Posts Tagged ‘holy see’

My favourite videos from The Onion

13/08/2013

OnionLogoUse of ‘N-Word’ May End Porn Star’s Career

One day pornography will be respectful, mainstream and earnestly discussed on nightly news programmes and this video will cease to be funny.  Until that day…

College Basketball Star Heroically Overcomes Tragic Rape He Committed

This was not CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville Rape Trial, but you wouldn’t know it if you compared the two.

Rare Pornographic Movie Shot At Vatican For First Time Since 1982’s ‘Pope Fisters IV’

The Pope’s residence has actually been a prime porn movie location for the past 30 years.

Full article.

What Is Your Amateur Porn Telling Future Employers About You?

Americans Observing 9/11 By Trying Not To Masturbate

With all the tragedies unfolding around the World and thanks to modern 24 hour media, when is a good time to choke the bishop or stroke the budgie’s tongue?

I know that I probably shouldn’t masturbate today.  But, I dunno.  Should I not masturbate on Pearl Harbour Day too?

Right on, brother!

DNA Evidence Frees Black Man Convicted of Bear Attack

Issues of racial discrimination in the United States have clearly progressed so far since the abolition of slavery that the difference between a brutal killing carried out by an African-American and a grizzly bear is a distinction without a difference.

Live From Congress: Representative Wants To See, Meet More Kids Online

Rep. Gelinas proposes an educational bill to increase the number of young people he meets in under-13 chat rooms.

Eewwwwooooh.  I mean, just… Eewwwwoooh!

Prague’s Kafka International Named Most Alienating Airport

Up there with Camus’ The Outsider as one the best potted existentialist nightmares.

Prison Economy Spirals As Price Of Pack Of Cigarettes Surpasses Two Hand Jobs

If there is a funnier, more succinct demonstration of how humans are natural capitalists, I would like to see it.

Police Say That School Shooter Had History Of School Shootings

With America’s approach to gun laws clearly not fucking working, they may as well let the perpetrators roam free to commit further massacres.

Victim In Fatal Car Accident Tragically Not Glenn Beck

Fox News hard-right reactionary hack gets the epitaph he deserves.

Justin Bieber Found To Be Cleverly Disguised 51 Year Old Pedophile

The Onion predicts Operation Yewtree two years early and 30 years younger.

Pedophiles Upset at Girls Field Hockey Team Uniform Change

Best read alongside this missive from the head of a local paedophile action group:

So please.  Speak up.  Pedophiles alone cannot change the tide of pedophile-unfriendly behavior at girl’s field hockey and girl’s diving and co-ed wrestling and boys fencing.  Call up your school board and demand change, or else call, breathe heavily into the phone and emit a high-pitched cackle. Together we can make a difference.

Together, we are all pedophiles

Well, quite.

Scientists Find Skeleton Of Nature’s First Sexual Predator

Darwin would be proud.

Priest Off!

15/06/2010

(Picture via Unreasonable Faith)

manicstreetpreacher presents the Bairnsfather view of the Catholic Church abuse scandal.

The Internet and Blogosphere have been heaving with all the lurid details of the Catholic Church abuse scandal.  My sober contribution was a lambasting of “The Guardian’s resident moron” (© Jerry Coyne) Andrew Brown’s abysmal Vatican apologia that disgraced Comment is free a few months ago.

I think enough criticism of the Holy See has been published by now.  As the feted World War One cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather proved, there is a funny side to any situation, no matter how appalling.

Therefore, in the same spirit of satirical smiling through gritted teeth, I present five hilarious alternative takes on the Vatican’s sordid predicament to cheer us all up.

1.  Priest Off!

One spray of this and your little boy will be protected from predatory, hormonally charged, clergymen.

2.  Stained Glass Window FAIL!!!!

Not a FAIL.  The Catholic Church doing what it does best.  (OK, it’s not Catholic.  It’s Episcopalian.  But it may as well be Catholic…)

3.  And it looks like the Vermont Catholic magazine is really telling it like it is…

(Via Unreasonable Faith again)

4.   But enough of this cruel mockery of Pope Benedict XVI.

His Holiness recently issued a little-reported statement vowing to bring priestly pedophilia down to more acceptable levels:

VATICAN CITY—Calling the behavior shameful, sinful, and much more frequent than the Vatican was comfortable with, Pope Benedict XVI vowed this week to bring the widespread pedophilia within the Roman Catholic Church down to a more manageable level.

Addressing thousands gathered at St. Peter’s Square on Easter Sunday, the pontiff offered his “most humble apologies” to abuse victims, and pledged to reduce the total number of molestations by 60 percent over the next five years.

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Pope Benedict said. “It seems a weakening of faith in God has prevented our priests from exercising moderation when sexually abusing helpless minors.”

“And let me remind our clergy of the holy vows they all took when they entered the priesthood,” he continued. “They should know that they’re only allowed one small child every other month.”

The pope said he was deeply disappointed to learn that the number of children sexually abused by priests was almost 10 times beyond the allowable limit clearly outlined in church doctrine. Admitting for the first time in public that the overindulgent touching of “tender, tender young flesh” had become a full-blown crisis, the Holy Father vowed to implement new reforms to bring the pedophilia rate back down to five children per 1,000 clergy.

“The truth is there will always be a little bit of molestation – it’s simply unavoidable,” Vatican spokesperson Rev. Federico Lombardi said. “But the fact that young boys have gotten much more attractive over the past few decades is no excuse for the blatant defiance of church limits that have been in place for centuries.”

“The majority of priests don’t want to molest kids at all,” he added. “But for those who do, we must make sure they’re doing it at a reasonable rate.”

5.  And have we forgotten already the kind words of forgiveness offered by the previous holder of the keys of St Peter?

In 2002 John Paul II gave absolution to all those irresistibly attractive alter-boys who tempted certain members of the priesthood to break their vows of celibacy:

VATICAN CITY – Calling forgiveness “one of the highest virtues taught to us by Jesus,” Pope John Paul II issued a papal decree Monday absolving priest-molested children of all sin.

“Though grave and terrible sins have been committed, our Lord teaches us to turn the other cheek and forgive those who sin against us,” said the pope, reading a prepared statement from a balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square.   “That is why, despite the terrible wrongs they have committed, the church must move on and forgive these children for their misdeeds.”

“As Jesus said, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,’” the pope continued.  “We must send a clear message to these hundreds – perhaps thousands – of children whose sinful ways have tempted so many of the church’s servants into lustful violation of their holy vows of celibacy.  The church forgives them for their transgressions and looks upon them not with intolerance, but compassion.”

(…)

Margaret Leahy, 39, a Somerville, MA, homemaker and mother of one of the alleged seducers, expressed relief over the pope’s announcement.

“For months, I feared that my boy – and the dozens of others who committed sinful acts with Father Halloran before he was moved to the safety of another parish to protect him from further temptation at their pre-pubescent hands – was going to Hell for what he’d done,”

Leahy said. “It’s the worst feeling a mother can know. But thanks to the forgiveness of the pope, my long nightmare is finally over.  He was just a boy of 8 at the time.  He didn’t know any better.  Thank you, your Holiness, for giving my poor little Timothy a second chance at redemption.”

If I’m wrong and there is a God, may he bless The Onion

Richard Dawkins and P Z Myers versus Pope Pius XII

23/03/2010

Following recent comments by two of the World’s most outspoken atheists, manicstreetpreacher thinks a reassessment of the silent Pope is in order.

I have a morbid fascination with the figure of Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII.  I confess that the only full-length biography I have read is John Cornwell’s controversial Hitler’s Pope, which has been so heavily criticised that even the author no longer stands by all of its claims.

I am currently researching and writing an epic post about the role of the Church and religion in the rise of fascism (so epic, that it might have to be an entire book!), and I really need to read a more sympathetic account of Pacelli.  I have read Sacred Causes by Christian historian Michael Burleigh which references a few Pius defenders such as Mississippi law professor Ronald Rychlak and Rabbi David Dalin.

The best defence anyone has been able to advance is that Pacelli’s scope for action was severely limited.  Hindsight is the cheapest form of wisdom.  Perhaps Pius XII would have inspired a mass uprising against the forces of darkness that had overwhelmed Europe by publically opposing Hitler.  By the same token, his actions could have backfired with the consequences for Europe’s population better left imagined than described.

Here is Richard Dawkins referring to Pius XII as “Pope… Nazi” at the 2010 Global Atheist Convention held in Melbourne, Australia earlier this month while commenting on the Vatican’s procedure of canonising saints.

The press widely construed Dawkins as referring to the current holder of St Peter’s keys, Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI.  While growing up in Germany, Ratzinger was drafted into the Hitler Youth along with practically all other German boys when he was too young to understand the full implications of what he was being ordered to do.  Even the most virulent opponent of the Vatican would be punching below the belt to take this as evidence that Ratzinger supported Nazism.  Although the next photo is hardly something you want left on your Facebook profile.

In fact, Dawkins was referencing Pius XII, the man who while the Vatican’s Secretary of State concluded concordats with practically every fascist regime in Europe, including the 1929 Lateran Pact with Benito Mussolini of Italy and the 1933 Reichskonkordat with Adolf Hitler’s German Wehrmacht Republic.  These treaties, which incidentally were the first agreements signed respectively by both dictators upon taking power, guaranteed the Church’s total withdrawal from politics, embodied by the dissolution of the German Catholic Centre Party, a source of effective opposition to National Socialism, in return for control of state education and other ameliorations.

As if that wasn’t enough, Pius XII notoriously remained silence in public about the Holocaust, despite constant and reliable intelligence of the atrocities committed against the Jews.  This was only one in a whole litany of sins for which atonement was begged by the former pontiff, John Paul II, during a papacy largely defined by repeated requests for forgiveness.

Perhaps sceptics are being too hard on Pacelli.  Perhaps they are using him as a pawn in their private war against the parties of God.  Perhaps his back really was up against a wall.  Perhaps public condemnation of Hitler would have been foolhardy and lead only to Nazi aggression being redirected towards Catholics.  Perhaps he achieved more by remaining silent in public and while waging a “secret war” against the Führer.  The figures I’ve read for the number of Jews that the Vatican saved during the War range from half a million to 800,000.  I am quite prepared to accept the higher figure.

But while the Pope’s rural retreat of Castel Gandolfo and indeed the Vatican itself was used to hide Jews escaping the German occupation of Rome in 1943, the same “safe houses” were used to harbour escaping Nazi war criminals, not least of who was Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the “Final Solution”.  After the war Eichmann, along with many other Nazi war criminals, was spirited away to South America on an illegally acquired Red Cross humanitarian passport via a “Ratline”, before finally being kidnapped by Mossad agents in Argentina, standing trial in Israel and executed for crimes against humanity in 1962.

It is not proven that Pacelli had personal knowledge of the Ratlines, their chief architect being Austrian Bishop Alois Hudal, author of the Hitler-fawning tract, The Foundations of National Socialism But since Pacelli clearly turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the death camps during the war, it is not unreasonable to draw negative inferences.

The Vatican could always exonerate Pacelli once and for all by releasing the wartime documents from their archives which would prove the Pontiff’s defence, surely?  So far, they have declined to do this, making the utterly lame excuse that the copious documents have not yet been properly catalogued.

Ratzinger’s recent drive to canonise Pius XII has been discouraged by the Church’s own theologians as likely to cause grave damage to relations between the Catholic Church and Jews and that he had become a de facto “symbol of Christian anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism”.

One very eloquent reviewer of Dalin’s book, The Myth of Hitler’s Pope, on Amazon US described the Church’s stance thus:

As long as Pope Pius XII allowed Hitler to remain a Catholic, the Pope supported his actions, period, and end of story.  There was no conspiracy, just failed responsibility, and lack of action.  David Dalin’s book, The Myth of Hitler’s Pope demonstrates very little except to try and defend the ridiculous.

That is about as reasonable and balanced an assessment as I have read from a sceptic.  The verdict of biologist and blogger P Z Myers was worded somewhat more strongly…

Oh, and Pope Pius XII really was a sniveling rat bastard who should have been held accountable for contributing to the evil perpetrated against the Jews.

The Pius Wars will not cease until the day Daniel Dennett’s dream of the Vatican being converted into the “International Museum of Roman Catholicism” becomes a reality.

“Genocide? No. Deicide? Yes!”

01/01/2010

manicstreetpreacher analyses the fanatical pronouncements of an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier and a current bishop in the Roman Catholic Church.

As with so many of the quotes on my blog, I owe the title of this post to Christopher Hitchens.  During his October massacre of the Catholic Church with Stephen Fry in London, Hitch used the sound bite to describe the views of Bishop Richard (or “Roger” as Hitchens bizarrely called him on the night) Williamson; a member of Marcel Lefebvre’s ultraconservative Catholic sect, Society of St Pius X (SSPX), who was excommunicated along with several other members of “his rat bag organisation” in 1988 by Pope John Paul II, but was readmitted by the current pontiff, Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger, in January 2009:

Williamson… has long been a believer that – I’ll put this shortly – that the Holocaust did not occur, but the Jews did kill Christ.  In word others, “Genocide?  No.  Deicide?  Yes!”

I realise that I am weighing in rather late in the day with this one, but at the Hitchens/ Fry debate, Catholic defender, Ann Widdecombe, chided Hitchens for grossly misrepresenting the Church in his opening address.  Widdecombe was adamant that Williamson had been ordered to recant his views by Ratzinger before his readmission.  However this post presents a series of video clips and articles on Williamson’s views.  It beggars belief as to why Ratzinger not only readmitted Williamson, but did not re-excommunicate him PDQ once the full picture of his views came into the public domain.

Denying the Holocaust

Below is the longest version I could find of the notorious interview on Swedish television that Williamson gave just days before his readmission to the Church.  I apologise for the clip being hosted by neo-Nazi scum who clearly sympathise with Williamson, as do many of the commenters.  However, there are some good refutations of Williamson there as well, particularly in relation to the utterly bogus and debunked Leuchter Report into the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

The interview was filmed in Schierling, south of Regensburg, Germany, and you’ll see that he knows full well that he is guilty of an act of anti-Semitic hatred by pleading with the interviewer not to report him to the German authorities.

9/11 was a setup by the US government

This next one is an audio clip of a sermon Williamson gave in London in 2007 where the deranged cleric insists that the attacks against the USA on 11 September 2001 were a government inside job as per the ridiculous cut n paste Internet film, Loose Change.  Notice how he refers to a 9/11 “mysteries” website where his parishioners can learn more if they so wish…

…because in this next montage of his ravings, he denounces the Internet as the biggest source of lies that the world has ever concocted.

Views and opinions

For a summary of yet more of Williamson’s crackpot views, see this post on the Fringe Watch blog.  Unfortunately, most of the links are now dead.  SSPX have clearly removed many of his sermons and newsletters in light of the scandal.  However, this shocking piece from 2005 on the civil unrest in France is a good indication of Williamson’s ultraconservative views:

This immigration has taken place in France, Great Britain, Germany and also the USA, amongst other countries, especially since World War Two, for two main reasons. Firstly, the Europeans in these countries wanted to enjoy the conveniences of materialism without the inconvenience of having babies.  So there were not enough workers for their factories or for all the menial tasks henceforth beneath their dignity as university graduates, university degrees having become as common as daisies.  Secondly the enemies of God, seeing as usual farther ahead than His friends, foresaw in the immigration of an alien population a great means of diluting the national identity of countries which by their long and proud history risked not easily being absorbed into the Antichrist’s New World Order…

For if they had kept the Faith of St Paul, they would never have let themselves be deceived by the liberals’ false equality and charity, which are no more than a parody of Christian equality and charity.  St Paul says, “For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3: 27, 28).  Similarly, “…putting on the new man, him who is renewed unto knowledge, according to the image of Him Who created him.  Where there is neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free. But Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3: 10, 11).

Notice how in each of these quotations, St Paul frames the equality of different human races, classes and sexes within Christ.  In other words the equality is before God, and will only be fulfilled in Heaven.  St Paul would never have dreamt of denying or wiping out the inequality of human differences before men.  As to the inequality in this life between Jew and Greek, see Romans and Galatians; between bond and free, see Philemon; between man and woman, see Ephesians and Colossians.  The will of God for men on earth is that Catholic save Jew, that the man free look after the bondsman and that the man be head of the woman.  So when the white men give up on saving Jews, looking after other races and leading their womenfolk, it is altogether normal for them to be punished respectively by the domination of Jewish finance, by the refusal to follow of the non-white races and by rampant feminism.

For by refusing Christ, these whites no longer understand the divine dimension of the true equality between men.  Retaining however from Christianity, because it suits their pride, the sense of the value of every man, then all eternity’s equality has to be squeezed into this little life on earth, where it necessarily crushes the hierarchies willed by God between races, classes, and sexes.  So by affirming the equality of men without Christ and without eternal life, these white men betray alike Jew and bond and woman.

In chronological order, before Christ, nobody in their senses would have dreamt of denying the inequality of different races, classes and sexes.  When Christ came, nobody in their senses imagined that men’s equality in Christ wiped out these differences, it transcended or rose above them.  However post-Christian modern man, by refusing anything transcendent or anyone above him, has lost all grip on reality, and in all likelihood it will take rather more than a few thousand cars getting burnt for him to see straight once more.

Then what?  Then we need to pray that the much greater disasters soon to take place will open as many eyes as possible, to save as many souls as possible, and if the white men still refuse to convert, let us pray for some great conversions amongst Jews, Muslims and blacks so that they may take over where the whites have left off, and may continue to show us the way to Heaven.  So long as God is served, all honor to His servants, of any race, class or sex!

Such paranoid ravings could have come from a member of a pagan, fascistic political party.

Catholic blogger for The Daily Telegraph website and editor of The Catholic Herald, Damien Thompson, had it right:

This is a truly appalling man. I realised this last year, when – in a fruitless attempt to warn the Vatican what he was like – I commissioned a front-page exposé of his poisonous anti-Semitism in The Catholic Herald.  Like most Holocaust deniers, Williamson has a soft spot for the Third Reich: that much is clear from his pathetic diatribe against The Sound of Music, of all films, for painting the German authorities in an unsympathetic light…

The SSPX has known for many years that one of its four bishops was a Far Right conspiracy theorist.  It was irritated by him, it pushed him to the margins – but it allowed him to continue exercising episcopal ministry in the Society.  That is a scandal that its leader, the arrogant Bishop Bernard Fellay, has never got round to addressing…

No one who supports the Holy Father should have any dealings with Richard Williamson. If he wants a congregation, let him set up his soapbox at Speakers’ Corner and gibber about Jews and Freemasons alongside all the other nutjobs.  I personally volunteer to heckle him.

The article in The Catholic Herald to which Thompson refers is worth the effort, if only for compiling the sayings of this raving loon:

In accordance with their false messianic vocation of Jewish world-domination, the Jews are preparing the Anti-Christ’s throne in Jerusalem.

Can you imagine Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music staying with the Captain if the romance went out of their marriage?  Would she not divorce him and grab his children to be her toys?  All the elements of pornography are there…

This is my diagnosis of the Unabomber.  You may say what you like about him as a criminal terrorist, and much of it is true…  But he still has a remotely Catholic sense of how technology brutalises man.  How Catholic are those technophiles who wallow at ease in their computers?  Give me the Unabomber’s seriousness over their shallowness, any day of the week.

A woman can do a good imitation of handling ideas, but then she will not be thinking properly as a woman.  Did this lawyeress check her hairdo before coming into court?  If she did, she is a distracted lawyer.  If she did not, she is one distorted woman.

Williamson was given a nod of approval from the Institute for Historical Review… which happens to be one of the world’s most prominent Holocaust denial outfits:

The Williamson affair underscores a great social-political danger – not the danger of dissent or of historical error, but rather of ruthlessly enforced orthodoxy.  Far more harmful than Williamson’s unconventional views about crimes committed, or not committed, more than 60 years ago is the well – organized global campaign, backed with the power of police and courts, that demands submission to an instrumentalized and dogmatically-presented view of one chapter of history.  This campaign is an expression of a hypocritical double standard that makes a mockery of the pretentions of “democratic” states to uphold freedom of speech and expression.

A society’s real hierarchy of values, and of power, is shown by what it prohibits. The Williamson affair underscores a well-entrenched Jewish-Zionist bias in the cultural life of modern Western society, and reminds us, once again, of the power behind that bias.

Poor Bishop Williamson is being hounded by the powers that be who want to preserve the memory of one of the greatest crimes against humanity in deliberate defiance to heroes like Norman Finkelstein who say that they are only profiting from a “Holocaust Industry”.   Yeah.

Not a very sincere sounding apology

According to an article on The Huffington Post, Bishop Williamson said that he was sorry to the Pope for the upset his comments had caused, but did not retract them.  On the contrary, comments reported by Der Spiegel were:

Since I see that there are many honest and intelligent people who think differently, I must look again at the historical evidence…  It is about historical evidence, not about emotions…  And if I find this evidence, I will correct myself.  But that will take time.

The magazine suggested that he could make a personal visit to Auschwitz, set up by the Nazis in occupied Poland, which stands as the most powerful symbol of the Holocaust. More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, died there.  Williamson replied, “I will not go to Auschwitz”.

Indeed, Williamson consulted the world’s most notorious “historian”, David Irving for tips on how best to express his appalling views.  Irving is of course infamous for his disastrous 2000 libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt, who branded him as Holocaust denier in her book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, as well as his imprisonment in Austria 2006 for breaking hate-speech laws:

He is not a Holocaust denier.  Like me, he does not buy the whole package…  About a week ago I sent him a lengthy email telling him what he could safely say.  He should not be quoted as saying things which are not tenable.  I sent two pages telling him what is incontrovertible fact.  I got a message back thanking me…  He is obviously a very intelligent man who did not realise the danger of talking to the press.

The exchange of emails between Williamson and Irving, together with photographs of the two of them at a party hosted by Irving can be seen in this article.  It also contains other useful links of Williamson’s ties with other notorious Holocaust deniers, not least of whom is Michèle Renouf.

In February, shortly after his readmission to the Church, Williamson was given ten days to leave his hideout in Argentina due to his comments on Swedish television which caused great distress to one of the largest Jewish populations outside of Israel.

Eventually, Williamson issued a formal written apology for his comments on Swedish TV.  Below is the full text to Williamson’s supposed retraction of his anti-Semitic rewriting of history:

The Holy Father and my Superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.

Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.

On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (…“I believe”…  …“I believe”…) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available, and rarely expressed in public since.

However, the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused.  To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said, before God I apologize.

As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust [sic] violence against one man hurts all mankind.

Richard Williamson,
London, 26 February, 2009

I don’t think I’m being overly cynical by saying that Bishop Williamson has chosen his words very carefully indeed and has simply apologised for the hurt feelings caused by him publically expressing his opinions based on an honest and sincerely held belief.  Nowhere in the statement does he say that he repudiates his actual belief that the Holocaust did not occur.  And quite frankly, for a man who is nearly 70 years old who has expressed such views at all in the recent past, the phrase “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” springs to mind.

Latest on Williamson

Williamson has been in the papers again recently when in October he was charged with Holocaust denial by German prosecutors and in November when he refused to pay a £12,000 fine for his comments on Swedish TV:

Under the German legal system, he was served with an ‘order of punishment’ informing him of the penalty.

Such orders are intended to cut down on bureaucracy and costs if both sides agree with the fine, which also would mean a criminal conviction.

But Williamson did not agree.  He is to appeal, paving the way for a full hearing which could prove highly embarrassing for the church once more – even though Williamson can absent himself from proceedings to be represented just by his lawyer.

A trial judge will demand to know why he believes that six million Jews were not murdered by the Nazis and on what facts he bases his views on.

In conclusion – Sorry, Miss Widdecombe, but I’ll stick with the Hitch

Williamson is clearly continuing to court controversy with his suborn refusal to admit to the true nature and harmful effects of his views.    Indeed, my research indicates that he has not properly recanted his views on the Holocaust.  His recent refusal to pay the fine imposed on him by the German authorities is final confirmation of this.

Ann Widdecombe’s rather lame defence of Ratzinger at the Intelligence Squared debate on the Catholic Church took the form of an attack on Hitchens’ research and presentation.  She implied that Hitchens had twisted the facts when she said that Ratzinger had made Williamson recant his views before readmitting him to the fold.  I hope that this post has shown that this is most definitely not the case.

I am going to stick with Hitchens’ analysis that Williamson is a fanatic, a racist and an anti-Semite.  But for Ratzinger, Church unity is more important for him than the unsanitary consequences of having this fraud and liar in the community, regardless of the things that he has said, and done, and continues to stand for.

For shame indeed.

Hitchens and Fry versus the Catholic Church: Post Mortem

20/10/2009

HitchensStephenFry

manicstreetpreacher witnesses first-hand a rhetorical massacre of Vatican hench(wo)men by the cream of British intellectualism.

On Monday, 19 October 2009 I attended a debate at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London featuring “New Atheist” and author of God Is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens and actor, writer and broadcaster, Stephen Fry, to argue against the motion “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world” with Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Conservative MP, Ann Widdecombe proposing.

The debate was filmed by BBC TV cameras and the debate moderator, Zeinab Badawi, told us that it would be broadcast to 70 million people throughout the world on 7 and 8 November 2009.   The full video of the debate can be viewed below:

Each of the four speakers were allowed 15 minutes for an opening statement, then there was about 30 minutes of the audience’s questions and comments and then the panel were given a final five minutes to sum up.  The whole event lasted a shade under two hours from 7:00 – 9:00pm.  The only disappointment is that Hitchens wasn’t signing books afterwards, but apart from that it was very well put together by the organisers, Intelligence Squared.

Exactly as I predicted before the event, this was an utterly one-sided affair.  Hitch and Fry wiped the floor with their papist opponents.  It was an embarrassment for the parties of God.  The two men had everything on their side.  They had the arguments, they had the historical facts, they had the present day facts, they had the rhetoric, they had the wit and most importantly they had the audience, although it has to be said that most of them were dead against the motion from the start.

Blow-by-blow: Archbishop John Onaiyekan

Archbishop John Onaiyekan opened the motion for the proposition.  He seemed an amiable enough fellow; I’m sure you’d like to have him round for dinner.  Unfortunately he was encumbered with a thick Nigerian accent, which made it difficult to understand what he was saying.  Not that it would have made too much difference.  From what I could pick up, his opening statement was a wishy-washy apologia that cited few factual examples and even less ideology.

The Archbishop said that from his Catholic upbringing to the present day as a 65 year old adult, he had no regrets and devoutly believed in the motion, otherwise he would not be a member of the Catholic Church in the first place.  The Church has stood the test of time over the last two thousand years ranging from the good ordinary folk of the world to the leaders of the world.  He cited the 2008 papal encyclical, Caritas In Veritate, “Charity in Truth”, as a good example of what the Church stood for.

Noises were made about the Church’s syllabus of errors, but the Archbishop stressed the need to keep perspective and be careful when judging others.  After all, the late pontiff, John Paul II apologised for many of the Church’s “misjudgements” throughout history.

The Archbishop argued that true good of the Catholic Church can be attested by its 1.2 billion members and we really ought to go and speak to some of them to realise that the world needs more people linking arms and striving for a future of justice.  The Archbishop also stated that the Church has a hand in setting up many schools and hospitals and contrary to the public perception of its stance on condom use, had worked closely with the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS.

It was a well-meaning and consolatory opening.  The Archbishop finished with plenty of his allotted time to spare and asked with a dash of irony whether there now could be anyone in the audience who didn’t think that the Catholic Church was a force for good.  Bless him, he must have hoped that his two opponents would be willing to search for common ground.

What planet has he been living on?

The Hitch

OK, let’s face it.  This is why the majority of the audience paid their admissions fee.  To witness arguably the world’s most outspoken atheist and opponent of religion take aim at the easiest target he could have wished for.  We were not disappointed.

After the usual warm-up quips about the moderator admiring his shirt, Hitch went at the Holy See like a rabid dog.

WHAM!  The statement delivered by Pope John Paul II’s spokesmen on 12 March 2000 apologising for everything from the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to the oppression of women (who after all comprise half the human race), to the forced conversion of the indigenous peoples of South America by the Conquistadors.

BLAM!  The 94 public recognitions of the Church’s crimes against humanity from apologising for the African slave trade in 1995 to the admission in 1992 that Galileo was actually right when he said that the sun was the centre of our solar system and the earth and the other planets were in orbit around it.

BatmanRobinFight

KA-ZAAM!!!  Hitchens’ demanded that apologies were long overdue for the crimes of the Croatian Utashe lead by Ante Pavelić in the Second World War which received the full blessing of the clergy, to the rape and torture and cover-up of children in Catholic schools and care homes from “Ireland to Australia”, to the hideous preaching of Augustine’s doctrine of limbo which had countless parents in agony over the destination of the souls of their un-baptised children.

BIFF!  There were a few more sins for the Holy See to atone for: the 1933 Reich Concordat with Nazi Germany which dissolved the Catholic Centre Party and removed all opposition to the rise of Hitler while ensuring that the Church maintained control of state education.  Come to think of it, wasn’t the first treaty that Mussolini put his name to the 1929 Lateran Treaty with the Vatican.  Wasn’t Jozef Tiso, the despot who governed Slovakia an ordained priest?   Wasn’t every other fascist dictator from Franco to Salazar raised as a Catholic with the public blessing of St Peter’s Basilica?  Wasn’t Adolf Hitler’s birthday celebrated from the pulpits every year right up until his death?

NO MORE, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!!!!

Well alright, then perhaps a little bit more.  This is getting kinda fun.

THWACK!!!  Hitch declared that none of this could be laughed off with gestures to the charitable.  After all, didn’t Pope Ratzinger qualify the apology to the South American Indians by saying while on a visit to Brazil in 2007 that they were “silently longing” for the arrival of Christianity?  The sex abuse scandal culminating in the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, Massachusetts, only for the same Cardinal to show up at the 2005 conclave to elect the new pontiff doesn’t exactly enhance the Vatican’s claim to moral superiority either.  Neither does the doctrine of anti-Semitism for the Jews’ complicity for the death of Christ preached until 1964, nearly 20 years after the judgment of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.

POW!!!   Hitch then proceeded to tear the moral relativism that has engulfed the Church in recent years  (and would certainly engulf the arguments of its apologists this night) a new one.  He stated that the rape and torture of children is something that cannot be relativised.  It cannot be shrugged off as something that would not happen if “queers had not been allowed into the Church.”   If any “normal” person were accused of child rape, they would want to die.  If they were found guilty, they would commit suicide.

ZAP!!!  More suggested topics to apologise for?  How about the re-inauguration of Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson, who effectively said, “Genocide?  No.  Deicide? Yes!”?  Ratzinger invited Williamson back into the fold because Church unity was more important than moral integrity.  And how about the genocide in Rwanda, the most Catholic country in Africa where priests and nuns were guilty of inciting the massacres and indeed, many are now standing trial for taking part in it themselves.  No proper apology has ever been issued.

Hitch then stood up for his friend, Stephen Fry, who is “not like other girls” and cannot be a member of the Church for being a “fag”.  The Church’s condescending stance to “hate the sin, love the sinner” means that a substantial portion of the world’s population is excluded from the sacraments.

Hitch ended by saying that he did not wish harm on anybody, but he looked forward to the death of Ratzinger for one reason and one reason only.  In the intervening weeks and months between one pope dying and another being elected by the College of Cardinals, there is a period when no one on earth claims to be infallible.  Our species must be rid of its faith the certainty from above if it is to progress.

The crowd loved every minute of it.  Hitch’s address was punctuated by applause and cheers several times.  The biggest cheer came when he faced the Archbishop and asked him for a public apology for the Church’s policy of delivering false information about the effectiveness of condom use, effectively saying that “AIDS is bad, but condoms are worse”.

In case you couldn’t tell, Hitchens is a personal hero of mine.  I’m well on the way to having read all of his books.  I’ve seen him lecture and debate as many times as I’ve been able to find on YouTube.  I’ve referenced him more times than I care to remember on this blog and in my appearances on Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable? and I have come in for some stick from commenters and listeners for being a mouthpiece for the Four Horsemen in general and Hitchens in particular.  This was the first time that I have seen him speak live and it was worth 10 times the admission price.

It was orgasmic!

Widdecombe

The Conservative MP and Catholic convert was announced to have left the Church of England in 1992 when it decided to ordain women priests.  In answer to a question from the audience, she explained that a woman can be an MP because it is a profession, but there is no theological basis for a woman to be a priest because they cannot lead the confession before Christ.  Apparently a woman can no more stand in for JC than a man for the Virgin Mary.  Right.

Out of the two papists, it has to be said that Widdecombe put up by far the better fight.  She raised rapturous applause from the Catholic supporters in the audience (all five of them) by starting off demanding that Hitchens give an apology for the caricature he had presented of the Church’s history, saying that members of the Waffen SS had to renounce their Christianity before entering the organisation, and Ratzinger made Bishop Richard Williamson renounce his views on the Holocaust before once again granting him the sacraments.  She also tried to deflect his remarks saying that he had to delve into history and go back to the Crusades and the Inquisition for the core of his arguments.

I was in dire need of a sick bucket at one point when Widdecombe indulged in the worst kind of relativism in defending the Church’s stance on slavery since it was simply in line with the opinions of the rest of the world!  Hitchens later pointed out that if slavery had to be considered in context, what could be more relative than that?  What happened; did God change his mind?

As if slavery wasn’t bad enough, Widdecombe went on to say that it has only been in recent years that the courts and the Samaritans have tackled the problem of child sex abuse and there has been a Sex Offenders Register.

Special pleading and calls for clemency do not convincing arguments make, Miss Widdecombe.

The worst offence Widdecombe committed was recommending the work of historian Michael Burleigh who, along with Martin Gilbert, has praised the efforts of the wartime pope, Pius XII, in rescuing many thousands of Jews from the Holocaust by giving them refuge in Castel Gandolfo. I wonder how many people realised that in fact Burleigh re-prints a bogus statement purporting to be from Albert Einstein praising the Church’s response to Hitler in his 2006 book Sacred Causes, the questionable authenticity of which Hitchens debunks in God Is Not Great.

While Hitch didn’t nail her for that point in his closing remarks, he did stand by his views on the Church preaching the doctrine of deicide against the Jewish people as likely to have provided a well of anti-Semitism throughout Europe which facilitated the rise of fascism in the 1930s.

It wasn’t all bad, however.  Widdecombe at least pointed out that the Church does much in the way of charitable giving and as a politician, she relied on them as much local government.

The address finished off with a call for the Church’s offer of hope and salvation, which the two nasty heretics at the other side of the table simply could not offer.  Hitch’s retort in the closing section was to agree whole heartedly that absolution was not forthcoming from him and Fry, but Catholics still had to live with their conscience and good luck to them.

Fry

As good as Hitchens was, the revelation of the evening was Stephen Fry.  Here was a man who I previously did not think capable of saying boo to a goose coming out (if you’ll excuse the pun) in full force against the forces of theocratic sexual repression.

Fry started off quoting Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest, saying that speaking one’s mind was quite often not just a moral duty, but a pleasure!  This was a subject he felt strongly about, not because he objected to people being religious, but because he felt passionately about the Enlightenment, which the Church has never tired of attacking.  Straightaway, Fry sarcastically rubbished Widdecombe’s dismissal of history, saying that history “quivers down all of us”.

Fry then went on to attack the appalling doctrine of purgatory and the hideous idea that a soul needs to be prayed for by us mortals here on earth in order to “take the first left when getting on the plane and getting a first class seat to heaven.”  He lambasted the tradition of people giving money to ensure the safe delivery of the soul and questioned why it should be a privilege that only men could enjoy.

The next target was the Church’s exploitation of poor people, citing Thomas More who burned people at the stake for reading English translations of the Bible during the Reformation yet was made the patron saint of politicians by Pope John Paul II!  Then there was the disgraceful joint statement on contraception with Saudi Arabia (!) in 2003 that began, “On behalf of the revealed religions of the world…”

However, the real meat came with Fry’s attacks on the Church’s stance on homosexuality.  As a gay man, Fry could not possibly be a member of an institution that thought him evil.  On the contrary, Fry announced that he was a man who was full of love and certainly had no need of the pope’s permission to tell him to practise it.  Fry compared sex to food.  It’s jolly and it’s fun.  But frankly, the Catholic Church is anorexic.

Fry has made a series of TV documentaries about HIV in Africa, HIV and Me, and attacked the Church’s stance on preaching misinformation about contraception.  “Yes, abstinence and being faithful help prevent the spread of AIDS, BUT SO DO CONDOMS!!!”  It was not the last time the mild-mannered British comic would raise his voice.

This wonderful opening speech was topped off by speculation as to what Jesus would think.  Fry is clearly one of those atheists who at least think that Christ was a great moral teacher (unlike Hitchens who questions both the man’s existence as well as his morality), and asked what the Nazarene would think of the opulence of St Peters and the male-dominated hierarchy.  Of course he would be horrified and would be the last person to become a member of his own church!

In his closing statement, Fry answered Widdecombe’s protests that he just had to bring up condoms and sexuality was rather like a criminal in the dock saying to the judge, “Do you have to bring up that burglary?”!  The second time he raised his voice was in reply again to Widdecombe’s relativist defence of the Church not condemning slavery because it was a socially acceptable normal with, “WELL, WHAT ARE YOU FOR?!”  Magic.

RatzingerCaricature

Democracy in action

After the main speeches, the debate moved to comments and questions from the house.  The atheists were in full force in both numbers and words.  The moderator eventually had to ask for Catholic supporters to ask questions to balance things out!

Several gay men and women took the mikes and made their feelings known on the Church’s interference with what they do behind their bedroom doors.  One man asked the Archbishop what current policy of the Church he was most ashamed of!

Hitchens answered supporters’ objections to the Church’s charitable work and fundraising with his stock reply that Hamas do much of the same in Gaza, but is anyone going to say a word in defence of them for that reason?  He also showed his feminist colours by attacking the Ten Commandments as suppressing women and that the one proven way of bringing a society off its knees was to bring about the emancipation and the empowerment of women as opposed to having them as field hands, pack horses and baby producers.

Hitch also quite happily admitted to being sexually obsessed after Widdecombe accused Fry in her closing remarks of saying the evening’s only piece of “unpleasantness” by mocking the Archbishop’s vow of celibacy.  Hitch’s retort to this piece of prudishness was that from the day he first discovered that his God-given male member would give him no peace, he decided to give it no rest in return.  He also pronounced that homosexuality was not just a form of sex, it was a form of love.  Stephen Fry was a good friend of his and he would allow him to baby-sit his children any day of the week.  If, on the other hand, a clergyman showed up to look after his children, he would first call a taxi and then call the police!

The audience polls before and after the debate said it all:

Before the debate:

For the motion: 678
Against: 1102
Don’t know: 346

After the debate:

For: 268
Against: 1876
Don’t know: 34

Therefore, the number of people in the audience who opposed the motion increased by 774.

Ouch!

Andrew M Brown, on his Daily Telegraph blog, summed up the problem for the parties of God rather well:

The problem (from the Catholic point of view) was that the speakers arguing for the Church as a force for good were hopelessly outclassed by two hugely popular, professional performers.  The archbishop had obviously decided that it would work best if he stuck to facts and figures and presented the Church as a sort of vast charitable or “social welfare” organisation.  He emphasised how many Catholics there were in the world, and that even included “heads of state”, he said, as if that was a clincher.  But he said virtually nothing of a religious or spiritual nature as far as I could tell, and non-Catholics would have been none the wiser about what you might call the transcendent aspects of the Church. Then later when challenged he became painfully hesitant. In the end he mumbled and spluttered and retreated into embarrassing excuses and evasions. He repeatedly got Ann Widdecombe’s name wrong.  The hostility of both the audience and his opponents seemed to have discomfited him…

Even if you didn’t agree with him you’d have to concede Hitchens especially was spectacular and hyper-articulate…  Hitchens drank bottled water mostly, and plenty of it, though from time to time when he was sitting down he raised a glass of amber fluid from out of sight, down on the floor somewhere, and took a slug from that.  I don’t know why he kept a drink under the table like that, perhaps because the debate was filmed for broadcast.  He sweated profusely and dabbed his shiny forehead, eyes and cheeks with a handkerchief. But his diction was clear and he was in control, like a revivalist tent preacher, building the volume to a crescendo at the end, to applause and roars from the audience.

Amen to that, brother.

In conclusion – more and more are wearing their scarlet letter with pride

ScarletLetterA

Aside from the superb showing by Stephen Fry and the utter annihilation of the apologists at the hands of the heretics, the evening was notable for one other reason: the number of people willing to announce their atheist colours with pride and make their feelings known about what they really feel about the most oppressive, hypocritical institution that our mammalian primate species has ever concocted.

The books by the “New Atheists”: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and of course, Christopher Hitchens have instilled the non-believers around the world with the motivation and the confidence to speak out.  This is no mere flash in the pan.  As Winston Churchill had it, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Sorry to all the bishops, priests, nuns and mullahs, but we are not going away in a hurry.  All we need now is the confidence not to pick on such a soft target next time and debate whether Islam is a force for good in the world…

Hitchens and Fry Get a Free Shot at the Catholic Church

06/10/2009

HitchenSweatstephen-frymanicstreetpreacher is licking his chops at the prospect of seeing two of the finest intellectuals and wits the British Isles have ever produced sticking to the Vatican where the sun don’t shine.

On Monday, 19 October 2009, I will be attending a debate hosted by Intelligence Squared in London.

EDIT 20/10/2009: My full report of the debate is here.

EDIT 02/12/2009: The full video of the debate can be viewed on the Intelligence Squared website.

Writer and public intellectual, Christopher Hitchens, will be teaming up with actor, writer and broadcaster, Stephen Fry, to argue against the motion “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world” with Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Conservative MP, Ann Widdecombe arguing in favour.

widdecombeArchbishop John Onaiyekan

The moderator of the debate is BBC news anchor, Zeinab Badawi.  I hope she knows what she’s letting herself in for…

ZeinabBadawi

The Hitch given a free opportunity to rail against the Vatican?  This can only yield one result.  I have listed a series of classic Hitchens sound-bytes against the Church below.  Hitchens has lambasted the Holy See for everything, from the Crusades and the Inquisition, to the Vatican’s endorsement of fascism, to its policy of relocating paedophile priests (I will be disappointed if he does repeat the one about “no child’s behind left”) and preaching the ineffectiveness of condoms in AIDS-ravaged Africa to the excommunication of Bishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube for being caught having an affair with his housekeeper while fully endorsing Zimbabwe’s ruthless dictator, Robert Mugabe.

Hitchens has even dared to attack that beacon of pan-religious goodwill, Mother Teresa, which started with his article in the November 1992 edition of The Nation tellingly entitled, “Teresa: Ghoul of Calcutta”, continuing with his 1994 Channel 4 documentary, Hell’s Angel:

followed up with his 1995 book, The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, as well as in numerous interviews and articles both before and after her death.

MotherTeresa

For the love Christ, in October 2003 Hitchens even took over what was then the recently defunct role of Devil’s Advocate and represented the Prince of Darkness pro-bono by arguing against the Vatican’s decision to canonise the old bag.

The words “duck” and “sitting” leap to mind.  Indeed, the blog entry on the British Humanist Association website sums up the proposition thus:

Can anything good really be said of an institution that has such a warped attitude to sex that it tries to stop the world from wearing a condom, is bitterly opposed to gays leading a fulfilled life and regards women as unworthy of officiating in its rituals?  That’s the standard line of attack by detractors of the Catholic Church (Hitchens and lesser Fry).

But who ya gonna call when it comes to finding a good school for your children, when it comes to standing up for the oppressed, when it comes to giving material and spiritual succour to the wretched of the earth?

Nevertheless, I like to provide a range of opinions where I can and indeed the boys over at anti-Hitchens blog, Hitchens Watch, predict matters somewhat differently:

The Forecast: The Bishop is in tip-top condition and he’s an expert in sharia law in Nigeria, while Ms Widdecombe is a real unholy terror – fearsome, formidable and ferocious.  Expect a real bludgeoning with blood on the canvas, Hitch on the ropes, Fry in the pan, and the pair of them screaming “God help us!  God save us!” by the end of Round 5.

However, the pre-date poll on the event’s page at Intelligence Squared is not looking good for the Catholic defenders:

For: 4.3%
Against: 95.2%
Don’t know: 0.5%

The full details of the debate are as follows:

“The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world”

Speakers for the motion

Archbishop John Onaiyekan: Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria.

Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe MP: Conservative MP and Catholic convert.

http://www.annwiddecombe.com/text.aspx?id=1

Speakers against the motion

Christopher Hitchens: writer, broadcaster and polemicist, author of the bestselling book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

www.buildupthatwall.com

Stephen Fry: actor, author, comedian and television presenter.

http://www.stephenfry.com/

The location of the venue is:

The Methodist Church
Methodist Central Hall
Storey’s Gate
Westminster
London
SW1H 9NH

Tel: 020 7654 3809
Fax: 020 7222 3392

Email: church@mchw.org.uk
Web: www.methodist-central-hall.org.uk

Doors open at 6:00pm and the debate will start at 6:45pm.

!!!VENUE WARNING!!!

Hitchens Watch and New Statesmen have listed the location as Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London.

I have checked with the event’s organisers and this is incorrect.  Don’t go to the wrong venue!

As I said, I will be attending this debate, taking notes and hope to have a full write-up on this blog within 48 hours.

Watch this space!

Hitchens’ and Fry’s track record on religion

Hitchens and Fry make for an enticing tag-team.  The two of them debated (although of course it was more as a discussion because they agreed on practically everything!) blasphemy at the Guardian Hay Festival in 2005 with Joan Bakewell moderating:

During the course of the discussion, Fry delivered a wonderful speech on how a world without religion ought neither to be mundane or uninspiring:

As for Hitchens, he has said far too much about religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular than I could possibly fit into one blog post.  Check out the religion videos section on his website, Build Up That Wall, as well as those in the video archive over at RichardDawkins.net.

My favourite Hitchens speech against theocracy was his unforgettable volley against hate speech laws protecting religion at Hart House, University of Toronto on 15 November 2006.  You can watch the video and read the transcript of Hitchens’ speech on my blog.

I have also compiled a collection of classic Hitchensisms.  A selection of my favourites lambasting all things theist is below:

On the Catholic Church’s policy of relocating priests guilty of paedophilia

In the very recent past, we have seen the Church of Rome befouled by its complicity with the unpardonable sin of child rape, or, as it might be phrased in Latin form, “no child’s behind left”.

On the Church’s co-operation with Fascism throughout the 1930s and 40s

Up to 50% of the Waffen-SS were confessing Catholics; none of them was ever excommunicated, even threatened with it, for taking part in the Final Solution.  But Joseph Goebbels was excommunicated.  For… marrying a Protestant!  You see, we do have our standards!

On the Church of England

It not only calls itself a flock, it looks very sheep-like.

On Mother Teresa

I would describe Mother Teresa as a fraud, a fanatic and a fundamentalist.

Everything everybody thinks they know about her is false.  Not just most of the things; all the things.  It must be the single most successful emotional con-job of the 20th century.  She was corrupt, nasty, cynical and cruel.

I would say it was a certainty that millions of people died because of her work and millions more were made poorer, stupider, more sick, more diseased, more fearful and more ignorant.

When Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, few people had the poor taste to ask what she had ever done, or even claimed to do for the cause of peace.

What’s motherly about her by the way?  Hideous virgin and fraud and fanatic and fundamentalist.  Shrivelled old bat.  As far from the nurture of motherhood as a woman could decently get!

MT was not a friend of the poor.  She was a friend of poverty.

The Hitchens Challenge on whether there is a divine source to human morality

Name a moral statement or action, uttered or performed by a religious person that could not have been uttered or performed by an unbeliever.  I am still waiting for a response to this.  It carries an incidental corollary: think of a wicked action or statement that derived directly from religious faith, and you know what?  There is no tongue-tied silence at THAT point.  Everybody can instantly think of an example.

On the Bishop of Carlisle’s remarks that the 2007 floods in England were divine punishment for society’s acceptance of homosexuality

If there was a connection between metrology and morality, and religion has very often argued that there is, I don’t see why the floods hit northern Yorkshire.  I can think of some parts of London where they would have done a lot more good.

On freedom in religion

I don’t think it’s any more optional than Abraham saying to his son, “Do you want to come for a long and gloomy walk?”

On the Catholic Church’s moral equivalence of contraception with abortion

Aquinas believed that every single sperm contained a micro-embryo inside it and thus if you like – I hope I don’t offend anyone – hand jobs are genocide.  As for blow jobs; don’t start.

On the only safe way of getting oneself excommunicated by the Vatican

Pius Ncube goes.  The Vatican says, “That’s it, you’re no longer the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo.  You have to go, you’ve gone too far.”

Robert Mugabe, the communicant, the daily Catholic communicant, who thanks God for his electoral victory, which you may have seen, recently, celebrated so warmly by his people has not been forbidden the sacraments, hasn’t been excommunicated.

Now, Pius Ncube, the Bishop of Bulawayo, had an affair with his housekeeper.  Robert Mugabe has subjected his entire country to torture, famine, theft, expropriation, death, death squads and the rest of it, but it seems to me there is nothing he can do to get himself outside the church.  He’d probably have to recommend condoms or abortions at the rate he’s going before anything would be said about him, any condemnation would be thundered from the pulpit.

Penn and Teller: Bullshit! – The Vatican

31/08/2009

manicstreetpreacher posts the videos of an all time classic edition of Penn Jillette and his silent sidekick, Teller’s sacred cow slaughtering programme sticking to the Holy See where the sun don’t shine.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Just come across this.  Nothing I didn’t already know (apart from the comedienne the Holy See attempted to silence), but well worth watching nonetheless.

I was fascinated by the opening credits listing all the other topics that they propose debunking.  Lawns?!

Update: 8 September 2009

I came across this gem from head of the Catholic League in America and all-round theocratic right wing nut-job, Bill Donohue:

A piece on the UK National Secular Society website had this say:

The uncompromisingly critical assault has enraged the Catholic League, a right-wing group whose head, Bill Donohue, was interviewed on the Fox Channel where he likened Penn & Teller to Nazis.

Mr Donohue said: “The Nazis couldn’t have done better.  Having been in this job for over 16 years, I have never seen a more defamatory, obscene and vicious show on TV.  And I mean about any religious or demographic group—not just Catholics.  The lies about the Catholic Church, to say nothing of the vile language used by Penn Jillette, were positively astounding.  Moreover, it never attempted to be comedic – from the very beginning it advertised the show as payback for 2,000 years of alleged crimes.”

The NSS have come out in support of Penn and Teller:

Keith Porteous Wood commented: “The Penn and Teller show pulls no punches.  It is famed for its outspokenness when confronting conmen, charlatans and snake oil merchants – why would it be different when it took on the Vatican?  Although the Catholic League is trying to undermine the message of the programme by claiming it is factually incorrect, the truth is that the Vatican really is as bad as Penn and Teller paint it. What we now need is the Vatican being held to account by governments and international organisations.  I am already pressing for this and encourage others to do the same.”

Hear, hear.


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