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View Diary: Why the Pope would be powerful even if he weren't Pope (118 comments)

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  •  I do NOT believe you should agree with him (7+ / 0-)

    on everything. He is, when it comes down it, just a man. However, I don't think it is necessary to admire him, like him, or agree with everything he says to welcome much of what he says as useful. We here on this site frequently disagree vehemently with some of the people we work to elect on some of the issues we hold most dear, while still seeing those people as better than the alternatives available. Besides, I think you are depending on a slight mistranslation of his words:  

    Italian original of the paragraph in question:

    La pace è inoltre ferita da qualunque negazione della dignità umana, prima fra tutte dalla impossibilità di nutrirsi in modo sufficiente. Non possono lasciarci indifferenti i volti di quanti soffrono la fame, soprattutto dei bambini, se pensiamo a quanto cibo viene sprecato ogni giorno in molte parti del mondo, immerse in quella che ho più volte definito la “cultura dello scarto”. Purtroppo, oggetto di scarto non sono solo il cibo o i beni superflui, ma spesso gli stessi esseri umani, che vengono “scartati” come fossero “cose non necessarie”. Ad esempio, desta orrore il solo pensiero che vi siano bambini che non potranno mai vedere la luce, vittime dell’aborto, o quelli che vengono utilizzati come soldati, violentati o uccisi nei conflitti armati, o fatti oggetti di mercato in quella tremenda forma di schiavitù moderna che è la tratta degli esseri umani, la quale è un delitto contro l’umanità.
    Vatican's official English translation of same paragraph:
    Peace is also threatened by every denial of human dignity, firstly the lack of access to adequate nutrition. We cannot be indifferent to those suffering from hunger, especially children, when we think of how much food is wasted every day in many parts of the world immersed in what I have often termed “the throwaway culture”. Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as “unnecessary”. For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.
    My own, slightly different and highly unofficial, translation of this single sentence:
    For example, the mere thought conveys horror that there are children who will never see the light of day, victims of abortion; children being used as soldiers, raped and killed in armed conflicts; and children made into chattel in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.
    I disagree with the man on abortion. Were he an American citizen running for political office, his position on that would for me disqualify him as a candidate. I don't think that abortion, before viability of the fetus, is equivalent to discarding an "unnecessary" human being, because I don't believe blastocysts or previable fetuses have reached a point at which they should be considered human, with all attendant rights. So I believe, with the majority of other Kossacks, that this painful and personal decision is not one in which the state should have any say whatsoever, at least until such point as a pregnancy is viable outside the womb, at which point my position becomes considerably more nuanced. I strongly doubt that either the Pope or I could convince the other on this matter, because we are not operating from the same basic assumptions.

    However, that fundamental disagreement does not mean that I consider him personally, or all Catholics everywhere, anti-woman because of this single issue, even though I think this doctrinal point does create and empower misogyny in far too many Catholics. If, and I emphasize IF, we here also believed that full humanity began at conception, then would not we too feel horror at the thought of discarded children? And would not that horror be irregardless of the gender of the mother?

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
    --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

    by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 12:24:26 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  The reason WHY there are so many hungry (1+ / 0-)
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      mouths in the world is that there are too many children and not enough resources in many many places. So how in the world does this pope or any pope have the right to comment on hunger when their own basic policies cause overpopulation?

      •  That is not "the" sole reason (5+ / 0-)

        Or even the most significant reason. Many of those "too many hungry children" exist because their parents choose to have them. You can't be pro-choice without honoring those choices as well.

        There is hunger in the world because some of us have far more food than we need, and waste much of it; without thought for sending some of it to those places with fewer resources. We could adequately feed everybody if we made the effort to do so.  

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:19:21 PM PST

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        •  Catte Nappe- (1+ / 0-)
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          Catte Nappe

          It might help you to read some articles or research on the root causes of poverty, not just world wide, but in the US.   Lack of access to reproductive health services and the availability of birth control is a major factor. Ignoring that fact is like ignoring the fact that coal plants spewing pollution into the sky is a major factor in climate change.

          My question is... why do commentors on here continue to give this Pope and his institution a pass on all its wrongful and destructive actions in the world?  Where are the picket lines and protest rallies in front of the Vatican or even the offices of the US Bishops?  

          •  Thanks for the suggestion /snark (1+ / 0-)
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            Believe me, I know a great deal about the root causes of poverty. I've spent decades on the issue. Lack of access to birth control is "a" factor, not "the" factor. And in terms of how major it is in the US, I'd propose that lack of adequate sex education is an even bigger deal, because if you don't know about birth control having access to it doesn't help much. Then there are all those other major factors, like lack of living wages, transportation issues, and many more.

            As to some commenters response re the Pope, I don't see anybody giving the church a pass. What you are seeing, and apparently experiencing, is something that causes disagreement here on many issues. That is the "black and white" vs "gray" thinking, the absolute vs the nuance. Church leaders, and some members, have a lot to be ashemed of on a number of issues. That said, the Pope has an influential voice, and when he says, in effect, "don't spend so much of your time and money attacking those who use birth cotrol, or those who are gay; spend a great deal more of your time an money feeding the hungry and helping the poor" then some of us are going to say "rAmen".

            Regarding their position on birth control - that goes back to the "choice"issue to some extent. Their members can choose to follow teaching, or not. It's akin to the old saying "don't like abortion? Don't get one". But still, nobody here is giving a pass to those church leaders who are working so diligently to make the Methodists and the Hindus and the Athesists follow their church teaching. Some of us do, however, appreciate a Pope who is advising those people to work a lot less diligently on that, and a lot more diligently on meeting basic human needs. A whole lot can be done to alleviate poverty and suffering without demanding they also overturn centuries of their own teachings.

            “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

            by Catte Nappe on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 12:18:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  He SAYS.... (0+ / 0-)

              'don't spend so much time and money attacking social issues like abortion etc.'  but he DOES nothing action-wise to follow up on that. The US bishops have changed nothing and no one is telling them to do so, except for Francis's vague suggestions. They are still lobbying and have recently added the Obamacare issue to their list. Has Francis said 'cool it' on the health insurance coverage for contraception issue? Has he told them directly to 'lay low' on that and concentrate on the poor? No.   Francis could decide tomorrow to lift or modify the Religious and Ethical Directives governing catholic hospitals without any consulting or voting or anything. He has the power to do so. Yet he hasn't.  And now we have a lawsuit by the ACLU against the US bishops on behalf of a woman who went thru terrible agony and loss as a direct result of those Directives.  Francis is silent on this.

               As far as meeting basic human needs... tell us what the church is doing on that without any strings attached.  What was being done under Mother Teresa?  60% of the money for catholic charities in the US comes from the taxpayers. Do you see Francis acknowledging that or any signs on the walls of catholic charities thanking the US government for its prop up of their work?  Sure, they'll take our money and then they'll take all the credit.   When one delves down into the details of the charity work by the RCC all over the world, the picture is less than rosy.

              It's ALL talk and nothing else, but it has certainly worked its magic on our media and apparently many who write and post on Kos.


              •  Talking (2+ / 0-)
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                marykk, occupystephanie

                That is what Popes "DO". It's pretty much a short form of their job description. And what he "says" will begin to sway what a lot of people "do". I have no idea what he may be telling any of the Bishops behind the scenes, if anything, but what he is saying publically influences them, and influences people who influence them. Changing any organization's culture is a slow process, with little immediate visible movemement. And the Catholic Chruch is a particularly large and calcified organization. We'll know if he had any measurable effect 20 years from now. Meanwhile, if he's going to keep doing his job, and talking, I'm pleased he's talking about poverty, income inequality, and the absence of morality in the profit calculus of capitalism. Much better than other things Popes can, and have, talked about at length.  

                You, of course, are free to kvetch about how slow change is, and how little he has actually done so far, and how others welcome the new tone coming from the Vatican. But quit pretending you have a good faith question about why some commenters here are taking the views of him they are. It appears you don't want an exchange of ideas, you just want to bitch about religion in general, or Catholics in particular.

                “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

                by Catte Nappe on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 03:06:11 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Once again, I've said nothing about (0+ / 0-)

                  people who practice catholicism.  I have only addressed the RCC, its policies and its leaders.  

                  What YOU don't seem to want to do is to take lessons learned in history (or even recent history of Francis in Argentina) and apply some skepticism and hard questioning of what Francis is doing now.

                  The UN just took on the task of grilling the Vatican about the massive and decades old abuse issue.  Francis simply formed a committee to "study the problem".  Why does it take a secular institution to get this religious institution to behave in a moral way?  

                  Talk is cheap. Francis has the power and has had the time to "shake up" this institution.  

                  Any good exchange of ideas includes hard questions. The problem is that many on Kos don't even want them asked.

      •  Okay, I get where some Catholics are coming from (5+ / 0-)
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        frostbite, marykk, JuliathePoet, Skyye, mmacdDE

        regarding abortion, although I disagree with them. And yes, I think many other Catholics are simple hypocrites on the matter who use their religion's doctrine as a excuse to try to control women.

        However, I not only do not condone the official Catholic position on contraception, but have to say it has never made any sense to me from any point of view. Even if it were taken as a given (and I do not take it as even likely) that there were a God and He had actually said "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth", we've done that. Mission way overaccomplished. I see no need to equivocate in saying that the Catholic Church, Pope included, is wrong on this.

        All that said, though, I'm not going to demand credentials from someone to whom hundreds of millions of people listen who is raising up hunger, inequality, and economic injustice as important issues that need to be addressed. At least, not until there is a better spokesperson who is just as likely to be heard.

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
        --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

        by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 03:56:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm very interested to see what Francis (3+ / 0-)

          does w/r/t contraception.  The Church's "doctrine" on this is hardly longstanding; I think it originated with Paul VI.  I'm sure Francis believes that abortion is wrong.  But I think he's far too intelligent to believe contraception is wrong.  That, and acceptance of gay relationships, are points on which we may see so-called doctrinal change.

          •  I don't know. I hope you are right. n/t (1+ / 0-)
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            My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
            --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

            by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 05:18:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think that simply moving to the point (3+ / 0-)

            where the Catholic Church encourages its members to make thoughtful, prayerful choices, regarding birth control, would be a reasonable next step to expect. I know a lot of liberal Catholics, who hope that the Catholic Church follows the Mormon stance, that gay couples should have the same legal rights as straight couples, without calling it marriage.

            Most progressive/liberal Mormons have taken the further step of not differentiating civil marriages, and allowing same sex couples to be civilly married, while protecting the rights of all churches to be decide the criteria for religious solemnization, in their religious traditions. I think that the next few years will shake out a lot of issues on gay rights, and I think that if Catholic religious leaders focus on economic inequality, and now out of gay rights and birth control/abortion discussions, that transition could be a lot smoother. So, I hope American Catholics end up following the Pope's example, at least in regards to income inequality. :-)

          •  The church has had this doctrine since (0+ / 0-)

            birth control was invented.  My mother could not get a diaphram in MA in the 50's because the church owned the legislature in those days. She had to cross into CT to do so.  

            Of course Francis believes contraception is morally wrong. If he didn't, or if he ever expressed that, he'd be out of a job.

            •  Hell, you couldn't get contraception (1+ / 0-)
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              in New York State in the 60s unless you were married.  I was there.  That wasn't Catholicism, it was everyone; that was the craziness of the times.

              I believe that Paul VI commissioned some kind of study group and then disregarded their recommendation and said all birth control was bad.  

              •  Yup (0+ / 0-)

                It was not the church but the State of Connecticut that went after Griswold, you know.

                If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                by marykk on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 07:00:22 PM PST

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                •  You don't seem to understand the (0+ / 0-)

                  political power the RCC has in the US... although I think that could be waning as people are getting more than fed up with it.  The CT legislature was dominated by reps that were Catholic.  From Americans United for Separation of Church and State's website...

                  "Connecticut’s anti-birth control statute was only being sporadically enforced at the time, and some types of birth control were available in drug stores. But Buxton and Griswold (who opened the birth control clinic in New Haven) believed that as long as the law was in place, access to contraceptives wasn’t secure.

                  Sure enough, when they opened their facility, conservative religious leaders went on the warpath. The state’s politically powerful Roman Catholic hierarchy demanded action, leading to the raid on the clinic."

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