Shame …

Galileo before the Holy Office

I apologize in advance for this posting to those among you who are Catholic, but it’s very hard to distinguish the faithful from those who run the institution on a day to day basis and make the decisions. Feel free to pray for my soul. I think I deserve your prayers at least as much as the Church hierarchy.

The Catholic Church has never been one of my favorite institutions. Maybe it has something to do with the Inquisition or some of the rest of its sordid history. And you would think the Church hierarchy would have learned a thing or two over the centuries after burning Joan of Arc, persecuting Galileo, and committing an assortment of other crimes against humanity. Sadly, it appears the good fathers who run that particular lunatic asylum haven’t learn a thing in 2000 years.

Ordinarily, I would avoid commenting on the Church because there are many fine, outstanding, people who are Catholic and only too happy to ignore the teachings of the idiots who run that institution on a day to day basis. And if we were just dealing with a bunch of silly old men who like to run around in funny hats wearing dresses, I would probably give it a pass.

But we’re not just dealing with a bunch of silly men. We’re dealing with a bunch of losers and criminals who believe their silly hats and dresses give them the right to impose their ridiculous views on others and who think they’re above the law.

Lately the good fathers have been on a run and, sadly, it hasn’t been an especially edifying one. Among other absurdities, the leadership of the Catholic Church in the U.S. recently launched a blistering attack on the Obama administration. They claimed religious liberty was under assault because the Administration had decided to include birth control services among those minimal preventative health care services insurance companies are required to cover under the health care law Congress enacted in 2010.

It wasn’t like the Administration had a choice in the matter. The law required them to define what services a health insurance company must minimally require to do business and everyone was pretty much agreed that birth control services should be included because they reduce the staggering cost of providing health services in the U.S.

And it didn’t really matter that the Administration had exempted churches from having to pay for health insurance that covered birth control services. The good fathers complained that other Catholic institutions like hospitals and universities shouldn’t be required to cover such services either. So the Administration came up with another compromise that exempts those institutions as well, putting the burden directly on the health insurance companies instead. But even that wasn’t even good enough for the good fathers.

They started insisting that anyone who had a moral objection to providing any health care service should be exempted from the law as well. So, for example, if you were the owner of a sports store but objected to paying for birth control services, mammograms, or pap smears for your female employees (because, after all, everyone knows that women who use services like that are sluts), you should not have to provide health insurance that covered those services to your employees.

Indeed, if you were morally opposed to paying for a damn aspirin (because, after all, a woman might stick it between her legs to induce an abortion), you should be exempted as well, at least that’s the implication of the Catholic Church’s view.

It’s an absurd argument, of course, put forward by silly twits and what makes it even more absurd is that the vast majority of Catholics, the people who actually make up the church as opposed to the leadership mafia that runs the Church on a day to day basis, use birth control and the rest of those services; and we ain’t talking the rhythm method here either, folks. These good people aren’t dunces like Rick Santorum after all. They know what works and what doesn’t, and they don’t buy into the notion that sex is only morally permissible to have babies.

So that’s the first thing that got me riled up, not so much because the Church wants to play politics but because they insist on retaining their tax-exempt status while they do.

And then we have the case of Father Marcel Guarnizo, defender of the one true faith, scourge of those living in sin, and the chosen minister of an all just, all loving, all powerful God. You can read a bit more about this faithful servant of God here.

To make a long story short, the good father decided to take it upon himself to deny communion to a woman who happened to be attending her mother’s funeral and who also happened to be a lesbian, which offended the good father. He had apparently personally spoken to God about this and knew that God would be unhappy if he allowed the woman to take communion. For good measure, God had also apparently told him to leave the alter when the woman was delivering a eulogy for her mother and not to attend the actual burial service itself either.

But now, for entirely unrelated reasons, at least that’s what it claims, the Church has placed Father Guarnizo on administrative leave. You can read more about that here. Apparently, the good father was placed on leave for “engaging in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry.”

In other words, it seems like the good father is a bit of a bully. But then the woman he denied communion to already knew that, didn’t she? And how is he any different after all from the rest of the good fathers? They may be twits, but a hell of a lot of them are arrogant twits and bullies.

But now comes the real clincher for me. Yesterday we learned from the New York Times that the Church is attempting to intimidate and silence the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the group that tries to help those pesky little brats who had the misfortune to be raped and molested by the good fathers and who are now seeking a bit of justice.

Like most institutions, it turns out the Roman Catholic Church is concerned with its bottom line. Personally, I would have thought the bottom line for a church would have something to do with its spiritual well-being, not its financial well-being. But I guess I would have been wrong about that.

In fact, it turns out that, like any other corporation, the Catholic Church likes taking in more money than it pays out. Unfortunately, the Church has been forced to spend tons of money in recent years paying off the victims of its pedophile priests.

Apparently, these payouts have become increasingly annoying to the powers that be in the Church. It seems like more and more pesky victims keep turning up; and rather than beg the victims for forgiveness, rather than plead to God for mercy for their crimes against children, the Church has decided to lawyer up and go after the one organization that has done more than any other to call attention to the problem of priestly abuse.

That’s just not my opinion, of course. “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.”

The Catholic Church isn’t commenting officially. Like most rats, it prefers to operate in darkness rather than light. But there are sleaze bags like Mr. William Donohue, president of the so-called Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, who deny this. Donohue claims targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”

“The bishops have come together collectively, ” Donohue said. “I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”

He said the bishops were also rethinking their approach of paying large settlements to groups of victims. “The church has been too quick to write a check, and I think they’ve realized it would be a lot less expensive in the long run if we fought them one by one,” Mr. Donohue said.

Now think about what this worthless piece of sleaze just said for a moment. SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church. For doing what? For helping to expose the fact that many priests are child molesters and abused countless children over the years? For helping to expose the fact that the men who like to wear funny hats and dresses covered up the crimes of those child molesters for years and years? To me, it seems like the real menace here is the Church hierarchy and the ilk who support them, like Mr. William Donohue.

And it’s probably true enough the Church doesn’t need altar boys any more. It’s become too damn expensive to sodomize them, I suppose; from the Church’s point of view, it’s probably better to try bankrupting those kids instead. After all, the Church is rich and powerful and the kids are little and insignificant.

But all of this leads to a question. Do the monsters that run what any sane person reviewing the abuses of the last fifty years would call a criminal enterprise have no shame?

At long last are these people incapable of any shred of human decency?

It seems to me that it’s the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church that are the menace to society. These men are indeed the spiritual heirs of those who burned Joan of Arc, of those who intimidated Galileo into recanting his belief that the earth revolved around the Sun by threatening to torture him to death.

Many of them should be in jail for what they did. And yet they don’t even have the common decency to acknowledge the monstrous crimes they covered up and do the right thing.


Update: If you have any doubts that the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church are engaged in a political campaign to impose their beliefs on health care policy in the United States, you should read this March 2nd letter from Cardinal Timothy Dolan outlining the next steps in the hierarchy’s campaign to do just that.

Let’s be clear. At this point, what the hierarchy has planned has nothing to do with religious liberty although they keep tossing that term around because they know it resonates with some people. But even America, the National Catholic Weekly, has pointed out in a recent editorial that this is primarily about public policy, not religious liberty.

To be more specific, this is about imposing Catholic orthodoxy on issues like birth control on every American if possible; and if that is ultimately seen as a reach too far, it is about imposing that orthodoxy on anyone of any religious belief who works for any Catholic institution (hospitals and universities, for example) even if they disagree with the hierarchy’s public policy position.

Let’s be clear. Under current policy, no one, Catholic or otherwise, is being forced to make use of the birth control services health insurance companies will be required to offer to most Americans. Every citizen gets to decide for himself or herself whether to make use of those services; and this is precisely what rankles the tired old men who like to wear funny hats and wear dresses. They do not want you to have a choice in the matter. They want to decide what health care services you will be allowed to have access to. And they are attempting to cloak that suppression of your choices under the concept of religious liberty.

When not commiting crimes against children or covering up those crimes, these people are just another bunch of political activists trying to impose their policy views on you. Why their property should be tax-exempt while yours isn’t is beyond me. But you best keep your eyes on these religious mafiosi. It’s your rights that are up for grabs; and the Catholic hierarchy is going to do its best to limit the rights you have.

2 thoughts on “Shame …

  1. Bravo!! I can’t agree with you more and I am so glad that there’s still someone out there with the insight, courage, conviction, and clarity of expression to say what needs so badly to be said. I feel privileged to be able to read your work and comments regularly and more than a little aggravated and, frankly, rather ashamed that I’m not able to do more to support you and the causes you embrace.


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