thoughts on the new pope


There’s an interesting form of discrimination here in Argentina that I’d forgotten about. Ageism. I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the world, but in the UK you can’t employ or not employ someone on the basis of their age.  In Argentina, a quick flick through the job section sees specific age brackets given for each position – usually 18 to 25, and never over 40. In fact, once a person is over 40, it’s exceedingly difficult to get a new job anywhere. It’s not just private companies, the government is the same. For instance, teachers over the age of 50 are ineligible for new teaching posts.

So I can’t help but be amused that the whole country is jumping for joy that a 76 year old man has just got a new job as head of the Catholic Church.  I mean, he’s 36 years past the age they think employability terminates!  He’s 11 years older than the standard retirement age!  I’m assuming it’s a bit of a demanding job that will require long hours and a good concentration span. Is the Catholic Church having a joke?  Has anyone read the Bible?  Someone tell them that Jesus and his mates (who had no money, by the way) were in their 30s.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I have nothing against older people in working roles, but I have a lot of complaints against the Catholic Church, and, now that I’ve started, I feel like giving them an airing.

  • is it desirable the vast majority of the 1.2 billion people in the world who profess to being Roman Catholic understand nothing about the Bible, and their biggest involvement in religion (aside from the mechanical coming of age rituals like baptism, confirmation, marriage and funeral) is superstitiously crossing themselves when they pass a church?
  • is it acceptable that women can’t apply for any of the jobs?
  • is it normal that when the vast majority of people live their lives based around family units, with partners and children, the men who dish out advice on a daily basis to humanity have experience of life only as sexless bachelors?
  • is it the biggest piece of stunning immorality you’ve heard in your life that the largest charitable provider of AIDS support in Africa tells people with sexually transmitted diseases that it’s a sin to use condoms?
  • is it totally irresponsible in an overpopulated world to tell people that sex is great and perfectly natural within marriage, but you should never use birth control?
  • is it a damn shame that every person I know who was brought up a Catholic, even if they’ve escaped it’s psychological vice-like grip, carries guilt, confusion and remnant superstition forever within them?
  • is it messing with children’s heads to tell them they commit ‘sins’ and they have to confess their ‘sins’ to a man in a box?
  • is it thoroughly unsurprising that men told they can’t have sex are prone to becoming sexual abusers?
  • is it a sign of a corrupt institution that when they know their employees are sexually abusing children, they attempt to hush it up and allow the criminals to continue working for them?

Answers on a postcard please.