Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nothing to see here, except for the usual fundamentalists ...

After reading George Pell: Catholic church is not going to change its views on sexuality, you might wonder what was the point of the huge chin wag conducted by elderly unmarried men and about to be concluded with sundry announcements and pronouncements (well you can't count marriage to Christ as anything but weird and let's not talk about men getting married to men for the moment, even if one man carked it a couple of thousand years ago).

But there is a point, and it's a good one, and that's to provide a reminder to anyone interested that the repressive fundamentalist conservative activists in charge of the Roman church aren't going to give an inch, or if they do give an inch, it'll only be after they're dragged, shrieking and howling, to the precipice.

And it is these conservatives, these fundamentalists, who still carry clout in Australian society, unlike the very very small bunch of Islamic fundies running around rabbiting on about a caliphate and contributing to the fucking up of the middle east.

Pell was, maybe still is, the spiritual mentor to Abbott, a duplicitous politician who would sneak in behind closed doors to get advice on who knows what from the Pellists and then lie about it - maybe he wanted to avoid admitting he was getting a goodly dose of the Pellists' world acclaimed climate science insights, which amazingly still haven't attracted a Nobel prize.

There's been a lot of glitz and glamour surrounding Francis, but Pell is a bovver boy, knuckleheaded in-fighter of the old school, and he's clearly leading the rear guard action against all this nonsense about a more liberal stance emanating from Francis or the church in general. Hence all the chatter to cut any talk of change off at the pass.

Pell won't allow modest reforms in relation to actual Catholics, lest any kind of moderate stance lead to a domino effect. It's the usual slippery slope routine argument:

Cardinal Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, said that only three out of 10 small groups of synod members accepted Cardinal Kasper’s controversial proposals. 
“Communion for the divorced and remarried is for some – very few, certainly not the majority of synod fathers – it’s only the tip of the iceberg, it’s a stalking horse. They want wider changes, recognition of civil unions, recognition of homosexual unions,” he said. 
“The Church cannot go in that direction.” (here)

Ah yes, those wretched homosexual unions.

Which reminds the pond. Come on down Mia Freedman, why not compare love amongst consenting adult gay people to paedophiles? (forced video at end of link).

Must do better next time Mia. Have you thought of comparing gay love to the sort of love a rubber fetishist has for rain coats, or perhaps the love of a diaper fetishist for nappies? How about linking it to Szilvester Matuska, who derailed trains and managed an orgasm watching them crash?

Back with the Pellists, you can bet the same sort of argument applies to allowing priests to get married rather than to burn.

Allow priests to form an emotional and romantic attachment to a woman and learn that having an enjoyable fuck isn't a trip to hell, as opposed to fiddling with young boys and girls, which is some sort of weird, perverse trip to an alternate Catholic heaven?

Oh no, the church cannot go in that Henry VIII direction, it's going so spiffingly well right now ...

Remember the press getting all excited about the new liberalism?

Remember the likes of The World Today doing excited interviews like Australian couple address Vatican bishops on why sex is important?

Remember the likes of the Huff huffing about stories like Vatican Proposes Dramatic Shift In Attitude Towards Gays, Same Sex Couples?

All a nonsense. The conservatives and the Pellists aren't going to have a bar of the Kasperite heretics, as is clear in stories like Cardinal Pell: "We're not giving in to the secular agenda; we're not collapsing in a heap."

Cardinal George Pell said working-group reports from the Synod of Bishops on the family finally give a true picture of the assembly's views, counteracting what he characterized as a misleading midterm report. 
"We wanted the Catholic people around the world to know actually what was going on in talking about marriage and the family and, by and large, I think people will be immensely reassured," Cardinal Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, told Catholic News Service Oct. 16, the day the reports were published. 
 "We're not giving in to the secular agenda; we're not collapsing in a heap. We've got no intention of following those radical elements in all the Christian churches, according to the Catholic churches in one or two countries, and going out of business," he said. ... 
 The midterm report was "tendentious, skewed; it didn't represent accurately the feelings of the synod fathers," said Cardinal Pell. "In the immediate reaction to it, when there was an hour, an hour-and-a-half of discussion, three-quarters of those who spoke had some problems with the document."

By speaking out, before matters are finalised, Pell has knocked the wind out of the sails of Francis and all the ersatz liberals who've been running around pretending times are changing in the church.

The hard men, the head kickers, still get to speak out, and assure the world that the Catholic church is at one with rabid ratbags of the fundie Islamic kind ... at least when it comes to the status of women and the position of gays in the world (some Islamic societies tend to more relaxed about divorce, provided it's decently patriarchal in tone and outcome).

This shouldn't come as a surprise. The Pellists fired off a warning shot back in September, full of the rhetoric you'd expect from a jihadist cultural warrior, as he took arms against the Kasperites:

On the opposite side, Cardinal Pell, Prefect for the Economy of the Holy See (Vatican Treasurer) has penned a foreword to a book challenging Cardinal Kasper. In The Gospel of the Family, by American and Spanish theologians, Cardinal Pell argues “indissolubility of marriage is one of the rich truths of divine revelation’’. 
Two thousand years of teaching based on Christ’s words “what God has formed together let no man put asunder’’ was an “insurmountable barrier’’ against change. “Were the decisions which followed Henry VIII’s divorce totally unnecessary?’’ Every opponent of Christianity wanted the church to capitulate, Cardinal Pell said. In reality, “the number of divorced and remarried Catholics who feel they should be allowed to receive Communion is very small indeed’’. 
The pressure for change was from Europe, where increasing numbers of divorcees were not remarrying. “The issue is seen by both friends and foes of the Catholic tradition as a symbol; a prize in the clash between what remains of Christendom in Europe and an aggressive neo-paganism,’’ he writes. 
He concedes hurt and wounding were “inevitable’’ and calls for action to avoid widespread protests like those that followed Pope Paul VI’s affirmation of the church’s ban on contraception in 1968. “We should speak clearly, ­because the sooner the wounded, the lukewarm and outsiders realise that substantial doctrinal and pastoral changes are impossible, the more the hostile disappointment (which must follow the reassertion of doctrine) will be anticipated and dissipated,’’ ­Cardinal Pell says. Mercy and forgiveness were important, but so were the “essential links between mercy and fidelity, between truth and grace’’. “Jesus did not condemn the adulterous woman who was threatened with death by stoning, but he did not tell her to keep up her good work, to continue unchanged in her ways. He told her to sin no more.” (the reptiles reporting on their favourite Catholic jihadist - google the text because a link only leads to a frame filling begging letter from the paupers of the press)

Much of this is nonsense - the Church has never been a monolith of conservatism, and in reality when it has made profoundly stupid stands - like its attitude to contraception - it has simply lost its way with its flock, who note that individual conscience is paramount, and if they want to avoid a pregnancy, they will, and not in the stupid ways approved by a church which can be as fundamentalist and as patriarchal and as conservative as your average barking mad Islamic fundie ...

But the Pellists haven't left Francis with much room to move. It's likely the best he can do will be a little window dressing and fiddling at the edges, as the conservatives win the day. We'll know soon enough ...

It's the same sort of barking mad conservatism that infests the angry Sydney Anglicans. The pond is still marvelling at the Jensenists opening line for The view from the top, still featured on the front page of the angry Anglican site:

In an age of tolerance poisoned by relativism, inclusive multi-culturalism, and cultural sovereignty which is still coping with the guilt of colonialism, any exclusive claim to truth, salvation or God has to be challenged.

Poisoned by tolerance and inclusion.

Because intolerance and exclusion is the angry Anglican way ...

Now that's worthy of a barking mad mullah.

Speaking of the point of much of this jihadism - which is not just religious, so much as social, cultural, political and patriarchal in intent, and speaking of barking mad mullahs and speaking of the need to offend all the major religions in an even-handed way - the pond was reminded of a recent piece in The New Yorker about a garbage man in Cairo.

Inter alia, reading Peter Hessler's Tales of the Trash - hurry, it's outside the paywall right now - the pond learned more about garbage and ordinary lives in Cairo than was immediately relevant, but the story when it came to women was all too familiar:

Sayyid and most of his siblings were born in Cairo, but like many residents of the capital they maintain strong links to their ancestral village, which is the source of most ideas about family. In Sayyid’s extended family, most women wear the niqab, but the reason seems to be more cultural than strictly religious. It’s a point of pride and possession for the men—Sayyid says that his wife wears it because she’s beautiful, and if she shows her face in the street she’ll be coveted by strangers and harassed. And other traditions serve to control women in more explicit ways. One evening, Sayyid and I were watching my twin daughters play in the garden, and he asked casually if I planned to have them circumcised. I looked at the girls—they were all of three years old—and said no, this wasn’t something we intended to do. The majority of Egyptian women have undergone the surgery, which opponents describe as genital mutilation. Since 2008, it’s been illegal, but many people continue to have it performed on daughters, usually when they’re between the ages of nine and twelve. In Egypt, Islamists are the biggest supporters of the procedure, which, among other effects, makes intercourse less pleasurable for a woman. But in fact this tradition is not mentioned in the Koran, and Muslims in most parts of the world don’t practice it. Originally, it was a tribal custom native to many parts of Africa. 
 I asked Sayyid if he planned to have the surgery performed on his daughter, and he nodded. “Otherwise, women are crazy for dakar,” he said, using a word that means “male.” “They’ll be running around outside the house, chasing men.” 
 For traditionally minded Egyptians, this is a common view: desire should be limited to males, who do what they can to heighten it. All those sex drugs in the garbage of Zamalek aren’t an anomaly—in Egypt, I’ve had a number of casual conversations in which the topic turns to sex, and a man reaches into his pocket and pulls out a pill, to show that he’s prepared. Usually, it’s some version of Viagra, but for Sayyid’s class the drug of choice is often tramadol, a prescription painkiller. Cheap versions are manufactured in China and India, and in 2012 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that there were five billion tramadol pills in Egypt, a staggering number in a country of eighty-four million.

Islamic, angry Anglican and Pellist fundamentalists - not so different under the skin.

Oh sure, these days it's only boys who cop genital mutilation in Australia, and there the Jews can take the credit, but the ritual downplaying, humiliation and exclusion of gays and women is still the work of church men as deeply disturbed and as fearful of certain kinds of sexuality as that Cairo garbage man ...

And you can throw in Liberal politicians as a bonus. Girly man? A man who fucked up California and his marriage is a role model for macho Mathias? (Mathias Cormann channels Arnie)

Yep, as deeply disturbed and as fearful as that Cairo garbage man, but no doubt grateful Julie Bishop keeps bailing out Abbott's flailing, failing government of he men ...

And so to a few cartoons.


  1. I am beginning to think that men are not much good at running things.
    Now where could I have got that idea?
    Miss Pitty Pat

    1. Those men were not raised right, Miss Pitty Pat.

      Tom Waits says it in his song "Raised Right Men":

      "They’re ain’t enough raised right men
      It takes raised right men to keep a happy hen"

      I also like this verse:

      "Gunplay Maxwell and
      Flat Nose George
      Ice Pick Ed Newcomb
      On a slab in the morgue
      Flat Nose looked at Gunplay
      And they all looked at me
      With a good woman’s love we
      Could have saved all three"

    2. Great words Mr/Ms Anon
      I can hear them rolling over Tom's gravel.
      Miss Pitty Pat

  2. The Biblical quote about 'marry or burn' actually referred to marrying to avoid 'burning' with sexual desire, not burning in Hell. If you think that the Bible is the Word of God, you could argue that God doesn't want humans to suffer sexual frustration. For centuries, 'de facto' relationships were recognised by the Catholic Church as 'marriages'. Extend this just a little, and you could say that God would prefer gay men to form relationships rather than suffer frustration. That only leaves us with a need to find sciptural justification for stray roots . . .

    1. The main problem here is that St Paul, who wrote the "marry or burn" quote, made it perfectly clear that homosexual acts were sinful; and Christ made it clear the marriage is between a man and a woman. There is no room for doubt on either of these.

  3. Gee Bruv, thanks for enlightening us.


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