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Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Empire Strikes Back -- Trying to Avoid Responsibility

Right now we are in the middle of something like an episode of the "Empire Strikes Back" fueled by people who think they have, or at least want to convince others that they have divine wisdom and divine purpose. This may be the result of having the power to influence others and not having spiritual wisdom, or it may simply be the result of misplaced fanaticism, but in either case at least some of the folks involved are showing massive cynicism.  When people are convinced that they are right and everyone else is wrong, in the pursuit of their ends they justify the means, but after a while they simply wind up using corrupt means to achieve corrupt ends.  For that reason this sort of Machievellian thinking has been a source of tyranny and violence for 1900 years. The person who would set themselves up as omnisicent inquisitor is stepping into a realm where they can only be poseurs usurpers, but never the real thing. In my [previous post]

So it is that religious politics is just as vicious as electoral politics, office politics or any other kind. And when prelates invade secular politics they become even more corrupt than the secular world they seek to control. And there is nothing like fear to propel folks to heights of absurdity. The same Catholic Church that chose to cover up the misbehavior of it's priests for years, now is using an alliance with Republicans to try to avoid responsibility for the crimes their own people committed:
http://www.cathnewsusa.com/2012/08/bishops-god-votes-republican/
Bishop Dolan is:
"Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is scheduled to deliver the concluding benediction at the Republican National Convention next week, after Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech."
But I take heart. If Dolan is channeling the darkside, egged on by his Pope Benedict (formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, of the former Inquisition and the enforcement arm of the Catholic Church), you have these wonderful Sisters traveling the country preaching the liberating theology taught by their founder. The Church can't burn them yet. At least I can hope. I pray they don't face the inquisition.
But the Church can play legal games. Right now they are claiming that they are having their religious liberty to oppress their flock, employees, and priests; infringed on by the Affordable Health Care Act -- and suing.

And because the Democrats, including Catholic Democrats, won't champion their cause, they are planning to run a fear and hate campaign to vilify us Democrats as attacking their freedom. And of course evil minded priests can only get away with going to the dark-side if they have perverse or ignorant and ambitious lay leaders to support them:
"The news — both its substance and the venue in which it was conveyed — make clear three things: that Romney intends to make the Bishops’ bogus arguments about religious liberty infringements a centerpiece of his campaign’s faith outreach; that any efforts the Obama administration made to placate the Bishops’ unattainable demands on insurance coverage for contraception were a fool’s errand; and that the USCCB has unequivocally attached itself at the hip to the Republican Party." [Same article as picture]
This article: http://www.religioustolerance.org/relfreebctrl.htm sums up the issues well enough that I won't go into detail. But the argument that somehow requiring the Church as a corporate entity to pay for women's medical needs is tyranny butts up against the fact that many of those women aren't even Catholic and are working for the Church in its secular capacity as an educator and provider of places of healing. The article talks about Ontario, and the reality is that the Church is campaigning worldwide:
"The religious freedom claimed by the Roman Catholic Church to restrict the use of contraception by the employees and students in the Church's affiliated hospitals, universities, colleges, schools, social service agencies, etc. Typically, these employees and students identify with the Catholic Church, other Christian denominations, non-Christian religions, or have no religious affiliation at all."
This is tyranny, not religious freedom. Nobody should have the right to take away individual rights because they are a collective claiming that God told them they could deny those rights.
"The religious freedom claimed by those students and employees who have examined their conscience about the use of contraceptives on religious, ethical and moral grounds, and have personally decided that they wish to freely use contraceptives. Some wish to use them in order to regulate or avoid conception and pregnancy; others wish to use them to treat one of many medical problems unrelated to conception."
One Man's freedom is a woman's tyranny. But this hasn't changed since the Church first discovered witchcraft and heresy during the later Roman Empire. The Catholic Church has claimed the right to be a Corporation not subject to Secular law, to be a Secular State not subject to rule of law, and to be a religious institution over and above it's own moral codes. Birth Control is the modern version of the kind of apothocary, medicine that midwives and herbalists used to practice in order to be identified as Witches by the Doctors of the Church, who would dunk them and if they survived that, burn them. This is a form of 1984 newspeak. They claim they deserve the right to the religious liberty to deny religious liberty to their employees and members. A kind of newspeak where honesty and freedom of consciousness becomes heresy and was tyranny becomes "liberty." Corporate liberty = individual tyranny for the employee, or in the case of the US Church, the non-employee not subject to labor law because he/she is not really employed by the Church, even though they are.

And the irony is that they advance the right to put shackles on their employees and deny women medical insurance coverage in the name of religious liberty and their corporate rights as a church. But in the meantime they are trying to avoid responsibility for their members and employees on the grounds that they don't really work for them! Who'd have thunk it? How'd they get away with that? They didn't get away with it in Britain, but here our courts are either intimidated or thoroughly corrupt. When they get into trouble because of their own crimes they shout "our priests "don't work here!":
In the USA "a judge ruled that the Holy See is not the employer of molester priests."
[Source: Vatican not employer: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/vatican-not-priests-employer-us-judge-says_n_1813001.html]
But this is not merely tyranny at work. The Catholic Church is losing money. They've started borrowing from Wall Street, always a bad move, instead of raising money from their employees. And that is making them nuts. The problem isn't just tyranny, it is financial incompetence looking to recoup losses:
"The picture that emerges is not flattering. The church’s finances look poorly co-ordinated considering (or perhaps because of) their complexity. The management of money is often sloppy. And some parts of the church have indulged in ungainly financial contortions in some cases—it is alleged—both to divert funds away from uses intended by donors and to frustrate creditors with legitimate claims, including its own nuns and priests. The dioceses that have filed for bankruptcy may not be typical of the church as a whole. But given the overall lack of openness there is no way of knowing to what extent they are outliers."
So to deal with their finances, they stick it to their congregants who've been damaged by scumbag priests whose behavior they'd covered up and hidden from those same congregants.
"Thousands of claims for damages following sexual-abuse cases, which typically cost the church over $1m per victim, according to lawyers involved, have led to a liquidity crisis. This seems to have encouraged a pre-existing trend towards replacing dollars from the faithful with publicly raised debt as a way of financing church business. The church is also increasingly keen to defend its access to public health-care subsidies while claiming a right not to provide certain medical services to which it objects, such as contraception. This increased reliance on taxpayers has not been matched by increased openness and accountability. The church, like other religious groups in America, is not subject to the same disclosure requirements as other non-profits or private entities."
I guess I'm supposed to feel sorry for the Vatican, but then it doesn't employ all those wonderful, fully human and frail priests and nuns, monks and lay-people that I've come to know and love over the years. Even though it had senior prelates relocating perverted priests and sometimes moving them to out of the way places where they could practice their perversions with impunity. [See this article http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/22/nation/la-na-nn-priest-sex-abuse-trial-20120622]
ROME — "The Vatican on Friday reaffirmed its position that the future Pope Benedict XVI "had no knowledge" of a decision to allow a known pedophile priest to resume pastoral duties when the pope was archbishop in Munich in 1980. The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said an article that appeared in The New York Times on Friday that said the future pope had been sent a..."[was false"
Of course if the future pope hadn't known that then he was recklessly incompetant, and the article was sourced, but I can only judge facts and if they say he didn't know about what his Church was doing when it moved priests around, sent them to special retreats for Pedophiles, tried to rehabilitate them, and allegedly covered up for them, then, well. What can I say? But what would be funny is that after all those efforts which show just how closely the priests worked with the Vatican and worked for the Vatican, it is Ironic that the Church now claims they were mere independent contractors and on that ground the Church isn't responsible!
It claims it didn't employ the Pedophiles! -- though a British court didn't buy that argument.
"The ruling by the High Court in London for the first time defined in British law the relationship of a priest to his bishop as that of an employee to an employer, instead of seeing the priest as effectively self-employed."
When Cardinal Dolan endorses Romney and joins the attempted coup against Democracy in our country I will feel sorry for the Catholic Church -- the one that is pictured in "The City of God." But I can't feel sorry for the pedophiles and the priests who covered up for them, or the many women who may be reduced to coat hanger abortions if the Church gets its way. My sense of history and historical outrage won't let me. I feel sorry for their victims.
Previous Post: http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2012/08/love-hierarchy-and-tyranny.html
Source for last two quotes; http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2012/08/while-were-on-the-subject-.html
British court decision: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2011/11/10/court-rules-that-church-is-liable-for-crimes-of-priests/

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