Monday, July 25, 2011
Why does anyone remain a member of the Roman Catholic Church?
The religious beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church are so irrational, so far from common sense, so soaked in religious hocus-pocus that sane and sensible people cannot comprehend its attraction to the masses. Here's a sampling: 1) Babies are born in sin because of the mythical Adam and Eve who committed the "original" sin. If a baby dies before it is baptized, it is doomed to eternal punishment. 2) The Pope, who is just another priest elected by his fellow priests, is thought to be the voice of some eternal god and thus has the ability to determine right and wrong on earth. 3) When the priest says the magic words during the Mass, the bread and wine actually turn into the physical body and blood of the legendary Jesus. 4) A priest can forgive you of your sins. 5) Non-Catholics are in danger of eternal hellfire. 6) Abortion is a greater sin that pederasty. 7) People who have committed "mortal" sins which they have not confessed go straight to eternal hellfire when they die, whereas people who have committed "venial" sins go to an imaginary place called Purgatory where they can work their way into heaven. Their relatives can also buy their way out of Purgatory. 8) Women are inferior to men and therefore cannot be priests. 9) Celibacy is a worthier lifestyle than marriage. 10) Contraception is wrong because God wants all sperm to have a chance to become a living being. 11) The Bible can be interpreted properly only by Roman Catholic clergy. And there's so much more of this kind of nonsense.
We wonder again, why do people remain in the Catholic church?
But it just gets worse! In recent years, we have become aware of the fact that another mark of the Roman church is pederasty or child sexual abuse. Literally thousands of priests, nuns and bishops all over the world have been involved in the sexual abuse of children. What makes this even more difficult to deal with is that the Vatican - the headquarters of the Roman church - has been instrumental in covering up these horrific crimes.
One of the countries where the most virulent sexual and physical abuse was instigated by both priests and nuns is Ireland. Ireland is a Roman stronghold. According to the Huffington Post, the Roman church "still owns most schools and several hospitals" in Ireland and "state broadcasters still toll a twice-daily call to Catholic prayer."
But authorities in Ireland have had enough. The Vatican is said to have "sabotaged efforts by Catholic bishops to report clerical sex abuse cases to police." This lead Eamon Gilmore, Ireland's Foreign Minister, to tell the papal ambassador to provide an "official response" to said accusations. The Vatican instead recalled the papal ambassador, supposedly to consult on what the Vatican's response should be.
If past is prologue, we can guess. The pope and his minions will play down the controversy and claim they have done all they can to mitigate the problem, which is untrue. We have learned long ago that statements from the Vatican are to be treated like any other political statements - as lies until proven to be true.
One reason we know this is because last January, the Associated Press published a "confidential 1997 Vatican letter" that "instructed Irish bishops to handle child-abuse cases strictly under the terms of canon law. It warned bishops that their 1996 child protection policy, particularly its emphasis on the need to start reporting all suspected crimes to police, violated canon law."
This should not be surprising to anyone who has studied the history of the Roman church. Historically, it has always protected the institution no matter what the cost in terms of human lives or human suffering. World War II provides a good example of just that.
The question arises again: In light of the history of the Roman church, and in light of the terrible, ungodly evil the church has perpetrated on its children via its official representatives, why would anyone remain a Roman Catholic today?