Skeptimus Prime » Catholic church One atheist's thoughts on politics, religion, and philsophy Wed, 22 Apr 2015 06:30:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Catholic Archbishop Claims He Didn’t Know Sex With Children Was Illegal Wed, 11 Jun 2014 17:26:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> This video left me astounded at how much awful can be vested into a single human being.

From Americans Against the Tea Party.

Archbishop Robert Carlson, former chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul,  testified last month that he was unaware in the 1980s that it was illegal to have sex with a child. At the time, it was Carlson’s responsibility to investigate allegations of sex abuse in the church.

So to sum up, an Archbishop of an organization which clearly argues that ANY premarital sex is immoral is clamming he wasn’t quite sure on the legality or ethics of having sex with children. (A group of people who are not legally allowed to marry) I’m willing to say, without any equivocation, that this man is clearly and obviously lying. Unless this man is mentally deficient in some way it is simply not possible that he didn’t know this was both illegal and immoral, nor is it possible that he just forgot everything of importance about the events in question.

He didn’t do his job back in the 1980’s, probably because he was more concerned about the churches reputation than harm being done right under his nose. Now that the truth is out he can’t think of anything way out but to pretend that he isn’t sure if he knew basic facts about the law and even his own religious beliefs back then because it was such a long time ago. It isn’t even a good lie. I don’t swear on this blog very often anymore but I think this occasion call for it. Fuck this guy.

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Catholic priest blames dualism for contraception and moral decay. Wed, 11 Jun 2014 01:10:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> This is one of the stranger articles I’ve ran across lately.

Contraception: The Gateway to Moral Decay

It starts by accurately quoting some statistics from a Gallup poll.

At the top of Gallup’s list of 19 issues was contraception, of which 90 percent of Americans approve, followed by divorce at 69 percent and premarital sex at 66 percent. Others making the top ten were embryonic stem cell research (65%), childbirth outside of marriage (58%), same-sex unions (58%), euthanasia (52%) and abortion (42%).

No disagreement here except that I don’t feel these statistics are an example of how far American society has fallen the way the author clearly does. One caveat, he points to these statistics as evidence that people are moving away from his positions, but the numbers on abortion have stated fairly static in America since Roe v. Wade.

Of course he brings up all the buzz words and ideas, blames “relativism” and the “sexual revolution” then goes on to say this has been a developing trend for hundreds of years.

Of course, it goes back more than a few decades. As is often the case, what seems like a sudden explosion was really the logical outcome of hundreds of years of growing confusion about who we are as persons.

No surprise here, what does surprise me is where he places this, more distant, historical blame, and why.

René Descartes (1596-1650) was a French scientist and philosopher who many credit with helping to launch what later became known, somewhat ironically, as “the  Enlightenment”. Among his contributions to the way people thought was to place body and soul in opposition to each other, later leading to the idea that the human body could simply be seen as an object one could manipulate according to one’s desires. Simply put, you are your mind, and you have a body; as opposed to the traditional Christian view that you are both body and soul. In this, Descartes followed Francis Bacon (1561-1626), who believed that the goal of human knowledge should be to successfully achieve not stewardship of, but domination over, nature.”

I’ve certainly seen my fair share of derision launched at the enlightenment by conservative religious apologists, but his attack on Descartes seems particularly odd since he was both a Christian and a Catholic. He is at least as well known for an ontological argument for God’s existence as he is for his work in dualism. He also ties Descartes’ philosophy to Bacon’s even though the history of philosophy tends to place each of them in the opposing camps of rationalism and empiricism respectively.

However, what strikes me as most odd is blaming of Cartesian dualism on the sexual revolution. For one thing, people who reject theism generally also reject Cartesian dualism, in fact it would seem that materialists are required to reject Cartesian dualism. Furthermore, most Christians are dualists of some kind though they may not know or agree with Descartes particular formulation. It is technically possible to reject mind/body dualism and be a Christian but most, including Catholics, do believe that the soul or mind can and does separate from the body upon death, only to reunited with it in the second coming. This is why I find statements in this article like this so odd.

Books are still being written about what became known in philosophy as mind/body dualism, a view that is rejected by the Church. This dualistic view is assumed by most today, even though most don’t realize it or see how it informs even their most basic assumptions about reality, and other people.

It should also be noted that Descartes formulated his version of dualism to deal with what he saw as a fundamental epistemic problem so trying to connect this in some way to modern sexual mores in American is tenuous at best.

The contraceptive mentality, so identified by the Church, is a perfect example of what happens when we embrace dualism. Notice how the promoters of contraception promise a consequence-free control over our lives if we could just control our fertility with their drugs and devices. All the pleasure, none of that inconvenient fertility. My body is not me, exactly, it is an object for me to control for whatever reason I want; so sex is just about my pleasure, maybe someone else’s too. It is not necessarily about giving myself to the one I love with the possibility of creating new life as a result of that gift.

And later in the article

To go against our true nature is to fracture our natural sense of responsibility towards another. Does anyone not see this happening today?

While he has been critical of our use of Cartesian dualism to justify contraception, he is quick to make use of an even older argument to justify why we shouldn’t do this. For those who don’t recognize it, this is an example of a teleological argument, which can be found in both Plato and Aristotle. The argument can also be found being made in a famous example by the great philosopher “Winnie-the-Pooh.”

“Winnie-the-Pooh sat down at the foot of the tree, put his head between his paws and began to think.
“First of all, he said to himself: ‘That buzzing-noise means something. You don’t get a buzzing-noise like that, just buzzing and buzzing, without its meaning something. If there’s a buzzing-noise, somebody’s making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is that you’re a bee.’
“Then he thought another long time and said: ‘And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey.’
“And then he got up and said: ‘And the only reason I know of for making honey is so I can eat it.’ So he began to climb the tree.”

Teleological arguments are usually a poor justification and represent lazy thinking. One of the reasons for this is demonstrated in the previous quote, people assume, not only that a final purpose exists, but that it matches whatever they personally happen value most, in the authors case this is clearly reproduction. I should also point out that we don’t need mind/body dualism to justify premarital or non-reproductive sex.

He closes with this.

Obviously, seriously bad ideas have seriously bad consequences. Father Paul Marx, the founder or Human Life International, affirmed the Church’s point in his autobiography based on his broad experience in traveling the world:

Having traveled and worked in 91 countries, I find no country where contraception has not led to abortion, to increasing fornication among the young, to divorce, and to all those other evils we see today that make up the international sex mess.

And it is quite a mess, isn’t it? The Gallup poll should serve as a wake up call. If we are serious about strengthening the family, promoting the well-being of children, reversing the growing number of broken marriages in our nation, ending abortion, upholding the dignity of the aged and ill, and promoting purity and chastity, then let’s be honest about where the moral breakdown begins.

I can’t speak for every country Marx has visited, but abortion rates have been falling in the U.S. steadily since the 1980’s. Promoting the well being and dignity of all people means that you have to actually listen to them, and consider the facts. Deciding for them, irrespective of their wishes, is not respect. Forcing an elderly person to suffer for months from a illness they cannot recover from, after they have requested they they be allowed to die, is not respecting them or their dignity. This article is clearly filled more with pejorative language and emotional manipulation than with factual information. With questions like this, like always, I highly recommend the use of well documented research like this paper, (conclusion quoted below)

Empirical study of the aggregate relationships between contraceptive use and induced abortion has to be limited to the few countries where reasonably reliable information exists on both. Despite this severe limitation, our review of the evidence provides ample illustration of the interaction between these factors. When fertility levels in a population are changing, the relationship between contraceptive use and abortion may take a variety of forms, frequently involving a simultaneous increase in both. When other factors—such as fertility—are held constant, however, a rise in contraceptive use or effectiveness invariably leads to a decline in induced abortion—and vice versa.

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Arizona High School Forfeits Baseball Final over Female Player Fri, 11 May 2012 21:08:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Arizona High School Forfeits Baseball Final over Female Player Paige Sultzbach    Saw this today, now why would a group forfeit a game because the other team has a female playing for them? Unsurprisingly it is because the school is a conservative Catholic religious school.
They had this to say on fox news.

Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty. Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls.

I’ve written about this before but Conservative Christians usually don’t respect women, they think they do, but clearly have no idea what respect actually is.  What they respect is an idea or concept they have about women, not the women themselves.

It really is not that hard, respecting women works the same way as respecting men, you have to treat each person as an individual, but this school is not seeing this baseball player as an individual, they only see her as a woman.  It is not enough to respect women in general, in fact that is not even a useful concept.  If you want to respect women you have to respect each woman as an individual.

This is not respect, forfeiting this game was extremely disrespectful of her because they chose to see her as nothing more than her gender.  It is clear that the only thing they respected is their religious regulations, and that is fine, they have a legal right to do that, but Our Lady of Sorrows should not disrespect our intelligence by pretending they did it out of a respect for women.

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Another Catholic priest indicated in pedophilia cover up. Mon, 05 Mar 2012 05:46:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Sorry I haven’t been posted for a few days, I’ve been rather sick the last couple of days.

Anyway, I ran across this story a few days ago and thought I’d post it. 

So, the story is that back in 1994 this priest named Bevilacqua ordered a memo destroyed by another priest by the name of Molloy.  This memo indicated 35 priests in the Philadelphia that were suspected of child molestation.  Molloy destroyed the documents but kept a copy of them along with notes detailing the issue.  Molloy died back in 2006 and the documents were recently revealed and turned over to the authorities.  
This is particularity important because Bevilacqua testified in 2002 that there was no cover up and did not mention the memo he had destroyed eight years earlier.
This is one of the reasons I find the Catholic church’s current rant about contraception so laughable.  They argue that being required to offer insurance to their employees is offensive to their morality while the church has had a systemic problem with pedophilia and sexual abuse stretching back to the middle ages is just absurd.  
Really not much else I can say so I will leave you with the “The Pope Song” by Tim Minchin.   It makes copious use of F-bombs for those more squeamish.
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Bring up birth control and the Catholic church admits church state separation was actually a thing all along. Mon, 06 Feb 2012 01:01:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
Pure evil according the Catholic Church
Catholics and other Christian groups are up in arms about the government requiring the insurance companies provide to their employee’s with FDA approved contraceptives.  They are angry because this law is extending to many church owned organizations such as private schools and hospitals.

For those of you not familiar with law here, churches are granted an exemption to a lot of rules that other business must follow.  Some of them make a lot of sense, for instance laws that prevent religious discrimination in hiring would not really work in a church, requiring a church not to consider the religious beliefs of their pastor in hiring him would not work very well.  I may consider all religious beliefs to be rather illogical but I can still understand the need for this kind of separation.  
Now when it comes to this particular law there is also an exception for employees of churches and and religious organizations, however the private schools and hospitals owned by the Catholic church do not fit into these exceptions, and in the case of hospitals generally receive public funding.  These organizations do not and, in fact, are not allowed to discriminate based upon religion.  The end result is that many of the people working for them are not Catholics.  The people being serviced there are also often not Catholics but this is not even relevant to the current issue since it affects employees.  
Catholics, being anti-contraception, have decided that they don’t want to set up the insurance for their employees to cover such things.  A situation that has no doubt been the way they have done things for quite some time.  Now, the government is saying it can’t be that way anymore, that women have a right to contraception and they have a right to expect their employer to offer insurance that covers it irregardless of how their employer may personally feel about contraception.  Make no mistake, this is a women’s rights issue, since in order for women to maintain a equal place in society they must be able to choose when and if to get pregnant.
Now the Catholic church is threatening to simply shut down their services rather than comply with the law, just as they did when the government refused to hand out state funds to Catholic adoption agencies that refused to adopt to gay parents.  Make no mistake this is a clear case of bullying with a flimsy religious excuse on their part.  If the world won’t play by their very silly and bigoted rules they will simply take their ball and go home.  
Part of me can’t help but think this might be a good thing.  Do we really want the Catholic church running our hospitals and our schools when they care more about controlling the reproduction rights of women and obeying moral rules that are insulting to any thinking person than they care about doing the jobs they built those hospitals and schools for?  One wonders what they founded these hospitals and schools for; is it because they care about people or is it because it gives them an opportunity to force their moral ideals on to the general populace?  
Perhaps it would be a good thing if they shut down, other people would build hospitals after all.  People get sick and someone else would fill the need for hospitals, that’s how free market economies work. 
Meanwhile, the height of irony in this is that many Conservative Christians like the Catholics Leagues Bill Donohue are claiming that this is a violation of “Church state separation.”  You might remember that as the thing they have spent years claiming doesn’t exist.  The fundamentalist interpretation of the establishment clause is that it does nothing more than prevent the establishment of a state religion.  This law in no way violates that interpretation, but I will go one step further.  The more encompassing interpretation of the clause offered by the courts is that no government organization can show favoritism to one religion over another because such actions would lead to an implication of an establishment of a state religion.  Nothing about this law comes anywhere close to a violation of church state separation.  However, it is ironic how quickly the establishment clause became important.
Personally I am a fan of the old saying, “your right to swing your arm ends at my nose.”  Well the Catholic church has been swinging their proverbial arm into the bedrooms of American citizens for years and personally I have no problem with the government finally telling them to get the hell out.
Arms of Catholic priests not shown due to it being a metaphor
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