Nooooo One Expects the Papal Resignation!

February 11, 2013

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.  

Well, you probably already know what the big news is today.

Pope Benedict XVI, at times referred to on this blog as "Mr. Popey-head," announces his intention to resign the papacy in order to spend more time with his family.

No, wait, that wasn't it.

He's resigning in order to deal with the charges brought against him by the International Criminal Court for his role in the generations-long abetting of the sexual assault of children by the Catholic Church.

No again.

He's going to run for the Senate seat just opened up by John Kerry in Massachusetts! It's a very Catholic state!

Of course, Ratzinger is stepping down because, he says, of his age and health reducing his ability to perform his duties:

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.

He will be the first pope in six hundred freaking years to step down. Sensing an opportunity, I strike, throwing my giant hat into the ring.

Anyway, forget all this pope business. The Telegraph just recommended Point of Inquiry as one of the week's best podcasts!

Jacques Berlinerblau wants more transparency about the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives:

Mid-speech [at the National Prayer Breakfast] the president gave a shout out to "The director of our Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership's office, Joshua DuBois -- young minister himself -- he starts my morning off with meditations from Scripture."

I wish Mr. DuBois would start off my morning with explanations of what exactly that Office is doing--a never-ending source of confusion, and even awe, among reporters, policy analysts and professors in Washington, DC. 

SETI points its alien detectors at newly-discovered exoplanets. 

Amish beard-cutting gang is sentenced, with 15 years for the ringleader. 

Yes, dinosaurs were finally wiped out by that big asteroid.  

The Christian left, which totally exists, is cautiously optimistic about a second Obama term. 

Creepy James Dobson writes what sounds like a creepy novel about people not having enough babies. 

Richard Dawkins will join Stephen Law for an event with CFI-UK

David Gorski is none too pleased with Penn and Teller for cozying up to Dr. Oz. 

Here's the trailer for a new documentary featuring Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, The Unbelievers.  

Alain de Botton introduces an initiative to promote human virtues unrelated to religion, and I quite like them. 

Texas Observer has a long exposé about shady alternative treatments for autism.

Atlantic City fire department does a swearing-in on an iPad Bible app

Thomas Rees wonders about those who think they see ghosts:

Maybe turning to religion is one way to reduce the distress caused by supernatural experiences that are caused by threatening environments! 

Personal travails of SCA chief Edwina Rogers is fodder for WaPo's gossip page. 

Historians say that Thomas Edison was not the big fat jerk that the Internet cartoonist behind The Oatmeal makes him out to be. 

Wonkette teaches world history, apocalyptic Christianist style. 

Amber Dillon at The Independent says that the religion of Christianity is just fine, it's the Bible that's irrelevant and dangerous. 

Quote of the Day

Ben Radford on the illusion of sciencey-sounding meaning:

There is no shame in not understanding something, and it’s a good lesson to remember that. Asking for clarification not only helps both the speaker and listener communicate more effectively, it is also a powerful tool in revealing bullshit.  

* * *  

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is. 

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry 

Got a tip for the Heresy? Send it to press(at)! 

The Morning Heresy: "I actually read it." - Hemant Mehta