don't forgive them; they know what they're doing

(just for starters)

Relativism be now damned! Absolutism has now triumphed! "Dictator" would be nice, but "pope" will do just fine. Besides, it amounts to the same thing, and the costumes are great. The man who would be baby Jesus's vicar on earth knows the certainty of objective truth and he's not going to be shy about reminding us.

Benedict XVI has a lot to answer for, but for starters I'll point to a trespass which has weighed heavily on queers for almost two decades, whether or not they are aware of it. Seven years ago Peter Tatchell warned the world about the sour man who was appointed pope today, Joseph Ratzinger, "arguably the most homophobic of all Vatican leaders":

In 1986, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the infamous Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons. Ratzinger wrote that a homosexual orientation, even if the person is totally celibate, is a "tendency" toward an "intrinsic moral evil". Moreover, a homosexual inclination is both an "objective disorder" and a "moral disorder", which is "contrary to the creative wisdom of God".

. . .

Most shocking of all, [a 1992 Vatican proclamation written by Ratzinger and authorized by John Paul II states] that when lesbians and gay men demand civil rights, "neither the Church nor society should be surprised when ... irrational and violent reactions increase".

This implies that by asking for human rights, lesbians and gay men encourage homophobic prejudice and violence: we bring hatred upon ourselves, and are responsible for our own suffering. The Catholic Church, it seems, blames the victims of homophobia, not the perpetrators.

This ugly stuff is in the public record, and every cardinal had to read it, but today 115 old men* decided to appoint the man responsible for it as their cult's latest absolute monarch.

I can't imagine good people wanting to have anything to do with this crew, but millions around the world continue to enable the evil they do.

* This is a board whose members almost to a man were selected with the counsel of, and in the mold of, the cardinal whom they chose as pope today. Borrowing some of Ratzinger's own, notorious phrasing: When entrenched reaction demands conformity, "neither the Church nor society should be surprised when ... [it gets it]." I expected a conservative successor to a conservative pope, but I didn't expect the choice would be so obvious; the current college of crimson-robed cyphers has no imagination whatsoever.

[image by Kathryn Gaitens from nowtoronto]

Just when I thought the Catholic Church couldn't hurt me, a former club member, anymore, they do.

So now a Hitler youth is Pope. It is a topsy turvy world, as the 19th Century German Jewish poet Heine Henrich observed.

More on the Pope's early days:,,2089-1572667,00.html

So what? If popes had any real influence, teen-age girls would still be visiting Dr. Coathanger in a Tijuana alley for abortions, Hussein would still be running Iraq and nobody would go to bed hungry.

Stop seething about it. He's a ghost in a funny suit. You're flailing at the wind. Anyhow, anyone who accepts the admonitions of old celibate men regarding sexual lifestyles gets precisely what he or she deserves.

"So what? . . . . Anyhow, anyone who accepts the admonitions of old celibate men . . . "

Like all the children of New York City, whether in public or Catholic schools, and that's just for starters. All sex education programs in this city are determined by what the Catholic Church will tolerate. These men do decide how we live or die.

Exactly how does a pope decide how you live or die?
His entire range of authority and influence is within his putrid one billion population church, as regards spiritual things. How does that affect all the children in NYC?

The Catholic Church in New York has veto power on the *public* school curriculum, particularly but not only when it comes to sexual education and attitudes toward homosexuality. This is regardless of whether the kids are putrid or not. Most are not catholic, and of course they have no choice in the matter of the ignorance in which they are kept.

I originally said that the Church's impact on children was "just for starters," because just as important is the control the Vatican has over health care. A huge amount of the hospital and clinical care available in this city is provided by Catholic institutions (paid by the city) which withold certain healthcare and counseling from patients if is against Church teachings. These contracts are extremely profitable for the Church.

I could go on, but the subject makes me ill.