Southern Religion

Gerald Warner: Today’s ‘jump-to-conclusions and cast-aspersions’ award winner

Gerald Warner of the London Telegraph contrived to sneer at Barack Obama and tar Vatican II for the Irish Catholic Church/police clerical pedophilia cover-up.

Warner did so as part of his argument defending Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid, whom he admires:

The Most Reverend John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin (1940-1972) was a great Catholic prelate. Under his pastoral leadership, the numbers of clergy and religious increased by more than 50 per cent, he created over 60 new parishes and built over 80 new churches and 350 schools. But he was a Vatican II sceptic who implemented reform conservatively, in accordance with what would now be called the “hermeneutic of continuity”. So he is a bogey figure to radicals.

Warner argues that McQuaid was unfairly maligned because he retired in 1972, and the investigating commission dealt with “the period 1 January 1975 to 1 May 2004.”

Er, yes about the time periods, but the commission came across important cases which the record showed had earlier been presented to and not properly handled by McQuaid. The commission report finds as a result that McQuaid set the pattern of failure to enforce canon law. For example, it found with obvious cause (Part 2, page 191[.pdf]) “that Archbishop McQuaid acted the way he did to avoid scandal both here and in Rome.”

Rather than protect the children.

That case and others (some detailed by Warner’s commenters) involving decisions by McQuaid as archbishop, led the commission to state in its conclusions (Part 2, page 206 [.pdf] – emphasis ours):

This case has a special significance because it was one of the earliest in the Commission‟s remit. The apparent cancellation by Archbishop McQuaid of his original plan to pursue the priest through the procedures of canon law was a disaster. It established a pattern of not holding abusers accountable which lasted for decades. Firmer treatment of this priest might have avoided much abuse in the future. The Archbishop and Bishop Dunne had no doubt that a serious crime had been committed but avoided taking any action as that would have involved Rome becoming involved in the case. The Archbishop appointed Bishop Dunne to investigate the case and, in the Commission‟s view, promptly undermined him in his position.

In the Commission‟s view, Archbishop McQuaid‟s actions fell very short of what should have been done. Given that he was fully aware of the 1922 instruction, there was no justification for his failure to set up a proper canonical process to deal with the matter. In fact, he deliberately manipulated the situation in a manner that did not involve him reporting the matter to Rome.

Lacking compelling evidence that Vatican II either created McQuaid’s pattern-establishing behavior or precipitated Dublin’s fall, we must of course look elsewhere. Less fun than castigating our ideological foes, but if well-pursued, constructive.

November 29, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Churches, Crime | , , , | Comments Off on Gerald Warner: Today’s ‘jump-to-conclusions and cast-aspersions’ award winner

African albino children hunted/slaughtered for occult use

The witchdoctor-cultivated belief that albino body parts have magical powers has driven “as many as 10,000” east African albinos into hiding from hunters who work with unscrupulous dealers to sell them for a reported $75,000 per dismembered set, reports the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Society (IFRCCS) in the study Through Albino eyes [.pdf].

The violence is focused on children who are stalked by “contract killers” who are in the employ of “witchdoctors” with wealthy clients, the report said. The “children who are both extremely vulnerable and extremely conspicuous,” and are a focus of mobilized police effort. But most of the attacks occur in rural areas where there are few police resources.

Through Albino Eyes [.pdf] reports that East Africa’s latest albino murder was in Tanzania’s Mwanza region in late October. Hunters of albinos beheaded 10-year-old Gasper Elikana “to stop him screaming,” hacked off his leg and fled with it. Elikana’s neighbors and father tried to defend him. His father was seriously injured.

“This is the 21st-century, y’all will want to remember,” Civil Commotion suggests.

Bringing African albinos into that century with us will require considerable effort. Swift legal action against those profiting from the slaughter is certainly part of the mix. In early November, Tanzania’s high court finanlized the sentence of four men to death by hanging for killing a 50-year-old albino man — a rare imposition of punishment.

Other governmental actions recommended by IFRCCS Include:

  • Ensure effective legal protection for people with albinism.
  • Use local administrative structures to locate albino people in
  • Conduct public anti-discrimination campaigns and extend
    medical services to albinos in need.

November 29, 2009 Posted by | Crime, Religion | , , , | 1 Comment

Taxpayer-purchased ‘indulgence’ for Berlusconi?

Will funneling secular-designated tax money [.pdf] to the Catholic Church purchase an indulgence for Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi?

In September, Berlusconi quietly issued a decree giving himself the authority to redirect designated funds away from taxpayer intentions. He then assigned to Catholic churches and monasteries some 10.6 million Euros that Italian taxpayers “had earmarked on their tax returns for secular institutions.”

You see:

Under this law Italian taxpayers are able to declare that 0.8% (‘eight per thousand’) of their taxes go to a religious confession or, alternatively, to a social assistance program run by the Italian State. This declaration is made on the IRPEF form. People are not required to declare a recipient; in that case the law stipulates that this undeclared amount be distributed among the normal recipients of such taxes in proportion to what they have already received from explicit declarations. Only the Catholic Church and the Italian State have agreed to take this undeclared portion of the tax.

Before he was caught misapplying those funds, Berlusconi was already neck-deep in a bribery scandal. Remember, this is the media mogul who said yesterday he would like to “strangle” those who wrote books or made films about the mafia. Would that include the ghost author of an escourt’s graphic account of her dalliances with Berlusconi? Whatever the answer, it was Berlusconi’s dalliances that brought him into such conflict with the Vatican that he apparently felt redirection of funds was required to make amends.

The Australian newspaper Brisbane Times describes it as follows:

A historic – and potentially disastrous – schism has opened between church and state in Italy after the embattled Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, used a newspaper owned by his brother Paolo to stage a virulent attack on the editor of the nation’s main Catholic newspaper.

In a ferocious, front-page campaign, the Berlusconi newspaper branded the Catholic editor, Dino Boffo, a homosexual and alleged he was the target of a harassment suit from the wife of a man he was allegedly in a relationship with. All of this in apparent retaliation for sustained criticism of the Prime Minister’s morality and personal life.

Boffo, the prominent boss of the powerful Avvenire, newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, was immediately supported by a public statement from the Vatican. But on Thursday, after issuing a detailed, 10-point rebuttal and explanation of the origin of the allegations, Boffo chose to resign, describing the campaign against him as ”media butchery”, stating that his reputation had been ”violated” and he could no longer allow his family to remain at the ”centre of a storm of gigantic proportions”.

In his letter of resignation, Boffo described the sexual scandal used against him as a ”diabolically engineered, colossal, fictional set-up”. He said he had chosen freely to step aside because ”the church has better things to do than strenuously defend one person, even if unfairly targeted”.

In that light, how can the Catholic Church keep misappropriated money, without being seen as selling indulgences to the corrupt?

[H/T: Religion Clause]

November 29, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Politics, Religion | , | Comments Off on Taxpayer-purchased ‘indulgence’ for Berlusconi?

Scientology: ‘… a school for psychopaths’

Noah Lottick, 24, committed suicide last June in May of 1990, having given virtually all of his money to the Church of Scientology. Time Magazine writes:

His death inspired his father Edward, a physician, to start his own investigation of the church. “We thought Scientology was something like Dale Carnegie,” Lottick says. “I now believe it’s a school for psychopaths. Their so-called therapies are manipulations. They take the best and brightest people and destroy them.” The Lotticks want to sue the church for contributing to their son’s death, but the prospect has them frightened. For nearly 40 years, the big business of Scientology has shielded itself exquisitely behind the First Amendment as well as a battery of high-priced criminal lawyers and shady private detectives.

Read the entire article here.

More recently, the Scientology wars have come to Catholic Online.

Also, Not a happy Guy Fawkes Day for Scientology.

November 29, 2009 Posted by | Churches, WWW | | Comments Off on Scientology: ‘… a school for psychopaths’

‘Dangerous’ Declaration, says the LA Times

It is a dangerous declaration full of fake facts and supported by a worthless petition. The Manhattan Declaration is irresponsible, argues the Los Angeles Times:

This apocalyptic argument for lawbreaking is disingenuous, but it is also dangerous. Did the Roman Catholic bishops who signed the manifesto consider how their endorsement of lawbreaking in a higher cause might embolden the antiabortion terrorists they claim to condemn? Did they stop to think that, by reserving the right to resist laws they don’t like, they forfeit the authority to intervene in the enactment of those laws, as they have done in the congressional debate over healthcare reform? They need to be reminded that this is a nation of laws, not of men — even holy men.

Read the entire piece here.

November 29, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , , , | 2 Comments

More warming=more war in Africa

Julia Whitty writes that warming drives civil war in Africa:

Guess what happens as climate warms in Africa? You get more war. About a 50 percent higher chance of war in unusually warm years.

Read the underlying scientific paper here.

November 29, 2009 Posted by | environment, Health, Science | | 3 Comments