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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Pope Coming To America




Pope Benedict XVI is due to make three important State Visits, in 2007 -- a year which marks his 80th birthday:


  • May or October 2007


  • The United States of America (announced but not confirmed as to exact date and locale)


  • May 2007


  • Brazil (confirmed, to São Paulo, May 9-14)


  • September 2007


  • Austria (confirmed, to Mariazell; also to Şibiu, Romania at the same time)


    It's the Brazilian visit which intrigues me the most, despite the fact that I am overjoyed the Pontiff is coming to the US, sooner than later.

    Carnival begins next weekend in Rio, and as you know, I love me some Rio-Carnaval.

    But ahead of this dizzying date on the Brazilian calender of fun, comes word that the hardline stance of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the prohibition of condom use by its faithful, will remain in effect during the whole time.

    I can see both sides, but for me, my duty as a Roman Catholic is clear. Why be a Catholic, if you will just flout its rules?

    The whole argument of protection as sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church has, in any case, always struck me as a bit of a red herring.

    Tell me, when has any rule regarding sexuality, ever really prevented people from doing what they will? Even in the narrowest of societies regarding sex, which pointedly, Brazil has never been.

    People who want, no...more than that, DEMAND that the Roman Catholic Church relax or do away with its strictures regarding condom-use -- itself a smokescreen for a stance on outside-of-marriage-sex -- usually do not call themselves religious.

    But it is THESE VERY PEOPLE who lead the cries of protest, as if they are seeking permission to do what they are going to do with or without approval anyway, merely wishing to bring the Catholic Church to its knees, doctrinally.

    (Heck, I still avoid eating meat on Fridays. Mmm, fish and chips)

    Just yesterday, Chancellor of the Exchequer and heir presumptive to 10 Downing Street, Gordon Brown, a vicar's son, extended a formal invitation to the Pope, to visit the UK at his earliest convenience.

    The somewhat ponderous Mr. Brown also told the elderly, but affable German man, about his drive for vaccinations in Third World countries.

    The Pope replied, "Almighty God will assist your endeavours to accomplish this important work", noting that he will pray for the families involved.

    Maybe, who knows, the Pope will visit the UK, after his trip to Australia, the future site of World Youth Day in Sydney.

    It's as good a primer as any, since Britain is almost without doubt in my mind, the home of the most a-religious people on the face of the earth.

    The vast majority of my compatriots simply find religion, any religion, ridiculous.

    In the words Evelyn Waugh put into the mouth of his anti-hero, Charles Ryder, in Brideshead Revisited, religion was "such a lot of witchcraft and hypocrisy".

    (No doubt, it was this lack of regard and meaning, that propelled heaps of intellectuals, writers, and artists in Britain to convert to Catholicism, in a kind of desperate need to believe in SOMETHING outside of the Church of England's hopeless wafflings as to the importance of faith -- a lesson Brazilians themselves, would do well to remember)

    So, let's hope the warmth and openness of the Australians, will serve to warm his cockles during his no-doubt frostier reception in England.

    Of course, if Britain had a Catholic of the stature of Brazilian soccer god, Pélé, that might be different.





    Somehow, I don't see bullish Manchester United and England star, Wayne Rooney, genuflecting in front of anyone, though he is an ex-altar boy and student of De La Salle School, in Liverpool.

    Obviously, though, Britain is not itself a Roman Catholic country, whereas Brazil at least nominally, counts itself as 91% R.C.

    You might know, though, that Brazil has been bleeding practioners of the faith, ever since the 1960s.

    Already, many of its (mostly uneducated, black or white) citizens intertwined Catholicism with animist soi-disant religions such as macumba but also candomblé its gentler cousin, thus diluting the pull of the Church, even more.

    Ironically, many Brazilians say that the laxness of Vatican II allowed the Catholic Church's power to wane, although there were other considerations as well.

    Many saw the Church in Brazil as collusive with the military dictatorship, from 1964 to 1986, and historically, it was aligned to the elites much before that, as well.

    This is also true of other South American countries, perhaps even moreso than in Brazil.

    And since at least the 1990s, the rise of the charismatic Protestant/Pentacostal churches has garnered millions upon millions of converts.

    Even more baffling is the fact that charismatic churches take a very hard line towards pre-marital sex, especially that of "camisinha" ("little shirt", as they humourously call condoms) prophylactic protection.

    It doesn't make any sense, that if one Church is seen as weakened after Vatican II, and yet at the SAME TIME, inflexible about birth control, that people would suggest these self-same disillusioned, but also frustrated Catholics, would then rush headlong to the arms of even more stringent Christians.

    This just goes to prove my point, that people who decry the Vatican's tough stance on these topics, are merely in it to foment trouble, perhaps then to give the Catholic Church in Brazil, and beyond, a death blow from which it cannot easily recover, IF AT ALL.

    When confronted with this fact, the more cynical anti-Catholics pretend to be on the side of the Church, saying they are merely attempting to help to increase its numbers, if only the Pope would be more flexible with doctrine.

    They intimate that then, with condom permission, with females ordained as priests, with greater permissiveness granted to premarital sex, perhaps all those good Brazilians would leave their charismatic churches, and return to the Catholic fold.

    Right, because remind me how many practising and devout Protestants there are flocking to parish pews in Europe, where their churches are not as "strict" about these matters, as the Roman Catholic is?

    Remind me what are the percentages of Roman Catholics versus Protestants being made, in regions such as Africa?

    Remind me how many Protestant private schools sag with admission requests, versus Roman Catholic ones around the world?

    And though all established Christian religions' priests, vicars, preachers, ministers have sunk in numbers in comparison to a mere 20 years ago, a condition which is of some worry to Catholics without a shadow of a doubt, it doesn't follow that if one religion's chastity policy is non-existent for its clergy, that there would be as much, if not more, of a fall in these vicar ordinations, in theirs.

    To these people, I say, não obrigada.

    You just want Catholics to be as lost, as dismissive, as non-practising, as the few remaining Protestants are, in the Old World.

    We see your game, and we know there is much more at stake, than you just wanting to put some rubber on your willies during Carnival.

    Ahh, carnival, though.

    Such abandon! Such lascivious suggestive dances! Such lance-perfume fun!





    What's a girl to do, but to submit to the will of the Sambodromo.

    That's the only religion I practise during Carnival. Axé!


    SEE VIDEO: This is a video from ABIA, the official educational AIDS department of Brazil, which ran on Brazilian television.

    It shows three couples, a heterosexual one, a male homosexual one, and an elderly couple, who all are HIV positive, putting on condoms before their ardour gets the better of them.

    NOTE: Not Safe For Workplace.



    Can you in your wildest dreams, imagine this advert on US television?

    But this is what the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil, is up against: cultural values represented by this frankness on sexuality, which are then projected into their television programmes.

    To protest against this openness, and suggest -- as many religious organisations in Africa have successfully argued for, that the only true prevention for AIDS is abstinence, etc. -- is nearly hopeless, and thus the RC Church there, is defanged (read, discredited).

    In due time, our Church will change its stance on condom-use, and this will be further proof to people that it is complete and utter nonsense, to follow the dictates of an illogical and yet still retrograde Church, scrambling to keep their membership up.

    It's a no-win situation, all around.

    Labels: , , ,

    15 Comments:

    • Instead of the DaVinci Code, wouldn't a better faux Catholic history novel be built out of Manchurian Candidate? Brrrr...

      I agree with your line of reasoning about the "stealth" Anti-Catholics. Good observations!

      Isn't "fish on Friday" more supporting Renaissance Italian Fishmongers than the Church? :0
      Wouldn't the modern equivalent be "Double Meat Whopper Tuesday?"

      "little shirt?" Shouldn't that be "little pants?" Ah, this explains the Althousian screed on men in shorts I guess!

      That last photo of those dudes -- that's the spirit that moves ya!

      By Blogger Ron, at Sun Feb 11, 05:14:00 am GMT-5  

    • But it is THESE VERY PEOPLE who ... [are] merely wishing to bring the Catholic Church to its knees, doctrinally.

      Yes, they are.

      This just goes to prove my point, that people who decry the Vatican's tough stance on these topics, are merely in it to foment trouble ...

      Yes, they are.

      You just want Catholics to be as lost, as dismissive, as non-practising, as the few remaining Protestants are, in the Old World.

      Yes, they do.

      What's a girl to do, but to submit to the will of the Sambodromo.

      You have no choice.

      That's the only religion I practise during Carnival. Axé!

      Touché! ;-)

      By Blogger Internet Ronin, at Sun Feb 11, 11:29:00 am GMT-5  

    • Instead of the DaVinci Code, wouldn't a better faux Catholic history novel be built out of Manchurian Candidate? Brrrr...

      LOL! Interesting. Presumably, the Pope would play the Angela Lansbury role?

      (Do I hear thunder in the background?)

      I agree with your line of reasoning about the "stealth" Anti-Catholics. Good observations!

      Thanks, Ron. I've argued this point SO MANY TIMES that it's not funny.

      Isn't "fish on Friday" more supporting Renaissance Italian Fishmongers than the Church? :0
      Wouldn't the modern equivalent be "Double Meat Whopper Tuesday?"


      Heh.

      Well I'll tell you, there are all types of reasons, some of them quite illogical, as to why one does something as vetted or approved by our religions.

      Tell me why there is a temple to rats in Hinduism, or Orthodox Jews take a purificatory skinny dip in a pool before sex, or why Protestants erm...don't do anything weird at all, itself very weird!, and I'll give you a response. ;)

      "little shirt?" Shouldn't that be "little pants?"

      NO! LOLOLOL!

      Okay, wait, lemme explain. Hehe, I'm still laughing at what you said, since you will be amused when I explain.

      Pants in Portuguese are calças (kahl-sas), and the diminutive is already taken by their word for women's panties/knickers -- calçinhas!

      And there's no way a guy would wear a calçinha to have sex, unless he were a freak.

      NTTAWWT. Uh-huh, Vic, sure.

      So they must've taken camisinha, as the next viable word on the topic.

      Ah, this explains the Althousian screed on men in shorts I guess!

      I did see Ruth Anne's link, and clicked, but didn't read the screed. What'd she say, what'd she say? Was it nasty, I bet it was!

      That last photo of those dudes -- that's the spirit that moves ya!

      Right! You got it. :)

      I think Brazilians are at heart, at a disadvantage religiously.

      They are SUCH an earthy, sexual people, who are not modest in their everyday lives one bit (they have that rapper habit of men scratching their nether regions IN PUBLIC is a very common occurence in street pavements, and women go out dressed from their house, in clothes I would consider wearing undies in my own home), so these religious prohibitions are really tough on them.

      I mean, it is very hot down there, and air conditioning is simply a luxury to so many Brazilians. What can they do, but take enormous amounts of showers?

      And what do showers lead to...see? :)

      Anyway, I also think that Brazilians are used to celebrating, and they dearly wish that Catholicism would make them put on funny hats, beat the drums, dance in the streets, as their twin cultural loves of carnival and soccer make them do.

      And well, it doesn't. That sucks.

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Feb 11, 01:36:00 pm GMT-5  

    • Touché! ;-)

      Wouldn't that make a wonderful anti-condom campaign slogan, by the Vatican?

      Looké, no Touché

      ;)

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Feb 11, 01:49:00 pm GMT-5  

    • Instead of the DaVinci Code, wouldn't a better faux Catholic history novel be built out of Manchurian Candidate? Brrrr...

      LOL! Interesting. Presumably, the Pope would play the Angela Lansbury role?

      Since it's a German pope, we'd have to throw a bit of Odessa File in there too! We could still get Angela Lansbury! Some kinda old KGB/Stasi plot to elect a
      Vader-like pope...it's got possibilities!

      "little shirt?" Shouldn't that be "little pants?"

      NO! LOLOLOL!

      Okay, wait, lemme explain. Hehe, I'm still laughing at what you said, since you will be amused when I explain.

      Pants in Portuguese are calças (kahl-sas), and the diminutive is already taken by their word for women's panties/knickers -- calçinhas!

      And there's no way a guy would wear a calçinha to have sex, unless he were a freak.

      NTTAWWT. Uh-huh, Vic, sure.

      So they must've taken camisinha, as the next viable word on the topic.


      Wow, I'm funny in languages I don't even know! I'm like Chuck Yeager breaking the Schtick Barrier! Now armed with the knowledge of "panties" in Portuguse, I've got to use that to my advantage somehow! Maybe at Carnivale, yes?

      Althouse has "men should not wear shorts" as one of her picadillos...

      By Blogger Ron, at Sun Feb 11, 03:26:00 pm GMT-5  

    • Ah, yes. Those non-Catholics who don't even have a dog in our fight. They think the Church (and morality, for that matter) is a matter of consensus and that the Church should be a democracy.

      These same people think science should be decided by consensus, as well. Apparently, they have never studied history and do not realize that 600 years ago, the scientific "consensus" was that the earth was flat and the sun revolved around it.

      If wishes were horses...

      By Anonymous class factotum, at Sun Feb 11, 04:39:00 pm GMT-5  

    • "No, no. I mean, because we are members of the Protestant Reformed Church, which successfully challenged the autocratic power of the Papacy in the mid-sixteenth century, we can wear little rubber devices to prevent issue."

      As a completely, utterly non-Catholic, the ferocity with which the Papacy hangs onto the prohibition against contraception baffles me. I realize religion is all about dogma, and the fears of the fate of Onan and the dictate to be fruitful and multiply are still palpable, but we're in the 21st c. now, fer cryin' in church. Dominance through numbers is all well and good, but haven't the ossifying old men in Rome read their Malthus?

      I'm not trying to harsh your Catholicism here--Catholics rules are for Catholics to decide--but logic makes me wonder how smart it is for them to choose this particular sword (pun seriously not intended) to fall upon.

      By Blogger Ploorian, at Sun Feb 11, 08:49:00 pm GMT-5  

    • Vic -- Food post over at my blog!

      By Blogger Ron, at Sun Feb 11, 11:28:00 pm GMT-5  

    • Wow, I'm funny in languages I don't even know!

      Yes! And not only Portuguese, but...

      Althouse has "men should not wear shorts" as one of her picadillos...

      In Spanish too, I see!

      Picadillo is the pan-Latin American dish of chopped up beef, raisins condimented with cumin, atop a bed of white rice.

      This is a plate of picadillo I had recently.

      Just thinking of Ann having some picadillo up in Madison, is enough to put a massive smile on my face.

      P.S.: How are you feeling today?

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 12, 05:38:00 am GMT-5  

    • Ah, yes. Those non-Catholics who don't even have a dog in our fight.

      It's incredible.

      They think they should lecture and dictate us about our religion, but then they become strangely mum about Islam, whose hardliners cannot begin to compare with ours.

      We're actually in the 20th century -- maybe just hitting 1912. ;)

      But they...are in 1212...but oh no, we're the religion of intolerance.

      They think the Church (and morality, for that matter) is a matter of consensus and that the Church should be a democracy.

      One of the most interesting aspects of the Conclave, is watching all these Christiane Amanpours, Tim Russerts and Chris Matthews' (the latter of whom are Catholics) completely frustrated about what to talk about -- since the election is a closed, all-male system, obviously.

      By its very nature, antithetical to everything they know and understand in their cultures.

      By definition, it's not democratic.

      Plus, you can't poll Cardinals at the end of the day, as they come out of "the voting booth".

      These same people think science should be decided by consensus, as well. Apparently, they have never studied history and do not realize that 600 years ago, the scientific "consensus" was that the earth was flat and the sun revolved around it.

      Well, to be sure there were very different viewpoints on that matter, but there were prevailing attitudes, of couse.

      If wishes were horses...

      Of courses. ;)

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 12, 05:46:00 am GMT-5  

    • As a completely, utterly non-Catholic, the ferocity with which the Papacy hangs onto the prohibition against contraception baffles me. I realize religion is all about dogma, and the fears of the fate of Onan and the dictate to be fruitful and multiply are still palpable, but we're in the 21st c. now, fer cryin' in church. Dominance through numbers is all well and good, but haven't the ossifying old men in Rome read their Malthus?

      Heh. Funny that. :)

      I concede that the RC Church is behind the times, as compared to say the Church of England, which cedes way to each and every viewpoint considered modern.

      But that is precisely my point.

      You'd think that people, when being given a more accomodating religion, would at least make for an increase attendance in church or up their belief in said religion.

      But it patently DOES NOT create more belief, and does not up the congregants.

      Why, why why?

      On the contrary, it weakens that religion, by not standing for ANYTHING.

      That is a major reason, although to be sure, it's not the only one.

      Part of the modern condition is about not wanting rules to dictate our behaviour in the Western World.

      It was a century-long process, but once undone, cannot easily be got back to.

      I'm not trying to harsh your Catholicism here--Catholics rules are for Catholics to decide--but logic makes me wonder how smart it is for them to choose this particular sword (pun seriously not intended) to fall upon.

      Oh don't worry, I get you. :)

      But I'd just like to say that sexual matters are the crux of civilisation, and how we behave accordingly.

      Condom or birth control in general is not like the "no fish on Fridays" which could be amended.

      The latter was in theory (read Ron's comment above) to honour the death of Christ and his suffering through flesh on Good Friday.

      That is, it was largely a symbolic custom, although I believe strongly in the power of symbolism.

      The other deals with how you behave sexually; about the relationship of the individual, to his or her body AND to others, as well, and the responsibilities we bear, towards those persons by our decisions, which become actions.

      As the Peter Sarsgaard character said to Liam Neeson's character in Kinsey, "Sex is not the only thing. It's EVERYTHING."

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 12, 05:58:00 am GMT-5  

    • Vic -- Food post over at my blog!

      Woohoo! Is it about Michigan food? Is there Michigan food? ;)

      Cheers,
      Victoria

      By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon Feb 12, 06:01:00 am GMT-5  


    • P.S.: How are you feeling today?


      I haven't slept all night; my throat is now raw, and I'm totally congested. When I lie down to sleep -- no good, my lungs are full o' fluid!

      So I walked over to my 24 hour drugstore, and I am medicating... Lets see if it works!

      By Blogger Ron, at Mon Feb 12, 06:23:00 am GMT-5  

    • Ploorian, I have no doubt that those "old men in Rome" have read their Malthus, as educated people usually have. Most educated people also know that Malthus has been discredited, too. Give me one solid example where population has outstripped resources and human ingenuity has not solved the problem with a substitute. Just one.

      By Anonymous class factotum, at Mon Feb 12, 09:12:00 am GMT-5  

    • class-factotum, I realize Malthus has long been discredited. My comment was part joke and part commentary that over-population is a real phenomenon with real problems associated with it. An inflexible policy regarding contraception adds to that problem.

      You'd think that people, when being given a more accomodating religion, would at least make for an increase attendance in church or up their belief in said religion.

      But it patently DOES NOT create more belief, and does not up the congregants.

      Why, why why?


      The rise of more charasmatic Protestant sects (megachurches, Assembly of God, Seventh Day Advent) likely proves your point on this also. Some Protestants are looking for more, errr, religion in their religion these days.


      But I'd just like to say that sexual matters are the crux of civilisation, and how we behave accordingly.

      Condom or birth control in general is not like the "no fish on Fridays" which could be amended.

      The latter was in theory (read Ron's comment above) to honour the death of Christ and his suffering through flesh on Good Friday.

      That is, it was largely a symbolic custom, although I believe strongly in the power of symbolism.

      The other deals with how you behave sexually; about the relationship of the individual, to his or her body AND to others, as well, and the responsibilities we bear, towards those persons by our decisions, which become actions.


      I see your point and understand that church doctrine re: sexual mores is a core element of religion, I just really scratch my head at why prohibiting a married couple from using a little rubber device is so crucial. I can't think of any direct prohibition against contraception in the Bible and it's not as though RC doctrine has remained static since Paul. Taking a strong stand on abortion, pre-marital sex, and adultery makes some sense to me, but I have a hard time seeing where the justification for an outright ban on contraception comes from.

      Beyond the contraception issue, I think you can look to things like primacy for why RC attendance remains strong. Being the original, the first, seems to be very important is so many things.

      As the Peter Sarsgaard character said to Liam Neeson's character in Kinsey, "Sex is not the only thing. It's EVERYTHING."

      Aaargh! I hate that SOB Kinsey. How much misery that half-assed researcher has wrought in the modern world. (But, yeah, in many ways sex is indeed everything.)

      By Blogger Ploorian, at Mon Feb 12, 07:07:00 pm GMT-5  

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