Showing posts with label Nuns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nuns. Show all posts

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Leering Pope Benedict Gives Half-Naked Male Acrobats a Standing Ovation--But He's Not Gay

     What would you do if you opened today's window on your iPad Roman Catholic Advent calendar and found this?
     What a great early Christmas present!

    Is this proper activity for the sanctuary?  I hope they removed the Blessed Sacrament.

   But remember: none of those smiling and/or fearful cardinals watching and applauding is gay.  And neither is the scrutinizing and standing-ovation-eager Pope Benedict.  

     Postscript:  Those towel-waving nuns are definitely straight.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Spanish Gay Couples Stage Kiss-In in Protest of Pope Benedict's "Intrinsically Disordered" Anti-Gay Politics

     Pope Benedict XVI strongly defended traditional families and the rights of the unborn on Sunday, directly attacking Spanish laws that allow gay marriage, fast-track divorce and easier abortions as he dedicated Barcelona's iconic church, the Sagrada Familia.
     It was the second time in as many days that Benedict had criticized the policies of Spain's Socialist government and called for Europe as a whole to rediscover Christian teachings and apply them to everyday life.
     As he headed to the church named for the sacred family, about 200 gays and lesbians staged a “kiss-in” to protest his visit and church policies on homosexuals, condom use and a host of other issues. Church teaching holds that gays should be treated with dignity and respect but that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered”.
     So, according to the Catholic Church and Pope Ben, this is "intrinsically disordered":

     But this is okay:

And this is sweet:

And this is properly ordered:

And this is just politics:

And this is way normal (and good for digestion):
(He's kissing dirt.)

And this is so 100% normal:

And this is in every conceivable way 
intrinsically ordered.

     P.S.  Here's iol News' short description of part of Pope Ben's blessing ceremony at Sagrada Familia.  Notice the proper order of things:
     During the ritual-filled dedication ceremony, Benedict poured holy oil over the marble altar and spread it across all four corners with his hands, an apron protecting his vestments. He then lit a brass incense burner on the altar as Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia looked on.  Afterward, four nuns dressed in black mopped up the remaining oil from the altar and placed fresh linens on it.
Image Credits:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Nun, a Dying Young Mother, a Life-Saving Abortion, an Excommunication, Pedophile Priests, and an Op-Ed

     Here are a few snippets from the Times op-ed:
     We finally have a case where the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy is responding forcefully and speedily to allegations of wrongdoing.   But the target isn’t a pedophile priest. Rather, it’s a nun who helped save a woman’s life. Doctors describe her as saintly. The excommunication of Sister Margaret McBride in Phoenix underscores all that to me feels morally obtuse about the church hierarchy.
     “In this tragic case, the treatment necessary to save the mother’s life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy,” the hospital said in a statement. “This decision was made after consultation with the patient, her family, her physicians, and in consultation with the Ethics Committee.”
     Sister Margaret was a member of that committee. She declined to discuss the episode with me, but the bishop of Phoenix, Thomas Olmsted, ruled that Sister Margaret was “automatically excommunicated” because she assented to an abortion.
     “The mother’s life cannot be preferred over the child’s,” the bishop’s communication office elaborated in a statement.
     Let us just note that the Roman Catholic hierarchy suspended priests who abused children and in some cases defrocked them but did not normally excommunicate them, so they remained able to take the sacrament.
     I heard about Sister Margaret from an acquaintance who is a doctor at the hospital. After what happened to Sister Margaret, he doesn’t dare be named, but he sent an e-mail to his friends lamenting the excommunication of “a saintly nun”: “True Christians, like Sister Margaret, understand that real life is full of difficult moral decisions and pray that they make the right decision in the context of Christ’s teachings. Only a group of detached, pampered men in gilded robes on a balcony high above the rest of us could deny these dilemmas.”
     The Roman Catholic hierarchy is entitled to its views. But the episode reinforces perceptions of church leaders as rigid, dogmatic, out of touch — and very suspicious of independent-minded American nuns.
     Sister Margaret made a difficult judgment in an emergency, saved a life and then was punished and humiliated by a lightning bolt from a bishop who spent 16 years living in Rome and who has devoted far less time to serving the downtrodden than Sister Margaret. Compare their two biographies, and Sister Margaret’s looks much more like Jesus’s than the bishop’s does.
     When a hierarchy of mostly aging men pounce on and excommunicate a revered nun who was merely trying to save a mother’s life, the church seems to me almost as out of touch as it was in the cruel and debauched days of the Borgias in the Renaissance.
     Once again, the absurd hypocrisy of Catholic teachings and bishops, who stress the letter over the spirit of the law, reveals that the Catholic Church is still operating under a medieval notion of science, politics, and morality, not a Christ-like system, but a system that led to widespread corruption and resulted in the Reformation.

     When the dwindling life of a terminal unborn fetus/child is placed above the life of a 27-year-old mother of four, the only winners are dogma and those who fear its collapse.  There is no grace.  There is no justice.  

     When children have to brought into the world at all costs, but then are subjected to rape by the church's priests and when victims of abuse speak out as adults and are threatened by the bishops and blindly faithful laity, what does that say about the "sanctity of life"?

     I don't believe in god, but from what I learned about Jesus of Nazareth, both the myth and the man, Sr. Margaret sacrificed herself to save the life of another and stood in the person of Jesus Christ in a more profound, real and true manner than Bishop Olmsted's promises of supposed celibacy and poverty ever have.

     And to think that many Catholics judge Christian Scientists as backwards for their beliefs to let their god's will/nature take its course in matters of illness and health.

     One issue lost in the reporting of this travesty is that anyone who participated in procuring the life-saving abortion was also excommunicated, including the mother and father of the now deceased fetus/child.  They are also cut off from the "graces" of Holy Mother Church, or one could say that they have been spiritually aborted by Mother Church.  I hope the parents are finding the support they need, as they mourn both the loss of their deceased child and their church community.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nun Excommunicated for Allowing Life Saving Abortion for a Mother of Five, But Pedophile Priests Are Still Catholic

     Sister Margaret McBride was excommunicated by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix for allowing the termination of a pregnancy in a Catholic hospital.

     The abortion was provided to a twenty-seven-year-old mother of five who would have died, along with her unborn child, if not for the lifesaving procedure.  Her four children would have been left motherless, but the Catholic Church's backwards teaching that abortions can't be performed even when the mother is in danger of death would have been faithfully followed.  How's that for family values?

     NPR reports:
     The patient, who was too ill to be moved to the operating room much less another hospital, agreed to an abortion. But there was a complication: She was at a Catholic hospital.
     "They were in quite a dilemma," says Lisa Sowle Cahill, who teaches Catholic theology at Boston College. "There was no good way out of it. The official church position would mandate that the correct solution would be to let both the mother and the child die. I think in the practical situation that would be a very hard choice to make."
     But the hospital felt it could proceed because of an exception — called Directive 47 in the U.S. Catholic Church's ethical guidelines for health care providers — that allows, in some circumstance, procedures that could kill the fetus to save the mother. Sister Margaret McBride, who was an administrator at the hospital as well as its liaison to the diocese, gave her approval.
     The woman survived. When Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted heard about the abortion, he declared that McBride was automatically excommunicated — the most serious penalty the church can levy.
     "She consented in the murder of an unborn child," says the Rev. John Ehrich, the medical ethics director for the Diocese of Phoenix. "There are some situations where the mother may in fact die along with her child. But — and this is the Catholic perspective — you can't do evil to bring about good. The end does not justify the means."
     "Consented in the murder"?  Was not the Church then consenting in the murder of a young mother of four?

     Allow two lives to end, or save one life?  It seems pretty simple.  But not by the twisted logic of the Catholic mind, which demands the sacrifice of an innocent woman to please god.  Typical traditional and biblical values, where women are the tools of male god and property of their husbands.

     Also, Sister Margaret McBride who saves a life is excommunicated, while thousands of pedophile priests remain members of the Catholic Church after ruining the lives of countless innocent children.  How's that for justice?  And what of the priests who rape nuns and secretly procure abortions?

     Bishop Olmstead should be praising Sister Margaret for saving a life, when two could have been lost.

    "In the case of priests who are credibly accused and known to be guilty of sexually abusing children, they are in a sense let off the hook," Doyle says.
    Doyle says no pedophile priests have been excommunicated. When priests have been caught, he says, their bishops have protected them, and it has taken years or decades to defrock them, if ever.
    "Yet in this instance we have a sister who was trying to save the life of a woman, and what happens to her? The bishop swoops down [and] declares her excommunicated before he even looks at all the facts of the case," Doyle says
     Save a young mother's life, get excommunicated.  Rape a young mother's child, get forgiven.  Oh, justice.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Catholic Priests Raping Nuns and Procuring Abortions for their Unwanted Offspring in Africa, Celibacy is Broken

     One wonders at the priorities of a man who failed to defrock a priest in Wisconsin who molested hundreds of children but acted so decisively in the case of one who married a consenting adult.

     In 1998, Sister Marie McDonald, a Roman Catholic nun, wrote her superiors about the situation facing women religious in the church.  Here are a few excerpts via the National Catholic Reporter:
The problem
1. Sexual harassment and even rape of sisters by priests and bishops is allegedly common. Sometimes, when a sister becomes pregnant, the priest insists that she have an abortion.  The sister is usually dismissed from her congregation while the priest is often only moved to another parish -- or sent for studies.
2. Many sisters become financially dependent upon priests who may ask for sexual favours in return.
3. Priests sometimes take advantage of spiritual direction and of the sacrament or Reconciliation to ask for sexual favours.
     McDonald goes on to state what she sees as causes of this phenomenon of abuse: celibacy/chasitity aren't cultural values, the inferior position of women in church and society, belief that nuns don't have HIV and are safe (also that sex with virgins cures AIDS), unjust salaries for nuns cause dependence on priests, nuns sent to Rome for studies has to exchange sexual favors with priests to find housing abroad, and the "conspiracy of silence" surrounding the issue.

     Not much has changed in the past twelve years, since McDonald put a voice to the abuse of women religious in the Catholic Church, as the Newsweek article indicates:
     According to the National Catholic Reporter, which made McDonald's memo public in 2001, Vatican officials did take steps to rectify the problem, but publicly, their stance was chillingly familiar. "The problem is known and is restricted to a limited geographical area," said Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the Vatican spokesman at the time. This is an isolated incident, in other words; we've got it under control.
     Even as new cases of child sexual abuse by clergy emerge each day in Europe and the United States, abuse in the regions where Catholicism is growing fastest—Latin America, Asia, and, especially, Africa—are still largely ignored. In the West, the focus has been on the violation of minors, and on the role of celibacy in engendering this problem. In Africa, the problem is somewhat more complex. Though many good priests do adhere to their chastity vows, says the Rev. Peter Schineller, a Jesuit priest who has spent 20 years in Africa, sex between consenting or semi-consenting adults is commonplace. Transgression against chastity vows by priests run the gamut from harassment all the way to fathering children; it's not criminal necessarily, but it's certainly against doctrine. "The violations are huge," says Schineller. As the Roman Catholic hierarchy continues to crow over its success and vitality in the global south—the growth rate in Africa and Asia has been about 3 percent a year, twice the rate worldwide—the African church may put mandatory clerical celibacy to its harshest test yet.
     Sexual coercion is just part of the story. The 2001 investigation by the National Catholic Reporter uncovered three separate reports of sexual abuse of religious sisters by priests. The story described priests raping religious sisters and then paying for their abortions; sisters fearing to travel in cars with priests for fear of rape; sisters appealing to bishops for help only to be told to go away. "Even when they are listened to sympathetically," wrote McDonald, "nothing seems to be done."  (Click here for the rest of the article.)
     The Catholic Church's system of celibacy is broken, bleeding from its self-imposed sexual wounds.  Perhaps it's time to let this medieval system bleed out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Catholic Bishops Punishing Nuns who Supported Healthcare Reform

     Now, some Catholic bishops, who don't like it when more qualified women disagree publicly with them,  are punishing women religious, who have generations of experience working in the healthcare industry, for supporting President Obama's healthcare reform bill. 

    Because we all know that Jesus refused his healing services to those without Coliseum Care or Blue Phalanx coverage.

     At least two U.S. bishops have taken actions to indicate their disapproval of the support some women's religious communities and the Catholic Health Association gave to the final version of health care reform legislation.
     Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg, Pa., has directed diocesan offices, parishes and the diocesan newspaper not to promote the "vocation awareness program of any religious community" that was a signatory to a letter urging members of the House of Representatives to pass the health reform bill.
     In Providence, R.I., Bishop Thomas J. Tobin asked the Catholic Health Association to remove the diocesan-sponsored St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island from its membership rolls, saying that CHA leadership had "misled the public and caused serious scandal" by supporting health reform legislation that the bishops opposed.
     Here's some of the response of my friend and fellow Catholic priest of the gay diaspora, Fr. Geoff Farrow, to the ongoing punishing of women religious by incompetent bishops concerning healthcare reform:
     If you want to understand why the sisters spoke out on behalf of Health Care Reform legislation you need to understand that the sisters operate Catholic Health Care, a vast network of hospitals. Unlike most bishops who live in immaculately manicured Episcopal Residences and work in equally impressive office complexes. The sisters actually work in hospitals. Unlike bishops, the sisters are not served by doting staffs and surrounded by cadres of sycophants. The sisters actually serve the sick and the poor. They teach children, they don’t cover-up sex abuse violations of children.
     When I worked at a Catholic hospital, patients who were being wheeled in were asked: Do you have health care insurance? If the answer was no, the patient was given necessary immediate care and promptly shipped off to County Hospital. Catholic hospitals are permitted only a specified number of “pro-bono” patients per year. The nursing staff referred to County as “the butcher shop.” One nurse told me, if you graduated bottom of your class in Medical School, you work at County.
     The sisters know all of this. They know it first hand. The bishops know that most women will not go through the pains of childbirth to save $400.00 for an abortion. They know that the legislation in question did not authorize federal payments for abortions. The bishops almost succeeded in sacrificing laws which protect the poor. What stood in their way were the sisters. The sisters were a voice for the poor, the marginalized while the bishops were busy being choir boys for the Republican Party and for an insurance industry that racked up multi-billion dollars worth of profits.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Catholic Church Should Make a Woman Pope to Prove it's Serious about Cleaning up Sexual Abuse

     After a week in which Pope Benedict has been exposed as an incompetent liar and perpetrator of coving up sexual abuse of children by his holy priests, is there anything that can the Catholic Church do to regain any sense of authority in the world?  The pope's calls for prayer, confession,  and finger pointing at evil, gays, nuns, and foreign bishops has failed to solve the problem. 

     Maureen Dowd of the New York Times has an idea.  She thinks the church should elect a Nope, that is, a nun for a pope.  Can you imagine the impact that would have on the world?  It would truly be the aggiornamento, the opening up of the musky Vatican drapes and letting in of the fresh breezes of change that John XXIII spoke of when he called the Second Vatican Council.  But, it's not going to happen. 

     Hypocrite Benedict, a.k.a. Ratzinger, a.k.a. god's rottweiler, will never step down.  He doesn't get it.  He's as corrupt  as the pedophiles and the self-serving bishops who covered for them.  He's as complacent as the majority of his flock, who sit blissfully in pews with their ethical blinders turned to abortion.  Ben's hands are soiled, but to him, his failure is just a moral failing that can be washed away with a little trip to the confessional followed by a swallow of Jesus at the altar.

     Still, it's fun to dream.  Imagine a woman becoming pope.  Some claim that it's happened before, with Pope Joan, but most Catholics think she's just a legend.  Dowd's hope for a Nope is a fantasy, but there's nothing wrong with dreaming in political satire.

    Pope Benedict has continued the church’s ban on female priests and is adamant against priests’ having wives. He has started two investigations of American nuns to check on their “quality of life” — code for seeing if they’ve grown too independent. As a cardinal he wrote a Vatican document urging women to be submissive partners and not take on adversarial roles toward men.  But the completely paternalistic and autocratic culture of Il Papa led to an insular, exclusionary system that failed to police itself, and that became a corrosive shelter for secrets and shame.
    If the church could throw open its stained glass windows and let in some air, invite women to be priests, nuns to be more emancipated and priests to marry, if it could banish criminal priests and end the sordid culture of men protecting men who attack children, it might survive. It could be an encouraging sign of humility and repentance, a surrender of arrogance, both moving and meaningful.
     Cardinal Ratzinger devoted his Vatican career to rooting out any hint of what he considered deviance. The problem is, he was obsessed with enforcing doctrinal orthodoxy and somehow missed the graver danger to the most vulnerable members of the flock.  The sin-crazed “Rottweiler” was so consumed with sexual mores — issuing constant instructions on chastity, contraception, abortion — that he didn’t make time for curbing sexual abuse by priests who were supposed to pray with, not prey on, their young charges. 
    American bishops have gotten politically militant in recent years, opposing the health care bill because its language on abortion wasn’t vehement enough, and punishing Catholic politicians who favor abortion rights and stem cell research. They should spend as much time guarding the kids already under their care as they do championing the rights of those who aren’t yet born.
    The nuns have historically cleaned up the messes of priests. And this is a historic mess. Benedict should go home to Bavaria. And the cardinals should send the white smoke up the chimney, proclaiming “Habemus Mama.”
Image Credits:
Pope Joan covers by Serendipitous Readings and
The Female Pope cover by the authors' homepage (Pardoe)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Catholic Nuns Fight Back and Dissent from Bishops to Support Healthcare Reform Bill

     The healthcare reform bill passed last night, without a single Republican vote.  One of the groups that unsuccessfully worked to derail the bill was the Catholic Church, or better stated, the Catholic Bishops.  Catholic nun from across the country, the ones who run and actually work in hospitals, banded together to support the bill and dissented from the bishops.  Go, sisters!

     Here's Maureen Dowd in an Op-Ed from The New York Times (March 21, 2010, p.W11) concerning the dissent of women religious and why they are more qualified than the bishops on matters of healthcare reform:
     On Friday, Tim Ryan, an antiabortion Democrat from Ohio, took to the House floor to say he had been influenced by the nuns to vote for the bill.
    “You say this is pro-abortion,” he said to Republicans, and yet “you have 59,000 Catholic nuns from across the country endorsing this bill, 600 Catholic hospitals, 1,400 Catholic nursing homes endorsing this bill.”
     For decades, the nuns did the bidding of the priests, cleaned up their messes, and watched as their male superiors let a perverted stain spread over the entire church, a stain that has now even reached the Holy See. It seemed that the nuns were strangely silent, either because they suspected but had no proof — the “Doubt” syndrome — or because they had no one to tell but male bosses protecting one another in that repugnant and hypocritical old-boys’ network.
     Their goodness was rewarded with a stunning slap from the über-conservative Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican is conducting two inquisitions into the “quality of life” of American nuns, trying to knock any independence or modernity out of them.
     The witch hunt has sparked the nuns to have a voice at last. Vulnerable children were not protected by the male hierarchy of the church, which treated sexual abuse as a failure of character rather than a crime. The men were so arrogant it never occurred to them that they should be accountable to the secular world. In their warped thinking, it was better to let children suffer than to call the authorities, embarrass the church and risk diminished power.
     Now the bishops think that it’s better to deprive poor people of good health care than to let the church look like it’s going soft on abortion.
     Under the semantic dodge of ideological purity, the bishops also are doing the bidding of the Republicans, trying to kill the bill and weaken the president. But the nuns are right when they say that “the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions” and that its protection of pregnant women is the “real pro-life stance.”
     The nuns stepped up to support true Catholic dogma, making sure poor people get proper health care.
     Crooks and Liars sums up the dissent of the nuns from the Catholic bishops succinctly:
     This is huge for a number of reasons. The nuns signing this letter are the ones in the trenches, serving in Catholic hospitals and health care clinics across the nation. They represent those who see the wreckage left behind when people are denied access to care until it's too late, the damage done when poor women cannot get prenatal care, and when the sick are left to their own devices.