Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Ask me how I REALLY feel . . .

I thought about posting this yesterday. I must tell you that the delay was not about deference to anybody's sensibilities, I just didn't have time until now. I'm going to talk about the Catholic Church, specifically. I could write about other religions -- I have and I will. I don't single out the Roman Catholic Church particularly, I think that all religions are equally ridiculous. It just happens to be my subject today.

We don't know, and we probably never will know, for how long Catholic priests have been raping and otherwise abusing children with the full protection of the institutional church. I expect it's been going on for hundreds of years, actually. Go ahead, show me some evidence that it has not. I had a boarding school roommate who grew up in a Catholic orphanage and he knew exactly what the church was all about. As it happened he was a tough kid who fought them off, but most kids could not, of course. I had another friend who attended a school in Andover run by "Christian" brothers, and he told me that the monks used to beat the crap out of the kids all the time, for kicks. He probably didn't feel comfortable mentioning the rapes, which I'm sure happened as well.

The clergy sexual abuse scandal first erupted here in Boston, but everybody with half a brain already knew that it went on everywhere and had for a long time. Now it's coming out worldwide, and of course the Bishops are reacting the same way they did here -- all this talk about the issue is a malicious attack on the church, it's a conspiracy by the news media, nobody has a right to question our motives or our moral authority which comes from God almighty so we don't have to be accountable to the law or anybody else. Since this blog is about public health, I'm going to do my best to restrict my focus to the impact of the church on the issues we normally discuss here, but I could say a lot more.

The Catholic Church is a force for evil in many very important respects. The idea that people might have sex for reasons other than procreation is more offensive to the Bishops than the idea that they might die a horrible death from AIDS, so they forbid the use of condoms. They actually run hospitals here in Massachusetts where it is forbidden for health care providers to distribute condoms, or to recommend them to people. That is evil.

So is the condemnation of people whose sexuality does not conform to their rigid -- and utterly hypocritical -- bigotry. When sexuality is stigmatized and driven underground, nothing but evil ensues, from the persecution of Oscar Wilde, to the suicide of Alan Turing, to the self-loathing that leads people to like Larry Craig to live their entire lives as lies, to widespread high risk behavior and the near impossibility of engaging people in positive public health programs. The Bishops demand that people live in phony marriages that scar children, that women endure abuse at the hands of men they are forbidden to divorce, that people who have found true fulfillment after one or more failed attempts must live in shame. (Unless, of course, they happen to be politically powerful or wealthy.) It's perfectly okay to be a psychopathic Mafia Don, but it's not okay to be gay, or remarried.

Remember Terry Schiavo? Remember those brainwashed teenagers following some demented monk around with tape over their mouths with "life" written on it? Obviously the church was not defending "human life," in that case, but wallowing in its culture of death. Think of all the good that could be done with the resources squandered on keeping corpses in a state of simulated animation -- and the continual torment and misery of loved ones who believe they have some moral obligation to preserve the mortal tissue of people who are long gone.

The Bishops aggressively inject all of their moral depravity into politics, but when it comes to the supposedly universal messages of the Gospels, they won't abide it. The Pope ordered Fr. Robert Drinan to retire from politics because Drinan was a campaigner for peace, justice and human rights. Not an appropriate role for a priest at all.

Then there is the question of abortion. I've certainly said plenty about it in the past, but I'll just remind everyone of the key points. There is nothing, not one word, anywhere in the Bible that condemns abortion or even mentions it, even though abortion, and for that matter infanticide, were widespread in Biblical times. The obsession of the Church with abortion is a purely modern invention, which has nothing to do with human life and everything to do with fear and loathing of female sexuality. As I wrote earlier, "In fact, if you believe in God, then you also have to believe that God is the most prolific abortionist in history, by many orders of magnitude, because something like 2/3 of "human lives" -- the zygotes created at the moment of conception -- never successfully develop. Most of the time, the woman is not even aware that she was ever pregnant. If abortion is murder, this is the death of tens of millions of innocent children every year. Should it not be the absolutely highest priority of medical research to save those babies' lives? But you never hear a peep from these people about it."

The Bishops are depraved moral idiots. The Catholic Church's doctrines are preposterous, nonsensical. The Church has been an enemy of science, of human rights, of justice, and of human progress throughout its existence. They no longer torture people to death who try to defy them, but that's only because they don't think they can get away with it. The Catholic Church is one of the most profoundly evil institutions on the planet. Humanity, and the rest of the biosphere, will be much better off when it finally withers up and blows away. I hope that will be soon.


Ronald said...

I agree with most of what you say except for this "Go ahead, show me some evidence that it has not." You can't prove a negative. I could say that the Dutch cause cancer, show me some evidence that they have not. You can't do it. Apple pie causes AIDs, show me some evidence that it does not.

Cervantes said...

I should have explained myself more fully on this point. There is no reason to suppose this phenomenon suddenly appeared in the 1950s, all over the world. The conditions which produced it had been in place for centuries. The parsimonious assumption is that the behavior had as well. Indeed, one wonders how many of these priests were simply emulating their own priestly role models from their youths.