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The Pope
February 18, 2012
by Randall Secky
The following is not meant to be an indictment of the Catholic Church, but of organized religion as a whole. The pope, being the head of the Catholic Church, is one of the most recognized leaders in the entire world. For this reason we have chosen to focus on the seat of the papacy. The pope is the archetypal religious figurehead, but we could replace the pope with an ayatollah, a rabbi, or a number of other religious figures and written this article in the same light. Here are 11 reasons, in no particular order, why the Pope is the Man.
 
1. What would you call a bank controlled solely by one person that destroys all records every 10 years and is completely devoid of any audits? The Vatican Bank. The Catholic Church no longer wages holy wars as they did throughout the centuries. With an unknown amount of money and assets controlled by the Pope through the Vatican Bank what types of hidden measures could they be taking to further the agenda of their faith?

2. Many popes have risen to power following their uncles. A number of popes have also given power, wealth, and position to their younger male “relatives”. This had led speculation that these nephews and relatives were actually illegitimate sons of these popes. [2] It must have been nice for these hypocrites to preach the sanctity of marriage and family while at the same time fulfilling their lustful needs and using nepotism to ensure their heirs would benefit from their power.

3. Like many religious leaders, monarchs, and fanatics throughout the history of the world, the Pope claims to hold his position by divine right…and people actually believe it! With divine right comes divine power so Pope Leo XIII enacted a papal exaltation forbidding any pope to speak with people supposedly “lower” than themselves. [3]

4. One of the most famous papal atrocities was the Spanish Inquisition. In 1478 Pope Sixtus VI instituted a major inquiry in Spain with the approval of its monarchs. Many were murdered at the behest of the Catholic Church mainly because they were forced converts of Judaism and Islam that could not live up to Christian beliefs. [4] Without regard for rights, freedom, or life the church killed and tortured people simply for not believing in their religion.

5. In 1455, Pope Calixtus III began his three year pontificate. One of his main goals was to take Constantinople from the Turks in a European Crusade. To fund this endeavor, Calixtus III suspended the Renaissance in Rome, dismissed the artisans, and sold off many valuable pieces of artwork and books from the Papal Library. [5] Not only was Calixtus III waging war for religious control of a city, but he also suspended cultural advancement during a great period of development in human history.

6. Pope Pius XII, who became Pope in 1939, must have been a crazy narcissist because he commanded that bureaucrats from the Vatican must drop to their knees while speaking with him on the phone. [6] To put oneself on a pedestal like this shows contempt for fellow man. Other people were like pawns for Pius XII to command, for he saw himself as a superior human being.

7. Pope Paul VI came to power in 1555. He issued an edict that took away Jew’s rights to own property, the only job they were allowed to have was selling rags, and they were confined to ghettos. These ghettos were set up in the Papal States wherever Jews lived. Walls were built to keep them away from the Christians and the gates of these ghettos were locked at night. [7] The Pope, who is supposed to be God’s voice on Earth according to Catholics, essentially treated fellow humans as slaves. If there is a God I highly doubt he would confine Jews to ghettos.

8. In the late 6th century, through Pope Gregory the Great’s teachings, Mary Magdalene begins to be thought of as a prostitute. Mary of Bethany, an adulterous woman saved by Jesus, and Mary of Egypt, a prostitute from the 4th century who never appeared in the New Testament, were the other 2 Marys that were falsely merged into the persona of Mary Magdalene. The idea of Mary being a whore continued for centuries until the church declared this false in the 20th century yet some still believe this to be true. [8] This is a blatant example of a patriarchy rearing its ugly head at the expense of women.

9. After the papacy lost control of the Papal States to a unified Italy in the late 19th century, Pope Leo XIII, tried to gain back power by forbidding all Catholics in Italy from participating in national elections. [9] Voting is a fundamental aspect of democratic freedom and the Pope tried to strip this right from Italian Catholics to regain his political influence.

10. Only 19 years old when elected in 955, Pope John XII was known for having sexual exploits at his papal home. [10] This is strange behavior for a pope, since members of the clergy are supposed to remain celibate.

11. This could not be written without mention of sexual abuse that has run rampant in the Catholic Church. The current pope, Benedict XVI, was an archbishop in Germany in 1980 when one of his priests was accused of molesting an 11 year old boy. Benedict approved a decision to put the priest in therapy which lasted about a month before he returned to the priesthood. This same priest was again accused of molesting children in 1985 but was only reprimanded and allowed to remain a priest. [11] I can only say that the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, headed by the Pope, knows no bounds when it comes to the sexual abuse scandals.

Being in a revered position does not make one righteous. If nothing else, these few examples show us that the pope is not beyond reproach. The church is like a greedy corporation bending and breaking rules to increase its wealth. But the church is not after wealth, it is set upon a power grab that can only be attained by maintaining control over the hearts and minds of its followers. A man of supposed infallible character can only remain in power because his authority goes unquestioned. People of all religions sheepishly follow religious customs and beliefs because their ancestors have for centuries. Religion can then become a learned habit rather than true belief. The people who don’t truly believe participate in religion because they need it. It gives them hope and direction that they can’t get anywhere else, but shouldn’t that come from within? When people need something the Man is always there to take advantage.

References

[1] Williams, Paul L. The Vatican Exposed. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books 2003., 56.

[2] Toropov, Brandon. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Popes and the Papacy. Indianapolis, IN: Alpha Books 2002., 51.

[3] Williams, 3.

[4] Norwich, John Julius. Absolute Monarchs. New York: Random House 2011., 258.

[5] Norwich, 251.

[6] Williams, 58.

[7] Kertzer, David I. The Popes Against the Jews. New York: Random House 2001., 27.

[8] Covington, Richard. “Mary Magdalene was None of the Things a Pope Claimed,” US News, 25 January 2008; available from http://www.usnews.com/news/religion/articles/2008/01/25/mary-magdalene-was-none-of-the-things-a-pope-claimed?PageNr=1; accessed 24 December 2011

[9] Williams, 22-23.

[10] Toporov, 51.

[11] Kennedy, Dana. “Questions Arise about Priest from Pope’s Old Dioceses,” AOL News, 12 March 2010; available from http://www.aolnews.com/2010/03/12/pope-benedict-xvi-allowed-pedophile-priest-to-continue-in-minist/; accessed 24 December 2011

Image by Kriss Szkurlatowski
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