“This nasty man”

A post by Andy Newman at Socialist Unity, urging a welcome for Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) on his forthcoming visit to Britain and including the remarkable phrase “as the Daily Telegraph correctly observes,” suggests that the protests planned for the visit are motivated largely by anti-Catholic bigotry.

But in a remarkable statement worth reading in full, a commenter identifying himself as a priest and a socialist offers a different take.

The biggest protest which will take place in Scotland will be a half empty Bellahouston Park. 300 000 turned up in 1982. This time, 100 000 tickets have been distributed. At least 50 000 have been returned.

Ordinary, working class, educated, ‘aware’ Catholics are boycotting the event in their tens of thousands. (In one parish in Fife the priest put up two notices, one for the Papal Mass, one for the parish picnic. 129 names went up for the picnic, 6 for the Papal Mass.)

The reasons for this will be debated. However, there is no doubt in my mind that contributing factors are:

– Ratzinger, in 25 years as head of the CDF ignored thousands of complaints against predatory priests, yet excommunicated theolgians and authors who questioned catholic orthodoxy, in a matter of weeks after their perceived crime.

– He is systematically demolishing Vatican II Council which most Catholics saw as a much needed breath of fresh air, coming as it did, after two world wars. There is also great fondness in the hearts of many catholics for the author of Vatican II, Pope John XXIII. They despise what Ratzinger has done to the memory of this good man.

– He, along with JPII, supported every group of right wing nutcases within the Catholic Church including the objectionable Opus Dei and Legionaires of Christ, while at the same time attacking Catholic groups who were fighting for social justice and human rights across the globe. (Every Catholic knows a priest, brother or nun who is working in the third world with the poorest of the poor. They then look at these old men farting around in the Vatican in their Cappa Magnas and birettas living a lavish lifestyle. They KNOW who’s who.)

– It is not forgotten that one week after Oscar Romero left the Vatican in tears after JPII and Ratzinger refused to back him, he was shot dead. Any Catholic who is NOW aware of what happened in Latin America in the seventies and eighties see Ratzinger as the enemy of justice.

– Ratzinger continues to not only harbour, but give a place of prominence, to Cardinal Bernard Law as arch-priest of St Mary Major’s Basilica, the second most prestigious church after St Peter’s. It is a continuing scandal and sends out a very clear message to all Bishops and Cardinals – dont cooperate with the police and you will be rewarded.

– Ratzinger continues to surround himself with discredited characters – Cardinal Sodano who supported the animal, Marcel Maciel. – Cardinal Bertone, another friend of Maciel’s and a man who attempted to blame child abuse on gay priests. – Castrillon Hoyos, the Cardinal who publicly praised a French Bishop who lied to protect one of France’s most infamous child abusing priests.

– Ratzinger attempting to fast track sainthoods for now discredited Popes, Pius XIIth and JPII.

– Ratzinger’s welcoming of holocaust denier Bishop Williamson and all his friends who left the Church after Vat II.

– His welcoming of mysogonist and homophobic MARRIED priests from the Anglican Church – while still demanding celibacy from his own priests!!

– His attacks on women in the Church and the hypocrisy of his outbursts against gay people.

– His often quoted remark about the church having to grow smaller in order to purify itself. He has set out to rid the Church of some of its most excellent, compassionate people. He will see the empty spaces at Bellahouston next month and… it wont bother him one bit. And evryone knows it.

Fair play to those who turn up to protest but the biggest noise will be made by Catholics who are refusing to attend and be associated with this nasty man in any way.