Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sexual Abuse Reporting: a double standard?

Recently an article emerged of a famous Newfoundland hockey coach who has been charged with sexual assault of a boy. Many were shocked because he such a prominent figure in the community. Many have rightfully pointed out that although our justice system ensures that someone is considered innocent until proven guilty, the publication of his name has already led to disgrace.

There has been a vocal outcry from the public denouncing this practice and saying that if someone is innocent until proven guilty, their name should be withheld unless they are found guilty of an offense.

Strangely however, no such outcry was made when Catholic clergy were being accused left, right and center. In fact, the reaction was quite the contrary. People were quick to not only condemn all accused priests, but also those who were not accused. Popular opinion suggested that every single priest is a pedophile and none are innocent.

People's reaction to a priest accused of inappropriate sexual behavior was to lock him away and throw away the key or worse, and then to begin a diatribe about the evil Catholic Church. I read dozens of articles with reader responses and not once did anyone suggest hiding identities until charges were proven.

There have been accusations and arrests for pedophilia for all kinds of people, including teachers, coaches, scouts leaders, and yes, clergy. But have you ever heard a report of a teacher accused of sexual assault in another country? How about settlements between victims and school boards worth hundreds of millions of dollars? Never. The statistics however show that teachers are 4 times more likely to sexual abuse children than clergy.

To get an idea of the double standard, go to Google News and search for things like arrest pedophile, etc. You will find stories of people from all walks of life. There may be an odd priest here or there, but there are far more from other areas.

Clearly there is a major bias. A priest who commits sexual abuse in Germany is headline news, but 17 teachers who get arrested in a single country is not mentioned.

This is in no way excusing clergy sexual abuse. It must be stopped immediately and the Church is doing many things to eradicate this. But let's show some semblance of fairness. Let's end the double standards.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Co-worker's anti-catholicism

At my workplace, I sit across from a man who spews his anti-Catholic rhetoric on a regular basis. He generally speaks to another anti-Catholic individual, but his conversation partner could be any number of co-workers, all of whom agree with him either implicitly or explicitly. I have yet to hear someone criticizing his viewpoint. I believe this is less the fact that they agree with him and more so the fact that they want to be "politically correct". In today's age, political correctness means agreeing with anti-Christian bigots, but not tolerating any form of religious observance.

The man identifies himself as a former Catholic so most of his venom is targeted in that direction. Of course, he beats the same dead horses, such as the clergy sex abuse scandal. But he also seems to have gone very deep in atheist teachings, and mocks the Eucharist, belief in God (especially the God of the Bible), Jesus, Mary, etc.

He doesn't simply disagree with these topics, he mocks them, laughs at them, and presents them in a very vulgar and distasteful way.

As an example, he was speaking to a co-worker about someone's wedding. Apparently a friend or family member of his called him about the wedding and said it will be at a Catholic Church. On the phone, he mocked the ceremony, including the format and the use of wine and unleaven bread. Later, when speaking to a co-worker and mocking Catholic marriage preparation. He claims the marriage prep course said a man cannot touch a woman in a sexual way and the only "acceptable" action is direct intercourse for the purpose of procreation.

After laughing about this thoroughly, he added: "you can tell this stuff was made up by guys who don't have sex" ... "well, except for with altar boys". To which the guy he was speaking with responded: "Yeh, they had that system down to a T!"

This is considered acceptable. In fact, someone would appear "odd" if they openly disagreed with the comments made.

The only conversation topic which this man prefers is that of fast food. He has at least one very in depth conversation per day on the topic of fast food. The topics get rather specific. Such as his favorite type of cheese on a pizza, how long he likes to microwave leftover fast food, etc.

I'm not attacking him personally. I'm just saying I find his two main conversation topics kind of strange.

I would implore anyone of faith to speak to these individuals when they have a chance. Tell them you disagree with what they are saying. Refrain from laughing. Speak the truth. You will probably be criticized and harrassed, but this is a small price to pay.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Is the Catholic Church a protector of Muslim freedom of worship?

In France, the Catholic Church is speaking out against a ban on full veils for Muslim women. I'm not an expert in Islam, but I believe the correct term for this face covering is the Niqab. Another common piece of clothing is called burqa, which I believe refers to an entire set of clothing worn by Muslim women.

In any event, the Catholic Church in France is against plans to ban these face covering veils. The reason is they feel in order for full rights to be granted to Christians to practice their beliefs in Muslim countries, the opposite must be granted as well.

Right now in Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and several other countries, practice of Christianity and specifically Catholicism is banned completely and anyone caught worshipping is strictly dealt with. In other countries, such as China and some Middle Eastern countries, the practice of Catholicism is seriously curtailed. The Catholic Church is striving for religious freedom in all parts of the world. They do not want any hindrance on their faithful practice. Therefore, they believe religion must be free and thus oppose efforts to curtail this freedom.

Another example of the church's fight for freedom of worship is its stance against banning new minarets in Switzerland. The Swiss people, in a referendum, banned any new development of Islamic minarets in the country. The Church spoke out against this as well.

This is an appropriate and well thought-out move by the church. The Church realizes that with true freedom, Christianity will grow. Also, many Christians now live in oppresive states where they are not free to worship. But it would be ironic to only advocate freedom of religion for Catholics. Therefore, the Church stands up for religious freedom of all people.

The Church is not afraid of the Truth, because the Church proclaims the Truth which is Jesus Christ. Therefore, if there is worldwide freedom of religion, there is bound to be an increase of Catholic faithful, as people seek the truth.

For more on the situation in France, please view: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/world/europe/02briefs-France.html

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I now have EWTN!

Yesterday I had digital cable installed. About an hour later, I called in to have EWTN activated. I'm really glad I did. It costs $2.79 per month, but is worth much more than that. When it came on, they were at the Vatican, where Pope Benedict was celebrating the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Non-Catholics

I was just watching a debate between a Christian and an atheist. They both made their respective points. So I decided to make a blog posting about non-Catholics. As everyone knows, I am Catholic. So what is my relationship with others, and my feelings about them? I want to spend some time speaking of the good aspects of non-Catholics.

Atheists:
They seek the truth and love science. Atheists are seekers like Christians. Many are good people and many make contributions in their own ways. Some atheists have made contributions to science and to other fields. They have logical minds. Sometimes it may seem I am angry with atheists, and often I will receive angry messages from people who seem to be atheist. In fact, according to the survey on my blog, I get more atheist viewers than Catholic. I am not angry with atheists. I only want for them what I believe is best, what I believe will bring most joy.

Muslims:
Believers in the one God. Muslims have strict morals and are known for praying five times a day and doing what they believe God asks of them. They also share a love of Jesus and Mary.

Jews:
The first to believe in the One True God. They were chosen by God to carry his message. Today, we receive much from them including their Scriptures. Jesus and the some Apostles were Jewish.

Hindu:
Hindus are also lovers of truth and wisdom. They place great value on family and community. Gandhi is a well known Hindu who advocated peace.

Buddhists:
They seek peace and meditation. I will admit I do not have much contact with Buddhists, but they adhere to principles of non-violence.

Protestants:
Great love for God and his Holy Scriptures. We see them as our brothers and sisters, though separate and pray for future unity.

Jesus called everyone into his fold, and so who am I to reject others? Jesus prayed for unity, and that's my prayer also. Everyone is a child of God, whether or not they are believers. We do not need to convert someone, we just need to make them aware of their calling. The calling comes from God and once they hear it, the process will take care of itself.