papal succession
April 1, 2005 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Pope John Paul II has had a heart attack. Soon, the College of Cardinals will assemble to choose his successor. Even in death, however, this pontiff will exert extraordinary control over the process, having elevated an unprecedented number of clerics to this body.

The choice of Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of Havana, would continue John Paul II's legacy of opposition to communism and totalitarianism. Another frontrunner is the socially conservative Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze. Arinze would continue John Paul II's cultural legacy while recognizing the demographic reality of modern global Catholicism. Also mentioned as a frontrunner is Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, a strong proponent of third world debt relief. Progressives would welcome the elevation of German Cardinal Walter Kasper, an advocate for religious tolerance and pluralism, or the moderate Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, a frequent stand-in during the Holy Week ceremonies. Conservatives favor Columbian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos. Hoyos shares the Pope's traditionalist vision of a church at odds with modernity. But the smart money, is on Dionigi Tettamanzi.
posted by felix betachat (228 comments total)

 
Interesting article on the subject from Slate: Papal Chase: Will the next pope be black, Hispanic, American, a Jew? (I'm sure it was via some blog, but I have no idea which one.)

I liked this line from the last link in the FPP: "Pope John Paul was the first non-Italian to lead the church in 455 years, a fact that could help or hinder the cardinal's chances." Way to take a stand there, CBS.
posted by smackfu at 8:49 AM on April 1, 2005


April fools!
posted by anthill at 8:49 AM on April 1, 2005


There should be a write in vote for me. I'd be an awesome Pope.
posted by substrate at 8:56 AM on April 1, 2005


Let us pause to remember Karol Wojtyla's courageous participation in the Polish Resistance to Naziism and later to Stalin's totalitarianism, and his major contributions, as Pope John Paul II to bringing about the freedom of his homeland and all of Eastern Europe from Soviet domination.

While we may have our differences with him on points of Catholic doctrine, he has truly been a light unto the world, leading the way to freedom.
posted by orthogonality at 8:56 AM on April 1, 2005


I nominate Divine_Wino for Pope.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:05 AM on April 1, 2005


There should be a write in vote for me. I'd be an awesome Pope.

Actually, I'm already a Pope. I even have the card to prove it.
posted by afroblanca at 9:05 AM on April 1, 2005


Who cares about the papal lottery..there's a man and he's going to die soon, let the lottery wait a little more.
posted by elpapacito at 9:06 AM on April 1, 2005


anthill, you beat me to it!

felix, did you have this post already planned out in the same way obit-writers do? You have a lot of links there -- were you afraid some schmuck with a single-link to the heart attack story was going to beat you to the punch?
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:07 AM on April 1, 2005


I hope he dies this weekend, what a great excuse for a party.
posted by cmonkey at 9:08 AM on April 1, 2005


This is how you do a newsfilter post if you're going to do a newsfilter post. Good on ya.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:12 AM on April 1, 2005


Well I thought it was a good post. He JP2 IS in grave condition, and this post is helpful to have some background while following (if one wishes) the selection process.

Thank you for putting the time into it, felix.
posted by Danf at 9:16 AM on April 1, 2005


I have a better idea: let's call the whole thing off. The Roman Catholic Church has never been a good idea, and the office of Pope has been a sickening sham at least since Rodrigo "Alexander VI" Borgia first pimped out his daughter. Whatever good Karol Wojtyla has done has not and cannot counteract the misfeasances committed in his name, let alone those of preceding "pontiffs". And I'll answer your "resistance to Naziism" with "support for the Nicaraguan Contras" -- unless it is the nationality of a bayonetted baby that matters.

(Yes, I'm being "intolerant of religion again"; I still won't apologize for it, I still don't care if Pomos and/or Religieux call me "asshole", and those who can't see denouncing hypocrisy and corruption as "doing something for Humanity" should turn in their Superfriends Underoos.)

[This thread brought to you by Papist Blue(TM).]
posted by davy at 9:17 AM on April 1, 2005


That was neither necessary nor unexpected, sadly.
posted by breezeway at 9:20 AM on April 1, 2005


Well said, Davy.
posted by docgonzo at 9:21 AM on April 1, 2005


I understand all this stuff because I saw Eurotrip.
posted by bardic at 9:23 AM on April 1, 2005


That was neither necessary nor unexpected, sadly.

Breezeway, you don't like Il Papa either? Huzzah!
posted by davy at 9:27 AM on April 1, 2005


Davy, that may have been "neither necessary nor unexpected", but I'm damned glad you said it. Otherwise I'd have had to.

I'm steeling myself for the deluge of blinkered, sentimental, hypocritical bullshit which will follow when this absurd old get finally croaks. That'll be neither necessary nor unexpected too, but we'll damned well have to suffer it.

Yeah, yeah, pile on, another intolerant atheist, whatever.
posted by Decani at 9:28 AM on April 1, 2005


They shut the doors... thats supposed to be the signal
posted by TetrisKid at 9:28 AM on April 1, 2005


Last year's "Best American Non-Required Reading" compilation (recommended) has a very funny story from the POV of an oily PR expert who is hired by a Catholic billionaire to run a shadowy campaign to get an American elected pope. He finds that he has to "go negative" almost immediately.
posted by damehex at 9:30 AM on April 1, 2005


Hey Fuzzy, why would anybody drink cherry-flavored bourbon? To the stake with the heretic, I say!

P.S. Of course I'm kidding: I really have no intention of subjecting a fellow asshole to an auto da fe even for adulterating my state's premiere product, nor will I support such action.
posted by davy at 9:34 AM on April 1, 2005


I'm hoping that he'll lapse into a coma for the next thirty years myself...
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:37 AM on April 1, 2005


Who can possibly live up to Mr. Wojtyla's legacy of AIDS victims, bashed homos, subjugated women, and raped altarboys? Will it be the reactionary asshole, the bigoted fuckwit, or merely the right-wing moron? Inquiring minds want to know. If he croaks today, the fact that the status quo will continue is all that's going to stop me from pissing out the remnants of some excellent champagne on his statue on Roncesvalles Ave. in Toronto. Perhaps a large seagull will void his cloaca on the bronze Papa instead.

Was that immoderate?
posted by stonerose at 9:43 AM on April 1, 2005


Decani writes "Yeah, yeah, pile on, another intolerant atheist, whatever."

I'm an atheist too. I don't believe in the Pope's God, or doctrines of his Church.

But I do believe that you can value -- and honor -- a man for the good he does, even if you don't believe everything he believes.

Even if some of what he does is bad. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, but he's nonetheless a great man writing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus but ended slavery and preserved the Union. FDR tried to pack the courts, but revitalized the economy and defeated Hitler and Hirohito.

Jesus believed he was the Son of God and the Christ, but his Beatitudes contain some valuable advice.

Being an atheist is no justification for deriding a good man who did great things. It's merely a poor excuse.
posted by orthogonality at 9:44 AM on April 1, 2005


I am disappointed to learn that they no longer smack the Pope on the head three times with a silver hammer while shouting his name to make sure he's dead.

People just don't value tradition like they used to.
posted by Floydd at 9:44 AM on April 1, 2005


The Catholic menace must just be easier to ignore in my neck of the woods, davy. I can't imagine the danger you're in.

On preview, Decani, I felt the same about Reagan. And I'm no pope fan.

No; your invitation to the Masses to pile on, now, that's neither necessary nor unexpected, sadly.

I'd be surprised if you understood, though.
posted by breezeway at 9:44 AM on April 1, 2005


No women Popabili ???
posted by adnanbwp at 9:45 AM on April 1, 2005


breezeway writes "No; your invitation to the Masses to pile on, now, that's neither necessary nor unexpected, sadly."

I think, in Decani's defense, he was inviting people to pile on him for his derision of the John Paul II, not inviting piling on criticism of the Pope.
posted by orthogonality at 9:47 AM on April 1, 2005


Pope does more bad than good, in some of our estimations.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:47 AM on April 1, 2005


I am no fan of the Pope, nor of Catholicism/Christianity in general, but this still seems very sad to me. Many people will obviously feel a great loss because of his death. I'm thinking of my hypercatholic grandparents (they attend mass every day). Sure death is natural, necessary and inevitable but it still gives me pause. That said, here's to hoping his successor is a hell of a lot more liberal. [Not holding my breath.]
posted by apis mellifera at 9:47 AM on April 1, 2005


The Church bells are tolling here at 11:51, that's about 10 minutes to early for them to be doing that.
posted by drezdn at 9:48 AM on April 1, 2005


Yes, great post, felix betachat; EB is right — this is how it should be done, and I'm glad you were the one who got here first. I haven't been (and won't be able to be) keeping up very much, and I really appreciate capsulized info on this. "An Idiot's Guide" now would actually be perfect for me.

And, all you hilariousjoke jabberposters commenting here? It's getting so very, very tedious. Please, either make a contribution, or actually amuse me... Better yet, come back once you've grown pubic hair.
posted by taz at 9:48 AM on April 1, 2005


What ortho said. Obviously there's a lot of controversy over contraception and John Paul II..but that's for a moment that is not now, in which our tought goes to the human being know as Karol
posted by elpapacito at 9:50 AM on April 1, 2005


I understood that, ortho. Shouting "he was a dick" at a crowded funeral and begging for people to kick your ass, so you can blame it on the church the service was held in, is neither necessary nor unexpected, sadly.
posted by breezeway at 9:51 AM on April 1, 2005


This pope presided over one of the most overtly criminal acts by the Catholic Church in the past hundred years -- offering shelter from prosecution to priests who molested children.

His open opposition to birth control greatly contributed to the baffling rates of AIDS infection found in most sub-saharan countries.

Yes, he did his part against the Nazis, and against the Soviet Union, but denying his faults -- which have very serious consequences -- is to be just plain dishonest intellectually.
posted by clevershark at 9:54 AM on April 1, 2005


I flipped on CNN to check the pope status (lacking the firefox plugin) and briefly suffered through someone who had to go on and on about Reagan and Thatcher, and how with the pope they formed a holy trinity of communisim fighters.
posted by drezdn at 9:56 AM on April 1, 2005


Since I was beat to the punch, by a matter of seconds, I'll reproduce my post here.

I thought there was a lot of interesting questions that were being raised, because of the Pope's ill health, from the significance of the prophesies of St. Malachy (that say the next Pope will be the second to last Pope ever), to the stuff that Nostradamus said about the Popes, and the idea that all celebrities die in threes. So far, Metafilter has talked about Mitch Hedberg, Johnny Cochran and Robert Creeley... and thats just this week.
posted by indiebass at 9:57 AM on April 1, 2005


Mr. Manni (Pope's anesthesist) said that in the present condition his hearth cannot last long and nothing short of a miracle could reverse that.
posted by elpapacito at 9:57 AM on April 1, 2005


But I do believe that you can value -- and honor -- a man for the good he does, even if you don't believe everything he believes.

What good did the pope do? All I can recall from the last 20 years is him giving mealy mouthed apologies for atrocities the Catholic Church has committed (y'know, like killing Rwandans, little things like that. Of course the fucker didn't put at stop to it when it was happening) and telling people birth control is wrong.

Oh, I guess he spoke out against "war". Woo hoo.

Quite a legacy to slobber over!

I hope the pope rots in hell with Reagan and Hitler and Mussolini.
posted by cmonkey at 10:00 AM on April 1, 2005


Ops for these watching the Mass, it's being held in S.Giovanni (St.John) Cathedral which is arguably the most important and beautiful chuch in Rome (St.Peter being in Vatican State)
posted by elpapacito at 10:01 AM on April 1, 2005


cmonkey : well at least the dude spoke to million of people, you spoke to us and only I took time to answer you. Now he may "rott in hell" but it's better then rotting into oblivion if you ask me.
posted by elpapacito at 10:03 AM on April 1, 2005


clevershark writes "denying his faults -- which have very serious consequences -- is to be just plain dishonest intellectually."

True enough. And I suppose I'm acting in part because I feel his good works are more important than his faults. (And for the record, I felt the same way when Reagan died, and will feel the same when Lady Thatcher dies: Soviet totalitarianism was an evil.)

But I think with his death imminent, focusing on his faults is petty, given all the good he did do.
posted by orthogonality at 10:05 AM on April 1, 2005


Oh, I guess he spoke out against "war". Woo hoo.

And let's not forget his brave stance in favor of a more just distribution of global wealth. Except the Church's wealth.

I wonder how many years of HIV drug therapy would be paid for with the proceeds from one single golden chalice?
posted by stonerose at 10:06 AM on April 1, 2005


Once again, Metafilter provides no shortage of people willing to kick a man on his deathbed. Amazing.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:07 AM on April 1, 2005


Being an atheist is no justification for deriding a good man who did great things. It's merely a poor excuse.

He's done a lot of good, I'll agree with you on that, but he's also done quite a bit of harm in my estimation. Maybe if I lived in Eastern Europe, I'd be more appreciative and less critical, but I think overall he's done more harm than good.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:08 AM on April 1, 2005


Since I was beat to the punch, by a matter of seconds...
Yep, roughly 1,380 seconds late, indiebass.

posted by dfowler at 10:12 AM on April 1, 2005


I think with his death imminent, focusing on his faults is petty, given all the good he did do.

I don't think we should focus on faults or virtues, I think they should go together. And the good and the bad should still be told with a general respect for the dignity of a dying person. It is possible to be both respectful of a person while disagreeing with their position.

All the bile floating around here stinks.
posted by sciurus at 10:12 AM on April 1, 2005


Friend just called over the celly from Vatican main square, they're watching the papal building and the two windows (from which the Pope usually talks) and they're now lit up.

on preview: pmurray63 oh that's not just Meta, it's the world.
posted by elpapacito at 10:12 AM on April 1, 2005


"De mortuis nil nisi bonum", dude.
posted by indiebass at 10:14 AM on April 1, 2005


For the strangers with friends in St.Peter, an official prayer will be held in St.Peter square at 2100 local time. Guess they're appreciate you calling them and this is a good excuse.
posted by elpapacito at 10:15 AM on April 1, 2005


In all seriousness, it is somewhat difficult for me to get my head around this first thing in the morning on April Fool's Day and, even more bizarre, having gotten to about the middle of Angels and Demons by Dan Brown last night before going to sleep.

Tom Robbins' Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates is another work of fiction that comes to mind today....
posted by gohlkus at 10:15 AM on April 1, 2005


indiebass as Matt closed your thread while I was posting,
I will post my comment here instead:
USAcentric chatfilter. I am a non USAian. I am not a dinosaur. I have heard of neither Mitch Hedberg, Johnny Cochran nor Robert Creeley nor give a flying fuck.
Now possible political infighting in the catholic church - that could be interesting.
posted by adamvasco at 10:17 AM on April 1, 2005


Once again, Metafilter provides no shortage of people willing to kick a man on his deathbed. Amazing.

Boo-fucking-hoo. I could point to dozens of obit threads that would make your eyes tear up with the outpouring of positive emotion. Some of us, in this thread, are trying to judge a man by his deeds, and in so doing, to counteract the uncritical hagiography that is already spewing forth from the idiots in the mass media.
posted by stonerose at 10:17 AM on April 1, 2005


Thanks felix, I was curious about who the candidates were for the job. Great post.
posted by ontic at 10:17 AM on April 1, 2005


Don't expect the pope to stay dead-- have you ever played "Medieval Total War"? That fucker's coming back and he'll have a huge army.

Our best bet is to totally sack every region of the italian peninsula so that he has no infrastructure when he returns.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:17 AM on April 1, 2005


What heart attack? He hasn't had a heart attack on any news sites that I can see, and nor is it in the link above.

This post does smell of made-in-advance, too.
posted by bonaldi at 10:20 AM on April 1, 2005


Obligatory nit-pick: it's not a heart attack. What the Pope has is cardiac insufficiency, secondary to septicaemia. Septicaemic shock (blood poisoning, probably caused by a bacterial infection secondary to his intubation last month) has driven his blood pressure up, and his heart can't cope. Among the symptoms are shortness of breath (he's on oxygen), fever, and his kidneys are now shutting down. But if he's (un?)lucky it could take a few days, and there's a slim chance of survival and recovery.

Not to be confused with a heart attack (cardiac infarction), which is what happens when a coronary artery is blocked by a blood clot and tends to kill within minutes (if it's fatal).

Also on a medical note: I don't want to offend anyone's religious beliefs, but I consider the Pope's stand against the use of condoms and sex education in preventing AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa reprehensible. I don't question his good intentions or his sincerity, but I consider that the manner in which they were expressed has directly contributed to millions of painful, slow deaths. If I was inclined to pray, I would be praying now for his successor to take a more pragmatic approach to the relief of human suffering.
posted by cstross at 10:21 AM on April 1, 2005


So far, Metafilter has talked about Mitch Hedberg, Johnny Cochran and Robert Creeley... and thats just this week.

Indiebass, you left out Frank Perdue. He died today.

.

cluck.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:21 AM on April 1, 2005


Once again, Metafilter provides no shortage of people willing to kick a man on his deathbed. Amazing.

Mmm, right, I totally forgot that engaging in a process that every living thing goes through exempts someone from criticism.

The bastard gave Pinochet his blessing. That's reason enough to kick the guy on his deathbed.
posted by cmonkey at 10:22 AM on April 1, 2005


I find a bit to agree on in many of the things that have been said here. There should be a certain amount of decorum, and yes, a recognition of good done, when someone dies. Even if you did not like the person or what they stood for, as is the case for me here. It's unseemly to crow about the death of someone deemed by many to be their spiritual leader.

On the other hand, as clevershark notes, His open opposition to birth control greatly contributed to the baffling rates of AIDS infection found in most sub-Saharan countries. And even worse, the Vatican has taken the position in the past year or so that condoms do not even protect against HIV. I find this indefensible and unconscionable.

What is more interesting, I think, is to consider the future, as the post invites us to do. Since I'm from the US, and live here, and Catholicism here seems to be moving toward a liberal interpretation (barring anti-Semites like Mel Gibson and Pat Buchanan), I used to think that the next Pope would probably be more liberal, more open to pluralism and tolerance and the kinds of science that saves lives. But then I read this article in Atlantic Monthly (unfortunately only the Abstract is still on line; pretty good summary here), that argued that Christianity in its population centers is actually getting much more conservative. The article argues, and I think convincingly, that the next Pope is likely to be much more reactionary than JP2. The article predicted the split forming in the Anglican church between the US branch and the rest of the World, so the author got at least that right.

The danger of a self-righteous and self-servingly dismissive response to this news is that while it may make one feel better, it doesn't address the fact that the worst may be yet to come.
posted by OmieWise at 10:23 AM on April 1, 2005


Reuters is reporting the death of the Pope.

(then again, as Jim Bittermann just pointed out on CNN, Reuters reported the death of Yasser Arafat two days ago.)
posted by Vidiot at 10:23 AM on April 1, 2005


ADNKRONOS: Flat electroencephalogram
posted by elpapacito at 10:24 AM on April 1, 2005


Looking ahead to the succession, it's interesting, I think to see how the institution self-corrects. There are certainly conservative factions that would very much like to see Arinze, Hoyos or even Ratzinger as the next pope. Most liberal Catholics (and modernists of every stripe) would love to see Kasper elevated. But Tettamanzi is favored because he's old, connected (archbishop of Milan, member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), and focused more on ethical matters than political ones.

On preview, what Mayor Curley said.
posted by felix betachat at 10:25 AM on April 1, 2005


Correction: Reuters is reporting that Italian media (who I assume means ADN) are reporting the death of the Pope.
posted by Vidiot at 10:28 AM on April 1, 2005


Our best bet is to totally sack every region of the italian peninsula so that he has no infrastructure when he returns.

*craps own pants, flees*
posted by matteo at 10:29 AM on April 1, 2005


vidiot: we're waiting for bells in Rome and for Camillo Ruini to give the official announcment (he's the one specifically in charge of that)
posted by elpapacito at 10:29 AM on April 1, 2005


Reuters says Pope is dead ... CNN says unconfirmed sources say Pope is dead ... Fox News says Hillary Rodham Clinton has killed the Pope
posted by ElvisJesus at 10:30 AM on April 1, 2005


Oh dear...in the past week, JC (Jesus Christ, although I hear he arose on Sunday) JCII (Johnnie Cochrane), Mitch Hedberg, Robert Creely, Terri Schiavo (ok I know thats debatable), Frank Perdue....and now the Pope is on his way out, not to mention Prince Rainier of Monaco?

Anyways, I'm not catholic, protestant or atheist, but I am a little saddened about JP (John Paul) primarily because he and I share a birthday. I sincerely wish him peace within, for no matter his faults, he also did some good in his life.
posted by ramix at 10:32 AM on April 1, 2005


Interesting, CNN just deleted their red breaking news banner saying that sources were reporting it.
posted by smackfu at 10:32 AM on April 1, 2005


Remember matteo you can run........but you cant hide!
posted by adamvasco at 10:33 AM on April 1, 2005


good one, ElvisJesus
posted by bashos_frog at 10:33 AM on April 1, 2005


Forgot to mention all the day on the italian tv I saw exponent of various religions all expressing their sympathies and/or issuing official prayers and masses for the Pope. Also afaik he was the first Pope to put his paper prayer in the Jerusalem Wailing wall, the first to visit a Mosque. A great diplomat indeed.
posted by elpapacito at 10:40 AM on April 1, 2005


This isn't some attempt at Terri-related snark or anything, but it really has brought this question up in my mind: what, exactly, does happen if the Pope doesn't die? That is, what happened if he's comatose for the next twenty years? By his own edict they can't terminate support, and by Vatican Law there's no "acting Pope." Does someone else take over and there's simply no Pope governing things?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:43 AM on April 1, 2005


A great diplomat indeed.

Not to mention his push for rapprochement with Eastern Orthodoxy. His effort was lauded by Catholics as healing a massive historical schism, and derided by many Orthodox Christians as Roman triumphalism
posted by felix betachat at 10:47 AM on April 1, 2005


btw, thanks for the updates elpapacito.
posted by felix betachat at 10:48 AM on April 1, 2005


One day the Vatican will be turned into a museum, a relic of a bygone era of superstition and mytho-global exploitation.

If I squint, I can almost see it in the distance.

Or, maybe it's just a little too hot outside.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 10:49 AM on April 1, 2005


Fresh boy bottom all around!
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 10:51 AM on April 1, 2005


Does someone else take over and there's simply no Pope governing things?

The Cardinals would run things, probably much like they have been lately. There really isn't a whole lot of "governing" for a Pope to do. Popes dictate policy and other people do the work. I asked a similar question in AskMe awhile back.
posted by sciurus at 10:51 AM on April 1, 2005


Suck it, Bucket.
posted by sciurus at 10:52 AM on April 1, 2005


I am not Catholic, so this might have something to do with that: I can't honestly think of anything "good" this pope has done, off the top of my head.

Perhaps he opened up the Roman-Catholic Church from the inside or something, but all I can really think of is that he jet-setted all over the globe making (more-or-less) publicity appearances and riding around in the Pope-Mobile.

And then there's all this mess of giving harbor to clergy accused of molestation. And AIDS in Africa and all over the world. Birth control. Abortion. And probably more.

I'm really sincerely curious. What sort of good works should we be lauding this pope for? Stuff like declaring saints or other internal church affairs shouldn't count. "Repairing schisms" from within the church shouldn't count. Diplomacy also shouldn't count - considering most diplomacy amounts to simply travelling around and being nice and culturally aware and respectful - which should be done by any half-decent soul as a matter of course anyway.

What has he done for the common man - church member or not - that was exemplary?
posted by loquacious at 10:53 AM on April 1, 2005


I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend the novel Hadrian the Seventh.
posted by kenko at 10:54 AM on April 1, 2005


Fox News says Hillary Rodham Clinton has killed the Pope

That's tough to believe. Surely Fox News would not forget to also blame John Kerry!
posted by clevershark at 10:55 AM on April 1, 2005


ElvisJesus wins this one.

I'm not Catholic or religious, but here's to Jean Paul going to chill with his God.
posted by honeydew at 10:58 AM on April 1, 2005


Great collection of links, felix. I read more articles from your post than all the other posts made today combined. But couldn't you find a Pope Status Firefox Extension.

Are they going to put the PopeMobile up for auction in an estate sale? I'd love to bid on it.

John Paul's legacy will be increased conservatism in the Catholic church for the next several generations. The librealization movement made in the 1960s with Vatican II are not something that will happen for many decades with the Cardinals that have been appointed over the last 20 years. Because of this, I see the Catholic church continuing to suffer declining membership in developed countries as the views of the Church become even more regressive in light of the changes in views of modern societies.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:59 AM on April 1, 2005


If the next pope is black, does it really signal the end of the world?
posted by eas98 at 11:00 AM on April 1, 2005


loquacious writes "What has he done for the common man - church member or not - that was exemplary?"

Significantly helped to end the Cold War and free Eastern Europe. We're no longer sitting around expecting to be nuked by the Russians, thank Pope John Paul II. (And Reagan and Thatcher.)


ElvisJesus writes "...Fox News says Hillary Rodham Clinton has killed the Pope"

Had me hook, line, and sinker!
posted by orthogonality at 11:07 AM on April 1, 2005


.


While it's true that much of Karol's legacy will be increased conservatism (and death, especially from HIV/AIDS), he did try to do a lot of work promoting peace worldwide, especially w/r/t Poland and Eastern Europe.

Can we dispense with the snark, please? A man has died. Have a moment of respect.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:10 AM on April 1, 2005


What sort of good works should we be lauding this pope for? Stuff like declaring saints or other internal church affairs shouldn't count. "Repairing schisms" from within the church shouldn't count.

I think you're downplaying this. In a world still filled with religious intolerance repairing century old conflicts, bringing new cooperation, and uniting churches has to be a good thing. If the leaders of historically opposed faiths start amicable dialogues it can't be long before the followers start doing the same.
posted by sbutler at 11:11 AM on April 1, 2005


Holy shit, Mitch Hedberg died? This is what happens when I take a MetaSabatical.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:11 AM on April 1, 2005


> If the next pope is black, does it really signal the end of the world?

I thought the world was good for two more popes after JP2, and the all hell breaks loose or something.
posted by NewBornHippy at 11:11 AM on April 1, 2005


Significantly helped to end the Cold War and free Eastern Europe. We're no longer sitting around expecting to be nuked by the Russians, thank Pope John Paul II. (And Reagan and Thatcher.)


You have got to be kidding me.
posted by norm at 11:12 AM on April 1, 2005


mygothlaundry...

yeah, someone pointed it out in the comments, but post deleted.
posted by indiebass at 11:16 AM on April 1, 2005


I disagree with many views of the church but it also has some very powerful and enlightened social views. . .including respect for others and tolerance. Maybe some people here could learn a thing or two.

Please, have a little respect for the grief that millions of people around the world are now experiencing.
posted by chicken nuglet at 11:21 AM on April 1, 2005


Suck it, Bucket.
posted by sciurus at 10:52 AM PST on April 1 [!]


Argh! Can't win!
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 11:26 AM on April 1, 2005


powerful and enlightened social views. . .

You've got to be kidding me.
posted by item at 11:26 AM on April 1, 2005


Please, have a little respect for the grief that millions of people around the world are now experiencing.

There's going to be an outpouring of grief when that wacky man Sun Myung Moon dies.

Should he also receive the same respect as the Pope?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:33 AM on April 1, 2005


Maybe some people here could learn a thing or two.

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" (Matt. 7:3)
posted by clevershark at 11:35 AM on April 1, 2005


I hope the pope rots in hell with Reagan and Hitler and Mussolini.

Boo-fucking-hoo.

The bastard gave Pinochet his blessing. That's reason enough to kick the guy on his deathbed.

I don't think most people have a problem with discussing the pope's deeds. If you think he is/was an evil man, that's just opinion. I'd say the sad part is the lack of class shown by several members in this thread. But that always happens. You can't have 23,000 members and not have a few who take out their anger at their own lives on the dead, and the internet is the perfect safe place to do it. Being critical of the pope doesn't have to mean a thread that looks like a bathroom wall.

Yeah, yeah, pile on, another intolerant atheist, whatever.
posted by Decani


No, you're just proof that there's as many embarrassing atheists as there are wacko christians. Crazy people on both sides. But thanks for joining recently, metafilter was short on such wonderful commentary and hate. Proud to have you.
posted by justgary at 11:36 AM on April 1, 2005


John Paul II and the Fall of Communism.

Offered up not to support any particular view, but just because I found it interesting.
posted by Cyrano at 11:37 AM on April 1, 2005


Thank you cyrano
posted by adamvasco at 11:46 AM on April 1, 2005


Your car got mags that be dippy dippy dope
But the whole damnation got the same Pope
posted by papercake at 11:48 AM on April 1, 2005


loquacious: What has he done for the common man - church member or not - that was exemplary?
Excellent question, to which I honestly don't have a "damn didn't he notice already ?" obvious, self-evident answer.
In retrospect I'm probably not really qualified to tell you who did what, as I'm not really an historian or a religious
person knowing the details and the internal works of any religion, but I certainly know when I hear something that sounds "right"
to me.

As in italian living in Rome I was almost literally bathed in catholic "culture" coming from my grandparents (prayer every day,
the concept of sin, the ideas of good and bad deeds, the need not to tell lies) and from relatives...with an atheist/agnostic
family I discovered that blind faith isn't nearly as interesting as critical and rational analysis of evidence ; indeed in my
young years I understood very well that the Church of Rome isn't perfect and that religions don't offer perfect answers to
anything. On the contrary religious intolerant extremists are among the most dangerous people in the world.

If you ask me, the Pope still has that particular something, a quality that is not found in every human being..of being an ICON
of Good, a living representation of Christ. Such a powerful icon isn't but an human being, yet the idea of a being that is able to represent concept like piety, friendship, love , attention and care is even more seductive then the idea of an almighty conqueror,
the all knowing all seeing and incredibly powerful leader. From an authoritarian father to an authority.


As for what JP 2nd did probably the words that most impressed me are "Don't be afraid" (to open doors to Jesus) which he often used.
Even if such repetition of the message "Don't be afraid" probably wasn't always received and probably didn't advantage me directly
,physically and immediately I still value the message as positive and necessary..Jesus or Pope or Bush or Kerry or whoever is the
bearer, the message sounds fine and seems useful.
posted by elpapacito at 11:51 AM on April 1, 2005


The fall of Communism in Europe was complex. JP was an inspirational figure to Poles, whether or not you believe communism in Europe was ended, or collapsed. (There are arguments to be made for both, and most of the good ones except factors from column a and column b).

It was not, however, the accomplishment of "the big three". You may remember another problematic figure, Gorbachev? There was also crushing debt, economic stagnation and myriad other factors.

I find any death sad, but i think it's better to turn our attention to how needless deaths and suffering could be lessened.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 11:57 AM on April 1, 2005


I don't wanna be the pope, I'm quite satisfied with my duties as Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah.

And I don't drink cherry flavored bourbon, I do however quote rap lyrics. I prefer my bourbon to taste of fistfights.

I'm sorry for the people who are sad that pope has/will died/die, I kinda don't like a bunch of things the pope was into, but I'm sorry for those who mourn him.
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:01 PM on April 1, 2005


elpapacito, thank you
posted by chicken nuglet at 12:02 PM on April 1, 2005


Maybe this is more concerned with those within the Catholic Church, but JPII has wrote more about matters concerning morality and ethics than any other Pope in history. He has also made great strides to create a modernized Catechism of the Catholic Church, which essentially holds every belief we as Catholics hold. I find this significant because JPII has helped to create justification and a philosophical backing (his writings are exremely philosophical in nature as that was part of his background training and what he was teaching before Popeage) that we, as Catholics, could look at and see why the Vatican said something was so versus just being told something is so with no justification.
To those on the outside, that also leaves a door to argue and disagree against in a civil manner instead of just yelling that teh Pope sux0rs.
posted by jmd82 at 12:07 PM on April 1, 2005


Divine Wino RAWKS! AW!

(I always wanted to be the Ayatollah of Rock n' Rollah... now I gotta wait for YOU to die too?!?!?! pssshh!)

Plus, Divine Wino (or "Divino" as I like to say) follows my golden rule of "De mortuis nil nisis bonum". All personal feelings aside, 'don't speak ill of the dead'. Call me superstitious... I don't care. That's just the way.
posted by indiebass at 12:10 PM on April 1, 2005


But I do believe that you can value -- and honor -- a man for the good he does, even if you don't believe everything he believes.

Me too, orthogonality. But in the case of the head of one of the most savagely retrograde, powerful and viciously absurd religious institutions in the world, I feel the bad done by the pope so hugely outweighs any good that he is unworthy of honour. But hey, I'm a nasty, nasty hater. Whereas he only helped maintain outrageously irrational and cruel doctrines throughout the world. Let's all honour him, sure. For everyone who ever lay awake at night fearing their sins would send them to hell, and for every poor family who squeezed out another brat they couldn't afford to care for decently because the pope and his infernal minions persuaded them that they shouldn't take simple steps to prevent it. Let's all give the old bastard a nice round of applause and then tut-tut some more over nasty, hating atheists who dare to call bullshit.
posted by Decani at 12:11 PM on April 1, 2005


...matters concerning morality and ethics than any other Pope in history.

Fides et Ratio for example.
posted by sciurus at 12:14 PM on April 1, 2005


[I scribbled about this in the Schiavo thread... but figured it was worth writing about here as well.]

One of the frontrunners, unmentioned in the FPP, is Joseph Ratzinger. He's the prefect over the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office of the Curia which oversees the doctrine of the Church. He's known for his orthodoxy and conservatism, and is possibly the most outspoken high-ranking Catholic on the subject of gay marriage. He is considered by many to be John Paul II's "right-hand man," and was tapped to compose this year's Good Friday meditation in the Pope's absence. Bad news for the progressives in the Church if he gets the nod, and I have a bad feeling that he will get some serious consideration in the selection process... although if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on Arinze.
posted by the_bone at 12:23 PM on April 1, 2005


Whoa. You apparently are a nasty, hating atheist, Decani. I am too, except for the nasty and hating part, at least today. People make their own choices to believe or not. . .and for those who are devout Catholics, this spiritual leader traveled more and addressed the faithful in their own language to a degree not previously imagined. How many languages did the man speak? What a kick and a comfort to all those people. "John Paul Two, He Laaaaves You!" Seems like you're blaming the leader for the institution. It's not a start-up, it's had thousands of years to get so screwy. RIP.
posted by rainbaby at 12:26 PM on April 1, 2005


some more over nasty, hating atheists who dare to call bullshit.

Um so why can't the nasy, hating atheists at least keep their venom to themselves? I mean really what did any of the mefi catholics or belivers do to you that you have to come in and shit in the thread? I love how any obit thread in here enevitably turns in to a crapfest where haters and the greived fight.
posted by Numenorian at 12:26 PM on April 1, 2005


decani: indeed (afaik) JP 2nd always vehemently opposed any kind of birth control and in that there is probably a big big error. I really never understood how people who understand human suffering couldn't understand that a family may not be able to even _barely sustain_ childs and end up generating lotsa more suffering (something the newly born certainly didn't look after).

I guess contraception is still not compatible with the fact in the Bible they fucked like rabbits and generated tons of childrens left and right and lived sometimes some hundred years (which is even more hard to believe when one fucks like a rabbit and generates hoardes of childrens).

Well, so I welcome decani the "go f yourself you stupid moron" dude who revelas the shortcoming, but I urge you not to give _hatred_ the paternity of your discoveries.
posted by elpapacito at 12:28 PM on April 1, 2005


So, just curious: how evil does someone have to be before it's okay to be vocal in one's hatred? This guy has been responsible for death and suffering on a grand scale. And as for treating his death with dignity: how, exactly, did he dignify the lives and deaths of the AIDS victims he helped to send to their graves? If you want to go the extra mile and give him more honor than he deserves, knock yourselves out. But don't expect that from me. Drawing loud attention to his crimes in the vain hope that they won't be repeated is the best way to dignify his pathetic life.
posted by stonerose at 12:28 PM on April 1, 2005


What exactly are the millions of Catholics praying to/for the Pope FOR?

Do they want him not to die?

I doubt he's in much pain.. meds and all..

Forgiveness of all his Papal Sins?

What do they hope prayer will accomplish at this point?
posted by Balisong at 12:31 PM on April 1, 2005


Significantly helped to end the Cold War and free Eastern Europe. We're no longer sitting around expecting to be nuked by the Russians, thank Pope John Paul II. (And Reagan and Thatcher.)

Ye gods. These three brought an end to the Cold War like D-Day was the turning point in WWII. There's a wee kernel of truth in there that allows the propaganda to spread, but the most significant stuff was happening further east than Western triumphalists like to look. (Hitler lost WWII on the Eastern Front, and the Soviet Union collapsed mostly from within, not without.)

And for the record, I'm a lapsed Catholic and I don't feel strongly one way or the other about the Pope, his life or death or anything else he's ever done - I got over my own guilt and don't feel the need to hate anyone for all the energy I lost to it any longer - but I know there's going to be so much treacly hagiographic crap lionizing ole JP elsewhere in the media that I'm sure the cosmos can handle a little Schadenfreude here on Mefi.

And his church's active obstruction of the fight to slow the spread of AIDS verges on a crime against humanity, and makes it abundantly clear that JP and his ilk are far more interested in dogma and their own power than they are in human compassion.

Still, RIP. Even myopic theocrats are worthy of a little compassion.
posted by gompa at 12:32 PM on April 1, 2005


Great job, Decani. Not only does the pedestal you built raise you well above the vicious and the absurd, but the pigeonhole you carved fits everyone else quite nicely.

If only Catholics cared as much about the pope as you do.
posted by breezeway at 12:32 PM on April 1, 2005


cyrano-thanks for the link.
posted by OmieWise at 12:35 PM on April 1, 2005


One of the frontrunners, unmentioned in the FPP, is Joseph Ratzinger.

OK, I'll throw my 2 Euro cents in since nobody mentioned him yet: Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop Primate of Mexico City
posted by matteo at 12:37 PM on April 1, 2005


Yes, he did his part against the Nazis, and against the Soviet Union

Communists are bad for the Pope's business so this could be mostly self-interest at work. It's like feeding and clothing kids to make 'em into good Christians, or Muslims, or whatever. The food is good but there is a bill due on your soul. Hmmm... sounds like another chap I've heard tell about.


But I think with his death imminent, focusing on his faults is petty, given all the good he did do.

Yes and no. It's all well and good to speak kindly of the dead (Is he still alive? Not really following it?) but this is not necessarily the place for that. We are not crashing his funeral or anything. If people are proffering examples of the do-good behavior of the pope, they may be challenged by others. Turnabout is fair play. Or, to put it another way, if you had nothing good to say about the Pope when he was alive why start now?


I don't want to offend anyone's religious beliefs

Why not? Religion is not sacred to me. I treat it with the same respect as other ideas people hold dearly--no more and no less. When the the religious masses offer me the same respect for my secular beliefs that I am supposed to/beholden to offer their religious beliefs, we'll have a deal.

Um so why can't the nasy, hating atheists at least keep their venom to themselves? I mean really what did any of the mefi catholics or belivers do to you that you have to come in and shit in the thread?

OK, but don't let me catch you over at our atheist threads. I'm not even going to mention your spelling. I'll chalk it up to PDSS (Pope is dying-distress-syndrome).

Now for my favorite pope-related joke:

Nothing's wrong with science. Ya know, between, between air conditioning and the Pope, I'll take air conditioning.
--Woody Allen (Deconstructing Harry)
posted by a_day_late at 12:47 PM on April 1, 2005


I hope the pope rots in hell with Reagan and Hitler and Mussolini.

Some people's hatred here makes me sad. You know, despite your hatred directed at him, the Pope would probably forgive you and pray for you.
posted by caddis at 12:50 PM on April 1, 2005


You know, despite your hatred directed at him, the Pope would probably forgive you and pray for you.

You know what else? Forgiveness and prayer from him would be pretty well meaningless. Don't use your misplaced admiration for his apparent "benevolence" to draw attention away from the very real, meaningful, and grave accusations against him. Some of us are concerned with life and death, disease and suffering, rather than the superficial social niceties and mystical claptrap offered by Mr. Wojtyla and his ilk.
posted by stonerose at 12:57 PM on April 1, 2005


So, if the pope dies tomorrow as opposed to within the next couple hours, is there going to be another thread about his death then? Decani has some really good points behind all the over-the-top vitriol.
posted by Arch Stanton at 12:59 PM on April 1, 2005


Sadly for all of you who have so much hate for the Pope, he was one of the most progressive Popes Catholicism has ever had. Aside from doctrinal beleifs that he cannot change, he overhauled the way the Chruch is run, he very significantly changed the way the Pope is chosen, a process usually dominated by Italians which now requires all the cardinals to be under 80 and completely international. He refused to hide his Parkinson's to be an example of sufferring and compassion to show the strength of the human spirit. He fought Communism, Totalitarianism on a grand scale, but I guess that's not sensational enough for you.

I had always thought that being and atheist also meant that you were a humanist, that you could at least have compassion for human struggle, for the masses of people who are inspired by him.

Drawing loud attention to his crimes in the vain hope that they won't be repeated is the best way to dignify his pathetic life.
Yea, because that always fosters the understanding that really moves people to change things. Mostly it just turns people away from the issue in general. You are just as bad as those who made Terri Shiavo's death into a circus. Hate is never justified.

When the the religious masses offer me the same respect for my secular beliefs that I am supposed to/beholden to offer their religious beliefs, we'll have a deal.
You realise that you're not talking to "the masses" here but MeFites? I think we're generally going to respect your secular beleifs (even though I don't think that's the right usage of "secular"), and respect only breeds more respect/you reap what you sow. I think it is only polite to leave your hate and bile out of the comments. We know it's out there.
posted by scazza at 1:00 PM on April 1, 2005


despite your hatred directed at him, the Pope would probably forgive you and pray for you.

Yeah, but unless we came around to accepting his particular vision of God as the one true faith - which faith includes reciting a creed once a week (or more) that among other things proclaims him God's sole mouthpiece on earth - he'd still think our souls were eternally damned. Which isn't all that charitable, really.
posted by gompa at 1:00 PM on April 1, 2005


You are just as bad as those who made Terri Shiavo's death into a circus. Hate is never justified.

Terry Schiavo = victim.
Karol Wojtyla = killer.

Hate is never justified? According to whose ethics? Yours? Congratulations! According to your own ethical framework, you're officially holier than I. I'll just go on hating Stalin, Hitler, Ted Bundy, et al., thanks.
posted by stonerose at 1:10 PM on April 1, 2005


Aside from doctrinal beleifs that he cannot change (sic)

Oh, spare us. He's supposedly infallible, remember? He is not beholden to all that old musty doctrine unless he wants to be.
posted by norm at 1:11 PM on April 1, 2005


I don't disagree with the criticisms of the Pope, after all (or before it), I work in the very disturbing field of HIV care, but I do think that those criticisms are misplaced. Especially the vitriol. And I do specifically mean misplaced. For one thing, the post is about who might be his successor, and also about his death. It isn't about what a great guy he was.

But, more importantly, the Pope is the leader of a huge number of people who believe in his position, and perhaps in his positions, as a matter of faith. This is much different than Hitler and/or Mussolini, because the nature of religious faith is different. Given that, it seems like bad form to so vehemently deride him in this post, a post about his death. To put it in a more positive way, even if you would vehemently deride him in some other forum (and I would), it is much more classy to focus attention on the substance of your arguments by allowing room for people to mourn or not as they see fit.
posted by OmieWise at 1:16 PM on April 1, 2005


.


ever closer to death and, speaking as a good agnostic, I'll miss the man tremendously.
posted by NinjaPirate at 1:19 PM on April 1, 2005


Spider-man had some words of wisdom the Pope should have listened to.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:25 PM on April 1, 2005


You realise that you're not talking to "the masses" here but MeFites? I think we're generally going to respect your secular beleifs (even though I don't think that's the right usage of "secular"), and respect only breeds more respect/you reap what you sow. I think it is only polite to leave your hate and bile out of the comments. We know it's out there.

You talk to the masses you have and not to the ones you wish to have. As for respect breeding more respect, I live in the USA. That theory is not working out all that well right at the moment. I have no hate or bile for the pope. I don't know what you read into my comments that indicated I did. Was it the Woody Allen joke? I didn't think that was bad at all. What the hell?! It's getting personal so let's drop it. This is probably too emotional a topic for believers to discuss rationally.
posted by a_day_late at 1:38 PM on April 1, 2005


Hate is never justified.

Balderdash and hokum.

Hate can always be justified.
posted by nearlife at 1:43 PM on April 1, 2005


You know, norm, if you're going to deride the Catholic Church for its backwardness, do a little research first. "The Pope could change anything he wants - he's infallible" isn't really right. Only very rarely have "infallible" statements come out of the Vatican, at least in modern times. This is, I would suspect, in part because the Church has ended up accepting as true so many things that were originally thought damn near heretical [evolution, for example.] I rather think that you'll find much less philosophical and theological debate on issues that are infallible than Unless I'm greatly mistaken, the statements on contraception and such were not infallible. Instead, they fall under the class of things about which the Chuch gives guidance, but there's some leeway for individuals to disagree. Of course, the fact that the Church as an institution is against contraception is pretty reprehensible, at least in my opinion. But the Church didn't make use of contraception a mortal sin, and there's space for future Popes to change things. The Church is an institution made up of people, and people make bad decisions and people screw up. The Pope was also human, and also made wrong decisions. Some of them [like the decision to focus more on what goes on in peoples' bedrooms than on global poverty, for example] are very wrong, but that doesn't negate the good that's been done by the same institution and the same man.

Which sort of brings me to my next point. [mostly in response to stonerose and decani] The Chruch is a huge, ancient institution. It's _very_ slow to change, and there's been a lot for it to adapt to in recent years. Still, I don't think that you can fairly call it "most savagely retrograde, powerful and viciously absurd religious institutions in the world." Powerful, sure. Savagely retrograde? Not so much - barring issues relating to sexuality, the Church holds stances on other social issues that would be considered "bleeding heart liberal" if removed from a religious context. Furthermore, I'd argue that it's as liberal as _most_ Christian churches, and a great deal more liberal than the born again/fundie variety found in the US. [That hellfire stuff, decani? Not really a big part of the modern Catholic doctrine. Much more of a fundie thing these days. Sort of the like anti-evolution thing.] Viciously absurd? I don't really see that either. Is it really much more absurd than any large bureacracy [unless it's the belief in God part you find ridiculous]? Heck, I'd call the US government viciously absurd as well... possibly moreso than the Church, which at least honestly backs up its decisions with moral arguments, rather than the quack science and lame evasions of the Bush Administration.

Finally, some of you sound like you're holding the Church to a higher standard than you hold yourself [or most others] to. Want the Church to sell its chalices [probably not solid gold these days, by the way] and feed the poor and tend the sick? Why not sell your car and send that money to an aid agency? Do you really need a TV? The Church _does_ run charities and aid agencies and missions to help the poor, and until you're willing to do the same, I'm not sure you're really in the right by accusing them of not doing enough, unless you're willing to do make the same kind of sacrifices.

[Shrugs] We'll certainly be hearing too many hagiographies of the Pope after his death. I don't see why people feel a need to balance that out with vitriol here. He was a man; rather like the Church whose head he was, he made some right decisions and some wrong ones, but he was probably generally trying to do what he thought was best and most moral, which is about as much praise as anyone can really deserve.
posted by ubersturm at 2:00 PM on April 1, 2005


[My apologies for the length of that post. It seems that threads regarding the Catholic Church tend to bring out a lot of vitriol against the institution... often hurled by people who don't evince much actual knowledge about how the Church itself works. It would be nice if people could carry on a discussion in which morally nuanced views were more common.]
posted by ubersturm at 2:11 PM on April 1, 2005


Anyone pretending that an atheistic stance somehow gives ideological justification to bashing the Pope is straining credulity. There have been loads of atheist killers (Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, etc.). Note, I do not mean that an atheist can't complain, but if anyone uses the ideology of atheism as a starting point for a critique of Catholicism would need to first put their own (ideological) house in order.

That being said, as a lapsed Catholic and current agnostic, I feel a twinge of regret and a twinge of relief; on the one hand I think that within the confines of Catholicism JPII was a positive influence, but on the other hand Catholicism in general is reactionary and oppressive. Either way, his impact on the world is a far more complicated equation than "purely benevolent force" or "deserving to rot in hell."
posted by Falconetti at 2:16 PM on April 1, 2005


It would be nice if people could carry on a discussion in which morally nuanced views were more common

As the Church and Pope themselves have not taken such nuance to their views, I feel no such compunction, frankly.

You know, norm, if you're going to deride the Catholic Church for its backwardness, do a little research first.

This begs the question!

How about you? Your post makes the claim that "[o]nly very rarely have "infallible" statements come out of the Vatican, at least in modern times." But I know that the very doctrine of papal infallibility is a modern one. So watch out for that mote in my eye, my beam-impaired friend.

This pope could have done plenty to reverse backwards doctrines (oh, and worldwide violence and hatred) towards women, homosexuals, the poor, and his own priests, but didn't do it because he wanted to strengthen the church's conservative wing. He reformed the structure of the college of Cardinals so that it would be much more difficult to reform it in the future.

And as for the ludicrous charge that we should ignore the church's gold chalices and cash in our own personal wealth, you have got to be kidding. Have you ever been to the Vatican? I have. Every third room is a gift shop. Every other room is stockpiled with priceless sculpture or meaningless iconography. The unused wealth in that place is enough to do so much good, and yet you lecture us about what we're not doing for the poor? Let them eat host, I guess.
posted by norm at 2:23 PM on April 1, 2005


some of you sound like you're holding the Church to a higher standard than you hold yourself [or most others] to.

Doesn't that seem reasonable? Isn't it perfectly reasonable that you would expect the institution that claims to carry out God's will on earth and speaks in absolute, incontrovertible terms about the morality of its adherents to hold itself to the same high standards it preaches? Wasn't that in fact the crux of Martin Luther's problem with the Church in his day - that it was flagrantly disobeying its own teachings? If anyone on this earth was expected to adhere to the highest of moral standards, wouldn't it be the Pope, for chrissake?
posted by gompa at 2:27 PM on April 1, 2005


Divine_Wino:"I don't wanna be the pope, I'm quite satisfied with my duties as Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah."

But think of all that sacramental wine! Buckets of the stuff!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 2:28 PM on April 1, 2005


Also, what gompa said. I mean, WHAT GOMPA SAID. And that's not me shouting, that's me carving 40 foot tall words into a limestone cliff.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 2:31 PM on April 1, 2005


Note, I do not mean that an atheist can't complain, but if anyone uses the ideology of atheism as a starting point for a critique of Catholicism would need to first put their own (ideological) house in order.

Yes, because atheism is so often used as an excuse to start wars, rape, pillage, subjugate, discriminate against, etc.
posted by bshort at 2:48 PM on April 1, 2005


Yes, because atheism is so often used as an excuse to start wars, rape, pillage, subjugate, discriminate against, etc.

It is certainly being used today by some as a justification for spewing hate and discriminating against those don't agree with their views.
posted by chicken nuglet at 2:53 PM on April 1, 2005


tagline
MetaFilter -- Watch Out For That Mote In My Eye, My Beam-Impaired Friend
posted by matteo at 2:54 PM on April 1, 2005


The Pope told people not to use condoms, and he also told them not to have extramarital relations.

People had extramarital relations, and they did not use condoms.

Expressed as a percentage, to what degree can we blame the Pope? Please show your work.
posted by rush at 2:54 PM on April 1, 2005


In honor of his opposition to the "Culture of Death" I think we should hook him up to a life-support machine, hell an Iron Lung, and set it on autopilot until which time we can have a Space Pope.
posted by RockCorpse at 2:56 PM on April 1, 2005


It is certainly being used today by some as a justification for spewing hate and discriminating against those don't agree with their views.

Actually, as far as I can tell, it's the hatred of religon that driving that.
posted by bshort at 2:58 PM on April 1, 2005


Whatever your religious beliefs (or lack thereof), I think we can all agree that it'd be cool if the Pope's illness was just an elaborate April Fools joke, and at midnight the music would blast and he'd jump out and start busting moves like Mr. Six from those Six Flags commercials. (You'd need a TV to know about this.)
posted by notmydesk at 3:02 PM on April 1, 2005


Yes, because atheism is so often used as an excuse to start wars, rape, pillage, subjugate, discriminate against, etc.

See Enver Hoxha.
posted by Falconetti at 3:07 PM on April 1, 2005


People who listen to an 84-year old virgin's pronouncements about sex have only themselves to blame.
posted by boaz at 3:10 PM on April 1, 2005


See Enver Hoxha.

Cool. That's one. I bet that balances out the countless millennia of abuses in the name of religion.
posted by bshort at 3:14 PM on April 1, 2005


I really wanted to post a recent comment from Decani:

"As someone else said: we're born atheists. We have no belief in gods until it's either shoved into us or we fall victim to the hoary old superstitious impulse that has blighted mankind since we learned to wonder about stuff.

I was raised by Christian parents, C of E. Church every Sunday, a chorister between the ages of 6 and 12, prayers every night ("God bless mum and dad and Carol and please don't let Bonesy get me in the showers after games tomorrow please please I'll go to Evensong too...") and so on. When I was very young the idea of a nice skydaddy who would listen to me and look out for me was comforting, and while it did seem to be something of a wacky system even to my immature mind, it made about as much sense as a lot of other things that baffled me. I didn't think about it too hard.

I suppose I was 7 or 8 when I started asking my parents and my vicar annoying questions like "How do I know God is there?" and "Who made God?" Even then I noticed that the answers lacked a certain... intellectual rigour, shall we say. I fretted. I kept coming up with more questions. What happened to the souls of people who died before Jesus came to redeem us? Why did he have to go through all that crucifixion malarkey anyway? Why not just... you know, not have this outrageous stick-and-carrot afterlife system in the first place? Couldn't this allegedly omnipotent God manage that? And hey, why isn't Judas a hero for Christians? He was vital to the scheme, you know?

The answers didn't get any smarter, or any more persuasive. I think I was about 12 when, one Sunday, I stopped messing around with my fellow choristers long enough to actually listen to the sermon; to pay attention to the creed, the agnus dei and all the rest of it. And I realised it was pure voodoo bullshit. Made no sense at all. Stark, staring, drooling, whacked-out loonytune material. And something crashed in on me with the force of an earthquake: this stuff was borne of fear, ignorance and need. These people bobbing up and down in the pews, mumbling prayers, genuflecting, crossing themselves... were scared people. They didn't want to die and they were frightened to live without a comforting fantasy. They needed to believe in an interceding deity who would help them in this life and who would grant them another, better life after death as a reward for their faith in the fantastic. They needed to believe that their big skydaddy would intercede in the mundane pains and tribulations of their lives; that he might do mad merciful magic for their cancer-cursed loved ones. They needed it so very much that they were prepared to abase themselves before this imaginary entity; to lower themselves - literally and figuratively, to indulge in rituals as irrational and senseless as those of the Druids or the ancient Egyptians. It hit me like a bolt from God almighty: Christianity was precisely no more reasonable than any of these things. It was all human foolishness and all spawned in the same shameful, black place in the human mind.

And then I had a huge falling out with my parents, they fussed I was going to hell, I was a lost soul, a bad lot, the devil had got to me and so on and so forth... and then I read a whole lot of philosophy and history that persuaded me how very right I was and I became an in-your-face militant atheist by the time I was 17. And I still am. Fuck the pope! Etc!"
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 3:22 PM on April 1, 2005


rush, your point about people's autonomy is well-taken. But people exercise that autonomy within the confines of social structures that they experience as facts. The Church - and Mr. Wojtyla in particular - has a lot to answer for in terms of building social structures that make it difficult for people to exercise their autonomy in ways that lead to healthy behavior and healthy outcomes.

The Church teaches people to be superstitious, fearful, and tradition-bound. It lies to them about scientific facts. It stigmatizes condom use. By turning routine human behavior (fucking around) into "sin", it renders reasoned discussion difficult. It sustains patriarchal social relations that make it difficult for women to insist on condom use. It runs and supports health programmes in the developing world - where people frequently lack secular alternatives to meet their health needs - that do not provide condoms or accurate counselling. The Church stipulates that people must act in a certain way, without taking into account how they will act: people are horny, mistake-prone beings. Its sexual health policies are guided by this criminally obtuse stance.

I could go on, but you get the point: expressed as a percentage, how autonomous are people under such circumstances? 42 million people worldwide are infected with HIV. I don't think we can continue to abide institutions that take pains to ensure that the epidemic will continue to grow.
posted by stonerose at 3:28 PM on April 1, 2005


Cool. That's one. I bet that balances out the countless millennia of abuses in the name of religion.

You really can't please some people.

Face it, people who hate religion, will probably hate the pope, and probably hate me for being quasi-spiritual. That's okay, as long as they don't axe me to death, I can live with it, and I'm sure the Pope feels the same way.

But the question is. . . if all of this bile isn't aimed so that the pope take it as criticism (kinda late on that one) what are you trying to argue? That we should feel glad that John Paul the II cashed in his chips? I just see all of this venom sorta misplaced, as all you are doing is pissing off people you aren't going to convince anyway. Making people in general more unhappy.

Most of us would probably replicate the evil that figures like this do. It's nearly unavoidable at that grand of a scale, whenever anything you say can cause someone to live or die. Hell, I think Jimmy Carter made made some really bad decisions in his life (racism during his governor run, full support behind William Calley), but I believe the good he did otherwise somehow redeems him, makes his life a loss if James Earl keeled over. I feel similar on this.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:30 PM on April 1, 2005


You really can't please some people.

I wasn't asking for one example. I was pointing out the vast difference between one atheist nutjob killing people and the vast number of people that have been killed over many many centuries by religious nutjobs who think that if you don't believe in their one specific imaginary friend, that you should be put to death.

Face it, people who hate religion, will probably hate the pope, and probably hate me for being quasi-spiritual. That's okay, as long as they don't axe me to death, I can live with it, and I'm sure the Pope feels the same way.

Hey, I'm fine with you believing whatever you want, but if it's some sort of spooky superstitious nonsense then I'll most likely point that out. But I would never want anyone to discriminate against you, torture or murder you based on those spooky beliefs.

That just wouldn't be kosher.
posted by bshort at 3:37 PM on April 1, 2005


Being an atheist is no justification for deriding a good man who did great things.

Of course not. But who do you have in mind? This thread is about about Karol "Pope John Paul 2" Wojtyla. Maybe you're thinking of Warren Zevon who did "Hostage-O"?

Thank you, bshort. But boaz, I thought "celibate" in the Catholic sense meant "unmarried", not "virginal". Rodrigo "Alexander VI" Borgia never married the mother of his four kids , after all.

And to answer LC, who asked "[I]f all of this bile isn't aimed so that the pope take it as criticism (kinda late on that one) what are you trying to argue? That we should feel glad that John Paul the II cashed in his chips?"

That works for me!
posted by davy at 3:42 PM on April 1, 2005


Hey, I'm fine with you believing whatever you want, but if it's some sort of spooky superstitious nonsense then I'll most likely point that out.

Okay, I have had that pointed out. I think every theist on metafilter knows that there are quite a few people that think their beliefs are "quaint," "absurd," "idiotic," "myopic," or something else. We got this. A long time ago. We don't want to kill you and you don't want to kill us. I think it's even ridiculous to be an athiest. You have a good chance of being right. I like believing in a higher power, destiny, the soul, all that bunk, and it makes me happy. I'm not even Catholic, but still I can appreicate the death of the pope, if only for those I know who do care.

Oh, frabjoy day!

On preview: Well . . . I don't think you're going to be successful. In fact, you're probably just going to piss people off with no effective outcome.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:44 PM on April 1, 2005


It would be nice if people could carry on a discussion in which morally nuanced views were more common.

When I try they line up to tell me what an asshole I am. Besides, where's the moral nuance to any frigging Pope? Is yours a "But Hitler was nice to his dog!" kind of point?
posted by davy at 3:47 PM on April 1, 2005


.
RIP

Pope = bad

Catholic Church = Evil

In the end, he was a man doing what he thought was right, a lot of people not only thought he was wrong, but evil. A lot of people thought he was the bomb...

You can't badmouth my Pope, because i don't have one.
posted by schyler523 at 4:03 PM on April 1, 2005


There appear to be a lot of people very upset that other people are saying Bad Things about the Pope. I understand that feeling.

I'd like to ask those people if there are any historical figures for whom they simply can not say anything good.

At the death of Stalin, would you praise his name? Pol Pot passed away in 1998: did you reminisce regarding his leadership capabilities and how he preached forgiveness and tried to put an end to the social tradition of karsângsoek, the practice of ultimate revenge. Mussolini made the trains run on time, they say: when he was murdered in 1945, were we to have praised his organizational efficiency?

I am confident you can identify someone who you could only say nasty things about, and who's death you would in fact celebrate.

That's the Pope, in some eyes.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:20 PM on April 1, 2005


mrbucket : thanks for posting the Decani post. That is like the verbatim copy of my experience and that of other people
who "lost faith". Notice how Decani is talking about the "skydaddy" figure..much like Santa..that's offered as a benign
overlooking entity, a very fatherly reassuring figure indeed.

As Decani evolved his "thirst" for better understanding collided with the fact there was no answer or the answer was irrational,
no hypothesis no thesis no evidence no nothing just _blind_ faith.

And something crashed in on me with the force of an earthquake: this stuff was borne of fear, ignorance and need.

Which is quite a discovery and a shocking one indeed, made even more shocking and harmful by the parents (not completely consciously imho) using scare tactiques on him, which is very insulting to one own self esteem expecially when 1. the attacker is a loved one
2. you realize the loved one is just mindlessing repeating a mantra or (worse) is a very weak being.

That's like word collapsing and the sense of solitude that ensues throws you directly into the OPPOSITE stance which is Atheism (been
there, done that) in which I vehemently supported the notion God doesn't exist till I found out about Agnosticism and the impossibility of proving that something not knowable does not
exist and the ensuing leap of faith.

Eventually stonerose nails one important point: Church (afaik) still stigmatized condom use which is unacceptable. The fact that no
condom is 100% sure (it's a practical impossibility) leaves room for the abstinence alternative , but not to stigmatization of other
choices which is unacceptable and I personally reject it, send me to hell right now.

At the point in which Decani seems to be, he'd probably reject the whole lot and the whole Church teachings without even bothering
to read all of them, which gives a lot of space to fundamentalist to blame him and his position less defensible ; but no I don't
want fundies to catch Decani and turn him into another opposite fundamentalist, no thanks.
posted by elpapacito at 4:25 PM on April 1, 2005


Reuters headline: "Catholics Pray as Pope Slides Towards Death"

What, the Vatican is a waterpark?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:48 PM on April 1, 2005


If atheists are so much smarter than people with religious faith, why can't some of them seem to understand the nature of faith? I'm an atheist, by the way.

fff - I think your hypothetical is way, way off. People who would compare JP2 to Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot are not only poor historians and readers, they're sloppy thinlers. The whole thing indicates how difficult it will be to address some of the problems in the US. Religious faith is a very different beast than political commitment. If we can't disagree about actions and outcomes without allowing faith to stand unchallenged (at some times and places), then we're really not gonna get anything done.

I'm happy to say fuck Stalin, fuck Hitler, fuck Pol Pot, fuck Bush, fuck calling condoms ineffective for stopping the spread of HIV.

And just to be clear, I think that Christian religious fundamentalists hate America, and are doing everything in their power to destroy it. I'm quite passionate on the subject, so this isn't my attempt to excuse policies or outcomes or assholes or Bush.
posted by OmieWise at 4:48 PM on April 1, 2005


etheral: my my my ! Don't you know the Pope really liked skying and mountain ? He's on the death course black slope and he be shaking booty tailing like a mutha yo !
posted by elpapacito at 5:00 PM on April 1, 2005


But I do believe that you can value -- and honor -- a man for the good he does, even if you don't believe everything he believes.

Even if some of what he does is bad. Thomas Jefferson owned slaves,


The difference is the good Jefferson did far outweighed his personal pecadillos, something that cannot be said of any religious leader. Religion is evil, the greatest evil ever visited upon this world. Berek doesn't believe in Hell, but if it exists the pope deserves to burn it.


If your going to do a news post, this is the proper way to do it. Good relevant links.

posted by berek at 5:08 PM on April 1, 2005


The difference is the good Jefferson did far outweighed his personal pecadillos, something that cannot be said of any religious leader.

Really? Even Martin Luther King Jr.? You paint with such a broad brush I don't know how anyone can take berek seriously.
posted by vacapinta at 5:13 PM on April 1, 2005


Reuters headline: "Catholics Pray as Pope Slides Towards Death"

Very briefly this morning there was a heading in the NYTimes on-line: Catholics Mourn as Death of Papacy Draws near.

Now that would be something I'd celebrate with a clean conscience!
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:18 PM on April 1, 2005


No Wait!! Now Santa Claus is dying, too?!?!
posted by Balisong at 5:27 PM on April 1, 2005


Y'know, for a bunch of super-atheists, y'all love talking about evil. "Evil this, evil that, he's evil," like there is some actual force or thing that empirically exists that is called Evil, and some people are, and some people aren't.
posted by Snyder at 5:43 PM on April 1, 2005


Stalin . . . Pol Pot . . . . Mussolini. . .

That's the Pope, in some eyes.


Silly, sad, pathetic really. Those figures killed thousands to build their own ego and power, while the Pope did his best to make the world better for everyone. You may disagree with his ideals, but they are directed not at personal aggrandizement like Stalin, but for the well being of all mankind. He may not be perfect, but who is? I daresay he was a better man and did more good for the world than anyone posting on this thread.
posted by caddis at 5:48 PM on April 1, 2005


I beginning to wonder if it's possible anymore for a world leader to die without the accompanying chorus of "murderer."
posted by Cyrano at 5:53 PM on April 1, 2005


If atheists are so much smarter than people with religious faith, why can't some of them seem to understand the nature of faith?

We do. The problem isn't faith, even aethiests have faith in certain beliefs, morals, principles. The problem is religion. Every war in the history of humankind can be traced to religious roots. Religion was started, long before Jesus or Mohammad, as a means of social control. Obviously, there are diffences in religions, like between the Unitarians and the Mormons, but they are still bad. Saying one religion is better then another is like saying its okay to be a serial killer if you only kill five people instead of five hundred. No, its still murder, its still reilion, its still evil.

There are dumb aethiests, fortunately Berek isn't one of them.

posted by berek at 5:56 PM on April 1, 2005


I'm not happy with the odds offered in the penultimate FPP link, so I came up with my own:

Francis Arinze: Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Roman Curia. Nigerian. Will continue John Paul II's policies of social conservatism. Not Italian, but is the perfect person to demonstrate the Church's international influence. ODDS: 2-1

Dionigi Tettamanzi: Archbishop of Genoa. Moderate. Usually Italians are selected for the papacy- JPII was the first non-Italian elected in 455 years- but I think that will work against Tettamanzi now. One online casino site favors his election. ODDS: 5-2

Claudio Hummes: Brazilian archbishop of Sao Paulo, the diocese with the largest number of Catholics in the world. Social progressive but conservative on Church doctrine. ODDS: 3-1

Joseph Ratzinger: Prefect over the politically powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Outspoken conservative. Part of JPII's inner circle. ODDS: 7-2

Angelo Scola: Patriarch of Venice, a position that produced three Popes in the 20th century. Conservative; heads the Pontifical Institute on Marriage and the Family, which has promoted the pope's conservative views on sexuality, abortion and marriage. Relatively young, which is a disadvantage. ODDS: 4-1

Camillo Ruini: Vicar General of Rome. Spent time in the US to bone up on his English, which shows that he really wants it... he's got the eye of the tiger. ODDS: 9-2

Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino: Archbishop of Havana. Staunch anti-Communist, but that philosophical position isn't too relevant these days. ODDS: 7-1

Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga: Archbishop of Tegucigalpa. Active campaigner for third debt relief, and served as the Vatican's spokesperson to the IMF and World Bank on these topics. I'd kind of like to see him get it. ODDS: 10-1
posted by the_bone at 5:58 PM on April 1, 2005


Which ones are pedophiles? Er pro-pedophilia...
posted by Balisong at 6:06 PM on April 1, 2005


Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga: Archbishop of Tegucigalpa. Active campaigner for third debt relief, and served as the Vatican's spokesperson to the IMF and World Bank on these topics. I'd kind of like to see him get it. ODDS: 10-1 1000-1.

The church has a long history of paying lip service to the poor, but it's lip service. Unlike the rank and file catholics-- including many like Oscar Romero whom I truly admire-- the cardinals have a pretty strong allegience to the powers that be, even if those powers are fascist.

Silly, sad, pathetic really. Those figures killed thousands to build their own ego and power, while the Pope did his best to make the world better for everyone

Caddis-- I think people are referring to sins of omission and inaction, and I would hazard that many of the most vehement are former Catholics. Just to run a tally-- the church was almost completely silent about AIDS until recently, and they still fight the use of condoms. The pope said nothing durning the crisis of Rwanda until hundreds of thousands had died. The church didn't cause AIDS, nor did it directly cause the genocide, but its teaching only made both harder to fight.

I'm conflicted about the pope. I'm not conflicted about the church. I want nothing to do with it.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:21 PM on April 1, 2005


The problem is religion. Every war in the history of humankind can be traced to religious roots.

Did Alexander the Great conquer the known world over religion? Were the Punic Wars over religion? How about the late Roman Republic civil wars? War of the Roses? Hundred Years War? French-Indian War? War of 1812? American Civil War? World War I? World War II? Vietnam War? Korean War? Iraq War?

I'm calling bullshit on this meme. Some people may hide behind religious reasons for war, but the true reasons are security, money, and power.
posted by sbutler at 6:41 PM on April 1, 2005


sex, too. haven't you read Homer?
posted by matteo at 7:12 PM on April 1, 2005


sex, too. haven't you read Homer?

No! But I saw Troy!

I kid, I kid...
posted by sbutler at 7:18 PM on April 1, 2005


Homer and Troy are Teh Ghey... Pythagoras and Furianus, too.
But not as Ghey as switching your name to John Paul. Why not have a Jesus Martinez Agular as Pope Markus Luke. No, It'll be John Paul III I'm sure..

Who gets to name the next Pope?
posted by Balisong at 7:27 PM on April 1, 2005


berek : "Religion is evil, the greatest evil ever visited upon this world...Every war in the history of humankind can be traced to religious roots."

No, some, but nowhere close to all. However, every war in the history of humankind can be traced to people doing what they think is right, whether that be killing the infidels, killing the subhuman folks next door, or killing people who've insulted them.

Clearly, the great evil is "doing what one thinks is good and right". From now on, I think I'll rail loudly in discussions about how people who do what they think are right are taking part in the commission of evil, and people who support folks doing right are propagating evil.
posted by Bugbread at 7:34 PM on April 1, 2005


Who cares if he's on his death bed...

Beware when a rosy picture is painted of a complex man some of whose acts contributed significantly to the misery of the world.
posted by panoptican at 8:36 PM on April 1, 2005


"Clearly, the great evil is "doing what one thinks is good and right". From now on, I think I'll rail loudly in discussions about how people who do what they think are right are taking part in the commission of evil, and people who support folks doing right are propagating evil."

But that's very close to the de facto vulgar relativist point of view. Nothing gets a vulgar relativist more upset than someone campaigning for "good" and "right". Well, if they disagree with them, of course.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:47 PM on April 1, 2005


some people might argue that religion makes people better than they would be otherwise ... ok, fine, some here wouldn't buy that

what do you have to show us that atheism makes people better? ... 'cause i'm sure not seeing it on this thread

i'm seeing hate ... and that's not something i ever saw from john paul 2

guess who i prefer?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:47 PM on April 1, 2005


EB, your sarcasm detector seems to be malfunctioning. I can lend you mine, if you'd like.
posted by Bugbread at 8:49 PM on April 1, 2005


bugbread now starts railing against himself
posted by caddis at 9:13 PM on April 1, 2005


Combined with this post, nobody will have any idea what the hell I'm actually saying.
posted by Bugbread at 9:42 PM on April 1, 2005


"Who gets to name the next Pope?"

Me!

To follow John Paul II, I choose... Pope George Ringo I!
posted by litlnemo at 11:24 PM on April 1, 2005


I don't think you're going to be successful. In fact, you're probably just going to piss people off with no effective outcome.

But many people in this thread will regard that as a successful outcome, Lord Chancellor.
posted by pmurray63 at 12:23 AM on April 2, 2005


Popes are self-naming.

In other news, the Coptic Pope is alive and doing well... Thanks for asking!
posted by catachresoid at 12:53 AM on April 2, 2005


Australia's representative of the Pope stated that "abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people."
posted by fullysic at 1:39 AM on April 2, 2005


what do you have to show us that atheism makes people better? ... 'cause i'm sure not seeing it on this thread

i'm seeing hate ... and that's not something i ever saw from john paul 2

guess who i prefer?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:47 PM EST on April 1 [!]


What you (and most religious people) don't understand is that atheism only exists to check the power (some would claim unwarranted and evil power) of religion. There is really not much reason other than that for atheism to exist as an organized movement. Generally speaking, atheists don't get together, light some candles, sing some songs, and celebrate the non-existence of God. Atheism is not a religion, it's non-religion, and that just freaks some religious people out when in fact, it's much less threatening to anyone else's beliefs than religion will ever be. Atheism does not claim to make people better. It can only help people in that it encourages them to think rationally and with an open mind--and to question things. I think that these are good things for humans to undertake.

Most atheists (at least I can speak for myself) don't care if people are religious or not. What I resent, as an atheist, is being told my beliefs about life/humanity are less evolved or sacred than yours (and I am on a daily basis). I resent being governed by the religious when you can't keep your religion out of politics (and that happens in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis). I resent having to argue my views on merit alone, only for you to pull your God card out of your wallet and claim you have somehow magically won the argument. See, that's what you did here. "We are good, atheists are bad. Why? because I said so."

Look at your comment and try to really see what you are saying. You are saying some nasty comments by atheists about the pope = worse than anything religion has ever done? Oh, and don't hide behind John Paul, the man. He was in charge of the catholic church and that is what we are judging him on here. Now, do you want to rethink your comments?
posted by a_day_late at 5:14 AM on April 2, 2005


no, i don't want to rethink my comments ... there are atheists who express their views in a rational and civil manner, who are motivated by a spirit of reason based upon the assumptions they have made ... i can respect that

what i can't respect is the sheer meanness of some people who've commented here ... and i don't have to pull a "god card" out of my wallet to point that out ... in fact, the nastiness here was self-evident ... it's hardly an act of irrationality or nastiness to point out the fact of what some have written here ... or to say i prefer the words of the pope over the words of some snarky people on mefi

i said nothing about whose beliefs were less evolved ... just whose words were ... i do not support religion having dictatorial powers over the state or the sort of narrowmindedness that many religious politicians have indulged in ... but there's a difference between religion and spirtuality, and to say that a person shouldn't refer to his beliefs when considering politics is to make those beliefs worthless and ineffective ... you are within your rights to insist that our institutions seperate the two ... but to say our hearts must too, is asking too much ... the line between belief and intolerance is very fine and both the religious and the atheists cross over it

i might point out that the only societies where atheism has been instituted as state policy were quite horrible to live in ... and the kind of hate they used against the religious is echoed in many of the comments in this thread ... it would be better if they got together to light candles, i think

tolerance is a two-way street
posted by pyramid termite at 6:09 AM on April 2, 2005


a_day_late: I think there is quite some confusion in the words

To me:

atheist = one who thinks and/or says there isn't God
(from the ancient greek a-theos, without-god)

agnostic = one who thinks and/or says he doesn't know
if something (including God) exists or not ( from ancient
greek a-gnoseo or a-gnosco (forgot my greek!) which
is without-knowledge)

religion = a set or system of rules based on beliefs (probably from latin religare = to restrain)

belief = conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence (that's M-W)

Where one has no evidence of something (for instance you as a baby trusting mom and daddy without no evidence and not even the concept of evidence) we enter faith

faith = belief and trust into something or somebody

Regress for a minute to childhood and remember when one parent told you that something was going to happen (for instance a solar eclypse, something else very odd and rare). You probably tought "bah that's not true" or "baloney" or "I don't think it will". Then it happens, something that you can't just explain !!! (remember, kids are literally wonderful)

From that moment on you probably had -blind faith- into your father/mother , knowing from lived experience that he/she knows something you don't, explains something you can't explain ...basically becomes GOD or the nearest and best representation of a GOD... truthful, benevolent and helpful (notice above messages when Decani's trust in parents was shattered because blind faith in parents was abruptly destroyed)


Most atheist I know (including my old self) just take the position of "God doesn't exist" as an axiomatic truth, a real article of faith ...obviously others who say and think "God exists" take the OPPOSITE axiomatic truth, another article of faith.

It's way way more interesting (imho) to be really truthful and say "I don't know if God exists or not" and if somebody comes "there is/ isn't God" just ask them to PROVE it. The next step is understanding giving an almost complete, satisfactory proof.

----
Gotta run. Think about it.
posted by elpapacito at 6:11 AM on April 2, 2005


There is no doubt the last 15 years of this papacy have been very divisive, at least in the American scene. I think it's important to remember, though, that the formative event of John Paul II's leadership was the battle with the Soviet Union. This was epochal stuff. An archbishop from behind the Iron Curtain was elevated to become the leader of global Catholicism. From his papal throne, he was a constant rebuke to the totalitarians in Moscow and a source of hope to a great many in Eastern Europe and in Russia. It's easy to forget how polarized those days were. As a kid, I can remember saying rosaries for the collapse of Soviet Russia. When the Virginal apparitions happened at Medjugorje, many Catholics were caught up in the sense that there was a cosmic battle going on. The Soviets felt it too, since, as we now know, they attempted his assassination through the Bulgarians and Mehmet Ali Acga.

Had he died in 1993 or so, this pope would have been nearly universally acclaimed as the co-vanquisher of Soviet-style communism. But he lived on, and the polarizing experiences of his early papacy conditioned his approach to other social conflicts. His treatment of Liberation theology in the third world, for example, was unconscionable. He was incapable of distinguishing between the genuine yearning for freedom and economic justice happening from the ground up and the Marxist dictatorships he had been fighting.

Likewise, his stance on human sexuality, birth control and abortion have been radically uncompromising. If you think this pope is a monster, you should just try to work through the logic of his "seamless garment" theology. It is an uncompromising stance that life itself is sacred. Its appeal to many is its moral purity. Its unwillingness to compromise or consider ambiguities hearkens back to the days of the battle against communism. Here, the "Culture of Life" is pitted against an "Industry of Death". Many of us live in a universe far more complicated and fraught than this, but for conservative Catholics, at least, this is a vision of the human subject which is defined in terms of moral absolutes. Your essence is not your economic agency, your political situation, your social class, etc. Each human being shares a fundamental sacrality and a moral mandate exists to respect that first.

To my mind, there's a radical irony in this theology. By sacralizing the abstract essence of humanity, the church denies the essence of the human experience, which is particularity. The olympian arrogance of this theology is a large part of what has driven me from the church. But pitted against other, equally abstracting forces, I can at least respect what it is trying to do. I just cannot associate myself with it any longer.

Finally, laying the blame for the sexual abuse scandals at the feet of this pope is disingenuous. The scandals hit during his dotage. It was lack of decisive leadership on his part that exacerbated the problem. What we've seen in the last five years or so is a bureaucracy attempting to do damage control, and failing at it miserably. A more vigorous pope would have engaged in an open dialogue about the nature of the call to a religious life and the vow of celibacy. My personal hope is that it is here that the church itself, as an institution, will be forced to re-engage with the particularity of human life. Sexual desire is never abstract. It pulls us into the world and forces us to engage in the specific. The rampant abuse of children by priests is symptomatic of an institutional inability to engage with people as individual subjects. This, more than anything else, is the theological and ethical challenge for the next pope.

Whether atheist or agnostic, Christian or not, we should all wish him luck.
posted by felix betachat at 6:33 AM on April 2, 2005


berek >>> The difference is the good Jefferson did far outweighed his personal pecadillos, something that cannot be said of any religious leader.

Two words: Dalai Lama.

berek >>> "Religion is evil, the greatest evil ever visited upon this world...Every war in the history of humankind can be traced to religious roots."

Leaving aside the excellent points raised above (all those wars that weren't actually religiously-driven), I object to your characterization of something that is a major part of my life as intrinsically evil. Religion, per se, is not the issue. What people use religion to justify, however, is. It's an important distinction to make, as atheists (Stalin, anyone?) can just as easily find justification for their atrocities.

a_day_late >>> What I resent, as an atheist, is being told my beliefs about life/humanity are less evolved or sacred than yours (and I am on a daily basis). I resent being governed by the religious when you can't keep your religion out of politics (and that happens in subtle and not-so-subtle ways on a daily basis).

And what I resent, as a theist, is being lumped in with the people who do such things.

Your beliefs about life or humanity are certainly no less evolved than mine. They're just different. You and I, I suspect, are trying to do the same thing: find some sort of meaning in our lives and in the universe around us. We just approach it from different directions. I don't want my religion to have anything to do with government. The role of government is to facilitate the functioning of the secular world, and as such, should be done on a secular basis. While religion can inform those decisions to some extent, they must ultimately be based on a humanistic philosophical framework.

My beliefs are just that--mine. I want them shoved down your throat about as much as you do. All I ask--and, frankly, what I suspect most theists on MeFi ask--is a little respect for the fact that we view the world differently than you, and the freedom to pursue those beliefs without being attacked for them. Those are, I would be willing to bet, the exact same things that you ask for.

I guess what I'm saying is, please lay the blame where it is deserved. Which is not with us, but with people who seek to control your life according to their narrow principles.


And on preview... felix betachat, I salute you.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:42 AM on April 2, 2005


What we're saying here, is admitting you hate something is worse than preeching love, and hating in private. I call hypocracy.

pyramid termite-- Don't kid yourself. JP2 hates plenty of people personally; it's just not in his job to say it. He has reinstituted the same papal courts used during the Inquisition to beat out "heretics", people many of us might call moderates. He isn't burning anyone, but he has drummed many out of the church. He hates modernity, and those elements of the church who engage the 21st century. And he is "filled with bitterness" (his holy words) when homosexuals march in Italy. He believes that women are the cause of rape. I can't go on actually. There is a lot of hostility under that smile.

I bristle that people accept the church's love dogma. They hate plenty of people in and out of their church. No, they don't say it, but they do. There is a difference between what people say and do. Ratzinger seems even worse, a nasty nasty man under the 'bless you my sons'.

I'm not going to pretent to love and respect someone I oppose because it will make me look like a nice person. That's what nuns and popes do.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:14 AM on April 2, 2005


elpapacito, the atheist/agnostic difference has been been discussed a million times here and it often comes down to semantics, not substance. I think it is all picking nits in many cases so I really have no problem with what say nor do I want to get into yet another semantics discussion.

i might point out that the only societies where atheism has been instituted as state policy were quite horrible to live in
If you are talking about Godless communism, for example, I doubt the central focus of those societies was to "worship atheism." Atheism served the leaders' desire to counter-balance the power of organized religion and promote their own (in many cases selfish) ideologies--which makes my original point that atheism as an organized movement has no reason to exist other to counter-balance religion.

tolerance is a two-way street
Again, you are equating a few comments about the Pope with thousands of years of religious doctrine, institutions, and cause/effect. I'm sorry, and I am not being snarky, but no way hurting your feelings = religious crusades, allowing the spreading AIDS in favor of preserving chastity (or whatever the reason condoms are bad), etc. etc.

And what I resent, as a theist, is being lumped in with the people who do such things.
For the sake of discussion in a public forum, I am generally speaking. I think it should be obvious that I am not speaking about any one person. Having said that, religious people (being the predominant majority in the US) make decisions for me (politically and socially) every day. That is a fact. I see no public policies being set by atheists that I have to defend at the moment. If it comes to that, I will have to take my lumps from the theists and speak out accordingly.

Your beliefs about life or humanity are certainly no less evolved than mine.
I never said or wrote otherwise.
posted by a_day_late at 7:16 AM on April 2, 2005


elpapacito, I don't see how it's my responsibility to prove that God doesn't exist. Seems to me that the world is here whether any of us believe in a god or not. So, if someone wants to believe in a diety, that's fine... they see things that way. But it's their burden of proof to show me evidence that their deity exists.

This thread has gotten ugly. As a rabid atheist myself, it's been instructive as to how not to express my views to win arguments, even though I sympathize with most everything that the godless are saying here.

My beliefs are just that--mine. I want them shoved down your throat about as much as you do. All I ask--and, frankly, what I suspect most theists on MeFi ask--is a little respect for the fact that we view the world differently than you, and the freedom to pursue those beliefs without being attacked for them. Those are, I would be willing to bet, the exact same things that you ask for.

Maybe is the Schiavo case in particular and Bush's tenure as American Pope-resident that has our collective backs up. The constant barrage of religious doctrine and the faith-and-emotion based appeals to unreason that I perceive as a non-believer truly frightens me. From my point of view, our country is sliding backwards into superstition and darkness (the arguments against law because it's not religiously "right"; various comments from the administration about the holy righteousness of the Iraq war; the fight against abortion; the removal of mentions of evolution in textbooks; etc. etc. etc.).

I don't know much about the Pope (other than his policies I don't like), but I do know that I see his church as a threat to humanity moving toward a more rational, enlightened approach to life, by spreading doctrine that causes fear and divisiveness.
posted by papercake at 7:45 AM on April 2, 2005


"EB, your sarcasm detector seems to be malfunctioning."

Not at all. It seemed to me that you were ridiculing a point of view that in principle many people, possibly yourself, tend towards.

I'm not participating in this ugly argument about theism and the pope. The pope doesn't order people to kill other people, like many world leaders do. I don't understand how people here can compare him, even if he's very culturally conservative, to, good grief, Pol Pot. And religious belief is certainly not the chief cause of evil in this world, nor is it the chief cause of most wars. That's simpleminded, atheist reactionary propoganda. And I'm a very strong atheist. Many of the atheists above don't speak for me.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:16 AM on April 2, 2005


He has reinstituted the same papal courts used during the Inquisition to beat out "heretics", people many of us might call moderates. He isn't burning anyone, but he has drummed many out of the church.

i don't see where one has the right to be a member of a religious institution if one doesn't agree with the doctrines of that institution ... as one of those people who was "drummed out" many years ago, i don't have a problem with it ... i changed my mind on many issues and don't see why the church should have to accomodate me in that

I doubt the central focus of those societies was to "worship atheism."

one of the policies of many of those societies was to put people in death camps for being religious ... that's historical fact

Again, you are equating a few comments about the Pope with thousands of years of religious doctrine, institutions, and cause/effect

and you're equating a sense of discomfort and perhaps justifiable paranoia about zealots in american society to such things as the inquisition burning people at the stake

all i did was point out that there's some hateful atheists on this thread ... if the truth offends, try persuading others to change that truth

on preview, eb - yes, it is "simpleminded, atheist reactionary propanganda" people are indulging in ... and it's rather tiresome
posted by pyramid termite at 8:20 AM on April 2, 2005


Thanks for this tremendous post.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:25 AM on April 2, 2005


gesamtkunstwerk: you just said what I've been thinking for the past two days.

He acts like a nice guy, but there's some serious hate going on underneath that little old man's smile.

I've refrained from joining the fray here (with this exception until now), and while I don't want to pile on, it must be reiterated that this Pope, and the doctrine of the church that he represents, is terribly hurtful to large segments of humanity. (women, gays, those suffering with AIDS, &c.)

Most of the "catholics" I know aren't really catholic... they're of the "Salad-Bar" variety... "I'll take this, but not that, I'll take that, but not this..." Those people, according to doctrine, aren't really catholic, are they? And if it were somehow enforced, three quarters of the catholics I know would be right out the door, because they would be instantly disenfranchised.

At least we've progressed beyond the Auto-da-fe. Barely. 'Cause I'm pretty sure they would be burning people if they could get away with it.

Someone pointed out that the church, being an immense institution, was very slow to change; It has been continually hammered at over time, whether from Luther or the Enlightenment.... it will either evolve itself or die. (as it has, slowly, when confronted with galileo and newton, &c.)

But in the meantime, it's a mixed bag of conditional charity and turning its' back on those that don't fit the mold.

We can only hope that the next one does less damage.

As a final note, I do accede that JPII did have some decent characteristics, but I do not belive they even began to make up for the complicity in the AIDS crisis, the lies, the covering-up of the abusive priesthood, the rwandan crisis, nicaragua, &c.

As a contrast, show me ONE thing the current Dalai Lama has done, as a spiritual leader, that even comes close to the damage this Pope has either aided, abetted, or been complicit in.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:27 AM on April 2, 2005


pyramid termite, you are taking my comments out of context to prove your points. The commies put a lot of people (not just religious) "in death camps" to consolidate power. I seriously doubt it really had anything to do with religion vs. atheism. If you think otherwise, you are entitled to your view, obviously. In any case, this conversation has gone far afield and I am taking the rest of the weekend off to listen to some good music and play some pool so, I'll leave you to sort it out with the others.

Peace.
posted by a_day_late at 9:30 AM on April 2, 2005


I'm not sure why everyone's so dead-set on calling Catholicism evil. Personally, I find the idea that Jesus's will is being done by a huge bureaucracy of people wearing pointy hats closer to comedy than tragedy. And let's face it, they absolutely, positively, definitely want to help, but because they're contractually obligated to believe a lot of ridiculous things, it's often not going to work out well.

With that in mind, consider giving your money and time to people that want to help and are not obligated to believe ridiculous things. So, for example, if you really want to fight AIDS in Africa, donate to Doctors Without Borders instead of the Catholic Church, since the former aren't going to make things worse by teaching that condoms are sinful.
posted by boaz at 9:34 AM on April 2, 2005


you are taking my comments out of context to prove your points.

no, i just gave you a fact that you're not comfortable with ... to this day, chinese catholics are not allowed to practice their religion openly

the historical record is clear ... both atheists and the religious have commited crimes against those who differed from them
posted by pyramid termite at 10:53 AM on April 2, 2005


he's dead
posted by matteo at 11:51 AM on April 2, 2005


Died at 11:37 PST.
posted by deborah at 11:57 AM on April 2, 2005


First Terri Schiavo and now the Pope; matteo must be on St. Peter's speed dial.
posted by boaz at 11:58 AM on April 2, 2005


.
posted by felix betachat at 12:00 PM on April 2, 2005


on St. Peter's speed dial

I subscribe to Pete's breaking news service, I get updates in my cell phone via sms. it's awesome, you should try.
posted by matteo at 12:05 PM on April 2, 2005


Resquiat in Pace.
The Shepard has gone to his rest in the arms of his Father, Holy Mother Church endures.
posted by orthogonality at 12:05 PM on April 2, 2005


I'd like to think matteo is equally hooked up with St. Peter and Lucifer. And would never reveal his sources.
posted by liam at 12:08 PM on April 2, 2005


Just so you know: "in recent teachings the Dalai Lama has denounced abortion as a sin against "non-violence to all sentient beings," opposed contraception and criticized proponents of euthanasia - much as the pope has done. Although he has affirmed the dignity and rights of gays and lesbians, he has condemned homosexual acts as contrary to Buddhist ethics."

Also, much as the Catholic Church likes to portray itself as a monolithic organizatin with one belief system and one voice on all issues, the depth and breadth of opinions held by various Catholic clergy is pretty much as wide, if not wider than, the spectrum of beliefs held in the secular world: Jesuits don't believe the same things as Dominicans who don't believe the same things as Benedictines, who probably don't believe the same things as your parish priest.

As for what the Catholic Church actually does... Catholic Charities is the one of the largest private charitable organizations in the world, providing aid and disaster relief all over the globe.

The Catholic Church is a (if not the) leading proponent of third world debt relief, has been a consistent voice for peace, and is implacably opposed to the death penalty.

If I understand this right, the argument is that because the Catholic church is even more radically opposed to killing people than most American liberals, they're the most evil organization on the planet. How's that again?
posted by hob at 12:11 PM on April 2, 2005


OK I confess, it's not St. Peter's sms news service. nor, unfortunately, Lucifer's (try having your cell phone possessed, it's a nightmare of noise. it can also fry the circuits due to excessive temperatures).

more prosaically, it's ANSA's. sorry to disappoint

posted by matteo at 12:11 PM on April 2, 2005


.
posted by sciurus at 12:24 PM on April 2, 2005


"...in recent teachings the Dalai Lama has denounced abortion as a sin against "non-violence to all sentient beings," opposed contraception and criticized proponents of euthanasia - much as the pope has done. Although he has affirmed the dignity and rights of gays and lesbians, he has condemned homosexual acts as contrary to Buddhist ethics."

Yes. Real (not ersatz) Tibetan Buddhism is quite culturally conservative. The Dalai Lama has not contradicted those teachings, in fact, he's repeated their importance. He is circumspect in what he says in the West about these sorts of things.

That exlotuseator doesn't know this and asserts a completely different and pop view of the Dalai Lama is typical and very disappointing.

Most people in the USA, at least, that are very outspokenly hostile to any of the dominant religions are ignorant fucks on this topic. It makes me embarassed to be an atheist.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:48 PM on April 2, 2005


Ethereal Bligh:

As a contrast, show me ONE thing the current Dalai Lama has done, as a spiritual leader, that even comes close to the damage this Pope has either aided, abetted, or been complicit in.

That is what I said.

That exlotuseator [sic] doesn't know this and asserts a completely different and pop view of the Dalai Lama is typical and very disappointing.

That's what you said.

I don't see any such assertion. Do a closer reading next time, plzthx.
posted by exlotuseater at 1:11 PM on April 2, 2005


Obituary that could have been written by many people in this thread.

Via 2sheets in the othe obituary thread.
posted by subgenius at 1:15 PM on April 2, 2005


What because there are far more Catholics in the world than authentic Tibetan Buddhists? That's a pretty impoverished standard by which to judge one man's virtue in comparison to another's.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:18 PM on April 2, 2005


Let's face it: The Dalai Lama is much more famous for his political activism protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet than for his religious views, a situation which the Lama has intentionally fostered with his so-called "circumspection". Which is a big clue for you, EB, since if the Pope had stuck to denouncing Communism and shown a whole lot more circumspection on the theological front, we'd be having a whole different conversation here, no?
posted by boaz at 1:53 PM on April 2, 2005


EB, from your response, I am going to make the assumption that you didn't even read my original comment, so I'll state part of it here again, to clear this up.

Nowhere did I say anything about the membership of Catholics vs. Buddhists, with the exception of stating that many of the Catholics I personally knew didn't exactly pay attention to doctrine. You are seeing things I did not say.

I said this:
. . . .but I do not believe they even began to make up for the complicity in the AIDS crisis, the lies, the covering-up of the abusive priesthood, the rwandan crisis, nicaragua, &c.

Okay. If you can point out things that are similar in Buddhism, then I'm all ears.

Specifically things like going along with the lies about condoms not preventing AIDS, any instances of monks harming children and then a cover-up that any of the Buddhist clergy were complicit in, things like that. Or any instances of genocide by Buddhists and initial silence on the part of the Lama. Or support for counter-revolutionaries anywhere.

Those seem to me to be pretty big failings on the part of Il Papa.

So to make it clear, No, I am not basing my standard of virtue on the amount of Catholics vs. the amount of Orthodox Buddhists. Words are one thing, action (or inaction, in many cases) are another.

Please do not put words in my mouth, read things that I do not say, or assume I am part of, in your words, the "ignorant fucks".

If I was unclear before, I'm sorry for not being as articulate as I might have been.
posted by exlotuseater at 1:58 PM on April 2, 2005


I suggest you read about the Dalai Lama and the history of Tibetan Buddhism, especially before the Chinese got there.

If you want to deal with the things that you have listed that the Catholic Church and this pope have done wrong, as you define wrong, then that's fine. A claim that this church and this pope is exceptional is not. It is not exceptional with regard to other major religions, and it is not exceptional with regard to other major social institutions.

"Orthodox Buddhists"? Buddhism is hugely varied; Tibetan Buddhism is but one variety and not by any definition, except perhaps the Tibetan Buddhists', "orthodox".
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:23 PM on April 2, 2005


If you want to deal with the things that you have listed that the Catholic Church and this pope have done wrong, as you define wrong, then that's fine.

Good. Because that's all I said.

Not :
A claim that this church and this pope is exceptional is not.

Because I never said that. See? You are saying things that I never said.

I suggest you read my comments more closely before responding to things I did not say.

Obviously, we cannot have a meaningful discussion; it seems to me that you are arguing something that has little to do with what I said.

Whatever, it's raining, and a good time to take a nap.
posted by exlotuseater at 2:54 PM on April 2, 2005


a_d_l: well if the difference is only or mainly in semantics (between atheist and agnostic) therefore they must both be abstract and inconsequential discussion, much like talking about the sex of angels : no practical pragmatic consequence. If it is so, necessarily they must have no consequence in "substance"...much to your suprise you'll see it has got very practical consequences because it shapes the
will of people. Today it's far more sophisticated, it's called "marketing" but basically it works on the same principles ; ignorance, fear, weakness, illusions , tradition , logical fallacies and so on. TRY to talk bad about marketing and sales strategies and tactics
in a business, I'll guaranteed you'll be fired expecially if you stumble on a "market adorat

Scientific thinking is so far from their mentality, you'll realized quickly that if you dare advance some very practical idea like
"removing lead from paint will benefit both productivity and public health, which is good advertisement for us" they'll call you communist for advancing the concept of reducing business profit. It doesn't matter that you're practically right and that there are practical consequences IF the consequence involve higher risk and reduced profit.

But of course ....that's not like talking about a-theism (I don't believe an invisible hand leading the market exists) and agnosticism ( I don't know if there's an invisible hand (a-la Adam Smith) leading the market, PROVE it to me).

Oh and if you were wonder if I'm trying to sell the God Article to you ...no, I don't care. Remain atheist, I'm just offering a different viewpoint...I guess others just said you're an evil ignorant fool and you'll go to hell or that you're right oh so right about absence of God..and rationalize no more then that ; hello ! that's an article of faith !!!!!!!!!!!

papercake:

about the responsability to disprove or prove existence of God : you see people with faith don't need any proof, because faith
(or trust) doesn't need proof of anything to exists. So for instance we trust our loved ones to love us forever (at least in our infancy)
but _sometime_ we see that our trust was misplaced. Obviously, if we don't see that the trust was misplaced, there's no reason to
change our trust/faith expecially if it is reassuring.

So you say, believer have burden to prove God. Nope, they don't unless they want to convince one that doesn't simply believe and want
a proof. So does the atheist when he/she wants to prove there is no God, yet usually atheist become very easily integralist because
often say "well, it's evident there is no God"..while they present weak evidence. Usually they'll find none because, if God is
unknowable by definition (it's an abstraction) you'll have an hard time proving it doesn't exist in reality.

So can they live and cohexist peacefully togheter ? Certainly, in theory..but in practice they keep on clashing every now and then.
We don't live in a vacuum and we have an extremely hard time leaving separated one from another so pretty soon EVEN IF one isn't
involved in religious propaganda you'll stumble on faithfull people. Sometimes it's like taking to extremists republican and
and extremist democrat : while the matter of discussion is not religious it sometime becomes an article of faith for both of them.
Disaster ensuses with the most radical of them.

Notice that, the fact that a clash may happen between two person holding diametrically opposite and incompatible chance does in no
way imply that either or both stance is automatically wrong or evil
posted by elpapacito at 3:44 PM on April 2, 2005


ehm sorry chance = stance
posted by elpapacito at 3:48 PM on April 2, 2005


Ethereal Bligh : "It seemed to me that you were ridiculing a point of view that in principle many people, possibly yourself, tend towards...And religious belief is certainly not the chief cause of evil in this world, nor is it the chief cause of most wars. That's simpleminded, atheist reactionary propoganda."

Ok, now I'm thoroughly confused.

What I was doing was ridiculing the idea that religious belief is the chief cause of evil in the world, as it is given as a reason for many atrocities.

I was trying to ridicule it by comparing it to the idea that "doing the right thing" is also given as a reason for atrocities, in even more cases, yet it would seem silly to say that trying to do the right thing is the cause of all evil. See a child being carved up by a serial killer? Stopping the killer would be doing what you think is right, and, therefore, evil, so you shouldn't stop him. See, silly concept, right?

So, basically, I was trying to point out that blaming religion as the great evil is simpleminded, atheist, reactionary propoganda. I'm not super clear on what you thought I was trying to say, but what I was actually trying (apparently unsuccessfully) to say seems to be the same thing that you're saying.

exlotuseater : "No, I am not basing my standard of virtue on the amount of Catholics vs. the amount of Orthodox Buddhists."

I think you're massively misunderstanding what EB was getting at with the "number of Catholics" comment. What he's saying is that, the number of Catholics being insanely larger than the number of Tibetan Buddhists, the amount of damage can't be compared. It's like saying that Jimmy Carter was more evil than Jeffrey Dahmer, because he got more people killed than Dahmer did. Of course he did, he had much, much, much more power and influence. So any comparison of "show me how many/how much" with the Dalai Lama and the Pope is a bad comparison, due to the inbalance in population, and therefore effect, between Catholicism and Tibetan Buddhism.

(By the way, and this is a total aside, historically, Tibetan Buddhism really, really sucks. "Killing is evil. However, Bob over here is a bad guy, and if we allow him to keep doing bad things, he's going to bring even more bad karma on himself. So if we kill him, we're really just preventing him from getting more bad karma. We're doing him a favor, whether he realizes it or not. So killing him is actually not evil, but good!")
posted by Bugbread at 5:55 PM on April 2, 2005


Admittedly, I probably shouldn't have even brought Buddhism into it; I was looking for someone in a spiritual-leading position to contrast the Pope with, and Dalai Lama came to mind, seeing as He doesn't have the same sorts of problems JPII had.

You are right in pointing out the discrepancy, and I realize that EB was probably trying to do the same. I "massively misunderstood" because EB was arguing points I had not made, and I was trying to do some sort of damage control to get back on track. EB- I admit it was a poor example. There are probably no good examples, given the reasons above.

My original argument, and the one I am sticking to, is that Good Stuff the Pope Did < Bad Stuff the Pope Did.

And as a side note as well- I'm not Buddhist, and in fact, not religious at all. I think religion is weird. But that wasn't what I was saying either.

All I said was that the Pope wasn't such a great guy. If you take the last paragraph out of my second comment, it still stands.
posted by exlotuseater at 6:47 PM on April 2, 2005


No problem. As I mentioned in MeTa, I don't have much an opinion on the subject either way. I just saw a gap between what (I think) EB was trying to say, and what (I think) you thought he was trying to say, and I abhor logical gaps (which makes me feel like a right jackass when I make one myself). I just wanted to clear that up, no value judgement on either side.
posted by Bugbread at 8:49 PM on April 2, 2005


no, i just gave you a fact that you're not comfortable with ... to this day, Chinese catholics are not allowed to practice their religion openly

I return almost a day later only to find you going on like a broken record. I addressed this already. The Chinese and other communist governments oppressed religion to consolidate the power of the state. They want(ed) to substitute one dear leader for another. I don't see atheists on this forum or anywhere else pledging allegiance to China. Or, to say it another way: Communism ? Atheism. No way Jose.

the historical record is clear ... both atheists and the religious have committed crimes against those who differed from them

No, it's not clear. See previous point. The idea that you can't recognize the evils that organized religion has unleashed upon this world (or claim as fact some sort of equivalent effects from atheism) frightens me. If seemingly intelligent people like you can be so myopic, I guess there really is no hope.
posted by a_day_late at 7:05 AM on April 3, 2005


Special character snafu. Should be Communism does not equal Atheism
posted by a_day_late at 7:07 AM on April 3, 2005


Actually, I'm already a Pope. I even have the card to prove it.
posted by afroblanca at 9:05 AM PST on April 1 [!]


It's true, I've seen it. Long Live Pope afroblanca!
posted by schyler523 at 9:23 PM on April 4, 2005


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