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A sympathetic reading of the recent remark by Pope Francis would be that he was trying to say the right thing about the nature of Christianity when he stumbled. A less sympathetic reading would suggest that Francis and the Church generally has a very long way to go in showing respect for non-Catholics.

Whatever one thinks of Pope Francis, the cult of celebrity is obscuring at least as much as it is revealing about the state of the church and even the direction of this papacy. This is something to which everyone who values religious pluralism and separation of church and state needs to keep both an open ear and an open mind.

The occasion for this post is how astounded I was when I read how Francis, in an apparent effort to denounce religious supremacism, engaged in religious bigotry and supremacism himself.

Vatican Radio reported:  

"Pope Francis concluded his Audience by pointing out two considerations we can take away from these considerations on the Nativity of Jesus: The first is that God reveals Himself not as one who remains on high and dominates the universe, but as one who humbles Himself. This shows us that in order to be like Him, we must not put ourselves above others, but must humble ourselves and serve others. He had strong words for Christians who refuse to humble themselves: “It is an ugly thing,” he said, “when you see a Christian who doesn’t want to humble himself, who doesn’t want to serve, a Christian who struts about everywhere: it’s ugly, eh? That is not a Christian: that’s a pagan!” [emphasis added]
The New Advent Catholic encyclopedia defines paganism:
Paganism, in the broadest sense includes all religions other than the true one revealed by God, and, in a narrower sense, all except Christianity, Judaism, and Mohammedanism. The term is also used as the equivalent of Polytheism.
A large fraction of the people of the world are Pagan by the above definition.  Indeed, there are many Pagan religions -- and to be fair, on a good day, even Francis might acknowledge that these religions include many include fine people.  Nevertheless, denouncing as Pagans, Christians who behave badly, is an insult to millions of people who are for example, Buddhist, Confucianist, Hindu, or who adhere to Native American religions; not to mention the many people who identify specifically as Pagans.  

As glad that many of us are that Francis, among others, are addressing inequality of late, inequality is not merely an economic issue.  Ideological religious supremacy is at war with religious equality under the law and in our culture.  When we say that we value religious pluralism what we mean is that we respect people of all religious traditions and none, and show that via equality in the eyes of the law.  There are Christian Right leaders who aggressively seek to revise history to make fantastic claims about history in an effort to establish their particular religious and political views as having the endorsement of the framers of the Constitution.  The latest outrageous-but-illuminating example came from Brian Fischer of the American Family Association who claimed that when the framers said "religion" they meant Christianity only. This is baloney, and the historical record shows that the framers were not speaking in code, and that the development of the idea of how to manage religious pluralism and equality under the law was decades in the making and included and embraced Islam.

Religious supremacism is one of the usual consequences of the politicization of conservative religious orthodoxy as we have seen in the United States. Indeed, that is one reasonable way of looking at the war of aggression being waged by the Religious Right, (aka the culture war).

Earlier this year I noted in an essay in The Public Eye magazine, for example, the mutual abhorrence between the Southern Baptists and the Vatican.

While conservative Roman Catholics have long been a vital part of the broad religious/political coalition known as the Christian Right, finding ways to broaden and deepen the coalition of right-wing evangelical Protestants and Catholics has been a difficult and controversial undertaking. A case in point is the famous appearance by Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on CNN’s Larry King Live in 2000. “As an evangelical,” Mohler said, “I believe the Roman Church is a false church and it teaches a false gospel. I believe the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office.” Mohler’s views are unexceptional in much of evangelical and fundamentalist Protestantism. (More recently, Mohler insisted that the mainline Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is “not a church,” because, in 2013, it elected as a bishop a respected, gay professor of theology.)

The abhorrence has been mutual. In 2000, the Vatican issued a proclamation titled Dominus Iesus, which declared that other Christian churches “are not ‘churches’ in the proper sense.” The Vatican declared this a “definitive and irrevocable” doctrine of the Church.

Navigating a religiously plural society is a tricky thing. As a country is is one of our defining features -- and we are pretty good at it, even as the Pope is clearly not. Still it is not easy to stay true to our own views, whether religious or non-religious, while respecting the rights of others to hold deeply contrary views. It requires some knowledge, some dedication and a relevant skill set. And we reinvent that knowledge, dedication and skill set in every generation.

Because that is so, it may be there are some things that the leader of an ancient religion on the other side of the world can learn from the ever uppity Americans, many of whom do know a thing or two about how to adhere to both religious freedom and separation of church and state.  

Crossposted from Talk to Action
 

Originally posted to Frederick Clarkson on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 06:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Progressive Atheists, and PaganKos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh good grief. That's really grasping at (13+ / 0-)

    straws! Pagan means non-Christian. He's saying, heroically, that self-proclaimed Christians who strut about and don't really follow the Gospel are not truly Christians.

    You should be ashamed of yourself and delete this foolish diary. It really reflects poorly on your reputation for being an authority in this area.

  •  When you refer to people who are Pagan (13+ / 0-)

    please capitalize Pagan. I refer you to this phrase in your diary:

    not to mention the many people who identify specifically as pagans.
    Unless you would write "jews", "christians", "hindus", "buddhists", "muslims" "islam", "christianity", etc., please capitalize the P in Pagan when you use it to refer to a specific religion or religious believer. We have as much right to dignity and respect as any member of any other religion.

    Thanks.

  •  Also, I'm pretty sure it is still policy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, enhydra lutris

    That no ordained Roman Catholic may appear at any interfaith event where modern Pagans are officially included.

    --Shannon

    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
    "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

    by Leftie Gunner on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 06:24:33 PM PST

  •  Pope Francis is a great beneficiary (2+ / 0-)

    of who is around for him to be compared to.

    Including the man he replaced as pope.

    Some of those former peers of his make Bill Donohue and his Catholic League of One Angry Old Man with a Website is Legion seem moderate.

    Not that he hasn't said and done some remarkable things worth praising. He has. But. I'm not shocked at the pagan jibe. It's sad though.

    He is still a pretty conservative Catholic. He is going to say and do things that are galling and gobsmacking. He just has the good fortune of being a pretty conservative Catholic with a human heart in an age with so many hardcore reactionaries, in and out of official positions, are fighting for the shovel to dig the reactionary and in-your-face about it hole deeper in the name of "restoring" the faith to its former glory. He is also smart enough to know that some of these people need to be marginalized if he wants to get anything done without a lot of sass from the holy red-hatted peanut gallery.

    I wonder if Ratzinger spends most of his days screaming into a pillow for what he has wrought. I think he expected that somebody who made him look like a hippy would be his replacement.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 06:32:27 PM PST

    •  Tipped for the LOLz: (0+ / 0-)
      I wonder if Ratzinger spends most of his days screaming into a pillow for what he has wrought. I think he expected that somebody who made him look like a hippy would be his replacement.

      Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

      by Youffraita on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 11:45:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was not a fan of this (16+ / 0-)

    Pope when he was elected.  I am becoming more reasonable.  He used a word known to every single Catholic of my generation -- it has zero to do with anyone who has embraced a belief which is in tune with nature.  

    I think the focus on that one word completely dilutes the important message.  He is speaking in the language understood by Xian conservatives -- he's not insulting anyone who is a Pagan.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 06:35:08 PM PST

    •  Thank you. Well said. (6+ / 0-)

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

      by marykk on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 06:40:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right, and if somebody said that certain (0+ / 0-)

        vain and self-centered pagans or heatherns were "butt ugly stupid fascists, you know, christian, ... " that would in no way demean, debase, denigrate or insult christians? Riiiiiight. Don't try saying it here.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 08:58:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That isn't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Timaeus

          what the pope said, and quit trying to make it so.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 08:19:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is exactly parallel. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chmood

            him - that's ugly, pagan.
            me - that's butt ugly stupid fascist, you know, christian.

            Both instances of the same grammatical structure, similar to an appositive.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 09:38:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  You're very correct in your assessment. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gchaucer2, Mr Robert, Timaeus

      I like a lot of things the pope is saying, but I'll remain in my little Episcopal Church bubble for now.

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 06:42:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course he is (3+ / 0-)

      insulting whole groups of people including people who identify as Pagan.  He was at his weekly General Audience, which is broadcast and disseminated to the world. He was speaking neither specifically to or for conservative Catholics.

      Assuming the best of intentions, his comparing bad Christians with Pagans of all sorts, was a bad idea. If he is going to be the inclusive, non-insulting Pope towards people of other faiths as well as non-believers (that it seems he wants to be) he will have to reform the way he and other leaders use language, just like everyone else faced with similar issues.

      •  This comment expresses your opinion more (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, CSPAN Junkie

        clearly than the diary. I disagree.

        You apparently deliberately miss the point that he was speaking of "pagans" not "Pagans" as you type.

        No doubt he'll be asked about this and will issue a surprising statement any day now. He darn sure doesn't need me to speak for him.

      •  A minor insult, if (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, Timaeus, cap76

        at all.  

        Really, who cares if he insults other religions once in a while?  I'd like to know who that perfect person is who hasn't managed to insult some group or other.

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 06:59:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Especially when speaking for an organization (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DeadHead

          that has 1700 years of hatemongering under its belt, what is one more minor insult, so long as nobody gets burnt at the stake any more.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 09:01:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Can you think (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timaeus

            of any group that isn't insulted by comments by other people?  Just give me one such group.

            And as far as Catholicism goes, let's get real about religious wars - or for that matter, any wars, and what humans are.  We are bloodthirsty, warring creatures who easily find excuses to inflict violence on others.

            But if someone wants to get riled up over a small slight and write a diary about it, so be it.

            The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

            by dfarrah on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 08:04:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  2000 years of sectarian MURDER prove you wrong (0+ / 0-)

          trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

          by chmood on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 06:46:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  That word was thrown around pretty freely (3+ / 0-)

      in the 1950s.  Our Catholic school classrooms had donation boxes for the "adoption" of "pagan babies" in "Africa."  The three words in quotes were all used pretty vaguely.  The "babies" were not, actually, adopted.  Children were, perhaps, baptized and fed/schooled/claimed for the church.  The whole of Africa was presented as a single, vast, undifferentiated place, very far away, very much in need of, um, conversion.  

      I got the pope's "pagan" to be in the spirit of those times. Simpler times. More simplistic times. Times whose denial of reality's complicated details inevitably contributed to the present time's obsession with them.

      He's scoring more hits than misses, doing better, on the whole, than I had expected.  But this was a slip.

    •  I am pagan, and I didn't take it as an insult. (4+ / 0-)

      Someone who puts money over service to Deity would be an ugly pagan, as well as a heretical Christian.

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 06:50:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nice comment. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm a liberal Catholic. So I embrace as family everybody who strives for good.

        Let me nominate myself for Top Comments for finally figuring out how to say that right.

      •  I was not insulted by the Pope (0+ / 0-)

        What insults ME is the thick coat of privilege smeared all over the relentless attacks on FRED and his diary (which is not his best, but that's the reason for the abusive haranguing?), and the insistence that only Paganism is a religion, but Christian is NOT???   "pagan" is just a word, but "christian" is an insult?

        Talk about yer grammar nazis....

        "Christians" - and "Catholics", too - have been bullying and marginalizing, ostracizing, and yes KILLING as many as it's taken to put them on top and keep themselves there;  I'm quite certain you can't see this, but you're soaking in it:

        Someone who puts money over service to Deity would be an ugly pagan, as well as a heretical Christian.
        call 'em niggers and faggots, while you're at it...oh, wait - you already did!

        CHECK.  YOUR.  PRIVILEGE.

        trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

        by chmood on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 07:02:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What the Pope is saying is that (10+ / 0-)

    certain "evangelical" Christians who preach this "prosperity gospel" stuff are "pagans", in that they worship not God, but Mammon.

    I don't think he's insulting people who worship Woden or Buddha, or First Nations Gods. I think he's sending a very good message. One that I, personally, have been waiting to hear my whole life.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 06:38:37 PM PST

  •  The Pope was not speaking English (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk, Timaeus, commonmass, FG, duhban

    See the other thread - a number of us touched on it. It isn't a great translation... "Paganos" in Italian also means "to pay" and rarely means Wicca, Asatru, et al.

    Rick Perry - the greatest scientist since Galileo!

    by Bobs Telecaster on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 06:57:15 PM PST

  •  OMG, the Pope is Catholic? (9+ / 0-)

    Next thing  you know, a bear will shit in the woods.

    •  Yeah, I'm still (0+ / 0-)

      wondering why people care about what appears to be a mild insult.  Most religions don't exactly look kindly on other religions and preachers actively preach that other religions are wrong.  

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 05:57:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'mm surprised he didn't say "atheist" instead of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, Fishtroller01

    "Pagan."

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 07:43:17 PM PST

    •  Pope Francis is an incredibly intelligent and (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sviscusi, CSPAN Junkie, JDsg

      educated Jesuit. He meant what he said, and he understood what he said.

      He was attacking hypocritical, rich Christians for being not truly Christian.  

      The concept of atheism isn't logically part of that criticism.  The people he is criticizing aren't "atheists," they're just not really Christian.

      •  No evidence, you were asked ages ago, but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DeadHead, Fishtroller01

        can't copme up with any, just more blather.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 09:07:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Illogical as it is, Popes have used "atheism" as (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fishtroller01

        synonym for the terms "immoral" and "non-Christian." Popes John Paul the II and Benedict compared atheism to Nazism and did not hesitate to use the term derisively. While everyone likes to think of Francis as different, he was a top Catholic leader for many years while the church presided over such policies of bigotry. Only now is he saying something different. It's great that he now has words (though not yet deed) to suggest some change in views. But, what troubles me about Francis is that he also lived for years as a top cleric under Pinochet, in some cases serving as his personal priest. He may claim he secretly worked against some of Pinochet's desires, such as when the dictator tried to get rid of some of his more radical priests. But, he seems to be a man comfortable with working within a dictatorship and not publicly opposing it. I would feel better about him if he had left Chile and told the world what was happening. But, instead, he gets to have it both ways. He was both for and against the dictator, whenever it was convenient.

        Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

        by tekno2600 on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 11:00:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  He has already said (6+ / 0-)

      that he doesn't condemn atheists.  What he condemns is the worship of money. Unless money is your idol, there's nothing to take insult from.

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

      by marykk on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 07:57:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe the diarist (4+ / 0-)

        is explaining that the pope was using the term 'pagan' in a negative context. That is, he was condemning/insulting Christians who worshiped money by calling them pagans.

        It certainly wasn't meant as a compliment. It is the use of pagans as a derogatory term that is insulting to pagans, much like how here on DKos we object quite strongly to people using words like 'gay' as derogatory terms, even if there is no actual homosexuality implied in context.

        Now, if it is just a transcription or translation error, that lessens the sin considerably, but it still means that the people responsible for the translation need to be more careful, if they didn't represent the Pope's words accurately.

      •  Yes, I love the little pats on the head (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tekno2600

        Francis and the RCC gives to atheists and homosexuals and women.  They are not AT ALL condescending!

      •  Make no mistake: Francis is no friend of atheists (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fishtroller01

        He made an off handed comment that they could be redeemed, i.e. if a morally righteous atheist showed up for judgement by gawd, maybe she could get the big guy to let her into heaven, once she acknowledged the error or her ways. I really don't find that too ground breaking. If a gawd existed that would condemn a morally righteous atheist, such a gawd would not be worthy of worship. However, the papal spokescritter immediately and publicly contradicted his "boss's" statement, saying it was just a "homily" and not a change in doctrine. In other words, the Roman Curia still controls the Pope, rather than the Pope controlling his bureaucracy.

        Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

        by tekno2600 on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 10:23:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He also thinks we are really really stupid. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tekno2600

          Of course, his comments demonstrate that he is no whiz kid on what atheism is all about!

        •  And why should he be a friend to atheists? (0+ / 0-)

          You're expecting the pope to give up his religion-he can't abandon his religion any more than you could abandon yours.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 06:02:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Atheism's a religion like baldness is a hair color (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SeaTurtle

            So, I have no religion to abandon. I also didn't ask the Pope to abandon his religion (the way I abandoned Catholicism). I would just like to make sure he doesn't use words like "atheism" and "paganism" as synonyms for "evil." If he wants a good synonym for that, I suggest he use "pedophile."

            Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

            by tekno2600 on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 06:23:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Religious equality in the eyes of the law (4+ / 0-)

    Doesn't mean that all religions are equally valid, just that bad religion has the same rights as good religion, for some definition of "bad" and "good".

    What's the point of belonging a religion if you don't think it is better than the rest?

    •  An excellent question. Thank you! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      This goes to an important point of the diary and indeed, much of what I have been writing about for decades.

      The short of it is that there is no easy answer.

      Most of us hold to beliefs and non-belief beliefs that that we think are best. It is entirely healthy. The difficulty we have is how we create and sustain a society that allows for people to believe as they will, even when so many people disagree so profoundly.  This requires, as I said above, some knowledge, some dedication, and some skills.  

      Where some of our most serious problems of sustaining separation of church and state and the rights of minority views come into play is when there are groups and individuals who disagree with the idea of religious pluralism, actively oppose it and organize against it.
       

    •  Actually, that was one of the questions that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, marykk, Fishtroller01

      ended up with my backing away from religion. Especially when I started looking at the people who said "I am a better person than you because I belong to a 'better' religion."

      From the inside, validity is tautological.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 10:31:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Seeing as how... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fishtroller01

    ... a few early Roman Catholic Church popes instructed the priests to 'build their churches in locations where the people were wont to go' [to worship their deities], and to 'borrow' and 'adapt' local religious practices and incorporate them into the church ritual (which is why there are so many different forms of RCC in the world), and make saints of the local deities, which means most of the RCC ritual comes straight from "Pagan" ritual and religious practices, Frankie has NO room to look down his nose at Pagans since the RCC stole so much from Pagan rituals in an attempt to gain converts.  [For which popes said/did what, look them up in The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker.  The book's online and can be downloaded for free.  I keep forgetting which popes said what.  The only factual detail I found wrong was Walker's entry for Elizabeth I.  My copy has been in a box for a very long time and I can't remember which box of books it is in.]

    Anyway, Frankie has the original meaning of the word Pagan wrong.  Originally, country folk were called 'pagans' to distinguish them from city-dwellers.  That's all.  No pejoratives were associated with the word.  From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

    pagan (n.) late 14c., from Late Latin paganus "pagan," in classical Latin "villager, rustic; civilian, non-combatant" noun use of adjective meaning "of the country, of a village," from pagus "country people; province, rural district," originally "district limited by markers," thus related to pangere "to fix, fasten," from PIE root *pag- "to fix" (see pact). As an adjective from early 15c.

        Religious sense is often said to derive from conservative rural adherence to the old gods after the Christianization of Roman towns and cities; but the word in this sense predates that period in Church history, and it is more likely derived from the use of paganus in Roman military jargon for "civilian, incompetent soldier," which Christians (Tertullian, c.202; Augustine) picked up with the military imagery of the early Church (e.g. milites "soldier of Christ," etc.). Applied to modern pantheists and nature-worshippers from 1908.
    [My bold.]

    Frankie is using a lot of words to say absolutely nothing of any substance since nothing whatsoever is being accomplished as a result of his pretty speeches.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 08:04:23 PM PST

    •  Walker's work is amazing. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO

      I also came across something from Ctesias's works titled Persica that demonstrates a direct connection from paganism to catholicism. It's a little poem on Tammuz (who is mentioned in the Old Testament).

      "Trust Ye Saints, your Lord restored
      Turst Ye in your Risen Lord
      For the pains which Tammuz endured
      Our salvation have procured."

      Poor Jesus. I wonder if he ever knew he was not an original thinker. He needs to have a talk with dear old Father about that!

      •  I agree: Walker's work is amazing (0+ / 0-)

        Before Walker's book came out, the book that put me on the path to ancient religions that all came before the patriarchal ones was When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone.  Her bibliography led to all sorts of other works that found their way to my personal library.  I often use the bibliographies of scholarly works to then read and add to my knowledge.

        Certainly, it helped to have read Stone by the time I entered college as a non-traditional student.  It put Paleolithic and Neolithic Art in certain areas of the world in perspective.  As luck would have it, the fall I began my adventure into Art History, Nat. Geo. came out with an issue with photos of Paleolithic artifacts such as spear throwers, and drawings of mammoth skull houses.  The cover had Brno Man pictured.  Of all the little figurines found all over Europe from the Paleolithic at archaeological digs, all were women until Brno Man was found.  That certainly supports the Goddess as supreme deity per Merlin Stone.

        Oddly, it also helped to have read Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series (up to what was then out, that is).  She uses a lot of real archaeological info that her fictitious main character does or creates, all of which were found at sites on a map on the inside of the front cover of the first hardcover book.  [I can't say I find the depictions of modern sex realistic, but then I didn't live back then, so who knows?]  Certainly, the work of fiction (with descriptions of actual artifacts found) was the first I'd seen of anyone positing the possibility of Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal people mating and producing children..., and recent DNA studies have found that to have been true!

        People living in the Paleolithic and Neolithic were hardy and a lot more intelligent and creative than one might suppose otherwise.  However, woman as supreme deity would make a lot more sense to a hunter-gatherer society that had not domesticated animals and made the connection between estrus cycles, sex, and producing offspring a few months later.

        It's all quite fascinating (to me, that is).

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 03:52:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Have you been following Janet Wise's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NonnyO

          diaries on here titled Punishing Eve?

          •  No... Errr, well, I read at least one (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fishtroller01

            But it was a while back.  I notice I have her on my Follow List, so I must have been impressed with something she wrote.

            I'm actually more interested in ancient history than I am in modern compare and contrast with the ancient world.

            The vast majority of tomes in my library are for various periods in history, often Great Britain, Celts in Europe and the British Isles, Neolithic and Viking Scandinavia, and most history ceases to be interesting after 24 March 1603 when all the idiocy over a state-mandated religion resulted in a great waste of lives and money while fighting for or against religious domination.

            That's when I turn to genealogy stuff and American history from the landing of the Mayflower forward (I'm twice descended from Edward Doty; others are in-laws or step-relatives - the population bottleneck resulted in a limited gene pool for a few years), and that's when I find these tidbits of info where my own ancestors did things of an historical nature and/or their lives were affected by events in or around their localities, so colonial New England history is a very personal topic for me.

            :-)  My library is not limited to dry history books.  I even have fiction - historical fiction by a select few authors who are good at weaving real historical events with fictitious characters.  Morgan Llywelyn is particularly good with Irish Celtic history and mythology.  The time period for the majority of historical fiction books remains the same: before 24 March 1603.  ;-)

            I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

            by NonnyO on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 10:25:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  It is peculiar (6+ / 0-)

    when all he needed to say was that such people are not acting as good Christians.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 08:22:16 PM PST

  •  Simply put, of the two, paganism is not a (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Portia Elm, DeadHead, Amayi, JayRaye

    hate based religion.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 08:35:04 PM PST

  •  the word "pagan" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    serendipityisabitch, Amayi

    in my christian(Baptist) upbringing did not refer to the European Pagans--it referred to the "ignorant natives" the missionaries were sent out to convert in the wilds of Borneo and such.  Does this Pope know what a Pagan really is?  That is what I am wondering--

    now a Pagan

  •  Pagan as you noted (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, marykk

    means 'non christian' at it's most narrow and 'non monotheistic' at it's most narrow. Yes it's also been used as an insult and adopted as a catch all for a very wide range of  faiths and belief systems but as a pagan I am not offended by this. At worst the pope is guilty of imprecise speaking, something anyone of us could do.

    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 11:31:12 PM PST

  •  Sorry, Frederick, but this diary is just silly. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JDsg, marykk, Timaeus, dfarrah

    The pope was not speaking of Pagans. He was simply saying that Christians who claim to live as such, aren't really Christian at all.

    You need to do a little reading on the colloquial employment of the word "pagano" in languages such as Italian and Spanish, where it means those who by their misbehavior place themselves outside the confines of human decency - and bears no reference whatsoever to contemporary Paganism.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 01:34:22 AM PST

    •  Not silly at all, Lepanto (0+ / 0-)

      I quoted from official material produced by Vatican Radio. I also read, but did not quote from the entire statement in English.  

      What I discussed is exactly what was broadcast, printed, disseminated, etc.  

      If you read the diary and look at what I actually wrote, the definition of paganism, according to a standard source, is that everyone who is not Catholic, is pagan, or, possibly, at least not one of the Abrahamic religions.  This would include contemporary Paganism, as well as non-Abrahamic faiths of other names.  

      The maladroit terminology could use some updating. Don't blame the messenger. Consider the source.

  •  Sigh: The Roman Catholic Church considers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fishtroller01, dfarrah

    itself the one true church (although they do include Episcopalians and the Orthodox Churches inside the umbrella.) Historically, Protestants separated from Catholicism. Arch Protestant Martin Luther considered the Pope the Antichrist, and you hear that sentiment from many of the more hard core Protestants today.
       Baptists have a fairly narrow definition of baptism (total immersion) which means that infant baptism and baptism by sprinkling are invalid.
       What you are calling religious supremacism is just the belief that one religion is right and the others a re wrong - IOW, followers of the other religions don't get into paradise.
       If the "true" religion believes that there is a hell, followers of all other religions are, logically, going to hell.
       If you take RCC teachings literally, most people are going to hell.

  •  Well Fred, looks like you're getting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayRaye

    a big taste of what Betty Clermont and commentors like me have experienced when challenging the Francis cult on Daily Kos.  It's pretty scary when you step back and look at the fact that this person and his PR group have managed to fire up a really strong fog machine and divert attention away from the RCC's child abuse issues and continued efforts to thwart the rights of gays and women. It's even scarier when you see people on here unable to use their powers of reason and scrutiny and apply them to this man and his institution and yet have that ability when it comes to addressing political claims.

    By the way, I KNOW the meaning of the term "Pagan". I have a very close friend who is Catholic and she of course is aware of my views as an atheist (last time we met she said I may be on to something).  However, the story she told me when we first met and discussed religion was how the nuns in her school always had a jar on their desks with the sign "Pennies for the Pagan babies".

    •  well, Fishtroller01 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye, joegoldstein

      It is often the case that fans will take any criticism of a public figure as an attack on the whole person or everything they stand for, and respond in kind.  (I received worse from the supporters of Jim Wallis and Sam Harris in years past.)  We see this in knee jerk over relative responses to criticisms, no matter how valid, of politicians and public officials as well.  I try to stay out of those pie fights.

      In this diary thread, you'll notice the ad hominem attacks in comments by Timaeus which are rated-up by some people who are usually supportive of my diaries. And another by commonmass who ignored my protest.  

      I don't really care if a few people want to make a mountain out of the definitional molehill over the world pagan.  Those who are raising that issue did not read the diary.    

      I won't lose any sleep over this thread.  But what I find interesting and troubling is how people so lose it when it comes to these things and turn on their friends and allies, online and elsewhere.  

    •  You're calling your petty, ugly, anti-Christian (0+ / 0-)

      hatred the opposition to the "Francis cult" on DKos?

      Really?

      How is that different from my claim that some of you atheist extremists are advancing the "atheist cult"?

      Tell the truth.

      Your opening, with claims that bigots Betty and you are getting resistance, is pathetic.

      You're getting resistance because you are WRONG.

      •  Oh, it's more than resistance... (0+ / 0-)

        it's plain old Christian apologetics on speed.  In your eyes, your church and its new leader can do no wrong. Pretty amazing blinders you have on there.

        And by the way, I AM trying to start an atheist cult and I am in the running to be the Pope of it all! Now all our little cult needs is a fabricated set of mythologies that promise eternal life and a big group of followers who never question anything. Oh, and we need to do some plundering, some crusades, an inquisition or two and find a couple of native cultures that we can destroy so we can "save" them.

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