News, views and opinions

1 – Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement, as you are aware if you were anywhere near any form of news media. I’m not Roman Catholic, so that act doesn’t affect me personally from a religious standpoint.  Granted he is the head of the Roman Catholic Church world-wide, but did we really need wall-to-wall coverage of his resignation?  Surely something else of import happened in the world besides Ratzenberger deciding he is too ill to continue to occupy the Throne of Peter.  There may have been, but after CTV News devoted the first 15 minutes of the late news to the announcement, I turned it off.

I have read articles that state he did more to drag the Church back to the 18th century than any previous pope.  This honestly doesn’t surprise me, for before being elected pope, Cardinal Ratzenberger was in charge of the Office of whatever they call the Inquisition these days (something like the Office of Preservation of the Faith, or something equally innocuous).  You weren’t expecting it?   How else is the Church going to keep the faithful in line?

In his pronouncements over the eight years of his Papacy, he has done more to undo social advances for the LGBT communities in many countries, calling trans people “abominations” and gays and lesbians by other equally endearing terms. Another pronouncement from the Vatican indicated condoms increase the risk of HIV, which view has been scientifically and medically disproved.  But you must also consider the official Roman Catholic view on condoms.  I’m a member of the Church of England, which the Vatican considers heretics because they don’t follow Roman Catholic doctrine.  I’m also trans, so I get hit with a double whammy – both an abomination and a heretic.  Oh well, I’ve been called worse by better people.

I’ve always had a problem (and I’ve written on this before)  with whoever  is pope when they are commenting on actions taken by the governments of other countries.  If those comments are made as pope, that’s fine because he is the head of the Roman Catholic Church and has to protect the faithful of whatever country he is visiting.  But, keep in mind Vatican City is also an independent city-state, in other words, a nation unto itself, and the pope is the head of state of that nation. Therefore, comments by the pope on legislation passed by other governments could also be construed as the head of one government attempting to meddle in the affairs of another nation.

Enough of Benedict.  May he enjoy his retirement.  One question: Since popes usually die in office, is there any provision for a pension?   Just asking.

2 – Time to pick on some commercials.  Hyundai Canada is currently running ads for the Elantra, which was chosen as Canada’s car of the year by the automotive journalists.  This ad is interesting, but logically it makes no sense.  It uses the analogy of athletes from different disciplines all competing for one gold medal. Then it goes on to state that the Elantra competed against cars from different classes and came out on top.  Where the logic falls apart is here: athletes are judged by different standards depending upon their sport.  In some cases it’s first to the tape wins; in some cases the performance is judged, or most goals win.  With automobiles, it doesn’t matter if the vehicle is a Kia Soul or a Bentley Mulsanne, they are all judged by the same criteria.

3 – Finally, I saw a commercial on one of the cable stations for something called (I think) “Sunset Awnings” which I feel may be deceptive.  The voiceover does the usual job of extolling the benefits of having an awning over your patio, then states “assembled in America”.  Not “made in America”, but “assembled in America”.  From this statement, which I doubt many people would catch, or would hear as “made in America”, I conclude that while these awnings are assembled in an American factory somewhere, the individual components are actually imported from somewhere else.  Anyone agree with my interpretation?  Just asking.

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.


A very fine line

Whether the Pope realizes it or not, he is in a position most people would call untenable.  As head of the Roman Catholic Church, he is expected to, as he did in France this past week, defend the traditional definition of marriage.  To quote from the article on Pink News website, “Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself”.  This statement is acceptable considering he is, as I wrote, head of the Roman Catholic Church and he was speaking to a conclave of bishops.  The article also mentions that in his year end speech in 2008, he made comments opposing the acceptance of transgender people.

But where the statements, and motives become questionable is that Pope Benedict XVI is also a head of state.  Vatican City, while surrounded by the city of Rome, is not part of that city.  It is an independent city-state, a nation in other words, and the Pope is the head of that nation.  Some of his pronouncements could be construed as attempting to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.   The statement quoted above was made in France, where the newly elected president, Francois Hollande, has promised to make same-sex marriage legal.

Many nations have passed, or are in the process of passing, legislation ensuring the trans community (transgender and transsexual) are entitled to the same legal rights as other citizens.   Some nations, such as Canada, have made same-sex marriage legal.  So, the question then becomes this: When Benedict speaks on these topics, is he speaking as head of the Church, in which case the comments are acceptable or is he speaking as head of state of Vatican City, in which case he would be attempting to influence the internal affairs of other nations?  And how is one expected to tell the difference?  As I said, Benedict walks a very fine line.

And on that note, I’ll go now.

Enjoy the first weekend of autumn and remember to hug an artist – we need love too.