The Pope has reinstated four excommunicated bishops:
Pope Benedict XVI, reaching out to the far-right of the Roman Catholic Church,
revoked the excommunications of four schismatic bishops on Saturday,
including one whose comments denying the Holocaust have provoked outrage.
Pam has more. Newsweek has context.
Last month, the Pope said:
that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour
was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.
Shit like this reminds me of why I am no longer a Catholic.
I was raised Catholic in Ireland and spent eleven years
at a priest-run school.
It didn't take;
I had lost my faith by my mid-teens.
But even if I still believed in God,
I'd have a hard time being Catholic.
I don't have anything Catholics per se,
and I've known individual Catholic priests that I respected,
but I can't stand the Catholic Hierarchy.
James Joyce said of the Irish,
“we are an unfortunate priest-ridden race
and always were and always will be”.
It's no longer quite true—many Irish people
only see the inside of a church now for
“hatches, matches, and dispatches”
(baptisms, weddings, and funerals).
But it was certainly true in the Seventies and Eighties
when I was growing up.
The Catholic Church had a stranglehold
on life in the Republic of Ireland.
Contraception was illegal until the Eighties,
and, when first introduced, was available
only to married couples with a prescription.
Divorce only became legal about a decade ago.
Homosexuality was decriminalized not long before that.
Most of the national (public) schools were controlled by parish priests,
and most private schools were run by religious orders.
(Still largely true today, I believe.)
no Catholic could attend the traditionally Protestant Trinity College Dublin
without a dispensation from a bishop.
Education, the modern world, the European Union,
out-of-wedlock births, declining vocations:
all of these have loosened the Church's grasp in Ireland.
The Bishop Casey affair (he had a son and embezzled for nearly 20
years to support the boy), the Irish pedophile priest coverups,
and other scandals shook many people's faith.
In the larger picture,
Popes John Paul II and Benedict have spent the last 30 years
trying to roll back the liberalizing effects of Vatican II.
They've stacked the hierarchy with conservative bishops and cardinals,
ensuring their influence will last for decades after their own deaths.
The Catholic Church is becoming increasingly irrelevant,
and I welcome it.