Pope Rubber-Stamps Condom Use

I see Ratzo has taken up a new position on the use of condoms.  He’s softened his previously hard stance and now, it seems, you can use rubbers if you’re a male prostitute and you want to save the world from AIDS.   Or if you need to smuggle drugs into the Vatican.  Or if you want to conjobble with your granny.

But not if you want to avoid having babies.  You still have to pop out the babies because as everyone knows, there aren’t enough people on the planet.

It’s all about what’s going on inside your head, though, and in certain exceptional circumstances, you can put on the old armour.  Ratzo doesn’t define what he means by exceptional but I’d say the extreme Catholics in this country must be wondering what in the name of Jesus it was all about.

Do you remember these gobshites years ago telling us that condoms were dangerous because rubber has tiny holes in it big enough for viruses to get through?  Ratzo’s statement has knocked all that into a cocked hat and now they’re screwed.


The Pope in England

Who’s the old guy in the red shoes and the pointy hat?

Oh, he’s the king of a little country created by Mussolini.  He’s called the Pope.

A country?  What sort of country?

Well, actually, it’s not really a country.  It’s just a building.  The Vatican.

What’s it like?

It’s like the tower that Saruman lives in.

What — the bloke in the Lord of the Rings?  The wizard?

Yeah.  That’s him.  This fella has a ring too, and everyone’s gotta kiss it or he’ll turn them into a hedgehog.

Why is it called a country then?

Because Mussolini said so.

So this old geezer’s a Vaticanian?

No.  He’s German.  Used to be a Hitler Youth.

He don’t look like a youth to me.  I thought you said he was a wizard?

He is now.

So why’s he here than?

Cos he thinks gays are bad, and so is putting a johnny on your todger.

The dirty old git!

And he reckons nobody shouldn’t get divorced neither.

What?  Even Derek down the pub who married that slag Sharon from the hairdressers?

Nope.  No-one gets divorced.  No-one wears a buy-me-and-stop-one.

In Vaticania?

No.  Everywhere.

Even Africa?

Especially Africa.

But he’s not the King of Everywhere.  He’s only the King of Vaticania. So why’s he here then?

He don’t like all this talk of his wizards buggering little boys.

He wants to stop them?

No.  He wants to stop the talk.


Cos it looks bad for him.

And that’s why he’s here?

That, and cos we speak English, so when he makes a speech, the whole world will hear him, cos it’ll be on Sky, see?  It’s part of his takeover plan

His shoes are nice.

They are.  They’re Prada.

Is he very old?

He’s 82.  But that’s all right, cos he’s a king.

Like we used to have a King?

We didn’t have a king what done a deal a deal with Mussolini.

Well, we had a prime minister what done a deal with Hitler.

Fair point, my son.  Fair point.


Irish Bishops’ Resignation Refused by Vatican

Fuck you! says Ratzo.  Fuck your abused children and fuck your constitution.  Fuck your independent country.

Fuck your courts.  Fuck your prisons.  Fuck your police.

Fuck your abuse reports.

Fuck Murphy.  Fuck Ryan.

Fuck you!

I’m keeping your fucking schools and I’m keeping your fucking hospitals, and I’ll send my child-fucking stormtroopers to fuck your fucking kids any time I fucking want, cos I’m the fucking Pope and if you don’t fucking like it, I’ll fuck you in the arse too.  How the fuck do you like that, fucker?


Meanwhile, in other news …


Archbishop Diarmuid Martin Disheartened and Discouraged

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin chose an intriguing moment to deliver a speech accusing his fellow bishops of continuing to obstruct reform.  Addressing the Knights of Saint Columbanus, a secretive, inward-looking right-wing Catholic organisation, dedicated to the financial betterment of its members, Martin spoke of strong forces which would prefer that the truth did not emerge.  He referred to signs of rejection of a sense of responsibility for what had happened.

As Martin put it, I am struck by the level of disassociation by people from any sense of responsibility. While people rightly question the concept of collective responsibility, this does not mean that one is not responsible for one’s personal share in the decisions of the collective structures to which one was part.

He told his listeners that he had never felt so disheartened and discouraged about the reluctance of people to make the necessary changes.  Where were the pundit-publicists, he asked, while a church culture failed to recognise what was happening?

Martin was plainly talking about his fellow bishops’ complete failure to deal with the crimes of sexual abuse, and their inability to accept responsibility, but he stopped short of naming names.  He was referring to senior Vatican officials describing the scandal as petty gossip.  He was talking about the bishops who hang on like limpets when they should be sacked, but he didn’t identify any individual.

That’s a pity.  He might, for example, have said in appropriately episcopal tones: That bastard Drennan has to go.

He might have said Ratzo doesn’t get it.

And maybe he will.  Maybe Martin is working himself up a head of steam, and maybe one of these days, he’ll explode.

I hope so.

Here’s the full text of his speech.  There’s a lot of religious stuff in it, but a lot of sense too.


WHAT DO I say about the future of the Catholic Church in Ireland? The sociological data send us mixed signals. Public opinion varies from those who would like the Catholic Church slowly, through its own implosion, to fade into the social irrelevance of private individual choice, to those who would like reform on their own terms, to those who would blindly stay with things as they are, to those who call for renewal through repentance. And there are many other viewpoints.

The church is a reality of faith. As a person of faith I know that the future of the church in Ireland is not in my hands, but that its future will be guided by the Lord, who is with his church at all times. Yesterday’s Gospel reminded us that the Father would send the Spirit who, at each moment in the history of the church, would teach us all things in Jesus’ name. In that sense I cannot be pessimistic about the future of the church in Ireland.

On the other hand, as one entrusted with the responsibility of pastoral leadership, I have the mission to guide that portion of the church entrusted to my care along a path of renewal and conversion which ensures that what grows and matures into the future truly is the Church of Jesus Christ and not something of our own creation.

On a purely personal level, as Diarmuid Martin, I have never since becoming Archbishop of Dublin felt so disheartened and discouraged about the level of willingness to really begin what is going to be a painful path of renewal and of what is involved in that renewal.

How do I reconcile these differing trends in my reflection on the future of the Catholic Church in Ireland? On a personal level, I have no choice but to lay aside personal discouragement and continue day-by-day the search for personal conversion and renewal and to rediscover for my own life the essentials of the message of Jesus Christ.

The future of the Catholic Church in Ireland will see a very different Catholic Church in Ireland. I sometimes worry when I hear those with institutional responsibility stress the role of the institution and others then in reaction saying that “we are the church”. Perhaps on both sides there may be an underlying feeling that “I am the church”, that the church must be modelled on my way of thinking or on my position. Renewal is never our own creation. Renewal will only come through returning to the church which we have received from the Lord.

Why am I discouraged? The most obvious reason is the drip-by-drip never-ending revelation about child sexual abuse and the disastrous way it was handled. There are still strong forces which would prefer that the truth did not emerge. The truth will make us free, even when that truth is uncomfortable. There are signs of subconscious denial on the part of many about the extent of the abuse which occurred within the church of Jesus Christ in Ireland and how it was covered up. There are other signs of rejection of a sense of responsibility for what had happened. There are worrying signs that despite solid regulations and norms these are not being followed with the rigour required.

As regards the Archdiocese of Dublin, for which I have pastoral responsibility, I have constantly warned against any slippage in our vigilance. I appeal once again this evening publicly to all parishes in the archdiocese to ensure that all child protection measures are in place and in operation and that there is no let-back on the level of vigilance. Questions about child safeguarding should be on the agenda of every meeting of every parish pastoral council and if there are any concerns that are not being addressed then let people contact me directly.

Why such discouragement? The second and deeper root of my discouragement is that I do not believe that people have a true sense of the crisis of faith that exists in Ireland. We have invested in structures of religious education which despite enormous goodwill are not producing the results that they set out to do. Our young people are among the most catechised in Europe but among the least evangelised. I am a strong proponent of Catholic education; Catholic education has a solid track record. I see an important future for Catholic education alongside and in dialogue with other vibrant forms of education, including that of minority churches, in our schools.

I am not sure, however, that we all really have an understanding of what Catholic education entails. Many people send their children to what is today a Catholic school not primarily because it is a Catholic school but because it is a good school. I am not sure that parents would change their children from that school if it were to become simply a national school. The level of parents’ interest in Catholic education will only be objectively measurable when they have real choice.

We are also deluding ourselves if we think that what is in fact presented as a curriculum for religious education and formation in faith is actually being applied everywhere. There are clear indications that in the face of so many other curriculum pressures and extracurricular activities religious education is in fact being shifted to the margins of school life in many Catholic schools. We have great teachers; teachers committed to Catholic education. But the system is also such that teachers who do not share the Catholic faith find themselves teaching something of which they are not convinced. Catholic schools have contributed greatly to integration in Irish society. Catholic identity is more than vague ethos; it is also about witness.

There are fundamental fault-lines within the current structure for Catholic schools that are not being addressed and unattended fault-lines inevitably generate destructive energies. Our system of religious education – especially at secondary level but also at primary level in urban areas – more and more bypasses our parishes, which should, together with the family, be the primary focal points for faith formation and membership of a worshipping community. I am not attacking Catholic teachers and Catholic schools; they do tremendous work. What is needed is renewal of the vision of parish. Many of our parishes offer very little in terms of outreach to young people.

There are further challenges to be addressed regarding church teaching. Within the church and outside of it discussion focuses around challenges in the area of sexual morality where the church’s teaching is either not understood or is simply rejected as out of tune with contemporary culture. There is on the other hand very little critical examination of some of the roots of that contemporary culture and its compatibility with the teaching of Jesus. The moral teaching of the church cannot simply be a blessing for, a toleration of, or an adaptation to the cultural climate of the day. The manner in which the moral teaching of the church is presented to believers is far too often not adequately situated within the overall context of the teaching of Jesus, which is both compassionate and demanding. Christian moral rules and norms belong within a broader vision of the teaching of Jesus Christ.

This immediately brings us to the deeper question about the level of understanding of the message of Jesus Christ which exists in our Catholic Church and in our society in Ireland today. What do we really know of the message of Jesus? The Irish Catholic tradition has greatly neglected the place of the scriptures. Catholics do not know the scriptures. They do not know how to use the scriptures. We do not take the time to encounter Jesus in the scriptures.

One of the initiatives in which I place much trust in the pastoral programme of the Archdiocese of Dublin is the distribution this year of the Gospel of Saint Luke throughout the archdiocese. I have said that I should really have charged one cent for each copy and then I would have been able to say that the Gospel had been sold and it might, therefore, be at the top of the bestsellers list in Ireland this year. We have distributed 250,000 copies of the Gospel and we are backing the distribution up with e-mail support material month by month. It is one of the most widely circulated publications in Ireland this year. Even if only one in 10 copies were read, it would still be on the bestsellers list.

I believe that the encounter with the Jesus of the Gospel of Saint Luke could be an important answer in the process of healing which is needed by people who in the past encountered the church as an insensitive, arrogant and dominating institution. I would appeal especially to those who say that they are disillusioned by the Catholic Church in Ireland as an institution but say also they still wish to share the message of Jesus, to take up the scriptures. They will not find the authentic message of Jesus simply on the talk shows. Faith requires nourishment. You cannot allow it simply to drift.

At the same time it would be arrogant on my part not to stress that so many priests, religious and lay persons have a real understanding of the God of love who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ and who not only transmit that message of love to others, but live that message of love in their own daily exemplary lives. There is great goodness and faith to be encountered within an institutional framework which is often frail. We have great priests and we need great priests for the future.

The use of modern media mechanisms to support the distribution of the Gospel is something important and innovative. In this context, we are very fortunate to have a group of scripture scholars who put their knowledge and personal perception of the scriptures at the service of parishes and Bible study groups. This material is accessible to any individual who would wish to avail of it on the website The modern communications media provides great opportunities for adult catechesis, especially those media which are interactive and can be used not just to transmit information to individuals, but also to contribute to the construction of faith communities. Parishes have, however, still much to learn about using these media. Parishes must radically reorientate themselves to become educational communities in the faith, and understanding of modern communications is an essential part of that reorientation.

The modern communications media provide great opportunities but there is no way that the renewal of the church will be achieved just by slick media gestures and soundbites. The message of Jesus is too deep to be encapsulated into soundbites. Indeed, a priority of the process of proclaiming the Gospel is that of taking people beyond the soundbite culture.

There are those who claim that the media strategy of the church in the Archdiocese of Dublin following the publication of the Murphy report was catastrophic. My answer is that what the Murphy report narrated was catastrophic and that the only honest reaction of the church was to publicly admit that the manner in which that catastrophe was addressed was spectacularly wrong: spectacularly wrong “full stop”, not spectacularly wrong, “but . . .” You cannot soundbite your way out of a catastrophe.

Some will reply that sexual abuse by priests constitutes only a small percentage of the sexual abuse of children in our society in general. That is a fact. But that important fact should never appear in any way as an attempt to down play the gravity of what took place in the Church of Christ. The church is different; the church is a place where children should be the subject of special protection and care. The Gospel presents children in a special light and reserves some of its most severe language for those who disregard or scandalise children in any way.

In analysing the past, it is important to remember that times may have been different and society and other professions may not have looked on the sexual abuse of children as they do today. It is hard, however, to understand why, in the management by church authorities of cases of the sexual abuse of children, the children themselves were for many years rarely even taken into the equation. Yes, in the culture of the day children were to be seen and not heard, but different from other professions church leaders should have been more aware of the Gospel imperative to avoid harm to children, whose innocence was indicated by the Lord a sign of the kingdom of God.

The sexual abuse of children is indeed more widespread than sex abuse by clerics. I would hope that for the 10th anniversary of the SAVI report, which first addressed the question of the sexual abuse of children in Ireland in an objective and overall manner, it might be possible for a wide coalition of those concerned about child safeguarding in Ireland today to draw up an up-to-date map of the phenomenon as its exists today and verify what should be the most opportune strategy to that changed and changing landscape.

The world around us and the culture of Irish life have changed. Yet the church still continues in many ways to live in a way which fails to recognise that culture has indeed changed so much. Irish culture has drifted from being the culture of an enlarged faith community into a heavily secularised culture. For many, faith no longer plays a major role in their lives and they feel that this in no way compromises their ability to be good, honest and caring people. Believers, albeit unknowingly to themselves, often view the reality of faith through a secularised lens.

The information collected on the ground in parishes in the Archdiocese of Dublin indicates that regular church attendance has dropped, in some cases dramatically. Certainly Mass attendance is not the only criterion for measuring the faith of individuals and their belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ. The church is not, however, just a collection of individuals. The proclamation of the Gospel cannot adequately be carried out by correspondence course among people who never meet. The early church was marked by the gathering of believers, who shared in the prayers and in their understanding of the Word of God, who shared what they had and who together broke the bread. The church is not a collection of individuals whose worship when they feel the need; the church is fundamentally a worshipping community, founded in and nourished by the Eucharist.

We live in a systems culture. Throughout its history, however, the institutional dimension of the church has never been renewed just by new structures of organisation. Renewal began with individual renewal and witness flourishing into strong and witnessing faith communities. There are those who think that in today’s culture what we need is a sort of efficient “Catholic Church in Ireland Incorporated”, with its own CEO and with management structures administered efficiently from the top right down to the lowest level (and I am not sure who would be consigned to that place). The church can benefit from appropriate management structures, but renewal will always be the work of prophets rather than management consultants. The message of Jesus Christ is lived in localised faith communities not in national bureaucracies.

Renewal of the church requires participation and responsible participation. I have spoken about the need for accountability regarding the scandal of sexual abuse. I am struck by the level of disassociation by people from any sense of responsibility. While people rightly question the concept of collective responsibility, this does not mean that one is not responsible for one’s personal share in the decisions of the collective structures to which one was part.

I am surprised at the manner in which church academics and church publicists can today calmly act as pundits on the roots of the sexual abuse scandals in the church as if they were totally extraneous to the scandal. Where did responsibility lie for a culture of seminary institutions which produced both those who abused and those who mismanaged the abuse? Where were the pundit-publicists while a church culture failed to recognise what was happening?

We need to take a radical new look at the formation of future priests. I am working on plans to ensure that for the future in Dublin our seminarians, our prospective deacons and our trainee lay pastoral workers in the Archdiocese of Dublin will share some sections of their studies together, in order to create a better culture of collaborative ministry. The narrow culture of clericalism has to be eliminated. It did not come out of nowhere and so we have to address its roots in seminary training. We also have to ensure that lay pastoral workers understand that all mission in the church is a calling and requires a self-understanding which is theological in essence.

Why am I discouraged? Probably my greatest discouragement comes from the failure of interaction between the church and young people. I visit parishes where I encounter no young people. I inquire what is being done to attract young people to parish life and the answers are vague. Everyone knows that there is a missing generation and perhaps more than one, yet there are very few pastoral initiatives to reach out to young people. I would pay tribute here to the chaplains in our second-level schools who have acquired experience on which we should be drawing.

Parishes offer very little outreach to young people and I feel that an increasing number of young people find parishes a little like alien territory. A form of religious education which is separated from the parish will inevitably collapse for most the day that school ends. Sacramental formation belongs within the Christian community which welcomes and supports each of us on our journey. We need a more demanding catechesis, within a parish framework, for those who wish to come forward for admission to the sacraments. Admission to the sacraments is not something which is automatically acquired when one reaches a certain class in school.

The curious demography and history of the Irish church meant that the church developed and pioneered all sorts of valuable service within the community. This was often done at no expense to the State. As Irish society became wealthier, it was rightfully claimed that such services deserved appropriate support from public authorities because of the social benefit they provided. As years went by, many of these services then lost something of the Christian concept of gratuitousness and became little different to any other professional service. A church which loses that sense of gratuitousness loses something of the essential dimensions of its witness to Jesus. I believe that it is no coincidence that the consistent generosity people show towards the Saint Vincent de Paul Society comes precisely because of the gratuity of its witness.

The church will continue to provide services for the poor and recognises the need for professionalism in its services. Hopefully the church has learned the lesson that it should not allow itself to be involved in providing poor quality services for the poor. But when church services become simply ancillary to State then they run the risk of losing their ecclesial originality and will one day end up being incorporated into the public service structure and subordinated to its goals. Already the structures of some Catholic services are being altered to respond to financial policies of the State.

The Catholic Church in Ireland in the future will have to find its place in a very different, much more secularised culture, at times even in a hostile culture. The Catholic Church has to look again at the dominant role it assumed in Irish society, while at the same time not renouncing its prophetic role in society and in the formation of consciences through opening to the teaching of Jesus Christ.

This will involve a much greater degree of parish-based catechesis and evangelisation within our parishes. There is no way that this will take place without a very extensive programme of training for volunteer catechists, as is the case in most European countries. Parishes must become real centres of ongoing faith formation. A more parish-centred church life does not, however, mean retreat into the sacristy.

I have perhaps raised more questions than provided answers to the theme about which you asked me to speak this evening: the future of the Catholic Church in Ireland. In our pastoral planning we have to start out from hard facts, which are inevitably today troubling facts. Already in the Archdiocese of Dublin we have 10 times more priests over 70 than under 40. There is no way we can put off decisions regarding the future.

The Catholic Church in Ireland is coming out of one of the most difficult moments in its history and the light at the end of the tunnel is still a long way off. The Catholic Church in Ireland will have to live with the grief of its past, which can and should never be forgotten or overlooked. There is no simple way of wiping the slate of the past clean, just to ease our feelings. Yet the Catholic Church in Ireland cannot be imprisoned in its past. The work of evangelisation must, if anything, take on a totally new vibrancy.

I would not, however, like what I say to be in any way interpreted as turning our back on the survivors of sexual abuse. They had their childhood stolen and the words of Jesus about his special care for children will apply to them until that day, whenever and if ever that will be, when their hurt will be healed. In my years as Archbishop I have learned enormously from survivors as they allowed me to know something of their pain and of their hopes and also of the spiritual void which many experience as a result of betrayal by their church. I use the term spiritual void because it is an expression which some survivors have used to express how they feel in their lives. In my encounters with survivors, however, I have found their spiritual fragility somehow has given them in fact a deep spiritual strength, from which I have profited. For that I thank them.

Perhaps the future of the church in Ireland will be one where we truly learn from the arrogance of our past and find anew a fragility which will allow the mercy and the compassion of Jesus to give us a change of heart and allow others through a very different church to encounter something of that compassion and faith for their lives.

The Catholic Church in Ireland, as I said, will have to find its place in a very different, much more secularised culture, at times even in a hostile culture. It will have to find that place by being authentic and faithful to the person and the message of Jesus Christ. The agenda for change in the church must be one that comes from its message and not from pressure from outside and from people who do not have the true good of the church at heart. We all have reasons to be discouraged and to be angry. There is a sense, however, in which true reform of the church will spring only from those who love the church, with a love like that of Jesus which is prepared also to suffer for the church and to give oneself for the church.

Thank God there are many who love their church: lay persons, religious and clergy. We love the church because the church is our home, the place where we encounter the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ and where we gather in love to break bread in his memory.


Pope Does Stand-Up Comedy

You have to hand it to the Pope.  He knows how to adapt.  Now he’s doing stand-up in small, hip clubs where people get his deadpan delivery.

Here’s a guy we accused of having no sense of humour, and in fairness to all of us, he played it dead straight for 83 years, so you could hardly blame us for assuming old Ratzo was a straight-man.  But no.

We were wrong.

What’s not to like about this guy?  Ratzo warns that internet carries a risk of control and conformity of thought.

Isn’t it great?  Performers a quarter of this man’s age haven’t got the timing or the cojones to deliver a line like that, but of course they aren’t all the supreme leader of the Catholic church, so I suppose you have to cut them a little slack.

A risk of control and conformity of thought, says the Supreme Pontiff, without blinking.

Comic genius.

He also warns about the internet promoting moral relativism, but I don’t know what that is.  I think it might be the same thing as saying it was ok for priests to be buggering children in the sixties because we didn’t know it was wrong but we’re better now and let’s forget all about that shit because that was then and this is now.

That’s relativism, I think, and it’s always wrong, except when a bishop says it.

Isn’t it marvellous the way a new comic great emerges just when you think it’s all over?

Who’d have thought that comic genius would turn out to be the Pope?


Vatican Guidelines on Dealing With Abuse Allegations Permit Bishops to Cover Up Abuse

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued the following document.  Some things relating to Irish law have been omitted even though they are implied in the text, so I’ve taken the liberty of adding them explicitly, for clarity.  (Note to CDF: usual editorial rates apply.  You’re welcome).

Most of that is at the start.  I have made no comment on the sections dealing with the private procedures of the Catholic church which have no relevance to Irish criminal law and which are of no interest to me.  That’s most of the document, but I’ve included the whole lot here.  You can read it if you want.  It’s your choice.

Clearly, the fire is burning too close to Ratzo’s arse for his own comfort and he’s instructed the lads to get to work covering his Holy Fundament.  Unfortunately, in their panic they managed to get it completely wrong again, telling bishops taht they don’t have to report child abuse cases to the  authorities unless required to do so by law.  You might remember that old dingbat, Mgr Maurice Dooley on the Pat Kenny show, announcing the same thing to a horrified nation only a few weeks ago.  Well, now it turns out that the pope agrees with him.

The new guidelines tell bishops explicitly that they can cover up sex abuse cases if they wish.


Guide to Understanding Basic CDF Procedures
concerning Sexual Abuse Allegations

The applicable law is the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (MP SST) of 30 April 2001 together with the 1983 Code of Canon Law. This is an introductory guide which may be helpful to [idiots]  lay persons and non-canonists.

A: Preliminary Procedures

The local diocese investigates every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric.

If [we can’t get out of it] the allegation has a semblance of truth the case is referred to the CDF. The local bishop transmits all the necessary information to the CDF and expresses his opinion on the procedures to be followed and the measures to be adopted in the short and long term.

Civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities should [not “must”] always be followed.  [Therefore, since civil law does not require it, bishops need not report child abuse allegations to the police in Ireland].

During the preliminary stage and until the case is concluded, the bishop may [not “must”]  impose precautionary measures to safeguard the [church] community, including the victims.  Indeed, the local bishop always retains power to protect children by restricting the activities of any priest in his diocese [but doesn’t have to use it if he doesn’t feel like it]. This is part of his ordinary authority, which he is encouraged [but not instructed] to exercise to whatever extent is [judged]necessary [by him] to assure that children do not come to harm, and this power can be exercised at the bishop’s discretion before, during and after any canonical proceeding.

B: Procedures authorized by the CDF

The CDF studies the case presented by the local bishop and also asks for supplementary information where necessary.

The CDF has a number of options:

B1 Penal Processes

The CDF may authorize the local bishop to conduct a judicial penal trial before a local Church tribunal. Any appeal in such cases would eventually be lodged to a tribunal of the CDF.

The CDF may authorize the local bishop to conduct an administrative penal process before a delegate of the local bishop assisted by two assessors. The accused priest is called to respond to the accusations and to review the evidence. The accused has a right to present recourse to the CDF against a decree condemning him to a canonical penalty. The decision of the Cardinals members of the CDF is final.

Should the cleric be judged guilty, both judicial and administrative penal processes can condemn a cleric to a number of canonical penalties, the most serious of which is dismissal from the clerical state. The question of damages can also be treated directly during these procedures.

B2 Cases referred directly to the Holy Father

In very grave cases where a civil criminal trial has found the cleric guilty of sexual abuse of minors or where the evidence is overwhelming, the CDF may choose to take the case directly to the Holy Father with the request that the Pope issue a decree of “ex officio” dismissal from the clerical state. There is no canonical remedy against such a papal decree.

The CDF also brings to the Holy Father requests by accused priests who, cognizant of their crimes, ask to be dispensed from the obligation of the priesthood and want to return to the lay state. The Holy Father grants these requests for the good of the Church (“pro bono Ecclesiae”).

B3 Disciplinary Measures

In cases where the accused priest has admitted to his crimes and has accepted to live a life of prayer and penance, the CDF authorizes the local bishop to issue a decree prohibiting or restricting the public ministry of such a priest. Such decrees are imposed through a penal precept which would entail a canonical penalty for a violation of the conditions of the decree, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state. Administrative recourse to the CDF is possible against such decrees. The decision of the CDF is final.

C. Revision of MP SST

For some time the CDF has undertaken a revision of some of the articles of Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis tutela, in order to update the said Motu Proprio of 2001 in the light of special faculties granted to the CDF by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. The proposed modifications under discussion will not change the above-mentioned procedures (A, B1-B3).

Crime News Politics Religion

Lars Vilks Murder Plot – Seven Suspects Arrested in Ireland

Seven people — four men and three women — have been arrested in Ireland on suspicion of plotting to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.  An Islamic group offered €70,000 for his murder, with a 50% bonus if his killers slaughtered him like a lamb by cutting his throat.

They were angry with him because he drew a sketch portraying a bearded man with the body of a dog, wearing a turban.  The sketch was published in July 2007 by a small Swedish newspaper, Nerikes Allehanda, and somehow came to the attention of a bunch of people who decided Vilks must die.  How exactly an obscure Swedish newspaper came to be read by people in Iraq and Pakistan was never explained adequately, but even stranger, the sketches had already been published in large-circulation Swedish papers.

Vilks now lives in police protection.

It’s forbidden to make images of the prophet and they have a fairly simple way of expressing their displeasure: they  kill you.  Oddly enough, depictions of Muhammmad are common in books written by Muslims, but for some people, there’s no thinking involved.  In many ways, this makes it a lot like Catholicism, but for all his faults, at least old Ratzo doesn’t send out assassination squads every time I take the piss out of him.

This is lucky for me or I’d be dead a dozen times over by now.

I remember a few years back, discussing Rushdie’s Satanic Verses with a devout Libyan Muslim.  It was in a late-night bar in Limerick, and Tariq, the devout Muslim slugging on a beer, was explaining that it was essential to kill Rushdie for mocking the Prophet.

I asked him what he knew about the book, and he told me he’d read it.  Rushdie had to be killed.  As it turned out, I’d read it myself, so I asked him what he thought of the ending, and it was then he explained that he’d only  read some photocopied pages containing the offending passages.  And then he explained that they weren’t actually pages from the book, but some quotes put together by a cleric and handed out in the mosque.

So you haven’t actually read the book, just some photocopied pages, but you still want to kill him?

Yes.  Any good Muslim would kill him.

As I recall, Tariq had some strange ideas on the place of women in society as well, but that didn’t stop him going to night-clubs, getting drunk and trying to get laid.  I haven’t seen him around in a while.

Two years before the Lars Vilks incident, the Jyllands-Posten debacle was probably the most outstanding example of hair-trigger Islam, and yet its origins became completely lost in the furore that erupted after publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet.

It all came about innocently when Kåre Bluitgen,  a  Danish writer,  said he couldn’t find an artist to illustrate his book about the Prophet and in typical Danish style, the Jyllands-Posten newspaper called on artists to submit illustrations and published twelve of them.  Again, magically, the cartoons of this obscure Scandinavian newspaper somehow appeared all over the Muslim world, with Danish Imams touring the Middle East to stir up protest.

Riots broke out with Danish embassies being torched in Syria, Lebanon and Iran, and there was a strong suspicion that the whole thing was orchestrated, since nothing happens in Iran or Syria without government approval and absolutely nothing spontaneous is ever permitted.

It’s ironic that the seven suspects were arrested in Ireland.  Our government recently passed a law concerning blasphemy that would delight the hearts of demented, homicidal Imams the world over.  This law makes it a crime to offend the beliefs of any religion, or to put it another way, if enough crazies decide to be pissed off over something you wrote or drew, you’re a criminal.  If Jyllands-Posten had been published in Ireland, its editor would probably have been convicted of blasphemous libel.  I’m not aware of any other law in the Western world making it a crime to poke fun at somebody’s unproven suppositions, but this is Ireland after all, a fantasy world where almost everything is unproven supposition.

Leaving all that aside, however, isn’t it about time that normal, sensible Muslims got on top of this problem and started disowning the extreme attitudes of Koran-belt Islam?

Not too long ago we witnessed the insane spectacle of a British teacher receiving a jail sentence in Sudan for calling a teddy-bear Muhammad.  The fact that the bear was named after a pupil in the school made no difference.  Gillian Gibbbons had insulted the Prophet.

More recently in Sudan, we had the absurd Lubna Hussein case, where a woman was sentenced to be flogged for wearing trousers.

These are not the actions of rational adults.  These are things you’d expect from a petulant adolescent and it’s about time the middle ground of Islam started to condemn such bullshit, just as moderate Christian opinion distances itself from the crazy Sarah Palin fundamentalist strand of religion.

On a more sinister level, we recently witnessed two young lads in Iran publicly murdered by the government for being gay.  We see women rape victims stoned to death or flogged.  We see Hamas imposing their benighted, tunnel-visioned ignorance on the suffering people of Gaza.

It’s time for the Muslim adults to speak out but meanwhile, we have to put up with adolescent Islam.

Message to the adolescents:  it isn’t always about you.


Previously on Bock

Imagine being a dead Muslim


Islam and Christianity Find Something in Common

Muhammad the Prophet (Peace Be To Him)

Idiots, religious lunatics and the war on terror

One man and his magnet


Pope Urges Bishops To Identify Concrete Steps

I see the Pope has instructed the Irish bishops to identify concrete steps.

It might work, even though these guys are normally not good at identifying things.

After all, they couldn’t identify any problem with sex abuse in their church, and they refused to identify rapists for the police.

They won’t identify with the hurt and anger of the victims.

They couldn’t identify the real problems, but now the Pope has set them a task that might just suit them: identify something cold, soulless, unemotional and stony.

Identify concrete steps.

The only problem is, what happens if he tells them to take concrete steps?

The full text of the Vatican statement is reproduced below, but it’s worth having a little peek here and there.  It doesn’t contain an apology to the victims.  It doesn’t mention the resignation of bishops, but it does contain one absolute gem of wisdom.

the weakening of faith has been a significant contributing factor in the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors

See?  And there I was thinking the sex abuse was caused by hairy, sweaty old pervert priests with power over children.

No.  Not according to the Holy Father.

It was caused by a weakening of  faith.

You see?  Nobody was responsible.  It just happened, like the weather.

I’m sure all the victims will have read Ratzo’s press release with gratiitude and relief.


Vatican press release

On 15 and 16 February, 2010, the Holy Father met the Irish bishops and senior members of the Roman Curia to discuss the serious situation which has emerged in the church in Ireland. Together they examined the failure of Irish church authorities for many years to act effectively in dealing with cases involving the sexual abuse of young people by some Irish clergy and religious. All those present recognised that this grave crisis has led to a breakdown in trust in the church’s leadership and has damaged her witness to the Gospel and its moral teaching.

The meeting took place in a spirit of prayer and collegial fraternity, and its frank and open atmosphere provided guidance and support to the bishops in their efforts to address the situation in their respective dioceses.

On the morning of 15 February, following a brief introduction by the Holy Father, each of the Irish bishops offered his own observations and suggestions.

The bishops spoke frankly of the sense of pain and anger, betrayal, scandal and shame expressed to them on numerous occasions by those who had been abused.

There was a similar sense of outrage reflected by laity, priests and religious in this regard.

The bishops likewise described the support at present being provided by thousands of trained and dedicated lay volunteers at parish level to ensure the safety of children in all church activities and stressed that, while there is no doubt that errors of judgment and omissions stand at the heart of the crisis, significant measures have now been taken to ensure the safety of children and young people.

They also emphasised their commitment to co-operation with the statutory authorities in Ireland – North and South – and with the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland to guarantee that the church’s standards, policies and procedures represent best practice in this area.

For his part, the Holy Father observed that the sexual abuse of children and young people is not only a heinous crime, but also a grave sin which offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image.

While realising that the current painful situation will not be resolved quickly, he challenged the bishops to address the problems of the past with determination and resolve, and to face the present crisis with honesty and courage. He also expressed the hope that the present meeting would help to unify the bishops and enable them to speak with one voice in identifying concrete steps aimed at bringing healing to those who had been abused, encouraging a renewal of faith in Christ and restoring the church’s spiritual and moral credibility.

The Holy Father also pointed to the more general crisis of faith affecting the church and he linked that to the lack of respect for the human person and how the weakening of faith has been a significant contributing factor in the phenomenon of the sexual abuse of minors. He stressed the need for a deeper theological reflection on the whole issue, and called for an improved human, spiritual, academic and pastoral preparation both of candidates for the priesthood and religious life and of those already ordained and professed.

The bishops had an opportunity to examine and discuss a draft of the pastoral letter of the Holy Father to the Catholics of Ireland. Taking into account the comments of the Irish bishops, His Holiness will now complete his letter, which will be issued during the coming season of Lent.

The discussions concluded late Tuesday morning, 16 February 2010. As the bishops return to their dioceses, the Holy Father has asked that this Lent be set aside as a time for imploring an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the church in Ireland.


Irish Bishops Meet Pope

The Irish bishops are in Rome meeting the Pope about their handling of sex abuse complaints.

I wonder what they’re wearing?

Seriously.  What do they wear when people aren’t looking?

Do they still put on the dresses and the make-up, or will they all sit around in jeans and t-shirts with a few beers?

What will Ratzo wear?  A suit?  Track pants?  Pyjamas?  Maybe a nice fawn v-necked pullover, cavalry twill slacks and Argyll socks. Suede brothel-creepers?

Will the bishops be in drag or will they not?  I know people will think this is a very trivial question in the context of what they’re discussing, but I’d like to know.

Will any of them be smoking?  Eating burgers?  Pizza?

Will any of the bishops be listening to an iPod on the sly?

And finally, I’d like to know if the Pope curses at them.



Pope Dragged To The Ground By A Woman

So the Pope has finally found himself lying with a woman.  In public!  On television!!

Is there no end to these clerical scandals?

I’m glad.

It would have been an awful thing for the poor old devil to die wondering, and it just goes to prove — you’re never too late to try anything.

Admittedly, the girl was a bit rough with the old guy.  Get down there and pontify my desires, you infallible old hunk.

But he did.  Did you see that?  Old Ratzo was in like Flynn, like a rat up a drainpipe.  Oh Ja, Baby!