What do the recently foiled castration and murder-for-hire plot against Justin Beiber and the Catholic Church have in common? More than meets the eye.
William A. Frosch, in an article entitled “The sopranos: post-op virtuosi”, April 2006 The FASEB Journal vol. 20 no. 6 595-597 provides some historical context on castration:
Castration appears to have been done for a variety of reasons: to humiliate those captured in battle; to punish criminals; to avenge adultery or other crimes; to create guardians of the bedchamber or other loyal and helpful servants and staff, including high ministers of state; to treat medical conditions; or to consecrate oneself to God(s), pagan or Christian. Despite what must have been high morbidity and mortality, the procedure was widespread throughout the Byzantine world, the succeeding Ottoman Empire, and more recently at the Chinese Imperial Court in order to provide slaves who could guard harems without sexual struggle or seduction. At least some of these “keepers” also achieved considerable political power at both the Ottoman and Chinese courts. The emphasis on asceticism and sexual celibacy in early Christianity led some to castrate themselves, [e.g., the priest Origen (born 185 in Alexandria, deceased c254 in Tyre), an advocate of strenuous asceticism, who castrated himself so as to work freely teaching women without the possibility of creating scandal (2)⇓]
The foregoing article prompted my Twitter rant from last night:
At least my Twitter buddy, George Wallace was able to maintain some levity when he tweeted:
The parallel between celebrity worship and religious fervour is easily drawn, but so is the symbolism of castration and prostration to Church authority. What is often lost in the Holy See’s message of faith, hope and redemption is the undercurrent of the banality of evil: we no longer hear much about the horrific sexual abuse of young boys by Catholic clerics, priests and bishops and continuing cover-up by the Vatican. Instead, we are blessed by the news that Pope Benedict XVI is on Twitter (using the Twitter handle: @pontifex (“Bridge-Builder”) and is sharing his beneficence with gems like this:
Now, for a healthy dose of irony. Frosch in his article above notes that the Catholic Church’s policy of castration:
was also supported by succeeding Popes: as late as 1748, Pope Benedict XIV advised against bishops forbidding castration: “… the wise bishop will not remove the castratos but will rather take care that theatrical fashions are not adopted by church choirs …” (7)⇓.
Funny how Pope Benedict XVI’s namesake and predecessor, Pope Benedict XIV thought it was cool to keep the castratos around for the sake of musical tastes.
Sorry, Pope. I’m neither a Belieber nor a Believer. If you are truly a “Bridge-Builder”, you would do more than utter banal tweets and instead offer up an apology to all victims in the history of your Church’s brutality, without cavil. Otherwise, you are merely allowing pedophiles, crooks and hypocrites in your midst to continue to lurk underneath.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it trolls for thee.
- So You Wanna Sue the Pope? (thetrialwarrior.com)
- Faithful flock to @pontifex (bostonherald.com)
- Pope facing Twitter credibility test (bigpondnews.com)
- plot to strangle and castrate justin bieber (thesun.co.uk)
- Plot To Castrate And Kill Justin Bieber Thwarted (buzzfeed.com)