By Robert S. McElvaine
Professor of Arts & Letters, Millsaps College
Enough! No–Too much!
Amid all the justified outrage we all feel at Bernie Madoff and the AIG bandits, let us save some intense outrage for Pope Benedict XVI.
After insulting Muslims by declaring in 2006 that Muhammad had brought “things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,” after reiterating (through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) in 2008 that the subject of the ordination of women is not even open for discussion and declaring that anyone involved with the ordination of women will be automatically excommunicated, after lifting in January of this year the excommunication of Holocaust-denier Richard Williamson, now Benedict XVI opens a visit to Africa by telling the people of a continent decimated by AIDS that the distribution of condoms “increases the problem” of the spread of AIDS.
I am a Catholic and the idea that such a man is God’s spokesperson on earth is absurd to me.
There are, of course, no provisions in the hierarchical institution set up, not by Jesus but by men who hijacked his name and in many cases perverted his teachings, for impeaching a pope and removing him from office. But there ought to be.
As I detail in my latest book, “Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America” (Crown), the cardinal sin of the Catholic Church — a literally deadly sin, if ever there was one — is its opposition to birth control. Far from being, as the Church contends, part of its moral doctrine, this policy is, plainly, the immoral doctrine of the Church. The use of condoms is a pro-life position.
Why does the Church persist in such a manifestly immoral doctrine? One suspects that it must be the usual twisted thinking about sex and women. The Church’s opposition to birth control is largely an outgrowth of its all-male composition and those males’ attempts to degrade women’s physical powers by asserting that women and the intercourse into which they supposedly tempt men are necessary evils (“It is well for a man not to touch a woman,” Paul instructed the Christians of Corinth), the only purpose of which is procreation.
Misogyny may not be “the Church’s one foundation,” but it is a major part of the base on which it was constructed.
It should be obvious that the sin in an over-populated world is not attempting to control birth, but attempting to control birth control.
And now for the pope to go so far as to indicate that condom use worsens the spread of AIDS — there’s an outrage that tops Madoff and AIG!
Let’s start a movement within the Catholic Church to impeach Pope Benedict XVI and remove him from office. While we’re at it, let’s replace him with a woman.
He reversed the excommunication of a Holocaust denier. Will he excommunicate me for pointing out that he is a misogyny denier?
If this be heresy, make the most of it.
Robert S. McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts & Letters at Millsaps College. His latest book is Grand Theft Jesus: The Hijacking of Religion in America (Crown).