Catholic Church Goes On The Offensive
They have taken the cynical gamble that the poor masses of the developing world who constitute a majority of the faithful, have been kept in poverty and ignorance through the work of the church and their political leaders, will continue to support the mainteinance of the status quo. It is easier to hope for a better life in the hereafter when your current situation is pathetic, and as long as South America, the Philippines, and other developing nations remain insolvent they have a solid foundation of faithful to counter balance the liberalism of the so called more developed world.
The economic situation the world finds itself in, debt ridden poor countries surviving by supplying low paid factory workers for the fashion industry and other producers of consumer products that feed the hungry maw, is the biggest ally the church has right now. Aside from the opiate to the masses factor is the reality that a populace kept poor and uneducated is easier to manipulate through their inability to question. It is only with the development of an educated middle class does the questioning begin. If a woman is busy working, feeding her children, tending the house etc, how much time does she actually have to contemplate her lot in life. Only with the luxury of leisure time comes introspection.
The Catholic church sees and understands this better then anyone. Remember these are the people who preach against birth control, which would be the salvation and liberation for many a poor country, because they understand these high populations are what maintain their power base. The more "souls" for God there are the lower the standard of living, the more grief, and the more need for the consolation and comfort that only a benevolent father can give.
As George Bush has aptly demonstrated in his crusade that the means to controlling people's reactions is obtained by the way information is presented. Manipulation is achieved by the reduction of complexities to black and white, good versus bad, emotional responses. Pope Benedict had already begun this process prior to election through his homilies portraying the Catholic church as under attack and a victim. What better way to rally the faithful then to tell them they are needed to protect their way of life from those who would seek to sully it with calls for reform. By starting to distance himself from other forms of Christianity he is putting the Church in the position of being able to call itself the "True Faith" again, as justification for the need to stand firm as warriors agianst the forces of seculerism.
Do not be surprised if one of the first moves of this Pope is to go on a whirlwind trip of the developing nations. A rallying of the troops for the coming war. If he can come back from this with the assurances of their unconditional support, he can then claim to speak for the majority of Catholics and characterise the reformers as being less then faithful and an indication of how far the developing countries have drifted away from the teachings of the Church.
With Benedict's quick second ballot election it's obvious that the powers that be in the Vatican are feeling threatened and feel the need for some retrenchment. They are also looking for ammunition to fight back against the liberals in Europe and North America. I think the only question now is how far are they willing to go with this before they risk alienating too many people. Or will they simply lay the down the gauntlet and say take it or leave it.
The Vatican is like any other country in the world. Working to maintain influence and power. The difference being is that they believe they have the authority to interfere in the internal decision making process of other countries. Like the United States, who has similar beliefs, they are going to have to rely on the time old techniques of manipulation of information and scare tactics to ensure the success of their agenda. In the past months we have seen increased attempts in Canada by the Church to influence our lawmakers because they do not agree with our attempts to grant equality to homosexuals. Thankfully we are a secular liberal state and have a Charter of Rights which guarantees equality for all, not just the faithful. I think we can look on this as just the opening salvo in the begining of a new stage of aggressive behaviour by the Vatican.