American Catholic Church shoots Itself in the foot–again

On the heels of a small meeting to discuss the pressing need for better-trained priest-exorcists, the United States Conference of … Continued

On the heels of a small meeting to discuss the pressing need for better-trained priest-exorcists, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops convened in full splendor in Baltimore this week and elected New York’s arch-conservative Archbishop Timothy J. Dolan president. Dolan’s election was a victory for the most orthodox forces within the church. His overriding ethic was displayed this year when he had scathing words for Catholic hospitals and nuns who supported the health care reform bill in spite of the bishops’ opposition (on grounds that it would allow more access to abortion). “We’re pastors and teachers,” Dolan said of the bishops, “not just one set of teachers in the Catholic community, but the teachers.” The teachers. You can’t get much clearer than that.

In a sidebar accompanying its front-page article about Dolan’s election, The New York Times ran a typical, speak-no-evil-about-religion profile of the archbishop, who was described as a man “known to relish personal contact, whether one on one or in big crowds. He has made a dent in fulfilling his promise to visit every parish. After addressing fund-raising dinners, he likes to mingle for an hour or more, laughing at people’s jokes, often with a beer in hand.” Ah, whatta guy! He’ll have a beer with you as long as you’re not one of those uppity nuns with the temerity to think that their opinions should count for something too.

Here’s what wasn’t said about Dolan–who will now be the official voice of the Catholic Church before Congressional committees debating public policy issues–on the thrilling day of his election. If you can call an election by the unelected an election, that is.

* On Palm Sunday this year, Dolan read a statement after Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral comparing criticism of Pope Benedict’s role in covering up sex abuse allegations to unjust accusations against Jesus before his crucifixion. He said the progress the Catholic Church has made in the United States in dealing with sex abuse “could never have happened without the insistence and support of the very man now being daily crowned with thorns by groundless innuendo.” Even for a defender of everything the Vatican does, comparing the pope to the suffering Jesus does seem a bit, well, over-the-top.

* As bishop of St. Louis and archbishop of Milwaukee, before being elevated to archbishop of New York, Dolan was widely viewed by groups representing survivors of clergy sex abuse as one of those who participated in the long coverup of such cases. reported in 2009–just before Dolan was promoted to the prestigious New York post–that in Milwaukee, he “did not forward to Wisconsin police direct admissions of guilt from clergy child rapists, even from clergy who were susequently criminally charged and convicted.” Furthermore, Dolan did not fire senior officers in the Milwaukee chancery who had surved under his disagraced predecessor, Bishop Rembert Weakland. (Weakland was force to resign after using $500,000 in church money to pay off a seminarian who said he was “date raped” by the bishop in a bar.”)

* Under Dolan’s administration, the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, the official archdiocesan newspaper, was permitted to publish a letter opposing a bill before the Wisconsin state legislature that would allow victims of sex abuse to file civil cases againt members of the clergy. The letter, published in February 2008 under the headline, “Time for Catholics to Fight Back,” compared victims seeking civil compensation to prostitutes. “Do they believe that anyone who provides sexual plesasure to another should be paid for the service?” the writer asked. “Isn’t that the definition of prostitution?” Peter Isely, Midwest Coordinator for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, wrote Dolan at the time and asked, “Do we really need to explain to you and your editor why it’s not OK to allow a letter to be published that promotes the idea that children who are being raped are `prostitutes’ that `provide sexual pleasure’ as a `service?’”

Archbishop Dolan, now president of the official organization that purports to represent all American Catholics in public, holds retrograde views that will surely drive more American-born Catholics out of the church. As an atheist, I don’t care about that. What I do care about, though, is that because this man will be the official voice of the church, many politicans, as well as the media, will treat him as if he is the voice of all American Catholics. This, of course, is nonsense. He is the mouthpiece of a conservative majority of bishops appointed over a period of 30 years by two extremely conservative popes, determined to get rid of prelates who had supported the liberalizing forces of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

Catholics can vote with their feet and leave the church. But what are the rest of us to do about politicians who quake in fear of a monolithic “Catholic vote” that no longer exists and who will treat this gladhanding servant of a right-wing Vatican as if he actually speaks for the diverse American Catholic electorate? Where is an exorcist when you need one?


Susan Jacoby Susan Jacoby is the author of "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism"­ and is completing a secular history of religious conversion.
  • WmarkW

    SJ:”Archbishop Dolan, … holds retrograde views that will surely drive more American-born Catholics out of the church. As an atheist, I don’t care about that. What I do care about, though, is that because this man will be the official voice of the church, many politicans, as well as the media, will treat him as if he is the voice of all American Catholics.”And this is ONE reason we shouldn’t be giving citizenship and voting rights to illegal immigrants, who are the principal target audience of these positions.

  • emonty

    Susan:Politicians who actually believe there is a monolithic Catholic vote and that a bishop, or bishops, can deliver it, are indeed a scary thought. Such an office holder is probably too dumb to breathe much less serve in office but the recent election has proven that being intellectually challenged and deluded does not necessarily preclude one from being elected. Thank God (no joke intended) I live in a rural, pastoral diocese where the bishop worries about taking care of his people rather than telling them how to vote!

  • lanthonyprice

    When a priest or nun professes vows or makes promises, he or she is pledging allegience to the Catholic Church and the pope as well. This is a sacred vow. In the United States, the top level of the Catholic Church is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. That body speaks for the Catholic Church in our country.Certainly priests and nuns may disagree with the USCCB, but they are obligated to obedience. In official capacities, such as hospital administration or political office, a priest or nun is obligated to follow the rulings of the USCCB. As with the the U.S. government, a nun or priest is welcome to dispute and help shape a policy, but ultimate compliance is a requirement and disobedience carries a penalty.That said, you lambasted the bishops for requiring compliance of dissenting priests and nuns regardless of their personal opinions, yet you villified the Milwaukee Catholic Herald for not censoring a letter it received for submission because it contained unsavory language and ideas that were markedly different from any official Church comment or policy on the subject. The sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is shocking and disheartening. No excuse is possible. However, the bishops have taken enormous actions to reduce and eliminate the opportunity for sexual abuse and to institute rigorous procedures for investigating and addressing it. Thus the marked decrease in reported abuse cases in the last ten years.

  • globalone

    “but the recent election has proven that being intellectually challenged and deluded does not necessarily preclude one from being elected” . . . Or to vote.

  • abrahamhab1

    I have always assumed that atheists are open minded people who arrived at their “religion “by reason and by evidence. Yet the more I deal with them the more I realize that they are skeptical beyond reason. No logic, no physical data, no witnesses, no documentation whether audio, video or other does sway their established notions. They claim to practice the scientific method to gain knowledge but fail to realize that not all knowledge can be obtained in the lab. Even scientific evidences such as audio and video tapes are not accepted as data if they do not fit their preconceived notions. They dismiss offhand phenomena experienced by various cultures at varying historical times. Mostof the ones I had dealt with are former Catholics and their “conversion” seem to be a revenge for some real or imagined harm perpetrated against them by their church.

  • raymarshall1

    I’m so sorry you feel that way, Susie. When I say my Rosary today, you’ll be one of the intentions.

  • emonty

    Globe… Your ‘or to vote’ remark is EXACTLY right!

  • Freestinker

    I have always assumed that atheists are open minded people who arrived at their “religion “by reason and by evidence. Yet the more I deal with them the more I realize that they are skeptical beyond reason. No logic, no physical data, no witnesses, no documentation whether audio, video or other does sway their established notions.==============AbrahamHab1,Atheists reject religion based on the complete absence of evidence provided by believers. You seem to have us confused with theists who blindly believe in the existence of god(s) without any credible scientific evidence whatsoever.If you think atheists have ignored some important evidence that would logically persuade a person of reason to believe in pretty wingy thingies, feel free to post it up. Otherwise your criticism atheists rings hollow. Ironically, it fits theists quite well.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Wow. I’m starting to get Catholic burn-out.If the Cathlic Church persists in promoting belief in excorcism, then what credibility can it have on anything thing else?Belief in demon posession and excorcism is a non-starter; everything else after that is like he babbling trombone in a Charlie Brown cartoon.

  • WmarkW

    @TheBump:I don’t like the fact that the Amish take their children out of school after eighth grade. But it also doesn’t get my dander up, since they keep their stuff to themselves.If they sent missionaries to my local high school, preaching that God wanted them ALL to drop out in eighth grade, then I’d be joining my local “Stay in School” society and trying to keep them off campus.If the Catholics just told their own not to have abortions, I can live with that. I can’t take them telling the flocks to make it illegal for everyone.

  • firstthoughts

    The Church hasn’t shot itself in the foot at all. In fact, it has taken a long-needed step to wrest control back from the liberal-minded and confused clergy, religious, and laity who have drug the Church down over the last forty years. These are the ones who have been drawn in by emotional populist beliefs that divine and natural law actually changes over time, or is somehow determined by popular vote or opinion poll. In actuality, the more orthodox the Church remains the more relevant and compelling the Catholic Church becomes; hence the return of so many protestants (Anglican, Episcopalian, Lutheran, and Baptists) who, in recent years, are coming home more and more. As to atheism, it takes a sort of strange “faith” and acceptance of eternal risk to believe that beyond whatever science might determine to be the cause of the universe or life on earth, that there was not a “first cause,” before which there was no other cause. Reason and all the scientific evidence points to the universe having a beginning–perhaps the Big Bang–but reason tells us that something had to cause the Big Bang. There had to be a first cause that itself had no cause. Atheists have no reasoned answer for this “uncaused cause” that believers call “God.” (With credit to St. Thomas Aquinas)Peace to you on your journey.

  • Secular

    Thus spake the nasty old atheist — as she convulsed in frothing paroxysms of rage over the dull deliberations of our dear shepherds.
    I suppose Sheeple need shepherds. But then when these very shepherds take advantage of the Kids, the sheeple all scream.

  • revolution2

    I suggest that a new mental health disorder to be known as “Theistic Predisposition Disorder” be listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Three million years of human evolution has rendered the majority of humanity predisposed to theistic beliefs. These beliefs cloud the judgement of all afflicted. Political, social, military, economic, medical, scientific and a myriad of other important decisions are made based on a mental disorder. Decisions which effect the whole of humanity are made based on a belief of fairytales. Humanity itself is threatened by such horrific incompetence.”Theistic Predisposition Disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis characterized by an irrational and pervasive belief in God(s) and/or belief in an afterlife.” Atheists must take action. Humanity cannot survive itself if it keeps bringing god along for the ride.

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    firstthoughts So what you are saying is that you believe in demon posession and Catholic excorcism?You believe that the communion wafer and wine become the actually and physical body and blood of Christ, when you put them in your mouth?You believe that it is a sin for any married person to engage in sex using any kind of contraception to avoid getting pregnant?You believe all those things?

  • thebump

    WmarkW, the problem with your analogy is that in the case of the bishops, their only aim is to save lives and safeguard the rights of completely innocent human beings. They’re not seeking to impose mere opinion on anyone.

  • globalone

    Farnaz,Don’t stop there… keep it going!End Unconstitutional Obamacare!End the Re-distribution of wealth!End the Victimization philosophy of the DNC!End the liberalization and condemnation of America!

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    firstthoughts, you said,interesting theory. do you have any stats to back up your assertion that “more and more” people are converting TO catholicism?from: While those Americans who are unaffiliated with any particular religion have seen the greatest growth in numbers as a result of changes in affiliation, i would hardly characterize this a “return” of protestants “coming home more and more”….

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    firstthoughts, you also said,it is a HUGE HUGE HUGE leap from an “uncaused cause” to the specific doctrine of any religion. i.e., there’s NOTHING in the notion of “uncaused cause” that implies/necessitates “catholic” or “sikh” or “shinto” or “baal”.and of course there’s the problem of “what caused the uncaused cause”? and its corollary, “whatever it was, couldn’t that have caused the big bang (and skipped the whole ‘god step’)?”if you’re saying that which caused the big bang is called “god”, well, i suspect most atheists really wouldn’t have a problem with that. i mean, according to current theory, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to know what “was” before the big bang…. but, that’s not what theists generally say. they say things like “god talks to us – and he promised me i don’t have to die, IF i believe certain things”… or “god told me to eat these crackers and drink this wine” and so forth.i think most atheists just haven’t come across any version of god that makes any sense.

  • firstthoughts

    As to the source of the Big Bang…no, I don’t say that science won’t find something to which to attribute its source; I will only say that at the beginning of ALL that can be determined or known, there was SOMETHING that created it, or caused it to be, and that is “God.”As to do I believe that what God tells me, as revealed through Jesus Christ and believed by 2000 years of tradition, is true regarding transubstantiation to be true–i.e. that in the Catholic Mass, the host IS the real presence–then yes, I absolutely do. Can that be proved? Not by science. But that is what we call “faith.” Now some without faith in God trust only that which they can sense…they place their trust only in man and what man tells them must be true. But we have ample evidence that man is flawed in his understandings. At best, all that man can know, is merely a “best guess” until the next best guess comes along. Given those realities, I have no problem believing and hoping in God.Peace to you.

  • WmarkW

    If the big bang was caused by a force outside the comprehension of science (i.e. the supernatural) the force that did it must either not do much else or not have much power, because ever since then natural laws have done everything, except an infinitesimally tiny fraction of unexplained events.There might be many undiscovered microorganisms in my coffee; there isn’t an elephant in my cubical. Belief in God, as the term is commonly presented, requires a lot more explanation for its inactions than atheism does for actions.And picking up on the last essay’s comments, is there any reason to think that the all-powerful creator of the universe, looking at the state of the world today, decided He needed to send mankind a message through a cake in Brooklyn?

  • phylliszagano

    “Archbishop Dolan, now president of the official organization that purports to represent all American Catholics in public”The above is incorrect. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is the membership organization of all US Catholic bishops, and has a DC staff to provide its policy research, etc. It is a leadership group, not a polling society. Unfortunately, there is so much ignorant comment about the Catholic Church, its people, and its hierarchy in the secular press that there is little intelligent discussion going on about any Churc issues the Church. This column is especially ignorant and, if truth be told, nativist in its attitude.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    firstthoughts, thanks for your comments. you said,oh, i think “transubstantiation” (ooohh fancy word, no?) could be proved or disproved VERY EASILY:scientists are able to determine a substances chemical makeup with remarkable accuracy. all they’d have to do is analyze a wafer before and after it’s been “transubstantiated” – and compare the results. should be a fairly simple straightforward procedure. if the chemical make up of the wafer is the same before and after the preist’s magic spell, then… well… it’s just a wafer.also, i’m amused by the idea that they use red wine (or red juice for alcoholics). i understand that jesus supposedly used wine, but that’s just what they had at the table. why not just use water nowadays? wouldn’t THAT be dramatic – seeing the clear water turn to deep red blood (or just remain plain old water…) right before our eyes…why can’t you just believe that the wafer/wine

  • areyousaying

    End the Re-distribution of wealth!Posted by: globalone…from the middle class to the Republican rich?

  • CivicRepublican

    Be patient!The ultramontane papist boys in drag won’t get anywhere with banning free market stem cell research. And that will be their ultimate undoing as their aging boomer flock – afraid of dying – will be drooling over the prospect of regenerative medical therapies.Anyone heard a sermon against IVF in your curch lately? Connect the dots!

  • ender3

    “G-ONE!”"End Unconstitutional Obamacare!”End insurance industry price control of healthcare! Nationalize HC NOW!”End the Re-distribution of wealth!”End Corporate Socializm! Stop the forced march of the US to Third World status.”End the Victimization philosophy of the DNC!”Flush the TP! Stop Corporate control of media! Close down FAUX, the Fascist Propaganda Network! “End the liberalization and condemnation of America”End the Fascist state of Corporate Ogliarchy! Nationalize the Defense Industry and stop them from bankrupting America in the name of building a Fascist Empire!

  • ender3

    As usual Ms. Jacoby is spot on. The CC claims everyone that ever took communion as an active member, even though they haven’t been to mass in twenty yrs. They oppose abortion and birth control because they only get new rubes through bhe children of the faithful. They haven’t converted anyone in decades.

  • ender3

    “why can’t you just believe that the wafer/wine represent body/blood?Because without the need for a priest between you and your god, you wouldn’t need the church and they wouldn’t get your support for their cult of pedophilia and zombie canabalism.

  • Jihadist

    Somebody please tell Quinn to stop writing for Jacoby.Is Susan on vacation?*******************************************Ms. Quinn writing for Ms. Jacoby?????I hope Ms. Jacoby writes on books she recommended before to atheists for their summer reading for their possible discussion in autumn. Should be more interesting than reading atheists gripe and speculate about whether it is Ms. Jacoby or Ms. Quinn actually writing here on the American Catholic Church’s new leaders.

  • WmarkW

    Sally Quinn could not possibly have written this article.It contains far too much important content.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    thebump,to which you replied,from: TRANSUBSTANTIATIONThe complete change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of Christ’s body and blood by a validly ordained priest during the consecration at Mass, so that only the accidents of bread and wine remain. While the faith behind the term itself was already believed in apostolic times, the term itself was a later development. With the Eastern Fathers before the sixth century, the favored expression was meta-ousiosis, “change of being”; the Latin tradition coined the word transubstantiatio, “change of substance,” which was incorporated into the creed of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. The Council of Trent, in defining the “wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the wine into the blood” of Christ, added “which conversion the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation” (Denzinger 1652). after transubstantiation, the accidents of bread and wine do not inhere in any subject or substance whatever. Yet they are not make-believe they are sustained in existence by divine power. (Etym. Latin trans-, so as to change + substantia, substance: transubstantio, change of substance.) ahh… i see…. so though there is actual “COMPLETE CHANGE of the substance of bread and wine” into body and blood… we just no, actually, wait a minute… that’s nonsense… uh… pardon, i mean, as firstthoughts said, “faith”.

  • Jihadist

    Sally Quinn could not possibly have written this article.It contains far too much important content.*******************************************Ouch!Sally Quinn could not possibly have written this article as the aforementioned article is Jacobyite/Jacobyian in style and substance. Surely by now anyone, everyone would, should recognise the writing styles of On Faith’s panelists and their thinking, substantive concerns and focus? Cheers

  • thebump

    It bears the authoress’s trademark hypocrisy and nastiness. If ghostwritten, it’s well ghosted.The authoress constantly congratulates herself on her esteem for “evidence”. You have to wonder how much actual “evidence” went into this assessment of Abp. Dolan. Did the authoress read his books and homilies? Did she interview him? Did she even listen to his actual unedited remarks in Baltimore, or merely recycle secondhand snippets? Did she seek evidence to challenge her prejudices, or merely to lubricate them? Did she actually seek understanding, or merely satisfaction of her deep-seated fear and loathing?The next time she talks about evidence, remember that talk is cheap.

  • paulc2

    This website is so utterly predictable. The athiests, particularly Susan Jacoby, declare the Catholic Church irrelevant while simultaneously worrying about how the Catholic position effects them. Perhaps recognizing subconsciously that there is a disconnect there, they then proceed to try to make the Church irrelevant through their words. Talk about a fool’s errand…And then off course, there are the loud athiestic fringe on this site, who spend all their efforts trying to demonize Catholics and the Church. Do they really think that their hate doesn’t show through in their quotes? In fact it does, undermining their points to any impartial observer…

  • Rongoklunk

    Dolan’s response to criticism of the Church reminds me of an inquiry in Ireland last year which revealed that priests are encouraged to lie in defense of clergy and the Church, by muttering silent words ‘that only God can hear’. It is called ‘mental reservation’.For instance, a priest is asked whether he masturbates and can answer by saying ‘No’, and then silently ‘saying’ under his breath “Well, only at night”. Or when asked whether he lies he could answer “Never”, and under his breath mutter “Well, hardly ever.”This is a paragraph from The Irish Times, Nov26 2209″Cardinal Desmond Connell had explained the concept to the commission as follows:“Well, the general teaching about mental reservation is that you are not permitted to tell a lie. On the other hand, you may be put in a position where you have to answer, and there may be circumstances in which you can use an ambiguous expression realising that the person who you are talking to will accept an untrue version of whatever it may be – permitting that to happen, not willing that it happened, that would be lying. It really is a matter of trying to deal with extraordinarily difficult matters that may arise in social relations where people may ask questions that you simply cannot answer. Everybody knows that this kind of thing is liable to happen. So mental reservation is, in a sense, a way of answering without lying.”Dolan is very good at this. He should have been a gangster.

  • Rongoklunk

    The paragraph from The Irish Times should have been dated 2009 of course.

  • thebump

    Walter: Plenty of people through the ages have thought it nonsense, including everybody from Luther to Falwell, so you’re not very original on that score.But you are wrong about the change being undetectable. It’s undetectable to the senses in the bread and wine, but you’re looking in the wrong place. Provided that the communicant’s will and intellect cooperate with the graces he has received, and the concomitant change in his heart, soul and mind, then he will manifest that change outwardly.

  • Susan_Jacoby

    Ah, conspiracy theorists again. You must not have read much of either Sally Quinn’s writing or mine, or you would know that she is far more respectful of the Catholic Church than I am. Seriously. You also don’t know anything about writers (that is, writers with professional careers). I don’t know any writer, other than a ghost who is being paid a ton of money to churn out some celebrity’s memoir, who wants to publish under anyone else’s byline.

  • PSolus

    thebump,”Provided that the communicant’s will and intellect cooperate with the graces he has received, and the concomitant change in his heart, soul and mind, then he will manifest that change outwardly.”In other words, it’s like all the other voodoos; it works only if one chooses to believe that it works.

  • APaganplace

    “”In other words, it’s like all the other voodoos; it works only if one chooses to believe that it works.”"So some find it convenient to say. But it really only applies if someone’s *lying* and someone else is willing to *buy it.* Kind of like politics, that way.

  • APaganplace

    (Sorry, btw. ‘Spooky when pissed off’ is prerogative of *my* faith that I rarely feel that motivated to employ when we’re trying to have some kind of civil dialogue, but some things, like Ms.Jacoby details as having been done by these priests, just cross too many lines. )

  • rambollini-1

    S Jacoby- half Jewish, half Catholic found the way to make both pay off by denying both? When will the effort no longer be of any value i.e. how many ways can you say I do not believe there is a god? Of course, a rip on Islam would be a best-seller but does she want to take the risk?

  • eezmamata

    Ms Jacoby, I am a bit surprised at your outrage over this … well, potential pedophile being elevated to the Finest Costumed Position within still another ridiculous religions organization.They catholic types are shooting themselves in the foot, you should be happy about it. Really, who pays attention to men who wear such gay clothing, who pass around smoking sticks, who worship a tortured corpse on a stick, who claim to eat that corpse’s dead rotting flesh, who claim to drink that corpse’s coagulating blood products … who claim to know what an imaginary and despotic god is telling everybody what to do.Watch how hard it is to ignore they’re god: Hey, Christian god, you can suck on this.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    I honestly don’t know how anyone could confuse the writing of Susan Jacoby with that of Sally, aka It’s All About Me, Quinn.In addition, Susan has been critical of Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Evangelical Christianity. Not Hinduism, of course, since that is Sally Quinn’s ahem religion, scholarly Sal. It’s her sacred cow.That said, I can’t grasp all the astonishment about exorcists. Everyone knows the Catholics, some Orthodox Christian denominations hold exorcisms. The Vatican has its own exorcist who wisely remarked at the height of the priest sex abuse scandal, “The devil is loose in the Vatican.” And, arguably, it was.That said, there are more important issues for secularists to be concerned with. Those I noted below, for instance. Well, Susan?

  • castellina

    Pray tell, if Ms.Jacoby is a self professed atheist WHY is she commenting on the Catholic Church? Should she not be peddling her atheistic (un)beliefs instead of meddling in things that, if this article is any proof, she is utterly ignorant about?

  • FarnazMansouri2

    SUSAN JACOBY,Here is another topic (of significance to religion and “public affairs”):Saudi Arabia has been appointed to the United Nations Council on Women’s Rights.(We’re all gonna die.)

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    farnaz, you said,oh brother. that’s what’s wrong with the u.n. i’m in favor, in principle, with a national governing body like the u.n…. but when you put saudi arabia on the women’s (and “human”) rights councils…something is wrong. sigh…can there be a secular majority-muslim country? does islam demand it make governmental societal laws?

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    hopefully, obviously that should be:farnaz, you said,oh brother. that’s what’s wrong with the u.n. i’m in favor, in principle, with AN INTERNATIONAL governing body like the u.n…. but when you put saudi arabia on the women’s (and “human”) rights councils…something is wrong.sigh…can there be a secular majority-muslim country? does islam demand it make governmental societal laws?

  • WmarkW

    can there be a secular majority-muslim country? does islam demand it make governmental societal laws?Mixed secular/religious societies run into the same problem everywhere: differential birthrates.I’m remembering from reading that the average Mormon, Muslim and practicing Catholic woman has an average of three children, while the average liberal Protestant, Secularist and non-Orthodox Jew has less than 1.5. So the religious population relatively doubles every generation.Turkey, which was very secular for much of the 20th century, eventually ran into the same demographic problem.

  • ender3

    Sorry Susan if we are hijacking your thread. It’s Farnanz fault.I edited the list to remove the less obviously offensive members, but it looks like most of these member sought membership to stop the commission from following it’s mandate. The commission should be disbanded. I mean come on, Iraq, Pakistan, f’n Rwanda?Central African Republic 2014

  • Jihadist

    American-born Catholics (as she calls them) are ROMAN Catholic Americans and they (we) are overjoyed at Archbishop Dolan’s election.The liberal agenda is dying in politics as well as in the Catholic Church. Archbishop Dolan IS the voice of the Church and will be instrumental in firmly implementing Catholic orthodoxy– and it’s about time.*******************************************Congratulations on the election on Archbishop Dolan then, as the vanguard against “liberalism”, and the reaffirmation as well as reinstatement of “orthodox” values. I had thought that the Pope IS the “voice” of the ROMAN Catholic Church which include American Catholics, and Archbishop Dolan “translating” them in the States in words and actions. Some Catholics made much of the fact that in the mid-90s of the last century, during the UN global conferences, especially on population and development and social development, there was the so-called “unholy alliance” of the Vatican, Catholic majority Latin American states and Muslim majority states. This “alliance” was on matters related to “family” – defination, birth controls etc. Of course gay households are not included as “family”, nor are single parent households accepted as part of definations of family then. But then, gay households are not the real issue detroying families, but divorces, negligence in alimony and child support etc. However, single parent households are increasingly recognized in light of widows and their children due to wars and conflicts, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. And most Muslim majority states don’t oppose family planning, including using the pill, nor abortion which are not criminalised and regarded as a “sin” if needed be performed due specific reasons. And, oh yes, one can’t talk about the environment without factoring in uncontrolled population growth making more and more demands on the not quite unlimited natural resources and space of the earth. Go forth and propogate is a good admonition especially for rational, reasonable policies for the “flock” and for the benefit of the rest of us who are, unfortunately, not Catholics.

  • APaganplace

    Well, J, the biggest problem there is that Catholic orthodoxy and the Catholic *voters* political positions are *not* the same thing. When these bishops claim to represent them, they’re lying.

  • Jihadist

    Well, J, the biggest problem there is that Catholic orthodoxy and the Catholic *voters* political positions are *not* the same thing. When these bishops claim to represent them, they’re lying. – APaganplace *******************************************You do know too well the difference between those who represent and speak for the Church, for the supposedly “monolithic” flock or members of a faith group, and those who represent their constituents as elected officials. American Catholics may or may not leave the Church, but they will certainly vote for political candidates whose platform they agree with most, even if some positions of the candidates may be contrary to Church’s teachings and stance on various issues. I wish I knew the percentage of American Catholics who regard themself as religiously orthodox or conservative or liberal. All I know of is Catholics who don’t subscribe to certain traditional or orthodox Church teachings are called “cafetaria Catholics” or “lapsed Catholics” by the self-described orthodox Catholics. The Catholic Church is the world’s biggest NGO apart from being the biggest Christian denomination with specific stance on global issues as emanated from the Vatican. So, what is said and done by the Church worldwide with a globally known head and headquarters is of interest, regardless of the reduced political clout and influence of the Church in sovereign democratic states with elections.Religious orthodoxy and political-social conservatism with committed supporters is a potent combination and indefatigably sustained enterprise which should never be under-estimated in the public square, be they in the States or over here. Only to duke it out with them for at least a tempered, moderate and centrist stance which they can stand, we can stand. Until the next round. What can I say. Dealing with political, social and religious conservatives here is basically two steps forward and one step back. And sometimes, one step forward and two steps back.

  • CivicRepublican

    ah . . . the intellectual onanism of ad hominen arguments . . . pro & con joy to the world!

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Ender:Sorry Susan if we are hijacking your thread. It’s Farnanz fault.From what I’ve been able to gather, Iran’s bid (LOL)to serve on the panel was rejected following worldwide protests. However, protests be damned Saudi Arabia (LOL x 2) was evidently appointed last week.Iran also applied for membership on the UN Human Rights Commission, said Commission annually condemning Iran for its stonings, floggings, beheadings, etc., of the year in question. That bid was rejected following UNITED STATES rage at the prospect. (Vocal rage)ON another note, the UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon have been unable to check the growth in Hezbollah weapons because they cannot “see them.” Reports were sent to the peacekeepers documenting their whereabouts. Seven of the thousands of houses stockpiling Hezbollah weapons blew up in view of the peacekeepers, but still, the peacekeepers couldn’t be sure of what caused private homes to explode so suddenly. (I suppose it could have been a natural phenomena.)Nasrallah, echoing, Ahmedinejad, threatened to turn Lebanon into Iran if the UN report on Hariri’s murder is released. Meanwhile, Saad Hariri, son of the murdered Rafiq, has, AMAZINGLY ENOUGH, just announced, that Lebanon must abide by the rule of law. (Impossible since Hezbollah is stronger militarily than the army, such as it is, of Lebanon, but good for Hariri.) Good for Hariri, but who will help Lebanon?Lebanese are desperately seeking ways out of their country in anticipation of the violence that will follow from the release of the report on Hariri’s murder. And what is the UN doing? It is going on vacation during the period when the report is to be released–December. Maybe, release it in January, says the ever Peace-Keeping, human rights loving UN. ????Recommendation: US withdraws from United nations. Relocate it in Riyadh. Many benefits, including better parking in New York City.

  • rambollini-1

    What does common sense and rational thinking conclude:Muslims demonize themselves via the history of Islam as seen in their founder, an illiterate, hallucinating, warmongering, greedy and lust-filled, long-dead Arab. As long as the Worst Book Ever Written aka koran is the operating manual of Islam, Muslims of any stripe cannot be trusted. And this ladies and gentlemen is why Islam will crash someday in a whirlwind of common sense and rational thinking but first the Five Steps to Deprogram Islam must be promulgated in the Islamic world which at the moment is difficult because of imams and their assassin and terror go-ons who terrorize thinking Muslims and non-Muslims with bombings, stabbings, beheadings and stonings all in the name of allah. If you have a Muslim friend/neighbor, please print out a copy of the Five Steps and give it to them.The Five Steps:Using “The 77 Branches of Islamic “faith” a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true “faith” (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings.” i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs. “1. Belief in Allah”aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.”2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.”Evolution and the Big Bang or the “Gi-b G-nab” (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the “akas” for Allah should be included if you continue to be a “creationist”.”3. To believe in the existence of angels.”A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No “pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies” ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and “tin–ker be-lls”. Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.”4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore.”Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them fortune tellers.Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

  • rambollini-1

    continued from above:5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone.”Mohammed spent thirty days “fasting” (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave attended to by his wives before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a “pretty wingy thingy”. Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed’s “fast, hunger-driven” hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

  • FarnazMansouri2

    rambollini-1:Two QuatrainsMethinks I am a prophet new inspired.Stand guard, ye sweet bloggers of Autumn days.–Farnaz

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    Dear JihadistThe problem that the Catholic Church is having in the United States is that the American Catholic Church is immensely wealthy because America is immensely wealthy. Yet, American Catholics are running a-muck with their birth right of freedom of religion and freedom of speech and thought, which runs counter to Catholic doctrines which require conformity of belief among all Catholic people, and in previous times, among ALL people.It is a dilemma. America is the cash-cow; the goose that laid the golden egg; yet American Catholics just take what they want, and leave what they don’t want, just like a cafeteria. The term Cafeteria Catholic is a mean-spirited way to refer to people who have brains and think for themselves.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Susan,Recommended topics:How is it that the RCC is both a sovereign nation in the US (and globally) and therefore entitled to all the rights and protections inherent therein, andA tax exempt religion?What is the legality of the foregoing? What are the myriad ways, including immunity from lawsuits in which the RCC has benefited from this status?In this you might consider the Court ruling that the survivors and heirs of the Utashe Nazi priests who tortured to death with their own hands, etc., depositing the loot in vatican bank, may not sue the Vatican because it is a sovereign nation.The suit against the order continues, of course.You might then consider the consequences for the Establishment Clause when the “bishops” manage to legislate on health care and legislators such as Stupak and Ben Nelson unequivocally declare their fealty to the bishops.Etc.However, the dual status of the landowning, stockholding, Vatican, with its top secret Vatican Bank (not hyperbole) is most important in this discussion.And then there is the additional status as Superhuman Convocation, which led to the cooperation of law enforcement, the courts, etc., in protecting pedophile priests. Victims are not content to see that prosecution has begun.And neither am I. How is it that this crime against humanity went unpunished here and across the globe?It must end. Here we have law. Let’s exercise it.

  • WmarkW

    The Main Page just linked an article by Mathew Schmalz defending exorcism and directly challenging Susan’s column.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    I believe that NO religious institutions should be tax exempt.Further, I believe that the duel status of the RCC as sovereign nation and tax exempt religious institution is illegal.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    The Main Page just linked an article by Mathew Schmalz defending exorcism and directly challenging Susan’s column.The devil? I think not. Far more clever, he, than Scmaltzy.

  • thebump

    I won’t belabor what I already said, but, again, if you want them to pay taxes then don’t argue they’re a sovereign nation — because then they wouldn’t pay taxes.As the civil law actually stands, the Holy See with which we have diplomatic relations and the individual U.S. dioceses are all separate and independent legal entities. There is no “dual status”.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    I won’t belabor what I already said, but, again, if you want them to pay taxes then don’t argue they’re a sovereign nation — because then they wouldn’t pay taxes.They can lobby but they will be registered as Foreign lobbyists.Their pedophiles will be deported.Not a perfect solution since the victims and heirs of the nazi priests would still be unable to sue. But okay by me.

  • thebump

    Farnaz, I appreciate your being so straightforward in your bigotry, the likes of which haven’t been heard since the heyday of the No-Nothings and the KKK.But sorry, we’re U.S. citizens, we’re not going anywhere, under the Constitution our institutions cannot be treated differently from those of other faiths, and there’s not a blessed thing you can do about it.If lobbying to end recognition of the Holy See would sate your hateful impulses, then knock yourself out, but the practical effect on the life, work and temporal organization of the Church in this country would be nil.Meanwhile, you might ask yourself whether bottling up so much hate is healthy. See what it has done to poor Ms. Jacoby.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Farnaz, I appreciate your being so straightforward in your bigotry, the likes of which haven’t been heard since the heyday of the No-Nothings and the KKK.I did not ordain pedophiles. I did not hide and protect them. I did not lie under oath and obstruct justice as William Cardinal Lavada (now, head of the CDF) did, and unlike him I did not try to destroy the one whistle-blower priest who would not go along with silence and obstruction over “Lavada’s boys.”I did not stand idly by while 200 nazi priests (Utashe clergy) ran concentration camps, owned concentration camps, tortured to death Serbian Orthodox, Jews, and Roma. I did not permit those priest animals to deposit the loot in Vatican Bank. I did not then for sixty-five years refuse to settle with the victims and their heirs, invoking my status as a “sovereign nation.”I do not own Vatican Bank, which launders money for the mafia. That would be the mafia that runs guns, runs child prostitution rings, and distributes drugs worldwide.I do not hire lobbyists and manipulate the electorate to compromise health care legislation.I am not attempting to deprive gay Americans of their civil rights.Do not confuse me with Vatican Nation.

  • WmarkW

    Re: Rangel and McConnellI’ve lived in the Washington area for over 25 years, but don’t have that good a handle on “how Washington really works.” The CREW front page for McConnell says he “exchanged earmarks for campaign contributions by clients of his former chief of staff.” Don’t know if that’s out of bounds, or just the normal workings of the lobbyist-industrial complex.CREW claims that Rangel accepted favorable terms for a rent-controlled apartment and trips to the Caribbean. Again, don’t know what line that crosses, but personal gain as opposed to campaign contributions, is one of the triggers.

  • FarnazMansouri2

    Re: Rangel and McConnellYou might want to take a look at the PDF on Mitch.

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