Papal absence of mind

The pope’s a funny guy. The right hand knoweth not what the left hand getteth up to. The right hand has an attention deficit.

During his address in Amman, the pontiff called on Jordan’s Muslims and Christians to work together to improve their society. “Some assert that religion is necessarily a cause of division in our world and so they argue that the lesser attention given to religion in the public sphere the better,” he said…”However, is it not also the case that often it is the ideological manipulation of religion, sometimes for political ends, that is the real catalyst for tension and division, and at times even violence in society?”

Yes…but…but Herr Rotweiler, sir, have you not noticed that you yourself go in for a certain amount of ideological manipulation of religion, sometimes for political ends? And that your cardinals and bishops and priests do so too? And that sometimes you instruct them to do that very thing? Have you forgotten your own insistence that politicians who support the right to abortion were to be excommunicated? If you have forgotten, I have to say, that’s a little careless and irresponsible of you. If you’re going to go swanning around the globe telling everyone what to do on the pain of religious sanctions, you really have a duty to keep track. You have a power to bully that no one else on the planet has, you know – don’t you think you should take that power very seriously? Seriously enough to be unable to forget the occasions when you use it? I do. Catholics, sadly for them, may well take your threats seriously, and be badly harmed by them – yet here you are making them one day and forgetting them the next. Callous bastard, aren’t you.

…as he flew toward his much anticipated five-day trip in Brazil, the Pope addressed the question of the “good standing” of Catholic politicians who support abortion rights — a delicate issue that has come up in the U.S., Europe and, most recently, Mexico. During an unprecedented 25-minute on-flight press conference, Benedict left little room for interpretation: pro-choice politicians not only should be denied communion, but face outright excommunication from the Church for supporting “the killing of a human child.” The Pope’s declaration came in response to recent comments from the spokesman of the Mexican bishops conference, who said politicians who pushed through a new Mexico City pro-choice law were to be excommunicated.

One truth in Mexico City and another in Amman, popey? Is that the idea? Going all situationist on us, are you? Or is it more of an irregular verb matter – what you do cannot, by definition, be manipulation, but what other people do can? Is that it? Well if so you should spell it out, so that we know what we’re dealing with.

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