Introducing a new feature: Rants by request! Well, not really request, but since this was sent to me I can't help myself.
It concerns this news article from the always arrogantly named The Australian: George Pell tells the West to make babies.
Where do you start? Even without reading the article there are risible opportunities galore. Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, has a record on women's rights and responding to sexual abuse within the church that is even more draconic and reactionary than his religion usually is. For a proper take on just how much to loathe this man, go and look at his Wikipedia entry, the majority of which is in the section headed "Controversies". The man is an obnoxious, closed-minded, bigoted prat. Oh, that's right, he's a cardinal. Silly me for ever expecting anything different.
But let's look at the article, shall we?
Pell tells the West that we are facing a crisis of not enough people, because there is too much divorce, serial monogamy and promiscuity, and that there is damage being done to marriage and family life.
I would like to suggest that there is too much violence within relationships, inappropriate parenting by people not financially or psychologically equipped for the role, and too much damage done by sexual ignorance and insecurity fostered by demonstrable failures of public education like American's "abstinence only" sex education which resulted in a rise in rates of teen pregnancy. I would also like to point out that the potential damage to individuals and society that can be done by selfish and blinkered calls for fertility is neatly pointed out by the causal connection drawn between the availability of divorce in America in the 70s and the reduction of crime rates in the 90s.
Of course, being religious, he can't bear the thought that anyone can have any sort of satisfaction in life by following any sort of life other than the one he tells them to follow:
"Speaking a day after the arrival of the Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church in Australia said one of the biggest challenges for his church was "the Australian temptation to believe that you can have a good, happy life without God". "
Well, you can. Deal with it, you arrogant fascist.
And even the popular issue du jour, climate change: While the pope's talking about "responsibility to creation", George Pell has labelled himself a skeptic, which is always a nice way for people who don't know what that word means, or in any way qualify as one, to present themselves as being moderate and balanced and open to evidence.
We have the evidence. The evidence is in. Him talking about "I'm pretty certain if you look at the figures, the temperature dropped worldwide in the last 12months, but check that for yourself," is a combination of avoiding the issue, fudging, prevaricating, and demonstrating an appalling combination of ignorance of long-term trends and ignorance of science in someone who is publicly challenging mainstream scientific concensus. Idiot.
And then sexual abuse.
Having previously demonstrated that his handling of this issue, one which more than any other has demonstrated the hypocrisy and incompetence of the Catholic church in establishing and demonstrating any sort of prescribed lifestyle, is generally cack-handed, he continued in a similar vein by attempting to rapidly back out of any question on the issue. Although we can't know from this article what his complete comments were, and although he may have expressed an opinion that child sexual abuse by priests is, you know, bad or something, somehow I very much doubt it at this point in time. Plus, he has asked a committee to tell him how to respond.
If you needed any other reason to not be religious, the fact that men like this are put in charge should clinch it for you.
Link to article from The Australian.
Link to George Pell article on Wikipedia.
Link to the best resource I've found on climate change so far, just because more people need to read it.