catholic obscurity are going to become a huge topic of conversation, probably before the end of the day today.

        Makes me wonder what other “prophecies” are preserved in the secret Vatican archives, and how they have influenced decision-making among that clutch of easily-spooked red hens.

        1. Ah. I imagine that they’re much more pragmatic and only use these “prophecies” for stirring up the rabble, not for internal decisions.

      1. Certainly a forgery in attribution to the 13th century Malachy, probably to support some factional infighting in 16th century, but still first published more than 400 years ago.

    1. The Queen is a year older than the Pope, and she does 350 to 400 engagements per year. The Duke of Edinburgh does about the same, and he’s five years older than the Pope. Clearly, God moved to the UK when Henry VIII left the Church.

  11. If, when you slag off the Pope, Catholics, Christians, and religion generally, you are ignorant of the people and institutions of religion, your arguments are poorly reasoned, and you are relying on popular beliefs (not to say urban legends) rather than direct knowledge and personal experience; then it strikes me that you are no different to those you accuse of ignorance, poor logic and superstition. Which is quite a few of the people commenting above.

    विद्वानेवोपदेष्टव्यो नाविद्वांसतु कदाचा ।
    वानारानुपदिश्याज्ञामस्थानभ्रंशं ययुः खगाः ॥ 
    – हितोपदेश

    1. Why, if I believe religion to be nonsensical horseshit, must I be required to research every last nook & cranny of its organisational structures? Is it not enough to say, ‘This is nonsensical horseshit, I wish no part of it’?

      1. Believers never fail to neglect the fact that the burden is on them to prove a positive assertion. Very convenient, that.

        1. Well, technically, by its very nature, God cannot be “proven”: it is and, at the same time, it is not. Which is incredibly convenient, and the best philosophical joke in human history.

      2. If you wish no part of it, why are you commenting? Why not just ignore it? 

        But you are going to offer a critique then how does your ignorance of the thing you are critiquing differ from the false premises of religion? It the ignorant criticising the ignorant. 

        1. Just because you wish to have no part or not be a part of religion, you can’t always fucking avoid it, especially in America. It is everywhere.  It has an effect on our politics. Our education.  Our healthcare. Our economy. EVERYTHING.

          It’s nice that you can afford to ignore it, but as a queer woman living in Arizona, I sure as hell can’t, and won’t.

          Seriously, you are spewing a bunch of privileged horseshit. Nice to live in a magical land where apathy is not detrimental to your livelihood, but I have to live with God Bot Jan Fucking Brewer as my governor, thankyouverymuch.

    2. “you are relying on popular beliefs (not to say urban legends) rather than direct knowledge and personal experience”

      So are you a Scientologist or what.

      1. Buddhist actually, though with a strong streak of empirical realist. I have a degree in chemistry and a long history of debunking Buddhist superstition and blind faith on my blog. I just don’t like ignorance in any form – especially when it is behind attacks on other people.

    3. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I do debate the record of the RCC on-line I have yet to discern in my adversaries anything resembling training by the Jesuits. Worse, frequently I can quote the Old and New Testaments better and more in context than they can.

      Given that the loudest voices in America defending the RCC are a callow young authority worshiper with a horror of sex (hi Ross!) and a racist and anti-Semitic Know-Nothing thug who spends his days trolling up and down 6th Ave waiting for a cable panel show booker to call him (hi Bill!), that situation isn’t shocking. Still, one hopes…

      Anyhow, since no-one is seriously biting at that rancid bait you’re dangling perhaps you can spend a few moments defending the records of Ratzinger and the Vatican over the past 30 years. Those are the main topics of discussion in this comment thread, after all, and you seem to take a dissenting view.

      1. Hi Gracchus. My point is not to defend the RCC. I have no interest in that. I hate the Romans as much as anyone!

        But it occurred to me that some of the verbiage being spewed here was no better than blind faith in God. It’s just some shit people believe and act on. How is that different. 

        So my point is not about the church per se, but about the quality of the debate. 

    4.  Here’s a bit of logic consistently neglected by you theists: by your own arguments you cannot understand God any better than I can.  This means that every theistic religion ever conceived is almost certainly wrong.  This means that religion is a bunch of silly game-playing.*  As a result, “slagging off” on religion is at the very worst a waste of time — almost as much of a waste of time as religion itself.  At best it shows religious believers that they take themselves way too seriously.

      *Note I’m talking about religion and not belief here.  Religion is stupid but no one gets very far without believing things.  If you want to believe in God go ahead, just please don’t pretend you’re somehow better than me because of your close relationship with your imaginary friend.

      1. Hi wysinwyg,

        Cor this is one of the best non-sequitors I’ve seen in a long time. My logic is that comments display a startling ignorance of the object of their contempt. And history shows that this is dangerous.I certainly don’t believe in God in any form, nor would I wish to discuss God as I find the subject deeply boring and irrelevant. For this argument to be more that a bunch of silly game playing it would have to exist on a sounder footing. It doesn’t. 

    5.  Sorry, I thought the rapes, abuse and cover ups were real and institutionalized, not imagined popular beliefs…..

      1. If only the actual harm perpetrated by God’s agents on earth was the stuff of myth and legend.

        Blood libel? Yeah, that’s bigotry. But using examples of God’s agents is pretty fair.

      2. Sure. And we are right to condemn the priests and the institutions that perpetrated these crimes. What about the rest of it? Is that all we know about the Catholic Church? 

        Am I supposed to hate all Americans because the American govt and it’s agencies use weapons of terror (drones), incarcerate people without trial, torture suspects, and start foreign wars with depressing regularity? I can tell you that as much as I hate American foreign policy I don’t hold every single American personally responsible. And I don’t because it would be ignorant and short-sighted to do so. Plus my American friends would probably take it personally. 

        So I’m all for exposing and prosecuting paedophile priests and the people who sheltered them. But I’m also aware that most priests aren’t paedophiles. 

        Its the demonization that bothers me.

        1. Its the demonization that bothers me.

          The last two popes have campaigned against condom use in Africa, leading to millions of people being infected with AIDS. They tell poor, uneducated people that if they use condoms, they’ll spend eternity on fire. They’re mass murderers. They ARE demons. Deal with it.

    6. That is almost as articulate and well-reasoned as saying, “I know you are, but what am I?”

    7. Why do you assume the people making negative comments about ” the Pope, Catholics, Christians, and religion” are doing so from a place of ignorance?

  12. My understanding is that he wants to devote more time to his acting career.

    I guess he can’t say that he wants to spend more time with his family, what with the whole ‘celibate’ thing.

      1. No, no, no.  You’re now talking crazy talk.  What I’m saying that it was awfully odd for a noted Mormon to have chosen Notre Dame.  I believe there was a conspiracy, led by the Pope, to discredit Mormons.

        They used the power of Touchdown Jesus to lure Manti to Northwestern Indiana, gave him a prime spot as an inside linebacker for four years, and then pulled the rug out from under him once he didn’t win the Heismann.  Elements inside the Papacy were involved, I am certain, but the Pope could claim plausible deniability since he never actually ordered Lennay.

        There’s more to this than meets the eye 

  13. I spent the whole day cracking jokes with fellow italians. A very limited selection follows, badly translated.

    – Following the principle of rotation between continental confederations, the next Pope will be from Qatar.

    – It’s actually time of Carnival: clearly Ratzinger cracked a joke, and people took him too seriously. “No, no, was joke, was joke! You italians, always believe everyzink! I joking, I not going, no no… what, too late now? Oh.”

    – The deadline set by Ratzinger (28/2) falls right after Italian elections (24/2). Berlusconi knows his party will lose, so he’s preparing an exit plan.

    – Another Internet victim: after signing up with Twitter, shocked by all the rick-rolling and goatse links, the Pope resigns and becomes a monk. Nobody mention 4Chan to his successor!

    – Wojtila was the Bill Clinton of popes:  funny, smiling, hustling. Ratzinger was George H. Bush: serious, creepy, unpopular. Next one will be like Reagan: fanatical, warmongering, tv-friendly, and raising boatloads of cash.

    – The truth is that Cardinal Martini and Pope Ratzinger were like Batman and Joker: without the former (who died last August), the latter lost any purpose in life.

  14. Btw, there’s a hint of conspiracy. This is a screenshot of the official abdication declaration, in Italian, on the Vatican website. Note how it’s signed 10 February (“febbraio”). Note also how the actual HTML source includes, in the HEAD tag, an even different creation date, 9 February.

  15. Its interesting no pope has ever resigned. Medical science has advanced so much we are faced with popes who could basically be completely useless do to age and disease yet still alive. I mean wish no harm to any pope but It would be so interesting to have a pope on life support, where they could hold on for years unless unplugged. Perhaps the current pontiff wants to change tradition and get popes to leave when they are no longer able to vigorously serve the requirements of office vs. go down hill and die in the public limelight.

    1. What are you talking about? 4 popes abdicated before Ratzinger. Just because the last one was some 600 years ago, it doesn’t mean it never happened.

    2. Other popes have resigned, but it’s been a few hundred years.  I don’t like Ratzinger’s performance as pope, but he’s done the right thing about this issue, at least.

    1. There is no Benedict, the name’s Ratzinger.  Don’t honor the pedophiles and their enablers by honoring their protocols and fanfares.

      1. It is kind of funny that someone whose chosen name literally means ‘well spoken’ was rather prone to idiotic gaffes.

  16. I guess once you’ve fucked all the choirboys (or apologized for all the choirboy fuckers), it’s time to GTFO of Dodge. Or Vatican City, or whatever.

  17. You know, I am not Catholic–I’m not even Christian–but I sure wish people would lay into the institution of football the way they lay into the Church.

    1. To be fair, the Catholic Church hasn’t made the slightest effort to protect its priests from traumatic brain injury. Pro football has updated its helmets and other equipment, whereas Catholic equipment has remained the same for hundreds of years. It took a Papal bullet just to get a protective Popemobile for the Pontiff.

    2. American football or Everywhere Else football? Because the latter seems to actually fuel all the social ills that people are always blaming on drugs.

  18. First he rises to the throne by having the pederasty inside scoop on all the cardinals in their churches.  Then it turns out the seat is too hot and getting hotter because of the pederasty, AND his presence on the throne is actually making things worse, because it’s clear he knew everything.
    So for a while there, Ratzinger was the perfect symbolic pope for the current Vatican era.  If the Vatican was run by pederast Keystone Kops.

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