On the new Pope

Though conservative on church doctrine, he has criticised priests who refuse to baptise babies born to single mothers.

Well of fucking course!

In doctrine, baptism is that first and essential step towards future eternal life. If you want to be really crude about it, that Mommy (sans confession) is going to the eternal flames is no damn reason that babby is too.

Damnit, I\’d be entirely astonished if any Catholic priest refused to baptise a child, or indeed give extreme unction. And BTW, you don\’t need a priest for baptism anyway: if one\’s available that\’s great but they\’re not actually required for that one. Nor, amazingly, for marriage*.

Sure, OK, we all know I don\’t believe these things: but priests are actually supposed to.

On the other hand it\’s going to be very, very, interesting with Il Papa and the Argentine fascist dictatorship. And blimey, a Jesuit? Bit like a civil servant becoming PM.

*Bonking is, in strict terms, marriage. And it\’s very definitely true that if, say, a shipwrecked couple decide to commit to each other in the absence of a priest then that\’s a marriage as valid as any other….according to Church rules. As to the baptism, water and the sign of the cross do. I am one of those baptised twice (and no, I don\’t mean \”born again\”) as a twisted cord meant immediate baptism on the grounds that I was probably dead/dying then the one where I could cry lustily as the extended family looked on.

20 comments on “On the new Pope

  1. Quite so. If the power of the Word together with the water is transformative, then the moral position of the parents is irrelevant.

    I’m somewhat concerned, however, that we seem to have a Pietist (for that’s what Franciscans really are) for a pope.

  2. Damnit, I-d be entirely astonished if any Catholic priest refused to baptise a child, or indeed give extreme unction.

    The ignorance of the media where the Catholic Church is concerned is not merely so deep it is unfathomable, it is also perfect in the same way that a Black Hole traps even light. They are so sure of their moral righteousness that they do not even know they do not know. CNN for instance reported that Francis (Oh. My. God.) was the first non-European Pope.

    One assumes that they had heard of Peter. (Not to mention at least three Africans)

    I doubt that any priest has ever refused to baptise a baby born of a single mother. Even one. Once.

    On the other hand it-s going to be very, very, interesting with Il Papa and the Argentine fascist dictatorship. And blimey, a Jesuit? Bit like a civil servant becoming PM.

    A Jesuit? It is likely to be interesting because he is probably on the side of the terrorists, not the junta. A Jesuit who calls himself after Francis. This is not going to end well.

  3. Journalists just don’t get the Cathos, do they?

    My favourite:
    Worldly Monsignor: “Of course, we have been sinners since that unfortunate incident in the Garden…”
    Journalist: “Which garden, where is it?”

  4. I was mistaken. The new pope is, despite the name, not a Franciscan but a Jesuit.

    Even still, that is no comfort.

  5. Imaginary follow up question from Guardian journo:

    “This Garden, was it private or municipal?”

  6. As a catholic atheist, I found it all strangely moving.

    I hope I will not be too disappointed.

    First he has to ok rubber jonnies. Then maybe let the priests marry (but not to eachother).

  7. Frederick – “First he has to ok rubber jonnies. Then maybe let the priests marry (but not to eachother).”

    So basically you are holding the standard Guardian position that for the Pope to be alright he has to first stop being a Catholic?

    An intriguing suggestion I must say.

    (Not to mention that the present Pope does let some priests marry. As all Popes have done.)

  8. @ SMFS

    I’m not sure either of those ‘requests’ equate to asking the Pope to not be catholic.

    Priests being unable to marry is all about the olden day church trying to retain wealth.. an economic, rather than ecumenical, matter.

    As for condoms… If the bible tells us that every sperm is sacred (does it? I read my ‘Childrens Illustrated’ bible many times, and don’t recall… but I think that version missed some stuff) then, indeed, there’s an argument that asking the church to change position on the matter is to ask it to betray the very essence of it’s being.

    However, we know that the reason the church’s opposition to contraception is a problem is the impact it has in poor countries.. notably with regards to AIDS. When the big JC came down to do his new testament thing, he was big on loving thy neighbours and doing some serious PR for dad after all that nasty plague and fear stuff in the old testament. Would it really be so ‘uncatholic’ to put the welfare of millions of poor people (which is a big theme in christianity) above literal interpretations of lines about jizz?

    When it comes to the ‘the gays’ issues, I’m inclined to follow your line of reasononing. It’s not for any Pope to make a dramatic departure from scripture in order to bend to modern social values. The whole point of following a book written 2000 years ago is that they believe the book is the word of God, and unless he sends us an updated version (keep an eye on the iBooks store, just in case) then it is what it is. The issues at hand here, however, don’t seem to clear cut (accepting, of course, that many think that the gay thing is equally worthy of new thinking, as with shellfish and stoning adulterous wives, or whatever else Leviticus was angsty about).

  9. Has nobody but me heard of St Francis Xavier, founder of the, er, Jesuits? The new bloke appears to think that Las Malvinas son Argentinas, if the extracts from a sermon in the ‘Telegraph’ are correctly reported. Troubling.

  10. The Thought Gang – “I-m not sure either of those “requests” equate to asking the Pope to not be catholic.”

    For the standard definition of being a Catholic, it looks a lot like it to me.

    “Priests being unable to marry is all about the olden day church trying to retain wealth.. an economic, rather than ecumenical, matter.”

    Actually that would be a Marxist, and hence both cynical and malicious, interpretation of why priests are unable to marry. As such it may be true, it is possible, but without proof it is an opinion and nothing more.

    “As for condoms… If the bible tells us that every sperm is sacred (does it? I read my “Childrens Illustrated” bible many times, and don’t recall… but I think that version missed some stuff)”

    No one I know of is arguing that every sperm is sacred. Dishonesty is not going to get this argument far.

    “However, we know that the reason the church’s opposition to contraception is a problem is the impact it has in poor countries.. notably with regards to AIDS.”

    Which is interesting because we know no such thing. Especially as the teaching on the subject pre-date knowledge of AIDS by a good few hundred years.

    “When the big JC came down to do his new testament thing, he was big on loving thy neighbours and doing some serious PR for dad after all that nasty plague and fear stuff in the old testament. Would it really be so ‘uncatholic’ to put the welfare of millions of poor people (which is a big theme in christianity) above literal interpretations of lines about jizz?”

    First of all, that is an absurd and childish interpretation of what Jesus came down to do. And proves the point about why it is foolish to change on this subject. It may make liberals feel better about the Pope, but as they are not and never will be Catholics there is no point even trying to appease them. Honest hatred is at least a sign of a grown up mind. Secondly, the welfare of poor people has nothing to do with condoms. As TW has pointed out many times, the people of the Third World have the children they want. Giving them contraception will not change the number of children they have one little bit.

    As for HIV, if people actually listened to the Pope, there would be no AIDS. In fact the closer people get to the Pope’s views, the less AIDS they have. The only policy that seems to have worked in Africa is Uganda’s ABC – Abstinence, Being Faithful and only then condoms. Condom only policies are spectacular failures. If you gave a damn about the poor, you would not support them.

    So to recap – the Papal position has no effect on the number of children of the poor and as far as condoms and HIV goes, it is all for the good.

  11. The new bloke appears to think that Las Malvinas son Argentinas, if the extracts from a sermon in the -Telegraph- are correctly reported. Troubling.

    Hardly. Given that the fundamental basis of the damn-dago claim is the C15 bulls “Inter caetera” and “Ea quae” issued by one of his predecessors, you could argue that he is merely being historically consistent. The fact that neither HMG nor the Falkland Islands’ Legislative Council (or, in fact, modern international law) recognise Papal authority in this area is, of course, utterly irrelevant :)

  12. A couple of facts on Catholicism:

    1. Tim is spot on; bonking, or rather deeply committed bonking is indeed marriage. My parish priest, a former missionary would visit a particular village in Kenya about once every 9 months. He “witnessed the marriage” i.e celebrated the wedding mass of a couple he describes as having been married for about 7 months.
    2. The last pope didn’t allow priests to marry; he allowed married men, usually clergy who had converted from other denominations, to become priests. Not the same thing.

    However Tim, may I suggest the “civil servant for PM” analogy doesn’t quite hold. A Jesuit as Pope is more like a PM who understands a fair bit about economics and perhaps understands science enough to sift through all the crap put forward by the pro and anti-AGW mobs and doesn’t have a particularly big ego. In other words; the sort of person who will never become PM. So, all in all, a miracle!

  13. The last pope didn-t allow priests to marry

    Well, taking the definition of marriage you’ve used, he certainly did. As has been said before – priestly celibacy has been, for much of the history of the Catholic church, acknowledged more as aspiration than reality. And the relationships formed certainly were recognised as almost or even marriage. Hell, some of the spawn became cardinals and even Pope, which would not have been as easy if they were seen as carrying the stigma of bastardy.

  14. Ironman – “2. The last pope didn-t allow priests to marry; he allowed married men, usually clergy who had converted from other denominations, to become priests. Not the same thing.”

    I agree it is not the same thing. Which is why I was not referring to that. But to things like the fact that Maronite Priests marry. Being fully paid up members of the Catholic Church. As do the priests of various Slavic “Uniate” Churches.

    So the previous Pope and this one both allow some priests to marry. Not just Anglicans going over to Rome either.

    15 Surreptitious Evil – “And the relationships formed certainly were recognised as almost or even marriage. Hell, some of the spawn became cardinals and even Pope, which would not have been as easy if they were seen as carrying the stigma of bastardy.”

    Certainly? You have any evidence for this? Why would it have been a problem for a bastard to make it to be Pope? You agree that some priests refuse to baptise the children of single mothers? Why would the sins of the Father be visited on the child?

  15. @SMFS

    If there’s a bit in the bible that says priests cannot be married, then show us. There are going to be a few red faces because the ‘marxist’ view of things gets a lot of press.. even in these parts. Now.. maybe that view is still the wrong one

  16. @SMFS

    If there’s a bit in the bible that says priests cannot be married, then show us. There are going to be a few red faces because the ‘marxist’ view of things gets a lot of press.. even in these parts. Now.. maybe that view is still the wrong one.. but whatever the real reason, if it’s not in the Bible and nobody can cite sound authority for it, then there’s no basis for considering it ‘uncatholic’ to change the approach.

    “Dishonesty is not going to get this argument far.”

    I wasn’t being ‘dishonest’, I was being ‘frivolous’. ‘Every sperm is sacred’ is a pop-culture reference.

    “Which is interesting because we know no such thing. Especially as the teaching on the subject pre-date knowledge of AIDS by a good few hundred years.”

    Yeah, and that’s relevant because of what? My point was that the objections to the teaching.. those objections we have now, to the teaching that is happening now, are based on the AIDS that we have now.

    “It may make liberals feel better about the Pope, but as they are not and never will be Catholics there is no point even trying to appease them.”

    You may be a catholic, you may not. I’m lapsed, but I got the full upbringing.. Irish family, nuns, guilt etc. I have a good number of very devout family and friends.. some of whom I’d call ‘liberal’ some who are entirely conservative (the split being broadly generational). Not a single one amongst them agrees with the official line on contraception.

    Now.. I accept that a change in teaching from the Pope will not heal the world. And even that it’s people not doing what the Pope thinks they should that have brought us to where we are… but now that there are millions of children being born with AIDS around the world, shall we stop with the ‘We told you so’ bullshit?

  17. The Thought Gang – “If there-s a bit in the bible that says priests cannot be married, then show us.”

    If anyone is going to criticise the Catholic Church, just like anyone else, they should take the trouble to understand them first. It may come as a shock to hear that the Catholics are not Protestants. Sola scriptura is not and never has been Catholic doctrine. “[T]he Church … does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.’

    “There are going to be a few red faces because the “marxist” view of things gets a lot of press.. even in these parts.”

    Ritchie gets a lot of press. Doesn’t make him right. If you have evidence of this claim, by all means, feel free to produce it.

    “Now.. maybe that view is still the wrong one.. but whatever the real reason, if it’s not in the Bible and nobody can cite sound authority for it, then there’s no basis for considering it “uncatholic” to change the approach.”

    Yeah but can they cite sound authority for it? That is the question. They tend to think so although priestly celibacy is a matter of discipline not doctrine.

    “I wasn’t being “dishonest”, I was being “frivolous”. “Every sperm is sacred” is a pop-culture reference.”

    I recognised it, but it was both frivolous and dishonest. It is not a position I have defended or that anyone holds. So it is irrelevant to this discussion and wrong to try to pretend anyone has said it.

    “My point was that the objections to the teaching.. those objections we have now, to the teaching that is happening now, are based on the AIDS that we have now.”

    People hate Catholics. They are always going to object to their teaching. That is not the issue. The issue is whether they have any rational basis for their hatred. As it happens, on HIV, the reality is clear – condom-centred pro-promiscuity programmes result in more HIV infections. Adopting the Pope’s position would result in none and the closer people get, the fewer there are. They can object all they like, just as people used to object to Jews using the blood of Christians to make their bread.

    “’m lapsed, but I got the full upbringing.. Irish family, nuns, guilt etc. I have a good number of very devout family and friends.. some of whom I’d call ‘liberal’ some who are entirely conservative (the split being broadly generational). Not a single one amongst them agrees with the official line on contraception.”

    So what? By what meaningful standard are they Catholics? How many of their grandchildren go to mass? The Church can collapse and become like the Anglicans. How is their attendance these days? Or they can hold firm and grow like the Evangelicals. Their choice.

    “Now.. I accept that a change in teaching from the Pope will not heal the world.”

    But it will destroy what is left of the Church.

    “but now that there are millions of children being born with AIDS around the world, shall we stop with the “We told you so” bullshit?”

    There are not millions of children being born with HIV around the world and the Church is not saying I told you so. They are doing what the secular left so notably is not – caring for the sick and dying, quietly, every day, with compassion and faith. As they have been for hundreds of years.

  18. @SMFS

    “But it will destroy what is left of the Church.”

    If the only thing holding global catholisism together is the papal line of durex.. which is scantly adhered to anyway by catholics in the developed world.. then, I hate to tell you, it’s already been destroyed and people are just playing the thing out until everyone realises.

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