Just a Little Common Sense

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Posts Tagged ‘catholic

Much Ado About Nothing

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My local catholics are playing dress-up again, walking the streets chanting and carrying candles. I left my window open for just a minute too long, and now my whole fucking room stinks of fucking incense. I am seething. Just what gives them the right to rub their silly rituals in my face like that?
If I’d run through public streets at this hour being as loud and producing as much smell, I’d be arrested within minutes. From noise pollution to disturbance of public peace, scandalization and what-not, I’d be charged with a variety of stuff and it’d end up being a very expensive prank. Plus, if I was wearing as silly a costume and a funny hat while annoying the shit out of people for no reason, I’d probably be put straight into the mental ward. And rightfully so, because that is where people who engage in this kind of activity belong. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Phil

November 14, 2010 at 19:34

Are You Sure  You’re Not Catholic?

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The question sounds silly only as long as you don’t know about the weird policy the church has regarding whom they consider to be a member. Essentially, once you’ve been baptized they regard you as a member for life – it doesn’t matter whether you actually believe in any of their doctrine, attend service, or belong to any community. Once a member, always a member, like it or not.
There are only two ways to end your membership in the Roman Catholic Church (and, by the way, most other churches too): Through either excommunication or formal defection.

Why is this important?
So if you have ever been baptized, by default you should assume that you are a member. Now before I tell you how to put an end to that sorry state, let’s discuss what reasons there are for withdrawing your membership. It’s quite simple: As most of us live in democracies, the churches’ claim to power is the number of people it represents, or claims to represent. Large membership numbers give them a kind of we-are-the-people-authority. Ending your membership is the most direct and effective way of diminishing the churches political power.
You don’t need to be an atheist to withdraw your membership, either. I think even believers should consider quitting the church; it seems quite obvious to me that if there was a god, this corporation organization of child-molesting, genocidal, chauvinist virgins is probably the one organization furthest away from representing his views. The structural problems and the political agenda that organization has by far outweigh any possible benefits that being a member could possibly have – Read the bible if you must, follow Jesus if you like, but please maintain enough of a link to reality to understand that the “Holy See” is pretty much the definition of evil, that condoms are a good thing, that stem-cell research saves lives without harming anyone, and that a woman’s interest in determining the course of her own life exceeds the imaginary right of a small, unfeeling, unconscious clot of cells to survive. You are perfectly free to believe in a higher being, and worship it by whatever name, but you should be awake enough to realize that the church is a political organization that represents views that, throughout history, have clearly shown to be extremely damaging to society.
So now that established the reasons to end your membership, how do you go about it? As I’ve said before, there are two ways: Excommunication and formal defection. Let’s take a look at both.

Excommunication
It’s the unlikely option. Excommunication means that you do something so horrible that the church herself will take action to end your membership, or as they put it, “deprive you of the privileges of being a member”.
You may think that in an organization as conservative as the catholic church it should be pretty easy to shock them enough to kick you out, and you’d be wrong. As recent history has shown, being excommunicated turns out to be rather hard. Apparently, things like genocide or the molestation and rape of over 200 deaf boys just don’t seem to be enough. Covering up all those crimes doesn’t do the trick, either. Well, you might always try to do one of those really revolting, unforgivable things, like getting divorced. That worked pretty well back in the 16th century, but recently the church seems to be loosening up on that one.

Formal Defection
Formal defection definitely is the more workable solution. Write a letter to your local bishop or parish priest. Here is a beautiful example of what that might look like:

Cardinal Francis George
c/o Archdiocese of Chicago
835 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2030

Declaration of Defection from the Roman Catholic Church

I, ——–, do hereby give formal notice of my defection from the Roman Catholic Church. I do not consider myself part of the church, and I have not attended or donated to any church since 2004. I do not believe in God, the divinity or resurrection of Jesus, the immaculate conception or assumption of Mary, or the Holy Ghost. I am an atheist and have been working to promote skepticism of religion since 2008.
I am especially repulsed by the church’s teachings regarding homosexuality. I reject the notion that homosexual desires or the expression of these desires are in any way sinful, disordered, or an “intrinsic moral evil.” On the contrary, the church’s continual mistreatment of gay people is the true moral evil at work here.

Make sure your defection gets noted in your baptismal register, though that should happen more or less automatically. Bureaucratic stuff like that is one area the church is actually good at. It might be of interest to you that defecting from the church does not actually undo your baptism. According to the laws of their weird twisted fantasy-land, the baptism is a mark that “is an ontological and permanent bond which is not lost by reason of any act or fact of defection”, meaning that although they recognize that you left the “earthly” organization of the RCC, they cannot change your underlying identity as a catholic, which results in your soul still being subject to all canon laws, whatever that means.
However, what the defection does  is stopping them to use you as a number in their statistic to justify their political power. And that makes it totally worth it.

PS: In some countries the process might be more complicated, namely when the state is involved in the administration of membership and church tax. I can’t tell you much about that, but I’m sure that in pretty much any country of this world there are secular organizations happy to provide you with all the information and help you might need. If you’re a German planning to leave the church, feel free to contact me. I’ll be glad to help out or put you in touch with organizations that will.

Catholic Child Abuse: The Media are Understating the Situation

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There is a serious structural problem in the Roman Catholic Church, and I am tired of it being referred to as “the paedophilia problem” or “child rape”. Neither are the main problem here.
First, not many of the cases of sexual abuse do actually have anything to do with paedophilia. Children are often mere substitute-objects. The perpetrators aren’t necessarily paedophiles, they simply use children because they happen to be around, are easy to control and intimidate, and most importantly they don’t put up much of a fight.

  • Regressive Type: His primary sexual preference are adults, though he can be sexually aroused by children. Due to the easy availability of children, to nonsexual problems, and to problems with adult sex partners, he falls back on children to satisfy his sexual needs. One can speak of a substitute-object culprit [Ger.: Ersatzobjekttäter]
  • Fixated Type: His primary sexual preference are children. He can hardly or not at all be sexually aroused by adults. A classic paedophile.
  • Sociopathic Type: He is characterized by a lack of empathy for his victims and sometimes has sadistic tendencies. Sexuality is not used to satisfy sexual needs, but as a means of opression. This is also commonly called a sadistic type.

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The Church is Losing Members at Record Pace

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(via hpd.de)

ITALY. The italian Union of Rational Atheists & Agnostics (UAAR) is reporting that the online form for church-membership termination has been downloaded from their website 5500 times in April alone, compared to an average of 3500 the previous month. This number should be seen as a minimum of actual membership-terminations, since the form can be multiplied and also be obtained elsewhere.

AUSTRIA. In the archdiocese Vienna 14.158 people left the catholic church between January 1st and May 20th 2010. The number exceeds the churches worst expectations.

GERMANY. In Munich, capital of Germany’s most conservative and catholic state, the numbers of people leaving the church have tripled in comparison to the year before. This is remarkable because the local law doesn’t make leaving the church an easy business; writing a letter won’t do. To leave the church, a munich resident has to show up at the office in person and pay a ‘processing fee’ of 30€ (roughly 50 USD). Despite this chicanery, 1909 people left the church in march, 1614 in april. The numbers of january and february are 616 and 684 respectively, which is reoughly the same as the year before.

It seems that the churches handling of the abuse scandal is taking its toll.

Written by Phil

May 22, 2010 at 21:20

Abuse in Catholic Organizations is a Deep-Rooted Structural Problem

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The abusive nun

"Never Again!"

The media generally limits itself to refer to the whole business as ‘abuse’, and while that’s technically correct, there is a need to clarify this very abstract term. So what, exactly are we talking about when we speak of ‘abuse’ in catholic organizations? It’s not just molestation, which is what most people think of in this context, if they do permit themselves to think about it at all.
What the victims had to go through is far from being limited to sexual abuse. There are people all over the world who are now finally finding the strength to unveil the horrors of their childhoods in christian care homes, and the stories emerging are simply shocking. They were kept in solitary confinement for days on end, drugged, raped, deprived of sleep and of food, used as forced labour, beaten, humiliated, and even forced to eat their own vomit.
Take a second to let that sink in, take a second to imagine. Once we’ve established an understanding of the situation, we can move on to discuss the causes. Read the rest of this entry »

Germany: Victims of Abuse Speak Up

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GERMANY. A group of former inhabitants of Christian foster homes and schools are speaking up about the many cases of physical and mental abuse they had to endure. The group, whose official internet presentation can be found under jetzt-reden-wir.org (roughly: “now it’s our turn to talk”, website in german only) recieved support from a range of secular organizations, such as the Giordano Bruno Foundation, the IBKA and the Humanist Association of Germany. Düsseldorf resident and artist Jaques Tilly contributed a three-meter-figure of a viciously grinning nun, sporting a crucifix in one hand and a stick in the other, with a lettering on the chest that reads “Nie Wieder!” (Never Again!)

The Abusive Nun

The first demonstration took place on April 15th in Berlin, and recieved large attention from the media, even beyond the borders of Germany. The “Heimkinder” (Foster Kids) protested against the preliminary report of the government’s “Round Table on Foster Home Education”, presented in January 2010, that simply ignored the main issues: The systematic violation of human rights and the abuse of home-children as forced labour.
Among other things such as apologies and compensation, they demanded access to their files, which they are still denied today.

On May 13th, the group protested in Munich. Occasion was the Ecumenical Chruch Day, on which the different confessions of Christianity celebrated Ascension Day. Part of the Christian celebration in Munich was a procession through the city; The “Heimkinder” followed, carrying their banners, the nun, and informing on-lookers by speaking to them, handing out flyers (pdf, german only), and a megaphone.


Note: Pictures of the demonstrations will be added as soon as I recieve permission to use the files.

Written by Phil

May 15, 2010 at 08:20

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