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← A criminal matter, not a spiritual one

A criminal matter, not a spiritual one - Comments

old-toy-boy's Avatar Comment 1 by old-toy-boy

Like the political scandal of MP's expenses in Britain, they still just do not grasp the fact that it is morally wrong.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 13:23:00 UTC | #456716

JGP's Avatar Comment 2 by JGP

Excomunication is not a tantamount to eternal damnation. That would be an "anathema".

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 13:24:00 UTC | #456719

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 3 by crookedshoes

In my local paper today there is a despicable little article. "Cardinals say outrage about pedophile priests is REALLY generated by those who oppose his stand on gays and abortion". I do not even have words right now for the way this makes me feel. I cannot fathom the irresponsibility of all involved, including the fucking newspaper for allowing such horseshit to be treated like news.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 13:31:00 UTC | #456725

old-toy-boy's Avatar Comment 6 by old-toy-boy

Perhaps the time has come to demand the formal disbandment of the vatican, and the catholic religion.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 13:33:00 UTC | #456730

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 5 by phasmagigas

a quote (of a quote) from paulas article

"In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people's traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values. All too often, the sacramental and devotional practices that sustain faith and enable it to grow, such as frequent confession, daily prayer and annual retreats, were neglected."

unparalleled arrogance, as if the CC doctrines are somehow the default position that people should be subject to. i can simply never underestimate the sheer audacity and idiocy of religious leaders.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 13:33:00 UTC | #456729

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 4 by Mark Jones

Ha ha! Wonderfully strident.

But what about Islam, we will no doubt hear some cry.

My only comment is on the opening para:

A form of madness seems to have gripped the Vatican. An organization which for 2,000 years has been preaching the sinfulness of all mankind and the universal need for confession and repentance is acting as though it thought itself immaculate, the innocent victim of others' malevolence.

No doubt some think like that, but I think many Catholics are 'happy' to embrace their sins, and the sins of others; it's an affirmation of their world view. Confessional confidence and the supremacy of canonical law combines to make them think that this is how the cases should be treated - not in the civil courts because, after all, who is higher than God? For them, it *is* logical, and why it is dangerous to allow this kind of magical thinking in very public institutions that have authority over our children.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 13:33:00 UTC | #456728

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 7 by phasmagigas

so its secularism causing the trouble, last week i heard it was 'the gays' getting into the vatican, so now its perhaps all those gay secularists??? oh, i forgot, its all those gay secularists that are in league wth the devil!! This all reminds me of one of those gut wrenching situations in a film when the evil priest points to the 28 year old single girl, notices a freckle on her forehead and shouts 'witch' and then takes full glee in watching her flesh melt from her bones within a big ole' fire as the multitudes of ignorant peasants pray over her.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 13:35:00 UTC | #456732

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 8 by Paula Kirby

JGP: Excomunication is not a tantamount to eternal damnation. That would be an "anathema".
Thanks for putting me straight on that, JGP. Mea culpa! I've asked the Washington Post to remove that sentence.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 13:36:00 UTC | #456733

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 9 by Bernard Hurley

The Vatican is playing the "respect" card, although they don't quite put it like that, and milking it for all it's got. There would be some perverse sense to this if they claimed child rape were simply part of "catholic culture" and who is anyone else to criticise it, but they seem to think that criticism for doing things that their own official teaching condemns as immoral is somehow disrespectful. This is just perverse.

If anyone needs a Chief Exorcist, they do!

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 13:39:00 UTC | #456735

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 10 by Bernard Hurley

Comment #477323 by crookedshoes

In my local paper today there is a despicable little article. "Cardinals say outrage about pedophile priests is REALLY generated by those who oppose his stand on gays and abortion".

Presumably they mean those who oppose his stand on gay priests who rape boys and his stand on nuns who have been raped being pressurised into having abortions.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 13:48:00 UTC | #456741

Greywizard's Avatar Comment 11 by Greywizard

Paula, thanks for your article. It is measured, clear, and morally incisive. However, regarding excommunication and damnation, the Catholic Encyclopaedia makes it very clear that, with the power to bind and loose on earth comes the power to bind and loose in heaven. Pius VI condemned the belief that excommunication is merely exterior, and is "not a spiritual penalty binding in heaven and affecting souls." While excommunication is not a permanent state, if the excommunicate person repents, confesses his or her sins, and returns to the way of righteousness, without repentance it is still held to have binding authority in heaven, and is therefore, for someone who believes in this power of the church, a terrible penalty, which threatens damnation.

An anathema, on the other hand, is a major excommunication, and is performed with great solemnity, and the anathematised person is openly threatened with eternal damnation. There is still a form for the reconciliation of an anathematised person, so even an anathema is not final.

Both forms of excommunication, however, are serious threats to the eternal salvation of the individual, and neither would be faced with indifference by a believer. Your point in the article is still correct.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 14:03:00 UTC | #456751

fredmounts's Avatar Comment 12 by fredmounts

Bravo! I live in constant apprehension that this story is going to simply go away, but then articles like this one keep the fire going. Well done.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 14:12:00 UTC | #456755

sara g's Avatar Comment 13 by sara g

Secularism is a relatively recent threat to the church. The abuse has always been there. I don't think a case can be made for secularism causing abuse. The idiotic idea of infallibility can be blamed for its continuance.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 14:16:00 UTC | #456756

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 14 by prettygoodformonkeys

fleece the church for money
Mmmmm, delicious irony. Yes please!

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 14:31:00 UTC | #456759

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 15 by Bernard Hurley

Comment #477349 by Greywizard

However, regarding excommunication and damnation, the Catholic Encyclopaedia makes it very clear that, with the power to bind and loose on earth comes the power to bind and loose in heaven.

The RCC regards the alleged statement of Jesus to Peter in Matt 16:19 "et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum et quodcumque ligaveris super terram erit ligatum in caelis et quodcumque solveris super terram erit solutum in caelis" (and I give you the keys of heaven and whatsoever you bind on earth is bound in heaven and whatsoever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven) to apply to the pope (through the apostolic succession). This power is then partly delegated to ordinary clergy, through the sacrament of penance - I say partly because there are, for instance, certain sins that can only be absolved by a bishop.

Excommunication means that you are officially no longer a member of the RCC. This doesn't just mean exclusion form the organisation we know as the RCC because the church claims it consists of three parts "the church triumphant in heaven" (i.e. everyone in heaven), "the church suffering in purgatory", (again everyone in purgatory) and "the church militant on earth". Since limbo, before they abolished it, was only for the unbaptised, that means that the only place for the excommunicated person to go after death is hell.

Incidentally, it is actually quite difficult to get yourself excommunicated because they want to keep the statistics for the "number of catholics" up.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 14:36:00 UTC | #456763

quarecuss's Avatar Comment 16 by quarecuss

Yes, sometimes I feel sorry for my erstwhile church when I see it being pilloried. I even feel a kind of Catholic guilt over my glee in seeing it squirm or feel as a friend, who still has a few Catholic sympathies, says, "It's easy to pummel Christianity when it's on the ropes".
Then I read an article like this and see more clearly than ever, how rotten the institution is.
Thank you, Paula.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 14:51:00 UTC | #456768

mrjohnno's Avatar Comment 17 by mrjohnno

IMO, Paula's best article yet.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 15:07:00 UTC | #456781

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 18 by mordacious1

Nice article Paula.

I recommend clicking "Guest Voices: Bill Donahue" next to Paula's piece and leaving a comment there.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 15:28:00 UTC | #456791

blakjack's Avatar Comment 19 by blakjack

I have never understood the Christian so-called logic in that everyone, even from birth, starts off as a “sinner” and needs to be saved. The new-born baby is presumed guilty until he is cured of the “original sin”.

Sure as a professional pilot, I occasionally “sinned” by doing a rough landing or even – a massive sin this – flew lower than I was authorised to do. In my private life, I have had sex with women who were not my wife! (Good old days!) So I guess I need to be saved and should repent otherwise the “hereafter” will be somewhat unpleasant.

What a load of b-llocks!


Wed, 07 Apr 2010 15:36:00 UTC | #456795

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 21 by Dr. Strangegod

Yup, best one yet, Paula. Thank you. The title of your article is in fact almost word for word what my comment to people has been about this.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 15:54:00 UTC | #456804

mrjohnno's Avatar Comment 22 by mrjohnno

Suffer the children to come unto me

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 16:00:00 UTC | #456810

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 24 by Stafford Gordon


All comparisons are odious, but, this piece ranks with anything I've read on this matter by anyone else, including Hitchens.

Here is anger stemming from humanity.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 16:06:00 UTC | #456815

beanson's Avatar Comment 25 by beanson

Now, that's invective

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 16:13:00 UTC | #456821

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 26 by Bernard Hurley

Comment #477415 by Stafford Gordon

Here is anger stemming from humanity.

Yes but to Pope "not me guv!" Benedict, vicar on earth of the risen Christ, it's just more "petty gossip".

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 16:24:00 UTC | #456827

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 27 by Stafford Gordon

Apropos of the comment by MARKONTHERIVER:

See "Put the Pope in the Dock" by Geoffrey Robertson, Guardian, April 2.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 16:32:00 UTC | #456830

Vaal's Avatar Comment 28 by Vaal

Congratulations Paula. Superb article, fleshing the bones of Catholic hypocrisy with devastating clarity. Your writing is going from strength to strength, straight as an arrow to the real heart of the issue, just as it should be addressed. It is heartening to read gloves-off journalism, addressing the horror of the churches complicity in this harrowing cover-up. What a cannon of a rebuke to the flim-flam carping of religious apologists for the indefensible.

Nowhere to hide Mr Ratzinger, deflecting blame and your churlish response to perhaps the greatest crisis of your corrupt establishment. As I have noted before, there are also a growing number of Catholics who are equally as horrified as many others at the complicity of the hierarchy of the church to hide the rotten corpse of their corruption to the worlds view.

"Petty gossip". I would like your "petty gossip", as Paula says, to be exposed to the worlds courts. I suspect we have hardly seen the tip of the ice-berg of these horrors perpetrated around the world, especially in the third world, by this appalling organisation. You are NOT above the law of the land, and these criminals should be prosecuted, without fail, in any country where these abominable crimes have been committed.

The idea of this old malefactor over here pewling morality to the rest of us, is nauseating, and I will be welcoming Mr Ratzinger to our sceptered isle with a healthy supply of rotten eggs and a landscape view of my rear end!

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 17:04:00 UTC | #456840

Jay Cee's Avatar Comment 29 by Jay Cee


Firstly excellent article, clear and damning.

Secondly, do you know (or anyone here) know if there is a petition we can sign to oppose the pope's little visit to Britain?

I have already written to my local MP describing how it would be shameful to welcome the pope in Edinburgh in September. (Actually I was planning to write one BEFORE all this sex scandal stuff happened!!!)

Richard or Josh,

Could try create some campaign to stop the pope landing on our soil? I've checked and I'm pretty sure that it's unprecedented for a country to refuse a pope entry. (Mind you, little boys haven't had much luck refusing entry either).

I think it's important to highlight the double standards we still have concerning religion. Geert Wilders is banned yet the pope is welcome with a million pound party. What is going on?


Wed, 07 Apr 2010 17:24:00 UTC | #456848

zengardener's Avatar Comment 30 by zengardener

my advice to the Pope would be to hand over every last priest who has been accused of child rape and every last church official -- himself included -- accused of covering up child rape to be tried in a proper criminal court, just like anyone else would be if they were accused of the same offenses; and to further ensure that the Church makes available, without obstruction, every single document required as evidence in these cases. Only properly conducted criminal trials, in proper courts of law, will bring an end to this scandal and - far more importantly - bring some peace and justice to the Church's many victims.

This message should be trumpeted from the highest hills, in the deepest valleys, and in the halls of justice until it be done.

When he comes to Britain, arrest him. Then he can begin his world tour of court rooms, until justice be done.

Wed, 07 Apr 2010 17:36:00 UTC | #456855