Monday, June 27, 2005

The many inconsistencies of papal orthodoxy

On 24 June, the Pope met the President of the Republic at the Quirinale, the presidential palace which used to be the home of Popes in the past. The pope's three main concerns are: family, life and education. In the few months of his new papacy he has already intervened several times to repeat ad nauseam his obsessions.
Although the pope said he agreed with the president on the importance of separation between Church and State, he nevertheless forced that boundary in many occasions already. This is only the most evident of all the inconsistencies that the Pope has already come up with. Most of the others have already been pointed out in previous posts, but it can be useful to sum them up.

Concerning education, the pope held that it is the role of the state to set the standards of public education. He added, however, that parents ought to have "the right to choose the best education for their children without being burdened by excessive expenses." In clear, this means that the state should fund parents who send their children to private catholic schools. This is outrageous. Italian public schools have been for very long a major factor of integration between different layers of the society. What the pope is asking now, is that the whole society pays for some people who want to impart a sectarian education to their children. And he defends this by claiming to their freedom of choice. Obviously, freedom of choice is NOT at stake at all. Instead, we are concerned with the question of whether a private religious institution can be founded on public money. The answer, in a lay, pluralistic, society must be no.

Concerning life, the pope has insisted that life begins when the male and female gameths meet. In other words, the embryo is already a form of life which should be protected at all costs. The inconsistency as to the status of the embryo has already been discussed here. What I haven't insisted on yet is the fact that many lives can be saved thanks to the research carried on on embryos. What should a lay state do in this case? It should allow research in order to develop new ways to rescue lives.

The pope has also mentioned those lives at the end of their path. No human intervention, the pope holds, should be allowed in these cases. There is a minor opening, however. The pope mentions that palliative care should be used in order to make the death "more human". Even if the latter is not clear, it is important to stress that the vatican has never fully accepted the necessity of palliative care, namely because this includes the use of morphine, which could have, as a side-effect, the consequence of killing a person.

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