Herr Ratzinger continues the massacre

March 17, 2009 | By | 9 Replies More
Pope Benedictus - Image by Sergey Kozhulklov via Wikimedia Commons

Pope Benedictus - Image by Sergey Kozhulklov via Wikimedia Commons

HIV/AIDS is possibly the worst health crisis to hit this planet. It’s also arguably the worst thing to happen to the African continent since white people were regularly kidnapping its inhabitants and trading them like farm machinery.

But the one hopeful thing about the whole situation is this: while there’s no cure yet, AIDS is easily preventable. Ridiculously easily preventable. Avoiding the sharing of needles & using contraception are the two most effective ways to avoid the long, tortuous, wasting death we’ve all come to associate with this horrendous epidemic. And if you’re not an intravenous drug user (or you studiously avoid sticking sharp, blood-stained things in your body), there’s 50% of your prevention pretty much sorted already.

So … how the hell are you supposed to react when the gold-robed, paedophile-protecting dictator-for-life of the Catholic Church continues to threaten people with eternal torment for using contraception during sex (based on a very, very, um, interpretive interpretation the Bible) and instead tells people “just say no” to sex? In this story (BBC) Pope Oberstumbannfuhrer Herr Kaiser Ratzinger (I refuse to use his picked-out stagename, he’s not Axl Rose for crying out loud) once again proves to the world that not only is his outlook anachronistic, unrealistic & laughable, it’s also flat-out fatal. To millions upon millions of people.

In the referenced article Ratzinger, in the very same breath, calls AIDS a “cruel epidemic” and then follows that with this clanger: “The traditional teaching of the church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.” Except when it hasn’t, doesn’t, isn’t and won’t. Obviously.

Allow me to rephrase & clarify that statement for you, Popey: “The inestimable, genocidal cruelty of AIDS is most efficiently perpetuated by people in positions of power (like Popes, for example) asking poverty-stricken superstitious people, living in abject fear for their very souls, to do what amounts to the impossible.”

In the past, before I knew much about AIDS’ awful presence in Africa (for instance, the article states that today, around 60% of the entire world’s AIDS 40 million patients are African and up to 1000 die each day), whenever I’d hear some robed halfwit with celestial voices in his head make a pig-ignorant statement like that of Ratzinger’s I’d just roll my eyes, sigh and think “Gosh, those wacky Catholics. At it again, asking the impossible and being ignored by the world, even Catholics. Laugh out loud!” But after a while I realised that while most people in the developed world treat Ratzinger’s words with all the respect they deserve, large swathes of Africa (and other developing regions) are still tightly gripped by superstition of all kinds and take the word of people like Herr Ratzinger and his little wizards as gospel. Accordingly, they avoid the simplest precautions against unwanted pregnancies and definitely unwanted STDs because they’ve been taught that wasting sperm incurs God’s wrath.

Then there was this gritty little cultured pearl of wisdom:

It is of great concern that the fabric of African life, its very source of hope and stability, is threatened by divorce, abortion, prostitution, human trafficking and a contraception mentality [emphasis mine]

Righto. Right up there as the biggest threats to Africa’s future, along with human trafficking (a modern form of slavery if there ever was one) and prostitution (often related to said trafficking) are those gravest of grave sins: the right to choose if you conceive a child during sex (regardless of whether the sex was legal or consensual), the right to not carry an embryo into actual foetus-hood and that most awful of activities, the right to end a relationship.

Does this geriatric idiot in the imperial robes who lives in a palace not see the links – right there in his very own statement? There’s human trafficking – desperate, poor people either taken advantage of or simply forced into such activities as prostitution – quite often not presenting a choice to the new sex-slave about who they have sex with, when they have sex with them and whether the “customer” protects himself or not. Divorce – well, in many cultures  across the globe, obviously including Africa, people (and by “people” I mean “women”) don’t get a choice who they marry or when their new spouse decides to consummate that marriage (search the web for “obstetric fistula” – a painful & embarrassing condition which occurs way too often in underage African girls). Abortion, that old Catholic standby – well, disregarding the fact that a fertilised ovum or a tiny clump of undifferentiated cells isn’t a human being – what if you’re nine years old and aren’t physically capable of carrying a child to term? Well, if you’d read the news lately that doesn’t matter to the Papacy. Their official response? Excommunicate the doctors and the kid’s family – but not the mangy son of a bitch stepfather who repeatedly raped the girl from when she was six years old – then impregnated her with twins which would almost certainly have killed the girl. But hey, everyone knows it’s par for the course for the Vatican to protect child-rapists.

Rape & sex-slavery & STDs aside, even in the average committed, loving, monogamous relationship – even one completely without risk – there should be a choice. There should be a right to choose not to have a child. One word comes to mind when people think of Africa: poverty. If you can’t afford to feed & clothe & educate a child, there is absolutely no reason that you should be forced to have one. To force people, under the threat of eternal damnation, to simultaneously conceive children they cannot support and risk contracting the deadliest disease ever experienced by humanity is possibly the most reprehensibly immoral act that can be undertaken by a person in a position of power and responsibility. Ratzinger knows the effect his words will have among the faithful, he knows what the stakes are and, unless he’s been living under a rock (maybe not but I’m willing to bet he sleeps in a coffin), he surely must know what the results have been from decades of official Vatican “don’t protect yourself, just say no to sex” wisdom. Of course he knows all that, for crying out loud. But why care too much about adding millions more to the existing millions of sick & dying Africans? There are more where that came from, right Ratzi? Of course there are going to be if you tell people they’ll burn in Hell for wasting their sperm. And hey – dying slowly & horribly of AIDS and watching all your kids starve, followed by eternal bliss in heaven has just got to be better than a long, healthy life followed by forever with a red-hot pitchfork inserted somewhere less than convenient. Right?

But, honestly, I don’t know how to react anymore. These days when I hear Ratzinger, as he frequently does, displaying a stark ignorance of the realities of the world (unmatched except perhaps by Sarah Palin or your average coma patient) or condemning people to what he surely must know is an early death, I’m not sure if I should scream unintelligibly at my screen, post floweringly verbose excoriations, sigh in defeat & just sit and feel powerless and frustrated or … just have a healthy, profane vent & say “Ratzinger. Hey. Shut the fuck up. You’re killing people with this retarded dogma of yours – actually killing people – just as much as if you strangled them with your own bony, pampered hands. Your words are weapons of genocide – a war crime in peace-time, a crime against humanity – and if anyone’s going to Hell, you elderly virgin whose first & last experience of a naked woman was being pushed, tiny, wet & screaming, out of one, it’s going to be you, because you had the opportunity to save millions of lives and you bailed on it, your mind enslaved by your precious god-damned magic book. And once you’re there, roasting, I hope the millions of victims of your arrogant delusions & murderous idiocy visit you in Hell to kick your balls right up through your face.”

Here endeth the rant.

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Category: Civil Rights, Cultural Evolution, Current Events, Good and Evil, Health, Religion, Reproductive Rights

About the Author ()

Hank was born of bird-watching bushwalking music-loving parents from whom he gained his love of nature, the universe & bicycles. Today he's a musician, non-profit aid worker, beagle keeper and fair & balanced internet commentator - but that just means he has a chip on each shoulder.

Comments (9)

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  1. Mary says:

    Maybe the Pope didn't get the memo on that "Thou shalt not kill" commandment.

    Nice rant, Hank. I agree with your sentiments.

  2. Glen Blackstock says:

    Hank,

    I would pay money to listen to you debate with the perpetually pompous pope but I’d be worried he might put a hex on you or something.

  3. Hank says:

    Glen, I'd pay money to do it – if it wasn't for the fact that he's more insulated against and protected from the outside world than your average international space station.

    Hexes eh? I wouldn't be too concerned. He may be ancient, may wear a robe & silly hat, say a lot of silly shit in Latin, live in an ancient castle surrounded by magic artifacts and talk to ghosts all the time, but that doesn't mean he's Professor Dumbledore.

    Thanks Mary. Seems Pope Ratzi is following the little-konwn sub-commandment "thou shalt not kill directly."

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Hank: This is a vicious rant. It raises the question of whether the Pope deserves your harsh words. Here's how I look at it.

    Let's look at the message rather than the person saying it (or the fancy robes worn by the person saying it). Let's assume that some anonymous highly politically influential guy stood up and took the stands that the Pope takes on contraception, gay rights and AIDS in Africa. I would find the message equally despicable.

    What if Osama Bin Laden made a video arguing that we shouldn't give poor Africans condoms even though these condoms would save hundreds of thousands of lives? What would we think of Bin Laden if he argued that some variant of chastity was more important than saving thousands of lives? What if Bin Laden strolled through poor African villages, looking distantly at dozens of children orphaned by AIDS and had the power to condemn them to a similar short and painful existence by denying the village condoms for years to come?

    Wouldn't we say that Bin Laden is twisted, arrogant, evil? Wouldn't we wonder what the hell he is thinking to allow so much pain and suffering to befall so many? Wouldn't we conclude that he is not worthy of any respect?

  5. Hank says:

    Obviously this message is despicable & murderous and would still be so whether it was being delivered by Ratzinger, bin Laden, Barack Obama or – heaven forbid – Kate Winslet.

    I also believe the carrier of any message has to assume a level of responsibility for its content and for its potential consequences. The closer you are to the source of that message the more responsibility you have for what it says and how it affects people. In this case there's noone closer to the source of this particular message than the Pope.

    He also appears to understand the severity of the AIDS problem in Africa, at least on a superficial level, so he's probably not a complete idiot. However, when he proclaims that condom use actually hastens the spread of AIDS and makes the problem worse, he's either completely stupid or flat-out lying to people he knows will accept whatever he says just to support old dogmas. This has the potential to cost peoples' lives in great numbers. In fact, the Vatican line on condoms has already killed untold numbers of people, does so right now and will continue to do so until the Vatican changes that line to one more in keeping with reality. Ratzinger pushes a line he knows is false and he pushes a policy he knows is useless and contrary to human nature. For this he deserves every bit of scorn & disgust anyone can muster.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Just in case I wasn't completely clear . . . There are millions in America who will give the Pope a free pass because he's the Pope. My suggestion was to imagine any other powerful person saying things that would cost many thousands (maybe millions) of lives and hold the Pope to the same standard (even though the fair thing to do would be to hold the highly educated well-to-do Pope to a much HIGHER standard than most people0.

      How can the Pope dare babble on about holy stuff and chastity while thousands of people are dying? Shouldn't we stop the dying before we start the preaching? How can we possibly concern ourselves with sexual propriety when there are almost 12 million AIDS orphans in Africa, and these number are skyrocketing? http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm

  6. Hank says:

    Hell, if the old bugger's meant to be infallible he should be held to the highest standard possible!

  7. Randy says:

    I submit that Ratzinger believes he IS being held to–and upholding–a high standard: in this case an attitude toward suffering which has found expression by SOME Catholics (most notably "Mother" Theresa) and other Christians for centuries: the idea that suffering ("the consequence of original sin") is meant not to be relieved, but endured–"offered up" as a means of participating in the "saving work of Jesus." Personally, as a Christian raised in the Catholic Church but now peacefully Methodist, I find the valuing of suffering to be a perverse extension of the equally perverse and obscene doctrine of substitutionary atonement (aka, "God, the Cosmic Child Abuser"). But, this is the context in which Ratzinger's words make sense (anything can make sense given the right context). The tragedy here is not that Ratzinger is clueless to the realities of the world, or that he and others are addicted to the pornographic idolatry of suffering (did you see Mel Gibson's movie?), it is that people believe this equine excrementa because it is part and parcel of the bill of goods they have been sold by missionaries who first informed them they were damned, and then told them the only way out of their eternal hopelessness was to submit to the authority of their buddy, the Church. If those poor superstitious people in the third world weren't sold–and didn't buy–this hocus pocus, Ratzinger's words wouldn't amount to a fart in a hurricane.

    BTW, Erich, I don't think the Americans to whom you refer are willing to give the pope a free ride because he is the pope. I think the special dispensation accorded him is due to the fact that his words are killing darker-skinned people located somewhere other than here. The wide-spread use of contraception by Catholics in the U.S. pretty much shows how seriously they take His Pontifical Holiness when his pronouncements affect their lives.

  8. Tony Coyle says:

    Coming to this particular post late, but here's my $0.02 anyway.

    The pope firmly believes that condom use is synonymous with promiscuity – right or wrong, that's the stance of many ultra conservatives too.

    From that perspective I can understand the conflation (increased condom use means increased promiscuity means increased HIV/AIDS)

    But this is a classic post hoc fallacy. Promiscuity is there regardless of condom use. We've seen that in the US, with increases in STDs & juvenile pregnancies correlating closely with abstinence programs (and lack of prophylactic availability). These kids are not promiscuous because they have access to condoms. They are promiscuous because that's what kids are! Access to birth control (and education) would hugely impact those negative outcomes (STDs and pregnancies).

    Condom use is not the cause of promiscuity, nor is a cause of HIV/AIDS transmission.

    And the pope talks out of his hat.

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