The Catholic Church is odious

The more I read about the Catholic Church, the more I see them as a pervasive source of evil in the world: almost as bad as Islam.

Their latest peccadillo? Denying confirmation to a Minnesota teenager who posted a picture on his Facebook page supporting a gay marriage amendment:

Lennon Cihak holds up the sign Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, that he photographed and posted on his Facebook page and was ultimately denied taking part in his Catholic Church confirmation about three weeks ago in Barnesville. (AP Photo / The Forum, Dave Wallis)

PuffHo reports:

Rev. Gary LaMoine of the Assumption Church in Barnesville, Minn., allegedly denied Lennon Cihak the religious rite of passage after seeing him online holding a sign altered to criticize the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports. The amendment would have changed the state’s constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Of course they deny it:

However, the priest has since told the Associated Press that the teen was not in fact denied confirmation, but declined to explain, calling it an “internal and pastoral” matter.

“Some people chose to run out into the public and put it out in the media,” LaMoine said. He also said he was consulting with the Catholic Diocese of Crookston about the issue.

Somebody in the Vatican is going to realize that unless the Pope has a revelation from God allowing abortion, contraception, and gay rights, the Catholics are going out of business—except, perhaps, in South America.

My only question is whether Lennon Cihak still wants to be confirmed, and if so, why?

And of course there’s Savita Halappanavar’s, who gave her life because of Catholic stupidity. Her parents weighed in yesterday from India. The Guardian:

In an attempt to save a 4-month-old foetus they killed my … daughter. How is that fair you tell me?” A Mahadevi told several Indian television stations.

“How many more cases will there be? The rules should be changed as per the requirement of Hindus. We are Hindus, not Christians.”

Halapanavar’s husband, Paveen, has claimed that when the couple asked for a termination, fearing for Savita’s life, the pair were told: “This is a Catholic country.” He said doctors knew his wife was miscarrying within hours of her being taken to hospital.

As PuffHo notes:

Ireland’s constitution officially bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling said the procedure should be legalized for situations when the woman’s life is at risk from continuing the pregnancy. Five governments since have refused to pass a law resolving the confusion, leaving Irish hospitals reluctant to terminate pregnancies except in the most obviously life-threatening circumstances.

The Guardian adds:

Irish anti-abortion groups continue to insist that the Republic’s laws were not responsible for Halappanavar’s death.

Niamh Uí Bhriain, of the Life Institute, said: “It is very sad to see abortion campaigners rush to exploit this case to further their own agenda. The tragic loss of Savita Halappanavar’s life was not caused by Ireland’s ban on abortion. We need to ensure that mothers and babies are best protected; and abortion is not part of best medical practise. It is medieval medicine.”

How, exactly, does she know what killed Halappanavar? If he says “infection,” he’s dissimulating.

Come on, citizens of Ireland! 60% of you favor legalized abortion, so make your government reflect your consensus.

77 Comments

  1. Posted November 16, 2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    This tragedy should mobilize all good Irish men and women to reject their nation’s abortion laws. Even religious Irish should be so moved to repeal this barbaric law and reject a religion that supports it.

  2. Posted November 16, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    “The Catholic Church is odious”!

    It certainly is. Jerry, I have been keeping in mind your comment, “We need more lawsuits, not more atheist conventions!” I agree, and I think concerned citizens, especially Catholics, in every country should let their bishops and cardinals know that they strongly abject to the Catholic Church’s behaviour. I write letters to priests and bishops, but letters from one person are easy to dismiss. Letters from thousands of people are not.

    • Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      A Royal Commission on institutionalised child abuse, embracing the Catholic Church and others is to be launched in Australia.

      And from today’s headlines: http://www.smh.com.au/national/catholic-churchs-secret-sex-files-20121116-29hkb.html

      • Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:17 am | Permalink

        Thanks MikeW, I’ve been following the news on the Royal Commission and I hope all Australians will support this commission.

        However, there is no Royal Commission in Canada, and I would like to encourage Canadians in particular to write letters.

        They could address their letters to Canada’s newest and high profile cardinal, Thomas Collins.

  3. Tulse
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    While the views of the Catholic Church are odious, I don’t understand why enforcing those views amongst their alleged adherents is. Catholic theology asserts a centralized authority for specifying Catholic belief, so if one is going to call oneself a Catholic, one presumably buys into that authority. I don’t see the issue here — they get to say what you have to do to be in their club.

    Frankly, I think we should be happy when situations like this arise, as it makes clear exactly what the beliefs of the religion are, and removes the cover that the wishy-washy believers used to have. I’m delighted that Ratzi has gone all fundamentalist on Catholicism, because it gives those who call themselves Catholics far less room to maneuver — you can’t accept birth control, abortion, gay rights, but still call yourself a Catholic. I see this as far more likely to push Catholics out of their religion than to harden their position.

    (Full disclosure: I am an ex-Catholic myself.)

    • NoAstronomer
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      I agree. Lennon demonstrated that his beliefs don’t line up with the club rules, so I would expect the club to not want him as one of their members. As I say below I don’t really understand why he wants to be in the club at all.

      • Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        The club will still count these heretics when it’s convenient

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      … you can’t accept birth control, abortion, gay rights, but still call yourself a Catholic

      Or at least not a Catholic in good standing.

      And somehow the death penalty never makes it onto that list. What’s that about?

    • notsont
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      That would be a valid point if they started indoctri err teaching their religion at the age of 18. Children do not get a choice and a large % of adults brought up in the religion find it nearly impossible to break the chains.

      • Posted November 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        The threat of Hell – including for not believing in Hell – is a good dodge. My (Protestant) peers tried that on me when I was eight, and though I couldn’t articulate my objection, I knew in my bones that its self-refentiality made it invalid.

    • jonny
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Spoken like a true (victim of) Catholic(ism). You’re clearly on the road to Recovery; I can attest to the immensity of that undertaking.

      Like Sharia law & orthodox Judaism, Catholic horror is imposed onto everyone born within the (ever-creeping) demarcated boundaries of their territorial control. The Church is built upon the illusory Rock of “human suffering”. Without misery, what possible reason or motive would humans have to consider loving a sociopath God or read the most inhumane literature ever written? Religion is all about suffering and to that end, the Church will viciously go after anything that resembles [humans having fun without hurting anybody].

      Gays, painkillers, sedatives, honesty, sex, women, social skills, children, etc; all ‘vices’ are merely the product of humans seeking Relief from Pain. The Church can compete with ‘Relief’ but if humans actually find Relief, the Church will be destroyed. So they corrupt all Relief until it becomes ‘Relief’. Perpetual misery is their entire game plan because misery is the process that corrupts humans into being inhumane. Anyone manufacturing suffering under the guise of ‘morality’ or ‘religion’ must be removed from the equation for Happiness.

      You’ve identified adherents who do not want to be Catholic. They have no real Choice & they’re in an early phase of the process.

      There are no Christians in the world who have not forsaken all that they have (Luke 14:33). So every Christian is merely pretending. You can distinguish between the sociopaths & narcissists as easily as isolating those who enforce & adhere to the Insufferable Rules from those who do not. The former have graduated from the preliminary phase & are actively “manufacturing suffering”; the latter are in the preliminary phase, forced to survive in a world of predators.

      They have no motive to generate suffering (yet). It’s not a good idea to give them the perception of one; which is exactly what the world is doing when their cries for help are ignored. Crying for help when in (legitimate) pain is a purely Selfish act. Coming to the rescue of those in (legitimate) pain is equally as Pure & Selfish. Humanity is entirely about Self; acting in collective Self-interest is the only nobility. Religion corrupts humans’ perception of Self by corrupting their (perceived) interests. Cue misery.

      Narcissists & sociopaths suffer from a corruption of their sense of Self. Sociopaths are very Needy. Narcissists just want everyone to leave them alone, oblivious of the pain they inflict on others. They can’t feel empathy. They’ve learned to block it out. Sociopaths have learned to fake ‘empathy’ (but not very convincingly, they feel exclusively for their selected victims). Only narcissists are ever fooled by “love”.

      Humans are Selfishly humane. To disconnect humans from Humanity, religious sociopaths generate Pain. Suffering. Conflict. Misery. They Need to feel in Control.

      Divide > Conquer > RULE.

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I was baptized as a Catholic and did the first communion thing at the age of 6, if I recall (I have pictures somewhere). Not being confirmed has certainly never bothered me – that’s a club I can do without. They did Lennon a big favor.

      There is a Catholic woman (whose name I can’t recall – Patricia something?) who used to periodically publish screeds at Salon lamenting Catholic mysogyny. I didn’t get it then and I still don’t get it. They have rules about what a Catholid is, they are assholes, but them’s the rules. Grow up and LEAVE their misbegotten club already!

    • Posted November 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Of course you can accept birth control etc and be a Catholic, else there would only be 10% of the west’s Catholics left. The Church is the people not just the hierarchy, and these statmements that you disagree with (and I do in part) are not infallible.

      • Posted November 26, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        The Catholic Church also makes a habit of excommunicating those who, for example, merely speak publicly in favor of reproductive rights.

        Then again, you can be a predatory serial child rapist or even organize a private child rape service for your subordinates and remain in the good graces of the Church — see Marcial Maciel Degollado and Cardinal Law for two examples — so I think it quite fair to note that the Church is the diametric opposite of infallible, in the most emphatic terms possible.

        Cheers,

        b&

        • Posted November 27, 2012 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          Please tell me who has been excommunicated for speaking in favour of reproductive rights. By the latter do you mean abortion. If so it is a curious euphemism. Many modern Catholics, however, are rethinking the idea of infallibility, especially in the way the Vatican is trying to extend it. But don’t make the mistake of thinking the Vatican is the Church.

          • Posted November 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

            Please tell me who has been excommunicated for speaking in favour of reproductive rights.

            Lucy Killea, Mario Cuomo, Gray Davis, John Kerry, Rudy Giuliani, Kathleen Sebelius, Joe Biden, and Patrick Kennedy have all been denied communion — the very definition of excommunication based on their positions on abortion. And that’s just the United States, and only recently.

            But don’t make the mistake of thinking the Vatican is the Church.

            When the Vatican stops doing so, so will I.

            b&

  4. Deb Trombl
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    This is what happens when Government gives itself the right to force women to bear children against their will!!! State-mandated childbirth?? We will NEVER let that happen to women again!!

  5. NoAstronomer
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Well, at least the church is being consistent on this.

    “My only question is whether Lennon Cihak still wants to be confirmed…”

    My question was why he wanted to be confirmed in the first place. Probably family pressure. Hopefully the the family will reconsider. Personal story below.

    “the Catholics are going out of business—except, perhaps, in South America.”

    Personally I think the church is screwed there too. They’ve had their own … issues.

    “In an attempt to save a 4-month-old foetus they killed my … daughter.”

    Which wsa a pointless exercise anyway since a 4-month old foetus has no chance of survival outsitde the womb. This was truly a choice between either both the mother and ‘child’ dying or an abortion.

    Mike.

    Personal Story
    My mother-in-law gave birth to my future wife at age 17, while she was enrolled at catholic high school. Although she had already married the father the school refused to let her graduate or give her her diploma because she had a baby. My wife’s grandparents do still attend a Catholic church (it’s too deeply ingrained for them) but none of their children do. That’s a whole bloodline cutoff because of an idiotic policy.

  6. Brygida Berse
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I would like to comment respectfully on Savita’s parents’ statement
    In an attempt to save a 4-month-old foetus they killed my … daughter

    Actually, the reality of that death was much more cruel. The doctors knew the fetus was undergoing a miscarriage and they didn’t (couldn’t) make attempts to save it. They watched a woman die and didn’t save her because they were forced to adhere to an inhuman protocol that values an imaginary “soul of the unborn” over the life of an actual human being.

    • Kevin Alexander
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure that that was what the doctors were thinking in this case. They knew perfectly well that the ‘soul of the unborn’ was doomed here.
      It’s more likely that it was a case of following rules, however unpleasant the outcome, in order to evade the dreaded slippery slope. It’s a way of avoiding unpleasant decisions.

      • Tulse
        Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        If I understand correctly, the doctors were trying not to do anything illegal. While the Irish Supreme Court has declared that abortion should be allowed to save a mother, the actual Irish criminal law doesn’t. The doctors in the Sativa case would have been violating Irish law if they had performed an abortion. That doesn’t make the case any less tragic, but it makes the real villains the Irish legislature, and not (so much, at least) the doctors who were following Irish law.

        • Brygida Berse
          Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          The doctors in the Sativa case would have been violating Irish law if they had performed an abortion.

          That’s exactly what I meant when I said that they “were forced to adhere to an inhuman protocol”.

        • Jeremy Pereira
          Posted November 20, 2012 at 5:33 am | Permalink

          Whilst I think you are correct that the doctors were thinking of the law rather than any religious doctrine (although one of them did say to the husband they couldn’t do the termination because it was a catholic hospital), I don’t think this absolves them from the blame.

          If you could save somebody’s life but it meant that you had to break the law, wouldn’t you do it anyway? I would.

          By the way: a doctor’s opinion on the case.

      • Brygida Berse
        Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. I wasn’t suggesting that the Irish doctors wanted to “save the soul of the fetus”. I don’t pretend to know what they were thinking. But I know that they had to follow the protocol that is based on the assumption that a fetus is a person, whose life cannot be terminated, because it has to be valued exactly the same as the life of any other human being. That assumption is based on the Catholic doctrine and is a simple consequence of the belief that something magical happens at conception (a soul goes into a fertilized egg), so from that moment on the zygote/embryo/fetus has human rights.

        • Posted November 16, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          It’s worse than that. Let us grant for the sake of argument that the fetus possesses personhood (there are secular arguments to this effect, albeit fallacious ones), and thus has rights that are legitimately in competition with those of the woman carrying it. It is still true that, when the fetus is doomed within the short term (as in this case), the only rational ethical choice is to save the woman by the most expeditious means possible. Waiting until the fetus dies on its own, because there’s something Magically Bad about hastening that process, at (fatal, as it turned out) risk to the woman, can only be justified on a religious view.

          • Posted November 16, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            All those variations on Milgram’s famous experiment in the form of pushing fat men off bridges in front of trolley cars that philosophers love to wax poetic about?

            Abortion is about the one-and-only real-world situation that bears any semblance to them.

            Curious, innit, how the philosophers go with pushing fat men off bridges in front of trolley cars rather than cutting to the chase and simply asking if a woman should be forcibly required to sacrifice her life for an unviable fetus.

            b&

            • jonny
              Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

              Philosophy is as corrupted as John Donne was confused. Donne was one of the finest poetic humanitarians in History but irrefutably corrupted by religious conditioning to the point where he imagined Humanity consisted of “men” and that the continent of the globe was “Europe”.

              Religious corruption prevented his understanding that not every clod washed away is a loss for Humanity. On the contrary, every clod that imagines something so illogical will be washed away by the clods that simply MUST be washed away to save the species from annihilation (or worse; the alternative is even more horrific).

              Ask not for whom the bell tolls,
              For it will never toll for Humanity until humans wash away the corrupted clods that cause innocent clods to be washed away.

              • Posted January 16, 2013 at 3:59 am | Permalink

                Jonny, that is a completely off-the-wall interpretation of Donne, and from what I know of him, does not account very well for Donne’s rich sense of humanity. He was not confused, or at least not confused in the ways that you confusingly suggest that he was.

            • Posted November 16, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

              +1

            • Posted January 16, 2013 at 3:57 am | Permalink

              Ben, I don’t get the point you are trying to make. In what way is so-called trolleyology relevant to what Stanley Milgram did (which was a psychological study of the effects of authority)? The trolley problems were introduced into ethics by Philippa Foot in 1967, and further refined by Judith Jarvis Thompson and others in the 90s. While thought experiments of the sort made famous by the trolley cases may be stretching our moral intuitions, it seems a bit ridiculous to suggest that we should not test our moral intuitions in thought experiments.

              But this does not have any close relevance to the issue of abortion, which raises a different set of issues. Most philosophers accept that abortion is morally justified, that it is the woman’s choice, and the only people that I know who oppose all abortion in principle are Catholics and Muslims. So, why the hard words for philosophy? Milgram’s experiment was a psychological experiment, and had nothing to do with moral intuitions.

              • Posted January 17, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

                Eric,

                I don’t doubt that it was the intention of Foot and Thompson and the others that the trolley car experiments should be useful ways to probe human moral intuitions.

                The problem is the experiments, as actually implemented, are so horribly flawed that all they are is a trivial variation on Milgram’s famous experiment.

                In Milgram’s experiment, an authority figure tells the subject to press a button that will kill another person. In the trolley experiments, an authority figure (the philosopher) tells the subject to imagine moving a lever that will kill another person. In both cases, doing as the authority figure tells the subject to to is an horrific action, yet the subjects still do as the authority figure insists must be done, rather than immediately terminate the encounter and seek assistance from proper legal authority.

                (If you were ever present in a real-life playing out of the trolley car incident, either you’re a trained professional encountering a disaster in progress and should have proper emergency procedures drilled into you, or you’re a random civilian whose only responsibility is to seek out said professionals. You most emphatically should not be messing with critical industrial safety equipment in the midst of a crisis, except under the direct order of a qualified professional or trained emergency responder. Either way, the ethical failure has nothing to do with the person who has an opportunity to flip the switch, but is instead a series of egregious violations of safety procedures, including those to prevent equipment malfunctions, those that keep people off of live tracks, those that have operators monitoring switches where work is being done, etc., etc., etc. The civilian’s only duty is to get help and to provide the best report possible to investigators, and to absolutely do nothing to interfere.)

                As far as abortion goes…well, the intended purpose of the trolley car experiments — the purpose at which they fail so miserably — is to evaluate the situations in which we chose who lives and who dies. Abortion is one of the very few real-world situations that people are likely to encounter in which they’re faced with something sorta resembling that type of a choice.

                If philosophers were serious about studying morality and ethics, they wouldn’t bother with these twisted trolley car experiments. They especially wouldn’t add on the deranged Nazi SS officer variants where you have to choose between the Nazi shooting your wife or your daughter. There’s nothing useful in any of that.

                Instead, they’d do exactly what actual ethicists do — investigate workplace and job site safety to figure out what procedures and policies and practices to implement to ensure that nobody ever has to make that type of decision in the first place, and to drill people (such as pilots) who might have to face such a decision anyway in the best ways to mitigate disasters when they happen anyway (try to aim the doomed plane away from people on the ground).

                That’s the difference between philosophy and science, after all. Philosophy deals with imaginary fantasies with no bearing on reality, while science refines models to fit observations.

                Cheers,

                b&

          • Brygida Berse
            Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            It is still true that, when the fetus is doomed within the short term (as in this case), the only rational ethical choice is to save the woman by the most expeditious means possible.

            It is true only if you assume that the fetus is at best “a lesser human”. It is not true if you consider the fetus a full person.

            Imagine the situation when a dying person’s organs could save a life of another human, but the organs are needed right away and, by doctors’ best judgement, the doomed person still has several days to live. Would it be ethical to kill them now in order to save another? I don’t think so and the Irish law applies the same reasoning to the situation with the dying fetus. It all starts when they grant fetus full personhood, based on magic.

            • Brygida Berse
              Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

              It should be:

              when they grant every fetus

            • Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

              Worng analogy.

              Should firefighters force women to rush into a burning building to rescue their own toddlers from the flames?

              If yes, you’re crazy, but you can at least be consistent in banning abortion.

              If not, then you’ve got no reasonable basis for banning abortion.

              b&

              • Brygida Berse
                Posted November 16, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

                You did not demonstrate that my analogy was wrong. Saving Savita (or at least protecting her from a substantial risk of septicemia) required destroying the fetus, which in the mind of Catholics is another human being with the same right to live as the mother. It doesn’t matter that this human was dying – until he/she was dead, it would be (in their opinion, not mine) unethical to sacrifice him/her to save another human being.

                In order to accept the possibility of an ethical abortion, you have to start with the assumption that a fetus is not a person, or at least that it is not a full human with full human rights. Which by the way is my position, so I think you are barking up the wrong tree here.

              • Brygida Berse
                Posted November 16, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

                Sorry, html mishap.

              • Tulse
                Posted November 16, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

                In order to accept the possibility of an ethical abortion, you have to start with the assumption that a fetus is not a person, or at least that it is not a full human with full human rights.

                Not true — you just have to adjudicate between the rights of the fetus and the rights of the mother. We often determine whether some full human with full human rights should die in order to protect/save some other full human with full human rights. For example, it isn’t uncommon in the case of conjoined twins to do a surgery that has a large chance of killing one of the twins, in order to save one of them. In less rare cases, police will not infrequently kill a suspect who poses an imminent threat to the life of someone else. And of course we have the circumstances of war, and many anti-abortion advocates are also pro-death penalty, both cases where full humans are killed with permission of the state.

              • Posted November 16, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

                Tulse has it exactly right.

                Even if the fetus is fully a person, it’s a person actively parasitizing and directly threatening the life of its host, the woman. If the police had a hostage situation where somebody was sucking blood from the victim, a sharpshooter wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger if given a clear shot, and rightly so.

                Or, as I wrote, not quite so dramatically, a woman can’t possibly be reasonably forced to enter a burning building in order to rescue her own children.

                The “personhood” status of the fetus is a red herring. All that matters is the woman’s right to sovereignty over her own body.

                The forced-birth position can only possibly make sense if there’s only one life involved, that of the fetus, and if that life is fully independent of all other lives. Such is so far from the actual fact of the matter it’d be laughable were it not for the atrocities perpetrated as a result.

                b&

          • Posted November 27, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

            It appears to have escaped the secular media that the Irish bishops have published a statement condemning the decision in this instance (see last week’s Tablet) and saying that there would have been no problem with extracting the foetus under the Catholic double effect teaching.

    • Occam
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      The rules should be changed as per the requirement of Hindus. We are Hindus, not Christians.

      The bereaved mother is entitled to such an opinion, given the outrageous death of her daughter.
      However, I wonder why no one reacts to the implications.
      This would mean the re-introduction of medieval ad personam law. Territorial law was once hailed as a cornerstone of modernity: a person would no longer be judged qua birthright. Do we really want to rescind? Is this kind of communal separatism not precisely what religious zealots are claiming for themselves whenever they realise they cannot roll back modernity at the national level?

      Philosophers could make themselves useful for once by analysing this aspect of the tragedy, by pointing out that ‘faith’-based communities, so-called, put so little trust in their members that they have to conquer and abuse the state’s condign power to enforce their private club’s rules. They could reflect, again, on the conditions of universalist legislation as the only viable base for modern states. They could explain why Kant’s first formulation of the Categorical Imperative is of more acute importance than ever:

      Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.

      • Grania Spingies
        Posted November 17, 2012 at 5:50 am | Permalink

        I see your point but the thing is that Ireland doesn’t operate under Canon Law, for all the talk of it being “a Catholic” country. Both the law and its constitution are supposed to be secular, not Catholic.

        For example, Ireland has had no trouble in allowing same-sex couple from forming civil unions and will almost certainly soon allow for gay marriage.

        So the fact that non-Catholics are forced to suffer for Catholic principles in the case of abortion is obscene and in that context the mother’s comments are reasonable enough. She isn’t advocating for the laws of India to apply in Ireland, she’s pointing out that a non-Catholic was forced to suffer and die for Catholic ideology.

  7. Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Seems to me the Church is doing a great service to Lennon, and I encourage them to stand firm with their convictions. All LGBTQ people, all those who support civil rights for LGBTQ people, all those who support abortion rights, all those who use or support the use of contraceptives, and all those who have engaged in sex outside of marriage or who support the right to non-marital sex should be immediately excommunicated.

    By my rough approximation, that would reduce the membership of the Church to a most right and proper round number.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Heber
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      These were exactly my thoughts when I read the first story. Our outrage and frustration pver the catholic church I think is misplaced. Rather, we should be deriding and questioning liberal minded people who insist on belonging to an organization that deliberately and systematically excludes them.

      The second story is, well, a different story. While the first case is about a boy who despise his support for gays, willingly (or by the will of his parents) sought confirmation at a homophobic organization.The second story is about the abject debasement of a mother by the government. On this I agree with Coyne, liberals should raise their voices against such institutionalized bullshit.

  8. E.A. Blair
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    “And of course there’s Savita Halappanavar’s, who gave her life because of Catholic stupidity.”

    I disagree. I disagree totally. Her life was taken, not given.

    She wasn’t a self-sacrificing good Catholic woman who said, “Kill me, but don’t harm the dying fetus.”

    And if a pregnant Catholic woman did say that, would she be denied a church funeral on the grounds that she committed suicide? Probably. It makes perfect sense according to Catholic logic.

    • Brygida Berse
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      And if a pregnant Catholic woman did say that, would she be denied a church funeral on the grounds that she committed suicide? Probably.

      On the contrary, they would make her a saint. It has happened before:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gianna_Beretta_Molla

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted November 16, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        You’re right. In fact, they’d probably find a way to do both at once.

  9. Donald L. Anderson
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Excellent article.

    I have been writing this for decades.

    Tyranny is tyranny. Can’t burn ‘em at the stake anymore, soooo …

    Yes, the church does good. But, weighing both the goods and bad, I agree with Coyne that the church is “a pervasive source of evil in the world.”

  10. Martin
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I can’t help but laugh at the Catholic Church trying to condemn something as ‘medieval’.

    • NoAstronomer
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Thanks! I missed that, now I’m laughing my head off.

    • Occam
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Given the antiquity of the Catholic church — witness the Etruscan ancestry of many of its rites and terminology — medieval would actually be progressive.

      • Martin
        Posted November 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        That’s probably why Galileo was such a threat.

      • Marella
        Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Etruscan, really? Do you have a link to a book or website about this I could read? It sounds fascinating.

        • Occam
          Posted November 16, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Straightforward Etruscan-Roman transmission.

          Look up the history of curia or pontifex as salient examples; lots of references for those.

  11. Sunny
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    “[...] except, perhaps, in South America”

    I think the Church will always have the Philippines.

    ————
    Niamh Uí Bhriain, of the Life Institute, said: “[...] It is medieval medicine.”

    It is the Church’s dogma that is medieval not medicine.

    • jonny
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Somebody in the Vatican is going to realize that unless the Pope has a revelation from God allowing abortion, contraception, and gay rights, the Catholics are going out of business—except, perhaps, in South America.

      The Vatican is not remotely confused about their strategy; they will continue to take huge blows for their anti-gay position but they will never reverse it nor will they “go out of Business” (perfect phrasing) BECAUSE of their position on contraception & abortion & the LGBT community.

      Catholic Africa’s population is SOARING. I noted that fact (Africa’s Catholicism) was overlooked by everyone here. But 50 million killed by Catholic AIDS (Source: Logic, Evidence & Medicines sans Frontiers estimate which is looking insufficiently low as the years fly by) – and that’s WHY the population is soaring.

      It’s counter-intuitive but not really. Death manufactures Misery. Misery manufactures Needy. Needy produces Life (quantity over quality) but not really; no one really “lives”. We fight to survive. And that’s the entire religious ballgame right there. That’s religion’s ‘edge’ and it always has been. Make children miserable & you create perpetual misery. Pain begat pain. It’s that simple.

      Look at this graph showing population growth in the Catholic Republic of the Philippines.

      Religion ain’t going out of Business until humans understand that divided we fall, united we soar into the stratosphere. You might snicker at the idealism, but anyone who does is a victim of Religion’s reversal of logic to illogical. We need to change the logic back to logical. I’m talking about shameless, craven, ruthless, merciful Selfishness. I’m talking about Human animals being humane for once in our miserable existence as emotional vases which shatter at ‘mean’ words & kill whomever we’re instructed to, by those who frighten us the most.

      I’m talking about vicious optimality. Sentimentalism & idealism (and emotive constructs) haven’t a damn thing to do with it.

  12. raven
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Well it isn’t all bad. The Catholic church is producing ex-Catholics by the tens of millions.

    1. The US RCC has lost 1/3 of its members in the last few years, 22 million people.

    2. 10% of the US population are ex-Catholics.

    3. Half my extended family are Catholics. None go to mass any more. One is a mid level lay church official-in a Protestant church.

    4. The RCC hasn’t been able to get good priests for decades and it is starting to show. Even the hierarchy are warped old men who aren’t very bright.

    5. According to a US CDC survey, birth control use among relevant Catholic women is 98%. If the RCC tossed all their members who didn’t follow their silly rules, they would cease to exist.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      “The Catholic church is producing ex-Catholics by the tens of millions.”

      The correct term is “recovering Catholics” (as is true for most who suffer from chronic debilitating diseases).

  13. Posted November 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    As an former insider to this cult, I have witnessed the power of shunning (they tried it on me, but I just begged for more) and the equally potent allure of being told how special Catholics are by the powers to be (I found such emphasis to be boring).

    Though fear of death is a big draw of religions, for Catholics, it is also being told that life as a process itself is awful, that is, it is a process that god has set into motion and will end when it desires while all the time watching your every move which becomes an internalized surveillance. It is the most abject prison of all prisons–you are your own prisoner as you do not even need a jail keeper after a while.

    For me, it is the individual Catholic that is the problem in this day and age. These people are just plain weird to remain attached to this horrible institution. As I am fond of saying, please Catholics, dangle that instrument of torture around your gullible, unethical necks so I can run in the opposite direction.

  14. Posted November 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Using a heartbeat to determine viability is terribly misleading. The heart is very self-sustaining. It “lives” after the rest of the foetus is dead. As a zoology student I, and doubtless many of you, were fascinated by the still-beating heart of a dissected frog.

    That is one reason the heart is the object of such fascination, culminating in one direction in the devotion to the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” and the “Pierced Heart of Mary”, and in another in the Aztec custom of tearing out the beating heart of the living victim. (And, now I come to think of it, why I gave my husband a heart-shaped box of chocolates on our anniversary the other day.)

    This fixation on an anomalous organ as the test of viability is what led to Savita’s death – and how many others?

  15. the Siliconopolitan
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    What was the old dude doing looking at Bookface profiles of teenagers in the first place?

  16. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile, clothed in the finest silk garments, his hands replete with priceless jewelry, sequestered away in a palatial home having inestimable value, Pope Ratzi finishes gesticulating and murmuring nonsensical phrases to a room full of mostly nitrogen, whereupon he then shuffles off in expensive Italian leather slippers to drop a 3-coil steamer into a golden-rimmed vessel of holy water, confident that poor young Savita Halappanavar, and her unborn baby, are better off dead.

  17. Posted November 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    “How, exactly, does he know what killed Halappanavar? If he says “infection,” he’s dissimulating.”

    …But in the same manner, we can’t know that the lack of an abortion killed her. Often in a case where miscarriage is deemed inevitable, it’s the view of doctors that allowing it to occur naturally represents the safest option. Especially when you’re dealing with an infection.

    • abrotherhoodofman
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      But you know that God exists, amirite?

    • Jeremy Pereira
      Posted November 20, 2012 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      Apologies for posting the link twice, but
      a doctor disagrees with you

  18. Lars
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Minor point, Jerry, but I believe that “Niamh” is a woman’s name.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted November 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Thanks; I’ve fixed it.

      • gravelinspector
        Posted November 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        You’ve “she”‘d one of the “he”s, but there’s a second one.
        (Gaelic names! I once attended a computer nerd’s meeting with 5 people with the same name as me, by pronunciation ; no two were spelt the same.)

  19. jose
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    A catholic Spanish politician was denied the eucharist because he supported an abortion reform bill. He declared he was sad to see pictures of dictator and mass murderer Pinochet receiving the eucharist without a problem.

  20. gravelinspector
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Catholic church digging new lows. Not exactly news.

  21. Posted November 17, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Homo economicus' Weblog and commented:
    Shared by Richard Dawkins, the blog shows how religion tries sanctions against free speech and denies life saving procedures. Time to wake up people and demand change!

  22. Steve In Oakland
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    Every year the Catholic Church in California has a huge “pro-life” parade and rally in San Francisco. There is always a counter-demonstration, with a much smaller number of people dogging the “pro-life” group through town, often with confrontations between the two sides. These confrontations are usually only verbal, but get quite heated at times. At one of these I had a “pro-choice” sign. There was a bathroom in a park on the parade route, and I went in, leaving my sign with the “pro-life” signs just inside the door, and waited in line with everyone else. I was the only counterdemonstrator in there. Two police officers came in to also use the facility. One saw my sign in the corner and said to his partner, “Wow! We’ve got people from both sides in here!” I said, “Well, when you gotta go you gotta go,” which got a laugh from not only the two cops, but also from the “pro-life” pissers also in the bathroom. Everything seemed comradely and jovial, just a bunch of people with different points of view, until I went to leave and found that one of the “pro-life” guys had peed on my sign. I shook the excess liquid off onto their signs, and carried my now-sullied sign the rest of the route.

  23. Posted November 18, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    If you look at the Galway University Hospital’s website, it claims to play “a leadership role in acute service delivery”, and:

    Why we exist
    To provide excellent, safe and accessible health care, supported by teaching and research, that improve the quality of life for patients.

    What we want to achieve
    To be the hospital of choice for the people of Galway and beyond.

    Our ideals
    We put patients first
    We maintain the highest standards of behaviour

    Core Value
    “The patient is our core reason for being”

    http://www.guh.hse.ie/About_Us/

  24. Posted November 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    The ‘Catholic Church’ does not == one priest or one set of doctors. In the abortion case the Irish law is that abortion is illegal unless the mother’s life is threatened. In this case it clearly was, and so there was a tragic medical mis-call.

  25. E.A. Blair
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    And of course there’s Savita Halappanavar’s, who gave her life because of Catholic stupidity.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong! Savita Halappanavar was Hindu, not Catholic; she did not give her life, it was taken from her by Catholics in the name of Catholicism.

  26. Steve In Oakland
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:18 am | Permalink

    Joseph McCabe was a Roman Catholic priest who gave up the ghost for atheism. He wrote quite a bit about the shady side of the Catholic Church for E. Haldeman-Julius Publications in Girard, Kansas. http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/joseph_mccabe/

  27. Steve In Oakland
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    Four FEMEN “Sextremists” disrupted the Pope’s weekly gathering at the Vatican last Sunday, protesting against the Vatican’s most recent commentary on homosexuality. As you can see in this video, FEMEN was very vocal, and one, Inna Schevchenko, proved to be too much for a Vatican undercover policewoman, finally requiring a half dozen uniformed men to bodily remove her to a dungeon somewhere, still shouting “Homophobe, SHUT UP” at the pope. No word, yet, as to what happened to the four women, or what, if anything, they were charged with.


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  1. [...] a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, the same church that is responsible for the death of Savita Halappanavar and for refusing to confirm Lennon Cihak. 50 years ago, the Catholic Church produced a document [...]

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