'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Friday, June 13, 2008

I, Neo-Conservative (Part 2) 

Apparently, the Pope isn't going to let over a million dead Iraqis and millions of Iraqi refugees get in the way of good relations with his ideological soul mate:

Pope Benedict gave George W. Bush an unprecedented welcome in the tranquility of the Vatican Gardens on Friday before the U.S. president resumed his campaign to rally European support for sanctions against Iran.

Under tight security, Bush was driven from the bustle of Rome into the idyllic setting. As birds chirped, the two entered a restored medieval tower and held 30 minutes of private talks.

"Such an honor, such an honor," Bush said to the pope.

After the meeting in the tower, they stood on a terrace to take in the view of 44 hectares (108 acres) of manicured gardens, buildings, ancient walls and St Peter's Basilica that make up Vatican City.

Bush asked: "How big is it?" A Vatican aide responded: "Not quite as big as Texas." Bush then said: "Yes but more important ... this is spectacular."

The talks in the tower, walk in the gardens and a performance by the Sistine Choir as the two sat on wooden lawn chairs were a break with normal protocol.

It was the first time a meeting with a head of state at the Vatican was not held in the pope's private study and was meant to repay Bush for the warm White House lawn reception the pope got in April on his 81st birthday.

Perhaps, there is nothing ideological about the visit at all. Could it be, as the last sentence of the quoted article suggests, that the Pope is just vain?

Doubtful. Instead, the honors underscore a profound personal and political affinity between the two men. Clearly, the Church's reactionary struggles against reproductive rights and gay rights, basically the notion that individuals possess the capability of making their own sexual decisions without recourse to the heavy handed autocratic morality of the Church, take precedence over the horrors of the occupation of Iraq.

One wonders if this visit will result in another embarassing black eye for this Pope and the Church. As the article states, the Pope provided this unique honor to Bush during the course of his travels through Europe to solicit support for sanctions against Iran. The global media is full of stories about the prospect of an impending attack upon Iran to be launched by either the US or the Israelis. And, yet . . there is Bush, trading pleasantries with Benedict as they walk through the Vatican Gardens. So much for the doctrine of papal infallibility.

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