I wonder if Benny looks back fondly on the days when a pope had real authority. Now, just like the Queen, there is more pomp than power.
Why these days a pope can’t even threaten the church members without some spin doctor coming along to say, “Look Benny doesn’t always mean what he says. Smile, nod make him feel good but don’t take him too seriously.”
While Benedict met with Brazil’s president and thousands of Roman Catholics streamed toward a soccer stadium for an evening youth rally, the Vatican released a new transcript that seemed to roll back the Pope’s comments from a day earlier.
Asked during an in-flight news conference Wednesday if legislators who legalized abortion in Mexico City should rightfully be considered excommunicated, Benedict said “Yes.”
“The excommunication was not something arbitrary. It is part of the (canon law) code,” the Pope continued, seemingly siding with the Mexican bishops who said the politicians had excommunicated themselves.
But Benedict’s spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement later Wednesday saying Benedict did not intend to formally excommunicate anyone – a rare process under church law. He added that politicians who vote in favour of abortion had excluded themselves from receiving Holy Communion.
On Thursday, the Vatican tried again to defuse the controversy, issuing a slightly edited transcript that dropped the word “yes” in the Pope’s response to the question that started it all. Several other changes made it seem a more general statement, rather than referring to the Mexican bishops.
Lombardi told reporters such edits are common. “Every time the Pope speaks off-the-cuff the Secretariat of State reviews and cleans up his remarks,” he said.
The controversy didn’t help persuade some of the Brazilians waiting for a glimpse of the Pope.
“I’m totally against his stance on abortion. I have two daughters and we know how Sao Paulo is. If something happened to them, and they were raped, I would never let them have a baby that way,” said Roberto Tavares, a retired airline pilot. Still, “it’s very important he came to visit us in Brazil, even if we don’t agree with all of his views.”
Perhaps this comment sums it up best;
“If men got pregnant, I’m sure this question would have been resolved a long time ago,” said Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao, who is pushing for a referendum on the issue.