(over the wrong issue)
There's been loads and loads of press coverage lately about Ratzinger, er, Pope Benedict the whatever. Ugh, I can't even bring myself to say it. He'll always be Ratzinger to me.
Mostly he's been taking flak for insulting pretty much everyone on earth, espeically the muslims. Well, to be fair his insult of the Jews was actually a lot worse to my mind (stood in the middle of Auschwitz and told them that the real victim of the Holocaust was Christianity), but he's been getting press for pissing off the Muslims because the Muslims are reacting more. It's the cartoon fiasco all over again. Someone does something thoughtless and insensitive, the world Muslim community responds by:
b) calling for blood
c) burning churches
d) all of the above
If you guessed "d", you're a winner! Give yourself a gold star, genius.
Now, I have a hard time getting too riled up over this because the way I see it, people on both sides are being selfish fuckwits. I really have no sympathy for either of them, the Pope or the Muslims. One's an asshole (again), the others are over-reacting. Again. Lose-lose situation. Moving on.
The one that's really got me is the whole Intelligent Design thing. Ratzinger is about to bring the Catholic church into it. The Church has never mandated a literal interpretation of the Old Testament. Not for a few centuries, anyway. Because of this, it doesn't have big problem with the idea of evolution. Pope JPII was fairly progressive in terms of scientific achievement. He recognized the accomplishments of Darwin, didn't have issue with evolution or natural selection. Heck, he even apologized to Galileo and his descendants for the Churche's big fuck-up over the whole solar system thang.
Ratzinger is about to undo all that. (Well, maybe not the solar system thing, but given enough time, who knows?) If the Church reverses its position on evolution and goes over to the side of the narrow-minded fundamentalist idiots known in America as the Religious Right (known in my mind as the Religious Wrong), it will be a major doctrinal shift that will have ramifications for Catholic education all over the world. Catholic schools will no longer be able to teach evolutionary biology. And what of all the Catholic universities? Highly respected institutions like Loyola University and Notre Dame will have serious propblems on their hands. Will they eject their biology departments, or risk excommunication? (I got $1000 says the Jesuits over at Loyola take excommunication before they sacrifice the qualitiy of their education. Any takers?)
In an age where technology is developing at an exponential pace, education is more critical than ever. It is no longer enough to know the three Rs to survive in society. One must be scientifically and technolgically literate as well. The difference between the Knows and the Know Nots is rapidly becoming as significant as the difference between the Haves and the Have Nots. It is into this 21st century setting that the Pope is seriously handicapping all his followers, attempting to force them back into an age of blindness and ignorance. In his role as shepherd, Ratzinger is not leading with the hand of compassion and understanding. In his narrow judgment and condemnation of human behavior, he is not doing his flock any favors.