Commission of Investigation into Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin (The Murphy Report)

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh. Seat of the A...
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So the Murphy Report and the usual outrage is being shown. We have been there before earlier this year with the Ryan Report, but has anything changed?

Not much. The priests not named in the report will not be charged, the bishops who let them get away with it are refusing to resign. Information will be shredded. Its despicable. Whats the point of these Commissions if nothing comes of them?

This morning though, I was listening to Gerry Ryan on 2FM (a rare occurrence) when he was doing the paper review and when he go to the Irish Daily Mail I was very interested to hear what he had to say. According to the Mail (not online) the Bishop’s who did not report allegations to the Gardaí will be investigated. This is a change. And it is a good change. The Church hierarchy need to be told they are no longer above the law.

While I think very highly of the current Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, as he is more open then most of predecessors, the Church still has a long way to go as their is 25 dioceses in Ireland North and South who need to either come clean and hand over records to the Gardaí or be investigated.

I am not an anti-church person. I am not an anti-catholic person. But these church men who claim to uphold the ten commandments and Gospel of Jesus Christ need to realise their actions and repent and do good on it.

There is no easy way out of this for the Catholic Church in Ireland or the Vatican. They need to look deeply at themselves are realise how human they are, admit when they are wrong, and take the punishment. It is what the rest of us mere mortals must do.

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The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report

I haven’t blogged about the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Reportreport as between the jigs and the reels and the coverage on other blogs, I didnt see the point. But after reading a story in the Irish Examiner that the religous orders are not going to re-negotiate the indemnity deal and seeing this video from Q&A last time I am annoyed.

I am soo annoyed. I am not sure who to be more annoyed with though. The Government or the Catholic Church. The fact that the religous orders are refusing to renegotiate the deal despit what the hierarchy has said is galling to think that they could get away with it as the Government is afraid to push them on it!

If there are legal difficulties in the state re-opening the negiations alone then pressure needs to be applied to the 18 congregations to get them to agree.

Things need to change in this country. The position of the Catholic Church is one of the things that need to change. They must now realise that they are not above the law, and they have sinned. Not only against those who suffered, but also against God. They have twisted their mission to one of protecting the guilty. To preventing Justice from happening. Is this the mission God handed to Church of Peter that the Catholic Church claims to continue? I hope not.

At the Church Service (Church of Ireland) I was at on Sunday, it was raised. The preacher did not condemn the Catholic Church in Ireland but certainly raised doubts in my mind of its reasons in protecting those who committed these abuses.

This scandal will run and run. And it needs to run and run, until the Church and the Congregations see where they are wrong and increase their contributions and stop hiding the criminals

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The English Catholic Church – Moving with the times?

LONDON - JANUARY 06:  Churchgoers crowd the ai...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeAfter the recent did he mention it or didn’t he mention speech by the Pope it is good to see that the English Catholic Church is moving with the times according to Bishops in England have sent out leaflets urging priest not to use ‘heterosexist’ language in church.

Priest have been told not assume that all Church goers are heterosexual. “Remember that homophobic jokes and asides can be cruel and hurtful – a careless word can mean another experience of rejection and pain,”. It is good that part of the Church is waking up to how it talks about part of its congregation.

Of course no everyone is happy with this. Lynette Burrows, a Catholic commentator, describes the move as ‘pitiful’. She said it was ridiculous that Church leaders appeared to be ‘ grovelling’ to a secular agenda.

‘It is things like this that are enfeebling the Church at the moment – the concentration on things that don’t matter and missing the things that do,’ she said.

‘What is pitiful as well as demeaning is that the Church is running after homosexual opinion but nothing is going to make homosexuals like the Catholic Church.

‘This is because the Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is a disorder and whatever the bishops say will not change that.’

Of course this isn’t a secular agenda. This is how the Church reacts to its member. Fair play to the Bishops in my opinion. It is about time the Church addressed it followers on this and actually supported them.

This post actually gives a nice follow in for me to introduce an interesting site for Lesbian and Gay Christians, LGBT Christians. Their aim is to “bring Christ to those who have been alienated by those organisations that claim to be his Church and claim to preach his love and yet through ignorance and misconception preach not love to Gods lesbian, gay and bisexual children” and “seek to create an atmosphere of understanding between those who think that homosexuality has no place in Christs Church and those who think they do”

To quote John 13:35

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Do check them out.

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Did we get it wrong on the Pope?

Pope Benedict XVI during visit to São Paulo, B...Image via WikipediaTallyman as an excellent post pointing out that the mainstream media and many blogs (including me!) got the Pope’s message wrong. Now I was working from what was reported in the media considering the Pope’s speech was in Latin.

Tallyman points out that there was “nothing new” in the speech but that the Pope was “following some very simplistic, narrow logic”. As he points out the “Pope regularly says things like this. This is something that we all understand to be Roman Catholic doctrine. How many gays still attend Church knowing this?”. I, like him, know lots!

The most important part in Tallyman’s post is when he points out that the Pope “does not single out the gay community in his New Years message.” (Emphasis his). In fact he points out the over arching theme of the message which was“Fighting Poverty to build Peace” which is a good idea.

He goes to point out that the Pope mainly called for teaching of abstinence to be considered a way of halting the spread of diseases, such as AIDS, and connects these diseases to poverty. Now while some people disagree with this way of halting the spread of AIDS, it must be admitted that it is one of halting the spread of the disease.

Tallyman concludes with the following

So, in one line the Pope has incensed the Gays, the Greens and certain sections of the media to declare him as inciting hatred. The Pope stuck to Catholic (albeit misguided dogma) in relation to what it deems to be a natural order. It didn’t tell all good Catholics to shun their homosexual neighbours, disown their homosexual children, or rise up in revolt against governments legislating for civil partnership. He asked us to me good Christians, to be mindful of the poor in this festive season and combat corruption and immorality in the name of the poor.

I don’t really see the harm in that.

So this to me seams to be logical, so why then did the Mainstream media take up the Pope’s message wrong? Why were we led to believe that he was equating Homosexuality with Climate Change?

While I am no fan of the Pope, I don’t think it is right that when he says something, it is misrepresented. As Tallyman puts it “i find any distortion of the Pope’s message by LGBT groups, the media, and those looking for a sound-byte, a bit rich, worrying, and it has to be said, gay.” Sentiments I agree with completely.

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"Humanity must be saved"

Pope Benedictus XVIImage via WikipediaFrom the gays??? What? Really? We are responsible for the downturn in humanity? Has the Pope been having chats with Fred Phelps?

I am amazed and disgusted. I find myself in complete agreement with the headline from Froodie’s blog “Pope Benedict incites hatred, misunderstanding and probable bullying and violence.”.

While I know a lot of Catholics don’t agree with the Church on everything but this does not help in anyway. A lot of elderly people do listen to the Pope for advice and guidance and him saying things like this do not help.

It is a step back for the Church in general. I have a lot of respect for individual priests who hold differing views then the Pope, but this will not help those Catholics who are gay and still hold the Church in high regard.

Other blogs have reacted in various ways to this declaration. Iain Dale thinks the Pope should “Just Join the BNP & Have Done With It“. Una of Unarocks points out that the Pope is teaching the wrong stuff and should be concentrating on “Love” a very good point! Also she points out

On one hand, i suppose, you can laugh this stuff off- who gives a fuck? Who cares what an old repressed dude in a wine dress says? Surely if you get pissed off by this it legitimises his statement as something worth listening to? Then on the other hand, this is a man with huge power and influence and a massive willing and listening audience who believes ten per cent of the population is evil.

And I agree with her fully on that point!

I love Joe Scanlon‘s post title on this issue “Plant a Tree – Shoot a fag” which basically could sum up the Pope’s speech to some people!

As the papers point out (Irish Indo and UK Times) “The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are”. So they think the fact that you are gay is not sin (yay, therefore not a choice) but we can choose to ignore it! Really? You can ignore the fact that you have fallen in LOVE? I don’t think so. Having actually experienced true love for another man, it is an overpowering experience (as it is for anyone I would assume straight or gay) that hits you. It cannot be ignored. Yet this “ancient institution” expects us do so. No thank you! There is reason I CHOOSE to no longer to be considered a Catholic. I CHOOSE no longer to be associated with comments such as this or the on earlier this year from a high ranking Vatican Official that called homosexuality “a deviation, an irregularity, a wound”.

An issue that most of these posts and my comments so far are on the issue of transgender which the Pope also tosses into the mix. He opposes Gender Theory and said

“That which is often expressed and understood by the term ‘gender’ in the end amounts to the self-emancipation of the human person from creation and from the Creator,” the Pope said.

“Human beings want to do everything by themselves, and to control exclusively everything that regards them. But in this way, the human person lives against the truth, against the Creator Spirit.”

Wow! Even Iran is more ahead then the Catholic Church on Transgendered issues when it espousing beliefs such as this.

The Church needs to get a grip and move with the times. The Church is losing membership and it wonders why? The Church has to be seen to approach issues with a modern mindset, something it has failed to do since the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

I wonder what he will complain about next Christmas? Single mothers?

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Me and Religion

Well the whole atheism thing hasn’t exactly worked and I’m giving up on being a Bright. Though I am not going back to Christian let along Catholic. I have recently come a cross a new religion (both to me and it is fairly new in religious terms also). What is that faith? Bahá’í.

Bahá’í teachings appeal to me and Shoghi Effendi has summed them up and I cannot disagree with them.

The independent search after truth, unfettered by superstition or tradition; the oneness of the entire human race, the pivotal principle and fundamental doctrine of the Faith; the basic unity of all religions; the condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or national; the harmony which must exist between religion and science; the equality of men and women, the two wings on which the bird of humankind is able to soar; the introduction of compulsory education; the adoption of a universal auxiliary language; the abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty; the institution of a world tribunal for the adjudication of disputes between nations; the exaltation of work, performed in the spirit of service, to the rank of worship; the glorification of justice as the ruling principle in human society, and of religion as a bulwark for the protection of all peoples and nations; and the establishment of a permanent and universal peace as the supreme goal of all mankind—these stand out as the essential elements [which Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed].

So it kinda does sound all wishy washy but I recently got a book in Waterstones and it explains it all. I recommened it to anyone interested in Bahá’á or religion in general. It is “The Baha’i Faith: A Beginner’s Guide – Beginner’s Guide” by Moojan Momen.

I am currently learning alot about the religion thanks to a book given to me by a friend. It is “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era”, so far an interesting read but it is competing with other books at the moment so must concentrate on it.

Anyway thats an update on me and the religious front. Incidentally the Baha’i Holy Places in Haifa and Western Galilee have been inscribed as UNESCO Cultural Sites.

An Apology and Explanation

I would like to take this opportunity to explain a certain post of mine that has caused some upset to some people I know. The post in question was the one about me leaving the church.

Firstly I would like to state I had an excellent upbringing as a child of catholic parents who decided to would be best to raise me catholic. It being the 1980’s in Ireland, there weren’t many other options. But at the same time I think my parents did a good job and raised me more secular then Catholic. They thought me right from wrong and how to live my life to the full.

I can never remember being forced to go to mass, I didnt mind it though I can never remember what the Priest said in the Homily but I still know all the prayers off by heart. I did not think that the post would offend the people dear to me and I am sorry.

It took alot of courage for me to that though, finally admit that I no longer believe in an omnipotent God. It took many trips to the bookshop staring at the God Delusion but I thought it was a good idea to challenge my beliefs. My beliefs it turned out weren’t as important to me as I had thought and when I sat down and read the arguments, sometimes I had to read them twice to be sure I understood them, I realised I was arging with most of them.

My parents thought me to respect beliefs but more importantly I had a teacher in Secondary School who advised us to “Question Everything”. I think this is one way I am living up to his advice.

I respect all religions, and have the utmost respect for religous people. I think it shows great dedication and commitment, but religion as it stands does not work for me. That might change later in life if evidence comes out that God (Yahweh, Allah, Shiva, He/She/It, the Flying Spagetti Monster (I’m serious thats a religion!!) etc) exist.

To me Catholicism is a way of life, the ten commandments are a good way to live your life, but so are these:

1. You will daily give thanks to your heavenly Mother and Father, and to your earthly mother and father, for the precious gift of life.

2. You will show your respect and appreciation for this gift by striving always to make life a rich experience for yourself and others.

3. You will have reverence for the plant kingdom, which provides oxygen to breathe, food to eat, and beauty to uplift your soul.

4. You will love the members of the animal kingdom as brothers and sister.

5. You will not wantonly injure or destroy any vegetation.

6. You will not injure or kill any animal, except in self defence or for food.

7. You will not injure or kill any human, except in defence of your life, or your kin.

8. You will not wage war.

9. You will regard with equal dignity men, women and children of all races and creeds.

10. You will joyfully give succour and assistance to those less fortunate than yourself

I remember dawkins adding one to a list he had, about interfering in other peoples sex lives basically.

I am HUGELY grateful for the well rounded raising I have gotten from my Parents, but I think this could be a bone of contention for the future.

Ten Commandments TechRepublic Forum

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To The Holy Catholic And Apostolic Church, I’m Leaving You

To The Holy Catholic And Apostolic Church, I’m Leaving You

I have finaly made a decision on my religion. Its something I have been mulling over for a long time. Even before I came out. Recently I read Richard Dawkins The God Delusion and it made perfect sense to me. So now I consider myself a Bright.

So why leave the Church?
Well I didnt have a choice in the first place whether or not to join the Church. Now I am not doubting that Jesus Christ existed, theres historical proof and he was a good man. BUT in my humble opinion, he is not the Son of God. I am not writing this to offend any believers. If you do belive, I think you are doing the right thing for you, but I no longer belive so why stay a member of the church? I always had a slightly different take on things from the church, from as long as I can remember I never believed in Hell. That has developed into not believing in a personal god who listens to my prayers.

Since I came to Germany, my religion has been under the microscope, not just by my host family, but the moment I say I’m Irish I am asked Protestant or Catholic? As if that matters!

How to leave the Church
Some websites give misleading advice on how to leave the Catholic Church. One website says

Just ex-communicate yourself and stop attending church rituals. No need for formal declaration.

Now I have never heard of someone ex-communicating themselves. Ex-communication is a punishment from the church, so you can’t do it yourself. Its actual as easy as writing to your local bishop as requesting to excercise your right to Defect (yes DEFECT!) under Vatican II. You need to supply some other information such as place of baptism, your parents names, godparents names, and of course the date you were baptised (Date of Birth might help also!). You may getter letter saying this is a bad thing etc etc, but just reply by saying you know what you are doing.

I found some stuff about Defection by Formal Act (Actus Formalis Defectionis ab Ecclesia Catholica) on the vatican website no less, and it is quite interesting.

Here is some of an article (link below)

1. For the abandonment of the Catholic Church to be validly configured as a true actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia so that the exceptions foreseen in the previously mentioned canons would apply, it is necessary that there concretely be:

a) the internal decision to leave the Catholic Church;
b) the realization and external manifestation of that decision; and
c) the reception of that decision by the competent ecclesiastical authority.

2. The substance of the act of the will must be the rupture of those bonds of communion – faith, sacraments, and pastoral governance – that permit the Faithful to receive the life of grace within the Church. This means that the formal act of defection must have more than a juridical-administrative character (the removal of one’s name from a Church membership registry maintained by the government in order to produce certain civil consequences), but be configured as a true separation from the constitutive elements of the life of the Church: it supposes, therefore, an act of apostasy, heresy or schism

Full article

Also, I am not leaving the church just cause I am Gay, that has actually not figured much in my decision to leave the Church.