Monday, April 26, 2010

What If The Vatican Actually Man-Upped

It’s a 20-1 longshot, but what if Pope Ratz and the weasel-y College of Cardinals together with the clueless sycophantic curia actually wanted to cleanse themselves of their self-protective, corrupt and perverted ways? What would they have to do? Well, now that Bishops are resigning all over the world and admitting they molested little boys during their entire career as priests (not to mention, some of them are admitting they beat the crap out of young children—Pope Ratz’s brother, Monsignor Ratzinger was one of those sterling gentlemen who slapped kids around in his choir); and now that adult males are finally able to be believed when they say priests molested them when they were little boys, it’s small comfort for the molested and no solution whatsoever for the Vatican to say it belatedly plans to investigate all molestation charges with speed and transparency. And the reason that the Vatican’s assurances are no solution is because the question that still hangs in the air like the stink from a rotting corpse is this: Why have thousands of pedophiles found a welcoming home in the Roman Catholic priesthood for centuries? And the answer is that pedophiles have been attracted to the Roman Catholic priesthood because it’s a men-only club where they have been able to find a never-ending supply of little boys and where they have been protected and their perversion has been kept secret by their fellow priests. The fact that the RCC says it will vigorously investigate claims of pedophilia does not solve the problem because little-boy molesters are going to continue to gravitate to the Roman Catholic Church. And we cannot trust the Vatican to do what it says it’s going to do because the Vatican has been putting a fox in the chicken coop to rid the chicken coop of foxes for 1500 years. So what does the Vatican have to do? Stop being an all-men club a) Let priests marry b) Allow women to serve at the altar And what will happen to the Roman Catholic Church if it doesn’t make changes and reform itself? Outwardly, the RCC will seem to be exactly the same as it is now. Except that no mother in any diocese in any place in the world will be able to trust her little children with any priest. And that is such a big deal, the Vatican and the Catholic Church may crumble under the weight of it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

History Replaying Itself

No one wants the Roman Catholic Church to go out of business. Least of all me. And people who are thinking of leaving the Catholic Church because of the ugliness and abuses that are coming to light should seriously rethink the thought. In any case, 90% of the people who are walking out will walk back in within a short period of time. If you have been born and raised in a strong religion, associate it with beauty, peace and love, and it’s your connection to God, anything else will seem bogus and weak. It’s interesting that what the RCC most needs right now is what Judaism most needed 2000 years ago: Change and reform. Jesus Christ never wanted to start a new religion. But he was very upset about what was going on in his religion. He wanted Judaism to reform itself so that it might once again be a connection to the one God and be the source of all things holy and moral. It was the intransigence of the Jewish leaders, their fear of change and their defense of corrupted values at the time of Christ that made a break with Judaism seem attractive to the people who had heard Jesus speak. It’s hard to say what would have occurred had the Jewish leaders either ignored Jesus and the early Christians, or at least admitted that Judaism needed an overhaul. It’s inconceivable that Pope Ratz and the College of Cardinals would come out with one voice and say, “Yes, it’s true. We’ve gotten on the wrong track and we’re going to change things.” But that is what should happen. But then, the Pope and the Vatican would need to actually make good on their confession and move toward instituting monumental changes in the Roman Catholic Church. And neither the leaders of the RCC in the Vatican nor Pope Benedict XVI have the moral fiber, the honesty, the understanding of Christian values or the reverence for God to want to remold the Roman Catholic Church in the image of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Open Letter to Al Pacino

Yo, Al. Back in 1996, I interviewed you for “The Ritz Guide”. We talked about your just-released “Looking For Richard”—a documentary about putting Shakespeare’s “Richard III” on film. I asked about your future plans. You said, "Well, you just sort of bring the body and the mind will go to the next assignment. It' s funny. There are two worlds. There' s the world where you have an idea and then there's the workaday world where you're into the next job. And you need both. The job helps you learn a craft. And the idea only comes rarely, but when it does come you have the craft to act on it." The article’s tag line was: “But specifically. Since he's 56, how about King Lear?" You answered: "Hmmmm. Well, yeah. I day. Now that you mention it. Why not?" So Al, what better time than now? Your HBO movie, “You Don’t Know Jack”--the Dr. Kevorkian story--premieres on April 24th. You are now about doing “King Lear”?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Giving the Pope Power He Doesn’t Have

Although I’m not a Roman Catholic, I too invest Pope Ratz with power that isn’t his to have. The RCC followers have let the Vatican bully them into believing the Pope speaks for God, which he doesn’t, and that he knows the mind of God, which he can’t. Still, I too have let the Pope and the Vatican influence my beliefs about what I think they are capable of. On Monday, Pope Ratz met with 46 cardinals to mark the fifth anniversary of his election to popedom. According to the front page of the Vatican newspaper, “L’Osservatore Romano” the pope said he “very strongly feels that he is not alone; that he has on his side the entire College of Cardinals, sharing with him tribulations and consolations.” I really had to laugh. Because by me, that's as close to a Godfather threat as I’ve heard save from a movie about wiseguys. Vatican-watcher Marco Politi said that the curia (administrative arm of the Vatican) had not been very helpful to Pope Ratz during his recent tribulations. Well, that is surely true. Every step those clowns take to alleviate Ratz’s problems have only added to his problems. They are totally inept soldiers in the And Ratz may or may not deal with them in appropriate Ratzian manner. But the College of Cardinals, that’s something else again. The New York Times reported this morning that the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Soldano, speaking after the Monday lunch thanked the pope for leading the church “with great generosity.” Heh-heh! far...but look out guys...his Popeness has just said, “If I go down, you go down.” But then, maybe I’ve given Ratz too much power.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pope Goes to Malta and Tells a Huge Lie

So, there’s this tiny island between Sicily and North Africa called Malta where, it is said, St. Paul was shipwrecked. And Pope Ratz went to Malta this past Saturday to celebrate the 1,950th anniversary of St. Paul’s shipwreck. And while there, Pope Ratz decided to have a meet-and-greet with pedophile abuse victims. Get this, on this tiny...I mean TINY island there were 10 men who in 2003 had filed a suit against four pedophile priests--ten from this little island alone. The Vatican is at pains to say that this is not precedent setting. Like, don’t expect Ratz to meet with pedophile victims in every country he visits. And also, the Vatican said the meeting is more “symbolic” than “legal”. So, getting that straight right off the bat, the Pope made it clear that he is in no way legally liable for anything. And then he gave the ten abused men 20 minutes of his valuable time, during which Pope Ratz “prayed with them and assured them that the church is doing, and will continue to do, all in its power to investigate allegations, to bring to justice those responsible for abuse and to implement effective measures designed to safeguard young people in the future.” What nonsense! And what an enormous lie! The church is doing all it can now to deny all the allegations and, it did all it could in the past to shield those who are responsible and to put young people in jeopardy. As the spokesman for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) Peter Isely noted, it’s “astonishing” Benedict said the Vatican was doing “all in its power to investigate hurts and endangers kids when adults confuse inaction with action and recklessness with’s wrong, when thousands are being molested, to just make vague promises.” It’s also wrong for the Pope to blatantly lie. But popes and the Vatican have been doing it for so long that no one notices anymore.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pope Doesn’t Get it, and Never Will

He can’t. Pope Ratz thinks he’s God. When many victims of priest pedophiles finally talk as adults about their molestation, they say they thought the priest was God and that if they didn’t do what God said, they’d go to Hell. The Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church are at pains to explain that priests are never to give this impression. That, of course, a priest is simply a conduit. At the same time, these churches will say that no matter how depraved and morally bereft a priest may be, his or her behavior does not taint the sacrament he or she is conferring on a recipient. Now that the RCC is under scrutiny because it is finally coming out that priests have been molesting children for the last 1500 years, it cannot be ignored that one of the Vatican’s problems is the very fact that many men in the RCC God business have taken on the role of not representing God, but of implying they are God. Else, how can it be explained that Pope Benedict, even now, is making speeches about how everyone (except himself) in the Roman Catholic Church should repent of their woeful sins. Repent and do penance he said yesterday. But how about the sins that Archbishop Ratzinger, Cardinal Ratzinger and now Pope Ratz have committed by willfully and cynically allowing priests to continue molesting children while Ratz let it happen? Not only are the Pope’s men saying Ratzinger never did anything wrong. They are implying that of course he couldn’t do wrong because a Pope is God’s clone. And, as of yesterday, the Pope’s men said that if wrong was committed, it was because homosexuals in the church had slipped into being pedophiles. And we know that a cause celebre of Pope Ratz has been to oust all gay persons from his men’s club. Also yesterday, Vatican reporter Sandro Magiste said of Pope Ratz: “He is trying to explain to the church and to the bishops and the clergy, many of whom are unfortunately of low quality, even morally, that they should transform themselves...he (Pope Ratz) knows the church needs to be reborn.” Right. Everyone needs to repent, do penance, be reborn, except God Ratz. Ratz said in his homily yesterday that there is a need for “obedience to God”. That is, obedience to God Ratz who says the God whom he has become wants all women who are sexually active to have a baby every year of their reproductive lives, wants children to keep mum about priests who rape them, wants homosexuals to get out of the church or at least keep mum about being gay, and calls conformism a sin except when conforming to Vatican Rules In other words, if God were a corporeal being, he would not be Jesus Christ, he would be the Pope. What we have here, God Ratz says of the pedophile scandal, is not a failure of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church to communicate. And it’s not a moral breakdown of the Pope, the Curia and the College of Cardinals. Nor is it a body of delusional men carrying on like grandiose pscyhopaths. What we have here, God Ratz says, “is a crisis of faith”.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Vatican Rule: Women and Children Last

The good part about the pedophile scandal rocketing through the Roman Catholic Church is that it has forced the world to take a look at the way the oldest men’s club has been operating for the last 1500 years. And what we see is that the most salient characteristic of the men who inhabit the Vatican—the College of Cardinals, the Curia and the Popes—is that nothing is or ever has been more important to this collection of self-serving, egomaniacal Chief Executive Officers parading as religious men than to keep their men-only club operating. When you consider that the reason for organizing a religion called Christianity was to venerate the second person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ the Son. And when you consider that since the time of Constantine, Christ’s mother Mary has been as important a person in the Christian Church as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And when you consider that the first people who had the fortitude and courage to seek out Jesus in his tomb after his crucifixion were the women who were Jesus’ disciples, it passes strange that the Roman Catholic Church not only demeans women, but it looks on sons and all children as being of lesser importance than perverts, and of no importance whatsoever where maintaining the existence of the Roman Catholic men’s club is concerned. It is appalling to think that this pope, in only one of many instances, waited more than three years to respond to a request to defrock a priest who had molested children in California, saying that “the good of the Universal Church” needed to be considered. What Pope Ratz has been preaching for decades is that the existence of his job and his men’s club is more important than the women and children who worship God in the Roman Catholic Church. And Pope Ratz and his cronies fully intend to continue making rules on subjects they know nothing about, such as human sexuality and raising children, for everyone in the world, because their arbitrary and unmerciful rules keeps their men’s club flourishing, and because they can. Here is the solution: Let these depraved men of the Vatican have their men’s club and their insular society. Let them have their palace and their little J. Arthur Rank farce nation, ruling cabinet, frocks, Prada shoes, gold chalices, encrusted rings and holy bling. Let them speak in tongues or Latin or however they want to chant their fraternity songs. And walk away. Leave these Vatican assholes rustling their papers like Joseph McCarthy when no one was listening to his HUAC nonsense anymore. Just walk away. Find other churches in which to worship God and Jesus and go about your lives.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Three Big Questions For the Vatican

A New York Times article reported today (“German Church Abuse Hotline Gets Flood of Calls”): “The Roman Catholic Church’s phone line for victims of sexual abuse in Germany was overwhelmed with calls last week.” Last week was the first week of the hotline’s operation and according to Andreas Zimmer, the director of the counseling center at the Diocese of Trier, which is handling the nationwide free line, 13,293 attempts were made to get through to the psychologists and social workers on the hotline. Question One Why are so many Roman Catholic Priests pedophiles? It seems obvious that the Vatican’s pro forma response that the same percentage of priests are pedophiles as obtains in the general population (1%-5% of the adult population) is untrue and that the percentage of pedophile priests in the priest population is way higher than 5%. Question Two Why are priests required to be celibate in the RCC? The pro forma response to this question has been that priests have to remain unmarried because Christ was unmarried and also, to devote themselves to serving God rather than being concerned with family matters. This answer is a conspicuous lie on two levels. First, having a family has not been a deterrent to serving God in other religions. And second, the RCC originated as a religion in which the priests were married. But it was found that having to deal with heirs to the church’s vast holdings and properties was a terrible problem for the hierarchy in the church. Church historical documents abound with rules and regulations about sexual relations between priests and their wives. As in, from 306 AD, a priest who has sex with his wife the night before mass will lose his job. In 580 AD, Pope Pelagius II said married priests were not to be “bothered”, as long as they did not hand over church property to wives or children. And never forget, there were eleven popes who were sons of popes. Granted, illegitimacy was the rule rather than the exception. Question Three Does the requirement for priests to be celibate cause deviants to be attracted to the Roman Catholic Church? Apparently 9th century bishop St. Ulrich thought so. A document shows that he argued that the only way to purify the church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry. (Incidentally, a 9th century document speaks to the problem of abortions and infanticides in convents and monasteries to cover-up activities of un-celibate clerics). All of this nonsense about church dogma being immutable is thrown in a cocked hat when you read church history. In 352 the Council of Laodicea ordered that women were not to be ordained. In 1095 Pope Urban II had priests’ wives sold into slavery and their children were abandoned. In the 14th century Bishop Pelagio complained that women were still being ordained and hearing confessions. Yes, the Vatican can change its mind, and it has consistently done so since the first pope reigned over the Vatican palace. The Vatican is still operating in the belief that church officials must keep esoteric knowledge from the populace because ordinary people don’t have the education or wisdom to understand it. Yes, I know, it is to laugh when you consider the level of stupidity governing the Vatican.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Dowd Hits Nail on Head Today

Once in awhile, New York Times Op/Ed columnist Maureen Dowd stops trying to be cute, funny and controversial and gets to the heart of the matter. This morning was one of those times. “I’m a Catholic woman who makes a living being adversarial,” she said. “We have a pope who has instructed Catholic women not to be adversarial...I’ve been wondering, given the vitriolic reaction of the New York archbishop to my column defending nuns and the dismissive reaction of the Vatican to my column denouncing the church’s response to the pedophilia scandal, if they are able to take a woman’s voice seriously. Some, like Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, seem to think women are trying to undermine the church because of abortion and women’s ordination...I thought they might respond better to a male Dowd. “My brother Kevin is conservative and devout — his hobby is collecting crèches — and has raised three good Catholic sons. When I asked him to share his thoughts on the scandal, I learned, shockingly, that we agreed on some things. He wrote the following: ‘In pedophilia, the church has unleashed upon itself a plague that threatens its very future, and yet it remains in a curious state of denial. The church I grew up in was black and white, no grays. That’s why my father, an Irish immigrant, liked it so much. The chaplain of the Police and Fire departments told me once “Your father was a fierce Catholic, very fierce”.’” Ms Dowd goes on to describe her feelings about Vatican II, (and, incidentally, her feelings about being molested by a priest). Vatican II made her wince, she says. “(It) liberalized rules but left the most outdated one: celibacy. That vow was put in place originally because the church did not want heirs making claims on money and land. But it ended up shrinking the priest pool and producing the wrong kind of candidates — drawing men confused about their sexuality who put our children in harm’s way. “The church is dying from a thousand cuts. Its cover-up has cost a fortune and been a betrayal worthy of Judas. The money spent came from social programs, Catholic schools and the poor. This should be a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance. I asked a friend of mine recently what he would do if his child was molested after the church knew. ‘I would probably kill someone,’ he replied. “We must reassess. Married priests and laypeople giving the sacraments are not going to destroy the church. Based on what we have seen the last 10 years, they would be a bargain. It is time to go back to the disciplines that the church was founded on and remind our seminaries and universities what they are. (Georgetown University agreeing to cover religious symbols on stage to get President Obama to speak was not exactly fierce.) “The storm within the church strikes at what every Catholic fears most. We take our religion on faith. How can we maintain that faith when our leaders are unworthy of it?” And therein lies a very big problem in the Vatican. How do you insist that people acknowledge their sins for the good of their souls; how do you insist that rigor in ones’ daily life and adhering to rules is the only way to live; how do you point to yourselves as the ultimate authority on Christian morality when you--the College of Cardinals and the Pope—refuse to acknowledge your culpability, shield yourselves from blame, point your fingers at victims as the cause of your predicament, tell lies every day, cower behind spurious reasoning, cast yourselves as sufferers, and cynically aid and abet criminals in the hollow claim that you are being forgiving? Not only is it not possible to keep the faith when leaders are false, but also, the leaders cannot remain in power. They can remain situated, but not in power.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Dowd to Vatican: “Ne Eas Ibi”—Don’t Go There

Specifically, in her Easter Sunday morning op/ed piece in the New York Times today, Maureen Dowd was referring to the Roman Catholic Church’s long-time history of anti-Semitism and the fact that The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, a preacher in the Pope’s household, told people in St. Peter’s Basilica yesterday that the current accusations against Pope Ratz of papal misdeeds were akin to the suffering of the Jews that lead to the Holocaust. The New Republic literary editor and Jewish scholar Leon Wieseltier couldn’t understand why the church would want to bring up anything about anti-Semitism. Dowd quoted Wieseltier: “Why would the Catholic Church wish to defend itself by referring to other enormities in which it was also implicated? Anyway, the Jews endured more than a bad press.” Dowd said, “this solidarity with Jews is also notable given that Italy’s La Repubblica reported that ‘certain Catholic circles’ suspected that ‘a New York Jewish lobby’ was responsible for the outcry against the pope.” Nevertheless, not to be outdone by Father Cantalamessa’s ill-chosen, ill-timed, clueless, inappropriate and inapt simile, this morning the dean of the College of Cardinals in the Vatican, Cardinal Angelo Sodano said during the Pope’s Easter message: ''Holy Father, on your side are the people of God, who do not allow themselves to be influenced by the petty gossip of the moment, by the trials which sometimes buffet the community of believers.'' In reporting on Easter Sunday in Vatican City, the New York Times said, “Sunday's edition of the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano denounced the accusations against the pope as a ‘vile defamation operation’.” One can only repeat the words that Special Counsel Joseph N. Welch said to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel Roy Cohn at the McCarthy Communist witch-hunt hearings, and direct it at The Vatican, the College of Cardinals and Pope Benedict XVI: “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Vatican: Criticism of Pope is Like Anti-Semitism

In the area of WRONG, one wonders how much more wrong the Vatican can get. First, the now-Pope from his position as Enforcer for Pope John Paul II and as the go-to guy in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which investigated abuse cases, was the one who ordered that abuse cases be kept secret. In addition to that, he was the one who moved pedophile priest Father Hullermann around from diocese to diocese in Germany and Bavaria, which allowed Hullermann to continue molesting little boys Then, when documents about Pope Ratz’s involvement in protecting pedophile priests were made public by the New York Times, the Vatican announced that the NYT was engaging in a vendetta against Pope Ratz. And now, on Good Friday if you please, Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa (a senior priest in the Vatican) speaking in St. Peter’s Basilica, said that all the criticism Pope Benedict XVI is receiving regarding his handling of pedophile priests in the Roman Catholic Church is like the anti-Semitism suffered by Jews. On top of all the deceit the Vatican is engaging in now to erase all the deceit the Vatican has perpetrated in the past, now the Vatican is saying that speaking out against its lying, deceit and calumny is like being anti-Semitic. UNBELIEVABLE! But, since Father Cantalamessa has committed this monumental error in judgment by bringing up anti-Semitism and the Roman Catholic Church, let us not forget folks, that Pope Pius XII not only did not rebuke the Nazi’s during the WWII, but he was known as a Nazi-sympathizer. And also, let us not forget folks, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that the Vatican finally said officially that Jews were not responsible for Christ’s crucifixion and got rid of the prayer in the liturgy calling for the conversion of Jews. It is hard to imagine how wrong the Vatican has always been. But since its track record is so abysmal, perhaps we can construct a rule-of-thumb. If the Vatican says it, it’s a lie.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

If the Vatican Told the Truth, Which It Doesn’t

But if the Vatican did deal in veracity about its own megalomania, it would say it is outraged that anyone would have the nerve to cast aspersions on the Pope. The Vatican has endowed the Pope with super powers because he is the successor to the first Pope, St. Peter. Which means all Popes, including the ones that murdered people, the ones that had wild gorilla sex in the Vatican and now this miserable excuse for a human being, Pope Benedict XVI, are above reproach. And that, in a nutshell, is the problem I have with the Vatican. Which, may I say, is the problem I have with many writers of the Bible who amended, redacted, changed and outright lied about their subject—they are dealing in fiction. Peter the Apostle, you know the one, the guy who denied Jesus three times in the Garden of Gethsemane, surely never knew he was the Bishop of Rome, much less a Pope. According to historians, Peter probably wasn’t even in Rome when the fiction writers declared he was the Bishop of Rome. And all this nonsense about Peter being the first Pope is based on the verse in Matthew (Chapter 16, Verse 18) where Jesus says to Peter, “On this rock will I build my church”. There are many conversations quoted in the Bible, which it’s doubtful Jesus ever had. And this is one of them. Jesus never had eyes to start a new religion. It was the people who came after him who wanted a new religion. And it’s the people who came long after Jesus who put words in his mouth that he probably never said. And the Vatican took it to insane heights claiming that since Jesus said he was going to build his church on his friend The Rock, (Petra/Peter means rock/stone), that meant Peter was the First Bishop of Rome, which made him the first Pope. Such nonsense! The first Bishop of Rome, whoever he was, was not a Pope. Early Christians didn’t call any one Big Papa until the second century AD. The Vatican will give you a list of “Popes” going back to Peter, which is totally impossible to verify. There may have been guys like Linus, Cletus and Clement who were big mahoffs in the early church, but they were not called Popes, they were not even called Bishops. Ugh! So, the Vatican is outraged that all the hundreds (probably THOUSANDS) of molested little children, and their families would DARE say anything against The Vatican and its residents because they are self-declared holy persons who are incapable of wrong-doing. And who is buying this latest fiction being sold by the Vatican? The guys in the Vatican are buying it. But the people who sit in the pews--the actual Body of Christ--are going to church, worshiping God and Jesus, and calling for Pope Ratz and his minions to stop the bullshit and fess up, or at least SHUT UP!