“The Pope is an Evil, Disgusting Piece of Garbage” -Me

So a little while ago when all of the news started coming out linking the current Pope to cover-ups of sex abuse in the Catholic Church, I posted “the Pope is an evil, disgusting piece of garbage” as my Facebook status.

A little while after that I got a response from my mom, who expressed her opinion that she didn’t think that name-calling fit in with my new philosophy of reason and critical thought. She said that I would have gotten farther with explaining where I was coming from, and that a dialogue would have been more constructive rather than typing words that might put people on the defensive.

I thought about it for a bit, and this was my response to her:

I guess I was pretty angry when I wrote that, as I had just heard about how the Pope was (allegedly) involved in a cover up  of a priest who had raped 200 deaf boys, so that’s where I was coming from when I wrote that. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/world/europe/25vatican.html

But actually I’m not sure I would take it back now that I think about it…If I were involved in as many awful things as the Pope has been since he became the Pope and before that, I would expect people to call me much worse names.

He hasn’t been convicted of anything in the court of law, but it would be nice if he had to face consequences for the most recent scandal, in which a letter surfaced signed by him that explained that he wouldn’t defrock a convicted pedophile priest because he was looking out for the interests of the church: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/7573321/Text-of-1985-letter-from-future-Pope-Benedict-on-California-sex-abuse.html

Other more concrete examples of the Pope’s evilness:
-Opposing gay equality laws in the UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/feb/01/pope-condemns-british-equality-bill
-Spreads lies about condoms and AIDS in AIDS-ravaged areas http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/17/pope-africa-condoms-aids (the Pope is said to be infallible, but he he spreads lies that cause poor people to have children they can’t afford at the same time as condemning abortion, and that contribute to the spread of AIDS)

So although maybe I didn’t express my feelings in the best way in that Facebook comment, I honestly can’t say I feel bad about calling the Pope those things. He’s in a position that makes him trusted and respected by millions of Catholics, but he hasn’t earned that respect. He’s supposed to set a moral example, and before he was Pope he was still a church leader so his career should have been characterized by thinking about morality, yet time and time again he rejects reality in favour of doing the wrong thing as long as it conforms to the Catholic Church Dogma. And the worst part is that since he’s got that whole religion thing going on, people will allow him to spew nonsense, and he’ll never be held accountable for the consequences of his words and actions.

I try not to call names, but people have this unjustified respect for the Pope, so by calling him names on Facebook I’m protesting the idea that he should be shown respect by default because he’s a religious leader, and showing explicitly that he doesn’t have my respect.

I want to add a couple of things. The first is that I do often post links to stories that are damning for the Church, but I think this was one of the times where I just wanted to express frustration and didn’t bother attaching a link that supported my thoughts. And second, I grew up belonging to a Catholic Church and called myself a Catholic throughout my life until recently, so although my experience in my Church was a positive one, part of my goal in putting down the Catholic Church on my Facebook wall is to distance myself from the organization.

So what do you think? Am I putting people in a defensive position with regards to the Pope or the Church? Is it sometimes effective just to name-call? What do you think is the most constructive way to express an opinion like anger at the Pope in a social medium like Facebook or Twitter?


18 Responses to ““The Pope is an Evil, Disgusting Piece of Garbage” -Me”

  1. 1 Mom April 28, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Awesome Lindsay! I can’t wait to see how people weigh in!

  2. 2 soothsaber April 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    I probably would have included a link to support my claims. I completely understand lashing out in frustration but name calling will only distance you from the majority. Perhaps you could do a little PR work by following up with supplying information and let your friends make up their own mind. Present the story and the crimes against humanity in a way that doesn’t blow the clincher first, then at the very end, introduce the offender. This will come as a shock to a christian. Much more effective. Good luck!

  3. 3 Michael Lombardi April 30, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    It sounds like your Facebook status update was more of a frustrated vent.

    And I think you should be allowed to spew vitriol on occasion.

    Additionally, while I think the Pope’s actions are not remotely Godly, the word “evil” isn’t one that I would personally use. But you know what? The Pope has a business to run. An awfully big one. He needs good PR as much as Wal*Mart or Microsoft. So I can see where he’s coming from as a businessman. It’s just a shame that his devotion seems to be to the church itself and not serving his Lord, which is what the church is supposed to be about first and foremost.

  4. 4 Chelsea May 4, 2010 at 10:58 am

    If the Pope was head of Wal-Mart or something, as Michael uses as an example, and he committed such a horrible, reprehensible act, no one would be upset if anyone called him an evil, disgusting piece of garbage. It’s because he is protected by religion that people get “offended” when you insult him. Religion does not deserve any protection for this abuse that has ruined so many childhoods. If your neighbor was running a pedophile ring, you would not hesitate to use those words to describe him, and no one on Facebook would fight you about it if you posted it. Therefore, the Pope deserves them just as much as anyone else would. He cannot be uniquely protected from name-calling just because he is in a position of religious power. He is just a man, and should be judged as such.
    Lindsay, I don’t think you need to worry about your Facebook PR at all. Anyone who doesn’t live in a box knows what the Pope has been up to lately. Everyone knows why you used those words, you don’t need to include a link to show what you mean. It would be like including a link to the Avatar website if you wrote your opinion of that movie in your status. I think your elaboration on here was good, but unnecessary. There is a time and a place to criticize religion gently, a time and a place to educate people calmly and articulately about the truth of science and the lies of intelligent design. There is a time and a place to present logical arguments about why Pat Robertson’s claims are false and make no sense. But there is also a time a place for parody, and for simply calling people out for being the asshats that they are. Personally, I think you went easy on him. If there was ever a person who deserves to be cussed at until he cries, it’s this man who has given so many pedophiles a safe place to continue to torture and abuse children and not have to worry about getting in any trouble for it.
    If people are offended, it’s not because they don’t know what the Pope has doing, it’s because they don’t think religion should ever be criticized. But that’s fine, they can be offended. No one has the right not to be offended.

  5. 5 Steve May 19, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Wow, four responses – you are burning up the world-wide-web. Asshole.

  6. 6 EnlightningLinZ May 19, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Very clever I see what you did there, it’s the old “can’t think of anything useful to say so hurl insults” trick. Good for you, you really got me!

  7. 7 Carolina Maine June 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I have a hard time with how the Church is approaching this issue too. I was sexually abused (not by a priest), but I know how that affects a person-and it affected me spiritually-I pretty much started hating G-d.

    Anyway-to balance out what I have read in the media (U.S. (Puritan) and British (Anglican)Catholic bias)-I have read some of Weigel’s stuff.

    He makes good points. But really-I think the priests who did these things should be out in public apologizing and doing whatever they can to help their victims-dicoeses should start paying for therapy. Money settlements don’t help a person. The only thing that helped me was therapy and just getting over it. I didn’t send my abuser to prison-though-I probably could-it wasn’t worth the trauma of the process itself.

    Yeah-it is disappointing when “men of G-d” can’t even seem to get things right-but holding fast to your intellect and calm-while you make your case-is best.
    Anyway-here is an article that you might want to read:


  8. 8 mikekoz68 June 15, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Technically, you didn’t actually do any name calling, it was more like using adjectives to describe what you thought. Good choice of adjectives, I must add, unlike that ‘steve’ poster who did do actual name calling to complain about your supposed name calling. Ignore him, your blog is awesome!

  9. 9 Gary Babbitt June 18, 2010 at 9:31 am

    As I understand it, the Pope talks directly to God and is, by extention, infallible. What I don’t understand is why, given all of this new information, more Catholics are not running kicking and screaming away from the Catholic religion. In the US we are constitutionally bound to allow freedom of the practice of religion, something I support, but we are not bound to give it the reverence it’s invested practicioners do if we do not feel that reverence. To tiptoe around people because they are “religious” is not part of the deal. If this man who alledgedly talks to God is harboring pedophiles why do you still view him with reverence and not as a criminal? My view is that if you are, in effect, brainwashed from the age of three or so, you are on preprogramed auto pilot until you break the spell.

  10. 10 Chris June 18, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I think, that like most of us who were raised in the Catholic Church, you didn’t get to learn what the Church actually teaches, or why.

    Gary’s “understanding” of the doctrine of infallibility is not only incorrect, but nearly universal, not only among non-Catholics, but among many Catholics.

    The reason not every Catholic is “running kicking and screaming” from the Church is because not every Catholic believes that the crimes of individual people are the fault of the Church, or indeed of God.

    That said, accusations do not make guilt. Other than people mindlessly repeating accusations of papal evil, looking at the actual facts around the allegations make it apparent that he’s hardly the criminal mastermind that he has been portrayed as.

    I would recommend learning the facts, including exactly what the Catholic Church teaches & why, before jumping into regurgitating what a bunch of media organizations who are barely capable of good grammar claim.

    Take care.

  11. 11 EnlightningLinZ June 18, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Chris – the crap the Pope said about condoms and AIDS came strait from the horse’s mouth. The other allegations don’t even need to be taken into consideration to see that this is evil. Why would you call yourself a Catholic when the leader of your Church spreads such dangerous lies?

  12. 12 Sari June 21, 2010 at 4:15 am

    I hate that all Pope, living in their Vatikan City think they above the LAW cause they have GOD in their side….?? Get real!!! They ALL going to burn in HELL!!!

  13. 13 Chris June 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Hi Lindsay,

    Again, rather than taking incendiary snippets pushed out by AP beer & shampoo salesmen whose living depends on getting people emotionally worked up, I encourage you to look at everything.

    While the Pope could certainly have phrased his statements better, it is hardly a “dangerous lie” to note that encouraging the sexual behavior with which AIDS is transmitted doesn’t help the problem & will not “solve” it in the long run – nor will it “fix” the many other problems created by the same behavior.

    One has to wonder if AIDS in Africa would have been reduced more over the last 10 years if the millions of dollars spent on condom promotion had been spent on “partner reduction” instead.

    Take care.

  14. 14 EnlightningLinZ June 24, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Advocates of condom use aren’t encouraging sexual behaviour…they go by the ABCs. Abstinence is ideal, if that’s not possible Be faithful, and if you aren’t going to do that at least use a Condom.

    Saying “use a condom if you’re going to have sex because it reduces the chance of contracting HIV” is not the same as “here’s a condom now go sleep with whoever you want!”

    The people who promote condom use also stress the importance of partner reduction, not that you’d know that if you only listen to the Pope. They’re just being realistic because they know that abstinence-only programs don’t work.

  15. 15 Chris June 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Hi Lindsay,

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. I did not say that promotion of condom use is the same as encouraging irresponsible sexual behavior, nor did I espouse “abstinence only.”

    Nor do I “only listen to the Pope.” (Come on now, try to be nice – I haven’t accused you of only listening to church-bashers, atheists & “sexual revolutionaries”.)

    Are you aware that even secular sources have stated essentially the same thing that the Pope said – condom use is (apparently) not the answer to the AIDS epidemic in Africa? In fact, the available evidence has indicated that not only has condom use failed to provide the benefits that have been claimed, it may even be counter-productive in some ways – like in regards to an inordinate amount of time, attention, & money spent on it rather than other, larger, contributing factors to the epidemic

    I see how I apparently left my statements wide open to the idea that I believe promiscuity to be the paramount issue, but I don’t believe that is the case. Yes, it is an issue, but hardly the only one, or even the largest, as much research has shown.

    The claim that the AIDS epidemic had been spread by heterosexual sex was confirmed as an incorrect assumption by researchers David Gisselquist & Stephen Potterat. They looked into the claim that 90% of African AIDS cases were the result of sexual transmission – the evidence showed instead that only about 30% of all cases were sexually transmitted – about half as often as in the US!

    A book by Edward Green (with an AIDS Prevention group at Harvard) reported that between 1989-2001, condom use in African countries skyrocketed – but so did the number of those infected with HIV. Was it “due to condom use”? I seriously doubt it, but the increase in condom appears to have done zilch in stemming the epidemic.

    At the request of UNAIDS (the UN Program on AIDS), Dr. Norman Hearst of UCSF did a scientific review on the question of whether condom promotion was helping to reverse the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but he found that the countries that saw the most condoms per man tended to have the highest HIV rates.

    According to researchers, the biggest culprit seems to be the substandard level of cleanliness & sterilization in African medical care. Africa doesn’t have the sanitary medical conditions that most countries take for granted. The WHO confirmed some time ago that needles used to administer contraceptives like Depo-Provera were often re-used in Africa, a practice that was tacitly confirmed as having contributed to the HIV epidemic.

    Uganda was shown to have the only declining rate of HIV infection in Africa – one wonders what the medical sanitary conditions in that country have been compared to others.

    It’s not just the Pope saying that condoms aren’t the answer, it’s all kinds of people working on the problem. I would think that findings of secular researchers & scientists which support the Pope’s statements would at least serve to disprove the claim that he is a “dangerous liar.”

    Again, take care…

  16. 16 EnlightningLinZ June 28, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Hi Chris,

    Well, you’ve forced me to reconsider my position on the condom program, and after reading what you wrote and after reading some articles from both sides of the condom issue I find myself in limbo, not sure what to believe. Although I believe that the Pope’s statement (that condoms may exacerbate the AIDS problem) was irresponsible, I’m not sure that my position that his views on condoms make him evil is still supportable.

    I also want to apologize for jumping to conclusions about your own views.

  17. 17 GEORGE December 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    I can understand why the vile conduct of the popes over the last 1700 years would lead anyone to lose their cool! I can also understand why his faithful followers, who believe he speaks with God, would try to deflect any criticism. They are fools! Like you, I’m glad to no longer be part of the sheep he is leading straight to perdition.

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