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Grand inquisitor elected Pope

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German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected head of the Roman Catholic church on Tuesday 19 April after one of the shortest conclaves in recent history. He will be crowned as the 265th Pope on Sunday, in the usual Byzantine ceremony, replete with the triple tiara, the ostrich plume fans, the gilded litter-throne that mark him out as supreme pontiff - hardly ‘a humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard’ as he described himself.

For more than 20 years Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the lineal successor of the Inquisition. Here he waged a ceaseless battle against liberation theologians, feminists, defenders of gay rights, Marxists and all forms of ‘relativism’ and laxity in questions of morals.

The 115 cardinals - all male, all professedly celibate, predominantly Europeans in a church whose membership is now two thirds non-European - have in effect elected the Grand Inquisitor. Ratzinger will continue if not fortify the work of his predecessor Karol Wojtyla: total opposition to contraception, abortion, homosexuality and opening the priesthood to women and married men.

The cardinals’ choice has delighted reactionary forces around the globe. To the fore is the born again (Protestant) Christian George Bush, who ardently shares the Pope’s obscenely misnamed Pro-Life agenda. Both are determined that women shall not be able to decide whether to continue with a pregnancy.

In fact because of this agenda of death and suffering, millions on all continents who could be saved by using condoms will continue to perish from AIDS. Thanks too to the ban on abortion, which the church supports in many so-called catholic countries, countless numbers of women will die or suffer terrible illnesses. Millions more will live out their sex lives wracked by fear and guilt, turning to celibate male priests for forgiveness and paying the church for this illusory service.

Under Ratzinger gay people, including many priests, will continue to be hounded as unnatural, sinful, disordered. Here too guilt and homophobia will take a high toll in suicides, physical and mental abuse and sheer unhappiness. Their desire to escape this fate - to have a right not to be abused like this - is denounced by the new pope as ‘egotism’. After all, he seems to be saying, if I sacrifice my life and happiness to God why shouldn’t you?

As long as the life concerned in the Church’s ‘Pro-Life’ crusade is pre-natal, indeed pre-conception, i.e. has little to do with real conscious human beings, it will have the full support of Ratzinger and his armies of bishop and priests. As for those alive but starving and suffering oppression, they are a far lower priority.

Ratzinger was born in 1927 into family of Bavarian farmers in Germany. His father was a policeman. From the age of six to eighteen he was brought up in Nazi Germany and was a member of the Hitler Youth, though there is no evidence to suggest that he was a real Nazi sympathizer.

As a young priest Ratzinger was regarded as something of a progressive. He became a theologian and one of his early essays was even condemned for ‘relativism’. But in 1968 his attitudes changed because of the student rebellion in Germany. He experienced it at first hand when, as a university theology professor in Tuebingen, protesters disrupted one of his lectures. This convinced him that the politically left wing and sexually permissive ideas that arose in the sixties presented a terrible danger to the Church. He even denounced rock music as ‘the vehicle of anti-religion’.

One of his first campaigns when he became head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981 was against ‘liberation theology’ and its many supporters among the priesthood in Latin America. Ratzinger denounced priests who became involved in social action against poverty and repression as making concessions to Godless Marxism. He silenced one of the main exponents of this trend, Leonardo Boff, in 1985.

In 2003 he stopped a priest and a nun from ministering to gays in the United States, because they would not give an undertaking to warn them that ‘homosexual acts are always objectively evil’.

Ratzinger has often inveighed against “moral relativism.” He means by relativism the idea that human beings should base their conduct on whether it makes people happy or unhappy, more or less free. The chief shepherd of the Roman flock will have none of this. Morality must be absolute— i.e. a command from god, what is pleasing to Him. Of course since the this deity cannot actually be located for His instructions, these commands must be found in a 2000 year old book and any moot points or new rulings transmitted and interpreted by the priesthood and thus ultimately by the papacy.

Of course reference is made to arcane passages from the Hebrew and Greek scriptures they feel are relevant, ignoring those they believe are no longer applicable (relativism?). Thus in the whole detailed book of the Mosaic Law, i.e Leviticus in the Christian bible, the Popes seem particularly convinced of the extreme relevance of the following:

‘If a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them’ (Leviticus chapter 20, Verse 13)

But on the other hand they has not seen the relevance of enforcing the following from Leviticus chapter 20, verse 9:

‘For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.’

Now of course the pope does not actually suggest stoning gay people to death but if others do, then it is really their own fault. Gay rights campaigners maintain that between 150 and 200 gay men are murdered in Italy every year. But Ratzinger, when he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, actually blamed violent homophobia on the struggle for Gay rights:

‘When civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the church nor society at large should be surprised when violent reactions increase.’

In electing Ratzinger the cardinals have chosen an open and declared reactionary on all fronts. Not for nothing did they call him the Panzerkardinal and the Rotweiller. His attempts to impose his will could cause great rifts and upheavals within its ranks. Not only revolutionary Marxists but also all supporters of human freedom and progress will welcome this auto-destruction. It makes easier the task, led by Marxists, of exposing the reactionary character not only of the Catholic Church but all churches and all religions.

They actively promote misery and suffering, especially in their influence over personal and sexual matters, but also by convincing millions that the sufferings of this life, exploitation, poverty and disease, are unchanging features of the human condition, the vale of tears, for which religion is the only consolation. The struggle against these is the struggle to liberate humanity from religion.