Monday, October 03, 2005

Going Back in Time

Apparently, Pope Bendedict XVI believes that time can go backwards. If it wasn't for his age, I would have guessed he grew up on a diet of "Back To The Future" movies.

According to the Pope, "Justice cannot exist if "God" is left out of public life". This is a pretty direct swipe at Prime Minister Paul Martin, whose move to legalize same-gender marriage puts him at odds with official church doctrine.

I happen to think that Martin has handled the distinction between his faith and his political activities quite effectively. He has said that he is a practicing Catholic, but that he is not prepared to allow that to get in the way of his secular duties as a politician. This is a realistic and practical approach to faith in a world where there is no uniformity of belief - we have a huge range of faith communities in Canada, and they seldom agree on much beyond the time of day.

What is particularly irritating about the Pope's statements (although unsurprising) is the comment about "justice". Justice cannot exist without God? Whose God pal? Is this the same God that the Church used to justify the Witch Hunts? Is this the same God that gave the Church justification for holding Galileo under house arrest because he wrote something that disagreed with your dogma? Is this the same God that self-justifies prohibiting doctors from teaching about birth control in Africa because "abstinence controls AIDS"? Is this the same God whose words the church uses repeatedly to marginalize people? What about the child-abusing priests who were shuffled about the church hierarchy for years - even decades - to cover up their deeds?

Justice? I'll take it secular, thank you very much. It seems to me that the past behaviour of Churches in general - and the Roman Catholic Church in particular doesn't give me any reason to trust their brand of justice.

You may argue that much of the worst acts of the Catholic Church have taken place hundreds of years in the past, and do not reflect the church today. To some degree, I will agree with you - but we must also recognize that the Church has been decidedly unwilling to admit when it took actions that were questionable, or even downright wrong. This new Pope doesn't seem any more inclined to recognize past failings than his predecessors, and as such is likely to continue to repeat them.

No comments: