Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Because forced conversion was such a great idea

While in Brazil, the Popet (who had already gone after abortion, pentecostals, marxists, and others) couldn't just leave quietly into the night. After claiming that he supported neither capitalism nor marxism (apparently, the pope is either a closet socialist or prefers the feudalism of the old days - I'm guessing the latter).

Instead, he had to go after indigenous groups, contradicting pretty much every historical detail we know about indigenous "conversions" to Catholicism in the Americas by claiming that Brazil's indigenous had been "silently longing" for Christianity when the Catholic priests arrived. Thus, claimed the pope, "the Church had not imposed itself on the indigenous peoples of the Americas." And in its missionizing, the church had performed a wonderful duty by "purifying" indigenous peoples, and that any reversion to their ancestral practices must be considered a step backwards.

Not surprisingly, indigenous groups whose ancestors were tortured, enslaved, or just plain killed via war and disease in the efforts to Conversion in the Americas are a little upset over this, and the sheer stupidity of it is something else. John Paul II (not exactly a "liberal" pope, having gone after liberation theology and pushing for the withdrawal of the Catholic church from politics even as the poor used the gospels to mobilize and try to improve their lives) himself apologized to indigenous peoples across the hemisphere for the Church's treatment of them throughout the previous 500 years. Yet Benedict apparently disagrees with his predecessor, and apparently would re-convert and "purify" the indigenous peoples all over again if he had to (forcibly, if necessary).

This was really just the icing on the cake for a trip that saw Benedict go after drug addicts, women seeking control of their own bodies on the abortion issue, any abortion supporters (one headline here read that he threatened a "mass-excommunication", or "excomunhão" to all supporters), and many more. Boz puts the Pope's trip to Brazil the best: "To briefly round up the trip, the Pope attacked (in alphabetical order) abortion, authoritarianism, capitalism, contraception, divorce, "ethical relativism", gay marriage, hedonism, indigenous religions, liberation theology, Marxism and Pentecostalism (along with Catholics who are too much like Pentecostals).

He then encouraged everyone who is left to attend church because attendance seems down recently."