"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Monday, 22 March 2010

Is this really the best Ratzinger can do?

This weekend, all over Ireland, the Pope’s letter to the Catholics of Ireland on child sex abuse was read out in Catholic churches. What a mealy mouthed excuse for an apology it is!
While it expresses sorrow for the abuse of children and regret that “errors of judgment” were made in dealing with perpetrators, the bulk of the letter is pure hogwash.
Nowhere does Ratzinger acknowledge that it is the corrupt hierachy of the Catholic church that is at the root of this or the absurd enforced sexual abstinency of its priests. No, in fact it’s not Catholicisms fault at all, it’s those nasty secularists what made them do it :
. In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people's traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values.
His only castigation of the cover up is that Bishops did not implement Canon law to the full. Canon law? Who gives a fuck how they police themselves. Child abuse is very serious civil offence, but does Ratzinger say that in future all paedophile priest will turned over to the authorities? No he doesn’t. He’s going to have a nice cosy internal review and keep it all within Church juristiction.
But here is the most laughable paragraph of all:
14. I now wish to propose to you some concrete initiatives to address the situation.
At the conclusion of my meeting with the Irish bishops, I asked that Lent this year be set aside as a time to pray for an outpouring of God's mercy and the Holy Spirit's gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church in your country. I now invite all of you to devote your Friday penances, for a period of one year, between now and Easter 2011, to this intention. I ask you to offer up your fasting, your prayer, your reading of Scripture and your works of mercy in order to obtain the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland. I encourage you to discover anew the sacrament of Reconciliation and to avail yourselves more frequently of the transforming power of its grace.
Particular attention should also be given to Eucharistic adoration, and in every diocese there should be churches or chapels specifically devoted to this purpose. I ask parishes, seminaries, religious houses and monasteries to organize periods of Eucharistic adoration, so that all have an opportunity to take part. Through intense prayer before the real presence of the Lord, you can make reparation for the sins of abuse that have done so much harm, at the same time imploring the grace of renewed strength and a deeper sense of mission on the part of all bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful
I am confident that this programme will lead to a rebirth of the Church in Ireland in the fullness of God's own truth, for it is the truth that sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32). .
So these are concrete initiatives are they? “Let’s all pray this doesn’t do any lasting damage to the churches reputation”?

I think the power of prayer is going to be sorely stretched over the next few weeks and months. Ratzinger’s own former involvment in cover up is starting to be questioned. The abuse scandal is spreading across the world and the Catholic church’s pretense to moral authority is waning daily.

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