The Halo Halo! column from the January 2013 issue of the Socialist Standard
It’s not for us to advise the Pope, or the outgoing Archbishop of Cant and his successor on their image or on how to run their religions, but you do have to wonder, on what planet and in which century, do they think they are living? If they enjoy dressing up in ridiculous hats and robes to contact an invisible man in the sky and inflicting his unwanted views on us, fair enough. But expecting us to accept that their hallucinatory communications have a beneficial effect on our lives is pushing it a bit too far.
To be fair having a figment of your imagination as your boss who, by his own admission, moves in mysterious ways must make the job difficult. And having to take his ‘holy word’ seriously can only add to the confusion.
As for God, one of the problems he has as someone who doesn’t actually exist is that he was unable to write his biblical horror stories himself. He had to rely on his early followers, St Paul for example, to do it for him. And Paul by all accounts was a bit of a lad, a persecutor of Christians before his own conversion to Christianity, and probably not best known for his pro-feminist views afterwards. And this, unfortunately, has been causing problems for some believers.
‘Let your women keep silence in the churches.’ said Paul. ‘For it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.’
And while these views of Paul’s in his letter to the Corinthians have apparently been quite acceptable until recently, the trendy wing of the Church who hope to drag it out of the dark ages find them a bit inconvenient – especially now that those who take them as gospel have voted against the ordination of women bishops.
Meanwhile the Pope, who doesn’t seem to have problems with women not knowing their place in the Catholic Church, is also trying to update his image. As from 12 December he will be on Twitter to keep us updated with all the latest titbits about God.
And in November he published his new book about Jesus – The Infancy Narratives. He is now able to inform us that the stuff we had previously been told about the nativity was nonsense. Well, some of it was. The bit about the virgin birth was true of course. And about there being no room at the inn, and the three wise men, and the star that hovered above the stable was all true. But now he informs us that there were no singing angels, and probably no ox and ass in the stable either.
Some believers were disappointed at these revelations. A review of the book appeared on http://catholicism.about.com and comments posted below included
‘What purpose does Pope Benedict want to accomplish by taking the angels and the animals in the manger out of the story? After all he wasn’t there when Christ was born. I believe angels are always all around us’.
‘I was told that the pope was revealing secrets not revealed to the public before. Things like there was really not a crib when Jesus was born, the fact that space aliens are also children of God, and the treasures the Vatican has that the world will never see’.
Maybe getting God into the 21st century is being a bit ambitious. Try getting him into the Middle Ages first and see how it goes from there.