Friday, January 21, 2011

Catholic Church Unveils 12-Step Program for Homosexual Addiction and So Much More

     It was really only a matter of time.  When I was a priest/seminarian, I was formed to believe that my (homo)sexuality was an addiction and prescribed so many "more natural" ways to "deal with" my "depraved" nature that was a "gift" from a loving god.

     The Catholic Diocese in Colorado Springs has adopted a 12-step program that offers "support" for homosexuals.  Despite striking similarities to Alcoholics Anonymous's 12-step program for recovering addicts, proponents claim that the program is less about therapy than it is about support for people experiencing homosexual thoughts that they consider "a burden."
     Sure it is.  And it has nothing to do with a closeted clergy projecting their own crap onto the rest of the world.

     Here are the actual Twelve Steps as reported in The Huffington Post via The Gazette (and my comments):

      1. We admitted that we were powerless over homosexuality and our lives had become unmanageable.

     When I was parked at the edge of a frozen river with the plan of driving on the ice until it broke and I died, I admitted that I was powerless against Catholicism.

     2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

     So, I guess, those of us who are out of the closet are obviously insane.  

     3.  We made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood Him.

    Clarification: as Holy Disfunctional Mother church taught us to understand "Him" [sic].

     4.  We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

     As a gay Catholic, my greatest was going to hell because god made me gay.  

     5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

     Exact nature?  According to Catholic teachings, their god makes people gay.  How can one's exact god-given nature be wrong?  Unless your god's a vindictive ass hole.

     6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of our character.


     7. We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

     Pray away the gay.  And you'll soon discover that nothing fails like prayer.

     8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make direct amends to them all.

     Someone, who claims to have been injured by someone else's homosexuality, is the person who needs to be making amends for their bigotry.

     9. We made the direct amends to such people whenever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.

     I'm still waiting for Father Mustache and those who covered his tracks to apologize.  But maybe their apology would hurt me too much.

     10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

     Yes, just as Pope Benedict XVI, the Slapping Pope, has promptly admitted his wrongdoings in the sexual abuse scandals.

     11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of God's Will for us and the power to carry it out.

     "Conscious contact"?  I guess that is in opposition to the unconscious contact that being gay implies.  

     12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

     So I guess that makes Rev. Larry Brennan, diocesan director of priest formation, who defended this program to the paper a liar, for The Gazette quoted him: “It’s not about therapy and not about activism.”  Yes, and the Catholic money, DVDs, and pamphlets that support the suppression of gay rights is totally not about activism either.

     And for those of you who just can't stop harping about the penile focus of the Catholic Church , don't worry.  The Gazette reports:
     A 12-step program for lesbians may also be created if there is demand for it, Brennan said.
    Fight on, my feminist lesbian sisters! 

Russian Orthodox Archpriest Calls for National Dress Code

     When absurdity rules...

      A top official of the increasingly powerful Russian Orthodox Church has triggered a storm of outrage by calling for a "national dress code" that would force women to dress modestly in public and require businesses to throw out "indecently" clad customers.
     Women, said Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, can't be trusted to clothe themselves properly.
     "It is wrong to think that women should decide themselves what they can wear in public places or at work," he said Tuesday. "If a woman dresses like a prostitute, her colleagues must have the right to tell her that."
     "Moreover," Archpriest Chaplin added, "if a woman dresses and acts indecently, this is a direct route to unhappiness, one-night stands, brief marriages followed by rat-like divorces, ruined lives of children, and madness."
     One could substitute any number of things for "if a woman dresses and acts indecently" in that statement and it would make more sense from what we've seen repeated throughout history.  For example, try the sentence substituting "a political career" or "celibacy" or "a nasty goatee" or "religious power" or "Christianity."  The list could go on and on.

     "Archpriest Chaplin's comments sound absurd," says Irina Shcherbakova, head of youth programs for Memorial, Russia's largest human rights organization. "Instead of dealing with real social issues – such as the rise of ethnic hatred – and teaching tolerance, they busy themselves with this nonsense. Most women will ignore this but, especially since Islamic religious authorities are in support, it does threaten a serious attack on women's rights."
     Chaplin's remarks have not generated the groundswell of public fury that would erupt in a Western country, but that doesn't mean it's likely to gain much public traction either, says Masha Lipman, editor of the Moscow Carnegie Center's Pro et Contra journal.
     "The average Russian woman will just shrug this off and regard it as having nothing to do with her life," she says. "In post-Soviet times the church has enjoyed much more success at winning concessions from the state than it has in winning souls.... Polls show that the majority of Russians respect the church as a traditional institution but not as a moral authority over their lives."
     Though Russians have for centuries been told what to do and how to behave by clerical and state authorities, Ms. Lipman argues that those days are past.
     "One big difference between today's Russia and the USSR is that, though the state is politically authoritarian, it no longer attempts to interfere in peoples' private lives," and it's not likely to empower the church to do so either, she says.
     If only the United States, the greatest nation on earth, where all are supposedly created equal, could practice such separation of church and state. 

Pope Benedict XVI Blasts Italian Premier for Having Sex with 17-Year-Old Prostitute

     You've got to read this hypocrisy to believe it.  Or you could just have faith in the Pharisaism of the Unholy Father.

     Premier Silvio Berlusconi came under mounting criticism Friday from the Catholic Church over his dalliances with young women, with the pope saying public officials must set good moral examples and Italian bishops planning to discuss the sex scandal.  Pope Benedict XVI didn't mention the scandal or Berlusconi by name. But during an audience with Rome's police chief and police officers, he said public officials must "rediscover their spiritual and moral roots."  "The singular vocation that the city of Rome requires today of you, who are public officials, is to offer a good example of the positive and useful interaction between a healthy lay status and the Christian faith," Benedict said, echoing more direct comments about the scandal a day earlier by his No. 2.
     Prosecutors have placed Berlusconi and three associates under investigation, alleging he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl nicknamed Ruby and used his office to cover it up. Prosecutors have said Berlusconi had sex with several prostitutes during parties at his Milan estate.
     Why a premier would need to pay for sex and with a seventeen-year-old girl is scandalous.  That said, the age of consent in Italy is fourteen (frighteningly low, by U.S. standards).  The age of consent rises to sixteen if the elder party is in a position of power over the minor (parent, teacher, priest--I'm not sure if premier is included, but it would make sense.).  However, the fact that Berlusconi used his office's power to cover it up is reprehensible and deserving of investigation and punishment if laws were broken.  But...

     When it comes to morally shaming the premier is Pope Benedict, who covered-up for priest-pedophiles and dragged his ruby slippers for years rather than remove the child molesters from positions of power, thus enabling them to rape and abuse uncounted children under their nations' various ages of consent, really the best moral judge?   Benedict's own Vatican was exposed for a prostitution sex scandal less than a year ago.   Of course, since they were renting out little boys, it was okay.

     Perhaps the true scandal is that that the media and Catholics throughout the world continue to give Pope Ben's words moral credence.