REMINISCENCE

So what was your favorite moment of the reign of Benedict XVI? When he was chosen, I described him as a placeholder – the sorbet of popes. Also, this is pretty much the only thing I can think about every time the pope is mentioned on the news, ever.

gangs_of_new_york_1

OK, I lied. I also think about Space Pope (Crocodylus Pontifex).

spacepope

A new pope is always exciting. I'm thinking they'll go with a white guy of advanced age.

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35 Responses to “REMINISCENCE”

  1. The Mad Dreamer Says:

    Well, my thoughts today went along these lines:

    He's the Sarah Palin of Popery.

    I don't think giving up the Papacy for Lent is what Jesus had in mind.

    If he strikes himself down now, he will come back more powerful than we could ever imagine.

    I think the best memory of Benny XVI that I can think of is when he took the role, because the Catholic Church finally had a head who looked as rotten as the institution.

  2. J. Dryden Says:

    "A white guy of advanced age" is an idea so nutty it just might work! Though actually, if the Vatican would try to think ahead, they might realize that, largely thanks to the way the white guys of advanced age have handled the molestation scandals, they've lost an insane number of their followers in the countries populated by their former base of white guys. Where their numbers have gone up (and continue to do so) is in places where folks are more inclined to say the liturgy in Spanish or Swahili, and they'd best accept this fact–they've lost their white customer base for at least a couple of generations, and they might do well to shore up their popular support among the believers who stuck with them despite the revelations that, on the whole, they were pretty cool with collared pedophiles.

    I for one won't miss Herr Ratzenberger, the man across whose desk came every report of systematic child abuse, and whose response was to protect the monsters for reasons of money, prestige, and a barbaric doctrine that's strayed so far from scripture that, really, they need to stop calling themselves Christians, lest that word lose all meaning.

    Also, he looked like Emperor Palpatine. Normally, a man's appearance oughtn't to be held against him, but in this case, it was an ideal expression his job performance.

  3. J. Dryden Says:

    @ The Mad Dreamer: Nigh simultaneous posts, and all I can say is: I like how you think.

  4. Middle Seaman Says:

    Is Crocy white? Looks green now and then brown when ripe.

  5. Elle Says:

    It's not that I expect to agree overmuch with the Vicar of Christ, but Benedict has doggedly pursued a radically hateful agenda. The purge of celibate gay men from seminaries and the priesthood; the extra banging of the drum for forced pregnancy; and the riffing on reductive complementarianism have all underlined how much this Pope fetishises the privileging of straight white men. This had its purest expression, though, in his role on systematic child abuse.

    He was au fait with the detail of harm, and cover up, and the endless shuffling on of priests who hurt children. He used his immense power to obfuscate in the face of accusations, and to minimise his accusers. He did nothing to challenge wrongdoers, to pursue justice for the powerless, or to lead his church in an act of meaningful contrition and restoration. I hope his conscience accuses him in his final years.

    Still, he's comprehensively stuffed the College of Cardinals over his short tenure, so I'm guessing the new boss will be much the same as the old boss.

  6. ladiesbane Says:

    What Elle said. (If Pope-a-Ratzi is the sorbet of popes, why does my palate feel so uncleansed?)

    Not to be catty, but I suspect he's stepping down in part because he wants to play a role in the selection of his successor. Stacking the College won't be enough for him.

    The sooner he packs up his bespoke shoes and custom fragrances and gets the hell out, the better.

  7. Number Three Says:

    I'm actually a bit surprised at how much coverage this has received in the media. I.e., the sentiment here expressed, "New boss same as the old boss", makes clear, there's little reason to expect a new pope who will move the Church in a positive direction. So one pope stepping down (while rare indeed) to be replaced by another pope with very similar policies . . . meh. I think it must be more celebrity coverage. B/c even most American Catholics couldn't care less.

    Worst media coverage so far, though . . . Cokie Roberts on NPR.

  8. Desargues Says:

    J-Dryd: Herr Ratzenberger was a jolly fellow from Boston, lots of fun to hang out with. The sour-faced shrivelled Kraut you had in mind is Ratzinger.

    Any person of sense would take the former over the latter.

  9. Jane Says:

    The loyalty of people of faith to their institutions baffles me.

    My bafflement extends beyond all the Catholics loyal to pedophiles rather than to their victims.

    Around here, liberal muslim parents are aghast at their daughters who dress in black or brown tents of their own will and against the will of their parents. They could be free and independent Swedish women; that's even the easiest, the default choice, and they choose to become chattel.

    But WHY?

  10. c u n d gulag Says:

    Imo – this whole "resignation" thing stinks.

    And not like the Pope's oldest pair of Prada slippers, or the feet of the paupers he washes in a photo-op every once in awhile.

    I mean, what 85 year-old closeted man would give up the Prada, the gold mitre, the staff, the fancy hats, the bejeweled robes, the Pope-mobile, the sumptuous meals, the best hotel rooms, and all of the other perks that come with the job?
    HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    And, he's resigning in a little over two weeks.
    Two weeks?
    That's the kind of notice you give if you're a salesperson for a telecommunications company, and switching over to a gig selling for the competition!
    Is that what happened here?
    The Jews, or the Muslims, or the Buddhists, or the Mormons, made him a better offer, with a better salary, more benefits, and a great pension plan?

    The 'infallible representative of God on Earth' gives only two weeks notice that he's retiring?

    Why not stick around, Pope Rat-faced-zinger, and go through the pomp of another Easter celebration?
    What Pontiff could resist one more shot at Easter, to, you know, revel in all of the attention.

    So, after endless child-schtupping scandals under him and his predecessor, and his own Secretary stealing some of his gold tchatcka's and DOCUMENTS, we're being led to believe that it's some sort of coincidence that he's resigning – the first Pope in almost 600 years to not be carried out, stiff as that staff that they carry, in some designer coffin, to be interred in some marble mausoleum?

    My guess is, some of the other money-grubbing child-schtuppers finally got some evidence that they could hold against him, and said, "You know, Ratzi the Nazi, you can resign and allow us to pick your successor, or else… Well, it sure would be a shame for your legacy if the faithful dupes found out that you ______________________. Shame if they found THAT out, eh? So, resign and we'll pick some guy who doesn't have too many links to child-fecking, and we'll give you a great send-off when you croak. Capice?"

    Oh no, he's resigning because he feels he's too old.
    Cut me a break – I wasn't born on some turnip truck.

    Nah, something stinks.

    Oh, and if anyone is under the impression that, after 30 years of hyper-Conservative Popes, the Catholic Church is about to pick some Liberal, then you need to raise or lower your dosage.

    JPII and Rat-faced-zinger have picked and placed in power, every child-fecking misogynist who is eligible for Pope-it-tude to pontificate to, and grift, the masses – aka: suckers, rubes, marks, fools, idiots, morons, etc.

    I suspect it'd be easier to find a more Liberal guy from the Republican US House of Representatives, than it is to find a Liberal candidate to be the Pope.

    Once Ratzi's gone, there'll be no returning to Christ's message of peace and love.
    No, no…
    The new Pope and the Church will continue to focus on the following:
    Sex (missionary position, and only for the purposes of providing the Church with another revenue source).
    Fetuses (see prior comment about revenue source – plus, when were women allowed to think for themselves?).'
    Lady parts (EEEEWWW! ICKY!!!).
    And h*mo's (except, of course, for the ones standing up front at the altar).

    In other words, SSDP – Same Sh*t, Different Pope.

  11. JohnR Says:

    Yo, JD!

    "..for reasons of money, prestige, and a barbaric doctrine.."

    You forgot the 'fanatical devotion to the Pope' one.

  12. Nan Says:

    Here's a radical idea — how about if Pope Benny actually recognized that the serving until you drop dead doesn't do the church any favors, and he's stepping down for exactly the reasons he's stated? He's old, he's frail, and he doesn't want to end up being propped up for photo ops while just barely breathing the way his predecessor was.

    It's also quite plausible that the health reasons include a diagnosis of the early stages of dementia and he's still sharp enough to realize that the church is in enough trouble without having a clearly senile pontiff drooling and babbling while the cardinals draw straws to decide who gets to shove a pillow over his face.

  13. JazzBumpa Says:

    It would be a great step forward to have an African, Asian or Hispanic Pope.

    But I'll be content if the next one simply isn't a Nazi.

    Cheers!
    JzB

  14. c u n d gulag Says:

    JazzBumpa,
    Be careful what you wish for…

    From what little I know, since I'm not Catholic, the potential candidates from Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, might be even MORE reactionary than the ones from America or Europe – and even more so than BeneDICK.

    I think the next Pope will make TV's ever-present guest Catholic, and even more extreme Archie Bunker, Bill Donohue, look like Barney Frank.

    And sure, it would be nice to have a different wrapper on the outside, but the package inside will still be full of misogyny and/or homophobia.

    And a whole lot of advice for heterosexuals on a subject that the new Pointiff has, in theory, never practiced: S-E-X!
    At least, not with an adult woman.

  15. JB in Walla Walla Says:

    B-b-b-b-but he's infallible! Wait a minute … does this mean he loses his magic infallibility powers?

  16. proverbialleadballoon Says:

    Nah, he'll be an African or Hispanic man of advanced age, as that is where the growth in the Catholic church is. But yeah, Ratzinger was a place holder, and the scapegoat for the child molestation cover-up. His resignation is 'the sacrificial lamb' meant to take away the sins of the church, and whoever the new pope is, he'll signify a 'new church', and all that child raping stuff is in the past now, and all that b.s., just wait and see.

  17. c u n d gulag Says:

    Maybe we're all overthinking about why he's leaving.

    Maybe he fell in love.

    Maybe he met a nice Nun, and is finally gonna go and get "him some!"

    How do you say, "I want me some of THAT!" in Latin?

    Ok, maybe not a Nun…
    Maybe a nice old altar boy he met decades ago.

  18. Jonathan Says:

    "In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit, Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations".

    St. Peter's Cathedral, Roma, which was stricken by lightning yesterday… is this the beginning of papacy by committee, a transnational, corporate, market-state Catholic Church? ("Beginning?!" I hear already.)

  19. J. Dryden Says:

    @ Desargues: My mistake–I've been watching a Pixar movie marathon, and now I just assume that every story has Ratzenberger in it somewhere.

  20. Rosalux Says:

    It just warms your heart, you know? That after a long career of facilitating child rape, he can kick his feet up and know that he did the rapiest job he could.

  21. Major Kong Says:

    I heard he's going to be the next Penn State football coach.

  22. acer Says:

    The "Nazi Pope" meme is a bit disingenuous. In his situation at the time, not collaborating, at least nominally, was a good way to get thrown in a concentration camp. He renounced it as soon as there was no gun to his head.

    It would be great to have more leaders who are committed to humanistic values to the point of suicide, but that's not really what the Papacy is about.

  23. ladiesbane Says:

    @Nan: very reasonable point. Didn't he press the previous Pope to step down for the same reasons? You may well be correct.

    But it's pleasing to poke at a man who did so much evil in life and remains untouched, possibly the most powerful individual on the planet. Given the sort of decisions he made while of sound mind, I can't imagine what he'd do in the throes of dementia that could be worse. Open the vaults? Liquidate some treasures and feed the poor? Go all Caligula and appoint a horse to the College of Cardinals?

    If his successor is not progressive (and he probably will not be), the church will continue to grow mostly in second- and third-world nations where people need something to believe in, such as a jam-tomorrow afterlife, and already come equipped with medieval-compatible notions of civil rights, particularly where women and children are concerned. Bets?

  24. Dennis Says:

    Ok, maybe not a Nun

  25. cromartie Says:

    You kids and your silly revealed religions. What a waste of time, resources and money.

  26. The Mad Dreamer Says:

    Honestly, I'd love it if a Pope went crazy and invited me to go through the archives. I want to see what neat old Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman texts might be hidden away in there.

  27. grendelkhan Says:

    I'm thinking they'll go with a white guy of advanced age.

    Old White Guy is in the lead, but Old Black Guy is in second place, according to the bookmakers.

  28. jon Says:

    http://bit.ly/Xzh77e This is my favorite moment. Makes me think he's going to run off to Montreal to start a circus.

  29. jon Says:

    And the replacement? I'm betting on a white Brazilian guy.

  30. Ruthie Says:

    Let me begin this by saying that I am not exactly a fan of Pope Benedict II; however, since I am unhampered by having been raised as a Catholic, I suppose it

  31. Ruthie Says:

    Let me begin this by saying that I am not exactly a fan of Pope Benedict II; however, since I am unhampered by having been raised as a Catholic, I suppose it’s moot. However, with his resignation from the Papal office for health reasons, the Pope deserves more than a modicum of credit–IMHO. Whether one seeks office as leader of the free world, or muscles his way to the top of the heap in the toughest criminal syndicate in Christendom, the people who occupy powerful leadership positions tend to be egoists who are never short on vanity. And once they have it, they cling mightily to that power. I had visions of a cadre of Cardinals scurrying around St. Peter’s Basilica before X-mas Mass a few years hence, trying to peel a paranoid-dementia-stricken Benedict II from atop the Bernini Bronzes as he yelled: “You’ll have to pry the keys to the Pope mobile from my cold, dead hands!” in perfect Latin. Not a pretty thought.

    There is speculation that as Cardinal, Benedict II was instrumental in propping up the administration of an ailing Pope John Paul II. If so, he is aware of the potential problems this can cause, and perhaps hopes to avoid a similar situation. Then again, it may just be vanity; after all, our current culture idealizes the concepts of youth, mobility and independence. It's a tough act for the elderly to emulate–regardless of the office. And when third parties conspire to maintain this illusion in the belief that it is in the older person's best interest, it often leads to dire consequences.

    In reality, similar scenes play out across this country every day–albeit on a smaller scale. When dementia and Alzheimer's progress past a critical point, it involves more than mere forgetfulness. The sufferers often become paranoid. Their recollections give a whole new meaning to revisionist history. The ultimate irony is, that in many cases, unless you are familiar with the sufferer's medical history, or know them personally, they seem relatively normal. And this is why a senior can literally be deaf, legally blind and batshit crazy in some states, and you STILL won't be able to have them declared incompetent to handle their own affairs!

    The populations of Europe and the United States–traditional Catholic strongholds–are aging. If the Pope wanted to do his congregants a favor, he should encourage them to organize their affairs. Plan for retirement if you are younger. Make a will or other plan for disposition of assets if you are older. Organize your important papers in one place–preferably a fireproof cabinet or safe. Consider an advanced directive. If you are getting up there in years, sell the second car, and put the car keys away. Take a cab, bus or other reliable public transit, if available. Some major metro areas have dedicated shuttle service for seniors and the disabled for the price of a bus ticket. And for god’s sake, clean out the tchochkes, furniture, books and pictures in closets and stuff that’s moldering in the basement–you know, that stuff you keep threatening to show the grandkids–so your kids don’t wind up hauling 19 pickup truck loads of crap to the local dump when you move to Casa de Elder Storage.

  32. Ruthie Says:

    Correction: Pope Benedict XVI. Mea culpa–non-Catholic!

  33. Shwell Thanksh Says:

    I'm withholding judgement until Fr. Guido Sarducci weighs in with the over/under. Or until the Papal butler's steamy tell-all ebook hits the intertubez, smuggled out from his prison cell a paragraph at a time. Whichever comes first.

  34. Infidel753 Says:

    He Who Zings Rats did have a certain truth-in-advertising element to him in that he looked so much like Emperor Palpatine. Maybe we can get a Voldemort look-alike for the next Pope.

  35. caroljane Says:

    Dear God,

    Hi, it's me again from Toronto, Canada. Look, I know you are busy and all but I have been praying from here for 30 years for the same thing and I guess you did not hear me right. We do not need a leading soultender, I said goaltender.