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 … [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 Braasch Representative 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...]

The Case for a Creator: Galileo the Troublemaker

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 7 To start off his interview, Lee Strobel asks Gonzalez and Richards about humankind's great demotion: the medieval religious belief that we were at "the center of the universe, sort of the throne of the cosmos, the most important place that everything revolved around" [p.160] and the overturning of this belief by science, which proved that we are not at the center of the universe either physically or metaphysically. Richards claims, however, "that this … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

I've got plenty of goodies in the bag for this post. Frankly, more has been happening lately than I can write about - but that's okay, because there are lots of other fantastic atheist bloggers who've said it all! • First, there's this outrageous story out of Washington, D.C., where the Catholic church has threatened to completely shut down all the social services they provide to local homeless people if they're forced to obey laws forbidding discrimination against same-sex couples. I may … [Read more...]

Anti-Atheist Bigotry in the Daily News

Although the New York Daily News has no problem endorsing astrology on its news pages, the idea of giving sympathetic coverage to atheism is apparently too much for them to swallow. In a recent issue, they published this obnoxiously bigoted column from Gabriel Gillen, a Dominican friar, which manages to cram just about every anti-atheist slur in the book into a brief space. We start with the old standby: pick a controversial atheist, accuse him of hypocrisy or some other charge, and assume that … [Read more...]

Secular Sabotage!

In their never-ending quest to elevate every ranting wingnut to the same status as genuine experts, the Washington Post has given a guest column to Bill Donohue - the extreme right-wing Catholic bully whose sole purpose in life is seeking out things to be offended by. Whether it's The Simpsons, the "secular Jews" who run Hollywood and hate Christianity, store greeters who say "Happy Holidays", or monogamous gay couples who want to adopt children, no insult or indignity against the Catholic … [Read more...]