It seemed these things were popping up in multiple discussions as people like @Suzanne chased me about, so rather than continue the multiple hijacks, maybe putting them here will be more entertaining for everybody.  All I ask is that people be kind, and perhaps answer questions in turn.  These questions come from

1. Why did you choose catholicism over all other religions?

Because it made the most sense to me on several levels.  I of course can't rule out cultural bias, since obviously I'm a westerner and Roman Christianity is culturally pervasive.  For me it was a conscious choice at some point, though I am not a convert.   Interestingly, if I were not Catholic I'd be more inclined to Judaism than the Protestant faiths.  Perhaps the shared intellectual depth of Judaism and Catholicism is a contributing factor.

2. Do you follow the decrees made by the Vatican?

The Vatican does not make "decrees".  The Holy See serves as the administrative center of the worldwide Catholic community, and we do have some administrative rules like any community (our technical term for these is "merely ecclesiastical laws").  For the rest, all we do is teach.

3. Do you agree or disagree with contraception being available to those who would choose to use contraception, if they had access?

I'm not sure why I should care.  Now sometimes when people say "being available" they mean that I should pay for it.  I think that's a different sort of question that belongs more in the realm of public policy.

4. How do you choose which parts of the bible to follow, and not follow.

We don't "follow" the Bible, we read it and refer to it, the way anyone does with a favorite book or reference text.  We try to "follow" God, perhaps, or the example of Jesus or other holy men or women, but not the Bible.  In teaching things or exploring religious ideas, we refer to a wide range of writings and experiences, including long oral tradition, writings of various scholars, journal articles, encyclicals, consensus documents, conciliar writings, etc., much like any intellectual community.

5. Is purgatory in or out, these days.

It's a theory that had moderate but not universal acceptance some centuries ago.  It's still referred to, but not anywhere near as widely as in its heyday.  So it never quite rose to the level of Newtonian Mechanics in physics in terms of acceptance as a theory, and it's perhaps fading faster, but like Newtonian Mechanics it's still referred to in some contexts. 

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@Bob - There are cultural and theological issues which make it hard for a worldwide Church to ordain women as priests, at least at this time.

Yet, another question that Bob will not answer. Or, maybe he will do his usual diversion, 'Oh I support women, but the religion, the church, the cathlocism, does not'.

So, what do you, Bob, think as a functioning human being in society - ever heard of feminism, and getting the boot off the back of women. Once again, I thank all the men here who support women, and don't want to subjugate, and think of women as second class citizens, but support the women in their lives.

I've started my research into rape statistics, nothing concrete yet as to a comparative number between priest as occupation and other occupations. As you might expect though, the research is sad, sad, sad.

First, the Counter Pedophilia Investigative Unit statistics. Learned that about 1/3 of pedos are the parents of the victims, but 1/2 of all reported cases are from perps that have some sort of relationship with the victim including acquaintances. Lots of other ugly stats. 

Second the John Jay Report Bob referred to, also sad. One of the major questions about this subject in general is whether it is under-reported or over-reported. Since most of the 10,000+ catholic victims mentioned that their siblings also encountered assault, that makes a large case for under-reporting, perhaps massive. It's a big read though, so I won't be through that even this weekend. 

What I am in the end trying to find out, is if being a priest as occupation compares to other occupations that put children in close proximity to adults, like teacher or coach. The Jay Report puts the quantity at just under 4400 priests, approximately 4% of all priests (between 1950-2002) were accused. 3300 of the priests were not followed up on because the priest in question was already dead. The best statistics I could find were on teachers that between 1%-5% of teachers are accused of pedophilia or child molestation.

The case for over-reporting would likely have a monetary drive, trying to get money out of the church. But that would be an extreme view. I am fairly convinced that the numbers of victims at least were substantially under-reported. 

If anyone has anything to add, please do as long as it hasn't already been covered. Suzanne and Strega put some strong stuff out there.

It is possible that if the questions about occupation were not asked, nothing solid can come of what I'm looking at. I think though that the case could be easily made that only one organization, the Catholic Church, has an overarching governing body. Coaches and teachers have no equivalent of the Pope or Cardinals or Bishops. 

The other organization in the U.S. that has an overarching governing body was the Boy Scouts.  As far as I can tell, their statistics are as bad or worse, though comparisons are hard.

This creates a bizarre irony in our legal system(s).  The Boy Scout maintained centralized records in an effort to try to keep predators from just moving to a new town/state and doing it again.  Yet the existence of those records have been used against them in civil cases, so much so that they would have been better off had they not tried to protect kids by keeping records.  I believe in Australia there's an issue where the insurer for the Catholic Church actually deliberately destroyed records.

There was a spectacular spike in claims of historical molestation post-Boston; it's hard to tell to what extent that was people seeking monetary compensation or people who were empowered to come forward or both.  The Boy Scouts experienced a similar spike; in their case it may have been plaintiff's attorneys using subpoenaed records to find additional clients. 

This reminds me of a drowning man grasping at straws.


I do find it amusing how discussions of faith or religion are always deflected back to this topic, at least when it's not "facts" from Joe's AntiCatholic Blog. Just look at @Suzanne's latest nonsense about playing with snakes, which seems to come from some Baptist church references done in really awful yellow and red text on black which just screams "Kooks R' Us". 

Talk about grasping at straws!

It does raise an interesting question if individuals do protest a bit too much.

OK, everybody now LOL :D

Example of "grasping at straws";


Talk about deflecting.


I gotta agree Bobby the yellow and red on black was hard on the eyes.

RE: "so that they would have been better off had they not tried to protect kids by keeping records." - of course a man of ethics would have recognized yet another alternative: admit that they had screwed up in not sufficiently screening for pedophiles, admit their mistake, and offer to do whatever it takes to rectify the situation as best they can. But I can see how, when one has become accustomed to using guile to escape responsibility, the possibility of actually ACCEPTING responsibility rarely occurs to one.

You do understand that the paragraph, as paragraphs do, contained several sentences which together referred to the same thing and should be read together as a point or argument.

I was of course referring to the fact that it is an irony of our legal system that an organization should be punished for maintaining records that were being used to try to protect kids.

At the time, of course, we didn't have computers.  We didn't have the ability to do computerized fingerprint background checks.  There were no clearinghouses; records were maintained in individual courthouses or states.  So I'm not sure how one can assume that they had "screwed up by not sufficiently screening".  Even if one pulls all of the records together into one office as the Scouts apparently did, how do you know if Bill Jones who just signed up to be a scout leader in Maryland is the same Bill Jones who was fired as scout leader in Pennsylvania for suspicion of inappropriate conduct? 

Simple, you fax pictures back and forth, and if necessary, fingerprints - now tell me that technology wasn't available either --

You must be a young fellow.  No fax machines back in the day.   No digital photos either.

Nor was anyone at the time ready to fingerprint and mug-shot millions of volunteers.  Even if they had, changing one's name or taking on an alias would have been an easy work-around.

We were a long way from the modern surveillance state.

Well, I don't yet move on the Sphinx's "three legs," if that's what you're implying - on the other hand, the fax machine may well have, as it was invented in 1843, long before I was. The first trans-continental fax transmission took place in 1955. (It took them that long the resolve the paper jam! - true story --)


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