This bitter poem was written before the election of Pope Francis who has come as an unexpected and much to be respected head of the Catholic Church. He has clearly been attempting to bring back collegiality and the spirit of Vatican 2 after himself having gone through something of a conversion from his original anti-liberation theology stance which made him a very divisive figure in his own order the Jesuits. I think his approach has been admirable, but clearly Rome may take a long time to change direction. The three mentioned here and their followers however remain a strong force in the church.
Should I then withdraw this poem? Yes if there is real movement on the underlying theology and actual practice of the Catholic Church. Has this happened yet?
Here I read the poem Three Servants of God
Montini, Wojtlya, Ratzinger
Are thought of as god-fearing men.
Enthroned on the chair of St Peter
They’ve spoken – again and again.
They tell us we should not be wanking
That doing so is serious sin,
That using a condom is wicked
And the pill – should go straight in the bin
And if this means millions will die then
From HIV AIDS, that’s just tough
A punishment for all that lewdness
And not zipping up quick enough.
They’re certain all same sex relations
Are aberrant, twisted and sick,
And no-one should ever condone them
Let alone help such “partnerships” stick.
For surely such bonking and shagging
“Real marriages” will undermine
If some have their sex just for pleasure
And not to have babes down the line?
No – Every sex act should be “fruitful”
Or open to letting it be
And sex that is done just for loving or fun
Is shameful. That they plainly see.
Abortion? Well, that is the vilest.
Just murder by another name.
To destroy those new cells in a woman
Is always a terrible crime.
So even if she might be dying
Or even if she’s suffered rape
No woman should ever – not ever
Evade what’s her God-given fate.
No matter the unborn knows nothing
No matter if it feels no pain
No matter the person who suffers
Is the mother – again and again.
Her fate is to bear and to suffer
Or if it need be – it’s to die,
Or carry the child of some sad rapist’s hate
And take it with patience – or try.
So debar her from choice in this matter
And those who might give it should be
Cast out from the Church as vile sinners
Rejected – as wicked as she.
Perhaps this may seem not quite human
Perhaps just a teeny bit sick,
But as far as these three all are thinking
They’re sure what they say does the trick.
For they are quite certain they’re chosen
And guided by words straight from God.
Infallible Truth they have spoken
So gratefully take it – you sod!
Montini, Wojtlya, Ratzinger
Are sure they have got Jesus’ thanks
For keeping his Church on the Right Path
Foul heresy purged from its ranks.
This is a sad and bitter poem and I have thought long and hard before including it, knowing that it might be hurtful to friends who feel they need to support the hierarchy and head of their Church, but it is not aimed at them so they can ignore it unless they wish to engage in discussion with me about it. I also know many Catholics take issue with the papacy on this.
So who is it aimed at? My answer is those who attempt vociferously and publicly to assert the rightness of the so called “pro-life” stance in the hope that it will shock and jolt them into thinking again.
If they or anyone else can give me reason to believe that the poem is based on an inaccuate understanding of the teachings and intentions of the last three popes, then I will withdraw the poem with apologies. Sadly, the longer and more carefully I look at what they have said and done, the worse it seems to me to be.
Essentially my understanding is that the papal pronouncement Humanae Vitae in 1968 which Giovanni Montini, Pope Paul VI, promulgated with the powerful backing and active encouragement of the two cardinals who came to be his successors, (that is Karol Wojtyla who became John Paul 2 and Joseph Ratzinger who became Benedict 16,) was the opening salvo in an attack by them and curial members of the hierarchy determined to undo the liberalising process in the Catholic Church begun with the calling by Pope John 23 of the Second Vatican Council in 1962. In its place they wished to reassert a papal dictatorship (ecclesiastical Stalinism) over the Church and to expunge any revisions of Catholic teaching that would lay the doctrine of Papal Infallibility open to question.
I believe this was not only the biggest catastrophe for the Catholic Church to come out of the twentieth century, but quite possibly for the future of humanity. Its effects on attempts to regulate birth control, population growth and the spread of HIV AIDS have and continue to be quite appalling for it has obscured the fact that it is human population growth that underlies climate change and puts our future on this planet at risk.
I have also looked long and hard at the arguments used to support this document (See Abortion. Murder by Another Name?) and at the teaching used by the hierarchy regarding human sexuality and conclude that far from inhabiting the “high moral ground” their position regarding abortion, homosexuality, birth control, celibacy and the place of women in the Church is in each case seriously flawed, and the way the hierarchy in many countries hushed up cases of clerical sex abuse showes how badlky they got things wrong and exhibited a moral blindness and gross insensitivity to the suffering it caused which has been unbelievable.
This conclusion gives me no joy at all. I do not think there is the slightest reason to believe any of these three have been anything but sincere. They all seem to have practiced their faith with that enthusiasm called piety and are convinced they have been “doing God’s will”. I find it deeply depressing and hope that we may yet see a reforming pope. I know there are many fine people, lay,clerical and religious in the Catholic Church. They deserve better leadership.
The words in this poem came to me in a rush after reading “the Power and the Glory” by David Yallop, particularly the chapter he headed, “Beyond Belief.”
Written in 2008. Since then the moral authority of the hierarchy seems to have hit an all-time low. .
See the section headed Pro-Life