I was raised Catholic. What this means is that I was baptized and went to sunday school and learned all about the Catholic faith because I was forced by my parents. Then, one day, they asked us if we thought that our family should continue going to church as a unit; in other words, they polled us emotionally to determine whether or not they needed to keep up the protocols they had inculcated us with. I think of this as the first time my sister and I realized our parent's awesomeness quotient.
Now, I am a spiritual person but I also feel that organized religion does more evil than good. I keep this opinion to myself and only brandish it when the people I am speaking with think they might be able to convert me back into the fold. However, there are many great things to take away from religions. For example, I love how in the Jewish faith textual interpretation is not only an important skill but a means to get closer to god. I think this helps the community as a whole to become adept at making meaning from text; it also makes for great debaters, interpreters, and manipulators of the written word.
In regards to the Catholic church, I will be eternally grateful for the commitment to community that the Catholic church has instilled in me. And, I have completed several volunteer jobs since having renounced Catholicism, and have worked tirelessly in my community to better the educational attainment of minority high school kids. However, the fact that I am not a Catholic means that I can look at actions taken by the Catholic church and determine whether I agree with them or not. And, I would like to be very clear on this point; it is my belief that the Pope is an asshole. I don't mean it in the metaphorical way; I mean it in the literal sense, as in everything that comes out of Ratzinger's mouth is crap.
A CNN article dated March 17th, 2009 states that, "Pope Benedict XVI refused Wednesday to soften the Vatican's ban on condom use as he arrived in Africa for his first visit to the continent as pope" (par 1.) Now, I understand that the ideology of the Catholic church prohibits them from advocating condom use over abstinence, but it even prohibits condom use for married couples (even if one of the partners is infected with HIV). The same article states that "more than 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV, according to a 2008 UNAIDS/WHO report. In addition, "Nine out of 10 children with HIV in the world live in the region, which has 11.4 million orphans because of AIDS, the report said, and 1.5 million people there died of the disease in 2007". (par. 5)
It seems unconscionable that Ratzinger can not push aside his ideology and let a little of his humanity out. I understand that this is not how it is in the Catholic world; I understand that the glue that holds a faith together is all of the tenets and protocols that have been passed down from one generation to another. However, this situation is powderkeg and the Catholic church is pretending that matches don't exist. I had a similar beef with Egan when he was bishop of NYC and got his panties in a ruffle after the NYC/DOE decided that passing out condoms in high schools was a good idea. However, a study conducted by the Advocates for Youth, found that "69 percent [of parents] stated that students should have access to condoms in school" (1995, Guttmacher et al).
So is the Catholic church saying that it know better than parents what should be done with children. And, in a broader sense, is Ratzinger saying that he knows what is best for Africa? Only an asshole would make such assumptions, I guess. More importantly, I am an asshole as well for being so inflammatory and prodding the zealous to respond in an inflammatory way, however, drastic times call for drastic measures and happily will I call myself an asshole if the asshole Pope realizes what an exit chute of poop him, his ideology, and his church really are.
(March 17, 2009). Pope visits Africa, reaffirms ban on condoms. CNN, Retrieved March 18, 2009, from http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/03/17/cameroon.pope/
Guttmacher S, Lieberman L, Ward D, et. al. Parents' attitudes and beliefs about HIV/AIDS prevention with condom availability in New York City public high schools. J Sch Health 1995;65:101-106.
A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.