The Pope

I hope I am not the only one who had no idea the pope could resign. I honestly thought that once you were pope, you were pope until they pulled you out of the Vatican in a box. Live and learn, I guess.

What do they call the pope when he resigns? Does he become Pope Emeritus, or does he revert back to being a Cardinal. And if he does revert back to being Cardinal, does he get to vote on his successor? On the day he steps down, do they just unceremoniously move him to a back room somewhere in the Vatican to die while they get Pope HQ ready for the replacement? Is it like the Presidency, where on inauguration day the old President is just whisked away out of sight and given a stipend and a little security detail?

And I’m not being facetious. I really have no idea how it works.






281 replies
  1. 1
    Tone in DC says:

    Something something cryogenic stasis something.

    Just sayin.

  2. 2

    I know he doesn’t get to vote because he’s over 80 and that’s the age limit for being able to vote in the Conclave.

  3. 3
    sal says:

    He gets a job at Fox News, is my guess, probably an AM radio talk show as well.

  4. 4
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    I think the cardinals all pass a bong full of powdered saints’ bones and take hits until the smoke one of them exhales is white, and then that guy gets to be Pope.

    Don’t quote me on this.

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    Apparently no Pope has resigned for 600 years, so I’m not sure there is a procedure anymore.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    The Dowager Pope!

    should get massive ratings.

  7. 7
    Zam says:

    I was catholic growing up and I had no idea this was possible. Pope is supposed to be gods voice or some shit like that. Didn’t know you could quit a job god chose for you because it was too hard.

  8. 8
    Cacti says:

    Funny that one can resign from being God’s personal mouthpiece on earth.

  9. 9
    MikeJ says:

    Imagine going from being infallible to just a regular Joe.

  10. 10
    Cacti says:

    What if Jesus had resigned from being the Messiah?

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    I think he retires to a nice little Italian villa with his secretary and all the trappings and wealth he had while he was Pope. He just doesn’t have any of the responsibilities to worry about.

  12. 12
    R-Jud says:

    1) He reverts back to being a Cardinal.
    2) He’s only considered infallible when speaking ex cathedra, and I don’t think he’s ever done that, so no big loss there.
    3) He may be easier to prosecute.

  13. 13
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    if he does revert back to being Cardinal, does he get to vote on his successor?

    He’ll presumably revert, but only the sprightly under-80s get a vote, and he’s 85. (It’s an older electorate than Punta Gorda, Florida, which is saying something.)

    He and the Vatican nabobs will be able to make up whatever traditions they like for this, but it’ll probably involve the kind of cloistering that retired cardinals do.

  14. 14
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Every ex-pope I ever knew of got a coffin. Not sure why Benedict should expect any better.

  15. 15
    joeyess says:

    On the day he steps down, do they just unceremoniously move him to a back room somewhere in the Vatican to die while they get Pope HQ ready for the replacement?

    Hopefully, they sit him in a room and force him to listen to this. Over and over and over…….

  16. 16
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @Cacti:

    What if Jesus had resigned from being the Messiah?

    What if God smokes cannabis?

  17. 17
    Jerome McDonough says:

    Looks like the WSJ has you covered: Guide Papal Resignation

    So, yes, Bishop of Rome Emeritus, and no he can’t vote on his successor due to the age limitation, but he can participate in the prepatory meeings leading up to the Conclave.

  18. 18
    qwerty42 says:

    Well, according to Josh Marshall, the last pope to resign( well, it did not turn out so good):… From what I can tell the really apt comparison is to Celestine V in 1294. Even through the fog of history, Celestine resigned apparently not under coercion or for some dishonorable purpose but because of declining physical strength and the desire to go back to being a monk. Unfortunately for him, his successor Boniface VIII had him placed under house arrest where he died less than two years later.

  19. 19
    Ted & Hellen says:

    HOW MUCH POOP COULD A POOPED POPE POOP IF A POOPED POPE COULD POOP WOOD?

  20. 20

    Mnemosyne @5 is right. If I am not mistaken (I refuse to Google it because if it’s not true I don’t want to know) Dante was so mad at the last one, Celestine V, for quitting that he put him in Hell, even though the church made him a saint.

  21. 21
    Lavocat says:

    My guess is that it certainly must involve immunity from prosecution and an amazing indemnification clause because there’s a reason this sort of shit happens once every 600 years.

    Also, he gets to chose his favorite choir boy and a suitcase full of vasoline.

    And he gets to keep the white courtesy telephone directly to God.

  22. 22
    Rosalita says:

    I hope I am not the only one who had no idea the pope could resign

    It’s been 600 year since the last I’m sure they had to look this one up themselves.

    As a rebel Catholic, I say Good riddance.

  23. 23
    Arm The Homeless says:

    I was unaware of this important role Pope Ratzi played in censuring the Latin American Cardinals who had embraced Liberation Theology. Also, too, apparently the Sermon on the Mount was all about how you would be judged in the afterlife, not a comment on how we should comport ourselves in this life. The things you learn…

  24. 24
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Does the devil still get to keep his red Prada shoes? Forget fashion week once a year, the Vatican has it every day.

  25. 25
    VOR says:

    I agree with Mnemosyne, I doubt they have a procedure. The last time this happened was 1415! Apparently the Cardinals had trouble understanding him when he informed them, probably because they also couldn’t imagine it happening. My guess is they find him nice quarters in Vatican City somewhere. If he really is in poor health, I suspect that is going to take up most of his time.

  26. 26
    Cacti says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    What if God smokes cannibis?

    Well, if the big guy created it, I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t.

    Xtian God doesn’t make mistakes, no?

  27. 27
    joes527 says:

    @R-Jud:

    3) He may be easier to prosecute.

    Not.

    Look for him to forget to provide a forwarding address, and everyone in V town saying: “Benny the rat? Doesn’t ring a bell.”

    He is taking the express train down the memory hole. The theory probably is that he’s taking the scandal with him.

    We’ll see how that works out.

  28. 28
    eldorado says:

    hopefully they call him convict #2413155

  29. 29
    joes527 says:

    @VOR:

    I doubt they have a procedure. The last time this happened was 1415!

    If there _is_ a procedure, it probably involves leeches and outdoor plumbing.

  30. 30
    mellowjohn says:

    he gets his pick of the altar boys?

    p.s. is “conclave” the opposite of “convlex”?

  31. 31
    Yutsano says:

    @joes527: That scandal ain’t dying with his resignation. Millions of Irish with growing grudges are going to make sure of that.

  32. 32

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: What a great setup for a sitcom: God is played by, let’s say, Cheech Marin, and Jesus is this Michael J. Fox type in a business suit constantly complaining about the way the family business is run and threatening to resign.

  33. 33
    mardam says:

    So, if the Pope is God’s mouthpiece on Earth, does God stop talking to him? And what’s that last conversation like?

  34. 34
    Tim F. says:

    After all this time talking to god, I guess god finally talked back. And told him to quit. Maybe god told him a little more than that, considering the number of kids on his ledger, but they worked out a compromise.

    Yes I did watch the HBO special last week. Why do you ask?

  35. 35
    eemom says:

    @qwerty42:

    Unfortunately for him, his successor Boniface VIII had him placed under house arrest where he died less than two years later.

    Maybe the rarity of this event will prompt a mass examination of RCC history, exposure of its many heinous crimes at the Pope level and beyond, and a long overdue public reckoning.

    ha ha. Ain’t I a card?

  36. 36
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @Cacti: Genesis 1:12 biotches

  37. 37
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think he gets a priory & a comely nun.

    Maybe some pottage as well.

  38. 38
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Didn’t know you had the option to quit.

    But this guy has a track record of getting out of organizations just as his participation in them becomes problematic, so I’m not terribly shocked by the move.

    ETA: if he lives a month beyond the date of his stepping down I’ll be stunned.

  39. 39
    Cassidy says:

    @mardam: “It’s not you. It’s me. I’m not in love love with you anymore”

  40. 40
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    the traditionalist in me wants to point out that this is an abdication, not a resignation. The modernist in me thinks the whole grotesque machinery ought to be pulled down.

    Anyway, Sully has a couple of details

    Pope Benedict XVI will not take part in the Conclave for the election of his successor.

    Pope Benedict XVI will move to the Papal residence in Castel Gandolfo when his resignation shall become effective.

    When renovation work on the monastery of cloistered nuns inside the Vatican is complete, the Holy Father will move there for a period of prayer and reflection.

    I wonder if he’ll take the Gucci slippers and matching hat he designed for himself to the nunnery

  41. 41
    Chris says:

    They’ll call him what they used to: God’s Anti-Aircraft Gunner

  42. 42
    Mike E says:

    @MikeJ:

    Imagine going from being infallible to just a regular Joe.

    Joe Biden will be the next pope. Book it.

  43. 43
    R-Jud says:

    @Yutsano:

    That scandal ain’t dying with his resignation.

    This. Also, too, Los Angeles.

  44. 44
    arthur says:

    The pope was very thoughtful in announcing his resignation on the first day of Spring training in Jupiter Florida, allowing the Cardinals a few weeks to get in shape before they have to elect his successor.

  45. 45
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Cacti:

    What if Jesus had resigned from being the Messiah?

    That’s pretty much what Pope John Paul Ringo II said to justify his staying in The Chair well past his ability to be an effective pontiff:

    “Christ did not come down from the cross.”

    Since Pope Adolf was close at hand to watch the previous Pope die in office, perhaps he thought that wasn’t the best use of the office.

  46. 46
    Elizabelle says:

    What do they call the pope when he resigns?

    The Defendant?

    I wish …

  47. 47
    orogeny says:

    @R-Jud: considering your last point, the ex-pope probably will die quietly in his sleep soon after he’s replaced.

  48. 48
    Redshirt says:

    I assume God has some sort of Bluetooth headset/mic, and the old Pope gives it to the new Pope so he’s got the direct line to The Big Guy.

  49. 49
    mardam says:

    @mellowjohn: See, that’s why I come here.

  50. 50
    MattF says:

    My guess, fwiw, is that he doesn’t have long to live. And, with Parkinson’s disease in an 85-year old, there’s the prospect of dementia. On the other hand, he could at some point rise to the rank of ‘unindicted co-conspirator’, if he lives so long.

  51. 51
    cathyx says:

    Maybe they will elect a more progressive pope next. hahaha

  52. 52
    Elizabelle says:

    @R-Jud:

    Yeah, Los Angeles is the first thing I thought of when I heard. All the foot dragging on releasing documents. What else is in them?

  53. 53
    Cacti says:

    @orogeny:

    considering your last point, the ex-pope probably will die quietly in hes sleep soon after he’s replaced.

    It’s a well known fact that ex-Popes like to sleep with the pillow over their face.

  54. 54
    Chris says:

    They call him by his old name: God’s Anti-Aircraft Gunner

  55. 55
    MonkeyBoy says:

    The leader of the Mormon Church, called the Prophet, is very similar to the Pope – he is supposed to have a semi-divine connection to God and speaks for him.

    For both Popes and Prophets it is common to let them decline physically and mentally in life while strongly stage managing their image to pretend that they are not senile or unable to walk. Who would want a leader that God has abandoned?

    My guess is that video will eventually kill this practice.

  56. 56
    Drunken hausfrau says:

    Besides the never ending sex abuse scandals, there is a significant financial scandal at the Vatican right now. Anyone wondering how this resignation ties into the money laundering and vatileaks?

  57. 57
    hilzoy says:

    Depends on the resigned pope. Gregory XII lived out his life as “that wonderful guy who helped to end the Papal Schism by being nice enough to resign the Papacy”. Celestine V died in the prison he was thrown into by his successor. I’m betting that Benedict ends up somewhere in between.

  58. 58
    quannlace says:

    So, yes, Bishop of Rome Emeritus,

    How about the Pope Dowager? So very Downton Abbey.

  59. 59
    gian says:

    Does he have a clone in Brazil ? Is it there or Argentina where the ex hitler youth go to retire?

  60. 60
    Cacti says:

    @MonkeyBoy:

    For both Popes and Prophets it is common to let them decline physically and mentally in life while strongly stage managing their image to pretend that they are not senile or unable to walk. Who would want a leader that God has abandoned?

    The deconversion story of Steve Benson, oldest grandkid of the late Mormon prophet Ezra Taft Benson, gives great detail of how disgusted he grew with the church pretending that his 90+ y.o. gramps was still calling the shots, when he was bedridden and couldn’t recognize his own family members.

  61. 61

    @VOR: I Googled after all. When Gregory XII resigned in 1415 he was one of three simultaneous popes, so they don’t always count it.

  62. 62
    raven says:

    @Chris: Tail Gunner Pope

  63. 63
    R-Jud says:

    @Elizabelle:

    What else is in them?

    A lot of incriminating documents signed “Cardinal Josef Ratzinger”, if I’m not mistaken.

    On a more picayune and petty point, I think of Pope Sidious every time I walk in my local park. The grass is still not totally recovered from the stage they built for him there. It’s been three years.

  64. 64
    ricky says:

    So being a Pope ain’t as permanent as being a Jet?

  65. 65
    Suffern ACE says:

    @scav: I was thinking more along the lines of the Pope Mum.

  66. 66
    Elizabelle says:

    Since it’s Valentine’s Day week, the New York Times has lots of pictures of folks in red and lacy white garments front and central on the website.

    Unfortunately, they’re Catholic cardinals.

  67. 67
    Robin G. says:

    @mardam: Good question. That’s the part that confuses me most: How do you just… stop being God’s mouthpiece?

  68. 68
    scav says:

    @Suffern ACE: yours certainly works with the daft hats.

  69. 69
    Elizabelle says:

    @R-Jud:

    Find it interesting that a papal twitter today just before the news broke mentioned “we are all sinners.”

    We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new.

    Thought, what is he preparing us for? And the resignation announcement sounds like an early Act in the drama.

  70. 70
    Cacti says:

    O/T but in the hope for the future/mouth of babes category…

    Per Pew Research, more 18-29 y.o. have a positive view of socialism than capitalism.

  71. 71
    gbear says:

    @Cacti:

    Funny that one can resign from being God’s personal mouthpiece on earth.

    Unless God has been telling him to GTFO.

  72. 72
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @gbear: “You can’t fire me. I quit.”

  73. 73
    aimai says:

    @Cacti:

    It feels like its somehow a rejection of the big guy’s control over things. I mean–Catholic dogma refuses the individual the right to kill him/herself on the grounds that suicide denies god the right to a fulfillment of his plan for you (controlling your exit from this world being definitionally an act he rejects/sign of your despair/disordered thinking). How much more serious is it to reject god’s plan for your job as pope? So what if its too hard or you feel you are doing a crummy job, surely god already factored that in when he gave you the job?

  74. 74
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Yutsano: The difference between the reactions of the Irish and Americans is a national shame for us, the same moral failing that has allowed the Iraq War to fall into a memory hole.

  75. 75
    geg6 says:

    @Robin G.:

    Considering that the whole thing is nothing more than the fever fantasies of some Bronze Age nomads, I’m sure they can come up with some bullshit explanation. You forget that you are talking about a religious institution that insists on the reality of virgin births, the resurrection of dead people, and that you have to confess your worst instincts to a misogynist pedophile who then uses the confessional window as some sort of glory hole. They’ll pluck pure distilled bullshit out of thin air and the rubes who are still brainwashed by their garbage will willingly eat that shit right up.

  76. 76
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    It’s widely believed that a retiring pope will enjoy the sexual ministrations of 72 virgin boys.

  77. 77
    fubar says:

    You turn in the earbud receiver linked directly to GOD, the keys to the Popemobile, and security escorts you and your filebox out of the Vatican.

  78. 78
    Heliopause says:

    pulled you out of the Vatican in a box.

    I don’t think they pull you out, I think you go down in the basement with the other assorted decomposing popes and saints. Don’t forget, more than anything else this is a corpse venerating cult.

    What do they call the pope when he resigns?

    Tyrant.

    Oh, you mean, what do they, as in the other cultists, call him. Poopsie, I think. It’s a laugh a minute in the Vatican.

  79. 79
    Sly says:

    @orogeny:

    considering your last point, the ex-pope probably will die quietly in his sleep soon after he’s replaced.

    Then we can begin filming Cadaver Synod II: Ecclesiastical Boogaloo.

  80. 80
    Ann Rynd says:

    I’m interested in how he passes on his infallibility. There must be some kind of brain transference ceremony like in those movies where guys piss in the fountain together. Do we get to watch? What if he still thinks he’s infallible and he and the new pope disagree? Can there be two infallibles on Earth at the same time?
    Someone infallible should write an op ed on this in the times. Anyone but MODO.

  81. 81
    Edo says:

    So the Pope announces that this Lent he’s going to be giving up the See of Peter.

    How many people really think this is gonna last longer than about six weeks?

  82. 82
    NonyNony says:

    @Robin G.:

    How do you just… stop being God’s mouthpiece?

    This is a confusing thing for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The Pope is not God’s mouthpiece – there’s no prophecy or revelation going on with the Pope’s “infallibility”. When the Pope says something that is infallible, it’s infallible because he’s the Pope and the head of the True Church that traces its lineage back to Peter, not because he has some red telephone in his office that connects him to the Godcave to have God answer the tricky questions.

    Basically (and to make somewhat of a strawman out of it, to be honest) the idea is that God wouldn’t let his Church make errors in matters of doctrine of faith and morality. So therefore if the Pope takes the extra effort to say that something is infallible (wearing the proper hat, saying the right words, showing that there’s nothing up his sleeve, producing the white rabbit from the hat, and so forth) then it’s infallible. No message directly from God required. If it was an error, God would have stopped the Pope from saying it (possibly by giving him a “change of heart”, possibly by giving him a heart attack – opinions vary).

    Honestly growing up in the church when I found out exactly what the doctrine of infallibility meant and how it was supposed to work I was floored. It was one of the things that sent me out to look for alternatives to Catholicism because it was so mind-bogglingly obviously a post-hoc way of justifying anything the Pope at the time wanted to justify. (Which sent me down the path of realizing that I was an atheist, but that’s another story.)

  83. 83
    Cassidy says:

    How long before I have to wait for the part where the lowly serving girl is the long lost relative of Jesus of Nazareth?

  84. 84
    NonyNony says:

    @Ann Rynd:

    I’m interested in how he passes on his infallibility.

    See above. The infallibility comes with the office, not with the man. He gets it when he gets the funny hat and the new letterhead with his name on it.

  85. 85
    Cacti says:

    @aimai:

    How much more serious is it to reject god’s plan for your job as pope? So what if its too hard or you feel you are doing a crummy job, surely god already factored that in when he gave you the job?

    Maybe it was even god’s will that you do such a rotten job, to help expose some of the institutional rot in what is supposed to be his church. Especially when the pontiff in question has his fingerprints all over said rot.

  86. 86
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @geg6:

    confess your worst instincts to a misogynist pedophile who then uses the confessional window as some sort of glory hole.

    And here I thought even the harshest critics of the Church could acknowledge that many, probably most of the first-tier clergy are decent people doing good work. I guess I was wrong.

    I know you have a history with this. But the pedophiles are a minority, that’s all.

  87. 87
    Cermet says:

    So a thread is now being done on this pile of shit; great. So, will Cole now start featuring more threads on people who aid and abet child molesters? There has been amass killing again in a courtroom, the crazy ex-cop is murdering innocent people and cops in LA and a thread is developed for this medieval and sexual child predator club called the Vatican – great. Maybe this makes sense since the pile of shit pope has allowed mass rape of children but who cares if that monster is leaving that joke of a post?

    This does not mean any significant numbers of Priest are anything but good, honest people – just too many in the hierarchy are foul monsters.

  88. 88
    the Conster says:

    It’s gotta be blackmail. No authoritarian gives up power like that, especially after coveting it for so long. The other papal Prada is about to drop.

  89. 89
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    I have no idea, and I was raised Catholic. I guess we’ll see.

    I’m laid over in Chicago on a sudden trip to Tuscaloosa.

  90. 90
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Paul in KY: Which would be lost on him. His tastes do not lie in that direction. A woman who worked with him decades ago called him “a complete neuter”.

    He used to have a comely German priest who looked after his affairs.

  91. 91

    Can we expect the Catholic change with the next Pope? I don’t really think so. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, formerly the archbishop of Quebec City, has the best odds of replacing Pope Benedict XVI, but he is an extremely conservative man who will definitely not want the Catholic church to change. He is expected to be a carbon copy Pope Benedict XVI.

  92. 92
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @the Conster: I go with Occam’s Razor. Age and health concerns that prevent him from doing the job coupled with a desire to put his choice in charge.

  93. 93
    👽 Martin says:

    Can’t wait to see his bathroom self-portraits in oil on canvas.

  94. 94
    wenchacha says:

    hope I am not the only one who had no idea the pope could resign. I honestly thought that once you were pope, you were pope until they pulled you out of the Vatican in a box.

    FSM help us, maybe Fat Tony will follow suit.

  95. 95
    MikeJ says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    But the pedophiles are a minority, that’s all.

    If you cover up for a pedophile, you’re as bad as a pedophile yourself. By that standard, everyone in the church’s hierarchy is guilty.

    Any company with as many employees as The Church is going to have employees that fuck up. When that happens, the company needs to turn them in.

  96. 96
    aimai says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    If that were true then there would have been no problem with the church excommunicating and removing “that minority” from office. If you had a real familiarity with the issue you would know that the abuse happened among a fairly small cohort of priests who were considered irreplaceable–nuns get forced out all the time but Priests? Never. The vatican was unsure whether it wanted to/believed it could remove the priestly role from individual priests and they really didn’t want one of their annointed to go to prison.

    If you read accounts of the scandal from anywhere in the world the “good” Priests either knew, or should have known, exactly what was going on but their complaints were stopped by Ratzinger himself or other higher ups in their own chain of command. The good guys started leaving in the 70’s and never looked back. After that the bad priests, by definition, began moving into the majority. The church has had a problem staffing churches all around the world because of a dearth of priests thanks to an overall demographic shift that enabled catholic families to educate and place their sons outside of the priesthood.

    Within that problem of a reduced vocation each dangerous priest became even more precious and even more part of a strongly entrenched inner circle.

  97. 97
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cermet: Considering Dolan, Mahoney and George can still manipulate US government policy, I think this is relevant to a political blog. The Catholic Church in American politics is, I think, like Israel– much of its political clout comes from Protestants. Visiting my sister in a very conservative suburb last fall, I was taken aback by the number of bumper stickers I saw about preserving religious freedom, it took me a minute to figure out what the hell they were about: Birth control and Obamacare. I didn’t interview anybody, but I’d be willing to bet a lot of them weren’t Catholic, and used birth control themselves.

  98. 98
    John O says:

    I hope the new Pope calls himself George Ringo.

  99. 99
    FlipYrWhig says:

    It seems like only yesterday when I imagined the Pope as old-skool M.C. on a thread at the old Norbizness (4/20/2005):

    Step back yo, I’m Supreme Pontiff
    I’m so holy, Jews tell me good yontif
    That’s right I’m Pope, and you just a Cardinal
    Don’t need ho’s to know I’m still harder’n y’all
    Ratzinger got bling and nothin’ to pay for
    You got less taste than a communion wafer
    Don’t be hatin’ cuz I got picked
    Friends call me Panzer, but you hafta call me Benedict

  100. 100
    NotMax says:

    As any newly elected pope gets to choose the name he will go by in office, perhaps we’ll see the tiniest nod to (last century’s) modernity.

    Something like Pope Elvis I.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cacti:

    Honestly, I’ve been convinced for quite a while now that, if there is a God, s/he is working hard to kill off the Roman Catholic Church and bumping off anyone (like Cardinal Bernardin) who could have successfully reformed the RCC.

  102. 102
    Heliopause says:

    @the Conster:

    Isn’t he on Twitter now? Uh-oh, somebody got some unsolicited dick pix…

  103. 103
    geg6 says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Okay, they’re not all pedophiles who use the confessional as glory holes. There’s only one of those, that we know of anyway, and he’s dead (though his “good” works linger on and have been immortalized by the great Alex Gibney). But they are all, every single one of them, misogynists. I spent my entire childhood as a Catholic and a large part of my adulthood dealing with priests until my mother died and I have never yet met one that wasn’t. Not even the one I’m related to, who is probably a better priest than anyone in the hierarchy today, and know quite well. They fear women more than anything in the entire world. All of them.

  104. 104
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @NonyNony: Nony, I think one of the big issues with Vatican I (which caused a bunch of Austrian prelates to break with the church, hence “The Old Catholic Church”) was expanding the notion of papal infallibility.

    http://moses.creighton.edu/csrs/news/F96-1.html

    I think JPII had made some noises about expanding the limits of papal infallibility but I guess it didn’t come to anything. It’s an extremely problematic doctrine. As you can see from link I provided (and what I remember from JPII’s papacy) it looks like there was a lot of codifying Marian lore in the 20th century. JPII declared her “Co-Redemptrix” which was a bit of a shocker to me.

    JPII is kind of interesting. He thought that God had saved his life when that crazy guy shot him in ’81 and that he had a special mission. He was probably one of the most activist 20th century popes, with an outward focus that changed the image of the pope and the Vatican for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Ratzi has been much resented for almost immediately signalling a closed mind, giving a speech in Germany about how Islam is a ‘false’ religion. On many matters, perhaps surprisingly to some people, Ratzinger and Wojtyla were in accord, such as in suppressing liberation theology and upholding traditional teachings on sexuality (especially going apeshit on birth control).

    I seem to recall JPII wanting to expand papal infallibility to other matters than what Vatican I provides for but I could be confused.

    The “phone line to God” is very much a notion popularized by TV preachers like Oral Roberts. It’s not surprising that Americans would ascribe similar notions to the Pope. I gathered in Rome that that is not how Popes are perceived there. They had a long, long history as secular princes (think Machiavelli), and the arch declarations of infallibility occurred during a period of rapid decline of the papacy’s secular power and prestige and moral authority. The papacy banned books like never before in the 19th century (the “Index”) but was never more openly disregarded and ignored. That period saw a pope kidnap a Jewish child and make him a priest (he later apostatized) and much human tragedy within Rome, as when the Popes recorralled Roman Jews into the ghetto following the withdrawal of Napoleon’s armies.

  105. 105
    jayackroyd says:

    I really have no idea how it works.

    Neither do they. Nearly unprecedented. But it’s a good change. I don’t see how you can resign being the divinely selected successor to St Peter. How can there be two?

  106. 106
    catclub says:

    @MikeJ: “the company needs to turn them in. ”

    I think I see the problem.

  107. 107
    geg6 says:

    @Cermet:

    You could, you know, start your own blog and write about whatever you want to there.

  108. 108
    General Stuck says:

    Word has it, da Pope wanted to spend more time listening to his remastered collection of Merle Haggard songs

  109. 109
    Schlemizel says:

    @Cacti:

    That fits well with my oft stated belief that the Kock Brothers & their ilk are actually communist saboteurs. By the time they are done fucking over the American worker in the name of Capitalism the majority of Americans will be in favor of a Communist revolution.

    If they were just greedy pigs they would be smart enough to recognize the damage they are doing to the brand and lay off a bit. The only thing that makes sense is that they want to destroy Capitalism & are not going to let anything stop them.

  110. 110
    The Dangerman says:

    Any chance of an Black Pope? I wanna see winger heads explode.

  111. 111
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MikeJ: I am not defending the bishops or cardinals. I am pointing out that there are (still) good and decent people as parish priests, who have a genuine desire to help people. I am lapsed myself, but I do know some of these people quite well. They are as aware of the problem priests as you or I, maybe more so. But bucking the system is extraordinarily difficult. Maybe they are wearing blinders, maybe they’re afraid of being middle-aged and looking for a job, maybe they genuinely feel that they are helping the people they are helping, and that’s the best they can do. But generalizing, as geg6 did, is just as dangerous as any other generalization, which those of us in the reality-based community profess to try to stay away from.

  112. 112
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: “Sudden Trip to Tuscaloosa”?

    They just debuted on the alt-country charts, didn’t they?

  113. 113
    halteclere says:

    I recall that during the last few days of Pope John Paul II there was genuine concern that he could slip into a medical coma and be kept alive for a long time by science. The argument of when the “plug” should be pulled is not an easy one for the Catholic Church (though maybe it would have forced the church hierarchy to deal with such end-of-life issues of the modern world). The concern was that if this were to happen, who would be “in charge” of the church.

    Maybe this Pope wants to avoid that fate if his mind is crumbling.

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @The Dangerman: We need the Marco Rubio of popes. Someone who knows who Tupac is and is on social media.

  115. 115
    NorthLeft12 says:

    Funny, last week I sent an email to the “Catholics Come Home” web site outlining the reasons that my wife and I have chosen to stop attending and supporting the Catholic Church. One of my criteria for returning was a major change in the Church hierarchy [among other things] to allow the Church to change direction and become more relevant.

    I got a long, link filled reply that “refuted” all my issues and basically told me to STFU and get back in line.
    But I guess they had a change of heart and decided to start acting on my suggestions.
    Who says the Church is not responsive to its flock!

  116. 116
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @The Dangerman: Rebel-believer Pierce says yes, forelock-touching overgrown altar boy Tweety says no. Tweety, who seems to follow this closely, says their (ETA: damn me!) going back to Italy.

    OT: I hate the whole stunt guests at the state of the union thing, but for fuck’s sake
    Maybe He Can Scream “You Lie!!”?

    House Republican who wants to impeach President Obama over guns invites Ted Nugent to State of the Union.

    Josh Marshall
    Can every MSNBC show play the “Fuck You Hillary” rant, maybe shame the rest of the media into noticing?

  117. 117
    Trollhattan says:

    @joeyess:

    “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.”

    My presumption is that between Ratzi and JPII, the College of Cardinals is so packed with anti-woman as anything but baby vessels, anti-birth control fundies, we’re destined to get a very conservative replacement pope–basically Pope Santorum the Firstest.

    Is that the case, or is there a glimmer of hope for somebody who lives in the present century?

  118. 118
    scav says:

    how’d the War on Christmas crowd miss this salvo? The Pope declared the donkey and and the cow weren’t at the manger (here) striking directly at the very validity of how many nativity scenes?! Must be because he decided to be flexible about that whole tradition thing in this specific instance. Now word about the lightbulb though, so that may very well be scriptural (so long as not energy-efficient).

  119. 119
    Trollhattan says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Colbert should be especially worth watching tonight. I’m expecting him to nominate himself, although I’m not sure how that would impact the wife and kids.

  120. 120
    The Dangerman says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Someone who knows who Tupac is and is on social media.

    Pope Tupac I? Pope Ice Cube? Maybe new lyrics and a title change to “Gin and Jews”?

  121. 121
    japa21 says:

    @The Dangerman: Actually, yes. One of the frontrunners is a Cardinal from Africa. He has called for the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. However, other than that the Church in Africa, which is where it is growing the fastest, is almost medieval in its policies.

    ETA Jim beat me to it.

  122. 122
    Schlemizel says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    They may well be the minority but who knows? The entire hierarchy of the organization has a long and sad history of hiding, moving and enabling the worst of these scum. When exposed none of the ‘nice guy’ majority stand up to repudiate the leadership. This is not one district, not one state, not one nation, not one Cardinal, it is many, many, many of each and over and over for many many years.

    So if you can find comfort that somehow it isn’t the majority fucking kids and others I have to ask you how you can excuse the entire leadership which has yet to display a single member who does not have a record for deceit, duplicity, enablement and corruption.

    I could forgive them if it appeared localized but it is not. It has been shown to be systemic and global. If their are a majority of good guys in that organization it is long past time they demanded the leadership come clean and clean house. If not for the name of God then for their own reputation being dragged through the muck

  123. 123
    Redshirt says:

    I’m voting Barack Obama for next Pope.

    And the final conquest of the Anti-Christ! MWHAHAHAHA.

  124. 124
    Amir Khalid says:

    @The Dangerman:
    Apparently the Guardian says that the odds-on favourite among the cardinals is a Ghanaian.

  125. 125
    DLew On Roids says:

    Say what you want, but I still think he comes back in a year when the Ohio State pope job comes open.

  126. 126
    aimai says:

    @halteclere:

    Now that you mention it I remember the same debate. They really want to avoid that, I think–they really dislike admitting how complicated end of life issues are and they know that if they let people in on all the medical technology that is and is not used to keep the pope alive they would be inviting scrutiny into all kinds of levels of catholic med tech dogma.

    I agree with whoever said, upthread, that a big deal is that in this modern video age the pope’s job is just so much more public than it ever had to be before. They can’t afford rmors that the pope is not incharge and they can’t afford to hide him.

    As for whether they will go for an african pope–I just can’t believe it. I think they will “cut the baby in half” and go for a goanese/south asian pope first. Among other things because they won’t want to bring attention to the unorthodox aspects of catholic expansion in Africa.

  127. 127
    Alex S. says:

    @NotMax:

    Maybe Pope Tupac, he’s someone Marco Rubio knows!

  128. 128
    aimai says:

    @japa21:

    oops, I bow to your superior knowledge. I”m hoping that the US press brings out a baseball card style roster of all the cardinals in contention, like a “collect them all” series I saw once on the Hassidic Messiah candidates.

  129. 129
    Schlemizel says:

    @MikeJ:

    If you cover up for a pedophile, you’re as bad as a pedophile yourself.

    NO! You are worse. The pedophile might be motivated by issues he cannot simply control. The enabler, the hider, the person who lies to the police and to the victims is much much worse. He is not suffering from whatever problem the pedophile has. He enters the equation with a clearer vision and mind (supposedly) and, instead of containing and perhaps helping the pedophile deal with his daemons he encourages him.

    The inner ring of Hell is where the enablers belong

  130. 130
    👽 Martin says:

    @aimai:

    The church has had a problem staffing churches all around the world because of a dearth of priests thanks to an overall demographic shift that enabled catholic families to educate and place their sons outside of the priesthood.

    Here in the US, the young people that did go onto the priesthood had trouble raising money in donations to support themselves and many of the local churches are starved for money and are having trouble making ends meet. This is what happened with my cousin – a 23 year old right out of seminary and had no place to land. Churches that lost priests simply didn’t have the contributions to support a replacement. But my cousin really struggled for donations – even within the family which used to be reliably Catholic two generations back, almost everyone except his parents have left, or simply have cut their giving way back.

    And in our relatively wealthy area, we’ve had the young priest from the Catholic church across the street going door-to-door like the Mormons. It may not have been a random canvas as our name is a bit of a giveaway to a Catholic history, but I’ve never seen that before – and we have a LOT of Catholic neighbors. So, I suspect giving is way, way down, at least here in the US and that’s compounding the problem. So, it’s not just a lack of new priests, but also the inability to support the number of priests they already have, and the fact that the job has turned into a fundraising gig more than anything else as a result. Not really what most of them signed up for.

  131. 131
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jayackroyd: Lots of misconceptions here.

    A) the Pope is the bishop of Rome. Seriously, that’s it. Ask the Orthodox Patriarch. Bishops retire all the time.

    B) Popes are not divinely selected. They’re nominated and voted in by the College of Cardinals.

    Are we maybe missing the point of the Peter arc in the NT? Peter is a flawed, frail, very human man, a sinner and a coward. But Jesus gives him leadership over the church anyway. He gives him the power to set religious law (the “keys to the kingdom”) and after Jesus is gone, Peter uses this authority to exempt non-Jewish converts from kosher food laws.

    The history of the papacy is long and complicated, but even in the 6th century the bishops of Rome looked to gain spiritual authority from claims that Peter had died in Rome, having served as bishop there. The title “Pontifex Maximus” is the same title that Julius Caesar claimed when he became Imperator of Rome in the 1st century BCE, meaning high priest (in the pagan tradition). This Roman title transferred to the popes when they won official hegemony of the Christian religion within what remained of the empire. The orthodox Christian church destroyed the idols of the traditional pagan rite, disbanded their orders, and appropriated their sacred places by establishing churches atop them (often rather mean affairs architecturally).

    But even then in matters of Church doctrine the Church was governed by a democracy of sorts, when the bishops would travel from all over the Christian world in Council. The Nicene Creed, which is recited in every Mass in every Catholic church, was written at the Council of Nicaea in 325CE.

    Even the 19th century Popes, for all their arrogance, felt the need to convene a Council to acquire the authority to speak infallibly ex cathedra. Since that period, with Vatican I and the loss of the Papal States, the Pope has been seen as a spiritual leader of Catholics. But, realistically, a Pope is more like a President than you’d think. John XXIII issued in major changes in the Mass, including use of congregants’ native languages, with the Second Vatican Council.

  132. 132
    Steeplejack says:

    @MonkeyBoy:

    My guess is that video will eventually kill this practice.

    It hasn’t affected the U.S. Senate yet. Strom Thurmond, Robert Byrd and Teddy Kennedy were all shielded from public scrutiny in their declining days. Don’t know about Daniel Inoue.

    I wish someone would provide a good look at Frank Lautenberg, who is considering another run next year at age 90.

  133. 133
    Mnemosyne says:

    @scav:

    One of our local churches does a “Living Creche” (aka petting zoo) for Christmas every year and they always have at least one llama, which I’m pretty sure they didn’t have in Bethlehem.

    Of course, they’re Episcopalians, so who knows what their dogma states? ;-)

  134. 134
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Maybe he isn’t really stepping down in scandal, he just decided he wanted to spend more time with his wife and family.

    Oh, right, that.

  135. 135
    Another Halocene Human says:

    I want to add that the Roman Catholic Church of Christ calls the Pope not Jesus’ Bro or God’s Main Man or even Fearless Leader but “The Vicar of Christ”. Unfortunately I don’t really know what a vicar is other than within the context of Miss Marple mysteries set in English villages, but I’m given to understand it’s some sort of steward.

  136. 136
    BruceJ says:

    They call him “Unindicted Co-Conspirator #1”. Any one who doesn’t think this resignation isn’t because of a whole buncha pedophile chickens coming home to roost in his lap is crazy.

  137. 137
    Seanly says:

    @Cacti:

    I’m a 45 yr old white male & I have a more positive view of soc1alism than capitalism.

    RE: the Pope – he must’ve gotten one doozy of a bad prognosis. Considering that word was he was pulling the strings before he was Pope, I can’t picture anything but very bad health forcing him to do this. The usual silence re: scandals makes me doubt there’s any smoking gun in unreleased documents that would move the church to do anything. They don’t seem to care.

  138. 138
    scav says:

    @Trollhattan: Colbert. White smoke billowing on set. A sudden reveal of red shoes. Lots to work with, even for those of us that can’t tell our cat from our e-chism.

  139. 139
    Haydnseek says:

    Word on the Vatican street has it that he quit so he could spend more time with his imaginary altar boys.

  140. 140
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @MonkeyBoy: Ha ha, video. Reminds me of that Star Trek episode “Patterns of Force”. And all those contested Castro and Chavez and Bin Laden videos/audio tapes.

    As for the Mormon Prophet, the Mormons claim that he’s a PROPHET, like in the Old Testament, a much more sweeping claim than has been ever made for the Popes. Hell, plenty of Popes aren’t even likely to be saints, according to the Church.

  141. 141
    👽 Martin says:

    @Trollhattan:

    Is that the case

    Sounds like it. Half of the cardinals were appointed by Ratzinger, so odds are the new boss will look like the old boss.

  142. 142
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Schlemizel: This is going as well as I expected.

    “how you can excuse the entire leadership” — where did I do that?

  143. 143
    Cassidy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    they’re Episcopalians, so who knows what their dogma states? ;-)

    “Thou sermon shall be completed and service finished before they blessed kickoff.”

  144. 144
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Seanly: They don’t seem to care.

    They’re in denial, as per usual.

  145. 145
    catclub says:

    @The Dangerman: yes, apparently. Think Allen West in vestments.

  146. 146
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Another Halocene Human: “Vicar” is related to… “vicarious.”

  147. 147
    nemesis says:

    Heard Ratz quit because gawd was harshing his buzz.

  148. 148
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @catclub: Except with a gentle, lilting Sub-Saharan African accent.

    Some of these guys would fit in real cozy with the medieval popes. Or the Reformation popes. The Inquisition. The witch hunts. What a day for an auto da fe.

  149. 149
    gian says:

    @👽 Martin:

    I suspect that it’s tough to get donations to pay for things like civil judgements in molest cases… and the attitude of the US bishops to only support Republicans has got to have alienated a goodly portion of previous doners.
    If you recall 2004 the bishops flipped out about abortion and picked non Catholic bush over Catholic kerry despite Rome saying the Iraq war was unjust

  150. 150
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I think we were told he was a stand-in, like “obey this babysitter like you would me, or you’ll get a spanking when Daddy and I get back home tonight”, and sort of a caretaker until Jesus returns?

  151. 151
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @👽 Martin: And in our relatively wealthy area, we’ve had the young priest from the Catholic church across the street going door-to-door like the Mormons. It may not have been a random canvas as our name is a bit of a giveaway to a Catholic history, but I’ve never seen that before – and we have a LOT of Catholic neighbors. So, I suspect giving is way, way down, at least here in the US and that’s compounding the problem. So, it’s not just a lack of new priests, but also the inability to support the number of priests they already have, and the fact that the job has turned into a fundraising gig more than anything else as a result. Not really what most of them signed up for.

    Amazing. Only 20 years ago America was short of priests, not enough for all the congregations, and had to rely on deacons, nuns (!), lay celebrants, and priests shipped in from other countries. And yet now they are in such a financial mess (selling properties) and have lost so many members that they are actually oversupplied. Astounding.

  152. 152
    👽 Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    One of our local churches does a “Living Creche” (aka petting zoo) for Christmas every year and they always have at least one llama, which I’m pretty sure they didn’t have in Bethlehem.

    Camels are pretty hard to come by here in the US. Llama is at least a camelid, so it’s in the ballpark – and they’re easier to source. Gotta use what’s available.

  153. 153
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @aimai: Do tell aimai, were they only sold on the NEC, or is there a website? Messiahs have been an especial fascination after I took the 86 bus one day and saw that enormous billboard declaring Rabbi Schneersohn the messiah. He is since deceased, but don’t tell the Lubovitchers that.

  154. 154
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @👽 Martin: @gian: There are a couple of Catholic institutions that I (and my family) have been supporting for a long time. They both make it clear in their correspondence that they receive no funding from their respective dioceses–which I assume is legalese that makes them sound poorer and deflects questions about politics and covers up some indirect funding through Catholic charities–, and they and the religious who work there are those ‘front line’ people who are supposed to weigh larger in my thinking than the corrupt, crotch sniffing, political-meddling, power-seeking bullies like that POS Dolan, but for the last few months, I can’t quite bring myself to make those donations.

  155. 155
    dantoujours says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Wait! I’m an Episcopalian. We have dogma? Since when ;-)

    (Seriously, last weekend I overheard two Jews who recently joined our choir have this exchange:

    S: This church doesn’t seem to have many rules, does it?
    V: Nah. The only one I know of is “Don’t be a dick”.)

  156. 156
    David Hunt says:

    As to what happens to the current pope, NPR said they had heard that the Pope had expressed a desire to retire to a monastery and write. I have no idea if they were correct.

  157. 157

    Who will say dumber shit about this? K-Lo or Chunky Bobo Douchehat?

  158. 158
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Trollhattan: Is that the case, or is there a glimmer of hope for somebody who lives in the present century?

    Yeah… Quit attending.

    If you must have smells and bells, the Episcopalians keep their doors open. They do a lot in the community, too.

  159. 159
    justawriter says:

    On the bright side, according to St. Malachy the next pope will be the last, and will lead the church through tribulations and the destruction of Rome. Think of it as Mayan Apocalypse 2012 for the pointy hat set.

  160. 160
    wasabi gasp says:

    Charlie had it rough after bailing on Two and a Half Men, and he’s effing awesome. Ring him, Ratzinger.

  161. 161
    scav says:

    And an OT Huzzah! for the Pentagon extending what benefits it could to same-sex couples/families.

  162. 162
    Trollhattan says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    To clarify the funky writing, my “somebody” meant the next pope, not me, raised boring ol’ Lutheran.

    Jello salad, anybody? There’s plenty left over.

  163. 163
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ranchandsyrup: A real contest would be who will make the more vile or insidious comment, because much as I am loth to saw it, Chunky Bobo is fairly intelligent (just closed-minded and deluded and a weird freak pretending to a be a prude), whereas K-Lo, though matching Bobo in the parentheticals, is manifestly an idiot.

    ETA: say, but you knew I meant that; the typo kinda fits also

  164. 164
    aimai says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    A friend of mine had them. I don’t know where he got them. They were hysterical. At first I thought they were a fake but no, they were real. Hassidic Jews just have no sense of irony, romance, or just how strange the “collect them all” faces of elderly, bearded, old guys looked.

  165. 165
    geg6 says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Thank you for saying exactly what needs saying to anyone defending that shithole church because they “know some good priests.” All the good priests are long gone, and have been since way back in the 70s and early 80s. All those left are complicit with the child molesters and women-as-cattle hierarchy. I haven’t noticed any of those so-called “good” priests calling out or turning in any of the criminals. What I see are them protesting being lumped in with them but doing absolutely fuckall about the underlying problem. And this includes my relative, the priest.

  166. 166
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @aimai: They are the face of power in their community, and power is always glamorous.

  167. 167
    Trollhattan says:

    @wasabi gasp:

    New communion: tiger’s blood and cool ranch Doritos.

  168. 168
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @scav: DOMA needs to join the dustheap of history with DADT.

  169. 169

    @Another Halocene Human: i like your phrasing better. Chunky Bobo sure uncorks some vile and insidious crap for how intelligent he seems.

  170. 170
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Vicar, please.

  171. 171
    Joshua Norton says:

    Poor Ratzi.

    Too pooped to Pope.

  172. 172
    👽 Martin says:

    @Another Halocene Human: It’s a vicious circle. Too few priests reduced the services provided by the church only helping people decide to leave or cut back on giving. Eventually that pattern will bring the number of priests the church can support in alignment with the supply, leaving folks like my cousin out. He tried for 3 years to make a go of it, but got nowhere – and he says there were a number of others from seminary school with the same problem. He ultimately gave up, took a job, and recently got married.

    It’s going to be damn hard for the church to get back on the upswing here in the US. The church as an institution can do a lot more good in places like Africa, and there it can grow, but here they’re pretty much left screaming that the government is doing more for the citizenry than they can. That’s not the formula that got them where they are. They provide no obvious service to our society any longer.

  173. 173
    R-Jud says:

    @NotMax:

    Something like Pope Elvis I.

    Pope Lando II.

  174. 174
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Stay strong, Jim. Since Ratzi became Pope he’s forced them to either divest themselves of Church allegiance (which some have, but clearly not the orgs you were donating to) or take orders from Rome.

    This has included discriminating against same-sex adoptive parents, even if this means clashing with the state authorities which subsidize this activity.

    I would avoid any Catholic derived non-profit that retains affiliation in the current era.

    Then again, there are the Franciscans, who have been ministering to the poor unstintingly and have as yet avoided censure for playing loosey goosey with church doctrine.

  175. 175
    Steeplejack says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Gotta use what’s available.

    Part of the locavotary movement.

  176. 176
    Steeplejack says:

    @dantoujours:

    The only one I know of is “Don’t be a dick.”

    You could do worse.

  177. 177
  178. 178
    scav says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Equality should indeed follow the plague of Ds.

  179. 179
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yes, good point about abdication.

    I wonder if he’ll take the Gucci slippers and matching hat he designed for himself to the nunnery

    One rule for the sisters, eh (modesty, humility), and another for the gander.

    It’s incredible how much Ratzi craved Popey shit. I think he would have had a Papal Crown if he thought he would have gotten away with it. (John XXIII was the last. His hometown made it for him, all Italian tradition and suchlike.)

  180. 180
    ET says:

    I am only 1/2 way though The Pope Who Quit so I can’t tell you but I think his successor imprisoned him in some way. I don’t think he lived for many more years after though.

    (and is that author going to be busy)

    Actually at the end of the book the author mentions that Benedict had felt a bit of connection to Celestine – he visited Celestine tomb in April 2009. And the author does have a section “Could it Happen Today”

  181. 181
    Punchy says:

    OT:

    These fuckers do NOT give up easily. Cant wait to see McCain do a 180 and decide that yes, a filly is neccy here.

    Bastards, the lot of ’em.

  182. 182
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @👽 Martin: What “good” in Africa? Killing albino children, or inspiring homegrown African Santorum-types to do same?

    Of course the church wants an exclusive franchise on “services” (the daily bread), that’s how they get power. Check out the revelations from Ireland recently.

    Church gives not one fig for improving the lives of common people. Read about the history of labor unrest in the US. Many strikers were foreign born. Their community priests were always on the side of the cops and capital. The IWW returned the favor. “We Rule You – We Fool You [images of bishops] – We Eat For You” the IWW hierarchy of the world, with the worker playing cosmic turtle. “We Work For All, We Feed All”.

  183. 183
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Punchy: What a hill to die on.

  184. 184
    Chris says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    I was unaware of this important role Pope Ratzi played in censuring the Latin American Cardinals who had embraced Liberation Theology.

    Oh yes.

    Please note that they didn’t have any similar problems with the various butchers running Central American nations in those days. Please note that they have no problem with their American branch becoming an arm of a Republican Party that violates Catholic teachings on peace and social justice as a matter of course. Nope, it’s just those uppity liberation theologians, who had the gall to threaten the Church’s cozy relationships with the rich and powerful.

  185. 185
    Trollhattan says:

    @R-Jud:

    In the ’70s a lot of American cars were available with Lando roofs (as a distraction from how slow they were). Elvis probably had one.

  186. 186
    Another Halocene Human says:

    A good friend (former super Catholic who is now an atheist) just opined that Benedict is stepping down because the Death Star is now fully operational.

  187. 187
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Punchy: IIRC, two R’s have said they support Hagel, so Inhofe’s making a big promise. I could see Murkowski and Collins voting to confirm, maybe Hatch and Grassley too. McCain would have to flip-flop to support a filibuster (which I’d say is an even bet). Saxby Chambliss seems to want to be known as a reasonable moderate as he bolts for the exits, Lamar Alexander used to be a moderate, but probably has to worry about a Tea Party primary. Is it too late for Harry Reid to extend the first day of the session again?

  188. 188
    justawriter says:

    @ranchandsyrup: That’s my hope, although there is another cardinal from Hungary named Peter. Plus, given the past mental gymnastics needed to make the popes fit the prophecy, I think the cardinal who is President of “The Fabric of St. Peter” would also qualify. But it is fun that one of the three is thought to be among the actual contenders. (These prophecies are for entertainment purposes only. For any actual insight into the future, please consult with someone who isn’t bugnuts crazy.)

  189. 189
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Drunken hausfrau: Anyone wondering how this resignation ties into the money laundering and vatileaks?

    My first thought too.

    I don’t think the money problems are going away.

  190. 190
    geg6 says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Huh? The Pope is just another bishop and the Catholic hierarchy is a democracy with the Pope as president? You’re deluded.

    Bishops of Rome (which is the original title of the Pope and one he still holds) have always had primacy and this was solidified and encoded by the end of the 1st century. As for his infallibility, that’s been doctrine since the late 19th century and ex cathedra statements before that time are often considered infallible if they involve dogma, doctrine, and morals. And ex cathedra statements have the force of law, even though they may not always be infallible. As for your vaunted councils, the Pope is always a member of them. Always.

  191. 191
    HW3 says:

    Pope Benedict IX managed it once or twice…

  192. 192
    geg6 says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    You forgot discouraging the use of condoms and their own little jihad against the dreaded homos.

  193. 193
    r€nato says:

    morte si dimette un papa, se ne fa un altro.

  194. 194
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @geg6: My point is that the Pope, unlike the Mormon Prophet, cannot suddenly change worship services throughout the world. Up to the present day only Councils have been able to do that. I’m not dismissing the power wielded by the Pontiff, which has extended to brutally torturing and killing enemies, forcing European monarchs to the negotiating table, ruling vast tracts of land at various junctures, and collecting enormous tithes and indulgences (fees) which funded lavish lifestyles and dizzying architectural follies.

    Vatican I was novel, was controversial, go ahead and read the link I provided earlier or go google “Old Catholic Church” and see for yourself. It also expresses the floundering and desperation of the 19th century papacy, which btw anyone who was awake during high school history class ought to be passingly familiar with as this is pretty textbook stuff here.

    The fact is that for centuries the pope exercised control over the church like the main franchiser of a franchise operation over a rural area with poor roads and communication and gun-toting yokels in the hills, running his home town like a tyrant, but treading more carefully when he tried to exercise his alleged “rights” in more remote places. The medieval church distinguished between the temporal rule of popes and the spiritual accomplishments of saintly monks and nuns, and popes sometimes sought to enhance their reputation by associating themselves with those considered holy. Some popes, like Gregory, were celebrated as saints themselves, while others were considered wicked and surely burning in Hell.

    The idea of the Pope as a supremely religious (even otherworldly) leader parallels that of the Dalai Lama–losing their temporal possessions they sought religious authority and moral authority in its place to reclaim the prestige of their office.

    The way things are is not the way things always have been.

  195. 195
    Chris says:

    @aimai:

    If that were true then there would have been no problem with the church excommunicating and removing “that minority” from office.

    This.

    Nobody would’ve blamed the Church for having a few pedophiles within its ranks if they’d reacted to it the same way we expect any normal profession to – by turning them over to the police, cooperating fully with the authorities, and apologizing profusely. Instead, it appears that in dozens and dozens of cases these people were simply shuffled around and the story kept quiet. And when the pedophilia and cover-ups were exposed, the Church responded with five-second perfunctory apologies followed by hour long stories about how the real bad guys here weren’t the criminals but rather the people who dared to talk about them. It was the Abu Ghraib “a few bad apples”/”fucking liberal media” shit all over again.

    The good guys started leaving in the 70′s and never looked back.

    Absolutely, and I think that’s been a trend all over our society, not just in the Catholic Church.

    The thing is, liberals, moderates, apolitical people and even conservatives who aren’t power-hungry psychos tend to not like all the political bullshit, so even those who stay tend to focus on the work “in the field” (running schools, soup kitchens, etc), as opposed to movement conservatives who just live for the politics and concentrate all their efforts on climbing the hierarchy and taking the positions of power. I saw that in microcosm in the Catholic Students Association (and, from what I heard, the Knights of Colombus) at my undergrad university.

  196. 196
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @Chris: Has there been a single social issues that the RCC has been on the right side of this, or last century? Because I can’t think of one off the top of my head.

  197. 197
    aimai says:

    @Another Halocene Human:
    This one got rid of the entire doctrine of limbo. They got rid of fish on fridays. They can do whatever they want.

  198. 198
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    Actually, I think EJ Dionne will come from behind and lap both of them on the stupidity front. He was an absolute moron during the birth control “controversy.”

  199. 199
    Chris says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    The Catholic Church in American politics is, I think, like Israel– much of its political clout comes from Protestants.

    Yeah, I agree. The Catholic vote breaks even and follows the national vote when it comes to politics. Not so fundiegelicals.

    Visiting my sister in a very conservative suburb last fall, I was taken aback by the number of bumper stickers I saw about preserving religious freedom, it took me a minute to figure out what the hell they were about: Birth control and Obamacare.

    I think we’re seeing a similar shift here to what we saw over the course of the civil rights era in terms of what the SoCons are emphasizing. Remember how they initially focused all their efforts on point-blank “segregation now, segregation forever,” but then as that became increasingly unacceptable, they retreated to “yes, the law and the government should not discriminate, but private citizens are absolutely allowed to, it’s a violation of their rights to say that restaurants, hotels, employers and all these people must practice non-discrimination. (Not that we like discrimination, you understand, but, but, Constitution!)”

  200. 200
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @ranchandsyrup:

    Who will say dumber shit about this? K-Lo or Chunky Bobo Douchehat?

    Both will find a way to blame Obama.

    There’s a reason why the RCC has survived as an institution for the last 1500+ years, and no, looking out for the interests of the flock isn’t it. Say what you will about rigid authoritarianism, in this case it’s worked quite well.

  201. 201
    charon says:

    Papal infallibility is a nineteenth century (1869 or so) doctrine created by pope Pius ix, apparently quite the power-hungry chap – at least from what I have read about the guy.

  202. 202
    Kay Shawn says:

    This morning on msnbc some priest was praising Ratzinger by saying, “He always puts the Church first.”
    Of course, stupid Chris Jansing missed the opening, and didn’t drive the semi-tractor trailer through it: “Exactly.”

  203. 203
    Mnemosyne says:

    A couple of British TV series recommendations to amuse the masses (they should be available on Netflix and/or Netflix Streaming):

    “Father Ted” (three screwup priests who have been exiled to a tiny island off Ireland’s coast. Don’t miss parts 1 and 2 of “Kicking Bishop Brennan Up the Arse”!)

    “The Vicar of Dibley” (okay, Church of England, but when else will you get to see Dawn French playing a minister?)

    Also, if you’ve never seen it, The Shoes of the Fisherman is a really interesting fictional story of a minor cardinal who becomes Pope. It treats Catholicism respectfully (hey, it was 1968, the height of Vatican II) but comes to really the only possible conclusion if you actually follow the teachings of Jesus.

  204. 204
    Another Halocene Human says:

    1st century claim — don’t buy it. The Orthodox Church of Christ shows up in the historical record in the 2nd century.

    Power of Bishop of Rome? Rome was the capital of the Roman empire until the 4th century CE. Of course the Bishop of Rome had great influence. When Christianity became the state religion the Bishop of Rome at that time gained a great deal of power.

    But then the capital moved to Asia Minor. Rome declined.

    Rome was invaded by Goths. They despoiled the City and set up their court in a former palace garden on the Palatine Hill.

    The Pope–the Pontifex Maximus–came to wield effective control over the city of Rome and much of Southern Italy, although the borders shifted constantly until the late 19th century and the unification of Italy.

    Despite this, the Bishop of Rome continued to remain affiliated with the Orthodox Christian Church until growing tensions resulted in an all-out schism in the 11th century. The Western and Eastern Roman Empires were now in direct competition militarily and economically. Popes now made calls for Western knights to ride to war in the East.

    Ask the Orthodox. They’ll tell you who the breakaway is.

    The RCCs basic claim to primacy is that Peter supposedly died in Rome. On a more practical level it’s the fact that Julius Caesar made his capital there.

    The whole matter is like that of whether Rabbi Schneersohn is or isn’t the Messiah. Are you on the inside or the outside of the cult?

    But even the RCC states the Orthodox bishops were “in communion” with the Catholic bishops until the schism.

    As for the Pope being the churchiest churchman of churchendom, it’s kind of like the divine right of kings or the genius of Jack Welch. Some big shots and their sycophants writing propaganda and apologia explaining to the rubes why they should worship Mr. Big Shot and accept his authority.

  205. 205
    chopper says:

    @HW3:

    the coolest pope ever. i mean, i doubt half the history about the guy as most of it was written by people who hated him but even if half was true, he was still the baddest-ass pope of all time.

  206. 206
    chopper says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    vast tracts of land at various junctures

    for some reason i’m imagining george h.w. bush talking about boobs.

  207. 207
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    I’m at work and can’t search for it right now, but Fred Clark at Slacktivist has had some really good coverage and explanation of how the evangelicals became anti-abortion — they were still pro-choice well into the early 1980s, believe it or not.

  208. 208
    Thoughtcrime says:

    When a Pope resigns, do they remove him from the “Find the Popes In the Pizza” contest?

    Where’s Father Guido Sarducci when you need him?

  209. 209
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @aimai: Yeah, limbo was surprising but I think it sort of arose as apologia so to apologia it returns, n’est-ce pas?

    Fish on Fridays was a papal decree to begin with, wasn’t it, and some European governments passed their own fish-eating edicts for various reasons. The whole thing evolved into having a religious meaning it didn’t start out with (at one point in time, it was believed that abstaining from flesh reduced lusts, so friars did a lot of fish-eating, but there were agricultural and economic reasons for pushing fish-eating that were probably primary). And by the “penance” logic, modern fish eating most certainly is not.

    All they did was bend with the times. I know New Englanders were not pleased. We all looked forward to our Friday haddock and scallops… well, why give it up? Blacks in my town eat crabs and shrimp on payday. Seafood is for you. Why stop?

  210. 210
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Arm The Homeless: The period when they let Catholic Worker do what they wanted? Of course, that was actually triangulation.

  211. 211

    @Mnemosyne: Ugh, EJ. The only thing worse than him is listening to the NPR segment with him contra Bobo.

  212. 212
    Chris says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    Depends what you mean by “on the right side of.” You talking about what they preach or what they actually do? Their preachings on economics are definitely way left of our current spectrum. Trouble is, they never actually follow up on that with any action like they do for abortion and gay marriage.

    The health care debate was a case in point. Their own teachings say that health care is a universal human right, but when the opportunity to pass it came up, they contributed absolutely nothing to the debate. All they did was sit on the sidelines concern-trolling about abortion, until Bart Stupak killed his own career to add an amendment to HCR stipulating that no public funds would go towards abortion – and still they refused to endorse the bill, even after their one concern had been addressed.

    Not all the teachings are bad, especially on things like economics, the environment, war and peace, etc. But they don’t practice what they preach, and the teachings they choose to let slide tend to be the good ones, so the result’s the same.

  213. 213
    raven says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Whadda you take for a haddock?

    Some times I take an aspirin, some times I take a caramel

    I’d walk a mile for a caramel. . .

  214. 214
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    I can’t remember where, but I read that “fish” was a much more elastic category in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and basically included anything that was not a domestic animal, so rabbits and other wild-caught game also counted as “fish.”

  215. 215
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Chris: As far as I can tell, the only “sins” the church cares about enough to act on are sexual. Oh, and uppity women stuff.

    They are deeply twisted on sex and women. Hence the “celibate” clergy stuff.

  216. 216
    raven says:

    What’sa that password?

    Swordfish

  217. 217
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Don’t tell me. Desegregation, right? That’s the story Paul Weyrich (godfather of the Catholic part of the Religious Right) tells – he claims that none of the fundiegelical preachers he tried to get support for in a pro-life coalition showed much interest, but after Carter (or the Supreme Court, I forget which) withdrew the tax-exempt status of all-white “Christian” academies in the Deep South, a lot of them suddenly started returning his calls and being all “tell me more about this intriguing ‘religious right’ idea.”

    I don’t know how reliable a source Paul Weyrich is, but I totally buy it. The core of the religious right has always been conservative white Southerners looking to rebrand the segregationist Democrats of yesteryear. But with some weird allies; fifty years earlier, the Catholics would’ve been at the top of the list of folks these people hated, much like Muslims today.

  218. 218
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @aimai: Not every pope thinks he’s on a Mission from Gott, a la the Blues Brothers, like John Paul II did following his surviving an assassin’s bullet.

  219. 219
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @geg6: But that’s the danger, if they seem to disrespect the dogma they’ve pounded into the rubes, they risk either losing them or losing their authority within the church.

    Vatican II really riled a bunch of the rubes who had confused sacramentals and tradition with fundamental doctrine.

  220. 220
    Shortstop says:

    This thread is some kind of wonderful.

  221. 221
    geg6 says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    1st century claim — don’t buy it. The Orthodox Church of Christ shows up in the historical record in the 2nd century.

    And this has what exactly to do with the primacy of the Bishop of Rome pretty much ever since there has been a church? Catholic doctrine has always had the primacy of the Pope (even before he was called “Pope”) as a feature. Just because, for a very short historical time, the Patriarch and Pope ruled over their respective territories in a semi-collegial way does not mean that the Roman Catholic Church did not assert the Bishop of Rome’s primacy. You do realize that a lot of the schism is about exactly that fact?

  222. 222
    David Hunt says:

    @Cassidy:

    “Thou sermon shall be completed and service finished before they blessed kickoff.”

    Definitely not restricted to the Episcopalians. I have a good friend who grew up in the Catholic Church who has told me tales of the Super Bowl Mass. Turns out the priest was a football fan and could cut the time of the mass in half if he was really motivated…

  223. 223
    scav says:

    @Mnemosyne: Similar vague memories of beavers getting classified as fish — that tail thingy. Moreover, at least for monks, if you were sick you could eat meat. Nearly entire monasteries would technically live in the infirmary. Cough at strategic moments I guess.

  224. 224
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    Has there been a single social issues that the RCC has been on the right side of this, or last century?

    Anti-capitalist, pro-poor, anti-war (mostly), anti-death penalty… even pro-evolution. It’s the sex and gender stuff that’s so ass-backwards.

  225. 225
    EdTheRed says:

    I like to imagine that somewhere in the Vatican, a man in red Prada slippers is ranting to a subordinate in German:

    “Ich habe diese Sache, und es ist f*cking goldenen!”

  226. 226

    Here’s my obligatory Pope post. I will always associate B16 with George W. Bush, I’m not sure why.

    Anyway, in other news: anyone having problems with Comcast e-mail today?

  227. 227
    TheWatcher says:

    @arthur:

    And it’s stuff like this that keeps me reading the BJ comments section…

  228. 228
    evodevo says:

    THEY don’t know how it works – hasn’t been done in 600 years, so I guess they will have to wing it !

  229. 229
    Cacti says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    pro-poor

    Partial credit on this one.

    The RCC is good about feeding the hungry and that sort of thing. But their stance on family planning is no help to the impoverished regions of the world.

  230. 230
    Jay C says:

    @HW3:

    Well, Benny Nine isn’t exactly the best example to use: he didn’t so much “resign” as get tossed out at swordpoint (twice), and quit after being bribed to (once). Also: B9 didn’t exactly get a good rep in history: from Wiki:

    the anti-papal historian Ferdinand Gregorovius wrote that in Benedict, “a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest… occupied the chair of Peter and profaned the sacred mysteries of religion by his insolent courses.”[1] The Catholic Encyclopedia calls him “a disgrace to the Chair of Peter.”[2] The first pope said to have been primarily homosexual,[4] he was said to have held orgies in the Lateran palace.

    He was also accused by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of “many vile adulteries and murders”.[5] Pope Victor III, in his third book of Dialogues, referred to “his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts. His life as a pope so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it.”[6]

    Which actually, is probably one of the better recc’s for a Pope I’ve read…..

  231. 231

    @👽 Martin:

    Camels are pretty hard to come by here in the US. Llama is at least a camelid, so it’s in the ballpark – and they’re easier to source. Gotta use what’s available.

    Were camels common in Bethlehem?

  232. 232
    Chris says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Anti-capitalist, pro-poor, anti-war (mostly), anti-death penalty… even pro-evolution. It’s the sex and gender stuff that’s so ass-backwards.

    Some of the stuff’s amazingly progressive at least from an American point of view by comparison with our fundiegelicals. Religious pluralism’s another one (and one that JP2 was big into, reconciling and seeking common ground with other religions). Vatican II recognized Jews and Muslims as fellow believers in the same God, even if they don’t have completely the right idea about him; there was an admission that it’s possible to achieve salvation outside of the Church; there was a Vatican statement in the thirties (reversing an earlier statement) recognizing that Confucian ancestor-worship amounted to the same thing as Catholics honoring their saints, and therefore wasn’t incompatible with Catholicism… all anathema to our fundamentalists.

    Toss in the Vatican’s acceptance of evolution and global warming, their views on the environment, economics, foreign relations, and you end up with a Church doctrine that’s closer to the 1960s New Left than to the current political spectrum on virtually everything other than sexuality. But since they’ve decided that sexuality is the one and only thing that matters in terms of politics, it doesn’t matter.

    Looking back on it as an ex-member, the Catholic Church reminds me quite a bit of the old Communist Bloc. A lot of the underlying ideology is recognizable, relatable and even admirable, but in practice it’s just propping up a totalitarian monster that’s even worse than the evils it claims to cure.

  233. 233
    Ash Can says:

    @David Hunt: Our pastor did that a few years ago when the Bears were in the NFC finals. He announced that he was ditching his sermon entirely, told the congregation why, got laughs and a round of applause, and everyone got home in time for kickoff.

    And in other news, a GOP congressman from (where else?) Texas is bringing Ted Nugent to the SOTU as his guest. Who wants to bet he’s going to disrupt the proceedings and get his ass hauled out of the chamber?

  234. 234
    Cacti says:

    @Ash Can:

    And in other news, a GOP congressman from (where else?) Texas is bringing Ted Nugent to the SOTU as his guest. Who wants to bet he’s going to disrupt the proceedings and get his ass hauled out of the chamber?

    He’ll sit there smirking, and nothing else. Ted talks a good game when he’s got no skin in it.

    But I’d love to be wrong and see him get his face ground into the floor by the Secret Service.

  235. 235
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Cassidy: How long before I have to wait for the part where the lowly serving girl is the long lost relative of Jesus of Nazareth?

    Wrong office. You’ll be wanting the Rosicrucians, across the hall.

  236. 236
    aimai says:

    @Ash Can:

    There’s one sure thing about the Nuge: he’s a stone coward. He won’t say anything in the chamber–unless he shits himself, that would be in his form.

  237. 237

    @Ash Can:

    Yeah Rep. Steve Stockman announced it on his website here, and who from the class would like to read the first line? Oh, what the hell, I will:

    Nugent will be available for interviews

    I mean, this is all about getting some fucking attention. I still don’t understand why I’m supposed to give two shits about fucking Ted Nugent, a has-been rocker with some wild and crazy fringe ideas. So what, go to the damn SOTU. Go, rant and rave on some wingnut radio show on the far end of the AM dial. Why do I care?

    I mean shit, people on Twitter are starting fucking petitions. These people are pond scum, they thrive on the attention. What a wonderful thing if no one cared.

  238. 238
    Darkrose says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    they’re Episcopalians, so who knows what their dogma states? ;-)

    Whenever four or more are gathered together, there shall always be (at least) a fifth among them.

  239. 239
    Darkrose says:

    @dantoujours:

    S: This church doesn’t seem to have many rules, does it?
    V: Nah. The only one I know of is “Don’t be a dick”.)

    So the Episcopalian Church follows Wheaton’s Law? Works for me!

  240. 240
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @FlipYrWhig: WIN.

  241. 241
    Felonius Monk says:

    Before he leaves office will he donate his nose to one of Betty Cracker’s chickens?

  242. 242
    MCA1 says:

    I guess I’m more ignorant than Cole – I was shocked to find out this doesn’t happen all the time. I guess I just assumed that, since it seemed so silly for the last Pope to remain in the position for so long after he became incapably feeble, that couldn’t have been the norm within an institution that seems to really abhor a power vacuum or portraying any weakness so publicly. I thought when popes got old and frail, there was an unspoken understanding they would step aside, or be forced to do so behind the scenes.

  243. 243
    Violet says:

    What is the former Pope called? I’ve heard he’ll revert to being “Cardinal Ratzinger” but that seems like it doesn’t acknowledge his Pope years. Is he “Former Pope Benedict”? Will he be the “real” pope and really run things with his successor as puppet?

  244. 244
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Jay C: Don’t forget that slandering enemies was a typical pasttime then, so the crimes of repudiated Popes are usually heavily exaggerated (and the crimes of the revered ones shoved under the rug).

    I find it a sign of a severely under-socialized and infantile minds.

  245. 245
    dance around in your bones says:

    I haven’t read the thread yet but I would just like to say I don’t give a Ratzinger’s ass who the present or next stupid pope is.

  246. 246
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @MCA1: There’s no power vacuum when the pope is sick… the more powerful Cardinals in the inner circle can run things just fine, kinda the way Ratzinger was running shit when JPII got sick.

  247. 247
    Cacti says:

    @Violet:

    The artist formerly known as Pope.

  248. 248
    Mike E says:

    Once the switch is made, they’ll put him in a helicopter and take him up up UP then detonate the anti pope antimatter device they’ve been saving for such a contingency. Then Tom Hanks gets the girl.

  249. 249
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @geg6: And this has what exactly to do with the primacy of the Bishop of Rome pretty much ever since there has been a church? Catholic doctrine has always had the primacy of the Pope (even before he was called “Pope”) as a feature. Just because, for a very short historical time, the Patriarch and Pope ruled over their respective territories in a semi-collegial way does not mean that the Roman Catholic Church did not assert the Bishop of Rome’s primacy. You do realize that a lot of the schism is about exactly that fact?

    You realize the absurdity of bringing in medieval power struggles and propaganda in the service thereof to bolster unprovable and anachronistic claims about a period 1000 years prior?

    If you were thinking clearly about this issue I’d term it chutzpah, but I strongly suspect you are not.

    “As it was, is, and evermore shall be” is a prayer, not a historical fact.

    Doctrine, dogma, procedures, understanding of scripture, canon law, the mass, and yes, papal authority, all have changed in different periods.

    Now let me really blow your mind: the oldest orthodox christian church is the Coptic Church in Egypt, NOT the church in Rome.

  250. 250
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: Which kind of proves the point. They didn’t want domestic animals being slaughtered during early spring until lambing season provided a new source of meat.

    Similar to the prohibitions on slaughtering dairy cattle in Hindu regions.

    Both are shrouded in superstition. According to The Supersizers, it was believed that meat (as they defined it) fed lusts and so there was an association between fish-eating and penitence.

    The Supersizers also did a segment on English Calvinist food. Heavy on the vegetables, I think it kind of breaks these sorts of associations and might explain why you have Calvinist cults in the US which promote vegetarianism.

  251. 251
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Violet: What did they call the English British King who abdicated?

  252. 252
    Violet says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I think he was still a prince, wasn’t he?

  253. 253
    Mike E says:

    @Another Halocene Human: The Duke of Winsor, Mr Edward Simpson

  254. 254
    Jay C says:

    @Another Halocene Human:
    @Violet:

    What did they call the English British King who abdicated?

    Either “The Duke of Windsor” or “The Nazi” depending on circumstances….

  255. 255
    drkrick says:

    @Jay C: So it’s a relevant precedent.

    It appears that he doesn’t go back to being a Cardinal automatically (although his successor could reappoint him), but being a Bishop is forever.

  256. 256
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Saints and Popes

    In Catholic tradition, it is saints who have a direct telephone line to god, not church leaders. The Holy Spirit is supposed to guide church leaders to keep the church on course, but the Devil has gotten many popes of his own put in power.

    The Church in on a historical arc where it is moving more towards the Mormon model, but historically, popes had secular power (over the church and over the Papal lands), and existed in a variety of states of spiritual enlightenment. Of course, having holy Popes was more prestigious. Almost all of the early (and possibly apocryphal) popes have been canonized to show that the sweet light of divine mercy surround them and buttress the old “true church” claim.

    Because for many, many Catholics, the PROOF that the RCC is the ONE TRUE CHURCH is that some many Catholic saints have been visited (in the flesh!) by Mary and Jesus.

    Contrawise, I can’t think of a SINGLE POPE who got such heavenly friendship.

    Popes vacillate between cozying up to holy men and women and trying to control them. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (Inquisition) exists in part (you know, besides murdering Jews, Protestants and other ne’er-do-wells in show trials) to investigate claims of holy visitation or visions and check if they are doctrinally sound. One would often read in the 20th century that the priests/bishops on this mission thought it was all a load of bollocks but had to be circumspect about saying so because so many believing Catholics faith is founded upon the rock of this pernicious and universal superstition.

    I don’t say 21st century because it seems like all the sane/normal people have left the RCC.

  257. 257
    Mike E says:

    @Mike E: Well, damn:

    Vice President Joe Biden joked on Monday that he will not try to succeed the outgoing pope, CNN reports.

    Clearly, it is NOT irresponsible to speculate.

  258. 258
    aimai says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    geg6 is a (former) Catholic and a well educated woman. Like many people she probably knows that “the oldest” and apostolic and all that shit is not the Roman Church. This is really not all that arcane.

  259. 259
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Interesting statement from Wikipedia, take it FWIW:

    The official Catholic teaching is that the Orthodox are schismatic meaning that there is nothing heretical about their theology, only their unwillingness to accept the supremacy of the Pope which is presented in Catholic teaching as an ecclesiological issue, not a theological one.

    Emphasis mine.

  260. 260
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Chris:

    Looking back on it as an ex-member, the Catholic Church reminds me quite a bit of the old Communist Bloc. A lot of the underlying ideology is recognizable, relatable and even admirable, but in practice it’s just propping up a totalitarian monster that’s even worse than the evils it claims to cure.

    Well said. I’ve never been a member or any sort of believer. But I had a friend who was a liberal secular feminist Jewish college professor, and she was _totally in love_ with liberal Catholicism — dug the people, the theology, the liturgy. That opened my eyes to a different way of looking at The Church.

  261. 261
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @aimai: Like many former Catholics she seems disinclined to inquire too deeply into the Church’s real history because it upsets a lot of old, psychologically twisted up childhood teachings for her. The process of discovering the truth is confusing and upsetting.

  262. 262
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I still don’t understand why I’m supposed to give two shits about fucking Ted Nugent, a has-been rocker with some wild and crazy fringe ideas.

    Maybe there are people who care tremendously about the political opinions of Steve Miller and Gary Wright.

  263. 263
    sharl says:

    Ad to fill this position is now up on Craig’s List; serious applicants only, please!

    (via dmataconis by way of normative)

  264. 264
    Redshirt says:

    I’ve been reading a lot about Rome lately, and I’ve got three big takeaways that you may not have known/considered:

    1. The so called “Byzantine Empire” is the Roman Empire. Period, no qualifications. They thought of themselves in a direct line to Remus and Romulus. So, ergo, the Roman Empire lasted until the 1490’s. That we don’t generally know this is because of Catholic influenced history.

    2. Western Rome – Rome proper – did not so much as fall as fade away. There was no one day that the Western Empire crashed beneath the heels of Germans. In fact, the Germans very much wanted to be considered part of Rome and styled themselves as such. The Roman Senate (in Rome) continued to meet until 603AD or so.

    3. The Catholic Church is very much a direct continuation of a piece of the Roman Empire. Which is pretty cool to consider, regardless of how vile they are.

  265. 265
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    My bet is that Benny retires to the Vatican archives. Then in 200 years time, historians find that the 20th Century and a big chunk of the 21st are mysteriously missing.

  266. 266
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    My bet is that Benny retires to the Vatican archives.
    Then in 200 years time, historians find that the 20th Century and a big chunk of the 21st are mysteriously missing.

  267. 267
    Sean says:

    Ex-Benedict?

  268. 268
    Tim C. says:

    @Cassidy:

    Hey! Lutherans had that one first!

  269. 269
    NotMax says:

    @raven

    Some times I take an aspirin, some times I take a caramel

    I’d walk a mile for a caramel. . .

    Actually, Chico & Groucho both say calomel.

    Which makes more sense from a treatment standpoint.

  270. 270
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Which kind of proves the point. They didn’t want domestic animals being slaughtered during early spring until lambing season provided a new source of meat.

    You’re misremembering Catholic doctrine — until Vatican II, Catholics were supposed to not eat meat EVERY Friday, not just on Lenten Fridays.

  271. 271
    muddy says:

    @Redshirt: Have you read Empires and Barbarians?

    Seems like the whole population of the continent was surging back and forth. I had no idea there was so much movement of huge amounts of people in that period.

  272. 272
    Redshirt says:

    @muddy: Nope. You recommend?

    I just finished “Rubicon”, which was OK – it gets all these raves but I found it a bit wanting. I’m in the market for more books on Rome.

    I’ve actually been learning a ton on the internets. For free (access charges may apply)!

  273. 273
    muddy says:

    @Redshirt: I learned a lot, it took me a little while because it’s thick, but I never felt like abandoning it, it moved right along. Things I never heard of like the Alans being from Persia (basically). Ended up crossing the Straits of Gibraltar. So there were Middle Eastern types coming to North Africa from the opposite direction than you’d think.

    There’s a listserve that comes out on Sunday, http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Explorator/ which has archaeology etc news, very interesting links divided by region.

  274. 274
    Rome Again says:

    Well, since he’s the Pope, I guess he can pretty much do anything he wants to do. But… it really does put the lie to the scripture Phillipians 4:13 which states “”I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.”

    The Vatican is like a spa country complete with the funny robes.

  275. 275
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Darkrose: a variation of Bill & Ted’s law: Be Excellent to Each Other

  276. 276
    rikyrah says:

    when I first heard it on the radio, I was like… that can’t be right. like you, I never knew that the Pope could give a two week’s notice.

  277. 277
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Well, they *could* follow the old, old tradition of waiting until Ratzi dies, then dig him up and put his corpse on trial in St. Peters, declare him guilty and throw his body in the Tiber river.

    They had more fun in the old days.

  278. 278
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    @Yastreblyansky:

    “Dante was so mad at the last one, Celestine V, for quitting that he put him in Hell, even though the church made him a saint.”

    Dante put Celestine in the vestibule of Hell, not in Hell itself, amongst those who neither Hell nor Heaven would receive.

    I think Boniface was somewhere in the seventh circle with the Simoniacs in a close approximation of a Tandoori oven.

  279. 279
    LanceThruster says:

    I thought the established protocol for succession was to find the pope in the pizza.

  280. 280
    LanceThruster says:

    @Just One More Canuck:

    “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

  281. 281
    Tehanu says:

    @charon:
    A major street in Montreal is named for him — Blvd. Pie IX (Neuf, in French) pronounced (roughly) Pee-enough. When we were there in 1976 for the Olympics, this gal who was staying in the same house told me one day, “Oh, you can catch the bus out on Pie Nine, you know.” So he’s been Pie Nine to us ever since.

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