Surprise: Pope Francis believes in Satan and demons

Whenever someone claims that the Catholic Church is down with science because it accepts evolution, I remind them that:

1. The Church accepts theistic evolution, with human exceptionalism, so that humans are the unique species into whose lineage God inserted a soul. (And 23% of Catholics, defying their own faith in a more conservative direction, are young-earth creationists.)

2. The official doctrine of the Church is that Adam and Eve were the literal ancestors of all humanity. That, too, is wrong, and clearly does not comport with what science tells us.

3. The Church accepts the notion of Satan and Hell, which is about as retrograde a belief you can have in our modern world; and

4. The Church accepts demonic possession that can be reversed by exorcism. In fact, I believe the Vatican has its own official exorcist, and there are hundreds of trained priests operating as exorcists throughout the world.

In  a piece in Saturday’s Washington Post, A modern pope gets old school on the devil“, we learn that Pope Francis is a big booster of the demonic-possession hypothesis:

Largely under the radar, theologians and Vatican insiders say, Francis has not only dwelled far more on Satan in sermons and speeches than his recent predecessors have, but also sought to rekindle the Devil’s image as a supernatural entity with the forces­ of evil at his beck and call.

Last year, for instance, Francis laid handson a man in a wheelchair who claimed to be possessed by demons, in what many saw as an impromptu act of cleansing. A few months later, he praised a group long viewed by some as the crazy uncles of the Roman Catholic Church — the International Association of Exorcists — for “helping people who suffer and are in need of liberation.”

. . . “Pope Francis never stops talking about the Devil; it’s constant,” said one senior bishop in Vatican City who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely. “Had Pope Benedict done this, the media would have clobbered him.”

Indeed; Francis is given a pass. When are those people who are so impressed by his “humility” going to learn that it’s just a facade, behind which lurks all the incense-scented malfeasance and superstition of Catholicism? And, far from reforming his church by nudging Catholics toward more enlightened sentiments, Pope Francis is keeping the Church mired in the Middle Ages, at least on the issues of Satan and demons:

By most accounts, the ranks of official exorcists number between 500 and 600 in a global church of more than 1 billion Catholics, with the vast majority operating in Latin America and Eastern Europe. This week, at the ninth and largest Vatican-sanctioned convention on exorcism, attendees gushed about the fresh recognition being afforded the field.

Almost 200 delegates — most of them priests and nuns — from more than two dozen nations talked about how Satanic cults are spreading like wildfire in the age of the Internet.

The new pope, exorcists say, has become their champion in the face of modern skeptics, many of them within the Catholic faith. Officially, those claiming to be possessed must first undergo psychiatric evaluations. But exorcists say that liberal Catholic bishops have often rejected their services even after such due diligence.

“The sad truth is that there are many bishops and priests in our church who do not really believe in the Devil,” said the Rev. Gabriele Amorth, the 89-year-old priest who is perhaps the closest thing the church has to a Hollywood-style exorcist. “I believe Pope Francis is speaking to them. Because when you don’t believe, the Devil wins.”

Yes, these people really do believe in Satan, and that itself is unbelievable! Where’s the evidence for Satan, much less God?

The reader who sent me this link, reader Matt, added a note to this effect:

“More Catholic craziness below.  I clipped a quote from the article.  Get a load of how one exorcist determines if a person is possessed.  It’s amusing.  But then you realize that people who really need psychological help sometimes get mixed up with these jackasses and it is sad and pathetic.  And then to know that the Pope supports this nonsense is horrifying.”

Matt was referring to the following “clip” from the Post piece:

During the conference, the Rev. Cesar Truqui, an exorcist based in Switzerland, recounted one experience he had aboard a Swissair flight. “Two lesbians,” he said, had sat behind him on the plane. Soon afterward, he said, he felt Satan’s presence. As he silently sought to repel the evil spirit through prayer, one of the women, he said, began growling demonically and threw chocolates at his head.

Asked how he knew the woman was possessed, he said that “once you hear a Satanic growl, you never forget it. It’s like smelling Margherita pizza for the first time. It’s something you never forget.”

And Matt added:

“I’ll never think about Margherita pizza the same way.  Now, how does Truqui know these women are lesbians?  Does he believe lesbianism is consistent with demonic possession? And what growling demons attack by throwing chocolates?  Booooorrrrring.  No spitting vomit?  No spinning heads?  If this guy wants a career in exorcism he better get a better story.”

The article ends with the description of an exorcism by Amorth. Have a look if you want to truly apprehend the craziness of this faith. The only thing that’s missing is the vomiting of pea soup.

I’d love to ask Catholics who are scientists or science-friendly—like Kenneth Miller of Brown University or Peter Hess of the National Center for Science Education—what they think of the Catholic Church’s acceptance of demons and the historicity of Adam and Eve. I’m sure they’d say it is nonsense—if they had the courage to answer—but then how can they maintain, as they do, that there’s no conflict between science and Catholicism?

122 Comments

  1. francis
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    //

    • Draken
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      He’s amongst us! An Apparition from the Holy See!

  2. Barry Lyons
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Regarding point four, here’s a NYT piece from 2010:

    “For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism is Revived”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/13/us/13exorcism.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0

    • Frank
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      The recent Oscar-winning Italian film, The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza), nicely skewers the Catholic Church and its antiquated theology, in part through a Cardinal character who achieved his fame as a leading exorcist, but who only REALLY wants to talk about food recipes.

  3. Christian
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I’m sure that many of the upper echelons in the RCC wish they could get out of that corner without losing face but I’m afraid the swath of paint all around them is already too wide to make that leap so they’re simply stuck to defend the indefensible.

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      There are some Catholics who find this stuff embarrassing, but not embarrassing enough to write to Rome saying:

      Dear Holy Father
      Stop this nonsense at once, you’re making us all seem like fools.

      However, this stuff plays well to the superstitious and credulous, and is perpetuated by revered members of the Vatican who don’t appear to be very intimately acquainted with sanity.

      My guess is that the current Pope is of the former rather than the latter, although he has lumped in such made-up things as the Gay Agenda and Masonic Lobbies(*) when he lists the world’s evils. Either he has read too many Dan Brown novels, or any day now he is going to add shape-shifting lizard aliens to his list of “worse problems”.

      *I’m not making this up: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-23489702

      • Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Oh, the RCC will continue to court both types of members. They want all the money they can get.

        The sad thing is that the members will put up with and rationalize the two-facédness, instead of treating it like the deal-breaker it should be.

        • Grania Spingies
          Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          It was certainly one of the things that helped me on my way out the door, as a matter of fact.
          :)

      • Kevin
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        I would say most Catholics are silently embarrassed. Admission of fault is a direct link to unrecoverable delusion and that is worth avoiding for a Catholic, even if is plainly embarrassing.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      A book I read in the 1990s noted that the request for exorcisms by lay Catholics multiplied by the thousands after the film “The Exorcist” came out!!!

      Unlike Robert Anton Wilson who isn’t sure if he really believes the Illuminati stuff in his fiction (which similarly revived massive interest in Illuminati conspiracy theories), William Peter Blatty pretty much believes this stuff.

      The pope might be individually humble and still very superstitious.

  4. Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Pizza Margherita?? I think he must have smelled a Pizza Diavola!

    • Posted May 13, 2014 at 2:33 am | Permalink

      We have a franchise called Hell Pizzas.

      http://hellpizza.com/nz/

      Their phone no is 0800 666 111 and their location map is headed “Select Your Hell Hole”
      Their menu includes all the Deadly Sins as well as Sinister, Cursed, Purgatory, Limbo and Damned.

      New Zealand is a bit more relaxed about religion than the US. Somehow I can’t see this taking off in the Bible Belt of the US.

      They also offer Misfortune coookies.

  5. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Harvard Club Hosts Black Mass; Catholic Church Freaks Out

    • abrotherhoodofman
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that link! Funny as hell.

      For anybody wondering, the big kerfuffle here is not the fact that Satan worship will take place in the basement of Harvard’s Memorial Auditorium, but whether the cracker they will use in the ceremony has been consecrated (i.e. muttered over by a Catholic priest) or not.

      That’s the real danger here, because if some deluded knucklehead wearing a collar prays over the cracker, then the cracker changes into a piece of human flesh… stay with me here, I know it sounds batshit… and then those crazy Satanists might call down The Horned One himself, who will be mad as heck and might even disrupt a Red Sox game. And we can’t have that, cuz even as big as David (“Big Papi”) Ortiz is, he’s no match for Beelzebub’s heat…

      (Ok I’ll shut up now)

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Hell, I thought killing people over this shit in the 1400s was a bit much. These holy men surely must’ve known better, even during the Dark Ages. The fact that people are making a big deal about this 600 years later is just silly.

        • Posted May 12, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          I just saw a story that apparently all the outrage was enough to force the group to cancel the event. So much for supporting freedom of expression, eh?

      • Posted May 13, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Crackers!

        /@ / Katowice

  6. Barry Lyons
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Favorite line from the WP article:

    “He is opening the door to superstition,” said Vito Mancuso, a Catholic theologian and writer.

    OPENING the door?!?

    • Matt G
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Holding it open and ringing a bell.

    • Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      I sent that story to Jerry this morning. As we speak, the forces of good and evil are throwing haymakers all around Harvard. Metaphorical ones of course. Except when one if the metaphors occasionally goes rogue and has an empirically testable effect on people, in the form of pizza perfume. If I could get up to Boston tonight to witness this, I would, for surely this is a very stupid salad.

  7. Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I often hear this strange and unforgettable growl in the airplanes, but I just assume it’s the airplane engines.

    • Matt G
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      I’ve only heard it on JetBlue flights. I’m willing to put up with possessed planes if the fares are low.

      • Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Just so long as it’s not the oxygen generators that’re growling….

        b&

      • abrotherhoodofman
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Funny!

      • Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Or you can pay extra and get pre-exorcised seats in first class.

        • Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          What’s the fun in that? If I’m going to pay extra for first class, I at least want the little luxuries, like satan sheets….

          b&

          • merilee
            Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

            boooo;-))

          • Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

            And for significant extra, you could get the Shroud of Turin instead.

            • merilee
              Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

              as the anti-maccassar thingie on the headrest;-)

            • Posted May 13, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

              Pay more for dirty linens covered in ectoplasm? Thanks, but I’ll pass…

              b&

    • gluonspring
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Landing gear going up/down too.

      • Draken
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Person behind you using the barf bag.

    • microraptor
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      “This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our entry sequence, so we might experience some slight turbulence, and then… explode.”

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 13, 2014 at 5:29 am | Permalink

        Bring back Firefly!

        • microraptor
          Posted May 13, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          It’ll never happen at this point.

          Even if they could somehow arrange it, at the very least, Summer Glau is really too old to play River anymore: she’s going to be 33 this year (only reason I know this is because I was born the same day she was- it’s totally not like I had a crush on her a decade ago or anything!).

  8. reasonshark
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    “I’d love to ask Catholics who are scientists or science-friendly—like Kenneth Miller of Brown University or Peter Hess of the National Center for Science Education—what they think of the Catholic Church’s acceptance of demons and the historicity of Adam and Eve. I’m sure they’d say it is nonsense—if they had the courage to answer—but then how can they maintain, as they do, that there’s no conflict between science and Catholicism?”

    Perhaps they’d treat it as if it were some kindly uncle’s eccentricity: “Yes, he’s a bit dotty around the edges, but he’s still a wise chap who means well, when you get down to it. It takes all sorts to make the world go round, and so on.”

    Or maybe Catholicism is one of Humpty Dumpty’s words: it merely means what its user wants it to mean. To one guy, Catholicism is full-blooded belief in transubstantiation and the tenets in the Nicene Creed; to another, Catholicism, and by extension the Church, is a symbol or bulwark of morality, and they want to be moral, plus some random daily rituals, so it’s just “their way” of showing they’re nice, moral guys. To such a mind, scandals and superstitious nonsense just prove some bad eggs can make it into an organisation founded on goodness.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      And people like your second example, like Kenneth Miller (?), are working very hard internally to ignore or badly rationalize to themselves blatant and constant evidence to the contrary. Because of a prior commitment to their religious beliefs. They have to mislead themselves in ways that they never would over other issues that they do not have such prior commitments to. They maintain a double standard and convince themselves that they are justified in doing so.

      We all do that to one degree or another but, as I just commented in another thread, in real life degrees do matter.

    • eric
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      I vaguely recall something like 90% of US RCC’s think the Pope’s stance on birth control is wrong, and don’t follow it. Given that background, it’s probably relatively easy for them to just apply the same argument to A&E – “the Pope’s wrong, but I’m not giving up my religion over it.”

      • Reginald Selkirk
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Your recollection is a bit too vague.
        The claim that 98 percent of Catholic women use contraception: a media foul

        The 98-percent figure first appeared in an April 2011 study written by Rachel K. Jones and Joerg Dreweke of the Guttmacher Institute

        • John Scanlon, FCD
          Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

          At the ‘media foul’ link:
          “But while the study says that 98 percent of “sexually experienced Catholic women” have “ever used a contraceptive method other than natural planning,” the data shown in the report does not actually back up that claim. In fact, a supplementary table in the report, on page 8, even appears to undermine that statistic, since it shows that 11 percent of Catholic women currently using no method at all.
          Obvious logic fail is obvious. As one of the commenters there notes,
          “when some one needs a fact checker for the “fact checker” it should be quite obvious that the fact checker needs to be let go.”

          • Matt G
            Posted May 13, 2014 at 3:37 am | Permalink

            Is the difference “use birth control” vs. “have ever used birth control”?

      • abrotherhoodofman
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        My devout Catholic mother will occasionally laugh at the Pontiff’s shenanigans – she belongs to a ‘modern, progressive’ church that knows how to practice real faith in Jesus.

        *sigh*

  9. Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Would it be impolitic of me to suggest that I’d have no problem with lesbians growling and throwing chocolates at me?

    Not that it’s the sort of thing I ever expect to have happen to me — but still, I can hardly imagine getting upset over it….

    b&

    • abrotherhoodofman
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      I heartily agree, Brother Ben. I suppose I would first need to know what kind of ‘chocolate’ is being hurled, because some of the larger chocolate bars will definitely leave a mark…

    • darrelle
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      It would have to be dark chocolate though. None of that milk chocolate stuff.

      • Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        …don’t look a gift chocolate in the mouth?

        b&

        • Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps they should replace those insipid white wafers called “hosts” by these chocolate coins. This would probably increase church attendance.

          • Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

            Yes, but they’d have to revise the symbolic imagery. “Take this, my shit, and eat it….”

            Plus, knowing the Church, it wouldn’t be real chocolate they’d hand out, but instead some sort of chalky brown wax-like substance industrially manufactured on a planet where cacao plants live.

            b&

            • Posted May 12, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

              So, carob?

              • Posted May 13, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

                I really wish carob wasn’t marketed as a substitute for chocolate. Carob is a lovely bean, but trying to pretend that it’s chocolate does a great disservice all the way ’round. Same thing with tofu: it’s a great food, but it is not suitable for lasagne as a substitute for mozzarella!

                If you want to describe carob to somebody who’s not familiar with it, it might be okay to say that if you like chocolate you should also like carob — but only if you point out that they’re as different from each other as grapes and blackberries. Once you’ve got that out of the way, you can enjoy carob for its own merits as its own food, and not be disappointed that it’s not chocolate (which it isn’t and never should pretend to be).

                Probably best to describe carob as a darker and more complex variation on the mesquite pod thing…except that nobody outside of the Southwest is going to know what mesquite pods are like, and not very many in the Southwest at that….

                b&

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          Since it was a Swissair flight, one might hope it was demonically good chocolate.

          • Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            Good point! I’m a fan of Scharffen Berger, myself…but there’s no denying that the Swiss know their chocolate.

            b&

          • merilee
            Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            Devil’s Food Cake??

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Since it was a Swissair flight, one might hope it was demonically good chocolate.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          Woa. I fell into a wormhole.

      • Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        darrelle: agreed. If it’s 90% cacoa anyone, including the devil him/her self, can chuck all the chocolate they want at me!

        • Posted May 12, 2014 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          90%?!

          Wow. I’m a dark chocolate guy myself, but anything over 75-80% is too rich for my blood.

          • merilee
            Posted May 12, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

            Me, too. Dark chocolate gal, but closer to 70-80% Don’t like milk chocolate at all. I’m not a lesbian but I might be tempted to throw the milk chockies…

            • abrotherhoodofman
              Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

              Ha!

          • Posted May 13, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

            There are times when I like 100%…but for nibbling, it’s hard to beat Sharffen Berger’s 82%. They have these 5g “tasting squares” that they sell by the bagful….

            b&

            • merilee
              Posted May 13, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

              and then there’s chocolate covered ginger;-)

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 13, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

                Mmmmmmmm!

              • merilee
                Posted May 13, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

                and almonds (but only with dark chocolate)

              • Posted May 13, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

                Coincidentally, I splurged this morning…had a Tempe Transportation Commission meeting downtown this morning, and I stopped by Essence Bakery Cafe on the way home to get a chocolate almond croissant for brunch. They should probably be illegal….

                b&

              • merilee
                Posted May 13, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

                yum!

    • eric
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      On a crowded plane? No thank you, just let me sleep.

    • Paul S.
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      And there goes another chuck of my Fannie May bunny…..

      • Paul S.
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        I meant chunk. I ate it, I didn’t throw it.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      I suspect the ladies were having him on, having picked up on his disdain and they probably enjoyed whipping chocolates at him.

      • Matt G
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        If they were throwing chocolates unprovoked, then they are in the wrong. It sounds like he did or said something offensive, and they responded by mocking him in this manner. Which is not to say they are in the right, but I’m sympathetic. Again, the quality of the chocolate being thrown is an important consideration.

        • Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          They may not be in the right, but if this scenario is even remotely close to how it played out, it certainly is hilarious.

          • Merilee
            Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            I wonder if anyone filmed it on their cellphone?? It sounds like something out of Airplane:-)

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            When I was younger I did asshole things like that. Whenever a young person is obnoxious around me, I shut up and take it because I figure it’s karma. :)

        • Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Snacking on SWISS is a classy affair. Enjoy fresh herbal teas blended in the Alps (“Gentle Blue” Earl Grey, Camomile Orange Blossoms) and the most quintessential of all Swiss treats: a tiny bar of branded milk chocolate. Be sure to grab a few more as you depart.

          http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/17-airline-snacks-we-want-to-eat-right-now/16

          Unless the lesbian Satan inhabited brought her own stash of chocolates onto the plane or talked the flight attendant server into a few complimentary extras when the inflight snack was delivered, the exorcist telling us this story exaggerated the number of items chucked his way.

          And what about that Satan guy. He could have picked on this rev any time, any where. But no, he patiently waited until Tequi was strapped into an airline seat so he could taunt him at 35,000 feet. If the rev stands up from his seat on a flying passenger liner, turns around, and yells “Satan” while pointing his finger at a chortling lesbian strapped into her seat behind him, the rev swiftly gets subdued and restrained, gagged if necessary, and whisked off to the asylum or Gitmo or somewhere else unpleasant. The rev knows this so silently fumes the rest of the flight.

          Satan’s plan boxed the rev in with no way out. He had to sit there for hours listening to the demonic chuckling behind him. That has to be demoralizing for an exorcist, and explains why he didn’t ply his craft on that lesbian just as soon as the “Fasten Seat Belt” light went off when the plane landed. Satan-lesbian waltzes away unexorcised without so much as a hi de ho. Checkmate, exorcist.

          http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_QKIdIpKeDI&autoplay=1

      • Posted May 13, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        Oh, I’m sure they were. Assuming they’re not a figment of the priest’s imagination….

        b&

  10. eric
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    2. The official doctrine of the Church is that Adam and Eve were the literal ancestors of all humanity. That, too, is wrong, and clearly does not comport with what science tells us.

    It’s worth driving this home, in case anyone out there thinks Pope Pius’ tepid acceptance of evolution in 1950 means the church is okay with no-A&E. Here’s Pius’ Humani Generis (the same document that accepted evolution) on the subject:

    When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

    • reasonshark
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I wonder how history would have gone if Pius’ next line had been:

      “Therefore, we must conclude that there is potentially an error in the revealed truths and the documents thus mentioned, and we must weigh the evidence for either position, and be willing to concede to the superior argument, if thusly the evidence for our current historical knowledge be found wanting, and the verdict demands such change.”

      He’d probably be out on his ass in five seconds, but it would make quite a plot twist, don’t you think?

      • darrelle
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        I think they might have gone old school on him if he had tried that. Historically poison, smothering and strangulation have all been popular methods of dealing with internal matters like a troublesome pope.

        • Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

          Doesn’t their code of honor say they have to start by leaving a severed horse’s head on his pillow?

          No idea what the horse could possibly do to deserve such a fate — but we are dealing with violent barbarians, after all. Rapists of children, many of them, even.

          b&

      • eric
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        I’m a bit more cynical; I think that the church would not have contradicted today’s science just to save the A&E story. Had he more information on what science would say (60 years in his future), I think he would’ve been a lot more vague about A&E.

        What happened here is he made a statement he believed biology couldn’t contradict. He and the church fathers of their time just had no conception of how far and how fast modern science would progress, so he made what he thought was a ‘safe’ statement. Of course now that they said it, they’re going to have a much harder time taking it back.

        • reasonshark
          Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          Ah, I’m not so confident it is cynicism. They probably really believe what they say – that they’re just setting the record straight, say, because of human fallibility – and it just never occurs to them to take such changes as a reason to doubt their own ideas. I’d imagine Pius might have a few words with his more modern successors on some things?

          I thought most people had already moved on to claiming that the Adam and Eve story was totally metaphorical instead of literal anyway. That would be an easy way to get around that inconsistency, and I’ve seen it used more than once online. Granted, the RCC seem to have stuck to their guns officially, but how often do its members bring it up? It’s not like that “really an insightful metaphor” tactic has failed that often before.

          • Posted May 12, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

            Do some Googling on Human Generis and modern apologetics. I kid you not, there are “sophisticated theologians” who are now starting to dissect the “in no way apparent” clause from the Papal statement.

            That is, just because it is in no way apparent, doesn’t mean it isn’t possible and the Pope was “wise enough” to not speak with certainty in this area, for as always, the Holy Spirit guided him.

            You can’t make this stuff up. Unless you’re a theologian, then you can make it up and do it endlessly. How they can do these intellectual contortions to make all this stuff fit is absolutely extraordinary, one might also most say, “miraculous.”

            • Posted May 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

              Apologies for the typos above. Android really botched that one.

            • eric
              Posted May 13, 2014 at 5:51 am | Permalink

              That’s interesting. They are really grasping at straws, given that it’s the sentence BEFORE the “in no ways apparent” sentence which is the real compromise killer. “The faithful cannot embrace…” is pretty clear.

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        What do you think happened to John XXIII and John Paul I? ;)

  11. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    “I believe Pope Francis is speaking to them. Because when you don’t believe, the Devil wins.”

    This old chestnut is still the most brilliant snake oil sales pitch ever devised. This Pope is leading his deluded flock back into Medieval times.

    Humility my hairy arse.

    (BTW Jerry hola from Costa Rica!)

    • Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      He is a Jesuit. In Europe, being accused of being a Jesuit is not always flattering…

      • Matt G
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        Aren’t they supposed to be the more “scholarly” order?

        • Posted May 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          I think the Benedictins are the more scholarly, or at least a more intellectual monastic order. The Jesuits are more practical, and their “universities” focus on business and commerce.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 12, 2014 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        The Iroqouis took care of Jesuits when they captured them.

        • Posted May 13, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

          Now that I know that the Inuit killed people acting like complete fools out of fear that they were mentally ill because of some disease or other, I wonder if other groups were similar.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 13, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            In this case the Iroquois were practicing ritualized torture. The jesuits who came to Nouveau France expected to die and become more holy in the process. It’s all just weird and creepy to us in the 21st C.

            • merilee
              Posted May 13, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

              Great way to become holier than thou:-(

  12. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    It’s vaguely amusing that the oldest christianist sect has the same problems with psychology as one of the youngest. (Catholicism vs Scientology.)

    What’s really fun is that the religious exception is removed in the DSM-V, replaced by social acceptance. I.e. catholicism is routine – ‘not’ insanity, scientology not so much – ‘could be’ insanity.

  13. mordacious1
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I can understand how Francis believes in Satan, after all, he’s met Ratzinger in person.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Definitely a Sith anyway. I’ve always wondered, where is the other one? They always come in pairs.

      • Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Francis is the apprentice! The cheerful disposition should give it away….

        b&

        • darrelle
          Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          What was I thinking? Of course they could be that obvious about it. I always take for granted just how unimaginative old religious clergyman wearing Prada usually are.

  14. Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    It would be interesting to “punk” one of those exorcists, by setting up some special effects during an exorcism (much like they did to publicize the release of ‘Carrie’).

    I’m curious how they would react if objects in the room started moving ‘by themselves’ or floating, things spontaneously catching fire (or with some carefully placed sodium or potassium, start burning when holy water is thrown on them), etc.

    Probably run away crying.

  15. gluonspring
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Gives me a new way to think of my cat’s weird growl.

  16. Matt G
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    There are TWO groups of people who should receive psychiatric examinations: those who come in thinking they are possessed, and those who think these people might actually be.

  17. rose
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Some preachers believe he is the last Pope before well the end of the world. He is i think no.113

  18. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Some people might not have seen this Star Wars / Evil Empire parody of A New Pope It is very funny.

  19. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what the new pope thinks if the Caramilk Devil because that dude was smooth. He totally owned those lawyers that tried to buy his Caramilk secret and he was all alpha!

  20. Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Truth be told, I’ve always thought that the devil and hell sounded a lot more interesting that the baby jesus and heaven. I mean, if one’s going to run around believing in fiction, it should at least not be boring.

    • Matt G
      Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun….”

    • Bess Bibbentucker
      Posted May 13, 2014 at 4:09 am | Permalink

      “Heaven for the climate,
      hell for the company.”
      –Mark Twain or somebody like that

  21. Posted May 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Now this is the Church I grew up with! Not questions about boiling tea or ineffable Grounds of Being, but good old fashioned fear and talk of hell fire. Hell, it’s built right into one of the “most powerful” prayers known to man, the rosary. “Oh my Jesus forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of Hell…” Maybe it’s the fire they cook the margherita pizza in for the souls in Heaven? After all, the Catholic deacon at the last funeral I attended told us of the big dining room in Heaven. Gotta cook that food somewhere, and really why not have it catered? They earned it right?

  22. marksolock
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  23. Posted May 12, 2014 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    📌

  24. Cynthia Ann Fuller
    Posted May 14, 2014 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    ROTFL…….

  25. lisa parker
    Posted May 14, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    If anyone/where needs to have an exorcist on call, it would be The Vatican.

  26. Krag
    Posted May 14, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Interesting that a pope today would say Hell existed when I believe it was Pope John Paul who said Hell was all in your mind. These guys flip flop more then Mitt Romney

  27. StephenKrogh
    Posted May 16, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Jerry says,

    Indeed; Francis is given a pass. When are those people who are so impressed by his “humility” going to learn that it’s just a facade, behind which lurks all the incense-scented malfeasance and superstition of Catholicism?

    I’m not entirely sure I understand what is meant to be implied here. Is it that Pope Francis’ humility, however virtuous, pales in comparison to the vice of his ignorance? Or, is the implication that he isn’t really humble (NB the scare quotes), because he holds outdated, retrograde, beliefs?

    Thanks for any clarification!

    • Posted May 16, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      I’ll take a stab at this one. The scare quotes, in this case, are pretty obviously meant to indicate that the humility Pope Francis displays to the world is less than genuine, to put it charitably.

      If we look back at the statements this Pope has made, and I’ll use his “all are redeemed through Jesus” speech as a prime example, in every case where it appears he may be open to changing Catholic doctrine, the views are walked back by either the cavalcade of Vatican PR representatives, or the Pope himself. While facing the media, Francis declares that atheists should do good and “we’ll meet there” but then the official statement comes out that redemption is only valid through acceptance of Christ. In more blunt terms, those who don’t accept Jesus risk spending an eternity in hell.

      Francis is smart enough not to say it in blatant terms, but there’s no doubt he believes that the most pernicious punishment one could conceive of is justified under certain circumstances.

      In light of an infinite bath in a lake of burning sulfur, scare quotes are hardly something worth getting worked up over. This pope is every bit as traditional as his predecessors, with an extra hat tip to Satan and the “reality” (sorry to use scare quotes again) of demonology. Meet the new pope; same as the old pope.

      • lisa parker
        Posted May 19, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        I am afraid that some of you do not/cannot understand the pope’s role and Catholic doctrine. A pope cannot appose a doctrine declared by a previous pope “ex cathedra.” When proclaiming “ex cathedra” the pope’s words come directly from the mouth of god and can never be revoked; they contain the absolute power, authority and omniscience of god, spoken through his sacred representative on earth (that’s the pope, by the way.) Since way before last century, this has caused all kinds of problems for popes, especially if one or more previous popes was an idiot or insane (which, in fact, many were.) If the Vatican had ever had even the slightest idea of the tremendous diminution of their power, they might have kept their mouths shut occasionally. It doesn’t matter what a new pope thinks of dogma; he cannot claim that god was misinformed, or just lied or whatever. Nor can he take the stand that a previous pope tried to pull a fast one; “ex catherda” is sort of like being possessed: the pope is only the mouthpiece and cannot express his opinion.

        I would not be surprised to see the American Catholics declare a split with Rome in the not distant future. I know many Americans who believe themselves to be devout Catholics, but they all use birth control or contraceptives, see women as equal to men and wrongly excluded from positions of power (even just the priesthood); most of them have no problems with homosexuality (half the Italian Catholics I know are gay), endorse married clergy and even vote for elected officials that support abortion. I think Rome is pushing them away too hard, and that they will soon turn their backs on the pope. I don’t know if that will make anything better, but it will at least make things different.

        • Posted May 20, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          I don’t think it is a matter of understanding the doctrine of infallibility. Like so many other religious tactis, it amounts to a shell game. Yes, speaking “ex cathedra” is the only time the Church declares that what the Pope said is absolutely infallible. This has only actually happened once since the doctrine of infallibility was officially established and it had to do with beliefs over the Virgin Mary being assumed into Heaven, which doesn’t amount to anything that could even possibly stand a chance of being investigated. In all other cases, Church theologians can’t even agree with each other what is and isn’t infallible.

          Claiming that past Popes have been insane or stupid doesn’t make matters any better. If God is “speaking” directly through them, we’re supposed to believe that the best the omniscient, omni-powerful Being could do was send a muddled message that an idiot may have mistranslated?

          There’s a clear pattern when it comes to “infallible” statements, 1) They’re either utterly detached from anything we can verify in reality; or 2) They thought at the time 1) was true and later go through mental contortions trying to justify the previous statements (add to that their complete ambiguity as to what qualifies as infallible and they just go on doing what they’ve always done–claiming that they’ve never made in contradicting claims when it comes to doctrine; God speaks through them and God’s ways are mysterious; 2 + 2 = 5, 1 = 3, and so on).


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