Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And I Believe in the Easter Bunny

Warning: I am about to tear the Catholic Church a new one, so if you feel that this may offend your religious sensibilities, stop reading now.

The Catholic Church is the longest lasting criminal mafia organization in existence.
It continues operating unimpeded. This latest child abuse scandal (one of many) is the tip of the iceberg of centuries of criminal behavior. Inquisitions, persecutions, expulsions, crusades, plunder, violence, graft, corruption, slavery, extortion, (remember the selling of indulgences that caused Luther to start the Reformation?), siding with evil in recent history (Hitler, Mussolini, Franco). The catalog of evils is endless.
In the United States, lay child molesters are ostracized and persecuted even after they've done time in jail, but priests, with the approval and abetting of the Vatican, are allowed to continue their duties unmolested in other parishes. All the Church cares about is covering up scandal. This is the fallacy of religion, that somehow clergy people are more pure or that the rules that apply to everyone do not apply to them because they have a closer relationship to God (as if). In fact, they take advantage of the trust of the faithful and abuse their power over them. This is evil. This is how organized religion, and particularly the Catholic Church, the most powerful and richest religious organization in the world, has literally gotten away with murder for centuries. The harm, violence, poverty, murder, enmity and catastrophe it has caused is in plain view in the history books. 
Contrition, repentance and forgiveness, boy do they come in handy when you are caught committing unspeakable acts against innocents, don't they? The sheer gall of using humane concepts preached by Jesus to get away with murder. But it won't do. If your child is abused, do you want the rapist to repent and ask for forgiveness with a pat on the hand, or do you want him to face justice? Priests and nuns and any other clergy of any other religion who engage in what constitutes criminal behavior in civil society need to be brought to justice in this world, not the next.
Church officials seem to think that expressing remorse is more than enough. In the case of the priest who molested deaf boys in Milwaukee, his remorse wasn't very convincing. He made all sorts of rationalizations and justifications for his indefensible behavior (accusing the kids of being homosexuals, thinking that the kids were enjoying it because they were allowing it). These people live in a bubble of supposed sanctity that totally warps their moral and ethical instincts. And with all due respect, the parents who put their children in the care of these monsters should by now, know better. It is amazing to me, reading and hearing from Catholics everywhere that there is pervasive, day to day knowledge of abusive priests and nuns, not always sexual, but always damaging, yet everybody looks the other way, in particular this awful Pope. Why are people willing to give such appalling leeway to religious people?
Have you read about the Catholic Church in Ireland? It's a catalog of terror. When I read Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes I was taken aback by the way he portrayed the supposedly charitable societies that humiliated and punished the poor with unusual fervor, even glee. That a modern country could tolerate such blatant mistreatment and abuse for so long is amazing to me. And now the Pope is telling the Irish 'tis their problem. I hope that at last their eyes will finally open. For those with strong constitutions, I recommend the harrowing movie The Magdalene Sisters, directed by Irish actor Peter Mullan. Unbelievable injustice and cruelty.  And these convents were closed only relatively recently.
There may be some orders that do good here and there but the institution of the Church is rotten from the top. It also seems to be utterly out of touch with current reality. In our modern age it doesn't start wars and crusades anymore, but the evil it does is no less harmful to millions of people, like their campaign against the distribution of condoms in Africa to stop the spread of AIDS, and their intransigent stance against contraception. 
The ascendancy of this Pope illustrates just how out of touch the Vatican is with the reality of the world today. In Europe and America nobody goes to church anymore. Traditionally Catholic countries like Italy and Spain, and now Ireland, have had enough of Church abuse. The majority of the faithful now live in less developed countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Instead of choosing someone with Third World credentials, someone who could excite people back into a Church more engaged with the real problems of the world, they pick a cerebral German former Hitler Youth who obsesses about ancient Church tenets and seems indifferent to human suffering. They deserve everything they got coming.  As a Jew (and I do blame most of the severe problems of the Jewish people since 1 A.D. on Christianity) I have to say, that watching the Vatican squirm gives me endless pleasure. I have always loathed the Catholic Church. And I'm lucky to live in a secular world in which I don't get to be burned at the stake for saying it. 
Is ending celibate vows the answer? I don't think so. Some priests may marry women, but what about the gay priests? Are they going to marry women too? This opens a whole fresh can of worms. So no. I doubt the abuse of power one way or another will ever stop. This abuse of power is not exclusive to the Catholic Church. It is part of the human condition, since organized religion of any kind is the greatest racket ever invented by man and has been a refuge for conmen since time immemorial. The only inoculation against it is to have strong safeguards in the separation between Church and State. Religion does the most harm when it is chums with political power. This is why it ran rampant in Ireland. And in countries like Mexico, where it exploited people until enlightened leaders like Benito Juárez all the way back in the 1850's said basta and separated church and state, giving rise to a nation with secular laws.
I don't have a beef with personal faith. Knock yourselves out believing in whatever gives you comfort. But be aware that there are those who seek to take advantage of your faith because to them, and in opposition to everything you believe in, it makes you vulnerable, not stronger.


  1. marga1:48 PM


  2. Excellent post. To me -a Mexican catholic from Mexico who used to enjoy going to church- it was amusing that it was an RCIA class (the ones to convert you into catholicism) in this country that completely drove me away... by what catholics are supposed to believe in. I guess a lot of it in Mexico is cultural.