Pope Benedict: “Neo-Medieval Conservative?”

Pope Benedict seems to be the George Bush of Catholicism—disdaining moderation, ignoring criticism, and lurching his church to the VERY CREEPY RIGHT at every opportunity.

Perhaps we should call it “Neo-Medieval Conservatism.”

The Guardian of London today reports on the pope’s latest action:

Pope Benedict has promoted to bishop an ultra-conservative Austrian clergyman who called Hurricane Katrina “God’s punishment” and condemned the Harry Potter books for “spreading satanism”.

The appointment, which was confirmed by the Vatican at the weekend, comes days after the Pope was criticised for his rehabilitation of a bishop who denies the Holocaust.

The new bishop, Gerhard Maria Wagner, also attributed Thailand’s catastophic 2004 tsunami to God’s wrath toward sinners:

In 2004 he said it was no coincidence that the Tsunami disaster had occurred at Christmas, inferring that it was punishment for “rich western tourists” who had “fled to poor Thailand”.

Bishop Wagner is clearly a no-nonsense endorser of divine waterboarding. 

On Hurricane Katrina the good bishop wrote this:

It is surely not an accident that all five of New Orleans’ abortion clinics, as well as nightclubs were destroyed . . . It’s not just any old city that has gone under, but the people’s dream city with the ‘best brothels and the most beautiful whores’.

Well, yes, water torture is definitely IN among contemporary conservatives, so with regard to Pope Benedict and his new bishop, what’s not to like?

But I can’t help but picture Bishop Wagner, in the role of Kurtz (in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness), sitting in a hut at the farthest end of the Congo river, gloomily scowling into the jungle night: “Drown them all!”

I wonder if Pope Benedict privately shares views at all similar to this eccentric priest, or the Holocaust-denying cranks that he is busy elevating to power and status around him.

Do you think?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to Pope Benedict: “Neo-Medieval Conservative?”

  1. Donn Downing says:

    Contemporary references aside, I think the shift from an analog print world to a digital world bears a likeness to the shift from an oral to a print world. And my favorite story, among millions, is John Shakespeare’s dilemma when required to supervise white washing the Stratford Guild church of Catholic iconography. He did so but with obvious distaste because the old religion was still strong in him. We know this because a copy of his spiritual will and testament was found int he eaves of his Stratford home by a roofer many, many years after. I am not Catholic but Pope Benedict may be appealing to many who like Newt Gingrich who recently said “I am not a citizen of the world.” National identity, like John Shakespeare’s religious identity may be a source of reassurance. Meanwhile Newt’s progeny like John’s are free to depart for cosmopolitan scene’s like London to fashion great theater.

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