The Pope is resigning. Good.

The Pope is resigning.  Good riddance.  He is a positively evil man who has long been more concerned with the Church’s image than with protecting its youngest members from abuse by their spiritual leaders.  He has even more fiercely aligned the Catholic Church with hatred of those who love someone of which the Catholic Church does not approve (read: LGBT people), and has attempted through legislative pressure to assert some presumed god-given control over their lives.

The world would’ve been a better place had Joseph Ratzinger never entered into it.  Few organizations aside from the Catholic Church have sufficiently twisted standards such that a man like Ratzinger could be considered their most exemplary member in terms of wisdom and morality.  They deserved him.  The problem is that the Catholic Church still has influence on the world, and the world deserved better.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Veritas

    Here’s why this concerns me:

    Pope Ratzi-Palpatine will (probably) be alive when his successor is selected. He will have influence over the Cardinals to get the successor picked that he wants, which means that he can do his level best to ensure the next Pope is just as reactionary, just as evil, just as wicked as he is. This is the sort of influence popes don’t usually have over their successors, given that they are usually, well, dead.

  • Glodson

    This does lead to a slight problem: what if they find someone worse.

    • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com Ubi Dubium

      Every Sith Lord has an apprentice, right?

      • Glodson

        Pope Darth Vader might actually improve the Catholic Church.

        • Drakk

          By “improve” you mean “fall to and later destroy”, right?

          • Glodson

            I mean that I think that Darth Vader would literally make the church a more morally acceptable organization.

            And he could use the Force to do some kickass miracles.

          • Lyfa

            We know the previous few have been pretty bad, when we start considering sith lords as an improvement on the morality scale.

          • Glodson

            If I got a lightsaber, I might consider converting.

            Not really. I would miss the lightsaber.

          • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

            Hey, Darth Vader is Lawful Evil.*

            *Which, now I come to think about it, is rather odd considering Anakin Skywalker was Chaotic Good.

          • Glodson

            It isn’t that odd. When he finally broke, he betrayed all of his ideals. The independence was lost as he conceded to the Emperor. He lost his moral compass starting with the slaughter of the Sand People.

            I’ve got about three decades of defending bad fiction. This is easy.

  • Lurker111

    No, what I fear is that the RCC will find someone -better-. With P. Benedict, you have a reliable foil in the war against ignorance.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think we need spend much time worrying over that possibility; Ratz, and Wojtyla before him, packed the College of Cardinals with reactionary assholes. They’ll elect one of their own kind to lead them.

  • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    I wonder what happens to retired Popes? Do they get given a pension? Maybe the Church will give him one of those mansions they have so many of. I can’t see him reducing his standard of living – vows of poverty are for other people, after all.

    • Glodson

      Do you think that the Pope steals some of that fabulous loot in much the same way most of us steal boxes of pens from work?

      I’m sure they got gold just scattered around the Pope room.

      • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

        They’ll get the hat back when they pry it from his cold, dead hands!

  • Art Vandelay

    I would bet that there isn’t one Cardinal that hasn’t at some point in his career ignored or covered up any various crimes against humanity committed by the RCC in order to protect it’s reputation. Hell, it’s a probably a requirement for being promoted.

    • Nate Frein

      In fact, I’d say that the priests who don’t do so, who act to protect the flock instead of the hierarchy, are effectively cashiered.

  • Jasper

    Will the new Pope and old pope both have a hotline to God, or is that an actual physical phone they have? Will they both be able to receive signals? Maybe we can figure out some kind of hammering code to reduce the noise.

    • Jasper

      Or “Hamming code”

    • Jeff

      God will have to change his access code after the current pope leaves, and reclaim the parking pass. It turns out that the Vatican doesn’t pay for those pope-hats, though, so he’ll get to keep those.

  • Anonymous

    Fascinating. An unusual occurence, for a pope to resign. Now Benedict can enjoy the retirement which he was looking forward to before he was elected.
    It’ll be interesting to see who his successor is. A Latin American? An African? Australian George Pell?
    Most probably not an American; not likely an Englishman.

    Fascinating, too, the spittle-flecked hatred of the retiring pontiff, seen here and elsewhere.

    • Loqi

      He earned it. The hatred, not the retirement.

  • Emmet

    Fascinating. An unusual occurence, for a pope to resign. Now Benedict can enjoy the retirement which he was looking forward to before he was elected.
    It’ll be interesting to see who his successor is. A Latin American? An African? Australian George Pell?
    Most probably not an American; not likely an Englishman.

    Fascinating, too, the spittle-flecked hatred of the retiring pontiff, seen here and elsewhere.

    • Andrew Kohler

      Oh good heavens, I hope not George Pell (from what little I know about him; Dan Barker debated him and later described him as being quite dismal). And alas, I am not too optimistic about a more progress pontiff being on the way. That would be nice, though.

      And indeed an unusual occurrence; I read one account that said this is the first time in 600 years!

      • Emmet

        The worst thing about Pell as a papabile in your eyes is that he’s a dismal debater? :)

        He’s a long shot. Not sure if he’d be the best man for the job, but I’m from his part of the world, and was impressed by him in the one brief meeting I’ve had with him and with what I know of his leadership, so would be happy if he was elected.

        • Andrew Kohler

          (Whoops, didn’t see this until to respond.)

          Dan Barker’s criticism wasn’t about Pell’s debating skills (I got the sense he wasn’t impressed with them, but that’s quite irrelevant here) but rather his positions. I’ve only done cursory research on Pell, but it seems that he’s not likely to move the Church forward on the morality of condoms, family (homosexuality, divorce, etc.), gender equality (at least as far as the ordination of women is concerned), or reproductive rights. I want to see the Church change its positions on all of these things, or at the very least stop interfering with secular legislation. And so, he is not my first choice (although I don’t imagine anyone with contrary views will be on the short list).

          It sounds like he has some interest in interfaith dialogue, which is admirable; one just hopes it extends to people without faith. I’ve no doubt he has some good qualities, but that still doesn’t override my concerns as listed above.

    • Joe

      Fascinating, too, the spittle-flecked hatred of the retiring pontiff, seen here and elsewhere.

      I think JT rather justifies his dislike of the man in his post. You know, the whole protecting child abusers and working to deny people basic human rights thing.

      • Emmet

        Sure. Whatever. Except that just because Eberhard says so doesn’t make it so. It’s easier to trot out some lines of hate – I mean, pearl-clutchingly whiny lines like “positively evil”, “better for the world if he’d never been born”; come on! – and draw a caricature than actually engage with the man he’s referring to. How is it that Benedict is widely regarded as a man of wisdom, morality, humility and gentleness but atheist bloggers can see none of that?
        (And yet another misunderstanding – you think you get it, but you don’t: the pope isn’t regarded as the most exemplary Catholic “in terms of wisdom and morality”. Where did you get that idea? One of those ideas that everyone knows – or sorry, of course, one of those ideas known by every atheist blogger-expert on the Catholic Church – right.)

        It’s this sort of nonsense that serves to confirm what many Catholics suspect: that the atheism of many people is based not so much on a well-reasoned, rational, philosophical outlook on and approach to life, but on an overweening and irrational hatred of the Catholic Church and what she and her pope stand for.

        • SabsDkPrncs

          So the pope isn’t infallible according to church doctrine?

        • Joe

          How is it that Benedict is widely regarded as a man of wisdom, morality, humility and gentleness but atheist bloggers can see none of that?

          That’s an argumentum ad populum. If you think he is moral, support your views. My impression of him is based on the Catholic church in general, in particular its stance on abortion, contraception and homosexuality. I do not see how you can claim that the leader of an organisation that holds blatently immoral views is not himself immoral, unless he speaks out against these views and attempts to change them – something he has not done (as far as I am aware, feel free to correct me if I am wrong)

          the pope isn’t regarded as the most exemplary Catholic “in terms of wisdom and morality”. Where did you get that idea?

          I didn’t, that quote is from JT. I do assume that, as the Pope is, you know, chosen as Pope, somebody must believe that he represents them fairly well.

          It’s this sort of nonsense that serves to confirm what many Catholics suspect: that the atheism of many people is based not so much on a well-reasoned, rational, philosophical outlook on and approach to life, but on an overweening and irrational hatred of the Catholic Church and what she and her pope stand for.

          Nope, not why I’m an atheist. My dislike of the Catholic church has a rational basis – a fundamental disagreement with the churches views – and is completely unrelated to why I am an atheist.

        • Loqi

          How is it that Benedict is widely regarded as a man of wisdom, morality, humility and gentleness but atheist bloggers can see none of that?

          Perhaps atheist bloggers are paying attention? In all honesty, I can count on my left hand the number of people I’ve met who are less moral than Benedict. I don’t know many people who cover up child rape.

        • Loqi

          Sure. Whatever. Except that just because Eberhard says so doesn’t make it so.

          Did he or did he not participate in (even oversee) the cover-up of child rape on a massive scale?

          • Emmet

            Well, did he? You’re the one saying so. What’s your basis for that claim, exactly?

          • Glodson

            Well, did he? You’re the one saying so. What’s your basis for that claim, exactly?

            This allegation is not his alone..

            Perhaps, in this case, it was more a case of ignorance fostered by his subordinates covering it up. Maybe. Let’s look for more.

            Here’s another story. Different priest, different place.

            An archbishop wrote letters in 1996 to the Vatican watchdog led by Cardinal Ratzinger calling for disciplinary proceedings against Fr Lawrence Murphy, according to Church and Vatican documents.

            Fr Murphy was a popular priest who is believed to have molested some 200 boys at St John’s School for the Deaf in St Francis, Wisconsin, between 1950 and 1974.

            This request seems to have been ignored. This story is reported on here as well.

            The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

            Can it actually get worse? Yes.

            He issued a letter that the Church, itself, should do any investigation. The goal was to keep this all out of the public eye. Based on the shuffling of Priests, which has been well documented, like in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, I am skeptical that this would have prevented the widespread abuse of children. The church is more concerned with their image than the rape of children. It seems.

            And let’s look at this. The pope scapegoats his own mess, and the church’s, by placing blame on society. He essentially screams “don’t look at us! You all made this problem!”

            The accusation is fair. At best it could be said that the current pope was just really shitty at his job when he was supposed to be looking over all this. Based on his letter in 2001, I think the more likely explanation is that he valued the reputation of his church over that of the safety of the children in the care of the pedophile priests.

        • Azkyroth

          How is it that Benedict is widely regarded as a man of wisdom, morality, humility and gentleness but atheist bloggers can see none of that?

          Covering. Up. Child. Rape.

          I mean, you can go on to the misogyny and homophobia and callous disregard for the impoverished, but the above really says it all.

          How come you can’t see that child rape is evil and enabling it is evil, scumbag?

          • baal

            I can almost understand why the head of a multibillion dollar organization that transfers wealth from the many (poor) to the leaders (the Vatican’s rolling in it) would cover up heinous criminal acts. It’s a defensive reaction as much as anything else.

            There isn’t a similar defensive reason for the RCC to consign hundreds of thousands of children in Africa to being orphans or for their parents to die to AIDS. That’s what the RCC does with anti-condom campaigns and the Pope is personally responsible as the head of the org. and personally for making anti-condom statements. Affirmative despicable acts.

        • Andrew Kohler

          “It’s this sort of nonsense that serves to confirm what many Catholics suspect: that the atheism of many people is based not so much on a well-reasoned, rational, philosophical outlook on and approach to life, but on an overweening and irrational hatred of the Catholic Church and what she and her pope stand for.”

          ?

          We don’t have “overweening and irrational hatred of the Catholic Church,” at least not based on what I’ve read on this blog and in the comments. As others have said already: we object to the Church’s teachings on sexuality, sexual orientation, contraception (especially condoms as a tool to prevent HIV/AIDS), and gender equality, to give a partial list. Also instilling the fear of hell in children and the disgraceful failure to protect these same children from sexual predators. I don’t see how the particulars of papal edicts/papal audiences/papal infallibility/etc. are relevant in arguing about the things listed above. I would be interested to hear you address the substance of these complaints rather than accuse us of not properly understanding Vatican protocol.

    • Glodson
      • Emmet

        Odd, the over-keen use of words connected to sexual violence to make his point. Odd.

        • Glodson

          Not really, as the point is the horrible sexual violence done by many members of the church and was subsequently hidden by the church for decades, if not longer, resulting in the violent sexual assault of untold numbers of children.

  • Jimmy

    Did Benedict ever align the church to hate people? I’m doubtful

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Did the Church hate before he became Pope?

      Does the Pope have the power to unilaterally decide Church policy, declare things to be sinful or not, and to generally speak with the authority of God?

      Does the Church still hate?

      If the answer to all three of those questions is “yes”, then he is responsible for the hate.

      • Jimmy

        That makes a lot of sense. Thank you. I am not convinced the Catholic Church hated before or after Benedict but I will have to take another look!

      • Emmet

        Bogus. What does any of that mean?
        What do you understand it to mean for the pope to “declare things to be sinful or not”? What do you mean by “does the Church still hate”?

        • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

          Sess. IV, Const. de Ecclesiâ Christi, c. iv:

          “We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.”

          Shorter above: When he wants to, he speaks infallibly, STFU, he’s the Pope, Jesus said so.

          Also, did you know, in 2008 the Pope declared seven new sins.

          1. “Bioethical” violations such as birth control

          2. “Morally dubious” experiments such as stem cell research

          3. Drug abuse

          4. Polluting the environment

          5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor

          6. Excessive wealth

          7. Creating poverty

          By “does the Church still hate”, I mean, does the Church condone hateful actions?

          Remember the Anti-Homosexuality Act (the “Christmas gift to Christians” “kill the gays” bill) in Uganda? Uganda sent a delegation led by Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, to go see the Pope. What did this paragon of virtue do when he had in front of him people who had enshrined in the law of their nation the hateful principle to kill people for homosexuality?

          He blessed them.

          Kadaga who led a delegation of Ugandan legislators to the Vatican expressed delight at meeting the Pope and visiting St Peter’s Basilicca. “I think this is a moment that cannot be repeated. We have been reading about him, hearing stories about St.Peter’s Basilica but now we are here physically. I think it is something that I will remember all my life. Its a very great moment and I thank God for this opportunity,” she said minutes after meeting the Pope. The Speaker dedicated to all Ugandans readings from the book of St. Mark which the Pope quoted in several languages during the Vatican mass.

          • Emmet

            Look, let me put it another way: you don’t get it.

            You think you understand how these things work, but you don’t. Here’s a tip: instead of worshipping reason, and your intellect, use them.

            Tell me: how many infallible pronouncements has Benedict made? How about John Paul II? How many from any pope in the last two centuries?

            Tell me: how does it work, this papal declaration of “new sins”? Do you know? Or did you just read a headline? (Another tip: if you see a headline that says “Pope says…” or “Vatican declares…” you need to check it against a Catholic source: headline writers are lazy, and not that fond of nuance. But then you knew that, being a thinking man, wise to the flaws of the modern media, and an expert on Catholic matters.)
            Here’s a link which explains that that list was not some kind of updated list but a reflection on social sin: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/littering-not-new-deadly-sin-bishops-clarify

            The Ugandan thing: again, do you understand how Papal audiences work? Or did you … no, don’t tell me …you did! You just read it on an atheist blog!
            Pope blesses gay-haters!!!!1!! Evil!

          • ACN

            The guy who’s surrounded by solid gold crosses gets to (pun absolutely intended) pontificate at people about how excessive wealth is a sin.

            What a sweet gig.

          • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

            You’re right, I don’t get it.

            I don’t get the concept of speaking infallibly. It’s a ridiculous concept. But, importantly, it’s not my concept.

            And you’re right, I don’t get the concept of a papal audience. I suppose he doesn’t have a staff that vets these things and makes sure that he doesn’t do anything embarrassing like consorting publicly with loudly and proudly hateful people. Or maybe he does, but he wants to be publicly on the same side as the Kill the Gays bill.

            So you’re right, I don’t get it.

            If you have the time, please educate me.

          • Glodson

            Tell me: how many infallible pronouncements has Benedict made? How about John Paul II? How many from any pope in the last two centuries?

            Tell me when any pope attempts to repair the damage done by means of their dogma. Tell me when they make a proclamation that attempts to make amends for the decades of sexual abuse covered up and defended by the Church. Tell me when a pope reverses the ban on contraception which leads to more unwanted pregnancies and enables the spread of STD’s at a higher rate in largely Catholic areas which are already socioeconomically disadvantaged. Tell me when any pope reverses the Church’s stance on homosexuality which helps to fuel bigotry in the form of both laws and social pressures. Tell me when that happens.

            Explain to me why I shouldn’t hold the church and the guy running it responsible.

          • Andrew Kohler

            Emmet, can you please explain (if you’re still reading this two days post post-o) how papal audiences work and, more importantly, how this extenuates Benedict XVI failing to speak out against a call to genocide?

            I find it very interesting that atheists get accused of worshiping our own intellects or worshiping rationality. Atheism is characterized by a lack of worship, and rejecting the claims of religion does not make a person arrogant. If so, everyone on earth is arrogant because it is not possible to accept the truth claims of *all* religions.

    • Emmet

      No.

      • sqlrob

        Yes.

        Gay marriage is a threat to world peace.
        Atheists are responsible for global warming.
        Atheists are responsible for Nazism.

        • Glodson

          Yes, gay marriage will lead to all us males have incredible lust for dongs, leading to a world-wide increase due to anal friction, causing the global temperature to rise leading to a totalitarian state of oppression lead all fueled by our manly need to bath in gay semen.

          Your move, reality!

          • sqlrob

            FYI, those were Benedict’s statements, not mine :-P

            I think the church has to believe what you’re saying, and they may be right for themselves. It’s about the only thing that makes sense.

          • Glodson

            I think it is simpler.

            “The magic book says it, and we say it, and if we change our backwards thinking now, people might wonder what else we got wrong, like this whole god thing.”

  • Azkyroth

    I’m sure he’s just being shuffled off to another church.

  • True Democrat

    There’s more to this:
    http://itccs.org/2013/02/13/pope-benedict-resigned-to-avoid-arrest-seizure-of-church-wealth-by-easter/
    .
    Like any politician who has too much evidence against him, Rat jumped ship!

    • Glodson

      I doubt that leaving the office would do anything. In fact, leaving the office would strip away valuable protections, as the Pope has a ton of influence, and will have all sorts of powerful people protecting him.

      His resignation, if there were any charges pending, would do nothing to absolve the Catholic Church itself from the finical responsibilities. It doesn’t quite work that way. They could still issue the public lien, assuming they even have the authority to do that.

      This.. doesn’t seem to be substantiated.


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