Pope Benedict XVI spent this weekend in Spain trying to reclaim one of the most important Roman Catholic strongholds. During his visit, he surprised Spain with strong words against what he described as “aggressive secularism” on the part of the government that since 2004 has legalized gay marriage, relaxed abortion legislation, and eliminated compulsory religious education in schools.Hey Hey ! Ho Ho ! Equality and Freedom have got to go!
That probably sounds better in Latin.
And actually it's equality, freedom of choice, and an end to forced indoctrination in schools, but let's not quibble about details.
“The cash flow of modern Catholicism comes mostly thanks to Spain," the pope said. "That Torquemada was the bomb, no? I'd like to see a couple of you limp wristed Nancy boys tell him you want to get married."
But it is also true that laicism, a strong and aggressive secularism was born in Spain, as we saw in the 1930s,” the Pope said. "Where's Franco when you need him, huh?"
“The Church opposes all forms that negate our cash flow and supports everything that supports the natural order of me on top, the rest of you keeping me there,” he told the 6,500 people inside Barcelona's Sagrada Familia church, almost a fifth of them awake. We also support Visa, MasterCard and American Express," the pope added.
But the low turnout to see Benedict XVI on his second visit to Spain as pope seemed to illustrate his concern that Europe is shedding its Catholic roots. "If I want to see clowns in fancy costumes I'll go to Cirque de Soleil," said one resident.
Crowds of in the tens of thousands sometimes seemed to only slightly outnumber the vast security detail that closed off much of Spain’s second-biggest city, and many streets along the papal route were nearly empty. "Well, in the pope's defense, Barcelona was playing Real Madrid that afternoon," said one cardinal who asked to remain anonymous. "I caught it on the TV in the Limo from the airport. One nil, christ what a match!"
Also, small, unusual protests such as a gay "kiss-in" by couples as Benedict XVI waved from his vehicle drew the ire of loyal Catholic followers. "There's way too much tolerance going on around here," said an official of the popes' entourage. "It makes his holiness uncomfortable."
Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero was conspicuously absent and only met the Catholic patriarch for a private meeting in the airport minutes before he returned to Rome. "Hey, I'm a busy guy," Zapatero said. "You think my sock drawer is going to organize itself?"
Mr. Zapatero decided to pick fly dandruff out of pepper throughout most of the pope’s visit and publicly wouldn't shake his hand, highlighting the tense relations with one of the Vatican’s closest traditional allies in Europe and the fact that the pope has a tendency to steal your watch when you shake his hand.
The Catholic Church has great perks here, starting with around $9 billion annually in different forms of direct and indirect government funds from tax revenue to financing of religious schools. The Spanish Church is the second biggest property owner in the country, trailing only the government.
Hey, you think the homos are being aggressively secular wanting to be married and all, try messing with popey's $9 bill and you'll see secular aggression like you ain't never seen secular aggression before. Just saying.
“Spain is a bastion of the Catholic Church in Europe. It doesn’t treat all religions equally. It has preferential treatment for the Church and the pope wants to keep it that way,” says Ferran Requejo, a political science professor in the Universidad de Barcelona. "Look, the guy's tailor is Omar the tent maker, but that don't mean he don't know the value of a buck," he added.
Spain is not officially secular, as most rational states are. Rather, it is legally neutral in terms of religion, implying it is a faith-based state. In practice that has translated into huge benefits for the Catholic Church that leaders from other religions, namely Muslims, Protestants, and Jews, say are unconstitutional because they are discriminated against when getting access to government aid and public space. "This is like freaking Jesus Mary and Joseph Incorporated around here man," said one imam who asked not to be identified. "Allah deserves a little taste too, now and then. That's all I'm saying."
In Santiago, Benedict XVI met the leader of the main opposition Popular Party, Mariano Rajoy, who has promised to turn back secular laws passed by the Zapatero government if elected.When asked if the church was trying to meddle in internal Spanish political affairs, an official from the Vatican Office Of The Preservation Of The Faith, Accounting Division said, "Well, we aren't. But Jesus is."