Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 8:49 pm

Devoured by moths and rust; or, Sex is the hill they have chosen to die on

As I’ve said before, the Roman Catholic Church is a continuing criminal enterprise, an international scheme to victimize children, intimidate and/or bribe the victims and their families and protect the guilty.

It is also, as is true of all people and most human institutions, a mixture of good and evil. It has spoken out on behalf of the poor (though, I would argue, not nearly loudly enough) many times, for example. And not that you’d know it because it has the megaphone turned down on this issue, but it  currently also is speaking out against a hasty rush to war with Iran.

But on some issues, the church speaks more loudly than on others. What it speaks most loudly on today in this country — abortion and other issues related to women’s sexual activity — is a matter of conscious choice. The church likely would deny this and claim that all its moral stands are of equal importance, which, even if it were true, would fly in the face of logic. All sin is equal before God, true, but here on Earth we have long since comes to grips, those of us in the reality-based community, with proportionality. That’s why we execute people for premeditated murder but not for parking violations.

The Church, although a body of believers and a body of belief, also is an earthly institution with vast but finite resources. And so it, too, has to come to grips with proportionality and make choices. If the Church does not choose carefully, innocent people will be harmed, both as a direct result of the church’s emphasis and as an indirect result of the church’s refusal to emphasize other issues that could have helped other people. That’s going to be true whatever the Church prioritizes, of course. But one must wonder what could have led it to decide that abortion and contraception are more important than starting a war. As Matthew’s Gospel (6:21) says, where your treasure is, there your heart is also. And so we see that the Church’s heart — where it has allocated its treasure, defined as its efforts and resources as a megaphone of moral authority — is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party, siding with the powerful against the poor and poor in spirit, siding with those who refuse to comfort those who mourn, siding with warmakers against the gentle, siding with criminals against their victims, and on and on and on, all in contravention of the teachings of the Christ that this same church professes to love and worship.

Which makes particularly sad this comment from Athenae at First Draft:

“When it comes right down to it the Church has made a deliberate choice that sexual intercourse is going to be the hill they want to die on. And absent some massive backlash on the part of the faithful, dying is exactly what they’re going to do.”

Friday, March 5, 2010 8:49 pm

It only took the Vatican 400 years to catch up to science on cosmology …

… so maybe in a millennium it will catch up to science on human sexuality:

The Vatican is at the center of a gay sex scandal involving a young chorister who allegedly procured men, including at least one seminarian, for a lay member of one of Pope Benedict’s inner circles.

Angelo Balducci, a civil engineer and honorary Vatican usher, was quoted in police wiretaps allegedly negotiating with Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 29-year-old Vatican choir member, about the kind of men he wanted brought to him. Some of the wiretap transcripts were published Wednesday in the Italian daily La Repubblica.

Balducci has been a member since 1995 of “Gentlemen of His Holiness,” an exclusive fraternity of ushers within the papal household who serve during state and special occasions. Members of the group bore Pope John Paul II’s coffin in 2005.

The only good thing I can think of to say about this is that, so far as one call tell, everyone involved was 18 or older.

Monday, January 4, 2010 11:14 pm

Honestly, I was going to go to bed without blogging tonight …

… and then I read about this guy:

A defrocked Roman Catholic priest who operated his own church in Riverside County pleaded guilty today to possessing illegal drugs, authorities said.

Anthony Martinez Garduno, 51, a self-proclaimed Catholic bishop, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug count and four felony drug counts, including possession of the “date-rape” narcotic GHB, authorities said.

Garduno also pleaded guilty to possessing a stolen .32-caliber semiautomatic handgun.

Garduno was arrested Dec. 29 after detectives determined he was selling methamphetamine and was in possession of other drugs at his Our Lady of Tepeyac Church, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said.

Detectives are investigating allegations that Garduno sexually assaulted underage males at the church, the department said.

Garduno was tried by the Roman Catholic Church for heresy and defrocked in 1993, said John Andrews, a spokesman for the  Diocese of San Bernardino.

“He has no official relationship to the Roman Catholic Church,” Andrews said.

OK, bad enough that a guy dressed and acting like a priest is running around with a stolen gun and roofies. Worse still that he may have sexually assaulted anyone, let alone kids (of whatever gender).

But what just kills me is: This guy’s 51, which means he was 35 in 1993. Which means that if he’s doing bad things to people now, there is roughly zero chance he wasn’t already doing bad things to people in 1993. And what’s the Roman Catholic Church proud of? That they defrocked him for having guns or date-rape drugs or molesting kids? No, they’re proud that they defrocked him for heresy.

Yeah, that’s right, Church, you go ahead and party like it’s 1399.

OK, now I’m going to bed.

Friday, November 27, 2009 5:12 pm

Odds and ends for 11/27

  • Down in the desert: Dubai, whose potential sovereign-debt default is in today’s news, is messed up, economically and in other ways. Zero Hedge’s Marla Singer, who has spent time there, offers a pretty readable summary. Key takeaway: Dubai’s travails say a lot less about the pitfalls of capitalism than meets the eye.
  • Housing-market update: I’m not smart enough to know what to do about this, but more U.S. homes are in delinquency or foreclosure than are for sale.
  • The “deadbeat stimulus”: At least $160 billion a year.
  • Tim F. observes how the health-care reform bill is being set up to fail.
  • Martyrs: The people trying desperately to help Sarah Palin run her life are getting no help at all from the boss. I’m shocked.
  • The Obama-Bush Administration: The Obama Justice Department’s arguments against exoneration for former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman are being prepared by the very same people involved in the original frame-up — the one in which Karl Rove was involved up to his eyeballs. So spare me all this talk about how much better things are in government now that Obama has replaced Bush.
  • So if we fire all the execs who ran the banking system into the ground, the banking system will crash and burn? Well, pardon me for agreeing with a former public official who barebacked a whore, but I’m thinking we should test that hypothesis.
  • Apologies are fine, but the Roman Catholic Church needs to take some of the time it’s spending on apologies and spend it on turning the guilty over to police. Also? Any institution with this kind of problem needs to get itself fixed before presuming to comment upon moral issues.
  • Relatedly, not only does a 2007 court filing by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, last seen denying communion to Rep. Patrick Kennedy because Kennedy won’t oppose abortion, admit the existence of more than twice as many accused priests as the diocese had admitted just three years earlier, it also cites that high number (~125) as a reason why court-ordered disclosure of documents would be excessively “burdensome.” Awwwww …
  • Unproductive speculation: If anyone has any ideas about how to end it other than by taxing financial transactions — an idea devised in 1972 by a Nobel winner, by the way — I’m all ears. But it needs to end.

Friday, May 22, 2009 6:34 am

Suffer the children; or, Say it with me, kids: Continuing. Criminal. Enterprise.

Filed under: I want my religion back. — Lex @ 6:34 am
Tags: , ,

The Roman Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal wasn’t confined to the United States:

DUBLIN — After a nine-year investigation, a commission published a damning report Wednesday on decades of rapes, humiliation and beatings at Catholic Church-run reform schools for Ireland’s castaway children.

The 2,600-page report painted the most detailed and damning portrait yet of church-administered abuse in a country grown weary of revelations about child molestation by priests.

The investigation of the tax-supported schools uncovered previously secret Vatican records that demonstrated church knowledge of pedophiles in their ranks all the way back to the 1930s.

Wednesday’s five-volume report on the probe _ which was resisted by Catholic religious orders _ (THERE’S a shock — Lex) concluded that church officials shielded their orders’ pedophiles from arrest amid a culture of self-serving secrecy.

“A climate of fear, created by pervasive, excessive and arbitrary punishment, permeated most of the institutions and all those run for boys. Children lived with the daily terror of not knowing where the next beating was coming from,” Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse concluded.

Victims of the abuse, who are now in their 50s to 80s, lobbied long and hard for an official investigation. They say that for all its incredible detail, the report doesn’t nail down what really matters _ the names of their abusers.

Of course it doesn’t. God forbid the Church hold its own accountable — and I’m talking to you, Pope Rat. A spiritual leader worthy of the name would direct the Church to devote its still-considerable resources to 1) trying to heal those it has harmed; 2) trying to hold accountable those responsible who may still be alive, in particular by turning all relevant records over to the law enforcement authorities with appropriate jurisdiction; and 3) abdicate and spend the rest of his life in seclusion.

That’s what an actual spiritual leader would do. What Pope Benedict is actually doing — i.e., nothing — is instructive.

UPDATE: Shorter Bill Donohue of the Catholic League: The Roman Catholic Church is the real victim. Go to hell, Bill.

Monday, April 6, 2009 10:44 pm

They didn’t just know …

Filed under: I want my religion back. — Lex @ 10:44 pm
Tags: ,

… they knew, and were covering it up, 50 years ago:

As early as the mid-1950s, decades before the clergy sexual-abuse crisis broke publicly across the U.S. Catholic landscape, the founder of a religious order that dealt regularly with priest sex abusers was so convinced of their inability to change that he searched for an island to purchase with the intent of using it as a place to isolate such offenders, according to documents recently obtained by NCR. …

Fitzgerald’s convictions appear to significantly contradict the claims of contemporary bishops that the hierarchy was unaware until recent years of the danger in shuffling priests from one parish to another and in concealing the priests’ problems from those they served.

It is clear, too, in letters between Fitzgerald and a range of bishops, among bishops themselves, and between Fitzgerald and the Vatican, that the hierarchy was aware of the problem and its implications well before the problem surfaced as a national story in the mid-1980s.

Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles archdiocese, reacting in February to a federal investigation into his handling of the crisis, said: “We have said repeatedly that … our understanding of this problem and the way it’s dealt with today evolved, and that in those years ago, decades ago, people didn’t realize how serious this was, and so, rather than pulling people out of ministry directly and fully, they were moved.”

Shorter Mahoney: “In 1952, no one in the Roman Catholic Church realized that buggering children was a crime.”

Jesus wept.

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