Non Stamp Collector

Found this great YouTube channel (thanks to a vid posted on Hehmant Mehta's Friendly Atheist blog).

If you haven't seen it, there are some funny vids - featuring stick-men animation - such as a creationist interviewing a biologist, a quiz show with biblical contradictions, and (my favourite so far) 'Context!!!'. Well worth a look.

Or you can visit the main channel here:

Non Stamp Collector

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What About the Abuse Cases We Don't Know About?

In my last post I discussed the raid by Belgian police of the headquarters of the Church in Belgium, and the 'furious' reaction of the Vatican at the appalling way in which Church figures were treated like ordinary people.

The raid came about because Belgian Church officials and Bishops were meeting to investigate allegations of child abuse by the Belgian clergy. Naturally, one assumes that if they were to properly investigate these claims, they would have evidence such as statements and so forth at the meeting. Not even Bishops conduct investigations by closing their eyes and thinking of God. Well, at least I assume not.

For some bizzare and unfathomable reason, the Belgian authorities took the view that allegations of sex abuse against Belgian children, by Belgian clergy, in Belgium, were a matter for Belgian prosecutors to investigate. I cannot begin to imagine why they would take this view, when allegations of abuse in other countries are usually treated as internal Church matters. As I said, allowing the Church to investigate sex abuse claims made against its priests is on a par with allowing a paedophile ring to examine the photographs of its own members, and decide which are just a little bit too risque.

All over Western Europe and North America, the Church is being forced to apologise to and compensate thousands of people who have suffered unspeakable acts of physical and sexual abuse at the hands (and various other parts) of the faithful. In Ireland, they even had to read out a letter of apology. Wow, such humility.

The thing is, all of the countries where these scandals have come to light are growing increasingly secular (with the possible exception of the USA which, as everybody knows, has been secular since its foundation) wich means there is less and less interference by the Church in national policy making, and less automatic respect for the wishes of the Vatican shown by those responsible for setting policy. It also means that fewer and fewer of the general public in these countries are in such fearful awe of the gold-plated staff-wielding proselytizing anachronism preaching humility and self-loathing from his palace in Rome than they once were.

No wonder his holiness is so worried about secularism; it is not a decline in Christian belief he fears, but a decline in the power of the Church.

So we note that all of the countries where people feel able to speak out about the abuse they have suffered are wealthy, civilized, secular Western nations. Which brings us on to the nub of this post. What about those countries where people still live in genuine fear of the Church and its power?

Are you asking us to believe that there is something intrinsically decadent about Western societies that turns so many pious, celibate and God-fearing servants of Christ into child abusing monsters? Or could it be the case that thousands of innocent children in South America, Africa, South and South East Asia are even now suffering abuse, but they and their parents are unable to speak out for fear of the reactions in their communities?

We already know that some priests serving in Ireland, who were accused of acts of such unspeakable depravity that even the Church had to do something about it, were relocated to 'safe' parishes in central Africa and more remote parts of South America. Safe for the priests of course, presumably less safe for the innocents who came under their care and influence.

So as we reflect upon the thousands of lives damaged here in the West by the Church's pathetic insistence upon the celibacy of the clergy, maybe we should take a little time to wonder how many thousands of children in poorer, less literate and (crucially) more God-fearing societies may even now be suffering the same fate.

So long as the Church wields real power, we may never know.

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