Reap what you sow


Ah, the things that outrage Catholics are always fair game.

In early July, The New York Times published two articles that had seemingly little to do with one another. One covered the Entomological Society of America’s decision to stop using the terms gypsy moth and gypsy ant. The other was about a new movie by the director Paul Verhoeven featuring an affair between two 17th-century nuns. “Forgive them, Father, for they have sinned,” the article begins. “Repeatedly! Creatively! And wait until you hear what they did with that Virgin Mary statuette.”

“When I read that article in the morning over my yogurt and cranberry juice, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It was just disgusting,” Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest and writer, told me. He was talking about the movie, not the moths. He found it striking that the Times would deferentially cover a language shift meant to show respect for Roma people but would also print a story that relished a film scene in which a holy Catholic object is defiled. “Anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice,” he wrote on Twitter, linking to an article he wrote 20 years ago that explores why some Americans still treat Catholics with suspicion or contempt. His argument, then and now, is that it’s acceptable in secular, liberal, elite circles—such as The New York Times—to make fun of Catholicism, particularly the Church’s emphasis on hierarchy, dogma, and canon law and its teachings related to sex.

I would ask, did anyone make you commit a lesbian sex act? Did they make you watch it? Did you have to sexually abuse a Virgin Mary statuette at any time in your life? Does a statue have a higher moral status than the autonomy of a human being? Why are you bothered?

Anti-Catholic prejudice would be, for instance, burning churches and denying people the right to worship there, or discriminating against Catholics in employment, or tying Catholic priests to a stake and setting them on fire, or trying to pass anti-Catholic voting laws. That isn’t happening. Save your disgust for those kinds of actions, I will share it with you.

Did you know you can buy a spider dildo or a Trump dildo or an Obama dildo? Those are not examples of bias or discrimination or harm done to their subjects. Get over it. You can venerate your “holy Catholic object”, and other people get to laugh at it.

Martin thinks this is the “last acceptable prejudice”. How silly. There are many other prejudices that are still persisting, it’s not as if all the others have vanished leaving Catholicism the last bigotry standing.

Green: Do you still think anti-Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice?

Martin: Yes, I do. The kinds of things you read about Catholics would never be tolerated for other religions. The faith is treated as a joke. People see chastity and celibacy as a negation of sexuality, so they see it as a threat. But I often point out to people: You know people who are celibate and chaste. You know people who are single. You know aunts and uncles. You know widows. No one thinks they’re insane or disgusting or pedophiles or dangerous. But when a person chooses it freely, suddenly they become a freak.

I don’t consider single people to be freaks, but remember…your religion is the one (among many) that worships virginity. You go the other way and think that not having sex makes you special and holy.

But nice of Martin to bring up freely chosen identities that ostracize one. You know, like homosexuality, a “moral disorder”.

To chose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator’s sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.

As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.

Or being transgender, which “annihilates nature”.

The process of identifying sexual identity is made more difficult by the fictitious constract known as “gender neuter” or “third gender”, which has the effect of obscuring the fact that a person’s sex is a structural determinant of male or female identity. Efforts to go beyond the constitutive male-female sexual difference, such as the ideas of “intersex” or “transgender”, lead to a masculinity or feminity that is ambiguous, even though (in a self-contradictory way), these concepts themselves actually presuppose the very sexual difference that they propose to negate or supersede. This oscillation between male and female becomes, at the end of the day, only a ‘provocative’ display against so-called ‘traditional frameworks’, and one which, in fact, ignores the suffering of those who have to live situations of sexual indeterminacy. Similar theories aim to annihilate the concept of ‘nature’, (that is, everything we have been given as a pre-existing foundation of our being and action in the world), while at the same time implicitly reaffirming its existence.

Or that abortion is an unforgivable sin.

Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.

From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

I know people who are homosexuals, or transgender, or have had an abortion, and I don’t think they’re insane or disgusting or dangerous (or pedophiles, for that matter — where did that come from? Are priests always obsessed with pedophilia?). Yet the Catholic Church thinks they are disordered or insane or evil.

People who live in glass cathedrals and try to control the lives of other people probably shouldn’t be throwing stones. I don’t know how they live with the hypocrisy.

Comments

  1. raven says

    The Catholic church has persecuted and killed tens of millions of people over the centuries.
    It continues today although they’ve lost most of their power to kill people they don’t like.
    These days their most prominent victims are children, sexually abused by warped priests.

    They don’t have the moral high ground to criticize anyone for anything.

    Father James Martin is concern trolling and it is not the least bit convincing.

  2. raven says

    Father James Martin babbling;

    The process of identifying sexual identity is made more difficult by the fictitious constract known as “gender neuter” or “third gender”, which has the effect of obscuring the fact that a person’s sex is a structural determinant of male or female identity. Efforts to go beyond the constitutive male-female sexual difference, such as the ideas of “intersex” or “transgender”, lead to a masculinity or feminity that is ambiguous, even though (in a self-contradictory way), these concepts themselves actually presuppose the very sexual difference that they propose to negate or supersede. This oscillation between male and female becomes, at the end of the day, only a ‘provocative’ display against so-called ‘traditional frameworks’, and one which, in fact, ignores the suffering of those who have to live situations of sexual indeterminacy. Similar theories aim to annihilate the concept of ‘nature’, (that is, everything we have been given as a pre-existing foundation of our being and action in the world), while at the same time implicitly reaffirming its existence.

    I read this. And read this again.

    As far as I can tell, this is pure gibberish.
    I attempted to decode it and parse it and translate it and didn’t come up with much.
    It’s meaningless words strung together.
    And every sentence is just lies and/or wrong.

    Father James Martin could be the poster priest for why the Catholic church has nothing worthwhile to say.

  3. robro says

    The faith is treated as a joke.

    “The faith” meaning Catholicism. I don’t single out Catholicism. I see all faiths as a joke.

    But when a person chooses it [chastity] freely, suddenly they become a freak.

    They aren’t freaks for choosing chastity but for pretending to choose chastity while engaging in pedophilia or other sexual perversion.

  4. says

    Might tell the good father to check out The Devils from 1971 if he wants to be shocked at nuns using holy objects inappropriately. This ain’t no new thing.

  5. raven says

    Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.

    The Catholic church has never actually done this.
    They’ve killed tens of millions over the centuries.
    They don’t do it today either.

    From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.

    Assertion without proof or data and may be dismissed without proof or data.
    This is just wrong.

    Under US law and the laws of most countries, zygotes aren’t legally recognized as people.
    And of course, Father James Martin forgets that women, who make up the majority of the humans species are…legal persons and human beings and have rights too.

    This Jesuit priest is just a troll with an archaic title.
    Not impressed.

  6. says

    I’m not particularly anti-catholic. It’s just another religious cult that has despoiled, abused, and murdered. If they didn’t have a history of that, nobody’d care. But since they do, I won’t trust them. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.

  7. cartomancer says

    As I always say, you need to demonstrate the existence of this god creature before you can base any kind of arguments on its wishes. And even if such a thing did exist, that doesn’t mean we have to do what it wants.

    Though it does make the gay sex all the more fun, knowing it pisses these sorts of people off.

  8. says

    It isn’t prejudice to conclude that the Catholic religion — like every religion — is a load of crap. It’s just a fact.

  9. garnetstar says

    “From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized….”

    That choice of pronoun reveals more than they wanted to about their motivations.

  10. says

    @#16, John Morales:

    Since PZ explicitly said, right there in the article, that he didn’t approve of atheists setting churches on fire, and that the approval of those specific churches burning was contingent on the church not making reparations for the people it straight-up murdered (incidentally, more bodies have been discovered, and documentation showing that the deaths were not even remotely accidental), you have even less point than usual.

  11. says

    The Catholic church raises young queer people to hate and fear themselves. I’m trans and left the church because of this. There is real harm. And Father Martin acts like a story about lesbians should still show deference to the church. The church rejects queer people and treats us as unworthy of love and respect, it is only fair that queer people can treat the church the same way.

    Now, Father Martin is one of the most outspoken “accepting”ish priests, but he still operates in the system that hates me.

  12. mathscatherine says

    “From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.”

    The bit they don’t acknowledge with this is that human beings don’t have an inviolable right to life when life requires someone else’s body. If I need an organ donation to go on living, I can’t force someone to give me one. I can’t even demand one from a dead body – the deceased person’s next of kin need to agree, and sometimes even the deceased person needs to have signed up to be an organ donor while they were alive. But to these people somehow a zygote/foetus has a special right to use the body and organs of a pregnant person for nine months without any permission needed…

  13. John Morales says

    Vicar:

    you have even less point than usual

    Um.

    The claim is “Anti-Catholic prejudice would be, for instance, burning churches and denying people the right to worship there”, and he recently posted an article about burning churches. It follows, based on that claim and the fact, that there is indeed such prejudice.

    Tricky point for the likes of you, I know. Hopefully, this clarifies it.

    (Also, his article ended with this: “Let ’em burn.”)

    For myself, I can’t deny I have anti-Catholic prejudice.

    (And I was well and truly subjected to pro-Catholic inculcation as a child)

  14. birgerjohansson says

    Going off on a tangent a bit.
    (It is 3 am local time, making me dizzy enough for religion)
    The Catholic map of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is weird. And Catholicism is really obsessed with sex.
    If abstaining from sex really is a Catholic virtue, then – being a super-nerd close to the ‘asex’ end of the spectrum- I am practically a Catholic saint (which is strange, as I am an atheist….but I probably share that quality with several renaissance popes).
    .
    Mind you, I do not consider myself more virtuous than others but if this is the way Catholic dogma is written I demand to be put on the waiting list for poshumous sainthood.
    -Also, are there any other odd virtues we can cash in on?
    I am not willing to flagellate myself, but I read the daily news and that is pretty painful.
    Watching very bad B films might pass as ‘modesty ‘ as long as I don’t admit I do it for laughs.
    The absence of Vanity is probably good, so if I strive to be a complete slob it should earn me points. Do I have to blame the Jews for stuff ? I can do that, I watched ‘Borat’!

  15. birgerjohansson says

    The Italians were making a lot of weird giallo films in the 1970s that probably are worse for the church than anything Verhoeven is doing today.

  16. birgerjohansson says

    Addendum.
    Is this Martin fellow willing to go the extra distance to stop people mocking his religion?
    There are muslims who go that distance, but it has strangely not made militant Islam more respected.
    Feared, but not respected. Not having more Muhammed cartoons is because people think “don’t upset those insane killers”, and not a great way to attract converts.
    .
    Martin is stuck with writing indignant articles, which is a good sign; the Catholic church cannot kill those who displease them. Give them another two millennia and they might accept LBTQ people, and having women as priests.

  17. says

    “Anti-Catholic prejudice would be, for instance, burning churches and denying people the right to worship there, or discriminating against Catholics in employment, or tying Catholic priests to a stake and setting them on fire, or trying to pass anti-Catholic voting laws. That isn’t happening.”

    No, but it used to and have you seen some of the laws France is passing in the name of protecting the “secular state”.

  18. John Morales says

    garydargan:

    … have you seen some of the laws France is passing in the name of protecting the “secular state”

    No. Are they supposed to be prejudicial to Catholics?

    (That being the theme of the post)

  19. Walter Solomon says

    Might tell the good father to check out The Devils from 1971 if he wants to be shocked at nuns using holy objects inappropriately.

    To be fair, those nuns were supposedly demon-possessed. Just as the Protestants had their witches, the Catholics had their demons.

    BTW, those nuns were surprisingly hot. Never thought I’d be aroused by a nuns “cloister.”

  20. rietpluim says

    Re: pedophilia

    Some, maybe even many pedophiles (don’t know the numbers) are fine people too who do better than to abuse children for their own pleasure, unlike some, maybe even many priests.

  21. rietpluim says

    @mathscatherine #19 Never seen it put so clearly and concisely. Thank you.

  22. submoron says

    Raven@5. See also Paul Hindemith’s opera Sancta Susanna from 1921. Not using the crucifix for sex but pulling the loincloth off.

    As to non-Catholics taking offence; the Muslims seem fairly touchy too and I can’t doubt that the Hindutva mob will start wanting a world wide ban on the slaughter of cattle.

  23. submoron says

    … and I just remembered Oscar Wilde’s Salome. In case you didn’t know she dances naked, demands the head of John the Baptist and ends up cradling it in her lap and kissing it.

  24. Kagehi says

    @5 Raven

    Under US law and the laws of most countries, zygotes aren’t legally recognized as people.

    Technically, its stupider than that. While the “Catholics”, and other Christians like to gloss over this, the “Bible itself”, based off the old Jewish law, in the bits they toss out/ignore, says that an unborn baby is a matter of “property loss”, and one must pay a fine if you cause it to die, and fairly explicitly states that this does not change until said fetus is, “More out of the woman’s body than in.”, or in a bit vaguer passage, “Appears enough like a full baby for primitives to assume it was probably close enough to viable to survive outside the woman’s body.” Basically, if it “looks like” a baby, it was deemed murder, assuming anyone bothered to cut open the woman they killed to check that, and it was also murder if you accidentally killed it while she was giving birth, but only if it was mostly born already, or something. Otherwise it was a “thing”, and is even described as, literally, being, “like the woman’s hip”. There is even a proscription about testing for infidelity by giving a woman a magic potion, which would, if she cheated, cause a miscarriage.

    So.. yeah, if you throw out everything that “god” supposedly said on the subject of when a baby is actually a baby…

  25. birgerjohansson says

    In addition it seems like the prohibition of homosexuality only applies to men, and only to men that have sex in a particular way. I am using the OT, the NT is silent on the subject.

    Martin has also seemingly forgotten -or chosen to forget- the film The Last Temptation of Christ that made Catholics clutch their pearls when Jesus had straight, hetero relations with women. There seems to be no pleasing them (The Catholics, not the women).

  26. leerudolph says

    It’s knowing what they’ve done and what they keep doing.

    Postjudiced.

  27. =8)-DX says

    @Collectivist Parasite #15

    Take it for what you will.

    Reading that, I take it for utter faff. He repeatedly and as a matter of pride says he doesn’t go against church teaching. Which is explicitly homophobic and which PZ cites. You can talk about “love” and “bridges” and a “place” or “reaching out to the LGBTQ community” all day long, but until you’ve officiated at a dozen gay or lesbian couples’ weddings, explicitly said the pope and church are wrong and that gay sex and relationships are fine, you can fuck off.

  28. jrkrideau says

    @ 1 raven
    The Catholic church has persecuted and killed tens of millions of people over the centuries.

    Cite? Oh, never mind.

    Assertion without proof or data and may be dismissed without proof or data.

    THe Catholic Church, or parts of it, has done some horrible things at timees but off-the-wall accusations aro a bit much.

  29. jodyleek says

    “Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.”
    I’m not Catholic (thank dog!), so someone will have to fill me in. Because “homosexual activity” is “self-indulgent” and not “able to transmit life” does that mean that those Catholic hetero couples who dare to have sex while old and no longer fertile (the Virgin Mary is looking at you, menopausal Susan!) are subject to the withholding of sacraments and possibly excommunication? Because it seems like, according to their own words, the Catholic church has a double standard (quell surprise!).

  30. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    How utterly unsurprising that the people whose privilege means they only encounter mean words as a result of their identity think that therefore encountering mean words and nothing else is a sign of oppression.

  31. maat says

    I reject religion. That means ALL religions.
    I find it hypocritical that other christian sects dare consider themselves holier than the catholics.
    And I find it disingenuous, or at least thoughtless, to bother looking for different shades of black: They are ALL bible-black.

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