Countdown: five days…
He will celebrate a mass at Turany International Airport.
And according to the Brnensky denik daily he will have a luxurious port-a-potty at his disposal. Actually, there will be two: one for the pope and one for the Czech president and his wife.
This, I think, is probably one of the most ridiculous things associated with this visit. Honestly, why does the pope need a luxurious latrine? Sure, why not? may be the answer. But… the luxurious port-a-potty is a “perfect” symbol of what is terribly wrong with churches.
I am not an expert in religion, but I am pretty sure that Jesus was not very comfortable during the Sermon on the Mount. And the people who are going to attend the mass in Brno are not going to be comfortable, either. They are going to arrive from all over the world, even from the USA or Chile. They will sleep in tents, they will stand there in mud and rain (IF it rains) and they will do anything “just to see and listen to him” — a man who will have as much luxury as possible to enjoy the mission. Why doesn’t he use a regular construction-site latrine, just like the ordinary people? It is a symbol and the church “likes” symbols (truckload of sarcasm behind these quotation marks).
There are missionaries who leave their NYC apartments to live in a rain forest. There are (Mormon) missionaries who go on to live in a totally foreign country for two years, where they often have to redefine the term “civilisation”. You would think the church gives them four-star hotel suites. Hell no.
But the pope will have all the comfort there is during you-know-what.
The Catholic church has its reasons for having the pope visit this country, which is arguably the least religious country in Europe: a while ago the pope said that “the people of the Czech Republic need to find new reasons for faith”.
Wrooooooooong!!! The fewer reasons for faith people have, the better. Less religious society is a sign of a healthy society. When people “turn to newlyfound faith”, it means there is usually no hope (as they see it), or it may mean they have given up trying and they think that “something will happen”.
Which brings us back to the luxurious port-a-potty. Before 1918, i.e. during the times of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy we were a part of, there was a saying: I am going to a place where even the Emperor is alone: the point of this saying was to say that the ordinary poor people had at least something in common with the wealthy and the noble: taking a leak at their outhouse was pretty much the same.
And contemporary Czechs are highly allergic to people who do not seem to be practicing what they preach. They know the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL, a Czech political party) rarely behave in compliance with the generally accepted Christian values and they know that “Joseph Ratzinger” was a member of the Hitler Youth (they do not know that it was mandatory, though).
And so, the luxurious latrine was REALLY a stupid idea, in terms of symbols and the message the church wants to send…