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.

A kiss too far

In its never ending quest to sell more sweaters, Benetton, purveyor of gaudy sartorial accessories to the masses, thinks that global love is the secret to bigger profits:

At this moment in history, so full of major upheavals and equally large hopes, we have decided, through this campaign, to give widespread visibility to an ideal notion of tolerance and invite the citizens of every country to reflect on how hatred arises particularly from fear of ‘the other’ and of what is unfamiliar to us. Ours is a universal campaign, using instruments such as the internet, the world of social media, and artistic imagination, and it is unique, in that it calls the citizens of the world to action.

This slightly modified photo of the Pope snogging an Egyptian Imam has, surprise surprise, upset the Vatican. Obviously, Benetton is not anticipating selling many sweaters to Catholics or Muslims.

 

It’s all, ostensibly, a part of promoting the Unhate Foundation which was:

founded by the Benetton Group, [and] seeks to contribute to the creation of a new culture of tolerance, to combat hatred, building on Benetton’s underpinning values. It is another important step in the group’s social responsibility strategy: not a cosmetic exercise, but a contribution that will have a real impact on the international community, especially through the vehicle of communication, which can reach social players in different areas.

As is usually the case when someone is determined to promote tolerance, the means used are seen as intolerable by the majority of those subjected to them. The difference in this case is that much reviled capitalism is acting as a corrective. Benetton’s stock is taking a nosedive:

 

 

 

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.

Over-sensitive atheists

Richard Dawkins described Pope Benedict as “a leering old villain in a frock who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds; a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part” and the Catholic Church as a “rotten edifice – the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution. “

Dawkins is not only entitled to his opinion – however fatuous – but also entitled to publish it, something he did with a degree of relish that would probably have been absent had he been slandering a pillar of Islam.

The Pope’s visit to Britain has inflamed the pious sensibilities of numerous atheists, many of whom signed a letter to the Guardian bewailing the fact that the Pope acts and speaks like a Catholic and claiming he didn’t address the child abuse problems in the Church – even though he did.

Pope Benedict, in his address at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh pointed out that:

Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives.

As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny”

All perfectly true since Hitler and his Nazis were not so much atheists as anti-theists – against God – just as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins are. Hitchens and Dawkins would protest that they are not Nazis, but they are unable to point to an objective standard of right and wrong that would tell them that they shouldn’t be. A Hitler Youth marching song goes like this:

We follow not Christ, but Horst Wessel,
Away with incense and Holy Water,
The Church can go hang for all we care,
The Swastika brings salvation on Earth.

Horst Wessel was a Nazi party street-fighter murdered by communists and turned into a martyr by Josef Goebbels.

Also, the 20th century leaders that have been inspired by a rejection of God: Mao, Stalin, Kim Jong-il, Pol Pot have ruthlessly slaughtered more people in 100 or so years than all the tyrants that preceded them put together . This is not particularly surprising: Christianity teaches that each person is made in God’s image – they are shaped by God; atheism teaches that each person has no created essence other than that of a clever animal and therefore can be shaped and moulded by force. The fact that Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot failed is testimony to the fact that they were wrong: a person does bear God’s image.

None of this matters to atheists, who, when not occupied with hurling abuse at the Pope in fits of irrational pique that would embarrass a 3 year old, become quite hurt and hysterical when someone has the effrontery to challenge their cherished articles of unbelief:

The British Humanist Association was quick to respond to the Pope’s remarks, noting in a statement: “The notion that it was the atheism of Nazis that led to their extremist and hateful views or that it somehow fuels intolerance in Britain today is a terrible libel against those who do not believe in God.

“The notion that it is nonreligious people in the U.K. today who want to force their views on others, coming from a man whose organization exerts itself internationally to impose its narrow and exclusive form of morality and undermine the human rights of women, children, gay people, and many others, is surreal.”

Richard Dawkins fumes:

I am incandescent with rage at the sycophantic BBC coverage, and the sight of British toadies bowing and scraping to this odious man. I thought he was bad before. This puts the lid on it.

Thank you, BBC: anything that makes Dawkins “incandescent with rage” deserves all the license fees it can get.

Pope’s Progress

Ruth Gledhill notes that the Pope has attacked the UK’s Equality Bill; good for him:

In what was interpreted as an attack on Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill, which is going through Parliament, the Pope urged the 35 Catholic bishops from England and Wales in Rome on a five-yearly ad limina visit to make a united stand against it. He claimed that the proposed equal rights laws threatened “longstanding British traditions” of freedom of speech.

While Damian Thomson reckons the Pope is excoriating the entire Labour Party; even better:

“Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.”

Is that a direct attack on Labour policies? Yes.

And George Pitcher is creating a diversion by still obsessing about all the homosexual Anglo-Catholics that the Pope has saddled himself with:

Pope Benedict has enraged Harriet Harman’s Equality Police by laying into her plans to stop churches discriminating against homosexuals.  But the pontiff is sending out some mixed messages here.

Last year, he famously launched his Anglican Ordinariate, offering Anglo-Catholics, disaffected with Anglicanism over issues such as women bishops, a welcome in the Church of Rome. I don’t have the statistics to claim that the overwhelming majority of Anglo-Catholic clergy in the Church of England are gay. But I think we’re on safe ground if we say that homosexuals form a higher proportion than the national average in that denomination

Labour MPs are “appalled”:

Labour MEP Stephen Hughes hit back after the Pope warned that the UK Equality Bill would be unfair on religious communities.

“As a Catholic, I am appalled by the attitude of the Pope. Religious leaders should be trying to eradicate inequality, not perpetuate it.

And gay rights groups are on the defensive:

“People should not be denied access to services and employment purely because they are gay.

“We’ve got to guard against sweeping exemptions seeming to protect one person’s freedom, which actually really impact on other people’s.”

He added: “What you can’t start doing is saying that religious people have hard-won freedoms, we’ll now restrict those, we won’t give them to gay people, we won’t give them to women.”

To upset so many with one dose of plain common sense demonstrates a rare talent: well done, Benedict XVI.

To incite equivalent unrest, Rowan William had to resort to promoting sharia law, an idea he pulled from his grab-bag of liberal Anglican asininities.