My Life is More Interesting Than Yours

And I'm willing to fight about it

The Catholic Church and the Stories We’re Not Being Told June 2, 2012

Filed under: Politics — lizzietish81 @ 3:25 pm
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Its been almost 15 years ago since the Catholic Church has gotten this much attention, and then, like now, its mostly negative as they once again try to make themselves above the law.  I’ve never had a good relationship with the church, having grown up protestant in a mostly Catholic town, Saugus MA.  I learned early that Catholics are taught that anyone who doesn’t embrace the Church is doomed to go to Hell.  As a Methodist, and of a particularly liberal church, this made no sense to me.  My father had been raised Catholic and became a Methodist when he married my mother, while his mother remained a devoted Catholic.  However, when she died, she was denied many funeral rights because she had not paid the tithe.

I do remember the night when I was sitting in my living room watching the news with my parents, when the name Father Geoghan was mentioned, and this caught my mother’s interst.  “Well, well well,” she said, “they finally arrested him.”

She grew up in Saugus, and its biggest Church, Blessed Sacrament, had been one of the many churches where Geoghan had served.  Even then, it was known that he was “funny” and that children should not be left with him.  This of course started an avalanche of accusations against not only individual priests but the Church as an institution for protecting known criminals and putting more victims at risk.  After a few years this quieted down and, aside from a blip when a new pope was elected, the Church has kept a fairly low profile.

Now of course, its once again trying to be a political entity in its fight against a birth control mandate, something that is popular even among most Catholics, but is being pushed by Republicans to promote an idea that President Obama is against religious freedom.  Most sane, rational people find this ridiculous and have left us wondering what the Church is thinking.  One might call it arrogance, which is certainly been a part of the Church’s dealing with civil authorities before.  But perhaps there is more to this than meets the public eye, because although this story dominated the news cycle for a couple of weeks, there’s other things going on that we’re not hearing about from any of the main news sources.

Although the media storm died down years ago, there are still cases appearing in the courts not only prosecuting individual priests for sexual abuse, but also Church Authorities for failure to report abuse to the authorities.  But many of these abuses occurred many years ago, and so states are trying to extend or even eliminate the statute of limitations, something which the Church has been fighting.  Viciously.  They argue that it will unleash a fresh wave of lawsuits that are decades old.  Of course I have little sympathy for this argument since it proves where the Church’s priorities are, and its not with its flock.  If they had done the right thing in the beginning, protected its children, then it wouldn’t be in this position now.  Instead it chose to preserve the image of the Church as an infallible institution and even today, still pressures victims group.  Furthermore, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and one of the leaders in a lawsuit against the Obama Administration over the Birth Control has now been revealed to have been giving payments to alleged pedophile priests while he was head of the Milwaukee Arch Diocese

But its not just sex abuse scandals that are plaguing the Church, because it seems there is dissension in the ranks.  Specifically American Nuns for being “not Catholic Enough” because they don’t spend enough time condemning gays and lesbians and women who have abortions or use birth control.  They spend far too much time caring for the poor apparently.  and have vowed to not stop because of a bunch of old men in Rome.  What’s most interesting about this story is a familiar name that has come up in the Church’s fight against the Little Sisters of Mercy.  Cardinal Law, former Arch Bishop of Boston, who featured prominently in the early days of the sex abuse scandal has apparently been a strong voice behind the fight against the Nuns.   Many believed he had been shunted to some out of the way place where he could stay out of the eyes of the media after essentially being at the center of the biggest ball drop the Church has experienced in centuries, but it seems he’s still in a position of authority.

And if you think the Church’s problems are centered only in the United States, think again, because it seems things are not going well in the very heart of the Holy See.  The Vatileaks scandal that arose earlier in May is one of many stories that have been coming out of Italy for the last few months in which it seems that the Pope has engaged in cronyism, but is in the process being surrounded and cut off by other powerful forces within the Church.  Lest you think that this is the beginning of reform in the church, don’t, the groups are essentially one group of old men against another group of old men.

All of these and more stories have been in the background, mostly in local or foreign news agencies, and not at the forefront of the American Media machine.  Why?  If the Media really was a tool of the left wing political machine, wouldn’t they be pushing these stories 24/7 since they reveal the church to be a corrupt, perhaps even criminal organization that is trying to insert itself into American politics?  Its not like the American Public has a particularly high opinion of the Church anyways and reminding the public of why could easily push the populace away from the bizarre alliance between the Republican Party (a party of mostly conservative protestants who don’t particularly like Catholics most of the time) and the Church in its attempts to make the President look like an anti religious bigot.

Its either not sensational enough, or the media is holding off to not make the Church look too bad as it fights against the evil tyranny of health care reform and being dragged into the modern world.  Obviously their attempts to make themselves victims hasn’t paid off since the birth control scandal has gone into the background and the Republicans seem to have dropped it for now, but how much longer can the Church be allowed to carry on like this?  At what point will the rank and file Catholics, many of whom find themselves at odds with these ultra conservative policies, declare they’ve had enough and leave for more liberal parishes?  Already the Church’s political pull has waned, in another ten years will they be completely irrelevant?  The Church has survived a millennial of wars, political upheavals, and schisms, could it be that the ones to destroy it as an institution will be itself?

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Poverty is subjective, the problem is being unstable May 9, 2012

Mittens Willard Romney would have us believe a lot of things.  That he saved the auto industry, that he was always pro life, that he was an effective governor in Massachusetts, that he never approved of his signature health care plan.  And while I take issue with just about everything he claims, there is one thing that I think he really truly cares about and believes, and that’s being rich, that people who aren’t rich aren’t trying and furthermore that people are “envious” of his wealth which is why they take issue with it.

Class warfare has been an interesting buzzword this election cycle.  Unlike the war on women, there’s agreement that it exists, but disagreement on who started it.

In America, class is an odd nut.  There is no “noble” class, no one who leads by accident of birth.  Here, its all about money.  Now some people may point out that there have been a recurrence of family dynasties here, the Kennedys and more recently, the Bushes, but its not the same as nobility.  Its the accident of birth in being born into wealth, which leads to power.  In fact one of the great things about America is the ability to move beyond your class.  Being born poor doesn’t mean you will be a peasant all your life, or that you have no chance at acquiring power on your own, and while some may say that that’s a dead dream, I can say that its still true today, but it is harder than it used to be.

Which brings me to the subject of this entry.  Poverty being subjective.  Lately I’ve been telling people I grew up poor, but with the caveat that I was poor…in Massachusetts.  This is a huge difference from being poor in Louisiana, Mexico or Kuala Lampur.  This hit me the other day when I was in the doctor’s office talking to my doctor who came from a different country and had one toy growing up.  Usually we divide class up by income level, but is that really a good indication to how “poor” someone is?

My sister grew up in the 70s, a time of bad inflation, and our parents were very young.  Yet they weren’t doing all that bad.  Especially compared to the 80s, with two extra children and the advent of Reganomics.  Growing up, money was always an issue.  My parents would pass bad checks to the supermarket in order to get cash for a few days, the house had a lien on it most of the time and it fell into disrepair.  And yet, we had a house, a car (most of the time, sometimes even two) and we weren’t starving.  I knew people who were far worse off, who were constantly moving from rental to rental, never had adequate transportation or job stability (by the time I was a kid, my dad was a union man at GE) and where abuse was physical or even sexual.

But no matter what the difference in income level was, there was one common thread.  Instability.  Living paycheck to paycheck isn’t stable, and yet many people who would be dubbed “Middle Class” are doing just that.

Without stability, how can you hope to thrive, grow and move up in the world?