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Popes, paedophiles, perverts and their apologists

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Wednesday, 22 Aug 2018, 23:29

So, Il Duce is coming, sorry...Il Papa, is coming to Ireland this week, hot on the heels of the Grand Jury Report from Philadelphia (for a World Meeting of Families, no less!!  You couldn't make it up!) which outed a stomach-turning 300 plus paedophiles who operated in the Philadelphia area, and who abused more than a 1000 children over 70 years, and also detailed how their crimes were consistently covered up by the Roman Catholic Church.  

The Pope issued a half-baked apology promising to do more which means nothing considering how long this issue has been going on and also considering, how little has been done so far.  I watched the video of the Grand Jury report and the details were sickening. I really don't know how anyone with a 'Christian' conscience could continue to support this organisation.  But in my experience, I have found that the better Catholic you are, the less 'Christian' you are.  Does the actual reality of what has been done never fully hit home?  Grown men, so-called 'men of God', raped and sexually abused children, some as young as 18 months old!  How can anyone be ambiguous about that? But, unfortunately, they will and I include members of my own family in that, it's like talking to a wall. It is so ingrained in their lives and their thinking, they can't envisage a life without the Catholic Church, too scared to let go and driven by some perverted sense of loyalty, their Catholic identity intricately tied in with their Irish identity and unable to separate the two.  Like the DUP supporters and their Britishness who turned out to support Ian Jr recently; it's their side, so they'll stand by them to the death, regardless of how rotten or corrupt they are.

But as sickening as this is, what gets me even more is the cowardice and hypocrisy of the clergy, those so-called 'good' priests within the Church who are supposed to be decent people and who stay silent, and kow-tow to the hierarchy, refusing to condemn the horror in their midst and helping, still, to cover it up; too lazy and/or too scared to rock the boat, settling for the easy life, going along to get along. 

Most of the priests and nuns, I’ve ever known, were priests and nuns, not out of any great spiritual experience but because of family pressure, a way of avoiding life or as a place to hide out.  In Ireland, not so much now, as back in the day (but it still goes on too) it was the perfect hide out for homosexual men and women; a way of gaining acceptance and respect in society without any awkward questions ever being asked. It also provides an easy life; they never have to worry about bills, where they will live, or where the next meal is coming from.  They are taken care of, they never face any real challenges and, as a consequence, they never really grow up either. 

But my biggest problem with the whole Catholic ethos is the perversion, not just within their ranks, but the perversion of the life and legacy of Jesus.  I mean, if Jesus Christ was here now, what do you think he would say about an institution that has covered up the rape and sexual abuse of children?   ‘Suffer little children to come unto me?’  I don’t think so. 

But Catholics do love to suffer, it’s an integral part of the whole religion, how Christ suffered and died for our sins. His suffering on the cross, the suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, the slaughter and suffering of the Holy Infants when he was born, John the Baptist's suffering,  Mary’s suffering at losing her son, everybody suffering under the yoke of the Roman Empire.  Keep piling on the guilt trips because this was all done for you, you, worthless ingrate!  At least, that’s what they tried to tell us.

Well, I never asked him to, quite frankly, I think it was a waste of his time.  By the way, the whole ‘coming back’ thing, I don’t think it’s going to happen, I mean it’s been 2000 years, something tells me, he’s not coming.

However, this narrative plays out so well in Ireland because we suffered too.  We suffered at the hands of the British Empire, we suffered under their yoke, we suffered to hold on to our Catholic faith when it was outlawed by the state, and we continue to suffer.  We suffered under the hammer of the Orangemen and still we suffer…have you seen our politicians?  And, the weather is crap at the moment too and the Tories are still in power, aarrrggghhhh!   My God, this suffering never ends! 

But again, this is all to a point, because the more you suffer, the greater your reward will be in Heaven, like those fanatical Muslims and their 76 virgins, their reward for martyrdom!  Funny, I was wondering about this the other day, (I know, I really need to get out more!) but what happens after you’ve shagged the 76 virgins?  

Anyway, back to the suffering…what this does, is to allow for suffering to continue, it’s imbues it with honour, just stay on your knees and keep praying for things to get better, or for the ‘strength to endure the suffering’.  Oh, they like that one, the strength to endure.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Plays right into the whole martyrdom thing.  Instead of saying ‘Right, that’s it, I’ve suffered enough, I’m going to get up off my knees and do something about this, you endure your suffering, you wear it like a badge of honour, where everyone can see it, especially, where everyone can see it.  You keep enduring, wallowing in self-pity at your hard time because you do it for 'God' and your faith!  Like the abused Catholic wife, enduring the assaults, the infidelity, the misery of it all because she has 'made sure' everyone knows what a bastard he is but she will keep going because she's a good Catholic, and she made her vows, and because she knows she will get her reward when she is DEAD!??

Now, I’m not saying a little suffering or a hard time can’t teach you some life lessons but come on, let’s get some balance here.  You will suffer at some point in life that is guaranteed, we will lose people we loved and cared for, we will run into 'bastards' along the way but to make the life of Christ into a marathon of suffering and endurance is to miss the point completely.  It's a perversion of what Jesus was about. The Christian Church should be about what he said, how he challenged the Pharisees and their hypocrisy, how he stripped away the social hierarchies and treated everyone as equals.  Those things have been lost in the midst of the suffering, the re-writing of history, the attempts at social control and most importantly, the money-making.  

Yes, because in reality the Catholic Church is business first, I was going to say, spirituality second, but there is absolutely nothing spiritual or sacred in an institution that protects the vilest of humanity and covers up their crimes.  There is no second, apart from protecting their wealth and position at all costs.  The details of what happened in Philadelphia and what was covered up, is nothing more than the tip of a very large iceberg.  This has been going on for decades, not just in Philadelphia but around the world, I dread to think what they got away with in places like Africa and South America and are, in all probability, still getting away with.  Those that stayed silent, who helped to cover up the abuses and who continue to obstruct justice, are just as culpable as the perpetrators.  And the faithful?  What of them? 

Ireland has changed a lot in many ways since the last visit by a Pope.  I remember it well, the whole place was decorated with Pope flags and thousands headed off on buses to see him.  I wasn’t among them.  Now, there isn’t a flag in sight, other than in the local churches and I don’t think there will be too many bus loads this time either.  However, some things haven’t changed and they still maintain a lot of control through the schools which is why the majority here still go along to get along. Weekly attendance at mass may have gone down but the congregations still turn out for the occasions, Christmas, Easter, Holy Communions etc:  Social Catholics rather than devout followers.  But the point is, they still keep turning out which keeps the Church going financially and institutionally, and as long as the money keeps rolling in, and they aren’t being fully held to account, then there is no incentive to change or fully address these issues head on.

It will be interesting to see what kind of reception he gets, and how many do turn out.  There is opposition and some quite vocal opposition but Ireland as a whole, is still too eager to please, too keen to show the world how grown-up they are, or think they are, too willing to overlook and forgive the unforgivable.  Because it’s easier to say I forgive and turn away with false humility than to address it head on and call it out for what it is, an appalling abuse of power and dereliction of duty against the weakest and most vulnerable in society. 





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Trump VS Pope

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I was reading an article in The Observer at the weekend by Stewart Lee where he was comparing Donald Trump’s meeting with the Pope as a ‘good vs evil’ encounter.  Trump in this scenario being likened to Satan, and the Pope being the ‘good’ guy.  Whatever your opinion on ‘the Donald’, I really don’t think he is completely evil any more than the Pope is completely ‘good’.  I mean, is Donald Trump really more ‘evil’ than the Pope?

 Look at it this way, the Pope has, for most of his life, been a member of the Catholic Church.  An organisation that has been responsible for the systemic rape, abuse and possible murder of the most vulnerable of children, on a global scale.  There is nowhere on the planet where the Catholic Church has been, that doesn’t have a legacy of the most appalling physical and sexual abuse of minors and that is a fact. I don't really think the title Pope, is short for Protector of Paedophiles, I think that's just a rumour...

Now, as far as I know, Donald Trump hasn’t done anything like that to children.  He does have his faults but paedophilia I don’t think, is among them and certainly not on the scale committed by the Catholic Church.  Now, Pope Francis is head of that organisation and he appears to be a ‘good’ person.  He makes a lot of statements about humanity and appears to say all the right things.  However, as a member of that organisation and now head, what has he done to root out the paedophiles?   Does he have a legacy of outing paedophiles or railing against the terrible abuses being carried out by the membership?

Jimmy Saville, who was once a much-loved ‘national treasure’, is now reviled for the rape and sexual abuse of children, young girls and vulnerable adults.  Would you worship in a church led by Jimmy Saville or even an organisation that regarded him as a ‘good’ person?   Yet, the Pope and the Catholic Church are still seen as something that should be respected? 

Jimmy Saville got away with the things he did because so many ‘good’ people stood by and either said nothing or covered up his behaviour.  This same man was given a knighthood and dined with Margaret Thatcher every Christmas at Chequers.  There is a clip of a video online where the great John Lyndon (aka Johnny Rotten) talks about Saville and what he gets up to.  The clip was never shown back in the 70’s, the powers that be, protecting Saville.  Yet, Johnny Rotten was held up by the media, at the same time, as a threat to the decency of the nation.

There is much that I disagree with Donald Trump about, but I don’t believe he is inherently evil.  He is certainly a product of his environment and upbringing.  Arrogant?  For sure!  Misogynistic? Definitely, but evil?  Well, who’s to say...yet?  And credit where credit is due, he did get rid of TTIP, that foul trade agreement that was going to hand over the nations of Europe to the corporate elite, as if they didn’t have enough of us already. 

Now, his trade deal with Saudi Arabia could be regarded as an evil act but the British government is the world’s second biggest arms dealer/supplier, and to some very dodgy states.  Are they evil or are they just 'protecting' the nation? 

There are acts of evil being committed around the world day and daily.  Some deliberately, some accidentally; like Theresa May, ‘accidentally’ losing that list of paedophile MP’s when she was Home Secretary or now, wanting to bring back a ‘sport’ that involves the hunting, terrorising and tearing to shreds of that most beautiful of animals, the fox.  Not to mention being part of a party that seems intent on grinding the poor, the vulnerable and the working class into the ground.

Which acts are more evil, and which people?  Those who commit the deeds or those who stand silently by and let them happen or help cover them up? 

By the way folks, election coming up, so don't forget to vote, the future of Reynard may depend on you...

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Edited by Aideen Devine, Thursday, 1 Sept 2022, 14:24

A little quiz question for today, what do the Pope, the Queen, David Cameron and Bono have in common?  

Well, if you said the Pope is head of the Catholic Church, the Queen is the head of State for Britain and the Church of England, David Cameron is the head of the present Government, and Bono has a big head, then head would be the connection and you might be right and, actually, that is a right answer too, when you think about it. 

But that’s not the answer we’re looking for today, so, sorry if you said that but good thinking just the same. 

The answer we’re looking for is, and this might surprise some people, they all say or think they are Christians but in reality none of them are, which might surprise some people since two of them are heads of Christian Churches and at least one of them thinks they are God. 

So, how is that the right answer, I hear you say? Well, I was at mass a couple of weeks ago and the priest was talking about the reading that day, which was the one about how it would be ‘easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it would be for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God ’ (or heaven, anyway, same thing).  And he went on about wealth and poverty and I was sitting there thinking, ‘Well what about the Vatican?’  I almost got up and said it, and if it had been another priest I might have, but this priest is old and retired and then I thought, ‘Well he’s not Rome so why harass him about it’. And then yesterday we were back on the money question with the story of the Widow's Mite. Now, I go to mass, I consider myself Catholic, definitely not a Roman Catholic but Catholic in the original sense of the word, which comes from the Greek and means ‘universal’, and that is how I consider myself. I am a member of the ‘universal church of humanity’. 

I was in Rome a couple of years ago and while there was a lot to see, from an historical perspective, I didn’t particularly like the place and I certainly didn’t feel too inspired by the ‘Christianity’ of the Vatican, and wouldn’t be in a hurry to go back any time soon. When I was there, I was hoping for some profound spiritual experience and the nearest I got to encountering anything like that was looking at Michelangelo's Pieta, which is in St Peters and is a stunningly beautiful piece of sculpture. If you ever go to Rome, I couldn’t recommend going to see this highly enough. 

The other big attraction was the Sistine Chapel and, honestly, I felt a bit let down by it. Firstly, it’s not really a chapel, as you would imagine, it’s just another room in the Vatican and by the time you get to it, you have passed through so many rooms painted from floor to ceiling with angels and the like, that your eye is a bit tired by the overload.  

I had the same thing in the Renaissance section of the Louvre, I remember coming out and thinking, ‘If I see one more picture of the dead Christ…!’ And, for the record, the painting of God creating Adam, which I had always imagined was this huge painting across a domed ceiling, is in fact a small panel in the centre of the ceiling about 5ft by 3ft. (it probably is bigger than that, but from my perspective, that is how it appeared). The place was also packed, it was a hot day and, between the crowd, the stifling air and the smell of body odour, it wasn't a pleasant experience. 

Anyway, what got me about it, was the wealth of art in the Vatican museum and, also, the fact that the Pope lives like an earthly king. He lives in a palace, is surrounded by lackeys and riches, he is dressed in expensive robes, waited on hand and foot and separated from the people. He is supposed to be Jesus’ representative on earth, how is that anything like Jesus? And another thing, he is supposed to be infallible, says who? I would like to know where that idea came from? He can’t be infallible, he is a human being, it isn’t possible, all humans are flawed and imperfect, it’s the most interesting thing about us. Just think how boring it would be, if we were all perfect and flawless?  

When you look at it, everything about the Pope goes against everything Jesus preached about and the same goes for the Queen. It is a complete hypocrisy to have a Queen as head of any Christian church and the same applies to David Cameron and Bono, you cannot be that rich and be a Christian, it just isn’t possible, you may perform Christian acts now and again, but as long as you are sitting with all those millions (and avoiding paying tax) you are not and never can be a Christian in the truest and only sense of the word. 

And since we’re on the subject of Churches and religion, any religion that differentiates between men and women is wrong, especially if the Bible is a big part of the religion, because one of the first statements in the Book of Genesis says, that God made them, male and female, both equal. That’s it, equal, no more, no less, equal.  Not the Animal Farm kind of equal, where ‘everyone is equal, only some are more equal than others’, no, not that one. There was no qualification to it, all equal, no argument. 

And if you really believed in the God of the Bible, you couldn’t regard any human being as not being your equal, (or as discussed in previous blogs, of equal value), because if you believe God made everything, then to say that a woman is something less than a man, is to insult God. If God made them equal then who is any human being to say that Her/His/It’s creation, woman, is something less, when they are both human. The value for what He/She/It has created, then extends to everything because if you truly believed that, then you have to consider that everything that God has created is of value to God, otherwise it would not exist.  

Which makes it very arrogant and insulting to go traipsing around claiming dominion over other lands and other human beings and treating them badly, or as your own personal property. Because if everything is God’s creation then, maybe it’s time we started to really think about that and consider how we are living and how we treat other people and the planet. Maybe it’s time we cleaned up our act and started taking care of what we have been given because whether there is or isn’t a God, and whether you believe or don’t believe in a God, we only have a short time here so why don’t we do our best to live well and respectfully, and try and make life better for everyone.  

I mean, does the Queen, David and Bono, and all those other millionaires and billionaires, really need all that money. They can’t spend it in a lifetime and it won’t buy them another life. They can’t take it with them so what do they need it for, to feed their egos and make them feel like they are successful, that they are better human beings than the rest of us?  

Sorry, but the bad news about that is, if you can sit with millions or billions in a bank while on this planet another human being is dying for the want of something as basic as food, then you have failed in the most important area of life, you have failed as a human being and you have certainly failed as a Christian. 

What are we here for, if not to live, life is supposed to be lived is it not?  Why does it always feel that life is something to be endured or survived, why can we not just live and live well? We speculate and ponder on the meaning of life and maybe it is something as simple as that, to live it and live it well. 

Comments as usual, are always welcome.




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