Althouse | category: Pope



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"Gender ideology, today, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations. Why is it dangerous?"

"Because it blurs differences and the value of men and women. All humanity is the tension of differences. It is to grow through the tension of differences. The question of gender is diluting the differences and making the world the same, all dull, all alike, and that is contrary to the human vocation."

Said Pope Francis, quoted — translated — in "Pope Francis: Gender ideology is ‘one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations’ today" (Catholic News Agency).

I question whether this is the best translation, but I think the ideas are abstruse or maybe just inaccessible to those not steeped in Catholic doctrine. Colonization, the tension of differences, the human vocation... I can only try to guess what the Pope means.

He seems opposed to gender ideology and also to be propounding gender ideology. And I don't see people today diluting gender difference. There seems to be a heightening of gender difference. How could there be transgender people if there weren't different genders?

Perhaps the Pope means to exclude the concept of gender and rely solely on sex difference — male and female. You're one or the other, and beyond that, we're all individuals.

Yes, that may be what he is saying:
He said that [some naïve people] “do not distinguish what is respect for sexual diversity or diverse sexual preferences from what is already an anthropology of gender, which is extremely dangerous because it eliminates differences, and that erases humanity, the richness of humanity, both personal, cultural, and social, the diversities and the tensions between differences.” 
The pope noted that he always distinguishes “between what pastoral care is for people who have a different sexual orientation and what gender ideology is.” 
“They are two different things,” he added....

Pope Benedict and Barbara Walters join the Pelé death triad.

This is one of the greatest death triads I have ever seen. Perhaps the greatest.

Goodbye to 3 greats, in 3 different fields — religion, journalism, and sports. All 3 died after a long, productive life — Pelé, a little young, at 82, Walters at 93, and the Pope at 95.

"Generally, the cruellest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryats and so on."

Said Pope Francis, quoted in "‘Racist’ interview with Pope Francis causes fury in Russia/Francis says Chechen and Buryat minorities in Russia’s army more cruel in Ukraine than other soldiers" (The Guardian). 

Alexandra Garmazhapova, the founder of the anti-war Free Buryatia organisation, called the comments “inexcusable and racist.” “I was extremely disappointed to read these racist, inexcusable statements,” said Garmazhapova. “Russia is waging an imperial war started and led by Vladimir Putin, who is by all accounts not a member of an ethnic minority. The pope should condemn him personally, but he decided to sidestep the Russian president.”

“Let’s not forget that the Russian Orthodox church is one of the biggest supporters of the war,” Garmazhapova added, referring to the public backing of the war by the head of the Russian Orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill....

"I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples... I am sorry... I ask forgiveness, in particular..."

"... for the ways in which many members of the church and of religious communities cooperated, not least through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools.... It is necessary to remember how the policies of assimilation and enfranchisement, which also included the residential school system, were devastating for the people of these lands... I thank you for making me appreciate this."

50 years ago today: "ROME, MAY 21—Michelangelo's Pieta, one of the world's most celebrated sculptures, was severely damaged today when a man attacked it with a hammer in St. Peter's Basilica."

"Hundreds of Whitsunday worshipers, pilgrims and tourists watched in horror as a young man with long reddish hair and a beard pushed into the side chapel to the right of the main entrance to St. Peter's, where the Pieta is on display over, an altar. He climbed over a marble balustrade, went up the stairs to the platform on which the sculpture rests, pulled out a hammer from under a raincoat he had over his arm and started battering the marble, shouting, 'I'm Jesus Christ.' The blows shattered the left arm of the figure of the Virgin Mary in the marble group and also chipped the nose, the left eye and the veil covering the hair... The assailant, who was identified as Laszlo Toth, 33 years old, of Sydney, Australia, was able to strike four or five hammer blows amid the gasps and shouts of the crowd before an Italian fireman ran up to him and pulled him down by his hair.... A Vatican spokesman said later that Mr. Toth had told Archbishop Benelli in English: 'If you kill me, so much the better, because I'll go straight to heaven.' The Hungarian‐born Mr. Toth had been living in Rome for some time and had acquired some notoriety for bizarre conduct. In an interview last November, II Messaggero of Rome presented him as a 'local character of sorts,' quoting Mr. Toth as saying that he was a geologist and had left Australia two years ago to return to Europe because 'I have seven mysteries to reveal.'"

The NYT reported, 50 years ago.

We're told that Pope Paul inspected the damage, knelt and prayed in front of it, and was overheard saying "Also most serious moral damage."

50 years ago today:

cc Stanislav Traykov.

ADDED: "Lazlo Toth" was used as a pen name by the comedian Don Novello (who played Father Guido Sarducci on "Saturday Night Live").
In the 1970s, Novello started to write letters to famous people under the pen name of Lazlo Toth (after Laszlo Toth, a deranged man who vandalized Michelangelo's Pietà in Rome). The letters, written to suggest a serious but misinformed and obtuse correspondent, were designed to tweak the noses of politicians and corporations. Many of them received serious responses; Novello sometimes continued the charade correspondence at length, with humorous results. The letters and responses were published in the books The Lazlo Letters, Citizen Lazlo!, and From Bush to Bush: The Lazlo Toth Letters.

Here's the Wikipedia article for Lazlo Toth, the vandal: 

He was not charged with a criminal offence after the incident, but was hospitalized in Italy for two years. On his release, he was immediately deported to Australia.... In June 1971 he moved to Rome, Italy, knowing no Italian, intending to become recognized as Christ.

The correct spelling of the name is Laszlo Toth.

50 years ago today:

Toth is on Wikipedia's "List of people claimed to be Jesus."

ALSO: The comics artist Steve Ditko is not obscure — he's best known for Spider-Man and Doctor Strange — but he has an obscure comic called "Laszlo's Hammer."  His Wikipedia article doesn't even mention "Laszlo's Hammer." It does mention this other pretty obscure — obscure to me — thing "Mr. A" — "a hero reflecting the influence of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism." And we're told "Ditko largely declined to give interviews, saying he preferred to communicate through his work." Well, good. Make art. 

Here's some more about "Mr. A":

Rex Graine is a newspaper reporter... known for his uncompromising principles and incorruptibility. In order to fight crime, Graine wears metal gloves and a steel mask that resembles a placid face, thus becoming Mr. A... There is no origin story for the character, thus the only discernible reason why Graine sometimes disguises himself (both his identities are equally threatened by criminals and sometimes hated by the general public) is due to his choice to become a vigilante. Mr. A uses half white-half black calling cards to signify his arrival, as well as to represent his belief that there can only be good and evil, and no moral grey area.

Why must they all fight crime? Did Ayn Rand fight crime?

"The Pope has criticised 'cancel culture,' claiming it suffocates freedom of expression, rewrites the past and eliminates 'all sense of identity.'"

"In a strongly worded speech yesterday to diplomats gathered at the Vatican, the Pope said 'a kind of one-track thinking is taking shape, one constrained to deny history or, worse yet, to rewrite it.'... The Pope said the trend was influencing diplomacy, creating 'a mindset that rejects the natural foundations of humanity and the cultural roots that constitute the identity of many peoples.' The result, he said, was 'a form of ideological colonisation, one that leaves no room for freedom of expression and is now taking the form of the "cancel culture" invading many circles and public institutions.'... 'Under the guise of defending diversity, it ends up cancelling all sense of identity, with the risk of silencing positions that defend a respectful and balanced understanding of various sensibilities.'"

The Pope's words are translated from the Italian, but he said "cancel culture" in English.

Doesn't the Pope have to oppose cancel culture? Whether he says so outright or not, he must defend the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church is a very conspicuous target of the culture.

Here's the full text of the speech.

ADDED: I'd trust the Pope when he identifies "ideological colonization." It takes one to know one!

"Or take a young couple who are able to have children but who, for whatever reason — lack of affordable housing, usually — have decided to delay doing so and to get a rescue dog instead."

"How is that selfish, rather than prudent and responsible? You can’t go dropping babies everywhere just because you’re fertile, and, besides, women aren’t brood mares. Cat first, baby if and when the time is right is a perfectly reasonable approach."

From "Pets deserve worship, whatever the Pope says/Having dogs or cats instead of children isn’t selfish: it enriches our existence" by India Knight (London Times).

I think Pope Francis meant to reject exactly that "perfectly reasonable approach." That's not the meaning of life, to be prudently responsible and to wait until all your material conditions will make children comfortably manageable.
50 years ago today: "ROME, MAY 21—Michelangelo's Pieta, one of the world's most celebrated sculptures, was severely damaged today when a man attacked it with a hammer in St. Peter's Basilica."

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