Let’s apply what the Pope said to the death penalty

Concerning the murder of cartoonists by Islamic fascists, the Pope didn’t quite say, “they had it coming”, but just about: he obviously thinks a fair share of the blame lies with the cartoonists.

“It’s true, one cannot react violently, but if Dr. (Alberto) Gasbarri, a great friend, says a swear word against my mother, then he is going to get a punch. But it’s normal, it’s normal. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

The pope said those who “make fun or toy with other people’s religions, these people provoke, and there can happen what would happen to Dr. Gasbarri if he said something against my mother. That is, there is a limit. Every religion has its dignity.”

When it comes to the death penalty, however, being responsible for the consequences of one’s action does not seem to apply. A murderer, no matter how callous and evil never deserves to die:

Pope Francis called for abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, and denounced what he called a “penal populism” that promises to solve society’s problems by punishing crime instead of pursuing social justice.


“All Christians and people of good will are thus called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether it be legal or illegal and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty. And this, I connect with life imprisonment,” he said. “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty.”

The Pope’s view:
Someone who draws a cartoon of Mohammed should not be surprised when he is murdered because, insofar as he was cavalierly offensive, he brought it upon himself. Someone who murders another person should be encouraged to believe he has not brought either the death penalty or even life imprisonment upon himself. The murderer, no matter how foul the murder, has too much human dignity for that.

This is one weird Pope.

The Pope is not a pacifist

He has informed us that anyone who insults his mother is liable to get a punch; doubtless his theologians have verified that this is in line with Aquinas’s Just War Theory.

From here:

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Commenting on recent killings by Islamist terrorists at a Paris newspaper, Pope Francis condemned killing in the name of God, but said freedom of expression should be limited by respect for religion and that mockery of faith can be expected to provoke violence.

The pope made his remarks Jan. 15 to reporters accompanying him on a flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines. During the 50-minute news conference, the pope also said his encyclical on the environment will likely be published early this summer, and that he will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, an 18th-century Franciscan missionary to North America, in the U.S. this September.

Asked by a French reporter to compare freedom of religion and freedom of expression as human rights, Pope Francis linked his answer to the Jan. 7 attacks at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, apparently in retaliation for the newspaper’s publication of cartoons mocking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

“Let’s go to Paris, let’s speak clearly,” the pope said. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God.”

The pope said freedom of expression was a “fundamental human right” like freedom of religion, but one that must be exercised “without giving offense.”

Offering a hypothetical example that referred to the Vatican’s planner of papal trips, who was standing beside him as he spoke, the pope said: “It’s true, one cannot react violently, but if Dr. (Alberto) Gasbarri, a great friend, says a swear word against my mother, then he is going to get a punch. But it’s normal, it’s normal. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

The pope said those who “make fun or toy with other people’s religions, these people provoke, and there can happen what would happen to Dr. Gasbarri if he said something against my mother. That is, there is a limit. Every religion has its dignity.”

I wonder what the Pope makes of Jesus calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers, hypocrites, whited sepulchres and so on. Jesus is God, of course so he may well have  Papal dispensation to say what he likes. Someone should definitely put the boot in to John the Baptist for his insensitivity, though.

Even Michael Coren – not known for criticising the Pope these days – thinks the Pope has blundered badly. Perhaps the Pope’s handlers should persuade him to spend more time keeping quiet; before we know where we are, he’ll be talking about bacon.


I think I like the new Pope

Pope-FeetThere is a knack in doing this kind of thing unpretentiously and the Pope seems to have it:

Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of dozens of young prisoners in a Holy Thursday ritual in a gesture of ‘love and service’.

He continued a tradition he began as archbishop of Buenoes Aires by holding a Mass in the Casal del Marmo facility in Rome, where 46 young men and women currently are detained.

Two of the 12 were young women, a remarkable choice given that the rite re-enacts Jesus’ washing of the feet of his male disciples.


‘This is a symbol, it is a sign -washing your feet means I am at your service,’ Francis told the youngsters. ‘Help one another. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart. I do this with my heart because it is my duty, as a priest and bishop I must be at your service.’

Canada’s never ending quest for significance quenched once again

The National Post, rather than running a headline announcing who the new Pope is, instead proclaimed that a Canadian was not chosen; but he might have been.

Marc Ouellet not selected as Pope, but was a serious contender for the role

In a massive break with tradition, the conclave of cardinals has chosen a someone from outside Europe Catholic church, but it was not the former bishop of Quebec Marc Ouellet, but instead electing Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio now known as Pope Francis I.

That didn’t mean that Ouellet wasn’t in the running.

Pope perfume

From here:

Pope Benedict XVI has commissioned a signature scent just for him. His Holiness’ custom-made eau de cologne will convey his love to nature, peace and tranquillity.

Famed Italian perfume maker Silvana Casoli preferred to keep the complete list of ingredients secret to prevent unauthorized copying of the Pope’s scent.

His Holiness, the Head of the Roman Catholic Church will be the only person to wear this fragrance. “I would not ever repeat the same perfume for another customer,” Casoli told the Guardian newspaper.

However she still named a few ingredients. Notes of lime tree, verbena and grass will help embody the Pope’s idea of a perfect eau de cologne.

Casoli has created perfumes for star clients like Madonna, Sting and King Juan Carlos of Spain, The Guardian reports.

Having a unique smell made for oneself is an egocentricity that one expects from Madonna and Sting but not from the Pope.

It’s just as well that the ingredients will remain secret or we’d have eau de Pope in Walmart for all manner of riffraff with pontifical pretensions to ponce themselves up with.

The Pope calls for online civility

From here:

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI told Catholic bloggers and Facebook and YouTube users Monday to be respectful of others when spreading the Gospel online and not to see their ultimate goal as getting as many online hits as possible.

Echoing concerns in the U.S. about the need to root out online vitriol, Benedict called for the faithful to adopt a “Christian style presence” online that is responsible, honest and discreet

“We must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its ‘popularity’ or from the amount of attention it receives,” Benedict wrote in his annual message for the church’s World Day of Social Communications.

“The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive.”

I’m all for civility in Christian discourse. This example is one of my favourites – I forget who said it:

People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You build granite tombs for your prophets and marble monuments for your saints.

And you say that if you had lived in the days of your ancestors, no blood would have been on your hands.

You protest too much! You’re cut from the same cloth as those murderers, and daily add to the death count.

“Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper?

It’s on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation – and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse.

“You can’t squirm out of this: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled on this earth, beginning with the blood of that good man Abel right down to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah’s son, whom you murdered at his prayers, is on your head.

All this, I’m telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation.

The Pope and politics

The Pope is doing his impression of a socialist; another reason for not becoming a Catholic (not that the RC church would have me). From here:

A figure embraced by many conservatives for his traditional views on family and sexuality, Pope Benedict XVI sees government as a positive force with vital responsibilities to help create the conditions for a just society. This is not a vague commitment. Benedict advocates for robust financial regulations, challenges governments to address climate change and even calls for a more equitable distribution of wealth. He recently urged the leaders of wealthy nations to do more to tackle the problem of global poverty, describing this priority as “too big to fail.” If he ran for office in the U.S., you can imagine the political attack ads accusing the pope of being a socialist! But our roiling political arguments would be far more productive if we tuned out strident commentators and listened to this soft-spoken theologian who articulates the teachings of a faith tradition that for centuries has offered timely wisdom about the moral dimensions of the economy.

However hard I try, I really can’t imagine St. Peter saying that the government’s role is to enforce a “more equitable distribution of wealth”, let alone play King Canute and “address climate change”. Of course, one of the authors of the article is an associate professor of Christian social ethics, an occupation that may not be entirely free from left-wing tendentiousness.