My first fisk…

I’ve always admired the fisking skills of Dale Price and have wondered if perhaps it is a skill that I too might be able to someday use.  I mean, I often read articles and my “director’s commentary” track on the article seems pretty insightful.   Perhaps I could put that into print?  Well today I get that chance.  I was reading about the various articles about Benedict’s 2nd anniversary as Pope over at Amy Welborn’s blog.  Her comments are very insightful and worth reading.  However, it is one of those articles that I found worth fisking because of its ridiculous self-contradictions and obvious bias.

So without further adieu:

April 19 marks the second anniversary of Benedict XVI’s election as pontiff, and in a few weeks he heads to Brazil. Not long ago, when a pope traveled to the region it didn’t occasion much comment;
Yeah, there were never any articles about John Paul’s various travels.  In fact, it’s news to me that he traveled anywhere.  I just thought he spent all of his time writing encyclicals about how to abuse young boys while making homosexuality illegal. 
John Paul II was a globe-trotter who hit Mexico and the Caribbean during his first 100 days. But Benedict, who turns 80 this month, has rarely left home
How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways: Germany 2005 (for World Youth Day), Poland 2006 (including visit to Auschwitz), Spain 2006 (for the World Meeting of Families) and Turkey (for Muslim relations).  As well as 8 additional journeys scheduled.
and seems most interested in trying to revive European Catholicism.
SINNNER!!!! How dare he try to save Europe from falling into Apostasy!
On his upcoming trek to the Brazilian town of Aparecida do Norte, he plans to huddle
Give me play R-23 on 4. BREAK! 
with regional prelates worried about their declining influence, the growth of evangelicals and local moves to legalize gay unions and abortion.
Apparently picking right off where he evil predecessor… er… the noble “you’ll never measure up to him” John Paul II left off.
The pope should choose his words carefully; on one of his last trips, to his native Germany, he sparked a firestorm when he quoted in passing scathing comments about the Prophet Muhammad. Within days Benedict was being burned in effigy
Try to contain your giddiness.
He can expect a warmer greeting in South America. But there’s no denying he’s been a disappointment to many faithful there and elsewhere.
Just like there is no denying that he’s extremely popular in other circles, that his weekly audiences are twice as large as John Paul’s and that his books routinely top the best seller lists.
Some U.S. Catholics condemn him as aloof,
The Horror!
Europeans resent his intrusions into their affairs
Wait, I lost the script again, is he a meddling dictator or a distant bookish theologian?
and he’s never been popular in Latin America. The region, home to 450 million Catholics, had hoped to see one of its own succeed John Paul.
How dare he not be Latin!  Wait, not Latin, that word is banned from use… how did that sneak in here!?!
Many there have felt ignored by the man who ultimately did.
Uh-oh, that devastating “many” word again.
Part of the problem is style. The last pope was a former parish priest who recast himself as an international player (he spoke eight languages, including Spanish and Portuguese).
A simple math question for our author, which is greater: eight or ten?  (see 9th paragraph, hat-tip
Benedict is a colorless
Are we still picking on his not being Latin again?  ARG!?!  How does Latin keep getting into the discussion!
academic who spent much of his career teaching theology and philosophy. “This is a professor, a quiet man, not an actor skilled in politics,” says the American theologian Michael Novak. “[People] should not judge him by the standards of John Paul II.”
And yet that is exactly what this reporter has decided to do.
Perhaps, but the differences go beyond personality. During his long tenure, John Paul undertook more than 100 trips abroad
Back to that meme are we?
and showed real concern for the developing world. Although Benedict calls for more aid to Africa in a new book,
Although… but I’ll disregard it anyway.
he seems preoccupied by Europe.
How DARE HE!?!  (I’m getting the hang of this)
His defenders say this narrow focus represents a return to tradition. “Prior to the election of John Paul II, it was understood that the pope played a far more active role in European affairs,” argues Friar Thomas Williams of the Legion of Christ. 

But Benedict’s emphasis hasn’t won him many fans.
Man this meme merry-go-round is spinning fast.  Are we already back on the unpopular meme again?
Just before his ascension, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger warned Italians that “Europe has developed a culture that … excludes God from the public conscience,” and last month he decried Europeans’ “dangerous individualism.” Also last month, Italy’s bishops came out against the country’s attempt to extend rights to gay and unmarried couples. Such moves have rankled politicians—one parliamentarian has warned Benedict against imposing a “clerical dictatorship” in Italy—and many of the faithful. “Ratzinger is getting too intrusive on [subjects] such as civil rights for unwed couples and is too out of date,” says Milanese housewife Maria Novella Dall’Aglio.
Got to love the “man on the street” interview.  I wonder how many of those the author did before he found just the right combination of words that matched what he already wanted to say.
Oh wait, sorry for the delay… I forgot my obligatory “How DARE he!?!”
In the rest of the world, meanwhile, Benedict’s presence has scarcely been felt.
You’d think the author would have some qualms about that lead in after he just lambasted Benedict for meddling.
He was nowhere to be seen in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, arguably the most Catholic city in the United States.
Is there a prize for the most ridiculous sentence of the year award?  It’s rare that the number of things wrong with a sentence exceed the number of words in a sentence.  And why do I suddenly feel the need to buy a “Where’s Waldo” book?
Nor has he paid much attention to Latin America, home to nearly half the world’s Catholics and a key focus of John Paul’s papacy. “He’s ignored us completely,” says Roberto Blancarte, a sociologist specializing in religious affairs at the Colegio de México in Mexico City.
And that’s why he’s got two trips planned to Latin America.
In Benedict’s absence, the influence of his church has continued to wane. In Latin America an estimated 8,000 people leave the Catholic Church every day, and according to the polling firm Latinobarómetro, the number of locals who call themselves Catholic dropped 9 percent between 1995 and 2005.
And imagine how bad it would be if he actually took his meddling self there to impose the evil morals of the Church on them.
The church’s decline is most evident in Mexico, which has the second largest Catholic population on the planet. Coahuila state OK’d same-sex civil unions in January.
REJOICE!  Wait… no… wait… what’s the meme here again?
Two months earlier, Mexico City granted new rights to same-sex couples, and it is expected to decriminalize abortion soon. Such measures would once have seemed unthinkable in a society where the Virgin of Guadalupe rivals the flag as a national symbol. But left-wing politicians no longer fear the Vatican.
REJOICE!  Wait… no… wait… my head hurts.
Under John Paul, politicians “used to have a certain respect [for the church] and a belief that it wasn’t in their interests to pick a fight” with it, notes Elio Masferrer Kan, a religious historian at Mexico’s National School of Anthropology and History. Now they see it as a “paper tiger,” as do judges in Argentina and Colombia, who have ruled in favor of allowing abortions in the past year.
Hurry Benedict!  Come to Mexico to save us… and please modernize your archaic teachings about SEX! SEX! SEX!
Were Benedict to become more active in Latin America, however, it wouldn’t likely change matters.
And I promised myself that I would give up snort laughing.  Just how many ‘Gs’ am I feeling on this merry-go-round?
His one foray into local affairs alienated more Catholics than it reassured: in October he personally approved a Vatican document sharply critical of Father Jon Sobrino, an advocate of liberation theology. The irony
Oh, I can’t wait for this guys take on irony.
of this was that liberation theology—a progressive Catholic social movement—is already considered a dead letter these days. His criticism thus struck many as mean-spirited and unnecessary;
That useful word “many” again.
And wait, I thought the guy was ignoring Latin America?  Why is he approving documents about Latin American topics?
Leonardo Boff, a former Brazilian priest, wrote an open letter saying the pope’s sanctions “filled me with sadness” and “defraud[ed] the poor.”
Yup, nothing to see here.  Liberation Theology is dead and buried.  So dead and buried that it only took the author 2.3 seconds to dig up a quote of a liberation theology priest who is unhappy that Benedict is “defraud[ing] the poor” by not giving in to the “dead” theology.
It also underscored just how conservative—and far from the mainstream—Benedict is.
If by mainstream we mean “the views of this author”.  Let’s see, gay marriage: extremely unpopular, euthanasia: extremely unpopular, abortion: losing popularity… yup that silly conservative Benedict.
That will cause more trouble in the future, especially in Latin countries that already believe he is behind the times.
So go away and stop bothering us, and why haven’t you come to visit… PLEASE!?!
Later this month, the Vatican is expected to permit congregations to celebrate mass in Latin without seeking prior approval.
THE HORROR!!!  The dictator wants to allow people to do things without getting approval.
This represents a big step backward:
Must… move… forward…     out… of… breath…
Pope Paul VI abolished the Latin rite in 1969, and relatively few modern Catholics can even recall it.
Then we shouldn’t be worried about this VOLUNTARY rite being available… no one’s going to go, right?
But that doesn’t worry Ratzinger.
He’s smart that way.
“He’s an old-fashioned guy who wants to go back to what [the church] was before,” says David Gibson, the author of an acclaimed 2006 biography of the pope.
Yup.  That silly, backwards pope again.  Not that it matters that he was one of the authors of Vatican II, the council that supposedly made Benedict a dinosaur.
The problem, according to Gibson, is that Benedict “doesn’t seem to realize that he’s a world leader and not an academic.”
Because academia is so dangerous to our modern world.
Indeed, the pope’s great misfortune may be his election to a job he was never suited for.
God is so silly.  Why did he let a man who was clearly unsuited for this job get elected?
With the Vatican facing an acute shortage of priests and nuns and its moral authority tarnished by child-abuse scandals,
I hearby envoke Argumentum Ad Pedophilium.  (Also called Anderson’s law or Godwin’s law for Catholics.)
the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics could use a shepherd who would help them tackle present and future problems.
Without meddling!
What they’ve got instead is a reclusive intellectual more interested in resurrecting old rituals and disputes.
Because this author’s tired meme’s are not nearly old enough.

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