No hope for new pope


With the outrageous amounts of media attention over the “election” of a new pope to head the Roman Catholic Church, I have been suffering from what Elizabeth Cady Stanton used to call a “woman’s rights convulsion.”

Actually, it’s broader than that, more like a “human rights convulsion,” and it’s inspiring my annual anti-Catholic diatribe. Hell hath no fury like an ex-Catholic.

It is beyond me how anyone in 2013 can support an institution so saturated by misogyny that it threatens with excommunication anyone who even discusses the possibility of women priests; a church so twisted in its conception of sexuality that it forbids women to use birth control while willfully enabling thousands of priests to commit sex crimes; a church that muzzles its most effective good shepherds – nuns – while allowing its criminal brotherhood to go scot-free.

Despite all its hymns of praise to Mary, the Catholic Church is a corrupt and woman-hating boys club that exists to accrete wealth, oppress women and perpetuate ignorance. It is an archaic, reactionary remnant of the Dark Ages, when sin caused disease, torture compelled “devotion” and bribes secured salvation. The church is, in the words of its own classic libel against gay people, “intrinsically disordered.”

The Roman Catholic Church has a long history of organized torture and alliances with the most repressive regimes in the world. I’ve written about the horrors of the Inquisition and the church’s suppression of science. How about its alliances with Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco? 

The Vatican obtained its position of international statehood via the Lateran Treaty with Mussolini in 1929. The deal was for the church to give a free hand to the dictator in exchange for its little piece of sovereign territory and loads of lucre. The church had no problem turning its back on democratic values as it has never practiced them. The Italians finally had the good sense to shoot and then hang Mussolini, but his cronies still rule from the Vatican. 

In Spain in the 1930s, the Catholic Church joined Franco’s militarists and wealthy landowners to crush progressive Spaniards loyal to the new democratic government. These very Catholic fascists embarked on an organized campaign of rape against the women in loyalist areas of Spain. Like fascists everywhere, they reveled in cruelty. After beating and raping them, they force-fed women huge quantities of castor oil and marched them through the streets where they stumbled and soiled themselves while their right-wing Catholic countrymen cheered. 

After murdering their democratic opponents, the victorious fascists, with the aid of the Catholic Church, stole their victims’ children and placed them with Francoist families where they were purged of liberal sentiments and raised to be good fascists. A generation of elderly Spaniards learned only recently that the “parents” who raised them were actually the killers of their real parents. Family values have always been a relative concept to the Catholic Church.

Now the church’s sex crimes, involving tens of thousands of victims worldwide, have been revealed. Voluminous documents and billions of dollars in legal settlements prove that Catholic leaders covered up the crimes and blamed the victims. Yet the Vatican adamantly denies that its male exclusiveness, its celibacy rules or its hermetic, hierarchical culture have anything to do with the crimes. 

“Good” Catholics who think that they or a new pope can somehow reform this evil institution are delusional.