Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mortmain: On the Vatican's Seven-Additions to Their List of "Deadly Sins"

The Vatican (population unknown)--Once again, the Vatican has gone out of its way to underscore its insignificance in the modern world by making a belated list of new "mortal sins" that would do Native Americans proud--except that they were saying it 200-years-ago, then were crushed-to-earth thanks to many of the Church's doctrines on "just wars" that have continued into today.

The last time the Church added to the list was in the 6th century C.E., during the reign of Pope Gregory the Great. The Roman Empire had just fallen. It was a period of barbarism. How little has changed since then. Here are the original sins, taken from the horse's mouth:
Pride: Broken on the wheel
Envy: Put in freezing water
Gluttony: Forced to eat rats, toads, and snakes
Lust: Smothered in fire and brimstone
Anger: Dismembered alive
Greed: Put in cauldrons of boiling oil
Sloth: Thrown in snake pits
Keep-in-mind that these were punishments prescribed for in this life, not the punishments in the underworld. It was the 6th century, enough said. What's interesting is that the punishments are worse than the crimes themselves. Considering the political credentials of the current Pope, it all sounds like the torments of Dachau or Auschwitz. It doesn't take a genius to understand that the Church itself is still systematically guilty of the vast majority of the older-sins, so some new ones would have to be trotted-out for the purposes of the smokescreen. Unfortunately, they're also guilty of many of the new ones. What are they?
Polluting the natural environment
Genetic research and manipulation
Excessive wealth
Causing others to live in poverty
Drug smuggling and the use of drugs
Morally debatable experiments [?!]
The violation of fundamental rights of human nature
While a number of these states-of-being are "debatable," a few have been held by humanist and classical liberal traditions for the last several centuries as not only morally repugnant, but a threat to the well-being of humanity and the common good of nations. The Church fought many of these moral stances with incredible ferocity, and still do in the case of poverty. However, where Vatican and classical liberal ideology have agreed frequently are in the concepts of private property, hierarchy, and economic development.

Both have contributed greatly to the wanton destruction of nature, and the exploitation and enslavement of humankind under the current bourgeois tyranny through their doctrines. But where the Church as an institution has failed most is in the arena of defending human rights and speaking-out against unjust wars. Pope John Paul II made-a-break with the latter, but the Nazi-Pope isn't having any of that. After all, this is the inheritor of the Roman Empire's legacy, the people who nailed Christ to the crucifix.

Think back to the slaughter in Latin America during the 1970s-80s when the rise of "liberation theology" was being violently repressed by agents and proxies of the American government--the Church not only wouldn't aid in these social justice movements, but excommunicated many of the priests and bishops involved in them. They also went as far as to aid these agents of repression as they have always done through reporting on the activities of these frequently priest-led movements.

The existence of the Church's grotesque global wealth goes without saying, but one need merely look at Franco's Spain, the venal wealth of all of the Western kingdoms from the Middle Ages-on, or the 300-years of the Vatican's wealth and power-sharing with the Hapsburg Empire (aka "The Holy Roman Empire"). It's all about money and power, their only true god. If you know anything about the Church, you know that it's vast, and that wealth and power have been their only real priorities. The reality is that the institution is more "worldly" than the majority of its congregation. "Mortmain" indeed.

Consider the lilies: The Vatican has holdings in banking, industry, chemical corporations, construction, and their greatest worldwide asset--real estate. The value of much of this real estate cannot even be assessed because it's essentially priceless. There is no poverty in Vatican City, a well-known fact. Their massive and pervasive material wealth is self-evident to even the dimmest of minds. There are hints from the experience of the Cold War that the Vatican allied itself with drug-traffickers, but some of this possible activity began with their own creation of the "rat lines," subterranean escape-routes for Nazi and Italian fascists and war criminals. Why would they do this? The answer is simple: power and influence.

This was under the umbrella of the fight against communism, but was assuredly just another power-grab on their part, and this doesn't even include their involvement in the P-2 conspiracy in Italy during the 1970s-80s. There is a public face and a private face to the Vatican, and the lords of this world hold-sway over this crumbling-giant. While the Vatican has lost much of its temporal power since the end of WWI, this has given it a unique opportunity as a moral force. Since that time, it has been a wasted opportunity, with a few flashes of hope from Pope John Paul I and II. That hope appears as undead as the spirit of the institution itself. From the outside, they appear as an abomination--that they are are the mortal sins personified as flesh and stone.

They should tend to their own failings, as they are extensive and institutionalized. All the Church has done is create a laundry-list of their own crimes, not sins. The best thing they could do for the human race is to disband as an institution, leaving the believing to the believers, and the big questions to God or the vacuum.

Postscript, 03.16.2008: Pope Benedict XVI--the Nazi Pope--is now calling for an end to the killing in Iraq--after one of his own (a Chaldean Archbishop there) has been killed. The Church has provided the fertile soil for these so-called "just wars," long-ago. They're reaping what they have sown. "Saul, why do you persecute me?" Because you're the closest thing to the Devil on the planet, that's why...