Thursday, September 27, 2007
But, as someone who knows and has been raised in that system, I can see the flaws clear as day and can look back and see where it also caused damage to me --my self-esteem and my concept of self as a 'sinful' thing. As a woman I became increasingly aware of the female-repressiveness from the Church than a man would. I can't change my gender, but I can change my surroundings. Even Jesus hung out with women and presumably treated them as equals rather than servants back in the day when it carried risk of social scandal. The Church does not see men and women as equals. I put in 29 years... and now, well, as a Recovering Catholic, I feel I have a right to bitch.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
"The least you do unto my brethren, you do unto me."
What makes this so bad is that, without a doubt, this press release had to be passed by the Vatican for approval before being published. And, by the Pope’s standards, obviously printing this type of blasphemy is fine as long as it rakes in the cash. Unbelievable. Yes, “for the heavenly price of 10 euros” – pretty soon the Catholic Church will have a symbol on the NYSE or a Disneyland of their own!
And, with all the fundraising and diocesan appeals, who do you think funded this little circus sideshow? When Jesus went into the temple and drove out the moneychangers with a whip, why do you think he did that? Food for thought.
Vatican airline takes to the skies
Source: CNN.com – Tuesday, August 28, 2007
ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- While some passengers only turn to prayer when jolted by turbulence, the Vatican made it standard on Monday by launching the world's first airline for Catholic pilgrims.
Complete with Vatican logos on headrests and air hostesses' uniforms, the inaugural flight travelled from Rome's Fiumicino airport for the shrine of Lourdes in France.
The charter flight's slogan spoke volumes about what its clients are doing above the clouds: "I'm Searching for Your Face, Lord". "It is a spiritual journey," explained Francesco Gherra, one of the pilgrims who boarded Monday's inaugural flight hosted by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the former head of Italy's bishops.
The Vatican aims to serve 150,000 pilgrims a year on its chartered Boeing 737, run by Italy's Mistral Air. Destinations range from the shrine of Fatima in Portugal to Mount Sinai in Egypt, where Moses is said to have received the 10 Commandments from God.
In-flight entertainment on the way to the world's holy sites will, somewhat predictably, be religious in nature, the Vatican said. "The crew has been informed that there are (religious) messages that will be transmitted, that films will be shown during the flight," said Father Cesar Atuire at the Vatican office coordinating pilgrimages.
Keeping costs for pilgrims low is another Vatican priority, Atuire said. The Vatican's venture into the airline industry did not go unnoticed by competitors, including Ryanair, Europe's biggest low-cost carrier. The Vatican hopes to fly pilgrims from Rome to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, a route already serviced by the low-budget carrier.
"Ryanair already performs miracles that even the Pope's boss can't rival, by delivering pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela for the heavenly price of 10 euros," Ryanair said in a statement.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Forget that the earth's population has more than doubled since 1920. You are not having enough children. Forget that the stability of the economy is questionable in terms of cost of living for small families as it is. You are not having enough children. Forget that there are numerous abandoned and orphaned babies in the system waiting for someone to adopt them into loving homes. You are not having enough children. Forget that divorce rates only increase as the stress of children enter the home, so forget about this being a possibility in your future. You are not having enough children. Forget that families will barely be able to put their children through college at the rate of rising tuition, therefore the educated populous at large will continue to tip in favor of the upper class. You are not having enough children. Forget that poverty will only repeat itself until education can occur. Education must be a priority in all countries for all economic classes, but especially the poor. Education must occur before children can be reared correctly. Who cares if you can't read. You are not having enough children. Who cares if you will be on welfare because you cannot afford to have another child. You are not having enough children.
Honestly, would a kind an loving Jesus wish for you to suffer under the strains of stress of not being able to fully support, provide for, love and correctly raise another human being? The God I have come to know would not rejoice in such suffering, rather, would encourage you to follow your heart and know your limits. To nurture the quality of the life for your existing children and forget about the quantity and meeting a status quo for an institution of celibate men. Let's face it, the more children that are in the family, the more the parents need to divy up their attention to each one. Now imagine having more children than patience and those poor parents cannot be there fully --emotionally-- for ANY one of their children. Jesus never turned to Mary his mother or Mary Magdalene or any of the women he came in contact with and said, "Woman, you haven't had enough children - get to it!". The "be fruitful and multiply" statement in the Bible is applicable today, just not in the fundamentalist terms. I would read it as a blessing - a blessing to multiply and share the gifts which you have been blessed with, not just in terms of peopling the world.
Here is an article about how the Pope recently chastised Europe for not having enough children.
Pope blasts Europeans for not having enough
By Sim Sim Wissgott Sat Sep 8, 3:27 PM ET Source: Yahoo!
MARIAZELL, Austria (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI blasted Europeans for being selfish and not having enough children, in a sermon on Saturday at the 850-year-old pilgrimage site of Mariazell in Austria. "Europe has become child-poor. We want everything for ourselves and place little trust in the future," the pope told a crowd of faithful from his canopied area at an open-air, afternoon mass that took place under heavy rain. But Benedict held out hope, saying: "The earth will be deprived of a future only when the forces of the human heart and of reason illuminated by the heart are extinguished . . . Where God is, there is the future." The pontiff had slammed abortion upon arriving in Austria Friday as the "very opposite" of human rights. "The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself," he told members of the government and the diplomatic corps at the Hofburg, the seat of the Austrian presidency in Vienna. Austrian Defence Minister Norbert Darabos said in a state televisin interview however Saturday that the Austrian government would not call for a change in the country's law which allows abortions. Meanwhile, in evening prayers at Mariazell the traditionalist Pope defended chastity for religious orders as a way for them to become "men and women of hope." Celibacy is not "individualism or a life of isolation" for priests, nuns and other religious orders but "unreservedly" serving God and having "deep relationships ... which they accept as a gift." The Austrian Church has been wracked by several sex scandals involving priests and in an open letter to the pope the liberal Austrian movement Wir sind Kirche ("We are the Church") has called for the end of celibacy. Despite the bad weather that has dogged the visit so far, thousands stood in the rain at Mariazell backed behind crowd barriers, with many wearing yellow raincoats and some waving blue scarves, the traditional colour of Jesus's mother Mary. The pope, who had arrived in Mariazell from Vienna by car instead of by helicopter due to the weather, waved to the crowd through the windows of the Popemobile as he made his way to the centuries-old white and pink basilica in Mariazell. People who had been sheltering under doorways rushed towards his motorcade as it passed, even as the rain increased in intensity. Organisers said 33,040 free tickets had already been distributed for Mariazell and that the pilgrims would include 70 bishops from central and eastern European countries. The Austrian archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, told the crowd that two pilgrims had died from health problems, and the Pope said a prayer for them. On Friday, the pontiff said he intended his pilgrimage "to be a journey made in the company of all the pilgrims of our time." He said Mariazell "symbolizes an openness which... transcends physical and national frontiers." The main pilgrimage site in the Danube region, some 110 kilometres (70 miles) southwest of Vienna, the basilica was founded by Benedictine monks. The site, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and celebrates its 850th anniversary this year, welcomes around a million pilgrims every year from Austria, neighbouring Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia as well as Poland, Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina. The Pope arrived in Vienna Friday morning and addressed a crowd of thousands at Am Hof square before making a silent tribute to the victims of the Holocaust at a nearby monument. The pope's visit has been greeted with some criticism in a country where the traditionally powerful Catholic Church is waning in influence. Statistics show the Austrian Church has lost about one million followers since 1983, and only 67 percent of Austrians are still officially Catholic, compared to almost 92 percent in 1900. On Sunday, the Pope will celebrate a morning mass at Vienna's St. Stepheon's Cathedral and visit the Cistercian monastery in Heiligenkreuz, before flying back to Rome.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
In the movie "The Prophet" there is a scene where Robert Duvall, a charismatic evangelist, is standing on a bridge in a small town during some type of festival, watching as a barge of what I presume to be Catholic clergy pass by blessing and sprinkling holy water on the crowd. He smiles and says something to the effect of "We have our different ways, but we get the job done, don't we?" He was referring to serving God - whether you are Catholic or Protestant.
I think Pope Benedict's recent statements about salvation only being attained in the Catholic faith put a span of distance within the unity of Catholics and Protestants (see article below). Instead of polarizing, I think he should focus on uniting ALL Christians in a common goal of love and understanding.
Nowhere in the Bible will you find the words "The Catholic Church is the One True Church". This is a spiritually dangerous assumption.
Pope approves document - Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation, other churches defective
Pope Benedict XVI has ignited controversy across the world by approving a document saying non-Catholic Christian communities are either defective or not true churches, and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation. "Christ 'established here on earth' only one church," said the document, reasserting the primacy of Catholicism. It said other Christian communities such as Protestants "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" since they don't have what's known as apostolic succession – that is, the ability to trace their bishops back to the original 12 apostles of Jesus. The document said the Orthodox church suffered from a "wound" because it did not recognize the primacy of the pope, adding the wound was "still more profound" among Protestant denominations. It was "difficult to see how the title of 'Church' could possibly be attributed to them," said the statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, purporting Roman Catholicism was "the one true Church of Christ.""These separated churches and communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation," the document read. "In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church."The document, formulated as five questions and answers, repeated sections of a 2000 text the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, "Dominus Iesus," which angered Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches and did not have the "means of salvation."The Vatican's statement, signed by American Cardinal William Levada, was approved by Benedict June 29, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul in the Catholic faith.Protestant leaders wasted no time attacking the statement."It makes us question whether we are indeed praying together for Christian unity," said the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, a group of 75 million Protestants in more than 100 countries. "It makes us question the seriousness with which the Roman Catholic Church takes its dialogues with the reformed family and other families of the church."
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I am a well-educated artist and am of the democratic liberal mind-set. My parents love me so much - and I know that God loves MORE THAN THEY DO. God is love, not the guilt-bestowing, spoiled-child, game-playing God often written about in the Old Testament. This same smoting, angry, never-to-be-pleased finger-shaking God is the portrait the Church paints for parishoners to tremble in the shadow of. The Church peddles the everlasting guilt of never attaining perfection and always reminds you (in no uncertain terms) that you are not good enough.
I don't place judgment on homosexuals. God loves them, too, so shall I. I am against abortion but not to the militant degree most Catholics are. I believe there are exceptions and each case should be treated individually, but I do not think it should be 100% banned. I am against the death penalty, the war in Iraq, and fundamentalism. I believe in the fact of evolution within the bounds of God's creation as well as science. I believe in tolerance and love of all people and races and creeds. I think the Pope IS NOT infallible. He is a human being put in the position he is in by other men. He might be a leader of many, but he is flesh and blood like the rest of us, prone to disease, decay, sinful thoughts, the whole nine yards.
When I married in the Church in 2000, I was asked that if I have any children that I raise them Catholic - and even had to sign something. I agreed that I would. If I had them. At the time I was on the fence. But, since I was a teenager I never wanted children and gave it time thinking I might change my mind...but throughout the past 15 years or so I never developed that natural urge or motherly wanton for children. This past year my decision has been solidified to NOT have children and I am happy with that decision. My husband feels the same way but in no way influenced my individual decision. Because I know myself, I can't work the role of "mom" into my self-concept. I am happy creating my art and spending my free time using the gifts and talents God has given me. In my heart of hearts I know I was put here to do more than procreate.
Why would the nature which God has bestowed upon me be wrong? I e-mailed the question of whether or not my decision is seen as a sin to one of the EWTN priests. He came back with a round-about 'yes', that your reasons to not have children have to be "serious". As a semi-feminist-slowly-turning-into-a-full-blown-feminist I can say that I am more than my biological function to procreate.
Another ex-seminarian still active in the Church replied to my same issue with "The Church's response would be that if one doesn't want to have children, one should not marry or have sex." He went on to say that "you will have to make peace with the fact that the way you have chosen to live will not likely be supported by any priests in the Catholic Church."
Another online forum Catholic priest suggested that my marriage was invalid to begin with if I married knowing that I might not want children. "Be fruitful and multiply" was thrown at me several times, never with the thought that this passage may have been more of a blessing that a command to breed. That same priest even suggested anullment.
My parish priest came back with a more intelligently outlined response, but the answer boiled down to the same misogynistic dogma.
I have a mind to use and make the world a better place. The Church's stance is that marriage is the foundation for procreation, but would it have been better for me not to marry and just "live in sin" with my significant other? I can't win and am very disappointed that there is not a broader scope of acceptance in the Church - I'm enriching the lives of my nieces and nephews. Isn't that enough? I know that I am not destined to populate the earth with more Catholics. I also believe women should be allowed to be priests. What, the lack of penis means lack of piety? The Church refuses to grow and turn a half a degree to catch up with the year 2007, where men and women should be equal.
I cannot feel guilty about this decision and will not self-destruct and go against my instincts in order to appease a celibate, male-dominated papacy. I cannot find support for my choice in the Church, and am chastised, disinherited because of this choice -- which hurts no one, mind you. I was judged by my own Church.
I believe God feels differently, though. God and the Church are two different things not to be confused with one another. Many people take them as being one in the same. Not I. I left and took the truth in Spirit with me.