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Pope Rails Against the Internet and Transparency 840

Posted by kdawson
from the lots-to-be-opaque-about dept.
tcd004 writes "At a conference on digital media at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI attacked the idea of transparency in the Internet age, warning that digital transparency exacerbates tensions between nations and within nations themselves and increases the 'dangers of ... intellectual and moral relativism,' which can lead to 'multiple forms of degradation and humiliation' of the essence of a person, and to the 'pollution of the spirit.' All in all, it seemed a pretty grim view of the wide-open communication environment being demanded by the Internet age."
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Pope Rails Against the Internet and Transparency

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  • wagging the dog (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drougie (36782) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:09PM (#31991158) Homepage

    I think that's what they call this, the Pope making an issue out of Internet transparency out of nowhere.

    • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cryacin (657549) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:18PM (#31991350)
      Surprise surprise. It's hard to lie when everyone can see right through you.
      • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RsG (809189) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:24PM (#31991454)

        Surprise surprise. It's hard to lie when everyone can see right through you.

        Perhaps more to the point, cover-ups are much harder to perpetrate when a single leak can plaster all your dirty laundry all over the net.

        Gee, I can't imagine why the pope would object to that... Nope, can't think of a single reason *sigh*

        • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Alphathon (1634555) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:44PM (#31991766)
          Plus the whole "moral relativism" thing. Once people accept that morals are relative, the idea that there is a god who dictates morality disintegrates, along with some of the Popes power/influence.
          • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Insightful)

            by RsG (809189) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:55PM (#31991912)

            See, the pope would probably drag the whole "moral relativism" angle into the debate anyway, as that's something of a fixation for Catholic dogma, for more or less the reasons you state. So I wasn't surprised to see that brought up. It's also something of a red herring.

            It's transparently obvious that real issue here is the abuse scandals. You'll note that they did in fact keep a lid on the whole thing for decades - many current alleged cases of priesthood pedophilia date from the 80's and 90's, and there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the actual problems stretch back further than the memories of anyone alive today. This is not a new problem.

            But back in the old days, shuffling the offending priests off to different diocese, and quietly denying that any wrongdoing took place was enough to keep the matter buried. They relied on the victims and their families shame, and on the rare cases where that wasn't enough, the fact that gossip rarely spread any further than the affected community. Does that last part sound like it would work today? Small wonder the pope is worried.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by dimeglio (456244)

              The Catholic church, as far as I know, doesn't have a monopoly on abuses. Most religions do good, many help save millions from famine, help educated countless poor children and generally bring together communities. Priests are human and did fail - there are not very many left so you might see less and less problems here.

              I encourage you to listen to the speech from this link [radiovaticana.org]. I feel it is worth making the effort of getting the information from the horse's mouth so to speak.

              If the Vatican had a PR department,

              • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Insightful)

                by ignavusinfo (883331) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:11PM (#31992920) Journal

                If the Vatican had a PR department [...]

                If?

              • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Moofie (22272) <lee@ringofs[ ]rn.com ['atu' in gap]> on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:18PM (#31992974) Homepage

                "Priests are human and did fail"

                And the Church aided, abetted, and concealed that failure, systematically, for decades (if not generations).

                This is far bigger than a few flawed humans. This is about a system that has perverted itself.

                • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by vxice (1690200) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:45PM (#31993288)
                  Has anyone thought of a RICO charge against the church? I mean they organized to conceal their criminal acts.
                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by dgatwood (11270)

                    IANAL, but as I understand it, RICO charges would not apply unless you can show that the church obstructed justice somehow. AFAIK, there is no evidence that they covered anything up or were anything less than open in cooperating with any police investigations. If there were, we would already have seen OoJ charges against somebody.

                    AFAIK, the church did not cover anything up, at least from a legal perspective. To my knowledge, when they moved a priest, there was no attempt to conceal that priest's location

                • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by Sanat (702) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:54PM (#31993372)

                  I have/had a book written in the 1880's describing the failures of the priests and the cover-ups by the staff up to and including the Vatican. That book is now 130 years old (it was writing about the mid 1800's) and the situation has not changed in all that time.

                  My ex still has the book most likely. Next time I am in Edwardsville I will get it back.

              • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Insightful)

                by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:18PM (#31992978)

                The problem isn't that priests are human and did fail.
                The problem is that the hierarchy worked hard to cover for them.

                If it had stopped at the priests in question then the church as a whole would be squeeky clean but it did not.

                It is the organizations actions, not the actions of the individuals, which show it as rotten to the core.

                There are plenty of good people in the church but far far too many of them did nothing and we all know what happens then.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward

                  The problem isn't that priests are human and did fail.

                  You know, the thing I hate most about this whole issue is the soft language used about priests' failure and their being human (amazing how die-hard right wingers in the media (not you) gleefully adopt liberal language about criminals just being human when its a religious prick in the dock). Excuse me, these aren't shoplifters or people who got caught with a joint. This is systematic child abuse over a lifetime of "ministering to their flock" (or is that a Lutheran phrase *shrug* - whatever).

                  And the prob

              • by Trerro (711448) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:32PM (#31993142)

                It's not the abuses anyone is complaining about, it's the cover ups. Sure, every profession is going to have people who piss on the ethical standards of that profession, and there's no reason a religious profession would somehow dodge that.

                The thing is, if a doctor violates the Hippocratic oath, he loses his medical license. A corrupt lawyer gets disbarred. A fraudulent scientist gets publicly shamed and unable to get money for future research. Jobs with less on the line usually just result in the offender being fired. Whatever the job is though, when someone is corrupt, they're generally removed, and when that fails to happen, the company they work for is punished instead.

                With the catholic church, they covered up the pedophilia for decades, and now that they can't hide it any more, do they at least finally apologize, vow to fix it, and start making good on that promise by immediately kicking the most obvious offenders out of the clergy and turning them over the cops? Nope, they instead whine that that transparency of the internet is bad, because it makes their wrongdoing public. That isn't bad PR, that's a systemic failure of the morals they claim to uphold.

                THIS is why so few still have any respect for them. Failing to discover abuse is one thing, but being fully aware of it and actively hiding it is when they very much cross the line between "good profession with the occasional douchebag" to "group that actively promotes evil behavior."

                Similarly, you can look at the police in the US. Does anyone complain that there's a few evil, unethical cops? Of course not - sometimes you really can't weed them out until they majorly screw up... except they don't. They're "doing administrative work until an investigation can be thoroughly completed." Translation: We're keeping him off the street until the media focuses on something else, then pretending this never happened. Unsurprisingly, public opinion of the police is quite low - doesn't matter that the majority of cops are indeed good people, the system they work for actively promotes evil by refusing to punish the corrupt members of their organization.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by CapnStank (1283176)
                  Coming from a person who is the offspring of two RCMP members and (currently) dating the daughter of another police officer I can tell you that its not as cut and dry as that. Internal investigations are not simple when there's clics inside of the departments you're investigating. Unfortunately there's a lot of people (officers) out there who hold friendships higher then their sworn duty.
                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by ceoyoyo (59147)

                    Absolutely. But when the organization gets caught, you don't reason it away. You come down hard on them, and clean house. You certainly don't promote one of the worst offenders to chief (pope) and let him stay there.

                • by Bengie (1121981) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:23PM (#31993642)

                  It's not the abuses anyone is complaining about, it's the cover ups. Sure, every profession is going to have people who piss on the ethical standards of that profession, and there's no reason a religious profession would somehow dodge that.

                  [...]

                  With the catholic church, they covered up the pedophilia for decades, and now that they can't hide it any more, do they at least finally apologize, vow to fix it, and start making good on that promise by immediately kicking the most obvious offenders out of the clergy and turning them over the cops? Nope, they instead whine that that transparency of the internet is bad, because it makes their wrongdoing public. That isn't bad PR, that's a systemic failure of the morals they claim to uphold.

                  [..]

                  I agree. The worst kind of evil is having the power to stop evil, but doing nothing about it. When it comes to morals/ethics, you're only as "good" as your weakest link. If the Vatican sees a pedophile and does nothing of it, then the Vatican is giving it's reputation and telling people that this man/woman is of Vatican quality even though it knows what he/she actually does. They are no better than the people they willing support when knowing of their evils.

              • Re:wagging the dog (Score:4, Insightful)

                by obarthelemy (160321) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:53PM (#31993364)

                The argument that it's OK to do it because others are doing does not fly. It's moral relativism at its worst.

                The issue is not that some priests did fail, it's that the church as an institution did its best to cover it up, in the process creating opportunities for abuse to last longer and spread.

                The whole vatican is a PR operation these days.

                • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:37PM (#31993762)

                  The whole vatican is a PR operation these days.

                  Er, what? Of course it is. It's a religion. It's entirely based on superstition and imaginary playmates. There's nothing at the core by definition. It's the purest form of PR.

              • Re:wagging the dog (Score:4, Interesting)

                by jc42 (318812) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:03PM (#31993468) Homepage Journal

                The Catholic church, as far as I know, doesn't have a monopoly on abuses.

                Heh. Just this afternoon, the US's NPR (National Public Radio) had an article about the growing scandal over similar abuse in the Boy Scouts. Officially at least, that's not even a religious organization (though they do push a lot of "God and Country" ideology).

                So no, the Catholic church isn't nearly the only organization with that particular problem. And they're all going to find it a lot more difficult to keep a lid on the stories.

                Disclaimer: I never was a Boy Scout, so I have no personal experience in this area. I was a Cub Scout, and my aunt Evelyn, my mother's older sister, was the local Cub Scout leader. She was a great lady, and the boys all loved her. (But not in that way, y'know. ;-) I never had any interest in the Boy Scouts, though; the local chapter seemed more like a sort of paramilitary boot camp to me, so I just ignored it.

              • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Insightful)

                by uvajed_ekil (914487) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:45PM (#31994310)
                The Catholic church, as far as I know, doesn't have a monopoly on abuses

                Ah yea, the old "everyone else was doing it, too" defense. Committing heinously evil crimes, then using a global organization to cover it up, can not be excused simply because someone else who is not a part of your organization committed the same crimes. Every time a representative of the oh-so holy Church gets on the radio or on CNN to defend their criminal organization, they feel compelled to mention that Catholic priests are not the only people who rape kids, which completely misses the point. That would be very funny, if this were a topic where humor could ever be found. And if I were to rape a bunch of kids, or even one, at my job, I would not be given new job duties or shipped to a different location - I'd go to prison. My employer, and most international employers, would never even consider covering up things like this instead of immediately reporting criminals to law enforcement. The Roman Cathnolic Church did this, many times.

                If the Vatican had a PR department, it would surly be accused of attempting to cover-up further wrongdoings of individuals trusted by the Holy See.

                For all intents and purposes, the Vatican does have PR staff - they call them priests of local parishes, mainly - and they have done quite a bit to cover up all sorts of things, including their cover-ups.
            • Re:wagging the dog (Score:4, Interesting)

              by kaizokuace (1082079) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:47PM (#31993310)
              Everyone's business model has been disrupted by the advent of the internet.
    • by cgenman (325138) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:23PM (#31991438) Homepage

      I'm glad we heard this important and highly relevant message... though the internet.

    • by jd (1658) <imipak@@@yahoo...com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:31PM (#31991578) Homepage Journal

      It's Internet transparency that has been uncovering and unraveling the abuse scandal that has brought on a crisis within the Catholic Church. Although I'd be hard-pressed to say I was "shocked" that the Pope has no apparent interest in uncovering a network of evil, horror and corruption within the Church, I can and will say that I am disappointed. This was his golden opportunity to both prove to the world the relevance of the Church (through active demonstration) and to prove that fears (inspired by books like "Holy Blood and the Holy Grail", "The Da Vinci Code", etc, and by right-wing Baptist loonies) that the Church was an active participant in satanic activities was crud. Instead, he's chosen a path of reinforcing the worst paranoias of the deluded, seemingly preferring the genuine dangers and very real threat of inflating religious extremist violence over and above having the Church fulfill its actual* mission. *Ok, purported. It's hard to say that peace, kindness and charity have anything to do with any actual mission the Church has performed these past 2,000 or so years.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sznupi (719324)

        He has a tough choise though...large part (and the most important one...the growing one) of his faithfull are in developing countries. Heck, they are the reason why the Catholic Church as a whole is growing, despite (as with most faiths) registering major drop in the developed world.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LordLimecat (1103839)
        I would simply like to point out that if you are judging their relevance on whether they are "effective" then youve missed the point. A church is relevant if its views are correct, and irrelevant otherwise.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          If that's the criteria for a church being relevant (that its views are correct), then nearly all churches are irrelevant because:
          1. Nearly all churches claim that they are correct and other religions are incorrect
          2. Only one, at most, of those churches can actually be correct about the first point

          In addition, no church has followers that constitute the majority of the world population (Islam is probably the closest). So that would mean that churches are irrelevant to most or all of the world population, and th

    • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Karsaroth (1064806) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:01PM (#31992016) Journal

      Most likely no one will listen to me, but I may as well try and reach a few people.

      The Pope is speaking specifically about the effect that the internet will have on individuals, as this is his primary function as the Pope. I don't think this message should be taken as some condemnation of internet transparency. It seems to me that he's primary speaking about the dangers that arise (with respect to the soul) in any "wild west" situation like the internet.

      Oh, and since TFA seems primarily concerned with the child abuse scandal (obviously this is a despicable thing that has happened), it might also be worth mentioning that the Pope is the bishop of Rome, and his primacy is in matters of faith. He is *not* the CEO of the Church like you might find in an ordinary industry. If we want to find resolutions to the abuse scandal, we have to bring the local bishops to account. If somehow the Pope is removed, it will not get rid of the problem. All it will do is make a few Atheists happy.

      • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lgw (121541) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:12PM (#31992928) Journal

        All it will do is make a few Atheists happy.

        Why would an atheist, in particular, care who the Pope is? Is there some pro-atheist papal candidate who might have a shot at the papacy if the current Pope is ousted? It seems an odd statement.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by hduff (570443)

        Pedo-Pope thinks the Internet is bad? Meh.

        We have BoobQuakes to worry about.

      • Re:wagging the dog (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:12PM (#31993530)

        All it will do is make a few Atheists happy.

        There's an old aphorism from Sun Tzu Wu: "When you see your enemy making serious mistakes, do not interfere!"

        As an atheist I couldn't possibly be happier with the Catholic Church and the deranged B-movie villain they elected Pope.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Camael (1048726)
        After reading TFA, I think parent poster has a point.

        It was a conference on digital media. The Pope basically praised the Internet as a more "egalitarian and pluralistic" forum. Then he warns that some of the stuff on the Internet can pollute the spirit. Given the crap that's online, that's a fair assessment to make.

        OTOH, the Vatican really needs some good PR. You ask for forgiveness with a repentant and contrite heart, not with evasions, excuses, justifications or counter-accusations. And start by ap
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:10PM (#31991186)

    Does anyone truly care what this guy thinks? "Pollution of the spirit?" From a Catholic priest? Please...

  • Riiight (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:11PM (#31991210) Homepage Journal

    And holding everything locked down tight as a "state secret" is so much better. Oh wait, right, there's China. Yes, I see how that is so much better.

    The pope is either an idiot, or a budding tyrant with ambitions of bringing the world back to the dark ages under dominion of the vatican.

    • Re:Riiight (Score:4, Funny)

      by DavidRawling (864446) <hulk_NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:16PM (#31991320)

      The pope is either an idiot, or a budding tyrant with ambitions of bringing the world back to the dark ages under dominion of the vatican.

      I thought that was supposed to go without saying (*ducks*).

    • Re:Riiight (Score:5, Informative)

      by yariv (1107831) <yariv.yaariNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:31PM (#31991576)

      Your argument is presenting a false dichotomy, instead of handling the actual claim. I would like to point out that there are some things that are forbidden in any country in the western world (snuff films, for example), yet you won't say that anyone who claims these are dangerous (even after creating them, that is) supports "holding everything locked down tight", I hope.

      In fact, all he said was that the "huge widening of the frontiers of communication" has benefits (for example - points to a more "egalitarian and pluralistic" forum) and drawbacks (for example - increases the "dangers of ... intellectual and moral relativism,"). I guess however, expecting anyone on slashdot (commentators and modders) to RTFA is a bit to much.

      TFA, by the way, does not give the speech (or a translation of it) but just tiny parts of it, without any context. So even after reading it, I have no idea what he said. What I do know is that he is not an idiot, there is quite some evidence for this, and so he knows he has no chance of gaining actual direct power (becoming any sort of a tyrant).

      • Re:Riiight (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Angst Badger (8636) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:19PM (#31993002)

        TFA, by the way, does not give the speech (or a translation of it) but just tiny parts of it, without any context. So even after reading it, I have no idea what he said.

        Aside from his followers, who cares what he said? He's the Pope. That makes him an expert in exactly what real world concern?

        Benedict is an expert in Catholic dogma, period. Excepting grade school, he has no education outside of Catholic doctrine and theology, and his entire professional life has revolved around promulgating Catholic doctrine. His opinion on practically anything else is at best worth no more than any randomly selected unskilled worker with access to the television and newspapers.

        If I was Catholic, I would of course be interested in what he says -- I'd effectively be obligated to. Otherwise, even for other Christian denominations, there isn't the least reason to care that he exists, much less what he has to say, with the possible exception of law enforcement agencies investigating the increasingly notorious sex crimes committed by his underlings.

      • by brpetertotleben (1242388) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:01PM (#31993446)

        Most of the discussion on this thread is way off base. Here [zenit.org] [zenit.org] is the text of the speech that the Pope actually gave. It wasn't exactly a major address. He gave the closing speech at a conference entitled "Digital Witnesses: Faces and Languages in the Cross-Media Age," sponsored by the Italian bishops. So, he is giving a polite little address to a conference with a particular theme.

        <summary>
        It's actually pretty boiler-plate non-controversial stuff (at least coming from a Catholic prelate). Media outlets are rapidly expanding. The Internet has an "open vocation, with an egalitarian and pluralistic tendency." But, due to the "digital divide," which creates new categories of inclusion and exclusion and new sources of division, not all can participate. Moreover, disembodied and impersonal communication presents a new outlet for dehumanization in the culture. Often, one can observe on the Internet a dynamic "that can make us lose the perception of the depth of persons and remain at the surface: When that happens, they are bodies without souls, objects of trade and consumption."

        What is needed in such a situation? The Pope suggests (in a nod to the theme of the conference) "a return to faces." New media, when used rightly, can actually become a humanizing force in the culture. In order to do this, people involved in media work need to proceed from a more profound vision. Media workers should see their profession as something more than communicating information. They should see it as communicating humane values based on thoughtful reflection on the nature of the human person and the common good. This means that they should "focus on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples, they need to be clearly inspired by charity and placed at the service of truth, of the good, and of natural and supernatural fraternity."

        If media workers do this, then far from being a dehumanizing venture, the "epochal journey" that we have begun will be "rich and fertile with new opportunities." "Without fear we want to set out upon the digital sea embracing the unrestricted navigation with the same passion that for 2,000 years has steered the barque of the Church. More than with technical resources, although necessary, we want to qualify ourselves dwelling in this universe too with a believing heart, that contributes to giving a soul to the uninterrupted communicational flow of the Internet."

        This should especially be the task of Christians. "The task of every believer who works in the media is that of 'opening the door to new forms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interaction, and showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritual needs. They can thus help the men and women of our digital age to sense the Lord's presence.'"
        </summary>

        There have been a lot of particularly clueless reporters covering the Church over the last month, and this one is no exception. She breathlessly reports that the Pope did not talk about clerical sex abuse at a conference on the role of Christians on the Internet. Why is that surprising? Note also that the Pope's speech did not mention anything about transparency one way or the other. For the very simple reason that it wasn't a speech on that topic! What is so difficult about this to understand? The mention of "transparency" came up when the Vatican press secretary made some off-the-cuff remarks about how we need more of it, not less! Which brings me to the summary by tcd004. He misread the headline. (Did he read the article?) The Pope didn't talk about transparency. The press secretary did, and he didn't attack it--he called for more of it.

  • Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fliptw (560225) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:12PM (#31991226) Journal
    Openly transparent communication undermines power structures that rely on the opposite
    • Re:Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:26PM (#31991490)

      Additional translation note:
      Morals are inherently relative to personal values and situational details. Anytime someone warns about moral relativism, it's because they want you to follow their values and sense of right and wrong, instead of your own.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ockers (7928)

        Further to that:

        The perpetuation of organized religion depends on 2 things: 1. ignorance; and 2. lack of critical thinking skills. The internet is the enemy of ignorance because of the openness and availability of information. Education teaches critical thinking skills.

        The pope is just doing his job. They've identified that the fully open internet is a threat to the perpetuation of the church, and they have to take steps to discourage it or encourage limits on it.

    • Re:Translation: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hey! (33014) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:40PM (#31991714) Homepage Journal

      I don't know. Looking at what was reported, it looks like the pope said three things:

      1) The new media gives more kinds of people a soap box. That is more egalitarian and pluralistic.

      2) One side effect is to inflame the divisions between nations and people are inflamed.

      3) Some people use their soapbox to promote moral relativism.

      I think he's on solid ground on (1) and (2). Giving everyone a soapbox means the crazies and haters get one too. It's also the Era of Sorting. Back in the day, you had to live with people who had different opinions from you. One of the unexpected side effects of "virtual communities" is that it's never been easier to surround yourself with people who think just like you do. It's never been easier to transition from eccentric to full blown kook.

      On (3), well, I don't think that statement means anything. I'm sure he's not talking about serious philosophical positions on the nature of ethics. I suspect he's talking about opinions he doesn't like.

      The official Catholic position on morality is that it isn't based on divine commandment. That goes all the way back to Plato. But there's a huge loophole in this position: Human reason is inferior to Divine Wisdom, so while God's moral commandments have an objective justification, that justification isn't necessarily obvious.

      That said, this is not the most opportune time to assert the Church's "magisterium". When the church can show it holds itself to at least basic, civilized standards of ethical behavior, it will be able to talk about "moral relativism" without provoking snickers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:13PM (#31991258)

    That 140 character limit drives him up the wall.

  • Waaah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IMightB (533307) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:13PM (#31991266) Journal

    The problem isn't the pedo priests, it's the peoples ability to find out about them!

  • by gibson123 (1740752) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:14PM (#31991272) Homepage
    Seems to me he's saying it's a problem for Governments and Institutions, transparency is always good for the people. Oh yea, maybe transparency can be a problem for the Church as we learn more and more about what went on there....
  • by moz25 (262020) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:14PM (#31991276) Homepage

    So the leader of the organization with the filthiest possible secrets speaks out against transparency.

    Okay, no surprise there...

    The priority of the catholic church is the catholic church. Not God. Not innocent children. Not you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      Not innocent children

      They're working quite energetically on ending THAT particular problem ... no more innocent children - they're all guilty of being priest-tempters.

      An airplane is going down with a Boy Scout troop, their leader, a lawyer, and the Pope. There are only 3 parachutes.

      "What about the children?" says the troop leader.

      "Screw the children!" says the lawyer.

      "Do we have time?" says the Pope?

  • The Pope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:14PM (#31991290) Journal

    I never got what the big deal was with The Pope anyways. He's just as human as you or I, so his interpretations can be just as flawed as yours or mine, yet elected by his own circle of peers, instead of by the masses that follow his orders.

    I'll give him due respect as a fellow human being, one whose wisdom probably far exceeds my own in a great many things. However, I have a feeling I know a bit more on the subject of Internet Transparency than him, so I'll politely decline his advice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by moz25 (262020)

      Okay, let's do a little test.

      When you know that someone under your responsibility molests children, what do you do:

      1. Cover everything up, do NOT report said molester to police AND make sure he can work with children again in the future.

      2. Report molester to police and do everything in your power to help victims and make sure there are no more victims.

      If you've picked option #2, then congratulations, you're wiser than the pope!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by syousef (465911)

      I'll give him due respect as a fellow human being, one whose wisdom probably far exceeds my own in a great many things. However, I have a feeling I know a bit more on the subject of Internet Transparency than him, so I'll politely decline his advice.

      His wisdom is indeed great on subjects such as covering up pedophilia, how to help spread disease by opposing contraception, how to set up an oppressive regime protected by superstition.

      Basing morality on religion and myth is bad enough. Also most Popes have done varying degrees of harm. But this one seems to be the worst of the worst!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by glwtta (532858)
      I never got what the big deal was with The Pope anyways.

      He is imbued with divine authority (passed down from Simon Peter) over the entire Church, by Jesus our Lord and Savior. He's preserved from erring in matters of faith or morality by Divine Will.

      He's just as human as you or I, so his interpretations can be just as flawed as yours or mine, yet elected by his own circle of peers, instead of by the masses that follow his orders.

      Heh, yeah, I'm sure the Catholic Church is downright distraught that t
  • by NReitzel (77941) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:15PM (#31991312) Homepage

    The words of the Bishop of Rome about the internet, freedom, and transparency, ring very familiar.

    It was this very flavor of rhetoric that came from British citizens, Muslim Jihadis, who decry that freedom is the basic sin of mankind. They yearn for Sharia law to rule their lives.

    Of course, I have no problem should they choose to live their lives under Sharia law. My problem comes about when they decide that I should live my life by Sharia law, whether I want to or not. It is, they explain, good for me.

    So when el Papa decided that internet freedom is not for me, my immediate reaction was, "I've heard all this before."

    It never fails to astound me when Men of God not only want to live their own lives by their code of conduct, but they want me to live that way, also.

    When God shows up in a burning bush, and then explains how I should live, I may decide to give it some credibility. Until then, I'll go on striving for freedom of choice for myself, and for others. They can, if they choose, live by Biblical law.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If he doesn't like the Internet, he doesn't have to use it.

      It's borderline stupid to assume that any one sect or faith can push something out of existence for everyone else, at least in this day and age.

      Tomorrow, both the Pope and the Internet will still be there. Perhaps with fewer proselytizing people using the Internet. "And nothing of value was lost."

    • by timmarhy (659436) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:32PM (#31991582)
      right on.

      the reason they can't stand people not abiding by rules other then their own, is it poses the question that maybe their own way of life is "wrong", which for people with the belief that their dogma is the only way into heaven, is an untenable situation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:16PM (#31991316)

    The obvious reason he is against such transparency is because it would mean the church would actually have to own up to all the child molestation in his church. I think he needs to be worrying more about the "pollution of the spirit" of these abused kids first and foremost.

  • Sorry Joe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:17PM (#31991338)
    The change is coming. Transparency can lead to "degradation and humiliation", but so can secretiveness. If you want to remain relevant, then learn to deal with it instead of trying to suppress it.
  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <(VortexCortex) ( ... -retrograde.com)> on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:20PM (#31991376)

    "As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master." - Pravin Lal of Alpha Centauri (1999)

  • Paralelism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:21PM (#31991400) Homepage Journal
    Killing internet openness because could be abuses, despite all the good that could come from it, could be very similar to killing religion, because, well, existed (child) abusers. Probably the net gain of killing both would be possitive for mankind.
  • I'm not surprised (Score:5, Informative)

    by Flavio (12072) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:29PM (#31991526)

    Back in 2001, when Ratzinger was head of the Holy Office, he implemented a policy that classified child abuse cases as pontifical secrets.

    And Ratzinger is not an exception. This is business as usual for the Catholic church.

  • Hmmmm ..... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:29PM (#31991542)
    Of course the Pope would rail against transparency because transparency is the antithesis of power. Governments and large organizations do not want to be transparent, they want to operate in secrecy because knowledge is power. If the masses have knowledge of government activities, then they have the power to stop them and it makes propaganda that much more difficult to create.
  • uhhh... sure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RelliK (4466) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:32PM (#31991594)

    All that transparency sure makes it hard to hide child rape scandals.

  • by EldestPort (1693956) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:36PM (#31991642)
    The Pope actually said, "This is the time for truth, transparency and credibility. Secrecy and discretion are not values that are in fashion at the moment. We must be in a condition of having nothing to hide." he did not "[attack] the idea of transparency in the Internet age". But, I mean it's the Pope, who cares what he actually *said*, right? /sarcasm
    • by ENIGMAwastaken (932558) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:47PM (#31991808)
      "But then, the silence was broken. Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, took his turn at the microphone. "The situation in which we are living is extremely exacting, and we are asked to be absolutely truthful and credible," he said. The last couple of months have been very difficult, he went on, with so many questions being raised about things that happened long ago. But he said, "This is the time for truth, transparency and credibility. Secrecy and discretion are not values that are in fashion at the moment. We must be in a condition of having nothing to hide." The crowd applauded."
    • The Pope did NOT say that. That quote (Time for truth) was the Vatican spokesman.

      FTA:
      ""The times in which we living knows a huge widening of the frontiers of communication," he said (according to our Italian fixer/producer) and the new media of this new age points to a more "egalitarian and pluralistic" forum. But, he went on to say, it also opens a new hole, the "digital divide" between haves and have-nots. Even more ominous, he said, it exacerbates tensions between nations and within nations themselves. And it increases the "dangers of ... intellectual and moral relativism," which can lead to "multiple forms of degradation and humiliation" of the essence of a person, and to the "pollution of the spirit." All in all, it seemed a pretty grim view of the wide open communication parameters being demanded by the Internet age."

  • Nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:40PM (#31991698)

    It doesn't take a genius to see that the catholic church hides behind a thin facade of Christianity but is in fact a self-serving money-grabbing regime and tool of the establishment.

    The Vatican's actions speak for themselves, especially like now when even the Pope uses weasel words to advocate against truth, openness and honesty, which the bible clearly details as the most fundamental principles of being a Christian.

  • by epte (949662) on Monday April 26, 2010 @07:42PM (#31991730)

    The reporter of that article obviously had an agenda. In lieu of finding a more unbiased source, I thought it might be worthwhile to at least include a report of the same talk from the opposite side of the camp: here [catholicnewsagency.com]

    It would seem from this article that the Pope is looking for us to act with a conscience while on the internet, so that the internet as a whole can be an edifying experience. That is, how we use the internet is important. Raw power must be used to good ends.

    Note that I do recognize and appreciate the difficulties with defining "good", "edifying", and even the institution which provides these definitions.

    Disclaimer: I'm not Catholic (I'm Orthodox -- we're not in the habit of defending the Pope). I'm just trying to provide a little balance.

  • *yawn* (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:07PM (#31992132)

    Historically, the church has always frowned upon the unwashed masses being able to communicate and think for themselves. Hell, it was only a few decades ago that they allowed masses to be performed in languages other than Latin...effectively making 99% of their flock reliant entirely upon their interpretation of the very documents they use to "shepherd" their flock.

    *yawn*

    The more things change, the more they stay the same....

    OK, burn me at the stake. I double dog dare ya... :)

  • Moral Relativism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Monday April 26, 2010 @08:43PM (#31992606)
    It is ironic to hear a man who covered up hundreds if not thousands of cases of child rape in the name of his religion's good name talk about moral relativism. The Catholic Church can not die soon enough IMHO.
  • by neowolf (173735) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @10:15AM (#31999076)
    I'm sure it's already been said by others, but there are approx. 600 comments already. I just have to note that the Internet provides a means for people to educate themselves and openly communicate with others. Education and communication are two things an organization like the Catholic Church fears the most. They came into their power through fear and ignorance. They can't tell people what is right and wrong when those people have the means to make their own decisions.

    I have to wonder: How many pedophile priests have been outed thanks to the Internet? How many people have left the Church because they have discovered other spiritual paths (including the many other paths of Christianity) thanks to the Internet. The bottom line is the Pope is scared. His Church may have to start selling some of their gold and property in order to survive this century.

    This may hurt my Slashdot karma, but my real Karma is more important. :)

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