Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Pope’s Easter speech (erm, 2007, hey, topical)

Well I’m already late with this and I’m having difficulty (as time presses) digging out the English translation of the text of his 2011 speech, but I found with some disgust his speech from 2007.

Here it is, from Fox News of all places.

There’s lots I’d like to say about his certainty over the details of the resurrection and even the particular emotions of those reputably present, but there are bigger fish to fry.

We may all be tempted by the disbelief of Thomas. Suffering, evil, injustice, death, especially when it strikes the innocent such as children who are victims of war and terrorism, of sickness and hunger, does not all of this put our faith to the test?

It ought to. It’s not compatible with a loving and caring god and no amount of prevaricating about the bush will make it so.

Paradoxically the disbelief of Thomas is most valuable to us in these cases because it helps to purify all false concepts of God and leads us to discover his true face: the face of a God who, in Christ, has taken upon himself the wounds of injured humanity.

The wounds…..inflicted by god in the first place?  And the wounds he continues to inflict, regardless of Jesus’ supposed vicarious sacrifice?  We can see the true face of your god, alright, just as we can see your presto-chango non-sequitur.

Ratzi tortures a rather poor metaphor over everlasting flames and gnashing teeth.  Thomas, you see, doubted that Jesus had sprung back to life, possibly due to the fact that the idea is absurd.  But when he saw the risen Christ with his own eyes – and especially when he touched the nail holes – he was convinced.  All well and good.  Win for skepticism.  But Ratzi equates the wounds of Jesus with the wounds of all humanity, meaning that the suffering of the majority of people in the world should convince us of the benevolence of god.

This doctrine is as monstrous as it is ridiculous.  All Ratzi’s done is wrap the problem of theodicy in some spongy language he expects nobody to pick at.  Sorry, Ratzi, but this is the Internet.  You’re on our turf now.

He goes on to list some calamities, although I’m not sure why.  We’re already aware of them and Ratzi doesn’t bring any further insight or – heaven forbid – promise of actual aid, given his church’s vast wealth. 

Oh go on then, I tell a lie.  After a long paragraph detailing various horrible things, Ratzi does offer us a crumb of comfort:

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a grievous crisis and for this reason the Bishops of that country in a recent document indicated prayer and a shared commitment for the common good as the only way forward.

Prayer is the only way forward.  So some bishops wrote a document about it.  It seems to me that organisations like the Red Cross manage to find another way forward, writing fewer self-aggrandising documents and doing more, you know, actually helping people.

This is the sort of turgid mess that needs a masterful summing up.  Here's Ratzi’s:

In fact, by his rising the Lord has not taken away suffering and evil from the world but has vanquished them at their roots by the superabundance of his grace.

So….are people still suffering or not?  Hands up everyone who doesn’t live in a solid gold palace.  The rest of us fortunate to live in the affluent West might like to hold up the hands of children too weak to do it themselves or the stumps of people who’ve had them cut off. I freely admit I’m on a high-horse here and it’s not as though I do everything I could to help the less fortunate.  But at least I don’t fucking glorify in their suffering because it makes me feel better about myself, which is what the Vicar of Christ on Earth plainly advocates.

He has countered the arrogance of evil with the supremacy of his love. He has left us the love that does not fear death, as the way to peace and joy.

And yet there’s still suffering, not very much peace and – for many (again, those not living in golden pointy hats) – a lifelong lack of joy.  So what has god done to ‘counter’ the evils the pope is so studious to mention?  The problems are still going on, the evil is unabated, the people are still suffering. 

But that’s OK, because the suffering of people we’ll never meet tells us how good god really is because….of….Jesus’….wounds…..in a book….

You see that, right?

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