Friday, April 28, 2006

Sacred Symbols

The current Pope, Benedict, has just recently passed the one year mark of his papacy,and so far the most controversial issue he has faced may well be a poster on a Roman cathedral which is an advertisement for the up and coming release of the movie “The DaVince Code”. Due to many protests voiced by several priests and bishops in Italy, it was decided the poster had to be removed.

I am not a big fan of the Roman Catholic Church’s history. They have, despite their propoganda to the contrary, been ever at the forefront of denying progress, in science as well as the arts, and even in the area or human rights of self-determination. There is little in Church history that is admirabe in these regards, though they have made some significant stides in recent decades to try to atone for this.

On the other hand, during the last few decades they have also demonstrated that,when it comes to equal rights for women and gays, they are still the same old ideologically extremist hirarcical organization. On the illegal imigration in America issue, they come down semingly on the other ideological extreme, self-servingly encouraging as many ilegal immigrants as possible, doubtless out of a hope for greater political and social power over the nation through these traditionally Catholic, to the point of superstition, followers.

They are still yet, after all these centuries,no friend to science, advocating the unfortunate position they do regarding the utilization of stem cell rsearch. Now, they are proving themselves the unobjective critic of popular culture as well, by their objections to the contents of Dan Browns novel.

I read the novel, and personally, I was unimpressed, though I am hopeful that Director Ron Howard will actually turn the movie into a work that will match the hype which the book, for me, did not live up to. Whether it does this or not, the Catholic Churc should grow up. It’s been around for going on two thousand years, so it’s about time, I would say. Their objections betray a fear of loosing power and influence, which is understandable seeing as how their power and influence is based on smoke and mirrors to begin with. Why else worry about something as trivial as a second rate (at best) novel? I mean, the book is a work of fiction, right? It’s not a true story.

Or is it? Remember, Dan Brown recently won a lawsuit by the authors of a book which was a non-fiction work called “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”, said authors having acussed Bown of plagiarsing their work. It is based on the proposition that Chrisitanity was originaly a duolithic religion, and that Mary Magdalene was Christs partner, lover, and soul mate. They were, according to this theory, married. And that is not all. They had a child, a girl, whom Mary, following Christs crucifixion and eventual resurrection and ascension ito heaven, took with her to Gaul, now of course knwn as France. This girl eventually married and her descendants formed the Merovingian Dynasty of rulers, who were eventually all executed by the Church as heretics. From that point on, the remaining surviving descendants of Crist and Mary Magdalene have been forced to go into hiding, protected by a small cabal of followers that included, among other notables, Leonardo DaVinci. The Church, according to this theory, will stop at nothing to eliminate every last one of them as a means of protecting their hold on power.

Of course, I do not believe this, yet I find myself in a curious psition in that, if it were true, I would find myself for once on the side of the Roman Cathoic Church. As horrendous and at times as hideous as their excesses have been, I wonder what it would be like if it were suddenly revealed that Christ (whom I do not believe actually existed as a living person) did indeed have descendants living today.

Human natue being what it is, I have no doubt that this descendant, or descendants, would quickly amass a following, and a huge one. I have no doubt that the descendants of Jesus Christ would be themselves viewed as veritable gods in the flesh, whose every utterance would be treated as infallible, as a divine ordinance, to be adhered to without question, on pain of death.

Yeah, I would have to side with the Church on this one. The world has enough trouble as it is.


autogato said...

You raise many cogent arguments, several of which have been present in my head for several years. Several of which have driven me previously away from the church. Particularly that of the church's stance of women and gays. I have great difficulty thinking that I might one day raise a daughter in a church tht openly disallows the ability of women to assume positions of authority. Last time I checked the possession of a penis didn't make one a better clergy member. It didn't make one better at ministering to and helping those in pain. And my guess it affords no additional benefit in the process of transubstantiation.

The dichotomy and seeming blatant oppositional beliefs esposed by the organization of the church have baffled followers, myself included, for some time. While I try to understand their policy (such as that on males being priests) from a traditional and historical perspective, my great criticism is that I believe history has since demonstrated that women are every bit as capable.

Okay. I'm going on a rant now. I'll stop before I get too crazy.

The Pagan Temple said...

That's fine, rants are welcome here.

autogato said...

Then to continue my rant (thank you for welcoming it), it makes little sense to me to continue to cling to the belief that positions of greatest power within the church belong to males, not females. While traditionally this was the case, that was traditionally the case FOR A REASON. Consider the socio/historical/political context of the early church. Women would not be taken seriously as messengers, teachers, and spiritual leaders. This was the realm of men. Converts that were largely Jewish were accustomed to the patriarchal nature of Judiasm - high priests were men, not women. While Christians did advocate change to the social order, the still in many ways conformed to the expectations of the time - men were the leaders.

From that historical/social/political perspective, it is very sensible that men were chosen. However, "times have changed" as the saying goes. The women's movement has occurred and there has been the radical notion that women are people - competent, capable people who are every bit just as much willing and able to be faith leaders.

ARG! It gets me hopping upset sometimes! If I ever had a daughter, I'm not sure how I would explain this to her. Hunny, we're Catholic, but therein exists some patriarchal oppression. This was a large factor that drove me away from the church. Despite that, I have been making my best attempts to renew faith. But I cannot dismiss that very LARGE issue: how do I feel about being a member of a church whose hierarchy makes it quite clear that I could be viewed as less capable, less competent than a man? And is it possible to divorce the earthly doctrine written by men from my faith?

Rant complete. Thank you.