As we come across items in the news that have an Piscean flavor
to them, we will blog summaries of them here, along with a link to the
full story. We hope you will add your COMMENTS
to these blogs so that we can build a permanent record of our discussion
about what is happening at this important moment in time.
As of March 2010, Google is no longer supporting FTP publishing of it's Blogger blogs. Therefore I will be consolidating all of my blogs into a single front page format that I will be experimenting with and changing from time to time until I find something I like.
Churches dying out in the U.K. (Jonathan Petre, The Telegraph, October 12, 2005) Britain's Churches are in such serious decline that if they were shops, they would have been declared bankrupt long ago, Lord Carey, the former archbishop of Canterbury, said last night.
In a bleak assessment of the future of Christianity in this country, he said that the Churches were approaching meltdown and the "last rites" could be administered at any moment.
His outspoken comments will dismay some Church leaders, who privately complain that he has repeatedly breached the tradition that retired archbishops refrain from stirring controversy.
But friends insisted that he was intending to indicate his backing for Dr Williams's Fresh Expressions initiative, designed to encourage alternative forms of worship.
Speaking at St Michael's church in Amersham-on-the-Hill, Dr Carey said that all the Christian denominations had suffered plunging congregations.
"No Anglican can be satisfied that only one in 50 people attend this national Church," he said.
posted by Lorenzo 6:59 AM
Catholic Church says the Bible isn't true (Ruth Gledhill, The Times, October 5, 2005) The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect "total accuracy" from the Bible. . . . "We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision," they say in The Gift of Scripture. . . . Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin's theory of evolution in schools, believing "intelligent design" to be an equally plausible theory of how the world began. . . . But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this country’s Catholic bishops insist cannot be "historical". . . . They say the Church must offer the gospel in ways "appropriate to changing times, intelligible and attractive to our contemporaries". [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Isn't this just another way of saying, "We'd better change our wild stories and make them more believable so we can capture even more simple-minded people into our cult."] . . . They go on to condemn fundamentalism for its "intransigent intolerance" and to warn of "significant dangers" involved in a fundamentalist approach. . . . As examples of passages not to be taken literally, the bishops cite the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and that they could not be described as historical writing. . . . Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb. . . . The bishops say: "Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come."
posted by Lorenzo 9:39 AM
On 22 September 2005, Philadelphia's CBS affilitate KYW reported: The leaders of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, including two former archbishops, actively concealed sexual abuse by priests for decades, but no criminal charges can be brought against the church or its priests because of the constraints of state law, according to grand jury findings released Wednesday. . . . Following the nation's longest-running grand jury probe into priest abuse, the scathing report documents assaults on minors by more than 60 priests since 1967, and alleges that former archbishops Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and Cardinal John Krol covered up the abuse. . . . "To protect themselves from negative publicity or expensive lawsuits -- while keeping abusive priests active -- the cardinals and their aides hid the priests' crimes from parishioners, police and the general public," the report stated.
Excerpts from pages 3-5 of the report (click the link above for the full report)
These are the kinds of things that Archdiocese priests did to children:
- A girl, 11 years old, was raped by her priest and became pregnant. The Father took her in for an abortion.
- A 5th-grader was molested by her priest inside the confessional booth.
- A boy was repeatedly molested in his own school auditorium, where his priest/teacher bent the boy over and rubbed his genitals against the boy until the priest ejaculated.
- A boy woke up intoxicated in a priest’s bed to find the Father sucking on his penis while three other priests watched and masturbated themselves.
- A 12-year-old, who was raped and sodomized by his priest, tried to commit suicide, and remains institutionalized in a mental hospital as an adult.
Here are some incidents that exemplify the manner in which the Archdiocese responded to the sexual abuse of its most vulnerable parishioners:
- The Archdiocese official in charge of abuse investigations described one abusive priest as "one of the sickest people I ever knew." Yet Cardinal Bevilacqua allowed him to continue in ministry, with full access to children – until the priest scandal broke in 2002.
- One abusive priest was transferred so many times that, according to the Archdiocese’s own records, they were running out of places to send him where he would not already be known.
- When the Archdiocese did purport to seek psychological evaluation of a priest, the primary tool for diagnosis was "self reporting" – in other words, whether the abuser was willing to admit that he was a pedophile. Absent such a "diagnosis," the Archdiocese declined to treat any priest as a pedophile, no matter how compelling the evidence.
- Even when admitted, the abuse was excused: an Archdiocese official comforted one sexually abusive priest by suggesting that the priest had been "seduced" by his 11-year-old victim.
- An Archdiocese official explained that the church could not discipline one especially egregious abuser because, as the official put it, he was not a "pure pedophile" – that is, he not only abused little boys; he also slept with women.
posted by Lorenzo 3:26 PM
Philadelphia-based "Repent America" issued a statement. Michael Marcavage claimed Katrina was God's purposeful, justified destruction of "a wicked city." . . . Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city. From "Girls Gone Wild" to "Southern Decadence," New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. . . . Let us pray for those ravaged by this disaster. However, we must not forget that the citizens of New Orleans tolerated and welcomed the wickedness in their city for so long.
A statement from a group associated with al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi agreed: "God attacked America and the prayers of the oppressed were answered. . . . The wrath of the All-powerful fell upon the nation of oppressors. Their dead are in the thousands and their losses are in the billions."
posted by Lorenzo 11:08 AM
United States of Shame (Maureen Doud, New York Times, September 3, 2005) America is once more plunged into a snake pit of anarchy, death, looting, raping, marauding thugs, suffering innocents, a shattered infrastructure, a gutted police force, insufficient troop levels and criminally negligent government planning. But this time it's happening in America. . . . Why does this self-styled "can do" president always lapse into such lame "who could have known?" excuses. . . . Who on earth could have known that Osama bin Laden wanted to attack us by flying planes into buildings? Any official who bothered to read the trellis of pre-9/11 intelligence briefs. . . . Who on earth could have known that an American invasion of Iraq would spawn a brutal insurgency, terrorist recruiting boom and possible civil war? Any official who bothered to read the C.I.A.'s prewar reports. . . . Who on earth could have known that New Orleans's sinking levees were at risk from a strong hurricane? Anybody who bothered to read the endless warnings over the years about the Big Easy's uneasy fishbowl. . . . In June 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, fretted to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans: "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us." . . . Not only was the money depleted by the Bush folly in Iraq; 30 percent of the National Guard and about half its equipment are in Iraq. . . . Ron Fournier of The Associated Press reported that the Army Corps of Engineers asked for $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans last year. The White House carved it to about $40 million. But President Bush and Congress agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-filled highway bill with 6,000 pet projects, including a $231 million bridge for a small, uninhabited Alaskan island. . . . Michael Brown, the blithering idiot in charge of FEMA - a job he trained for by running something called the International Arabian Horse Association - admitted he didn't know until Thursday that there were 15,000 desperate, dehydrated, hungry, angry, dying victims of Katrina in the New Orleans Convention Center. . . . [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Of course, thanks to the cable news networks, people all around the world knew this fact at least 24 hours BEFORE the head of our disaster relief system got the word. Our federal government is DISGUSTING, simply disgusting.] . . . Was he sacked instantly? No, our tone-deaf president hailed him in Mobile, Ala., yesterday: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." . . . It would be one thing if President Bush and his inner circle - Dick Cheney was vacationing in Wyoming; Condi Rice was shoe shopping at Ferragamo's on Fifth Avenue and attended "Spamalot" before bloggers chased her back to Washington; and Andy Card was off in Maine - lacked empathy but could get the job done. But it is a chilling lack of empathy combined with a stunning lack of efficiency that could make this administration implode. . . . When the president and vice president rashly shook off our allies and our respect for international law to pursue a war built on lies, when they sanctioned torture, they shook the faith of the world in American ideals. . . . When they were deaf for so long to the horrific misery and cries for help of the victims in New Orleans - most of them poor and black, like those stuck at the back of the evacuation line yesterday while 700 guests and employees of the Hyatt Hotel were bused out first - they shook the faith of all Americans in American ideals. And made us ashamed. . . . Who are we if we can't take care of our own?
posted by Lorenzo 12:28 PM