My fellow doubters, thinkers, women priest wannabees, priests-want-to-be-married, gays and lesbians, liberation theologians, dissenting censured Catholic theologians, Muslims, Buddhists, other religionists, atheists, those who are born in lack of the contraceptives, and most importantly, those who died from the Vatican’s anticondom policy, we’re faced today–not with a good German shepherd–but with a German tank, “Der Panzer Kardinal.” The tank, Pope Benedict XVI, is equipped with the two symbols of papal authority as well as with the old palavers: the same previous ideology of a medieval, anti-Reformation, antimodern paradigm of the papacy.
The passing of Pope John Paul II a few weeks ago was an excruciatingly tedious exit. The final end of his double-standard, twenty-six years on the throne relieved many anxious souls, including Catholic theologians such as Hans Kung and Leonard Boff, along with other dissenters. The relief was short-lived, however, inasmuch as the new Pope was installed shortly after.
From the outset in his homily, by saying “those who believe are never alone,” the Pope immediately displayed his “exclusive club” mentality. Though he mentioned the Jews and nonbelievers en passant, his conviction was consistent: if you don’t believe in Catholicism, you’re alone.
Contrary to his belief, however, we are never truly alone. While the Pope invokes his Saints from every age, we can bring forth our masters of suspicion–Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, and Darwin, for example–to be our reason and conscience in order to see the world incisively. The Pope’s dead Saints are effective only to adorn the walls and the graveyards of the Church, and to attract donations from tourists, but they won’t add one iota to our understanding to the current world situation. Instead, we need courageous people who can enlighten us to fight against the “Jesus-God monopoly.”
The Pope praised the cardinals’ decision to select him, for it was “God” who guided the decision. After all, how could 115 bishops, from every culture and every country, discover the one on whom the Lord wished to confer the mission of binding and loosing? “It truly exceeds all human capacity in their making of the Pope,” he asserted.
No, it was not their tantamount task. The 115 bishops simply had to follow the rule of the “internal policies” of the previous Pope at the Vatican. Those bishops were well trained in the program of restoration, lectureship, obedience and re-Romanization, instead of the conciliatory program of “aggiornamento, dialog and collegiality, ecumenical.” The Vatican demolished the communist’s wall, but she was unable to dismantle her own disintegrated internal policy. It was a sad day. That is why we saw the tears from the third world priests and cardinals upon the news of the newly-elected Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger.
“Yes, the Church is alive, this is the wonderful experience of these days,” the Pope exclaimed. With this proclamation, he only exposes his deep sanctimonious illusion and ignorance. The Church is not alive. The Church is dying. Her membership in Europe and North America is dropping rapidly. It is dying not only because of the plethora of pedophile priests, but also because it suffers from Alzheimer disease and autism. The Church is incapacitated by forgetting what she is for. The Church simply is not able to articulate her mission to meet the mandates from her Lord. The master’s command “feed my sheep” has been disfigured into “suck my phallus.” While the priests of the Church still enjoy the misunderstood instruction, her own people got asphyxiated and left to die.
But that is not the only illusion the Pope has. He showed another one when he said, “My real programme of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole church, to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He himself will lead the Church.” By disabling his downward antenna, he erected his ears in only one direction, upward. It is a typical egotistic and fundamentalist gesture of priests. He will say, “Since I’m being elected by God, I’m going to listen to God and Him only, and pass on to you whatever He told me to do. It’s not my idea but God’s idea from heaven.” The Pope, here, is playing Moses, who went to the Mt. Sinai alone, who later imposed the Law on his own people as if the Law were from “God.” One huge mistake in the Pope playing Moses in an attempt to keep his “infallibility going” is that he seemingly forgot that the Law was later revoked by a real freedom fighter: Jesus.
Here lies the Pope’s illusion. He fancies that God speaks only through him; God needs an agent to speak His own people, and the Pope himself is that agent: “To know what God wants, to know where the path of life is found.”
How about what people want?
What about God speaking to his own people directly and more loudly?
How did he fail to mention his willingness to listen to his own people? By failing this, he committed the worst sin, the sin of omission. The sin of commission can be an inadvertent one, and forgivable, but the sin of commission is almost always intentional–and punishable in full. His sin is committed with words and also with silence. By his silence, we detect his stubbornness.
As his nickname, “the tank,” might suggest, the Pope flashed his sinew” “God’s will does not alienate us, it purifies us–even if this can be painful–and so it leads us to ourselves.” By means of this statement, we can augur the forthcoming features for the Catholic Church. The same conservative, unbending policies on women, sex, ethics, and theology will remain as is. His “enormous task, which truly exceeds all human capacity” is not about helping people but about imposing his rigid, theocentric and dogmatic doctrines on his own people.
Forgive me. I don’t wear an elaborate robe with two symbols. I don’t have a net to cast. I don’t need “a German shepherd” to help those people in the desert of poverty, hunger, thirst, abandonment, loneliness, and destroyed love. I need only a pair of jeans and work boots to help them. If it takes God or Jesus to help them, then, that’s not real faith–that’s a business negotiation through an agent. Real faith requires no foundation, no doctrine, no structure, no organization. Real faith listens to what Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “Don’t wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
My fellow freedom fighters, don’t waste your time to pray for me but practice what you already know. Prayer is for the faint-hearted. Prayer is an insult to our dignity. With or without it, the Pope will execute his convoluted agenda and we’ll exhort ourselves to help the needy. But for the Pope, to do immaculate deeds, he is in desperate need of prayer. Let them pray, while we play with those who are estranged from the Church.
My fellow freethinkers, don’t believe the Pope when he says, “Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.” No, we’re the byproducts of our forefathers’ relentless sexual appetites, which were not subject to contraceptives. We are the result of careless activity, the flirting men and women who blindly obeyed the Vatican. Don’t be alarmed by the fact that we are “thrown out here,” or just “there” by accident for no apparent reason. Don’t seek “a meaning” in this life; if you need one, create it.
Let the Pope wake up from his dream and illusion. Before he executes his stilted project to build a world of freedom and dignity, and a just society, let him rebuild his own Vatican City by reinstating the theologians, the opponents, and the critics.
Surely, as the Pope says, “Don’t be afraid of Christ.” But do be alarmed by his agent.
Yes, “Open your doors to Christ” as the Pope demanded. Yes, open your doors to your elderly neighbors, the poor, the lonely, the oppressed, gays and lesbians, unordained women, priests who are looking for a partner, theologians who need their desk back, Muslims, those of other faiths–and most importantly, open your doors to your neighbor atheists because they are the real “Christ.”
The Pope declared, “The purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men.” But I reaffirm my life’s goal: my wish is to transform friends of God into friends of man; believers into thinkers; devotees of prayer into devotees of work; candidates for the hereafter into students of this world; Christians who, by their own theology are “half animal and half angel,” into persons, whole persons.”
In the name of Feuerbach, Amen.