BUENOS AIRES — Hundreds of spectators stood through the chilly night in the city’s Plaza de Mayo, the iconic park in front of the Catholic cathedral and government palace, to watch a live Vatican transmission of the ascension of the Argentine pope, Francis. The mass finally began shortly after 5 a.m., to a roar of cheers and chanting in unison: ‘Argentina! Argentina!’
People wrapped themselves in the yellow and white Vatican flags being hawked alongside Francis buttons, calendars, key chains and posters.
While Francis circled St. Peter’s Square in the white pope-mobile, two students of the Catholic University, Federico Chaves and Jonathan Tiberio, both 26, swapped anecdotes about the former Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, an advisor at their campus, who set up a program at the university for students to teach English and computer classes as volunteers in some of the city’s poorest slums.
“We’re anticipating change at the Vatican because of what he did in Argentina. He worked with everyone, atheists, homosexuals….He’s shown a commitment to bring the church closer to the people, to assimilate it into life,” said Chaves, an economics student.
Tiberio pointed to the then-cardinal’s support for Argentina’s legalization in 2002 of civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, “showing an openness” that stood in stark contrast to the hardline position taken up by Argentina’s conservative Catholic majority.
Indeed, Francis represented a more liberal vein in Argentina’s church, appearing to respond to a leftward shift in Argentina in a bid to staunch the bleeding of his flock.
Argentina’s laws ensuring lesbian, gay and transgender people’s right to marriage — which it extends to non-resident foreigners — and adoption are among the most liberal in the world. Nearly three years since the passage of the law in July 2010, more than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples have tied the knot in Argentina, according to Esteban Paulón, president of the Argentina LGBT Federation.
Meanwhile, the church’s slow decline has continued. According to the Pew Forum, 76.8 percent of Argentina’s population is at least nominally Catholic, but only 33 percent of Catholics interviewed in Argentina in 2010 cited religion as very important in their lives, down from 40 percent in 2002, and only 19 percent said they regularly attended mass.
But it may be the church’s ambiguous stance during Argentina’s last dictatorship, which lasted from 1976 to 1983, that has done the most to damage the institution’s credibility.
Bergoglio, who was also the head of the church’s Argentine Jesuit order, has been harshly criticized for his role during this period, when as estimated 30,000 people were disappeared or killed. In continuing trials, members of the church have even been convicted for human rights crimes.
All this has devastated the church’s credibility, according to José Casanova, a sociologist of religion at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center. The Argentine church “compromised itself by playing a role much more tied to the powers that be,” Casanova said.
Unlike the nuns and priests in El Salvador, Chile, Brazil and the Dominican Republic who spoke out against dictatorship, often becoming victims to it, very few members of Argentina’s church denounced the dictatorship of Gen. Jorge Videla, currently serving multiple life sentences for human rights crimes. This near-absolute silence has been interpreted since as acquiescence, and even complicity.
Perhaps for this reason, Bergoglio’s efforts to present a more charismatic church fell flat.
Estela de Carlotto, the president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a human rights group formed in 1977 that focuses on identifying grandchildren born to mothers in captivity and appropriated by military families, has accused Bergoglio of being “part of the church that has obscured the country’s history.”
And for Argentina, that history is still unfolding.
A contingent of priests led by Eduardo de la Serna, a parish priest in San Francisco Solano and the coordinator of the Group of Priests in Option of Argentina’s Poor, has demanded that the church cease giving communion to incarcerated ex-dictator Jorge Videla and publish the records of the military’s Catholic confessors.
One Argentine priest is currently on trial on charges of working closely with torturers in a secret jail during the dictatorship, while another was recently accused of taking a newborn from his mother, one of the many baby thefts from female prisoners who were “disappeared.”
Church and military hierarchies blurred as a priest and Navy captain was accused of using biblical verses to soothe pilots conducting the so-called “death flights,” in which prisoners were drugged and dropped into the Río de la Plata and sea.
As the leader of Argentina’s Jesuits for part of that time, Francis has had to testify in court cases surrounding the dictatorship’s largest clandestine prison and torture center, the old Argentine Navy School of Mechanics, or ESMA, building, and in the case of the kidnapping of two priests in his order in 1976. The priests, whom Cardinal Bergoglio had dismissed from the order a week before their disappearance, were discovered five months later on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, drugged and partially nude.
The cardinal and his supporters have pushed back. His spokesman dismissed the charge that Bergoglio was involved with the priests’ arrest and detention as “old slander.” Bergoglio also testified in 2010 that he had met secretly with Videla and the head of the Navy, Emilio Massera, to ask for the priests’ release. The following year, prosecutors called him to the witness stand to testify on the military junta’s systematic kidnapping of children.
But even some Argentine priests admit that the church has lost credibility since the dirty war — which may explain why it has lost so many public debates on issues as diverse as abortion and the right to die.
“The faith of the people is in God, not in priests. Argentines consider themselves Catholic if they pray to the Virgin, baptize their children, celebrate feast days. Compliance with certain ecclesiastical norms? No. They’ll say, ‘what does it matter what the priest thinks?'” Father de la Serna told me.
And as much as the new pope has come to be known in recent days for his compassion and humility, the church Bergoglio led from 1998 to 2013 maintained its orthodox, conservative positions on the major social issues of the day, pitting him against President Kirchner, with whom he tangled bitterly over social issues. Amid a fierce same-sex marriage debate in 2010, Kirchner described the then-cardinal’s views, expressed in a private letter lambasting same-sex marriage legislation as “a destructive claim on God’s plan,” as “medieval and reminiscent of the Inquisition.”
The church has also alienated itself from women parishioners with its inflexible stance on reproduction. As archbishop, Bergoglio publicly opposed sex education, the free distribution of condoms, and a law passed in Buenos Aires last year permitting abortion in the case of rape. Mabel Bianco, head of the non-profit Foundation for Women’s Study and Research, says that some Catholic women are turning to Protestant churches with less vocal views or simply ignoring church doctrine on reproductive issues. “The fundamentalists tend to be the high society, with incomes that afford them private services, but the poor women, they are completely alone. If they are leaving the church it is because it is not meeting their needs,” she says.
Fellow bishops describe Bergoglio as always seeking dialogue and consensus, and church workers who have long known him say his private behavior and positions were different than the conservative face he showed the public. But even in public, he once washed the feet of HIV patients and spoke out against the “mafias” running human trafficking rings. He held a mass each year in the gritty, open-air plaza of the ill-reputed neighborhood of Constitución, where he once described the city’s levels of poverty as “scandalous.”
And poverty may be the issue Bergoglio really cares about. Father José Juan Cervantes, 42, the ebullient director of the archbishop’s social outreach program at the Mother of Immigrants church in La Boca section of Buenos Aires, says Bergoglio was much more focused on working with the poor and speaking about their plight than defending church orthodoxy: “He said what he had to say, but the challenge to him wasn’t about being confrontational; it was about working with the poor to build justice.”
It is generally considered a truism these days to state that from the foundation of the Republic, the Catholic Church has had a large part to play in the running of the country. Legislation was passed or defeated on the whims of Catholic interests, social norms and conventions were passed down from the pulpit to the worshippers in the pews, and most shamefully, thousands of women and children were forced into what was essentially slave labour in the country’s Industrial Schools and Magdalene Laundries. However, the attitude of many towards the Church has changed dramatically over the last twenty or so years, no doubt caused by the revelations of what went on in the Industrial Schools, Magdalene Laundries, along with the revelations of a vast conspiracy to cover up allegations of physical and sexual abuse of children being carried out by members of the clergy. The Church as an institution, for all its posturing statements over the last number of years, will have to do something drastic if it is to recover from the various scandals that have hit it and continue to do so. One can clearly chart its decline in some of the latest figures regarding religious worship in Ireland.
In the 2011 census, a total of 3,861,335 people, 81.4 per cent of the population, declared themselves as Catholic, a 4.9 per cent increase since the 2006 census, when 3,681,446 people identified themselves as such. Yet, regarding this increase, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) stated, “that while the number of Catholics overall increased by 179,889, or 4.9 per cent, since 2006 much of this increase came from the non-Irish (mostly European) national community.” On the other hand, those identifying as having no religion increased by 45 per cent, up from 186,318 in 2006, to 269,811 in 2011. When broken down further in a separate CSO document, 72,914 did not state their religion, or lack of, with another 3,905 and 3,521 people stating Atheist and Agnostic respectively as their religion. As anyone remotely familiar with the religious demographics of Ireland will tell you though, the number of “true Catholics” is likely to be far smaller than the 81.4 per cent noted in the 2011 census. This can be seen in a range of areas.
For example, in 2012, Red C published the results of a poll they carried out in which they asked the public whether or not “Same sex marriage should be allowed in the Constitution”. A total of 73 per cent of respondents were in favour of an amendment to the constitution that would allow same sex marriage, which is up from 56 per cent in 2008. Regarding sex before marriage, according to the Irish Times, 6 per cent of those asked in 2004/2005 said that sex before marriage was always wrong compared to 71 per cent in 1973/1974. In another survey commissioned, also in 2012, by the Association of Catholic Priests, it was found that 35 per cent of Irish people attend Mass “at least once per week”, 36 per cent attend “a few times per year”, with 27 per cent attending Mass “less often”. In contrast, 85 per cent of people in 1980 stated that they attended Mass at least once per week. On the issue of clergy, 87 per cent stated that priests should be allowed to get married, 77 per cent stated that women should be allowed to become priests, and 72 per cent stated that “mature married men should be allowed to be ordained”. Everything mentioned here is at odds with basic Church teachings that anyone who has been raised Catholic would be well aware of.
This is why the number of “true Catholics” in the country is likely to be far lower than the 81.4 per cent who identify as Catholic. Peer pressure, family tradition, and social habit can explain why people identify as Catholic when their ideals are completely at odds with Church teachings. Despite the somewhat liberal nature, at least on the surface, of the majority of Irish society, there still exists a pressure to conform to some basic Church teachings which are now considered more tradition than anything else; christenings, confirmations, and church weddings. The Church as an institution however, is well and truly on the path of decline in Ireland if something drastic does not change in the coming years. According to a poll published in August of 2012 by WIN-Gallup International, Ireland is now rated as one of the least religious countries in the world, coming only second to Vietnam. Added to this is the very real fear that the rate of new priests being ordained in the country will not be enough to keep the Church alive, with only six being ordained in 2011.
Despite all of this, the Church and religion in general is going to remain a force in Irish politics and society for some time to come. The current struggle to take back patronage of the primary school system in Ireland from the Church demonstrates the power and obstinacy they still hold when their interests are threatened. Also, note the reaction of the various orders to the release of the McAleese Report; complete disregard and a callous indifference. In an interview that was broadcast on March 8th on RTÉ Radio 1, two nuns defended their role in the running of the Magdalene Laundries. When one of them was asked if they should apologise for the laundries she simply responded, “Apologise for what? Apologise for providing a service?” Answers like this should no longer surprise us, and neither should the anger that we feel at their utterance.
Even though the Church in Ireland is far weaker now than it was decades ago, it still holds sway. We must always remember that it has the power it has now, because of the power it had in the past.
Pope Francis is not just the spiritual leader of one of the world’s major religions: He’s also the head of what’s probably the wealthiest institution in the entire world.
The Catholic Church’s global spending matches the annual revenues of the planet’s largest firms, and its assets—huge amounts of real estate, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Vatican City, some of the world’s greatest art—surely exceed those of any corporation by an order of magnitude.
But it turns out to be surprisingly difficult to understand exactly how rich the church is. That’s in part because church finances are complicated.
But it’s also because, in the United States at least, churches in general are exempted from the financial reporting and disclosure requirements that otherwise apply to nonprofit groups. And it turns out, that exemption may have undesirable consequences.
The main thing we know about Catholic Church finance is that in cash flow terms, the United States is by far the most important branch. America is a rich country with a large population of Catholics. What’s more, America’s Catholic population is a religious minority.
That’s meant that, rather than using political clout to influence the shape of mainstream government institutions, as in an overwhelmingly Catholic country such as Brazil, the Catholic Church in the United States has created a parallel state: a vast web of schools, hospitals, universities, and charities that serve millions of clients.
Our best window into the overall financial picture of American Catholicism comes from a 2012 investigation by the Economist, which offered a rough-and-ready estimate of $170 billion in annual spending, of which almost $150 billion is associated with church-affiliated hospitals and institutions of higher education. The operating budget for ordinary parishes, at around $11 billion a year, is a relatively small share, and Catholic Charities is a smaller share still.
Apple and General Motors, by way of comparison, each had revenue of about $150 billion worldwide in Fiscal Year 2012. Legally speaking, there is no such thing as “the Catholic Church,” which is why these finances get so complicated.
As far as the law is concerned, each diocese is a separate legal entity, incorporated in the states where it operates. Generally speaking, they are organized as what’s known as a corporation sole—a legal corporation wholly controlled by the individual bishop rather than a board of directors—and not officially part of any larger transnational spiritual organization. This has led to conflicts during the sex abuse scandals. Lawsuits have caused disputes about how deep the church’s pockets go and who should pay.
On several occasions, abuse-related litigation has inspired dioceses to declare bankruptcy, which offers a rare window into the internal financial organization of the institution. Individual parishes, though operating under the umbrella of the relevant bishop, have a fair degree of financial autonomy.
They conduct separate fundraising and maintain separate expenses. That way, parish donors can feel they’re bolstering their particular community and not an impersonal bureaucracy.
But it’s common for parish investment funds within a single diocese to be pooled. When a diocese declares bankruptcy, this raises the question of whether pooled parish investment funds are available to be seized by the bishop’s creditors or whether they exist separately.
As a fascinating article in this month’s American Bankruptcy Institute Journal explains, the status of parish investment funds depends on some very subtle details.
Both the Diocese of Milwaukee and the Diocese of Wilmington ran pooled investment funds in which a single account simply noted how much each parish had contributed. The difference is that in Wilmington, Del., operating funds were also mingled into the pooled account, whereas in Milwaukee they were kept separate. That small difference ended up costing Wilmington parishes $74 million in exposure to Episcopal creditors.
At the same time, as a matter of Canon Law individual parishes can be wholly “suppressed,” merged into other parishes, or otherwise divided up, essentially at the discretion of the bishop—notwithstanding the existence of separate bank accounts.
This authority suggests that the diocese does indeed wholly own and control its parishes, but church officials take advantage of the ambiguity, sometimes claiming to fully control its parishes, sometimes—for legal reasons—arguing that the parishes are wholly independent entities.
Given America’s diverse religious landscape, the Catholic Church is hardly unique in taking advantage of the First Amendment to engage in some opaque accounting. It’s simply the largest player in this game.
Lawrence Wright’s recent Scientology exposé, Going Clear, reveals egregious exploitation of religious privileges for the personal financial benefit of church leaders. Or consider the case of the Tennessee pastor arrested on money laundering and drug charges only because a local TV news investigation revealed that he was using donations to pay off what amounted to personal debts.
The legal framework that allows for this funny business has been constructed in the name of religious freedom but hardly seems required by that important principle. America has a robust ecology of secular nonprofit groups that manage to abide by fairly stringent accounting and disclosure standards.
These help donors know where their money is going and reassure residual claimants that there’s some consistent theory of whose assets are whose. Religion is big business—the Catholic Church the biggest of all—and it deserves to be treated as such in the relevant ways.
The needless death of Savita Halappanavar last year, after a Catholic hospital refused to terminate her doomed pregnancy, drew a worldwide outpouring of fury against the religious dogmatism that killed her.
But as I wrote at the time, Savita’s story was only the tip of the iceberg. What happened to her wasn’t a fluke or an aberration: it was and is the official policy of the church that if a pregnant woman’s life can be saved by abortion, it’s better to let two die than to save one.
It’s only by a stroke of good fortune that we haven’t had any Savitas in the U.S. (that I’m aware of, at least). It’s certainly no thanks to the church hierarchy. And that makes it especially ominous that the Catholic hospital system is quietly expanding its reach across the U.S., merging with or gobbling up many of its secular counterparts:
“We are starting to see what was rare in the past,” said Lisa Goldstein, who follows nonprofit hospitals for Moody’s Investors Service and predicts more such partnerships… About one-sixth of all patients were admitted to a Catholic hospital in 2010. In many smaller communities, the only hospital within miles is Catholic. (source)
This is still going on today, as Americans United reported in a blog post from last month about Catholic entities seeking to take over public medical institutions in Texas and Kentucky. And when the church takes over, they’re not reluctant to throw their weight around: Irin Carmon reports on Salon that an astonishing 52% of OB-GYNs at Catholic hospitals have reported clashing with church-run ethics committees over the proper treatment of women with complications from pregnancy.
This is bad for men too, since it cuts off their access to procedures like sterilization that these hospitals no longer provide. But as always, the burden of religious oppression falls most heavily on women, since it’s only women who are denied access to literally lifesaving medical care by Catholic dogma (not to mention access to emergency contraception if they’re raped).
I regard this as a more serious problem than most other manifestations of the anti-choice movement. The noisy protesters who cluster outside reproductive health clinics can frighten and harass, but they can’t actually, legally, prevent anyone from getting an abortion there or otherwise making use of the clinic’s services. On the other hand, buying up hospitals does make it possible for religious zealots to cut off women’s access to legal, essential medical care.
There’s only one solution to this, and it has to be a legal one. Just as businesses that serve the public can’t discriminate by religion in whom they hire or whom they serve, so too should hospitals be forbidden to pick and choose which procedures they’ll offer or which medicines they’ll dispense based on the decrees of a religious authority.
We wouldn’t tolerate a Jehovah’s Witness-run hospital that forbade blood transfusions, even for people rushed into the emergency room dying of blood loss. We wouldn’t tolerate a Muslim-run hospital where doctors and nurses refused to wash their hands based on their interpretation of Islamic modesty laws. We wouldn’t tolerate an evangelical Christian-run hospital that turned gay people away at the door. Just the same way, we should refuse to tolerate a Catholic-run hospital where the imperial decrees of a bishop mean that a woman dying of sepsis or eclampsia can’t get a life-saving abortion as long as there’s any detectable fetal heartbeat.
It doesn’t matter exactly how we implement this – the “hospital within a hospital” created in one case in Austin seems like a reasonable compromise. But this is something we have to insist on. Religious individuals can decide what care they want for themselves based on their beliefs. But in a secular nation like America, it should be absolutely illegal for a religious authority to turn any part of the public square into a private fiefdom and exercise power over the lives of people who haven’t voluntarily agreed to abide by those rules.
O’Brien, the country’s most senior Catholic, said that although some aspects of the Catholic faith are of ‘divine origin’ and therefore non-negotiable, allowing priests to marry might reduce the likelihood of them bumming kids.
He told reporters, “There’s some things we won’t budge on. Like abortion, euthanasia and the gays.”
“But Jesus didn’t say priests shouldn’t marry, so it should be on the table as an option, right?”
“After all, he didn’t specifically say ‘don’t rape young boys in your care’ either, so there’s clear precedent for basing church policy on things Jesus didn’t say.”
“You know, there comes a time in every man’s life when he becomes intrigued by the whole vagina thing, so maybe we take a cursory look at it?”
Priests could marry
The news that a whole new segment of eligible men could hit the dating market has alerted many single women on the look out for a husband.
“I suppose if push came to shove I could make do with one who hasn’t had any adult sexual partners.”
The Catholic church is facing the most significant threat to its unity in generations as progressives call on the Vatican to advance the cause of gender equality and allow women paedophiles to be ordained as Catholic priests.
‘In the 21st century it seems incredible that only male priests are entrusted with the responsibility of abusing the children in their care,’ said pro-women campaigner, Sister Genevieve Loretta. ‘In every other walk of life women have proved themselves capable of performing roles as well as or better than men, so why shouldn’t women be given the chance to exploit a position of authority and defile vulnerable minors? I’m sure it’s what Jesus would have wanted.’
A former Oxford professor, Richard Dawkins, has said that raising a child Catholic is worse than child abuse and that the “mental torment” inflicted by Catholic teachings is worse than any sexual abuse from priests, reports the Daily Mail.
Dawkins is an atheist biologist whose 1976 book “The Selfish Gene” revolutionized the theory of evolution.
His remarks were to be broadcast this weekend by Qatar-based TV network Al Jazzeera.
When asked by interviewer Mehdi Hasan about previous comments he made, Dawkins said: “Horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place.”
Hasan asked: “You believe that being bought up as a Catholic is worse than being abused by a priest?”
Dawkins replied: “There are shades of being abused by a priest, and I quoted an example of a woman in America who wrote to me saying that when she was seven years old she was sexually abused by a priest in his car.
“At the same time a friend of hers, also seven, who was of a Protestant family, died, and she was told that because her friend was Protestant she had gone to Hell and will be roasting in Hell forever.”
“She told me of those two abuses, she got over the physical abuse; it was yucky but she got over it.
“But the mental abuse of being told about Hell, she took years to get over.”
Dawkins added: “It seems to me that telling children that they really, really believe that people who sin are going to go to Hell and roast forever – that your skin grows again when it peels off with burning – it seems to me to be intuitively entirely reasonable that that is a worse form of child abuse, that will give more nightmares, that will give more genuine distress because they really believe.”
Politicians and activists have condemned Dawkins for what they call attention-seeking and “unhelpful” remarks.
Peter Saunders, the chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: “At NAPAC we know that recovery from sexual abuse can take a lifetime. People never get over it. It is entirely unhelpful to make such comparisons.”
Roman Catholic former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: “Dawkins doesn’t know what to say next to get attention. No sane person would believe that being brought up in a force for good, in the Ten Commandments, in the Beatitudes, and in the Gospels can be worse than child abuse.”
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Being a Catholic is about having a lot of sex!
If you disagree with this statement consider the fact that so many couples are unable to conceive and many have to try for years to get pregnant, but Catholics have huge families!
The only possible conclusion…they’re at it all the time, catholic parents just can’t wait to get into the sack and make some more catholics, and rightly so as less and less people are going to church these days because it’s really boring and it splits up the day!
More catholics means more money in the collection plate and bingo, that’s the church roof fixed!
However, just because you don’t wear a condom, it doesn’t mean you’re horny all the time and that’s where women priests would be able to help in a way that their male counterparts have never been able to.
The debate about women priests rumbles on but now it seems they have an ace up their sleeve.
Bless my sainted trousers, that’s the answer.
By turning sunday prayer into a protracted burlesque show you would not only get the congregation fired up for an afternoon of wild passion, the net effect would be a doubling of the congregation overnight!
Shit, we’d be there in a flash!
Sex sells, and the good work of The Lord costs money, it’s a no-brainer!
Exponents of this scheme point out that there is no passage in the bible suggesting that scantily clad priestesses are not allowed to spread the word of God.
Those opposed to sexing up the church also point out that ‘Thou shalt not smoke Crack’ is not one of the ten commandments but that doesn’t make it right!
Ask yourself this…if church was sexy, would you go?
Of course you would!
The church had hoped that previous cover-ups had done enough to see it’s reputation remain intact, but is admitting defeat and will close it’s doors for the final time on Sunday.
The closure will see an end to a two-thousand year old institution, which insiders hope will be remembered for it’s few good years rather than the couple of thousand pretty awful ones.
One former Catholic told us, “It’s the worshippers I feel sorry for, many of them had no idea the strange man in a dress was fiddling with kids.”
“You know, maybe the clean break will do the worshippers some good? I hear that the Anglicans are recruiting.”
After controversial figure Father Coulson left the church in 2007, many inside the church felt that the worst was behind them, but the latest revelations have once again left Catholicism facing the mercy of the legal system.
Catholicism to close
In the face of mounting criticism, the decision to close has come from the very top, with Vatican officials expected to arrive in the country shortly to oversee the closure.
Speculation is already rife that Carholicism will merely relaunch under a new name in time for next Sunday, with the domain entirelynewcatholicism.net �suspiciously purchased in Rome on Tuesday.
One religious industry watcher told us, “I can’t imagine the Vatican will simply walk away completely, you have to remember that this is a multi billion dollar business empire.”
“You don’t acquire that level of financial success by making poor business decisions.”
“I’m quite sure they’ll rebrand, come back fresh, and this time next year well be asking ‘Catholicism who?’”
Badgers are already Black and White so no need for a uniform!
Perhaps it’s because they can’t have sex, perhaps it’s because they have to keep going to church all the time and be helpful…whatever it is that is putting men off becoming priests, their numbers are dwindling.
However, there are still many parishioners and churches which require a priest, the word must be spread and the needy administered to.
The first batch of badger priests have already taken up office in their new parishes and the locals are said to be ‘very interested’ to see how they get on.
Of course this action has ignited a huge protest from women who are still not allowed to become catholic priests.
“Its Fucking ludicrous!” Said Mary Taylor, a woman who was told she couldn’t serve the church on account of her foul language. “Badgers? Are they saying badgers are more holy than women? What a crock of shit! Women are much better at abstaining from sex than badgers!” *
*Sadly we don’t have any statistics to prove or refute this statement although badger promiscuity has been blamed for the sharp increase in unexplained cat buggerings in the UK.
It has been suggested that badgers were selected because they are already black and white and therefore don’t require a uniform which is a good way for the church to save money, but this has been dismissed by the church as piffle.
“It’s because they’re so holy!” Said renowned theologian Arthur Stevens from Cambridge University. “More and more badgers are answering the call of our lord!” he continued in between sips of the third or fourth beer we had to buy him.
The Haddock has, however, obtained damning evidence that this whole exercise is just a cover for a much larger operation to save badgers from being culled for spreading bovine TB.
Irish laws and Catholic church and political cowardice kill women in Ireland
The forces in Ireland who have blocked the right to have an abortion in Ireland are now scurrying to try and cover up their responsibility for the death of the young woman in Galway. It is not an attractive sight. Cowardice and hypocrisy are everywhere. What should we think about this?
On this blog we have explained that the Catholic church is the dominant church of capitalism. It was once the church of feudalism but it adjusted when capitalism became dominant. However it kept many of the most backward elements of its old traditions. Amongst these are its male dominated anti women policies. It believes that women are inferior to men. They cannot become popes, cardinals, bishops, priests. Part of this is that this male dominated hierarchy wants to control women and this includes women’s bodies. And this includes telling them what they can do and cannot do about their reproductive rights.
In Ireland the capitalist class were and are weak. They have needed and depended on the Catholic church to support it. In return for this the Catholic church have managed to accrue enormous power in that society, running the schools and hospitals and intimidating the majority of the politicians. So laws remained in place which allowed the health system to continue to be ruled by the all male Catholic anti women hierarchy. This is why this poor women died in Galway.
Every politician that voted to keep these Catholic anti women laws in place which enforce women to do the bidding of the all male Catholic hierarchy is a disgrace. They have blood on their hands. They should be drummed out of office. These laws have to be put off the books and these bishops put in their place.
But what about the membership of the Catholic church. We have said on this blog that we cannot understand how any progressive thinking person could belong to this church. We stand by this. We see the evidence of our position everywhere. The church’s right wing policies on the world economy where it unconditionally supports capitalism, its position on women’s rights, the degeneration of its internal life with its epidemic of sexual abuse, this is a rotten right wing corrupt organization. No progressive person should belong to it.
We understand that people have been in this organization their whole lives and their ancestors before them. We understand that the Catholic church has enormous power with its buildings, its full time apparatus, its art and music, and its insistence that only it can bring the child into the world and send the dying out of the world if they are to have a chance of not “going to hell.” and “burning there forever.” However we stand firm. We do not think that any progressive thinking person should be in this extremely reactionary organization.
For those who cannot bring themselves to leave we have this to say. It is utterly unacceptable to stay in this organization without fighting within it for change. Such changes have to include equality of the sexes, the right to elect the full time apparatus, the right to full discussion and to speak out at all the gatherings of this organization.
Either leave it or change it. If neither of these options are taken then members of this organization are also responsible for the death of this poor woman in Galway and all the women who die in childbirth and due to lack of access to contraception and abortion.
In closing we which to extend our admiration and support to Clare Daly TD and Joan Collins TD for moving their bill in the Dail to legislate on the X case. They have shown leadership on this issue. They are heroines. If the rest of the members of the Dail had acted as they did this woman would be alive today.