Tag Archives: Vatican

The Papacy and the Penis

Christianity isn’t the only religion to have relegated women to the back rows and lesser positions in the church (if any) but Catholicism definitely rates high on the list of religious groups that discriminate against women. All those religions who begin with Adam and Eve see the world in a certain light. As the Genesis story goes, Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The other tree was the tree of life. Eve made the choice and then convinced Adam to take a bite.

Pope Joan, women in the church, Catholicism

Pope Joan was obliterated from the Vatican’s history. Wikimedia commons.

And so, through time it’s the woman’s fault for the fact that the man was weak, couldn’t make his own decision, followed in her footsteps and has never ever lived it down? Interestingly, humanity’s “flaw” was originally that Eve chose to know about good and evil, to be self-aware, that had them kicked out of a never-changing (and possibly boring) paradise. After all, we must never forget that although God made us in its/his/her own image, humanity was also given the ability to choose, not obey mindlessly.

The original sin, therefore was choosing to know. But Christianity was spawned out of Judaism and older religions and a time when women were already considered the lesser being of the race by some cultures. As it developed from a cultic following into a religion the church fathers slowly puffing up on their own importance until they ruled over kings and ordained what was to be with the mortal soul. They also put women in their place.  Whether this was because of some repressed homosexuality or woman hating or weird issues of control, we’ll never know for sure. It seems at least that St. Peter was very jealous of Mary Magdalene and didn’t like women.

By the fourth and fifth centuries Christianity was much more theologized, philosophized and codified. There were women priests and deacons but the tides were turning against them. Part of the reason was that church doctrine, run more and more only by men said that the original sin and the downfall of “man” was not seeking knowledge, but was Eve’s fault and that that original sin was sex. Yes, sex, something that is part of almost all species  in the continuation of a race. But it was slowly relegated to stricter and stricter guidelines as the Church sought to control people and gain wealth. No sex on Sundays, no sex on feast days, sex only after dark, no fun sex, sex only for propagation because the more you had sex the farther you were from being a perfect being. Of course if the church succeeded 100% with having everyone abstain from sex (a somewhat unnatural form for any living being) then they would have been so good the human race would have ceased to exist. Would that make Christianity nihilistic?

In the highly male dominated church world, where woman were the seductresses and whores, the sensual and lascivious, the emotional and the simple, there came a secret that the Catholic church has tried to hide ever since but there is enough evidence that it truly happened. People lived in a world dominated by the penis, whether the mace carried in parliament, the rod and scepter of royalty or the holy rood of the church, the phallic emblem indicated power to wield over others.

But in the 9th century there was a young woman who learned keenly and intelligently. Her name was Johanna. Through many different travels she managed to work her way up through the church, disguised as Brother Johann. In the days of the middle and dark ages, men and women wore similar garments, long robes. A slim woman or one who bound her breasts, who wasn’t particularly feminine looking (remember they didn’t wear make-up or push-up bras then, could easily look like a man. So it was with Johanna, or Johannus.

She fooled the Roman Catholic church enough that she became pope. After a short reign on the papal throne she was discovered when she gave birth on a papal procession and was either stoned to death, deposed or died of the birth. There were two Pope John XIVs, and there might have been a Pope Joan in the 11th to the 9th century. Or perhaps it is made up, just a fiction. One thing is for sure, the Church would want it to be a fiction, to not support it with fact and to hide any information that could be construed as truth. And why? Not be cause it doesn’t follow what’s true but because it would mean a woman rose to the highest station  possible, and if one woman could do it, why not others? They wouldn’t then be inferior creatures, would they? The penis would begin to wilt and not be quite so mighty.

Some Catholic women have begun to petition and protest to the Vatican insisting on ordination for women. Whereas many branches of Christianity now have ordained women, the Roman Catholic Church resists change and equality with a ferocity that Peter would be proud of. You have to really wonder, what are they so afraid of? If women really are the inferior creatures talked about by the Church, then why did Jesus reveal his resurrected self first to a woman, and Eve wouldn’t have chosen knowledge over eternal life.

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Pope Benedict, Shake Your Head

When is the Catholic church going to pull its head out of the Dark Ages where it first firmly entrenched itself and burned/destroyed any symbols, artifacts and writings of other beliefs (hence bringing on the “Dark Ages”)? I’ve always wondered about any religion that freezes in time. Not that the Catholic church is the only one but wearing the frocks and habits of fashionable dress from the 11th and 12th centuries gets a little…old.

Besides traditions stuck in the past, so is Benedict’s and the Church’s beliefs: “Homosexual acts are a ‘destruction of God’s work,’ he said.” (CBC  http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/12/23/pope-speech.html )  The article is a little vague in connecting his comments to anti-homosexual statements. The Vatican site doesn’t list it yet in English but someone posted the rest. Here is a significant part that talks in roundabout terms of men and women as the only natural way of relationships: “It is necessary to have something like an ecology of man, understood in the right sense. It is not outdated metaphysics when the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and asks that this natural order be respected.” 

The Church has always said go forth and multiply. It’s part of the reason we have overcrowding and poverty, and consequently more disease. If we had statistics that went back centuries I’m betting that they would show that homosexuality rises with overpopulation: perhaps Ma Nature’s way to control population growth besides disease. I know I once read about a study with rats that showed they moved to homosexuality when overcrowded. I’m not sure what the other factors were, if there were equal numbers in genders but it would be an interesting aspect of the Gaia hypothesis.

Pierre Trudeau (past Prime Minister of Canada) once said, “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” Likewise there is no place for the Church. It really is no one’s business and if they actually decided that the soul was jeopardized and unsalvageable (if it commits homosexual acts), then there would be no reason to rally against it.

I mean really, there is no need for every human being to keep multiplying. Condoms are okay. Homosexuality is okay. They help control the population. More people do not necessarily equal Christian converts and the Church just doesn’t seem to get that its outmoded view is alienating more people than it’s bringing into its folds. Granted the Vatican is still one of the riches entities in the world, but that could subside (maybe they have secret stocks in condom manufacturers).

I do believe that Benedict on one level thinks he’s trying to save souls and that he sees homosexuality as a “disorder” that harms the spirit and will keep that person from getting into heaven. However, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he wrote a very long letter to the Bishops on care of homosexual persons in 1986. It’s very long, it goes into great detail on spirit and will and culpability. He is so concerned in fact that I think “he doth protesteth too much.”

We’ll never know but can only conjecture. But I wouldn’t doubt if Ratzinger joined the Church to avoid that holy union of man and woman, which God sees as natural. Odd that, how the Catholic church says it is what God wants but won’t let its priests and nuns marry or have sex. Hmmm. Ratzinger, then in trying to lead a pious and holy life devoid of all sex, including deviant, disordered sex, had to resist  his own inclinations and if he can do it, then anyone can and he can save those poor homosexual persons, because he saved himself.

That may only be a tale but I would like to think that perhaps that’s what the Pope believes. He does caution in 1986 against acts of violence on homosexuals but he certainly is vehemently against it.

Still, I wonder about the Church’s view and railing against homosexuality when there are worse crimes. There is murder and burglary and rape and other violence. Oh and there is pedophilia, perpetrated so often by the Catholic Church’s priests that they’ve been forced to make some apologies. Doesn’t Jesus say something like, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

I’d suggest that the Pope check his glass walls before he starts tossing stones on gay people. Excerpts below, from Cardinal Ratzinger’s “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html

 However, the Catholic moral viewpoint is founded on human reason illumined by faith and is consciously motivated by the desire to do the will of God our Father. The Church is thus in a position to learn from scientific discovery but also to transcend the horizons of science and to be confident that her more global vision does greater justice to the rich reality of the human person in his spiritual and physical dimensions, created by God and heir, by grace, to eternal life…

Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder…

The Church can never be so callous. It is true that her clear position cannot be revised by pressure from civil legislation or the trend of the moment. But she is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. She is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.

10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action….

Given at Rome, 1 October 1986.

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