Twelve Things I Learned from Pope Benedict XIV (Or, Benny Fourteen Explains it All)

Pope Benedict XIV recently published an essay…/full-text-of-benedict-… in which he attempts to explain the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Here’s what he came up with:

1. Teaching kids about sex education in the 1960’s lead to widespread violent porn that led to “mental collapse” which turned everyone into crazy sex perverts and also resulted in pedophilia being considered “allowable and appropriate.” (Hmmm…I must have missed that day in Criminal Law when they talked about how pedophilia is legal and all).

2. Vatican II did away with the concept of good versus bad and said that any assessment of behavior should be based upon “relative value judgments.” (Really?! Geez, most of the priests I ever heard sermonize were pretty clear about what they thought was good and bad, and pretty much EVERYTHING was bad).

3. Pope John Paul II (whom Michael likes to refer to as “J2P2”) tried to reverse that concept by coming out solidly in support of the idea that some shit is just evil, but no one listened, especially in the United States (sorry, Americans!)

4. The Church is the only entity capable of determining what is good and what is evil (sorry, Jews and Muslims!).

5. Since some people just won’t accept that FACT, however, the Church had to keep quiet about STUFF THAT’S EVIL, and this why they didn’t do anything WHEN THEY FOUND OUT THAT THEIR PRIESTS WERE RAPING CHILDREN (thanks for harshing our buzz, all you non-Catholics!)

6. Also, martyrdom is necessary and important. (Think of how all those pedophile priests have helped advance this cause!)

7. Allowing young men who are training to be priests to have regular contact with married couples and families with kids makes it hard for them to be committed to a celibate life and turns them gay. Showing them porn in an effort to desensitize their sexuality also turns them gay. Not letting them read the books Pope Benedict XIV wrote during his career? Also made otherwise heterosexual priests-in-training gay.

8. Pedophilia among the priesthood wasn’t really a problem until the 1980’s. (Note to PBXIV: You might want to read the Pennsylvania AG report, which showed widespread abuse within Commonwealth dioceses dating as far back as the 1930’s – and that’s just ONE state in ONE country. I’ll send you a copy. Trust me – it’s a hoot!)

9. Making sure accused priests were guaranteed some degree of due process under Canon Law made it impossible to convict them of any crimes. (Just like guaranteeing those accused under American law has made it impossible to convict anyone of any crime, which is why our prisons are empty).

10. When people aren’t religious, children get molested (ergo, if everyone were religious, there would be no pedophilia).

11. The only way you can understand the difference between good and evil is if you are a Christian. If you’re not, you have no standards of good or evil, you have no truth, and your life is meaningless. (That may explain why I shoot everyone who doesn’t agree with me, steal whatever I can get my hands on, and am addicted to opioids – oh, wait, not the last bit).

12. Back before World War II, Germany was a good Christian country, but now it isn’t. (Imagine what a non-Christian World War II Germany might have done to the Jewish population?)

So, to summarize:

Germany was a God-fearing, Christian country that enabled their leader to slaughter six million Jews and six million gays, disabled people, Poles, Gypsies, professors, socialists, and other undesirables. Then in the 1960’s, they showed kids porn and said nothing was evil, which turned priests gay, and, necessarily, pedophiles. Also, the United States.

And here I thought it was because the opportunity to exercise ultimate moral authority over those who, for centuries, have been inculcated to be mindless sheep might be especially appealing to someone who wanted ready access to children whose parents would trust them implicitly.

So, in order to stop abuse by the Catholic clergy, all of us have to turn Catholic, and do whatever the priests tell us.

That seems reasonable.

Thank you, Pope Benedict XIV. We are forever in your debt.

Keep Your Deeply Held Religious Beliefs Off My Body

June 25, 2018

After giving birth to her first child, Nicole Mone Arteaga suffered a number of miscarriages. When she recently became pregnant again, her doctor monitored her carefully on a weekly basis; at 9 weeks, however, she learned that, tragically, the baby was not developing, that there was no heartbeat, and that the pregnancy would not result in a live birth. She was offered the option of an invasive surgical procedure or a prescription medication that would allow her to resolve the pregnancy at home, and which was likely less expensive and less medically risky. She discussed the matter with her physician, who ultimately issued an prescription for an “abortion drug.”

Ms. Arteaga did not want an “abortion,” and this pregnancy was no longer viable – no beating heart, no living fetus. She was heartbroken, because she had wanted this baby very much. But since there was nothing else to be done, she went to Walgreen’s to fill the prescription, aware that it would induce painful uterine contractions that would cause her body to expel a pregnancy she desperately wished to keep.

When she went to collect her prescription from Walgreen’s, the pharmacist on duty refused to fill it because of his “deeply held religious beliefs.” He expressed those “deeply held religious beliefs” to Ms. Arteaga, in front of other store customers and Ms. Arteaga’s 7 year old son. Ms. Aretaga attempted to explain her situation to him, but the pharmacist refused to budge.

Eventually, Ms. Arteaga was able to fill her prescription at another Walgreen’s store and then went home to complete her miscarriage. Walgreen’s has commented that, under Arizona law (and that of five other states), a pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription when doing so would violate “deeply held religious beliefs,” but that the pharmacist must then step away and allow the prescription to be filled by another employee. That did not happen in this case, and Walgreen’s was appropriately apologetic to Ms. Arteaga for the conduct of its employee.

Everything I just wrote is a fact.

Here’s my take:

The pharmacist in this story thought his right to live his “deeply held religious beliefs” was more important than Ms. Arteaga’s right to fill a legal prescription ordered by a medical doctor.

He believed that his “deeply held religious beliefs” entitled him to violate Walgreen’s policy and Arizona law.

He believed that he had a right to impose his “deeply held religious beliefs” upon a customer who, through no fault of her own, was in need of a prescription medication.

He believed that his refusal to serve a customer who was understandably distraught over losing a pregnancy was consistent with his “deeply held religious beliefs,” none of which, it would seem, include the value of compassion.

He believed that HIS interpretation of his “deeply held religious beliefs” required Ms. Arteaga to, oh, I don’t know, continue the pregnancy until it ultimately terminated itself, with whatever medical risk that may have involved.

It is bad enough that this moron determined that his “deeply held religious beliefs” trumped Ms. Arteaga’s own motives, ethics and values – about which he made unfounded and inaccurate assumptions; what’s equally atrocious is that he also attempted to override the professional judgment of her physician.

Last time I checked, pharmacists don’t hold medical degrees. They don’t examine their customers, take medical histories, lay hands on them, or have discussions with them about treatment options.

Do they have to know something aboue medicine and physiology? Of course. But they aren’t physicians, and this particular pharmacist did not know whether or not there may have been extenuating circumstances which would have ruled out a D & C or a natural conculsion to the pregnancy because, guess what?


I find it outrageous that this pharmacist thought his “deeply held religious beliefs” entitled him to override not only the judgment of someone who had ACTUALLY BEEN TO MEDICAL SCHOOL, but also to determine that it was his right to decide for Ms. Arteaga how she should deal with her dead fetus. That she, too, may have had “deeply held religious beliefs” about abortion was something he apparently never considered, nor, apparently, did it trouble him that shis prescription was not being filled for the purpose of terminating a viable pregnancy (thought it was none of his business in the first place whether it was or not) but, rather, to bring to a final conclusion what had already happened.

It is outrageous that some in this country believe that their “deeply held religious beliefs” are morally superior to the “deeply held beliefs” of those who may not agree with them.

It is outrageous that those same people believe that their “deeply held religious beliefs” entitle them make decisions for the rest of the world, including by refusing them access to healthcare.

This country was founded upon the principals of religious freedom, including the freedom to espouse viewpoints different from those purportedly held by some asshole pharmacist working at Walgreen’s.

And guess what else? Just because you call them “deeply held religious beliefs” doesn’t mean that I have to bow to them, or that they’re “right.” It just means that they’re yours.

I’ve never had a miscarriage, but I know plenty of women who have. Most of them were extremely excited to learn that they were pregnant, did everything they could to maximize the chances for a healthy pregnancy, and were heartbroken when they learned that the pregnancy had terminated. Those who miscarried spontaneously have described the pain and the emotional trauma of their experiences, which for many required them to retrieve the “products of conception” and deliver them to their doctors in order to make sure the miscarriage was complete.

Others learned that their pregnancy was over on the ultrasound table, and were sent home to await the miscarriage or undergo a painful medical procedure which has risks of its own. I don’t know which would be worse. What I do know is that each and every woman who has ever told me about a miscarriage – whether she has gone on to have more or other children – was deeply traumatized to lose a baby she very much wanted to parent, and the pain is still there even years later.

Bottom line, Mr. Walgreen’s Pharmacist? Ms. Arteaga came to you for a prescription she never wanted to have to fill, knowing from past experience that the process awaiting her after she took said medication would be painful and traumatic. Your response was to get up on your deeply held religious high horse, buttressed by the smug self-satisfaction of someone who has exactly ZERO understanding of what is like to be pregnant, or to lose a child to miscarriage.

Because I was curious, I looked up whether or not pharmacists take an oath with regard to the discharging of their duties; turns out, they do, and it includes, as the very first item, way at the tippy top of the list, the following:

“I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.”

Looks like, in addition to Walgreen’s policy and Arizona law, this guy also violated his oath as a pharmacist. I guess the “welfare of humanity” and the “relief of suffering” are irrelevant in the face of one’s “deeply held religious beliefs.”

I also guess that those “deeply held religious beliefs” do not include the basic concept of “don’t be a fucking asshole.”