Just a thought

If it’s virgins the Islamic fundamentalist martyrs want, they might consider a career with the Vatican: all the innocent young virgins you can get your hands on plus absolution and a Stay Out Of Jail Free card personally signed by the CEO. Also robes; silly hats; loads of hate for gays, atheists, women, apostates and every other religion on Earth and a really fucking creepy level of interest in other peoples’ sex lives. Additionally, you don’t have to pray five times a day and you can eat bacon & drink alcohol. Did I mention you get all this while you’re still alive and that after you’re dead it only gets better? God damn it, that’s one sweet deal – sounds almost too good to be true.var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-5094406-1”); pageTracker._initData(); pageTracker._trackPageview();

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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.

Vatican Watch: pretend country opposes decriminalisation of homosexuality

From [Reuters]:

VATICAN CITY, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Gay rights groups and newspaper editorials on Tuesday condemned the Vatican for its decision to oppose a proposed U.N. resolution calling on governments worldwide to de-criminalise homosexuality.

The row erupted after the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations told a French Catholic news agency the Holy See would oppose the resolution, which France is due to propose later this month on behalf of the 27-member European Union.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore said the Vatican opposed the resolution because it would “add new categories of those protected from discrimination” and could lead to reverse discrimination against traditional heterosexual marriage.

“If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations,” Migliore said. “For example, states which do not recognise same-sex unions as ‘matrimony’ will be pilloried and made an object of pressure,” Migliore said.

Migliore, you stupid little shit, it’s not about (ooh booga booga) gay marriage. People are being KILLED because they’re gay and being gay is against the law in some countries. Killed fucking dead. Because they’re gay. And you don’t seem to give a shit about putting a to stop that. Which doesn’t surprise me, considering that, when it comes to most of the rest of the developed world, including pretty much all of your European neighbours including the country that fucking well tolerates your presence in its capital, you are completely arse-backwards on basically every point relating to human sexual freedom. Sex before marriage? No, what if you liked it? You’d want to do it a lot but maybe not to conceive new Catholics, all fresh, branded with an Original Sin they had no fucking control over and ready to be “saved”. The simple act of contraception? Hell no, then there’d be no abortions to wring your hands over and no fresh marinated Catholic bums on pews (and what precise passage forbids contraception anway? Did the ol’ Jews know about the pill?). Homosexuality? Bah, give me strength. Sure, we don’t execute them anymore but it’s still wrong. And don’t even get us started on female priests. Well, look – considering you’re a pack of repressed virgins (except for the ones that rape children and are allowed to get away with it), I don’t think you’re any more qualified to hand out dictates about sexual behaviour than I am to hand out instructions on how to orbit the fucking Moon. If you don’t know how it works, if you haven’t had sufficient experience, don’t goddam well presume to hand out an instruction manual. I wouldn’t tell people how to “Shut The Fuck Up” unless I knew how to do it. Well … I’ve got a fair grasp on the theory, so shut the damn hell fuck up.

Does anyone take these Papist fuckers seriously anymore? If so, why? Exactly what function does the Papacy serve at the UN? Precisely what is accomplished by giving this pretend country/museum of iniquity and horror a vote equal to that of other nations who actually contain real people and not glorified statue-polishers? These Janitors for Jesus seem to do sweet fuck all except provide enough soundbites to show the world just exactly how out of step they are with evolved modern societies. There’s a reason Europe & the world shunned the Papacy and its Inquisitions & Dark Age in favour of democracy & knowledge and the Papists show this to us all at every opportunity with statements like those of Migliore. What, if anything, does the Vatican contribute to the UN except embarrassing anachronistic remarks? Who exactly does the Vatican represent? A billion Catholics? No! They’re all citizens of the other 190+whatever proper countries with seats at the UN.

Seriously, what it is going to take for the UN to realise that the Vatican should be seen and not freaking heard? It’s like the embarrassing great-uncle at Christmas time whose rude, racist, homophobic & generally offensive remarks everyone tolerates because he’s been around forever, has tons of cash & everyone knows he’s losing his mind. Everyone knows he won’t be around forever, including him, so everyone’s just holding their tongue until he pops his clogs. Noone really knows (or cares) how he fits into the family tree except for the oldest rellies, but they don’t like him either.

So, yes, SIGH, Mandy’s got another frickin Catholic hate-boner. Again, I must point out it’s not actual Catholics that inspire this rage. From any post on this blog marked “catholic” it should be pretty clear it’s the administration, the empire and its spokes-idiots that raise my bile. I know full-well that there are plenty of other religious organisations that deserve at least equal loathing & dark wizardry, but there really are none that compare to the Vatican – the 1500 year old Christian empire, constant enemy of knowledge, science and societal evolution, constant defender of gender/sexual inequality & child-rapists. No other religious organisation has been around for as long & has its own pretend country & corresponding seat at the fucking UN. For every Catholic city mission, nobly handing out blankets and feeding the homeless, there’s a statement from some senior manager, laying out the official policy that anyone who’s not a Catholic male is basically fucked. No other nation/empire has as lengthy or as reprehensible a history when it comes to human rights. Crusades, Inquisitions, Nazi appeasement, enabling child-rapists, lying about condoms & AIDS (condeming untold numbers to death), railing against masturbation, contraception AND abortion (effectively a three-pronged attack against sexual freedom of choice of any kind) and now, effectively condoning the executions of gays in tin-pot shitty little theocracies across the world.

Seriously, what the fuck is going to wake the UN up to this antiquated museum masquerading as a nation? Do they just keep them around to piss the Arabs off?

Bah, whatever, Merry fucking Christmas. Fuck the Pope and all his little wizards.

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Papacy: no apology to Charles Darwin

VATICAN CITY, Sep. 16, 2008 (Reuters) — The Vatican said on Tuesday the theory of evolution was compatible with the Bible but planned no posthumous apology to Charles Darwin for the cold reception it gave him 150 years ago.

[newsdaily.com via rd.net]

Well, no surprise there. Everyone (especially Galileo) knows the statute of limitations on Papist apologies to people who were correct all along is around the 500-year mark. Not that any scientist or any one else really needs the Vatican, the CoE, or any other religiolith to apologise though. As the old saying goes, success is the best revenge and there’s nothing quite like the success of Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory, which is supported not just by biological evidence but also supports and is mutually supported by evidence genetic, geological, palaeontological, medical, pharmacological, genealogical, animal, vegetable, mineral – the list goes on…

But, of course …

“In the United States, and now elsewhere, we have an ongoing public debate over evolution that has social, political and religious dimensions,” [Professor Philip Sloan of Notre Dame University] said. “Most of this debate has been taking place without a strong Catholic theological presence, and the discussion
has suffered accordingly,” he said.

Well, Prof, that’s the States for you – not that I think a “strong Catholic theological presence” would clarify anything other than the ninja-like mental gymnastics needed to be a Catholic theologian in the first place. What the current evo/creationist debate in the US needs is for theology of any kind to be hacked out like dead, rotting wood and for the discussion to return to objective, verifiable facts such as those which support evolutionary theory. Creationists debating evolution is like me debating quantum physics – I know some of the words involved and have a shallow understanding of the concepts but that’s where my actual knowledge of it ends. To continue pretending (a) that I know what I’m on about and (b) that I can actually debate quantum physics with people who have dedicated their lives to understanding it would only reveal me as a rank ignoramus. Although, now that I think about it, that analogy is actually giving way too much credit to the creationists. People whose understanding amounts to “evolution = we came from a monkey but I aint no monkey and how come there are still monkeys anyway” really just need to shut the fuck up and read an eighth-grade biology textbook.

Even when the CoE and the Vatican (of all places) come to their senses and publicly accept evolution for the fact it is (though the Roman Empire qualify their acceptance by calling it “theistic evolution”, which I suppose means “God did it and continues to do it”), many, many American Christians still cling tenaciously to their “it’s a 6000 year-old Earth & I aint no monkey’s uncle & Adam & Eve rode dinosaurs who didn’t eat them because they were vegetarian dinosaurs” lackwittedness. One of these daft mammals has been in the Whitehouse for eight years (with great success) and another hopes to be there in about three months as deputy to a cranky old flip-flopper who’s around 33% likely to shuffle off during his term and leave the country to a pitbull with lipstick who believes Iraq is a mission from God and life on this earth doesn’t matter a pinch of shit because she’ll be kickin’ it with Jesus in the afterlife. Holy fucking crap, America! Wake up and steer the car away from the precipice because you’re gonna take us all down with you. Hell, going by the latest news from the stock market it’s beginning already! Like I was (and many other people were) telling people a few years ago – don’t get too comfy in the US exchanges because a serious Republican-induced recession is nigh, unless the Fed has another Greenspan-style miracle up its sleeve … seriously, how long did these idiots think they’d get away with spending billions of borrowed dollars a week in Iraq while simultaneously propping up a strung out Federal Reserve? Idiots. You don’t need to be a freaking economist to be able to smell a recession from a mile away.

[/tangent]

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Open letter to Ratzinger: lift birth control ban

The coolest thing about this open letter to Pope Ratzinger (I refuse to call him Benedict) is that it’s written by a coalition of Catholic groups! From the HuffPo story:

The initiative was spearheaded by Catholics for Choice, a Washington based pro-choice advocacy group, but the letter was signed by organizations from countries across the Americas and Europe.

Taking a half-page ad in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the groups said Friday that the Church’s ban on artificial birth control has had “catastrophic effects,” particularly in the fight against AIDS.

The ban on contraception “has had catastrophic effects on the poor and weak of the whole world, putting in danger the lives of women and exposing millions of people to the risk of contracting HIV,” the letter published in Corriere said.

The Vatican’s response: predictably, mind-numbingly arse-backwards.

[Vatican capo Reverend Federico] Lombardi denounced the ad “as paid propaganda for the use of contraceptives.” “Policies against AIDS based mainly on the distribution of condoms have largely failed,” Lombardi said in a statement. “The answer to AIDS requires deeper and more complex interventions, in which the Church is active on many fronts.”

“Paid propaganda for the use of contraceptives” eh padre? Well, I guess noone would know propaganda when they saw it better than a Vatican PR operative. I’ll tell you what the answer to AIDS requires, you pompous fucker: an effective preventive measure other than abstinence – the very kind of measure you and your hoods have actively been opposing since the respective inventions of the condom, The Pill and every other method out there that doesn’t involve a vow of celibacy (which, by the way, you guys suck at). I’ll tell you why policies against AIDS based on condom use have largely failed too: it’s because black-robed morons like yourself in those areas have been actively spreading bald-faced, anti-science & fucking lethal lies for years, such as the one about condoms having tiny holes, through which the HIV virus can pass through, which still makes my jaw drop to read.

Well, chalk up another retarded remark to the stormtroopers of Herr Ratzinger! It blows my mind that this organisation can continue to get away with this shit. Imagine if the Health Minister or Surgeon General of any civilised country said something like “chemotherapy doesn’t affect cancer, it just makes it stronger!” – that’s the order of magnitude of Pure Wrong we’re talking about here. Imagine the head of pretty much any organisation other than the Roman Christian Empire saying something that retarded! Not just retarded, but potentially fatal to any follower who believes it. This continuing and baffling desecration of human free will is as precise & glaring an illustration of the danger of organised religion that you could ever see – not the danger of a particular belief itself, as many people believe in Jesus’ divinity and don’t listen to Vatican idiocy – but of the effect blind faith & blind trust can have on a person, his family, town or whole country or continent, when that faith & trust is abused by people who should damn well know better.

So what’s behind this Vatican wrongheaded stubbornness anyway? Does it really say in the Bible “thou shalt not spill thy seed” or “thou shalt always conceive with thy booty calls”? If it does – unambiguously, that is, with no wiggle room for interpretation – then why are Papists the only ones who insist on enforcing it in such a lethal manner? So they can ensure a constant flow of believers to continue to fill their pews & coffers? The arch-cynic in me says a big, fat “yes”. The less cynical part of me is still in the dark about it. Is it scriptural? Then why are Catholics allowed to work on Sunday, eat meat on whatever day they want, skip Lent, have graven images in their temples (what’s a Catholic church without a bunch of statues of Jesus, Mary and selected saints standing around looking down on you), wear high heels or whatever else they’re allowed to do now that they couldn’t not so long ago?

The answer often comes back to control. The Vatican has let a lot of things slide over the centuries (noone’s getting burned for heresy or buying Indulgences anymore, for example), but they’ve always held onto two things tighter than Tarzan: the bans on divorce and on contraception. Two of the most private things concerning any human on the planet. So many other Vatican edicts and restrictions have been dropped like hot rocks, yet they continue to refuse to allow their followers to run their own sexual & family lives. Stinks like a control thing to me. It’s a classic control ploy actually: bear a child into a Catholic family, marinate that child in shame-inducing, fear-mongering dogma until its identity becomes inextricably wrapped in its religion, then impose upon it restrictions that could mean excommunication should the eventual adult wish to use its own judgement in deciding on two of the most important decisions in its life: whether to have children of its own or end a marriage that’s beyond saving, or perhaps was a mistake in the first place (we’ve all heard of young Catholic girls forced into marriage to avoid the shame of a bastard child).

What the Papacy says & does about contraception is thought control of the worst possible kind and I’m glad it’s a group of concerned Catholics that have raised this issue. Non-Catholic Christians, non-religionists and anyone concerned with human rights in general have been raising this issue contantly for years, but we now know it’s far from reasonable to expect anything but the usual, half-witted bullshit from the Vatican (and from many Catholics). Hopefully, the fact that quite a few Catholics themselves are having serious problems with the Vatican’s counter-intelligent stance on contraception and are speaking out about it will get some discourse going between other Catholics. Dissent in the ranks is likely to be the only thing to change the Vatican’s tiny mind on any issue – God knows appeals to reason, science and basic human freedoms do jack shit.

I’m still staggered that this debate continues to go on in the 21st freakin century, the third millenium of the Christian Era. We’ve landed men on the Moon (last century!), sequenced the human genome, looked backward in time 13 billion years to the birth of our universe and still we’re having a debate over whether condoms work. But hey, this argument’s with the Vatican: these people believe wafers turn into Jesus (mmm, a savioury treat!) – but only if a magic spell special prayer is said over them first. They still practise exorcisms for Chrissakes! And we’re having serious conversations with them! Would you have a serious chat with the psycho homeless guy on the corner screaming at the demons in his pocket? No! But hey, the poor homeless guy hasn’t been around for 1500 years and he doesn’t have a billion followers. That doesn’t mean the Papists are right, but it does mean they have a strong game it’ll take a lot for them to see sense. Shit, these people took 500 years to pardon Galileo.

Crackergate: The Saga Continues – PZ nails it

In this post, PZ Myers (biologist, bloggist, all-round agent of Satan) details the final end to a holy wafer he’d promied to desecrate a week or so back (much to the oft-deadly sounding ire of followers of the Prince of Peace). I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice it to say the lil‘ biscuit met an appropriate end. But he desecrated a bit of Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion! Our holy scripture! The central tenet of our faith! The bedrock of our naturalist, humanist, secularist belief system! I CALL FOR A FATWA!!! DEATH TO MYERS!!!

Oh, cock. I can’t keep that up, it’s too retarded. Here’s a paragraph that neatly sums up pretty much all of my own thought towards the Papacy:

I think if I were truly evil, I would have to demand that all of my acolytes be celibate, but would turn a blind eye to any sexual depravities they might commit. If I wanted to be an evil hypocrite, I’d drape myself in expensive jeweled robes and live in an ornate palace while telling all my followers that poverty is a virtue. If I wanted to commit world-class evil, I’d undermine efforts at family planning by the poor, especially if I could simultaneously enable the spread of deadly diseases. And if I wanted to be so evil that I would commit a devastating crime against the whole of the human race, twisting the minds of children into ignorance and hatred, I would be promoting the indoctrination of religion in children’s upbringing, and fomenting hatred against anyone who dared speak out in defiance.

A-freakin-men PZ.

I don’t think there are many things in the world more pernicious and harmful than the combined activities of the Vatican: the sexual repression & abuse and subsequent PR-driven cover-ups, hush-ups and insincere non-apologies; the vast gulf between Vatican royalty and the millions of poverty-stricken followers who make up the bedrock of the faith; the continuing stream of blatant lies & literally lethal proclamations against contraception in the third world; the indoctrination of helpless children into a church which projects a fresh-faced public image through events like World Youth Day but which covers a rotten, dark core or superstition, ignorance and vast, inhuman greed to name but the most frightening and reprehensible. I didn’t even mention the thousands of “good Catholics” who sent PZ death threats before he’d even done anything to the stupid biscuit. Now that he’s desecrated the Jesus-rich wafer, I’m sure he can only expect more loving forgiveness from Catholics.