Guest post: Normalizing Catholic torture

September 29, 2011 • 5:00 am

This is a guest post by Grania Spingies of Atheist Ireland.  After talking with her about the abuse of women and children by Catholic priests in Ireland, and having read some of the Ryan Report (link at bottom), which is disturbing beyond belief, I invited her to write about that issue.

What appalls me is not only the Ryan Report’s descriptions of the atrocities, but the systematic actions of the Church to cover up the crimes, arrogating any punishment to the Church itself rather than to civil authorities.  It would behoove you as well to read Pope Ratzi’s letter (link below) mandating the coverup.  The fact that these actions, and the exculpatory assertions of the Church, extend to the very highest levels of the Vatican has led me to conclude that the coverup of child (and adult) abuse is an official policy of the Catholic Church.

***

NORMALIZING TORTURE

by Grania Spingies

As the years go by and more and more cases of child rape and abuse by Catholic priests come to light, we become inured to the reports and immunised against feeling anything more than resignation to the seemingly endless parade of horrors.

Amnesty International has classified the institutionalised betrayal and exploitation of children as torture, and this is about as close an approximation as language is ever going to get to describing the litany of crimes committed against children and adults by members of Catholic-run institutions in Ireland over the last few decades.

It has become almost an amusing pastime to catalogue the excuses offered by representatives of the Church in their blatant attempts at damage control and dissemination of the blame as widely as they can. The Vatican and its lesser representatives have laid the blame on gaysoverworksecularizationIrish mothers and even the victims themselves. Apparently everyone is to blame except the very institution that has done so much for decades to block investigation, shelter the criminals, and stymie the judicial process.

Bu this is not distant history alone that has slowly been uncovered. This week, the Irish papers report once again that another priest has “taken leave” as a new police investigation begins.

In an unprecedented statement in July this year, Ireland’s Prime Minister, Taoiseach Enda Kenny broke the long-honored deference on the part of the Irish government to the Church and openly criticised it: “when it comes to the protection of the children of this State, the standards of conduct which the Church deems appropriate to itself, cannot and will not, be applied to the workings of democracy and civil society in this republic”:

This comment must, however, be viewed in light of the statement by the current Pope Ratzinger who has stated: “Standards of conduct appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.” Currently the Catholic Church controls more than 90% of the state-financed schools in Ireland. It also owes hundreds of millions of Euros for legal fees and other costs due after the various Commissions of Inquiry reported about institutionalised child abuse at the hands of a number of Irish Catholic institutions. So far, however, the Irish taxpayer has financed most of this as well.  At the moment it’s not clear whether this debt will ever be repaid by the Church.

But even now some Irish priests and their defenders are defiant and unrepentant—and intend to oppose new laws that would legally oblige the clergy to report any knowledge of such crimes, even if obtained through Confession. The director of the Iona Institute, Ireland’s ultra-conservative Catholic “think-tank,” stated that the proposed new law was equivalent to mindless mob violence: “Even revolutionary France in the days of its worst violence against the church did not pass a law requiring the breaking of the seal of confession”.

To people like this, the reputation of the Church far outweighs any actual crime or abuse to defenceless members.

The Vatican’s official response to the Irish Taoiseach’s speech was complete repudiation, citing his accusation of the institution’s attempts to frustrate the judicial process as “unfounded”.

In fact, history directly contradicts this assertion. In 2001 Ratzinger issued a letter to Irish bishops specifying that the Church was to hold its own inquiries in private and keep any evidence secret for a minimum of ten years. The letter reprises earlier missives that argued for the same tactics in 1997 and in the 1960s.

In spite of occasional speeches of contrition and self-pity, on the whole the Vatican is apparently playing a waiting game, denying and obfuscating for as long as they are able. The public are slowly becoming anaesthetised to the continual news feed of cases of abuse, torture and rape; and our inertia and ignorance only allows this institution and its supporters to ignore their responsibilities and complicity in a crime that has lasted for decades. There is no end to the Catholic Church’s callous indifference to justice and reparation.

Although the findings of these reports are horrifying and deeply saddening, they should not be forgotten or go unread until justice has finally been served.

You can read the Ryan Report here.

***

JAC: If you don’t have the stamina—or the stomach—for the Ryan Report, let me describe the actions of just one priest recounted in its pages. And believe me, this isn’t even the worst of the many cases—and there are many. Although the following is disturbing, there is no other way to apprehend how vile the acts of Catholic priests really were. And keep in mind that this is only one of four such commissions that issued reports in the last decade.

This is the testimony of an adult, describing his abuse as a child in a Catholic industrial or reformatory school. It comes from Chapter 7, Volume III, of the report: “Record of abuse: male witnesses.”

Br …X… came and pulled me from my bed into his bedroom, he turned his wireless up to full volume and said “take that nightshirt off, you can scream now as much as you like, you little bastard”. He masturbated himself with his left hand while he was hitting me with his strap…. He just brought the strap down on me and kicked me with his boots on, that is all he was wearing…. He threatened that if I told anyone the same would happen again. . .

One particular morning he …(Br X)… put me up against the wall because I was left handed, he put me hands up against the wall like that …indicated arms stretched above head… he started flogging me with the leather strap. This particular session I lost all control and soiled myself, he took me by the ear straight out, around to the showers. He wanted me to strip off and get into the shower, the water was freezing. … It’s very hard for me to tell this … but I want to tell it anyway … I was crouched down in the corner, he grabbed me by the hair into the cubicle, dragged me up off the floor, on the lats you know, lats for the seats and he buggered me again, and told me to shut up, I was screaming, I was in sheer pain you know. He had done it before in my bed and he made me bleed, he tore the skin you know. It could be once a week and then he mightn’t come near you for a month. It lasted for all the years I was there.

Read and weep—and get mad.


66 thoughts on “Guest post: Normalizing Catholic torture

  1. And this is the organisation that wants to define morality for the rest of us! Yes, I’m angry. The pope should be put on trial for crimes against humanity, because his finger prints are all over the Vatican’s filibustering. The pope and the church think they stand outside of and above society. In Scotland the catholic bishops have said that the state has no right to pass laws which will change the definition of marriage. They think that canon law is superior to state law. They need to be shown that this is not the case, and that they are citizens like everyone else, with no more moral authority than anyone else. When is this madness of letting Vatican off with the idea that it constitutes a state and has rules that are superior to civil laws going to stop?! Let’s root out these buggers from their embassies (nunciatures) and send them packing back to their perverse little enclave of celibate(?!) men.

    1. “When is this madness of letting Vatican off with the idea that it constitutes a state and has rules that are superior to civil laws going to stop?!”

      The confidentiality of the confessional is not unique to the Catholic church, Eric. In that regard, canon law, in this case referring specifically to the RC church, is above state law for all churches. If the confessional protects the admissions of the murderer, why wouldn’t it protect the admissions of the pedophiles?

      1. Marta, it is true that the issue of the confidentiality of the confessional is not confined to the Catholic Church, but I do not think it is true that the idea that canon law overrides state law applies to other churches — the only likely exception is the Church of England, and I simply don’t know. Most churches are incorporated by acts of civil legislatures, and are bound by civil law. If they have canons that govern their empoloyees or members, these are not laws that supercede state law. However, the Vatican actually believes that it’s moral rules as well as its canons supersede state law, which is why they actually take laws making possible the marriage of gays as anti-Catholic measures. The days of Gregory VII and Henry IV at Canossa are upon us again, and popes are beginning to make the same kind of claim to supremacy that Gregory made. Someone has to tell the pope quite bluntly where he stands. He’s the head of religious institution that has no rights whatever over any but those believers who willingly cede authority to him.

        1. The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) have their own issues with pedophiles. The “clergy” of LDS are all laymen, and state law protects the confidentiality of these bishop-laypeople with their parishioners. Try to sue an Elder (an elder can be a teenage boy) in the LDS for molestation, and the plaintiff will come up against state-sanctioned obstacles that protect conversations, records, etc.

          1. So “cannon” law of whatever stripe is to always take precedent over the law of the land? I don’t think so. After all, the law in our country (the U.S.) is based on our Constitution and English common law.

            Anyone who abuses any child, whether sexually or in some other manner, is, IMO,the lowest form of humanity and must be tried in accordance with the law of the land no matter the perpetrator’s position in ANY organization!

            Any person or organization that shelters such people should be considered as complicit as the actual perpetrator/s.

            1. Certain occupations are advantaged in law by “privilege”–doctors, lawyers, therapists (with some exclusions) and the clergy. There may be others. I understand your ire, but the conversations between the “penitent” and his or her legally recognized confessor are protected from disclosure, by law. Of course, this includes the disclosures about child rape by priests to their bishops. This is not “canon law by any stripe”, but a specific right that is enshrined in our legal code. There will not be any clerical officials in any church, temple or mosque who violate the confessional, unless the laws which protect them are changed. Which is extremely unlikely.

              1. Which, of course, raises the question of whether or not this privilege should continue to be recognized. I’m inclined to think it may have as much a social role as the privilege between lawyer and client, but I can see easy room for debate on that.

                Also, there are some technical differences between the canon and secular extent of the privileges. As I(AmNotALawyer) understand, certain types of offense breach the privilege under secular law, such that a prosecutor or grand jury may legally compel testimony; the canon holds the seal of confession an absolute duty. At that point, the “compromise” between the two is that the priest goes to jail.

              2. In reply to abb3w

                There is a very distinct and practical reason for the lawyer-client privilege. Legal counsel has to represent their client to the best of their ability, and compelling them to testify against their own client would not only be detrimental to the way the judicial processes operate, but could arguably genuinely damage the presumption that anyone facing trial is innocent until proven guilty.

                There is no corresponding reason why such a privilege and exemption should be given to people on the basis of their belonging to only one particular sect of one particular religious cult.

              3. Well I am a lawyer and the lady is confused as to what law is applicable.

                The reason the privacy of the confessional is recognized is due to the 1stA to the Constitution.
                This protection only allows a minister, priest, or whatever equivalent to refuse to talk about what happened in a “confessional” discussion between him/her/them and with whom the “confessional” was conducted.

                Child rape w/i the confines of any edifice is an entirely different matter and when evidence is proffered that such an abuse took place, the accused has a right to defend him or herself w/i the constraints of Constitutional and Common law; not “church law”.

                The issue here is not about confessional privilege; it is a simple matter of those who have been abused finally some how finding the courage to come forward and name names of specific “officials” of one or more churches. If the evidence is sufficient for an indictment to issue, then such should be issued and the arrest warrant should follow and the accused given the same opportunity to defend him or herself in an appropriate court of jurisdiction.

                IMO, whenever a church moves an accused before the law has an opportunity to take its rightful coarse, the church and its representatives have made themselves just as guilty as the actual offender/s; such are, at a minimum,accomplices to felonious acts and should be prosecuted as such.

                I would love to see a case where the “vatican”(it doesn’t deserve capitalization)receives a request for extradition of one of the accused and see how quickly the rcc denies the request due to it being solely a church matter. The true nature of the church would perhaps then be disclosed so that almost everyone could understand the inherent evil of the system of mythology.

              4. “This protection only allows a minister, priest, or whatever equivalent to refuse to talk about what happened in a “confessional” discussion between him/her/them and with whom the “confessional” was conducted.”

                Yeah. That’s what I said.

                Hard to see how your being a lawyer added any clarity.

              5. Perhaps because you really understand nothing at all about the law and insist on talking about the “confessional” when that is not the issue.

                Your posts appear to be for deflectional purposes only and typical “the church is right” and everyone else is wrong.

                More’s the pity.

              6. In Re: Grania, my understanding is that the privilege is not only (as you imply) granted to only one sect, but that rather as BradW alludes, it applies to any religious “confessional”, even outside Christianity. (Of course, not all creeds are as strict about nondisclosure. Confess murder to a Rabbi, and in a heartbeat they can decide to testify, without religious consequence and with the only legal consequence being a headache for your defense counsel. However, my understanding is that no judge will do squat if he chooses to invoke the privilege to remain silent.)

                This becomes relevant in Catholic church hierarchy terms, as it is not uncommon for a Bishop to serve as the confessor to subordinate Priests.

                There are arguments to give distinct and practical social reasons for allowing a restricted privilege based on the social utility of confession. I’m not sure on the balance of those arguments. So, I note again: the question remains as to whether or not the privilege should continue to be recognized. However, as BradW indicates, as a question of US law, the specific degree of privilege afforded to priests is well rooted in common law, case law, and the First Amendment; and thus, thoroughly answered. This leaves it potentially open as a political question, not to mention as a question in non-US law (though the privilege may predate the US/UK/Irish fissions of common law); but as a US political question, you need to figure out a revision of the First Amendment that will eliminate the “undue” amount of privilege without causing bigger problems, and so obviously such that it will pass the 2/3 house+senate and 3/4 States. In short: “Something better? Fat chance.”

                Or you can address it as a post-political question. But I, for one, am not quite prepared to start a full scale out-and-out civil war over an inability to revise the First Amendment… unless you’ve a really, really clever idea about what to replace it with.

      2. Since we have a secular state with a secular law, the resolution would naturally be that if churches can’t abide by laws they have to stop doing whatever is causing the problem.

        I would think that confession rites would place well with other abuse,* and should be stopped.

        ————
        It is a violation of privacy, even if made as a suggestion of voluntary submission.

        And AFAIK psychological research says that it isn’t healthy to try to remember and bring up old traumatic events. Each time you will lay down a new, possibly more traumatic, memory of “what happened”.

  2. Ratzinger told Germans not to leave the church because of these cases of child abuse.

    Surely these people are leaving the church because it is STILL helping to cover them up by refusing to release their files?

    *Slap* don’t leave the church *slap* justbecause we were slapping people *slap* around the face *slap*

  3. The Church is an organized crime syndicate, no more and no less. Even Hamas and the Mafia run their charities for moral cover; the Church is no different.

    Time and time again we see that one of the primary functions of the church is to run an international child rape racket. They charge parents for the privilege of having their children raped. They transfer priests to new jurisdictions when people start to complain, thereby protecting them from prosecution and simultaneously supplying them with a whole new crop of fresh victims. And they actively obstruct justice in every way they can when flight isn’t an option.

    And, yes. Ratzinger is directly responsible; just read up on how he helped “Father” Maciel escape prosecution in Mexico by having him sheltered by the Church in Florida.

    The sooner we stop pretending that the Church is anything but the wealthiest and most powerful mob in the history of humanity, the sooner we can dismantle the syndicate and end their crime spree.

    Oh — and I fully expect child rape apologists like Ye Olde Statistician to come flooding out of the woodwork on this thread. I’d be entertaining if they weren’t defending their “rights” to rape children in Mass.

    b&

  4. One of the ways they can get away with it, in Australia at least, is they cannot be sued for any major compensation due to what is called the “Ellis Defence”

    <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-29/laywers-slam-church-ellis-defence/3035036“> described here in the news just today.

    Basically, the church claims that the priests that committed the abuse are working within an entity which is separate from the assets of the church, which are held in property trusts. Therefore the trusts are not associated with the priests, so the assets cannot be sold off to pay compensation to the victims. The priests have no money to pay compensation, so the church washes its hands of the matter (to use a rather familiar phrase)

    At a minimum the law needs changing so the assets are accessible for compensation, or, as they are not related to “church activities” such as abusing people, the properties should loose their tax-exempt status.

    1. That’s some fancy legal hair-splitting. It lets them say priests are all “poor” (despite driving expensive cars and living in luxurious houses) and churches are all poor (no matter how valuable their properties, no matter how much they take in donations). As much as they’d like to pay out there simply isn’t any money.

      I wonder if that can work for other groups. “Your honour, I’d love to pay the victim but you see I put all of my money into my mansions and whatever is left just got plum eaten up by my bank accounts! I’m totally broke.”

  5. The Catholic Church vs. the child abuse scandal looks to me like the proverbial unstoppable force against the immovable object. The unstoppable force is modern society’s grandly progressing vision of right and wrong. The immovable object is a religious organization that has held as one of its core principles for the last 2,000 years that it is the near-perfect representation of God on earth. To admit that they have been not just wrong but systemically, institutionally wrong; that they have abused the absolute authority that has been a theological hallmark of Catholicism for millennia; that the evil they have done is both widespread and profound — these are not just embarrassing or inconvenient admissions but devastating blows against the very essence of Catholicism. To confess to the scope of the harm that has been done will require a fundamental, and perhaps impossible, change in Catholic hierarchy, theology and mythology. Hence the denial, the pushback and the anger.

      1. By some definitions, yes, and I probably could have left one of the words out without confusing things, but I think of mythology in the sense of things like an omnipotent psychotic male deity who must be feared and obeyed, while theology for me refers to the specific logical conventions that draw from myth to establish religious policy & dogma, e.g. only men can be priests, the Pope is (occasionally) infallible etc.

  6. My next door neighbor’s daughter just went to Europe before the start of her freshman year. Among the things she was doing was meeting the pope. When her mother told me about her trip I was very noncomittal. I am half tempted to come out to them against the pope and his horrible past and present to them, but that will seriously damage our relationship.

    These are the same people who lost their 10 year old son, also named David, to leukemia five years ago, yet still love a just and benevolent god. Yet, also, went to one of those crazy healing preachers as a last resort…

    I have decided that if the daughter tells me about her trip, I will respond with the essence of this post.

  7. If someone broke into the Vatican and forcibly buggered the Pope everyone would be shocked. How can the rape of a child be less shocking?

    1. think about it:

      It would indeed shock you to learn that the Pope was raped.

      why?

      because he is a very rich and powerful man, that’s why.

      the kids are not rich and powerful; just the opposite in fact.

      this is why it can be less shocking to a large part of the world.

      It’s a tragedy.

  8. One effect of the church scandals in Ireland and most of western europe has been that of discouraging young people from viewing the holy orders as a suitable job. I guess this probably goes hand in hand with other societal changes such as the change in the attitute to premarital sex. In any event the end result has been the decimation of the teaching orders such as the christian brothers and sisters of mercy(!) This has removed clerics from the vast majority of school teaching positions in Ireland.
    The same thing has happened regarding the priesthood. In the past Ireland was famous for exporting priests around the world but the drop in applications to the seminaries means they are now talking of requiring priests from the Philipines or Africa to fill the gap in years to come.

  9. And yet, in the past few weeks the comments to the reports posted on this website have shown some supposed atheists championing the suggestion that there are good christians too. While it is true that not every christian is in all ways individually worse than non-christians, every christian lends support to the hideous nature of the christian churches.

    Ignorance to the crimes of christianity is no excuse, each christian should be ashamed of themselves and each of them should be looked down upon with disgust. They are each a cog in the wheel of continuing abuse handed out by the smiling face of the mythology of jesus christ.

    Even the worst criminals do something good from time to time. The occasional good done by a christian should not be seen to offset the crimes of their indulgence.

    1. If one were able to investigate thoroughly, wouldn’t this probably be true of almost every religion that has ever existed?

      1. The christian label is a catchall for the whole stinking lot. If the christians aren’t explicitly pointed to they tend to claim they aren’t implicated.

  10. It is difficult not to feel utter despair at ever finding any good or hope for any human institution.

    If Diogenes were alive today he would throw down his latern in disgust and simply give up.

  11. The Church’s swerving and dodging reminds me strongly of Scientology’s love for creating mazes of corporate entities that make it impossible to pin the rap for anything on anybody.

    A judge in Ontario put paid to that by finding that notwithstanding Scientology’s corporate structure, it’s all one legal entity – and a convicted criminal entity at that. Scientology still uses corporate confusion as a protective device, however.

    Time for a similar finding re Pope Ratsy’s gang of pedophiles and put a stop to the idea that the popesy-wopesey, who controls everything in the church when he wants, is not responsible.

    Put Ratsy and the Curia behind bars!

  12. “The Vatican and its lesser representatives have laid the blame on gays, overwork, secularization, Irish mothers and even
    the victims themselves.”

    By blaming modernity for its appalling viciousness the Catholic Church implies that in the past all was well. Do not believe a word of this. The real culprit is the Church’s pervasive culture of secrecy and unaccountability from the pope downward. Such culture leads and will lead to unspeakable crimes and acts of cruelty. It is designed to avoid any criticism or suggestion that the Church might not be holy and worthy of the uttermost respect. Self-serving holier than you secrecy and unaccountability have been at the very foundation of the power of the Catholic Church throughout history. The whole organization is beyond reform. Its mind and culture have fossilized in an ugly self-perpetuating conflict of interests a very long time ago. Therefore, all the horrors of the present must surely have been committed in the past 19 centuries. Why should anyone accept any guidance from such an institution? To see this, it is true, one might have to question a few dogmas.

    1. Well put.

      “Religious Dogma/s” has/have certainly become fossilized. When things refuse to change, they usually die; the question is over what period of time?

    2. excellent comment!

      i liked the expressive language on the point that church is an institution beyond reform

      if we can master such view at the church we should be able to master the similar view at _all_ current institutions of mankind that are rooted in the fact that mankind evolved and continues to evolve out of ignorance

      it is this enphasis on evolution of enstitutions we should bring towards our analysis of our socio-economic system, its sustainability and the nature and course its evolution

  13. “Standards of conduct appropriate to civil society or the workings of a democracy cannot be purely and simply applied to the Church.”

    This is exactly wrong. The church, like any organization, can offer additional standards of conduct, but point of “standards appropriate to civil society” is that they are subscribed to by all (for some value of “all”).

    Any time a person or organization becomes responsible only to itself it looses its moral compass. It is a problem not just for religion, but for States and Corporations, as can be readily seen in the world today.

    What Benedict is doing is evil not least for the damage he is doing to religion.

    1. What Benedict is doing is evil not least for the damage he is doing to religion.

      it’s really the damage he’s doing WITH religion that’s the problem.

      get rid of the tool, get rid of the problem.

      1. So how does getting rid of religion help with the problems of government not being responsive to the needs of its citizens, and corporations concerned with nothing but maximizing short run financial return? Priests are far from the only ones raping and pillaging.

        I say again, the problem under discussion is lack of accountability.

        1. So how does getting rid of religion help with the problems of government not being responsive to the needs of its citizens

          it doesn’t, directly.

          what it does do is prevent governments from using religion as a club to beat the people into specific directions with.

          it removes one more control mechanism, IOW.

          religion has been a tool of politics since long before the Catholic Church was a gleam in the eye of some Romans.

          If you stop trying to pretend you have the moral high ground based on some fiction, and stop trying to convince people that fiction is the basis for your authority, then the people can actually decide, based on your real world impact, whether or not you should have the authority to lead.

          this would of course lead to the dissolution of the authority of churches… but then that’s the point, they never actually had any legitimate authority to begin with.

          nothing they teach is based on any legitimate expertise or authority that is relevant to what would benefit society best as whole.

          It’s nothing more than one giant con game that has simply gotten in the way.

          So, yes, if you remove the con game itself, then government has one less shell to hide under when it comes to responsibility to citizens.

          1. I say again, the problem under discussion is lack of accountability.

            indeed, that is the crux of my point; religion itself is a con game intended to displace any accountability at all.

            if you are granted authority based on fiction, then how can you ever be found accountable?

            “God said I should do this!”

            and who, of all the people in the world, is supposedly closer to “god” than the pope, eh?

            get rid of the fiction, get rid of the shell they hide under, and restore true accountability.

            1. You want to get rid of the Pope, I’m all over it.

              In my church, we don’t have a priest. We have a pastor who preaches because we like to hear him talk, and who does maintenance because he owns the building. The big idea is to read the scripture for yourself and get what you can out of it, and that’s been the big idea since King James’ time: the individual face to face with God.

              For everything else, it SHOULD be about accountability to the “standards appropriate to a civil society”, but you can maybe point to me where you see that going down, other than face-to-face community.

    2. Ratzinger has not damaged religion in the least.

      This behaviour is exactly what you would expect when a dogma receives unwarranted respect and is not subject to criticism in the marketplace of ideas and is protected by our nominally secular governments.

  14. Marshall:

    So how does getting rid of religion help with the problems of government not being responsive to the needs of its citizens, and corporations concerned with nothing but maximizing short run financial return?

    Religion teaches its followers to be serfs, in a “kingdom” where priests are proxies for the (nonexistent) king. Instead of empowerment it teaches submission to authority, the opposite of democracy. I’m not advocating actively getting rid of religion, just hoping it fades away ASAP.

    1. I’m not advocating actively getting rid of religion, just hoping it fades away ASAP.

      not to counter what others think the proper course should be, but I’m firmly in the “must rid ourselves of this nonsense actively” camp.

      It’s had thousands of years to go away; it will go away on its own much like an addiction to heroin will go away on its own.

  15. As someone who works in a school, the thought that this organization allowed creeps and monsters of unspeakable depravity run around their system AND systematically covered for them AND refused to allow anyone to criticize them for doing so is beyond appalling. The only thing that’s going to ever knock these haughty, horrible, narrow-minded people off their pedestal is if their followers finally do the sensible thing and desert in droves.

      1. …and by “excommunicate yourself”, i mean get your local diocese to give you the boot by being as irritating as you possibly can.

        follow the guidelines in the link.

        1. I’m afraid that doesn’t work either. You are still a Catholic in the eyes of the Church, just a real bad one who can’t go to communion.

          Although I can understand why people want their names distanced from the Church, it is a mostly pointless exercise trying to do it formally.

          If you really want people to know how you feel, just tell them.

          1. well, it’s SUPPOSED to work that way, but the CC has caught on of late, and has worked to try and change Cannon to accomodate…

            for example, check this:

            http://www.countmeout.ie/

            watch what pops up on loading the screen.

            still, it does make a statement, I think, and it’s a good one.

    1. Well, this is what it boils down to:

      the only way to solve this issue is via secular laws and secular authority.

      If it comes down to what it always has historically in the CC:

      “Let us pray to God for guidance”, and then go from there….

      well, that’s like saying, let’s start where we are and not move at all.

      since “God”, being entirely nonexistent for all practical purposes, can’t provide anything remotely resembling “guidance”.

      this is why all religious institutions should indeed in the end be subject to the laws of the states they are in.

      the CC should never have been, and no longer should be, allowed an exception to this.

      It just makes sense.

  16. It’s not just Ratzi’s control of the issue for the last 30 years, it is OMERTA, originated in the early Church and copied by the Cosa Nostra, 16th century Sicily, the Mafia and carried to the Greek Islands by the Eastern Orthodox Church after the Great Schism from which the people copied their CODE which they think is THEIR’s but it is not; it is, has been, will be, until the MAN Benedict and his “guilty grin” is exposed. I still go along with Didroit, “Man will never be free until the last KIng is strangled by the entrails of the last Preist”; in this case the last High Priest , Benedict; which King? All those that think they rule and get paid a stipend by devine right.

  17. I would strongly recommend the book ‘The Case of the Pope’ (Penguin Books, London, 2010) by Geoffrey Robertson QC.

    From the blurb: “‘The Case of the Pope’ delivers a devastating indictment of the way the Vatican has run a secret legal system that shields paedophile priests from criminal trial around the world.”

  18. There was on EWTN,a priest name Father John Corapi.He was real popular.THey took his show off the air because of some sex scandal.He was a first class hypocrite,even without the scandal.Take it from me(I wasted enough valuable time watching this guy)he was a complete waste of space.But,more importantly the Catholic church is engaging in this new evangalism.There is a huge rise in anti-evolutionary rhetoric,along with this campaign.There is a show called The Journey Home,about people from other christian cults,coming home to the one true cult.I was reading up on who were the Druids.They were the “religion”
    of the northern peoples of Europe.Their lifestyle was almost identical to Native Americans,pre-columbian.The interesting thing is that when the Romans conquered N. Europe the Druids were persucuted ,and their practices stamped out.It is a exact corrollary to the way European colonial forces used christianity as an excuse to dienfranchise native cultures.The point is that these cultures were in some sense scientific.They worshiped the Sun as the source of life.It is.They respected other species as worthy of existence,just as humans are.That is consistent with modern evolutionary biology.Its interesting to remember they call it the ROMAN Catholic Church.If Jesus is the answer,what was the question.(a bumper sticker i saw in calif years ago)

    1. I saw Corapi once lamenting that since all of the CC’s child rape scandals came to light in America that people no longer look at priest with trust — that no one considers how the non-rapist priests were affected by the whole thing. Apparently, he had smiled at a little boy at the airport, and the boy’s mother had pulled her son away and given Corapi a dirty look, or something like that. Yes please, don’t let’s forget about the poor innocent priests! Ugh. Corapi. He is also one of those “I used to be an athiest/druggie/fornicator so that makes me right now” whatevers.

  19. “So far, however, the Irish taxpayer has financed most of this as well. At the moment it’s not clear whether this debt will ever be repaid by the Church.”

    In Ireland, these are pretty much the same thing.

    1. I pay taxes; I don’t give money to the church. So, no, not really. Furthermore, quite aside from citizens and residents that do not attend Church, tithings are voluntary and taxes are not. If anyone has a problem with the Church using their money to pay for legal fees, they can just not give the Church money. Even if every Catholic on the planet stopped paying tithes, the Church certainly still has enough property to pay these fees.

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