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Credibility? He no longer has some


I’m not claiming that the Catholic Pope actually ever had any credibility with me, but I know he does with some Catholics (still), and I wonder how they can let his latest two foot in mouth statements through without suggesting that he be sacked.  It would be nice if the Catholic Church was a democratic institution wouldn’t it… let me enjoy that vision for a moment…. mmmm… ok, sadly back to reality.

Ok, first stupid statement was published before Christmas, and I know I’m late to the blogging party with this one, but I thought I’d blog on it anyway, as well as link to already fantastic commentary on his ludicrous claims.  This claim being that “paedophilia wasn’t considered an “absolute evil” as recently as the 1970s.”  All I can think, when I read something like that is, “WTF?  Have you no idea about the world you move in?”

Dispatches from the Culture Wars has an excellent deconstruction of the claims made by the Pope, as does Pharyngula here and here.

Ed from Dispatches from the Culture Wars writes:

What society, exactly, treats child pornography as normal? The pope is living in a fantasy world. In the real world, the investigation and punishment of child pornography has increased enormously over the last few decades. Governments around the world spend enormous resources on its interdiction and punishment, as they should. The penalties for it have gone up and up in the United States in particular.

“In order to resist these forces, we must turn our attention to their ideological foundations. In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children.”

Again, by whom? I’m sure there was some obscure academic somewhere who made such a vile claim, but so what? This notion that pedophilia has somehow been mainstreamed in society and that there is some movement to treat it as legitimate is simply a lie. No such movement exists in the real world, it is limited solely to groups on the extreme fringe, like NAMBLA. The pope seems to be inventing an alternate reality that does not exist in order to justify.

PZ Myers from Pharyngula writes:

So here’s the Pope pretending that they were living in an environment that somehow condoned child abuse, so the priesthood somehow went along with it? Madness.

I also am not impressed by his regret that the church was humiliated. That’s not an appropriate response at all: church members were the perpetrators of the crime, and the Pope still can’t seem to empathize with the victims…you know, the kids. They always seem to get forgotten when the pontiff pontificates on the abuses of his church.

So, the Pope yet again completely fails to accept any responsibility for the rape and sexual abuse of children by its members.  Nice one.

The other thing in which I thought that the Pope put his foot firmly (perhaps the other foot) in his mouth was also during December.  On Boxing Day he condemned the attacks on Christian churches in Nigeria and the Philippines, this I’m completely cool with.  I do not, and will not, support any attacks on religious buildings or people (physical attacks).  Although I disagree with people’s beliefs, they are entitled to believe what they do and should not be at risk of harm or death for doing so.

Apparently earlier in the month though, he “said Christians were the most persecuted religious group in the world today.”  This, on the other hand, is a load of crock.  There definitely are countries where Christians are persecuted, that again goes without question, but I seriously question Christianity being “the most persecuted religion”.  I’d really love the Pope to provide me with citations for that claim so that I could investigate better, but really, in the West (which is majority Christian), Christians are NOT persecuted.  I’ve been through the privilege of Christianity before in the West, but let me touch on it again.

John Scalzi wrote a brilliant post called, “Things I don’t have to think about today” from which I’m going to borrow a few lines that relate specifically to Christianity and the privileged position it holds.

Today I don’t have to think about those who hear “terrorist” when I speak my faith.
Today I don’t have to think about the people who’d consider torching my house of prayer a patriotic act.
Today I don’t have to think about turning on the news to see people planning to burn my holy book.
Today I don’t have to think about others demanding I apologize for hateful people who have nothing to do with me.
Today I don’t have to think about those who believe that freedom of religion ends with mine.
Today I don’t have to think about people blind to the intolerance of their belief lecturing me about my own.
Today I don’t have to think about politicians saying bigoted things about me to win votes.
Today I don’t have to think about those worried that one day people like me will be the majority.
Today I don’t have to think about someone using the name of my religion as a slur.

As Christians, in the West, your religious holidays are celebrated nationally, you can wear symbols of your religion without concern, you don’t have to worry about your place of worship being vandalised, you don’t have to worry about finding a place to worship in (they’re everywhere), your schools (in Australia) will receive Government funding, Public Schools (in Australia) will also receive Christian religious instruction, and you can easily find members of your faith in positions of power (Government, Courts, and Public Servants).

Christianity in the West is privileged and Christians are NOT persecuted in the West or in many other Christian majority nations.  I know that Christianity has a history of persecution, it was persecuted heavily by the Romans when it first started taking root, but for many centuries now, especially in Western nations, Christianity is the norm, and persecution is not.  Please stop with the whole, “Wow is me, I’m a poor Christian and I’m persecuted” crap (unless you are from a nation where Christians are persecuted, in which case, go right ahead).  It is incredibly insulting to those who are actively persecuted by Christians such as the LGBTIQ community and others of minority faiths (such as atheists, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc).

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The Discussion

see what everyone is saying

  • anti_supernaturalist January 5th, 2011 at 6:39 am #1

    [You might replace 'some' by 'any' in your headline. ]

    What a laugh you xians are!

    • Haven’t you figured yourselves out yet?

    You are the oppressors. You are the Romans now. And your kind has been both vile and evil for as long as your kind has existed.

    Nihil is the name of your subterranean god. Saul of Tarsus is the paranoid schizophrenic who created the insane equation Jesus = hellenistic savior god.

    According to that sick noodle: God chose “the things that are not — to nullify the things that are…” 1Cor1:28 NIV.

    As a skeptic, belief in your god is beneath me.

    The de-deification of western culture is our task for the next 100 years.

    the anti_supernaturalist

  • Jacinta January 9th, 2011 at 12:44 pm #2

    I agree with you, and disagree with him that child pornography is increasingly normal in our society. I think that there’s a lot more awareness of it, but I don’t think it is normalised or accepted. I don’t think the moral relativism that parts of our society has adopted has lead to any kind of greater acceptance for it. There’s a reason that convicted child molesters need protection in prison.

    I’m also dubious that the Church was ambivalent about absolute good and evil back in the 70s. We don’t have fire and brimstone preachers as much (in Australia) as we used to have, but I’m pretty sure they were convinced about absolute good and evil…

    I think the Pope is in a difficult situation. He’s inherited the blame for this problem, partially because in his previous position he didn’t do a good enough job of trying to fix things. Personally, I’d prefer him to just say:

    “We are sorry. Many within our clergy betrayed you, our parishioners and our communities. For too long we tried to solve this problem internally, believing that the abuses were few and easily fixed by distancing the abuser from those he was interested in. We were wrong. The Catholic Church abhors violence to children, sexual misconduct, sexual abuse and sexual assault. From this day forth we will work determinedly, honestly and swiftly with local law enforcements on all and any allegations that are made. We will purge our ranks of the unrepentant sinners and spread the message to all of of God’s servants that the evil of child abuse is to be fought with determination, courage and prayer throughout God’s kingdom.”

    I’m not sure he *can* say that, due to political issues with such within the Church, but oh! Wouldn’t it help?

  • The Catholic Mass April 3rd, 2011 at 5:38 pm #3

    [...] long, but long enough), I don’t hold a torch for Catholicism (you might have noticed with my posts about the place focusing on The Pope), but I still have family involved in the Church, and spent [...]

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