Archive - Apr 2011

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Memo to Catholics: YOU ARE WEIRD.

OK. I was nice. I waited until just about the least holy day in the entire year to do this. It's another 51 weeks before the next Good Friday / Easter combo, so you should have your transubstantiation tanks topped off for at least nine months. But I gotta say it - Catholics are FUCKING WEIRD.

So they've got a Pope. And that's fine. You pick an old guy, you put a hat on him, he gets to be the infallible word of Catholic Jehovah on Earth for a decade or two until he croaks, lather, rinse, repeat. There's only one Pope at a time, and during that time, he is King Shit of Gold-Plated Turd Mountain. Top dog. The Man to end all The Men. He waggles one eyebrow and hundreds of thousands of women get pregnant from unprotected sex out of pure guilt.

You would think that would be enough. But not for Catholics! Pope John Paul II died eight years ago, and now they're giving him a promotion. A post-mortem promotion. And it's the first of TWO post-mortem promotions he's eligible for! First he gets beatified, which sounds like they're going to hang his body from a rope and hit him with sticks until candy comes out of him, but is in fact much less interesting. Then he's canonized, which again, sounds much more awesome than it actually is. He just gets to be a saint.

To be beatified, someone has to "prove" that JP2 performed one "miracle". Canonizing requires a second one. Since miracles don't actually exist, there's an elaborate, time-consuming process in place in order to create a convincing illusion that they're not just playing pretend.

The Porpse's official beatification ritual involves a French nun who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2001, and "healed" in 2005 after two other nuns prayed to the recently-deceased Pope for help. It appears that pretty much all miracles these days are healing miracles, for reasons you don't need to be James Randi to figure out.

What cracks me up isn't the transparent dubiosity of these "miracles". It's the elaborate play-acting that goes into it to make it look serious and scholarly. They have a whole group of very official-sounding church people whose job it is to go around and ask questions and verify the alleged miracle, when at best all they're doing is auditioning fairy tales for a minimum level of plausibility.

And not even that high a level of plausibility. Just enough so that if anyone looks into it and suggests that maybe the nun isn't all that cured after all, the churchies can shout them down using tactics not dissimilar from the hue and cry of "liberal lamestream media" from America's superstitious power-brokers.

But fine. Whatever. If it were up to me, I'd come up with cooler miracles, like a time when the Vatican microwave was broken, and lo, John Paul II placed his hands over a frozen burrito, and when he took them away (five to seven minutes later, depending on the wattage of your Pope), the burrito was warm. And not just around the edges, all the way through, without even a couple of frozen beans in the center! Boring old healing is one thing, but this part is creepy as fuck. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"The Vatican said doctors had taken a quantity of blood from the pontiff while he lay dying, which had been sent in four containers to the blood transfusion centre at the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome. Two 'remained at the disposal' of his private secretary, Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was later made a cardinal and the archbishop of Krakow. The remaining two phials stayed in the hospital where they were 'devoutly safeguarded by the nuns' who work there as nurses. Both had been put into reliquaries: ornate relic containers that are usually made with precious metals and stones. One of the reliquaries was to be returned to the hospital. The other would be exhibited on Sunday and then be kept with other relics in the Vatican."

Dude. That's fucked up.

Do you remember how much shit Angelina Jolie got back in the day for wearing a vial of Billy Bob Thornton's blood around her neck? And he gave it to her while he was alive and healthy! And it was just a plain, ordinary vial! This is four vials, taken from a dying old man, tarted up in gold and silver, and sent around for Catholics to line up and gawk at for hours. And Jolie was the weird one.

Catholics are just lucky they're grandfathered in. Try starting a religion with that much blood in it today and see what happens. Spontaneously bleeding hands, ritualistic drinking of stuff you're pretending is blood, keeping a jar of your dead leader's blood on the mantlepiece... Bill Donohue would be on Fox News denouncing your cult every fucking night, completely impervious to the irony. Just saying.