The Catholic Church Asks Me for Money

One of the downsides of giving money to charity is that some of the groups I give to resell their donors' names and addresses. As a result, I get an amazing quantity of mail, most from groups I've never heard of, begging for money. It comes from an incredible range of organizations - symphonies, museums, political campaigns, environmental groups, humanitarian groups, animal rights groups, and more. Since I plan my giving in advance and don't respond to random solicitations, I throw these all … [Read more...]

The Catholic Church Embraces Reform?

Since I've written a fair amount lately about the child-rape scandal engulfing the Catholic church, it would be unfair of me to overlook any steps they've taken toward reform. Well, you all know I'm nothing if not fair, so I have to report on this tiny, hesitant step:Last week, the Vatican for the first time issued guidelines telling bishops they should report cases of abusive priests to police where civil laws require it.Marvelous! At long last, the Vatican has bravely decided that its … [Read more...]

Holding the Pope to Account

Every time I think we've seen the worst of what the Roman Catholic church and this pope are capable of, they come up with a way to sink lower still. Back in January, when Benedict reinstated a misogynist, Holocaust-denying bishop, I could never have imagined that that would be the least offensive and disgusting thing they'd have done this year - yet it seems like that may very well be the case.The newest evidence of this comes via this story from the AP. I previously detailed a case where the … [Read more...]

The Widening Vortex of Catholic Scandal

Lately, it seems that no matter how often I write about the ever-widening story of Roman Catholic bishops and the Pope protecting child molesters, new details keep bubbling up that demand another update. Well, I'm happy to oblige.Here's what we know so far. Pope Benedict XVI, back in the late 1970s when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and archbishop of Munich, had authority over a priest, Rev. Peter Hullermann, who was known to be a child molester. At least three sets of parents had come to … [Read more...]

What Did the Pope Know and When Did He Know It?

When I reported on the emerging Catholic sex-abuse scandal in Germany, it crossed my mind that the Pope is German. But I hadn't ever imagined that he'd have any personal connection to the allegations and confessions now being made there.Well, it looks like I was wrong:A widening child sexual abuse inquiry in Europe has landed at the doorstep of Pope Benedict XVI, as a senior church official acknowledged Friday that a German archdiocese made “serious mistakes” in handling an abuse case while … [Read more...]

The Loving Compassion of the Catholic Church

A few weeks ago, I mentioned briefly that the Catholic church had threatened to pull out of Washington, D.C., ending the social services they provide for thousands of people, if the city council passed a law recognizing same-sex marriage. Well, the council did pass the bill, same-sex marriage is now legal in D.C. (congratulations!), and the church looks set to keep its promise, starting with the termination of their foster-care program. They've also decided to end spousal benefits for all … [Read more...]

Catholic Sex Abuse in Germany

It happened in America. It happened in Ireland. Now, it seems that another major Catholic sex abuse scandal is about to break open - this time in Germany (HT: Butterflies and Wheels).As the German newspaper Der Spiegel reports, the pattern we're now seeing from abuse victims who've come forward is very much the same as we've seen in other countries - sexual predators among the priesthood whose proclivities were well known to the church higher-ups, but who were quietly shuffled from parish to … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Means of Reproduction

Summary: An outstanding book, broad in its sweep and compelling in its use of fascinating detail, that paints a clear picture of the international forces opposing women's rights - and what's at stake in the fight against them.I've said in the past that I believe all feminists should be atheists, the better to deny power and legitimacy to the religious belief systems that have treated women unjustly throughout history. But after reading Michelle Goldberg's outstanding new book The Means of … [Read more...]

Representative Theocracy

By Sarah BraaschRepresentative Bart Stupak from Michigan was paraphrased in a recent New York Times interview as saying that his resolve to defeat the healthcare reform bill, unless the bill includes his anti-abortion amendment language, is a straightforward matter of Roman Catholic faith. The article states that Representative Stupak said that he actually urged the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to toughen its stance on the legislation. Representative Stupak is also quoted as … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

For the holiday season, some goodies this weekend:• First up, some music for the season: the blogger Lirone, of Words That Sing, in collaboration with William Morris, composer in residence at the British Humanist Association (did you know the British Humanist Association had a composer in residence? me neither!), has written a humanist carol, Gathering Round the Fire. It's 99 cents on iTunes, and all profits will go to the BHA. I downloaded and listened to it, and I enjoyed it greatly. … [Read more...]


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