Vatican: ordaining women is as bad as raping children from the pulpit

A new set of directives from the Vatican marginally increase the Church's vigilance against paedophile priests (Bishops are now encouraged, but not required, to report rapist priests to civil authorities); however, the same document includes a list of "more grave delicts" that are on par with raping children. On that list are "heresy, apostasy, schism" and ordaining woman priests.
The Vatican issued revisions to its internal laws on Thursday making it easier to discipline sex-abuser priests, but caused confusion by also stating that ordaining women as priests was as grave an offense as pedophilia.
Vatican Revises Abuse Process, but Causes Stir (via @jamie_love)


  1. “…ordaining women as priests was as grave an offense as pedophilia…” So, they have been ordaining women for decades?

  2. Notice that most of those ‘grave delicts’ seem to be related to attacks (as perceived by the Catholic hierarchy) against the faith itself. The merely real-world offense of raping children seems to have been added as an afterthought.

  3. This guy clearly lacks sense of shame that he doesn’t even afraid to show his misogynist mindset out in public. Appalling to say the least.

  4. I know a great many people who respond to this will be Atheists or Agnostics seeing this as even more evidence of the corruption and broken nature of religion in general, and the Catholic Church in specific. And that’s a perfectly fine, and perhaps completely accurate take.

    But let me speak as someone who was a Catholic seminarian, as someone who was raised Catholic, whose life was suffused with the church and who still has a great many family members and friends still among the faithful. This church, every day, becomes less of a place I recognize.

    Ratzinger was a pit bull when he headed up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (yes, the same group that gave Galileo a going over) and he’s continued a hard and ugly line as pontiff. Ratzinger’s cadre sneered at the reforms of Vatican II, they see reform within the church as heresy and would gladly drag the church kicking and screaming back to a day when laity were seen as little more than peasants.

    I talk to friends who are priests, working for social justice in Mexico or in some of the poorest parishes in the American south and they just sigh and shake their heads at this. To them, their faith is in the actions they undertake, the lives they touch, the works they do. “Faith without works is dead.” The sickness of the abuse scandals and the hard line of the Vatican on…well…everything, has many of them considering leaving the church.

    I’m a Unitarian Universalist, about as far afield as you can get (20% of UUs are Atheists or Agnostics, fancy that) from the Church. In no small part to seeing a congregation that once sustained me changing into something I could barely recognize. Something that felt more interested in going backwards than in embracing the future. I learned about the wonderful work of Darwin from a Carmelite Nun. I learned chemistry from a Christian Brother. The muscular, curious and wise Catholicism I loved has crept backwards into something small and mean.

    Sorry to ramble, and I fully expect to be called deluded and mocked for my belief. I’m quite used to it and generally take it with a shrug and a smile.

    1. This is the classic design trade-off between Catholic and Protestant: the Catholic layout has good QA in the sense that it’s huge hierarchy makes things homogeneous but this could just mean uniformly bad; the Protestant layout has only spotty, localised QA but no single point of failure.
      Perhaps Dan Simmons observation on the decay in Catholicism would be of some solace. If the death of individuals doesn’t crush you because you believe in resurrection of individuals on Judgement Day then why be disturbed by the death of any organisation: even, or especially, the Catholic one? It’ll come back the same way.
      For what it’s worth, I nominate you for Pope; but in a practical sense it’s worth nothing – and therein lies the problem.

      1. I got a kick out of Simmons take on Catholicism (though for my money “The Sparrow”by Mary Doria Russell is the best spec-fic look at the Church).

        The Church, in the ideal, is a guide. That’s what any religion should be, a guide, a moral framework, a set of ideas. Open source divinity, to be geeky about it. Yeah, I’d make a lousy Pontiff.

        But around the good ideas (for instance Thomas Jefferson’s edit of the Bible denudes a lot of flummery and leaves a solid moral foundation) have come up so many bad ones. Like flowers choked out by pernicious weeds.

        That’s what drove me out, the flowers all seemed to be dead and the weeds had taken solid root.

        I still read Augustine, I’m still moved to tears by the writings of Aquinus and Hildegard of Bingen. I don’t have to leave those thoughts behind with a church that seems to be rapidly less welcoming.

        One thing, the ordination of men alone and celibacy have almost zero basis in the New Testament. The arch-conservatives in the Church have used the line “Fishers of Men” as a cudgel for generations. Most of the apostles were married men, and a number of the apocrypha cite the involvement of women in Jesus’ ministry and even hint at the marriage of the man himself.

        But that’s getting all “Da Vinci Code” on it. And it’s too early for such things ;)

    2. I too were raised Catholic. I’m an atheist and a bare-bones-Buddhist now. No use for any belief, just dharma: living according to direct insight.

      When you’re a Catholic, you know you’re part of a hierarchy. At the top there’s the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, then the Pope, then the archbishop, then the bishop, then the priest, then your dad, then your mom and then you, sheep.

      The Church of Rome has cynically exploited people’s willingness to believe for a thousand years and then some. It’s the Original Con: you believe what I say, I have power over you.

      We’re all brainwashed to a greater or lesser extent. We’re all raised in the mindset of our parents, school, congregation, social stratum, nation. It’s not easy to change that around because you live by a lot of assumptions you don’t even know you’re making. It’s an awful lot of work to review everything you think you know. It requires lifelong dedication.

      I have found a great gift in doubt. It points me at my beliefs. You can’t doubt what you don’t believe in the first place. So in case of doubt, I kill my belief. That’s my spiritual practice.

    3. mgfarrelly,

      That’s the most eloquent statement on the current state of the Church I’ve ever heard. I applaud you.

      Maybe I’m just a cockeyed optimist. Stepping back about a mile and looking at the whole situation, I wonder whether the Church is just like everything else. There are two factions within the Catholic hierarchy just as there are two parties (or more) in every country and two sides to every Protestant denomination.

      Which one is in the majority? Which one is “in power”? I think that matters less than just knowing that the two sides will co-exist forever. Like the different religions, we all just have to learn to get along–all the different factions -within- each religion.

      We all know that -we- are right, and -they- are misguided.

      I think the trick is just to shrug and not let it cause us pain that humanity is diverse and that organizations are never as great as they should be.

      And we should push, gently, gently, gently, for change for the better.

    4. mgfarrelly,
      If more religious folks were like you and your friends, I think that fewer atheists would be concerned with them.

      As an atheist, you’re totally cool with me, and I feel no need to mock your beliefs.


  5. I was born and raised Catholic, but I walked away from the Church a long time ago. Why? Well, the fact that a serial rapist calling himself a Priest buggered my little brother when he was 12 has a lot to do with it. But along with that, the massive moral hypocrisy and total inability to meet the needs of a superstition-free, modern society (as I prefer to imagine it to be) while clinging desperately to its wealth and power is nothing short of depressing.

    They just closed two parochial schools in my home town, because the Archdiocese says they can’t afford to pay the already-underpaid teachers. Why? Too many lawsuits from pedophile priests! Parishes across my state are begin closed down and sold off, the worshipers told to go elsewhere. Why? Too many lawsuits from pedophile priests! It never ends. And yet they have the gall to feign moral superiority. What a laugh!

    What this religion needs is a good, hard schism!

    1. 2° the acquisition, possession, or distribution by a cleric of pornographic images of minors under the age of fourteen, for purposes of sexual gratification, by whatever means or using whatever technology;

      Wait, so it’s A-OK for priests to have pornographic images of 15-year-old boys?

  6. Actually, on their list of “NORMAE DE GRAVIORIBUS DELICTIS” they rank the ordination of woman higher on their list, as Article 5, than the rape of children by priests, in Article 6.

    “Art. 5

    The more grave delict of the attempted sacred ordination of a woman is also reserved to the

    Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

    1° With due regard for can. 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, both the one who attempts to confer sacred ordination on a woman, and she who attempts to receive sacred ordination, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.

    With what looks like automatic excommunication for those involved.


    Art. 6

    § 1. The more grave delicts against morals which are reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are:

    1° the delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years; in this case, a person who habitually lacks the use of reason is to be considered equivalent to a minor.

    2° the acquisition, possession, or distribution by a cleric of pornographic images of minors under the age of fourteen, for purposes of sexual gratification, by whatever means or using whatever technology;

    § 2. A cleric who commits the delicts mentioned above in § 1 is to be punished according to the gravity of his crime, not excluding dismissal or deposition.

    Which says that priests mustn’t break the sixth commandment (On the Catholic Decalogue that is: Thou shalt not commit adultery) which would seem to mean that either married priests shouldn’t rape children or priests shouldn’t rape married Children. :-p (Well, actually, for some weird reason, the Catholic Church actually considers any sex outside marriage to be “adultery,” much as do the Muslims who stone rape victims to death for “adultery”–hence the reference to the sixth commandment rather than saying what they mean: sexual relations or sexual assault of a minor.) And I also notice a complete lack of automatic excommunication for rapist priests.

    Hmm…seems pretty clear cut. The Catholic Church considers the ordination of women to be a **worse** crime than the rape of children by priests.

    (Captcha is: “further mutants” :-) )

  7. mgfarrelly, this atheist thinks it’s just a pity that people like you aren’t running the church.

  8. So don’t be a Catholic. Geez. My ancestors figured this out 500 years ago. Then they burnt some of us at the stake.

    Just really unpleasant people, these Catholics.

    1. You’re branding all followers of a religion as “really unpleasant people”?

      This news is just a smear anyway, using the same words ‘grave crime’ for two offences doesn’t mean they’re considered ‘on par’.

      There’s a lot I don’t like about religion, but threads like this just serve to illustrate that all people can be quite unpleasant…

    1. This is the thread about vatican, not vacation. I know they are easily confused, what with pointy hats in common.

  9. On the upside, they plan to “subject” those who attempt to ordain women or are women who attempt to be ordained “…to the same set of procedures and punishments meted out for sex abuse.”

    So they’ll send everyone to a new church, hush up the evidence, and hope the woman and her accomplices never do it again. Easy Peasy.

  10. And y’know, [the priests] are God’s representatives, so that means… God fucks little boys.

  11. Hey, what can you expect from a religion which worships a supreme male deity symbolized by a male triumvirate, administered to by male earthly representative, and which follows scriptures created by a group of misogynists?

    I was raised in the Russian Orthodox Byzantine Catholic faith and cannot step into a church without envisioning *myself* burning at the stake… and without worrying about my lack of a proper head-covering!

  12. From the fine NYT article:

    “though less formal “guidelines” issued earlier this year encourage reporting if local law compels it.”

    *ENCOURAGE*? If local law *compels*?

    Words escape me.

    1. Yup.

      Doctors, nurses and teachers are MANDATED to report if they suspect child abuse of any kind.

      Even average citizens can be found guilty of aiding and abetting if they hide a criminal or hide facts of crimes from the authorities.

      Apparently it’s true: Catholic priests are not mere mortals.

    2. That’s because the New York Times purposefully rewrote it to make the Catholic Church look bad.

      The actual document, which they link to, apparently not believing anyone will actually read it before coming to an opinion, is here:

      It is almost entirely about the church’s own internal trial proceedings having to do with things like laicizing of priests, but the line they seem to be using is the following:

      “Civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities should always be followed.”

      This is repharased by the NTY as, “though less formal “guidelines” issued earlier this year encourage reporting if local law compels it.”

      The NYT line, of course, says that this is an encouragement – but it is obviously a requirement. The use of the word “compels” likewise biases the interpretation. Of course, it’d be nice if this was just a pro forma line from the Vatican – but there have obviously been numerous cases where bishops did ignore civil law on the matter. The pattern in the Times’ most recent articles, however, has been to attack the Vatican instead of those bishops, which is getting in the way of both the truth of the matter and the chance for reform. Unfortunately, popes sell more papers than bishops.

      If you can read canon law well enough, other mistakes the NYT makes are apparent if you look over the main document on which they’re reporting:

      I too was massively disturbed with the most recent round of abuse scandals on which the NYT was reporting – until I began to look more closely at their sources, which often either contradicted their reporting (as in their use of the computer-translated CDF document central to the Murphy case in Wisconsin: ) or showed that the takeaway message was far more sensationalist than the actual message.

      You know, sensationalist like “Vatican: ordaining women is as bad as raping children from the pulpit.”

  13. Que everyone with a bone to pick with the Catholic church. You guys should make one really large support group.

    Honestly though by catholic doctrine for both offenses you would burn in hell for all eternity, so in that sense they are equal. I forget which saint said it, but the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

  14. I tend to agree with mgfarelley, just a little differently. I was born Catholic, 12 years of Catholic schools, was an altar server, the whole 9 yards. In college I had a chance to go to Medjugourje (site of an apparition in Bosnia) and saw some weird stuff that ended up confirming my faith pretty strongly. Catholicism, sacramentally, works very well for me.

    Even with that my wife and I have stopped tithing directly to the church. She likes to say I’m more protestant than I think, I remind her she’s more Catholic than she thinks, but neither of us feels very comfortable financially backing the church in the general coffers. If there was a way we could go to the electric company and help pay the light bill or something like that, we’d be game, and we do try to give ~10% a month, just directly to charities (Child’s Play in December, Mother Theresa’s order when in doubt).

    My biggest issue is that I wnat to be Catholic, but I see the church slipping away and I don’t feel like there’s any basis for a laity like me to voice a concern and have it heard without being excommunicated. While I personally think my sincere attempts to follow the two great commandments should trump my feelings that a gifted woman or a married man can be just as good a priest as anyone else (not to mention the current complete sacramental exclusion of homosexuals from the Church, something that pisses me off) I don’t think the Church feels the same way. I just don’t know of any other way to show my displeasure than financially since leaving the Church would just piss me off and leave me wanting.

    Anyone else feel that way? Loves the Catholic fate but hates Catholicism?

    1. It’s interesting that the Church, led by the hard-liners, has gone about creating the impression that their stance is, and ALWAYS HAS BEEN, the stance of the church. It’s ahistorical really, shameful of them.

      The church has waxed and waned “liberal” and “conservative” over the centuries quite a bit. Chastity for priests is, in the timeframe of the Church, fairly new.

      The “liberalizing” (quotations to avoid connection with the political definition) of the Church under Vatican II came very close to looking at the clergy and the role of the laity in very modern ways. Sadly, it’s been a near constant backslide. JPII, for all his charisma and popularity, was a velvet stole cast in iron. For all his outward kindness, he put people like Ratzinger loose in the church to keep reformers in check.

      The Church’s next big evolution is going to be away from the European power-base. African congregations are growing in numbers and their voice in the Church will not be stifled for very much longer. That’s going to change quite a bit of the culture. One hopes for the more liberal and tolerant, but it’s still too early to say.

      Gay rights and the equality of all human beings was never, and will never, be at odds with my faith. I’ve read the same Church Fathers and Doctors as Ratzinger and his pals, the notion that the kind of hate and bilious thought they promulgate about GLBTQ persons (to say nothing of feminists, Atheists, Muslims and…well…) is simply balderdash.

  15. I don’t think priests usually rape children from the pulpit. That sounds like a risky and advanced technique.

  16. Raping Children…? Just wow.

    Does anyone even care about this (child molesting, holocaust denying) institution anymore?

    When your backs start giving out by bending over backwards trying to fit the round pegs of ‘faith’ into the square holes of ‘reality’ you can feel free to join the rest of us ‘damned’ secular humanists anytime you like.

    We not only have morals, but we also promise not to touch you where you urinate!

    1. Perhaps my only stab at this, since the internet is surely the place to debate God/No God, but not every person who ascribes to a faith believes you are “damned” if you don’t.

      And secular humanism doesn’t mean you’re not capable of dastardly things. One is capable of being a bastard whether one is a Theist or Atheist.

      Can’t the conversation be more nuanced than “you’re all a bunch of fools”? Please?

      1. “Can’t the conversation be more nuanced than “you’re all a bunch of fools”? Please?”

        This. This a million times.

      1. Pope Pius XII, who was Pontiff during the Holocaust, had something of a, let us say “cozy”, relationship with the Reich. Combine this with Italian Fascism under Mussolini as well as a rather ugly strain of Antisemitism in the church hierarchy and thus the claim/conclusions about the Church and the Holocaust.

        Mind you, this runs counter to the hundreds of clergy throughout Europe who worked to hide Jews and others targeted by the Nazis. Including Maxmillian Kolbe, a Polish priest who gave up his life to spare another prisoner in Auschwitz. He was my confirmation saint actually.

        Again, the striking difference between the hierarchy of the Church (big C) and the people in and of the church, is cast into sharp relief.

        1. “Including Maxmillian Kolbe, a Polish priest who gave up his life to spare another prisoner in Auschwitz. He was my confirmation saint actually.”

          Mine, too.

          “Pope Pius XII, who was Pontiff during the Holocaust, had something of a, let us say “cozy”, relationship with the Reich.”

          True. But after his initial failures to condemn the Nazis, the Church later became instrumental in hiding many Jews, preventing their deportation to Germany, and helped get many to South America.

          It’s a huge leap from one Pope’s failure to act promptly enough against the Nazis to calling them a “holocaust denying” institution.

          The Church has a lot of problems; there’s no need to pile on with baseless ones.

  17. It’s worth looking at the actual Vatican document referred to in the Times article, to see what it is, and what it isn’t.

    If you read it over, it’s clear that it’s not meant to be a general ranking of the severity of sins. Lots of sins that everyone would consider absolutely horrible (murder, rape, etc.) aren’t mentioned there at all. That’s not because they’re considered “not as bad”.

    Rather, it’s because the document is focusing on disciplinary procedures for specific offenses *against the church* (and its sacraments and deposit of faith). It first notes heresy, apostasy, and schism as general offenses, and then goes into detail about specific offenses that are given special attention as “more grave” offenses under the jurisdiction of the CDF.

    Nearly all of these are directly connected to the sacraments. For instance, concelebrating the Eucharist with a Protestant minister is one of the “more grave” offenses mentioned, and it’s been on the list for a while, as have various other cases of “doing it wrong” sacramentally that you can read about via the link above.

    After Pope John Paul II’s declaration in 1994 that the impossibility of women being ordained priests should be considered a matter of doctrine, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that ordaining a woman would be added to the “more grave” list the next time it was revised. (John Paul’s declaration made it an unavoidably schismatic act, after all, and such acts, when connected with the sacraments– ordination, in this case– go on this list. If I recall correctly, this is the first official update of the list since before 1994, so that’s why it’s going on now.)

    The other big new addition to the list was the addition of clergy involvement in sexual abuse of minors and in child pornography. This ia a bit of an unusual item on the “more grave” list: in particular, these are now seen as “more grave” offenses against the church *even if there’s no sacrament directly involved* in the abuse. (Some earlier Catholic documents focused more specifically on clerical sexual abuse in the context of the sacrament of Penance.) Simply the fact of *being* a cleric, apart from any particular sacrament, is now enough to make minor sexual abuse a particularly serious offense against the Church and the faith.

    Sexual abuse is *also*, of course, a severe crime against the *victim*, against society, and against God, no matter whether it’s a priest or someone else committing it. But that’s not what this document is about.

    One can, of course, object to the Church’s prohibition against the ordination of women. And one can certainly note that the particular timing of the revisions, which have women’s ordination and clerical sexual abuse going on the list at the same time, shows a certain lack of sophistication about public relations. But one can’t fairly conclude from this document that the church sees ordaining women and abusing children as morally equivalent. Moral equivalence is not what this document is about.

      1. That’s because you are commenting on something which you desire to have no cultural context with. Until you are willing to place yourself in another set of shoes, nobody’s theological perspective will make sense, be it Jew, Native American, Hindu, or Shinto.

        If you don’t wish to learn anything from an exchange of words, then don’t have an exchange of words.

        Aka If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

        1. Here’s a way I see it makes sense. Sex with kids is on the list not because it’s bad per se, but because it’s bad for business.

      2. Well, it does, but only in the sense that the Church often treats her congregation as if they are uneducated unwashed masses and the priesthood still represents the pinnacle of education and thought. It used to be that way, but now the Church is faced with the daunting task of explaining to people why it does things it’s way using logical argument that makes sense in the modern world.

        The sad thing to me is that it prescribes the liturgical death penalty for ordination of a saintly woman, but not for the abuse of minors. I understand it from a lawyerly perspective, but from a human perspective it makes no sense. (Just for fun, does anyone know the stance on transgender / transexual / post-op people on ordination?)

  18. Pedophiles don’t choose to be pedophiles, like homosexuals don’t choose to be homosexuals. Why, then, is pedophilia a “grave” offense? Do you not know the difference between pedophiles and child molesters? It’s the same difference between a thoughtcrime and a crime.

    Pedophiles have to live day-to-day in silence, aware of the fact that they’re society’s monsters.

  19. Ah, now we can properly mourn John Paul II, who I’ve been calling ‘hippie pope’ ever since I read his ‘since you can’t help feeling it, just don’t do it’ catechism on homosexuality in the mid-90s. (as far as popes can be)

    In all religious groups there seems to be a dividing line between those who are there to help others as well as themselves and the authoritarian-follower types who are buying their way into heaven.

    Probably high management of any organization must be dominated by authoritarians. Not only are they the only ones that want the job, they are never beyond sabotage to get it. Their authority is enhanced by appeals to tradition, so their ‘values’ are traditional.

  20. Thats not what it says. Maybe you should read the Vatican’s document instead of some other jerk’s (inaccurate) interpretation of it.

  21. If I’m reading him right, then John’s saying that this is a document on ‘adminstrative procedures’ rather than a document about relative ranking of all sins. So, from an administrative point of view, ordaining women priests is more of a hassle than covering up a kiddy-fiddling priest.

    Well… yeah, I can kind of see where you and the Pope are coming from, but outside the organization, more needs to be done. So it’s entirely in line to hold this document up as an example of the Church’s incredibly bad handling of this issue. It’s not just an admin issue.

  22. The important thing is that they keep their tax exempt status. That way we as a nation can subsidize misogyny and pedophilia. In these trouble economic times, why not tax church land holdings so we can keep some teachers on the state payroll.

  23. I was raised Catholic as well. Though I stopped really believing at age five and became an atheist at fourteen. Of course now, at 45, I am a dirty, filthy Pagan with Buddhist leanings. :)

    The sooner the Catholic Church implodes the better off for the world at large. Catholics can find far better faiths by staring at their own navels. Bugger the Pope and his rapist defending lackeys.

  24. This is not the same church that I was raised in, that educated me for 12 years, that ordained many of my family members. This isn’t even the church that I left when I realised I was queer and Ratizinger (as head of the CDC) called queers “intrinsically disordered.”

    This is a disgrace.

  25. This page is full of nothing but..honestly..blind hate. Sorry my faith offends you so much, sorry that the church is handling other matters as well as the issue at hand.

    But, I will never change my faith. I am an intelligent, hard working American who contributes to charity, gives to my community and who doesn’t sit in judgment of others. To sit there spewing off hate against the church is no better than what hate groups do in the USA against minorites.

    The Church will survive as long as one person on the planet holds onto the faith, thats the truth.

    Hate does nothing but spawn more hate: How is hate supposed to make the church better? Where will that hate go if the Church is gone? Maybe you should focus less on hate and calling the Churches followers fools and focus on positive things that you can do to help the situation.

    1. @ kchill: I’ve been raised Catholic and I understand where you’re at. It’s taken me two decades to get the poison out of my system, and trust me, I don’t hate you any more for your belief than I’d hate a man with intestinal cancer for his disease.

      1. I do not have a disease, dont compare it to such. Again more hate.

        I chose to be Catholic, I am fully sane and capable of rational thought, I see the Church not a man or some curropt people.

        Dont you dare pity me or compare my belifes to cancer again. This is exactly why people get angry when thier relgious: the sheer arrogance, the condencending tone. All of that and people get angry.

        1. “I chose to be Catholic, I am fully sane and capable of rational thought, I see the Church not a man or some curropt people. “

          Ok, tell us why it is reasonable for the church to automatically excommunicate everyone involved in attempted ordination of a woman, but that there is no automatic punishment for a child raping priest? Why is ordination of a woman a greater crime worthy of greater punishment? What kind of morality is that? And are you willing to say they have their priorities wrong? Or are you the “My church is right no matter what they do or say” kind of person?

        2. kchill,

          You’ve gotten into a shrieking match in every thread that you’ve commented in. I think it’s time for you to start dating other blogs.

          1. One guy defends himself against someone telling him his religion is a poison, and you tell him to take a hike?

            I urge you to reconsider.

        3. Ever wonder why all this mockery and derision is aimed at Catholics and other mainstream Christian sects, and not at the Buddhists or the Sikhs?

      2. Frank W, this sounds familiar somehow. Not the words, so much as the structure. Let me think.

        Oh, yeah, it sounds like “hate the sin, love the sinner” and “homosexuals can’t help being what they are, but they should just be celibate.”

        YOU may feel that YOUR Catholicism is like poison in your gut, but it’s damned rude to compare someone ELSE’s Catholicism to cancer.

    2. The way I see it, even within the replies of this post, is that people don’t hate you for your belief in imaginary friends.
      What people can’t really stomach is the organised religious aspect that attempts to define laws and moral guidelines around said imaginary friends.
      Believe what you will, but don’t take anyone else’s word for it.
      If you want to believe in Jesus, read only those stories which deal with the man, his character in the story was largely against organised religious structure.

      Excuse my cynicism, but if you want to call yourself a christian, you need to drop the old testament, drop the opinions of priests and embrace the apocryphals.

  26. mgfarrelly, I consider it a great shame that you’re out and Pope Rat is in. (Yes. I hate the Pope. I hated him when he was Cardinal Rat, and I see no reason to change that because he now has a white skullcap instead of a red one.)

    JMO, I appreciate your explanation that the document is not a ranking of sins in order of seriousness.

    Anon @ 8:33 AM Friday, Jul 16, 2010, thank you for pointing out that they’ll automatically excommunicate everyone involved in ordaining women, but not those involved in raping children. That would indicate that it’s not considered as serious a crime against the church, which makes a certain amount of sense if you’re an evil misogynist piece of shit like the Pope.

    But there’s also a compassionate reason for not automatically excommunicating child molesters. Even the worst criminals are entitled to the comforts of the Church, if you believe that way, and after all they haven’t tried to harm the Church, just selfishly exploited a helpless person…which means that even if they should be put to death, they should have access to confession/penance and last rites before being executed.

    (I don’t believe in execution for child molestors, or anyone. Just saying that the Church DOES offer its comforts to the worst criminals, so there’s no hypocrisy in that.)

    What I find appalling is that they automatically excommunicate people involved in the ordination of women. They don’t even do that to divorced and remarried people any more!

    Even more appalling is that there’s no mention (in the extracts I’ve seen; I haven’t read the full document) of ecclesiastical punishments for the bishops who protect the child molesting priests, move them around, etc. Perhaps this is because Pope Rat himself would be caught in that net!

    1. My saintly Irish Catholic mother lived to see Ratzinger come to power. She was a lifelong believer, daily attendee of mass, a volunteer with meals on wheels and a dozen other good works programs. She was as devout a person as I’ve ever known.

      She referred to Ratzinger, in her inimitable way, as “The Emperor guy, y’know, from Star Wars” until the day she died.

      If there is a heaven, I’m certain that she’s not only in it, but cracking the very same joke there as we speak.

  27. Honest question here:

    Has an official member of the hierarchy of the Catholic church ever brought a priest to the police and said “we think this priest has sexually assaulted/abused a child”…ever?

  28. chgoliz asks:

    “Has an official member of the hierarchy of the Catholic church ever brought a priest to the police and said “we think this priest has sexually assaulted/abused a child”…ever?”

    Yes, this has happened, particularly in recent years. One example is this new story from April involving a Dutch diocese. There are other recent examples involving American dioceses, but I don’t want to put in too many links lest this comment be caught in limbo.

    The link above, though, makes it clear that all too often this has *not* happened. I’m fully in agreement that the Church needs serious repentance and reform at the high levels, where the hierarchy all too often hid or ignored serious abuse and crimes. I also agree that sanctions should be applied up the hierarchy without limitation, for those who have obstructed justice or the protection of their flock. (The punishment Jesus recommended, from what I recall, involved swimming with millstones, though I don’t insist on applying that literally.)

    I’m more concerned with action than with image and symbols, though, particularly since a lot of what corrupted the church in this scandal to begin with was an excessive concern over “how will this make us look”? Similarly, I’m more sympathetic to press reports focusing on what the church is *doing* (or not doing) rather than on appearances.

    I’m afraid, though, that the Times story, at least as far as the sex abuse aspect goes, is more about appearances than actions. The most recent change is one small step (and hopefully far from the only one) towards *improving* the church’s handling of sexual abuse (and the toleration of it) in its ranks. I only hope there’s more to follow.

    1. Thank you, John…yours is the only response.

      [quote]The Catholic diocese of Rotterdam reported a Dutch priest to the police on Friday for alleged sexual abuse and suspended him from duty as the Church sought to counter widening scandals about its earlier secrecy.

      This rare step came four days after the Vatican published an online guide for handling sex abuse charges against priests that made clear bishops must report suspected crimes to the police.

      The unnamed priest was the fourth cleric to be suspended since the Dutch Church asked an independent commission in March to look into reports of alleged sexual abuse by priests after an increasing number of victims came forward.

      Just how much of a turnaround this represented was made clear on Thursday when a French website posted a confidential 2001 letter from a senior Vatican cardinal congratulating a French bishop for not denouncing a self-confessed predator priest.[/quote]

      Sobering words there. This one priest was turned in AFTER the new guidelines (and what about the other 3 suspended clerics?). One priest, in one country.

      No honor, no morality, no decency. Sickening.

  29. Catholics can take their medicine, no doubt about that. For the horrific priests, its refusal to grant women ordination, for dismissing gay marriage, for the Inquisition, the New World missionaries, the suppression of scientists, the wealth – for all those sins and more, including the intellectual fury it generates for existing as an organized, theistic, influential religion. It’s humbled by its failures, and it’s immune to its detractors.

  30. While not formally excommunicated, I was asked to leave the Catholic Church. Best decision I ever made.

  31. I have, all of my 72 years, tried to be a practising Catholic although wanting the right to become a priest – but I think I am, at last, at the end of the line. I, as a woman, have suffered all the indignities of being a 2nd class citizen within the church, but, now, it appears, I am considered to be on a level with pedophile priests!!!!!!!! Now, I have heard it all.
    Monica O’Brien,

  32. It is not so long ago that females couldn’t even be alter servers but I now notice that ,if it were not for the girls serving on the alter, there would, more often than not, be no alter servers at all. Maybe, when the well runs dry of male priests, the church will have to overcome the repugnance of having the dreaded women being priests and to keep the church from sinking into oblivion. (It would certainly cut down on the sexual abuse)
    With all respect to mentally challenged persons, several years ago, in a parish in NSW, I thought it ironic that, whilst being female barred me from being an alter server – a male with Downs Syndrome, could do so. Please don’t take this in any way being derogative to this boy. actually I was so pleased to see him on the alter but the irony of it got to me.

  33. Wow, equality in women is as heinous a crime as molesting a child.

    People should be embarrassed by that organization.

  34. The Vatican document that was linked in the NYT article does refer to both the ordination of women and child molestation as canonical crimes, but I don’t see where it equates them. Where does it say that?

  35. I wonder what the Pope will do when he finds out how many priests are boinking real, live, sexy women! There are a lot of priests in my vast Itish-Catholic family: nearly all of them have opposite sex lovers.

    Gee, it’s getting easier to hold a snow-flake in a warm hand than it is to control a Catholic!

  36. Re: message #78 sent Friday Sept 17th. Sorry about the typing error. I meant to say `my vast Irish-Catholic family’.

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