Saturday, August 10, 2013

Catholic comedy club

It would seem that even when the Catholic church actually tries to make a positive PR move, it sabotages itself and fails miserably. I will say that some of what has been said by the new pope has been surprisingly refreshing. A more open and accepting stance than the one that has become the expected status quo. Dare I say, views more in line with more liberal believers than those that are insistent towards a strictly Biblical stance.

One would think that paying lip service to the views and opinions that are becoming more and more popular with those disillusioned with the church would begin to win people back and show Catholicism in a better light. Maybe if it stopped with the statements made by pope Francis, that would be the case. But it didn't stop with that...

Just as soon as Francis said that 'all that do good, even non-believers' can go to Heaven, prominent church officials quickly said that the pope was wrong, didn't know what he was talking about, and that what he said has no support or effect on the standing canon. And those disagreeing with pope Francis would be correct. While what the pope said does sound appealing and welcoming, the simple fact is that the canon remains. Despite what Francis said, the rules of the church say that good acts do not matter in regards to salvation. Belief alone will grant you that, and non-believers, and followers of rival religions simply aren't welcome, no matter how good they've been.

This black and white view is one that doesn't sit well with many believers and non-believers alike. So I can understand why the pope is attempting to reach out and soften the usual hard line approach. But the problem is that he comes off like a car salesman who promises this great deal, but when you sit down to sign the paperwork, you find that the deal is no better than before. Just like when a company decides to update their packaging, all your left with is the same product in a newer, pretty wrapper.

Another example is when Francis stated that 'who was he to judge gay people'. Yes, it was a surprising change of position from the outright denouncing of homosexuality. In fact, before he became pope, he was right there with all the others damning gays to eternal punishment. But is his new statement really as great as the media is making it to be. It reminds me of the usual case of a believer passing the buck. "Oh, I'm not judging you or think you deserve hell. That's up to God." Apparently they miss the point that their following of that church condones the stance that they themselves don't agree with. So what the pope is actually saying is, 'I'm not judging gays, that's Gods job'.

But even though what Francis said about gays wasn't actually the grand statement of acceptance that many made it out to be, that didn't stop prominent church officials to instantly go on the offensive once more. Again they stated saying that Francis didn't know what he is talking about, this changes nothing, or that the Bible is very clear that homosexuality is wrong. Again, shouting down the pope when he actually said something that should actually be considered progress.

But I started out saying that the pope actually trying to sound decent may actually be more harmful to the church than helpful. Well, to anyone paying attention that is. If what Francis said was all that was said, then it would help the church. But as I've shown, others in the church couldn't just let it stand at that. So instead of steps of progress, they instead highlighted how backwards and antiquated the church is with their protest. And it actually reveals a couple of things...

First, it shows how tightly the church and many of it's believers hold their beliefs and prejudices. The pope speaks, yet since it contradicts what they believe or feel, so the pope is wrong and they are right. It shows that it will be extremely hard, if not impossible for the church to really make the dramatic changes it will need to survive deep into the future... And on that front, I'm actually somewhat pleased that they are shooting themselves in the foot. Just like the believer that ignores proven science in favor of scripture, they will continue to be on the wrong side of history and the truth.

Another interesting observation is the church officials shouting down the pope so easily. To me, this makes me question the degree of their belief in their church. I mean this is the pope they are swiftly discounting. Church doctrine says that he is selected (through conclave) by God/the Holy Ghost himself, and is the Earthly leader of the church that has God on speed dial. So if I was a Catholic and the pope came to me and said that God said 'this is the new rule, or how it is', shouldn't I believe him and consider it a new revelation and sing God's praises?

 Yet, instead they say that Francis is wrong about who can and can't receive salvation and that nothing has changed. This easy doubt of the pope makes me wonder how genuine their belief is in the whole 'chosen by God' nature of the pope really is. And if these devout members of the church can doubt the veracity of the statements of the church's leader so swiftly, then why should someone that is a lesser believer, or not even a member of the church lend Francis the slightest credence? Hell, if the head of the church can be so easily dismissed, perhaps we should just ignore the Catholic church as a whole...

So, a hardy thank you to the bigoted and close-minded Catholics of old, that have defied the popes more positive statements. Your attempts to 'save the church' very well may work to hasten it's decline into obsolescence. I may never see the day when that the Catholic church loses it's power and religion as a whole becomes just more legends of old. But I feel that the world will be better off when that day comes, and will in part, have those so stridently and blindly against progress to thank.

-Brain Hulk

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