Archive for the “Religion” Category
Posts concerned specifically with religion
Note: There’s a recent cringe-worthy update to this story appended to this post.
I blogged a short time ago about the most recent Vatican Bank scandal. Things are heating up, what with some arrests, a number of firings/resignations, and the Pope’s appointment of a supposed review panel to examine that institution. But now, it’s taken an extremely odd turn. The Italian magazine L’espresso reports that this Vatican Bank scandal has now intersected the rumored, elusive “Vatican gay lobby” (WebCite cached article):
“In the curia there is talk of a ‘gay lobby.’ And it is true, it’s there. Let’s see what we can do,” Francis said on June 6 to Latin American religious received in audience.
And again: “It is not easy. Here there are many of the pope’s ‘bosses’ with great seniority of service,” he confided a few days ago to his Argentine friend and former student Jorge Milia.
In effect, some of these ‘bosses’ have hatched against Jorge Mario Bergoglio the cruelest and most subtle deception since he was elected pope.
They kept in the dark important information that, if he had known it before, would have kept him from appointing Monsignor Battista Ricca “prelate” of the Institute for Works of Religion.
With this appointment, made public on June 15, Francis intended to place a trusted person in a key role within the IOR. With the power to access all of the proceedings and documents and to attend all of the meetings both of the cardinalate commission of oversight and of the supervisory board of the disastrous Vatican “bank.” In short, with the task of cleaning house.…
Before the appointment, Francis had been shown, as is customary, the personal file on Ricca, in which he had not found anything unseemly. He had also heard from various personalities of the curia, and none of them had raised objections.
Just one week after appointing the “prelate,” however, during the same days in which he was meeting with the apostolic nuncios who had come to Rome from all over the world, the pope became aware, from multiple sources, of some episodes from Ricca’s past previously unknown to him and such as to bring serious harm to the pope himself and to his intention of reform.
L’espresso goes on to chronicle a number of incidents in Ricca’s checkered history working in the Vatican’s diplomatic corps — see page 2 and page 3 of the report (cached and cached) for all the details. There are enough of them that it’s inconceivable nothing untoward could have shown up in his file at the time Pope Francis reviewed it.
It may be a bit of a leap to suggest (as L’espresso does) this set-up of the new Pope (which is certainly what it appears to be) was done the “gay lobby” that’s rumored to be embedded deep within the machinery of the Vatican. Even so, this attempt to drive a wedge between the Pope and other Vatican officials who’d no doubt known about Ricca’s past, must have been the work of people with authority in Vatican offices and extremely close to the Pope; having the ability to doctor a prelate’s personal file, and to prevent the Pope from speaking with those who might have warned him against appointing Ricca.
I can’t help but view this as additional evidence — as though anyone needed more! — that the R.C. Church is pervasively and inherently dysfunctional. It may seem I’m sympathetic to the Pope here, but I’m not. He’s been part of the Church’s global machinery more than long enough to have been aware of the nature and extent of its dysfunction. Maybe he’s working to change it … or maybe he’s not … but when he took the job of Pope, he made himself its caretaker, and thus accepted responsibility for the dysfunction. Having been the target of a set-up, he now has a choice: To face this matter head-on and undertake to rid his Church of the dysfunction; or to allow it to continue simmering and festering, even at the risk of undermining his own reign. If he’s anything like previous Popes, his choice will be the latter. Which is precisely why things have reached this point in the first place.
Update: The (UK) Independent reports Ricca was found stuck in an elevator a couple days ago (cached), with a “rent boy” known to police. Talk about your “facepalm” moments!
Photo credit: Catholic Press, via L’espresso.
Tags: battista ricca
, catholic church
, gay lobby
, institute for works of religion
, pope francis
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
, vatican bank
, vatican bank scandal
, vatican city
, vatican gay lobby
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Note: See below for an update on this story.
A couple years ago, America’s Catholic bishops commissioned a report on child sexual abuse among its clergy, which concluded that it was a “historical problem” (in other words, something that had happened “historically,” but had stopped occurring). Unfortunately for the bishops and their sycophants who wrote this report, the reality is that child abuse by R.C. clergy is anything but “historical.” Here in Connecticut, just within the archdiocese of Hartford, it’s been an issue a few times within those past two years.
As one would expect — given that this is the archdiocese that dared use the “but the victims enjoyed it” defense in court during a lawsuit — the Hartford Courant reports on yet another example of this “historical problem” that won’t seem to go away (WebCite cached article):
An East Windsor priest has been placed on leave by the Catholic Church after being accused of sexually abusing a minor, the Hartford Archdiocese said Monday.
The Rev. Paul Gotta had earlier come to public attention in June when he told police about an 18-year-old who had told him he was planning a memorable prank for his graduation ceremonies. Police later charged the teenager with attempting to make a bomb, possession of explosives and other charges.
The state Department of Children and Families has received a complaint of sexual abuse of a minor involving Gotta, who is administrator of St. Philip and St. Catherine churches in East Windsor, said Maria Zone, spokeswoman for the archdiocese. Police are investigating the allegation, she said in a written statement.
Note, this revelation didn’t reach police attention because of anything the archdiocese did. It appears — somehow — to have been a side-effect of Gotta having reported a teen’s threat of violence against his school. The Courant article itself is strange reading, since it doesn’t connect the child-abuse allegation with the bomb threat. The article, as written, is basically a single report of two different incidents. A pretty substantial amount of information is completely missing from the story. Given the decline of journalism, this isn’t really surprising … sorry to say.
At any rate, the bishops’ contention that child abuse by its clergy is merely “historical,” is a lie. And they know it.
Update: Things just got a whole helluva lot worse for the Rev. Gotta. The Courant reports he was just arrested on federal charges (cached). The ATF and East Windsor police accuse him of helping a juvenile get firearms. It also seems the Reverend may have helped him make a gun:
The warrant also states that Bass said he and Gotta had discussed making a shotgun, which he tested in the backyard in the presence of the priest.
This is one seriously bad situation for a priest — of all people! — to have gotten himself into.
Photo credit: Archdiocese of Hartford.
Tags: archdiocese of hartford
, catholic child abuse scandal
, catholic church
, catholic clerical abuse scandal
, east windsor CT
, lazy journalism
, paul gotta
, rev paul gotta
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
Since their religion was founded, Christians appear to have had a lot of trouble with the teachings of their own religion. As I’ve explained at length, according to their own scripture, Jesus left behind some fairly clear and unambiguous instructions for them, that they more or less ignore. Some of this isn’t entirely unreasonable; after all, strictly following the order to “turn the other cheek” in every conflict could — if the circumstances are dire enough — result in injury or even death. So I get why Christians might not be too eager to obey that one all the time.
That said, some of Jesus’ instructions are far less harmful to follow, yet Christians have, historically, dug their heels in against them and refuse to follow them. Among those is his injunction against public piety. The gospel according to Matthew reports that Jesus said:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Mt 6:1-6)
In spite of this clear and explicit order, Christians don’t seem to hesitate to let others know they’re Christians, that they’re righteous, and that they worship their deity. They desperately want other people to know they’re Christians, and they never shy away from ensuring that the rest of the world knows it.
Just today, not too far away from me in the northwestern Connecticut, as the Torrington Register-Citizen reports, they got together in what amounts to an orgiastic display of anti-scriptural public piety (WebCite cached article):
More than 150 people gathered at Coe Memorial Park [in Torrington] from Saturday morning until the evening for a day of worship, entertainment and food during the 2013 Praise God Fest.
All the entertainment and food was donated, and there were several volunteers helping serve food and offer information during the festival.
The stated explanation for why they did this is pretty lame:
Michael Oleksiw is a pastor at the Freedom Hills Christian Center in Torrington, and is the coordinator for Praise God Fest.…
“Christians are real people, regular people,” Oleksiw said. “We have fun, and we just want to tell people abut the hope that we have in our lives as Christians.”
I mean, seriously, who isn’t aware that Christians are “real people”? We need this display of public Christian piety, to know that? Really?
Oleksiw’s “explanation” implies that Christians are some kind of tiny minority that’s maligned and misunderstood or something. But this is patently absurd; Christianity is the majority religion in the US, in Connecticut, and even in the city of Torrington. They aren’t misunderstood at all.
The rationales that Christians cook up to explain why they think they can display their piety openly and publicly, in spite of Jesus’ clear order never to do so, are mind-boggling. In fact, they border on incoherent. See, for example, my exchange with a Christian in the comments on this Hartford FAVS article).
One explanation I’ve heard is that, when in verse 6 of the Matthew passage Jesus said to “go into your inner room” to pray, he wasn’t giving a blanket order to all Christians to do this all the time; it was just an example of something they might want to do … sometimes. This, however, doesn’t make sense in light of the overall passage. Jesus opened that particular teaching (in verse 1) with a general statement: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” He then went on to give examples of the “hypocrites” behaving unacceptably: Being seen giving to the poor (verses 2-4), and standing in the streets to pray (verse 5). In verse 6 he turns back to his followers, and tells them to “go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret,” which contrasts with the behavior of the “hypocrites.”
Unfortunately, the idea that verse 6 is merely an example and not a universal instruction doesn’t hold up in the language of those verses … whether in the original Greek or in translation. Verse 6 opens with a distinct break, that being the Greek phrase συ δε (su de); it’s usually translated as “But you …” although for me, a closer and more literal English equivalent would be, “You, however …” In either case, there’s a clear break in Jesus’ address. He’s obviously going from having given two examples of “the hypocrites’” bad behavior, to telling his audience what they need to do, by comparison.
This kind of irrational and illogical semantic dance is to be expected of a religion that’s ostensibly based on strict readings of a particular batch of writings. I get why they do this: After all, what good is it to be a Christian, if you aren’t going to get noticed for being one? Even so, no literate Christian has any viable excuse for not being aware of Matthew 6:1-6 and Jesus’ explicit injunction against public piety. It’s time for Christians to grow up, suck it, and obey the teachings of their own religion. Even the teachings that are inconvenient.
Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic, based on Mt 6:6.
, freedom hills christian center
, matthew 6:1-6
, matthew 6:6
, michael oleksiw
, mt 6:1-6
, mt 6:6
, praise god fest
, public piety
, torrington CT
A civil war raging in Syria. The Eurozone crisis causing financial chaos. US spies rummaging through Europeans’ private lives. Youth unemployment all through the continent.
One would think Europe has a lot of problems that really need to be solved. And a bunch of European exorcists are getting together to solve some of Europe’s woes. But as the (UK) Telegraph reports, among the problems they’re taking on, is … of all things … Madonna (WebCite cached article):
Long the scourge of the Catholic Church, Madonna has often triggered Christian ire, once going through a mock crucifixion during one her stage shows.
Now her music and shows will come under the scrutiny of priests trained in the art of defeating demons, treating satanic possession and looking for the devil in a section of the conference dedicated to finding evil in popular culture.
“Part of the conference is dedicated to the hidden subliminal message in communication, and the choice of this subject was inspired by the woman who dares to call herself Madonna,” said Father Andrzej Grefkowic, an exorcist and one of the organisers of the conference. “We’ve been worried about her concerts.”
I hate to break it to the good Reverend, but “Madonna” is not a moniker the musician/dancer/actress appropriated for herself as an insult to the Virgin Mary. It’s the first name she was born with.
In any event, I just love how, with lots of crises wracking Europe or raging near its borders, the real problem to be faced, is Madonna, along with the horrific scourges of body piercings, tattoos, and — yes! — magic shows:
Father Grefkowic also warned of a growing risk from Satan, highlighting the increasing popularity of tattoos, body piercing, horoscopes and magic shows as ways evil could corrupt people.
Curiously, they’re not addressing the fact that religionism can corrupt people. And they’re also not addressing the Catholic clerical child-abuse scandal. Oh well.
Photo credit: Wikipedia.
Tags: andrzej grefkowic
, body piercing
, body piercings
, catholic church
, fr andrzej grefkowic
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
One of the things religious fundamentalists like to do, is conflate all their opponents into one huge mass of people, groups and things that are trying to wipe them out completely. I’d remarked on how the Religious Right in the US does this, just last evening, in a forum on Delphi Forums, and I cited as an example Newt Gingrich stating the hilarious non sequitur that “secular atheists” are “radical Islamists.”
The reason for this is their limited, primitive, and binary point of view. In the eyes of religionists, there are “the good guys” and “the bad guys,” all operating on the exact same teams, all working toward the same two goals, and there is no one and nothing in between. They very seriously believe that if you are not with them, you’re against them, and everyone who’s against them is doing so together, under one banner, as a single team, and with a unitary command structure.
As another example, this is why the “Obama is a secret Muslim” notion is so powerful and enduring: It’s an overt claim that the evil Leftist president the R.R. so vehemently hates, also just happens to be a member of the religion it most hates. Coincidence? I think not.
In any event, yet another Christofascist has linked the enemies of the Christian Right … Satan and Leftism. The Devil himself, you see, commands the political Left in the US (WebCite cached article):
End Times broadcaster Jan Markell hosted Michael Coffman this weekend to discuss his new book Plundered: How Progressive Ideology is Destroying America, which argues that progressives seek to engineer America’s demise in order to create a world government.
Markell, of course, claimed Satan was behind it all.
“Satan has used in some cases evil people, in some cases he’s used well-meaning people, but nonetheless the formula of progressivism doesn’t work, it is totally destructive,” Markell said. “These folks would say they don’t need God because they are God, government is a God.”
A lot of people toss the term “demonizing” around, although they almost always use it metaphorically. But Markell is not. She means it literally: Progressives are working with the “the ‘Real’ Satan” — Lucifer, aka the Devil himself — and his demonic hordes.
Note that she’s lying when she says Progressives state explicitly that “government is a God.” I know no Leftists or Progressives who’ve ever said any such thing. She’s woven that accusation out of whole cloth, because she’s projecting her own subjective worldview onto her enemies. This makes her a member of my “lying liars for Jesus” club.
There is, of course, the obligatory Right-wing radio appeal to food hoarding:
Later in the interview, she called on people to begin storing “at least six months’ worth of food” before progressive policies bring about hyper-inflation, which she says may occur “in the next couple of years” and will “throw our economy into such a turmoil that we don’t get food delivered for as much as six or eight months.”
I wonder if there are advertisers on these shows benefiting from this appeal?
Audio clips are available right here:
Because I’m a non-believer, the R.R. would certainly throw me in with Leftists, Communists, Islamists, and yes, the dreaded Satanists — even if I don’t fully agree with any of them. In their minds, I’m a committed member of the Vast Left-Wing/Satanist Conspiracy. If that’s the case, then count me among them! All hail Satan!*
Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic, based on Mt 12:30a.
* Just kidding: I can no more “hail” the metaphysical being known as Satan, than I could worship a deity or anything else of the sort.
, jan markell
, liar for jesus
, liars for jesus
, lying liar for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, michael coffman
, one world
, one world government
, progressive ideology
, world government
For the last month or so, the folks who make Sam Adams beers have been running a July 4th seasonal commercial that hearkens back to its namesake’s era. But as the Raw Story reports, some Christofascists on a Fox News show blustered and fumed because — heaven forbid! — the commercial didn’t mention God (WebCite cached article):
A Fox News guest host asserted on Friday that “the terrorists have won” because brewer Samuel Adams was not in invoking God in its television commercials to sell beer.
In the “Independence” television spot that began airing last month, an actor in a Samuel Adams Boston Lager commercial quotes from the Declaration of Independence.
“Why name a beer after Samuel Adams? Because Samuel Adams signed the Declaration of Independence,” the actor says. “He believed there was a better way to live: all men are created equal. They are endowed with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Smooth, flavorful, we bow to no kings. Samuel Adams Boston lager: declare your independence.”
On Friday, the three Fox & Friends guest hosts expressed outrage that the brewer had not included the phrase “endowed by their Creator” in the commercial.
Here’s the commercial that Fox News is furious about, courtesy of Youtube:
That’s right, it’s horrific that the brewers of Sam Adams failed to fully quote the Declaration of Independence so as to include its mention of God. One of the jabbering fools on the show, Bill O’Reilly producer Jesse Watters, knows what’s really going on here:
“When political correctness takes over the beer advertising industry, the terrorists have won,” said Watters, who is better known for his job as a producer on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show. “I mean, this is absolutely outrageous!”
“You know, maybe it’s because Sam Adams was the tea party guy — he started the Boston Tea Party — maybe the tea party’s being targeted here,” he added.
Yes, that’s right. This God-defying abomination occurred because “political correctness” has taken over the brewing industry and handed “the terrorists” a “win” … and fired a vicious salvo at the Teabaggers as well as at the memory of the original Samuel Adams.
I can’t think of any better way for the cast and crew of Fox & Friends to celebrate the nation’s birthday, than to have uncovered this horrific conspiracy and exposed the Boston Beer Company as nefarious agents of the Evil Godless Leftist Terrorist conspiracy. I know what I’m doing about this … I’m stocking up on Sam Adams beers!
Hat tip: Rational Wiki.
Photo credit: Meme Generator.
Tags: beer commercial
, clayton morris
, declaration of independence
, fox & friends
, fox news
, independence day
, jesse watters
, july 4
, july 4th
, sam adams
, sam adams beer
, samuel adams
, tea baggers
, tea party
The Vatican has been eager to get the late Pope John Paul II canonized as soon as possible. That process is amazingly protracted and cumbersome. It can take decades or even centuries for people to be sainted. For instance, the Catholic Church took almost 300 years just to beatify the Martyrs of Otranto, and over 500 years to make them saints. Yet, this same wizened and supposedly-deliberate group, as the CNN Belief Blog reports, is on the cusp of granting the same honor to their late associate: (WebCite cached article):
The Catholic Church is on the verge of declaring late Pope John Paul II a saint, a Vatican source familiar with the process told CNN on Tuesday.
The committee that considers candidates for sainthood voted Tuesday to credit the late pope with a second miracle, the source said, asking not to be named discussing internal Vatican deliberations.…
The Polish-born pope was fast-tracked to beatification when he died in 2005 [cached], and became “the blessed” John Paul II barely six years after his death — the fastest beatification in centuries.
“For an institution that typically thinks in centuries, this is remarkably quick,” said CNN Vatican analyst John Allen.
In fact, the phrase “record-breaking speed” leaps to mind, and not without reason, as CNN explains:
The record for the fastest canonization is [sic] modern times is St. Jose-Maria Escriva, the Spanish-born founder of Opus Dei, a Catholic order of laypeople and saints dedicated to finding God in daily life. Escriva was made a saint 27 years after his death.
John Paul could shatter that record.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to point out that Pope John Paul II had built up something of a “cult of personality” during is reign, and many of the hierarchs now in charge of the R.C. Church had been appointed by him, or had put them into position to move up into the hierarchy. They appear now to be clamoring to repay his favors posthumously.
It would be nice if they could instead find a way to devote more of their attention and energy to something other than a dead man. Figuring out how to deal constructively and candidly with the worldwide clerical child-abuse scandal that’s wracked their institution for more than a decade, would be one of those things.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
, catholic church
, john paul ii
, pope john paul
, pope john paul ii
, roman catholic
, roman catholic church
, vatican city