Thanks for the laugh, kiddo.

On my second flight today I wound up sitting next to the most adorable four year-old.  I showed him some magic and taught him how to do a french drop (for any Catholic priests reading that, it’s a magic trick).

When we were landing his mother said “It’s time to go get a car!  What kind of car should we get?”

The boy replied “Hot wheels!”

Well played, kid.

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

    Kids are like that. I know my little girl can come up with some great stuff.

  • Emmet

    How is Eberhard’s comment about Catholic priests here anything but small-minded bigotry and an insult to every good Catholic priest around the world?

    • amycas

      If you’re Catholic: How is your continued support of the Catholic Church that hid child rapists and impeded investigations and is still paying out the the victims and families of the victims anything but tacit endorsement of their gross immoral and illegal actions? One would think you’d be more worried about endorsing such an organization (and by proxy their many abuses of power) than you would about whether or not JT hurt some priests’ feelings.


      • Emmet

        Save it. I’ve heard it all before. That I’m a Catholic who loves the Church doesn’t mean I support any of the immoral or illegal things done by members of it. It is, despite what you may think, possible to object to the unfair way priests are often portrayed on sites like this without being some kind of apologist for paedophilia.

        My comment was not about hurt feelings – it was about the hypocrisy of someone who paints himself as a brave freethinking crusader against bigotry making a comment that suggests every priest in the world harbours some kind of sexual attraction to children. If that’s not bigotry I don’t know what is.

        Tell me: if an atheist prizes truth and rational thinking above all else, how does suggesting that every priest has unsavoury thoughts about children fit into that worldview? That’s what I’m asking.
        I’m also asking this: how can any atheist read his comment and not call him on it for the bigotry and irrationality it displays?

        • Katherine Lorraine

          But… you DO support all of the immoral and illegal things your church has done. Every day you step through those doors, you’re supporting those actions. If you were part of some kind of large group, and found out someone in that group was molesting children, and the leader of the group not only knew, but was hiding the information from police, would you still be a part of that group?
          I would hope NOT! Then why the hell are you still a part of the Catholic church? It’s because of people like you, people who claim not to like what your upper echelons are accused of, but still sit there silently affirming that what they do doesn’t bother you enough to get the hell out of dodge.

          • Emmet

            But … I DON”T. Again, that I’m a practising Catholic doesn’t mean I support abuse of kids. I know that’s a common trope on blogs like this, but it displays a misunderstanding of what the Church is and how it operates.

            If I knew my bishop had covered up crimes, I wouldn’t put money in the plate – but I’d still “step through those doors” to go to Mass, because essentially that has nothing to do with him.

            Do you have an understanding of the Church’s policies on dealing with child abuse these days?

          • Glodson

            If you give any money to the Church which has a hierarchy that is actively covering up these scandals and still not dealing with the issue, you support them.

            It would speak loudly to the Church if you, the members, would stop going until the Church made for full disclosure and actually dealt with it. So, you are part of the problem.

          • Emmet

            Except “the hierarchy” (who do you mean, exactly?) aren’t actively covering up these scandals and not dealing with the issue.

            What makes you say the converse?

          • Glodson

            Except “the hierarchy” (who do you mean, exactly?) aren’t actively covering up these scandals and not dealing with the issue.

            This little thing called evidence.

            From the article:

            A lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a victims’ rights group, charges that as head of the church body Ratzinger participated in a cover-up of abuse. In an 84-page complaint, the suit alleges that investigators of sex abuse cases in several countries found “intentional cover-ups and affirmative steps taken that serve to perpetuate the violence and exacerbate the harm.”

            We didn’t just invent this. Our anger isn’t just that priest raped boys left in their care. It is that those priests were protected by the hierarchy. How many examples do we need? How many cases like out in California where a priest who threatened boys with deportation had his crimes covered by those in charge? It was the Cardinal in charge of the archdiocese that did that.

            Let me know if you want more. I have evidence that the Church was complaisant in these cover ups for the sake of the reputation of the priests rather than caring about the welfare of the children left in the Church’s care.

            In 1996, Ratzinger didn’t respond to letters from Milwaukee’s archbishop about a priest accused of abusing students at a Wisconsin school for the deaf. An assistant to Ratzinger began a secret trial of the priest, Father Lawrence Murphy, but halted the process after Murphy wrote a personal appeal to Ratzinger complaining of ill health.

            A secret trial. And halted for the sake of the health of the alleged child rapist. If only there was a group of people who investigate crimes, and a setting where a trial could take place in public. You know, in accordance to the law.

            Ratzinger wrote a letter asserting the church’s authority to investigate claims of abuse and emphasizing that church investigators had the right to keep evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the alleged victims reached adulthood.

            Ratzinger became upset — and slapped Ross’s hand — when ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross asked him a question in 2002 about the delay in pursuing sex abuse charges against Maciel.

            Finally, Maciel was punished in 2004 after this attention. He was ordered to do penance and removed from active priesthood. Instead of facing a trial, instead of facing justice, he was slapped on the wrist. No wonder some

            priests feel they can rape boys with impunity.

            You give these assholes money? You are part of the problem. You go to their services? You are part of the problem. They will never hold themselves accountable, hold their priests accountable, until you and your fellow Catholics make them. Until this day, you as a faith based community have failed. You’ve failed every child raped by a priest protected by Bishops and Cardinals, and even the Pope.

            This will be part of the legacy of the church.

          • Emmet

            And what happened as a result of SNAP’s suit? Nothing? Perhaps because it didn’t hold water?

            “Our anger isn’t just that priest raped boys left in their care. It is that those priests were protected by the hierarchy.”

            I’m angry at that too. And slowly things are getting put right. Again, are you actually aware of the protocols that exist know, as a result of all this scandal, for dealing with abuse and keeping kids and teenagers and adults in Church circles safe?

            Fact is, Catholics at all levels of the Church’s governance have screwed up, and will do so in the future – but things are better and getting better. I’m confident things are getting dealt with – obviously I am, or I wouldn’t still be here.

            As far as Maciel goes – that was an extraordinary situation. Horrific that he got away with his crimes for so long. Like English entertainer Jimmy Saville (google him if you’re not aware of that ongoing investigation), accused of hundreds of cases of abuse, he was some kind of monster, and some kind of master deceiver who held everyone around him in his thrall. How did these guys get away with it? The people around them not wanting to rock the boat. The force of their personality. People not wanting to believe the worst of their idol. False accusations poisoning the well for true ones. Not wanting to tarnish the reputations of the institutions to which they belonged.

            Maciel wasn’t brought to trial – it would have been good if he had, to get it all out in the open. But it’s a practice in civil law as well, to sometimes not take an elderly, sick person to trial – the thinking is something along the lines of the serving of justice not being worth the expense and time. I don’t agree with that but it’s the way it sometimes goes.

            “They will never hold themselves accountable, hold their priests accountable, until you and your fellow Catholics make them.” – Again, it seems like you’re not actually aware of the accountability practices that exist these days.

        • amycas

          my point was that you’re more worried about some atheist blogger, than you are the fact that your church aided and abetted child rapists and actively hindered law inforcenment’s investigations

          • Emmet

            Oh, I didn’t realise you were a mind reader and know my differing levels of worry about different issues.

            How worried are you about abuse in different institutions? Do you preface every comment you make on a blog by describing that?

    • Gavin Thorinson

      Well, not being a mind reader, I cannot say for certain that it wasn’t “small-minded bigotry and an insult to every good Catholic priest around the world.” Of course, you are presumably also not a mind reader and so you probably can’t say for certain that it was instead of, for example, a light hearted jab at an institution that is famous for a massive, seemingly world wide cover up of child molestation that reached the highest levels of the institution recent enough that there are numerous victims that are still alive today to tell their stories. And even if it was “small minded bigotry,” I highly doubt it would be an insult to every “good Catholic priest around the world.” It is simply a numbers game. There are enough priests out there that chances are very high that at least one “good Catholic priest” will take it as a valid criticism and possibly even find it humorous.

      • Emmet

        Of course it’s bigotry. You don’t have to be a mind-reader to read the words on the screen.

        Imagine if I wrote a blog that hinted that all atheists are child abusers, because some are. You’d rightly call me on it, saying that the comment isn’t based in fact or reason and is insulting to good atheists everywhere, and more than that, makes me look like an idiot.
        You “highly doubt” priests would find it an insult? I don’t think you know many priests. The priests I know would find it insulting – not that they’d care, dealing with small-minded nonsense like that on a daily basis.

        Again, I don’t understand how Eberhard’s readers can defend his comment – dislike the Church and its members by all means, but make your criticisms factual, reasonable and clear: you only make atheism look bad by not doing so.

        • Andrew Kohler

          “Imagine if I wrote a blog that hinted that all atheists are child abusers, because some are. ”

          But has there been a systematic effort within the atheist community to shield child abusers and silence their victims? This is no small distinction.

          I absolutely grant your point that it is a very small percentage of priests who do commit these atrocities. The reason that we continue to express outrage is because of the disgraceful institutional response (which, insofar as it has changed, seems only to have done so because of public outcry–including by atheist activists, btw) and because of the church’s generally troglodytic teachings on sexuality (including priestly celibacy). And yes, the hierarchical structure of the church is part of the problem (abuses of power can only take place when, well, there’s power to be abused). Perhaps it is a low blow to make jabs at priests being pedophiles when such a small percentage of them are, but it serves to highlight problems with the institution of which they are part.

    • Nate Frein

      Know what pisses me off, Emmet?

      The fact that if all the self-professed “Good Catholics” like you that supposedly exist walked out of the church, it would fall apart. All your “good priests” could walk out and stop supporting a hierarchy that aided and abetted child rape. These “good priests” could go to the police. They could form a new Catholic church.

      But no. Adherence to the existing hierarchy is more important than doing “good”.

      • Emmet

        What/who do you define as “the hierarchy”? How are they “aiding and abetting” child rape?

        Are you aware of the policies that every diocese and parish has in place for dealing with child abuse?

        Why would all the “good Catholics” walk out? We’d just take our sins and weaknesses with us. That’s the thing – the Church is an institution made up of humans who make mistakes. The attempts by atheists to paint it as some kind of crime ring are laughable and irrational.

        • Nate Frein

          The lengths “good” catholics will go to salve their consciences is laughable and irrational.

          • Emmet

            Sure. Whatever. My conscience tells me I shouldn’t be wasting time on this blog because it’s about as useful as banging my head against the wall. I’ll salve that by going and spending time with my wife and kids.

          • Nate Frein

            You can lead a catholic to morality but you cannot make him good.

          • Emmet

            Let me know when you’re leading me to a morality that’s based on more than “what feels right at this point in time” – I might be interested then.

          • Nate Frein

            You’ve been led to knowledge. It’s up to you to think.

          • Emmet

            What knowledge? Gleaned from atheist blogs? Nice one. Knowledge like “The pope, the pope, he’s a war crinimal dontcha know!” that Eberhard pontificated about a while ago and his readers eagerly wolfed down?
            Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stay with the knowledge of people who can think critically rather than that of those thinking in soundbites on blogs.

            Do the same mate: use your intellect rather than worshipping it.

          • Nate Frein

            This coming from the guy tithing to the church of pederastsd

          • Emmet

            That you describe it in that way doesn’t make it true. You know that, right?

          • invivoMark

            That you describe it in that way doesn’t make it true. You know that, right?

            Right. It’s the fact that it’s true that makes it true.

          • Nate Frein

            Beat me to it :3

          • Emmet

            How many priests were abusers? To be a “church of pederasts”, how many members would need to be pederasts? Would it be true to say that atheism is a “movement of misogynists”, based on the fact that there are many people who call themselves atheist who are also misogynistic, including many of the “movements” leaders?

            Again, that you say that the Catholic Church is a “church of pederasts” doesn’t make it true.

            How many of the abuse cases were of children? How many of teenagers? How many of adults? How many cases have there been in the last ten years? How many in the ten years before that? The twenty years before that?
            What facts, in other words, do you base your slur on?

            And for interest, how many of the abusive priests were gay? How many straight?

            (edited for clarity)

          • Andrew Kohler

            This is an interesting litany of questions which you pose: perhaps you can offer answers as well? You do seem to claim expertise, after all. Likewise, please tell us about some of the present measures the church is taking to prevent further abuse; you allude to them but do not give specifics.

            As to claiming that the atheist movement is misogynistic because of some misogynists, I would point out that there is also a great deal of opposition to misogyny within the movement. At no point did the leaders of the movement issue a classified order that the issue was never to be mentioned in public and dealt with as clandestinely as possible for the sake of the movement’s reputation (i.e. how the Catholic Church responded to priests raping children–I hope this is in fact in the past, as you claim, but must point out that it’s only because they were caught that they changed the policy).

            “And for interest, how many of the abusive priests were gay? How many straight?”

            This comes perilously close to imputing that gay people are more likely to be pedophiles, which is one of the most deplorable canards out there.

          • Nate Frein

            The difference is that the Church still has big problems with the fact that most of the priests implicated in the abuse scandals have not faced any form of justice and probably never will (Ratzinger is a good example).

            The atheist community, on the other hand, is well aware of what some of it’s members are saying and most disavow it.

          • Emmet

            Which priests are those? You’ll be able to tell me names I guess.

          • RobMcCune

            I’ll stay with the knowledge of people who can think critically rather than that of those thinking in soundbites on blogs.

            “Critical thinking” in case refers to thinking up criticism of any and all information contrary to the official positions of the catholic church.

          • Emmet

            Nope. “Critical thinking” refers to critical thinking: not thinking up criticism of any and all things to do with the Catholic Church, regardless of the facts.

          • Andrew Kohler

            I trust you know that JT retracted that statement when it was brought to his attention that it isn’t supported. Nice ironic use of the word “pontificate,” btw.

            Once again the charge of “worshipping” our own intellects–this has always struck me as rather odd. Not worshipping a god does not mean that one has replaced that god with something else to worship. It certainly is not tantamount to self-worship, as some theists like to impute.

          • invivoMark

            Let me know when you’re leading me to a morality that’s based on more
            than “what feels right at this point in time” – I might be interested

            Jesus tapdancing christ, Emmet, educate yourself!


          • Emmet

            Sure. You’re pantingly assuming I’m never read any philosophy. Your point being…?
            I’m always interested in how a materialist describes/defines “right and wrong” and “good and evil”. It seems to always boil down to, in the end, “what seems right to me”. That’s a scary thing, because that boils down to “what seems right to the strong” – good is whatever the majority or those in power think is good.

            Am I wrong?

            What’s your ethics and/or morality based on?

          • Nate Frein

            What’s your ethics and/or morality based on?

            Compassion for our fellow humanity and a desire to improve the world. All extensions of the morality we evolved with along with all other social animals.”

            The same place you get your morality, with the intellectual honesty to not try to attribute it to some nonexistant god.

          • Andrew Kohler

            Nate’s response to the origin of morality sounds pretty good to me. I might also say that things that cause unnecessary harm and suffering are immoral.

            “That’s a scary thing, because that boils down to ‘what seems right to the strong’ – good is whatever the majority or those in power think is good.”

            I agree with you that this is a scary thing. I trust you know the phrase “tyranny of the majority.” Generally speaking, people in the skeptic/atheist/free-thought/etc community quite reject this view; it would be very odd for someone who holds a minority viewpoint *not* to reject the tyranny of the majority.

            “What seems right to the strong” is hardly a humanist value. In contrast, it is hardly foreign to religion (just to be clear: it certainly isn’t unique to religion, and plenty of religious people reject it). What else do you call edicts from the high priests, chief rabbis, archbishops, popes, or head imams? As Christopher Hitchens used to say, these people seem rather more interested in power in the here and now than they do about the hereafter.

    • islandbrewer

      AAAH! Fates forfend! Someone has made an oblique joke about the sexual predilections of those wonderful and noble *good* Catholic priests! I wholeheartedly and sincerely concur, Emmet, that this is indeed appalling!

      How abjectly bigotrous! Alert the national guard! Assemble the Knights of Columbus!

      And fetch for me a fainting couch, for I fear I shall indeed swoon at the horrible allusions that Mr. Eberhard makes about those poor poor defenseless Catholic clergy!

      I immediately demand that he do 20 Hail Marys, 50 pushups, 5 hat tricks, 4 laps around the track, and apologize to a large contingent of Catholic clergy by giving them hot oil massages!

      And film it, or it didn’t happen!

      The nerve of his proposterity!

      • Emmet

        It wasn’t just an oblique joke was it though. It was part and parcel of an attitude that says, “There’s nothing good in the Catholic Church or in its priesthood, and all priests are suspect”, as evidenced throughout this blog. Not just a joke, but part of a bombastic and pompous bigotry against good people. I’m surprised that purported lovers of reason can’t see that.

        Bang, bang, bang.

        • islandbrewer

          It was an oblique joke, Mr. Pearl Clutcher. You really just want any critics of the RCC to roll over and show Respect (TM), right?

          Please regale us with all the good that your favorite “good” Catholic priest does. I want to hear just how wonderful he is. No, really – show me how being a Catholic priest has enabled him to do more good than if he were, say … an atheist (as a hypothetical).

          • Emmet

            No, I don’t expect critics to show respect – I do expect their critiques to be based on more than lazy generalisations and careless bigotry though. Wouldn’t you expect the same? I mean, reason and rationality and truth and all that, yeah?

            How can we measure the good that a person does based on whether they were atheist or Catholic? Bit of a nonsense question on your part isn’t it?
            Here’s some of the good that priests I know do: spending time with sick people in hospital; visiting the elderly and those in prison; comforting people at funerals; celebrating with people at weddings; feeding the poor; challenging fellow Catholics to be better people; contributing to the marketplace of ideas in their society; and so on and on. Many of them couldn’t do that work unless they were free, due to the gift of their celibacy, of family responsibilities.

            But that’s beside the point really. You’re trying to make some other point – I’m not really sure what, except perhaps “teh Catholic stinks”. Something like that?

          • islandbrewer

            I do expect critiques to be based on more than bigotry and generalizations, and the critiques found here are based on quite specific actions of the church and its clergy, hardly generalization or bigotry, but that’s beside the point for you. (This is where you’re supposed to tell me how you, too, are outraged by the few bad priests, how I’m not a mind reader because of that, and how we don’t know anything about the church… and then resort to your lazy retorts and equally snarky nonsensical comments.)

            What good do people do a nonsense question? Hardly! Holy fucking magic jesus crackers, man! You start enumerating things that prove it’s not a nonsensical question.

            ” spending time with sick people in hospital; visiting the elderly and those in prison; comforting people at funerals; celebrating with people at weddings; feeding the poor;”

            I know non-priests doing all that, absolutely nothing about the RCC adds to their ability to do that, except of course vast mountains of wealth of which they spend a mere minute fraction on anything resembling social good.

            Challenging Catholics to be better people? I’d like to see data on that.

            Contributing to the marketplace of ideas? Really? That’s pretty laughable. Like what, “Contraceptives are evil”? Really? Of all the contributions to human society by catholic clergy that I can think of, the only useful ones (genetics, mathematics, physics) were from those who notably ignored theological pursuits.

            Ooooh, the gift of their celibacy. Isn’t their stunted sexual maturity the root of their problems?

            My point? Ah yes, when commenting on Catholic blogs I have to remember – use kid gloves for every snarky comment is met with cries of “ANTI-CATHOLIC BIGOTRY!” But it’s much easier to make lazy generalisations and say my point is “teh catholic stinks”, right? Something like that?

            You’re getting this reaction because you (as well as an overwhelming number of catholic visitors here) are remarkably thin-skinned when your child-fucking priests are mentioned. Actually, the thin skin applies to any criticism of the church, I’ve observed.

            But I need to thank you, Emmet, It’s people like you (and more especially clowns like Mark Shea) that are the reason that ex-Catholics are one of the fastest growing demographics in the US, according to the Pew Poll.

            Please keep up your remarkable outreach! We atheists need you on the catholic side of things!

          • Emmet

            “I do expect critiques to be based on more than bigotry and generalizations,” – so, in your own words, what exactly was Eberhard’s “critique” in this post? Anything? Anything at all? Or just a lazy and ignorant generalisation? Or just snark? (Ooh, snark! Only us atheists are allowed the snark!)

            Here’s the thing: criticise the Church all you like. I’m not thin-skinned about that. But make sure your criticisms are grounded in reality. Good grief, that I have to say this on an atheist blog, where Reason and Rationality and Science and Truth are trumpeted loudly and constantly, makes me laugh.

            A friend who teaches religion at a Catholic school was reading over my shoulder one time when I was writing on an atheist blog and she exclaimed, “Ha! They’re like my fourteen-year-olds – they think they are so clever and know what they’re talking about when it comes to the Church but they don’t – they’ve got hold of something they’ve read or seen on the internet or something their big brother told them about and know they think they can bring the Church to it’s knees with a challenge no-one’s heard before. Why do you bother?”

            >>”We atheists need you on the catholic side of things!” I’m surprised that you object to me challenging you to use facts rather than mere rhetoric in your critique of the Church – by doing so, aren’t I helping your team?!

          • islandbrewer

            Whole lot of text with no actual argument, there. JT posts an amusing anecdote, and you go hunting for anti catholic persecution. You’re a fan of Bill Donahue, aren’t you.

            What facts have you posted, other than your quoting the catholic feel good piece, there? You responded to nearly everyone here the intellectual equivalent of “Nuh-uh!”

            No one here believes that they’re bringing the catholic behemoth to its knees, it will eventually do that by itself.

            I have never objected to you using facts (in fact, I wish you would start, please). It’s your faulty rationale and evasive goalpost shifting rhetoric, as well as (while being a member of the largest single christian denomination in the US) decrying the persecution of poor poor catholics, that makes me glad for people like you espousing the virtues of catholicism.

          • Emmet


            “Of course vast mountains of wealth of which they spend a mere minute fraction on anything resembling social good.”

            Like this: of course, you’ll have those figures to hand, won’t you? How many dollars in that mountain of wealth, and what’s the fraction?

            What’s that? You don’t have those figures? You thought your statement sounded good, and is probably right, and none of your atheist confreres would challenge you on it, seeing as they’re just as keen to take any opportunity to smear the Church, so you’d just go ahead and say it?

            Here, let me help. No monetary figures, but some stats that will prove that the $$ spent are anything but “minute”.

            Here are some figures from the 2012 Church book of statistics:

            In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 70,544 kindergartens with 6,478,627 pupils; 92,847 primary schools with 31,151,170 pupils; 43,591 secondary schools with 17,793,559 pupils. The Church also cares for 2,304,171 high school pupils, and 3,338,455 university students.

            Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church include:

            5,305 hospitals most of them in America (1,694) and Africa (1,150)

            18,179 dispensaries mainly in America (5,762); Africa (5,312) and Asia (3,884)

            547 Care Homes for people with Leprosy mainly in Asia (285) and Africa (198)

            17,223 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability mainly in Europe (8,021) and America (5,650)

            9,882 orphanages, about one third in Asia (3,606)

            11,379 creches

            15,327 marriage counselling centres mainly in America (6,472)

            34,331 social rehabilitation centres

            9,391 other kinds of institutions, mostly located in America (3,564) and Europe (3,159).

            One more statistic – in the vexed area of AIDS, one in every four AIDS victims world wide receives care in a Church-run facility; in Africa, that figure is between 40% and 50%. In 2011, there were “117,000 Catholic medical facilities, from clinics in the deepest jungle to large urban hospitals in the developing world, that are involved in treating both people that are already infected with AIDS and trying to prevent the transmission to at-risk populations.” [PBS News]


            So what drives this massive outpouring of money, time and resources if not their Catholic faith? If atheists were just as keen on helping their fellow man, where are all the atheist hospitals, AIDS-care facilities, orphanages and nursing homes?

          • islandbrewer

            Kind of missed the point on what a “percentage” means, didn’t you, there? Nice quoting of seemingly large numbers.



            The RCC likes to actually hide its numbers, except for what sounds good in propaganda pieces like the one you quote.

            The Economist article estimate that the church spent about 2.7% of its budget on charities. The large healthcare number in the article refers to the businesses it runs (hospitals, and don’t try to paint them as anything other than big businesses).

          • Andrew Kohler

            “Many of them couldn’t do that work unless they were free, due to the gift of their celibacy, of family responsibilities.”

            So people with family responsibilities aren’t able to comfort and support their fellow humans outside their families or contribute to the marketplace of ideas!? Doctors can have families and still take care of sick people. Writers can have families and contribute to the marketplace of ideas (and as islandbrewer notes below, opposition to contraception, reproductive rights, gay rights, and gender equality–all teachings of the Church–are not very good contributions). We can all encourage each other to be better people. Priestly celibacy is not required for any of the good things you list. I am not denying that many priests accomplish all of what you list above: I am denying that the priesthood is required for them, or anyone, to do it.

            The “gift of celibacy” sounds to me like being naturally asexual, or having a very low sex drive. In which case, that’s just a feature of who they are, not a gift. If that’s not the case, then they’re denying and repressing part of who they are, which is *definitely* not a gift (unless one is using “Gift” as the German word for “poison”).

            As to celebrating at weddings, I’d feel better if the priests were allowed to do with their gay parishioners. It would also be nice if female Catholics were allowed the opportunity to serve their communities in the ways you enumerate above.

    • baal

      Um, it’s a small throw away joke line. Your outrage is excessive.

      • islandbrewer

        I can’t remember which thread I saw it in, but someone was pointing out the gargantuan difference between the online catholics, and the catholics we all know and hang out with. The overwhelming majority of my catholic jokes come from my catholic friends and colleagues. They sometimes cringe at the pedophile jokes, but none that I know have ever started frothing because of them, and they all recognize why those jokes exist (and are funny).

        The online catholics around Patheos tend to be the very stereotype of pearl clutching outrage spewing tone trolls. Maybe it’s because those types come here in order to be outraged.