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BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'

Steve Shaw 10 Mar 13 - 09:23 AM
DMcG 10 Mar 13 - 09:40 AM
Steve Shaw 10 Mar 13 - 09:49 AM
Steve Shaw 10 Mar 13 - 09:50 AM
wysiwyg 10 Mar 13 - 09:57 AM
John P 10 Mar 13 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,999 10 Mar 13 - 10:52 AM
Bill D 10 Mar 13 - 11:13 AM
Bill D 10 Mar 13 - 11:15 AM
Ed T 10 Mar 13 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,BrendanB 10 Mar 13 - 11:27 AM
Steve Shaw 10 Mar 13 - 12:14 PM
GUEST 10 Mar 13 - 12:54 PM
Steve Shaw 10 Mar 13 - 01:25 PM
Steve Shaw 10 Mar 13 - 01:27 PM
Ed T 10 Mar 13 - 01:29 PM
Steve Shaw 10 Mar 13 - 01:47 PM
Amos 10 Mar 13 - 01:54 PM
Little Hawk 10 Mar 13 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,BrendanB 10 Mar 13 - 02:43 PM
Ed T 10 Mar 13 - 03:14 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Mar 13 - 03:47 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 10 Mar 13 - 04:10 PM
GUEST 10 Mar 13 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,BrendanB 10 Mar 13 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,BrendanB 10 Mar 13 - 04:46 PM
John P 10 Mar 13 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,BrendanB 10 Mar 13 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 10 Mar 13 - 05:53 PM
Ed T 10 Mar 13 - 06:22 PM
Ed T 10 Mar 13 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,999 10 Mar 13 - 06:54 PM
Ed T 10 Mar 13 - 07:16 PM
Bill D 10 Mar 13 - 08:40 PM
Steve Shaw 10 Mar 13 - 09:52 PM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 13 - 12:26 AM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 13 - 12:51 AM
GUEST,Musket sans cookie 11 Mar 13 - 03:07 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 13 - 04:12 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Mar 13 - 04:21 AM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 13 - 04:57 AM
mg 11 Mar 13 - 05:36 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Mar 13 - 05:57 AM
Wolfhound person 11 Mar 13 - 06:10 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 11 Mar 13 - 06:16 AM
Ed T 11 Mar 13 - 06:52 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Mar 13 - 07:14 AM
John P 11 Mar 13 - 08:04 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 11 Mar 13 - 08:28 AM
BrendanB 11 Mar 13 - 09:18 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 09:23 AM

That is not the same thing. AA and similar groups are there for people with severe problems of addiction and so on. For people in difficulty. The Catholic church is supposed to be just that - catholic - all-encompassing, appealing to all Christians. Its teachings are supposedly based on those of Jesus. Those teachings emphasised goodness, kindness to neighbours, humility, the eschewing of excessive wealth, help for people in need and mutual respect. According to Joe's analysis, The world outside Catholicism, two thousand years after Jesus, is just about the same as within it. Therefore "what's the point of it?" seems a valid question to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: DMcG
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 09:40 AM

Yes, it is a valid question. The answer might not be straightforward, though. For example, AA increasing its membership is more likely to be an indication of success, not failure. Now, I agree the analogy is far from perfect and, as Joe said, there's plenty of failures in the Catholic Churches (of all sects), but to decide whether 'wickedness' has or has not been reduced in 2000 years in unanswserable, if only because the definitions are constantly changing (even within the RC church)


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 09:49 AM

I take that point entirely. I suppose that Joe would admit that the analysis was slightly loose and that I was nit-picking to take him up on it, yet I think it's still valid because there's a flip side: I think I mentioned some time ago about going to the funeral of a fiend who hadn't been near a church in decades (except, like a lot of us, for funerals and weddings), yet the preacher declared that his goodness was a direct product of his Christianity. There are many things that atheists do worse that believers (we're a bit rubbish when it comes to engendering community spirit, for example), but I'm not having it that the human race has to have religion in order to be good. So that sort of claim, the one about my friend, is very likely to blow back in religion's face when things go pear-shaped apropos of abuse. And deservedly so in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 09:50 AM

He absolutely wasn't a fiend! :-(


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: wysiwyg
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 09:57 AM

...why isn't the Cat'lic religion keeping up with "the times"...

Because one of its strongest beliefs is that the more things change the more they stay the same and the more important it is to remain faithful to (and apply) an ancient and designed-to-be-eternally- applicable "good"-- and to stand against it's being reinterpreted to fit temporary human ideas of its meaning.

The thought is that the faith is to be a bulwark IN those changing times, and to do that it must not be changed BY them. But since its stewards are mere humans, they (we) manage to frequently screw that up.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: John P
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 10:33 AM

Joe Offer: Somebody said churches shouldn't be involved in politics. I disagree. Should my powerful nun friend back down on her fierce defense of the homeless, just because she's a nun and religious people shouldn't do that? Should my boss the nun stop getting arrested for protesting against warfare and capital punishment? Must I quit my association with an interfaith group that is campaigning for more humane treatment of releasees from our county jail?

Joe, these things are very different than the Church spending millions of dollars to enshrine bigotry in our laws or preaching against specific politicians from the pulpit. They are different than the Church bitching about having to follow our employment laws until they win and don't have to offer legally mandated health services to their employees. If they don't want to follow our employment laws, they should staff their hospitals and other businesses completely with volunteers. There is a big difference between moral advocacy (which anyone can do, for religious reasons or not) and making church doctrine into laws (which no one but the church is going to do). One of the lines, for me, is whether or not they are engaging in politics (as in buying politicians and paying for public initiatives) in order to take away other peoples' freedom. Another is using their official authority to coerce their members into making laws that follow the Church's religious doctrine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 10:52 AM

A problem seldom addressed is that of hammering the institution and not the individuals who commit crimes while under that institution's protective umbrella.

Cops commit crimes: breaches of their orders to protect and to serve, assaults, acceptance of payoffs, lies under oath, etc. When the individuals are found out, the institution of 'policedom' or 'law enforcement-dom' closes ranks to shield the individuals because it reflects badly on the departments, and conduct unbecoming (to greater or lesser extents) is swept under rugs to be seen or heard of no more. But it is remembered. We compound that injustice by then saying "Cops are bad" or "Law doesn't work", and despite the crass generalization, it begins to colour our perceptions of all cops, everywhere.

(Until about 1930, most if not all Protestant churches had birth control views very much like those of the Catholic church--read Rome/Vatican today. The Anglicans rethought the issue and soon after most if not all Protestant denominations did the same.)

The problem is that institutions compound the offences done by individuals by protecting them. We see this occur in the military, government, police forces, professions, and churches. Sloppy thinking got us into this mess. Further sloppy thinking won't get us out.

When the US Army had to deal with drug use in Vietnam combat units--war and recreational drugs do not go well together--it did. I think the process took about 15 years and finally it was more or less stamped out. No, not completely, but the magnitude of the problem in Vietnam which infected discipline and behaviours in the post-war army was lessened a great deal and a more effective army was the result. They gave out pink slips, options of court martial or resignation--in essence, dealt with the offenders and subsequently the problem. Had the military structure continued to 'allow' the problem to occur the military would have the same situation today that is being experienced by the Vatican and its role in denying that a problem exists. Either deal with it internally or eventually remarks such as those that surfaced after the Chicago police riots in 1968 will be accepted more readily: 'Too bad it takes 10,000 bad cops to ruin the reputation of one good cop' and it will have to be dealt with by institutions that dispense what serves as justice these days.

An ignorant population is much easier to fool, but today the internet makes what you ate for breakfast everybody's business. Organized religions have to clean up their act, and that means getting rid of bad priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, popes, foolish encyclicals and dirt within the organization. Until that happens, it will continue to be business as usual and SSDD.

(Just a few general thoughts not aimed at anyone in particular.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 11:13 AM

Joe... you said (late last night or early this morning Mudcat time):

"Somebody said churches shouldn't be involved in politics. I disagree." And the Constitution also disagrees.

Knowing you, and reading the rest of the paragraph, I understand what you are getting at - but I must take issue with the phrasing. I would say that it is perfectly fine, in theory,for religious people to involved in politics, but the logical extension of that is that any off-the-wall fundamentalist with the most extreme views can 'be involved'. Obviously, in the USA, that IS how it works. (Pat Robertson once ran for president.) What is not advisable is for them to do it in the name of their church. Is this nit-picking your statement? Perhaps- but I think it's an important concern.

The nun in Sacramento or your boss the nun.... or you.. who have valuable contributions to make to society, should not be constrained or ignored because they are known to be religious, but I always hope that their message and their goals will be couched in a manner that says "this is a good thing to do as humans", not simply because Jesus said so, or because the Bible has a verse about it.
I know this sounds a bit tediously pedantic, but far too many foolish ideas are promulgated when churches -as churches- become politically involved. There is of course no way to easily restrain the more extreme elements from using their church affiliation to affect political ends, but I'd hope that your 'boss the nun' doesn't pursue her goals in the name of the church, but only as a citizen who happens to be a nun.

( I think I need 12 more paragraphs to expand all that and include all the disclaimers and corollaries, but I'll spare you)


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 11:15 AM

(and I see 2 more responses in a similar vein while I was composing)


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Ed T
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 11:18 AM

An interesting perspective 999.

An additional thought, where wrong deeds are significant in number (and occur over time) in any organization, there are likely those who played some part in it that were promoted to high positions in that organization. Quite often, these individuals play a role in ensuring that the issues are not addressed in a manner that will reflect on them individually.

Is it logical to rule out a factor that some percentage of those people (those that offended, or enabled it to happen and continue) have not been promoted to high positions within the RC church? I would expect that the percentage would increase where the time period is significant and the turn over of staff is low (induviduals serve to old age). Regardless of the standing of the organization (cops, military, and even religious groups), it is not normal in human nature to desire to be found out and held to account.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,BrendanB
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 11:27 AM

John P, please correct me if I have misread your post but you seem to be equating involvement in politics with corruption. You are absolutely right to condemn the buying of influence, but one can engage with the democratic process in a perfectly legal and moral way. I would argue that, because religions are all about people, they have a duty to get involved in politics.
As regards the point of Catholicism I suppose the basic answer is that, as with other religions, people find a need for it. One could argue that such a need is rooted in self delusion, indoctrination or whatever but there are over a billion Catholics and I remain to be convinced that they are all in some way deluded.
The church has been around for a long time and I am not in a position to say whether the world is better or worse for its existence. I do know that most Catholics of my acquaintance make a positive contribution to their communities. I also know people who have no faith and make equally valuable contributions. I am not sure what one can draw from that. It could be argued that if all people lived their lives in genuine accord with gospel values and never offended against those values the world would be a much better place, but we are all fallible and that's never going to happen.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 12:14 PM

A problem seldom addressed is that of hammering the institution and not the individuals who commit crimes while under that institution's protective umbrella.

You've sort of answered your own question. It seems to me that, in the case of child abuse by priests and nuns, there is insufficient sanction imposed on both individuals and institution. If the activities are institutionally-entrenched (for example by hiding or protecting miscreants, or denying the existence of wrongdoing by the authorities), that will serve to perpetuate the wrongdoing. It will just carry on. Not enough wrongdoers, or people in authority, are being properly brought to book Just being allowed to quietly step down, or be moved to a distant parish, is woeful. There are priests around who have been moved in that way who, in any other walk of life, would be festering in jail. I heard the Scottish ex-cardinal described as "brave" by his colleagues. What they should have said that he was lying abuser who had serially misused his powerful position to exploit the vulnerable. Brave my arse. He got found out, decades after his offences, otherwise he'd be in Rome right now voting for a new pope. You can fondle little boys for decades and probably still get away with it. So this will go on and on. Surely there comes a point when a very large and influential body such as the Catholic church must be held to account in a major public enquiry. Internal corrections are proving to be not enough. There is institutional failure on a large scale. When this happened apropos of racism among police officers in London's Metropolitan Police, the organisation was required, under public scrutiny, to put its house in order. There has been good progress as a result (though we still have to go all the way). Until the Church is obliged to accept detailed public scrutiny of all its dealings, including financial, this problem will persist. There is too much secrecy and too much denial going on. You deny, deny and deny until you get found out. I can't think of anything more rotten than that in an organisation that claims to be teaching Jesus's message.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 12:54 PM

While I agree with the main thrust of your argument Steve I would point out that the Scottish Cardinal has not been accused of anything illegal. The complaints against him are of lewd and offensive behaviour towards priests. Reprehensible certainly, and who knows what may yet come to light, but recognising your forensic desire for accuracy I did not feel that we should overstate the case.
On the general question of individual/institutional responsibility I believe you are absolutely right, but we see institutions other than the Catholic church failing to answer for serious wrongdoing - recent scandals in the NHS for example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 01:25 PM

Well, Guest (who are you?) I didn't want to overstate the case, not imply that he broke the law (though it's not inconceivable that he did, but let's not go there) it was the sheer long-standing dishonesty I was railing against in that instance, in contrast to the "bravery" his colleagues endowed him with.

Yes the NHS has a lot of questions to answer. There is a slight difference in that the problems are not necessarily all-pervading. They seem to be regional problems of culture arising from lousy management. That isn't to say that I want to defend or minimise in any way what goes on. There is still much fabulous work done by the NHS. Subjectively, I've endured a number of health issues in recent years and I have been dealt with unfailingly superbly by the NHS down yer in the Westcountry. I'd also point out that when things do go wrong in the NHS they are exposed and fully aired in public. You can't get away with the brand of constant hiding and denying that is, arguably, the most dismal aspect of the Catholic church at present.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 01:27 PM

Sorry, I appear to have not proofread that first paragraph. Shameful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Ed T
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 01:29 PM

The child sex abuse scandal is not the only issue the RC chruch organization has to deal with. But, since it is significant, is not over and has not been dealt with properly with the organization, it will continue to publically brand (and dog) the RC church into the future.

Has the RC church organization clearly demonstrated that it have learned from their past mistakes? If no, here is advice for the next pope from one of the many abused:How the next pope can begin real change


Below are some examples (from the very many media reports) that indicate that many in the RC church still do not "get it" and continue down the path of denial, blaming the victims, using a variety of non-related situations to dillute the depth and impact of these crimes and "face up" to the true situation. These include approaches such as - blaming and demonizing the victims for the abuse, blaming the victims for profiting from the abuse (and resulting costs to parishes), making yourself seem the victim, claiming it meets some type of industry standard for child abuse, putting the blame on societies norms at the time, itself,claiming that it was in the past and recified, claiming it was already dealt with (when a few press statements/appologies does not make it so).   

The priest-abuser is the victim


Blame a permissive society


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 01:47 PM

That's right. That's why I say that the Church must be publicly held to account in all its dealings. If we must have organised religions let's at least have respectable ones. It's happened here with the tabloid press, the police in London, MPs' expenses and the NHS. All the dirty linen must be public.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Amos
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 01:54 PM

the Catholic Church has to get out of the business of compelling people to do stuff or not to do stuff.

Well there Joe, in his inimitable style of profound wisdom, has put it in a nutshell.

Spirituality--no matter what part of the forest it travels--cannot be compelled.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 02:43 PM

That's for sure, Amos. My guess, going on the basis of a few individual Catholics I have known over the years, is that there are a good many Catholics who don't allow the church to compell them to do anything they don't want to...and who in any case still find something quite valuable in belonging to that faith.

One thing I object to in our secular governments is that they very often set about compelling their citizens to do stuff...or not do stuff...and I'm not talking about the normal civil crimes here (such as theft, murder, slander, arson, assault, etc). I'm talking about when governments muzzle free speech, muzzle the press and mass media, arrest people merely on suspicion of some form of disloyalty, incarcerate people without trial or legal representation, etc...

Our so-called democratic governments have frequently done things like this, most often in wartime (whether or not the war has been legally declared, which they seldom are these days).

No one should be compelled to act against his own conscience nor be punished for having an independent opinion...either by religions OR by secular authorities.

I'm a lot more worried about authoritarian and unconstitutional stuff like the Patriot Act and the NDAA and offshore war prisons like Guantanamo and legalized government torture than I am by the various wellknown misdeeds of the Catholic church. Yes, all that dirty linen (both secular political AND secular financial AND religious) needs to be made public...like Steve said (although he was referring only to the church)...and if it was, there'd be hell to pay.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,BrendanB
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 02:43 PM

Sorry, the last guest posting addressed to Steve Shaw was me, I forgot (again) that my cookie has vanished into that great biscuit tin in the sky.
BrendanB


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Ed T
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 03:14 PM

Spirituality is a personal matter. IMO, no more needs to be said.

Believers in a creator are all products of that creator, with none holding higher positions - though some may succeed in making folks believe they do. There are good salesmen in every aspect of life.

Some may choose to reach out to others for guidance, wisdom and assistance,and for social connections. Nontheless, spiritiality remains personal.

When it comes to organized religion, like with other human structures, some are put together well to represent and continue to represent its members and humanity. However, others are less well structured and take another, more self-serving direction.

Does "buyer beware" have a place in religious discussion?


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 03:47 PM

"So, Jim, when did the earliest recorded case of non-clergy child abuse take place"
Not an issue, but a diversion.
The clerics who raped and physically assaulted (not forgetting the latest inquiry - used girls as slaves - I wonder if anybody heard the two ex Magdalene nuns on the radio this week describing their victims as prostitutes and scum of society and insisting they were doing a good job keeping the streets clean of such people, finishing their diatribe with "apologise - for what?") used the "fear of and respect for the collar" to rape children, they took advantage of their position.
Your reply is not unlike one given on another thread - that Israeli war crimes and massacres are excusable because there are worse such criminals elsewhere.   
Nowhere can I find here any reference to the role of the hierarchy from the Pope (Christ's vicar) down who lied and hid these crimes and passed the criminals on to continue ruining young lives - I take it you have heard of Brendan Smythe who blamed the 100 plus children he raped and said he was doing them a favour, or words to that effect.
We've had our arguments in the past but I really am surprised to find you a hard-line apologist for these crimes.
To defend them as you appear to be doing, with such flimsy and dishonest arguments..... oh dear!
The only good to have come from this sordid affair is that never again
will the church be trusted enough to be able to repeat these crimes. I'm left with the impression that many of you have not grasped yet the damage this has done to the church as well as the children whose lives they ruined.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 04:10 PM

"I would point out that the Scottish Cardinal has not been accused of anything illegal."

Do you know that for sure? It is not a police matter as such but we don't actually know what exactly he has been accused of and whether it would be or wouldn't be viewed as a crime. If though it was someone taking advantage of someone by sexual assault through his position of power then it would surely still be against the law even if the victims were male and over the age of consent and even if the matter hasn't been brought to the attention of the police? Though the main accusation against him is him being a hypocrite. He led the Catholic Church's assault against gay marriage in Scotland. A gay right's group gave him the title of Bigot Of The Year leading to the First Minister among others coming to his defence. He tried to deny consenting adults from formalising their relationships whilst he himself is accused of having a history of forcing his own sexual urges on unwilling young priests.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 04:32 PM

I do not believe that Joe was acting in any way as an apologist for the hideous behaviour of some clergy and religious - of which the Magdalen laundries were a particularly egregious example. I read his posting as a measured response to some previous postings which seemed to suggest that paedophilia was and is a peculiarly Catholic crime, which I do not believe it is. However, it has to be acknowledged that the abuse of their authority vested in them by the church makes their crimes particularly evil.
It is because of this that an increasing number of Catholics are calling for greater transparency and a severe simplification of the hierarchy in the church. It won't go as far as I want it to go, which is to sell the Vatican and all its treasures to various state owned museums (so that the art and treasures are publicly available) and use the money to support the poor and vulnerable. I am not even convinced that the Catholic church needs a pope, but then I'm a rubbish Catholic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,BrendanB
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 04:34 PM

Dammit! I did it again! That last guest posting was me.
BrendanB


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,BrendanB
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 04:46 PM

Yes Allan, as things stand that is what we know. As I pointed out in the same post we cannot know what may may come to light in the future, you may believe he is guilty of criminal activity, but until evidence is produced he is entitled to the same presumption of innocence as anyone else - unless you feel that being a senior cleric in the Catholic church is a crime in itself? There are those who would have some sympathy with that view.

BrendanB


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: John P
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 05:16 PM

BrendanB: John P, please correct me if I have misread your post but you seem to be equating involvement in politics with corruption.

Involvement, no. Buying politicians and laws, yes. But that's hardly something that religions are any more guilty of than any other large and wealthy organization. A religious organization that officially tries to get laws passed that are based on their religious beliefs is, I think, acting unconstitutionally. The Catholic Church (and others) should lose their tax-exempt status for doing so. Spending lots of money and using "moral" authority to make laws that codify bigotry, ignorance, poverty, and death is evil. The Catholic Church officially engages in this type of evil.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,BrendanB
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 05:43 PM

I utterly condemn any attempt to suborn the democratic process, but I cannot condemn any organization that uses the democratic process in a legal way to advance its own interests, surely that is what democracy is about. We press our case, present it to the electorate and accept their decision. Is there evidence that would hold sway in a court of law that the Catholic church has overstepped the mark in this area? Where can I find it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 05:53 PM

I'm just pointing out that someone not taking allegations to the police is not the same thing as there not having been a crime committed. I'm not saying he is guilty of an illegal act just that as we don't know what he's been accused of then we don't know if the accusations would amount to his breaking the law or not!


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Ed T
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 06:22 PM

As to tax exemptions for religeous grous:

""In an effort to stem massive debt accumulation, the Italian government made a historic change in 2013 tax code to boost revenue: the Roman Catholic Church will no longer be exempt from property taxes in Italy.""


Estimate- USA government loses $71.1 billion annually

USA Religious groups like tax exemptions - Are you surprised?

Religious groups say they operate ethically, no new laws needed


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Ed T
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 06:30 PM

Another perspective on religious group tax exemptions.

Church tax exemption-A USA Athest perspective


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,999
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 06:54 PM

I once lived in a city where there were churches on three of the corners and my place on the fourth corner. The tax people came to my door to collect tax money from me for the property. When I asked why the bill was so high I was told that because the other three corners were religious buildings used as places for people to pray and therefore they paid no tax, well, the money had to be made up somehow. I told one of the revenue agents to take his hand off my altar and the other to remove his hat in a house of worship then bid them goodbye.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Ed T
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 07:16 PM

Non-profit groups and charities have to file documents to qualify for a tax exemption in most countries. As far as I can determine, religious groups do not have to account for anything in most countries, regardless of the initiative - business or not , or how tyhe funds are used. That seems odd to me. (Anyone remember the lifestyle of Jim Bakker of the PTL - before he was found out, jailed for fraud, and IRS revoked the church's tax free status)?


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 08:40 PM

Just as 90% of everyone in jail is innocent and gun owners insist they need guns, we wouldn't expect churches to circulate petitions demanding to be taxed, would we?


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Mar 13 - 09:52 PM

You know, as an avowed atheist who would be deliriously happy if there were no religion in this world, I am very concerned about what is going on in the Catholic church. This is nothing to do with the fact that I was brought up Catholic, still less to do with any sense of schadenfreude. Millions of people adhere to the Catholic faith, I'm all for anyone adhering to whatever they want to adhere to, and I think they deserve a better deal (incidentally, it's rather quaint of Catholicism to claim a billion members. I wouldn't mind betting that me, my mum, my sister and my brother are all counted in that lot even though we are all most decidedly not Catholics any more!). That's the point really. I don't really care that much if an individual bishop has been up to no good. And if a bunch of priests have been misbehaving, well any self-respecting setup would clamp down on it immediately, not shove it under the carpet. Sadly, in trying (by lies and denial) to demonstrate that it is above human imperfection, the Church has actually shown that it is just as "down there" in the morass as the bankers and the landlords and the union-bashers and the pimps and the traffickers and the money-launderers. Show me a virtuous Catholic church and I'll show you an organisation that we atheists would have severe difficulty knocking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 12:26 AM

Well, as usual, I'm short of time on Sunday and Monday - but let me say this: I went to ten o'clock Sunday Mass at Galway Cathedral on Pentecost (May 27, 2012), just before I spent the afternoon with Martin Ryan.

I have to say, I was appalled by the Mass. There was no music, and there was no joy in the service. The church was about 1/3 full of people who mumbled their prayers, and the priest wasn't a whole lot better. I'd say that the sad state of that liturgy was probably a strong statement about the sad state of that congregation, and probably the sad state of the Diocese of Galway. No wonder people don't go to church in Ireland.

On my way back to my hotel, I went past St. Nicholas Collegiate Church (Church of Ireland/Anglican), and I could hear wonderful music as the 11 o'clock service was beginning. I went in and stayed almost an hour, and it was delightful. If I lived in Galway, I'd probably remain Catholic and do my damn best to liven up the cathedral congregation (I've been successful at that), but I'd also go to services at the Church of Ireland as often as I could (Martin Ryan says the canon at that church is unusual - and he's a folk musician). On the other hand, I visited several convents of the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland (I'm an associate member) - all of them were wonderful, and they fed us and fed us and fed us. That's not to deny the industrial schools and the participation of the nuns in the Magdalene Laundries, but those problems are gone now, and those cruel nuns are no longer alive or no longer in charge of young people.

And in my home parish in California, Sunday Mass is a lively, joyful celebration - with terrific music. That lively Mass enlivens the entire life of the congregation, and it's a joy to be there. I have a great time every Sunday morning, so good that I go to Mass twice every Sunday.

OK, so back to my idea of "benign neglect." It's how every organization operates. Policies that don't work are seldom rescinded, because that just stirs things up and gets the naysayers upset. What happens most of the time in most organizations, is that outdated policies are gradually forgotten, and might be rescinded after they've long passed from mind. No institution wants to be continually reminded that it has made bad decisions - better that those decisions just be forgotten, rather than fought about.

You know where I hear all the stuff about the Catholic Church sending people to hell for practicing birth control? It's from people who aren't Catholic. According to official Catholic teaching, no deed automatically sends a person to hell. I learned in third grade that it has to be a serious matter, done intentionally, and done knowing that it is seriously wrong. And if a person is later sorry for doing such a thing, it is forgiven - and that already-received divine forgiveness is formalized in the sacrament of reconciliation/penance/confession.

Now, all that is difficult to define in simplistic terms, so it often gets twisted. But in the Catholic Church, conscience reigns supreme. If you do the deed believing you're right, you're not guilty of sin.

Let me tell you why I think Catholic teachings on birth control and homosexuality are mostly in "benign neglect" - they're hardly ever talked about, and hardly ever written about. You'll find lots of recent Catholic documents on just treatment of workers and on the immorality of capital punishment and discrimination (against race, creed, color, sexual orientation, gender, and whatnot), and most warfare. You'll find a bit about homosexuality and even less about birth control in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (the compendium of official teaching), but really not much. Look what happened to Limbo - for fifty years, it was taught less and less, and then finally Benedict XVI said it was bad theology and that Limbo didn't exist. So, as a general principle, look at the amount written on an issue to see how important it is. You'll find that the various U.S. wars and the poverty widespread in the world, are far more important issues than homosexuality and birth control. Yes, there was a "fortnight of freedom" campaign waged by some bishops who opposed the Obamacare requirement that Catholic institutions provide contraceptives in employee insurance programs, but most American bishops didn't participate in the "fortnight" campaign.

As for child molestation - yes, it's still there and always will be there, but there are dramatically fewer occurrences. No bishop in his right mind nowadays, would defend a priest guilty of molesting a child - they got the message. In the United States, every diocese but Lincoln, Nebraska, adopted "no tolerance" policies regarding child molestation, and there is an extensive system of controls to ensure that priests other employees and volunteers do not molest children. These controls are not failsafe, and there will be offenses in the future; but the Catholic Church in the U.S. has made an extraordinary effort to enact preventive measures. Dioceses in other parts of the world are following suit. And Lincoln finally has a new bishop, and I expect that diocese will soon adopt a "no tolerance" policy.

Yes, bishops will still do their best to prevent bankruptcy and will be reluctant to pay million-dollar settlements, but denial of sexual abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church is now almost nonexistent.

No, the Catholic Church isn't perfect. In many places, particularly in Ireland, it's in really bad shape and need of reform. But when I go to church on Sunday, I know I'm in a good place. And still, I have fought all my life to right the many wrongs of the Catholic Church.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 12:51 AM

Jim Carroll, there's no question that Fr. Brendan Smyth was a horrible child molester, and nobody in the Irish Catholic Church will deny that nowadays. Let me remind you, however, that Smyth died in prison in 1997. I have no defense for what happened in the Catholic Church in Ireland fifteen years ago. It's all true.
Most of what I know about the Catholic Church in Ireland is through the Sisters of Mercy, since I'm an associate member of that order (which was founded in Dublin and has its headquarters there). I know that they had problems in the past, particularly in Ireland; but they're doing wonderful things now.

Jim, I know there's a lot of crap in the Catholic Church, and you have no idea how appalling that is to me. But this is my church, and I'm going to spend my life fighting the crap. I'm not ready to give my church over to those bastards.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 03:07 AM

Sorry Joe. I understand your point and wish you well in any crusade you may have in saving the good from the hands of the bad.

But they have the pointy hats white cloaks and red shoes. Not to mention the microphone when the media want a Catholic view on record.

Open question, and I sincerely would like to know this. Do you want to save your church from something it shouldn't be or turn it into something it isn't?


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 04:12 AM

Guest
"paedophilia was and is a peculiarly Catholic crime,"
Nobody has ever suggested that , and it would be insane for anyone to do so.
The fact that others outside the Catholic church commit similar crimes, and worse is totally irrelevant, yet it has become a convenient bolt-hole for those who would defend the church by defending, minimising or totally ignoring it's crimes.
At the time these revelations were coming to light, many of those in the church dealing with the cases showed, at best, extreme scepticism, but often utter contempt for the victims and witnesses, often treating them as liars, and even participators in their own violation.
Last week's radio broadcast of two nuns (conveniently referred to as "Nun X" and "Nun Y") who showed without doubt that many the church officers still regard the things that they did were done "for the good" of their victims and for society in general.
This attitude appears to go through much church thinking like "Blackpool" goes through rock.
The Vatican still refuses access to documents essential to giving the survivors of these crimes closure and to making sure that these events are never repeated; it does so by claiming church confidentiality or even State immunity.
Transfer this stance to schools or hospitals or youth clubs or scouting organisations, or anywhere where adults are given access to vulnerable children and young adults, and tell us that you would find it acceptable.
I have no religion, though many of my family have, yet I owe the church a great debt of gratitude.
They excommunicated my father, a devout practicing Catholic and talented Collegian in Liverpool's S.F.X College, for fighting in the wrong war in the 1930's (Spain). Thanks to this act of great charity (my father didn't think so at the time) my sisters and I never grew up under the influence of any religion and were able to come to our own conclusions about our lives and responsibilities.
My chosen home now is the West of Ireland, where my wife and I spent many hundreds of happy and fruitful hours learning about traditional music song and culture from wonderful, kind, gentle and welcoming old people whose generosity still makes me catch my breath - all of these, without exception, were practicing and in some cases devout Catholics.
I have no axe to grind with religion, but I do with a church that betrayed and still betrays the massive and unquestioning trust that was placed in its hands.
Afterthought - there is a likelihood that some of those presently electing a new pope will have been among those who, if not actively, certainly passively, a part of these awful events and their cover-up - the retired pope certainly was.
Joe;
"you have no idea how appalling that is to me"
And you appear to have no idea how deeply these arguments upset me.
I've never met you (nearly did once) but I've come to respect you and like you from afar via this forum.
I have no doubt that you find these events distressing, but I'm afraid I don't believe that the best way to deal with them is by reducing them to one, two, or even hundreds of abusive priests, or that to point at the crimes of others is any way to put right the massive wrongs that have been inflicted on faithful followers, down the ages, as it turns out.
Best wishes,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 04:21 AM

Joe, the reason folks don't go to church in Ireland is not because of the quality of the masses. You're missing the point. It's because the Church is out of touch with the daily lives and needs of its people. And that's because they have paid too much attention to running their own agenda and not enough to the realities and problems their followers have to live through and grapple with.

Their authority and wealth have protected them so much that they have not had to listen to anyone outside their own power base, thus they can't see from any perspective but their own highly insulated one. But life ain't like that for most of us. Hence the growing disconnect. (Someone above made the excellent point that having the internet means everyone can now communicate freely and in secret - and that's something they can't control. But the internet is only a medium. It would not cause problems if there were nothing to tell.) In the words of Don McLean:

They would not listen, they did not know how
Perhaps they'll listen now


> Let me tell you why I think Catholic teachings on birth control and homosexuality are mostly in "benign neglect" - they're hardly ever talked about, and hardly ever written about.

"Hardly ever talked about and hardly ever written about" is another way of saying they're shoved under the carpet. The. Ban. Is. Still. There. Can't you see how hypocritical that is?

If the fiat against contraception has not been explicitly revoked, then it's still a policy of the Church. Are followers supposed to decide which instructions to abide by and which they may break? If so, either the Church's directives are not binding but subject to individual choice (in which case, why make them?) or the powers that be are decreeing one thing but countenancing another, while looking in the opposite direction so they can claim "we didn't know". (Where have I heard that line before?) How is this approach not hypocritical, cowardly, and self-serving?

If the invisible subtext is that it's OK to break certain rules, how can one trust or respect ANY of them, if some are not meant to be upheld?

If the Church is going to impose external controls on human behaviour (or try to), they must say what they mean and mean what they say. Not pay lip-service while turning their eyes away. But it will require honesty and courage.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 04:57 AM

Agreed, Bonnie. The dismal Mass I attended in Galway was a symptom of the disease, not the disease itself.
But it sure made me think the Catholic Church in Ireland is very sick.

The Sisters of Mercy convents we visited in Ireland were wonderful, though. It seems they have dealt with their ills and moved to the right track.

I typed up a long response to your "pick and choose" remark, but it got lost. Let me remind you that according to traditional Catholic teaching, the conscience has primacy. Neoconservative Catholics take a far more legalistic view of their faith, but that's nonsense to me. Take what I said about "benign neglect" and apply it to other organizations you know. Isn't it the truth? Why shouldn't it also be true for churches?

Obedience to authority has no part in my religious faith. To me, authority in the church is meant to serve the people. Vatican II agrees with me.

Jim, nobody minimizes the crimes of child molestation in the Catholic Church any more - not even in Ireland or Rome. It's taken very seriously. Still, large portions of the church were not directly affected by the molestation, which was committed by some five percent of priests. To attempt to gain some sort of understanding of proportion, is not to minimalize the problem. It's just an attempt to get a realistic view. Even if the number were ten percent, that still leaves a huge percentage of priests who were not criminals.

And yes, one might expect a nun who worked in a Magdelene Laundry to rationalize what happened there. That's human nature. But the rest of us know what went on, and abhor it.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: mg
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 05:36 AM

this time between popes has been lovely. Some truth has emerged. More has been suppressed but people are not happy with that. I am surprised at how cynical so many of us are that there will be a fair election, that it won't be decided in advance, that these are honest and fair men..many undoubtedly are but who knows. You have a cardinal who mentions any reform about women or celibacy or whatever...slapped down. Yet one has gone on record somewhat supporting the kill the gays legislation in Uganda. Another has made bishops in us read nasty homophobic letters to us and tried to interfere with american elections..no slapdowns...supposedly there is more to come out of vatileaks if certain cardinals should be elected. why would a retiring pope with his dossier about scandals in the vatican not allow it to be read by all the voting cardinals? Surely you want to know who is mentionedin it.

We have two or a few days to get everything we can out in the open. Name names, good and bad. they are googling.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 05:57 AM

> Take what I said about "benign neglect" and apply it to other organizations you know. Isn't it the truth? Why shouldn't it also be true for churches?

No, it is *not* the truth. When secular bodies try it, we have rights and votes and unions and avenues of protest to deal with it. And it "should" not be true for any of them.

"Benign neglect" of an outdated and restrictive ruling - especially such a powerful one - should not be tolerated in *any* institution. If an organisation - the Church, the government, big corporations, whoever - make a ruling of the sort of magnitude and control that the contraception ban has, then it needs to be accurate and up to date, or else CHANGED to reflect the current situation, or else abolished outright.

To leave a repressive law in force allows too much opportunity for inconsistency and corruption. 'Scuse the shouting but:

IF A BODY IS GOING TO WIELD POWER, AND BENEFIT/PROFIT FROM THAT POWER, THEY NEED TO BE RESPONSIBLE AND HONEST ABOUT HOW THEY ADMINISTER IT.

The minute it's open to "interpretation" IT CAN BE MISUSED. It's not good enough just to put a rule in force - especially one as important as birth control - and then ignore it when it suits you. It's hypocrisy. And it's corruptible.

Why do you believe it's so acceptable to leave the ban as it stands and just benignly Neglect it? Why do you not think it should be rescinded? The only thing I get from you is that turning a blind eye is somehow OK. For the life of me, I can't understand why you're making excuses for this untenable and obsolete ban.

Which is what you're doing when you advocate leaving it in force, either overtly or covertly (i.e. benign neglect).


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 06:10 AM

The only good Humanae Vitae did was to put explanations of contraception in the papers where it could be read by young people, particularly girls, to whom the information was not otherwise readily available at the time. I know, I was there.

H V was publicised and talked of as a ban, though, as far as the laity were concerned (in England) and no bloke understands (or ever could) the psychological damage done to a relationship by the perpetual fear of pregnancy in trying to adhere to it. Even when the calculations were possible it worked out as "if you want to, you can't" - to put it crudely.

Bonnie is right: the ban is still there and is presented as such.

Abortion was not a solution / available: it was presented, in any case, as an unforgivable sin which needed clearance from a bishop to get absolution from.
Abstinence was the only option, and that, for the majority of normal healthy human beings (I generalise!!) is no way to conduct a married relationship. The results could be disastrous, and echo down the years over several generations, I suspect.

Paws

PS The New Testament should start: "there was this ordinary bloke, who had some really good ideas - see what you think".

Personally I blame Constantine. Once it became a state religion, the party was over.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 06:16 AM

PS to my above rant: The Church leaders may benignly neglect the contraceptive ban, but many, many of their followers feel that as long as it's in force, they cannot. Whatever the party line in Rome is, it still wields a lot of power outside the hallowed precinct. Trust me on that. That's why their stance is so pernicious.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Ed T
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 06:52 AM

Rather than look at the priests, let's look at the victims. If 5 to 10 % ofpriests abused 5 to 10 children a year over a career of 30 years, globally, that would be a huge number of children sexualy abused.

Below is a link to a related calculator:Molesting calculator


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 07:14 AM

From today's newspaper:
A survey has found that over 50% of primary school teachers in Ireland do not want to teach religion - speaks for itself
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: John P
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 08:04 AM

Joe, if the church leaders are benignly neglecting the ban on birth control, then why are they refusing to cover birth control in their health insurance policies for their employees? I don't care even a little bit about what they actually believe, I don't care what their adherents do and don't do. I only care about it when they try to impose their religion on other people. Refusing to comply with our employment laws is forcing their religion on their employees. Or having a religious test in order to become employed, take your pick. They may be practicing benign neglect in the day to day lives of their flock, but they are NOT doing so when it comes to making (or breaking) our laws. So -- no, they don't get a pass on this. They are acting in unconstitutional and unethical ways.

It's really kind of dumb -- they are asking the rest of us to enforce a policy that they can't even get their membership to go along with.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 08:28 AM

A survey has found that over 50% of primary school teachers in Ireland do not want to teach religion - speaks for itself

Certainly when bearing in mind 92% of National (primary) schools in the country are owned and run by the RC church.


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Subject: RE: BS: Catholic religion response to 'today'
From: BrendanB
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 09:18 AM

John P, your point about Catholic employers and employee health insurance is very interesting. It is, I think, a particularly American problem as in the UK the NHS obviates the need for such insurance.
You say that Catholic employers are refusing to comply with employment law, have they been challenged in the courts regarding this? As for passing a religious test (unless the job specifically requires a significant grasp of religion) that sounds rather like Sharia law.
I did a course on religion with the OU a couple of years ago. The tutor was very good, and an atheist. Makes you think.


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