I know that pointing out the atrocities of the Catholic Church is like shooting fish in a barrel, but occasionally the church still does something so beyond the pale it's worth mentioning.
A well-known story: in Brazil a nine-year old girl was raped by her stepfather and became pregnant with twins. Her family took her to have an abortion and lo and behold! the Catholic Church, that kind, gentle, benevolent shepherd of the souls of humanity, prounounces an 'automatic excommunication' against the doctor and the parents. (Automatic excommunication? How does that differ from a 'regular' excommunication? Is it like an automatic car wash....put in a few coins, sit back, read the newspaper and enjoy as the souls roll into hell? 'No need to do any dirty work folks--excommunication is now easier than ever!')
A few months later, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano felt the need to clarify their position, apparently feeling they were taking too much of a beating in the press. Here's what the Holy See had to say:
...the girl should have been defended, hugged and held tenderly to help her feel that we were all on her side...We have laws, we have a discipline, we have a doctrine of the faith. This is not just theory. And you can't start backpedaling just because the real-life situation carries a certain human weight."
Far be it for real life to intrude upon the medieval dogma of 21st century Catholicism. The article didn't say anything about the stepfather being automatically excommunicated...apparently raping children falls lower on the Catholic Church's hierarchy of sins than having an abortion.
The real tragedy here, aside from the grievous trauma inflicted on the poor girl, is that the Church is continuing to inflict more damage to the poor child. Assuming for a moment that the family and the girl are true-believing Catholics, and not just CINOs, then this girl, on top of having to deal with her rape, is now worried that her mother and father will be roasting in a lake of fire and brimstone for all eternity. As if she didn't have enough to deal with, she (and her parents) now have this on their plate as well. Fortunately for her, as she is not 18, automatic excommuncation does not apply to her, although I'm not sure if she'll be automatically excommunicated upon her 18th birthday. Never having been a Catholic, I'm not sure how all this works.
No surprise of course: if one were to compile a list of grievances, of butcheries, massacres, genocides, tortures and all categories of affronts to humanity perpetrated by the Catholic Church throughout history, this would fall far down the list. The 'benevolent' Pope Benedict has made it clear that dogma is still indeed far more important than the actual end-result of the church's actions in the lives of its parishioners.
As an atheist, I see the ultimate sadness is that people believe any of this garbage at all, that they refuse to open their eyes and think for themselves, and instead continue to allow their lives to be destroyed by a mindless, dogmatic, soul-sucking organization. It's no wonder they're hemorrhaging worshipers at an alarming rate.
I sincerely hope this girl and her family will one day be able to see through the thick veil of lies and treachery the church has pulled down over their eyes. Seriously folks, try atheism--it's much better for your mental health.
Just have to add the obligatory WOW! rec list! Thanks folks--it's my first time here.
UPDATE: Wow. This is an amazing theist/atheist flame war. Not my intention at all, but what the hell...these things have a way of taking on a life of their own. Let it play itself out; it could be cathartic. Maybe after we're all done calling each other names, we can be nice again. Or not.
UPDATEx2: A Clarification.
A tip o' the hat to Nowhere Man for suggesting that I update my diary with the following quote from one of my responses to a commenter who (like many) didn't detect the snark in my 'try atheism' quip at the end. For those who actually thought it was an attempt at reverse proselytization:
"To be fair, I can see how the whole 'try atheism' thing at the end (really intended to be snarky rather than an obvious attempt to 'de-convert' people from their religious beliefs) could be construed as offensive. So much for the wisdom of including snark in a serious diary."
Although with my comment about 'automatic excommunication' earlier in the diary, I thought that snark was well-established but I clearly underestimated the desire of people to be offended.
I don't hate Catholics. I don't hate religionists. Of course many have such a strong desire to be wounded (as is evidenced by their comments) that they will never be able to separate my hatred of organized religion as an institution (to which I readily admit) from hatred of individuals for belonging to said institutions (which I do not espouse and which I completely deny.)
And also, although I support their rights to say them, I don't agree with some of the more vitriolic, inflammatory, anti-theist comments that some of my atheist brothers and sisters have posted, as I support the rights of the theists to say whatever they want.
Reading through the energetic arguments (and childish namecalling) througout the comment thread, I'm reminded of the quote by John Keats:
"Though a quarrel in the streets is a thing to be hated, the energies displayed in it are fine..."
This isn't the first time that the godboys and the hellbound have bashed each others' heads in; I'm sure it won't be the last. (SNARK ALERT! Just to be sure not to offend anyone there...)