YouTube – ‘When I was a child, I was raped by a priest in my bedroom’.
From one survivor to another. Thanks to Ruthie Gledhill at the Times for that link.
YouTube – ‘When I was a child, I was raped by a priest in my bedroom’.
From one survivor to another. Thanks to Ruthie Gledhill at the Times for that link.
Everyone realizes by now that the reason some homosexuals want to become priests is because they feel a horrible sense of repression about their sexuality and because, well, because they want to play dress-up. Thanks to Anne Rice for leading me to this article, a review of The Pope Is Not Gay by Angelo Quattrocchi, translated by Romy Clark Giuliani. I especially like this quote by Colm Toibin:
When I listed the reasons homosexuals might be attracted to the Church and might want to become priests, I did not mention the most obvious one: you get to wear funny bright clothes; you get to dress up all the time in what are essentially women’s clothes. As part of the training to be an altar boy I had to learn, and still remember, what a priest puts on to say Mass: the amice, the alb, the girdle, the stole, the maniple and the chasuble. Watching them robing themselves was like watching Mary Queen of Scots getting ready for her execution.
Priests prance around in elaborately fashioned costumes. Bishops and cardinals have even more colourful vestments. This ‘overt behaviour’ on their part has to be examined carefully. Since it is part of the rule of the Church, part of the norm, it has to be emphasised that many of them do not dress up as a matter of choice. Indeed, the vestments in all their glory might make some of them wince. But others seem to enjoy it. Among those who seem to enjoy it is Ratzinger. Quattrocchi draws our attention to the amount of care, since his election, Ratzinger has taken with his accessories, wearing designer sunglasses, for example, or gold cufflinks, and different sorts of funny hats and a pair of red shoes from Prada that would take the eyes out of you. He has also been having fun with his robes. On Ash Wednesday 2006, for example, he wore a robe of ‘Valentino red’ – called after the fashion designer – with ‘showy gold embroidery’ and soon afterwards changed into a blue associated with another fashion designer, Renato Balestra. In March 2007, for a visit to the juvenile prison at Casal del Marno, he wore an extraordinary tea-rose-coloured costume.
I can see why they are attracted to it. Imagine having no care for how much things cost and you can wear all the crowns and jewels you want! Plus, as Toibon goes on to suggest, you have a really, really cute personal secretary. Who wouldn’t want that job? The new book looks absolutely fascinating. I just might have to get a copy.
Disclaimer: In no way am I disparaging homosexuals and/or people wanting to dress up. Who doesn’t want to dress up and be something else for a day or evening? I just wonder if their repression drives them to the Church as a possible outlet. God and being true to yourself do not mix.
We’ve been told to stop being so hostile to the Pope : Pharyngula.
Like the Kings and Queens of old who forced the poor and even not so poor to put them up on their visits to the countryside, the Pope expects people to shell out money and rearrange their entire lives for his visits. Sell off a painting or something. Better yet, get your own all male “household” in order first.
Where in the Roman Catholic church is there any reason? Nowhere that I can see, especially in Brazil. In their efforts to, once again, protect those who have a sexual predilection for children, the Church shows us exactly where its interests lie. Read this story and weep. Notice the step-father, who has raped this girl since she was six years old, has not been excommunicated. Killing potential Roman Catholics is a far more serious sin than child rape after all. I mean really, a man has needs and religion is designed to protect those needs at all costs.
To say I’m infuriated is a gross understatement.
More here. Notice the word “alleged” in this story. Excuse me, but how else does a 9 year old get pregnant? Are they saying it was planned? Are they saying she wanted it? Is that what they are saying? Even at nine, girls are expected to protect themselves and “just say no?” The world is seriously fucked if that’s the case.
Today is the 3rd Sunday in Advent. Advent, for those not familiar with the Liturgical church year, is a time of waiting for the Christ child to be born. It is a time of darkness before light comes into the world. The world is in gestation, awaiting the birth of a Savior. In the spirit of Advent then, I watched the latest X-Files movie, which came to theaters this last August.
I am a huge X-Files fan. My children and I watched all of the seasons of X-Files from 1993, when it began, all through 2002, when it ended. It was a not-to-be-missed occurrence on par with our dedication to Star-Trek, Next Generation. The X-File were all the strange phenomena and the resultant investigations that the standard FBI would not investigate for fear of public reprisal. Usually, these investigations entailed matters of UFOs, monsters, and faith. Yes, Christian faith was always an under current of Dana Scully’s investigations. Fox Mulder had faith, usually reckless faith, and always with one goal in mind, finding his sister alive after her abduction by aliens when she was a young child. He wants to believe, not in a higher power so much, but in the fact that there was phenomena that could not be explained away by rational science. He has faith, but cannot wholly believe because the elusive evidence is always just out of his grasp. He is only left with questions. Scully used her scientific knowledge as a doctor and surgeon to counter-balance Mulder’s faith. She believes in what she can see and prove by science and she longs for faith. Sometimes this faith she searches for is right there, but it too slips away sometimes. They worked well together during the series’ run, sometimes proving Scully’s suspicions right about the supposed “reality” of a case and sometimes proving Mulder right. The whole idea behind the series was that there was convincing evidence to believe, but there were also times where skepticism played a deserved role and judgment had to be reserved or one simply had to accept something on faith. There were no concrete answers, which some found infuriating, but which Chris Carter, the series creator, played to great affect.
The X-Files, I Want to Believe is a dark, gritty movie that plunges us right in the middle of a new, loving Mulder and Scully, who are now living together, but no longer working together as FBI agents. Mulder is reclusive and obsessed with his newspaper clippings while Scully works as a neurosurgeon in Our Lady of Sorrows hospital nearby. After being called in to consult with the FBI on a murder case, they uncover a nefarious plot that involves transplantation and organ stealing. Sounds boring, but throw in a pedophile priest who has visions about the victims and two new FBI agents who reluctantly consult Mulder and you have a very decent stand-alone story about faith and belief. The whole plot centers, I think, around whether one can believe a sinful man can have visions from God and how much faith the two main characters will have in him and each other in order to do their jobs. We also have the priest director of the hospital that does not have faith in science when it comes to curing the disease of a young boy that Scully is concerned about and wants to perform her own experimental surgery on. It’s the godly vs. the ungodly and who speaks for God question, if anyone can or should. In the penultimate scene, Scully and Mulder discuss what they learned from it:
Fox Mulder: Don’t give up.
[he pauses as he follows Scully to her car]
Fox Mulder: Why would he say such a thing to you?
Dana Scully: I think that was clearly meant for you, Mulder.
Fox Mulder: He didn’t say it to me; he said it to you.
Dana Scully: Umm…
Fox Mulder: If Father Joe were the devil, why would he say the opposite of what the devil might say?
[she doesn’t reply, though clearly attempting to rationalize]
Fox Mulder: Maybe that’s the answer, in a larger answer.
Dana Scully: What do you mean?
Fox Mulder: Don’t give up.
Dana Scully: Please don’t make this any harder than it already is.
Fox Mulder: If you have any doubts,
Fox Mulder: [wrapping his arms around Scully, allowing her to rest her head on his chest] any doubts at all, call off that surgery and then we’ll get out of here… just me and you.
Dana Scully: As far away from the darkness as we can get?
Fox Mulder: [he loosens his embrace enough to look into her eyes] I’m not sure it works that way. I think maybe the darkness finds you and me.
Dana Scully: I know it does.
Fox Mulder: Let it try.
Neither Mulder or Scully have the answers after their ordeal. All they have are what they experienced together and separately; a collective experience if you will. They also seem to be gravitating toward asking better questions as they each mature in their love and their own respective “faiths.”
Ultimately, we are born alone and die alone, but we find our communities here and now. We have love and give love and we communicate to beat back darkness and bring about light. It’s what humans try to do best. Because we don’t have to look too far to find that darkness in a world like ours. We have plenty of evidence for that. But how far do we have to look to find instances of light? Not only that, what are we willing to do to find that light? Can we believe in the Christmas story? Is Jesus the light? My favorite book in the bible says he is:
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by,
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness,
the darkness couldn’t put it out (John 1:3-5, The Message).
But can we believe what the bible says? Probably no more certainly than what anyone else who has faith says wisely or sagely or anciently. The bible is merely a long conversation with God by people of faith of different cultures and throughout different eras. Faith in one’s experiences and faith in what others have said are really all we have to go on, ultimately, because no one can prove anything to anyone else’s satisfaction. It’s not enough to believe certainly, that is. So, I was heartened by this seemingly dark and disturbing movie this Advent Sunday because it pointed toward Light rather than leaving us in Darkness yet again. I have the vestiges of faith in a Higher Being and I do believe in Love and Light. The movie pointed toward redemptive love and that’s what I believe in. The movie ended with still more questions and did not attempt to answer them for us. And for me that’s the wisest route when it comes to dealing with religion and faith and questions about belief. The “moral?” Take what faith you can where you can find it. Believe your experiences and your heart. Communicate love to each other. And always look toward what Light there is that vanquishes Darkness.
Christmas Blessings on all of you.
This weekend, I had every intention of going to church. After a lonnnnnng weekend of 4th of July activities, fried Walleye fish sandwiches and cheese fries (did I say I’ve been off my “heart healthy” diet?), and rearranging the bedroom, I was ready for a leisurely Sunday. Being both Catholic and Baptist (no it’s not redundant or an oxymoron) I intended to go to Mass on Saturday and Baptist worship on Sunday. Well, we got lazy and watched a movie on Saturday instead. Ooops. If I were more scrupulous, I’d write that down for confession next weekend, but I’ve outgrown the scrupulosity I had when I first became Catholic. Still, I felt a small twinge of guilt.
Yesterday my husband and I rearranged our bedroom. It’s a long room and rearranging is not easy. I can’t help very much either since I have a bad back. But I gave it a go and was aching all over by day’s end on Saturday. We also had gotten a new mattress last week (an ordinary Bemco) because I could no longer sleep on the $1500 mistake of a latex foam mattress we bought last year. I would arise every morning since we bought the thing with what felt like severe arthritis. I could barely move around. It was so odd. This mattress was always billed as great for your back. Uh-no!! But this morning, after a day of heavy lifting and an Aleve cocktail, I got up freshly feng shue-d and rested in our rearranged bedroom and new mattress and got ready for church. Sunday school is always first up for Baptists who only have one worship service on Sunday. In this church, Sunday school was at 9:00 a.m. so, off I went with my bible and lesson book. I got there just in time for pre-Sunday school announcements. I chit-chatted with the ladies for a while and then sat through a good 25 minutes of prayer requests, which is really nothing but the women sitting around trading stories about who was sick and who was sicker. I’m all for prayer concerns, but this was silly. It’s akin to gossip and playing catch-up for the week. After that we finally got to the lesson about hospitality or something. The “proof” text was Job 31. The American Baptist curriculum we use is ok, but it’s by no means in-depth bible study. Most of it is lecture in written form. Of recent years the curriculum is spouting “ermergent-ese.” You know what I mean; where every word discussing the “new church model” ends in “al:” missional, intentional, relational, etc. Ugh.
Well, after the bell was rung for church (literally a little bell like those kept on hotel concierge desks), I started to go into the sanctuary with everyone else, but I fell back. I just couldn’t sit through another bland, Baptist worship service where the same hymns were sung and the same sermons preached. I felt a longing for something deeper, something more true; something to connect with that great Undercurrent of Life. It was communion Sunday (the first Sunday of the month) and I couldn’t face that either. Little bits of bread and little cups of grape juice passed around the pews did not in any way signify to me the deepest mysteries of the Eucharist. I felt that to take it would be a betrayal somehow. So, I packed up my gear (purse, book bag, bag of lettuce from Helen’s garden) and left while everyone filed into the sanctuary. I drove home and found my husband cleaning out the garage. There was a light summer breeze blowing through the trees and after dropping my bags on the kitchen chair, I headed out to our patio with a book. I opened up Brother Odd by Dean Koontz. Odd Thomas, the character of this series of Koontz’s, sees dead people. These dead people usually want him to solve their murders. In this novel, Odd is taking a long-needed retreat in a monastery in the mountains of California after having prevented a larger massacre at a shopping mall. His purpose is to retreat from his ordinary duties to the dead and heal his own soul. As I read partway into the chapter, I found this:
The world beyond this mountain retreat was largely barbarian, a condition it had been striving toward for perhaps a century and a half. A once glorious civilization was now only a pretense; a mask allowing barbarians to commit ever greater cruelties in the name of virtues that a truly civilized world would have recognized as evils. Having fled that barbaric disorder I was reluctant to admit that no place was safe, no retreat beyond the reach of anarchy… (page 64-65)
That’s how I feel most of the time right now. I feel that barbarians have been allowed to take charge of the hen-house and our only hope is a “chicken-run.” Many people, I’m sure, feel this way nowadays. Each thinks they are right in feeling this way and want to blame others, but regardless of who is “right” or who should be blamed, I feel as if the world has hurtled toward some barbarism much faster than anticipated and that words no longer mean the same things any longer. We’ve come to a war of ideas and dogmas. It’s the era of Big Brother speak in which the signifiers no longer signify long held beliefs but are being used against the definers of traditions in ways that bring confusion and anarchy. I also feel today, that I had learned far more sitting in my breezeway reading fiction than I could have listening to one sermon in a long line of spiritless sermons.
My retreat lately feels just like Odd Thomas’ retreat. It’s a falling back; a regrouping. It is a choice to choose non-action in a world that does nothing but mindlessly act merely because it feels good to our self-esteem to act. At what point is our character development more important than activism for activism’s sake? I wonder if anyone really knows why they argue endlessly for the beliefs that they do? I wonder what is solid and real and what is mere show and bluster; bread and circuses? I am also beginning to think that I’m an unfortunate product of my time (70s), my education (university) and my lack or conscience formation. I can soak up vast amounts of knowledge and “education” but I cannot honestly come up with a consistent ethic of my own. I have simply bought into the empty rhetoric of poststructuralism where there are no norms and where consistency is lacking. I had given up trying. I fall back on the argument that there is no use trying because there is no foundation on which to base concrete beliefs.
Increasingly, in my self imposed exile from belief, I’ve found that despite what Emerson said about consistency, there is a deep, deep truth to foundational thinking. Emerson did not say that consistency was the problem; foolish consistency was. We are living in an age, I think, of foolish consistency. One of the books that set me permanently on the road to Roman Catholicism is John A. Hardon’s The Catholic Catechism. It is beautifully written and far easier to read than the modern Catechism the church put out in recent years. Hardon writes at the beginning of the book about the age in which we live,
The world in which one lives keeps asking for evidence, it wants to be shown that what the believer believes is not mere illusion but objectively true. This same world protests that all human knowledge is unstable, that what people know today others will know better and more accurately tomorrow. So the man of faith must defend himself against the charge of dogmatism, as though what he believes now has always been true and will remain essentially unchanged in a universe whose only apparent constant is change. It would be tempting to try to respond immediately to both levels of criticism in our day. More effective is to look at ourselves and ask what too many Christians have taken for granted: What do we believe, and why? This will lead us into pastures that few Catholics, who may be severely orthodox, have ever visited. We are discovering that orthodoxy is no guarantee of perseverance and still less of living up to what the faith demands. Self knowledge as believers will deepen our loyalty and help evoke generosity, and in the process the commonplace objections will also be satisfactorily answered. (pages 29-30)
I suppose Hardon is saying that in discovering the reasons for our own belief we will answer the questions of our age. Ours is a time of surface thinking and surface solutions. We want change for change’s sake as if we are going to come up with anything new. There is nothing new under the sun, yet no one born form the 60s onward wants to believe that. Our churches, especially Protestant ones, are not asking us to deeply examine our beliefs. They are only asking us to enforce a prideful dogmatism and certainty about doctrine. They are only asking us to accept change just as the world wants to accept change. There is no substance in it. We are not asked to examine, test, and practice. I’m tired of wasting time on ineffective methods or theories that are merely the pet projects of mega-pastors and gospel shills. I want to get to the kernel, the very heart of ethics, the tried and true, the deep foundations, not just learn to spout what others have said because it sounds pleasant. I feel like I’m close to discovering something…. I’m still striving for I’m not sure what, but I’ll let you know if I get there.
Ok, Roman Catholics are really beginning to piss me off big time. First we have a Pope who turns a blind eye to the sexual abuse of thousands of children and now we have bishops telling governors that supporting the right of others to do as they wish is a sin! Hmmmm. Pot meet kettle. So let me get this straight. The ACTUAL sexual abuse of children is ok and is not subject to excommunication (after all priests need their outlets don’t you know), but someone who hasn’t ACTUALLY had an abortion can be excommunicated for exercising their civil rights and being pro-choice. Is that correct? I mean really, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the HEIGHT of hypocrisy and absurdity? It’s a known fact that all of the popes swept the abusive priest reports under the rug in order to keep their coveted positions. What I don’t understand is why people still worship morons like these. I’m not surprised really, just very, very pissed off and sickened that a pope and bishops and priests and all Catholic clergy are given a free pass by the laity to do whatever they wish and to whomever they wish. How dumb and blind is that?
For those not so gullible, there is help here and here. And for those who want to see the light, there’s help here.