Posts Tagged ‘pope benedict’

pop goes the world: slipping off the red shoes

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  28 February 2013, Thursday

Slipping Off the Red Shoes

Today marks the final day of Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, 85, as Pope Benedict XVI of the 1.6 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church.

His resignation due to age and health reasons, announced by the Vatican on February 11, makes him the first pope to voluntarily step down from the highest seat in the church hierarchy since Pope Celestine V in 1294.

The news was a surprise to many, especially those among the Catholic faithful who appreciate the conservative stance on church matters that he has taken since 1968. He advocated a return to traditional values as a response to what he saw as increasing secularization.

Now the world waits as the College of Cardinals prepares to hold a conclave at which a new pope will be chosen. Roman Catholic believers will thank Benedict for his service and the care he gave his flock during his time.

However, there are those who point out that his resignation was an entirely appropriate, even necessary, action given the inadequacy of his response to the scandals that beset the church during his tenure.

Benedict served from 1981 to 2005 as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handled the reports of sexual abuse committed by priests. According to bloggers Daniel Bier and David Bier, “he repeatedly failed to act and refused to change procedures to prevent future abuse.”

Mexican priest Marcial Maciel Degollado, who founded the profitable Legionnaires of Christ, abused dozens of boys. Benedict denied appeals for an investigation in 1998. It was only when the case came to public attention in 2004 that he sentenced Maciel to “prayer and penance.”

When still archbishop of Germany in 1980, Benedict prescribed “therapy and relocation” for a pedophile priest “who may have raped as many as 100 children;” according to the Biers, this was shown in confidential memos from his office, although Benedict claims he had no knowledge of the problem.

In 1982, Father Stephen Kiesle, who raped 11- and 13-year old children, was suspended and asked to be defrocked. Benedict failed to respond to this request for three years.

According to online publication The Week, In July 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles paid $660 million to “hundreds of plaintiffs accusing up to 126 priests of clergy sex abuse.”

In November 2009, four bishops in Ireland were accused of ignoring abuse reports while five bishops did active covering-up.

In February 2010 came the revelation of “systematic” sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Germany, with Der Spiegel magazine estimating that nearly 100 priests and members of the laity were suspected of involvement.

It is Church policy, implemented by higher-ranking clergy such as Benedict, to keep incidents such as this secret. It is only thanks to excellent reporting by the media especially in the past decade that these and many other cases have been brought to light.

Benedict’s role in the cover-ups through the decades cannot be disputed. The Belfast Telegraph reported in 2010 that in his Christmas address to Rome-based cardinals and officials on December 20 that year, he claimed that “in the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children.”

He also said, “It was maintained – even within the realm of Catholic theology – that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

Tell that to the young victims of abuse, many of whom never received justice, scarred for life by their violation at the hands of men they trusted.

Just recently, a couple of Italian newspapers cited unidentified senior Vatican sources as saying that Benedict received a 300-page report last December about the blackmail of gay priests by male prostitutes in Rome. This, they said, could perhaps be the real reason for Benedict’s resignation. The Vatican denied the allegations.

Meanwhile, at least one cardinal will not be attending the conclave. Benedict rushed Scottish archbishop Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s resignation from March 17 to immediately, given his own resignation. O’Brien was accused by three priests and a former priest of having inappropriate relationships with them.

Benedict had the chance to right many wrongs, but he did not. Stepping down is the best thing he has ever done. May the next pope acknowledge the failure of the Catholic Church to adequately address these issues, make reparation to the victims, and ensure that no one ever gets abused again by its clergy.

May the next wearer of the red shoes be as transparent, open, and humble as Jesus himself was.

We can only pray.   *** 

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pop goes the world: crawling the web for you

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 25 November 2010, Thursday

Crawling the Web for You

“You’re listening to DWJO, JennyO Radio! We trawl the depths and dive into the muck of ‘Net so you don’t have to! We serve the latest freshest catch of local and world news with sides of snark at no extra charge!

“On our grill today – tarsiers, condoms, and fireworks in a mish-mash of global happenings guaranteed to make you doubt in a positive future for human evolution.

“First up – Department of Tourism planning and promotions undersecretary Vicente Romano III resigns following the failed unveiling of the DOT’s new logo, ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ which looks almost exactly like the logo of Poland ’s tourism campaign.

“While Romano has shown honor and delicadeza in taking responsibility for the fiasco and letting go of his post – one of the very few Philippine public officials to do so in history – he still contends that using the Polska logo was not plagiarism.

“We would have been impressed with Romano’s self-sacrifice if only he hadn’t said that no copying took place. Anyone who is not legally blind and has a functioning brain can clearly see that the ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ logo was a blatant rip-off.

“The addition of a tarsier, removing the mountains, and changing the pine tree to coconut still  does not negate the fact that the font and critical elements such as a tree, waves, and country name – in short, the general design – were used as a basis for a bad copy job. Can you say ‘cut-and-paste’?

“Further, there were pronouncements from the DOT that no funds were spent on the ‘preview’ of the botched logo. They insisted the event was not a ‘launch’ despite the performance of half-naked dancers gyrating lasciviously in front of a huge backdrop of the Kay Ganda logo. But everyone knows a sexy dance number is mandatory for product and event launches! However, this dance was so inappropriate and in the poorest taste that the tagline should have read ‘Pilipinas Kay Landi’.

We can’t do better than this?! Image here.

“Let’s get back to the money, honey. Journalist Ellen Tordesillas posted on her blog photos of scanned documents that purport to show DOT spent at least P3.7 million for the event. Other estimates put the figure at closer to P5 million. Romano’s resignation might pay for his mistakes, but many questions still go unanswered.

“In related news, advertising agency Campaigns and Grey have disavowed any knowledge of their actions, put the blame on the client, and promised to never again be goaded into doing something against their better judgement. Let us hope that they will adhere to the ethics held as standards in their industry, no matter what the pressure applied and from whom, because earning the ridicule of the international advertising community and risking any potential awards they might win at Cannes is not worth the aggravation.

“Continuing our crawl across the Web, we met these spiders and invited them into our parlor for your edification and entertainment.

“In overseas news, Pope Benedict recently announced that condom use could be acceptable in selected cases, such as during interactions with male prostitutes, in order to reduce risk of contracting the AIDS virus. Female prostitutes should protest on the grounds that the edict is discriminatory and anti-women, like many Vatican policies.

“Catholics who are non-prostitutes might wonder whether they are also allowed to use condoms. Given the Roman Catholic Church’s firm and antiquated stand against artificial contraception, it might be that non-male-prostitute church members will be allowed condom use only upon certifying that they will not use rubbers to prevent pregnancy or risk hellfire and eternal damnation.

“Among the possible outcomes of the Pope’s declaration is that some Catholics fearful of contracting AIDS will have condom-protected sex – but only with male prostitutes, and no longer with their regular partners, leading to a boom in business among male sex workers. Investors could be eyeing business opportunities in condom manufacture and ‘bro-thels’.

“ North Korea has fired upon South Korea in a swaggering show of aggression that has raised tensions across the region and put various military forces on high alert. A local radio broadcaster commented the other day ‘Nagpaputok ng rebentador ang North Korea sa South Korea …’ No offense intended, but because Filipinos tend to use humor as an anxiety-coping mechanism, expect wisecracks to abound in the coming weeks.

“Count on it, when Pinoys joke, it’s either they’re happy and celebrating something, they’re mad and want to get back at someone, or they’re afraid and about to fill their pants with crap.

Pilipinas kay ganda, you’ve been listening to JennyO Radio, where we try to find you good news – but it’s really hard.”

Now you know I’m scared.  Let me go change my pants. ***

I vote for this tarsier to be DOT undersecretary – because he can’t be any worse than the last one. Image here.

Kay Ganda-Polska faceoff image from here.

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