Southern Religion

Tories lose the first skirmish in the war against ‘Season’s Greetings’

British Tory Season's Greetings

Just two years have passed since British Tory leader David Cameron derided Christmas cards which fail to mention the word “Christmas” as “insulting tosh.”

Not long enough for memories to fade. When this year’s Conservative Party cards went on sale emblazoned exclusively with “Season’s Greetings,” pseudo uproar ensued. One Tory back-bencher deemed them “totally unacceptable.” Lost over the hill and through the woods in politically correct land, never reaching grandmother’s house.

The online Conservative Shop has since added some “Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” cards to its “Season’s Greetings” stock. Although none with any message show a religious Christmas picture. No Christ Child in a manger. No Star of Bethlehem. No wise journeying wise men or watchful shepherds. Instead, each has an outline of the Conservative oak tree logo, within which is either a robin or one of four snowscapes (yawn).

It seems the first skirmish in the war against “Season’s Greetings” ends with British Tories losing the high ground they held last year as the Christmas party.

November 27, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Politics, Satire | , , , , , | Comments Off on Tories lose the first skirmish in the war against ‘Season’s Greetings’

Investigate every Roman Catholic diocese in Ireland

Photo taken by me on 12 August 2009, of the memorial cross at Harold's Cross Park, Dublin, Ireland.Hohenloh + 19:55, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Harold’s Cross in Dublin

Victims of priestly pedophilia have responded to revelations of a decades-long cover-up in the Dublin Archdiocese with a call for expansion of the investigation to every diocese in Ireland.

Tragically predictable, the Irish Catholic Church pooh pooed the victims. Auxiliary Bishop Eamon Walsh of Dublin huffed to Ireland On-Line that further investigation would be a bootless distraction from “consolidating our services.”

It sounds like a habitual reaction — even one that is intended to mislead. Over a span of three decades, four successive archbishops of Dublin responded to clerical child sexual abuse in their diocese with “denial, arrogance and cover-up.” Similarly, the Vatican refused to cooperate with the Murphy Commission investigation of a sample of 46 Dublin Archdiocese priests out of 102 against whom complaints has been made between 1975 and 2004.

Against that background, it is reasonable to ask if Walsh’s argument is fraught with the “mental reservation” the report revealed was abused by the Dublin Archdiocese clergy to frustrate inquiry and to mislead. For example, the report said:

Both Marie Collins and Andrew Madden independently furnished the Commission with examples of how [mental reservation] was deployed by the Archdiocese in dealing with their complaints. In 2003, Mr Madden was invited to meet Cardinal Connell. In the course of an informal chat Cardinal Connell did apologise for the whole handling of the Fr Ivan Payne case. He was however at pains to point out to Mr Madden that he did not lie about the use of diocesan funds in meeting Fr Payne‟s settlement with Mr Madden. He explained that when he was asked by journalists about the use of diocesan funds for the compensation of complainants of child sexual abuse, he had responded that diocesan funds are not used for such a purpose; that he had not said that diocesan funds were not used for such a purpose. By using the present tense, he had not excluded the possibility that diocesan funds had been used for such purpose in the past. According to Mr Madden, Cardinal Connell considered that there was an enormous difference between the two.

Thus by cunning use of verb tense and omission, Connell used the most literal meaning of the words to create the false impression that diocesan funds had never been used. Yet with his interior knowledge of the meaning of the words he spoke, he was telling a truth his audience did not hear.

According to BBC, Bishop Walsh “told Bloomberg he was disappointed and surprised by the Vatican’s attitude” in failing to cooperate with the investigation of the Dublin Archdiocese. Whatever he actually meant by that.

We are not surprised, but we are nonetheless disappointed, by Walsh’s attitude. Without further investigation, Irish officials cannot hope to understand what they must do to fully awaken from a national nightmare awash in Catholic Church and state corruption. It is clear from the decades of history of similar scandals around the world that to delay full investigation is to further conceal. Walsh’s appeal to getting on with other business is an attempt rationalize an end to investigation, inevitably to serve some unstated church interest in suppressing scandal. Thus Walsh, like his predecessors, seeks concealment.

Irish Times Timeline

How The Story Of Abuse In Catholic Church Institutions Emerged

BBC developed a Timeline: U.S. Catholic Church sex scandal

Yes, there are other denominations which engage in brazen cover-ups.

November 27, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Buy Nothing Day/Week/Life

No one has to die under the feet of door-busting, Black Friday shoppers this morning. The 34-year-old employee who was trampled at a Long Island, N.Y., store last year would have been spared had more people celebrated Black Friday as Buy Nothing Day.

On Buy Nothing Day, some of us celebrate our own refusal to be stampeded by the kind of fear-driven consumerism that kills relatively few people outright, but is deadly to lasting human happiness and a livable planet. As the video below explains:

Rather than shop, you can just kick back and listen to Buy Nothing Day: The Album, organize a repudiation of the prosperity gospel or just enjoy not going to the mall.

You can begin walking that path any day of any week, and keep walking.

The odd underlying idea is living within our means.

November 27, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Economy, Health | , | Comments Off on Buy Nothing Day/Week/Life

Irish Catholic Church/police coverup of child sex abuse

Sexual abuse of children by Irish Catholic priests in Dublin was covered up on a huge scale, for decades by church and police, reveals a long-awaited, 720-page report released overnight.

The Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation report should not be confused with the Ryan Report, which was issued in May. The Ryan Report was written by The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and while similarly damning was not tightly focused on church abuse.

The Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation Report
shows that church leadership was aware of the problem, despite claims to the contrary, and put concealment of abuse and purchase of insurance against future claims ahead of concern for the victims. Specifically, the report said:

The taking out of insurance was an act proving knowledge of child sexual abuse as a potential major cost to the Archdiocese and is inconsistent with the view that Archdiocesan officials were still ‘on a learning curve’ at a much later date, or were lacking in an appreciation of the phenomenon of clerical child sex abuse.

The report took three years to prepare. It focused on the handling of complaints about abuse by priests, using a sample of 46 cases of priests against which scores of complaints had been filed between 1975 to 2004, involving some 320 children.

The Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation report’s overarching conclusion

The Commission has no doubt that clerical child sexual abuse was covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin and other Church authorities over much of the period covered by the Commission‟s remit [January 1975 to May 2004]. The structures and rules of the Catholic Church facilitated that cover-up. The State authorities facilitated the cover up by not fulfilling their responsibilities to ensure that the law was applied equally to all and allowing the Church institutions to be beyond the reach of the normal law enforcement processes. The welfare of children, which should have been the first priority, was not even a factor to be considered in the early stages. Instead the focus was on the avoidance of scandal and the preservation of the good name, status and assets of the institution and of what the institution regarded as its most important members – the priests. In the mid 1990s, a light began to be shone on the scandal and the cover up. Gradually, the story has unfolded. It is the responsibility of the State to ensure that no similar institutional immunity is ever allowed to occur again. This can be ensured only if all institutions are open to scrutiny and not accorded an exempted status by any organs of the State.

Irish Minister of Justice Dermont Ahern said:

I read the report as Justice Minister.

But on a human level – as a father and as a member of this community – I felt a growing sense of revulsion and anger. Revulsion at the horrible evil acts committed against children. Anger at how those children were then dealt with and how often abusers were left free to abuse.

But the white heat of our anger should not for one moment deflect us from what needs to be done.

The persons who committed these dreadful crimes – no matter when they happened – will continue to be pursued. They must come to know that there is no hiding place. That justice – even where it may have been delayed – will not be denied.

November 27, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Crime | , , | 2 Comments