In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

Exorcist Association Gets Green Light From Vatican


VATICAN CITY (AP) - Exorcists now have a legal weapon at their disposal.

The Vatican has formally recognized the International Association of Exorcists, a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who liberate the faithful from demons.

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported Tuesday that the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy had approved the organization’s statutes and recognized the group under canon law.

More than his predecessors, Pope Francis speaks frequently about the devil, and last year was seen placing his hands on the head of a man purportedly possessed by four demons in what exorcists said was a prayer of liberation from Satan.

The head of the association, the Rev. Francesco Bamonte, said the Vatican approval was cause for joy. “Exorcism is a form of charity that benefits those who suffer,” he told L’Osservatore.

(Source: The Huffington Post)

Sorry Francis, no forgiveness until pedophile priests are punished

Pope Francis has asked for forgiveness for the rape and sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy. However, no such forgiveness is possible until pedophile priests face criminal prosecution.

Speaking to members of the International Catholic Child Bureau, a non-profit international Catholic network of organizations engaged in the promotion and protection of children’s rights, Pope Francis said:

"I feel that I must take responsibility for all the harm that some priests—quite a number, but not in proportion to the total. I must take responsibility and ask forgiveness for the damage they have caused through sexual abuse of children.

The Church is aware of this damage. It is their own personal and moral damage, but they are men of the Church. And we will not take one step backwards in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed. On the contrary, I believe that we must be even stronger. You do not interfere with children.”

Yet despite the promise to impose “sanctions,” the Vatican continues to protect and enable pedophile priests engaged in the sexual abuse of children, according to a scathing report recently issued by the United Nations.
If Pope Francis was sincere he would immediately release all records pertaining to the rape and sexual abuse of children by clergy, and immediately turn over for criminal prosecution all those priests suspected of abusing children, and the bishops who protected them.

Talk is cheap Francis: put your money where your mouth is and prosecute the pedophiles.
—————————

How typically Christian that he thinks he can just assume the guilt of his underlings and absolve them of their atrocities. Just a form of shielding the guilty while sounding pious. Sorry frank, doesn’t work that way. All I hear is rationalization and obscurantism. Turn them over or renounce your fantasy of moral authority.

Fail: Pope Francis defends church record on sexual abuse of children

Liar or a fool? Pope Francis is defending the appalling record of the Catholic Church concerning the rape and sexual abuse of children by priests, claiming the church has moved with “transparency and responsibility” on the matter.

Transparency and responsibility? Is he serious? The Catholic church has been neither transparent nor responsible in their handling of the rampant sexual abuse of children by pedophile priests. To claim otherwise is ludicrous.

In fact, according to a scathing report issued by the United Nations, the Vatican, under the watchful eye of Pope Francis, continues to protect and enable pedophile priests engaged in the sexual abuse of children…

UN report says Vatican continues to protect and enable pedophile priests

Despite the friendly facade of Pope Francis, the Vatican continues to protect and enable pedophile priests engaged in the sexual abuse of children, according to a scathing report issued by the United Nations.

The UN report demands that the Vatican “immediately remove” all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers, and turn them over to government authorities for criminal prosecution.

In the unprecedented report the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said Catholic Church officials had imposed a “code of silence” on clerics to prevent them reporting attacks to police, and moved abusers from parish to parish “in an attempt to cover up such crimes.”

The UN watchdog for children’s rights denounced the Vatican for adopting policies which allowed priests to sexually abuse thousands of children. The report expressed its “deepest concern about child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic churches who operate under the authority of the Holy See, with clerics having been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide.”…

…The UN report demonstrates that Pope Francis has failed to address in any meaningful way the sexual abuse of children by clergy. As Pope, Francis continues the Catholic tradition of protecting pedophile priests from criminal prosecution, allowing the cancer that has destroyed any moral authority the church may have once claimed to continue to metastasize and fester.

The report offers compelling evidence that Pope Francis, and the Vatican, continue to protect and enable pedophile priests engaged in the sexual abuse of children. Francis may be a likable and charismatic leader, but he represents a product that is toxic, and obnoxious to reason and human decency. By continuing to protect and enable pedophile priests, Pope Francis indirectly sanctions and promotes the rape and sexual abuse of children.

X

Pope Explains Why The Internet Is A ’Gift From God'

Which I find odd, because there is perhaps no greater single contributor to the spread of atheism than the interweb.

skepticalavenger:

Although I don’t like the expression “real Christians,” this makes a great observation.

skepticalavenger:

Although I don’t like the expression “real Christians,” this makes a great observation.

From now on, we will be handing suspects in child rape cases over to the proper authorities instead of protecting them and paying off their victims. Those found guilty in due process will be defrocked and excommunicated from our ranks. Justice for these victims will henceforth take priority over the brand image of The Church. Only then can we hope to be taken seriously as a force for moral good in the world.

Things Pope Francis has curiously failed to say.

While rebuilding the image of the church, it’s strange that he has all but ignored the main reason for its disgrace in the first place; the likely reason for the resignation of his predecessor; You know, the whole aiding and abetting child rapists thing.

Association Fallacy

deconversionmovement:

moochiethinks:

wild-earth:

Pope Francis is reaching out to Atheists to unite with all religions to work towards peace. How about reaching out to your own followers? There’s more of them and religion has caused much more warfare than Atheism ever has.

Support this. Please, I’m begging you.

I mean, you do realize that more people died during the 20th Century in wars started by atheists regimes than in any so-called Church supported wars in the previous 2000 years, right?

Actual, real historcal fact is not on your side. Stick to posting animals.

You do realize that wild-earth isn’t committing association fallacy; you are though.  Stalin and Mao didn’t murder millions because they were atheists; if you want to blame something, blame their ideologies.  Why was Stalin so opposed to the church?  Because he was an atheist?  No; because he recognized that a religion like Christianity exercises considerable clout and thus, to monopolize power, he saw it as necessary to oppose the church.

Holy wars were in the name of this or that god—Yahweh and Allah in particular.  When the Arabs expanded their empire, they did it in the name of Allah—in the name of an obscure monotheism that eventually became Islam.

I am aware that you’re a Catholic though; you need look no further than the OT to see bloodshed in the name of Yahweh.  The Dark Ages did happen; the Crusades did happen; the Inquisition did happen; the Salem Witch Trials did happen.  The Inquisition was so bad that even new converts to Christianity were killed!  They were called New Christians or conversos; they were accused of secretly remaining Jews or Muslims though professing to be Christians.  This and a lot more was done in the name of Christianity.  

What Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot did was for the sake of politics, maintenance of power, and especially in Stalin’s case sheer paranoia.  The man sent men to another continent (North America to be exact; Mexico to be even more precise) to assassinate someone he suspected of attempting to impose his influence in the Soviet Union.  That man was one Leon Trotsky.  An article over at The Examiner called Stalin a religious opportunist; this is true because he eventually reinstituted the Orthodox Church to gain support.

The article also hits the nail on the head when concerning Pol Pot.  He wasn’t an atheist like I am an atheist.  Though he didn’t believe in gods, he was a Theravada Buddhist.  Theravada Buddhists are involved in religious conflict in Burma; why not attribute their crimes to atheism?  Because you obviously recognize that they’re not atheists and thus, acknowledge that an atheist is more than just a nonbeliever in gods.  It follows that Buddhists aren’t atheists.  Mao Zedong was raised Buddhist; he eventually embraced Leninism.  So if you want to blame some ideology for Mao’s and Stalin’s crimes, you have to blame Marxism-Leninism.

Ultimately, I’m glad Pope Francis is taking a modern approach.  However, wild-earth is correct in his point (though I would have justified it differently); in other words, I wouldn’t have pointed to holy wars to make my case.  I would simply point to religiously motivated oppression.  For instance, if the Pope wants more peace, he should address anti-gay Catholics; he should address anti-choicers who are attempting to limit women’s rights; he should address Catholics like some Tumblr Catholics, who aren’t trying to find common ground with atheists, but rather provoking us at every turn.

So take your own advice.  Historical facts aren’t on your side.  Stick to posting Catholicism and leave history to enthusiasts like myself.

Pope invites ‘even’ nonbelievers to desire peace. Wow. ‘Even’ Nobel Peace Prize Winners Pauling & Sakharov? We ‘even’ invite you, Pope! We welcome the friendly gesture, but please consider the implicit condescension (and irony) of the word ‘even’.

Sean Faircloth, author of Attack Of The Theocrats

Re: Atheists, work with us for peace, Pope says on Christmas

sandandglass:

“You know your ideology is rigid and outdated when the head of the organisation that just got around to apologizing to Galileo shows more doctrinal flexibility than you.”

deconversionmovement:

Pope John Paul II and the trouble with miracles
The Catholic Church’s ruling that the late pontiff cured a woman illustrates the fundamental difference between ‘evidence’ in religion and ‘evidence’ in science.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.
—David Hume
Last week the Vatican announced that a meeting of cardinals and bishops had ruled that the late Pope John Paul II was responsible for a second miracle, and thus the way was cleared for sainthood.
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints decided he had cured a woman from Costa Rica in 2011 after a panel of doctors apparently ruled that her recovery was otherwise inexplicable.
Continue Reading

deconversionmovement:

Pope John Paul II and the trouble with miracles

The Catholic Church’s ruling that the late pontiff cured a woman illustrates the fundamental difference between ‘evidence’ in religion and ‘evidence’ in science.

No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.

—David Hume

Last week the Vatican announced that a meeting of cardinals and bishops had ruled that the late Pope John Paul II was responsible for a second miracle, and thus the way was cleared for sainthood.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints decided he had cured a woman from Costa Rica in 2011 after a panel of doctors apparently ruled that her recovery was otherwise inexplicable.

Continue Reading

Vatican to announce John Paul II 'miracle' - Independent.ie

nontransparent:

Ridicule the ridiculous 

A miracle i’d like to see would be the prosecution of the thousands of child molesting priests 

'Not Believing In The Devil Is The Main Cause Of Atheism' Says Priest Who Insists Pope Francis DID Perform An Exorcism

The Catholic Church’s leading exorcist says he will ask Pope Francis to grant all priests the power to perform the ritual amid what he describes as “a huge demand” for the service.

Father Gabriele Amorth, who claims to have carried out 160,000 exorcisms himself, says he was prompted to make the request after witnessing what he insists was the Pope carrying one out in St Peter’s Square earlier this month.

Francis was filmed placing his hands on the head of a boy sitting in a wheelchair after a Pentecost Mass.
Father Gabriele Amorth claims to have performed 160,000 exorcisms himself

The boy, who was accompanied by a priest, appeared to convulse, with his mouth dropping wide open before exhaling deeply. (Scroll down for video.)

The Vatican played down reports Francis had applied the religious practice of evicting demons, with a spokesman claiming the Pope “didn’t intend to perform any exorcism.”

But in an interview with The Sunday Times, Amorth remains adamant an exorcism was carried out and appears to suggest the ritual will help balance the growth of atheism.

He said: “The Pope’s exorcism is a splendid sign because one of the main causes of today’s atheism is that people don’t believe in the Devil any more. But Jesus said: ‘Who is not with me is with Satan.’ If you don’t believe in Satan, Satan has got you in his pocket.
Pope Francis was filmed after a Pentecost Mass earlier this month

“The priest told Francis: ‘Look, this is a young man who is possessed by the Devil.’

"And the Pope blessed him and prayed over him, it was a real and proper exorcism. The Pope prayed that the Lord liberate this man. It was a prayer of liberation.”

The 88-year-old, who is the head of the International Association of Exorcists, told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper: “The Pope is also the Bishop of Rome, and like any bishop he is also an exorcist.

"It was a real exorcism. If the Vatican has denied this, it shows that they understand nothing.

Last year the Catholic diocese of Milan created a special exorcism hotline to cope with demand for the service.

Monsignor Angelo Mascheroni, the diocese’s chief exorcist since 1995, told IncrociNews: “We get many requests for names, addresses and phone numbers; that’s why we’ve set up a switchboard in the curia from Monday to Friday from 2.30pm to 5pm.”

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Exorcism is (1) the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice; (2) the means employed for this purpose, especially the solemn and authoritative adjuration of the demon, in the name of God, or any of the higher power in which he is subject.

The former Pope, Benedict XVI never performed an exorcism, while Francis is on record as having performed them, as was Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II, the Irish Independent reports.

Amorth’s comments come as the Vatican was forced to clarify atheists will still go to hell if they reject God – after Pope Francis broke with tradition to deliver a homily stating non-believers who do good will be redeemed through Jesus.

The Pope’s words made headlines around the world after he gave an unprepared speech in which he emphasised the importance of “doing good” as a principle which unites all humanity.

After international media attention, the Vatican attempted clarify how exactly one gets in to heaven, with Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, saying that people who know about the Catholic church “cannot be saved” if they “refuse to enter her or remain in her.”

That is, atheists [and non-Catholics] are still going to hell.

However there was still hope for the sinful among us, as “every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the Spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin.”

Source