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« The Shroud of Turin: 3 Film Collector's Edition | Main | "Members of the Catholic Church commit sins and do evil things, sometimes really, really evil things." »

Friday, April 01, 2011

Comments

Titus

"Conflict of interest"?

Are you running a blog or a law firm? The phrase has no meaning in this context: the ethical conundra that people describing using that term simply don't exist in the world of "blogging," especially when the blogger isn't purporting to do anything beyond provide commentary admittedly coming from one side of a debate.

Paul Adams

It is truly sad to see a writer of Anne Rice's talents, who just a few years ago wrote a fine Catholic spiritual memoir, descend to such depths of scurrility.

One is tempted to follow her own example and ascribe personal motivations to explain her turn to relentless and bitter attack on the Church. But the slew of hate-filled denunciations on her threads of anyone who accepts the Church's teaching as a hate-filled bigot create an environment of vitriolic anti-Catholicism that, for whatever personal reasons, Rice simultaneously feeds off and sustains.

Ed Peters

CO: "I don't think Sheen's remark can account well for the fact that many people really do hate the Catholic Church because they rightly see that she stands up against the faddish sins of the age, especially those sexual in nature."

Exactly right. Maybe in Sheen's day, that could be held, but today it seems, the folks who post hatred of the Church cuz they misunderstand her are negligible. Now, they know what Church teaches, and they hate it.

Francis J. Beckwith

Anne Rice, I am sad to say, cannot distinguish her visceral dislike for Catholic moral theology with a sustained argument against it. Her case, which is apparently universal in scope, is no wider than a first person rant: "some Catholics are bad people, and thus I (that is, Anne Rice, famous ex-con-revert), cannot believe that what the Church claims is good is in fact good." Does anyone with a fully functional set of cognitive faculties take such literary tourettes seriously? It would be like saying that Anne Rice is a bad novelist because she is a bad reasoner. She is indeed the latter, but the latter does not establish the former.

These sorts of distinctions are essential for clarity of thought and integrity of argument. Thus, we can only conclude that she has no interest in either.

Carolina

Hello. I've actually reached your blog because of the discussion about abusive priests and the great wrong that the Church has done in many, many countries.
I used to be a catholic myself. But I truly believe that the Church has lost its way.
I know the Church is a human institution. Jesus chose Peter, the most fainthearted apostle, the one who denied him three times, the one who was unable to seek faith while trying to walk in the water. He chose him as the head of his Church. I used to see this as a metaphor: we should not seek perfection within the Church, for humans are not perfect.
I see this point. I`ve considered it. But, in spite of all this, I cannot stand the corruption and denial, the abuse (for God's sake, let's just remember the Magdalene Laundries... the Church knew what was happening in there, and no one seemed to care!) So many lives wasted, diminished, ruined forever... The Church MUST repent, must apologise, must admit its sins.
Last but not least, I deeply regret the attack on Anne Rice, who speaks her mind as everyone should be free to do. The fact of whether she is or is not a good writer (as many have put out here) is out of the question. No PH.D is needed to speak. Personally, I admire her courage.
I honestly want to discuss these matters as seriously as possible, and I hope not to offend you or your readers.
Regards from Argentina,
Carolina

Steve Brown

"The most effective response to veiled attacks against the Church is one that exposes misrepresentations, states the verifiable truth, explains genuine Catholic doctrine and provides examples from the lives of Catholic saints and martyrs"
Which is exactly what Insight Scoop and Carl Olson do on a daily basis. Keep it up. Thanks.

Alex

"By its own admission, what our age finds most unacceptable in the Church’s perennial wisdom is her sexual morality. Almost every controversial issue dividing “dissenters” from the Church’s teaching is about sexual morality: fornication, contraception, homosexuality, divorce and most especially abortion."

Ummm, no. You couldn't possibly be more wrong. What MOST non-Catholic Americans find so distasteful about the Catholic Church is its HYPOCRISY. That, and its long and very bloody history of murder. Since it has changed none of its opinions on the issues that "caused" it to murder countless people in Inquisition, Crusade and good old fashioned witch hunts, it would be downright silly of thinking people not to be suspicious of it and worried about it today. But we'll leave that aside for now.

Let's get back to the hypocrisy. The Church has LONG indulged in illicit and "sinful" sexual activity. MOST Popes have kept mistresses, not just those naughty Borgias. Yet I never see you folks addressing that. My own grandmother, in her youth, considered quite seriously becoming a nun but this dream of hers was squashed by her elder brother who was a priest. He forbade her to enter a nunnery. His reason? He is famously quoted in my family as saying, "Because I will not have my sister made the whore of a priest." History offers us an endless pageant of priests who kept concubines and sired numerous children, of nunneries turned into brothels, of priests sleeping with the wives of their flocks. As to abortion... many an infant skeleton has been found during the excavation of an old church or nunnery.

The Church has long been a haven for homosexuals since, ironically, it is the one place where no one would question a young man with no apparent interest in women. Unfortunately, it has also offered the same haven for pedophiles and for the same reasons. These monsters, who should NOT be confused with homosexuals (pedophiles prey on children of both sexes after all, depending upon their particular preferences) have found it easy to hide in the Church, again because in such a setting no one thought to ask why they would not be seeking a relationship with an adult woman and, in terrible addition, provided them with an endless stream of innocent victims because of their position of trust.

So no, most people don't hate the Catholic Church because it condemns any sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman. After all, we are FINALLY free to decide NOT to attend your church without fear that your henchmen will come to our homes, drag us off to a dungeon and torture and murder us. And most of us have decided to do just that. To ignore you. And to publicly sneer at your stupendous hypocrisy. Because all your foolish rules have not kept, not only your followers, but your very enforcers, your precious clergy, from indulging in EVERYTHING you decry. And instead of cleansing your corridors of such filth you cover up for each other. THAT is what sickens most non-Catholic and yes, anti-Catholic Americans. I suspect those are the same reasons people in other countries have been finally turning away from the Church as well.

So go ahead and keep crying that homosexuality is a horrible sin. Rational people don't care. You are as free to cling to the Bronze Age scribblings of your murderous tribesmen til indeed Christ gets around to returning again as we are to walk away from them. No one cares that you cling to an outdated and largely debunked notion of "sin."

But keep your hands off our children and quit flouting our secular laws. THAT, indeed, makes us testy.

What people WANT from you, and what just might save your miserable and backwards institution for a few hundred more years, is accountability, remorse, redress and repentance. Until you can let go of the sin of pride and embrace that you will continue to find yourselves the target of people who, quite rightly, will continue to point out your unbearable hypocrisy with utter disgust.


June

We all have our opinions and views about what is going on in our church. I respect the views of Ms. Rice and Mr. Olson and I pray for both of them and our church. But their views no longer matter to me. All of this confict comes down to one word: TRUST. I have been given a great treasure here on earth by God. I consider it the greatest treasure (children) a human being can be given. I have been appointed as caretaker for that treasure during my lifetime. We can no longer trust the Catholic church in any way with that treasure.

Sarah

Just a story about an amazing man in New York City who is bringing some faith back to the city...

http://newyorkknowsbest.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/if-you-need-me-call-me-no-matter-where-you-are-no-matter-how-far/

This cab driver is a Pastor who spreads the love.
AMAZING!

Dr John James

"...no one cares that you cling to an outdated and largely debunked notion of "sin"...
Until you let go of the sin of pride...."
This post of Alex's reminded me of a pamphlet, placed in my letter box, some years ago, by a minister from a group called the 'Liberty Baptists'.
I remember being taken aback, at first reading of the pamphlet, but at the same time admiring the zeal behind it.
I imagine it was the same zeal that had Saul stone Stephen, and then move to do whatever it would take to crush these 'Jewish apostates'. No relativism here!
I actually contacted the minister, and we had a cup of coffee together, at his home.
It was an hour of fierce anti Catholic rhetoric, but, in a perverse way, it was good for me. I had to think about what I believed, and why.
I progressed through Alex'z post, until those statements above.
Then, the inherent contradiction in those positions I've highlighted above, just overwhelmed me.

Alex

I'm sorry you were confused Dr. James. I realize now I should have placed "the sin of pride" in quotes just as I did here. I personally do not believe in sin but that's not relevant because the Church certainly does. And oh how they like to go on about it... until we reach the "sin" of their overwhelming pride. I hardly consider my post rendered invalid because I used the word "sin." Nor is my point diminished. The Catholic Church DOES cling to an outmoded and largely debunked notion of sin. However, they are are free to do so. I don't mind that they think homosexual sex or abortion or heterosexual sex outside of marriage are sins. But their overweening pride, which DOES cause these sexual scandals they keep finding themselves in and is directly the cause of the disdain and outrage they cause in non-Catholics IS an issue for ALL of us, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

Also, very classy of you to compare me to Nazis and murderers. I'm pretty much of the opinion that this makes YOUR point, whatever it was, moot. I assure you I am certainly not a Baptist either. What has made ME anti-Catholic is my lifelong interest in history. That, and reading the news.

Thomas Aquinas

Dr. James. Alex is a bigot. His comments can be called "Protocols of the Elders of Rome."

Alex, a man who likes to bugger teenage boys is a homosexual with a peculiar attraction to younger men. He is not a "non-homosexual pedophile," an invented construction by the bugger lobby that wants to distance itself from its more pernicious practitioners.

Wilsonch

I benefited much from the link to the NCR item on responding to innuendo and suspicion. It came to my attention as a byproduct of Anne Rice's insinuations against Ignatius Insight, especially since Ignatius Insight responded to her in a way that brought perspective and insight and not by replying to her in kind. So a (small) good has been occasioned by a (small) evil. This is one way God works.

I'm going to get a copy of Deus Caritas Est and read it.

I wholeheartedly ratify Steve Brown's remark. Blessings!

LJ

After all, we are FINALLY free to decide NOT to attend your church without fear that your henchmen will come to our homes, drag us off to a dungeon and torture and murder us.

When did this happen? I must have missed it. You mean people in America have freedom of religion? My goodness, what will they think of next? Freedom from having your own high standard of morality shoved down your throat when you, like anyone else, actually stumbles? Now that might be too much to ask. Far better to lower the standard, or even eliminate it, so that nobody might feel guilty.

Wasn't that what Christ taught? Oops! He actually said to be perfect. Oh well, I guess we will have to keep those high standards after all, even when we fail to meet them, and have to confess and ask for forgiveness.

Jimmy Swaggart, where are you when we need you? Now that was old style confession and repentance, much like the early days of the Church.

Wilsonch

Alex, your attack on the Catholic Church consists of untestable generalities, except possibly what percentage of popes have kept mistresses. And the generalities are all aimed at the Church alone, with no attention to culture and history, no comparison with other institutions. They are one sided, excluding any generalities or facts on another side. The fine rhetorical flourish "we are FINALLY free to decide NOT to attend your church without fear that your henchmen will come to our homes, drag us off to a dungeon and torture and murder us" takes local and occasional events as universal and normative. In all the history of the Church, exactly when and where were people jailed and tortured for not attending church?

Your last paragraph says in part: "What people WANT from you, and what just might save your miserable and backwards institution for a few hundred more years, is accountability, remorse, redress and repentance." I find your conclusion noble sounding but empty because I'm confident (from the vague factual content of your message and the abstract requirements you pose) that there is absolutely no set of real-world actions that the Church could take that would meet your standards and satisfy you. Hence the apparent call to action is really only a roundabout way of expressing limitless condemnation. That's what I mean by it's being "empty."

Your criticisms of the Church, presented with this kind of content and framed this way, will bring only frustration to you and your readers, not real action or even real disagreement.

May God somehow bring peace to you.

mark

This was certainly one of the dumbest blogs I have read in a long long time - a seemingly complete lack of logic, purpose & information. why was it written, much less published?

Regina Sabin

In an attempt to answer your question, Wilsonch, regarding the where and when of peple being jailed for not attending church might I jog your memory about that little event known as the Spanish Inquisition? Perhaps you might recall, or become informed of, the "converso's". During the late 14th century the enormous Jewish community of Spain was given the "no brainer" choice of being converted to Catholicism or being killed. Many who chose the first option secretly practiced Judaism, often under the watchful eyes of spies assigned as servants. A female who did not wish to break the laws of Sabbath would take to her bed on Friday night with a "headache" which would conviently cease at Sabbaths end. Yes, if one did not convert or failed to practice being a Catholic one WAS jailed, tortured and/or killed. May not only God, but knowledge,truth, and the enlightenment they bestow bring you peace, also. True morality should focus on the respect of all of humanity, and leaders, secular or non, should be the defenders and not the assailants of this principle.

Alex

"Thomas Aquinas" (snicker) you say, "Dr. James. Alex is a bigot. His comments can be called "Protocols of the Elders of Rome."

Alex, a man who likes to bugger teenage boys is a homosexual with a peculiar attraction to younger men. He is not a "non-homosexual pedophile," an invented construction by the bugger lobby that wants to distance itself from its more pernicious practitioners."

Ahem, Alex is neither a bigot nor a man. You, however, aside from your apparent delusions of grandeur, are a very silly bigot indeed. I find it amusing that you are so careful to pretend that the pedophiles in the church are "merely" gay men with an attraction to men who are "merely" younger than themselves. Will you also pretend that no ACTUAL CHILDREN of BOTH sexes have been violated by priests? A pedophile is someone who is sexually attracted to CHILDREN, not young adults, although any sexual contact with a minor who is under the age of consent is STILL an illegal act. It's revolting that you would try to pin the perversion that is rife in your Church solely on gay men, as if priests have never preyed upon young and even little girls. Yes, I DO draw a distinction between homosexuals and pedophiles. And so does the psychiatric community.

Alex

Wilsonch, you say, "Alex, your attack on the Catholic Church consists of untestable generalities, except possibly what percentage of popes have kept mistresses. And the generalities are all aimed at the Church alone, with no attention to culture and history, no comparison with other institutions. They are one sided, excluding any generalities or facts on another side. The fine rhetorical flourish "we are FINALLY free to decide NOT to attend your church without fear that your henchmen will come to our homes, drag us off to a dungeon and torture and murder us" takes local and occasional events as universal and normative. In all the history of the Church, exactly when and where were people jailed and tortured for not attending church?"

Um, to WHAT other contemporary historical institution should the Catholic Church be compared? Other Churches? Well since the Catholic Church made a very successful habit of slaughtering any Christians who disagreed with them for a span of a few hundred years I'm afraid that's right out. Should they be compared with secular institutions? Like kingdoms perhaps? That would be appropriate however there's that little problem about how the Catholic Church was supposed to be a SPIRITUAL and HOLY organization bringing peace and solace to the world but alas, were a bit too preoccupied amassing wealth and political power to see to that much. And I'm afraid that's why I really can't excuse them for acting like a secular kingdom and being rife with corruption, greed, sexual lust and murder.

And really? You're going to ask me when people were killed for not attending Church? Granted, there were few enough foolish enough NOT to attend and spout the party line but I think we both know it was pretty darned common for the Church to KILL darn near anyone who ran afoul of it,ESPECIALLY if said person could be accused of being anti-religious. When did this happen? How about the whole of the Medieval era and Renaissance?

The reason I speak in generalities is because I assume most people taking part in this discussion are at least minimally educated and the activities of the Catholic Church which included murder, war and rapine are common historical knowledge. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous to say the least.

And I will be "at peace" with Catholicism when your Church owns up to its misdeeds and asks forgiveness of those they have wronged.

Alex

LJ you say, "After all, we are FINALLY free to decide NOT to attend your church without fear that your henchmen will come to our homes, drag us off to a dungeon and torture and murder us.

When did this happen? I must have missed it. You mean people in America have freedom of religion? My goodness, what will they think of next? Freedom from having your own high standard of morality shoved down your throat when you, like anyone else, actually stumbles? Now that might be too much to ask. Far better to lower the standard, or even eliminate it, so that nobody might feel guilty.

Wasn't that what Christ taught? Oops! He actually said to be perfect. Oh well, I guess we will have to keep those high standards after all, even when we fail to meet them, and have to confess and ask for forgiveness.

Jimmy Swaggart, where are you when we need you? Now that was old style confession and repentance, much like the early days of the Church."

LJ you "missed it" because you were fortunate enough not to have been alive during the several hundred years that the Catholic Church ruled Western civilization. And while Swaggert was a particularly hideous and vile individual at least when he got caught with his pants down he DID own up to it. Let me know when the Catholic Church decides to do the same. 'Cause I ain't seen it yet.

Jenny

I am neither a Catholic (but I do have a close Catholic friend) nor do I agree with everything Anne Rice says (though I do like her books), so hopefully I can keep some distance and point out a few things.

The point where Anne Rice's argument seems to falter is when she starts calling the Catholic Church a "criminal institution". If it was a criminal institution, its purpose would be to commit crimes. Her sort of logic would make America a criminal institution too. Have American politicians committed crimes? Yes. Then by her logic, America is a criminal institution and anyone who pays taxes is "aiding and abetting" those politicians. The point she fails to recognize is that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church IS a lot like a government. Corrupt politicians and corrupt clergy both exist, but she's not saying we should all quit having a government due to corruption. No, logic would dictate that we should try to have a BETTER government instead of no government. The only reason to leave the Catholic Church would be because you don't believe in the Bible or "apostolic succession" or the "true presence". I am not a Catholic because I do not believe in those things, but if I did, I wouldn't leave the Church over some corrupt clergy, rather I would fight to get better priests, better hierarchy, so that the sanctity of all I would call holy would be protected. Even I have heard the quotes "there will be wolves among you" and "you can judge them by their fruits" According to their faith, Jesus pretty much predicted that there would be bad priests and bad movements within the church. But again, in order to become a Protestant you can't just judge the current or historical Church to have "bad fruits" and leave without examining the rest of the theology such as apostolic succession or the true presence etc. Again, I'm not actually a Catholic, I have just heard my Catholic friend go on many rants about how people misunderstand her religion, and I'm a big fan of logic and I don't think Anne Rice's argument is logical, so there it is.

JKE

These posts by "Alex" have a particularly hysterical, muliebral quality about them. hmmmm.... Could it be that "Alex" is actually Alexandra Roberts, the professional activist associated with that hysterical blot upon the grievance industry known as SNAP, and minion of the hater Anne Rice, who recently expressly stated her desire for the Catholic Church to be wiped off the face of the earth?

Roberta

“Almost every controversial issue dividing “dissenters” from the Church’s teaching is about sexual morality: fornication, contraception, homosexuality, divorce and most especially abortion."
Alex, you disagreed with that and argued that’s it’s really hypocrisy. But it’s revealing that the ex-Catholic dissenters, like yourself, who are so angry at the Church are all people who disagree with its teaching on sexual issues. You’d think if it was just about hypocrisy, that there would be some angry ex-Catholics who would be opposed to abortion and gay marriage, and still be appalled by what they regard as the Church’s hypocrisy. The accusation of hypocrisy is really the excuse, not the reason for the estrangement from the Church. You can find hypocrisy among every religious and non-religious organization, you just choose to ignore the sins of the other institutions, such as the sex abuse among public school teachers, the murders committed against Catholics in Elizabethan England, etc.

But those who have adopted a hedonistic and utilitarian worldview need to defend the fact that they have turned selfishness into a virtue. You have only two choices at that point. You can either reject the idea of God altogether (and the idea of a higher moral authority), or invent a new fantasy Jesus in your own image who happens to agree with you about abortion and gay marriage.

Do you really believe that Jesus, who demonstrated through his sacrifice on the cross what real love is (a selfless willingness to sacrifice for the beloved), is really in favour of abortion? To continue an unplanned pregnancy and raise a child when you don’t know if you have the financial or emotional resources to do it, requires a tremendous willingness to sacrifice for another. To go through nine months of pregnancy and painful childbirth and then give the child up for adoption because you believe it will have a better life with a married couple who will love it, requires tremendous sacrifice. But abortion? It’s all about me, and my needs and my wants and my desires. In other words, it’s about selfishness. And you think Jesus would praise that? Really? In your heart of hearts, you know that’s not true.

Sure he would be appalled at murders and sins committed by priests and the laity in the past, although accusers conveniently ignore the murders and sins committed by non-Catholics or non-Christians. It doesn’t suit your argument that the Catholic Church is the source of all evil to admit to that. And it doesn’t suit you to recognize all the good the Church has done through the ages, or to recognize that so many of things they value about Western civilization (caring for the poor, hospitals, orphanages, schools, colleges) came from the Catholic Church.

It’s ironic that ex-Catholic dissenting liberals such as yourself, usually are supporters of gay marriage, gay pride, etc, and you condemn the sex abuse by priests. You state: “These monsters, who should NOT be confused with homosexuals (pedophiles prey on children of both sexes after all, depending upon their particular preferences)”.

Surely you realize that 80% of the victims of these priests were post-pubescent boys. How often have you heard of girls being molested? Those were gay priests who broke their vows of chastity and committed heinous sins. When Jesus said that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against his church, he was indicating that Gates of Hell would try. Satan has been attacking the Church both from within and from without. The internal attack came from those gay men gay men who joined the Church and then committed vile and despicable actions that would cause so much scandal and harm. So it’s interesting that the gay rights movement and its supporters are the ones leaving the Church and denouncing it and attacking it from the outside as well. And if you suggest that the gay priests who were attracted to adolescent boys are totally unlike gay men in general, you don’t know much about the gay culture. Read gay “coming-of-age” literature. It’s very frequently about pre-pubescent boys discovering the joys of gay sex in the arms of older men. As a librarian, I saw all the publishers’ catalogues with all the new fiction being published each year. It was a common theme of the gay coming-of-age novel.

About the witch hunts, this wasn’t an exclusively Catholic phenomenon. You do recall that the Salem witch trials were conducted in a Puritan colony. Historians believe that about 50,000-60,000 people were killed during the witch hunts. The witch craze reached its peak between 1550 and 1650 during the vicious religious wars of the Reformation era. Areas where the Catholic Church was strong were largely free of it -- Ireland killed only four witches in three centuries. But in Germany, epicentre of the sectarian struggle, 26,000 witches died in an era of extreme social turmoil. Most of them were executed by local secular courts, victims of the grievances of their neighbours, Catholic and Protestant alike.

As for the Spanish Inquisition, the truth is more complicated than the myths would indicate. I suggest you read the “The myth of the Spanish Inquisition” (The 1994 BBC/A&E production, "The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition" exposes the common understanding that the Inquisition was a vast pogrom of non Catholics as largely the creation of Protestant propaganda.)

http://catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0008.html

The Spanish Inquisition: Fact Versus Fiction (Fr. Marvin R. O'Connell convincingly undoes the Black Legend and reveals the historical reality of the Spanish Inquisition.)

http://catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0026.html

Roberta

Correction to mu post above:

When I wrote: "It’s very frequently about pre-pubescent boys discovering the joys of gay sex in the arms of older men." I meant to say: "It’s very frequently about post-pubescent but underage boys discovering the joys of gay sex in the arms of older men."

Alex

Jenny I think your own argument suffers from some logical weaknesses. I don't say that to attack you because I do understand the gist of what you are trying to convey. But let me point out one thing. You say Anne Rice's arguments are not logical because she calls the Catholic Church a criminal institution and that such an institution exists to commit crimes and then compared that to the American government. We'll leave aside the current belief of many Americans that our government has BECOME a criminal intuition because that's a huge separate topic all on its own.

When Ms. Rice points to the Catholic Church as a criminal institution akin to the mafia what she means is pretty simple. The mafia does indeed exist to commit crimes. However, to that end, they are involved in several varying and LEGITIMATE businesses. These are known as "fronts." The Catholic Church may not have begun with the intention of being a criminal organization but I would submit to you that it was not terribly long before they BECAME one and used their ministry, churches, monasteries and nunneries and charities as fronts for their own criminal activity. That criminal activity has included rape, child molestation, physical abuse of women and children, torture and murder. No historian would tell you otherwise. So if that isn't a criminal institution I don't know what is.

Roberta

Embittered angry ex-Catholics who leave the Church usually do with a triumphalist declaration that the Church is going to dwindle away as people like them leave. That thought doesn't alarm me. The truth is the truth even even if no one believes it, and a lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. Popularity is not the goal. Fidelity to Jesus' teachings is the goal. Jesus said "if you were of the world the world would love you".

Wilsonch

Alex, though I wish it were otherwise, your reply to me validates my points.

Nothing that the Catholic Church could do now or could have done in the past would change your position.

I did not say that the Catholic Church had never done any wrong, only that you were so focused on the wrong that no amount of good would matter to you; you don't even acknowledge the existence of good actions or events associated with the Catholic Church.

I did not wish that God would give you peace with the Catholic Church; merely simple peace. You read into my words what you wanted to read into them.

I could answer some of your points, but I won't. To do so would have no effect.

BTW, I am not Catholic. Never have been.

May God somehow bring you peace.

Paul H

Jenny, that was an excellent comment. Thank you for contributing to this discussion.

Jenny

Alex:

So, you think that from early on the Catholic Church was basically a front for an international organized crime syndicate? That's a very bold statement. I'll grant you that it technically follows logically if you assume that the religion itself is the front. It just seems a little hard to swallow and sounds a bit like a conspiracy theory, but let me play along for a bit:

You are saying that there is a network of priests going back over a thousand years who run a religious institution for basically what amounts to "twisted fun and profit"?

Do you think that they have effected the dogma/theology of the Catholic religion or kept it separate in order to maintain a clean front? (It just seems over the top to me that Popes and bishops and whoever would have even bothered writing all of their religious papers if they were really just in it for money and power and debauchery. Not to mention the lay people whose diaries I've read occasionally, who seemed totally into the religious Catholicism and not some kind of mafia.)

With that in mind, what percentage of the Church clergy would you say are in on the mafia part? What percentage of the lay people?

And finally: would it be possible for the Catholics who are NOT part of the Catholic mafia to flush out the mafia and basically reclaim their religion? Because I can tell you for a fact that my friend is not a Catholic for profit or power or debauchery.

Again, I don't find this argument terribly convincing yet. I get that there have been a lot of corrupt people, even corrupt Popes etc, and there were groups that DID use their own local church kind of like a mafia, but an international mafia that makes up the very backbone of the Church itself spanning back over a thousand years? I haven't really seen the evidence that it's all that cohesive and all encompassing. Care to share?

Alex

Wilsonch, as a general thing, I AM at peace, with God, with the universe, even with the failings of mankind. Ergo, the only thing your comment applied to for me was the Catholic Church. Any group that engages in charitable enterprises generally manages to do some good. I have not denied the existence of the truly devout among the ranks of Catholics nor do I say that all priests are child abusers. But in an institution such as this one, enough of them are to be of grave concern.

But yes, my study of history has indeed convinced me that the Catholic Church has almost always been a rather pernicious branch of evil and it has done, overwhelmingly, far more harm than good to humankind.

Could my opinion of the Church be changed now? It is possible but unlikely. Because its workings would have to become transparent and it would have to be SEEN as cleaning up its mess and offering, with sincere humility, redress to its modern victims.

Alex

JKE you say, "These posts by "Alex" have a particularly hysterical, muliebral quality about them. hmmmm.... Could it be that "Alex" is actually Alexandra Roberts, the professional activist associated with that hysterical blot upon the grievance industry known as SNAP, and minion of the hater Anne Rice, who recently expressly stated her desire for the Catholic Church to be wiped off the face of the earth?"

I actually have no idea who that is but she sounds like a cool chick and I'll have to check her out. Thanks for the heads up! :) As to wanting the Catholic Church wiped off the face of the earth... personally I'm torn on that. In a perfect world there indeed would be no organized religion. Religion has been a blot upon scientific advancement since its inception so absolutely I'd like to see that awful stumbling block removed from the path of humankind. But on the other I recognize the need for spiritual comfort experienced by most people. If we would quit subsidizing religion and insist that people keep their religion to themselves (i.e we quit letting them interfere in politics and law and from ramming their views down the throats of others)I'd actually be fine with it.

Alex

When dealing with the reasons I am annoyed with the Catholic Church it is absurd to suggest that I must ALSO post a laundry list of other people who commit the same crimes in order to be “fair.” Or that I must enumerate all the other people who do bad things that I also think are awful lest it be assumed that I ONLY believe child abuse is wrong when committed by clergy. Certainly people who work in positions of trust with children, and then violate that trust by abusing them in ANY way, are worthy of our worst contempt and harshest retribution. What makes it especially ugly when it is a priest who is the abuser is because this person is seen as having a link with God. Such an abuser destroys faith along with innocence in our children. When you feel you cannot even turn to God because it is HIS very agent that has violated you… I cannot even begin to imagine how dreadful that must feel. So yes, it IS a very special brand of evil and, of all those monsters who would seek to violate children, the priest pedophile is the absolute worst.
Also, I am not an ex-Catholic but I AM an anti-theist, that meaning quite simply that I am opposed to all organized religion because I can see quite clearly the harm it has done to the human race, harm that far outdoes the good of even the best and most sincere of its followers. I am most particularly opposed to the Catholic Church because I have seen that it is the longest running offender in the Western world.
So no, the Catholic Church is not alone in witch hunting, child abuse, torture and murder. But again, because they also claim to be agents of God, when they commit the same heinous crimes of others in the secular world it is especially appalling. Does this mean I expect priests to be superhuman and never to do anything wrong? Of course not. But when they DO it is incumbent on the Church itself to root them out and hand them over to the secular authorities for punishment, NOT to hide their crimes and provide them with a fresh hunting ground for victims.
When you say, “But in Germany, epicentre of the sectarian struggle, 26,000 witches died in an era of extreme social turmoil. Most of them were executed by local secular courts, victims of the grievances of their neighbours, Catholic and Protestant alike,” that only proves MY point that ALL organized religion is evil and appalling. But just because the Catholic Church doesn’t have the corner on the market when it comes to the evil of persecution of the innocent doesn’t make its own atrocities any less appalling. To think otherwise, to point fingers and say, “Look! THEY did it too!” is incredibly childish and utterly beside the point. Frankly, you should be ashamed for even trying that tack.
And while I believe there is nothing wrong with any sort of sex between consenting adults I actually have no problem at all with the Catholic Church fulminating against such behavior. I am not among those who say that the Church must change its stance on sin. I fully support the right of people to believe whatever silly nonsense they like. I find people who insist on clinging to the Catholic Church despite disagreeing with its “moral” tenants to be rather ridiculous. Especially when we are fortunate enough to live in a country with freedom of religion and therefore these people are perfectly free to form their own spiritual communities, take whatever it is they DO like about the Catholic faith and adapt it to suit their own worldview, just as every other Christian sect has done since Martin Luther forward.
Nor am I about to debate the “gay sex always starts with older gays taking advantage of children” nonsense you have come up with. I hate to tell you this but humans are sexual beings and their interest in sex begins long before we legally endorse sexual behavior. Sadly, many a heterosexual girl has also been taken advantage of by an older straight man, easily MORE than boys who have been taken advantage of by gay men. The incidence of sexual misconduct among gays is no higher than that among straight people and the incidence of sexual VIOLENCE is FAR lower among gay men than among straight men. So until you have educated yourself on a subject, you would be wise to avoid it. And no, reading lists of popular fiction literature does NOT count as an education.
I WOULD be interested in finding out where you get the statistic that 80% of the Catholic sex abuse cases are perpetrated by gay priests against teenaged boys. I suspect it is a product of your own wishful thinking as no scientific studies have been able to be done on this subject due to the very secrecy of the Church itself. I would be willing to concede that perhaps most of the cases brought against the church may involve teenaged boys but this is just as likely to be because older kids are more comfortable about coming out with information about their abuse than small children who try to bury such events and their protective parents who would rather not re-traumatize them by making them relive their abuse through a trial. Same thing with girls of almost any age as, thanks to intuitions like the Catholic Church, ANY sexual contact brings shame on THEM as much as on their abuser.
Nor am I likely to engage with you on “WWJD?” on the matter of abortion. I am personally no fan of abortion but I consider it a necessary evil in an imperfect world. None of us know when (or even if) a fetus is imbued with a soul. Nor do any of us know what may happen to that soul in the event of an abortion, or a miscarriage for that matter. That is something for each INDIVIDUAL to work out with God on their own. You are, of course, free to believe it’s a sin and the Church is free to command its followers to regard it as such. What the Church is NOT free to do is to continually try to interfere with secular law in its efforts to get it to conform with their beliefs.
I DO find it appalling that the Church attempts to keep sex they do not approve of rife with terrible consequences and danger. The Church’s prohibitions against birth control are especially vile as is their willful blindness to the suffering this policy causes people foolish enough to believe in it. Only fact based sex education and easily accessible (and ultimately improved) birth control will significantly reduce the horror of abortion. I realize the Church does not actually CARE about that but it remains true just the same.
Lastly, the fact that you would refer to the Inquisition as a “myth” tells me all I need to know about you. I am as unlikely to read a bunch of rubbish attempting to convince me of that view as I am to read the cruel nonsense that attempts to persuade people that the Holocaust never happened either.

Alex

Carl Olsen you say, "Many (if not most) critics who rightly denounce sexual abuse by priests are unwilling to admit and condemn abuse by non-Catholic clergy and school teachers. They refuse to acknowledge the destruction wrought in society because of the "sexual revolution", which has reaped a bloody whirlwind of abortion and the catastrophic rending of families, marriages, and communities."

I would take issue with that statement. In fact, I believe it is far more common for Catholic defenders to engage in, "Well THEY did it to!" in order to either deflect attention from their own sex scandal mess and/or to attempt to mitigate its severity. I have NEVER said such abuse does not happen in other religions or in non-religious settings where you have adults in places of trust with children. Child predators are DRAWN to just such occupations and should therefore be subject to being thoroughly vetted and, when it turns out ANY of those people have abused a child, they should be turned over to the secular authorities where they will hopefully meet the harshest earthly justice we can visit upon them. The failure of the Catholic Church to do so, every bit as much as the sexual abuse itself, is what has so inflamed the public and rightly so.

In addition I also STRONGLY disagree with your contention that the sexual revolution has "...reaped a bloody whirlwind of abortion and the catastrophic rending of families, marriages, and communities."

The fact is that abortion PROBABLY happens no more frequently now than before it became a relatively safe and legal medical procedure. And before legal abortion we had a great deal of infanticide... and suicide, as well. I say "probably" because, back when it was illegal it was also secretive and people simply didn't talk about it so it is impossible to conduct any actual statistical analysis. Which ALSO holds true for YOUR contention. You have absolutely no way to verify whether or not abortion, attempted abortion, or suicide by a woman with an unwanted pregnancy was any more or LESS prevalent prior to the dreaded sexual revolution so any pronouncement to the contrary is simple foolishness and hubris.

Nor was marriage in any better a state back in "the good old days" than it is now. The truth is that marriage has ALWAYS been a 50/50 crapshoot in terms of success. Because the TRUTH is that a marriage in which 2 people are miserable and may even actively dislike each other, but will not divorce merely because of religious and/or social pressures is NOT a success. Divorce rates may be up dramatically but marriage is no more or less successful than it has ever been. It's easy to point at statistics and say, "Oh look! Since the evil sexual revolution divorce has skyrocketed!" and never ask the question, WHY? Is it really because people don't value commitment anymore? Or is it because, since the evil sexual revolution, people are no longer sentenced to live an entire life of misery, yoked to someone they can't stand but chose when they were young and foolish? Only a very cruel and sadistic God indeed would tell these people they must stay bound together and suffer for their entire lives or face eternity in hell.

Alex

Jenny, I am a cynic by nature (I blame my lifelong interest in history and psychology)and generally suspect the worst of people. Once in awhile I am pleasantly surprised but not terribly often. Do I think the Catholic Church was founded for the express purpose of being an evil empire whose sole focus was the amassing of power, control and wealth? Of course not. But it BECAME a largely (if not entirely) criminal organization due to the actions of a significant portion of its hierarchy. Those who used their position in the Church for power and profit and eventually made of it a powerhouse in international banking and the prosecution of war were and are criminal to my mind, even if they are not to their own. No I don't believe the Illuminati run the Church nor even the mafia. But when you kill those who oppose you and use both torture and war to gain your ends, when you cover up evidence of crime by your members and protect them from prosecution by the law, when you pay hush money to silence those who can accuse you rather than face them in court... sorry but that sounds an awful lot like a criminal organization to me.

JKE

No point in arguing with the likes of Alex, friends. Facts, logic, and common sense mean very little to her. She's driven by emotions, primarily by the will to annihilate; that is, by hate. She's one of the new Nazis.

She'll hate this, I know, but really the best we can do for her is to pray for her. This is no little thing, of course.

P.S. Don't bother. I reject "Godwin's law."

Achilles

Dearest Alex, you are a goldmine of misunderstanding. You are possessed in the most visceral way by the spirit of the times. Every line you excrete is further clarification of the anatomy of confusion. We all owe you a debt of gratitude for the clarity, but a different kind of gratitude tnan that you lavish on yourself.

Alex

All I can do at this point is sigh and shake my head. I'd feel sorry for you folks if your misguided church and people like you had not been (and continues to be) one of the primary forces trying its hardest to drag ALL of us back into the Dark Ages and to utterly extinguish the light of science, reason and logic. I will, of course, in the interests of fairness and justice, continue to stand against your church in the efforts of all thinking people to stop your very special brand of criminality and cover up and to see to it that your pedophile priests are no longer above the law. I do not want to see your church destroyed, no matter what the more hateful and shrill among you may say. But I DO want it to be removed from the position of harming children and people who do not agree with its dogma and are not Catholic. But I will now turn my attention to people who can listen and make decisions unbiased by centuries of fear and ignorance. My brief time among you here has only shown me your further hypocrisy and hatred and, most overwhelmingly, your fear. I thank you for that.

And by all means, feel free to pray for me to your angry, vengeful and punishing old man in the sky. I'll pray to God for you. Adieu.

Peter M.

Achilles,
Well said.

Achilles

Vaya con Dios! Alex, and don't let the windmill hit you on the way out!

Paris

Thank you Alex for all your CORRECT posts... Finally someone here addressing the issues! I could not have said any of this better myself.
Catholics are not asking for change. They should be.
Attacking one woman for doing exactly the author of this article himself is doing... ridiculous.
Anne Rice is supporting equal rights, women's rights, victims of clergy abuse, etc. How is that so wrong? Yes she dislikes the Catholic Church and all of its misgivings. Yes she left. So what? If you really had complete faith and were confident enough in the RCC itself then none of this would bother you.
No not all Catholic followers are bad, and she has never said that. What she did say is not asking for the RCC to come clean and admit all the horrible things that happened and were covered-up by all different levels of the RCC... is the same as condoning the abuse. Standing by and letting someone get away with abuse makes you guilty of the same crime.

If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Alex

Thank you very much Paris. I wasn't going to post again but wanted to say that. Hope to see you on Anne Rice's Facebook page.

Oh and Achilles, you totally creep me out. Just sayin'.

Sandra Currie

Keep your doctrine, and stop committing and covering up the most heinous crime. Are you serious that people are angry at the Church for it's teachings on sexual morality? It's it's practice of sexual immorality that is the reason for the attacks.

Dale Price

I'm bookmarking this post and showing Alex's comments to my children.

It's important for them to see the "enlightened," calculated and pure hatred people like Alex have for them and their faith.

She hates your faith, kids. She hates me and your mother for passing the faith on to you. How could she not? She would no doubt snort derisively over her merlot at this characterization, but here's the reality: she's fifty-fifty ("torn") on whether she wants to see your beliefs wiped from the face of the earth. It's hard to believe she's talking about random asteroid debris doing the trick, either.

Remember what we taught you about the Nazis' efforts to exterminate the Jews--how they started with a campaign of demonizing and extreme rhetoric, feeding on old fears and grisly stereotypes? Note how old anti-Catholic saws crop up in abundance in Alex's post.

Sorry, beloved daughters and sons--it's her and people like her who are going to do their damnedest to push you to the wall during your lifetimes. We'll prepare you as best we can, but the storm's coming.

Oh, and hi, Anne, since you seem to be a frequent reader here. Nice set of new fans you've managed to acquire! I wonder at your priorities, though--worrying about "conflicts of interest" while ignoring the exterminationist mindset amongst your creepier fans.
I still admire much of your work, even if I don't pretend to understand your motivations, preaching and extreme rhetoric over the past few months. If following Christ alone means liberating oneself from accountability to others and damning your former co-religionists with increasingly incendiary rhetoric at every turn...Let's just say it's a far more effective counter-argument for your path than anything I could have come up with. Look at who you're standing shoulder to shoulder with now--people "torn" about the extirpation of an entire belief system from the face of the earth. As Theodore Dalrymple pointed out about Sam Harris' similarly bloodthirsty rhetoric, it's a short hop from preaching the extermination of inconvenient belief systems to the gas chamber.

http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_4_oh_to_be.html

Dale Price

"If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem."

Spoken by a woman who calls eliminationist rhetoric correct. Keep preaching from that position of moral superiority, ma'am.

God in heaven, this would be funny if it weren't so gruesome.

Brights: Devotees of tolerance and reason. Listen to us--or else.

Paris

Dale Price... Don't presume to know who all her followers are. Or who I am. My entire family is Catholic, I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic School and Church Mass... Even went to Catholic Bible camp. I have no desire to erase the entire Catholic religion from the face of the Earth!
I am speaking about the attack going on against women's rights, the cover-up of priest pedophilia and equality for gay marriage, etc.
People have a right to be mad about what is going on... In all different Christian religions reports are coming out about pedophilia and rape. Churches are settling out of court and paying off victims. They were covering tracks, covering-up and not coming clean to the world about what was going on.
Many Fundamentalist Christians have been publicly intolerant and hateful of homosexuals, transsexuals, feminists and people of other religions (i.e. Islam and Wicca).
So for you to be calling those upset by this intolerance, "pure hatred" people, is ridiculous. We are not fueled by hate, we are angry. Angry at the injustices we ourselves have faced and those around us in the name of Christ. We are calling for change, for acceptance, for accountability and for true tolerance.

Dale Price

No, Paris, THIS is pure hatred:

"As to wanting the Catholic Church wiped off the face of the earth... personally I'm torn on that."

That's from Alex, the one whose posts you lauded as "correct." April 4, 4:13am.

Don't attempt to lecture me about intolerance when you praise garbage like that.

Achilles

paris, Alex will reward you by making you the govenor of your own island-

LJ

If we would quit subsidizing religion and insist that people keep their religion to themselves (i.e we quit letting them interfere in politics and law and from ramming their views down the throats of others)I'd actually be fine with it.

Mmmm... It seems to me that this particular view would then be rammed down our throats. Remember Alex, there is no neutral. Either your view gets rammed down our throats or you get the tolerant view that we have taken and you wish to take advantage of; that is, that everyone gets to apply their own moral and religious view to their politics because they are citizens. If we were really intolerant your point of view would never have seen the light of day.

Dr John James

"Also very classy of you to compare me to Nazis and murderers"

Alex, I confess I've read, and re-read, my intial post in this debate about a dozen times, trying to work out where I mentioned "Nazis or murderers" and where I compared you to them.
The point I was trying to make ( obviously not very well) is that I admired the zeal with which you were prosecuting your case against the Catholic Church, though I think the zeal misplaced, hence my reference to my 'Liberty Baptist' friend, and St Paul, before his conversion.

Lynne Newington

Alex, that was so sad to read, hopefully she took his advice.
Then on the other hand, mothers foster vocations for the priesthood and it would break their hearts if they thought their son's would take advantage of any woman let alone a religious, but sad as it is, some do; no, many do.
Stories of not only ex-nuns, but those who have remained in religious life.
South Africa is a good example but is a world wide problem, if we want to be honest of course.

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