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Ten terrible years of Pope Francis The church has lost all its moral authority

Divisive and intellectually lazy (Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Divisive and intellectually lazy (Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)


March 13, 2023   7 mins

Ten years ago today, on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 13, 2013, the 115 cardinal-electors of the Catholic Church walked up one after the other to a table in the Sistine Chapel to deposit folded ballot papers, only an inch wide, in a silver urn. Each bore the name of the cardinal they wanted to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who had stunned them by his resignation just over a month earlier. It was an anonymous vote, of course, but just to make sure, the cardinals had been instructed to disguise their handwriting.

It was the fifth ballot since Tuesday night, and they knew it would be the last. After that first vote, there was a ripple of surprise when the bookies’ favourite, the scholarly but energetic Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan, received 30 votes instead of the anticipated 40. The runner-up, with 26 votes, was the cardinal who came second to Joseph Ratzinger in 2005, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires.

Most commentators had written off Bergoglio because he was 76. But, of all the candidates, he seemed the most determined to clear out the filth in the Vatican. The year before, Benedict XVI’s butler had leaked documents revealing the industrial-scale blackmailing of senior clerics with an appetite for gay sex parties and money-laundering. The old pope was not personally implicated, but he clearly didn’t have a clue what to do about it. When he announced that, at 85, he no longer had the strength to do the job, few cardinals doubted that the so-called “Vatileaks” were to blame. Likewise, no one doubted that Bergoglio — who had been a nightclub bouncer before becoming a Jesuit priest — was looking forward to knocking heads together.

On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, the horse-trading began, carried out sotto voce during meal breaks and rest periods in the Domus Sancta Marthae, a cross between a five-star hotel and a prison where the cardinals are incarcerated between ballots. By the fourth ballot, the Argentinian Jesuit was unstoppable. The fifth ballot was merely an opportunity for as many cardinals as possible to vote for the winner.

When it was over, 90 out of 115 had backed Bergoglio. The white smoke billowed forth and the bells of St Peter’s rang out to confirm the election (a recent innovation, just in case the accident-prone Vatican sends out black smoke by mistake). The new pope, who had chosen the name Francis after the medieval saint who embraced extreme poverty, walked on to the balcony of St Peter’s minus the traditional gorgeously embroidered stole. His disarming manner sent the crowd into an ecstasy of cheering. The next morning, Francis turned up at the counter of the Domus to pay his bill in person. He rang his newsagent in Buenos Aires to tell him to stop delivering the papers. The media were charmed by these faux-humble stunts.

And so began one of the darkest decades in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church. The cardinals had been taken for a ride. They had elected a man about whom they knew little: a divisive and intellectually lazy clerical politician.

But that is not the worst of it. The truth — unforgivably obscured by a mainstream media that relies on papal allies for “commentary” on Vatican affairs — is that Francis himself, both before and after his election, has empowered and protected predatory clergy and their accomplices.

No one paid any attention at the time, but one of the cardinals who joined the “humble” new pope on the balcony 10 years ago was the late Godfried Danneels, former Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels. In 2010, shortly after the very liberal Danneels retired, Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges admitted to his former boss that he had been sexually abusing his own nephew. Cardinal Danneels met the victim and, unaware that he was being recorded, told him to shut up about the abuse until the revelation would cause less embarrassment. Police questioned Daneels about the attempted cover-up and raided his offices. The recording was made public and Danneels — who once nurtured ambitions to become pope — was torn to pieces by a Belgian media that had once admired him.

So what was he doing on the balcony with Francis? And why, in 2015, did the Pope invite Danneels, guilty of trying to cover up incestuous abuse of a minor, to a Vatican Synod on the family, of all subjects? I asked the late Cardinal George Pell, who at the time was in charge of reforming Vatican finances. “To thank him for the votes,” replied Pell. Danneels was a member of the so-called St Gallen Mafia of elderly liberal cardinals who lobbied for Bergoglio in 2005 and 20213. In Pell’s mind, at least, rehabilitation was his reward.

Consider, also, the case of Theodore McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington, who twisted arms for Bergoglio. It was an open secret in Rome and the US Bishops’ Conference that “Uncle Ted” loved to seduce seminarians. When Benedict XVI discovered this, he banished him to a life of prayer and repentance. As soon as Francis was elected, McCarrick found himself back in favour, travelling around the world as the Pope’s unofficial emissary and fundraiser. Eventually the New York Times revealed that McCarrick was being accused of child abuse, at which point Francis had no choice but to strip him of his title of cardinal. But it should have happened years earlier given that, on becoming Pope, Francis was told that the Vatican had a thick file on McCarrick’s sexual activities.

One of Francis’s first acts as pope was to make his friend Fr Gustavo Zanchetta the Bishop of Orán in northern Argentina despite claims that he was corrupt. In 2017, aged only 53, Zanchetta resigned for “health reasons”. In fact, he had been reported by the Vatican nunciature in Buenos Aires for alleged abuse; in 2015, graphic gay sex images of himself and “young people” had been found on his phone and were reportedly shown to the Pope. (Zanchetta claimed they had been planted.) There were extensive allegations of misuse of funds that led to a raid on his former office by Orán police.

And what did Francis do after Zanchetta resigned? He created a special job for him in the Vatican “assessing” the assets of the Holy See. He would probably still have it if, in 2022, he hadn’t been sentenced to four and half years in jail in Argentina for the sexual assault of two seminarians while Bishop of Orán.

A pattern emerges. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio commissioned a report attempting to exonerate Fr Julio Grassi, who was jailed for molesting residents of his Happy Children homes for street children. As Pope, Francis denied on camera that he sponsored the £1 million secret document. Unfortunately, it bears his name. Fortunately for him, no major English-language media outlet has devoted significant resources to investigating his record of protecting abusers. An ordinary bishop who did these things would almost certainly be made to resign. But no one can be forced to resign the Holy See; indeed, any forced resignation of a pope is automatically invalid.

A succession of disgraceful episodes raise the question of whether Bergoglio should have been allowed to become a small-town priest, let alone spiritual leader of more than a billion people.

In 2018, the Vatican signed a deal with Beijing that handed President Xi Jinping the power to appoint official Catholic bishops. As a result, faithful Catholics are being herded into so-called “Masses” in which the worship of the Chinese Communist Party takes precedence over the worship of God. Lord Alton of Liverpool, the Catholic human rights campaigner, has described the pact on Twitter as “at best naïve and at worst a gross betrayal”. Cardinal Joseph Zen, former Bishop of Hong Kong, was so appalled that, in 2020, he travelled to Rome to appeal to the Pope to appoint a bishop in Hong Kong who would resist China’s illegal attempts to force its fake Catholicism on the province. The 88-year-old Zen asked for just half an hour with the Pope. Francis refused to see him. Moreover, he has never condemned his Chinese allies’ genocidal campaign against the Muslim Uyghurs, which includes forcing their women to have abortions.

In the United States, meanwhile, Francis seems to have a policy of insulting orthodox Catholics by only awarding cardinal’s hats to bishops with divisive liberal views. Last year, for instance, he made Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego a cardinal, yet again refusing to honour Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, a theologically conservative but politically neutral figure who had the temerity to draw attention to Joe Biden’s fanatical support for abortion on the day of his inauguration.

McElroy’s elevation to the college of cardinals was especially provocative. In 2018, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington was forced to resign when his clergy refused to believe his claim that he knew nothing about the sexual activities of his predecessor, Theodore McCarrick. Francis planned to replace Wuerl with McElroy, who was also a McCarrick protege — but such a move would have provoked open revolt in Washington. Hence the huge and unprecedented consolation prize of a red hat for the Bishop of San Diego, which has enabled McElroy to join Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, and Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, in the club of Francis-appointed cardinals who were once close to McCarrick.

Curiously, although McCarrick had once been a notoriously predatory Archbishop of Newark, his successor Cardinal Tobin said he didn’t believe any of the stories about him — until the truth emerged. Cardinal Farrell was McCarrick’s auxiliary in Washington, shared an apartment with him, but never suspected a thing. The future Cardinal McElroy, meanwhile, was informed by the late clerical abuse expert Richard Sipe in 2016 that McCarrick was a serial abuser. He took no action. And, to spell it out, these three cardinals — Farrell, Tobin and McElroy — are crucial allies of Francis “the Reformer”.

There is a chance, however, that Francis will regret the elevation of Bob McElroy. The Pope’s biggest headache at the moment is his pet project, absurdly entitled the Synod on Synodality, that Francis intended to push the Church surreptitiously in a liberal direction. What has happened instead is that the ultra-liberal German Church has gone full Protestant on Francis, using what it calls the “Synodal Way” to turn itself into a version of the Church of England. Last week, it voted to allow gay blessings in church.

Meanwhile, McElroy has taken a huge risk, calling for a “radical inclusion” of LGBT couples that would enable them to receive Holy Communion, a move that Francis does not support. This provoked Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, to accuse America’s most recent cardinal of heresy. Even the Pope’s most fervent supporters are worried. If the Catholic Church in the United States, Germany and other liberal European countries falls apart in the chaotic manner of the now-defunct Anglican Communion, then history will blame Pope Francis — not necessarily for sowing the seeds of secularisation, but for his theologically incoherent thrashing about in the throne of Peter.

And I haven’t even mentioned the Latin Mass. Francis’s suppression of this ancient liturgy is losing him friends even among liberal bishops, who now find themselves forced to themselves forced to carry out witch-hunts on behalf of the Pope’s thuggish liturgy chief, Arthur Roche, another wildly unsuitable recipient of a red hat.

Let me leave you with this disgusting paradox. Earlier this month, the Pope’s Jesuit friend Fr Mark Rupnik, a celebrity mosaic artist, was allowed to concelebrate Mass publicly. Meanwhile, claims that he grotesquely abused women have not been fully investigated because Francis refuses to lift the relevant statute of limitations.

At the same time, faithful priests have been expelled from churches where they offered the traditional Mass and now are forced to do so in church halls and basements. They represent the only community of Catholics that is growing in the 21st century, and the Pope is literally driving them underground.

Ten years after that catastrophic vote in the Sistine Chapel, we have reached a moment of extreme crisis in the life of the Church. Francis is tightening his control of the Vatican’s machinery, with no plans to retire. A new pope would have been nice – a couple of years ago. Now I think it’s too late. The church may never recover its moral authority.

Damian Thompson is a journalist and author

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Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

“And so began one of the darkest decades in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church.”
Seriously? You need to read Gibbon. Holy cow. Or how about “The Bad Popes” by E. R. Chamberlin? How about Pope Urban VI who complained that he did not hear enough screaming when Cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured. (I’m quoting Wikpedia’s entry on the latter book). Or John Paul XII who gave land to a mistress, murdered several people and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife? I can’t recall the Pope that Gibbon described (my set is boxed up – I’m moving) as facing charges of murder, rape and piracy. This guy is totally an under achiever on the darkness scale over the long term. I’ll buy since the twentieth century maybe.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
Damian Thompson
Damian Thompson
1 year ago

I know. I said ‘one of’. It’s a different type of damage, one that threatens the survival of the Church. One of the greatest scholars in the college of cardinals believes that Francis is the worst pope for 1,000 years – but, before that there were worse. Interesting that he thinks Bergoglio is more dangerous than Borgia; I think he’s referring to disintegration of Catholic belief itself. One detail not in the piece is that Rupnik, protected by Francis, is accused of trying to force a woman to drink his semen out of a chalice.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

Piggybacking here,
Cardinal Vigano has just written a letter decrying the current attempt to empty out a group of cloistered traditional nuns in Italy. The mother superior was spit out into the world, without support. Ordinary Catholics have been unable to contribute to her financial support through their bank account.

Young nuns are invited to stay as their convent is turned into a hostel for migrants. Not such a safe position, as they are innocent and young. Which can leave the Vatican to repossess the property, which could, in one swoop, make up for their 50 million dollar deficit,

This pope wants to support a “church of the poor,” while not supporting their religious mandate. Praying nuns (who also worked to support themselves) have an important place in praying for all sinners.

If you are interested, Vigano’s letter is out there.There are a wealth of ideas left out, here. You can here it read aloud on Return to Tradition on ewe toob, released 12/3/23.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Peadar Laighléis
Peadar Laighléis
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Cor Orans is the document which raises the bar on the viability of contemplative convents (with increases the numbers of finally professed nuns – those who have taken vows for life – required for a convent to be considered viable and also lengthens the time a nun is required to be in preparation for those final vows) and then shuts convents down in a process that resembles asset stripping. I am surprised Damian Thompson hasn’t mention the Secretary of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo who has a very interesting background given he was head of the Franciscan Order through a period of questionable financial management. This is another one of the stories of this pontificate.

Peadar Laighléis
Peadar Laighléis
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Cor Orans is the document which raises the bar on the viability of contemplative convents (with increases the numbers of finally professed nuns – those who have taken vows for life – required for a convent to be considered viable and also lengthens the time a nun is required to be in preparation for those final vows) and then shuts convents down in a process that resembles asset stripping. I am surprised Damian Thompson hasn’t mention the Secretary of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo who has a very interesting background given he was head of the Franciscan Order through a period of questionable financial management. This is another one of the stories of this pontificate.

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
1 year ago

. . .”more dangerous than Borgia . . .”
I know that traditionally the Borgia Pope was considered to be pretty bad. But anyone interested in an alternative version of history should read “The Borgias”, by G. J. Meyer. An interesting and well-researched counter to the traditional narrative.

Angelo Panzica
Angelo Panzica
1 year ago

When Jorje Mario Bergoglio pronounced his ACCEPTO upon his election by the College of Cardinals to be the Successor to St. Peter on 13 March 2013, did he have the proper INTENTION to faithfully fulfill his pontifical duties & responsibilities to defend The Deposit of Faith & to Promote the Propagation of the Catholic religion? His subsequent actions patently manifest that he did not, but rather to destroy the Catholic Church &, in short, introduce a new religion founded upon the ruins of the same Church. Therefore, his defect of intention is an impediment that renders his election compromised.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
1 year ago

I think in the age of psychology and psychiatry, Therapeutic Man, as Philip Reiff termed him, isn’t an easy fit in the pews of a church. People want techniques for various kinds of self-improvement, they don’t want to sit there passively and get talked at. No matter how erudite it is. A smaller proportion of them want to do DIY ritual.
It would not surprise me to see the Catholic church go the way of the Church of England. They will be done in by sex, particularly homosexuality, and their inability to manage it within their own ranks, while simultaneously having a teaching that just doesn’t hold water because of what we know from psychology & psychiatry.
And this at a time when archaeology seems to be confirming enormous amounts of detail in the gospels.
You wonder if just about all of it will be confirmed, about the same time as the Church finally dies.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dumetrius
harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Since the gospels disagree with each other on most things, it’s unlikely archeology is confirming much at all in the gospels.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

The Gospels do not “disagree with each other on most things.” They present recognisable portraits of the same person from different perspectives.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Read John Dominic Crossan’s “Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography” and you will see that the gospels are largely ‘just-so’ stories fabricated long after Jesus died. The different writers put things in different order, for example, and the language abruptly changes after the crucifixion in one Gospel, signifying a different author. Anyone who takes them at face value is kidding themselves.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

Read John Dominic Crossan’s “Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography” and you will see that the gospels are largely ‘just-so’ stories fabricated long after Jesus died. The different writers put things in different order, for example, and the language abruptly changes after the crucifixion in one Gospel, signifying a different author. Anyone who takes them at face value is kidding themselves.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

The Gospels do not “disagree with each other on most things.” They present recognisable portraits of the same person from different perspectives.

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Dumetrius

Since the gospels disagree with each other on most things, it’s unlikely archeology is confirming much at all in the gospels.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago

The Church of Rome is a humanly created institution, run by the antiChrist* – how can anyone be surprised at the evil that it does?

*He even gives himself that title……

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic S
Norman Powers
Norman Powers
1 year ago

Upvoted just for coming BTL and debating with commenters. If only all writers had such fortitude.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

Piggybacking here,
Cardinal Vigano has just written a letter decrying the current attempt to empty out a group of cloistered traditional nuns in Italy. The mother superior was spit out into the world, without support. Ordinary Catholics have been unable to contribute to her financial support through their bank account.

Young nuns are invited to stay as their convent is turned into a hostel for migrants. Not such a safe position, as they are innocent and young. Which can leave the Vatican to repossess the property, which could, in one swoop, make up for their 50 million dollar deficit,

This pope wants to support a “church of the poor,” while not supporting their religious mandate. Praying nuns (who also worked to support themselves) have an important place in praying for all sinners.

If you are interested, Vigano’s letter is out there.There are a wealth of ideas left out, here. You can here it read aloud on Return to Tradition on ewe toob, released 12/3/23.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
1 year ago

. . .”more dangerous than Borgia . . .”
I know that traditionally the Borgia Pope was considered to be pretty bad. But anyone interested in an alternative version of history should read “The Borgias”, by G. J. Meyer. An interesting and well-researched counter to the traditional narrative.

Angelo Panzica
Angelo Panzica
1 year ago

When Jorje Mario Bergoglio pronounced his ACCEPTO upon his election by the College of Cardinals to be the Successor to St. Peter on 13 March 2013, did he have the proper INTENTION to faithfully fulfill his pontifical duties & responsibilities to defend The Deposit of Faith & to Promote the Propagation of the Catholic religion? His subsequent actions patently manifest that he did not, but rather to destroy the Catholic Church &, in short, introduce a new religion founded upon the ruins of the same Church. Therefore, his defect of intention is an impediment that renders his election compromised.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
1 year ago

I think in the age of psychology and psychiatry, Therapeutic Man, as Philip Reiff termed him, isn’t an easy fit in the pews of a church. People want techniques for various kinds of self-improvement, they don’t want to sit there passively and get talked at. No matter how erudite it is. A smaller proportion of them want to do DIY ritual.
It would not surprise me to see the Catholic church go the way of the Church of England. They will be done in by sex, particularly homosexuality, and their inability to manage it within their own ranks, while simultaneously having a teaching that just doesn’t hold water because of what we know from psychology & psychiatry.
And this at a time when archaeology seems to be confirming enormous amounts of detail in the gospels.
You wonder if just about all of it will be confirmed, about the same time as the Church finally dies.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dumetrius
Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago

The Church of Rome is a humanly created institution, run by the antiChrist* – how can anyone be surprised at the evil that it does?

*He even gives himself that title……

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic S
Norman Powers
Norman Powers
1 year ago

Upvoted just for coming BTL and debating with commenters. If only all writers had such fortitude.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Just as telling is this line:
“…spiritual leader of more than a billion people.”
Usually, apologists for the Catholic church like to quote platitudes such as “there’s always going to be a few bad apples” or suchlike. We’ve read this type of thing before in Comments.
I’d simply ask how anyone with any claim to a spiritual life via Catholicism can stand by and allow themselves to be associated with the venal, politicised debauchery that passes for their leadership.
For the sake of your own self-respect, renounce the Church, renounce the Vatican and all who prey within it. Go and form an alternative, but please don’t condescend to the rest of us. You have no right to do so, complicit with the systemic abuse that passes for “holiness”.
I should add, that all the expected downvotes in the world won’t change that truth.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

… renounce the Church, renounce the Vatican and all who prey within it. Go and form an alternative,

Look how well that turned out: the one–man–and–his–bible schtick of sola fides only served to dilute the universality of the Christian faith and solved nothing of the rot that ultimately affects all worldly institutions.

No, it is all to easy to throw up one’s hands and head for the hills, however deeply we have been betrayed from within our own community. For every one of these monsters, there are scores of good men and women who have devoted their lives to the service of God, the Church and Her communion the World over — a service very often extended to those of other faiths. To desert Her now would amount only to a further betrayal of our faith, the faith of our brethren and the sincere vocation of those good people who stand today in the firing line of such ridicule and contempt.

Far better to stay and have the resolution to fight for our Church — both the corruption within and without — and I would extend that challenge to all our institutions for I see nothing to be gained by allowing government, academia, the military, medicine, the sciences and that, most important of all of them, the family fall prey to the corrupt influence of ideologues, thieves and liars.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Mullan

Might I suggest that there is something in the structure of a huge, massively change resistant, essentially male only organisation that also believes in the infallibility of its leader (a concept invented by men only in the latter haf of the nineteenth century) that makes the sort of “letting the side down” behaviour detailed in the article inevitable ?
If that is the case, the structural reform – probably starting out from smaller, less centralised organisations is surely the way forward.
I have no dog in this fight (not a member of any religious group).
Note: there’s another organisation with a self-proclaimed infallible leader who seems to also believe he’s on a mission from God (and has a corrupt Orthodox church backing him up) who’s not doing very well right now.
So there’s another one for the to do list – scrap the “our leader is infallible” nonsense.

Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Papal authority is meant to reinforce Catechesis and so help prevent us falling into error. Nothing this or any pope says is to be accepted as an infallible truth apart from statements made on matters of morals or faith ex cathedra, which is to say “from the seat [of Peter]”. It was precisely defined as dogma at the first Vatican Council in 1870:

We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.

Put simply, the Pope is only infallible when stating a set point of Catholic teaching. We don’t hear ex cathedra statements from him gabbing with journalists at the back of a ’plane or cussing in front of seminarians. These are opinions.

It is my opinion that the Church would be in far better condition if the current Pope were to exercise his authority in this respect. Modern popes have been pretty good at this until Francis — darling of progressivism as he is — who, being unable to make infallible statements in support of LGBTQWERTY or birth control and abortion issues (as a few for–instances) seems content to sit back and let the anomie of anything goes force change out of sheer indiscipline and dissension. Which is why so many Roman Catholics hold him in such utter contempt.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Mullan

So what is being done? It’s not enough to just hold your noses at the current incumbent in the role, there’s a systemic issue here which has been outlined by Peter B.
If the congregation are simply content to wait for Francis to die or resign, the chances are the next one in line will do nothing either to stop the horrific abuse being perpetrated by the church leaders. Those who do nothing are complicit. You refer to a fight be waged. What fight is being put up against all this? How? The good works that you say are being carried out are being done so under the auspices of an utterly contemptible organisation.

Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I do not think that either of you or Peter B have outlined anything at all but the same–old, same–old “that’s not it, let’s dump it and do something else” which has not worked since the Reformation because neither “that” nor the “something else” ever works out as “it” for everyone.

The Church is the ordinary people who are in it and getting on with it every day.

Unfortunately, I do not have the spreadsheets categorically outlining their efforts to hand but if a struggle–session about systemic issues is what you are after, I suggest you try the Marxists down the hall. They love that nonsense.

Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I do not think that either of you or Peter B have outlined anything at all but the same–old, same–old “that’s not it, let’s dump it and do something else” which has not worked since the Reformation because neither “that” nor the “something else” ever works out as “it” for everyone.

The Church is the ordinary people who are in it and getting on with it every day.

Unfortunately, I do not have the spreadsheets categorically outlining their efforts to hand but if a struggle–session about systemic issues is what you are after, I suggest you try the Marxists down the hall. They love that nonsense.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Mullan

It’s utter nonsense. The first infallible statement made by a pope was to declare that he could make infallible statements – if people can’t spot the problem with that then they’re blinder than blind.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Mullan

So what is being done? It’s not enough to just hold your noses at the current incumbent in the role, there’s a systemic issue here which has been outlined by Peter B.
If the congregation are simply content to wait for Francis to die or resign, the chances are the next one in line will do nothing either to stop the horrific abuse being perpetrated by the church leaders. Those who do nothing are complicit. You refer to a fight be waged. What fight is being put up against all this? How? The good works that you say are being carried out are being done so under the auspices of an utterly contemptible organisation.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Mullan

It’s utter nonsense. The first infallible statement made by a pope was to declare that he could make infallible statements – if people can’t spot the problem with that then they’re blinder than blind.

Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Both the Church and the American empire are being destroyed by their past and present leaders. What’s not to like about either of these developments?

Both institutions are empires, and rely upon the same terrorist tactics force the surrender of others to their respective orthodoxies. Both are built on the model of the Sicilian mafia: do what we say if you expect to be safe and secure. Beware the wrath of god and the sanctions he can wield.

Both are predicated upon time honored false information: gods that do not exist, places of eternal torment or bliss that do not exist, and values that are mouthed but rarely practiced.

Three cheers! As Diderot has said: Man will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Edgar

Did you forget the Russian empire there ? That’ll be the first domino to fall.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Edgar

You’ve shared with us progressive orthodoxy: “The midwife of History is violence.”

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Edgar

If America is so patently evil, where on the evil scale would you place Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea?

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Equally evil, in different ways. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Equal.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Equally evil, in different ways. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

Equal.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Edgar

Did you forget the Russian empire there ? That’ll be the first domino to fall.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Edgar

You’ve shared with us progressive orthodoxy: “The midwife of History is violence.”

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Bruce Edgar

If America is so patently evil, where on the evil scale would you place Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea?

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

That the Church’s priests are all male is a point in its favor. It is naive to think that adding women will necessarily “improve” this or that organization. Your suggestion would lead to ruin for what ought to be obvious reasons.

If women are permitted to become priests, men will no longer see a reason to make the great sacrifices–different for men than for women–required to become a holy priest. We will attract a different sort of man–not the disciplined good shepherd who lays down his life for his flock, in masculine sacrifice. No, we will become overly concerned with “feelings” to the detriment of the flock. We will risk becoming a lesbian “social justice” church, like the Episcopalians.

Which is to say nothing of the fact that in the first place, God gives different roles to men and women; to authorize women priests would be to claim we know better than God.

The Pope is not “self-proclaimed infallible.”

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

I made no direct comment on whether it was right or wrong for the catholic church to be all male. Only on the fact that such a structure – in combination with the other points I noted – almost certainly leads to some of the problems we are seeing.
You appear to be stating that there is a risk of the church attracting the “wrong sort of man” (I paraphrase here) if women are allowed to join the management structure of the catholic church. Many would equally state that the catholic church is already successfully attracting many of the “wrong sort of man” – in many ways because it is an all male organisation. When you read about decades of child abuse and institutionalised cover ups (going right to the top of the organisation) it’s hard to eliminate that thought.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Correct, that is indeed what I am saying.

Though to clarify: specifically for positions requiring priesthood. Women are in fact allowed to join the management structure of the Church in certain capacities.

william arden
william arden
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

There is a lot of research into the ‘wrong sort of male’ and the sexual abuse scandals are the direct result of networks instituted in certain of the seminaries of exactly these men. And it is pretty accurately placed at between the 1960’s/70’s/80’s and finishing to some extent in the 1990’s. However, there are still scandals being revealed (the North American Seminary in Rome for example). The very fact that these are networks, that the scandals are men with men or men with young boys shows that your simplistic solution of ‘more women’ is laughable. There is a systemic problem here but it is the ‘problem that dare not speak its name’. I imagine that you would not be interested to read up on it (although more than ready to tell us how to fix it), but studies such as the John Jay Report, books such as ‘Goodbye, Good men’ are quite in-depth studies of the situation that arose as a result of the laxity accompanying the 1960’s. You might note the situation of the plummeting vocations that occurred as the direct result of the reluctance of men who had a genuine vocation and who would have made exemplary priests to join institutions with these oppressive hierarchies imposing progressive ‘ tolerance ’. The terms ‘rigid’ and ‘orthodox’ were used to exclude these good vocations and the solution put forward by those whose policies had resulted in a dearth of vocations was – women priests!

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

6 of one 1/2 dozen of the other…

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Correct, that is indeed what I am saying.

Though to clarify: specifically for positions requiring priesthood. Women are in fact allowed to join the management structure of the Church in certain capacities.

william arden
william arden
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

There is a lot of research into the ‘wrong sort of male’ and the sexual abuse scandals are the direct result of networks instituted in certain of the seminaries of exactly these men. And it is pretty accurately placed at between the 1960’s/70’s/80’s and finishing to some extent in the 1990’s. However, there are still scandals being revealed (the North American Seminary in Rome for example). The very fact that these are networks, that the scandals are men with men or men with young boys shows that your simplistic solution of ‘more women’ is laughable. There is a systemic problem here but it is the ‘problem that dare not speak its name’. I imagine that you would not be interested to read up on it (although more than ready to tell us how to fix it), but studies such as the John Jay Report, books such as ‘Goodbye, Good men’ are quite in-depth studies of the situation that arose as a result of the laxity accompanying the 1960’s. You might note the situation of the plummeting vocations that occurred as the direct result of the reluctance of men who had a genuine vocation and who would have made exemplary priests to join institutions with these oppressive hierarchies imposing progressive ‘ tolerance ’. The terms ‘rigid’ and ‘orthodox’ were used to exclude these good vocations and the solution put forward by those whose policies had resulted in a dearth of vocations was – women priests!

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

6 of one 1/2 dozen of the other…

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

Hear hear – esp re all the ‘feelings’ crap

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

yes your church is certainly famous for its “disciplined good shepherds”. But perhaps the abused sheep feel differently.

Simon South
Simon South
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

The reality of the abuse scandal and the devestation to the victims lives is truly unacceptable.
It is however, such a small minded argument to glibly accuse all Priests and clerics across the globe of failing their “flocks” and to say all “flocks” feel the same. Human history is filled with examples of bad apples spoiling it for the rest. Does your limited argument mean all teachers are equally abusers, all policemen in the Met are rapists and all journalists drunken sots with no morals? While everyone who works for the BBC invades personal freedoms ? Using your logic , Peter Sutcliffe who had curly hair means by default all northern men with curly hair are therefore mass rapists?
Try reading the lives of the saints or the martyrs, who freely and devotedly gave their lives for the faith and their sheep. There are 10s of thousands of examples of a Christian life lived through sacrifice for others, with billions of faithful attending Church in their search for Christ in a sick world.

Simon South
Simon South
1 year ago
Reply to  harry storm

The reality of the abuse scandal and the devestation to the victims lives is truly unacceptable.
It is however, such a small minded argument to glibly accuse all Priests and clerics across the globe of failing their “flocks” and to say all “flocks” feel the same. Human history is filled with examples of bad apples spoiling it for the rest. Does your limited argument mean all teachers are equally abusers, all policemen in the Met are rapists and all journalists drunken sots with no morals? While everyone who works for the BBC invades personal freedoms ? Using your logic , Peter Sutcliffe who had curly hair means by default all northern men with curly hair are therefore mass rapists?
Try reading the lives of the saints or the martyrs, who freely and devotedly gave their lives for the faith and their sheep. There are 10s of thousands of examples of a Christian life lived through sacrifice for others, with billions of faithful attending Church in their search for Christ in a sick world.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

As an orthodox Anglican who is disgusted and anguished by what happened with my denom, I wish I could vote this comment a thousand times up.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

I made no direct comment on whether it was right or wrong for the catholic church to be all male. Only on the fact that such a structure – in combination with the other points I noted – almost certainly leads to some of the problems we are seeing.
You appear to be stating that there is a risk of the church attracting the “wrong sort of man” (I paraphrase here) if women are allowed to join the management structure of the catholic church. Many would equally state that the catholic church is already successfully attracting many of the “wrong sort of man” – in many ways because it is an all male organisation. When you read about decades of child abuse and institutionalised cover ups (going right to the top of the organisation) it’s hard to eliminate that thought.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

Hear hear – esp re all the ‘feelings’ crap

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

yes your church is certainly famous for its “disciplined good shepherds”. But perhaps the abused sheep feel differently.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

As an orthodox Anglican who is disgusted and anguished by what happened with my denom, I wish I could vote this comment a thousand times up.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I’m surprised by the downvotes on this. Seems very obviously true to me. Big status hierarchies always tend to spread at the limits and corruption at the top. It’s human nature. No balance without checks. A Pope has no checks. (Please, don’t say “God”).

william arden
william arden
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You say that you are not a member of any religious group as though that gives you impartiality and entitles you to comment. Not being a member of a religious group is not an impartial position and it does not mean that you are free from bias – that is disingenuous or self-deluding. Your observations about what the Church needs are, with respect, betraying an overwhelming arrogance. First, you could never appreciate that the Catholic Church is not a corporation or a man-made institution. The very fact that you would scoff and sneer at this disentitles you to comment. It is a church that was founded by Christ Himself and is His living body in earth. This, you would also sneer at. The Catholic Church is not ‘essentially a male-only organisation’. I would advise you to, not only spend some time in Catholic institutions, but to analyse the modern position of women and compare the respect extended to women as a direct result of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the position of women in pagan societies. You might consider looking at female saints such as Catherine of Alexandria and Joan of Arc and ask whether these women would have been given a hearing in Puritan England. Infallibility was defined and articulated in the nineteenth century but has been applied since the time of St Peter (& by the way, you, by your sweeping dismissal, obviously do not understand what infallibility is). The pope is as much bound by infallibility as empowered. I assume that you measure the faults of the Catholic position on women by the predictable allegation that the Catholic Church does not have a female ‘priesthood’.
The Catholic Church is a hierarchical structure and it is 2,000 years old. It is not man-made and cannot reconfigure itself according to passing fashions as many recently-constructed religions can. We have male priests because the Church was formed by Christ as the ‘new Covenant’. The priesthood of the old covenant, the Jewish priesthood, was the Levitical priesthood. The Levites were priests who sacrificed in the Jewish Temple. Christ is the Sacrifice of the new covenant, and, as He predicted, the Jewish Temple was completely destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, with not one stone standing upon another. The Jewish faith was reconfigured over the next 400 years as a rabbinical religion whereby the synagogues formed the centre of the faith, as temple worship was impossible. The Catholic priest stands in the shoes of Christ, the high priest in the sacrifice that is in the place of the ancient Jewish temple. That long explanation about why we have male priests (instead of female MC’s) has been made necessary because you, who are not interested enough to study a faith you don’t believe in, nevertheless seem to feel qualified to comment on it, simply because it does not comply with an arbitrary standard you feel should be imposed on every institution.
There are many criticisms of Catholicism one can make-Damian Thompson has made cogent and constructive criticism in this article. However, if you feel a need to criticise the Catholic faith, I would request that you actually study it. You might start with the fact that some of the most brilliant people in the history of the world have been true faithful Catholics and perhaps, with a little humility, you might wonder if perhaps these brilliant minds might have recognised something there that you have not bothered to discover.

Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Papal authority is meant to reinforce Catechesis and so help prevent us falling into error. Nothing this or any pope says is to be accepted as an infallible truth apart from statements made on matters of morals or faith ex cathedra, which is to say “from the seat [of Peter]”. It was precisely defined as dogma at the first Vatican Council in 1870:

We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.

Put simply, the Pope is only infallible when stating a set point of Catholic teaching. We don’t hear ex cathedra statements from him gabbing with journalists at the back of a ’plane or cussing in front of seminarians. These are opinions.

It is my opinion that the Church would be in far better condition if the current Pope were to exercise his authority in this respect. Modern popes have been pretty good at this until Francis — darling of progressivism as he is — who, being unable to make infallible statements in support of LGBTQWERTY or birth control and abortion issues (as a few for–instances) seems content to sit back and let the anomie of anything goes force change out of sheer indiscipline and dissension. Which is why so many Roman Catholics hold him in such utter contempt.

Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Both the Church and the American empire are being destroyed by their past and present leaders. What’s not to like about either of these developments?

Both institutions are empires, and rely upon the same terrorist tactics force the surrender of others to their respective orthodoxies. Both are built on the model of the Sicilian mafia: do what we say if you expect to be safe and secure. Beware the wrath of god and the sanctions he can wield.

Both are predicated upon time honored false information: gods that do not exist, places of eternal torment or bliss that do not exist, and values that are mouthed but rarely practiced.

Three cheers! As Diderot has said: Man will not be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

That the Church’s priests are all male is a point in its favor. It is naive to think that adding women will necessarily “improve” this or that organization. Your suggestion would lead to ruin for what ought to be obvious reasons.

If women are permitted to become priests, men will no longer see a reason to make the great sacrifices–different for men than for women–required to become a holy priest. We will attract a different sort of man–not the disciplined good shepherd who lays down his life for his flock, in masculine sacrifice. No, we will become overly concerned with “feelings” to the detriment of the flock. We will risk becoming a lesbian “social justice” church, like the Episcopalians.

Which is to say nothing of the fact that in the first place, God gives different roles to men and women; to authorize women priests would be to claim we know better than God.

The Pope is not “self-proclaimed infallible.”

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

I’m surprised by the downvotes on this. Seems very obviously true to me. Big status hierarchies always tend to spread at the limits and corruption at the top. It’s human nature. No balance without checks. A Pope has no checks. (Please, don’t say “God”).

william arden
william arden
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You say that you are not a member of any religious group as though that gives you impartiality and entitles you to comment. Not being a member of a religious group is not an impartial position and it does not mean that you are free from bias – that is disingenuous or self-deluding. Your observations about what the Church needs are, with respect, betraying an overwhelming arrogance. First, you could never appreciate that the Catholic Church is not a corporation or a man-made institution. The very fact that you would scoff and sneer at this disentitles you to comment. It is a church that was founded by Christ Himself and is His living body in earth. This, you would also sneer at. The Catholic Church is not ‘essentially a male-only organisation’. I would advise you to, not only spend some time in Catholic institutions, but to analyse the modern position of women and compare the respect extended to women as a direct result of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the position of women in pagan societies. You might consider looking at female saints such as Catherine of Alexandria and Joan of Arc and ask whether these women would have been given a hearing in Puritan England. Infallibility was defined and articulated in the nineteenth century but has been applied since the time of St Peter (& by the way, you, by your sweeping dismissal, obviously do not understand what infallibility is). The pope is as much bound by infallibility as empowered. I assume that you measure the faults of the Catholic position on women by the predictable allegation that the Catholic Church does not have a female ‘priesthood’.
The Catholic Church is a hierarchical structure and it is 2,000 years old. It is not man-made and cannot reconfigure itself according to passing fashions as many recently-constructed religions can. We have male priests because the Church was formed by Christ as the ‘new Covenant’. The priesthood of the old covenant, the Jewish priesthood, was the Levitical priesthood. The Levites were priests who sacrificed in the Jewish Temple. Christ is the Sacrifice of the new covenant, and, as He predicted, the Jewish Temple was completely destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, with not one stone standing upon another. The Jewish faith was reconfigured over the next 400 years as a rabbinical religion whereby the synagogues formed the centre of the faith, as temple worship was impossible. The Catholic priest stands in the shoes of Christ, the high priest in the sacrifice that is in the place of the ancient Jewish temple. That long explanation about why we have male priests (instead of female MC’s) has been made necessary because you, who are not interested enough to study a faith you don’t believe in, nevertheless seem to feel qualified to comment on it, simply because it does not comply with an arbitrary standard you feel should be imposed on every institution.
There are many criticisms of Catholicism one can make-Damian Thompson has made cogent and constructive criticism in this article. However, if you feel a need to criticise the Catholic faith, I would request that you actually study it. You might start with the fact that some of the most brilliant people in the history of the world have been true faithful Catholics and perhaps, with a little humility, you might wonder if perhaps these brilliant minds might have recognised something there that you have not bothered to discover.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Mullan

Might I suggest that there is something in the structure of a huge, massively change resistant, essentially male only organisation that also believes in the infallibility of its leader (a concept invented by men only in the latter haf of the nineteenth century) that makes the sort of “letting the side down” behaviour detailed in the article inevitable ?
If that is the case, the structural reform – probably starting out from smaller, less centralised organisations is surely the way forward.
I have no dog in this fight (not a member of any religious group).
Note: there’s another organisation with a self-proclaimed infallible leader who seems to also believe he’s on a mission from God (and has a corrupt Orthodox church backing him up) who’s not doing very well right now.
So there’s another one for the to do list – scrap the “our leader is infallible” nonsense.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Have an upvote.
I can’t understand how anyone familiar with the history of the Catholic Church could assert that its leadership has a great record of demonstrating “moral authority”. As other commentators here have said, the current failure to practice what they preach is not unique and is far from the historical low watermark.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Fair point. Moral authority hasn’t always been the CC’s strongpoint, the issue now is that its doctrinal authority is so muddied. The two should go hand in hand of course, but don’t.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The Church’s inspiration to countless people who willingly accept all manner of sacrifice is demonstration of its moral authority. It is not easy to live differently but Catholics everywhere continue to do it. Even if they disagree with our current Pope.

Pagans who preach the gospel of moral subjectivity with such “authority” are rarely to be found making such sacrifices. This is proof of pagan void of moral authority.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

Who are these “pagans” ? Who said anything about “moral subjectivity” ? I just don’t see how your comment relates to mine.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

It relates by pointing out that regardless of the debate of whether and to what extent certain Church leaders have demonstrated moral authority, the Church itself, maintains moral authority, as evidenced by the actions of so many Catholics (imperfect themselves).

Pagans practice any religion other than Christianity, Judaism or Islam; or none. Maybe you’re a pagan, maybe not, I don’t know; but any morality other than that revealed by God–any “man-made” morality–is subjective in nature.

So perhaps it relates, or not, but in way case it is worthwhile at this time to reiterate the alternative to objective morality: anything is permissible, which takes hold to a far greater extent in society (is even praised) than in the Church leadership, where admittedly some have failed.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

It relates by pointing out that regardless of the debate of whether and to what extent certain Church leaders have demonstrated moral authority, the Church itself, maintains moral authority, as evidenced by the actions of so many Catholics (imperfect themselves).

Pagans practice any religion other than Christianity, Judaism or Islam; or none. Maybe you’re a pagan, maybe not, I don’t know; but any morality other than that revealed by God–any “man-made” morality–is subjective in nature.

So perhaps it relates, or not, but in way case it is worthwhile at this time to reiterate the alternative to objective morality: anything is permissible, which takes hold to a far greater extent in society (is even praised) than in the Church leadership, where admittedly some have failed.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

Who are these “pagans” ? Who said anything about “moral subjectivity” ? I just don’t see how your comment relates to mine.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Fair point. Moral authority hasn’t always been the CC’s strongpoint, the issue now is that its doctrinal authority is so muddied. The two should go hand in hand of course, but don’t.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The Church’s inspiration to countless people who willingly accept all manner of sacrifice is demonstration of its moral authority. It is not easy to live differently but Catholics everywhere continue to do it. Even if they disagree with our current Pope.

Pagans who preach the gospel of moral subjectivity with such “authority” are rarely to be found making such sacrifices. This is proof of pagan void of moral authority.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Catholics believe Christ is the way, the truth and the life. Catholics follow him. Not the Popes, bishops and priests. Since the beginning some of them have been shockers.
Indeed given the knaves, wastrels, incompetents, abusers, murderers and the rest, supposed to be the Church’s servants, it’s amazing it’s lasted so long. One would think it would long since have collapsed like all the kingdoms, republics and organisations it’s seen in 2000 years.
Why is that, do you think?
I am saddened by Thompson’s list of the failures of Pope Francis and some cardinals. If true, they’re doing great damage and must be strongly called to task.
The Church does claim to be one for the Elect, but for sinners.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

The statement that “Christ is the way, the truth and the life” is essentially meaningless dogma. It’s precisely this type of mind control that allows the Catholic Church to carry out the abuse, which failure to address by those who profess to be Catholics means they’re complicit.
What you refer to is Christianity. Catholicism is an organisation of choice.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I used Christ’s words describing himself as the way, the truth and the life.

You disagree with that which you are free to do.

There is nothing in his teachings that allows abuse. Indeed, he very strongly condemns it.

I said that any abusers must be strongly called to task.

As you say, one can choose Catholicism or not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Roger Sponge
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

I accept that.
It should also be accepted that the Catholic Church uses Christ’s words to manipulate and exploit its congregation.
Those who follow Christ out of a moral and/or spiritual imperative should distance themselves from the church. It may well be beyond reform from within, and certainly it’s accumulated riches are an abomination to it’s supposed ministry. It’s that which corrupts, along with power over other people.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“The Catholic Church uses Christ’s words to manipulate and exploit its congregation”
This seems to imply that all its laity are merely passive pew sitters, unthinking, stupid or gullible.
If so, you need to provide evidence of that. And who uses Christ’s words to manipulate and exploit laity. And what they say.
The Church is a church of sinners. It has been since the beginning. It will be in need of reform until the end of time.
As to the Church’s wealth: some of it was made to God’s glory, some to share and some – shamefully- misspent. There are currently issues that must be addressed.
BTW, the Catholic Church is the largest provider of non-governmental health care in the world..CAFOD, the English & Welsh Catholic development agency, supports world wide projects, regardless of religion and culture.

Last edited 1 year ago by Roger Sponge
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Your concept of “sinners” is unsupportable in the context of children and even adults being exploited to gratify the sexual desires of those who – with astonishing hypocrisy – seek to tell others how their sex lives should be conducted.
On a par with Asian Muslim grooming gangs, in fact.
No amount of theological rhetoric or expiation through other aspects of the church can overcome that basic principle. It’s rotten to its very foundations. I fully appreciate you don’t want to hear this – but i’m not the one trying to use nefarious concepts such as “sinners” to excuse horrendous abuse.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I make and have made absolutely no excuse for child abuse. Both as a parishioner and professionally I’ve come across abusers. I found them sickening and their crimes revolting.
It’s for them to expiate their crimes.
Not other people.
(You say “Asian” Muslim gangs. Courteously, precise language is important in these matters. I’m sure you don’t mean, say, Turkey and Indonesia, both Asian countries with Muslim majority populations.)

william arden
william arden
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The Catholic Church has been subjected to sexual scandals as you are very quick to point out and as Damian Thompson’s article demonstrates. As the article shows, these sexual abuses have been, and cannot persist, unless enabled from the top. As we are aware, there have been hierarchies by which abuses are covered up and which enable further abuse. And these hierarchies are obviously present in the Vatican and enabled by the highest authority. That is, we are faced with a pope who enables and covers up and who (unlike Benedict, who did act), is safe from exposure by any of the main stream media. That fact, of itself, should raise some questions in your mind and alert you to the fact that the issue is not as simplistic as you paint it.

The fact that they are networks and distinguishable from mere transgressors is significant because of the political nature of the people who are abusing, not only the vulnerable but also the institutions. That is, if a priest has an affair with a parishioner, that is an individual scandal. However, where there are networks and alliances, that is corrupting the institution itself. The Catholic Church is the world’s biggest charity and one of the world’s biggest educators. It established the first schools and universities and has been doing education and charity for many hundreds of years. These are high-trust environments. They are therefore targets for those who seek to abuse the trust that is integral to the benefit being dispensed and its efficacy. It is the vast network of charity and schools that gives rise to the prevalence of high statistics in abuse. I might point out that the high statistics are in comparison to other church or charitable institutions simply by reason of the fact that Catholic participation is so much higher and that the Catholic religion is the biggest in the world. However, institutional abuse is absolutely dwarfed in comparison to the incidence in the broader secular community.
Nevertheless, the abuse of trust by the exploitation by these networks is appalling and corrosive on any number of levels, and was enabled because of the trust engendered to priests, a trust which had been earned by the hundreds of years of good holy men who used their priesthood to be genuine fathers to their flock. And, as soon as this trust is abused, it naturally exists no more.

You seem to have contempt for Catholics as being, unlike you, not intelligent enough to think for themselves. I would actually submit that the existence of the Catholic faith as a thorn in the side of persecutors from the time of Henry VIII to Stalin, is precisely because the Catholic faith enables individual responsibility and discernment- in other words, not susceptible to totalitarian manipulation, and therefore, always a nuisance. We are, right at this very moment, a nuisance, not only to the totalitarian agenda being currently imposed by the material world, but to our own pope.

The horror in general society and the main stream media in regard to the sexual abuse scandals is accompanied by a major push in the mainstream of society of a sexualisation of children and a cover-up of the fact that the abuse scandals in the church were and are almost exclusively homosexual. This is accompanied universally by promotion of the homosexual agenda- with no accountability for the existence of any victims or the correlation between the two. The other hypocrisy is the complete ignoring of sexual abuse in the general community, an ignoring which would require honesty about societal attitudes to sexual ‘freedoms’ which are imputed to be victim free. The recent discovery by the me too movement that promiscuous sexual predation has consequences points to the aspect where the Church ‘telling us how our sex lives should be conducted’ (ie., forego promiscuity – chastity within a trusting environment such as, old fashioned marriage) may have some semblance of reality to it.
Sexual abuse in the general community and in sectarian institutions absolutely dwarfs statistically any abuses in the institutions of the Church. It seems that the outrage against the Church, when voiced by those who use it simply as a club, is one of hypocrisy. You do not look at the value of the institutions and the damage done by these predatory people in transgressing the rules of the Church and the institution but, instead, seize upon the fact that it has occurred as evidence that the institution itself is wrong or should not exist. You look at people who have completely transgressed the rules of the Church and turn around and blame the Church. We Catholics have to address this issue and it is one that can only be addressed by honest discussion and by honest analysis of who the perpetrators are and how they have been enabled. Damian Thompson sets this out brilliantly and it is time that these events should be discussed openly and frankly. However, I am amazed at the readiness of Protestant or atheist commenters to tell the Catholic population how to run their Church or to be outright bigoted and rude in their comments regarding Catholics or the church. So far, you have advised us as to our priests and our sexual philosophy. I would respectfully advise you to confine your advice to your areas of expertise in the absence of studying the Catholic faith. That is, it is not as if there is no abuse in the secular world. Perhaps advise secular institutions on how they should be run. I would also advise you to reflect on whether you would make such disparaging comments in regard to any other religion.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I make and have made absolutely no excuse for child abuse. Both as a parishioner and professionally I’ve come across abusers. I found them sickening and their crimes revolting.
It’s for them to expiate their crimes.
Not other people.
(You say “Asian” Muslim gangs. Courteously, precise language is important in these matters. I’m sure you don’t mean, say, Turkey and Indonesia, both Asian countries with Muslim majority populations.)

william arden
william arden
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The Catholic Church has been subjected to sexual scandals as you are very quick to point out and as Damian Thompson’s article demonstrates. As the article shows, these sexual abuses have been, and cannot persist, unless enabled from the top. As we are aware, there have been hierarchies by which abuses are covered up and which enable further abuse. And these hierarchies are obviously present in the Vatican and enabled by the highest authority. That is, we are faced with a pope who enables and covers up and who (unlike Benedict, who did act), is safe from exposure by any of the main stream media. That fact, of itself, should raise some questions in your mind and alert you to the fact that the issue is not as simplistic as you paint it.

The fact that they are networks and distinguishable from mere transgressors is significant because of the political nature of the people who are abusing, not only the vulnerable but also the institutions. That is, if a priest has an affair with a parishioner, that is an individual scandal. However, where there are networks and alliances, that is corrupting the institution itself. The Catholic Church is the world’s biggest charity and one of the world’s biggest educators. It established the first schools and universities and has been doing education and charity for many hundreds of years. These are high-trust environments. They are therefore targets for those who seek to abuse the trust that is integral to the benefit being dispensed and its efficacy. It is the vast network of charity and schools that gives rise to the prevalence of high statistics in abuse. I might point out that the high statistics are in comparison to other church or charitable institutions simply by reason of the fact that Catholic participation is so much higher and that the Catholic religion is the biggest in the world. However, institutional abuse is absolutely dwarfed in comparison to the incidence in the broader secular community.
Nevertheless, the abuse of trust by the exploitation by these networks is appalling and corrosive on any number of levels, and was enabled because of the trust engendered to priests, a trust which had been earned by the hundreds of years of good holy men who used their priesthood to be genuine fathers to their flock. And, as soon as this trust is abused, it naturally exists no more.

You seem to have contempt for Catholics as being, unlike you, not intelligent enough to think for themselves. I would actually submit that the existence of the Catholic faith as a thorn in the side of persecutors from the time of Henry VIII to Stalin, is precisely because the Catholic faith enables individual responsibility and discernment- in other words, not susceptible to totalitarian manipulation, and therefore, always a nuisance. We are, right at this very moment, a nuisance, not only to the totalitarian agenda being currently imposed by the material world, but to our own pope.

The horror in general society and the main stream media in regard to the sexual abuse scandals is accompanied by a major push in the mainstream of society of a sexualisation of children and a cover-up of the fact that the abuse scandals in the church were and are almost exclusively homosexual. This is accompanied universally by promotion of the homosexual agenda- with no accountability for the existence of any victims or the correlation between the two. The other hypocrisy is the complete ignoring of sexual abuse in the general community, an ignoring which would require honesty about societal attitudes to sexual ‘freedoms’ which are imputed to be victim free. The recent discovery by the me too movement that promiscuous sexual predation has consequences points to the aspect where the Church ‘telling us how our sex lives should be conducted’ (ie., forego promiscuity – chastity within a trusting environment such as, old fashioned marriage) may have some semblance of reality to it.
Sexual abuse in the general community and in sectarian institutions absolutely dwarfs statistically any abuses in the institutions of the Church. It seems that the outrage against the Church, when voiced by those who use it simply as a club, is one of hypocrisy. You do not look at the value of the institutions and the damage done by these predatory people in transgressing the rules of the Church and the institution but, instead, seize upon the fact that it has occurred as evidence that the institution itself is wrong or should not exist. You look at people who have completely transgressed the rules of the Church and turn around and blame the Church. We Catholics have to address this issue and it is one that can only be addressed by honest discussion and by honest analysis of who the perpetrators are and how they have been enabled. Damian Thompson sets this out brilliantly and it is time that these events should be discussed openly and frankly. However, I am amazed at the readiness of Protestant or atheist commenters to tell the Catholic population how to run their Church or to be outright bigoted and rude in their comments regarding Catholics or the church. So far, you have advised us as to our priests and our sexual philosophy. I would respectfully advise you to confine your advice to your areas of expertise in the absence of studying the Catholic faith. That is, it is not as if there is no abuse in the secular world. Perhaps advise secular institutions on how they should be run. I would also advise you to reflect on whether you would make such disparaging comments in regard to any other religion.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Your concept of “sinners” is unsupportable in the context of children and even adults being exploited to gratify the sexual desires of those who – with astonishing hypocrisy – seek to tell others how their sex lives should be conducted.
On a par with Asian Muslim grooming gangs, in fact.
No amount of theological rhetoric or expiation through other aspects of the church can overcome that basic principle. It’s rotten to its very foundations. I fully appreciate you don’t want to hear this – but i’m not the one trying to use nefarious concepts such as “sinners” to excuse horrendous abuse.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It seems to me it was all worth it for the creation of beautiful art in the form of architecture and painting and music to inspire awe and reverence of the power of God. All required much financial investment. To me sitting in a beautiful church and listening to a wonderful church choir stirs my soul. I also love plain churches but they simply don’t have the same effect and the west would be the poorer without it.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“The Catholic Church uses Christ’s words to manipulate and exploit its congregation”
This seems to imply that all its laity are merely passive pew sitters, unthinking, stupid or gullible.
If so, you need to provide evidence of that. And who uses Christ’s words to manipulate and exploit laity. And what they say.
The Church is a church of sinners. It has been since the beginning. It will be in need of reform until the end of time.
As to the Church’s wealth: some of it was made to God’s glory, some to share and some – shamefully- misspent. There are currently issues that must be addressed.
BTW, the Catholic Church is the largest provider of non-governmental health care in the world..CAFOD, the English & Welsh Catholic development agency, supports world wide projects, regardless of religion and culture.

Last edited 1 year ago by Roger Sponge
Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It seems to me it was all worth it for the creation of beautiful art in the form of architecture and painting and music to inspire awe and reverence of the power of God. All required much financial investment. To me sitting in a beautiful church and listening to a wonderful church choir stirs my soul. I also love plain churches but they simply don’t have the same effect and the west would be the poorer without it.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

I accept that.
It should also be accepted that the Catholic Church uses Christ’s words to manipulate and exploit its congregation.
Those who follow Christ out of a moral and/or spiritual imperative should distance themselves from the church. It may well be beyond reform from within, and certainly it’s accumulated riches are an abomination to it’s supposed ministry. It’s that which corrupts, along with power over other people.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I used Christ’s words describing himself as the way, the truth and the life.

You disagree with that which you are free to do.

There is nothing in his teachings that allows abuse. Indeed, he very strongly condemns it.

I said that any abusers must be strongly called to task.

As you say, one can choose Catholicism or not.

Last edited 1 year ago by Roger Sponge
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

The problems and confusion come from conflating the ideas of church and religion. To many people, church is part of the local community, not to be confused with having deep religious beliefs. It is the officials of the church who cause the problems discussed herein.
A completely different problem comes with religions.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

The statement that “Christ is the way, the truth and the life” is essentially meaningless dogma. It’s precisely this type of mind control that allows the Catholic Church to carry out the abuse, which failure to address by those who profess to be Catholics means they’re complicit.
What you refer to is Christianity. Catholicism is an organisation of choice.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

The problems and confusion come from conflating the ideas of church and religion. To many people, church is part of the local community, not to be confused with having deep religious beliefs. It is the officials of the church who cause the problems discussed herein.
A completely different problem comes with religions.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You haven’t a clue about Catholics, Steve. We’re not too bothered about religion. Seriously. Very few Catholics in Ireland believe in most of their church’s teaching, and that has been the position from the 1970s. English Catholics, by contrast, are very sincere. They take it all seriously, bless ’em. We have low expectations from people in authority. No normal Catholic cares enough to go off forming a new religion. If the papacy disintegrated tomorrow, nobody would care too much. We’d still run our wee local church, largely because it is one of the few cross-generational, democratic public spaces left. What we believe, or don’t believe, is secondary.    

John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I can only assume that the people who downvoted you are not catholics, or are converts (worse!) or are just clueless. Speaking as a recovering catholic (we used to call them ‘lapsed’ but the analogy with alcoholics seems more apt) the majority within the fold seem to me to be quite happy to be part of the tribe, but unwilling to consider the dogma they are supposed to subscribe to. Transubstantiation? Virgin birth? Papal infallibility? Much safer not to look too closely.
But then I suppose that many people in most clubs, tribes, religions and political parties are fellow travellers rather than true believers.
I always used to smile when someone was described as ‘having a simple faith’. That usually means they are both thick and gullible : often nice people, of course, but never the sharpest knives in the box.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Church and religion are not the same things. You can be a regular churchgoer without being especially religious. Churches help in the community but religions don’t. Maybe this is the problem people have with ideas in non-Christian countries where the ideas of church and religion not separable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
John Solomon
John Solomon
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I can only assume that the people who downvoted you are not catholics, or are converts (worse!) or are just clueless. Speaking as a recovering catholic (we used to call them ‘lapsed’ but the analogy with alcoholics seems more apt) the majority within the fold seem to me to be quite happy to be part of the tribe, but unwilling to consider the dogma they are supposed to subscribe to. Transubstantiation? Virgin birth? Papal infallibility? Much safer not to look too closely.
But then I suppose that many people in most clubs, tribes, religions and political parties are fellow travellers rather than true believers.
I always used to smile when someone was described as ‘having a simple faith’. That usually means they are both thick and gullible : often nice people, of course, but never the sharpest knives in the box.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Church and religion are not the same things. You can be a regular churchgoer without being especially religious. Churches help in the community but religions don’t. Maybe this is the problem people have with ideas in non-Christian countries where the ideas of church and religion not separable.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Wheatley
harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The pre-emptive strike against downvotes is a nice touch, but meaningless.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Thank you for speaking what is obviously true.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

As we have seen with all the splintered denominations that are watered down into meaningless mush, imho you should stay and fight for the soul of the church. He won’t last forever.

Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

… renounce the Church, renounce the Vatican and all who prey within it. Go and form an alternative,

Look how well that turned out: the one–man–and–his–bible schtick of sola fides only served to dilute the universality of the Christian faith and solved nothing of the rot that ultimately affects all worldly institutions.

No, it is all to easy to throw up one’s hands and head for the hills, however deeply we have been betrayed from within our own community. For every one of these monsters, there are scores of good men and women who have devoted their lives to the service of God, the Church and Her communion the World over — a service very often extended to those of other faiths. To desert Her now would amount only to a further betrayal of our faith, the faith of our brethren and the sincere vocation of those good people who stand today in the firing line of such ridicule and contempt.

Far better to stay and have the resolution to fight for our Church — both the corruption within and without — and I would extend that challenge to all our institutions for I see nothing to be gained by allowing government, academia, the military, medicine, the sciences and that, most important of all of them, the family fall prey to the corrupt influence of ideologues, thieves and liars.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Have an upvote.
I can’t understand how anyone familiar with the history of the Catholic Church could assert that its leadership has a great record of demonstrating “moral authority”. As other commentators here have said, the current failure to practice what they preach is not unique and is far from the historical low watermark.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Catholics believe Christ is the way, the truth and the life. Catholics follow him. Not the Popes, bishops and priests. Since the beginning some of them have been shockers.
Indeed given the knaves, wastrels, incompetents, abusers, murderers and the rest, supposed to be the Church’s servants, it’s amazing it’s lasted so long. One would think it would long since have collapsed like all the kingdoms, republics and organisations it’s seen in 2000 years.
Why is that, do you think?
I am saddened by Thompson’s list of the failures of Pope Francis and some cardinals. If true, they’re doing great damage and must be strongly called to task.
The Church does claim to be one for the Elect, but for sinners.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

You haven’t a clue about Catholics, Steve. We’re not too bothered about religion. Seriously. Very few Catholics in Ireland believe in most of their church’s teaching, and that has been the position from the 1970s. English Catholics, by contrast, are very sincere. They take it all seriously, bless ’em. We have low expectations from people in authority. No normal Catholic cares enough to go off forming a new religion. If the papacy disintegrated tomorrow, nobody would care too much. We’d still run our wee local church, largely because it is one of the few cross-generational, democratic public spaces left. What we believe, or don’t believe, is secondary.    

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The pre-emptive strike against downvotes is a nice touch, but meaningless.

Dominic S
Dominic S
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Thank you for speaking what is obviously true.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

As we have seen with all the splintered denominations that are watered down into meaningless mush, imho you should stay and fight for the soul of the church. He won’t last forever.

Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
1 year ago

There was no John Paul XII but I take your point.

Writing on the death of Benedict XVI, Giorgio Agamben reminds us of the late Pope’s own words on darkness within the Church (translation by Thomas Fazi):

The Church, the future pope wrote in 1956, is until the Last Judgment both the Church of Christ and the Church of the Antichrist: “The Antichrist belongs to the Church, grows in it and with it up to the great separation, which will be introduced by the ultimate revelation.”

Which was not by any means complacency on the part of young Ratzinger. By questioning the Church, as Agamben put it “Benedict XVI, who was at the head of the oldest existing institution in the West, called into question the meaning and legitimacy of all institutions”.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Mullan

Ray Mullan, thank you. Giorgio Agamben was also spot on w.r.t. Covid:

The first thing that the wave of panic that has paralyzed the country obviously shows is that our society no longer believes in anything but bare life

Apropos yours above, the following quote from Jung comes to mind:

‘God is not the summum bonum (supreme good) (Jung 1958:93), but instead, quoting the theologian Meister Eckhart, ‘alone in his Godhead […] not in a state of bliss, but must be born in the human soul’ where God’s antinomy that ‘tears him asunder into opposites and delivers him over to seemingly insoluble conflict’ (ibid. 156) must be resolved.’

References:
Agamben, G. (2020). ‘Clarifications’ translated by Adam Kotsko in An und für sich, available online.
Jung, C.G. (1958). Answer to Job. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Yet “fear” is now a justification for so many obviously self-interested “pandemic” measures: “We were afraid, like anyone would be!”

As if Christ and the prophets haven’t already sufficiently dealt with the subject of fear.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Yet “fear” is now a justification for so many obviously self-interested “pandemic” measures: “We were afraid, like anyone would be!”

As if Christ and the prophets haven’t already sufficiently dealt with the subject of fear.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Mullan

Ray Mullan, thank you. Giorgio Agamben was also spot on w.r.t. Covid:

The first thing that the wave of panic that has paralyzed the country obviously shows is that our society no longer believes in anything but bare life

Apropos yours above, the following quote from Jung comes to mind:

‘God is not the summum bonum (supreme good) (Jung 1958:93), but instead, quoting the theologian Meister Eckhart, ‘alone in his Godhead […] not in a state of bliss, but must be born in the human soul’ where God’s antinomy that ‘tears him asunder into opposites and delivers him over to seemingly insoluble conflict’ (ibid. 156) must be resolved.’

References:
Agamben, G. (2020). ‘Clarifications’ translated by Adam Kotsko in An und für sich, available online.
Jung, C.G. (1958). Answer to Job. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

But the difference between ‘this time’ and previous revelations is that the murky deeds are made public much more swiftly and to a more independent audience.
I don’t doubt there are ‘bad apples’ and that other organisations that cover up reprehensible acts… but that is a PR argument and not the principled response expected of the RC Church.

Elizabeth Higgins
Elizabeth Higgins
1 year ago

I think you mean Pope John XII, since there were only 2 John Pauls. I do agree with your points about the evil Popes, though.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

There have been a number of articles in the USA recently which state that the Catholic Church has lost more followers than any other religion in recent years; Latinos have been migrating to evangelical Protestant sects. People are tired of the corruption & sex scandals in the Catholic organization that has been occurring for decades with no correction.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Damian Thompson
Damian Thompson
1 year ago

I know. I said ‘one of’. It’s a different type of damage, one that threatens the survival of the Church. One of the greatest scholars in the college of cardinals believes that Francis is the worst pope for 1,000 years – but, before that there were worse. Interesting that he thinks Bergoglio is more dangerous than Borgia; I think he’s referring to disintegration of Catholic belief itself. One detail not in the piece is that Rupnik, protected by Francis, is accused of trying to force a woman to drink his semen out of a chalice.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Just as telling is this line:
“…spiritual leader of more than a billion people.”
Usually, apologists for the Catholic church like to quote platitudes such as “there’s always going to be a few bad apples” or suchlike. We’ve read this type of thing before in Comments.
I’d simply ask how anyone with any claim to a spiritual life via Catholicism can stand by and allow themselves to be associated with the venal, politicised debauchery that passes for their leadership.
For the sake of your own self-respect, renounce the Church, renounce the Vatican and all who prey within it. Go and form an alternative, but please don’t condescend to the rest of us. You have no right to do so, complicit with the systemic abuse that passes for “holiness”.
I should add, that all the expected downvotes in the world won’t change that truth.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Ray Mullan
Ray Mullan
1 year ago

There was no John Paul XII but I take your point.

Writing on the death of Benedict XVI, Giorgio Agamben reminds us of the late Pope’s own words on darkness within the Church (translation by Thomas Fazi):

The Church, the future pope wrote in 1956, is until the Last Judgment both the Church of Christ and the Church of the Antichrist: “The Antichrist belongs to the Church, grows in it and with it up to the great separation, which will be introduced by the ultimate revelation.”

Which was not by any means complacency on the part of young Ratzinger. By questioning the Church, as Agamben put it “Benedict XVI, who was at the head of the oldest existing institution in the West, called into question the meaning and legitimacy of all institutions”.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

But the difference between ‘this time’ and previous revelations is that the murky deeds are made public much more swiftly and to a more independent audience.
I don’t doubt there are ‘bad apples’ and that other organisations that cover up reprehensible acts… but that is a PR argument and not the principled response expected of the RC Church.

Elizabeth Higgins
Elizabeth Higgins
1 year ago

I think you mean Pope John XII, since there were only 2 John Pauls. I do agree with your points about the evil Popes, though.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

There have been a number of articles in the USA recently which state that the Catholic Church has lost more followers than any other religion in recent years; Latinos have been migrating to evangelical Protestant sects. People are tired of the corruption & sex scandals in the Catholic organization that has been occurring for decades with no correction.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

“And so began one of the darkest decades in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church.”
Seriously? You need to read Gibbon. Holy cow. Or how about “The Bad Popes” by E. R. Chamberlin? How about Pope Urban VI who complained that he did not hear enough screaming when Cardinals who had conspired against him were tortured. (I’m quoting Wikpedia’s entry on the latter book). Or John Paul XII who gave land to a mistress, murdered several people and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife? I can’t recall the Pope that Gibbon described (my set is boxed up – I’m moving) as facing charges of murder, rape and piracy. This guy is totally an under achiever on the darkness scale over the long term. I’ll buy since the twentieth century maybe.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago

Not being Catholic myself, I’d be grateful if somebody could please explain the reason for the Pope’s banning of the Latin Mass. I don’t understand his objection/disapproval.
Actually, it seems to be a far more vehement impulse of his, beyond ‘disapproval’ and maybe into the realms of disgust, repulsion, or even hatred.
I presume it’s a doctrinal/theological ‘problem’ rather than simply the language used.

Odon Flanagan
Odon Flanagan
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

The traditional mass isn’t the only thing Traditionalists are into, there is, and has been since Vatican 2, a force pushing the Church in a new direction. The traditional movement has been resisting this push and the Latin Mass is the symbol and core of that movement.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

It doesn’t seem to be. The argument always was ‘we need to have mass in the vernacular because otherwise the young people will not come to mass’, and ‘the use of an archaic language which nobody understands means that people won’t understand what they are professing’. So, now that the young people _want_ the latin mass, the old argument is shown to be no longer true (if it ever was). So it is appears that internal politics is all (most of all?) it _was_ and _is_ about. Getting rid of the latin mass was the symbol of the (then) new and reform-progressive wing of Catholicism. Now the progressive wing is the party in power, and reform (aside from liturgical reform) seems as much needed as ever, continuing to ban the latin mass is a way to enforce obedience, and to punish those who aren’t in favour. And insisting on one’s right to say mass in whatever language you choose is a way to indicate that you aren’t willing to be obedient — about this and (presumably) about turning a blind eye to other things. But is is hard to know for sure because the whole organisation is so secretive, indeed relentlessly opposed to transparency.

Last edited 1 year ago by Laura Creighton
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

Well that was the spin at the time but I think Odon has the truth of it

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago

Part of the truth, at any rate. The corner of the world I know best though has an alignment between those priests who want marriage for priests and latin for masses. So it is not as simple as ‘tradition’ vs ‘modernity’.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago

Part of the truth, at any rate. The corner of the world I know best though has an alignment between those priests who want marriage for priests and latin for masses. So it is not as simple as ‘tradition’ vs ‘modernity’.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

Well that was the spin at the time but I think Odon has the truth of it

Peadar Laighléis
Peadar Laighléis
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Strictly speaking the Latin language is not the issue; it’s the ritual of the Mass used prior to 1969 when the current missal was proclaimed, allowing for use of the vernacular in addition to Latin (though the celebration of Mass in Latin in the new missal is not frequent). Since then, the traditional Latin Mass has become an ideological flashpoint in the Catholic Church.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

It’s the age old division between progress (moving with the times) and tradition (passing on what is valuable). Ideally you’d have a nice balance between the two, but that isn’t the case.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

In any case it must be said, the Latin Mass endures. You might be able to find one near you if you’re curious.

Odon Flanagan
Odon Flanagan
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

The traditional mass isn’t the only thing Traditionalists are into, there is, and has been since Vatican 2, a force pushing the Church in a new direction. The traditional movement has been resisting this push and the Latin Mass is the symbol and core of that movement.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

It doesn’t seem to be. The argument always was ‘we need to have mass in the vernacular because otherwise the young people will not come to mass’, and ‘the use of an archaic language which nobody understands means that people won’t understand what they are professing’. So, now that the young people _want_ the latin mass, the old argument is shown to be no longer true (if it ever was). So it is appears that internal politics is all (most of all?) it _was_ and _is_ about. Getting rid of the latin mass was the symbol of the (then) new and reform-progressive wing of Catholicism. Now the progressive wing is the party in power, and reform (aside from liturgical reform) seems as much needed as ever, continuing to ban the latin mass is a way to enforce obedience, and to punish those who aren’t in favour. And insisting on one’s right to say mass in whatever language you choose is a way to indicate that you aren’t willing to be obedient — about this and (presumably) about turning a blind eye to other things. But is is hard to know for sure because the whole organisation is so secretive, indeed relentlessly opposed to transparency.

Last edited 1 year ago by Laura Creighton
Peadar Laighléis
Peadar Laighléis
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Strictly speaking the Latin language is not the issue; it’s the ritual of the Mass used prior to 1969 when the current missal was proclaimed, allowing for use of the vernacular in addition to Latin (though the celebration of Mass in Latin in the new missal is not frequent). Since then, the traditional Latin Mass has become an ideological flashpoint in the Catholic Church.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

It’s the age old division between progress (moving with the times) and tradition (passing on what is valuable). Ideally you’d have a nice balance between the two, but that isn’t the case.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

In any case it must be said, the Latin Mass endures. You might be able to find one near you if you’re curious.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago

Not being Catholic myself, I’d be grateful if somebody could please explain the reason for the Pope’s banning of the Latin Mass. I don’t understand his objection/disapproval.
Actually, it seems to be a far more vehement impulse of his, beyond ‘disapproval’ and maybe into the realms of disgust, repulsion, or even hatred.
I presume it’s a doctrinal/theological ‘problem’ rather than simply the language used.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago

A distinction must be made between an evil person and systemic evil, or between private evil and public evil. “Evil as a policy.” That is what distinguishes Francis. He embraces the idea that “everything is permitted.” He rejects out of hand the idea of sin or crime. He is, that is, a “liberal” in the literal sense of the word. God save us!

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

It’s notable that he’s despised by English and American Catholics. Neither English nor American Catholicises are typical for the world’s Catholics. Too rich.

Peadar Laighléis
Peadar Laighléis
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I can say from experience that animosity towards Pope Francis is by no means confined to English and American Catholics. I have witnessed it among many national groups.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I now get this image of rich, ornate churches in the jungle, surrounded by people who are desperately poor.

Peadar Laighléis
Peadar Laighléis
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I can say from experience that animosity towards Pope Francis is by no means confined to English and American Catholics. I have witnessed it among many national groups.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I now get this image of rich, ornate churches in the jungle, surrounded by people who are desperately poor.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

It’s notable that he’s despised by English and American Catholics. Neither English nor American Catholicises are typical for the world’s Catholics. Too rich.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
1 year ago

A distinction must be made between an evil person and systemic evil, or between private evil and public evil. “Evil as a policy.” That is what distinguishes Francis. He embraces the idea that “everything is permitted.” He rejects out of hand the idea of sin or crime. He is, that is, a “liberal” in the literal sense of the word. God save us!

Emily Riedel
Emily Riedel
1 year ago

Interesting read, I had no idea the catholic church was failing so fast

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Emily Riedel

It’s been failing since the start. Dreadful leaders, riven with disagreement, great scandals and wrongs.
I wonder why it’s staggered on for 2000 years while so many kingdoms, republics and empires have failed.
I can’t imagine why its founder still believes in it.
But then he believes in me.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

That is of course one of the proofs of its sanctity, that no other institution could have survived its own worst efforts over so long a period. It was I think Napoleon who boasted that he could destroy the Catholic Church to which Cardinal Consalvi replied that he wouldn’t succeed where the clergy had been trying for over a thouand years.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

Indeed.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Terrell

Indeed.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Well said.

“The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

That is of course one of the proofs of its sanctity, that no other institution could have survived its own worst efforts over so long a period. It was I think Napoleon who boasted that he could destroy the Catholic Church to which Cardinal Consalvi replied that he wouldn’t succeed where the clergy had been trying for over a thouand years.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Well said.

“The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago