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Aug 23 2012

Another level of Catholic corruption

Hypocrisy is apparently a sacrament in the Catholic church. A German bishop has been living an extravagant lifestyle — flying first class (at a cost of €7000) to tour Indian slums where poor children eke out a living breaking stones. He’s also been constructing a multi-million euro mansion while the churches in his diocese crumble.

Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, 52, doesn’t only embrace luxury when he travels to India to visit poor children and nuns. He also puts a premium on a pleasant standard of living back home in Limburg, one that befits his status. His new, multi-million-euro bishop’s residence right next to the city’s cathedral is about to be finished. But the complex has sparked a mix of amazement, rage and resignation among the 600,000 Catholics in the diocese. Many cannot comprehend how they are supposed to live in want while their bishop splurges.

Tebartz-van Elst preaches to his flock to sate their thirst with water not wine. "Renewal begins where the efforts toward making due with less are made," he has instructed them. "The person of faith is dirt poor and rich in mercy," he once said in a Christmas sermon. And on the Assumption, he declared: "Whoever experiences poverty in person will discover the true greatness of God."

Meanwhile, funds are tight or insufficient across the diocese. There isn’t enough money for the upkeep of churches, parishes are being consolidated and funding for Catholic day care centers is being slashed. All of this is part of the bishop’s tough cost-cutting measures.

I don’t get it. Do Catholic bishops have no accountability to anyone?

At least there are no stories about this guy raping children.

66 comments

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  1. 1
    Physicalist

    Do Catholic bishops have no accountability to anyone?

    Sure they do. They’re accountable to the Pope . . . who sees absolutely no problem here.

  2. 2
    Alverant

    At least there are no stories about this guy raping children …… yet. I’m not holding my breath.

  3. 3
    Gregory in Seattle

    As a bishop, he is a “prince of the Church.” Princes live in palaces. If the sheeple cannot accept this, then they can go to Hell. Literally, if the bishop decides to excommunicate them for lack of obedience.

    Welcome to the Roman Catholic Church: Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

  4. 4
    peterb.

    At least there are no stories about this guy raping children.

    Not yet anyway. Which probably just means the Catholic church is better at covering up its child abuse agenda these days.

  5. 5
    Amphiox

    Careful PZ! It was criticism of bishops’ conspicuous consumption that produced protestantism, which produced fundamentalism, which produced Fred Phelps!

  6. 6
    Amphiox

    Just remember, the Roman Catholic Church became when the Roman Empire decided to change its name.

  7. 7
    Usernames are smart

    Jealous?! If the Upper Crust of the church can’t enjoy the fruits of its suckers’ ‘people of faith’s’ labor, then who can? Those fancy dresses cost MONEY.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Raffael_040.jpg

  8. 8
    bcskeptic

    Simple explanation really. It is pretty clear the guy is not a believer in all that religion horseshit, and is just soaking the gullible masses for everything he can. Probably a sociopath and laughing every minute of it. He’d have to be to fly and live in luxury and then go tour slums without batting an eye.

    Or maybe he is a true believer, realizes that his god is a sadistic genocidal maniac, and sees no contradiction between what he is doing and what the bible says. Not that that is unusual in the Catholic church upper echelon.

  9. 9
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    PZ, didn’t you get the memo? Since you’re part of the New Atheism+ Feminazi Conspiracy™ you’re not allowed to criticise religious figures any more; you’re only meant to attack other atheists for not accepting the groupthink.

    Get with the program!

  10. 10
    sadunlap

    How are his sermons different from the rhetoric of the people imposing austerity measures on the rest of us? Maybe Catholicism and Neocons are merging? (There’s a scary thought).

  11. 11
    kraut

    PZ, dont you get it for fuck’s sake? He is one of us, displaying such an obvious level of hypocrisy that will turn hundreds of thousands of parishioners away from the church. He is doing a splendid job, helping the churches crumble. Man, the guy beats Hitchens by a mile in his successes

  12. 12
    vyyle

    It’s not like this kind of hypocrisy is anything new to the catholic church. They’ve been demanding tithes from starving families while their upper echelons nursed quadruple chins for centuries.

  13. 13
    JohnnieCanuck

    kraut vs. vyyle

    Only one of you can be right, I think. :-)

  14. 14
    Akira MacKenzie

    This is shocking? The higher echelons of the RCC have lived like since before the Middle Ages; preaching austerity and asceticism to the serfs (some of them owing fealty to the local Bishop or Cardinal) while living in splendor and wealth. Back then the peasants said nothing because doing so could get you excommunicated and/or executed. Now we are expected to remain silent because it would hurt the previous feelings of millions of Catholics whose deeply help faith gives their lives purpose and meaning and to criticize that makes you an automatic “asshole.”

    OK, I’m an asshole. I’d rather make a billion school children cry by telling them that there is no Santa Claus than to perpetuate a fucking untruth. I don’t fucking care if prayer got your dear old Mom, Granny or Auntie through her final days. I’d rather disillusion every terminal cancer patient’s hope for a pain free and have them spend their last moments in existential despair then to allow the more destructive cancer of supersticion to metastize and ruin our civilization. Feelings should NEVER be allowed to trump facts. When they do, the liars, the charlatans, and the deluded can get away with anything.

    The world needs more assholes. Indeed, assholes might be the only people left who can save this world from its own stupidity

  15. 15
    Akira MacKenzie

    Edit: ‘..for a pain-free hear-after…”

  16. 16
    Akira MacKenzie

    GAH…. “…here-after…

  17. 17
    grumpyoldfart

    I don’t get it. Do Catholic bishops have no accountability to anyone?

    They have to account for all the money once it gets into the bookkeeping system, but anything skimmed off the top remains hidden to all except those involved in the skim.

    Also most religious institutions use a bookkeeping system that keeps money flowing around in circles making difficult to discover just where the cash is removed – and even harder to discover where it came from in the first place.

  18. 18
    Albert Bakker

    @1 He was appointed by Pope Ratzinger in 2007
    @5 Phelps has a following of 40, consisting of family and one guy who gives the impression he has to constantly scream to not hear his brain mutter. The “church” is not likely to survive after his demise. In Catholicism the Phelpses are in robes and the hate, the vile and the brimstone in small digestible doses, with a little sugar on top, so the people keep swallowing it.

    In a country as Germany or most European countries it is probably a good thing to have robbers, hypocrites and psychopaths operating the whole thing. Just let them pile the shit up until they bury themselves.

  19. 19
    Crudely Wrott

    He also puts a premium on a pleasant standard of living back home in Limburg, one that befits his status.

    So he lives in Limburg, does he. Well, there sure is a cloying, fetid miasma issuing from this Limburger. Phew!

  20. 20
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    The Catholic Church: Disney villains have nothing on them.

  21. 21
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Crudely Wrott wrote:

    So he lives in Limburg, does he. Well, there sure is a cloying, fetid miasma issuing from this Limburger. Phew!

    So, you’re saying it’s likely he believes in cheeses?

  22. 22
    Amphiox

    Phelps has a following of 40, consisting of family and one guy who gives the impression he has to constantly scream to not hear his brain mutter. The “church” is not likely to survive after his demise.

    You can replace Fred Phelps with Ken Ham, Eric Hovind, or Ray Comfort if you prefer.

    Or the entire Tea Party.

  23. 23
    robro

    Physicalist:

    Sure they do. They’re accountable to the Pope . . . who sees absolutely no problem here.

    Popesie wouldn’t even notice. Look at the palace he lives in. Hell, he’s got a whole little country of his own to rattle around in, plus probably some places out of town to get a way from it all.

  24. 24
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    So, you’re saying it’s likely he believes in cheeses?

    I cheddar to think what would happen if his Swiss guards were baby Swiss.

  25. 25
    robro

    Crudely: Are you suggesting he’s the big cheesy?

  26. 26
    okeydoke

    You know what the kicker is? The german state(i.e. the taxpayers) foot the bill almost entirely. They pay for the salary of the clergy and subsidize church run institutions like hospitals and child daycare facilities, often to the extent of 90% of their budgets. On top of that, every taxpayer registered as catholic or protestant has to pay a church tax. You may ask, why is that? Because Germany still acknowledges a contract signed over 200 years ago that assures this compensation after Napoleon took away much of the land owned by the church. Since then Germany has paid through the nose the worth of these lands many times over and still continues to with no politician willing to rock the boat.

  27. 27
    apucalypso

    Couple of fun facts on the church in Germany..
    Not only does the state collect the so-called church-tax for them, but also subsidizes priests’ salaries, upkeep of churches and several other things. On top of that bishops don’t have to disclose the diocese’s budget. Only dioceses that are broke anyway do that.
    Going back to some church-tax ridiculousness…if you’re baptized you’re automatically on the hook once you start working. You have to explicitly opt out, which in most federal states costs somewhere between 20 and 50 euros. To top that off, you’d better be damn sure you keep the piece of paper you get confirming you opted out. There have been cases where people had to pay back-church-tax for several years, because they couldn’t produce that piece of paper.
    On a lighter note…it’s not the Limburg with the cheese. That is a region on the Netherlands.

  28. 28
    madscientist

    A mere 7k euro for first class? I wonder what airplane that was … First class on a heavy aircraft is usually USD100k+++ between Heathrow and JFK – there’s a whole different world hiding out there.

  29. 29
    kraut

    “OK, I’m an asshole. I’d rather make a billion school children cry by telling them that there is no Santa Claus than to perpetuate a fucking untruth”

    the problem there: I think there are still anti blasphemy laws in the books, and if not: Germany has anti hate speech laws that could be used if one too strongly condemns the church.

  30. 30
    kraut

    “First class on a heavy aircraft is usually USD100k”

    one hundred thousand dollars for a first class ticket? I guess you got some 0′s wrong..not even flying the concord cost that much.

  31. 31
    madscientist

    @Kraut#30: No, there’s no mistake with the zeroes. Nor do I buy the story that an upgrade from business to 1st only took some frequent flyer points +7k euro each for a 2-way trip. Not unless Lufthansa offers one of the cheapest 1st class sections on the planet. I’m betting Concorde was much cheaper than that because all the passengers paid a high fee. Also keep in mind that Concorde was imagined to be a business service so it was priced more like a rather costly business class flight.

  32. 32
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    New York to London, leaving August 30, returning Sept 1, British Airway, $9,000 all in, first class.

  33. 33
    madscientist

    OK, 1st class tickets have sure come down in price. $9k for 1st – hah – there had been business tickets for $12k for those same flights only a few years ago. I guess the cardinal’s office was telling the truth then – a mere 7k euro + flyer points to upgrade.

  34. 34
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    I saw prices of up to $23,000 for 2011, but not when I looked today.

  35. 35
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Well, as other German commentors have already mentioned, most of this is paid by the government anyway, by the taxes of the 30% with no religion and the 40% whose religion isn’t roman catholic.
    MOst of those privilstem from the Napoleonic era but from the Reichskonkordat with, you guess it, Hitler.
    The treaty is worded such that literally the only way to get out of it is to disacknowledge the Vatican as a state (sounds reasonable to me), because it’s not a treaty between Germany and the RCC, but between Germany and another country, which therefore means that it superceeds our constitution.

    Fuck that shit.
    I hope that in the long run they just shoot their own foot. They have lost massive amounts of members after the child abuse cover-up, they close down their daycare and thereby eliminate the reasons why people actually stay in the church (a fucking big chunk of child daycare is run by the churches and us 30% non-believers have hardly a chance of getting a place there.)
    The advance of secular mourning culture and a deep dissatisfaction of people who want to make their deceased loved one the centre of attention and not Jesus Christ will do more.

  36. 36
    Antares42

    “OK, 1st class tickets have sure come down in price.”

    I can remember no time when First would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. This article here quotes 4 times economy for Business, and eleven times for First as a rule of thumb. I’m unable to produce historical data on the spot, but rewinding inflation (and keeping in mind that airfares have been rather stable since the 80s), six-figure ticket prices will have been exceedingly rare even in the past.

    Now back to the actual topics. :-)

  37. 37
    dianne

    @Gilell: Can it be argued that the arrangement is unconstitutional and should be voided? Or that it’s from the Nazi era and therefore inherently icky and be voided? I think both arguments have been used for various situations in the past.

  38. 38
    Antares42

    @Gliell: “The advance of secular mourning culture”

    If I may go off on another tangent (after the airfare stuff), my mother works for Grieneisen funeral services and every now and then I catch some of their campaigns and brochures. I’m delighted and impressed by how open and yet dignified they approach the issue of death and mourning.

    They present examples of people choosing their favorite pop music or the sunflowers they love for their memorial service, or people who want to have a motorcycle theme because that represents them best.

    It really breaks the gloomy monopoly of the church, and the bullshit let’s-talk-about-Jesus-instead-of-your-grandpa that’s all too common otherwise.

    I’m absolutely thrilled.

  39. 39
    dianne

    Also, doesn’t at least some of the funding for the Catholic and the official Protestant church come from people who pay extra taxes because they declare themselves to be a member of the church in question? Partial withdrawl of funding seems easy enough if so…

  40. 40
    zb24601

    The bishop is saving money by flying first class instead of using a private jet.

    His personal residence could have been bigger and more opulent, but by not having a much bigger and more opulent residence, (and more residences) he is saving money.

    All that saving while still allowing the people of his diocese to have the honor of supporting a devoted servant of God at a level of which they can be proud. He is providing this honor to the people of his diocese at his personal peril, because he is not doing what Jesus said in Luke 18:22. Such a sacrifice he makes for the people in his diocese.

    What a great man!

  41. 41
    eean

    And since this is Germany, I bet a lot of the churches are owned and maintained by the government (you can thank Napoleon for this.)

  42. 42
    eean

    Granted I live in Ulm and don’t mind my money going towards the city-owned Münster. It’s a cool looking building. And is taller than your church. :)

  43. 43
    raven

    At least there are no stories about this guy raping children.

    There might be a good reason for that.

    A lot of priests have girlfriends or mistresses. They are not all into children.

    It’s not unheard of for priests to have a kid or two somewhere. I don’t blame them for any of that, I blame the Catholic church for demanding a bleak lifestyle for no particular point.

    IIRC, in the Epistles section of the NT, it’s required that the bishops be married. Some of the early Popes inherited their position from their fathers and some of the later ones had children by their mistresses.

    There have been cases like this in the US. One of the expenses was support for a girlfriend or two.

  44. 44
    raven

    They pay for the salary of the clergy and subsidize church run institutions like hospitals and child daycare facilities, often to the extent of 90% of their budgets.

    That is part of it.

    There is also the Reichskonkordat between Germany and the Vatican, signed in the 1930′s. Which greatly facilitated the Nazis rise to power.

    The signers were Adolph Hitler and the future Pope Pius XII.

    The Reichskonkordat is still in force, having survived WWII when not much else did.

  45. 45
    vytautasjanaauskas

    “Do Catholic bishops have no accountability to anyone?”
    They have – to god. But I’m pretty certain most of them don’t think he’s real. And the rest either think they’ll outsmart him somehow or that he’s cool with the whole thing.

  46. 46
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Dianne

    Can it be argued that the arrangement is unconstitutional and should be voided? Or that it’s from the Nazi era and therefore inherently icky and be voided?

    Hmm, IINAL, but I think no.
    It is pretty common that international law and treaties are not in accordance with national law. I think you can make the argument before a treaty becomes valid, but since this treaty was signed before the constitution was written, it ain’t so.
    Also the “it was Nazi Germany” argment doesn’t hold because (Western) Germany is the official successor on the Third Reich (actually, on the Weimar Republic since that never officially ceased, I think), therefore treaties and stuff are valid in general, and of course not challenged when conservative.

    Also, doesn’t at least some of the funding for the Catholic and the official Protestant church come from people who pay extra taxes because they declare themselves to be a member of the church in question? Partial withdrawl of funding seems easy enough if so…

    Not exactly. Your parents sign you up for it with baptisim and you have to go to secular authorities later to have it cancelled. Many people have voted with their feet, but it’s not that easy for many. Large parts of hospital healthcare are church owned and run and you lose your job if you leave the church and hardly have chances of being hired again unless you find one of the remaining secular hospitals. Also the thing about childcare. If you’re somewhere where the only two kindergartens are run by the RCC ad the Lutherans, you’re fucked.

    ++++

    A lot of priests have girlfriends or mistresses. They are not all into children.

    It’s not unheard of for priests to have a kid or two somewhere.

    yes, the only thing that gets you into trouble is to publicly stand by their family.

  47. 47
    Felix

    @dianne #37
    dianne

    “@Gilell: Can it be argued that the arrangement is unconstitutional and should be voided? Or that it’s from the Nazi era and therefore inherently icky and be voided? I think both arguments have been used for various situations in the past.”

    There is already a clause in the Constitution mandating (not optional!) a transition of church financing to the effect that the ‘debt’ is paid once and for all. It was put in the Constitution during the Weimar Republic period. This clause has been stubbornly ignored by the German Parliament; their excuse is always that there are more important matters to settle first. This has been going on for over 90 years now. It isn’t hard to see why: disproportionately many representatives are members of the churches, and their political work seats them at good terms with their bishops and priests. As far as they disclose, I think 78% are active church members, whereas in the general population it’s only 59%, only 15% of whom even go to church more than once or a few times a year.
    Contracts and policies from the nazi era are only icky when they’re not beneficial for the churches. Anyone else can pretty much count on getting sacked (or thrown out of a live television broadcast) for even mentioning anything happening in the Third Reich in a positive light. As we know, the Pope has no problem calling the entire Nazi regime and era godless, while metaphorically sitting on a vault of riches resulting from cooperation with the Nazis.
    As has been mentioned here, if you calculate the money the churches have received since 1803 (when the first German communities and states began officially shoveling tax money to the churches), the debt must have been paid many times over. I once did this calculation, roughly, since no precise data are available for many time periods, and with interest came to a sum of about 50 trillion (Billion in German) Euros. Of course from that sum, you need to subtract the mainenance costs and such that would have reduced the capital, but that still leaves a huge pile of dough. Currently, the Catholic and Protestant churches put together receive about 19 billion Euros per year in subsidies and exemptions from the tax pool, additionally to the 9 billion in church taxes. Compared to the population, I think that makes the German church about the wealthiest in the world. Church researchers report that practically the entire Catholic church of Latin America and South Africa is dependant on German money.

  48. 48
    Anri

    Look, this guy is a heroic job creator and therefore above criticism. I can tell, because he’s rich, and he can – by definition – only ever be paid what he is truly worth. We should simply thank our lucky stars that he doesn’t just opt out of the system all together and leave us in the cold, bleak world of lesser beings.

    Unless he’s in the Gubbement. Then he’s a horrible low-life tax-thief.

    (Note: the above post has been found to contain at least trace amounts of sarcasm. Read at your own risk.)

  49. 49
    mattkeefe

    Trickle-down ecumenics.

  50. 50
    jamessweet

    Do Catholic bishops have no accountability to anyone?

    They answer only to God, so… yeah, not really.

  51. 51
    Sili

    At least there are no stories about this guy raping children.

    He does sound more the type of guy to get caught with meth and expensive excorts.

  52. 52
    anubisprime

    Akira MacKenzie @ 14

    +1 internets!

    This faffing around and obsequiousness and sycophantic ‘respect’ for delusional fuckwads, has got to stop, simple like so, it is fucking ridiculous going on barking!

    Do not give a rats ass about this standard riposte from the ‘witchfinder general crows’ about how the slightest criticism will make the bhabi jeebus bawl his piggy little eyes out and mortally wound the faithfully ignorant.

    Fuck it, take it all the way, show the disdain and contempt for the fuckers they really deserve a taste of reality not the pink and fluffy rumpus theatrics, they can hullabaloo about anti blasphemy laws or the so-called anti hate speech laws, but they would find it rather pointless if not impossible to shut the Internet down, or even bust every atheist on there, that would bankrupt the justice departments budget.

    The only way it is going to work is if all atheists drop the imposed pretense of holding ‘balanced debate’, theists don’t and never will do balanced debate they do not have to, they have got away with lies and blatant hatreds for so long it is second nature and they feel it is their privilege, they can literally do and say what they want.

    And most are smugly aware that the ‘opposition’ will not land any telling blows, and will not call them on their idiocy & bigotry in any meaningful affective way because being gentlefolk about the Queensbury fucking rules of debate engagement apparently trumps any ideas about playing rough and tumble with precious theist sensibilities.
    They are playing the atheists for suckers…and no one has called them on it…in the 21st century it is about time that ‘oversight’ was deep sixed…along with the religious freedom to pollute with blatant ignorance!

    Fuck this “let us not descend to their level”, contrary to the religious apologist mantra, having the moral high ground does not mean you win the argument in front of the world and it always but always allow them to flounce away with the righteousness smugness that only the truly brain dead think is beauteous & wise.

  53. 53
    David Marjanović

    I’m with comment 8 or possibly 11.

    And definitely 21.

    Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum.

    “Thus it has been in the beginning, and now, and always, and in centuries of centuries/ages of ages.”

    On a lighter note…it’s not the Limburg with the cheese. That is a region on the Netherlands.

    It continues across the border.

    Church researchers report that practically the entire Catholic church of Latin America and South Africa is dependant on German money.

    Huh. Interesting!

    Trickle-down ecumenics.

    LOL!

    He does sound more the type of guy to get caught with meth and expensive excorts.

    Meth!?! Cocaine!

  54. 54
    mquint

    as i have not gone through all the other comments, i hope this won’t be redundant.

    the funny thing is, that that dude (the bishop) denied pretty much everything. when asked by journalists he denied several times that he flew first class before he eventually admitted it. he is a bloody f*ckin liar and doesn’t even care …

    not enough. being asked about his several million euro residence he said that building that thing had been decided on before he ‘came into office’. as it turns out, he personally initiated the whole thing right after he came into office.

    so much about the church’s ethics!

  55. 55
    julietdefarge

    Churches in disrepair? That’s a shame, because Limburg has some truly stunning churches – do a Limbure, GE image search. I am also concerned that the Bishop’s new mansion may not fit in architecturally with surrounding buildings. Perhaps the Bishop feels that he can get away with diverting money to himself because the state will step in to preserve historical treasures. While it once was common for a bishop to have a luxe dwelling near the church, those days are gone.

  56. 56
    kayden

    Unfortunately, it’s not just this Catholic Priest who is living large while people around him are suffering.

    Just for fun google “pastor” and “fraud” and see what comes up. You won’t have time to go through all the stories. Seems like being a religious leader is an easy way to make big $$$ (and not pay taxes on all that dough).

  57. 57
    Q.E.D

    Economist Article about US church finances here. I suggest you have a barf bag ready.

  58. 58
    Kristof

    An example from the next country to the right…

    http://c.wrzuta.pl/wi2949/f74a168b00062efc453b976f/plebania+kosciol

    Left: vicarage
    Right: church

  59. 59
    anubisprime

    They are so wrapped up in their own sanctity that they do not even bother trying to be humble…in fact the bigger and more luxurious the personal abode the more holy they are…apparently!

    The Crystal Cathedral was a such a monumental narcissistic conceit led project that it bankrupted itself when bums on seats eventually found other things to do on Sunday instead of being bored witless by the pompous egocentric Schuller’s and underwhelmed by the ‘Hour of power’ cameras running up and down the aisles.
    The Schuller’s were so far up their own arse they ended up having to flog it to the opposition…fucking priceless…where was your delusion one wonders…maybe you pissed it off with your crass boastful nonsense?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/09/california-mega-church-cr_n_1583696.html

  60. 60
    feralboy12

    Welcome to the Roman Catholic Church: Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

    Gloria, Gloria, G-L-O-R-I-A Gloria.

  61. 61
    Paul

    The Crystal Cathedral was a such a monumental narcissistic conceit led project that it bankrupted itself when bums on seats eventually found other things to do on Sunday instead of being bored witless by the pompous egocentric Schuller’s

    Heh. They didn’t “find other things to do”, as much as they liked the old guy that founded the church, and he moved them to donate. He played well to the audience. When he stopped doing the regular Sunday sermons and his son took over, his son spent so much time trying to sound like his dad that he came across as totally fake. It also didn’t help that one of his sermons on personal challenges was consumed with a story about him finally managing to acquire a house on the beach (in Southern California!) at a time when many of the people in the audience were having trouble paying for a place to survive and food on the table, let alone a freaking second house on the beach. Also, the old guy’s daughter talked down to everyone as if they were children.

    They’re doing the same thing, but they found another church. And the Schullers are pretty set on setting up shop elsewhere, from what I’ve heard. It would be nice if some of the younger generation moved away from thinking they are faith healers, though — that’s just tacky.

    underwhelmed by the ‘Hour of power’ cameras running up and down the aisles.

    Now, that’s not fair. The cameras on the balcony just moved back and forth, no aisles! And we tried hard not to interfere with ingress and egress of parishoners! >.>

  62. 62
    firefly

    It was hypocrisy, though nowhere near this level, which caused me to question the RCC I was raised in. When I took my questions to our parish priest, who himself was a genuinely caring guy, he assured me it was “just a few bad apples” ruining it. Um, no. It was systematic in this organisation which was constructed in such a way that it sometimes rewarded unethical behavior, or, at the very least, didn’t punish it. I was 14 when I figured this out and as long as I live, I will never understand why they are still able to pull the wool over so many people’s eyes…

  63. 63
    shadow

    @56 kayden:

    Isn’t that how it’s always been? They don’t call their following ‘the flock’ for nothing.

    sheep was made to be fleeced after all.

  64. 64
    pipenta

    @Kristof, That can’t be the church. It must be the garage for a Popemobile.

  65. 65
    chrisv

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/03/11/us-usa-religion-catholics-idUSTRE52A7EQ20090311

    A couple years ago catliks in CT had an opportunity to get some leverage on this issue but of course they reverted to sheeple form and coughed up a hair ball.

  66. 66
    alligatie

    Wait… The bishop doesn’t want to experience the true greatness of god?…

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