Friday, April 22, 2005

strange link to link today (love the blogs)

I have been very negligent in posting the last few days (job & travel) but have found a few things I intend to post. The link to link that I followed earlier today has to come first though. I was reading Fraters and he points to a funny post on Nihilist making fun of a Jimmy Carter event. Having been old enough at the time (and being in College a few years later) I went for a giggle.

I had never been to this blog before so I poked around after getting several giggles on the reference. I found two other posts that were interesting, one I agree with and another I do not. I will start with the one I agree with. This is a great commencement speech for science grads and points to many of the problems with the current science & government interaction today.

The next one is either the best example of the many misguided blog posts and MSM news stories on the new Pontiff I have seen or one hell of a tongue-in-cheek post poking fun at them. As I said, I don't read Nihilist in Golf Pants so I am not sure which. I suspect it is the former but maybe somebody will correct me. I wish I had the time to take it apart sentence by sentence here but I don't.

I no longer consider myself a Roman Catholic (they do but that is another story) so I have no particular dog in the fight of who should have been elected Pope. I grew up in a very conservative Catholic parish and am a fairly well studied guy about the Catholic church. Immediately after the death of Pope John Paul II when the news channels were all Pope all the time my wife asked me who I thought we be the next Pope. Without even pausing for thought I said "They probably should elect someone from Africa or South America where the church is growing rapidly but Ratzinger will be the next Pope."

I don't care who the Pope is and other non-Catholics should let the hierarchy do it's thing. People who claim to be practicing Roman Catholics and are upset that the hierarchy elected Ratzinger because he is too conservative should actually study the religion. The kind of Pope they would like would not be a serious Roman Catholic yet alone qualified to be the Pontiff. Some of the Catholic "rules" they don't like could actually be changed legitimately by the Pope, but most of the ones they want changed cannot.

To be fair I will point out the two often complained about that could be changed: 1. Priests did marry for centuries in the church and the non-Latin Rites churches allow already married men to become priests. The Pope could with the wave of a hand end this prohibition. 2. The Catholic church is against contraception (except the rhythm method which is a scientific way to get pregnant). The Pope could void this prohibition between married couples.

The Pope cannot allow women priests or openly practicing homosexual priests (or not say that laymen practicing said are not sinners) or sanction extra-marital sex. These tenets are derived directly from the Bible itself and the Pope changing them would turn the Roman church on its head as it would be a radical departure from core interpretations of the Bible on which the Church claims its own authority.

I would venture a guess that there has never been a Cardinal in the history of the church that would have supported these things. I would bet that there aren't any in the voting group most recently convened given that JP II promoted almost all of them.

Which brings me to the point I have made to many non-Catholic friends who have followed this and said Ratzinger is conservative and a more progressive choice might have been better..... The people who label Ratzinger conservative (and I am not one of them) also called JP II conservative. He appointed almost every last one of the voters. Is it a shock that the outsiders in the press see the guy chosen as "like" the guy who appointed everybody who got to vote? Do you think they can appreciate the subtle differences between serious theologians who are mostly like-minded? There were no progressives who were going to sanction homosexuality or women priests among the possible candidates..... they are Roman Catholic Cardinals for goodness sake.

Now, please feel free to argue that not allowing women to be priests is not something you like or that telling homosexuals that their lifestyle is by definition sinful is mean or any other argument you would like to make about the Roman Church being wrong. I have a whole list which is why I go to a protestant church and don't consider myself Roman Catholic any more. The church should not have changed some of the things I didn't like to suit me and the same goes for the rest of you. If you don't like the basic tenets of the Roman Church, find a different one and leave the Catholics alone to be Catholics.

Seriously practicing Roman Catholics (and not the rest of us) should feel free to complain and petition their church to change the rules like the 2 above I documented that could be changed. Many in the US do want those things changed, many do not. Either way, it is none of my business.


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