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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! )

The Pope Is Drowning In God’s Tears

Warning! The Bible contains descriptions of violence, obscenity, and filth. KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN

For weeks now, the Pope has continued his long established policy of ignoring the allegations of rape being perpetrated on children by his cadre of priests. This is not only astounding for the obvious moral hypocrisy but also because the church has been through this before. The Catholic church dealt with all of these allegations years ago in the United States. Their policy of avoidance and subterfuge didn’t work then. What made them think it would work for this round of child rape charges that are originating from Europe?

Didn’t God give Moses a list of suggestions that we should try to live by? Hmmm… I think one had to do with baring false witness or something, you know, lying. You may be asking yourself, “why doesn’t the church just accept responsibility and apologize?”

Simple. Money.

It is sadly ironic that a church that bases its foundations on the teachings of Jesus Christ should be making rudimentary moral decisions based on economics. Remember, Jesus was alleged to be a man of the people who held the meek and impoverished in his favor. The meekest of Jesus’ flock, of course, being the children! The Pope has chosen to ignore and deny any opportunity for justice or protection from the very ones that Jesus loved the most. Remember, Pope Ratzinger knew for years that children were being raped and, instead of helping to bring the guilty under his charge to justice, he just moved them to a fresh and unsuspecting hunting ground. How many children could have been psychologically saved if Ratzinger had followed his “savior’s” example. In stark contrast, Ratzinger chose to be his brother’s keeper . And by brother’s keeper, I mean keeping his brothers out of prison.

All of this because he knew, and rightfully so, that lawsuits would start cropping up all over the place. In the end it comes down to money.

The Catholic church, with its ornately robed, gold jewel be-speckled leaders, and it’s opulent architecture should have learned one lesson long ago from Jesus. The love of money is the root of all evil.

Anderson Cooper Keeps Scientology Honest!

Scientology - It must be real, they use beakersKudos to Anderson Cooper. There are few members of the main stream media who are willing to confront the "nuttery" of the church of Scientology directly. For those of you who have not been watching Anderson Cooper’s 5 part series, here is a video:

I highly recommend watching this series. Anderson not only discusses violence in Scientology, but he directly calls out it’s leader, David Miscavige. I found this series particularly interesting because I have had the opportunity to speak to a member of the Sea Org myself. The gentleman I spoke to over six months ago, confirmed that violence was a regular occurrence with the church. This former member personally described seeing a violent attack perpetrated by a ranking member of the church. As this person described, he witnessed an attack in a computer room within the celebrity center. Check out the video!

Great news!

Scott Roeder, the man who murdered Dr. George Tiller, received a life sentence for his crime, with no eligibility for parole for at least 50 years.

During his trial, Roeder testified that he killed Tiller in a bid to save unborn children.

In a rambling statement in court Thursday, Roeder blamed Tiller’s death primarily on the state for not outlawing abortion.

"I stopped him so he could not dismember another innocent baby. Wichita is a far safer place for unborn babies without George Tiller," Roeder said.

Roeder is a religious psychopath and deserves to be locked away. Regardless of whether or not you support abortion rights, it’s a legal procedure and Roeder’s arguments carry no weight whatsoever.

Tiller’s attorney called the murder "domestic terrorism" and I wholeheartedly agree. Not only can it be labeled domestic terrorism, but it can be labeled "religiously-based" domestic terrorism… and there are plenty of examples to back that up, including the "Army of God" website mentioned in the article.

I smell a RAT-zinger!

The Emperor of CatholicismWhy is the head of the world’s largest cult not in prison…you know, the Pope? I’m not sure why the “current” Catholic sex scandal is making such news. It has been known and documented for years that Ratzinger was the author of the Catholic policy to move child molesters rather than prosecute them. The scope of the Catholic child raping may be larger then originally thought but Ratzinger was always known to be the man in charge of the cover up. This has never been in question.

Now, more to the point. Why is the Pope not being prosecuted for his support (by willful inaction) of child rape and torture?

Imagine a school where young children were being raped. Now imagine the Superintendent of that particular school district KNEW that one of his teachers was raping children and that his solution to the problem was to transfer that school teacher to another school within the district. Now,  let’s pretend that this teacher had raped 50 children. Forgetting any legal culpability, would their be any moral culpability on the part of the Superintendent? You’re damn right there would be.  Last but not least, pretend this happened at your child’s school and that your child was one of the 50 children raped!

This hypothetical situation is tame when compared to the real Catholic sex scandals. The real scandal involves   (I’m being WAY conservative) priests and thousands of children worldwide! It has become virtually institutionalized within the Catholic priesthood.

This one goes out to all of you Catholics out there.  How could you voluntarily continue to be part of an organization that would allow this man to act as it’s moral authority? If you really don’t have an answer to that question just ask yourself this. What would Jesus do?

Vatican Gives Avatar Poor Review

I just read an Associated Press article written by Alessandra Rizzo. It was comical and in my opinion partially true at the same time. Here’s the first paragraph of the article:

The Vatican newspaper and radio station have called the film “Avatar” simplistic, and criticized it for flirting with modern doctrines that promote the worship of nature as a substitute for religion.

Okay, first of all I agree it is simplistic. I saw the movie and like most people I was impressed with it graphically but it wasn’t a great movie. It was good but not great. It was by no means original. One friend of mine compared it to Dances Catholicism ...no medieval dogma here.With Wolves only in space. Okay so much for me agreeing with the Vatican. Apparently the Vatican now sees a threat in a movie that promotes the fictitious worship of a fictitious tree by a fictitious people on a fictitious planet. I find it ironic that a group who believes the story that God’s only son was born of a virgin, died, came back to life three days later and erased all of our sins, takes issue with this movie.

…the film “gets bogged down by a spiritualism linked to the worship of nature.” Similarly, Vatican Radio said it “cleverly winks at all those pseudo-doctrines that turn ecology into the religion of the millennium.”

If there were an award for clever winking it would go to the Vatican. You know things like sexual abuse scandals, acts of omission and commission during World War II and the early Catholic involvement in Rwanda; in particular the church’s support for the former president. Of course these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that while the movie reviews are just that — film criticism, with no theological weight — they do reflect Pope Benedict XVI’s views on the dangers of turning nature into a “new divinity.”

I found this paragraph to be particularly funny. They’re concerned about a “new divinity”. Sounds like they’re scared of competition.

There is not a whole lot more to say about this article. It had all the silly, superstitious, medieval thinking you can expect to find from the Catholic Church.

They did have one thing right, the movie was simplistic.

Monarch Butterflies and creationism

I almost had a confrontation with someone I believe is a creationist today, but I refrained.

I was at the Pennsylvania Farm Show with my daughter and while we were walking through the exhibits, I heard a voice talking about monarch butterflies over a PA system. What I heard was interesting and I finally located the person behind the voice… an elderly gentleman with a white beard seated on a chair in front of one of the stages. He had a small audience of maybe ten people.

My daughter and I were headed a different direction to see other things, so I didn’t pay him much attention, but I did hear him talk about how Monarch Butterfly caterpillars eat the milkweed plant… and only the milkweed plant… that without it, they would starve.

He was just passing out of my attention sphere when I heard (something like), “If there are any evolutionists in the crowd, I’d like to hear an explanation about how the milkweed plant just happened to evolve right where the butterflies are. It doesn’t make much sense and doesn’t seem very likely.”

I froze. Oh, that seemed like a challenge… and a rather simple one at that. I looked back at him. He didn’t really wait for an answer, but went on talking about butterflies again, so perhaps he meant it as a rhetorical question… just a snarky aside that really didn’t have anything to do with his topic, but everything to do with his religious views (and his ignorance). I weighed my options, decided not to interrupt, and then laughed in his direction before continuing on with my daughter to other exhibits.

It bothered me to not respond, but I wasn’t in his audience and the presentation really was about butterflies, not evolution. In addition, my daughter and I were headed a different direction to find other things, so it would have been an interruption of our plans as well. But not responding was letting ignorance go unchallenged and letting it spread to others. I think that’s why it continued to bother me and has me mildly disappointed in myself.

It’s rare for me to encounter that type of behavior in person. I read about it happening a lot and hear stories of it happening, but when it happens to me, I’m always a bit stunned… like a deer in the headlights.

I think I need more practice.

Jerry Coyne criticizes The Guardian

Jerry Coyne criticizes The Guardian for its “faitheism and mush-headed religious apologetics” and finds a piece by Nancy Graham Holm titled “Prejudiced Danes provoke fanaticism” to be particularly despicable.

In the article, Holm refers to the now infamous Danish cartoons, one of which portrayed Muhammad wearing a bomb as a turban (Holm incorrectly states it was a turban with a stick of dynamite). Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist, created a political cartoon that was a satirical criticism of Muslim extremists and the violence they lavish on society… violence seemingly swathed in a robe of self-righteous indignation. The extremists’ indignation comes from any disagreement about their unjustified assertion that Islam should be held in gloriously high esteem and revered by all… hence their outrage over Westergaard’s cartoon.

Holm says of the cartoon, the paper who published it, and the Danes in general…

Why did the editors of Jyllands-Posten want to mock Islam in this way? Some of us believed it was in bad taste and also cruel. Intentional humiliation is an aggressive act.

[…]

Danes fail to perceive the fact that they have developed a society deeply suspicious of religion. This is the real issue between Denmark and Muslim extremists, not freedom of speech. The free society precept is merely an attempt to give the perpetrators the moral high ground when actually it is a smokescreen for a deeply rooted prejudice, not against Muslims, but against religion per se. Muslims are in love with their faith. And many Danes are suspicious of anyone who loves religion.

As Coyne says, “Rightly so!”

Holm seems to be blaming the cartoonists and the Danish newspaper for the violent reaction of Muslim extremists. While the cartoons, perhaps, spurred on the actions of the extremists, I don’t think the blame can be placed, even in small part, on the cartoonists. That is akin to blaming the rape victim for looking sexy.

Coyne says…

What the cartoons expressed was not “intentional humiliation,” but criticism of a sexist, oppressive, and lethal form of Islam.  And by blaming Islamic reaction on the Danes themselves, Holm allies herself with those religious loons who find “offense” everywhere, and with the benighted Irish who passed the blasphemy law.

Finding offense seems to be a religious pastime in which not only Muslims participate. From the manufactured “War on Christmas” controversy to Christian outrage over atheist bus ads and billboards, religious fundamentalists seem to be on the lookout for anything onto which they can hitch their pious indignation. Any criticism of cherished beliefs is treated as a grave personal insult.

I commented on Coyne’s post, saying that all religion is (and should be) fair game for criticism and analysis… just as politics, art, literature, and science are. If the adherents to a particular religion don’t like it and become violent, the fault is not of the critic or analyst… much as the rape victim is not at fault for being attacked.

Holm doesn’t seem to get that.

Bertrand Russell on God and Religion

A Facebook friend linked to this video (3:25 in length) and I thought it worth sharing. Bertrand Russell answers some questions (in 1959) about God, religion, and why he’s an atheist.

As a side note, when I was 13 and starting to seriously question religious faith, Bertrand Russell’s book Why I Am Not a Christian was the first book I ever purchased on the topic. The essays it contains put me on the path to understanding that intellectual honesty is better than blind, obedient faith and that ethics and morals based on rational concepts are far, far better than simply following vague, archaic laws from questionable holy books.

Russell famously said, “I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue.”

I am in agreement.

Atheist BINGO!

Pascal’s wager is a free square. Ha!

No God Bingo

(thanks to my friend, Paul, for pointing this out)

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