Guest blogger Todd Unctuous is top commentator for MSM. With a degree in Media Studies from Scranton Community College, Todd writes for many papers and websites, and is known for his incisive writing, objective reporting and razor sharp comment.
It is not surprising to me that the Pope in Rome has this week lifted the ages-long prohibition on birth control. This aging monarch who sits on his throne in the tiny walled city state like a Russian mandarin of old has finally listened to the voice of the people. The pressure from international bodies and the press have been unbearable and at last he has caved in and made a formal proclamation called a Papal Bull–which lifts the ban on contraception.
Ever since the insights of Galileo the Roman Catholic Church has been opposed to the relentless forward march of humanity. First they disagreed with Galileo and insisted–against his scientific insights– that the sun really was the center of the solar system. Secondly, the Renaissance popes tried to tell Michaelangelo how to paint. Thirdly, they have always been opposed to modernism in all its forms, took a very long time to have electric lights in the Vatican City and still they still indicate the election of a new pope with the outmoded system of smoke from a chimney rather than a widescreen jumbotron in St Peter’s Square. At every opportunity the Roman Catholic Church has behaved like the Amish people of Pennsylvania.
I do not have any objection to the practice of religion by those who are sincere, and I have much admiration for the Amish. They produce wonderful apple butter and I have eaten their chicken and dumplings and shoo fly pie more than once on a visit to Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Indeed, there are many things that I find admirable about the Catholic religion as well. The film Sister Act which features nuns was very amusing. However, when the Pope in Rome starts telling people what they can or cannot do in their bedroom I find it a bridge too far.
The best example of this hypocrisy is for church leaders who are old and celibate to lay down the law about sexual behavior. Ever since the invention of the birth control pill the Vatican have simply arbitrarily decided that it was wrong. For no good reason, other than sex was enjoyable, the Vatican disapproved. This led them to the untenable position of prohibiting the use of condoms in Africa to prevent the spread of AIDS. Now, at last the Pope in Rome has seen sense and lifted the ban on condom use and, by implication, all forms or artificial contraception.
I have not written on religious matters very often because I am not myself a religious man (although I do respect people like President Obama who are devout Christians) In this instance, however, we are not talking about religion as much as we are talking about people’s lives. Many commentators have observed how millions in Africa are dying from the AIDS epidemic while the Pope (like Nero of old) is in Rome fiddling while Africa burns. At last he has done something. At last the Roman Catholic Church has taken a baby step into the modern world. As the famous astronaut Buzz Lightyear has said, “This is one small step for man, one giant step for mankind.”
Undoubtedly, now that this important step of lifting the ban on artificial birth control has taken place, the Roman Catholic Church will also hopefully get up to speed on the other important issues of the day. One of my colleagues at the news office is a devout Episcopalian and she told me that already there is an army of good Catholic women who are called to be priests, and that sympathetic bishops are waiting to ordain them and are only waiting for the green light from Rome. Once this is accomplished we can then begin working for change in the Roman Catholic Church’s deep seated homophobia.
People say the media is washed up and that the press cannot exert pressure. I point to this change in the Roman Catholic Church’s attitude and say, “Yes we can!” It is the relentless pressure brought to bear by thinking and liberated Catholics in the political arena and the world press organizations that have finally brought this German Shepherd Ratzinger to heel.
This is not a time for gloating or self congratulation. It is, instead, a time for quiet appreciation of triumph and the dignified recognition that we have won a great battle, and for that we should be congratulated.
Todd Unctuous is forty-two. For more information on Todd Unctuous go here.