Catholicism Goes Up in Smoke
Imagine the possibilities.
The script reads as follows: Cheech and Chong win a free trip to Italy. While traveling, the old Pope resigns and a new Pope gets picked. The two dope heads somehow stumble into the Vatican. When the new Pope finally gets chosen, white smoke is traditionally released to the crowd gathered outside in Saint Peter’s Square, and a billion cheering worshipers watching worldwide.
Cheech and Chong. White smoke. You can pretty much figure out the rest.
At least the plot for “Cheech and Chong Visit the Vatican” would make sense.
But nothing makes sense in Catholicism.
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Catholics are in a state of denial, which is nothing new. This has been a recurring problem ever since — oh, let’s see — around the year 624.
It took centuries to finally end the senseless torturing of hundreds of thousands of innocents during the Inquisition. It took centuries to put a stop to the Crusades which sought to convert the conquered at the point of a sword. It took centuries to save so-called heretics from being burned alive at the stake. So why would anyone think the Catholic Church is now finally ready to turn over a brand new fig leaf and join the 19th Century, let alone the contemporary world of 2013? The church still conducts services in Latin, for Crissakes.
Latin! What, no Aramaic language option? The young whippersnappers who changed things to Latin ruined it all. What next? Big band music?
This religion isn’t simply behind the times. It’s in a different millennium altogether. Consider the latest data released by The Pew Research Center, which is about as non-partisan as it gets when measuring public attitudes. A national poll conducted in late February (2013) reveals some baffling results. If anyone thought papal leadership was hopelessly out of touch on modern-day issues, take a close look at what the flocks of follows believe at this moment in time.
Self-identifying American Catholics were given two options. They were asked if the new Pope should “move in new directions” or “maintain traditional positions.” The results came down slightly in favor of traditional practices — 51 to 46 percent (3 percent were undecided).
This isn’t too surprising for a couple of reasons. First, people with a traditional outlook on life are naturally drawn to the old ways of the church. They’re inclined to resist their church becoming yet another wing of Protestantism. Second, most Catholics were/are born into the religion. We were exposed to centuries-old teachings which demand strict obedience. Catholicism discourages individuality and free thought. It encourages subservience.
Attitudes on issues including the sex scandals, contraception, priests marrying, gay rights, and so forth reveal that most Catholics are pretty satisfied with the status quo. Shocking as it sounds, very few Catholics seem outraged at what its leadership is doing to the faith. They just go along with the program and remain silent.
Perhaps most disturbing of all — only American Catholics were polled. Long considered the most “liberal” wing of in the global flock of wafer eaters a grape juice drinkers, one can only speculate how much more backward attitudes would be in other counties where beliefs are even more strict on social issues and Catholicism remains the dominant religion.
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The Western world, so vehement in its judgment and criticism towards Islam (justifiably so), gives Catholicism a free pass. Yet both religions remain rooted in beliefs and practices which are suited to the Dark Ages.
Contemporaries look in horror upon the subjugation of women in many Islamic societies. Yet these same discriminatory practices exist and are widely acceptable to most Catholics. Most notably, women aren’t viewed as equals. Women can’t become priests. Women have no voice in selecting bishops, cardinals, or the Pope. Women can’t hold any position of authority. If such practices existed inside any other institution — such as a corporation or a government agency — there would be storms of protest leading to a huge class-action lawsuit. But Catholicism gets away with discrimination based on gender. Why? Because it’s a religion.
Of course, the similarities between Catholicism and Islam stop there, right? After all, Catholics aren’t using using terrorism as a global weapon to destroy its enemies and intimidate entire populations into strict servitude. No. Catholicism did all its murdering of millions between the years 600 and 1800. It’s taking a little break, for now.
Instead, Catholicism now has a problem which some might say is equally as loathsome — namely the priest sex scandals and cover ups which go all the way to Rome. Criticize Islam all you want for it’s accountability as an agent for terrible acts of violence. But at least its imams aren’t screwing the kids. When’s the last time you heard about an Islamic leader sexually assaulting boys (or girls). Of course, Imams can marry — making it plainly obvious that on at least one important issue Islam is centuries ahead of Catholicism.
Arguably, the most innocent victims of the mess that is the Catholic Church are all the wonderful people in it who deserve no scarlet letter of shame. No doubt, there are millions of extraordinary believers — including priests — who perform gracious acts of kindness and generosity. They should be disgusted for what some are doing to their religion.
But they aren’t. Most remain silent. They continue to pray. The continue to drop money in the collection plate — increasing percentages of which are now going to pay off victims and avoid lawsuits. They enable the madness to continue by obeying a gaggle of morally reprehensible cowards who let all the abuses continue and who resist calls for adapting to the ways of the 21st century.
So, don’t expect any changes when another old fossil is plucked from the pool of old fossils dressed in red at the Vatican.
In Catholicism, the more things change, the more they remain the same.
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Which now brings us to the final scene of “Cheech and Chong Visit the Vatican.”
I know. That’s the craziest thing you’ve ever heard. No one would ever believe it. Realizing now how ridiculous this all sounds, let’s just forget the whole idea and drop it.
Cheech and Chong visiting the Vatican? That’s about as believable as Dennis Rodman making a state visit to North Korea.