Duh, Idiot Me — or: Why The Catholic Church Soldiers On

Reading this article on Papal infallibility — Postponing Self-Destruction of the Catholic Church — I just now learned the real reason why the Catholic Church doesn’t update its outworn policies on things like contraceptives, marriage, or human morality.

Because, really, who hasn’t thought about how much good this huge worldwide organization could do if it reversed its stand on condoms and contraceptives? Rather than waiting for tardy governments to act, it could simply began distributing condoms and teaching how to best prevent the spread of HIV. It could give a kick in the head to overpopulation by telling Third World men and women that it’s okay to use contraceptives, okay NOT to have more and more and more children they can’t feed.

It’s because it can’t. According to this writer, the second it divorces itself from the doctrine of Papal infallibility, the Catholic Church pretty much ceases to exist.

The Vatican’s public attack on contraception has centered on the morality of contraception. Webster’s dictionary defines morality as a doctrine or system of ideas concerned with conduct, or a system of principles or rules of proper conduct. For centuries the Church has relentlessly claimed that she is the only authority with the right to define this system of rules establishing what is right and what is wrong. This claim goes unchallenged. By default, the pope gets to make all of the rules. He decides what is moral and what is immoral. With amazing frequency, American Presidents and statesmen publicly proclaim, in effect, that the pope is moral leader of the world. By doing so, they enhance the pope’s authority and power.

But if the pope must protect the principle of papal infallibility by all means at his disposal, why would he not define the system of rules concerning right and wrong in such a way as to protect his principle of infallibility? In fact, he has. The Papacy has a vested interest in defining the system and a long history of using all means necessary to insure the survival of the institution. In the Catholic system, morality is defined in terms of what will protect the Papacy.

Remember that sweet little old man, Pope John Paul II? Imagine him associated with this statement: “Any professor of theology who ventures to question the Pope’s views has been ruthlessly deprived of his license to teach.” Or this:

Since he is manifestly intelligent, we must conclude that he knows what he is doing… But as he flies about the world, blessing the sick, kissing babies, and addressing the crowds in their own language, it must give him a very odd feeling to think that so many people accept his outrageous views and claims.

In fact, the Church can’t accept ANY criticism. The recent spate of child molesting stories would seem to rate a leaping frenzy of apologetic response. Instead, organization-wide resistance has been the norm, with acceptance of responsibility given grudgingly if at all, and recompense only by court order (or threat of it).

The Catholic Church is a glass sculpture that will shatter at the least attempt to change it. Once the Pope becomes less than the moral leader of the world, he ends up looking like a mere corporate CEO guarding a company that has profited hugely while selling a philosophy of mental domination and obedience — a product that injures the customers who buy it.

You can’t even call it “toxic waste,” because toxic waste is a throwaway side-product of manufacturing some useful material for consumers. In this case, the mind-poison is the main product.

More than anything, the Catholic Church is like an unregulated tobacco company. But where enlightened policies have forced tobacco companies to put warning labels on cigarettes, to list the amounts of tar, etc. on each package, the Catholic Church can put any malignant ingredient in the philosophical swill it peddles to its hapless victims, and not one person of any authority, in or out of the church, will challenge it.

I’ve hated tobacco companies for decades. And yes, hate is the word. That someone could lie about the dangers of tobacco to generations of users, years and years after they themselves knew the truth, to spend billions to confuse the issue and suppress other research, while millions of people confidently smoked, lengthily suffered, and tragically died, is monstrous.

And where you might picture something impersonal, some large bulwark of an institution when you hear the words “company” or “corporation,” I see people. Individuals, with all the responsibility that entails. No matter how far behind some corporate facade they hide, there really are human beings acting deliberately in a context of known consequences. Making decisions that kill people. Even today, in this era of warning labels and known dangers, I think of tobacco company execs as murderers, working willingly for a murderous industry.

Equally culpable in many of its main policies, the Catholic Church is no different. Continuing to cause misery with policies known to harm millions, and doing it not just as some sort of historical inertia, but to protect itself. And to profit. To make money.

I would love to see that nest of snakes cleaned out in my lifetime.

Print Friendly

  • Pingback: Duh, Idiot Me — or: Why The Catholic Church Soldiers On | Blue … | Church

  • ‘Tis Himself

    The Popes have always operated as if their word was directed by God and therefore unchangable. Even when a papal dictum has been shown to be counterproductive, they still cling to it (the sale of indulgences is still legal under canon law).

    Pope Paul VI decided for mainly political reasons that Baby Jesus cries whenever anyone uses a condom. But since he went on record as being anti-contraception, then all other church authorities then and now toe the party line. Because the party line cannot be changed, even centuries later, without calling the entire authority of the church into question. If Pope Paul was wrong about contraception, then what else have popes been wrong about? This is a question the Catholic hierarchy will not allow to be asked.

  • Brad

    Oh, they do change. They admit that the earth orbits the sun, they sorta pardoned Galileo for showing that the earth isn’t the center of everything. They even grudgingly admit that evolution occurs.

    According to Wikipedia the one true absolute you-gotta-believe-this infallible doctrine explicitly stated is the Assumption of Mary – Mary the god-mother physically and without dying ascended into heaven. Perhaps in a century or two they’ll have a pronouncement on whether god had the foresight to fabricate a spacesuit and some radiation shielding.

    The other stuff is not quite as clear, I’m not a lawyer or theologian, (or catholic, so it doesn’t directly affect me), it’s sort of like the difference between constitution and law, or secret and top secret maybe. They could change it, but that would be admitting they were wrong, can’t do that.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, I’d think the correct response to the catholic church would be to say “meh, you’re wrong, go away.” It’s not happening very fast though, especially in the third world.

    Or they could steal a trick from the mormons and say that the more recent revelation supersedes the previous one, even though the previous one was also correct. It’s religion, they don’t have to be logical.

    • Bawdybill

      “I have repeated whatever may rebound to the glory, and suppressed
      all that could tend to the disgrace of our religion” (Chp. 31, (Chp. 31, Book > : 12 of Prae Paratio Evangelica)Eusebius

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Off-topic, but…

    For centuries the Church has relentlessly claimed that she is the only authority…

    It always pisses me off when I see this loathsome monument to misogyny being referred to as “she”.

    • http://edenmabee.wordpress.com/ Eden Mabee

      The “she” comes from the concept that Christ was “married” to the church. Since Christ was a “he” ….

      Well, suffice it to say, fear of gay marriage is nothing new among the religious.

      ———
      Hank, I absolutely agree with you about the whole tobacco industry thing. I think personally that’s a problem I have with some of the Monsanto stuff lately. Not that GMOs are necessarily bad, but that its very clear that some of their practices (and the clear lies such as the Roundup Ready crops won’t allow the pesticide to pass into the body–it’s showing up in breastmilk…that’s in the body enough for me!) are of the same level as the tobacco industry… sell the product and who cares what damage we do.

      I read a book once where a woman described an interview she had at for a tobacco company–she was a non-smoker and was told she was not qualified for the job when she refused to accept a cigarette during an interview.

      So the analogy is pretty good… To be in the Church even as a dispenser, you’ve got to take the poison.

  • Steve

    In the United States, we have the Racketeer-Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act. Under this statute, it only takes three felonies to make all of a company’s assets subject to seizure. It would seem that the government could retire a small, but highly visible, part of the public debt by seizing all of the prime real estate held by the RC Church.

  • RW Ahrens

    Actually, the idea that the church doesn’t change is bunk. Just recently, the Pope announced that Limbo was wrong. It doesn’t exist and never did, that previous church teachings about it were mistaken.

    When they decide something like that, they simply announce it and move on.

  • d cwilson

    If Pope Ratzi’s years of covering up child rape hasn’t killed the idea of papal infallibility among the faithful, nothing will.

  • Kevin

    Just from the title alone, I predicted that the answer to the question would be, “for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks.”

  • troll

    A sizable portion of Catholics I know can’t be arsed about what Rome thinks about much of anything. Hell, I bet a good number of them couldn’t even tell you his name (not even his stage name). While I’m told this isn’t the case elsewhere in the world, it does seem like many US Catholic dioceses have informally (and unwittingly) broken away from High Command.

    Of course, I mostly know slacker Catholics.

  • Tony

    Tabby Lavalamp:

    It always pisses me off when I see this loathsome monument to misogyny being referred to as “she”.

    I can’t believe this never smacked me in the face until your post. Ugh.
    One of the biggest institutions for female oppression in the world, and it routinely is referred to as “she”.

    • Bawdybill

      Not just “she” but “Mother”, as in “Mother Church”, but they have been “Mothereffers” for some 1800 years. Doctrine became official in the first Vatican Council 1869-1870. The whole thing is based on a couple of Bible passages. The pope is only infallible in “faith and morals”. Trouble is when you have no morals you can’t go around making pronouncements about faith (my opinion). Sometimes, one might think, you must come out for the lesser evil simply because few if any situation is so clear cut black or white you can dogmatize it.

  • http://biltrix.wordpress.com Chip

    Pretty cynical, dude. Your overlooking the obvious alternative that the Church actually believes what it proposes and teaches, whether that sounds silly or not. Doh!

    • N. Nescio

      You don’t believe in stupid shit like that unless you’re getting something for it.

      For the Catholic laity, it’s the hope of heaven.
      For the Catholic leadership, it’s power.

    • pipenta

      There is a big gap between what the priests are taught and what the rank & file are taught. It is unlikely that the higher-ups believe much, if any, of their own propaganda.

      I read the headlines and am gobsmacked that there are no mass defections from the church. But then I have to remind myself that this latest wave of child abuse is small potatoes compared to other antics that the church got up to in years past.

      The Spanish Inquisition anyone? You are brought as a child to catechism and are taught to let these creeps stand in judgment of you. And you go to confession and humbly accept the priest’s judgement. That this is an institution tortured and terrorized as a matter of course for centuries doesn’t enter into to the equation.

      Why do people subject themselves to this poison? Why do they stay? Why do they expose their children to the indoctrination? I ask myself this over and over again. But then I keep coming back to the Spanish Inquisition. If you can accept that without a blink, what’s a little child abuse?

  • abusedbypenguins

    Rat boy, the nazi pope. A toxic old man in charge of a toxic culture. Which is worse, the toxicity of the vatican or the toxicity of saudi arabia? They are both quite nasty.

  • emmet

    Good for a laugh. This line:
    “[The Catholic Church] could give a kick in the head to overpopulation by telling Third World men and women that it’s okay to use contraceptives, okay NOT to have more and more and more children they can’t feed.”
    So you’re saying that “overpopulation” in, for example, Africa, is due to the Church’s prohibition on contraception?
    Lemme clear this up for you: about 15% of Africa is Catholic: is that 15% responsible for “overpopulation”? An overturning on the condom ban would make everything alright? Come on.

    This line too: “Continuing to cause misery with policies known to harm millions, and doing it not just as some sort of historical inertia, but to protect itself. And to profit. To make money.” What policies are these, actually? Or is this just a nice rhetorical flourish? Millions? Hm. And to profit? Where does the money come from? Do you actually have any idea as to how the Church’s finances work?

    • Bawdybill

      For starters, 15% is a good beginning. Once a pope declares contraception a better method than birthing a child to die of starvation or the many diseases still available in this world other faiths might follow. It would have a world wide effect. A pronouncement for equal rights for women would do wonders as well. As for church finances: I know how they get the money and you can see with your own eyes where the money goes. Have you been to St. Pete’s lately? How bout St. Patrick’s in NY? Or just stroll into one of the cathedral’s close by. And wasn’t there some stuff recently about Vatican Bank laundering money for Cammora? These folks are just as much hustlers as any TV evangelist. In nearly 74 years I have not seen much going on with Catholic charities that would indicate they are funding any. Been this way since Contantin the First.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rkaraff robertkaraffa

      “What policies are these, actually? Or is this just a nice rhetorical flourish? Millions? Hm. And to profit? Where does the money come from? Do you actually have any idea as to how the Church’s finances work?”

      Heh…well, actually, yes, I do. Peter’s Pence comes to mind, and the abuses therein, heard of that? The issues with the Vatican budget shortfalls, the corruption of the Vatican Bank, laundering of mob money, siphoning of church funds by bishops, cardinals, priests and lay people for personal use, in Philadelphia the renovation of an archdiocesan-owned vacation residence on the Jersey shore, a personal residence in Philly and three office buildings to the tune of $5M without making the expenditures public, bypassing diocesan advisors on some projects…whilst the diocese closes fifteen inner city parishes that had a combined deficit of $1.2M…I could go on.

      In fact, I just might (remember, *you* brought it up!): The Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova School of Business conducted a survey of 174 diocesan chief financial officers. Seventy-eight responded. Know what they found? “A whopping 85 percent of U.S. dioceses have detected embezzlement over the past five years, according to Villanova University researchers… In 11 percent of the dioceses at least $500,000 was stolen over the last five years (meaning that a minimum of $4.3 million went missing) while one-third of the dioceses reported thefts of under $50,000.”

      (source:http://www.villanova.edu/business/assets/documents/excellence/church/media_articles/National_Catholic_Reporter_-_85_of_U.S._dioceses_report_embezzlements_-_2006-12-22.pdf)

      (I noticed that you didn’t include any references or source material in your posts, which would qualify you, in the research world, for a conjugal and quite public ass-kicking…and then we would extend the “hand of Christian friendship to help you up”…)

      zzzzzinnnnnggggg!

      I simply can’t *wait* for your rebuttal…gosh, this is fun! Oh, and while you’re readying your next response, could you notify the next xtian troll that it’s his or her turn to have a go? Thanks.

  • emmet

    But you got this right, at least: “It’s because it can’t.”
    The Church can no more say that contraception is A-OK than she can say that blue is orange, or that an apple is a rocking-chair, or that marriage is anything other than what it is.

    • San Ban

      emmet, you’re confused.

      The Catholic Church’s leaders could indeed say contraception is A-OK. They could even say reproductive education, choice, and access to contraception and abortion are GOOD things, the most effective means of assuring gender equality, improving maternal outcomes and alleviating poverty, to start with the ones that leap to mind. The fact that they WON’T confuses the faithful (decent, compassionate human beings like you) into rationalizing it. After all, why would the benevolent Church not support something that so clearly contributes to human thriving? Must be because they CAN’T!

      And BTW, “marriage” is whatever the society in which it is recognized says it is. A transaction whereby ownership of chattel is transferred, or a legal recognition of a civil contract entered into by consenting adults to create a family unit, or something else entirely. The Church’s obsession with pee-pees is irrelevant.

    • pipenta

      emmet says: But you got this right, at least: “It’s because it can’t.”
      The Church can no more say that contraception is A-OK than she can say that blue is orange, or that an apple is a rocking-chair, or that marriage is anything other than what it is.

      Thanks for clarifying that, your thought processes I mean.

      birth control = bad

      child abuse = business as usual

      And you wonder why we don’t believe your cATHOLIC cHURCH is a good source for morality or rational thinking.

  • emmet

    The more I re-read your article the more I have to chuckle, so I think I’ll just stop. I visit FTB to spend a bit of time in the atheist mindset (so cramped! colourless! dank! brr!) now and then (it does me good) and to (attempt to) engage in some sort of constructive conversation. But when I read something like this I have a laugh at it, then a laugh at myself for bothering:

    “The Catholic Church is a glass sculpture that will shatter at the least attempt to change it.”

    Uh-huh. You’re forgetting, for starters, the revolutions in France and Mexico, Henry VIII’s breakaway in England, purges in the USSR … and so on and on.

    The Church hasn’t shattered yet, and continues to do what she has always done: stand astride history to confidently propose that there is a morality inscribed by God on every person’s heart and that only living according to that morality leads to goodness, truth, beauty and freedom.

    • Bawdybill

      The church has survived so far by any means necessary, sometimes they jump into bed with politics,sometimes they go underground. Why, they have even lied to survive! If you believe there is a morality in church history written by a god to govern people I would suggest you read some history from real books. Morality resting exclusively with the church is a ridiculously unfounded concept.

    • Didaktylos

      Don’t get into any arguments with billy-goats over bridge-crossing rights – the form book is against your kind.

    • A Bear

      emmet; You may or may not be comforted by the fact that not all Catholics have blinders on regarding the moral failings of the RCC.
      Case in point- check out today’s headlines regarding the arrest of the Pope’s butler.

    • N. Nescio

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoARiGumm4E

      Your church has no moral authority. Please shut the fuck up already. Go pray a rosary or something.

    • pipenta

      “the atheist mindset (so cramped! colourless! dank! brr!) ”

      You are going to have to do better than that, otherwise you are just fiddling with yourself in public and do believe masturbation is a sin by your cHURCH’s rules.

      Cramped? We have the natural world. We have everything that is part of nature, pleasing and otherwise.

      You give priority to the supernatural, for which you have no proof. You believe this supernatural is more important than what is real, what is right in front of your nose.

      You think you are in a world created by a hideous vengeful narcissistic sadist, with whom you have to curry favor or be damned for all eternity. How could that gruesome fairy tale be anything but the product of the imagination of frightened little apes huddling around a campfire. You don’t get much more dank and colorless than that.

    • JMDuPree

      emmet – you may well be correct in saying “only living according to that morality leads to goodness, truth, beauty and freedom”. Unfortunately there is no evidence that “that morality” is “inscribed by God on every person’s heart”. There is even less evidence that the Catholic Church knows what “that morality” is, or subscribes to it, or believes in it, or teaches it.

      Power corrupts.

    • StevoR

      emmet :

      Uh-huh. You’re forgetting, for starters, the revolutions in France and Mexico, Henry VIII’s breakaway in England, purges in the USSR … and so on and on.

      Purges in the USSR?

      Wasn’t that directed at the Russian Orthodox Church rather than the Catholics?

      France is a secular nation with no state religion, England has an established Anglican Church. Neither land is officially Catholic and I think numbers of Catholics (& Christians generally) in both nations and the West more broadly are falling as is the Churches badly soiled and covered in santorum* reputation. Europe overall has been dubbed “Eurabia” for the rising number of Islamic converts remember?

      I don’t think you have much to boast of there.

      Mexico, well that’s a different story. Not an overly happy or successful place I gather.

      * We can still use that word even though Mr Stinkyfroth himself has now vanished into political oblivion can’t we, right?

  • pipenta

    What? No LIMBO?

    How low can you go?

    • StevoR

      Hellishly low or so I gather!

  • http://www.godhelpmepleasejesus.com Jesus Prays for you

    house renovation contractor

    • http://torrent-indir.in//index.php?action=profile;u=3658 Iona Sharr

      With patience and time the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown. – German Proverb

  • http://rubekorsholm820.blogspace.fr/ lån penge online

    I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts on this sort of space . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this web site. Studying this information So i¡¦m glad to express that I have a very good uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed. I so much certainly will make certain to don¡¦t disregard this web site and provides it a look on a relentless basis.

  • http://liquid liquid

    Its definitely good YouTube video in terms of quality, actually nice, its quality is actually appreciable.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X