When’s the report on other religions?

February 6th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Vatican “systematically” adopted policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, a UN  human rights committee said Wednesday, urging the Holy See to open its files on pedophiles and bishops who concealed their crimes.

In a devastating report hailed by abuse victims, the UN committee severely criticized the Holy See for its attitudes toward homosexuality, contraception and abortion and said it should change its own canon law to ensure children’s rights and their access to health care are guaranteed.

The Catholic Church’s position on child molestation in its ranks has been woeful, and the criticism is not unexpected.

But I note the UN report also criticises the Catholic church for its views on issues of homosexuality, contraception and abortion.

As it so happens I disagree with the Catholic Church on those issues, but I am of course ot Catholic.

What I am wondering is when this UN Human Rights committee will denounce other religions such as Islam for its views on the role of women in society, marital rape, blaming rape victims for rape etc?

Why target the Catholic Church only?

Tags: ,

More good sense from Pope Francis

September 20th, 2013 at 7:26 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Pope Francis said the Catholic Church should not allow its bans on gay marriage, abortion and contraception to dominate its teachings, but must be a more welcoming Church where priests are understanding pastors and not cold, dogmatic bureaucrats.

In a dramatically blunt interview with Civilta Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit monthly, Francis said the Church had locked itself up in “small things, in small-minded rules”. It must find a new balance between upholding rules and demonstrating mercy, “otherwise even the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards…”
 
Francis, the first non-European pope in 1300 years and the first from Latin America, did not hold out the prospect of any changes soon to such moral teachings.

In the long interview with the magazine’s director, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, he also said he envisioned a greater role for women in the 1.2 billion member Church but suggested it would not include a change in the current ban on a female priesthood.

In an remarkable change from his predecessor Benedict, who said homosexuality was an intrinsic disorder, Francis said that when homosexuals told him they were always condemned by the Church and felt “socially wounded”, he told them “the Church does not want to do this”.

The Pope is not about to change the fundamental beliefs of the Catholic Church, but tone can be almost as important as substance, and his tone is doing wonders I believe for the image of the Catholic Church.

Tags: ,

Liking the new Pope

March 31st, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I blogged last week that so far I thought the new Pope was looking very promising, and he continues to impress. I’m not Catholic but I want the Catholic Church to have a leader who will do well.

The Herald reports:

Pope Francis has won over many hearts and minds with his simple style and focus on serving the world’s poorest, but he has devastated traditionalist Catholics who adored his predecessor, Benedict XVI, for restoring much of the traditional pomp to the papacy.

Francis’ decision to disregard church law and wash the feet of two girls, a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic during a Holy Thursday ritual has become something of the final straw, evidence that Francis has little or no interest in one of the key priorities of Benedict’s papacy: reviving the pre-Vatican II traditions of the Catholic Church.

One of the most-read traditionalist blogs, “Rorate Caeli,” reacted to the foot-washing ceremony by declaring the death of Benedict’s eight-year project to correct what he considered the botched interpretations of the Second Vatican Council’s modernising reforms.

So what is the fuss over including two girls?

There were certainly none of those trappings on display Thursday at the Casal del Marmo juvenile detention facility in Rome, where the 76-year-old Francis got down on his knees and to wash the feet of 12 inmates, two of them women. The rite re-enacts Jesus’ washing of the feet of his 12 apostles during the Last Supper before his crucifixion, a sign of his love and service to them.

The church’s liturgical law holds that only men can participate in the rite, given that Jesus’ apostles were all male. Priests and bishops have routinely petitioned for exemptions to include women, but the law is clear.

Francis, however, is the church’s chief lawmaker, so in theory he can do whatever he wants.

“The pope does not need anybody’s permission to make exceptions to how ecclesiastical law relates to him,” noted conservative columnist Jimmy Akin in the National Catholic Register. But Akin echoed concerns raised by canon lawyer Edward Peters, an adviser to the Vatican’s high court, that Francis was setting a “questionable example” by simply ignoring the church’s own rules.

Papal infallibility can come in useful sometimes :-)

“People naturally imitate their leader. That’s the whole point behind Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. He was explicitly and intentionally setting an example for them,” he said. “Pope Francis knows that he is setting an example.”

Yep, an example that probably thrilled many female Catholics around the world.

The inclusion of women in the rite is problematic for some because it could be seen as an opening of sorts to women’s ordination. The Catholic Church restricts the priesthood to men, arguing that Jesus and his 12 apostles were male.

Francis is clearly opposed to women’s ordination. But by washing the feet of women, he jolted traditionalists who for years have been unbending in insisting that the ritual is for men only and proudly holding up as evidence documentation from the Vatican’s liturgy office saying so.

I think people are reading too much into it, if they think this will lead to female priests.

Tags: ,

The first ever Latin American Pope

March 14th, 2013 at 8:35 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Cardinals have elected Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the new pope to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, overcoming deep divisions to select the 266th pontiff in a remarkably fast conclave.

Bergoglio is the first ever pope to come from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis I.

Pope Francis is 76 years old, just nine years younger than the Pope Emeritus.

He has been a Cardinal for 12 years. It is speculated he was the “runner up” to Pope Benedict in the last conclave.

It will be interesting to see the style he adopts as Pope, the issues he focuses on, and especially how well he does at sorting out some of the corruption in the Vatican.

Latin America is home to more Catholics than any other continent. I imagine the news of a Latin American Pope will be a cause of much celebration there.

Tags: ,

Priestly sexual conduct

March 5th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Yesterday, the Catholic church in Scotland quoted O’Brien as saying that there had been times “that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal”.

I would have thought any sexual conduct at all was ipso factor below the standards of being a Catholic priest?

The ban on Catholic priests having sex of course didn’t apply at the beginning. St Peter, the first Pope, was married.

The ban appears to have been first promulgated in the Synod of Elvira in 305 AD. Here’s some of the other canons or laws it laid down:

  • If a woman beats her servant and causes death within three days, she shall undergo seven years’ penance if the injury was inflicted on purpose and five years’ if it was accidental.,
  • Christian girls are not to marry pagans, no matter how few eligible men there are, for such marriages lead to adultery of the soul.
  • Catholic girls may not marry Jews or heretics, because they cannot find a unity when the faithful and the unfaithful are joined. Parents who allow this to happen shall not commune for five years.
  • Christians are to prohibit their slaves from keeping idols in their houses.
  • Landlords are not to allow Jews to bless the crops they have received from God and for which they have offered thanks.
  • If any cleric or layperson eats with Jews, he or she shall be kept from communion as a way of correction.
  • Christians who play dice for money are to be excluded from receiving communion.A woman may not write to other lay Christians without her husband’s consent.

I think it is fair to say that the Church has dropped some of their other edicts from 305 AD, and one day may do the same with the ban on priests marrying.

I always enjoy the quotes in the Southpark episode 6-08 where Father Maxi tries to persuade the Cardinals to stop priests sleeping with young boys.

FRENCH CARDINAL

What exactly do you suggest we change,Father Maxi.

 PRIEST MAXI

Well, for one, no sex with boys.

ANOTHER CARDINAL

The Holy Document of Vatican Law states that a priest, bishop, or cardinal cannot get married, so where are we to get our sex?

There’s some wisdom to those words.

And in case people say it unthinkable to change the church law, interestingly in 1970, nine German theologians wrote a letter calling for a discussion on the law of celibacy for priests. One of those nine was Joseph Ratzinger, now the Pope Emeritus.

Tags: ,

The Pope’s political views

February 25th, 2013 at 6:31 am by David Farrar

Thomas Reese looks at the next Pope:

Benedict has appointed 57 per cent of the cardinal electors (John Paul II named the rest), so they will most likely elect someone with similar views. In American terms, that means someone to the right of Newt Gingrich on social issues and to the left of Nancy Pelosi on economic issues.

Sigh. I’m the opposite. I’m to the right of Gingrich on economic issues and the left of Pelosi on social issues :-)

The author is a Jesuit priest at Georgetown University.

Tags:

Pope Benedict resigns

February 12th, 2013 at 8:05 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Pope Benedict says in a historic announcement he no longer has the mental and physical strength to run the Roman Catholic Church and will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign, leaving his inner circle “incredulous”.

Church officials tried to relay a climate of calm confidence in the running of a 2000-year-old institution but the decision could lead to one of the most uncertain and unstable periods in centuries for a Church besieged by scandal and defections.

The last Pope to resign was Pope Gregory XI in 1378 and the last voluntary resignation was Pope Celestine V in 1294.

In a general sense I think it is a good think when leaders retire, rather than carry on until death – no matter how infirm. Pope Benedict may have helped set a useful precedent for the future.

I note with monarchies that today many monarchs will  live to be 100, which means that their children may not succeed to the throne until they are 70 years old – or older. A retirement age would be a sensible thing.

Resigning after just eight years may put some pressure on the College on Cardinals to elect a younger Pope.  No doubt in the following weeks speculation will focus on who his successor will be.

Tags: ,

Snapped

July 4th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Normally just some lovely photos of a couple having a romantic holiday.

The problem is that Monsignor Fernando Maria Bargallo is a Roman Catholic Bishop. Or he was, having now resigned.

He’s in pretty good shape for a 57 year old. Personally I think it is far better than priests have sex with consenting adult women, than choir boys.

Tags:

Two Dicks

April 12th, 2010 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Dick No 1 is Richard Dawkins, who has joined a campaign to try and get the Pope arrested for crimes against humanity. This is just pathetic and reminds me of why I can’t stand Dawkins.

I’ve been critical of the Catholic Church hierarchy for their failure to address child abuse by priests, and their response to the criticism. But Dawkins is being an offensive dick by suggesting the Pope is somehow guilty of crimes against humanity and should be tried by the International Criminal Court.

Dawkins also makes it much harder for other critics of how the Church has acted, because his rhetoric just makes the Vatican far more defensive. He should shut the fuck up and go back to peddling books.

But the other dick is Bishop Giacomo Babini who is blaming the criticism on the Jews:

A website quoted Giacomo Babini, the emeritus bishop of Grosseto, as saying he believed a “Zionist attack” was behind the criticism, considering how “powerful and refined” the criticism is.

The comments, which have been denied by the bishop, follow a series of statements from Catholic churchmen alleging the existence of plots to weaken the church and Pope Benedict XVI.

Allegedly speaking to the Catholic website Pontifex, Babini, 81, was quoted as saying: “They do not want the church, they are its natural enemies. Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God killers.”

Extremism on both sides is unhelpful.

Tags: , , ,

Editorials 12 April 2010

April 12th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald looks at the UK elections:

Thirteen years of Labour Party rule in Britain has taken its toll. Indisputably, a desire for change is in the air. Yet the outcome of a general election on May 6 is by no means certain. Doubts linger about the capability and substance of the Conservative Party’s 43-year-old leader, David Cameron. Polls show that voters rate the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, more highly on almost all leadership measures. They also suggest that a likely election outcome is that most unwelcome of circumstances, a hung Parliament.

Which is not a big thing in NZ< but still a rare event in the UK.

The Conservatives, however, have been unable to make the most of this most propitious of opportunities. In part, this is because they, like Labour, have been tarred by the ongoing scandal over fraudulent and inflated expenses claims that has encompassed members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The beneficiaries have been minor parties, most notably the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg. They look most likely to play the kingmaker role in forming the next government if there is a hung Parliament. Part of the price for their support would undoubtedly be moves to terminate the first-past-the-post electoral system in favour of one based on proportional representation.

I believe the Conservatives would look in the first instance to Scottish, Irish and Welsh parties before the Lib Dems.

The Dom Post is cautious on Whanua Ora:

It is hard to be critical of the detail of the Whanau Ora policy. That’s because there is precious little of it, and that is why the scheme should be treated with scepticism.

It is easy to see why the scheme has a superficial appeal. The old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” does not apply to welfare, especially when it comes to Maori. The current system clearly is broken, with a plethora of agencies, a voracious appetite for cash and little sign that it is doing anything to provide long-term cures rather than temporary Band-Aids. Adopting an approach where the needs of the whole family are looked at together makes sense.

However, it is not the concept but the detail which will determine whether Whanau Ora is a success. That detail must focus on accountability and transparency, and on ensuring that Whanau Ora does not become an expensive add-on.

I agree.

The ODT discusses the Catholic Church and child abuse:

It is regrettable that Pope Benedict XVI made no reference in his Easter homily to the sex-abuse scandal that has globally for several decades beset the Roman Catholic Church, for which throughout that period the heirachy has strenuously concealed details from the knowledge of the police, let alone its faithful adherents.

There had existed a reasonable expectation the Pope would make some comment – even apologise for the church’s incompatible behaviour or at least accept personal responsibility as head of the church- but none was forthcoming. …

At Easter, his personal preacher likened the criticism to the “more shameful aspects of antisemitism” – a ludicrous claim for which he later apologised; and the dean of the College of Cardinals asserted that the controversy amounted to petty gossip; others have suggested or implied the whole business is a media “beat-up”, a charge so removed from the truth as to be delusion: it was in fact the print media that exposed the hideous crimes of the past 20 years.

More acceptable might be a public instruction to all bishops to refer allegations of abuse to the secular authorities, such as the police, as soon as they are made.

That would be a very good policy. The Police are the competent authorities to deal with such allegations.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Sad they still don’t get it

April 8th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

It is sad to see so many senior members of the Catholic Church are not understanding what the issue is with the child abuse scandal.

The Herald reports:

The Vatican heatedly defended Pope Benedict XVI, claiming accusations that he helped cover up the actions of paedophile priests are part of an anti-Catholic “hate” campaign targeting the Pope for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage.

Or it might be about the lack of opposition to, or more specifically action against,child abuse.

The Vatican newspaper quoted Sodano yesterday as saying the church is “certainly” suffering because of paedophile priests but he asserted that “Benedict XVI has apologised several times”.

“But it’s not Christ’s fault if Judas betrayed” him, Sodano said. “It’s not a bishop’s fault if one of his priests is stained by grave wrongdoing. And certainly the Pontiff is not responsible.”

Here is what they don’t seem to get.

I, and I am sure most people, do not blame anyone in the Catholic Church for the fact a priest molested children, unknown to them. The responsibility absolutely lies with the priest, not the Bishop, the Pope or the Church.

But, and this is the big but, it is different when the Bishop has been told about the child abuse and molestation. And when the Bishop doesn’t report it to the Police, when the Bishop does not sack the priest, when the Bishop merely moves the priest to anoter area, which leads to more molestation of more kids – then the Bishop does have some responsibility.

And when not one Bishop, but dozens of Bishops fail to take action against priests who molest children, and this is a policy laid down by the Vatican, then the Church hierarchy does have some responsibility.

Not for the initial abuse. That is absolutely just the fault of the individual priest. But for not having them sacked and arrested, that is the fault of Bishops and of the Vatican which condoned their lack of action.

Tags: ,

Stupidity from two Denominations

April 4th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I’d rather not be taking a whack at two different Christian religions (one of them nominally my own) at Easter, but they set the timing.

First we have Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen saying:

RELIGIOUS leaders have used their Easter sermons and messages to condemn the rise of atheism, with Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen describing the philosophy as an “assault on God”.

“As we can see by the sheer passion and virulence of the atheist – they seem to hate the Christian God – we are not dealing here with cool philosophy up against faith without a brain,” Dr Jensen told worshippers.

“Atheism is every bit of a religious commitment as Christianity itself.

“It represents the latest version of the human assault on God, born out of resentment that we do not in fact rule the world and that God calls on us to submit our lives to him.

“It is a form of idolatry in which we worship ourselves.”

No, it isn’t and the Archbishop’s generalisations are as offensive as generalising about Christians.

But then to trump that, we have The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Pope’s personal preacher:

Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher has likened accusations against the pope and the Catholic church in the sex abuse scandal to “collective violence” suffered by the Jews.

Yes blaming the Catholic Church for covering up child abuse, is just the same as the pogroms.

“They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms,” the preacher said.

Quoting from the letter from the friend, who wasn’t identified by Cantalamessa, the preacher said that he was following ”’with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful of the whole world.”‘

“The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,”‘ Cantalamessa said his friend wrote him.

Catholics as a whole of course have no responsibility or collective guilt over what a minority of priests did.

But that is different from the hierarchy of the church. In many countries, the hierarchy covered up the child abuse.  Priests were left free to abuse, and their crimes were not reported to authorities. Fot that there is a collective responsibility – not by all Catholics, but by the Church hierarchy which in almost every country reacted in the same way.

Tags: ,

Editorials 30 March 2010

March 30th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald has advice for the Catholic Church:

A Vatican newspaper claims the hailstorm of allegations of priestly sexual abuse is a conspiracy aimed at the present Pope and the Catholic Church.

Ironically, it targets the “media” as leading or cheerleading this conspiracy, the New York Times being the latest to publish a historical claim, from up to 70 young, deaf boys who allege abuse by an American priest now dead.

It is unfortunate the messenger is being criticised rather than the message heeded. There is much still to be done for the church to put this sin behind it. …

Some calculate the total number of priests and the relatively small number of offenders over many years and then compare that to percentages for the secular world.

Their argument is that church-linked offending is no greater than the sad reality of society’s norm. But it is a forlorn and defensive mindset.

As the Economist magazine has argued, if you preach absolute moral values you will be judged against absolute moral standards.

The church cannot accept relative failure or relative consequences, particularly under this Pope who argues forcefully for an end to relativism.

If it is true to itself, the Catholic Church cannot be satisfied with being as good as, or not as bad as, other parts of society.

If any conspiracy exists, it is the one in which sexual offenders were protected and victims abandoned by those in authority.

A new conspiracy is needed, one which confirms in deeds the Pope’s words to the Irish. Responsibility must be taken by those who hid wrong.

I’m just glad I was raised Anglican!

The Dom Post focuses on the Mary-Anne Thompson affair:

The most alarming aspect of the Mary Anne Thompson affair is not that a senior public servant falsified her CV, but that the former head of the public service halted inquiries into her falsehood years before it was exposed.

This is the point I made a couple of days ago.

But within minutes of Mrs Bell questioning her about the doctorate she claimed to have obtained from the London School of Economics, Thompson withdrew her application for the post.

Mrs Bell undertook further investigations on her own initiative and advised Mr Wintringham that there was no record of Thompson gaining a doctorate. But, instead of initiating a formal investigation, Mr Wintringham told Mrs Bell to stop her inquiries.

He was, he subsequently said, concerned that further inquiries could “damage both the defendant’s considerable professional reputation and the reputation of the commission as well”.

He was right about the first. He was wrong about the second. What has damaged the commission’s reputation is not Thompson’s fraud, but Mr Wintringham’s failure to properly investigate a matter of obvious concern.

Really it was a disgraceful decision – and one made worse by his failure to even leave a file note on the issue for his successor. You’d expect better from the most junior HR manager, let alone the State Services Commissioner.

The Press hails a triumph for Obama:

The United States health reform controversy continues to swirl with such intensity that it is difficult to decipher the dispositions of the antagonists. However, one thing is sure – President Barack Obama has won his place in history, if only because of the health bill’s emergence into law.

No other president has pushed through such important reform in this field and most have not dared to try. Obama’s handling of the process was less than stellar and it has united his opponents, but the result is legislation that will transform a fundamental foundation of American society.

Hmmn. I wonder if they have read the law change. It isn’t that dramatic.

And the ODT takes issue with Pita Sharples:

The thrust of his speech clearly implied that for tribal Maori, democracy does not work and does not sit comfortably with Maori cultural concepts.

Historical fact suggests this argument does not wash in national politics, since Maori candidates have long been elected to general seats and the specific provision of Maori electorates has ensured at least a foothold in Parliament.

The notable absence of Maori at local body level has been regrettable, but why that is so cannot merely be attributed to “prejudice, cultural arrogance, and institutional racism”.

Relatively few people are aware that in Parliament, Maori are over-represented in relation to their proportion of the adult population.

So I find it hard to see how the democratic system is failing Maori.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Editorials 18 March 2010

March 18th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald focuses on the departure of Vanda Vitali:

The trust board was also keen to see the museum throw off austerity and become part of an international trend typified by Te Papa. Part of this was a restructuring that left 46 personnel, many of them senior staff, without jobs.

Amid accusations that this meant core museum displays were being downgraded, the board backed Dr Vitali to the hilt for most of her tenure. Its support began to waver late last year, however, after a series of public relations disasters.

It is questionable who should bear the responsibility for these. Did the board, having appointed Dr Vitali and provided a mandate, fail to give sufficient direction and guidance?

Did it not recognise sufficiently that, as a Canadian, she was operating in an unfamiliar cultural context? Or did the director, like many set on instituting change, not see finesse and heedfulness as part of her job description? …

It must not become fusty and tradition-bound. Dr Vitali’s achievement can be measured by comments lamenting her resignation.

One of the more notable came from Naida Glavish, of the Ngati Whatua Runanga, who said she had brought the museum “back to life”. An initial reservation about Dr Vitali was her sensitivity to the Maori and Pacific exhibitions.

Museums are always seeking a balance. In Auckland’s case, that involves using flair and imagination to attract local people, while also catering for overseas tourists’ major interest, the Polynesian treasures.

Dr Vitali wrought major change in a short time. With a little finesse, the correct balance can be struck.

Is Te Papa still looking for a CEO? :-)

The Dominion Post is unhappy with Israel:

The timing of Israel’s announcement of a new 1600-house Jewish development in East Jerusalem was the equivalent of a one-fingered salute to the United States and to the peace process.

It demonstrates a contempt for the Obama Administration so withering that it diminishes the American ability to broker any deal. The administration had last year demanded a freeze on Jewish settlements, but eventually got only a partial, temporary halt – except in Jerusalem.

Why should the Palestinians pay any heed to what Washington wants, when the Israelis clearly don’t? It will also raise questions even among those sympathetic to Israel whether its current leadership has any intention of reaching a negotiated settlement.

I am a friend and supporter of Israel, but on this issue I agree they are wrong. They really should stop building new settlements. It makes the job of achieving a peace agreement a lot lot harder, for little gain.

The Press focuses on bad driving:

It is the common complaint of many New Zealand motorists. Truck drivers hog the road and, being oblivious to other road users, are responsible for accidents and near misses, both in urban areas and on the open road.

Those who subscribe to this jaundiced view should be taking a hard look at the video footage on The Press’s website. This footage, which was taken from cameras mounted in Canterbury Waste Services (CWS) trucks and which has created great public interest, has graphic images of other road users behaving recklessly and illegally.

It includes video images of one car overtaking a truck and forcing oncoming traffic to take evasive action. Other footage shows motorists not stopping at red lights or compulsory stop signs, failing to adhere to the give-way rule at other intersections, adopting some appalling driving techniques at roundabouts, and skidding due to a failure to drive to the conditions.

Luckily Wellington drivers are better than that :-)

The ODT looks at child abuse in the Catholic Church:

It is hard to believe the senior ranks of the Roman Catholic Church, increasingly under siege in Fortress Vatican, have any real appreciation of the extent of the calamity facing them.

For if they did, surely they, and Pope Benedict XVI, would be cutting a radically different course from that now being offered to a confused, disappointed and sometimes angry congregation.

Prominent among the strategies it has adopted in the face of what is beginning to seem like a perfect storm of recent revelations – of sexual abuse cases and “cover-ups” in Brazil, the United States, Ireland, the Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Germany and, periodically, in this country and Australia – has been the time-honoured tactic of attacking the messenger. …

It just reminds me of the South Park episode where a priest calls on the gathered Cardinals to stop priests having sex with little boys, and the response back is that as they can’t have sex with women, if they stop having sex with little boys, then they’ll get to have no sex at all!

Abstinence is not natural in my opinion!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Common sense from the Vatican

February 24th, 2010 at 8:42 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Vatican’s top bioethics official yesterday dismissed calls for his resignation following an uproar over his defence of doctors who aborted the twin fetuses of a 9-year-old child who was raped by her stepfather.

Monsignor Renato Fisichella said he refused to respond to five members of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life who questioned his suitability to lead the institution.

Fisichella wrote an article in the Vatican’s newspaper in March last year saying the Brazilian doctors didn’t deserve excommunication as mandated by church law because they were saving the girl’s life.

A common sense and humane view from the Archbishop.

Tags: ,

Saint Pius

January 19th, 2010 at 9:40 am by David Farrar

AP reports:

In a synagogue visit haunted by history, Pope Benedict XVI and Jewish leaders sparred over the record of the World War II-era Pope during the Holocaust and agreed on the need to strengthen Catholic-Jewish relations.

Both sides said the visit to the seat of the oldest Jewish community in the diaspora was an occasion to overcome what Benedict called “every misconception and prejudice”.

Signs of the Jewish community’s tragic history were abundant, as the German-born Benedict stopped at a plaque marking where Roman Jews were rounded up by the Nazis in 1943 and at another marking the slaying of a 2-year-old boy in an attack by Palestinian terrorists on the synagogue in 1982.

Benedict defended his predecessor Pius XII against critics, telling the audience that the Vatican had worked quietly to save Jews from the Nazis during World War II.

Many Jews object to Benedict moving Pius towards sainthood, contending that the wartime Pope didn’t do enough to protect Jews from the Holocaust.

My conclusion is that Pius refused to speak up publicly, as he didn’t want to risk the Nazis and Fascists moving against the Church. Now this doesn’t make him a bad person – it was arguably a reasonable decision for the Pope to make.

But in my lay opinion, it should disqualify him from sainthood. Sainthood should not be bestowed when there is significant doubt.

Of course decisions on Sainthood, are decisions for the Catholic Church alone. But if they proceed, they should not be surprised that many will think less of the Church for such a decision.

Tags: ,

The Catholic guide for voters

August 12th, 2008 at 7:20 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports on a guide put out by the Catholic Church for the 2008 election. They don’t endorse a party or candidates,but do have a checklist of issues people should ask about and take into account.

I’ve managed to locate a full copy of the guide. Here are some of their statements, and my scores:

Every abortion involves taking one person’s life for another person’s reasons.

0 for DPF.

The Church supports stem cell research using adult stem cells or umbilical cord blood, but not creating embryos for the purposes of research and other people’s medication and then discarding them.

And another 0. Very strongly in favour of embryo stem cell research. Their potential is incredible.

Those who support euthanasia and assisted suicide sometimes seek our support by claiming they are acts of mercy.  The Church in contrast sees this as an abandonment of people who most need our care and protection, particularly when they themselves are concerned not to be a burden to others.

And a hat trick of zeros.

Some employment policies and practices affect family life.  For example, families can be deprived of adequate time together, workers may have experienced a reduction in job security and real wages, and children and young people may not be sufficiently protected.

Another zero for me as they rail against liberalising shop trading hours.

Psychologists point out that a father’s love and a mother’s love are different and that each contributes differently to a child’s development.  The Church continues to recognise and respect the need for a child to receive both kinds of love.

This leads into their opposition to same sex marriage and adoption. And yet more zeroes for me.

Ten years ago the Churches joined together in the Hikoi of Hope to ask the government to give more weight to the impact of the economy on people’s lives in the areas of employment, poverty, housing, health and education.  New Zealand now has the lowest unemployment figures in the OECD, but this has not been reflected in improved living standards for the poorest New Zealanders, and inequality continues to grow.  Our Catholic social tradition recognises that the effect on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community is the measure of our public policies.

And another zero as the words Hikoi of Hope wants to make me vomit. They show no understanding of a country’s need to create the wealth, to be able to share it. Instead they just advocate for higher taxes and higher benefits.

A truly humane society would ensure that people have times of stillness to see more deeply into life; times of quiet to hear from the heart; time for wonder, beauty and thanksgiving – and other things the Treasury cannot count. These are dimensions of life and of being truly human that are squeezed out when the market forces which should be in our service, somehow become our master.

And now they blame poor old Treasury for the fact some people work hard. Yet another zero.

Their other sections are on asylym seekers, international aid, cultural diversity crime and environmental justice. I’m going to save time and give myself a zero for all of them.

The Catholic Church has that rare ability to advocate for almost everything I disagree with. On most social issues they are reactionary and conservative while on economic issues they are to the left of the Alliance. They are equally hostile to social freedoms as they are to economic freedom. My views on the churches can get very passionate because of that.

This must be why when I was entered the church in England where Shakespeare is buried, that my friends expressed surprise that my feet did not catch fire :-)

Tags: ,

Seven more sins

March 11th, 2008 at 9:38 am by David Farrar

The BBC reports on seven new sins proclaimed by the Catholic Church.  I would have thought they were doing badly enough the the original sins, they really didn’t have to invent some more.  But here they are:

  1. Environmental pollution

  2. Genetic manipulation

  3. Accumulating excessive wealth

  4. Inflicting poverty

  5. Drug trafficking and consumption

  6. Morally debatable experiments

  7. Violation of fundamental rights of human nature

Now they are all quite interesting.

If one includes carbon emissions as pollution, then we are all sinners and should ask God every week to forgive our carbon footprint. A lot cheaper than carbon credits also.

And if GM food results in millions of people not starving, or cures for fatal illnesses, well sorry you scientists – it is still a sin.

And Bill Gates is obviously going to burn in hell. No not for Windows ME but for being rich. Never mind that he donates more to charity and helping people in poverty than anyone else alive.

Inflicting poverty being a sin is also interesting.  Does this make Dr Cullen a sinner as NZ still has poverty? And does this make the Chinese Government non-evil for lifting so many out of poverty?

Consuming drugs is a sin.  Does this include party pills? How about coffee?

And what Vatican spin doctor came up with morally debatable experiments.  What does that even mean?

I might even agree with the one about violating fundamental rights of human nature if they could list what these rights are.

Now The Times lists the seven original sins, and their respective punishments:

  1. Pride Broken on the wheel
  2. Envy Put in freezing water
  3. Gluttony Forced to eat rats, toads, and snakes
  4. Lust Smothered in fire and brimstone
  5. Anger Dismembered alive
  6. Greed Put in cauldrons of boiling oil
  7. Sloth Thrown in snake pits

So what might be appropriate punishments for the new sins? My guesses are:

  1. Environmental pollution – Drowned in acid rain

  2. Genetic manipulation - Stoned to death with organic pumpkins

  3. Accumulating excessive wealth – death by gerbils with $2 coins tied to them

  4. Inflicting poverty – covered with honey and tied and staked out near an anthill

  5. Drug trafficking and consumption – water boarding with Diet Coke

  6. Morally debatable experiments – Dissection with no anaesthetic

  7. Violation of fundamental rights of human nature – forced to listen to circular tape of Al Gore speeches until natural death occurs

In case the Kiwi Party, Sensible Sentencing or Family First read this post, please note the above suggested punishments are satire and should not be included in any manifesto :-)

Tags: , ,