Leave the Catholic church to the rats that run it

As noted by John Wilkins here, the Vatican and its ranks of wizards have been blaming everything and anything they can think of for the decades of child rape that have occurred within their institutions at the hands of their allegedly holy men and the subsequent negligence of successive Papal administrations in dealing with it. After all, God knows a sexually repressed man in a position of power & authority should have to take absolutely no responsibility for raping a vulnerable child; nor should that man’s managers, once in full possession of the facts, have to do anything at all to prevent that man from becoming a serial child rapist. It’s the height of impertinence to suggest otherwise and pure hate-speech to suggest the CEO of the organisation in question should take any responsibility for how that organisation has handled each and every instance of such criminal violence, even if he has been personally dictating how the organisation should respond to such crimes for decades.

OK … back to the real world now, where adults are adults, children are children and any who cross that boundary sexually are unbalanced criminals who need to be locked away from society. Any Catholic with what they would consider a good heart has to take some responsibility for what happens next. If they didn’t know about this Vatican-approved paedophile ring before, they surely do now. To continue to support this organisation spiritually, financially or in any way while having this knowledge is surely not the act of a good Christian. As the Vatican shows no signs of approaching – or even wanting to approach – this problem honestly, openly or in an adult way, it is the responsibility of Catholics to let the Vatican know in no uncertain terms how they feel.

You’re not to blame, folks. I may disagree with you about many things, but I don’t say that you are bad people. Most of you had no idea what was going on. Still, you’ve been duped and betrayed – and it’s time to vote with your feet. Just leave the Church. Stop giving them your money. Stop giving them your support. Stop listening to their excuses; and whatever you do, don’t protect them. Just leave. Go anywhere at all, within reason, because you can’t do much worse. Walk away.
The word to good-hearted Catholics from Russell Blackford:
You’re not to blame, folks. I may disagree with you about many things, but I don’t say that you are bad people. Most of you had no idea what was going on. Still, you’ve been duped and betrayed – and it’s time to vote with your feet. Just leave the Church. Stop giving them your money. Stop giving them your support. Stop listening to their excuses; and whatever you do, don’t protect them. Just leave. Go anywhere at all, within reason, because you can’t do much worse. Walk away.

You’re not to blame, folks. I may disagree with you about many things, but I don’t say that you are bad people. Most of you had no idea what was going on. Still, you’ve been duped and betrayed – and it’s time to vote with your feet. Just leave the Church. Stop giving them your money. Stop giving them your support. Stop listening to their excuses; and whatever you do, don’t protect them. Just leave. Go anywhere at all, within reason, because you can’t do much worse. Walk away.

You’re not to blame, folks. I may disagree with you about many things, but I don’t say that you are bad people. Most of you had no idea what was going on. Still, you’ve been duped and betrayed – and it’s time to vote with your feet. Just leave the Church. Stop giving them your money. Stop giving them your support. Stop listening to their excuses; and whatever you do, don’t protect them. Just leave. Go anywhere at all, within reason, because you can’t do much worse. Walk away.

And do it quickly.

Losing bums on pews seems to be the Papacy’s singlemost pressing concern – far more than making amends with their victims or aiding authorities in punishing the perpetrators of the most widespread paedophile ring in history. So, speak to them in a language they understand. Put the fear of God in ’em – perhaps the Vatican will respond to a million lost customers a little more rapidly than to fifty-plus years of children broken, torn & damaged at their hands and swept under a rug.

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Pat pwns Pope

Pat Condell should require no introduction to any heathen who’s been on the web longer than five minutes. If you’re at 4:59, go check out his channel now. Here’s his latest:

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The Catholic Church: I’m fucking exhausted

Time and again on this blog I have railed, ranted & raved about the Catholic Church’s continuing and baffling desecration of children, its preference for its own dogma over life itself and its general mockery of humanity. Lately, still more revelations of child-rape by Catholic priests have surfaced, this time from Germany. These revelations of course come with the standard cover-up allegations, one instance involving Pope Ratzinger himself, back when he was an archbishop in Munich.

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I could go on. There’s plenty of material here. I could rant, rave, ream & rail; ironically pontificate & passionately excoriate; scream and cry and wail and bawl and jump up and down in a fit of righteous anger. But I won’t. Not today. I’m just fucking exhausted.

I can’t keep up any more. Every time I turn around there’s another filthy fucking priest with his cock out. Every time I open a newspage or blog the words “Catholic” and “abuse” are right there in the same sentence, frequently with “scandal” and “coverup” close behind them. The only thing that seems to change is the country whose children were and are still being afflicted with the spiritual cancer that is Catholic authority. Via Greta C and PZ I even find that there’s some mouth-breathing point-missing troglodyte named Andrew Brown actually attempting a defense of the decades of Vatican-enabled child rape, seemingly by saying “we’re not the only institution to employ thousands of child-rapists so stop picking on us.” I suppose it’s true what they say: there is nothing in this world so unconscionably horrible and unquestionably cruel – flat fucking wrong – that you couldn’t find one morally tainted fuckwit to defend it.

I could devote another long & angry blog post to this shit, but I won’t. Not when others say everything I want to say. Links to follow.

Greta C illuminates the point Andrew Brown misses – it’s not the scandal per se, it’s the Vatican’s response:

The Church knew about widespread reports of priests repeatedly molesting children… and instead of acting to protect the children, they acted to protect the priests, and themselves. Thus deliberately and knowingly putting more children in the way of known child rapists, solely for their pure self-interest.

Repeatedly. Time and time again. In every part of the world. As a cold-blooded matter of Church policy.

That is the scandal.

Hitch:

The pope’s entire career has the stench of evil about it.

I could not agree more. Ratzinger’s stench is palpable even if you excise the part where he was a Hitler Youth, for which he may not be entirely culpable (though it probably drove him straight to the Church; I hypothesise that being a Junior Nazi made him used to following orders from jumped-up little tyrants in shiny uniforms and quite probably instilled in him the desire to become a jumped-up little tyrant himself).

Linkfarm:
Apologist: “everyone else rapes children, Catholics aren’t that bad”
Greta C rips into a morally bankrupt apologist for child rape
So does PZ!
Ratzinger covers up abuse while archbishop in Munich
Excorcist: “Satan at work in the Vatican”
Christopher Hitchens tears Ratzinger a new one

I’m just tired. And I’m just waiting for the world to see that the Roman Emperor, despite his gilded finery, is wearing no clothes and probably never has been.

Ugh. What a ghastly mental image.

Sinead O’Connor rocks

In response to a recent story about an Irish bishop asking parishioners to pay Vatican legal fees incurred in the process of answering endless abuse allegations, Ms O’Connor wrote an article in The Independent which finished with this:

And if Jesus Christ is to be seen in the vulnerable of this world, then all the church has done is crucify the man over and over and over again.

If Christ was here, he would be burning down the Vatican. And I for one would be helping him.

Sinead O’Connor, you officially rock. If the day ever came to burn the Vatican to ashes I’d happily stand with you with a box of Redheads matches.

Hey, did you know matches used to be called “lucifers”?

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Catholic bishop asks parishioners to cover rape case costs

Wait … what?

Just when you thought the Papacy and its capos couldn’t get any more depraved:

BISHOP Denis Brennan is asking parishes in the Diocese of Ferns to help the church pay outstanding compensation and legal bills arising from clerical sex abuse cases. The bishop made his controversial appeal while addressing the AGM of the diocesan finance committee in the Riverside Park Hotel on Monday night.

Okay, sure. Why shouldn’t we help the richest religious organisation in the world pay to defend its own crimes of rape, negligence & culpability?

‘Funding sought is not about sharing the blame, it is about asking for help to fulfill a God-given responsibility.’

Nobody is looking to share the blame because the blame is all yours. Everybody is asking you people to fulfill your own “God-given” responsibility.

To say that ‘I did not cause the problem’ should not be the response of the Christian, he said.

Is it okay if the victims or their families say that?

It should be, he said: ‘I would like to help in the work of justice, healing, reconciliation, a safer environment for children in the future, proper financial stewardship and overall good economic health.’

No, you cassocked clown, that should be the response of the Vatican and the Vatican alone. It’s the Vatican who was aware of the abuse for decades, it’s the Vatican who spent those decades covering it up; therefore, it is the Vatican and the Vatican alone who should be responsible for justice, healing and reconciling, It is the Vatican who should work to ensure a safer environment for children (my version of a safer environment for children would be to remove them entirely from Catholic churches, but perhaps I’m overreaching).

Similarly, it is the Vatican who should pay every last god-damned penny to every last god-damned lawyer they’ve employed to mitigate the damage. For fifteen hundred years this church has been raking in gold tax-free and now, after decades of constant worldwide revelations of instituionalised child-rape and endless coverups, they have the nerve to cry poor. I’d laugh heartily if I wasn’t disgusted beyond words.

I simply do not understand. I need someone to help me understand. What kind of mentality is at work when the criminal asks its victims to pay for their defence? Is it some kind of “trickle down” effect of Papal infallibility? Is it just the stain of centuries of privilege taking forever to be rinsed out by reason? Do these cerebrally-stunted padres live in such stark isolation from reality that they have lost all sense of empathy? I suppose they do – the evidence keeps stacking up against them. From the Pope with his literally deadly stupidity about condoms to this bishop his hand out, the ranks of Catholicism seem to fairly bristle with a bizarre mashup of certainty, ignorance & entitlement unmatched by anything else I’ve seen (and that’s including neo-conservative Republicans in the US). When religious people accuse atheists of not having any moral compass, please point them to the Vatican and ask “how is their morality superior to mine?”

Appealing for parish donations, [Bishop Brennan] said: ‘I would be grateful for whatever ways you might be able to help me and the diocese to complete a road on which it has been necessary to travel, a road that will hopefully go beyond the requirements of justice and grow in terms of the reconciliation with which we are currently engaged and may be further permitted, or invited, in the future,’ he added.

Uh …

Bishop Brennan said the funding of claims associated with child abuse perpetrated by members of the clergy, continues to impact on the diocese financially.

That’s kind of the point of having to pay reparations, wouldn’t you think? If perpetrators get off scot-free or – lucky them – die before justice can reach them, making the employer who was an accomplice to their criminal behaviour responsible financially makes a lot of sense.

A total of 48 settlements, costing €8,120,7075, have been made to date. Of this amount, €2,138,692 was paid in legal fees.

There are 13 civil actions pending against the diocese with a potential cost of over € 2 million, based on previous pay-outs.

The diocese has also paid €2,121,478 in legal fees for its co-operation with the Bermingham and Ferns Inquiries into the handling of sex assault allegations. It later recovered €650,000 of that from the Government.

Wait. Why did the diocese get to claim some money back? Why does a culpable defendant who is ordered to pay reparations get to have anything? And what then prompts that defendant to ask for more money from the people his employer left to the mercies of rapists?

I don’t think I’ll ever understand the Catholic mindset, either from the point of view of an everyday Catholic who puts up with constant bullshit from their company or from a blinkered idiot of a middle- manager who doesn’t see anything wrong with asking victims to pay for their abusers’ lawyers. I think I need to talk to a few Catholics and see precisely why they still swear allegiance to this gang of corrupt old virgins.

[Tip o’ the mitre to the Paliban]

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Ratzinger waves his wand at Australia

Like Steve Jobs announcing a shiny thing to keep the fanboys drooling, Ratzinger has announced that nun Mary MacKillop will be canonised as Australia’s first saint.
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Nothing like a new hero to keep our minds off what the Vatican should be doing: attempting to atone and make amends for the endless revelations of decades of abuse, collusion and coverup at the highest levels of the organisation. But that’s another story.

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Quick bio: after being born in Fitzroy, Victoria in 1842 Mary moved to South Australia, where in 1866 she opened a school in an old stable in Penola then founded the Sisters of St Joseph. She set about founding over one hundred schools, orphanages and refuges for the needy and at the end of her days in 1909 she led over seven hundred sisters. Mary was actually excommunicated in 1871 for insubordination (excommunication: another telling piece of evidence that the Vatican’s priority isn’t living the words of a certain Palestinian chippie, rather the strict obedience of its employees). It didn’t last long though: a regional manager (bishop) spoke up for Mary and she was back in action in a few months (though her exoneration took a few years). Apparently she had a great effect on people: the campaigning for her sainthood began in 1926 and hasn’t let up. Unfortunately I can’t help but wonder whether any of the schools, orphanages or refuges she founded were tainted by the rape, torture and abuse that’s become synonymous with Catholic institutions of days gone by. I realise this behaviour didn’t occur everywhere there were priests or nuns, but such things have been revealed as very, very widespread indeed. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if it happened in an isolated country town like 19th century Penola.

Now,  I have to wonder about sainthood – we could probably all rattle off several saints’ names without thinking about it; we could also name what they’re the patron of. But what is it you have to actually do to be canonised, what does being sainted mean for the dead person and why is it important enough to the living to run a century-long campaign? Interestingly, The Times reveals that Ratzinger actually tightened up the sainthood rules last year (nice how absolute spiritual matters can rest on the opinion of whoever’s in charge). According to some critics that old rabble-rouser John Paul Jones II had been running some kind of “saint factory” and rushing about canonising people after only one miracle! How very, very dare you! OK, back on topic. Criteria for sainthood:

Beatification, which confers the title Blessed, requires proof of one miracle attributed to the posthumous intercession of the candidate, usually a medically inexplicable cure. Sainthood requires two such miracles.

Okay then! Further research tells me that Mary, after her death, indeed interceded and cured a woman of leukaemia. For this, she was beatified by the Polish Pope in 1995 – the initial application for beatification was made in 1961, however, showing just how glacial the pace is in that big museum in Rome. 500 years to apologise to Galileo; 34 to verify an alleged miracle. They’re either very slow or very thorough. It seems Mary’s second miracle was verified recently by Ratzinger himself – a woman with inoperable cancer prayed and carried around a piece of Mary’s clothing and was cured. I believe a life of “heroic virtue” can also tip the scales in your favour. In fact, there’s a lengthy & very involved investigation by church authorities to determine a person’s holiness and the miraculous nature (or not) of their post-mortem antics. Interesting how in some areas the Vatican is happy to expend its resources performing detailed investigations of the actions of its employee.

So, bang, two miracles, heroic virtue, Mary’s a saint. Leaving aside my predictable skepticism about miracles in general, the process of actually verifying that one happened in the first place and the process of verifying it was performed by a particular dead person and not just God, another dead Catholic or Vishnu, what does that actually mean? Is there something better than Heaven open to her now? Does she get to do “God” stuff? Watch Jesus’ kittens when he’s off appearing in tree trunks and dog’s arses? Appear in her own inanimate objects? Side question: is any of this sainthood criteria/investigation business even in the Bible? It’s been a while since I read it, but I don’t remember all this Orwellian bureaucracy.

What is a saint and what do they do? What are they for? About.com provides the following revelations:

The word “saint” literally means “holy,” and, in the New Testament, “saint” referred to all who believed in Jesus Christ and followed his teachings. St. Paul often addressed his epistles to “the saints” of a particular city (see, for instance, Ephesians 1:1 and 2 Corinthians 1:1), and the Acts of the Apostles talks about St. Peter going to visit the saints in Lydda (Acts 9:2). The assumption was that those who followed Christ had been so transformed that they were now different from other men and women and, thus, should be considered holy.

Okay. Holy people. Christians in general. Got it. But what about the dead ones as we know them today?

Canonized saints can be venerated anywhere and prayed to publicly, and their lives are held up to Christians still struggling here on earth as examples to be imitated.

Right! They’re dead people you can pray to. So you don’t just pray to God or his son Jesus or his weird half-brother the Holy Ghost or his mother Mary; you can pray to dead person who’s been canonised. Considering Ratzi canonised over 500 people himself last year and we’ve seen dozens, even hundreds of popes over the last 1500 years, there must be countless thousands of saints people can pray to for assistance and guidance and protection and a better sandwich. Tell me again how this Catholicism thing isn’t polytheism?

Well, About saw me coming:

The Difference Between Prayer and Worship

Many non-Catholic Christians believe that it is wrong to pray to the saints, claiming that our prayers should be directed to God alone. Some Catholics, responding to this criticism, have argued that we do not pray to the saints but with them.

Both groups, however, are confusing prayer with worship. True worship (as opposed to veneration or honor) does indeed belong to God alone, and we should never worship man or any other creature as we worship God. But while worship may take the form of prayer, as in the Mass and other liturgies of the Church, not all prayer is worship. When we pray to the saints, we’re simply asking them to help us, by praying to God on our behalf, or thanking them for having already done so.

 So it’s just a case of hair-splitting, really. It’s not polytheism because you don’t worship a saint, you just pray at them. And wear bits of their clothes. And have statues and icons and graven images of them hanging around your houses and churches. Some churches even hold boxes of their bones or other preserved body parts (being Catholics, I’m going to assume that for a nominal fee you can even touch them). A saint seems to be a middle-man or a demi-god. A patron saint has a special area of expertise (I wonder if God just allocates the patronage as soon as the Pope canonises them or they have to do some classes first?). Going on holiday? Ask St Christopher to delay your pilot’s heart attack. Irish? Ask St Guinness to bless you with an iron constitution. Australian? Ask St Kilda why he hasn’t let the footy team named after him win a bloody flag for the last billion years. With all the thousands of saint available, all you need do is pick your problem and google your saint. Lost your keys? There’s a saint for that.

So, you can pray to God, Jesus, Ghosty, Mary or any one of an endless range of saints but it’s not polytheism. It’s just that God has three family members and thousands upon thousands of holy immortal beings petitioning him on behalf of humanity. It’s the pantheon you have when you’re not having a pantheon. And once again, the Catholic church drops a layer of bureaucracy between you, the believer and God, the, um, god. Not content with throwing living priests and nuns and fathers and brothers and cardinals and Popes and all manner of capos & middle management & bouncers between man & God, there’s this whole other layer of fricking dead people to appeal to in case you think God can’t hear you.

Wait … what? You think God can’t hear you? You think God needs you to speak to him through all these countless zillions of people, living and dead? You think your almighty Creator of Everything needs someone in a special robe and special building saying special things in order to know what you need? What kind of second rate god is this guy anyway? It all sounds a bit suss … if I didn’t know better I’d say Catholicism is a millennium and a half-old bureaucratic superscam designed to frighten the lot of you into promising it your soul while you give it your money. And I’m not sure I do know better.
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It just never seems to end

You’ve heard the story before: a Catholic priest molests, abuses or rapes children. The Vatican “investigates” the matter itself and, instead of censuring or dismissing the culprit or involving the authorities, quietly shuffles the priest to another area. The abuse occurs again. The procedure happens again. The cycle continues. Years or decades later, documents are unearthed, records are unsealed, whistles are blown, victims come forward and a scandal ensues. Empty babbling from the Vatican is heard about investigations and about how seriously they are taking everything. The story fades from the press. Until it happens again, somewhere else. Chances are you know someone who’s been affected by one of these stories, perhaps directly. Chances are you don’t know it.

It is, unfortunately, a story common to most, if not all, nations that have been blessed by the presence of this morally bankrupt church. Countless children in Latin America, Australia, the UK, the USA, Ireland and now, it is revealed, Germany, have suffered sexual violence, humiliation, shame, fear and rank injustice at the hands of those who claim moral authority not just over their Catholic subjects but the entirety of human existence. This story of rape, coverup and denial is depressingly familiar, as is the feeling of complete powerlessness much of the world feels when hearing the latest instalment of Vatican-sanctioned depravity.
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I really don’t know what to say about this anymore.

The Vatican has had in place, since 1962, an internal policy requiring everyone from cardinals down to remain silent about any and every claim and report and instance of child rape in the name of the trinity, on pain of excommunication and, presumably, attendant denial of eternal salvation. This “omerta” policy betrays not only the trust of every child ever placed in Catholic “care”, but the very words of the Jewish carpenter which are the cornerstone of its teachings. Will this policy be reviewed? Repealed? Will a new policy exhorting priests at every level of the Papist heirarchy to report any and every allegation of abuse to the relevant police forces? Mandatory reporting policies are in place in every childcare centre, school and hospital in the modern world. Why not a church which, given its claim to moral superiority in every aspect, should find such mandatory reporting second nature? Why should the Vatican get a free pass to ignore what every other institution concerned with child education and welfare takes for granted and sees as a part of everyday operation? You can bet that if a school, hospital or other large organisation had such a sinister record regarding child welfare that its relevant authorities would be all over it like a rash, closing offices down, subpoenaing documents, arresting people & auditing its books. I really don’t know what it would take, in the light of this continuing circumvention of the law and shameful hypocrisy, for someone, anyone (Carabinieri? Interpol?) to investigate the Vatican at every level of its operation from the ground up. I don’t know what it would take for the UN to suspend the pretend statehood of the Vatican until its every grotty little nook is dusted and exposed to the light; every record unsealed; every allegation investigated, aired and pursued to its conclusion. What good is a body like the UN if a particular state is not beholden to the same rules and standards as every other member?

How could the self-described keepers of The Word of God not be able to see how keeping these allegations a secret is as good as being accessory to them? If you wish, view that question as semi-rhetorical, for it more or less answers itself with a little thought: because the Vatican’s rules and policies self-evidently exist to serve not God, not Jesus, not the blessed Virgin or its other many deities, definitely not to serve the one billion or so adherents; they exist, first and foremost, to protect the Vatican and its willing servants.

The fact that the word “Catholic” has become synonymous with rape, abuse, scandal & coverup should make everyone who calls themselves Catholic apopleptic with rage. Catholics: your name has been dragged through the shit, not by “strident, militant” atheists, not by rival denominations, not even by other religions, but by the very organisation you have willed your eternal soul to. What will it take for you, good Catholics of the world, to let these “fathers” of yours know that this is not how you treat children? That this is not how you even treat adults? When will you understand how corrupt and self-serving this church of yours is? A Christian’s allegiance, one would think, should be to Jesus and his message, not to a human political construction that exists to further itself ahead of the salvation of millions. If no other wrongs had ever been done by the Vatican in the entirety of human history this continuing, global scandal of child rape and enforced silence should have you leaving your pews in disgust and spitting on the golden finery of your alleged betters. European history is replete with examples of dissatisfied subjects rising from their fields and factories to overthrow and destroy the privileged, perfumed, primped princes that ruled, robbed and demeaned them – would that a similar thing would happen to the world’s last corrupt empire.

Catholicism is empty – not as practised by the everyday Catholic, but how it is practised by those who claim to hold its keys; it is a greedy, shameful blot on humanity’s past and present. I hope that someday Catholics will realise they don’t need the church to be Christians. I hope they desert this rotting empire in droves. I hope the Vatican will one day need to hold a bake sale to raise money for a new Pope-mobile, which in a best-case scenario will be something like a 1997 Toyota Corolla. Decent car, no doubt, but a far cry from a million-dollar bulletproof Mercedes.

This isn’t an atheist issue. It’s not even a religious issue. This is a human issue. This is not about pointing the finger at Christianity and claiming that it is invalidated because of the actions of a small number of its adherents. This is about the specific claims to moral superiority that the Vatican has been making since it declared itself emperor of Christendom centuries ago, and how since then those claims have consistently (almost constantly) been shown to be as vacuous and hollow as a bishop’s mitre.