Thursday, August 18, 2011

Catholic Crimes of THIS Century

I have been reading an interesting book about the remarkable pope, Pope John Paul II, born Carl Voitawa (Karol Wojtyla), and his life & times. This man burst on the international scene way back in the 70s, and caused many hopeful waves - at first. There was hope of some peace between the absurd feuding factions of religiosity, and even between religious people in general and the rest of the world.

Yet events and dirty old reality have combined with Catholic dogmatics and illogic to dampen most all of the hope John Paul II had kindled in this sad old world. This is true in areas of Ecumenism, of inter-faith toleration and respect, and in intra-church areas, such as the role of women and so on. The greatest dismay comes from the most unexpected areas - one now common knowledge, and the other still largely ignored: (i) The bumbling, embarrassed cover-ups, secrecy and priest-shiftings that enabled for so many years the sexual abuse of kids within the Church; and (ii) The rape and sexual abuse of nuns by the African clergy, a less-reported nightmare that has been going on for many years, too.

This second crime-wave is, I feel, even more disturbing than the first. It is mostly occurs (to my knowledge) in Africa, arising not only out of male needs and African sexual mores, but also out of the African AIDS epidemic. Fearful of satisfying their natural but illicit sex desires with prostitutes, a group at high risk for contracting the fearful virus, Catholic priests - Priests! - have apparently taken to bullying nuns into this role. It is an astounding and under-reported crime wave.

For a priest to break his celibate vows is one thing; but to compound that sin by rape is another. For while a "simple" rape of a woman by a priest, however managed, is crime enough, it is still a worse crime that a dedicated religious person, who keeps a sacrament of remaining chaste in accord with her calling, off all people, should be violated - it is more than indignity and trauma, it is betrayal and crime. And yet, beyond this, not only is that woman vicitimized and her religious vocation sullied, but if pregnancy ensues, the poor victim must be punished by being completely cast out of her vocation.

But it does not end there. Add to this the horror of an AIDS epidemic running like wildfire through Africa, and foolish people - including apparently many in the African clergy - embracing an appalling, superstitious folk-fallacy that sex with a virgin somehow "cures" AIDS! Now female religious orders are turned into prime targets for rape, living "morning after pills" for priests' ill-advised sexual dalliances! Worse still, horribile dictu, the poor victim by then is then infected - in effect, given a death sentence - while the ignorant arrogant perpetrator goes off in the mistaken belief that he no longer has the AIDS virus! An unbelievable horror that the Holy See had, at the time of the book's writing, completely and utterly refused to respond to.

This is not the Church that I believed existed in the Roman Catholic world. The foolish and constipated sanctioning of such hideous crimes by the Catholic hierarchy, by the current Pope, and by that appealing old man, now passed on, Pope John Paul II himself, has fouled those waters that I had hoped still possessed some sense of mercy, and order, and decency. I have read this from one book, and have yet to catch up on the status of these problems as of 2011, but I have a feeling that even now little has been done, whether to castigate the wicked, educate the fools, or to purge the priestly ranks.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Atheists' Squabbling

On FB, my friend and polar opposite Annia Marcella, Heathen and Anglo-Saxon Deity worshipper, commented on an atheist's FB post about his girlfriend's little ordeal of explaining her atheism to a meeting of Christians. But the 'discussion' degenerated into a squabble over language. Annia's detractors were zealous and egotistical and relentless, on a couple of points. (1) Annia, a pagan, refuses to abide by the label 'pagan', claming 'heathen' as the proper label for a practicer of the neo-Germanic religio she embraces. The original poster, Thomas, pointed out - correctly but a bit belligerently - that pagan and heathen are synonyms. Annia grew irate, insisting that her group owned the label 'heathen'. Later, (2) another atheist zealot kept attacking her for the fact that she even entertained the notion of deity, saying that anyone who even allows the possibility is deluding him or her self and is an idiot. At some point she alienated a woman who was initially welcoming such that (3) the woman began calling Annia a bigot!

Re (1), both belligerents should have acknowledged that they were speaking at cross-purposes - Thomas was right on grounds of English etymology and general usage of the word 'heathen'; but Annia's claim was correct in the context of her group, that for her & her friends Heathen was an identity marker. All this could so easily have been cleared up by acknowledging that 'heathen' was the general noun (equal to 'pagan') but that 'Heathen' (initial cap'd) was a proper noun, proper to Annia and her co-relgionists. But no one looked for any resolution other than simply being Right and Numero Uno.

Re (2), the arrogance of the "rationalist" attacker was his weak point, yet I don't believe she ever attacked it: both of them were so intent each on his or her own absolute and exclusive claim on the truth, that they could not even discuss questions of knowledge - it was that same old "right or wrong", no room for discussion, "I win!" mentality.

Re (3), I'm not sure where that went wrong, but after civil overtures from the other woman, they ended up on the far side of the thread denouncing each other over who and what language they should use to post in, Annia making jingo-istic demands that the woman (of Latin language heritage) needed to learn English and being denounced in turn as a bigot.

At each turn of discourse, Annia & her detractors never missed a chance to stoke the fires of ignorance; these people went on and on; in the end, there were in excess of 400 comments on that thread! Instead of trying to understand what was going on in the mechanics of their foolish argument, each sought to win by sheer insistence. It's amazing - the hunger people have for strife and domination, their inflexible faith in their own infallibility, and their over-copious contempt for everyone else. It's amazing - but it seems to be very, very much the norm.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ah, "the Great Communicator"

A nice, concise expression of something we should remember about the American Right's favorite actor-politican:
In 1981, through his brutal and vicious budget cuts, Ronald Reagan inaugurated mass homelessness in this country on a scale never before seen since the Great Depression.

People forget that it was he who turned the crazies loose on the street, and not the "Liberals".
Reagan ... used to refer to them as “urban campers.” They were [Reagan believed] like fucking lazy hippies; they were dropouts who wanted to be free of all responsibilities, like reporting for work in the morning, and they were sleeping on the sidewalk every night out of choice. Which is utter bullshit. The majority of the homeless are mental patients who got kicked out of the hospital because of budget cuts, and they should be housed in an institution and given medication. The rest are members of the middle and working classes who slipped through the cracks. By the way, did you make your last credit card payment? Living paycheck to paycheck like most of the country?

These are asides from an essay on Bartleby the Scrivenor by Wolcott Wheeler.

Sol Invictus vs. MurderFreak ?!?

I follow a page on Sol Invictus, due to my mythic Sun fetish, and am always shocked by the page author's online moniker - "Murder Freak". Not exactly what one would expect, name-wise, for a Worshiper of the Eye of God! Egads. Still, whatever, this is the earth, chaos is the rule.

Utu-Shamash-Helios-Sol Invictus: Our nearest unitary equivalent of God, the Sun that makes life abound.

And, in case MurderFreak is reading this, don't mind me - I'm old school, name-wise, and I do thank you for your Sol Invictus page.