Southern Religion

Irish plan sweeping action against Catholic clergy sex abuse

Child’s shoe held aloft as a symbol of protest when more than 10,000 people took to the streets in Dublin in May to protest the Catholic Church child sex abuse scandal.

The four bishops named in the Murphy report have been given an ultimatum by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, says Irish Central: Resign or be fired by the Vatican in the New Year. The four are Bishop Raymond Field, Bishop Eamon Walsh, Bishop Martin Drennan and Bishop Jim Moriarty. Bishop Donal Murray of Limerick has already been forced out.

In response to public anger over the revelations of massive, systematically concealed Catholic clerical sexual abuse, the Government plans to order a nationwide investigation [earlier post] into child sex abuse in the Irish Catholic Church, The Irish Independent reports:

A massive investigation into clerical child abuse in all 26 Catholic dioceses is to begin shortly after every bishop in the State last week received an ultimatum to provide the Health Service Executive (HSE) with a complete list of hundreds of new complaints.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Catholic | , , , | 1 Comment

Scientology ‘announces’ dramatic growth(?)

Guy Fawkes mask (anonymous)

Never mind the dramatic exits, legal reversals, impending movie, investigations and media takedowns: Scientology announces the “biggest expansion” in its history.

Via PR Newswire it proclaims:

The Church of Scientology completed a $40 million restoration of one of its oldest landmark buildings in 2009 and inaugurated five major new Scientology buildings in Malmo, Dallas, Nashville, Rome and Washington, DC. Today, the Church of Scientology has expanded to more than 8,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups in 165 nations, doubling the number in the last five years. Current demand for L. Ron Hubbard’s books and lectures on Dianetics and Scientology has outstripped the last five decades combined, approaching 70 million distributed in the last two years. All the while, the Church’s ever growing humanitarian programs in the fields of anti-drug, human rights, morals education and disaster relief have positively impacted hundreds of millions of lives.

PR” = “Public Relations.” As in “self-promotion/Not news.”

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, WWW | , , , | 4 Comments

Legion of Christ vs Women Religious? Really?

Catholic Culture’s Jeffrey Mirus, seeking redemption for the Legion of Christ, indicts Women Religious. The takeaway:

For those who would swear that the Legion is fundamentally flawed at its very root and cannot be salvaged (and there are a good many in this camp), I would suggest they take careful note of the difference between the Legion and the women religious in the United States as to how each group has responded to their respective current apostolic visitations. A large number of communities of women religious are in open rebellion against Rome, resisting the visitation, and revealing their desire to do without the Petrine ministry, the male priesthood, and the “patriarchal” dogmatic theology of the Church, including the traditional definition of the Holy Trinity. In contrast, the Legion has turned confidently toward the See of Peter as to Our Lord Himself. It is not too much to say that the one thing necessary to fruitful ministry is an ongoing willingness to make the mind of the Church one’s own. If the Legion can do that—as a number of female religious congregations apparently cannot—then there are many, even among its just opponents, who would be well-advised to hold their fire.

Something about that comparison rankles.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Catholic | , , , , , | Comments Off on Legion of Christ vs Women Religious? Really?

Southern Babtoys Corporation stocking stuffers [Update]

Southern Babtoys Corporation still offers their Explodotoy Stocking Stuffer.

It’s the worst gift that keeps on giving, for the rest of the recipient’s life, no matter how vigorously those who get one try to throw it away.

No refunds. No responsibility accepted by the vendor (blame the store). Details here.

Abroad there is ever less toleration for manufacturers of similar products.

Executives are being required to resign in Ireland and a nationwide investigation is in the works.

Still in Nasheville, the sleep of conscience is undisturbed.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | SBC | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Southern Babtoys Corporation stocking stuffers [Update]

SBC’s Richard Land is distraught about health reform

His Nazi libels and “death panels” prevarications failed to stop health reform, so Richard Land is sad.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) chief is so sad and so busy (like Mike Huckabee) lamenting legislator support for health reform that he still doesn’t have time to say a word or two against Uganda’s gay genocide legislation.

Five conservative Republican House members understand the importance of taking a stand on that. Where is the ethics in Land’s silence?

December 22, 2009 Posted by | SBC | , , , , | 1 Comment

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni urged by Republicans to stop anti-gay bill

Five House Republicans, all “men of faith,” have igned letter urging the president of Uganda to oppose the gay death penalty legislation:

The letter was signed by Reps. Frank Wolf of Virginia, Chris Smith of New Jersey, Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania, Trent Franks of Arizona and Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana.

They call the gay genocide legislation antithetical to the Christian belief in the “inherent dignity and worth” of all human beings, and there are reports that he agrees and has assured U.S. officials that he will block the bill.

Many top U.S. and British religious leaders have also taken clear stands against the legislation and the Vatican has stepped forward against anti-gay violence.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thou shalt steal (sometimes)?

Rembrandt: Moses with the Ten Commandments

Not quite. Anglican Priest Tim Jones of St. Lawrence and St Hilda Church in York, England, told his congregation on Sunday that vulnerable people who are in extraordinary difficulty should shoplift in preference to robbery or prostitution.

The now widely quoted passage from his Sunday sermon was, however:

My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift. I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.

Read the entire sermon here. You will see that he frames a living dilemma of the sort people around us are actually facing, now:

What advice should one give, for example, to an ex prisoner who was released in mid-November with a release grant of less than £50 and a crisis loan, also of less than £50, who applies immediately for benefits but is, with less than a week to go before Christmas, still to receive any financial support? This is just the situation that presents itself at the vicarage door. What would you advise? One might tell them to see their social worker, but they are on a waiting list for a social worker. Tell them to see their probation officer, perhaps, but the probation officer can only enquire of the benefits agency, and be told that benefits will eventually be forthcoming. One might tell them to get a job, but it is at the very best of times extremely difficult for an ex prisoner to find work, and these are not the best of times for anyone trying to find a job.

One might wish that they could be supported and cared for by their family, but many people’s family life is altogether dysfunctional, and may be part of the story of how they came to be in prison in the first place. One might give them some money oneself, but when week after week after week goes by, and benefits still do not arrive, the hard reality is that a vicar’s salary is not designed to meet the needs of everyone – or indeed anyone – whom the benefits agency has failed. What else might one advise? They cannot take out a loan, except from the kind of loan shark – and there are enough of them around – whose repayment schedule is so harsh that it constitutes indentured slavery to the criminal underworld. They could beg. But how many of us, good Christian people that we are, give constantly and generously to ex prisoners waiting for benefits? And the likelihood is that, found begging, they will quickly be in trouble with the police, and therefore in breach of their parole.

They could perhaps get cereal and toast every morning from a local charity. Then could perhaps apply, and see if they are eligible for some limited help from the Salvation Army or other such body. But in the meantime, having had only £100 in six weeks, what would you do, every legal avenue having been exhausted?

Or as Jones explained to BBC:

“When we, as a society, let our most vulnerable people down so terribly badly, I would rather that people take an 80p can of ravioli rather than turn to some of the most appalling things.

“Burglary causes untold harm and damage to people in a way that taking a can of spaghetti rings from a supermarket doesn’t.

“That’s not to say that shoplifting is good. Shoplifting is a dreadful thing but sometimes that’s all we leave people with.”

Your alternative to those in truly extreme circumstances is what, exactly? Starve? What of those with children, who have somehow fallen through the public assistance cracks? Let the children go hungry while teaching them the Ten Commandments?

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , | 1 Comment

Today’s Graph: Religious Oppression by Country

From the Pew Forum’s study, Global Restrictions on Religion:

This chart shows how the world’s 25 most populous countries score in terms of both government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion. Countries in the upper right have the most restrictions and hostilities. Countries in the lower left have the least.

. . .
64 nations – about one-third of the countries in the world – have high or very high restrictions on religion. But because some of the most restrictive countries are very populous, nearly 70 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in countries with high restrictions on religion, the brunt of which often falls on religious minorities.

You can [Download the report .pdf] or read it online.

December 22, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , | Comments Off on Today’s Graph: Religious Oppression by Country