Saturday, April 10, 2010

What a Butthead

In the middle of all this mess about Helena Guergis and Rahim Jaffer, which frustrates me and at the same time reminds me that politicians can be stupid and about as quick to react as a teen asked to clean his room (he said from experience), Liberal and official opposition leader Michael Ignatieff had this to say (in the same article, at the bottom):

"This isn't fun because it casts aspersions on the political class and I'm a member of the political class."

He said more, of course, but I single this out because it offends me and reminds me of why so many people have trouble thinking of themselves as Liberal voters right now, even if that's the way they normally lean. No, Michael, you're not a member of the "political class." Just the fact that you think there is such a class tells me that you are, as your opponents suggest, sitting somewhere with your head in the clouds and paying no attention to the goings-on in the world around you. But please pay attention now: although we don't pride ourselves on it quite as much as the US, we live in what is ostensibly a classless society. Although money and power can get you things you may otherwise never be able to reach, being a politician is not, or should not be, the be-all and end-all. Being a politician should not be a final goal for anyone, which unfortunately is what is suggested by this statement. Instead, it should be about serving the greater good. Sadly, the moment a politician starts to think about him or herself as being part of a certain class, that's the moment he or she decides they're owed their living, and should be allowed to stay there as long as they want.

If I had to define his statement, the word I'd use today would be "classless."

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Because this sort of thing deserves all the attention it can get

More about priestly sex abuse, this time showing how Alaska was a veritable dumping ground for priests whose proclivities for child rape (among other things), since it was off the grid and easy to hide them there. A lot of these crimes were still happening into this century (and many were committed on girls and women, which rules out Bill Donohue's loutish theory about homosexuals), and I'll warn you that it is not easy reading.

Katha Politt in the Chicago Tribune has an editorial on the matter: "A papal resignation and pedophile priests" which is worth reading. In Canada, of course, the matter of Graham James shows that there are issues with child sexual abuse that are not related to the church, including decisions seeming made on high regarding the criminal's status. Although with James, at least, he did serve time.

Perhaps next time out I can focus on Protestants, but I'll tell you now there's a new steaming pile of crap presented to me just about every day, and it may be awhile before my gaze wavers.

(Via Pharyngula, which will probably be proof enough to many that this is worth ignoring)

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Finally, something for me to be angry about

As opposed to just crabby, that is.

The Catholic church has been taking it on the chin lately, and has seemed completely unable to handle this constant barrage of bad news. Unless, by "handle," you read that as "attack and offend."

Just in the past couple of days a number of atrocious things have been said:

I could go on (and do quite often when I'm shouting at the radio after the latest revelations), but, y'know, for the moment I think I'll stick with these three, all of which have just popped up. Imagine how long this would be if I went digging (and by digging, I have to say that I don't really mean anything that involves work, since this sort of stuff is absolutely everywhere).

In my own personal online orbit (and yes, actually in real, honest-to-goodness person-to-person life as well), much of this has been discussed, and discussed again, hashed out and questioned and brought about eye rolls and wailing and gnashing of teeth. But what I have noticed is that, from the Catholics I know, there has been nary a peep (wait, not true: a friend of a friend on Facebook was quick to note that it can't be just priests, that this problem must exist elsewhere. Of course it does, and police chiefs quite obviously cover up for pedo cops, editors move journalists around rather than them being charged... Actually, no, that's not true. And, I have to say, the 200 kids at the school for the deaf is a new item on the agenda since she brought that up). Anyhow, back to the topic at hand: just because I haven't heard anything from the Catholics I know (family and friends), doesn't mean they haven't been talking about this, either in disgust at the scandal or, conversely, disgust at the rest of the world for bringing this up and pushing it.

And so, I find myself curious. Is anything being said? Or is this the proverbial elephant in the room?

(Added later) I forgot to mention the church calling much of this "petty gossip," which seems a remarkably short-sighted trivialization of all that's gone on. Salon has a good look at what's gone down in the past week.

*And by abuse I mean a young boy being forced to put the penis of an adult priest in his mouth, or perhaps being forced to fondle the same priest's penis, and perhaps worse. Keep this in mind next time you read a media or spokesman-induced euphemism. Or the next time you hear Bill Donohue prove that some humans are no more than enormous wastes of skin.

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