The Catholic Church Should Burn

Beebo Brink

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The current issue of The Atlantic has this as the cover story. Abolish the Priesthood
An interesting read, although the writer bends himself into a pretzel to somehow argue that the entire Catholic church should be completely re-imagined and yet would somehow still remain Catholic. Everything he described as the new ideal can be obtained by simply walking out the door.
 

Bea McMahon

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An interesting read, although the writer bends himself into a pretzel to somehow argue that the entire Catholic church should be completely re-imagined and yet would somehow still remain Catholic. Everything he described as the new ideal can be obtained by simply walking out the door.
Yeah, I'm not real convinced that it would work the way he thinks it would.
I've contended for years that the worst think that happened to Christianity was Constantine converting. It's been all down hill from there.
 

Innula Zenovka

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From the Washington Post: The Crusading Bloggers Exposing Abuse in Protestant Churches.

Based on our experience in the UK, I really really think that it's a big mistake to behave as if the sexual abuse of minors by adults in positions of trust and authority is unique to the Roman Catholic church. It's not -- it's an issue with priests and ministers from all denominations, as well as with teachers, sports coaches and leaders of youth groups.

The only thing I can think of that's peculiar to the Catholic Church is that unlike most abusers we see in the British courts, celibate priests don't have their own children to abuse, and not that much access to those of close friends and family members (who will frequently live some distance away, or even in another country), so children in their own congregation are the natural targets of opportunity.

If they'd have gone into teaching, or become youth workers, or even joined the priesthood of another denomination or another religion, they'd still have been abusing children, just different ones. Or they'd be abusing their own children or their children's friends, or looking for victims online.

Maybe I'm being oversensitive about this, and certainly I'm not at all familiar with the US background, but something tells me that pedophiles and sexual predators are probably much the same in most countries, and certainly as a former Catholic with an interest in history and politics I'm very aware of how the perverse sexual behaviour of supposedly celibate priests and nuns was a commonplace of hateful anti-immigrant (Irish, Italian, Polish, Mexican) propaganda in both the US and the UK until comparatively recently.

It's easily forgotten, I think, that for a long time Catholics held a place in both British and US anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner demonology that is now occupied for many people by Muslims. It's within living memory, after all, that the prospect of a Catholic president was as horrifying to many Americans as would still, at least to some sections of the public, be the prospect of a Jewish, Muslim or atheist president.

Plus, of course, if you're a lawyer specialising in representing victims of sexual abuse on a contingency fee basis (no-win, no-fee) , Roman Catholic archdioceses have deeper pockets and are more obvious targets of opportunity than most independent, unaffiliated, baptist and other non-episcopal religious groups and communities.
 
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Jopsy Pendragon

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From the Washington Post: The Crusading Bloggers Exposing Abuse in Protestant Churches.

Based on our experience in the UK, I really really think that it's a big mistake to behave as if the sexual abuse of minors by adults in positions of trust and authority is unique to the Roman Catholic church. It's not -- it's an issue with priests and ministers from all denominations, as well as with teachers, sports coaches and leaders of youth groups.
The abuse may not be unique... but the lengths to which the HRCC went to obstruct justice and protect predatory priests IS, imho, 'unique'.

Schools and other denominations don't have the same means or motives as the HRCC to conspire to protect child predators from prosecution.
 
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Innula Zenovka

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We know the lengths to which certain RC archdioceses went to conceal abuses primarily because those lengths were successfully uncovered as a result of successful civil actions for damages alleging sexual abuse.

If it hadn't been for the court actions, that concealment would never have come to light.

Furthermore, one reason why the concealment has come to light is that, because a particular Catholic archdiocese comprises a large bureaucracy, there are plenty of potential witnesses and a paper trail to the cover-up, all waiting to be disclosed. That's not always the case, or the evidence isn't always there in such quantities, when you're talking about independent churches subject to no external authority or supervision.

This means it's a lot easier for Pastor So-and-So to leave town under something of a cloud and set up again elsewhere with a new congregation without anyone else knowing about the sinister rumours that follow him than it is for Father So-and-So do to the same thing -- there's almost always going to be records of how he came to be moved and why, which probably won't be there for the Pastor.

Furthermore, I think, it's a lot easier to keep track of all cases of sexual abuse involving a particular archdiocese than it is to keep track all cases involving unaffiliated evangelical churches (or mosques or synagogues) in a particular geographical area.

I am not defending the Catholic Church at all. I am just saying that, at least in my experience in the UK, I don't think the Catholic Church here has a significantly better or worse record of covering up evidence of sexual abuse has than the Church of England or the Methodists or the Baptists, or particular posh private boarding schools or particular soccer teams with programmes for young players.

And I still think most children are at the greatest risk of sexual abuse by family members and trusted family friends than by trusted adults who have access to them by virtue of their job.

I don't want to minimise anything but I think there's a danger of some people behaving as if it's only Catholic priests who abuse children, just as the English Defence League seem to think it's only Muslim men who prey up vulnerable non-Muslim girls in parts of the North of England. My hometown was, back in the 1970s and early 80s, the scene of terrible abuses and child prostitution rackets run out of various children's homes. Everyone knew the rumours about it, but nothing happened for years. It's what some men do when they find themselves in positions of power.
 
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Pamela

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Predators position themselves where they are trusted, and have access to vulnerable victims. Which means churches and other religious organizations, schools, athletics, etc. Dedicated teachers, religious people, coaches, etc. are thoroughly disgusted, but don’t have answers about what to do about it, other than to trust no one.
 

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One more on the pyre.

Vatican Rejects Gender Change to Alarm of LGBT Catholics
The Vatican issued an official document Monday rejecting the idea that people can choose or change their genders and insisting on the sexual "complementarity" of men and women to make babies.

The document, published during LGBT Pride Month, was immediately denounced by LGBT Catholics as contributing to bigotry and violence against gay and transgender people. Advocacy group New Ways Ministry said it would further confuse individuals questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation and at risk of self-harm.
 
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Tove

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I believe one of the core issues with abusers who are members of one of the triad of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is that their belief systems teach them that nothing matters as much as going to "heaven" and that any sort of sins, no matter how horrific can be cleansed for them to go into heaven by repenting and asking forgiveness of their god. It stands to reason then that their internal structures of oversight would prioritize making sure the sinner went to heaven over justice in this world which they feel is corrupt and not the final destination which should be the focus of everyone. Thus, as long as important others of the same belief system were convinced (either formally or informally through some formula of their version of belief), of the sinner's repentance and reconciliation with their god, they could justify hiding the sins that he's committed, even if it is something as vile as abusing innocent children. It's no big secret that this kind of "redemption" is available, in fact, it's one of the huge selling points of these beliefs. What is not so well known is how that can play out in dealing with scandals through the lens of belief that enables someone to condone protecting the indefensible.
 

Aeon Jiminy

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I have a hard time wrapping my head around all of this. Don't we kind of sanitize what's happening to these children with terms like "abuse"? I like the line in the movie " Dolores Claiborne" when Vera Donovan asks Dolores " Has he f---ked her yet?". Gotta love Vera. This is kind of answers we should demand of these jackals. There is no God or love in any of this. There's no need for respect. There's no need for us to understand motivations. Let the professionals worry about that. It's a line that can't be crossed. I can't imagine a God who would want anything less than for us to simply turn the hose on all of these molesters and their legions of enablers. When they crawl out of the gutter in a desperate clinging to life, then we can start worrying about what's salvageable.

"
 

Brenda Archer

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The cult of forgiveness almost always plays out with the person who has the power demanding the one who doesn’t must forgive him, effectively putting him beyond the law and social censure. So I say that some subcultures don’t really think child rape is a crime. We don’t expect a car thief to avoid jail by apologizing, but traditional cultures let rapists in power get away with it, effectively telling the victims that their lives, bodies and souls have no value.

Although many of the victims were female, the outrage really took off when middle class male children were targets. The ideology of forgiveness is fundamentally one of sexism. If you are property, you have no right to deny access to your body or demand accountability or restitution for its destruction. The message female children get when they are raped has always been that they’re disposable and not human. Male victims are harder for society to ignore, although the belief in the total authority of adults over children causes many people to side with the adults at all times.

It’s not just the churches, I think all of society is scum for considering women and children to be property (so female children are doubly demanded to “forgive.”) The idea that all humans are corrupt sinners is another excuse to put rapists and their child victims on a level plane.

There’s no way to recover a religion that has ever treated humans as property, subordinates or sinners. There’s no way to get a culture like this to ever completely submit to the rule of law and give up the privilege of being above it.
 

Roxanne Blue

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The degree of hypocrisy of the Catholic Church is stunning in its denial/ignoring of its crimes while "warning" the world that my very existence is a sin and crime against nature. I said Francis would be no different in substance than Benedict was, and that has been proven beyond doubt. The Vatican should be charged with using rape as a weapon worldwide, and the Pope hauled before the World Court to be tried for his state's war crimes. Then we go for the cardinals, etc.

As for the Church's properties, including its art and treasures, let them be sold to finance a fund for reparations.

What we can't sell, we burn.
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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Sounds like it's a parallel to TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) ... "Ye Olde Vatican durn't want non-o-them uppity butch nuns getting notions that they might one day be a 'man o the cloth'."

Trans-exclusionary radical ... patriarchy? chauvinist? TERP? TERC? Probably no acronym for it because it's sort of implied by in chauvinistic patriarchal mentality I guess.
 

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If someone had made a movie depicting all these things I would have thought it ridiculously far fetched.

 
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danielravennest

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I believe one of the core issues with abusers who are members of one of the triad of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is that their belief systems teach them that nothing matters as much as going to "heaven" and that any sort of sins, no matter how horrific can be cleansed for them to go into heaven by repenting and asking forgiveness of their god.
Judaism doesn't have a concept of heaven or hell, nor repentance. Rather, God handed Moses the rules to follow, and he passed them on to the 12 tribes of Israel. The Israelites were the "chosen people" and had a special relationship with God, but that relationship was God saved them from slavery in Egypt and led them to the Promised Land. In return they worship the one God, and follow his rules. What you do with a sinner is stone them, or whatever other punishment is laid out in in the Torah (five books of Moses, which are the first five books of the Old Testament). Modern Jews mostly let the State handle punishment, which are much less severe.
 

GoblinCampFollower

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Yeah, I'm not real convinced that it would work the way he thinks it would.
I've contended for years that the worst think that happened to Christianity was Constantine converting. It's been all down hill from there.
I don't think there would even be a Christianity without Constantine. There were always a lot of cults that came and went. I'm not sure Christianity was ever going to last or would exist as we know it today if not for him.

An interesting read, although the writer bends himself into a pretzel to somehow argue that the entire Catholic church should be completely re-imagined and yet would somehow still remain Catholic. Everything he described as the new ideal can be obtained by simply walking out the door.
I believe that a horrifying number of Catholics have no idea that's actually possible. They were brainwashed their whole lives into thinking the Catholic church is the only real church and were fed a well white washed version of it's history.

The logic of Pascal's Wager immediately falls apart if you know your religion isn't the only one (and others can be directly opposed to yours), but a lot of people still make that argument with a straight face. I think there is a tremendous cognitive gap between knowing intellectually and being aware of it. A large number of people have no real awareness that their religion isn't the only one and that much of their culture isn't some universal norm.

So... the idea of radically changing the Catholic Church makes complete sense if you are connected enough to reality to know it's horribly broken, but not enough to know it's just another church and you can leave it. 84% of the world isn't Catholic.
 

detrius

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Bea McMahon

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I don't think there would even be a Christianity without Constantine. There were always a lot of cults that came and went. I'm not sure Christianity was ever going to last or would exist as we know it today if not for him.
That's my point - if it had lasted, it would be nothing like it is today - and the world would be a much different place.