“The Catholic church is a force for good in the world” - proposition
Posted: 26 November 2009 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]
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BBC (I believe I see these on BBC World News) runs debates organized by Intelligence Squared.  Last month the above proposition was debated.
The audience of what looked like a couple of thousand was polled at the start, and a good majority rejected the proposition. 
Four debaters:
The two for: a harridan M.P. who had left C of E and joined the pope,  and the R.C. Archbishop of Nigeria.  It must be said for the prelate that he could express himself grammatically;  however, in other respects he just babbled on the level of Dubya or, even worse, that of Sarah Palin.
Against:  Christopher Hitchins, and the gay actor and secular saint Stephen Fry, who is currently engaged in AIDS charity work in Uganda.  Suffice to say that our guys were brilliant.  I whooped for joy so resoundingly and so many times that I caused Loke (a canine) to become concerned! 

To cap it all off, the subsequent audience poll showed a catastrophic fall in the number who were for, and Don’t Knows also dropped precipitously.

Alas, I had come to hope for more sparks to fly, but the papist side was too weak for that.  I would have wanted more worthy or devious opponents.
In the archbishop, and to some extent in the harridan, I think I detected a sort of shock at meeting a reality outside of the comfortable limited horizons that they are used to, within which they enjoy unlimited deference and fawning.  Of course that’s precisely why gods are invented by the likes of them.

http://www.intelligencesquared.com/
A slightly abridged video of the debate:
http://www.intelligencesquared.com/iq2-video/2009/catholic-church

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Posted: 26 November 2009 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes, it was a fun debate. If Hollywood ever makes a movie about the new atheists (with Ben Stiller playing Sam Harris, of course cheese ) this debate will, without any doubt, be in it. It would certainly make for a dramatic scene.

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Posted: 26 November 2009 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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http://www.intelligencesquared.com/
A slightly abridged video of the debate:
http://www.intelligencesquared.com/iq2-video/2009/catholic-church

intelligencesquared.com is a really good website—there have been some other good debates there as well.

I always wondered why someone with something to hide would agree to be interviewed by 60 Minutes, and I have to wonder why anyone agrees to debate Christopher Hitchens - but I’m glad they do!

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Posted: 26 November 2009 06:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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When the woman was asked why she was against female priests, she stated that women could no more consecrate the body of christ than a man be the virgin Mary with a flourish as if she’d pronounced a very obvious and profound truth…..what an idiot.

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Posted: 26 November 2009 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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BBC America World News ran a report tonight (Thanksgiving) on the 7:00pm news hour about the new Irish report on Bishops and their hiding of pedophilia the criminals are the pedophiles, and then the lies which followed, which has just emerged.  Further, a number of new items are appearing showing that this is a worldwide issue, for example:

“Child sex abuse allegation made against archbishop - Worldnews.com
Oct 26, 2009 ... He was ordained a bishop in 1997, and installed as Archbishop of Benin, Nigeria…...........”

Remarkably Wikipedia is running an item: “Catholic sex abuse cases”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases.

How many Bishops must lie about this issue, hide pedophile priests, interfere with official criminal investigations, and continue to follow the direct order “Crimen sollicitationi” (which was issued as a secret instruction when it first appeared):

From Wikipedia:

“In 2003, a 1962 document was discovered in the Vatican’s archives,[45] titled “Crimen sollicitationis” (Instruction on the Manner of Proceeding in Cases of Solicitation) written by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, the Secretary of the Holy Office, issued an instruction regarding the disciplinary procedures for dealing with solicitation of penitents for sex by priests during the Sacrament of Penance.[46] The document dealt with any priest who “tempts a penitent… in the act of sacramental confession… towards impure or obscene matters.” It directed that investigation of allegations of solicitation in the confessional and the trials of accused priests be conducted in secrecy.

“Some parties interpreted the document to be a directive from the Vatican to keep all allegations of sexual abuse secret, leading to widespread media coverage of its contents.[47][48][49] Lawyers for some of those making abuse allegations claimed that the document demonstrated a systematic conspiracy to conceal such crimes.[50][51] The Vatican responded that the document was not only widely misinterpreted, but moreover had been superseded by more recent guidelines in the 1960s and 1970s, and especially the 1983 Code of Canon Law.[52][53]

“The defensive response of the Vatican, though, is contradicted by the following elements:
De delictis gravioribus a letter issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 18 May 2001, and sent by its prefect, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, to all Bishops of the entire Catholic Church” (see English translation of this Instruction, “Regarding More Serious Offenses” at Bishop Accountability) confirms that “the instruction “Crimen sollicitationis”, issued by the supreme sacred Congregation of the Holy Office on March 16, 1962 was still “in force until now”, that is 18 May 2001.

“No “more recent guidelines in the 1960s and 1970s, and especially the 1983 Code of Canon Law” had substantially changed the situation since 1962, until 2001: in fact the norms of 1962 were confirmed. The essential difference is that, while the Instruction of 1962 was itself secret, and its very existence had never been admitted, the Instruction of 2001, while reiterating the obligation of secrecy for the procedures (“Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret.”), was issued as a public document, and, as such, officially acknowledged the very existence of “Crimen sollicitationis”, for the first time, in 2001.”

In the United States the John Jay Report was commissioned by the Catholic Church in June of 2002.  From this report this statement was taken:

‘The John Jay report indicated that some 11,000 allegations had been made against 4,392 priests in the USA. This number constituted approximately 4% of the 110,000 priests who had served during the period covered by the survey (1950-2002).[25] The report found that, over the 52-year period covered by the study, “the problem was indeed widespread and affected more than 95 percent of the dioceses and approximately 60 percent of religious communities.”’

How many children must be sexually abused by how many priests and how many cases must be hidden and lied about by Bishops before the problem is declared epidemic and sexual abuse is considered endemic to the Catholic Church?  The Wikipedia article goes on to list countries around the world where this criminal act has been found (although their report is not up-to-date).  It is not only the act of pedophilia and the act of hiding the crime that is a problem here, it is also the response of Catholics, worldwide that gives a critical case for concern.  As the latest Irish report states, the reason given for the actions of the lying Bishops is that they put the Church before the abuse of children.  While Catholics profess to believe in Christianity and the love of Jesus, in truth they lie once again - but whether this lie is part of their self deception in believing about a non-existent god whose biblical history is open to vast interpretation (Christ loves, but he is depicted as a thief, a liar, a cheat, a cheap magician, and an arrogant self-centered uneducated fool whose statement “suffer little children to come unto me” could be translated as “suffer little children who come unto me” covers all acts of child abuse,) and/or something endemic to the Catholic Church is questionable, but basically irrelevant.

And its not just children; 35,000 nuns have been sexually abused in the United States alone [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/01/05/1041566309310.html].  In Africa nuns are threatened because of the aids epidemic where priests rape them because they are considered “clean” and a number of cases involve Bishops who have insisted that pregnant nuns get abortions (imagine the psychological effects on these poor people whose beliefs condemn both the carnal sex act [they are “married to Christ”,] and abortion as ghastly sins.) 

How many crimes must be committed by members of the Catholic priesthood at all levels of the hierarchy before we realize that we are dealing with a criminal organization that both encourages criminal acts within its religious principles, regulations and instructions from the curia (and thus the Pope) on down?  When do we begin criminal investigations of all Catholic communities because of clear evidence of staggering numbers of their members involved in heinous acts for which the common man is prosecuted, imprisoned and black labeled for life?  If the French government can investigate Scientology is not the gate now open to consider religious organizations as possible safe havens for criminals without having to give them the “respect” they automatically demand as “god-focused and driven systems”?  Is Sam Harris’ contention that religious moderates are as much to blame for extremism in their ranks as the extremists themselves because they ignore the problem, not applicable here? [If you are interested in the need to speak out and you need to raise the courage to do it, read also, “Against Silence: The Voice and Vision of Elie Wiesel”, Ed. Irving Abrahamson.  A three-volume analysis and listing of articles by Wiesel.] Boston’s Cardinal Law was removed as Archbishop of Boston by the Pope, but then he was called to Rome and promoted within the Vatican and is able, as a Cardinal, to vote for the next Pope - but where are the Catholic complaints about this piece of injustice?

These are the contentions:
1.  Because of the huge numbers of crimes committed (and presumably continuing to be committed) by members of its hierarchy the Catholic Church should be declared a criminal safe haven and its sub-sections (e.g., dioceses) should be open to criminal investigation - in the US even under the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act - Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act.
2.  The failure of Catholic moderates to act against the criminal elements within their organization makes them as guilty of the crimes within their ranks as those that commit the crimes.
3.  The place of religious belief in this process provides yet another reason to reject religious belief as corrupting, and inherently false and the organizations that promote belief as wrong.

I have often wondered what the psychological reaction of children is to the often massive figure of the bleeding, dead Christ hanging from crosses in all Catholic Churches, the copies of the Pieta with the dead Christ lying in his mother’s lap and the stations of the cross around the church naves depicting a bleeding, beaten, collapsing Jesus on his way to being crucified with two other criminals.  If I was a little child, unable to protect myself and not knowing what I was being exposed to I would be terrified - nightmares might follow - and then to be exposed to potential pedophiles in their vestments and dog collars, with their soft voices of religious command as representatives of god and then, having been abused, to realize that there are no options for justice or even help among the churches powerful Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals in their ermine and bright red uniforms of control and that you are out in the cold (in many cases the parents didn’t believe the children and called them liars) must be awful.  Or as a young girl you believe deeply, give yourself as an acolyte to Christ to become a nun and then to be abused by the priests of the church.  Isn’t it time to oppose and to stop this horror?

A force for the good - yeah!

[ Edited: 26 November 2009 07:30 PM by Fat Man ]
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Posted: 27 November 2009 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I have no illusions about the Church, I think.  I know it fairly well, or at least knew it fairly well.  The mass and the liturgy have become so bland and silly I haven’t visited in quite some time.  The music used to be better.  I represented a victim in mediation of a claim for sexual abuse by a priest, and learned all sorts of things.

But, I think it was at one time a source for good, in a rather abstract sense, though I think this was not as a matter of policy.  I think it served a significant role in the reintroduction of ancient philosophy and science in Europe, which ultimately played a part in fostering the Renaissance and the Enlightenment (which, of course, were opposed by the Church, as a matter of policy).

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Posted: 27 November 2009 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The Catholic Church, and most organized religion, is a force for parasitic stagnation.

And God knows it!  LOL

psik

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Posted: 27 November 2009 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Well, I guess I’d give them credit for helping to preserve some knowledge through the dark ages and medieval period.

I would dispute the proposition otherwise.

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Posted: 28 November 2009 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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enkidu - 26 November 2009 02:13 PM

BBC (I believe I see these on BBC World News) runs debates organized by Intelligence Squared.  Last month the above proposition was debated.

is there a way to download the audio.

On iTunes NPR has an “intelligence squared podcast” but it doesn’t havethe same content….

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Posted: 28 November 2009 10:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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“Well, I guess I’d give them credit for helping to preserve some knowledge through the dark ages and medieval period.”

They created and maintained the dark ages and destroyed much of the writing and art done outside the church (and many of the writers and artists, too.)

Giving anything away to these cheating, lying scum invites them to make claims that are just not true to bolster their position.

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Posted: 02 December 2009 04:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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havent read the whole thread yet but wanted to jump in with this excellent little clip.
see:  http://www.youtube.com/user/patcondell#p/a/u/0/yjO4duhMRZk‏

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Posted: 02 December 2009 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Ecrasez l’infame! - 28 November 2009 10:13 PM

Giving anything away to these cheating, lying scum invites them to make claims that are just not true to bolster their position.

This attitude seems vaguely familiar, when applied to a variety of different groups.  “Give ‘em an inch and those ______ will want it all!”

The voice of reason!

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Posted: 02 December 2009 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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The before and after vote was such a wild swing, it made me rather suspect. I find it hard to believe that many would come to such an evening without enough prior knowledge to make the decision, then base their decision on the information given. But then I don’t have a good alternate theory either, except maybe a conspiracy (joke).

I agree the Catholic representatives were poor.  I’m trying to be objective here, the Archbishop from Nigeria had a good point at the end, but it was too little too late. He said the question was “IS the church a force for good” as opposed to “has it always been”, or “is it perfect”.  I’m not defending him, but I wonder if he could have done a better job. The two spent very little time actually listing the good things the Catholic church does. I haven’t added them up either, so maybe it is less than I think and they couldn’t have made the case if they tried.  But since they made their case so poorly, Hitchens and Fry had an easy time of dumping on the weight of anything they had done wrong in the past 2,000 years. 

They also did a poor job of responding to something that I see often, and would have expected them to be ready for.  When they acknowledged the problems of pedophilia and noted that it was a problem throughout the culture at the time, Hitchens attacked with a “well, what is your doctrine supposed to be for then” type of statement.  Hitchens and other anti-theists do this all time, constantly pointing out how flawed the church is, then when they admit their flaws, say, “aren’t you supposed to be perfect”.  It really doesn’t leave much room for conversation.

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Posted: 02 December 2009 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Lausten - 02 December 2009 12:47 PM

The before and after vote was such a wild swing, it made me rather suspect. I find it hard to believe that many would come to such an evening without enough prior knowledge to make the decision, then base their decision on the information given. But then I don’t have a good alternate theory either, except maybe a conspiracy (joke).

I wonder if those “undecided” were in fact undecided about Stephen Fry—being a gay and a very nice person at the same time—rather than the Catholic Church. Do you remember one of the women in the audience when she said to Fry, “I am a Catholic but I like you,” or something like that? Stephen Fry is a very likable person and it made a big difference in my opinion. (Probably not that different from the last U.S. presidential elections.)

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Posted: 03 December 2009 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Nice reference, ciceronianus; something to pass around by email.

Here’s one which applies to the current thread: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=bible+bullshit&emb=0&aq=f#q=bible+bullshit&emb=0&aq=f&qvid=bible+bullshit&vid;=-1074819989721659487

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Posted: 03 December 2009 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Ecrasez l’infame! - 03 December 2009 12:00 PM

Nice reference, ciceronianus; something to pass around by email.

Here’s one which applies to the current thread: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=bible+bullshit&emb=0&aq=f#q=bible+bullshit&emb=0&aq=f&qvid=bible+bullshit&vid;=-1074819989721659487

You take your name from Voltaire; I will quote him.  “What is tolerance?—it is the consequence of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each others folly—that is the first law of nature.”

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