AngryFrenchGuy

Fuck the Pope, I’m still a Catholic

with 86 comments

benedict-vs-obama1

At a very precise moment in 1966, the Québécois just stopped going to Church.  Everyone understands that the Church had become moribund when the provincial government took over its education, health care and social service missions, but to this day it remains a sociological mystery as to why it happened so fast.  In a few months Québec went from the most actively religious place in North America to the least.

The recent decision of a Brazilian catholic bishop to excommunicate the mother of a 9 year old rape victim and of the doctors who got her an abortion while letting the rapist keep his membership card convinced many people in Québec that ignoring the Church just wasn’t enough.  People are getting paperwork done.  According to Le Devoir, about 50 people have asked the Québec City diocese for their certificate of excommunication last month.  There is usually about 20 such requests every year. The Montreal and Sherbrooke dioceses confirm they’re getting the same order of requests.

In the words of 26 signers of a formal apostasy request published in Le Devoir: “We want to liberate ourselves from the shame we feel when the catholic Church, often against our will, considers us members of this this institution.”

I don’t believe in God.  Let’s make that very clear.  But I do believe in the sacred, in sacraments, in rituals and in the importance of non-commercial institutions.

That is why I will be keeping my membership card.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as disgusted as anyone by the Church’s behaviour in this affair.  Actually, I’m disgusted by the Church’s position on most issues.  But I’m disgusted catholic.  And I’m keeping my right to speak out as a catholic.

When I was a kid, our NDG parish was run by Dominicans, also know as the Order of Preachers.  The Dominicans are a highly intellectual order who don’t usually do mundane priest duties like celebrate Sunday mass.  Every time we went to church they would openly and explicitly invite divorces and homosexuals to take communion, it direct violation of official doctrine.  At my father’s funeral they invited Jewish and Protestant members of our family to receive benediction with the catholics who came up for communion.

Most non-catholics think the catholic Church is monolithic, centralized and dogmatic, but you have to understand that in reality, the central command of the Church has no more actual power than the Académie Française or the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

They make rules and tell us what good and bad. We listen, disagree and ignore.

The catholic Church is actually one of the more synchretic religions in the world, with the possible exception of Hinduism.  Anyone who’s taken the time to try to untangle it’s diverse roots has found a dizzying mash-up of Judaïsm, Roman Mystery Cults, Celtic paganism and Zoroastrianism. It even made the Budhha a saint.  As the very word catholic implies, its aim is to be universal.  And universality means embracing contradiction.

The Church is, to use a fashionable image, a Team or Rivals.  On the right you’ve got the Opus Dei and the Congregation for the doctrine of the faith, on the left you’ve got the Order of Dominicans.  On one side you’ve got roman bishops sleeping in gold-laced satin sheets, on the other you’ve got the carthusian monks living in isolation and poverty.

The catholic Church condemns homosexuality but in just about every city you will find a catholic church that flies the diversity flag.  The catholic Church condemns abortion, but former Bloc Québécois MP and priest Raymond Gravel could stand up in the House of Commons to defend a woman’s right to choose.  When he was eventually asked to choose between politics and the priesthood, it was not because of opposition from his parishioners or even his bosses.  Until conservative (Conservative?) western catholics demanded his head, Monseigneur Turcotte was happy to look the other way.

There is a Québec way of being a catholic.  Québec as a country was founded by missionary catholic orders and it is men of cloth like Curé Labelle that opened the roads to the hinterland in the name of occupying God’s country.  But this was not a always a Church controlled by Rome.  In fact, the first four or five bishops that administered the Church after the British took over New-France were appointed not by the Pope, but by the protestant King of England!

Cut off from the rest of the Church and living in a society where there really wasn’t any other option except Catholicism, many Québécois developed an extremely loose attitude toward dogma.  When my grand-mother watched the mass on television on Sunday morning, she would mute the sermon because she didn’t think a 50 year old virgin should be telling her how to live her life.

That’s the Catholic Church I belong to.  My Grand-mother’s Church.  And if the Pope doesn’t like our Church, he’s free to leave.

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Written by angryfrenchguy

April 2, 2009 at 8:11 pm

86 Responses

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  1. “But he knew that they were “using” this woman. It’s not that they cared about the Law so much, as trapping Jesus. That is why he said “he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” He didn’t say “don’t stone her.” He lifted the veil over the pharisee’s real intentions. And when it looked like they were going to be shamed by stoning this woman, they didn’t stone her.”

    So if a good fellow, like you, not wishing to trap Jesus has been there, that would have been OK to stoned the poor woman….with the blessing of Christ and the Holy Ghost.

    “Everything one does should fit in this vein. Liberation Theology made politics the primary purpose of the Gospel. That’s why the Church condemned it.”

    The church IS a political institution, created by roman emperors to maintain domination on people. That was a big success. 2000 years later we can see brainwashed women repeating ad nauseam all the pervert concepts forced on humanity ever since and defending the very same montrous institution that condemned women for so long.

    You don’t have to go to Dubaï to see self-oppressed women. Just look around. No veil, same submission but with pretention as bonus. Incroyable!

    kriss

    April 5, 2009 at 7:50 pm

  2. But, in all fairness, the freedom we hold today to believe or disbelieve as we choose, converts what was perhaps once oppression into a form of liberation.

    The problem in Dubai (perhaps not Dubai, but certainly in Riyadh) is that choosing is not an option.

    This is the danger of religious fundamentalism, be it Muslim, Christian or Jewish. It eliminates the opportunity to make that choice and as a consequence strips faith from religion.

    Edward

    April 6, 2009 at 12:04 am

  3. now now now – you want to be careful in your criticisms of religion – the un has recently passed a resolution (voted 23-11 in favour) of making it against the law to criticise religion. members of the united nations will now be encouraged to limit discussion and thought plus create laws to penalise the unbelievers.

    it’s ok to go after the catholic church though. feel free.

    the vote split along lines determined by each country’s historical religious leaning. the eleven western countries holding a seat voted against. the 23 islamic states holding seats voted for.

    pope benedict has never looked better. he has an intimate understanding of free will and genuine concern for choices that humans make. as opposed to making up the rules as you go and choosing which ones suit your particular mood.

    johnnyonline

    April 6, 2009 at 12:49 am

  4. The church IS a political institution, created by roman emperors

    The Church is politicized. But salvation is not intended to be politics. The most important message of the Gospel is not vote for this candidate or choose this ideology. The message is to find eternal happiness in God through faith in Jesus Christ. Liberation Theology casts aside this point. That’s why it was condemned.

    And the Church was not created by Roman Emperors. There did exist a church outside the bounds of the Roman Empire, notably in India and Persia (although in a heretical form in the latter). Constantine did not create the papacy or the hierarchy. It was all there before he showed up.

    2000 years later we can see brainwashed women repeating ad nauseam all the pervert concepts forced on humanity ever since and defending the very same montrous institution that condemned women for so long.

    You’re far more brainwashed in repeating erroneous humanist talking points than I am after having chosen to study the Catholic Faith and coming up with facts and arguments to counter the objections made.

    that would have been OK to stoned the poor woman….with the blessing of Christ and the Holy Ghost.

    It was a hard age with hard punishments. It’s not like there was a complex penitienciary system.

    You don’t have to go to Dubaï to see self-oppressed women. Just look around. No veil, same submission but with pretention as bonus. Incroyable!

    How do I “oppress myself” exactly? How does one choose oppression? If I’m happy and fulfilled in what I’m doing, and chose it for myself, am I really oppressed? If I have freedom, am I oppressed?

    See, the irony of denouncing brainwash when spouting your own seems to be lost on you.

    SUZANNE

    April 6, 2009 at 1:09 am

  5. I have to confess: I came a little reading this post. Why? I calculate it translates directly into, oh, about 4,500 new Conservative voters:

    “As Canada’s once-mighty Liberals consider their future, they might be advised to visit a local church—and not just to pray for the party. The religious vote, it seems, played a major role in their recent election defeat. According to new data from Angus Reid Strategies provided exclusively to Maclean’s, Catholics—who make up 44 per cent of Canada’s population and have preferred the Liberals for decades—are flocking to the Conservatives.

    Catholic voters back parties that are community-minded, says Andrew Grenville, Angus Reid’s chief research officer. And in 2006, for the first time, they shifted their support to the Tories. This year’s results confirm the trend: outside Quebec, 49 per cent of Catholics who attend church weekly voted Conservative, compared to just 38 per cent in 2004. Within Quebec, where upwards of 80 per cent of the population identifies as Catholic, the switch away from the Liberals is even more striking. In 2008, just 22 per cent of Quebec Catholics voted Liberal, compared to 56 per cent in 2004. “Looks like we have a new status quo,” Grenville says.”

    And looks like AGF’s gonna have to go back to the hate drawing board, this narrative simply will not do.

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2008/11/24/catholics-flee-liberals-in-droves/

    “conservative (Conservative?) western catholics”

    Ha, there is no such thing, learn Canada, as if the Irish would walk right past hundreds of Upper Canada taverns on their way to Saskatchewan; the only Catholics out there are the sons and daughters of Frenchmen.

    You are sensate enough to know how friendly the Catholic church is to gays, with every city in Canada having a “gay” Catholic church. That’s good.

    You also know, then, that the most ardent Catholics are the newest Canadians. We old stock Canadians, Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s “new nationality”, we can take your childish footstomping towards the Pope; are you sure they will?

    Haiti is 80%+ Catholic, when can we expect pictures of your foray into a Haitian neighbourhood proclaiming “Fuck the Pope”? Will that be posted before, or after, your “Fuck Mohammed” post criticizing Islam’s “homophobia”? Yeah, that’s what I thought, tough guy. Another Quebecker skating around running his mouth off behind his visor, unwilling to drop the gloves, that’s what you are.

    Rosbif

    April 6, 2009 at 6:55 am

  6. “It’s not that [the Pharisees] cared about the law so much, as trapping Jesus.”

    Didn’t care about the law?! The law was their life’s work! Pharisees were duty bound to try adulterers and to see that they were put do death once they were convicted. Yes, the ones who brought the adulterous woman to Jesus to attempt to trip Him up were using her, but as a result of His turning the tables on them someone walked away after being convicted on a capital charge. I suggest that the equivalent today would be someone who went down to Texas and intervened with the authorities on behalf of a condemned capital murderer who was already strapped to the gurney, which intervention resulted in the murderer walking away from prison. I am sure that a lot of people would complain that the wheels of justice had been sabotaged.

    I am not sure that the Holy See would agree with the view that politics should not be the primary purpose of the Gospel. After all, the Vatican has its own diplomatic corps—this is unique among organized religions, AFAIK—that enters the Church into treaties with secular states. Sounds pretty political to me. Indeed, several recent papal diplomats—Achille Ratti, Eugenio Pacelli, Angelo Roncalli—later became Popes.

    littlerob

    April 6, 2009 at 7:53 am

  7. The problem here is that by adopting a literal interpretation of Church doctrine and what is “bad”, you are indirectly equating the behaviour of sanguinaire dictators with, say, using a condom to prevent pregnancy or the spread of disease.

    Acajack

    April 6, 2009 at 9:50 am

  8. «Pontius Pilate, for one, certainly existed.»

    He sure did. And though his life was chronicled and recorded, there are no trace of him having dealt with Jesus. Since an instance of a Roman governor intervening with a Jewish rebel leader in such a way would have been a very unusual event, you’d expect at least some record of it.

    Just more proof that what the Bible says about Jesus was likely invented.

    Raman

    April 6, 2009 at 11:51 am

  9. «The Gospels are known and quoted by first and early second century figures.»
    I don’t deny that the gospels exist. I just claim that the Jesus character in them is a creation.

    «So what deniers would have us believe is that these apostles made up Jesus.»
    Exactly.

    «You do not need non-Christian sources to confirm the existence of Christian figures.»
    And I bet I do not need independent, objective, non-Islamic sources to confirm that the Prophet rose to the sky on a winged horse, or that the Buddha was born in a lotus flower ?

    «But the early Church approved of Paul’s preaching.»
    Of course : they were building an orthodoxy on his preaching.

    «In literature, stories are invented in different parts of the world that resemble each other, but they are not copied.»
    They are very often copied. And when the Jesus story was invented, it also borrowed on just such mystico-litterary artifices that were common at the time.
    That is pretty much my point.

    «The Bible was not “re-written”.»
    That is inaccurate. Until about year 1000, the Bible was greatly modified. A great many discordances between the gospels were “corrected”. And whole passages were cut out.

    Raman

    April 6, 2009 at 12:02 pm

  10. I am not sure that the Holy See would agree with the view that politics should not be the primary purpose of the Gospel. After all, the Vatican has its own diplomatic corps

    Just because I said it is not *the primary* purpose of the Gospel doesn’t mean that the Magisterium doesn’t allow for the Church to influence politics. Politics is secondary to issue of salvation. It doesn’t mean it’s not important.

    SUZANNE

    April 6, 2009 at 12:38 pm

  11. “And when the Jesus story was invented, it also borrowed on just such mystico-litterary artifices that were common at the time.”

    Joseph Campbell, a great scholar of mytghology (and a Catholic) described the archetype of the Hero:

    1. A modified virgin birth (father unknown, or deceased)

    2. A vestigial suggestion of the father as a mountain god

    3. Exposure to waters (water-birth: compare Greek Erichthonius, Hindu Vyasa, Hebrew Moses)

    4. Rescue and fosterage by simple folk, frequently by animals, viz. Romulus and Remus: here the water theme is again stressed.

    5. Hero as a gardener (fructifier of the goddess)

    6. Beloved of the goddess Ishtar, Inanna, Aphrodite, etc…

    It’s pretty easy to see how Jesus’ life is a prototypical archetype. You can do the same exercise with Luke Skywalker and Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

    A few year ago I amused myself by comparing Bill Clinton to the (expanded) archetype:

    A modified virgin birth (father unknown, or deceased): Clinton only met his father after a journalist found him, after his nomination

    A vestigial suggestion of the father as a mountain god: the famous picture of him shaking JFK’s hand.

    Exposure to waters (water-birth: compare Greek Erichthonius, Hindu Vyasa, Hebrew Moses): ??

    Rescue and fosterage by simple folk, frequently by animals: Bill is born to a single mother in a place called Hope.

    Hero as a gardener (fructifier of the goddess): eh…

    Beloved of the goddess Ishtar, Inanna, Aphrodite, etc…: Hillary (Well…. it works with liberals…)

    Descent and rebirth: The scandals. And his reputation as the comeback kid.

    Enemy/antagonist: « A vast right wing conspiracy »

    Devil as ‘half-witted brother’: Roger Clinton

    I don’t have to tell you that Barak Obama’s life is even easier to map to the archetype.

    angryfrenchguy

    April 6, 2009 at 1:58 pm

  12. Camilo Torres Restrepo, one of the intellectual fathers of Liberation Theology, is supposed to have said, “If Jesus were alive today, He would be a guerrillero.” And Father Torres practiced what he preached; he joined the local leftist guerrillas and was shot to death by Colombian Army soldiers during a firefight.

    I fail to see where Father Torres’ statement is inconsistent with the idea that the Church should be permitted to influence politics.

    I don’t think that Father Torres’ intellectual successors fell foul of Cardinal Ratzinger because they tried to influence politics or because they put politics above the Gospel or above salvation. Rather, I think—and I admit that I am only an amateur heresiologist—that Cardinal Ratzinger felt that they were incorporating too much Marxism-Leninism into their religion, this at a time when Rome believed that Marxism-Leninism, and in particular the USSR, which was ruled by professed Marxist-Leninists, was the largest threat faced by the Church.

    littlerob

    April 6, 2009 at 4:25 pm

  13. i think it is safe to say at this point in time and history that any marxism-leninism is too much. this morally bankrupt idealogy has failed the human race too many times for any thinking individual to consider it worth another try.

    i will not be leaving quebec for venezuela anytime soon. and for what it is worth agf, marxist theorist antonio gramsci believed that cultural subversion of the system was the only way to go. the drum that you seem so happy to beat was constructed by him and others – notably george lukacs, herbert marcuse, and theodor adorno. now i know you’re not stupid- so my question is why?

    when the macintosh computer destroyed typesetting as a business there was a period of time when a lot of print advertising text was a mish mash of type styles – people who did not understand type and typesetting simply did what they wanted – why?

    my guess is that they set crappy type simply because they could and were unwilling or too proud or just lazy to actually learn about it. do you promote the subversion of the catholic church’s teaching just because you can?

    your shameless truncation and hijacked synopsis of joseph cambell’s observations without his explanation of how this cross cultural metaform of allegory had only reinforced his faith demonstrates that your agenda succeeding is more important than anything.

    “godless communists proclaim that nothing is sacred.” what a headline that would make!
    or how about – “God is Dead.”

    and the horse you rode in on – my friend.

    johnnyonline

    April 6, 2009 at 7:44 pm

  14. Let me repeat the objection of the Chruch.

    It’s casting salvation as anything else that union with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

    The Marxist idea of salvation is a classless society based on socialism.

    That is Liberation theology’s perspective on “salvation”. That is why it is rejected by the Church.

    If it had been a right-wing ideology in its place, such as libertarianism, it still would have been rejected.

    Jesus was not a fighter. When they came to arrest him, and Peter tried to defend him, he refused saying “those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”

    Christianity is not about class conflict.

    Of course people of faith should influence politics and bring their values to the public sphere.

    It’s when politics become the Number One focus, to the exclusion of the relationship between one’s soul and God– that’s when it’s problematic.

    SUZANNE

    April 6, 2009 at 11:04 pm

  15. I am not familiar enough with Liberation Theology to argue whether it puts salvation through a classless society above salvation through faith. But my sense is that many liberation theologians believe that their faith is an empty shell unless they fight for what they believe is right. Jesus did throw the check-cashing agents and vendors of devotionalia out of the Temple, after all, and He didn’t do that by threatening them with a water pistol.

    I am one of those people who thinks that institutions don’t change that much over time. Ever since it came into existence, the Catholic Church has seen itself locked in a struggle with what it believes to be heresy, schism, or “false” religions. The list is long: Judaism, the Roman religion, Manicheism, Arianism, Sabellianism, Nestorianism, Monophysite Christianity, Islam, the various ethnic religions of Germany, Scandinavia, and the Slavic lands, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catharans, Albigensians, and Bogomils, Hussites, Lutherans, Calvinists, Pietists, the ethnic religions of the aborigines of the Americas, French Republicans…and Marxists and Marxist-Leninists; Marxism is, after all, another religion, with its own doctrine, holy writ, saints, and sacred places.

    Interesting, I submit, how many of these religions have left their mark on the Francophonie. If there is religious conflict in Québec, I’d say that there is plenty of precedent for it.

    littlerob

    April 7, 2009 at 4:46 am

  16. I forgot to add Anglicanism and the sundry English speaking low church heterodoxies to this list. They have of course left their mark on Québec, too.

    littlerob

    April 7, 2009 at 7:43 am

  17. Actually, no. There is a hierarchy of values in the Church. Killing thousands of people is, of course, worse than wearing a condom. Telling a lie is wrong, too. Just because it’s not as bad as genocide doesn’t mean we should do it.

    If you want to enter friendship with God (and thus enter heaven), you must do so on God’s terms. The Catholic Church believes that the Church was founded by Jesus Christ to transmit the Revelation that he left to the world. That is why the Church believes you must accept Catholic doctrine. God is severe on some points. That’s clear in the Gospel. But to any repentant person of good faith, he is also merciful. Mercy doesn’t redefine or excuse sin. That is what is meant by “love one another as I HAVE LOVED YOU”. It means to judge (i.e. reason) as God reasons (and thus reject sin and all things he finds objectionable), and be merciful as God is merciful.

    SUZANNE

    April 7, 2009 at 7:23 pm

  18. “I don’t believe in God. Let’s make that very clear.”

    “And I’m keeping my right to speak out as a catholic.”

    “That’s the Catholic Church I belong to.”

    What else can I say? Where I’m from, you can believe in God and not be a Catholic, but you can’t be a Catholic if you don’t believe in God.

    LiverBoy

    April 15, 2009 at 9:19 am

  19. Your not Catholic. Period. Don’t pretend to give Catholic teaching. I would suggest not being a hypocrite and tell it like it is. I would suggest anyone reading this mans comments realize, that he is ignorant and uninformed. The web gives morons like this there 15 minutes. Enjoy it. You’ll spend the rest of eternity thinking about it. God Bless.

    Thanatos

    May 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm

  20. You’re an angry French guy, of course. You’re angry about everything. Geez, when were people like you in Quebec not angry? You’re angry about everything. There’s a group of you Quebecois angry at everybody about everything. Quebec is not the center of the world. It’s around 6,000,000 Canadians livng in a province that is dominated by a minority nutty crowd. They say they are sovereingtists, but they want their Canadian Ei, Medicare, etc. Come on, get a life. The days of Church domination everywhere are over and people are back to Church with a better understanding of their faith. In your grandmother’s time, the clergy were half-educated people. They knew not a lot more than the ordinary poor soul like your grandmother, only they were dressed in black with a white collar. Grow up, get a life my “man”???

    Michael

    June 7, 2009 at 5:52 pm

  21. Hey, you got it right. This guy should take a hike. He (she) thinks there are some of us who admire his show of boldness. He’s an arsehole. I bet he doesn’t say his night prayers or go to Mass. He doesn’t know where the word Mass came from. We got ‘em among us, we gotta live with ‘em.

    Michael

    June 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm

  22. You’re an angry French guy, of course. You’re angry about everything. Geez, when were people like you in Quebec not angry? You’re angry about everything. There’s a group of you Quebecois angry at everybody about everything. Quebec is not the center of the world. It’s around 6,000,000 Canadians livng in a province that is dominated by a minority nutty crowd. They say they are sovereingtists, but they want their Canadian Ei, Medicare, etc. Come on, get a life. The days of Church domination everywhere are over and people are back to Church with a better understanding of their faith. In your grandmother’s time, the clergy were half-educated people. They knew not a lot more than the ordinary poor soul like your grandmother, only they were dressed in black with a white collar. Grow up, get a life my “man”???

    Michael

    June 7, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Michael

    June 7, 2009 at 6:27 pm

  23. There are morons, idiots and imbeciles in order of ranking. This individual registers at imbecillinc level.

    Viva il Papa!

    Michael

    June 7, 2009 at 6:59 pm

  24. Donnez le Quebec la liberte! And then watch le Quebec drown in the sea of North America! Maintenant, oops! (l’anglais) The topic is the papacy, not Quebec. How easily one thing mixes the other.

    Michael

    June 7, 2009 at 7:08 pm

  25. Yes, yes AFG…you are right. No God No God! EXCELLENT! Now, continue your work my pretty.

    Natas

    March 14, 2010 at 3:38 am

  26. Thanks for this web site! How many Catholics love the church enough to speak up against its outmoded, arteriosclerotic hierarchy? John Paul 23rd must be spinning in his grave. The church is far more interested in its PR than its laity. A cabal or right wingers have taken over the church. When will large numbers of lay people speak up? Or are they just “Sheeple”, too meek and timid to confront the venal men who run the church. As long as you are anti-abortion and anti-gay rights you are Ok, provided that you donate every so often. How the humble message of Our Savior has been perverted by these charlatans. May God have mercy on them for causing millions to leave their Church!

    Ed Bohrer

    April 13, 2010 at 3:57 pm


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