Tag Archives | Catholicism
Not content with sucking every bit of ritual and mystery out of America’s religious traditions, protestant churches now have Mexico’s indigenous beliefs in their crosshairs. Raw Story reports that participation in Mexico’s annual” Dia de Los Muertos” (the Day of the Dead) is on the decline thanks to growing numbers of Mexicans converting from Catholicism to protestant faiths:
Isaac Carrasco and his two daughters dutifully adorned the graves of several relatives with beds of marigolds and crosses made of red flowers for Mexico’s Day of the Dead.
But the nearby tombstones of his grandparents were bare and surrounded by metal bars, left this way by his aunts, who no longer mark the annual ritual.
Like a growing number of Mexicans, Carrasco’s aunts became Protestant and no longer believe in a tradition that dates back from the Aztec era and was later fused with Catholic beliefs…
Reuters has some tantalizing tidbits from the start of the criminal trial of the pope’s former butler. The whole affair, concerning the leaking of the pope’s secret papers revealing deep-seeded corruption at the Vatican Bank and other internal scandal, is confirming some of the conspiracy theories pertaining to the Catholic Church:
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Pope Benedict’s former butler stole highly sensitive papers the pontiff had marked “to be destroyed” and compromised Vatican security through his actions, the Holy See’s police told his trial on Wednesday.
On the third day of Paolo Gabriele’s trial, testimony depicted a man fascinated by the occult, Masonic lodges, secret services and past Italian and Vatican scandals.
“You can understand our unease when we saw these documents. This was a total violation of the privacy of the papal family,” said police agent Stefano De Santis, one of the four agents who said they found the papers in Gabriele’s home, using a Vatican term for the pope’s closest aides.
Exorcists in Eastern Europe now have their own monthly trade publication. Via the Star:
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With exorcism booming in Poland, Roman Catholic priests here have joined forces with a publisher to launch what they claim is the world’s first monthly magazine focused exclusively on chasing out the devil.
“The rise in the number or exorcists from four to more than 120 over the course of 15 years in Poland is telling,” Father Aleksander Posacki told reporters in Warsaw at the Monday launch of the Egzorcysta monthly.
Ironically, he attributed the rise in demonic possessions in what remains one of Europe’s most devoutly Catholic nations partly to the switch from atheist communism to free market capitalism in 1989. “It’s indirectly due to changes in the system: capitalism creates more opportunities to do business in the area of occultism.”
“Our hands are full,” admitted fellow exorcist and Polish Roman Catholic priest Father Andrzej Grefkowicz, revealing exorcists have a three month waiting list in the capital Warsaw.
A Catholic newspaper has removed an interview from their website in which a priest said that pedophiles are seduced by children in “a lot of the cases” and the abusers should not go to jail.
During an interview with National Catholic Register, 78-year-old Father Benedict Groeschel was asked about his experience working with priests involved in abuse.
“People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to — a psychopath. But that’s not the case,” Groeschel explained. “Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.”
This is a big deal. Father Groeschel is a respected psychologist who has worked with pedophile priests within the Church. And the newspaper has apparently engaged in self-censorship in order to help polish the Vatican’s image on it’s disastrous handling of its priests accused of abusing children.… Read the rest
Eyder Peralta reports on NPR:
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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee admitted that it had paid abusive priests up to $20,000 to encourage them to leave the ministry.
The church released a statement after documents filed during its bankruptcy filings revealed the payments. As The New York Times reports, the 2003 policy was crafted under then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is now a cardinal in New York and as the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of the leading Catholic figures in the country.
At the time, the payments were described as a “payoff,” which Dolan rejected saying the “inference was ‘false, preposterous and unjust.'”
The Times adds: “But a document unearthed during bankruptcy proceedings for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and made public by victims’ advocates reveals that the archdiocese did make such payments to multiple accused priests to encourage them to seek dismissal, thereby allowing the church to remove them from the payroll.
A Catholic priest has claimed a missing schoolgirl was kidnapped for Vatican sex parties and has implicated diplomatic staff and members of the Holy See. Italian priest Gabriel Amorth, 85, said girls were recruited for parties at the Vatican and said the death of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi, last seen alive in 1983, “was a crime with a sexual motive”. The priest spoke out last week as investigators broke into the grave of a known gang boss in Rome following an anonymous tip that the key to Emanuala’s disappearance would be “found there”. But so far bones which do not belong to mobster Enrico De Pedis, have not be positively identified as the girl’s...
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One day, when he was 13 years old and growing up in Bayonne, N.J. — “the backside of the Statue of Liberty,” he now calls it — Gary Lachman decided that he had had enough of Catholicism.
“I remember upping and walking out of church one Sunday,” says Mr. Lachman, who later achieved fame as the bassist for the New Wave band Blondie. “I just didn’t believe in this anymore. Since then I haven’t practiced anything like that at all. I wonder if I’d still even be considered a lapsed Catholic.”
But that was less the end of spirituality for Mr. Lachman than the beginning. Like so many Americans who came of age since the 1960s, Mr. Lachman found that his metaphysical search took place not in houses of worship, but in books.
Reports Eleanor Beardsley for NPR:
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In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He’s taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects.
Seventy-one-year-old Rene LeBouvier’s parents and his brother are buried in a churchyard in the tiny village of Fleury in northwest France. He himself was baptized in the Romanesque stone church and attended mass here as a boy.
LeBouvier says this rural area is still conservative and very Catholic, but nothing like it used to be. Back then, he says, you couldn’t even get credit at the bakery if you didn’t go to mass every Sunday.
LeBouvier grew up in that world and says his mother once hoped he’d become a priest. But his views began to change in the 1970s, when he was introduced to free thinkers.
The New York Times reports:
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The authorities stepped up a three-week campaign against an underground Christian church on Sunday, detaining hundreds of congregants in their homes and taking at least 36 others into custody after they tried to hold Easter services in a public square, church members and officials said.
The church, Shouwang, an evangelical Protestant congregation that was evicted from its rented quarters this month, has been at loggerheads with the government since announcing plans to gather outdoors rather than disband or return to worshiping in private homes. The authorities have repeatedly stymied Shouwang’s efforts to lease or buy space for its 1,000-member congregation, one of the largest and most prominent so-called house churches in the capital.
The Chinese Communist Party tightly manages religious activity, requiring the faithful to join state-run churches, mosques or Buddhist temples. Until the most recent crackdown on Shouwang and a handful of other unregistered churches, such congregations had enjoyed relatively wide latitude from the authorities.