The Vatican went before the UN Convention on Torture to answer questions about the clergy child abuse scandal and Church teachings on abortion and homosexuality, not as a church, but as a government.
In addition to raising the preposterous idea that Church teaching on abortion is torture of women, the Convention also raised the issue of the practice of transferring child abusing priests from one parish to another.
I am guessing that the Convention’s position on the Vatican and child sexual abuse is based on the contention that sexual child abuse, when it is allowed by a governmental body, is a form of government-sanctioned torture. I may be giving them more credit than they deserve, but that’s the only hook I can see on which they could hang these charges.
I don’t know how they get to their other positions that the Church should change its teachings abortion and homosexuality because they are torture. There is no basis for such claims. I think that these idiotic charges reveal the real motivations behind this line of attack against the Catholic Church.
The Vatican’s position regarding the charges concerning the child sexual abuse scandal is that it did not, as a city state, have governing control of the child-abusing priests around the world who perpetrated these crimes. The Vatican says that the abusers were under the laws and governance of the countries in which they resided.
This is true in a legal sense; in a moral sense, not so much.
The Vatican itself is a city state, and as such can be called to account as a government. However, the Catholic Church, whose head resides in the Vatican, is a church and not a government. That’s a complicated situation which can — and obviously does — lead to all sorts of political gamesmanship.
As a Catholic, I do not think of myself as a citizen of the Vatican. I am a member of the Roman Catholic Church, with the emphasis on Church.
The Roman Catholic Church is called to a much higher purpose, and is required to behave in an entirely different manner, than any government. It makes claims for itself that go far beyond governance. The leaders of our Church ask for a level of compliance and respect from the laity that good governmental leaders do not ask and bad governmental leaders cannot get.
To be blunt about it, if you are going to go around saying that you speak for Christ, you have a responsibility to not behave like the sons of Satan.
I think that trying to claim that the Church committed torture in the sexual abuse scandal as defined by the Convention on Torture is a callous political ruse. The fact that the Convention added the additional charge that the Church’s teachings on abortion and homosexuality are a form of torture makes that clear.
I think this ruse is designed to lessen the Church’s moral teaching authority on issues such as the sanctity of human life and marriage.
As a tactical action in the culture wars, it is a strong move. The Church’s power, such as it is, comes directly from its moral and prophetic voice.
The clergy sexual abuse of children scandal degrades that moral and prophetic voice in a way that the Church’s enemies, with all their attacks and criticisms, never could. It is a forceful weapon in the hands of those who want to destroy the persuasive power of the Catholic Church’s moral voice. That is why people who hate the Church’s teachings in certain areas seem to delight in talking about the scandal.
They constantly seek new ways to raise that clear failure of Christian discipleship on the part of so many Church leaders and keep it before the public eye because it damages the Church’s claim to holiness.
The sexual abuse of children by predatory adults is widespread in this world. There appears to be certain industries and organizations which routinely cover up for abusers. For instance, the entertainment industry deserves a good looking over in this regard.
Focusing on the Catholic Church to the exclusion of other offenders is not only dishonest, it enables these other predators to continue harming children.
Limiting public outrage about the sexual abuse of children to anger at the Catholic Church does not serve children well. It allows abusers in every other walk of life to keep on abusing. But, even though it does not serve children well, it does serve a political purpose. The purpose is to provide a platform for taking aim at the Church’s teachings that the attackers disagree with.
By using a Convention against torture that the Vatican signed to attack the Church, the enemies of the Church’s teachings in areas such as abortion, gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research and questions of economic exploitation weaken the Church’s voice against those things.
I think that is what this whole line of attack is about. In truth, torture is a narrow word that does not lend itself to this kind of politicized use. That is why the word has such historic power. The Convention is broadening the definition of torture beyond its original meaning to raise these charges.
By doing that, it cheapens the moral prohibitions against torture. By callously using torture as a misplaced and politicized gotcha attack instrument, the Convention weakens the very thing it is designed to strengthen, which is the international effort to end the use of torture.
I have strong feelings about the use of torture, based on actual knowledge of torture and contact with victims of torture. I have equally strong feelings about diluting the meaning of the word torture so that it becomes useless. I think this kind of political gamesmanship — which is really about abortion, gay marriage, economic exploitation, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, etc — enables torturers and lets them continue.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled today that prayers said before the town council meetings in Greece, NY do not violate the Constitution.
Justice Kennedy wrote the majority decision which said in part that there is a historical precedent for opening legislative meetings with a prayer that the even though the prayers offered at the New York town’s council meetings were predominantly Christian in nature, they were not coercive but rather “evoked universal themes” such as “calling for a spirit of cooperation.”
From Today’s Catholic News:
Kennedy wrote that the “inclusion of a brief, ceremonial prayer as part of a larger exercise in civic recognition suggests that its purpose and effect are to acknowledge religious leaders and the institutions they represent, rather than to exclude or coerce nonbelievers.”
He said that unless the prayers “over time denigrate, proselytize or betray an impermissible government purpose” they will “not likely establish a constitutional violation.” He also wrote that because the town had followed a policy of nondiscrimination it was not required by the Constitution to search beyond its borders for those who could offer non-Christian prayers in an attempt to provide balance.
The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. Jesus Christ
Father Frans van der Lugt, SJ refused to abandon his parish and people in the face of danger. He was the only priest who stayed when the area in Syria where he lived was overrun during the Syrian civil war.
“I can’t leave my people,” he said, “I can’t leave my church. I am director of this church, how can I leave them?”
Days before Father Lugt’s 76th birthday, an unknown gunman entered his church, beat him and shot him in the head.
From Catholic News Agency:
Days after Dutch priest Fr. Frans van der Lugt S.J. was murdered in Syria, a close young friend recalled his saintly life, noting both his personal holiness and extraordinary advances in Christian-Muslim relations.Wael Salibi, 26, recalled how when the Christian area in Homs was taken over by rebels, 66,000 of the faithful “left their home, and just few of them stayed there. He was the only priest, he stayed in his church.”“Just months before he died, he said ‘I can’t leave my people, I can’t leave my church, I am director of this church, how can I leave them?’” Salibi told CNA on April 11.Salibi, who hails from the now-ravished city of Homs, grew up as a close friend and pupil of Fr. Frans, who was brutally killed on April 7. Days before his 76th birthday, an unknown gunman entered his church, beat him and shot him in the head.For the past three years Syria has been embroiled in conflict which sprang up after citizens protested the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president and leader the country’s Ba’ath Party
Do you believe this was “inadvertent?”
ABC News evidently ran a video of Westboro Baptist Church — complete with inflammatory signs about homosexuals — as they were reporting the story of Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla.
Mr Eich resigned from his position with Mozilla, a company he founded, after being attacked for a $1,000 donation he had made to the Prop 8 campaign in 2008.
ABC later apologized, labeling the stunt, which appeared on Good Morning America, “inadvertent.”
I am not convinced by the “inadvertent” claim. The entire piece is smirky and biased, even without the video. I don’t know, of course, but I think the use of the video was deliberate.
I do know that if something like this happens again, the “inadvertent” excuse will be gone.
From The Blaze:
Newsbusters’ Scott Whitlock has more background on the ABC story:Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich was fired earlier this month when it was revealed that he donated $1000 in 2008 to Proposition 8.
As Good Morning America reporter Linzie Janis explained the story on April 4, footage of the completely unrelated Westboro protesters holding “soldiers died 4 f*g marriage” signs appeared onscreen.
ABC News later posted the following editor’s note at the bottom of a story about Eich:The segment as originally aired on Good Morning America on April 4, 2014, and included on this page, has been updated to correct an error. Video of a demonstration by the Westboro Baptist Church, which is not connected to this story, was inadvertently used in the original segment. We apologize for the error and have removed that video.Instead of the Westboro protesters, the ABCNews.com video now features supporters of Proposition 8.
The network reportedly told the website that similar footage will not be used again in the future.Watch the video as it originally aired on ABC via Newsbusters here.
Officials in China’s Communist government are denying that they are engaging in a campaign of systematic destruction of Christian churches.
They make this claim despite the fact that they have ordered the destruction of approximately a dozen churches. Churches in the Zhejiang province are reportedly facing either destruction or government-ordered removal of their crosses.
Christians who live in the province have responded courageously. They have formed human chains around the churches to prevent their destruction.
Even though officials deny a demolition campaign, the Communist Party’s provincial official in charge of religious affairs said publicly that the growth of Christianity was “too excessive and too haphazard.”
The interesting thing to me is how completely these government officials misunderstand the mustard seed of faith that is Christianity. It’s not now and never has been about church buildings. Christ grows in people’s hearts, not buildings.
They can tear down every church, and it will only serve to spread the Gospel further and faster.
From The Telegraph:
Communist officials in China have denied waging a “demolition campaign” against churches in the country’s most Christian regions, after reportedly ordering a dozen to be destroyed.
The churches – in the eastern province of Zhejiang – are currently facing demolition or having their crosses removed, activists claim. Other churches are said to have been ordered to make themselves “less conspicuous” by turning their lights off at night.
Local preachers accuse Party officials in Zhejiang, a wealthy coastal province, of “gross interference” in Church affairs and have urged them to abandon what they believe is an orchestrated campaign.
Last week, Christians flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou – a rich port city known as the “Jerusalem of the East” because of its large Christian community – after its demolition was announced.
Officials denied launching a church demolition movement.
“No individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of his public employment.”
That comes from a 2011 opinion of the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals decision on a lawsuit filed by Dr Mike Adams. Dr Adams is a professor in criminology at the University of North Caroline-Wilmington.
He filed suit when university officials refused him a promotion to a full professorship. The suit claimed that this was due to his change of personal beliefs after conversion from atheism to Christianity.
When the university hired Dr Adams in 1993, he was an atheist. He received accolades from his colleagues and was promoted to associate professor 1998.
Dr Adams converted to Christianity in 2000, which affected his views on political and social issues. According to CharismaNews, “the university subjected Adams to a campaign of academic persecution that culminated in the denial of his promotion to full professorship, despite an award-winning record of teaching, research and service.”
Now a federal court has ordered the University of North Caroline-Wilmington to promote Dr Adams to the rank of full professor and pay him $50,000 in back pay.
Christian converts who come from more politicized environments often experience painful changes in the way they are treated by colleagues. Christian conversion can lead to the loss of old friendships and promotions, even here in the USA.
The court’s decision is an important one that hopefully will curb the harassment of people in public life who express opinions that run contrary to politically correct cant.
Now, if we can only develop First Amendment protections for those in the corporate environment.
Note: Public Catholic reader Peggy-O found this link to Dr Adams’ personal response to a bit of what he was subjected to. It’s well worth a read.
There’s a new blacklist.
Its members are anyone who dares to oppose gay marriage, or gay behavior of any sort. The punishment, even for icons of the tech industry, is to have their careers deep-sixed; all in the name of “inclusiveness” and “tolerance.”
We have reached the point that these very fine words, inclusiveness and tolerance, have become the tools of a new totalitarianism that strikes at freedom of expression, freedom of political action and freedom of religion for every American.
This blacklist is the opposite of freedom. It is absolute intolerance. It is the apogee of exclusiveness.
It is bigoted, biased, hate-filled, discriminatory and totalitarian.
It is the ghost of Jim Crow, the shade of McCarthy, walking alive again among us today.
It has no place in a free society.
I’ve written numerous blog posts decrying it, including this one yesterday. Elizabeth Scalia wrote a post yesterday, calling on the gay community to speak out in support of freedom. Hopefully, at least a few people in that community will have the courage to break ranks and do so.
I deleted Mozilla Firefox from my computer.
I am going to get a lot more active in working for the First Amendment rights of Christians, but I need to pray and think before I decide exactly how. I will do this after session adjourns this year. It will almost certainly mean that I take a few days off from blogging.
I made a small donation to the National Organization for Marriage. It’s the first of a recurring donation.
I urge you to consider how you can take a stand against the blacklisting of people for their religious beliefs and completely legal, private and peaceful political activities. At the very least, take Firefox off your computers and donate a few dollars to the National Organization for Marriage. Even a $10 donation helps, especially if you give it every month.
Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned from his position with Mozilla. He also resigned from his position as board member of the corporate foundation.
The crime which forced his resignation? He donated $1,000 to the 2008 campaign to pass Proposition 8.
Can you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot?
What if, say, a Vice President at a Catholic school was asked to resign because he had “married” his male partner in direct violation of the contract he had signed with the school; a school he presumably knew was Catholic when he went to work there?
These “haters,” meaning the Catholic school, would be lambasted, excoriated, picketed, petitioned and, of course sued.
But a private citizen who is the CEO of a publicly held corporation who exercises his free right to participate in a public election by making a legal donation of what, for him, is the minuscule sum of $1,000?
Not having it.
As Mozilla put it in its pretentious little press release,
Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.
We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.
Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.
Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views.
Mozilla supports equality for all.
Yeah Mozilla, you support inclusiveness. And the Titanic sails into New York Harbor tomorrow morning.
The Mozilla in question is Mozilla Firefox.
The web browser that can be replaced by a whole host of other browsers.
The web browser I’ve deleted from my computer in the name of free elections.
This isn’t about gay marriage, per se. The computer I’m typing on is made by Apple, and they came out against Prop 8 on their web site. I never considered switching to another computer because of it. I didn’t agree with them about Prop 8, but it was their right to disagree with me and I knew it.
The issue here is the First Amendment right of Americans to petition their government, including by means of making donations to causes and issues they believe in, without fear of organized reprisals from a bunch of — here comes the word folks — haters.
This whole thing is getting awfully close to pressuring, bullying and threatening people about how they vote in an election. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if it wasn’t for the secret ballot, that’s exactly what the “equality” for us, “inclusiveness” for us, but not for anyone else crowd would be doing right now.
I am making a donation to the National Organization for Marriage after I publish this post. It’s a matter of protest in one of the two ways that I can protest. I’ve already done the other by removing Firefox from my computer.
If you want to harass me about it, you can find me at this blog, or just look for my name at the Oklahoma House of Representatives. If you do decide to harass me, you won’t get much for your time. You see, I don’t care.
This was Pope Francis’ tweet a couple of days after meeting President Obama. I wonder if there’s any connection?
We live in a society that leaves no room for God; day by day this numbs our hearts.
It turns out, that the Pope backed the US Bishops in his discussions with our president. Hopefully, something got through.