Tag Archives: Catholic Church

Vatican Bringing Back Indulgences!

pope-francisIn one of the more absurd moves I’ve seen out of the Vatican lately, and that’s saying a lot, Pope Francis has said that he’ll cut some time off your stay in purgatory if you follow him on Twitter.  This is sort of like a holy “Get Out of Jail Free” card.  The practice of indulgences lost favor in the Middle Ages when religious scammers would sell these pieces of Papal paper for large sums of money to the wealthy, a way for the well-to-do to violate Church law with impunity and then buy their way back to salvation later.

Modern Vatican spokesmen say it’s not quite that easy.  “You can’t obtain indulgences like getting a coffee from a vending machine,” Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the pontifical council for social communication, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.  Well, sure you can!  It’s been a long-held Catholic belief that anyone who scales the Sacred Steps in Rome, believed to have been brought from Pontius Pilate’s house, earns 7 years off their sentence in purgatory.  The church has said that anyone who attends special events like Catholic World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro, can earn an indulgence as well.  Since not everyone can afford to jump on a plane to Brazil, the Vatican has ruled that anyone who performs “rites and pious exercises” of the event on television, radio and through social media, gets one too.

This really is idiotic though, it’s no better than standing on a street corner offering to sell decrees that you won’t get eaten by a dragon.  There are no dragons so you don’t need the paper, just like there is no purgatory, no heaven and no hell so you don’t need worthless indulgences to avoid going there.  It amazes me how many truly gullible people there are out there who buy into this nonsense, although those numbers are shrinking every day.  You’d think that if Francis was really concerned about the health and well-being of his church, he’d worry more about reality and less about exploiting the ridiculously gullible in his flock.

Then again, as I’ve said before, major religions can’t just change their minds whenever they want, they have tradition and religious books that they have to pay lip service to.   The Vatican can’t really get away with declaring “oh, that Jesus stuff?  It was all bunk.  Now we’re going to believe something else!”  They’d lose what little credibility they have among the faithful that they still retain.  Therefore, they have to walk a tightrope, trying to keep appealing to the blindly religious while dropping some of the more offensive ideas that are driving people from their pews.  It’s really not working, people are pushing to get out of the Catholic Church like nobody’s business and they’re being left with the largely destitute and uneducated who have nowhere else to turn.

Hey, wouldn’t it be nice if they could sell indulgences that allowed believers to get out of poverty?  Of course, that would require God to actually exist and we all know what a laughable idea that is.

Horror Show Sunday: Keeping the Aussies Busy

gerald_ridsdaleOne of the most prolific pedophile priests in Australia, former priest Gerald Ridsdale, is back in the news as he’s being questioned for the second time in a month regarding new allegations of sexual abuse.  Ridsdale is currently in prison, having been convicted in 1994 of the sexual molestation of 21 victims, 20 boys and one girl, while he was a Catholic priest at various churches between 1961 and 1982.  While in prison, he was convicted of a further 10 assaults in 2006 against 10 boys between 1970 and 1987.  Now, an unknown number of further allegations have been filed against the 79-year old former priest who would have been up for parole in just a few short months.

At least they got him now, rather than having to chase him down!

If there’s one potential positive out of all of this, at least with pedophile priests like Ridsdale around, the police will never have to lay off officers.

Back to the original charges, Bishop Ronald Austin Mulkearns, claims to have known as early as 1975 of the actions of Risdale, but he still moved the priest, plagued by complaints of sexual misconduct, from Inglewood, Victoria to Edenhope, Victoria, in 1976.  It was later revealed, in Operation Arcadia, a three-month police investigation, that Mulkearns knew about the abuse much, much earlier than he claimed.  Police had a hard time keeping track of Risdale as he was moved an additional 5 times between 1980 and 1990, until police finally caught up to him when he was serving as chaplain at St. John of God hospital in Richmond, New South Wales.  He was convicted of 46 charges of molestation in 1994 and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment, with a minimum of 15 years.  While in prison, he was convicted of an additional 35 charges, adding 13 years imprisonment, with a minimum of 7 years to his sentence.

So you see, it’s not just something that happens in the U.S. or Europe, the Catholic Church is screwed up everywhere and, as we’ve come to expect, the upper echelon clergy purposely moves pedophile priests around, even after they demonstrably know about the abuse, rather than turn them over to the police.

Is it any wonder that the Catholics keep showing up on Horror Show Sunday?

Will Pope Francis Turn In Sex-Abusing Priests?

Pope Francis Pedophile
“And when the priest touches you, pretend you like it…”

Pope Francis the 1st has been in office for a couple of weeks now and a lot of people point to the things that he’s doing differently than Pope Benedict as a sign that he’s not your father’s Pope.  Of course, as I talked about on The Bitchspot Report podcast a while back, that doesn’t prove he’s actually any better, just that he’s a bit different, just like Benedict was different than John Paul II.  I made the point that if he wants to be actually  better, he needs to turn over all records of pedophile priests to the authorities and change the religious systems that encourage these actions, such as priests being able to marry.

However, where Benedict had a lot of intimate contact with the seamy underbelly of the Catholic Church, where he had a record of covering up sex abuse scandals and it was pretty clear what his intentions would be before he put on the funny hat, Francis’ record is much more understated.  He isn’t a Ratzinger or a Dolan or a Mahony or a Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, but is he the right guy for the job that needs to be done?

Judging by his record, I think we all need to be skeptical.

If we look back at his behavior before he became Pope, when he was a Cardinal in Buenos Aires, he had pedophile priests under his watch, just like pretty much all Cardinals and Bishops do, and as is a very common story, he paid them very little mind.  Certainly, he never showed any emphasis on taking care of the victims of priestly abuse, there are records showing he refused to meet with children and their families victimized by pedophile priests, he would not offer personal apologies to the victims and he refused to provide financial compensation to the victims, even in cases where the priests were convicted and jailed for their crimes.

Take, for example, the case of Father Julio Cesar Grassi, a Buenos Aires priest who was under the direct control of Cardinal Bergoglio.   Grassi was convicted of having molested three young boys in 2009, but he remains free pending an appeal and currently lives near the Felices los Niños children’s charity that he founded.  Grassi and Bergoglio were close friends and there is some question as to how much Bergoglio knew about his friend’s predilections and extra-curricular activities, although there is no direct evidence to suggest he was aware of the molestations and chose to overlook them.  However, as with other cases, Cardinal Bergoglio refused to have anything to do with the victims, refused to provide compensation or even sympathy.  You’d think that in a case where he was good friends with the molester, he might feel some personal obligation to just  say he was sorry to the families, but no, he remained totally stone-faced toward them, he would acknowledge no responsibility of the church to care for the victims, or even to admit that the priests, employees of the church. were responsible.

So no, I don’t think we can place our trust in Pope Francis to do what needs to be done to turn the Catholic Church around.  He will, as his predecessor before him, simply continue to pretend there is nothing wrong, hide pedophile priests and hemorrhage huge amounts of money while pointing his fingers at the gays or at the atheists or at the “cafeteria Catholics” and ignoring his own part in the problem.

I guess we can expect no better from “the whore of Babylon”.

Catholic Church Admits It Has No Clue

Kids Without God
It’s a problem all religions will have to deal with.

I suppose it’s no surprise to learn that the Catholic Church really is clueless, in fact, I think we can expand that to virtually every church on the planet.  However, swooning from the massive rejection of the church by young people today, the RCC is panicking, trying to figure out how to get those youngsters through their doors so they can continue to fill the coffers.

The Pontifical Council for Culture has invited sociologists, web experts and theologians to a 3-day conference this weekend, aimed at studying “emerging youth cultures“.  It is designed to learn more about youth culture so that the church can better serve the needs of young people.  According to a working paper, the church risks “offering answers to questions that are not there if it doesn’t learn the cultural reality of young people.”

Seriously, sometimes it’s hard not to shake your head at a church whose entire existence is based around making claims about things that are not there, now it’s afraid to offer non-existent answers to questions nobody cares about?  There’s only so much help I can give to the institutionally delusional, but I’ll try.  For the most part, the young today just aren’t interested in your magical stories.  33% of people aged 18-28 describe themselves as non-religious and that number is growing.  The one question they’re not asking, and the only one that the church actually wants to answer, is “Does God exist?”

According to Rev. Melchor Sanchez de Toca, undersecretary of the Vatican’s culture department, the church’s ignorance is far-reaching, it is not just qualitative, but quantitative.  He says that the youth world has changed radically, but the church “is still offering what it has been offering for the past 500 years.  We keep on giving the same answers but the way questions are posed is now totally different.”

The problem for the church though isn’t that the questions are being posed differently, it’s that they’re just not being asked at all.  With the advancement of science, there’s really no reason to wonder about the existence of a magical man in the sky.  The questions that religion once provided heartfelt, if not factual answers to just aren’t necessary anymore.  Science has shown us the way to reality, we no longer benefit from imaginary emotional beliefs.

Of course, church officials just don’t get that at all.  They keep talking about changing the language and making things fun and colorful.  No!  It’s not the presentation of the stupidity that matters, it’s the fact that it’s all stupid!  You guys are touting primitive mythology and thinking the only thing wrong with it is how you dress it up for a modern audience.  Your failure is your mythology, not how you present it.

And that’s a problem that every religion is going to have to face sooner or later.  We’re seeing the first couple of generations of kids who just don’t need your voodoo dance.  Each generation from here on out will be less religious than the last and we’ll move inevitably closer and closer to a majority atheist society.

Won’t that be a wonderful thing?

Catholic Church Pays Repeat Pedophile Priest Legal Costs

http://www.theage.com.au/national/church-funding-paedophiles-legal-defence-20121115-29evv.htmlIn Australia, and probably elsewhere in the world, we’re now finding out that the Catholic Church has been paying the legal costs of pedophile priests, not just when they’ve been accused once, not even convicted once, but two, three and even four times!

”It is extremely offensive and hurtful to victims that Catholic Church orders are continuing to fund the defenses of priests and brothers after they have been convicted,” said Nicky Davis from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. ”We can see what’s going on and we can see that it’s obscene.”

In just two cases, that of Brother Edward Vernon Dowlan and Brother Robert Charles Best, the largest Catholic order in Australia, Christian Brothers, has already paid over $400,000 in costs including: ”56 full days in court, two Queen’s counsel barristers, a team of solicitors, legal office staff, private investigators, psychiatrists, psychologists and other paid experts who gave character evidence on behalf of the offenders”.  Best is currently in prison, sentenced to 177 months, but he is appealing his conviction at RCC cost.

Spokesman for the Order, Brother Brian Brandon, says, ”Either you, the taxpayer, are providing the funding via Legal Aid or the congregation is helping you out by providing the funding.”  Ah, so it’s a public service!  I get it now!  So how many non-church related criminal cases are they funding in this way?  None, of course.  In fact, had these religious organizations yanked the membership and the collars of these priests after the first conviction, it would no longer reflect badly on them.  In fact, even though it’s a meaningless gesture, I’d like to see these churches publically excommunicating these priests after the first conviction.  No, there is no heaven or hell, but at least we could see some kind of public and religious condemnation of their actions.  Why don’t we see that?

At least some orders are being a little more rational.  According to Father Paul Cooney of the Marist Fathers Order, ”If, now, a member was found guilty after the first case, we would say ‘no more money will be forthcoming from the church’.”  This, of course, after many years of following the same policies as the Christian Brothers and finding more and more money being dumped down the pedophile money pit.

So how long does this continue?  How long do Catholics keep giving money to this organization that openly defends pedophiles, even convicted pedophiles against prosecution?  How long do Catholics keep supporting a church that uses it’s considerable political influence to get child molesters off the hook?  How long do Catholics put up with a religion that keeps putting convicted sex offenders back into unrestricted and unmonitored contact with innocent children?

Any Catholic out there that continues to give any money to this criminal religious organization is utterly disgusting to me.  You people should be completely disgusted with yourselves.  I know I’m disgusted with you.

Maybe We Should Call Him Pope Paterno

I’m not a sports fan in any way, shape or form.  I have zero interest in any sport of any kind, I haven’t been to a baseball game since I was a kid, I haven’t watched a sporting event on TV in probably 30 years, I just don’t care.  However, the recent case of Joe Paterno, soon-to-be-former head coach of the Penn State football team, has made me think about sports and their occasional similarities to organized religion, pretty carefully. Continue reading Maybe We Should Call Him Pope Paterno

I Trust No One Is Surprised

You know, I used to have a feature around here called the Religious Horror Show, which showcased all of the abuses and dangers of religion.  Eventually, though, I realized that it was a losing battle, there was just too much to write about, too many abuses, too much danger to ever hope to capture more than a minuscule handful of stories.  I found myself getting mad, initially, but after a while, frankly, I got bored.  Oh look, yet another priest molested yet more kids… *YAWN*  It stopped being interesting because it was never more than lather, rinse, repeat. Continue reading I Trust No One Is Surprised