"The church is not grounded in the human experience. This pope is. This pope has an understanding I've not seen in other popes. He talks like a person who actually knows something about human life". - William D'Antonio, sociologist at Catholic University, in today's Denver Post (p. 4A)
As Pope Francis' arrival in Washington draws near, a question being bruited about is the form of welcome he will receive from conservatives, especially conservative Catholics. We know the conservative Repukes are up in arms, about his recent attacks on crony capitalism, as well as defending the scientific basis of global warming. Most Repugs' heads are ready to explode over these issues, and it has even draw a few to write pre-emptive columns directed at Francis such as appeared in the Weekend WSJ.
Conservative Catholics are another matter, and the Pope's entire reign so far has many of them in a state of near hysteria. as well as apoplexy. They are especially burned up by several of the Pope's recent proclamations, about the nature of evil as well as his apparent "slacking off" on Catholic sinners - especially those who violate the "pelvic dogmas" (i.e. against masturbation, premarital sex, contraception, adultery etc.)
"Pelvic Morality" was a term used for decades to describe the unhealthy obsession of the Roman Catholic Church with the human pelvic region, including the female vagina, fallopian tubes and ovaries, as well as the male organs, including the seminal vesicles and testes. One philosopher has suggested this obsession dated from the time of St. Augustine (fresh from his Manichean mental domination) and the belief that female carnality was a refuge of demoniality.
Well into the Middle Ages this view persisted, manifesting in the belief (often echoed by Church Fathers such as Aquinas) that sins such a adultery demanded much more severe physical punishment of the female than her offending male counterpart. This was because by her nature she was deemed closer to the demonic hordes. Indeed, a widepsread belief among prelates late into the Enlightenment was that male virtue and mental acumen was easily "ensnared in female wiles and the flesh". Hence, the recommendation of those like Aquinas for the female body to taste the whip when caught out in such things as adultery, or simply fornication before marriage. (See also Ute Ranke-Heinemann's: Eunuchs in the Service of Christ).
On the male side, the Church's pelvic fetishists obsessed over the intrinsic nature of human sperm (spermatocytes) which were viewed as "homunculi" or tiny -miniature humans, at least until the first microscopes with sufficient power showed otherwise. Hence, any mischievous spilling of seed could not be countenanced, lest these miniature humans perished in a pleasure-induced "holocaust". Thus, the fierce proscriptions against masturbation, and the Vatican's pronouncements of being "mortal sins".
Wearing their little brains out, prelates locked away in their ivory towers and behind hallowed halls of ivy also concluded that if any artificial contraception was used - say in the marriage act- it had to become reduced to no more than "mutual masturbation" since the "natural outlet for new life" was impeded. If a married woman did this, then she could be no better than a whore - hence the 2013 recounting by columnist Gail Collins of how a long time friend went to confession, confessed her use of birth control to some old fart padre, and was told in a loud voice: "Then, Missus.....YOU are a WHORE!" No wonder one Catholic is leaving the Church about every twenty minutes!
This obsession by conservo Catholics was reinforced in a recent Denver Post article ('Disruption Among Catholics', Sept. 19, p. 15A) citing Hofstra University Professor Julie E. Byrne whose specialty is American Catholics. According to her (ibid.):
"The so-called bedroom issues have always been important to conservatives and to Catholic conservatives in particular"
She then agreed that the feeling among the Catholic conservatives is the Church is the last bastion "holding the line" on these sins, so that any divergence or apparent softening of harsh positions is unacceptable The Pope must, MUST declare that even a single masturbation merits eternal hellfire, as much as Hitler might get for killing 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.
Insane? Not really! We already know that proportion and balance are not attributes of the conservative Catholic mind, or conservatives in general. Of course Hell must be the destination for a single sexual sin! It's on a par with committing genocide!
Hence, also the over the top opposition to artificial contraception.(Generally referred to as "mutual masturbation" by Catholic Ethics Professors and priests teaching Catholic morality.)
But there are also statements the Pope has made which have caused implosion of Catholic conservatives' brains, such as:
- Telling a prominent Italian atheist that "everyone has his own idea of good and evil" - not to mention averring even hardcore atheists could reach heaven, e.g.
- Asking 'Who am I to judge?' in relation to a question concerning gay priests
- And then there's the Pope's interview in the October, 2013, Jesuit magazine, 'America', wherein he was asked to name the 'biggest evils" in the world and replied: "Youth unemployment and loneliness".
This so upset blogger Steven Skojec ('OnePeterFive' website) whose head hasn't been the same since, replying (ibid.):
"That's a jarring statement when you're on the front lines of the culture wars looking at the death toll of abortion."
Totally unaware that the Church DID ALLOW abortions to be performed up until the third trimester, and until 1869. John Connery, S.J. a leading historian of the Church’s teaching on abortion, has been quoted as citing a long standing collection of Canon Law that “it was not until 1869 that abortion for any reason became grounds for excommunication” (See, e.g. Anne Druyan and Carl Sagan, PARADE, April 22, 1990).
Meanwhile, Catholic publications have piled on, according to the Post piece. For example, one writer for the Catholic conservative publication 'First Things' "called Francis an ideologue and meddlesome egoist"
Seriously? An egoist? Can we now say this guy is a certifiable jackass?
Then there was the Bulletin from a church in St. Hedwig, Texas which bemoaned his encyclical Laudato Si, writing:
"It's too bad he acquired and used phrases that are scientifically unproven and used by the segment of world leaders that strive to control people by controlling energy issues, usages,"
Hmmm...sounds like a pro-fracker to me, who doesn't have the first clue about how his pet energy "usage" is mangling this nation - from destroying water sources, to polluting air and soil. I'd also warrant this dope couldn't pass a basic thermal physics test.
Then there is Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke who says it "might be necessary to resist the pope's doctrinal shifts".
Oh really? So you know Catholic doctrine better than the pope and are also infallible?
Then there is blogger Skojec who (un-)graciously spouts (ibid.):
"Popes make mistakes. There are good popes and there are bad popes".
Let's not pretend here. The Pope will get a polite welcome from the conservatives - given it's his first trip to the U.S. - but don't look for these knuckle- headed knuckle draggers to hail him as any kind of hero.