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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Germany's Joseph Ratzinger is the new Pope and will take the name Benedict XVI. Conservative American journalist and Catholic, Andrew Sullivan, explains the significance of the decision:

"Ratzinger's immersion in political culture wars has become even deeper. I also cover his radical innovations on the role of women, gays and conscience. A woman should follow the "roles inscribed in her biology"; gays are inherently disposed to "intrinsic moral evil"; conscience as the modern world understands it is illusory. Yes, we have a new Pope. Just like the old one, but without any of his redeeming features."

Personally, I salute the choice of Ratzinger, if for no other reason than the church's inherent bigotry and misogyny will finally be clear for all to see. Prediction number one: attendances in churches in the Western world will continue to dive due to Ratzinger's divisive nature. Prediction number two: the new Pope will be completely incapable and unwilling to engage on any of the fundamental issues facing the world in the 21st century. Prediction number three: being a former Nazi will do wonders for the church's image.

All in all, a grand day for the secularists.

UPDATE: US Rabbi Michael Lerner explains why Ratzinger is "a disaster for the world and for the Jews."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

THe only inherent bigotry I see here is in this post...apparently you don't only have a problem with Jews, but Catholics as well. Of course, the Nazi thing has only got the barking left up in arms:

"Local Jews dismiss Pope's Nazi link"

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 2:20:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I have no 'issue' with Jews or Catholics, don't even go there. My issue is with agents of either religion using and abusing their position. If you're comfortable with the Pope expressing hatred of gay people, those who have sex outside of marriage, keeping woman in the home etc, then perhaps you should be living in 1950s Sydney.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 2:22:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mate, you have an incredible problem with Jews, read your own site! Jews control the media, Jews control politics, Jews control the U.S. government and it's deputy sherriff John Howard, Jews control academia -- I swear, sometimes it all reads like Protocols of the Elders of Zion fan fiction!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 3:07:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

p.s. It's very interesting that you continue to reveal yourself as a predictable academic Occidentalist who only believes in criticisizng Judaism/Christianity, since I never hear a discouraging word about the depradations of Islam on this site. Since you like to play in the Middle East sandbox (so to speak) so much, it's pretty funny that you talk about the Vatican and women...the silence on what is done to women in Islam is deafening.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 3:12:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

I have no problem with Jews. Don't even dare suggest that I'm anti-Semitic. It's defamatory and wrong, and you know it. The opening up of debate is key and if you can't handle it, go read Daniel Pipes.
As for the issues within Islam, there are many, to be sure. Clearly until I've done so, you won't be satisfied. So whatever. I'll discuss them when and if.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 3:19:00 pm  
Blogger Marcel said...

The Pope doesn't hate gay people. You hate the Pope. The correct thinking Catholic hates sin in all its manisfestations, but not the sinner. Yet you hate the Pope because of what he stands for.

So you Mr. Lowenstein are a Popophobe, because of your visceral reaction to his abstinent and spiritual lifestyle. Hating someone for their lifestyle, dear me, that's not very tolerant. You should have lived in 1920s Melbourne, your little shop could have had a sign at the door saying "Irish Need Not Apply For Work".

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 5:32:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

The pope doesn't hate gay people? Sorry what? Saying that gay people will go to hell and other far more extreme things isn't showing a severe dislike for gay people? Ooooook then.
I am not anti-Catholic at all, actually. What I am against is the preaching of bigotry. As for the situation in Africa, where the church frequently teaches the evils of birth control and condoms, in places with little education, this is bigotry and a death sentence. If people can't see this, they're simply ignorant of the numerous reports by human rights groups on the ground there. AIDS is killing people and the church suggests that wearing a condom is evil? What's the greater evil? Having sex out of marriage or wearing a condom when people do and will have sex, and saving lives?
Mmmmm, hard to know, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 5:53:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one does more for AIDS patients in Africa (and many other parts of the world) than the Church.

Sex, gay or straight, outside marriage is considered a sin under Catholic doctrine. Artificial means of birth control, including condoms, which can (not 100%) prevent the transmission of AIDS, are also verboten, so to speak.

If people are already sinning by having extra-marital sex, why do you think their scruples are would be sohigh that they would do so but not take precautions? There's a hole in your argument big enough to fly a 747 through.

Or maybe you...just can't handle it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 6:01:00 pm  
Blogger Ambrose said...

Sex, gay or straight, outside marriage is considered a sin under Catholic doctrine.

I'm sure Tony Abbott wished that he had known that!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 6:13:00 pm  
Blogger Darp said...

if people are already sinning by having extra-marital sex, why do you think their scruples are would be sohigh that they would do so but not take precautions? There's a hole in your argument big enough to fly a 747 through.

Well, at-least I can UNDERSTAND Mr Loewenstein's argument.

Seriously, if Marcel White has the balls to put his name to any criticism he makes of other bloggers, YOU, Mr anonymous should grow some gonads of your own and do the same.

God knows you celibates have got sweet fuck all use for your testicles anyways.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 6:19:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Jesus Christ indeed. Talk me through this. People shagging outside of marriage are sinners, and therefore wouldn't listen to the church's teachings? In many parts of Africa and Latin America, education levels are damn low and frankly, without being told how to deal with STDs, there ain't nada chance of this happening.
The church has made a decision to dictate people who have sex outside of marriage a worse sin than birth control. Mind-boggling. Hello people, giving people advice, if they DO 'sin' is simply common-sense.
As for putting names to comments, the cowards continue on their merry way.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 6:29:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Darp, living at home at age 20-something, I'm sure you've got a rich full sex life that those of us 'celibates' (I'm married with kids so you must have been talking about someone else) could never dream of.

Ant(h)ony, you write: "The church has made a decision to dictate people who have sex outside of marriage a worse sin than birth control."

Add a few more articles of speech, I may be able to respond coherently to that...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 7:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony, it's very simple:

Armed robbers who commit armed robbery aren't much likely to follow the gun control statutes; those who have sex outside marriage aren't likely to follow the birth control prohibitions.

Just for the record, I'm not equating the two, but drawing an analogy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 7:46:00 pm  
Blogger mark bahnisch said...

Antony, I think that's a very unfair post, particularly the last sentence about Cardinal Ratzinger's alleged Nazism.

I also take issue with your claim regarding the "church's inherent bigotry and misogyny". That's hyperbole and quite unfair to many liberal and progressive Catholics.

I doubt that any Pope who didn't share the views of JP2 to which I objected (condemnation of homosexuality, "culture of life", no women priests etc) could have been elected. But I see no reason to leave the Church to the conservatives - I'm just as much a part of it as Pope Benedict XVI.

I've said more about the issues here, if you or any of your readers are interested.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 11:54:00 pm  
Anonymous Sheila said...

Ant(h)ony, i just love inserting letters in other peoples' names. Drives me crazy when I see a name without a few extra letters in it. Just makes me fu*kin nuts. Anyway, hope you like it, start to use it in in you correspondence. Later man.

Thursday, April 21, 2005 12:14:00 am  
Blogger mark bahnisch said...

In lieu of a trackback - yet another post on Benedict XVI.

Thursday, April 21, 2005 8:43:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

It's Antony. Hard to remember, but please do.
I am not suggesting that any and all Catholics are bigots, far from it. I'm very aware of the large liberal group in the church and brave souls they are.
HOWEVER, the church hierarchy is the issue here. And what point do liberals give up and go elsewhere? And what point do we address the many Catholics, especially in Western countries, who ignore many of the fundamental teachings of the church, ie. birth control etc, and ask what kind of church exists today?
It deeply concerns me that the major inroads of the church is in the developing world, where, sadly, education is not great and access to sex ed, for example, very low. what the church preaches is essential and they're failing time and time again.
Tell a dying AIDs victim in Africa that the church loves him, when his priest could have talked about birth control

Thursday, April 21, 2005 10:50:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From one anonymous to another:

Surely one partner in a relationship should not suffer due to the acts of the other? If a husband commits adultery and the wife is faithful he will infect her. And she herself will not have "sinned".


Thursday, April 21, 2005 12:00:00 pm  
Blogger mark bahnisch said...

This article (link courtesy of saint) by an Italian journalist said to be well informed lays out some speculations on Benedict's papacy, including the intriguing suggestion (with some supporting evidence) that the Church may revisit its prohibition on condoms.

Thursday, April 21, 2005 10:58:00 pm  
Anonymous Julian B said...

It's a common misunderstanding, but the Catholic Church has no opposition to homosexuals. Only homosexual acts. I realize it is a fine distinction (one you'll probably be happy to go on overlooking) but I defy you to present me with one instance of a Pope or senior Church official condemning homosexuals themselves (and not acts of homosexuality). You won't find any.

Also, you said:

Prediction number one: attendances in churches in the Western world will continue to dive due to Ratzinger's divisive nature.

The evidence strongly contradicts you. Would you consider Islam to be a liberal, progressive religion? No, it isn't, by any definition.

Yet it is the fastest growing religion in all the non-Islamic nations that matter.

I know it's hard to understand and empathize with, Antony, but a demanding religion, one which asks something of its adherents, is quite appealing to the greater majority of people.

Friday, April 22, 2005 9:47:00 pm  
Blogger mark bahnisch said...

Antony, I thought more about your post, which on reflection I think is coloured by prejudice, and I got really angry. I've had my say here.
Your flippant tone and the prejudiced and bigoted assumptions that underlie it do you no credit at all.

Friday, April 22, 2005 11:23:00 pm  
Blogger s said...

I'm not even Catholic and by no means a Catholic Church sycophant. But at least try to quote the guy in context (unlike you want to be like Sullivan et al. who are simply sounding more like a shrill bigots every day). For example:

"Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered to an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder."

"It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the church's pastors wherever it occurs... The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in work, in action and in law."

—both from Ratzinger's "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," 1986

If after nearly 20 years people can't quote this right, or at least not quote it as an example of "gay hating" then I don't much favour the chances for them "changing with the times."

Monday, April 25, 2005 5:10:00 pm  

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