Saturday, January 07, 2012

Cardinal Pell, volcanoes, cribs, kopimi and the power of broccoli ...

(Above: the new theology, more below).

To the pond's eternal shame - and who knows, possibly eternal hellfire and damnation - thoughts of Cardinal George Pell have been absent for weeks and weeks, replaced by a troubling carnality, a lust for popcorn and chocolate, and sob, chocolate-and-popcorn saturated sex ...

As a result, the pond almost missed Pell's apparent conversion to scientology in his January 1st homily for the New Year in the Sunday Terror:

Naples has its own volcano Mt. Vesuvius, which destroyed Pompeii in 79 A.D., erupting 30 times since then, most recently in 1944. Neapolitans acknowledge disaster is inevitable at some stage. God's judgement is recognized as explicitly as the sins of the flesh and one popular image features a cross planted in the fires of purgatory, surrounded by the faces of those being purified for heaven. A bishop or priest and a nun are always there. (Naples)

Let's do the math: volcano + Mt. Vesuvius + 30 eruptions + Neapolitans + inevitable disaster = God's judgement = 23.

Now as any student of scientology knows, volcanoes are a sure sign of trouble:

In the OT levels, Hubbard explains how to reverse the effects of past-life trauma patterns that supposedly extend millions of years into the past. Among these advanced teachings is the story of Xenu (sometimes Xemu), introduced as the tyrant ruler of the "Galactic Confederacy." According to this story, 75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs in the volcanoes. The thetans then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today. Scientologists at advanced levels place considerable emphasis on isolating body thetans and neutralizing their ill effects. (here at the wiki).

Hang on, what would L. Ron Hubbard know up against climate expert George Pell? As anyone knows, the real problem is that volcanoes are the cause of climate change:

"The influence of various solar mechanisms (such as sunspot activity) and changing ocean circulation, which are poorly understood, are "omitted from the climate models", as is the influence of major volcanoes …" (Cardinal Pell lecture peddles misrepresentation of climate science).

Thankfully Pell junket tour of Italy is on hand to remind us that god takes the form of volcanoes - most notably Mt. Vesuvius - to mete out punishment and justice to the wicked and the dissolute - and it seems that the dissolute are most notably Neapolitans, and thank the lord he's been dishing it out since he gave Pompeii a good going over in 79AD, before the Xian message could reach the decadent Romans. That's when he's not arranging for climate change via sun spots and volcanoes ...

Oh wicked Neapolitans, ruin of us all.

Is that graffiti on a Pompeii brothel we see before us?

Now you might think that thinking that a volcano is god incarnate, meting out lava, ash, fire and brimstone to the wicked, is a tad animinist. Or is it animatist?

Animatism is a widespread belief, especially in small-scale societies. Among the Polynesian cultures of the South Pacific, this power is commonly known as "mana". For them it is a force that is inherent in all objects, plants, and animals (including people) to different degrees. Some things or people have more of it than others and are, therefore, potentially dangerous. For instance, a chief may have so much of it that he must be carried around all of the time. If he were to walk on the ground, sufficient residual amounts of his mana might remain in his footprints to harm ordinary people if they later stepped on them. Volcanoes and some other places were thought to have concentrated mana and were, therefore, very dangerous. (here)

Dammit, Pell goes theologically deep, flinging the pond into wild thoughts of totemism, shamanism, polytheism and other forms of primitive -isms (all mentioned in the wiki on animism).

Could this because of the Neapolitan love of cheap stereotypical jokes, a taste apparently shared by Pell?

...mischief makers claim that Africa begins at Naples and a cynical Neapolitan priest once told me that Naples is the only African city without a European quarter!

And as for Palermo ... whoever thought Sicilians were European?

What a card and a mischief maker Cardinal Pell is, a real joker in the pack.

How about an amusing anecdote about drunks?

Neapolitan cribs depict the Holy Family in tatty ruins, often around a broken classical column. The three wise men are handsome and elegant in 17th century costumes, while the shepherds are ugly and old, caricatures of dismay or surprise, with their sheep and bagpipes. Often an old drunk is nearby sleeping it off.

Naples' cribs are regularly beautiful, like the one for Domus Australia, but they all demonstrate that salvation is offered to everyone, not just the staid and respectable.

Yep, you too can get pissed as a parrot, and drunk as a skunk, but provided you nod off near a crib presenting images of rough-hewn lumpenproletariat shepherds, you too can be offered salvation (speaking of drunks, if wine turns into blood in the mass, what happens to the alcohol content? Does the blood become a non-alchoholic brew with a touch of spritzig?)

Never mind. Over the break the pond met the gay Catholic priest in the family - there's a reason this blog is confidential - along with his long standing faithful and engaging companion.

No doubt he'll be pleased that Pell is offering salvation for everyone, not just the staid and the respectable, but truth to tell, the gay priest showed less of an inclination to offer the pomposities of Pell safe passage to the afterlife.

Hey ho, on we go, and the good news is that the pond has at last discovered a religion it can commit to fully.

How splendid and fitting comes the news: Copying and file sharing recognised as a religion in Sweden.

The pond has long been an informal member of the kopimi community, and it could well be that this new church will replace the church of the flying spaghetti monster in census mentions, especially as the FSM has become a tad mainstream, commercial and noodly of late. A Pastafarian T-shirt? Not really ...

Unfortunately the official Church of Kopimism has been slashdotted because of excessive interest, so all the pond copped on its visit, was a temporary static webpage here (service might be back to normal if you click through). Seems like kopimism is booming ...

Naturally the first thing the pond was inspired to do, after its visit to Torrent Freak, was to head off to the Pirate Bay, and download the sacred text (yes you too can visit the Pirate Bay here, all you need to know is how to kopimi).

Sadly there wasn't any mention of volcanoes, but somehow broccoli crept into the discussion, and there were more than a few theological points worth mentioning to the Pellists, even if they did on occasion sound strangely Swedish:

050. Broadcast radio from Sk├Ąggetorp.

WTF? Would Tamworth do?

But then there were the deeper spiritual points:

040. Participate in lively Internet discussions that don’t interest you.
079. Express yourself vaguely if anyone asks you, “How much is a bandwidth?”
086. Have a liberal vision of hell.
100. Stop using IRL. Use AFK instead.

But the killer?

046. See "23" in everything.

It brought it all together. Pell, scientology, animism, volcanoes, climate change, Neapolitans, Africans, the whole damn lot, pain and love and ... 23.

Go on, admit it, you thought the pond had got its math wrong. That the answer was '42' ... or some such naive calculation ...

At this point, the pond felt extremely moved, and decided to get away from the keyboard, and experience in real life the potent power of volcanoes ...

Or at least eat broccoli for dinner.

Hell, anything to avoid Cardinal Pell musing about cribs in a church dedicated to the notion that priests can't participate in family life, gay or straight ...

(Below: the front page of the pdf, but please remember to start reading from the back page, in much the same way as you might begin writing a book).

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