Catholic Church is dysfunctional. Who knew? I mean, except for everybody…

For those of you who travel a lot, do you ever have those days where nothing goes right and it costs you a lot of money?  That’s how my day is going.  Evidently I’ve gotten into god’s knickers.  Good.

Anyway, I just touched down in Dallas and am getting ready to head to Columbus and then to Iowa to speak at Central College tomorrow about morality.  I’m going to try and get a nap in during the next hour, but I thought I’d drop you this: the Catholic Church is fractured.  Many higher-ups in the Church are worried about “sins against the unity of the church, of the divisions in the body of the church.”  Or, as the rest of us like to call it, reporting the rape of children despite the consequences to the Catholic Church’s PR.

Seriously, if you’re still a Catholic, stop.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    That is a sobering thought. One that most of us have had before. The idea is that doing anything that might harm the church is a sin, it explains a lot.

    The thing is that these assholes hurt the Catholics brought up in this religion. I am not even talking about the abuse. I mean, they make it sound sinful to do anything that might undermine the authority of the church, but utterly fail to adequately address what is undermining the moral authority of the church by ignoring the history of child rape while trying to deflect blame unto anything else.

    To us, on the outside, it is easy to say stop. But for the Catholic, they have invested so much and now see it being torn down. It must be distressing. I feel for the Catholic people because they have been failed and utterly betrayed by their leaders, and their leaders have the authority to threaten them with hell. The leaders bully them. They bully the children into silence. They bully the parents into compliance. The leaders of the church send messages explicitly telling the priests to keep the investigations in the church. They shift blame. They lie to those below them, using their authority to mask the weakness of their claims. They tell Catholics in poor areas, already struggling to survive and facing AIDS epidemics, to not use condoms. They excommunicated the family of a nine year old girl who got pregnant with twin from being raped by her stepfather for aborting the pregnancy.

    You might be shocked to learn that last one disgusts me despite being an atheist. It disgusts me because it compounds the emotional trauma faced by this family. They believe. They did the right thing, making a rational decision that saved the life of a little girl who was the victim of terrible crime. They were punished by people who supposed represent their moral authorities for saving the life if the little girl.

    The Catholic Church is hopeless corrupted, and I can only hope this helps break the spell over Catholics, makes them examine their church more closely and frees them from this oppressive structure that holds such sway over their lives.

    • John Horstman

      I am in complete agreement with both Glodson and JT.

      This is exactly why I find Greta Christina deploying the Nuremburg Defense on behalf of a kinky priest to be so distressing – that priest was (and is) doing direct harm to countless Catholics. It really doesn’t matter what version of Catholicism he preaches – as long as he’s toeing any of the church’s lines, he’s an active, complicit agony of an institution that’s entirely morally bankrupt. I may have some compassion for priests, but my compassion for their victims means my disgust with the priests far outweighs any kind feelings. Should I really hold less disdain for agents of the Catholic Church than for those of, for example, the Heritage Foundation or ALEC? Talk to an actual child rape victim who was threatened with hell by hir priest if ze told anyone. Talk to an African child with AIDS. Then tell me priests aren’t terrorists. The straw positions at the end are *headdesk* worthy. Greta’s usually a much better writer; maybe the kinky angle has given her tunnel vision (for example, she decries what she sees as sexual shaming, but none of the comments she cites are actually shaming the kinky solo-sex, they’re railing against the hypocrisy and the working for the RCC).

      • Glodson

        I almost wish she didn’t post that teaser piece. The longer piece lays out her case much better and is worth a read.

        Our anger about religion is supposed to come from a place of compassion.

        This is where I agree with her. In fact, I do feel for this guy in her piece. He has urges that he was taught to suppress. I don’t know your religious history, but I know mine. I know my experiences led me to dark avenues of thought, feeling guilt as I wondered about sex, as I grew into my body.

        I was lucky in that I was raised Baptist. We didn’t have the prohibition against contraception. At least, not when I was growing up. That might have changed as we see an increased need for shaming women for their sexuality as the controls of religion erode. But that is not the point.

        I think her point seems to be that we should hold the church, and those in it, accountable for their crimes. They are responsible for helping the AIDS epidemic in Africa. Their push for making abortion illegal hurts women in many countries, even costing one her life. At least one that I can think of off the top of my head. We should hold them accountable for decades of covering up sexual abuse of minors. We should do all that.

        But we also so remember that they are victims as well. They were brought up believing this. It is a prison of belief.

        No, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to this man’s hypocrisy. But we should make it clear that it isn’t his kinky sex that’s the problem. Actually, that’s a good thing if done with a consenting adult or by himself. I hope he enjoys it more as he realizes that his church is a sham.

        One of the dangers we face is “Othering” those who are leaders in faith. As disgusting as they things they say are, they were fed the poison growing up. Many of them likely really believe it. They are willing to lie, but they think it is for the betterment of your soul.

        Now it is also true that many are just con-men looking to bilk the religious out of their money. Remembering that they have motivations: soul saving or money making, is a good idea. Let’s not reduce them all to just being the enemy. Many are really victims of their own shitty beliefs.

        That means we need to be louder, we need to show those they are teaching now a better way. Maybe we can get a few of these leaders too, but we need to show them compassion and reason. Evidence and logic, and empathy.

        This might be her point. To make sure that we don’t focus in so much on condemning the man that we miss out on explaining why he was wrong and why his beliefs are wrong. This way, maybe we’ll have fewer priests to spread this poison around.

        At least, that’s how I read it. And now I shall lose respect of people around here.

        • baal

          “No, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye to this man’s hypocrisy. But we should make it clear that it isn’t his kinky sex that’s the problem. Actually, that’s a good thing if done with a consenting adult or by himself. I hope he enjoys it more as he realizes that his church is a sham.”
          I liked this sentence a lot.

          “At least, that’s how I read it. And now I shall lose respect of people around here.”
          Well, that’s concerning. I’d like to think your record of posts would outweigh your deviance from the mean. I don’t think anyone can read your body of comments and think you’re a net harm producer. I’m also not sure what in this particular comment is beyond the reasonable range pale (pail works too). The commentariat on JT’s blog tend to be reasonable but it’s a little sad that you do need to worry about the shame & abuse squads policing methods.

          FWIW – I was happy to see Greata’s comment. We should be free to call for help without getting publicly humiliated (911 calls shouldn’t be public record on an individually identifiable basis); kink is not something to shame folks with; the priest, as a supporter and promulgator of the RCC
          s harms, is a reasonable target for mocking for hypocrisy.

          • Glodson

            That last comment was an attempt at self-deprecating humor. I am not so worried about people losing respect for me, as I feel I can back up my arguments with reason and evidence. As such, if I can’t, then I need to recant my statement, which is on me. If I can and people still lose respect for me, I should reevaluate my need for their respect. And really, it should be about a body of work, unless the one comment leads to a major conflict of worldviews… this is a bit much for my silly little comment. Sorry.

            To be honest, I didn’t like Greta’s take at first. I had to really read it and think. I stand by the fact that the man needs to be called out for his blatant hypocrisy, but I also don’t like that his identity was released. That should have been withheld. Even though I think he does damage, he should have the expectation of privacy.

            I guess I think we all could benefit remembering that these people are still people. They have been brought up in a bad religion with bad idea and they think it is normal. Go and look at the recent prayer thread. There’s a person in there defending the depictions of genocide in the Bible while trying to call out atheists for lacking morals. This person has a major blindspot and cannot see the problem, cannot see the issue. They have been told that god is good, god loves us, those people deserve it. And they haven’t really been able to shake off this point of view to see what is really in front of them.

            Of course the priests should not get passes for what they say, and what they are doing. But knowing they are just as shackled by faith as their followers can be a nice reminder. And when they’ve done something illegal, like the Cardinal in LA, they need to face the consequences for it.

  • Kevin Butler

    welcome back to dallas :D

  • Stogoe

    If you actually get into Pella (where Central College is located) before the snowstorm instead of getting stuck in the Late February Blizzard of Snooowwww! Aaargh!! somewhere that’s not Pella, there’s a really good bakery in the town square called Jaarsma, and you should swing by and ogle the pastries at the very least. The other bakery in the town square isn’t any good because my family is a Jaarsma family plain and simple and that makes it absolutely true yes siree.

    Anyways, I shouldn’t be surprised that even a college in the Sacred Heart of Dutch Reformed Culture in Iowa has a SSA or SSA-equivalent. But I guess I still am.

    • Stogoe

      Honestly, the place has full-on Blue Laws that are still enforced. Seriously. Go to any store in that town on Sunday that’s not the Wal-Mart out by the highway and it will be closed.

  • Karen

    As an ex-Catholic (aside from a wedding and helping my disabled mom attend Confesssion, I haven’t darkened the door of a Catholic church for 30-odd years now) I still am continually amazed as indictment after indictment pile up, the parking at my local grocery store is still iffy on Sunday mornings because the Catholic church across the street doesn’t have enough parking. The church is obviously evil, yet I know some of the people who attend that church, and they’re really fine people! Okay, as an atheist, I think the whole theology thing is bunk — but even if you agree with their theology, how can you still find it in your heart to support it and still call yourself a moral person?

  • Karen

    I sometimes think that my lifelong-Catholic mom, had she seen today’s indictments of the church, might have given up on it.

  • Andrew Kohler

    “For those of you who travel a lot, do you ever have those days where nothing goes right and it costs you a lot of money?”

    Yes. Frequently. Including at present (a research trip prolonged due to things taking longer than expected–not issues with the travel itself, but the principle remains).