Thursday, September 16, 2010

‘Nope to the Pope?’ Oh, Come On

The Pope is coming to Britain and you are all very, very angry. Yes, we know. Now, before you skip this entire article to hurl abuse at me, take a moment to actually digest what it is I’m trying to say here.

To begin with, let’s get one thing straight: I am not a fan of the Pope. For the sake of journalistic objectivity, I wont pursue this statement further. I will, however, indulge you with a little background information as to why this current furor is grating on my nerves worse than a freshly manicured Jersey girl on a chalkboard.

I was raised a Christian. STOP. Wait. Continue reading. No, not Catholic – although my father was raised as such, was taught by nuns, the works, etc – but Christian. My mum’s family is of Christian Orthodox descent. As a doctor, my mother often questioned religion and its possible integration with the theory of evolution, affording my siblings and I the opportunity to make up our own minds about what we wanted to believe.

Needless to say, after being exposed to some of the arguments against the faith, I slowly lost the desire to belong. Not to Christianity, but to organised religion as a whole. I have my own set of beliefs now, based around what I am comfortable living with on a day- to- day basis. I do, however, respect other people’s choices – although I may not agree with them – and have friends of various religious backgrounds. I believe in interaction based on personal merit, rather than a set of beliefs.

The Catholic Church has long been recognised for its unforgiving nature. From the condemnation of one of the greatest physicists the world will ever know, (see: Galileo), the age- old opposition of gay rights, the now numerous cases of paedophilic activity and so forth. Over the last decade, the media has had a field day with the evident and arguably increasing corruptness of the church, with apologies being issued by the Vatican and the Pope, at large for such.

Clearly, I have my issues with the aforementioned facts. I believe science reinforces my personal ‘seeing is believing’ motto, have partied alongside the loveliest people in the world in Sydney Mardi Gras – who’s legal rights should not even be questioned as far as I’m concerned – and have had my own personal experiences with the deep scarring that comes from a broken trust.

My qualms simply lie in the empty factoids regurgitated by the media that fuel some of the most useless commentary I have heard from people I consider intelligent. My issue is not with the distaste and frustration, no. I’m not even English and I found myself throwing a Rocky-esque air pump whilst watching Stephen Fry’s statement via the BBC surrounding the classification of the said visit as ‘state’. Why should the average UK tax- payer help fund this event? I don’t believe they should.

This matter cant get any more personal for me, so I feel I am safe in saying I am not presenting myself in a hypocritical light when I say this, but enough with the Pope songs. Enough with the ‘I wonder if we can pope people on Facebook today instead of poke’ and the blatant cussing. I appreciate the outcry against this now inevitable occurrence; I too have been a victim of the trust based in a faith system that turned incredibly sour.

But instead of ordering a ‘Nope to the Pope’ t-shirt, how about looking up the names of the families within the UK that have been touched by such injustices (there are links to websites, help lines and much more online) and sending through words of support when they are bound to feel most vulnerable? Better yet, why not do something CRAZY and opt to speak with someone who looks upon the Pope’s visit in a favourable light. Ask them why. I for one would love to know. No, don’t call them insane whilst pointing a finger and laughing.

I am not the authority on anything, but I love to learn. I enjoy listening to people’s personal accounts because an emotive expression always trumps a mass machine-spewed headline. It also trumps foolish outbursts like ‘f*** the Pope’.

Ps. If you'd like a look at what some journos have been saying, check out these clips/articles that I found interesting: Catholic Herald columnist Milo Yiannopoulos, The Telegraph's Judith Woods, Al Jazeera, CAFOD's Pascale Palmer.

Disclaimer: This post is in no way meant to belittle people’s personal experiences. The author does not, by means of this article, intend to undermine any faith or belief. This piece is purely intended to encourage discussion as opposed to ridicule. 


  1. I'm no fan of organised religion either, but I've gotten a bit tired of the shrill, predictable, distorted 'arguments' on both sides, as well. It's obvious that the Church has a problem. It's a serious problem that won't be solved by the way the Church has tended to do things in the last few centuries. The Church is not the authority it used to be and must remember that it is responsible, not only to God, but to the people it "serves". The time for issuing dictates and expecting the flock to blindly follow are over. If it expects to be taken as a moral authority again, it will have to prove that it can be trusted with those least capable of defending themselves.

  2. I was raised in a strict Catholic home until my Father suddenly died. My Mom stopped participating in church, prayer group, etc. As I have aged myself there are certainly times when I turn to GOD, but my GOD doesn't judge, believes in love, will not cast me to hell .... basically "My God - SHE is cool." Anyways, I highly dislike having any sort of political and or religious debate via the internet. I do wonder how "scripture" can say don't idolize one man .... isn't that what they do with the Pope ? That is all :) RCW

  3. I'll make this short. I am Catholic. I love my religion. I love my Pope. I don't care who is arguing about/with God. I am very secure in my relationship with God. End of...

  4. Thank you all for your comments.

    I posted this because I was sick and tired of some of the sillier debates. Even in everyday interaction, it irritates me to no end when people comment on issues that are either impersonal to them or where they are unsure of details - regardless of the topic at hand. It just so happened to be the Pope's visit.

    Considering it is an understandable sensitive topic - as demonstrated by the third comment in the list - its always wise to ensure one knows what one is talking about before going on empty rants.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, I do appreciate it.