Habemus Rottweiler…er Papam

After choosing the new Pope, the Cardinals filed past in single file and kneeled before Ratzinger. But then again, this was just formalizing a state of affairs which has existed for the past 20 or so years.

Much will be made of Ratzinger, or Benedict XVI, and his past. His youthful and naive indiscretion of belonging briefly to the infamous Hitler Youth has already been publicly exposed. But a much more alarming history will need to be glossed over. And indeed, the spin doctors have already began to work furiously.

Ratzinger was the Dean of the College of Cardinals but he held another much more important office. He was the head of the ‘Congregation for the Docrine of Faith’ – the institution which was entrusted with the responsability and authority to maintain doctrinal orthodoxy and protect the Catholic Church. Ratzinger was the head of this institution for 24 years. But before he came onto the scene – much earlier in fact – it was known by another name: the Holy Office of the Inquisition.

While occupuying this important position, Ratzinger held true to the legacy of his predecessors. Although he didn’t resort to thumbscrews and burnings at the stake, Ratzinger still got his way and anyone who disagreed with him was bullied into silence or excommunicated.

He was a polarizing figure. One who was most at ease in combat and debate – using his highly sharpened skills of rhetoric to plow through opponents. In his now infamous essay, “Dominus Iesus” he set out in no uncertain terms his belief that the only true path was the Catholic Church. In it, he also assailed the pluralism and moderation that so many other Cardinals had embraced. He also railed against what he called “cafeteria Catholics” who chose to use birth-control and homosexuals whom he said were an “intrinsic, moral evil”.

Ratzinger was, plainly put, the enforcer of the Vatican. While Pope John Paul II went around in public looking as soft and pink as a puppy, he was behind the curtains ripping apart anyone who strayed from ‘doctrine’. During his years as the enforcer, he gained a nickname which he no doubt accepted with pride; that of ‘God’s Rottweiler’. It was given to him quite deservingly as he worked diligently to bully, browbeat, and pressure any and all internal sources of pluralism and liberalism. He used all the tools at his disposal: financial incentives (both given and taken away), appointing or moving around high ranking clergy, and threatening ex-communication (as well as carrying it out on several occasions). He was also the pointman when it came for the Vatican to defuse the sex abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church. Not surprisingly, his response was to viciously attack the victims and the media on charges of sensationalism and exaggeration.

On his watch the voices of dissent, liberalism and pluralism either retreated into self-imposed silence, capitulated into accepting Ratzinger’s position or were excommunicated. Yet his actions shook up the Catholic Church and left it divided and many times at odds with itself.

I find it a bit tragic that someone so extremist and close-minded is now occupying such an important position. And yet, I’m not surprised at all by this turn of events. It has been my experience that the persons who gain higher and higher offices, those who are either appointed or elected to positions of authority, usually tend to have rather aggressive personalities and a somewhat extremist bent.

You simply do not find someone who is meek and gentle (those that pause to make sure that everyone has their say in a meeting, for example) going up the ladder, as it were – other than the Unitarian Jihadists, that is. Instead, it is almost always the person whose forceful character steamrolls over other’s and bullies them into either silence or reluctant acceptance of their position – if for nothing other than to just keep the peace and unity of the group. I’ve personally seen this in many organizations. And unfortunately the Baha’i administration is no exception.

The ascent and past of Ratzinger is all to familiar because it parallels the ascent and past of ITC members and Counsellors who see their duty the ‘protection’ of the Faith. I’m not sure by what feats of logic they convince themselves that they can hold such a position or to keep secret files on individual Baha’is. But somehow they do. And not surprisingly it is these same individuals who are becoming members of the Universal House of Justice.

I also see many parallels between the voices in the Catholic Church that Ratzinger worked so hard to silence, and the marginalized voices within the Baha’i Faith. Perhaps there is a lesson we can learn here.

  • Sigmund Effendi

    Baquia,

    The writers for God out there in the Cosmos are having a field day on this planet. Nobody could be making this up.

    The “Holy Office of the Inquisition” vibe is selling bigger than ever!

    Perhpas the Baha’i Faith we’ll soon merge with the Roman Catholic Church. Sort of a corporate buy out. Kind of a “Mergers and Aquisitions” of the 1990′s thing.

    We get some really good seats at all the funerals of Popes that will be coming up in a steady litany of age and death. They get some good prime real estate in Israel.

    Everybody can investigate everybody else 24/7/365 and the spiritual good times can just keep rolling on!

    Look at what our own Cardinal Arbab recently said:

    “Knowledge needs to be treated in this educational process in such a
    way that it enables the participants to avoid bigotry and fanaticism. Knowledge should not lead to rigidity of thought, narrow-mindedness, and intolerance.

    But neither should it result in that extreme form of liberalism that tends to deny the very existence of limits and bounds.

    One of the precepts of the Faith is that religious truth is relative, but this is not the kind of relativism that is being
    propagated in the world today.

    It is one thing to say that human
    understanding is limited and therefore evolves, and another to deny the existence of absolutes, presenting, in a most contradictory way, as the only absolute the equal validity of the opinions, the desires, and the wants of the individual as shaped by culture.

    Our communities, of course, are protected against such extremes.

    But if this brand of relativism is allowed to influence us, the result is paralysis, as the will of the individual is granted supreme importance and the community is pulled in a thousand directions.

    To promote the process of entry by troops and to participate in it
    effectively requires, as the House of Justice puts it, ‘clarity and
    single-mindedness’. Progress is not to be made by ‘spasmodic,
    uncoordinated exertions’.”

    Man, these guys must have really been traumatized by the 1960′s. They have been stewing ever since. Missing out on all that good free loving sex and meeting God face to face on those joyful dope highs.

    I tell you drug dealers, people of amassed alcohol fortunes, and pornographers will be greater in the Kingdom of Heaven then the loveless, soulles, neurotics running the “Holy Office of the Inquisition” in any “religious” organization on Earth in this cycle of the New Day.

    Baha’u’llah came to take the clergy ego self definition identity space from the heart of Man. Us, them it makes no difference the brand name.

    Going forward on this planet anyone standing in it as their self-identity in life is going to be hit by a freight train either in this world or the next.

    Our boys had better start reading the Teachings of Baha’u’llah instead of making up their own. It is not going to be pretty when the other shoe of the Universe drops. And it will. Big time. Thomas d’ Torquemada in all his horrible and terrifying glory has already been done many times before. Everyone has seen the movie.

    Both the Vatican and the top echelons of the ITC/UHJ Faith should get better writers.

    It has all been done before. And with better costumes.

    Sigmund

  • Sigmund Effendi

    Baquia,

    The writers for God out there in the Cosmos are having a field day on this planet. Nobody could be making this up.

    The “Holy Office of the Inquisition” vibe is selling bigger than ever!

    Perhpas the Baha’i Faith we’ll soon merge with the Roman Catholic Church. Sort of a corporate buy out. Kind of a “Mergers and Aquisitions” of the 1990′s thing.

    We get some really good seats at all the funerals of Popes that will be coming up in a steady litany of age and death. They get some good prime real estate in Israel.

    Everybody can investigate everybody else 24/7/365 and the spiritual good times can just keep rolling on!

    Look at what our own Cardinal Arbab recently said:

    “Knowledge needs to be treated in this educational process in such a
    way that it enables the participants to avoid bigotry and fanaticism. Knowledge should not lead to rigidity of thought, narrow-mindedness, and intolerance.

    But neither should it result in that extreme form of liberalism that tends to deny the very existence of limits and bounds.

    One of the precepts of the Faith is that religious truth is relative, but this is not the kind of relativism that is being
    propagated in the world today.

    It is one thing to say that human
    understanding is limited and therefore evolves, and another to deny the existence of absolutes, presenting, in a most contradictory way, as the only absolute the equal validity of the opinions, the desires, and the wants of the individual as shaped by culture.

    Our communities, of course, are protected against such extremes.

    But if this brand of relativism is allowed to influence us, the result is paralysis, as the will of the individual is granted supreme importance and the community is pulled in a thousand directions.

    To promote the process of entry by troops and to participate in it
    effectively requires, as the House of Justice puts it, ‘clarity and
    single-mindedness’. Progress is not to be made by ‘spasmodic,
    uncoordinated exertions’.”

    Man, these guys must have really been traumatized by the 1960′s. They have been stewing ever since. Missing out on all that good free loving sex and meeting God face to face on those joyful dope highs.

    I tell you drug dealers, people of amassed alcohol fortunes, and pornographers will be greater in the Kingdom of Heaven then the loveless, soulles, neurotics running the “Holy Office of the Inquisition” in any “religious” organization on Earth in this cycle of the New Day.

    Baha’u’llah came to take the clergy ego self definition identity space from the heart of Man. Us, them it makes no difference the brand name.

    Going forward on this planet anyone standing in it as their self-identity in life is going to be hit by a freight train either in this world or the next.

    Our boys had better start reading the Teachings of Baha’u’llah instead of making up their own. It is not going to be pretty when the other shoe of the Universe drops. And it will. Big time. Thomas d’ Torquemada in all his horrible and terrifying glory has already been done many times before. Everyone has seen the movie.

    Both the Vatican and the top echelons of the ITC/UHJ Faith should get better writers.

    It has all been done before. And with better costumes.

    Sigmund

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2954729 Marco

    Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/2954729 Marco

    Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1082818 Baquia

    Marco,

    he also said:

    “All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/1082818 Baquia

    Marco,

    he also said:

    “All bad precedents begin as justifiable measures.”

  • Anonymous

    not sure if ceasar said these but they are in latina & do apply to both the AO and the CC…

    est nobis cum mulieribus agendum
    we have issues with women

    nullam notionem habemus
    we have no idea

    o diem nefastum
    we are having a bad day

    nolebamus rogare qua eundum esset et nunc a via deerravimus
    we have refused to ask for directions and we are now lost

    habere volumus quae illi habent
    we will have what they’re having

  • Anonymous

    not sure if ceasar said these but they are in latina & do apply to both the AO and the CC…

    est nobis cum mulieribus agendum
    we have issues with women

    nullam notionem habemus
    we have no idea

    o diem nefastum
    we are having a bad day

    nolebamus rogare qua eundum esset et nunc a via deerravimus
    we have refused to ask for directions and we are now lost

    habere volumus quae illi habent
    we will have what they’re having