I almost became a Catholic over the holiday break

On our ride down to North Carolina, Tina took over driving for a few hours. I took the time to rest my eyes and catch up on social media.

On my Facebook feed, a young, Catholic girl posted an article that blew my mind. I mean. I’m dying to see how this current pope is going to change the current dismal perspective of Catholicism, but this particular article threw their efforts into overdrive.

Here’s the article if you want to read it.

The title reads: “POPE FRANCIS CONDEMNS RACISM AND DECLARES THAT “ALL RELIGIONS ARE TRUE” AT HISTORIC THIRD VATICAN COUNCIL”

And then the mind blowing began.

This in particular:

In a speech that shocked many, the Pope claimed “All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children. Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! For conservatives and liberals, even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God.”

And later:

“God is changing and evolving as we are, For God lives in us and in our hearts. When we spread love and kindness in the world, we touch our own divinity and recognize it. The Bible is a beautiful holy book, but like all great and ancient works, some passages are outdated. Some even call for intolerance or judgement. The time has come to see these verses as later interpolations, contrary to the message of love and truth, which otherwise radiates through scripture. In accordance with our new understanding, we will begin to ordain women as cardinals, bishops and priests. In the future, it is my hope that we will have a woman pope one day. Let no door be closed to women that is open to men!”

The words in that article, this passage above included, would almost — ***ALMOST*** — cure me of disbelief.

This section was pure gold:

Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity.

When I read most of the article to Tina, her response was, “Man, I’d consider becoming a Catholic again.”

That’s the rub.

The article is so well written and so ideal to what the church should do, but it gets too caught up in hoity toity, we’re right, they’re wrong bullshit.

It took three paragraphs before I said to myself, and Tina, “This is satire. We’ve been duped.”

So I looked further at the web site it was hosted on and sure enough, the site is satire.

Gold, though. Gold. Pure greatness.

Cheers to those folks at Diversity Chronicle. That was the closest I’ve been in a LONG time to consider even considering the consideration of a considerate thought about admiring the church.

And then you see stuff like this story (about how white American evangelicals reject science), and all that hope for the world is a flatulent balloon sound.

But then there’s the following, and my hopes are rejuvenated.

What I did for Halloween: Watched that age-old documentary called, “The Exorcist.”

 

Last night, I watched a really scary documentary called “The Exorcist”.

Have you heard of this one?

In this incredibly interesting documentary, there’s a little girl whose mental illness is undiagnosable by all the top doctors from all the top hospitals. The mental illness gives the girl incredible strength and the ability to move her bed just by lying in it.

I think the little girl was smoking meth a lot, and the strength it gave her was shocking. And since this was a documentary, seeing the first-hand account of these things helped me believe in things I’ve only heard about in the past.

Because it turns out that this little girl was literally possessed by demons.

It got a little weird when the little girl started killing people, but her mom was so rich that she went unpunished.

When all science fails the little girl, the doctors turned the mother toward the very accurate and noble profession of Priesthood.

Yes, it was priests who were finally able to solve the problem. I don’t want to spoil the end, but everything turns out okay.

Phew.

It sure is awesome that we live in a period of time when supernatural events can be captured on film, and shown to doubters and skeptics. So that no doubt can be cast upon the extraordinary claims made anyone.

Documentaries like this are invaluable tools to show everyone just how powerful Satan really is, and that it takes selfless priests, blood sweat and tears to remove demons from little girls.

At a time when the popularity of mental illness and definable diseases have started to overshadow biblical-style demon possession, it’s comforting to know we have heroes in black uniforms lead by a ultimate leader in bejeweled costumes who are so dedicated to the cause that they don’t get married to women, but to their followers.

 

Group dynamics, mean priests, photography and you

Yesterday, I agreed to help shoot a wedding in St. Charles, which is a westerly suburb of  Chicago.

The wedding was at St. John Neumann’s Catholic Church. I’ll get to the church a little further into my story, but St. John Neumann is hands-down the worst, most uninviting, unpleasant church I’ve ever photographed a wedding.

Between video and photography, I’ve shot weddings since 1998. After shooting so many weddings, you get a chance to see what works and what doesn’t. Every church and every priest or pastor has their own set of rules. St. John’s is in a league of their own.

First, let’s talk about group dynamics

Continue reading “Group dynamics, mean priests, photography and you”

Well, that’s awkward: oregon priest — wearing only his underpants — chased boy down street after abuse

 

I mean, why didn’t the priest lock the doors and windows from the inside?

It’s not cool for priests to get caught molesting kids, right?

[I just hiccup barfed on myself]

This shit still happens?

It was close to midnight Sunday when Woodburn resident James Curths saw the 12-year-old boy running down the street toward him. Curths said the child, panting and out of breath, begged for help, telling him a man was chasing him.

Moments later, a man rounded the corner wearing only underwear. He stood a short distance away, trying to wave the boy over as Curths and his sister-in-law prepared to drive the boy to relatives.

“He was staring at us,” said Heather Rodriguez, 28, Curths’ sister-in-law, who was also outside. “Then he stood there with his hands on his hips like, ‘You’re really not going to give him to me?'”

Rodriguez and Curths, 35, told the man they were calling the police. Only then, they said, did the man jog away.

The man who chased after the boy that night, Woodburn police say, was the Rev. Angel Armando Perez, the parish priest at St. Luke Catholic Church in Woodburn. Early Monday, the boy gave police a detailed account of the alleged sex abuse he said occurred at Perez’s home, leading to Perez’s arrest later Monday.

Read on

 

 

Crossing the 13-year-old threshold

Can anyone of you women — who grew up in the Christian tradition — talk about the feeling you had when faced with the idea that God chose a 13 or 14-year-old middle eastern, pre-Muslim era girl to impregnate with himself and he didn’t choose you?

Did you secretly want this for yourself?

I don’t believe in miracles, but if that really happened, how was it that those back-woods, middle eastern, death-loving desert hicks didn’t take Mary out and stone her when they found out she was pregnant?

I guess if you believe in miracles, just shove that in the same box.

On that same note, the tradition teaches that God — born where livestock eats and poops — is supposed to devour your entire concept of majesty. Jesus lived around and taught mainly the common folk. The eye of the needle is a clear concept. And yet, the focus of so many churches throughout history is opulence and grandeur. See Soloman to medieval Catholic churches all the way to super-mega-Churches today.

The message is this: God says greatness and godliness is being poor, self-less, and miraculous to the needy are the most important things to him.

And his followers gather together and in beautiful unison, they sing out, “Fuck that.”

Dutch Roman Catholic church ‘castrated’ boys in 1950s

Last night, I watched the first 40 minutes of the movie Saved (2004) that I added to my DVR a few weeks ago.

It’s scary how accurate that show is in portraying the world from which I grew up. There are obvious embellishments.

Well, the story below is not an embellishment. I wish it were.

From BBC:

Up to 11 boys were castrated while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic church in the 1950s to rid them of homosexuality, a newspaper investigation has said.

A young man was castrated in 1956 after telling police he was being abused by priests, the newspaper reported.

The justice minister is investigating the role of the government at the time.

Last year, an inquiry found thousands of children had been sexually abused in Dutch Catholic institutions since 1945.

Dutch MPs called for an inquiry after the report was published in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper at the weekend.

‘Serious and shocking’

Henk Hethuis, a pupil at a Catholic boarding school, was 18 when he told police in 1956 he was being abused by a Dutch monk. He was castrated on the instructions of Catholic priests, NRC Handelsblad said, and told this would “cure” him of his homosexuality.

The same happened to at least 10 of his schoolmates, the newspaper said.

Hethuis died in a car crash in 1958.

Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten called the allegations “very serious and shocking” and said he would investigate the role of the Dutch government at the time.

Via Cynical C

Santorum: “I don’t want the government telling me what to believe, but I want to be elected to the highest Government position in the US and tell people what to do based on my ‘beliefs’ and ‘religion’

How’s this for a load of bullshit.

It’s an interview in which Slicky Rick Dick Santorum  loses it during an interview with Scott Sloan of 700WLW, Cincinnati.

Satorum doesn’t want government that sticks its nose in your business, but he wants to express his religious views all over your mouth and neck.

Ass to the hole.

Michael Voris kvetches over Ireland’s departure from the church

Legendary homophobe and perpetuator of inanity Michael Voris released a video decrying the decline of religion in Ireland.

I’ve been doing research lately into criticisms of atheism, and this video is certainly reflective of what I’m finding. Believers report on atheism as if it’s a bad thing, but the entire time  they deliver their message, all I hear is positive publicity for disbelief.

When I watch something like this, it encourages me. Thank, Michael Voris for spreading our good news under the pretext that it’s evil.

Oh yeah … I  like your haircut, guy.

Via Pharyngula

Apropos to the last Pope Mohammed short … William Lane Craig is an asshole

I was catching up on twitter this morning in bed, and I saw this post from PZ Myers about William Lane Craig‘s brilliant take on the immorality of the bible.

I feel like a prophet to have published “Pope Mohammed and the Quiz” a full day before PZ’s post was published.

I shall call myself Le Grand Prophète Witteveen.

In Craig’s own words (read ’em here), he explains that killing babies is doing them a favor. It gets them to heaven faster! Sadly, he doesn’t discuss abortion, but he makes it sort of clear that Christians should support abortion.

Craig says we should feel badly for the poor soldiers who were instructed by god to murder unarmed women protecting their crying babies.

William Lane Craig is an asshole.

You should pay particular attention to Craig’s verbal aerobics. Or in Greta Christina’s words, he’s a verbal contortionist. The man is a genius for his cause, and if I were a follower of Christ, I’d place him on the pedestal he belongs on … in a murky waters of a backed-up toilet.

And this is why secular, humanistic, reality-based morality is clearly superior to religious, monster-in-the-sky, supernatural morality.

From where do I get morality? Thankfully not from people who think like William Lane Craig.