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THE VATICAN DIARIES  A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Power, Personalities and Politics At The Heart Of The Catholic Church

A Book Review by Anne Frandi-Coory

Vatican Diaries

 

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It really is a joke that the Vatican considers itself a city state in its own right! More like a private boarding institution full of petulant school boys with eccentric masters in control of such departments as Congregation For Catholic EducationCongregation For The Causes of SaintsCongregation For The Clergy, Congregation For Institutes of Consecrated Life And Societies Of Apostolic Life etc. and where the competition for supremacy  over doctrinal matters is fierce.

What bothered me the most about the goings on in the Vatican as revealed in this book, was the total shutdown of any discussion about the thousands of cases of sexual abuse of children in USA, Australia and Ireland; the total lack of any consideration of the harm done to children by paedophile priests. The Vatican is a well-oiled machine that protects the Church at all costs, and I mean ‘all costs’!

The only noteworthy global/political stance the Vatican has taken in recent times, in my view,  was when Pope John Paul ll warned the USA of the terrible consequences if it invaded Iraq: ‘Four years earlier [George W ] Bush had dismissed Pope John Paul’s cautionary warnings about war during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, leaving deep resentment at the Vatican. In the aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s demise, as terrorism, factional fighting and anti-Christian attacks increased, the Vatican said, essentially, “We told you so.”‘

It is truly incredulous how petty and ridiculous are the secrecy, the bitchiness, and to think this is the headquarters that directs the Catholic Faith for followers around the world! What a waste of time and money!! All the money the Catholic Church rakes in globally would surely feed the world’s poor? Instead it allows the clergy and the pope, to live in palaces, eat like kings, and be waited on day and night!

Just like Mother Teresa was a ‘cash cow’ for the Catholic Church, so too was the Legion of Christ whose Mexican founder, Marcial Maciel Degollado,  fathered several children to several different women but who the Vatican sponsored and feted because of the huge numbers of new priests flocking to his seminaries and the vast amounts of money his order collected in donations. He also embezzled millions for his own private use, and was accused of sexual abuse, but the Vatican protected him until he died.

And heresy isn’t a problem for the Catholic Church either these days, not if it brings in billions of dollars worldwide like the Lefebvrists do. This schism within the Holy Church, for which several bishops and priests were excommunicated, strongly advocates for the pre-Vatican Council ll Tridentine Rites, including the use of Latin for Mass. For this faction of Catholicism, strict Tradition is everything. It does show how little the sexual abuse of children by paedophile priests concerns the Vatican hierarchy when compared to apostasy.

The chapter in the book titled SEX   lays open the arguments within the Church about the problem of homosexuality of priests and it’s  very interesting indeed. There is little doubt that homosexual relationships between priests are condoned within the Vatican, and within parishes. In one case, a priest was caught on a hidden camera, attempting to seduce a young man on a white couch in his office!  It was a set up, and the whole affair was broadcast on Italian TV.  A few years ago, an investigation carried out by the Church,  employing expert psychiatrists, confirmed what the Church has always denied; that the Catholic priesthood is a haven for homosexuals and that teenage seminarians are the attraction. Also, research has revealed that by far the largest numbers of child abuse victims are pre-pubescent boys. One particular psychiatrist believes that celibacy is the prime cause of the fact that so many paedophiles join the priesthood. Many followers are dismayed that the Church will not soften its stance on celibacy, even though it allows its Eastern Orthodox priests to marry. One psychiatrist went so far as to advise the Vatican that allowing priests to marry would encourage more ‘socially mature’ men to become priests. The following is a significant expert opinion quoted by the author: ‘Dr Martin P Kafka, a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School, said he thought homosexuality, while not a cause of sexual abuse, was a “likely risk factor” that deserved further study. He stated that in comparison with the general population, abuse cases in the Church disproportionately involved homosexual male adults who’d molested adolescent males. The no-gay-priests faction did its best to ignore the fact that Dr Kafka had also wondered whether celibacy could also be a ‘risk factor’ in sexual abuse.  [My emphasis]

Is there a secret document emanating from the Congregation for Catholic Education, which oversees seminaries around the world, stating the Vatican’s new position on admitting homosexuals into the priesthood? Nothing has been confirmed, but… “The document’s position is negative based in part on what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says in its revised edition, that the homosexual orientation is ‘objectively disordered.’ Therefore independently of  any judgment on the homosexual person, a person of this orientation should not be admitted to the seminary and, if it is discovered later, should not be ordained.” One can’t help wondering whether the Catholic Church is no longer attracting enough priests into its fold because of the dwindling faith of its congregations or perhaps because of its restriction on the ordination of homosexuals?

This chapter also reveals the Vatican’s rules on the use of condoms and other forms of contraception, and once again I am amazed at the ridiculous pettiness of the detail of what is and isn’t allowed! For instance: “condoms are acceptable for prostitutes, because the sex they engage in is already sinful”…but some in the Vatican are concerned because that “would lead the Church to support the use of condoms for all ‘fornicators’ including sexually active teenagers.” I won’t go into the detail of the Vatican’s rules about the use of condoms for the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS, but they border on the utterly ludicrous!

The Vatican Diaries is a must read, especially for the faithful, because you really should know the truth of what is happening within your own Church!  It is not just a salacious exposé…John Thavis has written an engaging and at times, very funny book. He obviously has friends within the Vatican whom he trusts and admires, and he has been working as a journalist in this field for over thirty years. I did enjoy the chapters about the Vatican Museum, and the character of an irreverent priest who translated documents into Latin, and who constantly embarrassed tourists and the Vatican hierarchy who  would have dearly loved to have fired him, if he hadn’t been such a brilliant Latinist!

The comings and goings, the antiquated white and black smoke  used to inform an anxiously waiting public about progress in the election of a new pope, are enlightening, humourous, and left me wondering why an extremely wealthy city state still used smoke signals, emitted from a belching, cough inducing stove. Oh that’s right, Tradition.

 

-Anne Frandi-Coory 31 August 2016

 

 

The Atheist Manifesto

by Michel Onfray

Born to a family of Norman farmers, Michel Onfray was abandoned by his parents to a Catholic institution from age 10 to 14. Overcoming these early hardships, Onfray graduated with a PhD in philosophy. He has written over 80 books and teaches philosophy at a French university.

Michel Onfray portrait

Michel Onfray

A friend gave me The Atheist Manifesto not long after he had finished reading Whatever Happened To  Ishtar? which I had written in 2010, a book spawned of seventeen years of an indoctrinated childhood spent in various Catholic institutions.  ‘I know you will enjoy this book’, he told me, ‘but it’s a little too intellectual for me.’  He was right; I have since read it twice.

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Michel Onfray

Was Monotheism born of the sand? Two paragraphs in  Manifesto’s  preface attempt to partly answer this question:

Desert Memory: After a few hours on the trail in the Mauritanian desert, I saw an old herdsman traveling with his family. His young wife and his mother-in-law rode camels; his sons and daughters were on donkeys. The group carried with them everything essential to survival-and therefore to life. The sight of them gave me the impression that I had encountered a contemporary of Muhammad. Burning white sky, scattered, scorched trees, uprooted thorn bushes blown by the desert wind across unending vistas of orange sand…the spectacle evoked the geographical and psychological background of the Koran, in the turbulent period of camel caravans, nomad encampments, and clashing desert tribes.

I thought of the lands of Israel, Judaea, and Samaria, of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, of Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee. Places where the sun bakes men’s heads, desiccates their bodies, afflicts their souls with thirst. Places that generate a yearning for oases where water flows cool, clear and free, where the air is balmy and fragrant, where the food and drink are abundant. The afterlife suddenly struck me as a counter world invented by men exhausted and parched by their ceaseless wanderings across the dunes or up and down rocky trails baked to white heat. Monotheism was born of the sand.

Michel Onfray analyses the fanatical belief in the afterlife by followers of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The lives of these early followers of one God  were, every single day, a struggle for survival in a harsh and unforgiving climate, where death inflicted different kinds of terror in the living. Was the promise of an afterlife meant to alleviate that terror? For instance the Koran’s fantastic description of paradise: rivers of milk and wine, beautiful virgins, beds of luxurious cloth, celestial music and magnificent gardens? Why wouldn’t a man want to die and leave this endless struggle?

What better way to avoid looking at reality and inevitable death in the face, than to construct fantastical tales that the three religions are built on. And I love this from Onfray, so relevant to our 21st Century concerns over human-made Climate Change: The invention of an afterlife would not matter so much were it not purchased at so high a price: disregard of the real, hence wilful neglect of the only world there is. While religion is often at variance with immanence, with man’s inherent nature, atheism is in harmony with the earth – life’s other name.  For those of us who have given up on believing in the existence of God, saving planet earth is our passion, science our saviour.

The author tells us about the first tentative atheists, who weren’t really fully fledged atheists for one reason or another, which he outlines with some humour and sarcasm. And then along came Nietzsche! Onfray uses the sub-heading Philosophical Earthquake to describe this period  which is a perfect description of the upheaval this one man caused. But so much made sense to intelligent, thinking people!

Onfray goes on to ‘teach’ the case for atheism. He writes: Talmud and Torah, Bible and New Testament, Koran and the Hadith offer insufficient grounds for the philosopher to choose between Jewish, Christian or Muslim misogyny. Or to opt against pork and alcohol but in favour of the veil or the burka, to attend the synagogue, the temple, the church, or the mosque, all places where intelligence is ailing and where, for centuries, the faithful have practiced obedience to dogma and submission to the Law-and therefore obedience and submission to those who claim to be the elect, the envoys and the word of God. He suggests that instead of teaching monotheistic religions in schools we should be teaching atheism. He prefers the teachings of The Genealogy of Morals (1887) rather than the epistles to the Corinthians.  I happen to agree with him. Along with world conservation, less exploitation of this wonderful planet we live on!

In the chapter Towards an Atheology: Thirty centuries from the earliest texts of the Old Testament to the present day, teach us that the assertion of one God, violent , jealous, quarrelsome, intolerant and bellicose, has generated more hate, bloodshed, deaths, and brutality than it has peace…[for example] There is the Jewish fantasy of a chosen people, which vindicates colonialism, expropriation, hatred, animosity between peoples, and finally an authoritarian and armed theocracy.

The author pleads for the world to have an end to the linkage of the world’s woes to atheism:  God’s existence it seems to me, has historically generated in his name more battles, massacres, conflicts and wars than peace, serenity, brotherly love, forgiveness of sins, and tolerance. To my knowledge, no popes, princes, kings, caliphs, or emirs have excelled in the practice of virtue, so outstandingly did Moses, Paul, and Muhammad excel in murder, torture, and orgies of plunder-I call the biographies to witness. So many variations on the theme of loving one’s neighbour.

Onfray suggests that the times we live in are no longer atheist. We instead are in the midst of the era of  nihilism, which stems from the ‘turbulence of the transit zone between still very present Judeo-Christianity and timidly blooming post-Christianity…Jews, Christians and Muslims, construct for themselves, a made-to-measure morality. This implies selective borrowings (tailored to fit their needs) from their holy books in order to establish rules of play and participation by the community.’

Christians, particularly Catholics, know all too well, religious concepts of ‘purity’, and how it relates to sex, and we can mostly thank Paul of Tarsus/St Paul for that! The dichotomy of the female, whore/virgin, is still constantly preached as Canon Law by an ancient and all-male Vatican. The author delves into this topic with relish, and coming from a background of a childhood in Catholic institutions, I could relate to these chapters intimately.

Onfray explains that  Muslims share many of their fixations on purity with Jews; all food must be ritually prepared. Why the absolute prohibition of the consumption of pork, but not camel meat? Even on that matter, there is much disagreement. Some suggest the pig was emblematic of certain unpleasant memories of Roman legions, others believe it was the pig’s omnivorous diet, its consummation of public refuse. I have also read of another theory: the squeals of the pig as it was led to slaughter, was too reminiscent of the darkest days of sacrificial slaughtering of children in attempts to appease more ancient gods. The rituals connected to the cleansing of the body are rational, especially for life in the desert. The author explains in detail the similar ritualistic rules for respect of one’s body and bodily hygiene.

I found the chapter entitled Bonfires of the Intelligence; producing the holy books, particularly interesting. Onfray: The three monotheisms are seen as the religions of the book-but their three books are far from mutually supportive… Naturally they all preach brotherly love. Thus from the very start it seems to appear beyond reproach to our brethren of the Abrahamic religions. None of these books is a work of revelation. Who would have done the revealing? Their pages no more descend from heaven than those of Persian fables or Icelandic sagas.

The Torah is not as old as tradition claims; Moses is improbable. Yahweh dictated nothing-and in any case, Moses could not have written what Yahweh said unless he wrote in hieroglyphics, since the Hebrew script did not exist in the time of Moses. None of the evangelists personally knew Jesus. The testamental canon arose from later political decisions, particularly those reached when Eusebius of Caesarea, mandated by the emperor Constantine, assembled a corpus stitched together from twenty-seven versions of the New Testament in the first half of the fourth century. The apocryphal writings are more numerous than those that constitute the New Testament proper.

Muhammad did not write the Koran. Indeed, that book did not exist until twenty-five years after his death. The second source for Muslim authority, the Hadith, saw the light of day in the ninth century, two centuries after the Prophet’s death. Hence we must infer the very active presence of men in the shadows of these three Gods.

Science does not sit well within the three monotheistic religions, and the author discusses this at length and in detail. If they do embrace science, it is usually to enhance their dogma and this instrumentalisation of science  ‘subjects reason to domestic and theocratic uses’. For example, one Hadith indeed celebrates the quest for scientific knowledge as far afield as China, but always in the logic of its instrumentalisation via religion, never for the human ideal of social progress. The Catholic religion impeded the forward march of Western civilisation, inflicting on it, incalculable damage.

Then there is the female problem that the religions of the book have in common. Only mothers and wives are venerated. Judeo-Christianity promotes the idea that Eve was an afterthought, made from Adam’s rib; ‘an inferior cut off the prime beef, a humble spare rib‘.  She appears in the Koran as Adam’s wife but the fact that she is never named is revealing, because, as Onfray says, ‘the unnamed is unnameable.’

The ridiculous tenets of these three religions engender the worst kind of hypocrisy because we are all too human. The possibility of sex divorced from conception, and thus of sex alone, of pure sexuality-that is absolute evil. For the monotheist there can be no more hideous oxymoron than a barren, sterile woman! In the name of this same principle the three monotheisms condemn homosexuals to death…For his part, Paul of Tarsus saw in the solitary male the perils of lust, adultery and free sexuality. Hence given the impossibility of chastity, his endorsement of marriage –the least objectionable justification for the libido.

Onfray discusses at length the barbaric mutilation of female and male genitalia, practiced by monotheistic religions and their literature abounds in references to the extinction of libido and the destruction of desire. Onfray refers to them as ‘variations on the theme of castration’. From what I’ve read and seen on world news every day, none of these religions is achieving the total sexual control over their adherents that they initially set out to achieve. Catholic paedophile priests, Muslim child marriages, polygamy, Jewish paedophilia, to name a few.

All three religions have burnt books, whole libraries, whole towns, citizens, mosques, temples, churches, synagogues, slaughtered millions, and all for what or who? What God? There is no archaeological proof Jesus existed. The author covers this period in Christianity’s history in depth, with all of its subterfuges.

In the chapter headed Selective Exploitation of the Texts, Onfray writes:

Everyone knows of monotheism’s three books, but very few know their dates of origin, their authors, or the ups and downs attendant on establishing the three texts-the absolutely final, immutable texts. For the Torah, Old Testament, New Testament, and Koran took an unthinkably long time to emerge from history and claim that their texts issued from God alone, that they had no need to explain themselves to those who entered their prayer temples armed only with faith, unburdened of reason and intelligence. Considering Muhammad was illiterate it is ridiculous to believe that he wrote the Koran as God dictated it. And let’s be clear, there were several Korans from different periods which were merged into one, hundreds of years after Muhammad’s death!

We do not possess an official date of birth for the worship of one God…Jean Soler insists on the neighbourhood of the fourth and third century BCE-in other words very late…but the family line is very clear: the Jews invented it to ensure the coherence, cohesion and existence of their small, threatened people. The mythology they fashioned engendered belief in a warrior God, a fighter, blood thirsty, aggressive, a war leader highly effective at mobilising a people without a land. The myth of a chosen people thereafter blessed with a destiny.

Of that labour of invention, several thousand pages of canonical text survive-very few considering their worldwide influence over the course of more than twenty centuries. The Old Testament boasts a total of 3,500 pages, the New Testament 900 pages, the Koran 750, that is, little more than 5000 pages in which everything and its opposite is said once and for all. In each of these three founding texts, contradictions abound and Onfray gives us many examples of these.

Love of one’s neighbour as espoused by all three religions, was non-existent, and still does not exist in the 21st century! The Pauline texts, so useful in justifying submission to de facto authority, triggered results that went far beyond the legitimisation of wars and persecution. In the field of slavery, for example, which Christianity did no more than the other two monotheisms to deter. Indeed, in later centuries the small-scale slavery resulting from tribal raids evolved into the slave trade pure and simple, the sale and deportation of whole populations for use as chattels and beasts of burden.’

More than twenty centuries later has anything changed? Onfray:  ‘The commandments do not advocate any particular respect for one’s neighbour if he looks different, if he is not branded in the flesh by the rabbi’s knife. The non-Jew did not enjoy the same rights as members of the covenant. So that outside the confines of the book, the Other may be called on to account for himself, to be treated like an object, a thing: the goy by the Jew, the polytheist or animist by the Christian, the Christian by the Muslim, and the atheist, needless to say, by everyone.’ [My emphasis]

Onfray likens the three monotheisms to death cults. He asks ‘How can we escape the domination of [the death instinct] after so effectively killing off the life urge both within and outside of ourselves?’ Are we so terrified by the horror and void of death, that we believe in the ‘consoling fables and fictions that incite us to deny the use of our full powers?’ He posits that this ‘false world’ forces us to live in the here and now ‘buttressed by the hopes of a tinsel afterlife.’ Finally, he suggests that we are in the flux of a ‘post-Christian’ era, but that we must beware ‘religious secularism’ in which ‘the essential remains Judeo-Christian.’  He believes that the 21st Century has opened on a merciless war. On one side is a Judeo-Christian West, on the other side, a Muslim world. Monotheist religions are waging this war, and Onfray asks: Must we choose a side? There is much more to read in these chapters, but I will leave you to buy the book.

In the final chapter of MANIFESTO Onfray sums up where we are at in the fight for a genuine post-Christian secularism:

At this hour when the final battle –already lost-looms for the defence of the Enlightenment’s values against magical propositions, we must fight for a post-Christian secularism, that is to say, atheistic, militant and radically opposed to choosing between Western Judeo-Christianity and its Islamic adversary-neither Bible nor Koran. I persist in preferring philosophers to priests, imams, ayatollahs and mullahs. Rather than trust their theological hocus-pocus, I prefer to draw on alternatives to the dominant philosophical historiography: the laughers, materialists, radicals, cynics, hedonists, atheists, sensualists, voluptuaries. They know that there is only one world, and that promotion of an afterlife deprives us of the enjoyment and benefit of the only one there is. A genuinely mortal sin.

 

-Anne Frandi-Coory  18 August 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Updated 6 February 2017 – Today, every Catholic archbishop from around Australia (apart from Tasmania) will be giving evidence at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Former Australian archbishop George Pell who is alleged to have covered up multiple cases of child sexual abuse by his priests, now resides at the Vatican.  

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DYSFUNCTIONAL. Disconnected. Elitist. Narcissistic. The leadership of the Roman Catholic Church downplayed the torture and rape of children or ”managed” it to uphold the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and reputation.

The above damning indictment of the culture at the heart of the Vatican came not from a communist demagogue or a firebrand ayatollah but from Enda Kenny, the Prime Minister of Ireland, one of the most Catholic countries in the world. This Irish PM is a true hero. As the saying goes, it only takes one good man…

The Irish government has also warned the Church it can no longer even consider the seal of the confessional to be sacrosanct, promising to impose a five-year jail sentence for anyone found guilty of not passing information on child sexual abuse to state authorities.

Source-Douglas Dalby, a Dublin based journalist.

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Pacific Daily News reporting on Guam clergy abuse trials: Noted canon lawyer Patrick J. Wall said, “Compiling and keeping records of various crimes by clerics, including childhood sexual abuse, is required by the Church’s own rules.” Wall is a former Catholic priest and Benedictine monk who left the ministry in 1998 after it became apparent he was being used to cover up the sexual abuses of other priests.

Wall is helping dissect defenses that dioceses mount during trial. He co-authored “Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes,” a leading book on the 2,000-year history of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

See previous posts:

  Australian Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse of Children

&   Irish Prime Minister Blasts The Vatican

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People world-wide must be growing weary by now of the endless cases of child sex abuse which is endemic within the Catholic Church. No other organisation has been so infiltrated by the sheer numbers of clerical paedophiles.  It’s no wonder that the Vatican has been labelled ‘the gay men’s club’ and the largest paedophile ring in the world’. The abuse has been going on for hundreds of years because the great power and wealth of this establishment has been able to cover it up.  It has blatantly ignored the damage done to children to protect its image of Godliness and purity. I would love to know what numbers of the congregation have left the church because of the ongoing revelations. I believe that it is not merely a case of an organisation of celibates attracting paedophiles, as some would have us believe.  There appears to be a deep psychological flaw in the Church’s teachings and if you read enough about convicted priests, there is this view that it is ‘ok’ to rape little boys, girls, and ‘fallen’ women, as long as you leave the ‘sacred image of Mary’  alone ie in the form of ‘saintly’ mothers here on earth. These paedophiles show little remorse and their colleagues pity them their “sins of affliction” as though they are the sole victims. Canon Law allows Catholic clergy a loophole in the truth; it’s called ‘Mental Reservation’ which has allowed them to rape children with impunity for centuries!

 

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How corrupt is the Vatican?

><>< >< Two other major reports published since 2005 also breached the iron walls of Vatican silence, but the Cloyne Report is different because it found systematic sexual abuse of children was still a reality as recently as 2008 and the church had been paying lip service to its own 1996 guidelines on child protection, which include the mandatory reporting of suspected abuse to state authorities. However, it was implicit that the ‘mandatory reporting’ was at the discretion of  local Bishops. In fact. Bishops reported abuse cases to the Vatican heirarchy which enabled  it to cover up the abuse and to move  the paedophile elsewhere. The Vatican effectively encouraged bishops to ignore its own guidelines by dismissing them as “merely a discussion document”. PM Kenny’s confrontational address to the Irish parliament last month reflected the collective mood and tapped the raw pain and sense of betrayal felt by people across Ireland after the recent publication of the Cloyne Report.  The state-funded independent report detailed numerous allegations of abuse by priests and a failure to report them in the rural diocese of Cloyne from 1996 to 2009. Pointedly, the local Catholic bishops didn’t rate a mention in PM Kenny’s speech; he saved his ire for their bosses in Rome. PM Kenny’s speech revealed that the Cloyne Report brought the government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an “unprecedented juncture”. The Cloyne Report exposed a more serious issue than previous reports. Because for the first time in Ireland, a report into child sexual abuse proved an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago. ><>< ><

Formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger-Currently Pope Benedict XVl

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See post   ‘The Case of the Pope’  by Geoffrey Robertson, in which he examines,  from a legal perspective, the Vatican as a sovereign state and its handling of paedophile priests and their victims

><>< The tide appears to be changing in Ireland. Most people still profess faith in God but church doctrine no longer governs personal spirituality. Indeed, there are now calls to remove Catholicism  from every aspect of public life. Some Catholic parents are even doing the unthinkable and choosing not to baptise their children. While they may still regard themselves as Catholic, albeit with a small ”c”, contrary to stereotypes, this is no priest-ridden, theocratic backwater. The Catholic Church may continue to supervise the education system and control many hospitals, but for the most part, this is a cosmopolitan, urbanised, and secular, society. Increasingly, people in Ireland confine their church attendance to life changing events – christenings, weddings and funerals. Indeed, churches are more like mausoleums to past glories, with pews mostly empty or dotted with a few pensioners. The drift away from Catholicism has been gathering pace for some time, but revelations of the devious deceit and persistent cover-up of child abuse detailed since 2005 in the Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne Reports have transformed passive indifference into white-hot rage. ><>< In many ways the Catholic Church in Ireland is being devastated by a catastrophe of its own making. Its abuse of power also extends back  to its role in the so-called industrial schools and Magdalene laundries, places of institutionalised slavery where children and young women were routinely, physically, sexually, and emotionally assaulted. The Magdalene laundries, which operated before the formation of the state in 1922 until 1996, were effectively church businesses where women and girls were imprisoned and forced to work in appalling conditions for little or no pay. Many of them suffered a lifetime of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of the nuns in charge. In many cases their ”crime” was to be a single mother. Only now are their stories being widely circulated and their campaign for redress gathering pace. ><

See post  Banished Babies

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So far, 18 religious orders have agreed to pay €600 million ($A783 million) in compensation to industrial school victims. The state has agreed to pay €1.3 billion for effectively allowing the church to run riot with its most vulnerable citizens.  American Catholic Churches have already paid compensation in the millions of dollars and incidents of the cover-up of sexual abuse by priests are still being currently exposed.

Source: Douglas Dalby, Dublin Journalist. _______________________________________________  

Riccardo Seppia on the left

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Christopher Jarvis: Child Protection Chief for the Catholic Church

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One wonders if the Catholic Church can sink any lower.

Christopher Jarvis is headed to jail for a long stint,  following his conviction for making, possessing, and distributing, child pornography, of which images were found on his home computer and work laptop.  The laptop in question was provided to him to aid in his duties as a Catholic Church Child Protection Chief. The Catholic Church is the largest employer of sex offenders and pedophiles on the planet.

The Child Protection Chief’s  job was to monitor church groups to ensure paedophiles did not gain access to children in the Church’s congregations.  But Jarvis was caught by police in March with more than 4,000 child porn images on both his personal and work computers. He admitted 12 counts of making, ­possessing and distributing indecent ­images when he appeared before ­magistrates in Plymouth and is likely to face jail when he returns to court for sentencing next month. Jarvis worked the Diocese of ­Plymouth for nine years.

A Vatican spokesperson claims that the church removed him from his position as soon as his sex predator status was discerned. Who can possibly believe any statements issued by the  Vatican in light of its record to date. 

In yet another shocking case:  Father Riccardo Seppia, a 51-year-old parish priest in the village of Sastri Ponente, near Genoa, was arrested on pedophilia and drug charges. Investigators say that in tapped mobile-phone conversations, Seppia asked a Moroccan drug dealer to arrange sexual encounters with young and vulnerable boys. Seppia makes his request to the drug dealer clear: “I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger. Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues”.  Now, priests would know all about families with problem children, wouldn’t they?

According to investigators, Seppia told his friend, a former seminarian and barman who is currently under investigation himself, that the town’s malls were the best places to entice minors. In tapped phone conversations the two cursed and swore against God. The priest is charged with having attempted to kiss and touch an underage altar boy and of having exchanged cocaine for sexual intercourse with boys over 18. Seppia’s defense lawyers are expected to argue that the monitored conversations,  “were just words, sex games that were played by adults”. It was just a game even when he claimed to have “kissed on the mouth” a 15-year-old altar boy, according to the defense.  The altar boy in question confirmed that the kisses did in fact happen. These are games played by supposedly celibate priests? It beggars belief! Seppia also served as Pope Benedict’s official advisor on pedophilia; a child-raping pedophile himself?

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In Australia it seems, the Catholic Church hierarchy is no more keen on investigating sex abuse by priests, than anywhere else:

AN inquiry into suicides among victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and brothers in Victoria would achieve little, a Catholic bishop says.

Australian police investigating the case of convicted pedophile Christian Brother Robert Best, believe at least 26 victims of sexual abuse at schools in which he taught have committed suicide. One of the investigating officers wants a parliamentary inquiry to investigate the deaths.

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Christian Brother Robert Best

><>< “If it helps the victims I’d be more than happy for it to go ahead,” Bishop of Ballarat Peter Connors told AAP.  “I don’t think they’ll learn very much more … I’m convinced we’ve done the best we can in more recent years.” Best, who taught at schools throughout Victoria, including Ballarat, will be sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty to 27 charges of abusing 11 boys between 1969 and 1988. Best was principal at St Alipius primary school in Ballarat at the same time convicted serial paedophile and priest Gerald Ridsdale was the school chaplain. But Bishop Connors said not even revelations from Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson that 26 young men had killed themselves after being abused by priests and brothers in Ballarat convinced him that more would be learnt from an inquiry. “I think we’ve learnt a lot of things about what is appropriate behaviour and what’s not appropriate behaviour,” Bishop Connors said.  “I think people are very well informed nowadays as to what’s inappropriate approaches from a male”,  the Bishop contnued. But I would ask, what have these lame statements got to do with opening an inquiry in to the abuse? While conceding the abuse of children was wrong, he said that in the past it had not always been clear to everyone what was appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.  I don’t believe he could make such a claim. Surely grown men in the priesthood, one would assume, should have known what was appropriate behaviour? Bishop Connor’s ramblings don’t make sense. “In the past a lot of ignorance was there on the part of lots of people. Parents didn’t understand, sometimes bishops didn’t understand. We have no excuse now.” As to whether there was an excuse when Ridsdale and Best were abusing boys, Bishop Connors said he did not know. Among the charges laid against Best in Victoria’s County Court last month were details of him raping a nine-year-old boy in his office. The court heard that after Best raped him, the boy thought he was going to die and blacked out. Bishop Connors said in the past 14 years he had spoken to more than 30 victims of Ridsdale and other priests in the Ballarat diocese. But he said none had told him they were also abused by Best. “I can’t remember them saying they were victims of Brother Best as well,” he said. The bishop said he had no reason to meet Best’s victims “because he being a Christian Brother, I’m not responsible for him.” Another stupid answer. Yet he conceded that some of Ridsdale’s victims he had met could also have been abused by Best, because  both men were there at the same time. Bishop Connors says the church has paid some victims far more than the $70,000 the Archdiocese of Melbourne says should be paid for the worst cases of child assault. Others have been paid less but overall victims had received “a considerable amount”. He is now waiting to see if any of those victims will come forward in two civil compensation cases set to be mounted against Best and whether the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat will be named in the actions. The statements made by Bishop Connors tells me that the Vatican does not employ the right sort of specialists to deal with sexual abuse cases. This is part of the problem.  Bishop Connors, like other priest and Bishops, is trained to minister to the spritual needs of their congregations, not to deal with thousands of sexual abuse victims. ><><

ABC News Update on Brother Best 8/08/2011:

Christian Brother Robert Best jailed for sex abuse of Victorian school boys.

Robert Best has been sentenced by the Court to 14 years imprisonment  for abusing 11 boys, mainly aged between eight and 11, but will probably serve a minimum term of 11 years. Seventy-year-old Robert Best taught at schools in Ballarat, Box Hill and Geelong between the 1960s and the 1980s.  During the sentencing, Best stood in the dock without emotion. His many victims were in court and shouted at Best as he was led away.

Civil claims lawyer Dr Vivian Waller:  The Catholic Church, and particularly Christian Brothers, who supported Brother Best throughout, now need to take the next step on the road to recovery for these victims and assist them with their treatment and education. We’ll be claiming damages for pain and suffering and for the cost of medical treatment, and other special damages that will assist these victims to recover from what they’ve been through.

Victims believe Best is unrepentant. “He doesn’t show any remorse.”

See relevant posts:

Celibacy & Sexual Abuse

& Catholic Dichotomy of the Female & Abuse of Children

The book ‘Banished Babies’ by Mike Milotte, is about babies born in Ireland to unmarried mothers.   But we now know, banished babies were also born to illegitimate mothers in  New Zealand, Australia, America and England. More countries where this practise took place may yet come to light.  Australian Banished Babies want an apology. You might say “But this happened last Century”.  The thing is, the wounds left in these heartbreaking cases, never heal.

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See Adoption: The Open Wound That Never Heals

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‘Banished Babies’ were those babies taken from their unmarried mothers at birth.  I believe that the word ‘taken’ in this instance is a misnomer. It should read ‘ripped’, because that’s how it felt to the young mothers. I know this personally from my own mother’s case. This ‘baby snatching’ as others call it, was not for altruistic purposes; rather it was following Catholic dogma issued by the Vatican’s Office of the Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly Office of the Holy Inquisition).   It was certainly not for the welfare of the infants, or their mothers.  No.  It was to remove these babies from their mothers who were seen by the Catholic Church as sinners who had to be punished. In the nuns’ minds, indoctrinated by the Church, the babies themselves were being saved from the clutches of satan and were ‘sold’, mostly to wealthy American couples, who, it was stipulated, had to be of the Catholic Faith.  It was strictly enforced by the Church, that neither mother or infant would ever be able to trace each other, and this caused even more heartbreak decades later.   (See my post about Philomena Lee). Large sums of money were exchanged for the privilege of ‘buying a newborn’, donation being the euphemism used. Ironic, isn’t it?  So much of that wealth the Church received, is now being paid out to even more victims of the Catholic Church; in the form of compensation  to  thousands of families whose children were sexually abused by paedophile priests.

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For all the mothers and babies who never found each other

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Between the end of WWII and 1965 more than 2,200 Irish infants were adopted out of the country, mostly by hopeful parents in the U.S. All the adoptive parents were, by mandate of the church in Ireland, Catholic. Until the late 1990’s and the work of Irish journalist Michael Milotte this was a fact known to few in Ireland and fewer in the U.S. In Ireland Milotte’s work, emphasising both the emotional and physical brutalisation of the birth mothers and the country’s loss of vital human capital, led to a great furor.

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In 2001, the Washington Post reported:

Milotte, a senior reporter for the Irish television network RTE, says life was particularly hard for the mothers in these convents, which were largely self-sustaining thanks to the women’s labour but also received public funding. In some cases, he says, the priests and nuns received money from the adoptive parents, who paid “confinement and medical costs” associated with their child’s birth.

“Where did the money go?” he wonders. “It sustained the people who ran the institutions in a manner they wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.”  But money likely wasn’t the primary motivator, he says. Rather, there was a demand for children, and many of the nuns believed they were doing God’s work by sending some of Ireland‘s social outcasts to a better life in the land of opportunity.

“They thought they were doing good,” says Milotte in a phone interview from Dublin. “The fact that people might have rights didn’t enter into their thinking. They thought they knew best. If, in doing the best thing, there was an opportunity to make money, that was all the better.”  In those postwar days, it was not uncommon for Irish children to be adopted by U.S. military and government employees living abroad, Milotte says.

The birth mothers of these children spent their pregnancies and post-natal, pre-adoption lives in varioushomes, often convents, for girls and women who were seen by the conservative Catholic culture as shame-worthy moral degenerates. The horrific conditions that these women underwent was recently dramatized in the movie the Magdelene Sisters.

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Milotte spoke with NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling upon release of his book Banished Babies in May of 1998:

Many of these women were seen as the next thing to prostitutes, and were very often told that when their identities became known. Even when girls got pregnant, very often they didn’t get married even if — because there was the stigma attached to having had sex before marriage. So even where a relationship endured, the child would be given up for adoption. And it was all done in secret.

I am one of those kids given up for adoption. It was in that interview in May of 1998, two days after I returned to Chicago following my mother’s funeral, that I learned of the controversy. I have always known that I was adopted, that I was a ‘true Irishman’, and I had always been proud and honored by the distinction. In the days immediately following my mom’s death I told my Dad that I had never for a second doubted who my ‘real’ parents were, that he and my mom were the only ones who can lay claim to me. I feel no different today.

None-the-less, as the NPR story continued I found myself getting information that I’m sure even they didn’t have.

ZWERDLING:  Here’s one of the most curious aspects of this story.It’s hard enough for most women to give up a baby for adoption during the first few hours or weeks of its life. But church officials forced the young mothers to stay in their convents and raise their own infants for at least one year or more before adoptive families could come and get them.Reporter Mike Milotte says he’s turned up cases where young women changed their minds after their babies were born and tried to leave the convents. (This also happened to my mother in New Zealand). But the nuns sent guards to capture the women and bring them back.For her part, Mary O’Connor says, she knew she’d have to give her baby away. She felt she literally had no choice. But by the time the nuns came to take her son, she’d been raising him for 17 months. Then one evening, O’Connor says, a nun told her, “Get him ready. We’re giving him away in the morning.”

O’CONNOR: So she just carried it over to the convent. There was two parts, like there was a hospital part where the children were kept and then there was the convent part. And the child was brought over to the convent part. And there was three steps up. You went in the side door and there were three steps up. And they went to the top of the steps and they said, “Just say goodbye now. That’s it.”

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-Anne Frandi-Coory 25 July 2011

For more about my mother’s lost children & the heartlessness of the Catholic Church:

  ‘Whatever Happened to Ishtar? – A Passionate Quest to Find Answers for Generations of Defeated Mothers’.

Updated 29 July 2014

Philippines’ population reaches 100 million and sticks its tongue out at the Pope!   Condoms will be freely distributed…..

 

Philippines’ President Benigno Aquino III, still widely popular, is supporting artificial birth control even if it means risking excommunication from the dominant Roman Catholic church.  But beware, Mr Aquino, the opposition is out to get you so don’t follow in the footsteps of other disgraced male political leaders.  You are not smear proof and your country needs you.

The wide-ranging and acrimonious debate over government-funded access to contraceptives in the Philippines has entered the country’s Congress.   The issue is creating deeper rifts between the powerful and conservative Catholic establishment, which says contraceptives are as sinful as abortions,  and reformers, who want more openness about condoms and other birth control in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation to slow population growth and help prevent disease.

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Pope says NO

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The Reproductive Health Bill introduced  into the House of Representatives would require the government to provide information on family planning methods, make contraceptives available free of charge and introduce reproductive health and sexuality classes in schools.  Perfectly reasonable and sensible I would have thought.

Supporters believe the measures will slow the Philippines’ rapid population growth that surely contributes to the country’s crushing poverty.  Influential bishops [surprise!] have blocked family planning bills in the past by arguing that they would erode moral values, encourage promiscuity and early pregnancies.   But would they prevent child sex abuse by paedophile priests, I wonder?

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See   Female Sex Workers Recognised By The Pope

&   Catholic Condom Confusion

Silvio Berlusconi – Fake Tan, Fake Hair, Fake Man

Thousands of Italian women are protesting in the streets at Silvio Berlusconi’s sexual antics.  Banners read: “Berlusconi illuminate us – set yourself on fire!” “We are neither virgins nor whores”  “You old pig! Take your hands off her!”

I would have thought even Berlusconi would have shown more self-control and discretion in light of the paedophile priests scandal going on within the Catholic Church.   Berlusconi’s latest scandal involves a 17-year-old prostitute, ‘Ruby’  to whom he gave almost $10,000, a diamond necklace and a new car.  He says he was helping out a friend’s grand-daughter who was having financial difficulties.  Why?  Weren’t the other politicians paying her enough?  The friend whose grand-daughter Ruby was supposed to be?  None other than that Pharoah himself, Mr Hosni Mubarak.  It so happens Ruby is nothing of the sort.  It gets worse.  Not only did Berlusconi  pay the girl for her services, but he rang the police station himself, when he heard that Ruby was being held in prison for theft.  He told the police to let her go.  He says he did this to prevent a diplomatic incident!  When has Berlusconi ever been concerned about diplomacy.  We know the man has always acted as a buffoon on the world stage.

I find it interesting that these two elderly men have jet black hair – nary a grey hair between them (Berlusconi was almost bald not that long ago.  Not sure about Mubarak).  Saddam Hussein, I noticed, also had jet black hair when he was a tyrant and flaunting himself via his state controlled media.  When he was found hiding in an underground bunker, he was completely grey.  The thing I don’t get is that these fascists don’t think they are ever going to die!  Reminds me of the powerful heads of most giant corporations and banks who caused the latest GFC.

The orgies held at Berlusconi’s home are legendary.  You would think that a 74-year-old man would have better things to do with his life given that he can’t have too many years left.  He must spend a fortune on Viagra pills.  He has five children and I wonder what damage all this has done to them.  It seems that his gluttonous life has finally caught up with him and the people of Italy want him out!  Berlusconi controls Italian media and it reflects his gaudy, debauched appetites.  Berlusconi is emulating the very worst of the Roman Emperors; believes he has power over judges, he owns Italy’s media, Cinema and owns a  large stake in Associazione Calcio Milan or A C Milan.

Pope Benedict has suggested that politicians should take the example of St Joan of Arc and die for their faith.  I nearly died laughing when I read that.  To top that off, it may be that Joan was mistaken for another woman!

See post Joan of Arc & the Pope

Article below By Marianne Arens and Peter Schwarz:

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is notorious for the fact that he flouts elementary democratic principles and unscrupulously uses his power to defend his own personal interests.

On a number of occasions he has modified laws in order that both he and his relatives could evade legal proceedings and to keep control of his media empire. He has used his influence over both private and public television channels in order to suppress criticism, and to agitate against those judges who are investigating big business corruption and criminality. His authoritarian behaviour has now reached a new pinnacle with his amendment of election law six months before parliamentary elections are due in order to prevent the looming victory of the opposition.

Berlusconi’s total abuse of the right to vote follows an international trend: Five years ago, George W. Bush stole the US election without achieving a real majority, and in Germany, leading politicians are about to form a grand coalition following neo-liberal policies, openly ignoring the wishes of the electorate.

It is fitting that female judges will hear Berlusconi’s trial.  Italy is a country in which misogyny reigns supreme.  Tobias Jones, the author of  ‘The Dark Heart of Italy‘, dubbed Italy as “the land that feminism forgot,” ranked 74th out of 134 countries in a World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index, behind Malawi and Kazakhstan. With the exception of Malta, Italy has the lowest ratio of working women in the European Union, 46 per cent.

Updated 15 November 2013

Pope Benedict preaches forgiveness again, albeit centuries too late! Has anything really changed in the Catholic Church?

In the last year or so the Pope has forgiven Joan of Arc (possibly mistaken identity) Galileo, and Martin Luther, their alleged heresy against The Church.

See previous posts: Joan of Arc; &  Galileo’s Daughter

The Reformation

The Reformation

THE REFORMATION by Owen Chadwick

– A Book Review

Martin Luther, a former Catholic priest, the Pope now says, did not intend to split the Catholic Church. Luther (1483-1546)  wanted to purge The Church of corruption.  The poor were forced to contribute to the Church’s coffers at Sunday Mass,  and starved, while the clergy grew fat on that income and the wealth given to them by the privileged in order that those who sinned (like paedophile priests) may take a short cut around penances for their mortal sins, and still get to heaven.  Luther preached that whether we go to either heaven or hell,  is preordained when we are born.  We cannot bribe our way into heaven.  This was Luther’s way of stopping the corruption of indulgences within the Catholic Church. Luther believed the Bible to be the sole source of religious authority and made the Bible accessible to the masses by translating it into the vernacular and arranging hundreds of copies to be printed; made possible by Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press.

See previous post: Justification of Johann Gutenberg

The whole thing is rather sickening and hypocritical really. The move by the Pope is believed to be the Vatican PR Machine’s way of softening Pope Benedict’s image as arch conservative hardliner, ex-head of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, and pro nazi sympathiser during World War ll.  It is no secret that the Catholic Church supported Nazism.  The Pope is also erecting a statue in the Vatican gardens, to Galileo, another  “heretic” excommunicated by the Church, and who lived out his last years in poverty under house arrest.  His crime was his belief in heliocentrism: the planets and the earth revolve around a relatively stationary sun at the centre of the solar system.  I think the only reason Galileo wasn’t tortured to death by the Holy Fathers of the Inquisition was that he was much loved by the people and a brilliant scientist. Nevertheless Galileo was forever alienated from his church, the pope, and the Jesuits in particular.

Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X, who dismissed him initially as “a drunken German who will change his mind when sober”.  Many thousands of the poor were tortured and killed in the purges that followed.  This is not about religion, it is about POWER!  Nothing has changed in the 21st Century.

St Bartholomew's Day twitter

MERCY

MERCY: St Bartholomew’s Day, Paris, 1572. ‘Ill-fated love affair between a Catholic & a Protestant’. John Everett Millais 1829-96. This is the day thousands of Protestants were slaughtered by Catholics.

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-Anne Frandi-Coory  15 November 2013

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