Questionable Motives

January 19, 2011

What does a smoking gun in Vatican terms look like over institutionalized child abuse?

Filed under: Catholic Church,child abuse,Crime,Vatican — tildeb @ 9:08 am

The smoking gun has been found. In this AP article we read that

A 1997 letter from the Vatican warned Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report all suspected child-abuse cases to police — a disclosure that victims’ groups described as “the smoking gun” needed to show that the church enforced a worldwide culture of covering up crimes by pedophile priests.

The newly revealed letter, obtained by Irish broadcasters RTE and provided to The Associated Press, documents the Vatican’s rejection of a 1996 Irish church initiative to begin helping police identify pedophile priests following Ireland’s first wave of publicly disclosed lawsuits.

What’s almost as sad is that many faithful catholics will continue to excuse this reprehensible institution for its gross acts of policy indecencies against victims of criminal abuse.

Child-abuse activists in Ireland said the 1997 letter demonstrates that the protection of pedophile priests from criminal investigation was not only sanctioned by Vatican leaders but ordered by them.

“The letter is of huge international significance, because it shows that the Vatican’s intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here, it applied everywhere,” said Colm O’Gorman, director of the Irish chapter of human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

Perhaps the law suits that will now surely follow will drive home the point that the church cannot be immune from prosecution. Although I have no doubt the men in funny hats and dresses from Rome will insist that local parishes pay for their crimes, my sincere hope is that those who belong to local parishes will finally stop donating any money at all in any way to these criminals in Rome.

December 5, 2010

How do the religious undermine the Golden Rule?

I read many comments and articles by ‘moderate’ theists who suggest that, at their core, religious beliefs are really all the same, that what people are responding to with various kinds of religious faiths is recognizing the transcendent, honouring the spiritual, paying homage to a felt but never seen creative and loving force. It all sounds so… well, kumba ya-ish. And heart-warmingly lovely, mitigating the trivial differences that so easily separate us and acts like a special kind of blessed force (unseen by athiets, of course) that promotes the common good.

And then I read something like this and have to remind myself that the metaphorical holding of religious hands argued by different theists about life-enhancing nature of religious compatibility is nothing more than soothing lies we find in the daily practice of religious beliefs that inform how we behave towards others.

A 17 year old girl lived a hellish life and died a horrible death because of people acting on their religious convictions. More religion will never solve this ongoing and familiar tragedy played out in the lives of us little people who grant their religious convictions and the convictions of others a legitimate role in determining how to behave in ways that supposedly honour a god.

This is insane. And it’s insane because doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result – some divine enhancement in the lives of humans – is not a rational nor reasonable expectation. Such a belief that a different result will occur is maintained in spite of contrary yet consistent evidence of harm caused by acting on religious convictions. When we choose to empower such beliefs with an assumption that they are legitimate because they involve some homage to a deity, then we have left the arena of what is rational, what is reasonable, what is probable, what is likely true, and entered the arena of what is is merely hoped for, what is wished, what is improbable, what is likely false. And this legitimizing of what is hoped for in spite of evidence to the contrary is not compatible with empowering respect and audience for what is true. Expecting more religious belief to magically find some way to stop the kind of human abuse people commit in the name of some god is crazy talk. It’s delusional. It’s dangerous and, in the case of Nurta Mohamed Farah, deadly.

Anyone who thinks that religious belief has a legitimate and compatible role to play in helping anyone determine how to treat other human beings with dignity and respect is guilty of helping to legitimize the actions of people to do terrible things to other people for exactly the same reasons. By legitimizing the intentions of those who act to honour some god, we legitimize the basis of such assumptions that they are true, that they are accurate, that they are correct. Such assumptions help to legitimize delusion and insanity rather than what’s rational and reasonable and backed by consistent evidence. Those who assume that religious belief is equivalent to rational thinking have no evidence to insist the two are compatible methods of inquiry, compatible voices that need to be heard, compatible means to inform morality and ethical behaviour, compatible avenues to establishing respect not only for the rights and freedoms and dignity of other people but how to act in ways that achieve these results. The evidence does not support this assumption. What evidence there is shows that by legitimizing delusional thinking, we legitimize its failure to respect other people’s claim to equal rights, legitimize its failure to establish equal freedoms, legitimize its failure to support equal respect between people, and we see this failure played out in religious inspired tragedy after religious inspired tragedy.

Isn’t it high time in the 21st century to stop tolerating and legitimizing this failed voice offered up as a compatible way of achieving noble goals and Enlightenment values by the religiously deluded? The religious perspective has nothing to offer any of us but more failure to be reasonable and rational and consistent with the evidence in every area of human endeavor in which it is granted a fair hearing. Isn’t it time we recognized its failure? Isn’t it time that we gave full credence to the rational and reasonable voice  of a basic equality and dignity for all in shared rights and freedoms and reject the anti-rational voice of delusion? Is that not the least we can do on an individual basis if for no other reason than in memory of this one girl whose sad life was warped and twisted and ended by the deluded in the name of their religious beliefs? Isn’t a human life more important in and of itself to be treated as we ourselves wish to be treated – with the same level of dignity and respect – than simply as a piece of property of some god to be used and abused by the faithful who claim to be fulfilling god’s wishes?

We really do have to choose eventually because these different perspectives and antithetical methods of achieving our goals are not compatible. Agreeing at the very least to empower the Golden Rule seems to be a good starting point for everybody… unless you are deluded, in which case your opinions should not be invited to the grown-up’s table.

September 30, 2010

How shocked are you… really?

From the CBC:

A Roman Catholic order in Quebec was aware of allegations of sexual abuse by brothers in the religious group, according to evidence discovered by Radio-Canada.

A nine-page document, written by a long-term member of the Order of Holy Cross, chronicles specific allegations of abuse over the years at Montreal’s College Notre Dame. The document lists a dozen Holy Cross brothers from various institutions.

It also outlines how alleged abusers at the order’s flagship private school were not reported to the police and instead were allowed to stay on as teachers or support staff.

Wilson Kennedy, a former member of the religious order, told Radio-Canada in an exclusive interview that while he was with the order he spoke to a Vatican official about the problem.

“Rome was informed and the Superior General asked me for clarification on several cases,” Kennedy said. He said there was a culture of silence that protected alleged abusers.

Now just how shocking is this news? Or is it now so commonplace, so widespread, so endemic that the Vatican’s actual policy is clear: pay off those who have the best claims about abuse within church-run organizations while it continues to pay the legal bills for the pedophiles it maintains on staff but hold fast to the lie that the Vatican knew nothing while swearing that each new case is simply an isolated incident carried out by a few bad apples?
What’s surprising is that anyone – even devout die-hard life-long catholics who cannot comprehend how the institution itself can be so corrupt – continue to believe this tired spiel and that the pope has not been criminally liable for his active part in aiding and abetting these child rapists from secular authorities. That the pope himself has been an integral part of this ongoing cover-up for the past four decades seems to me to be very well documented while he avoids prosecution because he is immune as a ‘head of state’.
What a remarkable legacy for a life time of work for Pope Palpatine: helping a world wide organization to maintain a pedophile ring and helping the participants to avoid prosecution all the while claiming to be the moral voice for god. The arrogance and temerity and hypocrisy is profound, while the believers’ willful ignorance and trust and avoidance to seek the truth equally so.

July 19, 2010

Is this your child? Was this you?

Filed under: child abuse,Children,Christianity,Religion — tildeb @ 9:35 am

June 9, 2010

How does the Vatican plan on dealing with its abuse of Irish children?

By blaming the godless secularists, who are the REAL reason priests in Ireland raped and abused Irish children. (And don’t you love this picture gracing the cover of a catholic magazine?)

Come on people: you don’t think it can blamed on the catholic church or anyone in position of leadership from the Holy See, do you? Nope. Clearly, Irish catholics are getting too uppity and assertive in their indignation of being victims of organized abuse and need a visit from the Vatican version of ‘Special Forces’ to re-establish proper order, necessary hierarchy, and renewed respect for their abusers. This clean up will begin with getting the Irish clergy whipped into theological – meaning ‘roman catholic’ – shape. Excerpts from the Independent:

VATICAN investigators to Ireland appointed by Pope Benedict XVI are to clamp down on liberal secular opinion in an intensive drive to re-impose traditional respect for clergy, according to informed sources in the Catholic Church.

The nine-member team led by two cardinals will be instructed by the Vatican to restore a traditional sense of reverence among ordinary Catholics for their priests, the Irish Independent has learned.

Priests will be told not to question in public official church teaching on controversial issues such as the papal ban on birth control or the admission of divorced Catholics living with new partners to the sacraments — especially Holy Communion.

Theologians will be expected to teach traditional doctrine by constantly preaching to lay Catholics of attendance at Mass and to return to the practice of regular confession, which has been largely abandoned by adults since the 1960s.

An emphasis will be placed on an evangelisation campaign to overcome the alienation of young people scandalised by the spate of sexual abuse of children and by later cover-ups of paedophile clerics by leaders of the institutional church.

A major thrust of the Vatican investigation will be to counteract materialistic and secularist attitudes, which Pope Benedict believes have led many Irish Catholics to ignore church disciplines and become lax in following devotional practices such as going on pilgrimages and doing penance.

Those damned secularists and materialists are everywhere… especially where pedophile priests have had free reign. Funny, that. What people who hold the church responsible need is a good dose of catholic discipline to fix everything.

Why is there a single catholic left in Ireland? Do they really think so little of themselves that they are willing to tolerate this colossal arrogance and disrespect from their religious leadership? How is it that catholic guilt runs so deeply in the laity but apparently not at all for real crimes at its highest leadership that caused so much suffering and so many victims… of children? What moral cowards, one and all.

April 21, 2010

Who will the church blame today?

Stay up to date on the latest catholic church blame game. Because we know for certain that no blame can be attributed in any way to the institution for aiding and abetting and covering up child abuse by clergy within the church on a global scale, and we know this to be true in spite of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, we are left wondering: who is to blame? To our rationalizing rescue comes this site where we find we can find out the daily answers here.

April 11, 2010

Deputy Dawkins?

From Marc Horne at the TimesOnline:

RICHARD DAWKINS, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”.

Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.

The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.

Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence.”

Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said: “This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment.”

Dawkins posted a comment about this article on his own blog here from which I have taken the following excerpts:

Needless to say, I did NOT say “I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI” or anything so personally grandiloquent. What I DID say to Marc Horne when he telephoned me out of the blue, and I repeat it here, is that I am whole-heartedly behind the initiative by Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens to mount a legal challenge to the Pope’s proposed visit to Britain. Even if the Pope doesn’t end up in the dock, and even if the Vatican doesn’t cancel the visit, I am optimistic that we shall raise public consciousness to the point where the British government will find it very awkward indeed to go ahead with the Pope’s visit, let alone pay for it.

And that’s what makes the New Atheists different from previous atheists in general: we have decided to push back in various ways and means against the promotion and acceptance of religious belief in the public domain. Surely welcoming such a prominent and accused criminal with pomp and ceremony (and security) paid for by the state because the visitor is a high ranking religious figure falls into this category of unjustified promotion and acceptance.

Any push back – no matter how gentle but firm – will be presented as militancy by religious supporters and apologists , of course, and any public disagreement with the faithful’s unwavering support for the insertion of religious belief into the public domain will be described as strident and arrogant and a host of other negative but equally inaccurate terms. This is business as usual between the two groups. But the push back is necessary. By launching a legal challenge against the pope, the Hitch and Rich are doing what the British government and other secular states should be doing: holding  those accused of complicity in crimes legally accountable for their decisions and actions. Good on ’em, I say.

April 8, 2010

What does an idiotic argument look like?

George Neumayr is an editor of the Catholic World Report. He writes this brilliant example of what an idiotic argument looks like in The Washington Times. He opens his article with the following:

Since when have secularists and dissenting Catholics been experts on the protection of children? These self-appointed reformers of the Catholic Church preside over a debased culture that abuses, aborts and corrupts children.

This is a classic ad hominum attack called a tu quoque argument: a logical fallacy in which one attempts to defend oneself or another from criticism by turning the critique back against the accuser. In effect, this is exactly the purpose of Neumayr’s thesis and it’s an idiotic defense of the Catholic Church generally and the vicar of christ specifically regarding the handling of sex abuse scandals by priests and clergy.

Most of us learn during our early schooling why this childish argument holds no ethical sway with adult reasoning. Now, with defenders like George calling on idiotic and childish arguments to stop the thinning of its ranks of practicing catholics in western countries, the leadership of the catholic church is in deeper and more dire moral straits than ever. Somehow, and in spite of defenders like George, they must find a way to live up to the Ratzinger’s own advice so generously granted to the Irish bishops to stop the exodus: search their conscience, take responsibility for any sins they have committed, and conceal nothing. Blaming secularists, gays and lesbians, abortionists, liberal elites, and dissenting catholics for the church’s failure to address pedophilia as George attempts and fails to do with his article is just one more impediment to finding meaningful reform.

April 6, 2010

What’s this? (Groundless!) allegations that John Paul II was involved in the ongoing sex abuse scandal cover-up?

Tell me it ain’t so. How can this be? Every good catholic knows for certain that JPII was a saint, so there’s just no way he could ever be part of the ongoing problem of child rape in the church.The TimesOnline article must be mistaken.

Allegations that the late pontiff John Paul II blocked an inquiry into a paedophile cardinal, promoted senior church figures despite accusations that they had molested boys and covered up innumerable cases of abuse during his 26-year papacy have cast a cloud over his path to sainthood.

Oh, no! Not a dreaded cloud! Casting clouds is always a very serious business that sometimes results in… shadows. And they are the worst.

The most serious claims related to Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, an Austrian friend of John Paul’s who abused an estimated 2,000 boys over decades but never faced any sanction from Rome. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Groer’s successor, criticised the handling of that scandal and other abuse cases last week after holding a special service in St Stephen’s cathedral, Vienna, entitled “Admitting our guilt”. Schönborn condemned the “sinful structures” within the church and the patterns of “silencing” victims and “looking away”.

Sinful structures? A pattern of silencing victims and looking away? Does this sound to you as it does to me, dear reader, like the same kind of vicious antisemitism suffered by Jews under the brutal hands of the Nazis? Very similar, I know, except for the brutal part… and the suffering part… and the antisemitism part. But besides those, almost the same. Mind you, it sounds remarkably like a long-awaited but never officially enunciated reasonable criticism of a Vatican policy with a long history to me. But then, what do I know.

Michael Tfirst, 54, one of Groer’s victims, claims to have reported the abuse to highranking church officials from the 1970s onwards. He says the church paid him £3,300 in 2004 under a contract that obliged him to keep quiet.

“There is no question that Ratzinger knew all the details of reports on abuse within the church, as there is no doubt that John Paul, his superior, took part in a massive and systematic cover-up,” Tfirst said.

Oh. Well. I guess now I am in the know, unlike those who populate the most senior levels of the Vatican. And we in the know know for certain that there never was any official Vatican cover-up… because we’ve got the receipt of the money we paid to cover it up to prove that no such cover-up occurred. Duh.

John Paul also faced criticism last week from Poland for protecting Archbishop Juliusz Paetz, who was accused of abusing trainee priests.

Don’t you hate it when an entire country casts a cloud your way? Maybe that last part of about abusing trainee priests should read “…accused of training abusing priests.”

Letters detailing the charges were sent to John Paul’s office and to Ratzinger in 2000 but were ignored. Paetz resigned in 2002 when the allegations became public.

See what happens when you are covered by that cloud?I wonder how the allegations became public? “Never trust a secularist state to do the right thing and blame it when things go wrong,” is a good rule of thumb if you are involved in scandals and casting clouds.

Stanislaw Obirek, a Polish theologian and a former Jesuit priest, said: “I believe John Paul is the key person responsible for the cover-up of abuse cases because most of it occurred during his papacy. How can someone who is to blame for this be beatified?”

Finally, an easy question. Just watch. The Vatican will continue to soldier on in spite of these secularist attacks by petty and spiteful people so it will be business as usual, and JPII will be beautified to the cheering crowds of millions of adoring fans.

April 3, 2010

Why is a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws controlling women’s rights?

Americans should be ashamed of how much active interference they allow religious concerns in their public policies. Especially American catholics and most especially American catholic women. From The Nation comes this article from which I have taken excerpts and added bold face:

In the response of church hierarchs to the ongoing scandal, which now involves Pope Benedict XVI himself, Archbishop Timothy Dolan urged worshipers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to show “love and solidarity for our earthly shepherd now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus.”

Talk about arrogant: the pope’s suffering of being caught covering up child sexual abuse in the church equates with the pilloring of Jesus? Please.

What gives a church in which celibacy is equated with holiness, in which males have almost all the power, the right to a place at the table where laws are made about women’s bodies? The same institution that has dealt so indulgently with its ordained pedophiles had no problem excommunicating a Brazilian mother who sought an abortion for her 9-year-old daughter, raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather, or pushing for laws in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Chile banning abortion even to save the woman’s life..

Most Catholics take a flexible view of the church’s teachings on sexuality. They use birth control–how else could Italy, Spain and Poland have among the lowest birthrates in the world? They divorce and remarry, use condoms to prevent STDs, undergo in vitro and other banned fertility treatments and even have abortions. Yet there were the bishops, holding the whole healthcare reform bill hostage to their opposition to abortion rights, advising on the crafting of language right in the halls of Congress. And as Jacobson details, it was the Conference of Catholic Bishops that worked alongside Republican Congressmen Chris Smith, Joe Pitts and Mike Pence to insert last-minute language denying HIV-positive women access to contraceptives and favoring abstinence-only-until-marriage policies in the 2008 President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

There isn’t much that non-Catholics can do to force the church to abandon its 2,000-year-old misogynistic ways. We can’t force it to ordain women and married men, or value a woman’s life over a fertilized egg, or see homosexuality as something other than, in Pope John Paul II’s memorable words, “intrinsic moral evil.” Catholics themselves will have to do that, whether by leaving the church in numbers large enough to get the bishops’ attention or by organizing within it, like Catholics for Choice, Women-Church Convergence or the international group We Are Church. But certainly the rest of us can demand that the Obama administration, Congress and government generally stop catering to the Vatican. The bishops can’t even make their own flock obey their outmoded and cruel rules and regulations, so why should they exercise power over the entire country?

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