Rationality Now Rotating Header Image

More on the Christian sense of entitlement

This morning, I read an article written by Reverend Michael Bresciani titled “National Day of Prayer out says federal judge — America’s identity eroding.” It’s generally more of the ignorance commonly displayed by the religious right when claiming the United States is a “Christian Nation,” though Bresciani does claim that label is inaccurate. He does, however, display much ignorance over the issue in general.

Let me show what he got right, first, though. Regarding the ruling declaring the national day of prayer unconstitutional, Rev. Bresciani says…

With mid-term elections looming only months from now any decision to drop the day would surely add to the growing dissatisfaction with the Obama administration. The move to restrain himself is seen as politically motivated by most and, it is not consistent with his previous stand on Christianity. [sic]

I couldn’t agree more… except for the last bit because I’m not sure what Bresciani is referring to when he talks about Obama’s “previous stand on Christianity.” However, any decision that continues the day of prayer will most definitely be political. The outrage from Christians over their false sense of “persecution” would probably be overwhelming. Obama knows that, and even though the federal judge who ruled the day of prayer unconstitutional did so lucidly, logically, and correctly, the sense of entitlement that many Christians feel because of their religion will most likely compel him to still issue the “Day of Prayer” proclamation. The point that Bresciani makes about it being political is true. It certainly isn’t Constitutional.

Here’s another point of agreement I have with Bresciani… taken slightly out of context because the surrounding text contains points of disagreement.

[…] President Obama’s administration started off in the same vein with his now famous proclamation that America is “not a Christian nation” Of course we are not a “Christian” nation because there is no such thing.

Christianity is something each individual must decide upon for themselves. […]

In fact whenever any religion becomes the “national religion” it ceases to be spiritual and can only become tyrannical. If by not ascribing to the national religion you become a law breaker what would most people do?

Aside from leaving out the key “at least not just” phrase of the “no longer a Christian nation” quote, Bresciani seems to agree that we are not a Christian nation… because Christianity is something personal. I’m not sure he’ll get all that much agreement from many on the religious right, but I’m with him when he says that we’re not a Christian nation… and that Christianity (and religion in general) is an individual decision. His point about a national religion ceasing to be spiritual is another point of agreement, though I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. That it can only become tyrannical is arguable. I don’t think I would consider the Church of England to be tyrannical.

Sadly, that’s about the extent of our agreement. The rest of his article is packed solidly full of straw men, hyperbole, bible quotes, and outright falsehoods. I’m going to hit a few key points, but read his entire article to get the full gist of how “off the mark” Bresciani’s thinking is.

Our national identity and our Christian roots are being ignored, denied or challenged on every level.

Really? Our national identity? Our Christian roots? I have a sneaking suspicion that, to Bresciani, those two are one and the same. If he is absurdly assigning Christianity to our nation’s identity, which seems to be the case, wouldn’t it be right to challenge that nation, given the purely secular nation of our Constitution… that Constitution that prohibits any laws respecting an establishment of religion? As for Christian roots, that’s just more misguided propaganda by the religious right.

More accurately we are a nation that was founded on Christian principles and up to now has had more praying Christians than any other nation in history.

No. No we are not a nation founded on Christian principles. We are a nation founded on secular principles as specifically spelled out in the Constitution. I can’t refute that we have more “praying Christians” than any other nation but praying or not, it doesn’t mean that Christians should be afforded any special rights or privileges. That would most certainly go against the founding principles of our country!

Bresciani goes off the deep end the more he writes.

We know that it’s universally acceptable to refer to some places as Muslim nations but somehow we are ashamed to be called a Christian nation. We also know that if Muslims were denied their right to pray five times per day facing Mecca in Saudi Arabia they would riot, war and die fighting against that ruling.

Interestingly enough. those “Muslim nations” have governments that are very, very specifically Islam-based. They don’t have anything resembling our secular government or our secular founding documents, so it’s quite appropriate to call them a “Muslim nation.” However, given our government and our founding documents, it’s wholly inappropriate and inaccurate to call the United States a “Christian nation.”

The second point speculating about Muslims being denied their right to pray is, I’m assuming, a reference to the “National Day of Prayer” ruling, but it’s an entirely inaccurate comparison. Nobody is this country is denied their right to pray… any time, any place. The NDOP ruling doesn’t take away that right. It doesn’t affect it in the slightest. What it does, is prevent the US government from promoting a call to religious action… something the judge very clearly spelled out in the ruling. Bresciani obviously misses the point.

Going further off the deep end…

If viewed in its converse form, we could say that when secular forces of atheism, agnosticism and anti-Christian bigotry go to the law against prayer in our national life, it is they who have decided to get the fed to make laws regarding the establishment or more accurately, the dis-establishment of religion. This may be the very argument used to challenge the ruling.

Again… completely wrong on multiple counts. The challenges to nationally-sponsored prayer or religious practice are not an attempt to make laws, they are attempts to enforce already existing laws. They are attempts to enforce the basic tenants of our Constitution. None of the laws try to “dis-establish” religion. They keep religion from intruding in government matters… just as the Constitution dictates. Despite what Bresciani seems to think, preventing someone from breaking a law is not the same thing as creating a law.

While the ACLU and others spend big bucks to fight crosses at memorials, nativity scenes, prayer in the congress or any public place, prayer in the military and classroom mentions of God why haven’t we equated that with a huge move to violate our right to religion and a willingness to engage the powers that be to make laws that adversely affect the establishment of religion?

Wow. That entire paragraph is a monstrosity of logical and factual failure. Bresciani not only misses the point, but he misses it to such a large degree that he seems to be arguing against a straw man of monumental proportions.

The ACLU does not fight nativity scenes. They fight governmental displays of nativity scenes (which amounts to illegally promoting a specific religion… again with that pesky Constitution!). Nativity scenes are not banned in non-government public places, as is evidenced by their widespread use by churches, private organizations, and homeowners all throughout the holiday season. The ACLU rightly fights against government-sponsored prayer, but not in “any public place.” They would vehemently fight for your right to pray wherever you want to pray… as long your prayer is not being sponsored or promoted by the government.

Nothing the ACLU does violates a right to religion. The converse is true. They protect people from having religion forced on them by the government and, once again, they are backed up by our Constitution. Bresciani is portraying Christians as being stripped of their privileges and entitlements… as poor, sad, abused victims of persecution… because they are not being allowed to force the government to give them special privileges or special treatment.

This is not a matter of atheists (or any other non-Christian demographic) forcing their beliefs down the throats of Christians. The notion is absurd. The ACLU and other supporting groups are watchdog groups who prevent Christians from doing what they falsely accuse others of doing.

While some atheists will loudly proclaim their beliefs and vociferously decry any sort of religious belief as harmful and ignorant, it is well within their rights to do so. It is also well within someone’s rights to decry atheism… to mercilessly criticize those who do not belief in a personal God who answers prayers. Freedom of speech is a precious right in this country and I (and the ACLU) fully support it. Promote your religious beliefs as loudly as you dare.

They line gets drawn, however, when the government is used to promote your religious beliefs. That’s such a huge key point and is so often missed (or blatantly ignored) by the Christian right when they’re spouting off about attacks on their faith or unfair treatment or persecution. They complain when they can’t use government property to display their religious icons. They complain when they can’t have government-funded public schools promote prayer. They complain when they can’t have the government create a special day calling for religious action. They complain when they can’t make government-funded schools teach a biblical creation stories. They complain when they aren’t allowed to display their bible verses in government courtrooms.

But do they complain that they can’t put nativity scenes in the church’s front yard? Do they complain that personal prayer is banned in a national park? Do they complain that they can’t teach their own children their religious beliefs? Do they complain that they aren’t allowed to meet with like-minded people to worship?

No. No they don’t. And the reason they don’t is that they are allowed to do all these things. They have an unprecedented level of freedom to practice their religion as they choose, when they choose, and where they choose.

The only two caveats are that they can’t infringe on the rights of others and they can’t be funded or promoted or organized by the government. Shouldn’t that be enough? Shouldn’t that freedom be enough?

Evidently, many Christians don’t seem to think so. They want the government to support them… and only them… and to relegate the rest of the citizenry to a lesser standing in society. When they demand the government sponsor a national day of prayer, when they expect the government to display their religious icons, when they expect the government to encourage everyone to participate in their religion… what they are doing is calling for a theocracy.

If the Christian right got their way, our government would be as outwardly religious as the governments in some Middle Eastern countries. Freedom of religion, in their minds, seems to mean freedom to practice the Christian religion… and if you happen to have other beliefs, you should just shut up and keep them to yourself.

Perhaps they don’t want Christianity to become the governmentally-declared religion of our country (because as Bresciani says, it would make it political instead of spiritual), but I have no doubt that many of them would have Christianity as our “official” religion… complete with special privileges and entitlements (much like they have now, in some cases) so that it would be the official state religion in every way except for a legal proclamation. They won’t be happy until we are a Christian nation… and people like Bresciani are pushing for it more every day.

If they could only get rid of that pesky Constitution.

CCB says: you’re ignorant.

The Word of Christ - Surprisingly indistinguishable from one's personal opinion, actually.One of the biggest reasons that I dislike religion is because it is considered infallible and therefore can not be questioned. There are so many reasons to dislike religion from the  hypocrisy of those in leadership, silly superstitious beliefs, etc.  Of all the things to dislike, I think it is the unquestioning nature of religion I hate the most. Don’t question the priest, don’t question the Imam, don’t question the bible. Everywhere you turn are "answers" but no questions. This leads me to the title of this article.

I received this comment recently on an article I wrote:

"CCB says:

you’re ignorant. go to church you sick pig. find god in your life, maybe then you’ll have different views."

Oh…I’m sure I’d have different views alright. I wanted to start this article with the obvious comments:

  1. If you’re going to start a sentence about ignorance, at least capitalize it.
  2. You certainly exude the "Christian" ethic. Golly, can I go to your church?
  3. If finding God in my life led me to calling people I don’t know sick pigs, …well then sign me up!
  4. I don’t have "God" in my life, therefore, I am allowed to have different views.
  5. I guess, WWJD doesn’t come into your mind very often, huh?

…but I didn’t want to take the easy road, so I’m not going to make any of those comments, *ahem*.

You, CCB, are the reason this website exists. Well, maybe not "you" specifically but people like you. When you suggest I go to church, which one should it be? Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or is any God ok, as long as there is one in my life? I have a sneaking suspicion that two out of those three Gods would not be on your approved God list. Your unquestioning and insulting nature is what fuels this site and those like it. You may not like my style of sarcastic humor but you can’t argue with the facts of the article you commented about.

The Pope was involved with a cover-up of child rape. The Pope did ignore rape allegations. The Vatican will not accept responsibility for it’s lack of oversight of priests. These are facts. You may not like them but they are true.

So, CCB (if that is your real name… and if it is, it’s a weird name) thanks for reading and keep the insightful comments coming.

Lovingly,

Craig

More Christian Nation Controversy

This topic of the United States as a “Christian Nation” is abused so often by the religious right that it’s gotten beyond tedious, but Sarah Palin managed to stir it up again with her ignorant ramblings at the Women of Joy conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

According to an ABC News story, Palin thinks it’s “mind boggling” to suggest that the United States is not a Christian nation.

From the article:

“God truly has shed his grace on thee — on this country,” Palin told the Women of Joy conference. “He’s blessed us, and we better not blow it.”

[…]

“And then, hearing any leader declare that America isn’t a Christian nation and poking an ally like Israel in the eye, it’s mind-boggling to see some of our nation’s actions recently, but politics truly is a topic for another day.”

[…]

“Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, our founding fathers, they were believers,” said Palin. “And George Washington, he saw faith in God as basic to life.”

Needless to say, her comments ruffled a few feathers and sparked a lot of commentary… mostly because she’s factually incorrect on multiple points, something that isn’t surprising based on her track record.

First, Obama didn’t say we are not a Christian nation, as is often mis-quoted. What he said was…

Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

(src)

Note the prepared remarks stated “we are no longer just a Christian nation” but he stumbled over it a bit during his speech. The key word, which tends to be omitted by the religious right when going off on a rant about how persecuted they are, is “just.” Factually speaking, we are not just a nation of Christians. There are many other religions practiced in our country and, as Obama stated, people who practice no religion (even if they’re not explicitly atheists).

So if the definition of “Christian Nation” is a nation populated by those of the Christian faith, then yes, we are a Christian nation. However, that same definition means that we are a Jewish nation… a Buddhist nation… a Hindu nation… a Scientologist nation… an Islamic nation… a Wiccan nation… and the list could go on and on and on.

However, I doubt the religious right goes with that definition. Their definition is probably more likely that we are a nation founded and based on Judeo-Christian principles, blessed and ordained by the Judeo-Christian god, and protected by Divine Providence. Of course, that’s nonsense and has no factual basis whatsoever.

Those who promote the idea that we’re a Christian nation frequently note the reference to “Nature’s God” and “their Creator” in the Declaration of Independence as bits of evidence in their favor. They also harp on the religious beliefs of our founding fathers. It’s true that many of the founding fathers were religious men. That argument is largely irrelevant, but if taken seriously, gives them no real support. Not all the founding fathers were religious men. Some had no affiliation and some were deists. Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence was a deist… so presumably, when he refers to “Nature’s God” or “their Creator,” he is referring to a god who created the universe and then walked away, never to be heard from again. He certainly was not referring to the Christian notion of a God who listens to and answers prayers or is otherwise involved in the daily workings of the world.

That aside, the Declaration of Independence is not a governing document. The Constitution is our governing document… and the only mention of anything godly in our Constitution is “In the Year of our Lord” when referring to the date… hardly an indication of Christian divine providence. There is nothing… nothing… in the Constitution that mentions God, Jesus, or anything else in the Christian faith. It is a decidedly secular document, regardless of the personal beliefs of the founding fathers.

Actually, the fact that many of the founders were religious men, yet chose to omit any kind of religious references in the Constitution, is a huge indication that they specifically did not want the country to be a “Christian nation.” So quoting a founder’s view on religious faith is mostly irrelevant because the document is what governs our country… not the personal views of select founders.

It’s disingenuous for Palin (and the religious right) to claim that this is a nation based on the Christian faith… disingenuous and dishonest. Based on the actual facts, it’s blatantly untrue. There isn’t really a valid debate to be had.

The religious right, however, is a group that considers faith without evidence to be a virtue, so I’m sure the issue, much to the dismay of those who know better, will continue to come up.

No doubt Sarah Palin will make sure of that.

Pure Dobsonian ignorance

On April 15th, a district court in Wisconsin ruled that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional. It’s a decision that was a long time coming.

From the article:

Crabb wrote that her ruling was not a judgment on the value of prayer. She noted government involvement in prayer may be constitutional if the conduct serves a “significant secular purpose” and doesn’t amount to a call for religious action. But the National Day of Prayer crosses that line, she wrote.

“It goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context,” she wrote. “In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience.”

No doubt the decision will be appealed because it seems the religious right can’t stand to lose an opportunity to have the government endorse their religion. They’ll claim, over and over, that religion belief and practice is a personal thing and that it’s an issue of freedom, but they don’t really seem to grasp the concept that the freedom should apply to everyone. They seem to feel that it only applies to those who share their faith.

Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, seems to take her ignorance a step further. She is quoted as saying (emphasis mine)…

“Since the days of our Founding Fathers, the government has protected and encouraged public prayer and other expressions of dependence on the Almighty,” Dobson said. “This is a concerted effort by a small but determined number of people who have tried to prohibit all references to the Creator in the public square, whether it be the Ten Commandments, the Pledge of Allegiance, or the simple act of corporate prayer – this is unconscionable for a free society.”

The highlighted statement is blatantly and unequivocally false. The people who oppose government-sponsored religious displays are not trying to prohibit religious references in the public square. In truth, most of them (if not all) would fully support the rights of anyone to display their religious beliefs in the public square. That is evidenced by the sheer numbers of churches found all across the country. It’s not uncommon to see three or four churches in a two-block radius of some towns. Religious billboards abound. “Jesus fishes” adorn cars. Crosses hang around necks and decorate roadsides. …and nobody is trying to stop it. It’s freedom.

What they are trying to stop is the promotion of religion by government institutions, including nativity scenes on government property, prayer during government meetings and publicly funded schools, government funding for religious organizations that discriminate based on religion, and any other government support, promotion, or favoritism of any type of religious practices.

So Shirley Dobson has it all wrong, but the sad thing is, the religious right will believe her and they will shake their fists in fury over their perceived persecution… because little by little, their ability to use government to push their superstitious beliefs on the rest of the country is being whittled away. They can’t understand that they are not the ones who are being persecuted. They are the persecutors.

Why do they need to display their nativity scenes on government steps when their are literally thousands of churches where the display would be far more relevant. Why do they need to force all children to pray in schools when children can pray at home, in school, on the playground, and anywhere and any time they want already? Why do they need to demand preferential treatment by the government in support of their religion when their god is supposedly all-powerful?

Their outrage and anger is absurd. It’s ignorant. It’s overbearing. It’s self-righteous and arrogant. It’s hypocritical. It’s intellectually crippling.

…all because of their grandiose superstitions.

Two wrongs make a right?

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of excuse-making in the form of, “Well they did it, too!”

I’ve seen this in relation to the sexual abuses by the Catholic Church (and yes… at this point, it’s not just priests, it’s the church), racism and bigotry by tea party protestors, and political activity (or non-activity, as the case may be). In most cases, the people making the statement are trying to justify the actions, as if calling out an opponent’s indiscretions somehow makes the indiscretions of the defended group acceptable.

  • Defenders of the Catholic Church have said, “We’re not the only people who have abused children.”
  • Tea Party supporters have said, “There was racism, bigotry, and hatred during the Bush administration, too.”
  • Political pundits (on both sides of the aisle) have said, “They (the other party) have done this, too, so it’s perfectly appropriate for us to use it.”

In every case, it’s a petty response made in an attempt to vindicate the accused. It’s also rationally and ethically indefensible. How can you defend child rape by saying, “He did it, too?” How can you defend overt racism, bigotry, and hatred by saying, “He did it, too?” How can you defend obstructionist, ethically dubious, divisive behavior by saying, “He did it, too?”

Raping a child is not suddenly acceptable behavior if you point out it’s been done by someone else. The Catholic Church has attempted to do just that. Shuffling pedophile priests to alternate locations for decades in order to avoid criminal charges or damage to the reputation of the Church is not morally defensible. It’s vile. It’s reprehensible. It’s immoral. It’s despicable. It’s illegal.

Spewing lies, hate speech, racial epithets, bigotry, and intolerance is not acceptable behavior, no matter who does it. The Tea Party is obviously in the spotlight at the moment for this type of behavior, but it’s not unique to them. However, attempting to justify the behavior by pointing out that people behaved that way during the Bush administration does nothing to validate it. It simply makes the defenders look petty and vile themselves. Why would you even attempt to justify racism, bigotry, and hatred? Why would you not just condemn it outright… without qualifications… without caveats… without justifications?

Using questionable political tactics to obstruct progress as opposed to collaborating to create a nationally beneficial policy is not ethically defensible, either. Both parties have done it, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. When the only goal your political team supports isn’t to help the country, but is to thwart the other team, it’s time to look for another career.

Ethical and moral misbehavior should be called out and condemned regardless of whose actions are being called into question.

The defense of that behavior is, itself, ethically atrocious.

Catholicism, Lessons in Irony & Hypocrisy

With all the Catholic sex scandal news as of late, I have been doing a lot of reading. I started thinking about all the hypocrisy and irony in Catholicism. I know these are not all original thoughts but I wanted to start compiling some. If you have more add them to the comments!

1 ) Why do Catholics have to get pre-marriage counseling from a  celibate priest?

2 ) The Pope refers to the blessed mother Mary with reverence and awe but won’t allow women to take any leadership roles within the church.

3 ) The Pope promotes abstinence as a form of birth control but worships Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin?

4 ) A church full of closet bound homosexual priests won’t recognize the basic rights of homosexuals?

5 ) Jesus lived a simple life and preached to the meek against opulence.  The Pope lives in an opulent palace located in a freakin’ church owned sovereign city, adorned with gold jewelry and robes so flamboyant they would make make Liberace jealous.

6 ) God has given mankind free will to determine it’s own fate. The Catholic church historically used the point of a sword to “help” native cultures determine their own fate.

7 ) If everything happens according to God’s plan, why did God allow thousands of kids to be raped by his “employees”? Was that his plan? If so…it sucked.

8 ) Catholicism is a religion that is famous for it’s guilt, so why doesn’t the Pope seem to have any?

9 ) Catholicism preaches against belief in the occult but worships a Trinity that is 1/3 ghost, 1/3 zombie & 1/3 zombie’s omnipotent dad.

10 ) Where does the Pope get off dispensing medical advice to an AIDS ravaged Africa about the incorrect science of how STD’s can pass through the pores in condoms when it wasn’t even until 1992 that the Vatican admitted that Galileo was right about the Earth orbiting the Sun. Epic fail, fellas.

11 ) The Church that brought you the Inquisition, thinks the current media attention investigating Pope Ratzinger’s ignoring the rape of minimally a couple hundred children is unfair and hurtful.

The Scapegoats of Catholic Sex Abuse

The concept of “scapegoating” dates back to a biblical age. The theory was that a community could load all of their problems on the back of some hapless goat and exile it into the desert, effectively excising the troubles of the community. Sometimes I pine for the good ‘ole days. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could load up a goat with the Pat Robertsons of the world? Unfortunately this idea didn’t work then and it won’t work now, but that hasn’t stopped the Vatican.

Some of you may be saying, “Geesh, Craig what’s with all the Catholic articles lately?”. I’ll tell you. I think Catholicism is and should be on the ropes. The fact that NO charges of any kind have been brought against any member of leadership within the Vatican is absurd. It is now well documented that charges of rape were well known within the Catholic church for decades, it is also well documented that a coordinated cover up was in place to keep the proper authorities in the dark and that the current Pope was intimately involved with sex abuse policy making before becoming the church’s moral compass and God’s inspired messenger. Now back to Catholic scapegoating…

There seems to be a flood  of news articles from people looking to “solve” the mystery of , “how this could have happened” Here are two articles from the same magazine. April 12, Newsweek; one of the featured articles is “What Went Wrong”, by George Weigel.  In the article Mr. Weigel promotes the theory that the church doctrine of celibacy led to the current Catholic crisis. April 12, Newsweek; another featured article is “A Woman’s Place Is In The Church”, by Lisa Miller. In this article Ms. Miller, in no uncertain terms, blames the sexual abuse scandal on the utter lack of femaile involvement within the church. The sexual abuse scandal rocking the Catholic church is really not that hard to figure out. It has NOTHING to do with celibacy and NOTHING to do with a lack of female involvement.

How many times have we heard the stories of sexual abuse taking place from witin a family or by a close friend of the family. How many times has the “new boyfriend” or “favorite uncle” been the perpetrator of such a vile act? Were they celibate? I don’t remember hearing about the rash of “celibacy rapes”, do you? Were any of these “boyfriends” or “uncles” married? One of the most important traits that seperates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is that we fornicate for fun, not just for procreation. That means we CAN control our libidos. The notion that, “well the priest wasn’t gettin’ any, so he raped some kids” is preposterous. Entering the priesthood is a voluntary act, period. If you find that you can’t handle a celibate lifestyle, resign from the priesthood, don’t rape children. Sorry, Mr. Weigel but your postulate has more holes in it than a thurible! (Catholic incense burner…I had to look it up).

As for Ms. Miller’s claim, that a lack of female influence is to blame, I disagree. While the Catholic church is world renown, second only to the Islamic faith, for it’s misogynistic viewpoints, it’s not the lack of women that caused men to rape children. It is just silly to suggest that over the last four decades of child raping within the Catholic priesthood, not one woman was aware and in a position to blow a whistle. No Nun? No church secretary? No one? Let’s not forget, this type of abuse came to light when adults came forward about what happened to them as children. It was in the early 2000’s when the stories and lawsuits began to emerge. Let’s not also forget that it is with a wry smile and a laugh that adult products of a Catholic education often tell stories about abusive Nuns (females) in school. You know, “the Nun used to wrap my knuckles with a ruler” routine, and I’ve heard worse. Females, while not as “powerful” as their male superiors,  were every bit as much into corporal punishment and suffering for school children back in “the day”.

Now to my postulate for the current sexual abuse scandal assailing the Vatican. When asked, why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton replied, ” ’cause that’s where the money is”. Sometimes the simplest solution is the correct one. Why did so many pedophiles become Catholic Priests, ’cause that’s where the kids were. Think about it. If you’re a pedophile, what more idealic a place to work than where you have regular unchallenged access to children under the guise of spirituality. In a system like Catholicism, designed to engender guilt at every turn, what better place to make children fearful of coming forward about being raped by the very person they perceive to be the gate keeper to eternal happiness?  Rule number one is nobody talks about rape. Rule number two is nobody talks about rape.

The priesthood served as an ideal hunting ground for pedophiles. Trust, love and divinity. All the ingredients for the pefect serial pedophile.

Catholicism became a (dare I use the word) victim of it’s own dogmatic heirarchy. Had the Vatican truly cared about the children, there would have been dismissals, criminal charges and an outpouring of concern, when these revelations came to light.

Thousands of children worldwide have been raped by their Catholic spiritual caregivers. I’m curious how many times these children prayed to God, asking him to stop their local priest from molesting them? I’m more curious to know how many times God actually did. I guess we should be thankful to God. We all “know” he answers prayers. Just think of how many more rapes would have taken place if God hadn’t stepped in to  stop his shepards from raping the young  sheep within his fold! Thanks God.


The Pope’s Letter To Ireland ( very edited)

In March, the Pope wrote an open letter to the country of Ireland. I have posted a copy of the letter and his follow up prayer. Please note I have added additional comments in parenthesis! The comments in parenthesis are what I can only imagine the Pope was really thinking when he wrote this garbage. Belt up. This letter is long and it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

PASTORAL LETTER
OF THE HOLY FATHER
POPE BENEDICT XVI
TO THE CATHOLICS OF IRELAND

1. Dear Brothers and Sisters (CUSTOMERS) of the Church in Ireland, it is with great concern that I write to you as Pastor of the universal Church. Like yourselves, I have been deeply disturbed by the information which has come to light (A FEW DECADES AGO) regarding the abuse (RAPE) of children and vulnerable young people by members of the Church in Ireland , particularly by priests and religious. (I WAS SO DISTURBED, I ORDERED PRIESTS TO BE MOVED FROM PARISH TO PARISH, ALWAYS STAYING ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE FUZZ) I can only share in the dismay and the sense of betrayal that so many of you have experienced on learning of these sinful and criminal acts and the way Church authorities in Ireland dealt with them. (NOT TO MENTION THE COVER UPS AND DENIALS FLOODING OUT OF THE VATICAN AT MY DIRECTION)

As you know, I recently invited the Irish bishops to a meeting here in Rome to give an account of their handling of these matters in the past and to outline the steps they have taken to respond to this grave situation. (AND JUST LIKE IN THE PAST, I HOPE THEY AVOIDED THE PROPER AUTHORITIES AND SWEPT THINGS NEATLY UNDER THE CLOSEST RUG, LIKE THEY WERE INSTRUCTED TO DO BY ME, BEFORE I GOT TO WEAR THE RING!) Together with senior officials of the Roman Curia, I listened to what they had to say, both individually and as a group, as they offered an analysis of mistakes made (CHIEFLY, THEY RAPED KIDS) and lessons learned (DON’T RAPE ANY KIDS), and a description of the programmes and protocols now in place (WE’LL STOP RAPING KIDS). Our discussions were frank and constructive. (UNLIKE PAST DISCUSSIONS WE HAVE HAD WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS) I am confident that, as a result, the bishops will now be in a stronger position to carry forward the work of repairing past injustices and confronting the broader issues associated with the abuse (RAPE) of minors in a way consonant with the demands of justice and the teachings of the Gospel.

2. For my part, considering the gravity of these offences, and the often inadequate response to them on the part of the ecclesiastical authorities in your country (AGAIN, I ORDERED YOU NOT TO COOPERATE WITH AUTHORITIES…MY BAD), I have decided to write this Pastoral Letter to express my closeness to you and to propose a path of healing, renewal and reparation.

It is true, as many in your country have pointed out, that the problem of child abuse (RAPE) is peculiar neither to Ireland nor to the Church. (YEAH, EVERYONE’S DOING IT) Nevertheless, the task you now face is to address the problem of abuse (RAPE) that has occurred within the Irish Catholic community, and to do so with courage and determination. (HONESTY NEVER HURTS EITHER) No one imagines that this painful situation will be resolved swiftly. (THIS IS GONNA COST US) Real progress has been made, yet much more remains to be done. Perseverance and prayer are needed, with great trust in the healing power of God’s grace.

At the same time, I must also express my conviction that, in order to recover from this grievous wound, the Church in Ireland must first acknowledge before the Lord and before others (BUT NOT THE COPS, WE CLEAR ON THIS? NO FIVE O’S!) the serious sins committed against defenceless children. Such an acknowledgement, accompanied by sincere sorrow for the damage caused to these victims and their families, must lead to a concerted effort to ensure the protection of children from similar crimes in the future.

As you take up the challenges of this hour, I ask you to remember “the rock from which you were hewn” (Is 51:1). Reflect upon the generous, often heroic, contributions made by past generations of Irish men and women to the Church and to humanity as a whole, and let this provide the impetus for honest self-examination and a committed programme of ecclesial and individual renewal. It is my prayer that, assisted by the intercession of her many saints and purified through penance, the Church in Ireland will overcome the present crisis and become once more a convincing witness to the truth and the goodness of Almighty God, made manifest in his Son Jesus Christ. (THE GIG IS UP PADRES. KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE KIDS)

3. Historically, the Catholics of Ireland have proved an enormous force for good at home and abroad. Celtic monks like Saint Columbanus spread the Gospel in Western Europe and laid the foundations of medieval monastic culture. The ideals of holiness, charity and transcendent wisdom born of the Christian faith (AND TOTALLY SCREWED UP BY US) found expression in the building of churches and monasteries and the establishment of schools, libraries and hospitals, all of which helped to consolidate the spiritual identity of Europe. (DAMN, WE HAD THE GOD MARKET CORNERED) Those Irish missionaries drew their strength and inspiration from the firm faith, strong leadership and upright morals of the Church in their native land.

From the sixteenth century on, Catholics in Ireland endured a long period of persecution, during which they struggled to keep the flame of faith alive in dangerous and difficult circumstances. Saint Oliver Plunkett, the martyred Archbishop of Armagh, is the most famous example of a host of courageous sons and daughters of Ireland who were willing to lay down their lives out of fidelity to the Gospel. After Catholic Emancipation, the Church was free to grow once more. Families and countless individuals who had preserved the faith in times of trial became the catalyst for the great resurgence of Irish Catholicism in the nineteenth century. The Church provided education, especially for the poor, and this was to make a major contribution to Irish society. Among the fruits of the new Catholic schools was a rise in vocations: generations of missionary priests, sisters and brothers left their homeland to serve in every continent, especially in the English-speaking world. They were remarkable not only for their great numbers, (WAY TO BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY FOLKS) but for the strength of their faith and the steadfastness of their pastoral commitment. Many dioceses, especially in Africa, America and Australia, benefited from the presence of Irish clergy and religious who preached the Gospel and established parishes, schools and universities, clinics and hospitals that served both Catholics and the community at large, with particular attention to the needs of the poor.

In almost every family in Ireland, there has been someone – a son or a daughter, an aunt or an uncle – who has given his or her life to the Church. Irish families rightly esteem and cherish their loved ones who have dedicated their lives to Christ, sharing the gift of faith with others, and putting that faith into action in loving service of God and neighbour.

4. In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values. (IN OTHER WORDS, WE DIDN’T START RAPING KIDS UNTIL SOCIETY’S MORALITY BEGAN TO BREAKDOWN) All too often, the sacramental and devotional practices that sustain faith and enable it to grow, such as frequent confession, daily prayer and annual retreats, were neglected. (YEAH, THAT’S IT! IT WAS YOUR FAULT IN THE SECULAR WORLD THAT CATHOLIC PRIESTS STARTED GETTING CAUGHT MOLESTING THE KIDS) Significant too was the tendency during this period, also on the part of priests and religious, to adopt ways of thinking and assessing secular realities without sufficient reference to the Gospel. The programme of renewal proposed by the Second Vatican Council was sometimes misinterpreted and indeed, in the light of the profound social changes that were taking place, it was far from easy to know how best to implement it. In particular, there was a well-intentioned but misguided tendency to avoid penal approaches to canonically irregular situations. (HMMM…"AVOIDED PENAL APPROACHES"? THAT’S RIGHT, WE AVOIDED THE LAW AT ALL COSTS! AND BY "CANONICALLY IRREGULAR SITUATIONS", I AM OF COURSE REFERRING TO THE RAPE OF SMALL CHILDREN…JUST SO WE’RE CLEAR HERE.) It is in this overall context that we must try to understand the disturbing problem of child sexual abuse, which has contributed in no small measure to the weakening of faith and the loss of respect for the Church and her teachings. (SEE, WHEN WE STARTED RAPING KIDS, FOLKS STARTED THINKING LESS OF US. WEIRD, HUH?)

Only by examining carefully the many elements that gave rise to the present crisis can a clear-sighted diagnosis of its causes be undertaken and effective remedies be found. Certainly, among the contributing factors we can include: inadequate procedures for determining the suitability of candidates for the priesthood and the religious life (ALLOWING PEDOPHILES TO JOIN UP); insufficient human, moral, intellectual and spiritual formation in seminaries and novitiates (ALLOWING PEDOPHILES TO JOIN UP AND THEN IGNORING THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS); a tendency in society to favour the clergy and other authority figures; and a misplaced concern for the reputation of the Church and the avoidance of scandal, resulting in failure to apply existing canonical penalties and to safeguard the dignity of every person. (OR "APPLYING" THESE PEDOPHILES …TO THE COPS!) Urgent action is needed to address these factors, which have had such tragic consequences in the lives of victims and their families, and have obscured the light of the Gospel to a degree that not even centuries of persecution succeeded in doing. (AND BY URGENT ACTION I MEAN, WHEN WE GET FOUND OUT!)

5. On several occasions since my election to the See of Peter, I have met with victims of sexual abuse, as indeed I am ready to do in the future. (AND ON MANY MORE OCCASIONS I HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO, ‘CAUSE TAKING RESPONSIBILITY MIGHT NOT  LOOK TOO HOT IN COURT) I have sat with them, I have listened to their stories, I have acknowledged their suffering, and I have prayed with them and for them. Earlier in my pontificate, in my concern to address this matter, I asked the bishops of Ireland, “to establish the truth of what happened in the past, to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent it from occurring again, to ensure that the principles of justice are fully respected,(*WINK*, *WINK*) and above all, to bring healing to the victims and to all those affected by these egregious crimes” (Address to the Bishops of Ireland, 28 October 2006).

With this Letter, I wish to exhort all of you, as God’s people in Ireland, to reflect on the wounds inflicted on Christ’s body, the sometimes painful remedies needed to bind and heal them, and the need for unity, charity and mutual support in the long-term process of restoration and ecclesial renewal. I now turn to you with words that come from my heart, and I wish to speak to each of you individually and to all of you as brothers and sisters in the Lord.

6. To the victims of abuse and their families

You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry. (SORRY. WELL KINDA’. …WILLING TO HAPPILY PAY OUT MILLIONS IN REPARATIONS… DON’T PUSH IT) I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. (SO LET’S JUST KEEP THIS BETWEEN US, HUH?) Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. (AND INTELLIGENCE INSULTED) Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen. (LIKE ME, THE POPE) Those of you who were abused (RAPED) in residential institutions must have felt that there was no escape from your sufferings. It is understandable that you find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel. (THAT’S ONLY BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE A CHOICE NOW. YEARS AGO WHEN I KNEW IT WAS HAPPENING, I WAS TO BUSY SHUFFLING PEDOPHILE PRIESTS AROUND TO APOLOGIZE) At the same time, I ask you not to lose hope. (BE A MENCHE, WOULD YA’ ?) It is in the communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ, who was himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you (WITHOUT THE RAPE), he still bears the wounds of his own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of your pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including your relationship with the Church. I know some of you find it difficult even to enter the doors of a church after all that has occurred. Yet Christ’s own wounds, transformed by his redemptive sufferings, are the very means by which the power of evil is broken and we are reborn to life and hope. I believe deeply in the healing power of his self-sacrificing love (SO IF YOU COULD JUST DROP IT AND TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM, I’D APPRECIATE IT. REMEMBER YOU’RE JUST LIKE CHRIST AND STUFF… OK?) – even in the darkest and most hopeless situations – to bring liberation and the promise of a new beginning.

Speaking to you as a pastor concerned for the good of all God’s children (EXCEPT FOR WHEN IT HITS THE VATICAN IN THE PURSE) , I humbly ask you to consider what I have said. I pray that, by drawing nearer to Christ and by participating in the life of his Church – a Church purified by penance and renewed in pastoral charity – you will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love for each one of you. I am confident that in this way you will be able to find reconciliation, deep inner healing and peace. (ALTHOUGH, I’M SURE SOME OF YOU ARE GONNA’ WANT CASH DAMMIT!)

7. To priests and religious who have abused (RAPED) children (STOP RAPING KIDS GODAMMIT!)

You betrayed the trust that was placed in you by innocent young people and their parents, and you must answer for it before Almighty God and before properly constituted tribunals. (WE’LL SEE WHAT WE CAN DO TO KEEP YOU OUT OF COURT, THOUGH) You have forfeited the esteem of the people of Ireland and brought shame and dishonour upon your confreres. Those of you who are priests violated the sanctity of the sacrament of Holy Orders in which Christ makes himself present in us and in our actions. (NICE GOING, NOW YOU’RE MAKING JESUS LOOK BAD) Together with the immense harm done to victims, great damage has been done to the Church (MORE TO THE POINT) and to the public perception of the priesthood and religious life.

I urge you to examine your conscience, take responsibility for the sins you have committed, and humbly express your sorrow. (JUST DON’T TALK TO ANY COPS! THAT’S WHAT OUR ATTORNEYS ARE FOR) Sincere repentance opens the door to God’s forgiveness and the grace of true amendment. By offering prayers and penances for those you have wronged, you should seek to atone personally for your actions. Christ’s redeeming sacrifice has the power to forgive even the gravest of sins, and to bring forth good from even the most terrible evil. (LIKE RAPING KIDS AND STUFF) At the same time, God’s justice summons us to give an account of our actions and to conceal nothing. (UNLESS IT’S THE POLICE YOU’RE TALKING TO) Openly acknowledge your guilt, submit yourselves to the demands of justice, (AND BY SUBMIT I MEAN MUM’S THE WORD. IXNAY ON THE ALKTAY) but do not despair of God’s mercy.

8. To parents

You have been deeply shocked to learn of the terrible things that took place in what ought to be the safest and most secure environment of all. In today’s world it is not easy to build a home and to bring up children.(PARTICULARLY WHEN PRIEST STOP BY FOR A VISIT AND RAPE THE KIDS) They deserve to grow up in security, loved and cherished, with a strong sense of their identity and worth. They have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person, to be inspired by the truth of our Catholic faith and to learn ways of behaving and acting that lead to healthy self-esteem and lasting happiness. This noble but demanding task is entrusted in the first place to you, their parents. I urge you to play your part in ensuring the best possible care of children, both at home and in society as a whole, while the Church, for her part, continues to implement the measures adopted in recent years to protect young people in parish and school environments. As you carry out your vital responsibilities, be assured that I remain close to you and I offer you the support of my prayers. (BUT IF IT’S CASH YOU’RE LOOKING FOR…SEE YOU IN COURT SUCKER!)

9. To the children and young people of Ireland

I wish to offer you a particular word of encouragement. Your experience of the Church is very different from that of your parents and grandparents. The world has changed greatly since they were your age. (YEAH BACK THEN WHEN PRIESTS RAPED YOUR PARENTS, KIDS HAD ENOUGH CATHOLIC GUILT AND FEAR TO KEEP QUIET. AHHH THE GOOD ‘OLE DAYS) Yet all people, in every generation, are called to travel the same path through life, whatever their circumstances may be. We are all scandalized by the sins and failures of some of the Church’s members, particularly those who were chosen especially to guide and serve young people. (INSTEAD OF RAPE THEM) But it is in the Church that you will find Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and for ever (cf. Heb 13:8). He loves you and he has offered himself on the cross for you. Seek a personal relationship with him within the communion of his Church, for he will never betray your trust! (NOW POPES AND PRIESTS ON THE OTHER HAND, THAT’S A DIFFERENT STORY) He alone can satisfy your deepest longings and give your lives their fullest meaning by directing them to the service of others. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and his goodness, and shelter the flame of faith in your heart. (JUST LIKE ALL THE CHILD RAPING PRIESTS DID. SEE HOW BELIEF IN JESUS HELPED THEM IN THEIR MOMENTS OF WEAKNESS) Together with your fellow Catholics in Ireland, I look to you to be faithful disciples of our Lord and to bring your much-needed enthusiasm and idealism to the rebuilding and renewal of our beloved Church.

10. To the priests and religious of Ireland

All of us are suffering as a result of the sins of our confreres who betrayed a sacred trust or failed to deal justly and responsibly with allegations of abuse. In view of the outrage and indignation which this has provoked, not only among the lay faithful but among yourselves and your religious communities, many of you feel personally discouraged, even abandoned.(MOSTLY BECAUSE YOU FIND YOURSELF WILLINGLY A MEMEBR OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT WOULD COVER UP THE SYSTEMATIC RAPE OF CHILDREN) I am also aware that in some people’s eyes you are tainted by association, and viewed as if you were somehow responsible for the misdeeds of others. (AGAIN,MOSTLY BECAUSE YOU FIND YOURSELF WILLINGLY A MEMBER OF AN ORGANIZATION THAT WOULD COVER UP THE SYSTEMATIC RAPE OF CHILDREN) At this painful time, I want to acknowledge the dedication of your priestly and religious lives and apostolates, and I invite you to reaffirm your faith in Christ, your love of his Church and your confidence in the Gospel’s promise of redemption, forgiveness and interior renewal. In this way, you will demonstrate for all to see that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (TRUST ME, THERE’S A S@#T LOAD OF GRACE AROUND HERE) (cf. Rom 5:20).

I know that many of you are disappointed, bewildered and angered by the way these matters have been handled by some of your superiors.(LIKE…UH…HMM…OK, ME FOR INSTANCE) Yet, it is essential that you cooperate closely with those in authority (AGAIN, IXNAY ON THE OOPERATIONCAY) and help to ensure that the measures adopted to respond to the crisis will be truly evangelical, just and effective. Above all, I urge you to become ever more clearly men and women of prayer, courageously following the path of conversion, purification and reconciliation. In this way, the Church in Ireland will draw new life and vitality from your witness to the Lord’s redeeming power made visible in your lives.

11. To my brother bishops

It cannot be denied that some of you and your predecessors failed, (I’LL BE GODAMMED IF I’M GOING TO TAKE THE HEAT ALONE HERE FELLAS) at times grievously, to apply the long-established norms of canon law to the crime of child abuse.(RAPE) Serious mistakes were made in responding to allegations.(FOR EXAMPLE…IGNORING THEM ALTOGETHER WAS PROBABLY NOT THE MOST PROACTIVE MEASURE TO TAKE) I recognize how difficult it was to grasp the extent and complexity of the problem, to obtain reliable information and to make the right decisions in the light of conflicting expert advice.(THERE WERE SO MANY EXPERTS SUGGESTING THAT WE SHOULD IGNORE ALL THE "STORIES" OF PRIESTS RAPING KIDS) Nevertheless, it must be admitted that grave errors of judgement were made and failures of leadership occurred. All this has seriously undermined your credibility and effectiveness. (YEAH! NOT MINE AS POPE OR ANYTHING, JUST YOURS! NICE GOING JERKS) I appreciate the efforts you have made to remedy past mistakes and to guarantee that they do not happen again. Besides fully implementing the norms of canon law in addressing cases of child abuse (RAPE), continue to cooperate with the civil authorities in their area of competence. Clearly, religious superiors should do likewise. They too have taken part in recent discussions here in Rome with a view to establishing a clear and consistent approach to these matters. It is imperative that the child safety norms of the Church in Ireland be continually revised and updated and that they be applied fully and impartially in conformity with canon law.(FOR EXAMPLE, IT SHOULD NOW BE CONSIDERED "NOT" NORMAL TO RAPE KIDS AND HIDE THE TRUTH. IS EVERYBODY COOL WITH THAT?)

Only decisive action carried out with complete honesty and transparency will restore the respect and good will of the Irish people towards the Church to which we have consecrated our lives. This must arise, first and foremost, from your own self-examination, inner purification and spiritual renewal. The Irish people rightly expect you to be men of God, to be holy, to live simply, to pursue personal conversion daily. For them, in the words of Saint Augustine, you are a bishop; yet with them you are called to be a follower of Christ (cf. Sermon 340, 1). I therefore exhort you to renew your sense of accountability before God, to grow in solidarity with your people and to deepen your pastoral concern for all the members of your flock. In particular, I ask you to be attentive to the spiritual and moral lives of each one of your priests.(TELL ‘EM TO KNOCK OF THE RAPING, OK?) Set them an example by your own lives, be close to them, listen to their concerns, offer them encouragement at this difficult time and stir up the flame of their love for Christ (AND PUT OUT THE FLAMES OF THEIR LOVE FOR KIDS! JESUS, I’M DYING OUT HERE PEOPLE) and their commitment to the service of their brothers and sisters.

The lay faithful, too, should be encouraged to play their proper part in the life of the Church. See that they are formed in such a way that they can offer an articulate and convincing account of the Gospel in the midst of modern society (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) and cooperate more fully in the Church’s life and mission. This in turn will help you once again become credible leaders and witnesses to the redeeming truth of Christ.

12. To all the faithful of Ireland

A young person’s experience of the Church should always bear fruit in a personal and life-giving encounter with Jesus Christ within a loving, nourishing community. In this environment, young people should be encouraged to grow to their full human and spiritual stature, to aspire to high ideals of holiness, charity and truth, and to draw inspiration from the riches of a great religious and cultural tradition.(IN OTHER WORDS, THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT PRIESTS RAPING THEM. CLEAR ENOUGH?) In our increasingly secularized society, where even we Christians often find it difficult to speak of the transcendent dimension of our existence, we need to find new ways to pass on to young people the beauty and richness of friendship with Jesus Christ in the communion of his Church. In confronting the present crisis (YOU KNOW THE WHOLE PRIESTS RAPING KIDS THING) , measures to deal justly with individual crimes are essential, yet on their own they are not enough: ( SO WHY EVEN BOTHER NOTIFYING THE PROPER AUTHORITIES,OK?) a new vision is needed, to inspire present and future generations to treasure the gift of our common faith. By treading the path marked out by the Gospel, by observing the commandments and by conforming your lives ever more closely to the figure of Jesus Christ, you will surely experience the profound renewal that is so urgently needed at this time. I invite you all to persevere along this path.

13. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is out of deep concern for all of you at this painful time in which the fragility of the human condition has been so starkly revealed that I have wished to offer these words of encouragement and support. I hope that you will receive them as a sign of my spiritual closeness and my confidence in your ability to respond to the challenges of the present hour by drawing renewed inspiration and strength from Ireland’s noble traditions of fidelity to the Gospel, perseverance in the faith and steadfastness in the pursuit of holiness.In solidarity with all of you, I am praying earnestly that, by God’s grace, the wounds afflicting so many individuals and families may be healed and that the Church in Ireland may experience a season of rebirth and spiritual renewal. (OH GOD PLEASE, OH PLEASE, OH PLEASE DON’T FILE A LAWSUIT)

14. I now wish to propose to you some concrete initiatives to address the situation.

At the conclusion of my meeting with the Irish bishops, I asked that Lent this year be set aside as a time to pray for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church in your country. I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace. (I ALSO ENCOURAGE YOU NOT TO FILE LAWSUITS! LET’S DEAL WITH THIS INTERNALLY, WHAT DO YOU SAY BUDDY?)

Particular attention should also be given to Eucharistic adoration, and in every diocese there should be churches or chapels specifically devoted to this purpose. I ask parishes, seminaries, religious houses and monasteries to organize periods of Eucharistic adoration, so that all have an opportunity to take part. Through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.

I am confident that this programme will lead to a rebirth of the Church in Ireland in the fullness of God’s own truth, for it is the truth that sets us free (I’M NOT SAYING THAT WE SHOULD START TELLING THE TRUTH NOW, I’M JUST SAYING IN THE "FUTURE" WE SHOULD TELL THE TRUTH) (cf. Jn 8:32).

Furthermore, having consulted and prayed about the matter, (I PRAYED FOR ANSWERS EVEN THOUGH GOD NEVER ANSWERED THE PRAYERS OF THE CHILDREN WHO WERE BEING RAPED BY MY PRIESTS) I intend to hold an Apostolic Visitation of certain dioceses in Ireland, as well as seminaries and religious congregations. Arrangements for the Visitation, which is intended to assist the local Church on her path of renewal, will be made in cooperation with the competent offices of the Roman Curia and the Irish Episcopal Conference. (GAS UP THE POPE-MOBILE. THAT’S RIGHT FOLKS I’M GOING ON TOUR!) The details will be announced in due course.

I also propose that a nationwide Mission be held for all bishops, priests and religious. It is my hope that, by drawing on the expertise of experienced preachers and retreat-givers from Ireland and from elsewhere, and by exploring anew the conciliar documents, the liturgical rites of ordination and profession, and recent pontifical teaching, you will come to a more profound appreciation of your respective vocations, so as to rediscover the roots of your faith in Jesus Christ and to drink deeply from the springs of living water that he offers you through his Church. (IN OTHER WORDS, REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE THERE! FUND RAISING! SO KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE KIDS!)

In this Year for Priests, (BECAUSE GOD KNOWS THEY’VE EARNED A SPECIALLY DEDICATED YEAR) I commend to you most particularly the figure of Saint John Mary Vianney, who had such a rich understanding of the mystery of the priesthood. “The priest”, he wrote, “holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of his goods.” (OH, THEY ADMINISTERED THE GOODS ALRIGHT) The Curé d’Ars understood well how greatly blessed a community is when served by a good and holy priest: “A good shepherd, a pastor after God’s heart, is the greatest treasure which the good Lord can grant to a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy.” Through the intercession of Saint John Mary Vianney, may the priesthood in Ireland be revitalized, and may the whole Church in Ireland grow in appreciation for the great gift of the priestly ministry.

I take this opportunity to thank in anticipation all those who will be involved in the work of organizing the Apostolic Visitation and the Mission, as well as the many men and women throughout Ireland already working for the safety of children in church environments.(‘CAUSE GOD KNOWS I DIDN’T DO S$@T TO PROTECT ANY CHILDREN) Since the time when the gravity and extent of the problem of child sexual abuse in Catholic institutions first began to be fully grasped, (OK, MAYBE NOT SINCE IT FIRST BEGAN OVER THREE DECADES AGO BUT IN THE LAST FEW YEARS WE’VE BEEN SORTA’ INTERESTED IN THE SAFETY OF CHILDREN) the Church has done an immense amount of work in many parts of the world in order to address and remedy it. While no effort should be spared in improving and updating existing procedures, I am encouraged by the fact that the current safeguarding practices adopted by local Churches are being seen, in some parts of the world, as a model for other institutions to follow. (I ALMOST SAID THAT WITHOUT LAUGHING…SERIOUSLY)

I wish to conclude this Letter with a special Prayer for the Church in Ireland, which I send to you with the care of a father for his children and with the affection of a fellow Christian, scandalized and hurt by what has occurred in our beloved Church. As you make use of this prayer in your families, parishes and communities, may the Blessed Virgin Mary protect and guide each of you (JUST LIKE SHE DID WHILE YOU WERE BEING RAPED. SHE’S NOT TOO SWIFT ON THE WHOLE "PROTECTION" THING) to a closer union with her Son, crucified and risen. With great affection and unswerving confidence in God’s promises, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of strength and peace in the Lord.

From the Vatican, 19 March 2010, on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Prayer for the Church in Ireland

God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.

Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.

May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.

To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.

Amen.

(WHEW…WE ALL GOOD NOW? GREAT, I ‘GOTTA GET BACK TO BANNING CONDOMS IN AFRICA! )

Rachel calls bull-pucky

Phil Plait is a Rachel Maddow fanboi and I can’t say I blame him. Though Rachel is fallible and has made mistakes before, more often than not, she hits the proverbial nail on the head, so when she gave her commentary on Climategate, the ACORN “scandal,” and other right-wing, anti-reality nonsense, Phil couldn’t resist linking to her video (and commenting on it…worth a read)… and I couldn’t resist watching it.

Another dead-on hammer-strike.

Phil rightly comments that the far right doesn’t have the copyright on nonsense, but the Republican “unholy alliance” it has formed with fundamentalist religion has led it to its pervasive anti-reality stance.

He concludes with this…

Global warming is real. Evolution is real. Vaccines do not cause autism. Homeopathy doesn’t work. These are facts, and they don’t care whether or not denialists spin, fold, and mutilate them. Until we face up to reality, however, they will spin, fold, and mutilate us.

I’ll drink to that.

Institutionalized child rape

More from PZ Myers on the Catholic Church’s institutionalization of child rape.

How bad can a Catholic priest get?

Meanwhile, the Pope heads a Catholic office that was sheltering child-rapers, and the entire Catholic hierarchy is busily claiming the martyrdom of Christ for itself because people have started to complain about their intrusive little penises. They aren’t even trying for the moral flood plain, let alone the moral high ground. It’s more like they’re taking a dive in the Marianas Trench of turpitude while pretending to climb the Everest of propriety.

The difference between an organization with “a few bad apples” and the Catholic Church is that the church has institutionalized child rape. It’s not just a case of a good organization having some bad people. The church, at its highest levels, has repeatedly re-employed rapists, deceived parishioners, and trivialized child abuse… as a matter of policy!

The Catholic Church, as an organization, is rotten at its core.