Posts Tagged ‘Catholic church’


November 13, 2011

Ireland has just elected its ninth president.  He is 70-year-old Michael D.Higgins – women’s rights advocate, poet, humanitarian.  Michael Higgins is also a Catholic and he takes up his office when the Catholic church in Ireland is in turmoil.  Some Irish Catholics are leaving the church, others have stopped going to Mass and for most respect for the hierarchy has plummetted.

On top of all this the  Irish government has announced it will close permanently its embassy to the Vatican.  This stunned Rome coming from the most Catholic country in the English-speaking world.  Incidentally, in Ireland there was little objection to this move.  The government said it was closing the embassy as a cost-cutting measure.  But most people saw through this and the move was seen as resulting from Catholic authorities in Rome and Ireland because they tried to obstruct the investigation into child sexual abuse.

There is another issue at play here.  Does this reveal the declining prestige of the Vatican.  Many countries now have two ambassadors in Rome – one to the Italian government and another to the Vatican.

Will other countries now do what Catholic Ireland  has done — save money closing their embassy to the Holy See and allow its ambassador to Italy carry on with the relationship.

What do these embassies to the Vatican do, what do they accomplish?

Should Canadian consider closing its embassy to the Holy Sea which costs us many thousands of dollars?

Is the Vatican in decline?

What do you think?


November 10, 2011

Penn State and its football team are now embroiled in one of the greatest scandals in the history of  American college football.  It emerged that an assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, was over a period sexually assaulting a group of boys.  Other coaches including the famous Joe Paterno himself did not do enough to bring these accusations to the police.

But when the scandal broke several days ago, the university authorities moved with lightning speed.  Coach Paterno (aged 84) has been fired.  The president of the university has been fired.  Two other university officials have been charged.  It is expected that other officials and coaching staff will face charges.  In other words within literally hours of the scandal emerging, those who helped cover it up (unwittingly or not) are out, gone.

Compare this swift justice with how the Catholic  church deals with sex abuse.  Almost all the bishops who aided and abetted and covered up these abuse are still in place – secure in their jobs.  One bishop only is being brought to book.  Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas city has been criminally charged with covering up sex abuse.  But it was not church authorities that nailed him.  It was a grand jury.  And Bishop Finn is still in the job.

How long can the Catholic  church go on protecting bishops who aided, abetted and covered up sexual abuse of children.

Should not the church take a leaf from the book at Penn State where authroties came down swiftly and hard on the perpetrators?

Could the contrast betweeen the two approches be more clear?

Can the Catholic church learn from Penn State?

What do you think?


October 16, 2011

For the first time in the history of American jurisprudence  a Roman Catholic bishop has been charged with sex abuse.  If convicted he could pay a fine and spend a year in jail.

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City is in the crosshairs for protecting one of his abuser priests. The accusation involved a priest accused of taking pornographic pictures of girls as recently as this year.

Bishop Finn admits he knew of the lewd pixes last December but he did not inform the police until may of this year.  Meanwhile the priest in question,

Shawn Ratigan, continued to attend church events with children in attendance and he continued to take lewd pictures of another young girl.

Victims advocates say this case is a break through.

Bishop Finn will plead not guilty.

There are hundreds of Catholic bishops in the United States, many of whom shielded their priest abusers from the police.

should more Catholic bishops be charged with sex abuse?

What do you think?


August 8, 2011

The Murdoch media scandal in the U.K continues to stain other institutions.  First, it was the poliicians, then the journalists, then the police.  And now it has reached he Catholic church in England and Wales.

Just about a year ago now English Catholics were preparing for the Pope’s visit in September.  It was going to be very costly so the hierarchy put their muscle on as many high-flyers as they could.

One they approached was Rupert Murdoch himself.  Although not a Catholic himself, Murdoch has given to Catholic causes before.  He is also a papal knight.

And the gift bought Murdoch some access.  He met the pope at Westminster Cathedral. His son, James, met Benedict XVI at another papal reception.

The editor of the London Tablet wrote this week:  “Do Catholics really want their memories of one of the greatest occasions in their national Church’s history to be sullied by links to the corrupt and the cruel?  A welcome gesture now would be to return the Murdoch money and find other ways of replenishing the church coffers.”

Should the Catholic Church return the Murdoch money?

Should it refuse Murdoch money in the future?

What do you think?


July 30, 2011

Relations between Ireland and the Vatican are at their lowest ebb in history. In the latest move  a group of septuagarian male celibates in Rome decided that the Vatican’s  ambassador to Ireland should be called home.

Now that’s a real laugher.  Let me explain why.

In 1996 the Irish bishops signed an agreement to turn sexual abusers over to the police.  In January 1997, a secret letter went out from Rome to the Irish bishos (via the papalo nuncio)  warning them that canon law trumped civil law when it came to reporting sex cases.

When this subterfuge became public the Irish government went ballistic.  Enda Kennedy, the Prime Minister, charged the Vatican was narcisstic, triumphalist, dysfunctional, elitist.

Clearly Ireland was the injured party.  Normally the injured party would jump in and recall its envoy.  But guess what.  A coterie of septuagarian male celibates in the Vatican quickly recalled their own ambassador thus giving the signal that Rome was the injured party and this was the way to recapture the high road.

What a bunch of game-playing.

Does the Vatican get it?

Is the Vatican the victim?

What do you think?


July 22, 2011

Not since Martin Luther nailed his theses to the Cathedral door, has such a broadside hit the Vatican.  A broadside launched by the catholic Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny, on the floor of the Irish Parliament.

Here is the context.

In 1996 the Irish Catholic  bishops signed an agreement to begin reporting suspected cases of child abuse to the police..

The following year the Papal Nuncio to Ireland wrote a confidential letter to all the bishops pointing  Roman canon  law trumped Irish state law.

When a further investigation  published last week showing multiple cases of preistly sex abuse in County Cork, the Irish government was outraged.

In full-throated anger, Prime Minister Kenny told Parliament, “This  is not Rome.  This is he Republic of Ireland, 2011,  a republic of laws.”  Kenny was just getting started:  He denounced what he called “the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism — and the narcissism – that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.”

He said the church’s leaders had repeatedly sought to defend heir instiutions at the expense of children and “to parse and analyze” every revelation of church cover-up of crimes “with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer.”

Kenny said canon law had “neither legitimacy nor a place in the affairs of this country

Ireland’s foreign minister called in the pope’s ambassador and demanded an official response from the Vatican.  So far none has been forthcoming.This is the toughest  attack on theVatican from another sovereign state   in my lifetime.

Was it deserved?

What do you think?


July 7, 2011

A coterie of septuagarian celibate male cardinals in Rome (including the present pope  is trying to smuggle the latin mass back into the mainstream liturgy of the Catholic church.  As well the Roman authorities have decreed that females of any age may not assist at the latin mass – in other words female altar servers are forbidden.

This presents a difficult problem at Cambridge University in England.  A latin mass is celebrated there every Sunday.  It is popular with dons, academics, and students of the university.  Those who have assistedat the Mass on a regular basis are two young women.  Rome’s decrees now put this popular liturgical celebration in jeopardy.

The priest who celebrates the latin mass at Cambridge must now make a decision.  Either he dismisses the women servers and replaces them with males or he must stop saying the latin mass altogether.

Surely this is just one more example of Rome’s hatred for women.  They have little or no authority in the church, they are second class citizens and heir monthly uncleanliness is an obstacle to their assisting at mass.

Some times it is difficult to understand why a single woman remains in the Catholic church under these conditions,.

Should the Pope ban altar girls?

What do you think?


June 16, 2011

Today more than 90 per cent of college housing is co-ed.

No more at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C.   The president, John Garvey, has just announced that coed dorms and rooms at Catholic U. will be phased out this fall, to be replacedby male and female separate student quarters. President Garvey says virtue and intellect are connected so  helping students make good ethical decisions and permits them to better learn — and stay safe, healthy and out of trouble.

President Garvey also cited several recent studies showing that students who live in coed dorms drink more heavily and have more sexual partners.

Are coed dorms a breeding ground for drunks and sexual promiscuity?

Will single-sex dorms help Catholic students leader healthier lives?

What do you think?


May 29, 2011

The most homophobic institution on the face of the earth is, without question, the Roman Catholic church.

Some time ago the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote a letter to all American bishops.  The Congregation was concerned that, apart from homosexual acts, some American bishops were putting too benign an interpretation on the homosexual condition itself.  To dispel such a notion, the Congregation made it clear  that while “the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency orderered toward an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”

So just being a homosexual is an objective disorder .

This is so according to church teaching whether or not homosexual acts follow.

Do you believe this?

What do you think?


May 22, 2011

Pope Benedict is scheduled to visit his native Germany this September.  Now a German Catholic bishop has inflamed Catholic-Protestant relations in that country.

Bishop Ludwig Muellert has demanded that the Protestant Church officially apologize for Luther’s calling the Pope “Anti-Christ.”  By doing so, the bishop contended that Luther “intended to strike the Catholic Church’s sacramental understanding of itself.”

Should the German Protestant church aplogize for Luther’s remarks?

What do you think?


On another front entirely, I notice that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, announced this morning that he will not be running in 2012.  Another Republican heavyweight concludes that he cannot beat Obama.