DO CATHOLICS NEED COMMUNION COPS?

Now that the presidential campaign is heating up in the U.S., so is the controversy about denying some Catholic politicians Holy Communion.

First out of the gate is St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke who has warned lay people who distribute Communion that they would be committing a “mortal sin” to give Communion to a politician who supports abortion rights.

“It is clear,” the Archbishop states, “that church discipline places an obligation on the minister of Holy Communion to refuse Holy Communion to persons known by the public to be in mortal sin.”

Jesuit scholar Thomas Reese demurs: “Most other bishops do not want ministers of Communion playing policemen at the Communion rail.” A nun from Arizona also objects: “Why wouldn’t the Archbishop include those who make and threaten to use nuclear weapons among the people to be denied Communion …?”

It would seem this policy would make Communion ministers into a network for spying on Catholic politicians.

What do you think?

53 Comments »

  1. 1
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Please ignore those retarded phenomena and do not overblow their importance. The more they are talked about, the more they enjoy it and the more credibility they believe they have.

  2. 2
    SUZANNE Says:

    Communion Ministers are used too often, at any rate. Would it really kill people to extend Mass a little long so that it’s the priest who makes the decision?

    Besides, it’s not like politicians don’t have their faces flashed everywhere. If the priest tells a Eucharistic Minister to stop giving Communion to Dalton McGuinty, in all likelihood, they’ll know who he’s talking about.

    I think it’s high time the Church started denying communion to prominent people who speak against their Cathoilc Faith. It’s a theological truth that receiving communion when you are not in a state of communion is sacrilege.

  3. 3
    jim Says:

    It’s a theological truth that paedophile priests giving communion when they are not in a state of grace is a sacriledge. Does it taint the host?

  4. 4
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Although over the years I have come to rejct many of the Church’s teachings, it makes me sad when priests and paedophiles are equated. For six wonderful years I attended a Catholic college directed by the Sulpician Fathers in Montreal, for 13 years I was a scoutmaster and I had very devoted chaplains. Not one of the numerous priests I have known has ever been in the least suspected of being a paedophile, after all these years. I am sure thousands of people could attest of the same thing.
    It is like saying that every Arab is a terrorist or all blacks are lazy. I am sure most people on this blog would holler murder. Some nuances are called for.

  5. 5
    Chimera Says:

    So…what’s the worst thing that could happen if someone receives communion while not in a state of grace? I mean the worst thing. The roof fall in? We got earthquakes and pestilence? The firstborn son of every firstborn son dies of an infestation of pimples?

    *sigh* Why not just give communion to whoever shows up and let your God sort it out. You know God, doncha? The fella who’s supposed to be at the center of all this fuss?

    I can’t believe this is an “issue”…

  6. 6
    jim Says:

    Nowhere in my blurb did I equate paedophiles with priests. “Paedophile” is used as an adjective not a noun. Only 4000 out of 400000 priests are paedophiles. B16 should get rid of them now and not wait over 5 years as he did with father Marciel Maciel Founder of the Legionaires for Christ. B16 shouldn’t have rewarded Cardinal Law, who protected abusers, by giving him a posh job in Rome. If one has never been approached by one of these creeps I hope it’s not because one didn’t look desirable. Question: How many children’s happy teenage years will be aborted over the next 5 years by the 4000. Cardinal Burke of St Louis wants to excommunicate politicians who are pro abortion (i.e. the unborn). I ask, why doesn’t he excommunicate the molesters of children
    (i.e.the living).

  7. 7
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    I agree with Chimera and appreciate Jim’s precisions.

  8. 8
    Mike Says:

    Sorry, but Chimera clearly hasn’t the faintest idea of what the Church teaches on Holy Communion. What’s the worst that could happen? See 1 Corinthians 11:27. Withholding Communion from someone who’s in a state of moral sin IS NOT A PUNISHMENT. It’s a charitable act intended to keep the person from committing yet another mortal sin.

    As to Jim’s comment, the efficacy of the sacrament has nothing to do with the minister’s sinfulness or lack thereof. Not sure where you get your “theological truth”, but it’s not from the Catholic Church. The most sinful priest who ever lived can still consecrate and distribute Communion.

  9. 9
    Chimera Says:

    Mike, you clearly have absolutely no idea what I know and don’t know. I was not asking for a bible quote. Any fool can spout quotes from any number of versions. I was looking for some common sense. You gave a quote that leads to a circular argument that makes no sense at all.

    I asked what’s the worst that can happen. If the answer to that is “another mortal sin,” I say, “In the eyes of whom? And to what dire effect?” Then I ask again — what’s the worst that can happen?

  10. 10

    Mike:

    It;s quite true that the most sinful priest that ever lived can consecrate and distribute Communion. Apparently he can also decide who is worthy to receive communion and who is not.
    Doesn’t that strike you as at least incongruous?

  11. 11
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Neil,:
    Mao Ze Dong, in his Little Red Book, had a word for that: contradictions.

  12. 12
    Mike Says:

    “you clearly have absolutely no idea what I know and don’t know.”

    I know that you don’t understand the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist. If you object to my quoting St. Paul on why someone in a state of mortal sin shouldn’t receive the Body and Blood of Christ, then you’re rejecting a core teaching of the Church and nothing I, or anyone else, say is going to make any difference. But, I’ll try again:

    Withholding the Eucharist from someone who is in a state of mortal sin is a charitable act. The intention is to prevent that person from committing another mortal sin.

    What’s the worst that can happen? The sinner whose soul is already in jeopardy, moves even farther away from union with Christ. If the minister is aware of the recipient’s mortal sin (for example, a politician who casts a public vote in opposition to Church teaching) then the minister assists that person in committing another mortal sin. The worst that can happen is that if the recipient AND/OR THE MINISTER pass from this life to the next without the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then their mortal soul(s) are in serious jeopardy. Most thinking people would consider spending eternity in hell to be considerably worse than having the roof fall in.

    If you don’t buy what St. Paul says, then you probably won’t accept this either but:

    “We have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them:
    -by participating directly and voluntarily in them;
    -by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;
    -by not disclosing OR NOT HINDERING THEM WHEN WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO DO SO (emphasis mine).”

    Catechism of the Catholic Chrch 1868

    Archbishop Burke isn’t making this stuff as he goes along.

  13. 13
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Some of us believe we are unworthy to receive communion, then we go about trying to police our worthiness. The criteria for receiving communion is whether we believe we are receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.

    Peter LeBlanc

  14. 14
    Chimera Says:

    “I know that you don’t understand the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.”

    You know no such thing. I was not talking about the Eucharist. Or about Paul — who had issues of his own, and who was passing along the grief in his own life on the theory that misery shared is misery lessened. I don’t object to your quoting him (or anyone else) if the discussion calls for quotations, but I was not looking for quotations. I was looking for you to think for yourself.

    {A bit of an aside here: Paul also said that women should always cover their hair while praying — a practise whose necessity has been long since done away with. But then, Paul said a lot of things to which no one pays much attention, anymore.)

    So…in your mind, the worst that can happen is that the “sinner” moves a little closer to hell. Of course, he won’t actually get there until after he dies; and nobody knows for sure what actually happens on the next level after death, or even what constitutes hell. For all we know, hell might be one long Happy Hour where the drinks are free, but you can’t get intoxicated.

    As for the “charitable act” of preventing someone else from committing a sin — that is an impossible task, and you should realize it. The church is setting you up for failure if it requires that you make it your mission in life to prevent sin in others. The catechism’s intention is to make snitches and Big Brothers of all in order to facilitate the church’s dominance over everyone’s lives. If the church leaders can get everyone to snoop on and tattle on everyone else, then all the leaders have to do is sit back and watch the fun.

    I thought God was supposed to be the final arbiter of a life’s worth. But all these “rules” have been set up by men. Did Da Judge go awol, or did he get overthrown?

  15. 15
    mike whalen Says:

    In our diocese here on the south shore a report was prepared for the bishop as to divorced catholics and their rite to communion. I managed
    to get hold of the document and well its language was so complex it
    resembled a pope’s encyclical. Little wonder that I am still confused
    about the church’s official position anyway at days end you just don’t
    feel welcomed.I would assume I am not the only individual who feels
    this way………….

  16. 16

    Mike:

    I always go back to the teaching of a French parish priest on hell.
    He believed in hell, of course, but he was convinced there was no one in it.
    Amen. Allelujia.

  17. 17
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Chimera:, if you paid just a little more attention, you would have read that I said The requirement for women to cover their head in church WAS A THING OF THE PAST, not a present requirement.

  18. 18
    Chimera Says:

    Paul: In the first place, unless you are also Mike, I was not talking to you. And the “Paul” to whom I was referring in my comment above was not you. I was referring to Paul/Saul.

    In the second place, the requirement was for women to cover their head while praying. I presume it’s permissible to be in a church without praying the whole time, and it’s also permissible to pray in places other than church?

    And in the third place, wherever it was you said that, it wasn’t here on this thread. I would not have made a reference to what you said on another thread unless I also provided a link and reference to it.

    We okay, now? Got out feathers all nice and smooth again?

  19. 19
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    All feathers back in place. As for head cover, in Quebec in Catholic churches, until Vatican II, whenever entering a church, were required to cover their heads, be it with a borrowed handkerchief even just to look around, clean of course. Most tourists complied without problems. It may have been different elswhere.
    I also wonder why my parents did not call me some simple not frequent name such as Epaminondas or Agamemnon.

  20. 20
    John Says:

    “Archbishop Burke isn’t making this stuff as he goes along.”

    Thank goodness. I would hope anyone in this day and age would have a little more sense than that. Pray tell, under such a directive, for how long after the purported act of sinfulness (political or otherwise) would one person have the right/responsibility to refuse another commuion?

  21. 21
    SUZANNE Says:

    John

    Allowing people to go to their eternal perdition is not charitable or sensible.

    If there is a public scandal, then the public figure in question would have to publicly renounce his sin. Until that is done, there will always be a source of scandal.

  22. 22
    Chimera Says:

    “As for head cover…It may have been different elswhere.”

    I think it was the same everywhere. In Canada, at least. I remember an almost-incident in Whitehorse in the early sixties when a bunch of children came in to see the priest in the Catholic chapel on the air force base, and the girls were wearing these huge leaves on their heads that they had picked from some tree before they entered. A couple of the adults were outraged at what they considered to be sacrilege. The priest, however (who was a lapidary hobbyist — very popular with all the kids, not just the Catholics), took the view that intent was everything, both the spirit and the letter of the “law” had been complied with, and Jesus had said, “Suffer the children.” End of outrage.

    “Allowing people to go to their eternal perdition is not charitable or sensible.”

    Allowing? As in pre-judging someone else’s “mistakes” on their behalf without even asking them? And is everyone so sure that it would really be a mistake? That would end in “eternal perdition” (whatever that is)? And when it comes to interfering with someone else’s choices in life, neither charity nor sensibility come into the equation.

    It would be far more charitable, and make much more sense, to stand aside and let people make their own choices, then stand by to assist them if they ask for help after finding out for themselves that it was a mistake. If it was a mistake. And the roof fell in on them. Or something.

    Scandal is always public. And it’s one of the cheapest sources of entertainment we have, doncha know. The hoi polloi gets to go to the circus, and the victim pays for the tickets. As long as there are people who are willing to sit in judgment and pre-judgment of others, who relish and savor the discomfort of others, who publicly revel in the private harm-none pecadilloes of others, who dig out “sin” wherever they can find it and hold it up for the ridicule of others…yes, there will always be a source of scandal.

  23. 23
    John Says:

    Suzanne,

    I’m not sure what you’re saying.

    Are you saying that when a Catholic knowing commits a public act contrary to the teachings of the church that ministers of communion are to refuse that person communion until the person has made a public renunciation of the so-called wrongdoing?

    I would find that to be ridiculous.

    Seems to me it’s a case of the splinter and the log.

  24. 24
    Alex Thomas Says:

    If a Catholic politician openly supports abortion rights, the Church has the right to excommunicate them. Period. To tell them, “You may not practice as a Catholic until you align youself with Catholic Doctrine.”
    How many such excommunications have taken place in the last little while? (I know, I’m making Suzanne’s brain hurt, but then, that is so much fun for such little effort, anyway.) Unless and until the Church actually exercises its prerogatives, and does what it THREATENS to do, the Church loses its credibility, as well as its relevance in the matter.
    It is very much like passing stringent laws against drunk driving, and then failing to enforce or uphold those laws.
    In truth, it’s about control of people’s lives, which is the entire principle behind the Doctrine. It says that a bunch of frustrated, neurotic, perhaps even deluded, celibate old men know better about what’s good for you than you do. Since when, in whose estimation, and by what standard of measurement?
    Forget about spying and denying. Either tell these politicians (who probably direct an AWFUL lot of donations to their church, I’m sure) they can no longer practice as Catholics, or shut the *bleep* up.
    My name is Alex Thomas. Good night, and may your God go with you.

  25. 25
    John Says:

    Alex, I understand what excommunication (an institutional response to a personal declaration) is about, but that’s not what this thread is about. It is, as you so aptly put it, about “spying and denying.”

    The fact that a bishop would make such a ridiculous request doesn’t surprise me, but the fact that some people would find it reasonable does.

    It also saddens me. If this philosophy were indeed reasonable, Zaccheus would still be in the tree.

    That’s the way I see it anyways, unless i’m totally out in left field, in which case, my name is Ted Williams.

  26. 26
    SUZANNE Says:

    It is a sacrilege to receive the Body and Blood of Christ while promoting the inequality of human beings.

    Suppose there was a politician in this day and age who promoted white supremacy– a totally evil theory.

    How can they receive Jesus Christ in their soul when they repudiate their fellow human being in such a blatant manner? Jesus Christ is the very incarnation of love– he cannot have anything to do with such hatred.

    It’s the same thing with promoting the inequality of unborn children. To repudiate one’s fellow human being– in this case– the unborn– is incompatible with being in union with Jesus Christ.

    Whether the politician in question acknowledges this or not is not the point. The point is that we should be in a state to receive communion, and clearly someone who has no consideration for the unborn does not deserve communion. He is not compassionate towards his unborn brothers and sisters.

  27. 27
    SUZANNE Says:

    It also saddens me. If this philosophy were indeed reasonable, Zaccheus would still be in the tree.

    Zaccheus was willing to do what it took to repent and make amends to have Christ.

    If a Catholic loves Christ as much as Zaccheus, he will also do what it takes to make amends in regards to spreading inequality. That is the lesson of Zaccheus. Forgiveness and repentance require acknowledging one’s own wrong first.

  28. 28
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “It is a sacrilege to receive the Body and Blood of Christ while promoting the inequality of human beings.”

    Since the whole thing is nothing more than a (sick in my opinion) joke I don’t see why this is an issue in the first place!

    Eating the body of christ? Drinking his blood? What is this… amityville horror?

    I think Chimera summed it up nicely:

    “Why not just give communion to whoever shows up and let your God sort it out.”

    Like she said…. what’s the worst that’s going to happen??

  29. 29
    Alex Thomas Says:

    “…promoting the inequality of human beings…”
    Interesting point, Suzanne. Where exactly are you with regard to BORN, unwanted children? Or do they become irelevant the moment they are brought into the world? Where is the outrage over child abuse or neglect? Where is the Church when the baby is born? Does Mother Church move Heaven and Earth to find loving, supportive, adoptive parents? (and why is it called ‘Mother” Church, when it’s run by elderly, celibate, neurotic, frustrated and socially irrelevant MEN?)
    Do you know why ANYBODY would support abortion rights? BECAUSE we men (yes, I AM male, albeit a trifle more enlightened than most, if I do say so myself) are, as any East Indian woman will tell anybody, “drunken bums who do NOTHING to help raise kids…”
    Abortion is promoted in Western society, for the same reason as female infanticide is practiced, if not promoted, in East Indian society. MEN don’t care. MEN are in charge. MEN set the rules. One woman was quoted as saying, “If MEN could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrement.” Thank God, that is not so.
    Abortion has become safer and more convenient, therefore it has taken on the patina of expediency. Politicians support ANYTHING that smacks of expediency, all the while BRAYING that it is a moral outrage, sacrilege, a violation of one’s right to life, yadda, yadda…oh, yeah, right…yadda…
    I am sure, Suzanne, that you dream of a world where abortion need not be illegal, because in that world of yours, abortion would not be NECESSARY. I suggest you work very, VERY hard on educating all the men in your life that they NEED to step up to the plate and take FULL and COMPLETE responsibility for ANY children their actions cause to be brought into the world.
    Guys? You listening…or is the game on, bitch?
    Mt name is Alex Thomas. Hypocrisy, hypocrisy…all is hypocrisy…

  30. 30
    John Says:

    “That is the lesson of Zaccheus.”

    No, it isn’t. Much like your politicians, Suzanne, Zaccheus was seen to be a very “public sinner.” Yet when Jesus came along he looked up and told Zaccheus to come down for he would be staying at his place that day. At that point, Zaccheus had made absolutely NO public renunciation of what he had done and of course the crowd began to complain as Jesus was judged once again to be hanging out with the wrong crowd.

    My sense is that if the good archbishop Rqymond Burke had been there, he would have jumped in between Zaccheus and Jesus and refused to let Jesus go with Zaccheus until zaccheus had made some sort of public confession. Very sad indeed.

    This thread is not about politicians and abortion. It is about a church’s hierarchy asking its members to sit in judgement over one another. Something i find not only sad, but distasteful. Why stop at politicians? What about doctors who prescribe birth control pills? Or the couple next door who live together. Or 95% of the Christmas congregation who come to church but once or twice a year? Why aren’t the bishops and priests refusing these folks communion. I suspect it has something to do with the collection.

  31. 31
    Chimera Says:

    “It is a sacrilege to receive the Body and Blood of Christ while promoting the inequality of human beings.”

    If that is true, then you commit a sacrilege every time you take communion. You are one of the loudest proponents of the inequality of your own kind — women! You would remove all choices from women — and not just Catholic women, but all women. You would remove their right to worship as they choose, to practise their religion as they choose, to vote as they choose, to reproduce or not as they choose, and to correct their own (and their sexual partners’) mistakes as they choose. You would return women to the status of chattels. How dare you thump your little drum and bleat that you are supporting human rights when you are the very antithesis of human rights for half the human beings in the world today!

    And do try to stay on the beam with definitions, will you? A fetus is not a human being. You keep calling it an “unborn child” in the hopes that people will link the word “child” with reality; and such is not the case. If you want to narrow your own world scope, limit your own choices, tie your own self in tethers, lock your own self in a cage, and throw your own rights away, go ahead and do it. Nobody will stop you from doing it to yourself. But stop trying to do it to other people. Self-imposed slavery is your choice. Imposing slavery upon others will not be allowed.

  32. 32
    Mike Says:

    “A fetus is not a human being. You keep calling it an “unborn child” in the hopes that people will link the word “child” with reality; and such is not the case.”

    Sorry but a fetus is most definitely an unborn child. The same court system that has said it’s ok for abortionists to murder the unborn has held that killing a pregnant woman and HER UNBORN CHILD constitutes a double murder. It just depends on who’s making the biggest political contributions. Street thugs don’t have much of a lobbying organization. Pro-abortionists do.

    Suzanne is certainly more than capable of defending her position and doesn’t need my help, but the Catholic Church doesn’t “force” anyone to do anything. What it does do is offer guidance and leadership based on the Bible and 2,000 years of Church Tradition. If you choose not to follow, that’s up to you. If you want to call yourself “Catholic” then you’re obliged to go along. There are more than 20,000 Protestant denominations whose founders, starting with Martin Luther, have chosen a different path. Look long enough and you’ll find one that agrees with you. If not, start your own.

    As for the hate-filled anti-Catholic rhetoric on this thread, it reveals a whole lot more about the author than it does about the Catholic Church.

  33. 33
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “As for the hate-filled anti-Catholic rhetoric on this thread….”

    It’s MORE than deserved… just this morning I was driving into work and listening to the news. A(nother) catholic priest pleaded guilty to sexually abusing dozens of boys many years ago (in Cornwall I think). The catholic church is (again) in trouble because they knew what this man was doing and decided to hide it rather than face the public. They allowed this man to continue abusing boys because they were selfishly worried about their image…. it’s disgusting.

    I bring this up because it’s a RCC scandal happening right now – today.

    It makes me sick that Bernard Law is living the life of luxury in Rome right now instead of in jail where he belongs… this shows me the RCC has NO RESPECT for the victims.

    All happening today…. and if you want to talk witch burnings, crusades, etc. then be my guest, but I suspect you’d rather forget history than discuss it.

  34. 34
    Alex Thomas Says:

    To paraphrase Scott Adams (Dilbert): I am not anti-Catholic, I’m anti-idiot. To paraphrase Jesus: The Church was made for Man, not Man for the Church.
    The Church is supposed to serve one purpose: To allow and encourage people to worship Jesus, and follow his example. Jesus told us to lead a simple life, and to take care of each other. The PEOPLE of the Catholic faith, for the most part, do their best to follow this simple message.
    The Church, on the other hand, wallows in doctrine and diatribe, in cant and cathechism, in missal and misery. It is a bureaucratic nightmare, a monstrosity of misguided misanthropy. Man and God are separate, and ONLY the Church can reconcile them. Since when, in whose estimation, and by what standard of measurement?
    Today’s Catholics, and, indeed, many Christians, bellow and moan and quote the Old Testament, as though Jesus had been silent. They pick up stones, like the men who were about to kill the woman “taken in adultery” (and, where, exactly, was her partner in this heinous crime, anyway?) all the time, forgetting, what Jesus said.
    Imagine what he must have been writing in the dust that afternoon, what the men saw in his writing, what made them drop the stones and run away. Now, imagine yourself. Are you the one on the ground, waiting to die by the hands of those in judgement, or are you one of those with a stone in your hand –or are you the one writing in the dust, looking up to see everyone else running away?
    There is vast universe of difference between learning, and merely repeating one’s mistakes. Which can you honestly say about the Church? There was a time when human sacrifice was a “tradition.” Do we honor that atrocity, simply because it was a “tradition?”
    I was born and raised a Catholic. The older I got, the less inclined to share the given views I became. However, the original message still sits in my bones, and from time to time, I get to help people, to listen to their troubles, to offer assistance or guidance where I can.
    Oh, look. The sun has come out. God is smiling. My, don’t that purty?
    My name is Alex Thomas. Love ye one another, as thyself.

  35. 35
    Chimera Says:

    “Sorry but a fetus is most definitely an unborn child. The same court system that has said it’s ok for abortionists to murder the unborn has held that killing a pregnant woman and HER UNBORN CHILD constitutes a double murder.”

    Not universally. Not even consistently locally. And definitely not in the majority. Some prosecutors in some jurisdictions have refused to take the bait on that one. Many people, including judges and politicians, continue to use the word “child” when they mean “fetus.” If it’s yet unborn, it’s still a fetus. After birth, it’s a child, and then it has its own identity, not before.

    “What it does do is offer guidance and leadership based on the Bible and 2,000 years of Church Tradition.”

    Bull twaddle. What [the Catholic Church — ie, the political entity in Vatican] does is set impossible standards for anyone with independent thought (although drones seem to get along nicely) and then threaten to withhold itself from those who don’t fall into line. That “tradition” changes every time someone in Vatican decides that real history is a bad example for the direction he wants to take, so he brings in the revisionists and simply rewrites the rules. The best example of that would be the rule of chastity and celibacy for the priesthood. You don’t have to look further than to Rodrigo Borgia for an in-your-face contradiction to the chastity rule. And if tradition were 2000 years old, priests would be married, not celibate.

    And as for the “offering guidance” bit: threatening legislators with dire consequences for doing the job they were hired to do on behalf of everyone — not just Catholics — and trying to force them to force everyone, including non-Catholics, to live by Vatican standards is not “offering guidance.” It’s domination by fiat, plain and simple. Take it away. Do not want!

    “As for the hate-filled anti-Catholic rhetoric on this thread…”

    Oh, get a grip, willya? There’s no anti-Catholic rhetoric here. What there is, is a lot of anti-stupid.

    You’re feeling outnumbered and outdone by people who can not only read, but think for themselves, so you’re doing the virtual equivalent of running to mama. That tactic might have worked when you were a child, but it doesn’t work in the adult world.

  36. 36
    Mike Says:

    Joe Agnost Says:

    “just this morning I was driving into work and listening to the news. A(nother) catholic priest pleaded guilty to sexually abusing dozens of boys many years ago (in Cornwall I think).”

    Apparently you weren’t listening very closely. The alleged abuse took place nearly forty years ago.

    “I bring this up because it’s a RCC scandal happening right now – today.”

    No, you bring it up because you want to find something to justify your prejudice against the Catholic Church, even if it happened decades ago.

    For the record, the Cornwall investigation has been going on for nearly fifteen years. After hundreds of interviews, the authorities have managed to bring charges against fifteen accused child molesters, both Catholic and non-Catholic; clergy and businessmen. The alleged abuse took place beginning in the ’60s. There has been one conviction.

    “All happening today…. and if you want to talk witch burnings, crusades, etc. then be my guest, but I suspect you’d rather forget history than discuss it.”

    Sure. Why not? They’re all just as relevant today as your “news”.

  37. 37
    Mike Says:

    Alex Thomas Says:

    “To paraphrase Scott Adams (Dilbert): I am not anti-Catholic, I’m anti-idiot.”

    On behalf of the one billion idiots who belong to the Catholic Church, this comment proves my point.

  38. 38
    Mike Says:

    So Thomas says Catholics are idiots. Chimera says we’re stupid. I stand corrected. No anti-Catholic rhetoric here.

  39. 39
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “For the record, the Cornwall investigation has been going on for nearly fifteen years.”

    By today I meant recent – I should have been more clear. My point is that it isn’t just ancient history that paints your church in a negative light.

    It was official (documented) vatican policy to transfer abusing priests to other parishes and cover the whole thing up well into the 1970s (maybe later – I can’t remember when the pope changed it).

    The utterly evil and despicable Bernard Law was promoted to a vatican job only a few years ago – he is a disgrace to your church!

    It’s these recent events that keep the RCC in the news – there’s never any good news.

    “you bring it up because you want to find something to justify your prejudice against the Catholic Church”

    What a load of bull… you think your church is so important that I spend my time trying to “justify” my prejudice? Pul-ease! I really don’t think about your church until it makes the news (because of another scandal).

    My wife’s family is RC, and she was until her 20s. I love her family – but not their church (and for the record, as an atheist I don’t like any church).

  40. 40
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “It was official (documented) vatican policy to transfer abusing priests to other parishes and cover the whole thing up well into the 1970s (maybe later – I can’t remember when the pope changed it).”

    Working from memory I didn’t have the facts right… the facts are far worse for the RCC though!!

    Here is what I got after googling it:

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1020400,00.html

    Some quotes from the article:

    “The Observer has obtained a 40-year-old confidential document from the secret Vatican archive which lawyers are calling a ‘blueprint for deception and concealment’.”

    “The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of ‘strictest’ secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.”

    “Lawyers point to a letter the Vatican sent to bishops in May 2001 clearly stating the 1962 instruction was in force until then”

    So…… An official vatical document written in 1962 and still in effect in 2001!!!!! Read the whole article to see the kind of things the church would do to keep this covered up.

    How can anyone defend this!??

  41. 41
    Mike Says:

    “How can anyone defend this!??”

    You might start by reading the document. It deals with the specific case of clergy soliciting during confession. The “secrecy” called for is intended to protect the confidentiality of the confession, (something which is also protected by civil law in most jurisdictions) not to protect the alleged perpetrator. The requirement for confidentiality ends when it has been determined that the allegations are valid and pertains only to Church-imposed penalties. It spells out specific penalties for the perpetrator once guilt has been established. It has nothing to do with civil prosecution or civil law suits.

    The claim that this document is a “blueprint for deception and concealment” is not surprising considering the source. A search of the Guardian web site for the word Catholic turns up more than fifty results just since the first of the year.

    No organization has done more to prevent sexual abuse in recent years than the Catholic Church. No one, priest, employee, or volunteer can hold a position that even remotely involves children without first undergoing an background investigation by local law enforcement. There are strict rules in place concerning what can and can’t be done when dealing with young people. No adult is ever to be alone with a minor.

    So you can drag out all the forty-year-old documents you can find. You can quote all the biased reports you care to. You can site examples of accusations against priests who allegedly molested a child in the 1960s, but until you can come up with a current example of child abuse against a priest, your posts are just bigoted ranting and nothing more. You’re not fooling anyone.

    BTW, does your wife’s family know that you consider their faith a “sick joke” and that you think that Holy Communion is comparable to the “amityville horror”?

    Just wondering.

  42. 42
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “intended to protect the confidentiality of the confession… not to protect the alleged perpetrator”

    Sure it does… you’re catholic right? No bias from you… I just report the news, I don’t make it.

    “A search of the Guardian web site for the word Catholic turns up more than fifty results just since the first of the year.”

    So? They report the news, if the RCC is in the news (no surprise here) it’ll be on their website! Should they aviod RC news or something?

    And it wasn’t just the guardian that reported this – it was picked up by most major news orgs.

    “No organization has done more to prevent sexual abuse in recent years than the Catholic Church.”

    I just threw up in my mouth! I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry at this statement…. change “prevent” with “sustain” and you’re right.

    “No one, priest, employee, or volunteer can hold a position that even remotely involves children without first undergoing an background investigation by local law enforcement.”

    I don’t believe you. It’s as simple as that…. there is no way this statement is true. There isn’t ONE position that doesn’t come into contact with children, are you saying that every single church employee has had one of these checks? Kids come and go (through the church) all of the time, how could any employee avoid them?

    “There are strict rules in place concerning what can and can’t be done when dealing with young people.”

    Sure there are…

    “No adult is ever to be alone with a minor.”

    This one is complete an utter BS. Logistically there is just no way this could be true.

    “BTW, does your wife’s family know…”

    Some do, some don’t. They know better than to even bring up religion around me or my kids (and wife now for that matter).

    So, the RCC is doing SO MUCH in terms of sexual abuse… then how do you explain Bernard Law being given a cushy position within the vatican after he helped so many priests have sex with so many young boys?? What a reward – instead of jail he gets the high life in Rome… what a joke and a mockery that makes of ALL of the victims of sexual abuse.

  43. 43
    Mike Says:

    Joe Agnost Says:

    “I just report the news, I don’t make it.”

    What you call “news” is actually opinion. You cite decades-old instances of abuse and quote tabloid journalists and think you’re making a case. Sorry, but the only “news” is that you’re a bigot.

    “And it wasn’t just the guardian that reported this – it was picked up by most major news orgs.”

    Please cite a some of these major news orgs. Other than the BBC, it was picked up by other tabloids and on-line hate sites.

    “So? They report the news, if the RCC is in the news (no surprise here) it’ll be on their website! Should they aviod RC news or something?”

    If the Church made news, they would have every right to report it. But the Church is only in the news because they put it there. Search their web site. They insert snide comments about Catholics in articles that have nothing to do with their faith. They insist on referring to Tony Blair’s recent conversion to Catholicism whenever his name is mentioned. Responsible journalists do not describe people as “anti-abortion Catholics” in articles that have nothing to do with abortion or religion.

    “I don’t believe you. It’s as simple as that…. there is no way this statement is true. There isn’t ONE position that doesn’t come into contact with children, are you saying that every single church employee has had one of these checks?”

    It really doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not. It’s a documented fact.

    In 1992, the US Bishops issued five principals for dealing with reports of child abuse:

    1) respond promptly to all allegations of abuse where there is reasonable belief that abuse has occurred;
    2) if such an allegation is supported by sufficient evidence, relieve the alleged offender promptly of his ministerial duties and refer him for appropriate medical evaluation and intervention;
    3) comply with the obligations of civil law as regards reporting of the incident and cooperating with the investigation;
    4) reach out to the victims and their families and communicate sincere commitment to their spiritual and emotional well-being;
    5) within the confines of respect for privacy of the individuals involved, deal as openly as possible with the members of the community.

    In 2002, the US Bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. (http://www.usccb.org/ocyp/charter.shtml)

    Article 13 says:

    “Dioceses/eparchies are to evaluate the background of all incardinated and non-incardinated priests and deacons who are engaged in ecclesiastical ministry in the diocese/eparchy and of all diocesan/eparchial and parish/school or other paid personnel and volunteers whose duties include ongoing, unsupervised contact with minors. Specifically, they are to utilize the resources of law enforcement and other community agencies. In addition, they are to employ adequate screening and evaluative techniques in deciding the fitness of candidates for ordination”

    In 2003, Bishops were instructed to institute a “Safe Environment” program which includes a Code of Ethics which must be followed by clergy, employees, and volunteers whenever they deal with minors. (http://www.usccb.org/ocyp/websafe.shtml).

    In 2004, Bishops were instructed “to report annually the number of new allegations, priests accused, victims, disposition of allegations and costs.”

    “No adult is ever to be alone with a minor.”

    “This one is complete an utter BS. Logistically there is just no way this could be true.”

    Here’s a copy of the guidelines for “utter BS.” from the Archdiocese of St. Louis:

    “4. General Conduct
    Clergy, employees and volunteers working with minors should maintain an open and trustworthy relationship between the minors and the adult supervisors.

    4.1 Clergy, employees and volunteers must be aware of their own and others’ vulnerability when working alone with a minor. They must always be mindful that minors, whether in a social or ministerial situation, are not tobe considered as possessing the capacity to make free will and voluntary decisions. That is,wherever they are and whatever they do is only totranspire with the explicit knowledge of their parents orguardians.

    4.2 Use a team approach in managing youth activities. In general, two adults should be present in situations involving minors with the exception of sacramental confession.

    4.3 Clergy, employees and volunteers must always observe the following
    regarding interaction with minors:

    4.3.1 When meeting with a minor, the office door should have a window
    or be left open. Do not meet with a minor if there are no other adults in the immediate vicinity.

    4.3.2 Never visit a minor’s home without at least one other adultp resent and without the expressed welcome of parents or guardians.

    4.3.3 Do not drive alone with a minor for any reason on a regular basis
    or for any long distance.

    4.3.4 All outings with minors (i.e., retreats, youth group trips,
    sports-related activities and overnight trips) require the presence of at least two adults at all times.

    4.3.5 Adults may not share sleeping quarters with minors, unless accommodations are barrack-style with multiple adults and multiple minors in the same room, each individual having a separate bed.

    4.3.6 Locker rooms, shower rooms and dressing rooms are not to be
    shared with minors unless another adult is present.

    4.3.7 Minors are not to be accompanied into restrooms without another
    adult present unless the circumstance makes it absolutely unavoidable.

    4.3.8 Minors should be permitted only in the public section of a rectory,
    never in the private living quarters.

    4.3.9 Minors should never be permitted to stay overnight in the rectory,
    even if alone in a separate guest room.”

    (http://www.archstl.org/sep/images/stories/policies-manual_04-2007.pdf)

    I don’t give a rip whether you you believe it or not, but I can document everything that I’ve said. The only documentation you cite is from a questionable source that can be easily refuted.

    I’m not sure exactly why you’re so obsessed with Cardinal Law. You write, “instead of jail he gets the high life in Rome” His “high life” is essentially forced retirement. The Church has no ability to put him in jail, or to keep him out of jail if he’s committed a crime.

    Whatever has happened in your life to fill you with such a hatred for the Catholic Church, you would do yourself a favor if you could find someone to help you work through it. Life’s too short to be so angry.

  44. 44
    Chimera Says:

    Well, well, well. Suzie has a doppelganger.

    “No organization has done more to prevent sexual abuse in recent years than the Catholic Church.”

    In recent years. Of course. Due to public pressure born of outrage, the Vatican has decided to “do something” to clean up its image. In recent years, a ban on homosexual priests was put in place. Too bad nobody checked to see if pedophiles are homosexuals (hint: they’re not. Pedophiles are heterosexuals. Yeah, I know it makes some peoples’ brains hurt, but go read about it for yourself. You know how to use Google, doncha?).

    “So Thomas says Catholics are idiots. Chimera says we’re stupid. I stand corrected. No anti-Catholic rhetoric here.”

    We are talking about the political/governmental/hierarchical offices of the church, not about their victims.

    Nobody said Catholics are idiots. Or stupid. There are no comments coming from any of us here of a personally insulting nature. In case you hadn’t noticed (and you hadn’t), some of those to whom you are referring are, themselves, Catholic.

    That hair shirt you’re modelling for us doesn’t fit you, Mike. Take it off and give it back to its rightful owners — those lofty few who live in the Vatican and make up all the impossible-to-follow rules and dream up all those nasty bogeyman penalties with which to threaten those they profess to love. The church as parent, and loyal Catholics as children. Gad! Talk about child abuse!

  45. 45
    Mike Says:

    “Nobody said Catholics are idiots. Or stupid. There are no comments coming from any of us here of a personally insulting nature.”

    The majority of the comments here are of a personally insulting nature. I’m betting my immortal soul that the teachings of the Catholic Church are correct. If, as Alex claims, anti-Catholic equals anti-idiot, then I’m an idiot. You equate anti-Catholic with anti-idiot. Again, that makes me an idiot. Agnost says my faith is a “sick joke”.

    As none of these comments is based on anything even approaching the truth, I would say they’re not just offensive, but mean-spirited and bigoted.

    BTW, if you think the “rules” of the Catholic Church are impossible to follow, I would suggest that the short-coming is yours, not the Church’s. Millions of people humbly follow them every day. Perhaps it’s that “humble” thing that’s a problem for you.

    I’ll pray for you.

  46. 46
    John Says:

    “Millions of people humbly follow them every day.”

    Mike, Mike, lets get serious here. If the Catholic church were to eliminate all those whom you would claim to be “Catholic in name only” or as others refer to as “cafeteria Catholics” – the pick and choose people – you would be down to a very, very small group of hardcore folks who “humbly” follow the rules of the Catholic church.

    So small and so hardcore in fact that the Catholic church will inevitably be accorded the same status as other religious cults. So much for your “universal” church.

  47. 47
    John Says:

    “No one, priest, employee, or volunteer can hold a position that even remotely involves children without first undergoing an background investigation by local law enforcement.”

    and while we’re at it, Mike let’s get serious here too. This has nothing to do with the Catholic Church trying to prevent child abuse and everything to do with insurance companies saying to the Catholic church if you don’t start screening some of the yahoos you’ve got out there, we’re not going to insure you. It’s not a preventative measure, it’s an insurance requirement.

    and the background investigation you refer to is nothing more than a police records check done on a computer. t doesn’t tell you whether someone is likely to abuse children or steal the collection. It simply tells you that they do or don’t have a police record. What’s that tell you?

    BTW Mike there’s alot more than just yourself in the Catholic church that has to get serious.

    Pray for me too.

  48. 48
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “The majority of the comments here are of a personally insulting nature.”

    Not true – you’re ~taking~ them personally, but they aren’t personal. You seem to have a persecution complex.

    “Agnost says my faith is a ‘sick joke’.”

    Not true… I think your faith is sad really…

    I think the idea of eating the body of christ and drinking his blood is sick, and I don’t know how anyone could argue with that. Why does cannibalism have to be a part of the RCC – I think it’s rather sick.

    And as was pointed out by John – I’ve never met a catholic who followed EVERY rule of the catholic church… never. Whether it’s the occasional lie, a little birth control, coveting material things, lusting after the wrong person… you know, being HUMAN!

  49. 49
    Mike Says:

    #28

    Joe Agnost Says:

    “Since the whole thing is nothing more than a (sick in my opinion) joke I don’t see why this is an issue in the first place!”

    #48

    Mike Says:
    “Agnost says my faith is a ’sick joke’.”

    Agnost Says:

    “Not true… I think your faith is sad really…”

    No, what’s sad is someone who’s so obsessed with attacking someone else’s faith that they can’t even keep their insults straight. Whatever you think the Church did to you in the past, you should get over it.

  50. 50
    Joe Agnost Says:

    Mike: You’re so stuck in your persecution complex that you don’t seem able to read for comprehension.

    “Since the whole thing is nothing more than a (sick in my opinion) joke I don’t see why this is an issue in the first place!”

    The “thing” I was referring to was receiving the “body and blood of christ”. How did you miss that?? It’s in the quote I was referring to and directly above the line your knickers are in a knot over.

    Now…. care to defend the cushy job the pope gave Bernard Law yet?? Or is that question “attacking” your faith too much (roll eyes).

  51. 51
    Mike Says:

    I’ll try typing verrrry slooowly so you may be able to understand. There is nothing more sacred to a Roman Catholic than the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Over the centuries countless Catholics have died rather than deny that reality. If you can’t understand how calling that a “sick joke” is offensive to Catholics, then you should seek professional help.

  52. 52
    Joe Agnost Says:

    “I’ll try typing verrrry slooowly so you may be able to understand.”

    There is no need… I’m an atheist remember? We’re the smart ones… 🙂

    “then you should seek professional help”

    Dude…. you’re calling an act of cannibalism “sacred”, and saying that many catholics have died rather than deny it (this cannibalism). And you’re saying ~I~ need help? My irony-meter just exploded!!

    You mistakenly stated that I called your religion a “sick joke”. I did not. I find the act of pretending to eat christ and drink his blood sick – and I can’t imagine thinking of it any other way.

    So… are you going to continue ignoring my Bernard Law question?? I don’t blame you – it’s utterly indefensible…

  53. 53

    I think this subject has been discussed from many angles and my suggestion is that we now move on to other topics. Thanks.


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