I use the title facetiously. You know as well as I do that there is no war on Catholicism, but rather an outcry demanding that punishment be meted out for crimes we know were committed and a demand that the organization not be allowed to “punish” its members for their crimes, knowing that no real punishment or corrective action would ever be enacted.
Al Jazeera covers the secret vaults full of evidence of wrongdoing that the Catholic Church has protected for centuries, and the tantalizing peek that Jeff Anderson, one of the lawyers in the Milwaukee case against the Vatican, has had in response to discovery in his case.
Somehow, despite the existence of the Crimen Sollicitationis and its application by Cardinal Ratzinger well after the new canon law came into effect (as evidenced by the discovery in the aforementioned Milwaukee case), the Vatican continues to assert that the cases naming the Pope as a defendant have no merit. With the preponderance of evidence showing a great deal of merit, I’d strongly suggest the Vatican let the judges decide what has merit and what doesn’t.
You can tell they’re stinging over the whole “arrest the pope” affair, too. A UK Foreign Office memo apparently leaked wherein the following recommendations were made to make the Pope’s UK tour “the ideal visit”:
* Launch of ‘Benedict’ condoms
* Review of Vatican attitude on condom use
* Bless a civil partnership
* Reversal of policy on women bishops/ordain woman
* Open an abortion ward
* Speech on equality
* Statemen on views over adoption (change of stance)
* Training course for all bishops on child abuse allegations
* Harder line on child abuse—announce sacking of dodgy bishops
* Vatican sponsorship for network of AIDS clinics
* Meet young unemployed people
* Apologize for… …
* Canonise/pseudo canonise a group
* Announce whistle blowing system for child abuse cases
* Go to job centre
* Debate on abortion
* All catholic schools should be free entry to all
* Speech on democracy
* Vatican and C of E funded committee on dialogue
* Launch helpline for abused children
They all seem reasonable to me, as most of them would correct some of the Church’s long-standing errors and ridiculous rules which have done more harm than good. However, the Vatican responded:
“It is disgusting. Britain’s ambassador to the Holy See has been in to see the Secretary of State and explain what happened and this will all be relayed to the Pope.
“It’s even possible the trip could be cancelled as this matter is hugely offensive.”
Cardinal Renato Martino, the former head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said: “The British government has invited the Pope as its guest and he should be treated with respect.
“To make a mockery of his beliefs and the beliefs of millions of Catholics not just in Britain but across the world is very offensive indeed.”
People make a mockery all the time of the silly men in dresses, because of their backward beliefs and the empirical harm those beliefs do when exported to the rest of the world. Most of these beliefs are not shared by the millions of Catholics worldwide. In the mostly-Catholic (roughly 90%!) town I grew up in, sex education was readily available and condoms were recommended to teenagers thinking about becoming sexually active. Nobody blamed condoms for AIDS — in fact, quite the opposite, it was drilled into our skulls that if we were going to have sex, we needed to use condoms to avoid AIDS and unwanted pregnancy.
It occurs to me that, despite this “grave affront”, that they’re probably just drumming up a reason to avoid going to the UK in case that human rights lawyer happens to get his way and the Pope’s head-of-state-ness is finally challenged. I can see why they’d do it, too — any such challenge would be a blow to the Catholic Church’s ability to dodge justice in these matters! Now that the minister responsible for the memo has groveled at the Evil Empire’s feet, we’ll see if they show their faces in the UK and Bust-A-Pope proceeds apace.
If you’re a Catholic, and you disagree with the systemic buggery of children and the cover-up thereof, Staks of Dangerous Talk recommends you defect to avoid giving tacit support to the Catholic Church in their present corrupt-to-the-core form. It’s galling that at the moment, it honestly seems that the only people demanding accountability are atheists. He’s sadly right. Atheists are the most vocal about this — in no small part because they recognize the Church as wielding power they do not deserve. Other groups are less likely to recognize that fact.
Self-identified skeptics did, however, take a stab at demanding accountability and organizing such, and somehow created another Great Rift in the blogosphere as a result. The fact that I identify as both a skeptic and an atheist, combined with the fact that I demand accountability for the Pope’s part in the criminal conspiracy to protect child-rapists, apparently makes me an unwelcome party in certain circles. My support for Dawkins and Hitchens having started this particular charge, in my estimation, does not tar skepticism in any way. No matter how much the Nisbets and Mooneys of the world want the religious to see skepticism as separate and distinct from atheism, one cannot throw one’s allies under the bus for a mere difference in volume.
We’re all saying the same thing: the Church is corrupt to the core and needs to be gutted of its evil elements. Just because I take it one step further and suggest that the underlying delusions that give the Church its power and authority — e.g., that the God of Abraham exists and that the Church is the only path to salvation through this God — should be quashed utterly, as such delusion leads inevitably to unmerited and unearned power, does not mean that my first point regarding the corruption of the Church is not equally valid. My further point merely illustrates the fact that such unmerited power corrupts, probably faster and more thoroughly than any kind of earned power, and could well be responsible for the very corruption that led such supposedly moral paragons down the dark path of collusion and obfuscation of real and palpable crimes.