Friday, 11 October 2013

But then, we all love a good conspiracy theory, don't we?

I wrote this in MSWord - I have no idea why it all ended up in caps, but I'm not going to bother trying to find out.

My son sent me the following press release: “Ancient Confession Found: 'We Invented Jesus Christ'”, and asked, “Is this legit?”

CAVEAT: I have not read the book (yet?), nor have I gone and looked at reviews. These are just rambling, though serious, thoughts.


I love this stuff, so I read the press release and went to the website, Covert Messiah. On the face of it, it is not proof, nor a new discovery. It seems that it is a re-reading/reinterpretation of texts that we already have. The first thing that strikes me is that, not only would the Romans have had to invent the gospels (& all 4 NT stories are rather different - particularly the Gospel of John & some of the gnostic gospels), but, potentially, they would have also had to write all of the letters of Paul, the pseudo-Pauline letters, the letter to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse of John – or at least of portion of them. Given the different tones and the different theologies in all of these texts, I would be extremely hesitant to think that this could be the case. "We invented Jesus Christ" is called an "ancient confession". Unless Atwill has found extremely new documentation that has been unknown for 2,000 years (not impossible but ...), then it is doubtful. And we would have all heard about by now, I should think.


Josephus' use of the prophetic mode is not unusual - this is the mode of the prophets of Israel - Jesus was most likely a prophet type. Furthermore, if the Romans had wanted to create a peaceful Messiah, then why are there texts in the New Testament that clearly have Jesus stating that "he comes to bring not peace but a sword" and he comes to turn “brother against brother” and the mini apocalypse in Mark? While all of these are to some extent controversial in current biblical scholarship, the rash inconsistencies do not augur well for someone who is trying to argue that beginnings of Christianity were created by some Roman plot to create a “peaceful” Messiah for the Jews.


Then again, maybe the Jews were just too smart for the Romans and saw through the subterfuge. This led, of course, to 2,000 years of attempted genocide culminating in the holocaust. Unintended consequences at its worst!


There have always been historians and theorists who have argued that Jesus probably didn't exist. Read Feuerbach or Schweitzer. There is also the argument made that Paul was the founder of Christianity and that he made Jesus up and created the entire story.The author of this particular theory has written with Robert Eisenman, who is controversial in his own right. He thinks that the Dead Sea Scrolls refer to Jesus, among other things. This would actually then contradict what Atwill is saying, unless he wants to argue that the Romans wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls as well.


Furthermore, if Atwill argues that Josephus was part of the conspiracy, then why isn't there more about Jesus in Josephus’ writings? That would be more logical. Josephus actually writes about James, Jesus brother, who headed up the Jerusalem community after Jesus' death. Just asking!


I suspect that while this is might make for fun reading perhaps, it would be unlikely to actually be the case. Unless, of course, as I wrote earlier, they have found actual undisputed documentation (primary sources) that says "we (the Romans, of course) did it". And since this doesn't seem to be the case, then I would put it really low on the probability scale. On the other hand, if it is the case, then obviously, it didn't work because there were at least two major Jewish revolts in the 2nd century, after which the true diaspora began.


In many ways, I suspect that Schoenfeld's The Passover Plot has more legs than Covert Messiah.


I would to read (not buy) the book. Maybe my son will get it for me as a Xmas present :-).

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Something else I wrote about Dawkins - just found it :-)

Day 3

Today I am going to write about the one thing that bothers me about Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. I loved the book but if he needs to truly argue that religion is child abuse, then he cannot so blithely dismiss the impact of sexual abuse on children raised in Christian environments.

The absolute power of the Christian god is embedded in Christian children from their birth. Whatever that particular god structure is, it is consistently reinforced by their parents, their church communities and sometimes their school systems.

Dawkins wouldn't disagree with this, but when he uses an example of a one time experience of sexual assault by a priest (described as "yukky" by the woman recounting it) to point out that psychological damage is far more damaging, he is does a massive disservice not only to those abused in a Christian context but, of all things, to his own argument that religion is child abuse. Dawkins just doesn't really get it when it comes to the impact of sexual abuse of children in a religious context. Perhaps he needs to see Deliver Us From Evil (http://www.deliverusfromevilthemovie.com/index_flash.php). Or perhaps he needs to read Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal by David France. He migh then get some idea, albeit secondhand of just what kind of damage the combination of religion and sexual abuse can cause.

There are two possible reasons for his dismissal. The first is that that it never really happened to him and he is therefore making a false generalization from his own experience and people who have had "minimal" experience of sexual abuse (these do exist - and it is a far cry from what I and millions of other children were subjected to). He quite clearly does not know anyone who has been devastated by the sexual abuse which includes all of the other forms of abuse that can knowingly be inflicted on children. The second possibility is that perhaps it did happen to him and he has never had to look at it. In other words, he has successfully managed to live a life without running into a situation that will cause him to have flashback or emotional crisis.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

So Satisfying

The second last episode of Ray Donovan and Ray killed the priest.

I'm with Bunchie(y?): "I'm glad you did it, I didn't think I would be, but I am."

It was a brilliant episode. Just watched the last 10 minutes again. Kudos to the writer Ron Nyswaner, the director Daniel Minahan & the creator Ann Biderman. Liev Schreiber is brilliant as always.

I will be writing about the show as a whole when I have watched the last episode. After reading a few critics, I think that there is a need to thoroughly digest and expound upon it. It just rings true on many levels for me.

So much of what I have commented on in earlier posts are reflected in this story line. See, for example, They Still Call Him "Father". The Power of the Belief System or Anger, Anger, and Rage. They both contain aspects of impact/response that make me feel very comfortable watching this show.

I will be watching the last episode shortly & will hope that it is a fitting end to the first season!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Poor, poor Richard - well there goes his credibility

http://www.salon.com/2013/09/10/richard_dawkins_defends_mild_pedophilia_says_it_does_not_cause_lasting_harm/

So Dawkins is not the great analytical thinker that he wants us and everyone around him to believe.

Has he never ever questioned by he is so evangelical about the horrors of "the God Delusion" as he calls it?

Obviously not. Do do so would take him back to "what didn;t really hurt him at all".

The fact that he is now focusing on it is amazing - he obviously can't let it go - a little mild form of PSTD, Richard?

Here is my post from another blog & and an earlier blog post on Dawkins - the first time he "admitted" that he had been abused sexually as a child at school.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2009

What Dawkins Doesn't Understand

Today I am going to write about the one thing that bothers me about Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. I loved the book but if he needs to truly argue that religion is child abuse, then he cannot so blithely dismiss the impact of sexual abuse on children raised in Christian environments.

The absolute power of the Christian god is embedded in Christian children from their birth. Whatever that particular god structure is, it is consistently reinforced by their parents, their church communities and sometimes their school systems.

Dawkins wouldn't disagree with this, but when he uses an example of a one time experience of sexual assault by a priest (described as "yukky" by the woman recounting it) to point out that psychological damage is far more damaging, he is does a massive disservice not only to those abused in a Christian context but, of all things, to his own argument that religion is child abuse. Dawkins just doesn't really get it when it comes to the impact of sexual abuse of children in a religious context. Perhaps he needs to see Deliver Us From Evil (http://www.deliverusfromevilthemovie.com/index_flash.php). Or perhaps he needs to read Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal by David France. He migh then get some idea, albeit secondhand of just what kind of damage the combination of religion and sexual abuse can cause.

There are two possible reasons for his dismissal. The first is that that it never really happened to him and he is therefore making a false generalization from his own experience and people who have had "minimal" experience of sexual abuse (these do exist - and it is a far cry from what I and millions of other children were subjected to). He quite clearly does not know anyone who has been devastated by the sexual abuse which includes all of the other forms of abuse that can knowingly be inflicted on children. The second possibility is that perhaps it did happen to him and he has never had to look at it. In other words, he has successfully managed to live a life without running into a situation that will cause him to have flashback or emotional crisis.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

but then again I was right about limbo!!

Direct from the Vatican site - the latest (I think) on limbo:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html

The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness, even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in Revelation. However, none of the considerations proposed in this text to motivate a new approach to the question may be used to negate the necessity of baptism, nor to delay the conferral of the sacrament. Rather, there are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible to do for them that what would have been most desirable— to baptize them in the faith of the Church and incorporate them visibly into the Body of Christ.

Get your indulgences on Twitter - at least, they're free!

It boggles my mind, but purgatory still exists. I don't know why I thought it was gone & why I am surprised,but then maybe I have just been reading the wrong theologians.

Maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part. Had to send a note to my students :-). Maybe it's lack of sleep - who knows - but here is the relevant info:

Keeping up with the times: Indulgences through Twitter


Vatican offers 'time off purgatory' to followers of Pope Francis tweets

Papal court handling pardons for sins says contrite Catholics may win 'indulgences' by following World Youth Day on Twitter

The Roman Catholic Catechism on Purgatory from the Vatican's official site:


http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm


Catechism of the Catholic Church

PART ONE
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

SECTION TWO
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

CHAPTER THREE
I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

ARTICLE 12
"I BELIEVE IN LIFE EVERLASTING"
1030-1032

1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.606 The Church formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of Florence and Trent. The tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:607
As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.608
1032 This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."609 From the beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God.610 The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:
Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.611


Monday, 8 July 2013

Ray Donovan: In Canada, it's on The Movie Network

And here is the link:

http://www.themovienetwork.ca/series/raydonovan

I have looked at a couple of reviews and some of the official website material. There will be a lot to write about. I am not sure that some of the reviewers/bloggers are actually understanding the characters. However, that is to be expected.

One blogger seems to think that the show is a bit "fantastical" in that no one could get away with what he does. While the stars' cases are handled quickly, I might suggest that people go and read up on Pellicano and then decide whether someone could "get away" with being like Ray. 

According to Wikipedia, "Pellicano is known to have represented Anthony "the Ant" Spilotro, the Chicago mobster charged with monitoring the Las Vegas casino "skim" for the Chicago mob. Gustave Reininger, the co-creator of NBC's acclaimed television drama Crime Story, was served both a subpoena and a warning from Spilotro through Pellicano.[23][24][25][26][27][28][29].  "

Note: Crime Story was on TV from 1986-1988. If anyone is interested, here is the link to the Vanity Fair article, "The Pellicano Brief". It seems Pellicano's rise to fame started in 1977. Took them until 2006 to indict him - rather a long run and far from fantastical.

The writing in Ray Donovan is solid - may not be pleasant but it promises to be very interesting.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Ray Donovan: Showtime, Sunday nights at 10

Finally, a series about the longterm negative impacts of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

See it on Showtime - in the States, the first episode is on-line at  http://www.sho.com/sho/ray-donovan/home

I don't know if it will be on Netflicks - or other carriers, but a full season has already been shot.

I was excited in the first 15 minutes and blown away by the end of it. I had to sit on my hands to keep myself from calling people late at night to tell them to find some way to watch it.


I assume that the inspiration for the story's setting was Anthony Pellicano, private investigator to the stars. See the LA Times for stories about his trial.

We have two brothers (of 4) that we know were sexually abused by a priest (whom their father kills when he gets out of jail). The one is an addict (in & out of rehab) who has had a settlement - & is still drinking etc. - & Ray Donovan - although he has apparently never told anyone - & suffers from flashbacks. There is also a sister who was an addict and committed suicide. All of this is the underbelly of the lives of Ray Donovan and his family.

Just a note: the level of violence in the show is limited but extreme.

Looking forward to tonight's episode & will probably write reviews of the show at some point in the future - probably when it has aired all of the first season.

As an aside, it is wonderful to see Liev Schreiber, and Jon Voigt is suitably creepy as Ray's father. There was a wonderful cameo (maybe he will be on again, fingers crossed) by Elliot Gould as Ray's boss and mentor.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

No Advertising on This Blog

This is not a site where you can make comments and then advertise your own blog or any other thing.

The only time that I allow other blogs to be mentioned in comments is if they bear some relevance to the topic.

The sole exception is when I have posted music videos from YouTube that come with their own advertising segments - there is nothing that I can do about them.

Relevant previous blog: http://www.sheilaredmond.com/search?q=ads

Can't find the other one right now - will add a comment later.

I really do need to spend a couple of days and label all the blogs properly - I even printed out all the blogs in chronological order to facilitate that. Other things got in the way.

Hope everyone has a good summer.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Just thought I'd share another Slacktivist blog!

How patriarchy ‘calls into question the validity’ of a sacrament


I am extremely busy these days and moving my world around - it will probably be a while before I blog again on issues that the blog has focused on, but I'll drop by every now and then, when something gets brought to my attention.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

This would be funny, if it weren't so sad

On July 31, 2012, I wrote a posting called "This is not a kid's book! Rating XXX". So far 63 people have used this as an entry (& got quickly).

Probably not all of the 63 are looking for child pornography, but when the traffic sources contain the word prostitute or some eastern European version, one knows that a lot of those 63 people are. You can also tell from the key word searches used to get to the blog entry.

Stats are great, but sometimes they can be so depressing!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Slacktivist Does It Again

Fred Clark is an amazing and succinct writer.

Just in case readers think that I only care about hypocrisy in the Roman Catholic Church, Fred manages to take care of evangelical, fundamentalist hypocrisy and idiocy quite well. He could definitely label some of his posts.: "Just what is the colour (without the "u" of course) of the sky in their world".

Might I suggest that people read two of his recent posts.

The first: "It's not your 'stance', but who you're standing with". This is Fred's commentary on the sexual abuse of children in evangelical circles. His main point is as follows:

         The problem with Challies' response is not his "stance," but that he's standing in the wrong place, standing by the wrong people, standing on the wrong side. His allegiance is cast with the institution, not with the vulnerable.

The second: "Christian college fires woman for not getting abortion". The woman was only engaged when she became pregnant. The amazing part of this story is that the college then apparently offered the job to her fiancé. He didn't take it, but honestly! Read on!

The Slacktivist is on My Blog List in case you have trouble with links.

Sunday and A Brief Comment on Pope Francis

I said in a previous post that I didn't hold out much hope that the new Pope would be much different than the old. The choice of Pope was rather a surprise, and on the surface, at least, looks quite different from the previous Pope. He appears to be a "people person" and far more pastoral than B16. He is much more comfortable with people and has certainly already struck a different note - but then he is not an academic, nor is he from the Curia.

However, just like JP2, looks can be deceiving. It seems that he is a conservative in his theology. His concern for the poor is genuine in both words and deeds, but he is no liberation theologian (not that I am a fan of liberation theology - will do a post on that someday). He appears to be no friend to the LGBT community, no friend to the birth control movement - at least at this point. One of the first ominous signs is that he has appointed B16's 2nd in command as his 2nd in command. B16 is still around - the "shadow Pope" as they are calling him. No one knows how he felt about Vatican 2, for example.

Catholics want to see his election as a "breath of fresh air" or a "new spring". Hans Küng's interview with Michael Enright this morning was telling. I can't create a link to last week's interview with Küng because cbc.ca is having technical difficulties, but it is worth listening to as well.

A telling sign is listening to the media and the commentaries from Catholic priests and laypersons alike. It is almost as if the "Holy Spirrt spin doctor" has been working overtime. The Church is more than the child sexual abuse scandal - it is only 10% or so of the priests who are "bad" - the faithful make up the church (have I mentioned how Protestant the slogan that "the Church is the people of God" is?). Sure there are some bad apples in the priesthood and the Curia - nobody seems to remember the whole of that little saying: THE ROTTEN APPLE SPOILS THE BARREL.

I wish him luck. May his god advise him that there is more to worry about than the poor. The victims of sexual abuse still cry out. Zero tolerance is the cry of the angry; the cry of the wounded is for release and understanding and, for many, a way back into belief.

The universe unfolds as it will.

Time will tell and I'm sure that I will be writing more as the months go by.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Reflections on Walking the Walk

I have spent some time reflecting on my mother and trying to integrate the knowledge that she was sexually abused by her stepfather in my life. Recently, I have been thinking about the fact that I take on difficult topics, and make difficult decisions rather than opting for the more prudent road. I dive right in and say what I think needs to be said and do what I think needs to be done. I have talked before about how people will whisper their thanks in my ear at conferences. At the conference last May, someone came up to me after my talk and said "that was a very brave paper, Sheila".

Recently someone said this (that was very brave of you) to me about something that I had done and that started me thinking about "walking the walk". I sometimes don't think about how apparently rare it is that people do the difficult or right thing particularly if there are potential negative consequences. I won't say that I am unaware of potential negative consequences when I take a stance or make a difficult decision but given everything that I have written and what I believe, I would be a hypocrite to not "walk the walk" instead of just "talking the talk". [I retain the teenager's absolute hatred of hypocrisy] While I cannot discuss what has brought me to writing this post, I can say that academia is full of people who "talk the talk", but when it comes to putting the talk into practice, they devolve into self-interest mode. There is truth to the old adage of Kissinger's: "academic politics is so vicious because the stakes are so small".

To get back to my mother. Since I have learned last year that she was sexually abused by her stepfather and that this was the genesis of her refusal to ever speak to her mother, I have begun to realize that that has something to do with the way that I handle the world. It may not be genetic but it certainly feels like it was "bred in the bone". When my mother was fourteen years old, she was kicked out of her family for telling the truth. AND SHE SURVIVED. That set a pattern for the rest of her life, mostly for the better no matter how difficult things may have been for her. I will tell one story that I understand so much better now. She worked as Head Nurse and Supervisor (and teacher) of the Psychiatric Ward at the General Hospital (Grey Nuns) in Sault Ste Marie. There were issues that negatively affected the patient care and she had finally had enough and was going to resign. I was 18 at the time and she came down to the University of Waterloo to visit me. While she was there, we had a long talk about everything that was happening in the Psych Ward and why she was resigning. However, what she also wanted was advice. She didn't know whether she should make an appointment with Mother Superior and tell exactly what was happening in the ward and why she was resigning (she could have come with a phony reason, of course), which would have been extremely difficult for her. I now understand just how difficult that would have been given her past, something that I didn't understand at the time. My reply was essentially "damn the torpedoes. You are going to resign in any event, so why not just tell the truth". Now I don't know whether my mother wanted my approval or as I used to just see it as part of her dependency on me as the smart one and mother substitute. Today, I understand it a little differently. My mother needed someone to talk to. She probably already knew that she was going to have that talk with Mother Superior because that was the right thing to do no matter what the consequences. She already had my father's support. What she needed was to talk about it and mull it over and get another point of view. This is something that I have done time and time again when I have had to do those difficult things - my psychotherapist, my best friend, my youngest son (these days). I already know what I have to do - I just need to convince myself and it helps to work it out with someone else who can ask questions, offer advice and just help me coalesce my ideas. This is what my mother was doing with me - for better or worse, I was the one that she turned to when she needed to work out the how of the difficult path. She walked the walk and it turned out just fine. She took the summer off and they were banging down her door with job offers. She didn't even have to send out a resume (those were the days!). She finally decided to work for Public Health and stayed there until she retired.

I had always thought that it was my father who taught us to walk the walk - I could tell stories there as well but this post is about my mother. I now realize that my mother taught us that lesson as well - it was her greatest legacy to me, even if I didn't understand it at the time and I never knew from whence it came.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Thank God & Greyhound redux

Here is a short list of the some of people who have been censured, silenced, disciplined during the tenure of Ratzinger as head of the Congregation for the Defense of the Doctrine of the Faith (the old Inquisition).

http://bilgrimage.blogspot.ca/2013/02/droppings-from-catholic-birdcage_15.html

I am putting bilgrimage on my blog roll

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

If you read French, this is a MUST read


Autrement que victimes : Dieu, enfer et résistance chez les victimes d'abus sexuels (Not just victims: God, anger and resistance in the voices of sexual abuse victims)


Authors: Jean-Guy Nadeau ;  Carole Golding ;  Claude Rochon
Publisher: Novalis
Date: 2013
http://www.novalis.ca/Product.aspx?ids=7532038

The publisher's blurb in French. I have done a broad translation of the French (I hope the authors aren't too upset by my paraphrasing at points but I think that I have retained the essence of the blurb.)


Fruit d'un travail de plusieurs années, cet ouvrage offre aux différents intervenants psychosociaux des informations qui leur permettront de mieux travailler avec les croyances religieuses de leurs patients et de les intégrer dans leur thérapie.  Si des victimes trouvent dans la foi ou dans la religion un soutien pour survivre à l'abus, d'autres assimilent ce drame à un abandon ou à l'opprobre de Dieu ; elles se sentent alors davantage coupables, ressentent un sentiment d'exclusion, bref tardent à sortir de leur traumatisme. Enfin, les enfants éduqués chrétiennement vivent très tôt, et avec peu de ressources, l'expérience douloureuse des questions radicales sur les relations entre Dieu, la souffrance et le mal. De nombreux témoignages viennent illustrer ces positions et enrichir la réflexion par des cas concrets.

The fruit of many years of labour, this book offers much information for psychosocial counsellors that will allow them to work more effectively with the religious beliefs of their patients and to integrate these beliefs into their clients’ therapy. Some victims find in their faith or their religion a support that helps them to survive the abuse. Other victims describe their response to this abuse as abandonment by God or as contempt for God; they then feel more guilty, and also feel excluded from the belief system. In short, they take a long time to resolve the issues raised by their traumatic experience. Lastly, with few resources, children who are educated (raised) as Christians live from a very early age with the painful experience of facing radical questions on the relationship between God, suffering and evil. The book contains many firsthand examples that illustrate these issues and the discussion is enriched with these concrete cases.

I have only started to read the book and after reading different chapters and sections, I already feel that it is definitely a wonderful addition to the literature on the impact of the Christian belief system on victims of child sexual abuse within that system. This is not just because they have a lengthy discussion of my Psalm and Eulogy (pp. 104-118) - guess I am a the*logian, whether I like it or not. It is well balanced between those who, like me, felt abandoned and angry at the failure of the belief system to address our needs and those who have found support in the system.

The authors should be looking for a publisher for an English translation so that it can reach a wider audience.

I will comment further after I have finished the entire book. (After all, French isn't my first language and it takes more time to integrate what I am reading!)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Honest: Catholics are Christians

My rant for the day!

I am just marking papers and, even after all the lecturing and discussion in class, my students will still come up with a sentence like the following: "They also looked at mostly Christian or Catholic  families and did not go near other religions." (For that one, I even looked at the source material just to make sure)


I could have accepted Protestant or Catholic - don't need to get into the touchy subject of all those other Christians - well maybe Anglicans/Episcopalians aren't touchy - I'm not sure that they know they exist.

I swear that we need a mandatory history of Christianity course. Students may not know anything about other religions, but they certainly don't know anything about Christianity either - except maybe their own peculiar brand (but that's another post). It is not as if my Catholic students are exempt from understanding their own religion either.

Honestly, I do my best in my medieval and reformation classes, but it's just not enough.



Monday, 18 February 2013

Well it's about time - but it's too little, too late

So Roger Mahony and Thomas J. Curry have apologized.

Here is part of Curry's statement (echoing Mahony's of the previous day)

"I wish to acknowledge and apologise for those instances when I made decisions regarding the treatment and disposition of clergy accused of sexual abuse that in retrospect appear inadequate or mistaken," Curry said in a statement obtained by the Ventura County Star.

After decades of refusing requests for files, denials that anything untoward really happened - no cover-up, of course, this is what the victims get.

Oh well, better than nothing I suppose!

And then again, I could go back and watch Deliver Us From Evil one more time. Maybe nothing would have been better.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Thank God and Greyhound, he's gone!

However, don't start singing the Hallelujah chorus just yet. This does not mean that things will change. Any priest who has risen through the ranks is tainted by the "scandal" - if only by sins of omission, if not by sins of commission and by the conspiracy of silence.

I never fully explained the theological problem of "doubt" when I wrote my previous blog on the film, Doubt. Doubt in the authority and teachings of the Mother Church and the Papacy is a sin tantamount to heresy in a nun. One does not question. This is the double meaning of doubt in the film.

I have no love for the man but sitting in my chiropractor's office and hearing the news of his resignation, my first utterance was that he was "heartsick".  My blog, Just what is the colour of the sky in their world, part 4, was probably on my mind when I said this. This is a man that has never had "doubt" as far as I can tell. He is a "true believer". At the same time, I cannot help but wonder whether or not it has finally become too much. As long as there were the odd priests here and there who abused children, it would not necessarily bring the true believer's faith into question. But it has been relentless. It hasn't let up since it began in the 80s - thirty years of relentless disclosures. Furthermore, it is worldwide. Therefore, it was not indigenous to the "degenerate world of North America".

I speculated earlier that the move of Charles Scicluna out of the Vatican was more than it appeared to be. The resignation of Benedict XVI/Ratzinger makes me wonder even further.

I cannot wish him well in his retirement. He has presided over the Inquisition and has hurt many, many good men and women of the church during his years of power. His refusal to deal seriously with the sexually abusing priest is the worst of it. If there is a "God", I can only hope that "he" will make sure that the years of decline will be fraught with questioning. May he actually suffer from "doubt" and begin to understand the full extent of the damage that he has inflicted (with the help of others, of course) on the faithful.

I don't hold out much hope.

And maybe he is showing signs of early Alzheimer's - if so, couldn't happen to a worthier recipient!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

So Charles Scicluna is now the Bishop of Malta

It is almost 1:30 in the am and I had one of those "wide awake-up" after about 2.5 hours sleep - thought it was morning. However, the brain is only partially awake & I decided to start going through my "google alerts" (I am way behind in my reading), and ran across this one.

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2012-11-19/news/full-interview-bishop-elect-speaks-on-sexual-abuse-by-priests-402915330/

I wonder if he really believes what he says - Bishop of Malta does sound like being put out to pasture.

Have nothing brilliant to say except that I did make a few comments in "Fear and Denial at the Crossroads" about his article on the history of the Catholic Church and its pronouncements since the earliest days on the issue.