Ireland breaks up with the Catholic Church

July 27, 2011

Ireland seems to have had it with the Catholic Church’s child rape scandals and now are giving the Vatican the it’s not me, it’s youdefinitely you routine:

The airwaves are full of bitter remarks supporting Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s attack on the “disgraceful” Vatican, and recommending every anti-church measure from the dissolution of the monasteries to the expulsion of the Papal Nuncio and the severing of all links with the Holy See. (The recall of the Papal Nuncio this week marks the lowest point of relations between Ireland and Rome.)

One correspondent wrote that it was his ardent hope that the Catholic Church would follow the example of the News of the World, and hold a “last Mass” before shutting down.

The Taoiseach, meanwhile, has been met with standing ovations for his salvo against the Vatican for failing to respond with sufficient concern to the clerical sex abuse scandals as described in the Cloyne report.

This is a far cry from two decades ago when Sinead O’Connor was almost universally hated for declaring the previous Pope “the real enemy” while ripping up his picture on Saturday Night Live.

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News From Around The Blogosphere 7.20.11

July 21, 2011

Okay, it’s been awhile so this is going to a long one.

1. Campus Crusade for Christ is changing their name – In an attempt to change their image, the CCC has finally decided to get rid of that pesky “Crusade” in their name to avoid offending people and are now calling themselves the very inoffensive “Campus Holocaust for Christ.” Just kidding. From now on they’ll be known as the “cru”, cause strange lowercase acronyms are hip, chill, and groovy with the kids these days. Though if they really want to be more popular with the kiddies, maybe they should just call themselves Lady Gaga, and then put out announcements that Lady Gaga is coming to their campus. Can I solve image problems or what? I expect my check in the mail later this week.

2. Deepak Chopra, the videogame! Rated M for Moron – You know, for years I’ve listened to Jack Thompson shamelessly blaming video games for just about every atrocity in human history from the Crusades (probably) to the Virginia Tech shootings. But now Deepak Chopra is making me realize video games really can be harmful to society due to his new game called “Leela” (I’m assuming because he’s a huge Futurama fan) involving “seven different interactive exercises based on the seven ‘chakras,’ the points along the body that Chopra says serve as energy centers. No, Chopra has no background in actual human anatomy; I guess this is what he means by willing things into existence. If you believe in nonsense long enough and you can invent your own biology. In related news, Phil Plait has penned an short piece published in Playboy magazine that chastized Chopra for massacring science with his mouth.

3. Ireland vs. Vatican

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny condemned the Vatican for continuing to downplay the rape and sexual torture of children in order to protect the image of the Catholic church.

Kenny’s condemnation comes in response to last week’s release of the Cloyne report, a scathing expose of current and ongoing Vatican efforts to cover-up the ever-present sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.

Kenny claimsthe Cloyne report “tells us a tale of a frankly brazen disregard for protecting children;” and, “exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.”

PZ Myers also wrote about this story here. And retired Bishop of Cloyne, John Magee, has been in hiding since the Cloyne report exposing his poor handling of child sex abuse allegations was published.

And speaking of the Catholic Church…

4. Catholic bishop bans fund-raising for breast cancer research

A bishop from Toledo, Ohio will not allow parishes and parochial schools to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation (which helps fund the fight against breast cancer) because there’s a chance they may one day fund embryonic stem-cell research.

Glad to see they have their priorities in place.

5. Austrian officials allow Pastafarian to wear colander in drivers license photo – Austrian Niko Alm is being given permission to wear a colander, the official headwear for Pastafarians, on the license, which is clearly a far superior fashion statement than the Jewish yarmulke. Blessed be the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his noodly appendages.

6. Child Holocaust-denying nazi musicians renounce much of their former beliefs – The Olsen Twin look-alikes who form the Hitler-admiring pop band Prussian Blue have now publicly rejected the views that made them famous and for which their band was named after.

7. Jesus appears on Walmart receipt – Either that or Charles Manson, though that’s not really a very meaningful distinction.

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John May Lives

September 20, 2010

For a number of years now, the Catholic Church (as primitive as they are) have actually accepted the scientific fact of evolution. But not all Catholic officials do. Conor Lenihan, an Irish a Minister of State with special responsibility for Science, is not a fan. In fact, he expressed his support for a creationist book unoriginally titled “The Origin of Specious Nonsense” written by John J. May.

I know what you’re thinking? How could an authority on science oppose evolution? Don’t worry. He doesn’t actually have any scientific credentials. Apparently science authorities in the Catholic Church don’t require any scientific expertise.

As for May, he calls Lucy a hoax, “saying that it was made from a pig’s jawbone and that this was a well-known fact.”

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Good news and bad news for Ireland

March 15, 2010

Two major stories came out of Ireland over the weekend. First the good news. Ireland’s government is having second thoughts about the blasphemy law they passed last year:

Dermot Ahern, the justice minister, is proposing that a vote to remove the criminal offence of blasphemy be held as part of a planned series of referendums this autumn, writes Stephen O’Brien.

Ahern, who was criticised for increasing the fine for blasphemy to €25,000 last year, said he never regarded the provision in the new Defamation Bill as anything more than a short-term solution.

“There was a lot of nonsense about that blasphemy issue and people making me out to be a complete right-winger at the time,” he said. “There was an incredibly sophisticated campaign [against me], mainly on the internet.

Not against you, Dermot. About your fascist policy.

I categorized the other news story as “bad news” but because it involves something bad that happened a long time ago being exposed, I guess it’s kind of also good news.

Yup, I’m talking about more child abuse covered up by a high-ranking official in the Catholic Church:

Cardinal Sean Brady, primate of all-Ireland, admitted he was present at meetings where two abused teenagers were made to sign vows of silence.

But in case you’re outraged that this got away with directly participating in the covering up of a crime as heinous as child rape, rest assured that Cardinal Brady assures us that this is not a big deal:

“Frankly I don’t believe that this is a resigning matter.”

See. What’s wrong with you people. The Church does this sort of thing all the time. It’s not a big deal. It’s not like they married people of the same sex. It was just raping children…sexy, sexy children.


News From Around The Blogosphere 1.1.10

January 2, 2010

Happy 2010 all!

1. Phil Plait has officially turned over his responsibilities as President of the James Randi Educational Foundation to D.J. Grothe, who hosts of Point of Inquiry, the official podcast of the Center For Inquiry. Congratulations again to D.J. and to Phil, who is moving onto a yet to be announced television project.

2. Atheist Ireland challenges new Irish Blasphemy Law on Day 1 – The first big controversy of 2010 is the new Irish Blasphemy Law, which went into effect on the first of January. Atheist Ireland is challenging this law right away by publishing a list of 25 blasphemous quotes:

Despite these quotes being abusive and insulting in relation to matters held sacred by various religions, we unreservedly support the right of these people to have published or uttered them, and we unreservedly support the right of any Irish citizen to make comparable statements about matters held sacred by any religion without fear of being criminalised, and without having to prove to a court that a reasonable person would find any particular value in the statement.

The quotes come from a wide range of individuals from George Carlin to Salman Rushdie to Jesus.

Lisa Miller, wanted fugitive for kidnapping this child

3. “Ex-gay” mom kidnaps child – Some of you may be familiar with the strange case of Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins.  After the two women had a civil union, Miller had a child via artificial insemination. Later, Miller was converted into an evangelical Christian, denounced homosexuality as a sin, and a custody battle began over access to their child. Ultimately, the judge ruled in favor of Jenkins getting full custody with visitation rights for Miller. This was all supposed to go into effect today. But there’s just one small problem. Miller didn’t turn over the child and has now disappeared. Gotta love those good old fashioned Christian values.

4. Who was the most influential female atheist of 2009? – A great poll from Blag Hag.

5. Are Lithium-air batteries the future in automotive fuel?

Li-air batteries use a catalytic air cathode that supplies oxygen, an electrolyte and a lithium anode. The technology has the potential to store almost as much energy as a tank of gasoline, and will have a capacity for energy storage that is five to 10 times greater than that of Li-ion batteries, a bridge technology. That potential, however, will not be realized until critical scientific challenges have been solved.


Irish officials say there’s ‘no doubt’ high-ranking Catholic officials covered up massive child abuse

November 27, 2009

I’ve blogged before about the case of the Catholic-run reform schools in Ireland that were exposed to have covered up many decades of child abuse (here, here, here, and here). And that’s when I guess Ireland concluded that while massive conspiracy to cover up child rape is bad, it’s not nearly as bad as criticizing the organization responsible for said conspiracy and child rape, so they decided naturally to pass blasphemy laws forbidding the insulting of such an institution.

Well, the latest update on the story is that the Catholic Church has been given immunity for covering up the child abuse. . .despite, you know, the fact that the commission investigating the case overwhelmingly concluded that they had “no doubt” that high ranking Church authorities did in fact cover up the abuse to protect their own asses:

Authorities enjoyed a cosy relationship with the Church and did not enforce the law as four archbishops, obsessed with secrecy and avoiding scandal, protected abusers and reputations at all costs, the report said..

Hundreds of crimes against children from the 1960s to the 1990s were not reported while police treated clergy as though they were above the law.

In a three-year inquiry, the Commission to Inquire into the Dublin Archdiocese uncovered a sickening tactic of ”don’t ask, don’t tell” throughout the Church.

”The Commission has no doubt that clerical child sexual abuse was covered up by the Archdiocese of Dublin and other Church authorities,” it said.

”The structures and rules of the Catholic Church facilitated that cover-up.

”The State authorities facilitated that cover-up by not fulfilling their responsibilities to ensure that the law was applied equally to all and allowing the Church institutions to be beyond the reach of the normal law enforcement processes.”

Four archbishops – John Charles McQuaid who died in 1973, Dermot Ryan who died in 1984, Kevin McNamara who died in 1987, and retired Cardinal Desmond Connell – did not hand over information on abusers.

The first files were handed over by the Cardinal in 1995 but even then he had records of complaints against at least 28 priests.

The primary loyalty of bishops and archbishops is to the Church, the report said.

Bishop James Kavanagh, Bishop Dermot O’Mahony, Bishop Laurence Forristal, Bishop Donal Murray and disgraced Bishop Brendan Comiskey, a reformed alcoholic who failed to control paedophile priests when in charge of the Ferns Diocese, all knew about child abuse for many years.

The inquiry, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, said the hierarchy cannot claim they did not know that child sex abuse was a crime.

The facts are these:

While the Dublin Archdiocese inquiry found no evidence of a paedophile ring, some of the most shocking findings included:

  • One priest admitted sexually abusing more than 100 children;
  • Another accepted he abused on a fortnightly basis during his 25-year ministry;
  • One complaint was made against a priest who later admitted abusing at least six other children;
  • It took police 20 years to decide on a prosecution of one priest.

The inquiry said it uncovered inappropriate contacts between authorities and the Archdiocese.

And that’s just the beginning. There’s so many more examples of Church officials and police officials looking the other way while children were raped and abused at the hands of this organized crime syndocate known to the world as the Catholic Church. Nowhere but the Catholic Church will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

After the recent news of Australian government officials going after Scientology’s tax exempt status and labeling them a criminal organization, the more we learn about the mass child abuse cover-ups by the Catholic Church, the more obvious it becomes that Scientology’s abuses are a drop in the bucket next to that of the Catholic Church. Not only does the U.S. have a moral responsibility to revoke Catholic tax exemption but anyone who continues to support the Church after learning how willing its high-ranking officials are to sacrifice hundreds if not thousands of children to protect the Church’s reputation, should be considered complicit in these crimes. It is no wonder that Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry were so effective in convincing a recent debate audience that the Catholic church is far from a force for good in the world. Every Catholic should be outraged at their church’s hypocrisy as well as its utter lack of humanity and remorse for the unspeakable, unforgivable atrocities it’s committed.

Every sane individual on Earth should be demanding justice for these victims of Catholicism. It shouldn’t just be the atheists calling for action. Every person with even an ounce of compassion should be shouting for the Church leaders to stand trial for their crimes against humanity. Where is the outrage?


Ireland passes blasphemy law

July 10, 2009

danish-cartoon-bombSay goodbye to freedom in Ireland. They just passed the blasphemy law by a single vote. It is now criminal to criticize a person’s religious views if you cause “outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion” whatever the hell that means. According to Paliban Daily here are some possibilities for how this new law might be interpreted in the future:

  • Atheists can be prosecuted for saying that God is imaginary. That causes outrage.
  • Pagans can be prosecuted for saying they left Christianity because God is violent and bloodthirsty, promotes genocide, and permits slavery.
  • Christians can be prosecuted for saying that Allah is a moon god, or for drawing a picture of Mohammed, or for saying that Islam is a violent religion which breeds terrorists.
  • . . .

    Ireland’s Blasphemy Bill not only criminalizes free speech, it also gives the police the authority to confiscate anything deemed “blasphemous”. They may enter and search any premises, with force if needed, upon “reasonable suspicion” that such materials are present.

    Satirizing religion in any way, shape, or form, if it “causes outrage”, is now a prosecutable offense in Ireland. Saying anything negative about a religion, if it “causes outrage”, can now be prosecuted as a crime. Just like in Muslim countries.

    So I’ve decided to honor this new law by displaying a bunch of visual aids to educate the Irish as to what will no longer be tolerated in their country.

    religuousposterpope-benedict-palpatinecatholic WMDsGod is ImaginaryJesus takes hostageJesus suicidereligion is the angel dust of the massesreligion killssexy nun and priest


    News From Around The Blogosphere 7.9.09

    July 9, 2009

    Since I’m coming on the first birthday of Skepacabra in about 10 days (has it been a year already?), I thought maybe it’d be nice to go old-school Skepacabra and do a “News From Around The Blogosphere” entry like I used too. Also, it saves me a lot of time.

    Why does anyone take health advice from Gwyneth Paltrow? Though Paltrow’s “lifestyle” site GOOP.com has been around for awhile, Amateur Scientist did a great little blog about it and her promotion of special the “detox” diet from “detox specialist” Dr. Alejandro Junger:

    Why am I putting “detox” in scare quotes? Because it doesn’t really mean anything. Anything you shove down your throat (or up your ass, for that matter) to cleanse toxins from your system does nothing for your health since your body isn’t full of toxins. Like the word “energy”, people with no critical thinking skills use the word “toxin” to mean whatever they want without providing anything like evidence to show what it even is. Regardless, Paltrow just knows she’s full of toxins, so she recently tried out Dr. Junger’s suggested diet of one solid meal a day sandwiched by two liquid ones. Now she says she lost some weight and feels “pure”. I know it seems miraculous that a diet of very little actual food might lead to weight loss, but this is really just science.

    Looking for a cheap fuel source? Urine luck

    Researchers at Ohio University may have found a cheap and abundant source of hydrogen to potentially fuel future hydrogen-powered cars. Yeah, it’s pee pee. Turns out the primary component of urine, urea, has four hydrogen atoms per molecule, as opposed to water’s two. Using a nickel-based electrode, the urea atoms can be easily broken apart with less voltage than it takes to split water. Which means that urine could be a less expensive and more abundant source of hydrogen.

    In another classic case of absurd pareidolia, now believers in Ireland have found the Virgin Mary in a tree stump – The local church’s response is great:

    Local parish priest Fr Willie Russell said on radio station Limerick Live 95FM yesterday that people should not worship the tree. “There’s nothing there . . . it’s just a tree . . . you can’t worship a tree.”

    . . .

    A spokesman for the Limerick diocesan office said the “church’s response to phenomena of this type is one of great scepticism”.


    Bill Donahue loves child rapists

    May 30, 2009

    Let’s not look backwards at Catholic abuse? No. Let’s.

    May 26, 2009

    A few days ago, I blogged about Bill Donohue and the Catholic Church’s downplaying of the many, many decades of child abuse at a Catholic-run reform school that had been covered up by the Catholic Church, which had all been exposed in a 9-year-long investigation.

    As you might remember, most of the Church officials opted to continue to protect the identities of the abusers and  Donohue called the victims “miscreants,” said the charges were “cheapening” the definition of rape, and made a great effort to suggest that the charges were completely overblown and no big deal:

    Reuters is reporting that “Irish Priests Beat, Raped Children,” yet the report does not justify this wild and irresponsible claim. Four types of abuse are noted: physical, sexual, neglect and emotional. Physical abuse includes “being kicked”; neglect includes “inadequate heating”; and emotional abuse includes “lack of attachment and affection.” Not nice, to be sure, but hardly draconian, especially given the time line: fully 82 percent of the incidents took place before 1970. As the New York Times noted, “many of them [are] now more than 70 years old.” And quite frankly, corporal punishment was not exactly unknown in many homes during these times, and this is doubly true when dealing with miscreants.

    Regarding sexual abuse, “kissing,” and “non-contact including voyeurism” (e.g., what it labels as “inappropriate sexual talk”) make the grade as constituting sexual abuse. Moreover, one-third of the cases involved “inappropriate fondling and contact.” None of this is defensible, but none of it qualifies as rape. Rape, on the other hand, constituted 12 percent of the cases. As for the charge that “Irish Priests” were responsible, some of the abuse was carried out by lay persons, much of it was done by Brothers, and about 12 percent of the abusers were priests (most of whom were not rapists).

    The Irish report suffers from conflating minor instances of abuse with serious ones, thus demeaning the latter. When most people hear of the term abuse, they do not think about being slapped, being chilly, being ignored or, for that matter, having someone stare at you in the shower. They think about rape.

    By cheapening rape, the report demeans the big victims. But, of course, there is a huge market for such distortions, especially when the accused is the Catholic Church.

    Well this is what the Catholic Church is letting monsters get away with and what Donohue calls “cheapening rape:

    And here’s a great video of this issue being discussed by The Young Turks:

    That these monsters are going to walk after all the unspeakable horrors they’ve committed makes my blood boil It shouldn’t be just the non-Catholics expressing their outrage about this. Catholics too should feel dirty just being association with an organization that has for decades protected child rapists and which continues to allow them the opportunity to rape more children. Catholics should be ashamed of their Church and storm the gates of the Vatican crying that their behavior is a disgrace to all that is good and decent in the world.

    I’m sorry but I feel that after hearing about how the Catholic Church has sold its proverbial soul by sacrificing children to keep its reputation that anyone who continues to call themselves Catholics is partially complicit in these crimes. Your church is dirty. It’s committed unforgivable crimes against humanity and if you continue to stand behind them after they continued to knowingly feed children to the sharks and betray everything they claim to stand for, then you are essentially helping them to commit these crimes again.