Friday, April 02, 2010

Popes Come, Popes Go, But The Roman Church's Perfidy Is Always There Laughing In Your Face


That Francis Bacon dude was so damned impious

I have a feeling that on this Good Friday there are Catholics all over the world sorely disappointed in the savvy politician who maneuvered himself into the Vicar of Christ chair at the head of the table over in Italy. As one notorious Catholic sex addict reminds us on Twitter:

Many Catholics, in fact, assumed that when Gabriele Amorth, Rome's chief exorcist, decreed a few days ago that Satan is active inside the Vatican, he was referring to the Pope. He wasn't; he claims the Anti-Christ is waging war against the Holy See from within. (I wonder if it was the same Anti-Christ the right-wing terrorists in Michigan heard howling inside their heads-- or channeled through Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh). This one, apparently features "people who are possessed by Satan [and] vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron." Although Ratzinger's propaganda machine is concentrating on attacking the NY Times, the Papal boy-rape scandal is becoming as shocking in Europe as it has been in the U.S. It demands to be addressed... seriously, something all popes have avoided for all times.
"The Devil resides in the Vatican and you can see the consequences," said Father Amorth, 85, who has been the Holy See's chief exorcist for 25 years.

"He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, or even appear to be sympathetic. At times he makes fun of me. But I'm a man who is happy in his work."

While there was "resistance and mistrust" towards the concept of exorcism among some Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI has no such doubts, Father Amorth said. "His Holiness believes wholeheartedly in the practice of exorcism. He has encouraged and praised our work," he added.

The evil influence of Satan was evident in the highest ranks of the Catholic hierarchy, with "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus and bishops who are linked to the demon," Father Amorth said.

Gee he sounds like he's been reading Digby or Katha Pollitt this week!
My favorite moment of the whole child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church was when Father Klaus Malangré suggested that Peter Hullermann, the redoubtable German pedophile priest, might be sent to work in a girls' school. No boys, no molestation. Or, in churchly language, no occasion of sin. Problem solved! Plus, the good father would spend his life warding off female cooties. Malangré must not have heard about priests-- and they do exist-- who abused both male and female children. Nor had he learned the lesson of Watergate: the cover-up is worse than the crime.

The church has yet to learn that lesson. There is a positively Nixonian smarmy truculence in the response of church hierarchs to the ongoing scandal, which now involves Pope Benedict XVI himself. On Palm Sunday, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan urged worshipers at St. Patrick's Cathedral to show "love and solidarity for our earthly shepherd now suffering some of the same unjust accusations, shouts of the mob and scourging at the pillar, as did Jesus." On his blog, Dolan explains that what gets Catholics angry is not just the molestations themselves but also that "the sexual abuse of minors is presented as a tragedy unique to the Church alone." Oh, really? Does the name Mary Kay Letourneau mean nothing to him? This man needs to read the tabloids, which have for years featured an endless parade of molesting teachers, doctors, dentists, therapists and scout leaders. To go by the news, looking at child pornography on one's office computer is so common, it's a wonder anyone finds the time to abuse real kids. At this late date I doubt anyone is unaware that the sexual abuse of children is a widespread phenomenon.

The difference is, when other professionals who work with children are caught out, justice takes its course. People are fired. Licenses are lost. Reputations are ruined. Sometimes jail is involved. No human institution is perfect, and it would be foolish to suggest that incidents are always investigated and that abusers who don't happen to be priests are never protected by colleagues or superiors. Still, it's probably safe to say that if a principal was accused of overlooking a child molester in his classrooms or recycling him to other schools, nobody would compare his suffering to Christ's.

And nobody would be asking for his views about sex, reproduction, women, homosexuality or healthcare either. The moral authority granted the Catholic Church in the secular world is for me the most repellent aspect of the current crisis. In the succinct words of Jodi Jacobson, editor of, "Why is a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws controlling women's rights?" To which one might add: what gives a church in which celibacy is equated with holiness, in which males have almost all the power, the right to a place at the table where laws are made about women's bodies? The same institution that has dealt so indulgently with its ordained pedophiles had no problem excommunicating a Brazilian mother who sought an abortion for her 9-year-old daughter, raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather, or pushing for laws in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Chile banning abortion even to save the woman's life.

Digby and Tristero seemed to be wondering if the Vatican thought it was still April Fool's Day today. "A senior Vatican priest speaking at a Good Friday service compared the uproar over sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church-- which have included reports about Pope Benedict XVI’s oversight role in two cases-- to the persecution of the Jews, sharply raising the volume in the Vatican’s counterattack. The remarks, on the day Christians mark the crucifixion, underscored how much the Catholic Church has felt under attack from recent news reports and criticism over how it has handled charges of child molestation against priests in the past, and sought to focus attention on the church as the central victim. In recent weeks, Vatican officials and many bishops have angrily denounced news reports that Benedict failed to act strongly enough against pedophile priests, once as archbishop of Munich and Friesing in 1980 and once as a leader of a powerful Vatican congregation in the 1990s." Digby then goes through a unbiased history of the Roman Church highlighting the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust and wonders aloud about the concept of chutzpah, which, I believe, is originally a Yiddish word.

That said... what Good Friday would ever been complete without listening to Patti Smith's fantaboolus G-L-O-R-I-A?

Easter Sunday Update

What we're watching rise today, alas, is hypocrisy. A.P. uncovered documents that show clearly that Ratzinger was covering up for rapist priests... in not just Germany but in Arizona-- and endangering more 7 and 8 year old boys. Time for the Pope to devote the rest of his miserable life to prayer and repentance... in a monastery.
In 1997, a Catholic tribunal in Tucson formally determined that a local priest had solicited sex while hearing confession, saying that evidence in the case against the Rev. Michael Teta showed that his "insidious ‘rape’" of his victims was "so heinous that the only solution is that he take up some other occupation."

In a sentencing document that runs more than 100 pages, the tribunal recounted the evidence against Teta, saying at one point that "there is almost a satanic quality in his mode of acting toward young men and boys."

Despite the urgency of the findings, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a top Vatican official, took more than six years to review the case before Pope John Paul II affirmed a decision to strip Teta of his status as a priest, or laicize him.

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At 4:39 PM, Anonymous me said...

Wow, and I thought Batshit Bachman was loony. These guys have raised insanity to an art form.


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