Showing posts with label Saints. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saints. Show all posts

Friday, June 11, 2010

Catholic Relics, Pope Ben Prays with a Piece of a Dead Human Heart

     A year ago when Pope Benedict declared the "Year for Priests," he quoted the Curé of Ars (no comment), John Mary (no comment) Vianney, patron saint of priests, saying:
     A few moments ago, in the Choir Chapel, I was able to venerate the relic of the saintly Curé of Ars: his heart. A heart that blazed with divine love, experienced amazement at the thought of the dignity of the priest, and spoke to the faithful in touching and sublime tones, telling them that “after God [sic], the priest is everything! ... Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is.”
     If you are unfamiliar with Catholic lingo, Pope Ben's proclamation might seem strange.  What does it mean to "venerate" a "relic"?  No.  It's not a sexual euphemism, although who knows how the mind of an enabler of child rapists works.

     A relic is a piece of dead person, who Catholics believe is a saint (meaning s/he went to heaven).  Catholics have so much respect for their holy deceased that they exhume saints' decomposing bodies from the ground.  They take these "earthen vessels" that their scriptures call "temples of the Holy Spirit" (meaning vessels for god) and chop them up or carve out little pieces of bone, fingernails, or in the case of Pope Ben's relic of John Mary Vianney, organ meat (a.k.a. "A heart that blazed with divine love.")

     Catholics also cover their exhumed saints' bodies with preservatives and put their heads, limbs, bodily fluids, or entire body, if it's still in tact, on display for all to see.  (Seriously, I've seen the decapitated head of Sir Oliver Plunkett in Ireland and the the plastered body of John Henry Neumann in Philadelphia.  I haven't eaten beef jerky since.)

     Back to the relics.  After chopping up holy and dead Catholics, the pieces of their beloved are then packaged into containers made of precious metals and sold by the church to priests, parishes, and individuals to be embedded in church altars, stored in drawers by those with a collective fetish for pieces of dead Catholics, and most importantly to be prayed before.

     Catholics only worship and pray to their one god, but it doesn't hurt to have a shriveled up piece of dead saint, whom one invokes by name, when hoping for the cosmic vending machine to bend the laws of physics, science, and medicine to one's will.
     If you are still confused by the concept of relics, watch an old Star Trek: the Next Generation or Star Trek: Deep Space 9 episode in which Ferengi death rituals are portrayed.  This will clarify everything.  I wonder how much latinum the Grand Nagus is bringing in these days.

     And remember that when you're praying, after god, the dried up piece of a dead priest's heart is everything.

     Postscript:

     Isn't it a miracle how St. John Mary Vianney's body was preserved?  Who knew that Madame Tussaud did better work than the Catholic god?  You can't  even tell that his heart is missing. 
Image from Godzdogz

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Priests Gather at Vatican to Celebrate the End of the Year for Priests and What a Year It's Been

     Catholic priests from around the world are gathering at the Vatican to celebrate the culmination of what Pope Benedict XVI christened "the Year for Priests" in the Roman Catholic Church.  It just wasn't the year that Benny and his self-congratulatory clerics had in mind last June when he made the proclamation.

     You can read the entire declaration by Pope Benedict made in June 2009 here, but this is my favortie line, in which Benny refers to and quotes the Curé of Ars (no comment), John Mary (no comment) Vianney, patron saint of priests:
     A few moments ago, in the Choir Chapel, I was able to venerate the relic of the saintly Curé of Ars: his heart. A heart that blazed with divine love, experienced amazement at the thought of the dignity of the priest, and spoke to the faithful in touching and sublime tones, telling them that “after God [sic], the priest is everything! ... Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is.”
     What sexual abuse scandal?  Pedopope?  Bah.  It's been a year to celebrate the holiness of the divinely revealed patriarchal system that rules the Catholic masses.  "After God [sic], the priest is everything!" Wasn't that the same line that Fr. Murphy in Wisconsin used to seduce and rape nearly 200 deaf children?

     But, I digress.  It was a year to for Catholics to praise their god/priests, and what a better time to do this than in the midst of a scandal in which the last two popes, who are the head of the heads of these divine priestly vessels, the firsts among equals, who stand in the person of Jesus Christ, embodying his ultimate sacrifice and suffering before feeding the masses with his flesh and are everything after god itself, have been exposed for working together to cover-up and enable child rapists.  Yes, there is no better time than for the church's pointy-hatted cocks to pat one another's straight, celibate backs than now.

     NPR reports:
     Welcoming priests from all over the world, the Vatican No. 2, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said revelations of hundreds of cases of clerical sex abuse show the need for spiritual renewal.
     You remember Cardinal Bertone.  The last time he got such international press was in April, when he said that gays were to blame for pedophilia and there was scientific evidence to prove it.  Yes, Bertone, a man of and for the closeted-gay priesthood, not to mention Medieval divining.
Picture by NPR
     But not all Catholics joined in Bertone's celebration.  Some gathered in protest.  NPR continues:
     ...a group of American, German, Canadian and English women marched in St. Peter's Square and chanted their demands that women be ordained.  They wore purple stoles — the symbol for female priests; some even had Roman collars. Their protest lasted about a minute before Vatican police made them leave.  Earlier, the women had denounced the Vatican for honoring priests while the clerical sex abuse scandal is raging.
     "The Vatican is all too happy to turn a blind eye when men in its ranks destroy the lives of children and families, but jumps at the chance to excommunicate women who are doing good works and responding to injustice and the needs of their communities," said Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the U.S.-based Women's Ordination Conference.  Under church doctrine, women who attempt to be ordained are automatically excommunicated.
     Hypocrisy is a bitch, and Mother Church is the biggest bitch of them all.

     Also protesting were members of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP).  They demanded that Pope Ben and the bishops turn all criminal evidence of abuse and cover-up over to civil authorities, that Ben account for his own participation in the cover-up of abuse, and that John Paul II's path to sainthood be halted until an independent commission investigates his role in the cover-up and mishandling of sexual abuse.  The SNAP spokesperson told NPR:
     "These clerics and priests that assaulted us may have stolen our bodies, but it is the bishops and archbishops and cardinals and the popes who stole our voice," Isely added.  There are two Pope Benedicts, according to Isely. One first dismissed the revelations as idle gossip. "But then there is the other Pope Benedict, and this is the one we are hopeful about, the one that said there is no forgiveness without justice," Isely said.  Many Vatican watchers wonder what, if anything, Pope Benedict will say in ceremonies Thursday and Friday about the scandal that has reached the Vatican's doorstep.
     Why people continue to wait for the pope to "do the right thing" is beyond me.  How many more years must those who've been raped, assaulted, abused, harassed, and/or blacklisted by clerics wait, while their perpetrators and those who enabled them are still being paid by the church, receiving sacraments, and some even practicing as priests, bishops, cardinals, and as pope?  How many more children will be sacrificed?

     Nothing short of Ben's personal acceptance of his responsibility, his resignation, and the resignation of the criminal cardinals and bishops like Mahony, Law, Levada, etc. will suffice.

A year for priests, indeed.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Patron Saint of Pedophiles: Pope John Paul II Blocked Investigation into Austrian Cardinal Groer, Abuser of 2,000 Boys

     Pope John Paul II, who is on the fast track to sainthood, did not take action against a dear friend of his, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, who sexually abused an estimated 2,000 boys.  John Paul was aware of the abusive situation and blocked the investigation and never punished the serial pedophile. 

    How's that for saintly virtue?  Saintly virtue, yes, for the Patron Saint of Pedophiles, or the Patron Saint of Pedobear.

     When John Paul II died five years ago the crowd that packed St Peter’s Square for his funeral clamoured “Santo subito (Saint now)!” in a spontaneous tribute to the charisma of the Polish pontiff.  Allegations that the late pontiff blocked an inquiry into a paedophile cardinal, promoted senior church figures despite accusations that they had molested boys and covered up innumerable cases of abuse during his 26-year papacy have cast a cloud over his path to sainthood.

     The most serious claims related to Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, an Austrian friend of John Paul’s who abused an estimated 2,000 boys over decades but never faced any sanction from Rome.
     The Groer affair became public in 1995 when former pupils of an elite Catholic school accused him of sexual abuse.  After an outcry, Groer was replaced and made the prior of a convent. He was never punished and issued only a vague apology in 1998 before retreating to a nunnery where he lived until his death in 2003. Some of his victims were offered “hush money” from the church.  Michael Tfirst, 54, one of Groer’s victims, claims to have reported the abuse to highranking church officials from the 1970s onwards. He says the church paid him £3,300 in 2004 under a contract that obliged him to keep quiet.  “There is no question that Ratzinger knew all the details of reports on abuse within the church, as there is no doubt that John Paul, his superior, took part in a massive and systematic cover-up,” Tfirst said.
     John Paul was expected to be beatified in October but the process may be delayed. A French nun who appeared to have been miraculously cured of Parkinson’s disease through his intercession has reportedly been found to be suffering from a different illness.

     Giancarlo Zizola, a leading expert on the Vatican, said the church officials who had gathered documents and questioned witnesses about John Paul’s suitability for sainthood had examined “negative” aspects of his papacy, including his handling of abuse cases.  “There’s no chance of Benedict delaying the beatification because of the abuse scandal,” Zizola said. “On the contrary, I expect he’ll accelerate it.”
The Face of a Criminal Cleric Protected by a Pope
Image from the Times Online

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, Money, Sexual Abuse, and the Pope's Puppets

     The Pope's closets, I mean closest, advisers chose money over protecting people from the abusive Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, celibate father of numerous illegitimate children, chaste sexual abuser of seminarians, and poverty-living founder of the ultra-conservative and ultra-lucrative Catholic order, the Legionaries of Christ, which now has assets of over one billion dollars. 
     However, the pope involved in the enabling and cover-up of Fr. Marcial Maciel's crimes was not Pope Benedict, but the soon-to-be-saint John Paul II, who's closest advisers turned a blind eye to Maciel's abusive legacy, in order to fatten their wallets.  As Jesus said, "Render unto pedophiles..."

     WBUR reports:
     Investigative journalist Jason Berry's series on Father Maciel in the National Catholic Reporter suggests that his ability to raise money may have played a role in keeping Maciel in the priesthood, despite accusations made against him.  "He seems to have had this militant sense of spirituality, and he was a genius at fundraising," Berry says. "From the earliest years of his involvement with high church officials, he always had money, lots of it."
     But Maciel's trouble in the church began early. Berry lists an addiction to morphine and accusations of making sexual advances at young seminarians as early as 1956.
     "The Vatican did an investigation, suspended him -- but then reinstated him in 1959," Berry says.  And in three episodes from 1976 to 1989, former Legion priest Juan Vaca accused Maciel of abuse in detailed reports he sent to the Vatican, Berry says. The Vatican did not take any action.
     In his article, Berry says that Maciel's fundraising skills and his connections at the Vatican fed off one another.   "We know that wealthy families who gave money to the Legion of Christ had a pipeline, frankly, to go to private masses said by Pope John Paul II in the Apostolic Palace," Berry says.
     According to Berry, two of Maciel's most powerful Vatican allies were Monseigneur Dziwisz, a former organizer of papal masses who is now a cardinal; and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's secretary of state at the time. Berry says that he has been told that both priests received thousands of dollars in donations from Maciel.
     I, for one, wait with jubilant expectation for the day that both John Paul II and Marcial Maciel Degollado are declared saints, enjoying their eternal reward in their heaven with their Catholic god, who turns a blind eye to the suffering of children, who are being sexually abused and raped by priests in persona Christi.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Different Strokes for Different Folks: a Guest Blog Post

     My buddy, Russ Manley, over at Blue Truck, Red State (http://bluetruckredstate.blogspot.com), gave me permission to reprint his following recent post, "Different Strokes for Different Folks."   Thanks, Russ!  And, thanks for being a fellow voice crying out in the face of the Gospel According to Hate.


     I used to have a certain admiration for the late Pope John Paul II as an indefatigable supporter of human rights in general, notwithstanding his also obvious support for the Catholic moral position on matters of sexuality.

      But I can never forget the cold and cutting pronouncement he made in his last book, Memory and Identity, reported in the news media just a week or two after my husband's death, that same-sex marriage was an "ideology of evil."  Yes, two men and a little dog living quietly and peacefully in a little town far out on the prairie, working their jobs, serving the community, paying their taxes, attending church, buying groceries, doing all the very same things their neighbors did, day in and day out, were "objectively disordered" and "intrinsically evil," points he had already made in a letter to American bishops twenty years earlier. 

      But now with my husband barely cold in the ground, I felt His Holiness's nasty, coldhearted, evil-minded words more acutely than ever before.  This was a man, it must be recalled, in a position of ultimate moral authority over more than a billion people; and for all his great intellect and wide experience, the best he could say about Cody and me is that we were evil, and promoting evil.  Really. 

      Well now come to find out, as Sullivan and others have reported, the late Pontiff
whipped himself with a belt, even on vacation, and slept on the floor as acts of penitence and to bring him closer to Christian perfection, according to a new book by the Polish prelate spearheading his sainthood case...

     "It's an instrument of Christian perfection," Oder said, responding to questions about how such a practice could be condoned considering Catholic teaching holds that the human body is a gift from God.

     "As some members of his close entourage in Poland and in the Vatican were able to hear with their own ears, John Paul flagellated himself. In his armoire, amid all the vestments and hanging on a hanger, was a belt which he used as a whip and which he always brought to Castel Gandolfo," the papal retreat where John Paul vacationed each summer.
     Sullivan, a devout Catholic, approves, saying
    I have every respect for the practice of self-mortification and self-denial. . . .  I see the last Pope's embrace of these things as affecting signs of his deep and genuine closeness to God.
     Yet despite his loyal support for self-flagellation - a practice which Jesus never indulged in, and never, ever recommended - that brilliant mind also has the independence to ask the pertinent question here:
    So why is self-abuse inherently wrong when it is done by hand and yet saintly when it is done by whip?
     Masturbation, of course, is also an "intrinsically and gravely disordered action," the Church says.

      So - if you jack yourself off, or you get off with your committed partner, you are committing outrageous evil.  And destroying civilization while you're at it.  Don't even think about asking for the law to protect your love and marriage, you filthy, twisted, disordered creep, you.

      But - if you whip yourself bloody in your bedroom every night, why, God smiles - and loves you even more.

      Now I ask you, fellas:  Just how fucked up is that?

      Christian perfection, my ass. 

      And again I refer my truckbuddies to Matthew 25 for clarification.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Saint Nazi I

     Remember back when German Pope Benedict XVI started off the new year with a bang by lifting the excommunication of Lefebvrite and holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson and welcomed him back into the Roman Catholic fold?  Well, apparently that wasn't enough spitting in the face of the world's Jewish population, because over the weekend, Pope Ben presented a grand Hanukkah present: yet another bullet in the back of years of Jewish-Catholic dialogue.

     On Saturday, Pope Ben moved two of his predecessor popes, John Paul II and Pius XII, closer to possible sainthood by signing a decree on the "heroic virtues" of his predecessors and calling for their worthy imitation.  Zenit reports:
     "What pedagogical wisdom is manifested in such an itinerary," the Pope continued [in the decree]. "In a first step, the people of God are invited to look to these brothers and sisters who, after a first accurate discernment, are proposed as models of Christian life; then they are exhorted to develop a cult of veneration and invocation circumscribed by the ambit of the local Churches and the religious orders."
     "Pedagogical wisdom"?  Seriously?  From a church that for centuries has harbored child rapists and since being confronted about this has defended not the children, not the victims, but it own pocketbooks?  We're supposed to take this church seriously on matters of pedagogy and morality?

     "Heroic virtues"?  "Imitating" Pope Pius XII?  Pius XII remained silent in the face of the Nazi's and the holocaust.  He just plain didn't speak out.  He signed a Concordat between the Vatican and Nazi Germany, recognizing the Nazi government. The RCC can't deny that, but what they claim is that Pius did all sorts of secret behind-the-scenes work to save Jews, of course, the supposed proof of this is locked away in the Vatican's secret archives and we mere gentiles are to accept holy (dysfunctional) mother (fucking) church's word on these secret archives, as if two thousand years of bloody history have shown us that trusting the word of the RCC is wise.

     Among those to criticise him [Pope Ben] was the World Jewish Congress, whose president, Ronald Lauder, said: "As long as the archives about the crucial period 1939 to 1945 remain closed, and until a consensus on his [Pius XII's] actions ‑ or inaction ‑ concerning the persecution of millions of Jews in the Holocaust is established, a beatification is inopportune and premature.
     "While it is entirely a matter for the Catholic church to decide on whom religious honours are bestowed, there are strong concerns about Pius XII's political role during world war two which should not be ignored."
     He called on the Vatican to immediately open the files on the controversial figure. "Given the importance of good relations between Catholics and the Jews, and following the difficult events of the past year, it would be appreciated if the Vatican showed more sensitivity on this matter," he added, referring to Benedict's rehabilitation of a Holocaust-denying cleric, Richard Williamson.
     The incident sparked worldwide condemnation from prominent Jewish groups and individuals and placed an additional strain on interfaith relations, which were already under pressure after the pope issued an edict permitting a prayer that called for the conversion of Jews.
     In France, the country's chief rabbi urged the Vatican to abandon its mission to beatify Pius. Gilles Bernheim said: "Given Pius XII's silence during and after the Shoah [Holocaust], I don't want to believe that Catholics see in Pius XII an example of morality for humankind."
      I couldn't agree with Rabbi Bernheim more, but Pope Ben (who was himself a member of Hitler Youth) has made it very clear that the concerns of mere laity, gentiles, non-believing heathens, and especially Jews are of no interest to Himself.  Pope Ben described his reasoning in Saturday's decree noting:
     The Church undertakes these processes because "in the itinerary of recognition of sanctity, there emerges a spiritual and pastoral wealth that involves the whole Christian community."
     He [Pope Ben] defined sanctity as the "transfiguration of persons and human realities into the image of the risen Christ," and added that it "represents the ultimate purpose of the plan of divine salvation."
     Ben's "ultimate purpose" is thus spelled out very clearly and is neither to appease nor to dialogue with persons of other belief systems, but is instead to transform them into the so-called "risen" Christ, to make them Catholic Christians, so they can be "saved."  The Catholic church's official teaching is that the true church of Christ subsists in the Roman Catholic church (Lumen Gentium, Vatican II), and while this remains the "official" teaching of the church, the mission of the RCC will be to convert the world.

     If Pope Ben really believed that the church was going to last forever, then what's the rush?  Why push to canonize a controversial figure like Pius XII?  Why put at risk all the work of the past century that went into Jewish-Catholic dialogue?  Would it not be prudent, or dog-forbid pastoral, to wait another hundred or so years to canonize Pius?  This is definitely not the time.  But Ben's not interested in the pastoral, nor is he interested in what's good for inter-religious dialogue.

     In our current era of inter-religious dialogue, we are supposed to believe that people of different faith traditions, or just even different factions within a tradition, can get along and live in peace, but this is a fallacy.  As long as the world's religions believe that they individually are the only way to god, enlightenment, salvation, goodness, or whatever you want to call it, then there will never truly be dialogue amongst the world's religions.  There will be mere tolerance, which at this point in religion's bloody history would be a huge improvement, but true dialogue is between people who stand upon even footing with one another.  This dialogue is not possible between religions who each claim sole authority and insight into the will of their gods.  This, in my opinion, is the idolatry of religion: idolatry of the "truth."

     As for John Paul II becoming a saint and calling others to imitate his "virtue," well, that's debatable, too, as history will show that his attack upon the use of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS to be responsible for the deaths of millions from the virus in the name of JPII's precious abstinence.  Of course, similar damages against humanity can be argued at the hands of fundamentalist Mother Teresa of Calcutta, but Catholics won't listen to those arguments.  They need their saints, and as Pope Ben encouraged on Saturday, their "cults."

     Is it just me, or is there something very self-serving and even a bit sinister about a sitting pope being able to push his predecessors for sainthood?  Isn't that a bit like a politician also being a lobbyist while being on the payroll of the company for which he/she is lobbying?  This is just one more example of what I call the theological incest of the RCC.
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