So I wrote a post a few days ago about how Ratzinger (known by some as Pope Benedict XVI) said that the indigenous people of what is today called South America were “silently longing” for Christianity and had welcomed the arrival of European priests who “purified” them. There is a good article here on CounterPunch about it – Ask Pope Benedict When Does Genocide Purify? by Adam Jones. (When you go to the link, scroll down a bit to see the article.)
An article on Ratzinger’s comments about how Christianity and European priests “purified” the indigenous people of what is today called South AmericaMay 18, 2007
Despite the fact that Joseph Ratzinger is now referred to as Pope Benedict XVI, around our house my German partner and I still call him Ratzinger. This is mostly because this is what we called him before he was the pope when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. An important point, I think, is that before it was called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith it was called Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition. Inquisition. Remember that? Or rather those? Inquisitions. There was a string of them – Roman, Spanish and so on – where heretics were put to death and where people were forcibly converted to Catholicism. Luckily, the Catholic Church doesn’t burn people at the stake anymore, but Ratzinger’s former leadership of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I think, speaks to the sort of guy he is. He is about the purity of the faith. From his perspective. He’s hardcore about keeping things they way they are – no gays, no women, no birth control, abortion and none of that wishy-washing acceptance stuff.
And, I know this is not nice to say about someone, but gosh every time I look at him I imagine that to be what the devil were to look like. If such a person existed, which I don’t actually believe in. I stress, I am not suggesting that he is the devil, but just that he looks like what I would imagine such a nasty slimy character to look like. Maybe such feelings are encouraged by statements such as the one I am pointing out below – which just confirms what a huge disappointment and upsetting person I find him to be.
He apparently said in his final speech while visiting Brazil (and several places have reported this so it must be true…it is just hard for me to believe someone who is apparently smart and well-read could say something like this) that the indigenous people living in what is now South America were “silently longing” for Christianity and had welcomed the arrival of European priests who “purified” them.
Not to be dramatic about this, but I just want to make this clear. The pope of the Catholic Church said that the people who lived in South America before the Europeans arrived were “silently longing” for Christianity, welcomed the Europeans, and were “purified” by the priests who arrived. (If anyone can find the full text of the speech, I would appreciate it. I spent 10 minutes googling it with no luck.)
As with many things JR says, I am never sure to what extent he just says things and to what extent he really believes them. Not that it matters that much, but he is supposed to be a smart, well-read guy. I guess smart people can have terrible beliefs, but if you are well-read how can you say something like that?
As Debitage points out, the next line in many of the news reports on this is just about as absurd and dreadful: “Many indigenous rights groups see the conquest as ushering in a period of disease, mass murder, enslavement and the shattering of their cultures. ” (This particular version from
Anyway. This the post is the start of what I hope to be at least three weekly posts. I have considered that it isn’t nice to be so critical of a person many people (my grandmother, in particular, may her soul rest in peace) really like and think you shouldn’t say anything bad about. Yet, I think when popes say things like this, any respect they should get by virtue of their title or role goes out the window. I hope that Ratzinger stops being the pope very soon and someone else is elected who is less racist, imperialist, and pompous, among other things.
This quote (see below) is particularly interesting to me given my twelve-year journey with some young men whom I’ve been lucky enough to mentor, two of whom are African-American and listen to Snoop Doggy-Dog and other such folks. I feel like twelve years later we are still have the same conversations. They go something like this:
One of the young men: Lizabeth, can we change the station?
Me: Yes, but if offensive songs come on we have to change it.
One of the young men: Okay.
(Offensive song comes on the radio)
Me: Please change.
One of the young men: They are bleeping out the words. Why do we have to change it?
Me: I can’t hear that kind of stuff being said about women even if it is being bleeped out. We all know what they are saying.
One of the young men: But we don’t really think that. Either do they.
Me: Don’t you think some people believe it and then these songs seem to make it okay? Do you think it is okay to call women bitches or hoes?
One of the young men: Well only if it is accurate. They aren’t talking about all women.
Me: Well I still don’t like it. We listened to your station enough. Let’s listen to NPR.
And so it goes. The young men are WONDERFUL people and I love and admire them all with the depth of my heart. I think, by and large, they are kind and loving and generally respectful of women, at least more so than most men. They have stopped calling women/girls “chickenheads” which I thought was a good step. :) Yet. I hate that sort of music and I hate that they listen to it and I know it influences them. And thanks to Mr. Snoop D.D. talking about Don Imus, we can see maybe where they get some of their ideas.
If you are offended by rough language, read no further. Here are Snoop’s comments on Imus in response to a comparison between Imus and rap lyrics that ROUTINELY degrade women, including SDD’s lyrics. Oh the outrage Mr. SDD must feel. Bless his little heart. (cough)
It’s a completely different scenario. (Rappers) are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We’re talking about hoes that’s in the ‘hood that ain’t doing shit, that’s trying to get a nigga for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain’t no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them muthafuckas say we are in the same league as him. Kick him off the air forever.
Except, my dear SDD, guess what? All women suffer from your attitudes towards women and lyrics about women not just those in the “hood” that you assess “ain’t doing shit.” I think Imus is stupid and should be fired (how did he even stay on the air this long anyway?), but I want to see more outrage toward any sort of degrading talk about women and/or people/women of color. I don’t care of your sexism comes from your soul, Snoop. It hurts women, and it hurts the women and boys and men and girls that hear your music and know ALL THE WORDS and sing along and think it is just fine. And most of them are not thinking you are talking about particular women out to get money – such a cop out – because you aren’t and that is clear from your songs. You use women and bitches interchangeably.
Anyway. I thought that quote was important to share. I’m glad to see the outrage about Imus. But stuff like that should get you fired in a blink of an eye. I suppose at least it is helpful that they did it sooner than later.
p.s. I know some of my posts are getting a tad more snarky than usual. I’m not sure what that is about. Maybe a phase? I go through thinking I need to make this an ultra-professional blog, and a more casual approach that allows sarcasm and snarkiness where it is called for. I suppose it is all about balance. Biting commentary can somehow sometimes get a point across in a way that journalistic or academic sort of writing can’t. Yet, it is overdone in the blog world and I don’t want to contribute to that over-done-ness.
This would be funny if it wasn’t real.
Senator Joseph Biden, who is silly enough to think he has a chance against Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama in the Democratic primary, started off his campaign by pointing out, among other things, that he thinks that Obama is “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Yes, that’s actually what he said.
According to the New York Times, Jesse Jackson, who ran against Biden in the 1988 Democratic primary “pointed out that he had run against Mr. Biden for the 1988 Democratic nomination, and had lasted far longer and drawn more votes than did Mr. Biden.”
Obama noted that he “didn’t take it personally and I don’t think he intended to offend.” But good old Barak noted also that the “way he constructed the statement was probably a little unfortunate.”
Unfortunate, huh? I would say probably a little racist. And a little stupid.
…how uncomfortable I am with the fact that almost everyone who waits on me (Starbucks, hotel, convention center) is a person of color? I notice this at every conference I go to and I hate it. Things are still so not fair in this country. And it makes me feel freaking guilty. And angry. And helpless. I overcompensate by being very friendly, which of course is soooo not adequate. Nor is giving extra tips.
And I’m glad UUs are talking about it, but I will be even happier when our denomination is not mostly white, relatively well-off people.
Off to the next plenary. I’m kind of excited to see what happens.