Holy Porn, Vatican

Everyone does it. It’s normal. It’s natural. It’s part of life. We all stream. We all download torrents! Nothing to be ashamed about, I’m streaming as I type. Whenever I stream I use my “incognito window” of Google Chrome because I don’t want my work to see what I’m doing (I’m aware they still can, I’m aware of the capabilities of spying on employees). Anyway, I do it because I want to hide what I’m doing—however I know I can’t, that gives me a leg up on the Vatican.

The people at Torrent Freak have found that someone with the Vatican IP address is downloading porn. Oh yeah, that’s happening. It’s not your run of the mill “oh the pizza dilveray boy is here” porn…this is BDSM. Things like “Whipped Ass”, “Russian Slaves”, and “TS Pussy Hunters”….what does the TS stand for? I better go back to church and find out.

Aside from this being against everything they preach and are allowed to do…it’s also illegal! DOWNLOADING ILLEGAL BDSM?!!? Catholics, here I come! Viewing parties at the Vatican aren’t new, in January, a priest mentioned in an interview that they’d watched “Django Unchained”. What else is on the viewing list? “Love, Actually,” “Chicago Fire,” British soap “Neighbours” and “The Americans.” The Vatican is kind of a cool place to hang out…amiright?

It’s old news that religion is outdated and rarely practices what they preach….but the fact that they are illegally downloading porn instead of just going to YouPorn, or  any other of the hundreds of free sites…baffles me. Now when people ask me why I’m an atheist my answer will be, “I cannot support something that buys the cow when they can get the milk for free.” Porn, whatever I get that–that makes sense…but Chicago Fire? Really? I’m sorry I can’t support that.

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Thoughts On The Next Pope

Pope Benedict XVI resigned. That’s no longer new information to anyone, but considering that the pope is the religious leader of one out of every seven humans on the planet . . . it’s still a big deal.

According to the trend in how popes are selected by the conclave, they tend to alternate between selecting long-term popes and short-term popes. Which is the polite way of saying that just about every other pope is someone who is quite old to begin with and not expected to live for too long. The other popes, however, are expected to live for a longer period of time.

So the next pope who will head the Catholic Church may very well be pope for the next few decades. I am not Catholic, but the next pope is still important to me. It’s a big deal for the world.

Why? Because the Catholic Church’s influence may have been waning for centuries (and showing no sign of regaining a social or political foothold), but the pope still wields a great deal of influence throughout the world.

Recently, Benedict has been using that influence and a number of major speaking opportunities to voice his continued opposition to marriage equality, even as (or, perhaps, especially as) proponents of marriage equality have won a number of battles in the United States (obviously, other places—marriage equality continues to gain popularity in Europe).

Assuming that I do not gain mind-control powers any time soon (which, tragically, is a fair assumption), I think that it is safe to say that no matter who the next pope might be, he will not be pro-choice or a proponent of gay rights beyond the basic: “Look, they don’t get all of the rights of the rest of us, but don’t set them on fire, okay?”

I’m exaggerating. But, basically, the next pope is still going to be opposed to birth-control (and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of STIs). The next pope will still be opposed to female reproductive autonomy. The next pope will still be opposed to marriage equality for same-sex couples, and likely opposed to adoption by same-sex couples. The next pope will be opposed to premarital sex. To women in the priesthood. To transgender acceptance. Almost certainly to married Catholic priests.

There are a lot of people who are looking at this selection of a new pope, still early in the Twenty-First Century, as an opportunity for a non-white cardinal to lead the Catholic Church. It would be historic and, obviously, past due.

But while a non-white pope would be a progressive move, it is only a progressive move if the new pope in question is no more conservative than the likely positions that I listed above. In other words, certain African and South American cardinals have some outrageous views on civil rights—like opposing same-sex adoption because they confuse members of the LGBT community with child-molesters. Like supporting medieval legislation that would imprison gay citizens.

Look, I’m not going to agree with the new pope on a lot of things. I want equal human rights for women and the LGBT community and not for embryos or fetuses. Like the Catholic Church, I am opposed to the evils of the world, but I think that we have very different ideas of what constitutes evil and different ideas for remedying it (my solution involves the death penalty).

But, while many of the Church’s social positions are seemingly antiquated, whoever becomes the next pope should be a Twenty-First Century pope. A pope who would vehemently oppose Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” bill instead of remaining silent or partially supporting that sort of legislation (and for more reason than simply Catholicism’s opposition to capital punishment). A pope who remembers that women exist. A pope with a genuine interest in interfaith dialogue, with all faiths, and not simply to “unite against the atheists.”

So, at the risk of sounding really negative about African and South American cardinals, let’s be very cautious before praising any “progressive” choices from those continents.

The Catholic Church is slow to change and adapt—let’s all hope that, in choosing the next pope, the conclave does not take a step backward.

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The Ex-Benedict

Let me start this post by saying I am not Catholic and I do not mean to offend any Catholics with this post—I have studied Catholicism so I am not completely ignorant on the topic. With this said, again, I intend no offense this is satire, this is opinion, this is jest. This is not fact this is my stance on it.

Pope Benedict XVI announced that he will be resigning as Pope. This is the first time a Pope has stepped down in almost 500 years. Pope Benedict XVI is eighty-five-years-old and I can see why he would feel tired and not quite up to the job. I mean, you can start collecting social security in the United States at age sixty-five. I think the average retirement age is around sixty-five/seventy. This guy’s fifteen years passed that…he’s tired I get it.

My problem with the Pope stepping down is I didn’t realize this was a job you could quit. Again, I am not Catholic—this impacts me in no way but I think it’s making a pretty big statement. The Pope’s official statement was:

“As you know, I have decided to renounce the ministry that the Lord gave to me on April 19, 2005,I did this in full liberty for the good of the church.”

Hang on, hold the phone—the Lord gave you this job? God handed this mission, this position, this title to you and you are saying “no thanks?” Can you do that? I don’t think so…I’m pretty sure if God says do this…you do it. But again, I’m not Catholic maybe it works differently in the Catholic church—maybe you get to pick and choose what you listen to when God talks.

Maybe it was too much to deal with: delivering mass, dealing with moving pedophiles around, dealing with those pictures of him the SS uniform, Twitter. I mean that’s a lot for an eighty-five year old he probably just wants to chill out and catch up on Breaking Bad like the rest of us. I doubt he’s even gotten a chance to start House of Cards it’s not fair to ask him to fulfill the role that God gave him. God just asked too much.
Well, it’s been swell Pope Benedict XVI but I guess the swellings gone down. Hopefully, the church will elect…I mean…God will choose a younger Pope with a more progressive stance on women, contraceptive, homosexuality, hashtags and the like. Only time… I mean God…will tell.

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Get Thee To A Nunnery

photo of american nun pictures
I’m sure that most of you have heard by now about the Vatican’s “crackdown” on American nuns. Essentially, most American nuns and American nun organizations are spending “too much” time and energy on helping to combat poverty and too little time opposing same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

Nuns are not the female equivalents of Catholic priests. Nuns are the female equivalents of monks. They are in positions of service to the Church and their communities, where priests are in positions of service to the Church but also in positions of authority (along with service) when it comes to their parishioners. Nuns do not lead mass or take confession; they are recognized for the work that they do.

I can see where the Vatican is coming from on this, and I’ll get to that in a moment, but when your complaint is that someone is spending too much time caring for the poor, the sick, and addicts, you should at least realize that your criticism is going to sound a little weird and may not be taken well.

To my mind, nuns are the most popular Catholics. Probably not the severe, ruler-wielding nuns of a couple of generations ago (I do not care if it is on the hand; hitting children is detestable), but contemporary nuns are fairly popular, likable figures. Do you guys remember Sister Peg from Law & Order: SVU? She was a recurring character, a nun who gives out clean needles to addicts and tries to help prostitutes without interfering in their lives. Horrible things would happen to her sometimes because she put herself into dangerous situations in order to help others, but she kept doing her work because she believed in helping people. When watching SVU, you felt bad whenever bad things happened to her, no matter what your feelings towards the Catholic Church might be.

While that’s a fictional and somewhat dramatic portrayal of contemporary American nuns, I do not think that it is inaccurate as far as values and attitudes are concerned.

Now, I disagree with the Vatican. I believe that same-sex marriage should be legally recognized everywhere, and I believe that every woman should have the right to choose. But I do understand where they are coming from with these criticisms.

From their perspective, it’s like the Vatican is the parent and American nuns are the child who is doing lots of work and extra credit and making straight As in most of their classes but neglecting a few classes. I can see how they would want for nuns to work in this area (I guess that saying “the Church wants for nuns to focus more upon pushing social injustice” is a bit melodramatic).

But I think that trying to force this issue right now is a mistake on the part of the Vatican. I am sure that these organizations of nuns have many motivations for choosing their priorities as they have, but one motivation has to be that opposition to marriage equality continues to diminish, and I honestly don’t think that female reproductive rights are going away on a national level any time soon (despite a number of attempts in the past few years). And while nuns enjoy some popularity and familiar recognition now—which the Church, in many places, does not—part of that might be due to the fact that they are focusing upon doing good works that just about everyone can support. If nuns start taking hard stances on social issues, as the Vatican is insisting that they do, then they may lose some of that popularity and good public image, which could, in turn, make it harder for them to do the work that they really want to be doing.

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