Pope Francis dumps a United States Cardinal who has spoken out against equality

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Talking Points Memo reported today, December 17, 2013 that the Pope Francis has finally taken some action and let go of a Cardinal who was outspoken against women and gay rights.

The Pope has recently said a lot of great things about gay rights, poverty and inequality. However, the Pope has also been blasted for his lack of action. Even winning TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year without really doing much of anything.

Well it seems the Pope has taken one positive step and has released Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis in the United States.

Burke has been very vocal against abortion rights and same-sex marriage and Pope Francis has decided this message does not fit into his Vatican office.

Written By: Dan Arel
continue to source article at examiner.com

64 COMMENTS

  1. He reminds me of a politician always running for election without ever having to face the voters. Show me a Pope who is not against poverty except in saints and that may explain why for a thousand years the church could never get charity to benefit the poor. Conservative Popes excommunicated archbishops for doing things like using the Latin mass and being to conservative. Frank to me is the kindly and patronizing face of homophobia and anti women’s issues. Loving him because he is not Ratzinger is not a very good reason.

  2. Well Holy Jo was a bouncer in an earlier life !

    Out you go you Burke, you can listen to the music from outside!”

    Now how about Cardinal Brady of Ireland and Cardinal Pell of Australia ? Brave enough Jo ?

    (In another world Dan Brown begins his next Vatican centric novel with the title The Bad, The Bad, and The Ugly.)

  3. Holy Joe Ratzinger carefully mixes his cyanide potions for later use, Perhaps, just perhaps, he can regain the Crown ? But he is not alone ! There are others always scheming and plotting for their own advancement. Will this “progressive” Pope meet an untimely end ?

  4. Credit where it’s due, but in proportion.

    AIUI, the church never changes doctrine, it only reinterprets it. Conservatives like to pretend this is a problem for reformers, but as I’d hope we all know, interpretations are pretty much arbitrary and politically driven. Let’s watch carefully how much actually gets done and how much is image management.

  5. Removing Cardinal Burke from the Congregation of Bishops is a significant change in things Vatican. That plus Pope Francis’ reaching out to atheists yesterday, the second time in less than one year, deserve a favorable response. Some of us, understandably, don’t want to deal with the devil. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church is not going away. We have to deal with it one way or another. Sometimes that means being the noisy political fringe. I’ve been there. At other times, being oppositional is ineffective and counterproductive. It resembles a raging child throwing toys out of its crib. Without denying or excusing the past and present horrors of Catholicism, I think it would be valuable for atheists to accept the Pope’s invitation to work together on a common issue regarding human well-being. He’s thrown out two for consideration, economic injustice and peacemaking. Working together might be quite adult.

  6. Removing Cardinal Burke from the Congregation of Bishops is a significant change in things Vatican. That plus Pope Francis’ reaching out to atheists yesterday, the second time in less than one year, deserve a favorable response. Some of us, understandably, don’t want to deal with the devil.

    I think we need to see if any reforms of doctrines actually happen.

    I am reminded of the child of a criminal family who is thrashed for stealing, in a family of thieves, but on closer examination, turns out to have been thrashed for being CAUGHT stealing.

    The cardinal is losing the church membership and credibility by being out spoken, when the pope is trying to lull the critics to sleep with new spin!

  7. Reply to #8 Alan4discussion:

    I understand the desire to wait for doctrinal reform. That probably is going to be a very long wait. Waiting for people or institutions to come around to my way thinking before engaging with them hasn’t worked in my experience. I have found that parties often adapt and change as they engage with one another. They evolve. Similar to biological evolution, it can be painstakingly slow, partial, a dead end, or a changed and more successful thing. In this instance we have a Pope making a signficant change within his organization (not our domain) and simultaneously making overtures to the atheist community. We can respond, wait or spurn.

    • In reply to #9 by sgturner59:

      In this instance we have a Pope making a signficant change within his organization (not our domain) and simultaneously making overtures to the atheist community. We can respond, wait or spurn.

      Popes have made overtures before – notably to the Anglican community – but that was only to recruit some of their dogmatic more backward membership to the RCC!

      They still describe partnerships between RCs and other Xtians as “mixed marriages” and pressurise partners to convert to the RCC.! Despite verbal overtures, compromise with the RCC has historically been all in one direction. All take and no give!

      They made a significant change to compromise on the writings of Galilao, although it did take quite some time!

  8. What I see here is a catholic church willing to go to any lengths to stay relevant and on live.

    They will even let this pope go much further to do just that.

    So, all in all, not that impressive knowing the ultimate agenda of this church. The whole world bowing to the Vatican.

    • In reply to #10 by Neodarwinian:

      What I see here is a catholic church willing to go to any lengths to stay relevant

      What’s wrong with that?

      The Catholic church’s curse, for centuries, has been an inability to react in order to remain relevant (something Protestantism, though not ideal, does rather better), such that 90% of Catholics ignore the church on question such as contraception.

      I’m as cynical – and atheist – as they come, but I really think Francis is a breath of fresh air.

      • In reply to #14 by Stevehill:

        In reply to #10 by Neodarwinian:

        What I see here is a catholic church willing to go to any lengths to stay relevant

        What’s wrong with that?

        The Catholic church’s curse, for centuries, has been an inability to react in order to remain relevant (something Protestantism, though not ideal, does rathe…

        Think what you like, but lying cheating, using and thieving would be the methods used to stay relevant as any other method would show up the irrelevance of this church and any other church you could think of.

  9. *In reply to #7 by sgturner59:

    Removing Cardinal Burke from the Congregation of Bishops is a significant change in things Vatican.

    How is this one demotion considered to be a “significant change” in the whole historical context of the Catholic church? The list of their crimes is very long indeed. To the science majors on this site, the word “significant change” carries a lot of weight. It’s about math, not feelings to us.

    That plus Pope Francis’ reaching out to atheists yesterday, the second time in less than one year, deserve a favorable response. Some of us, understandably, don’t want to deal with the devil. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church is not going away. We have to deal with it one way or another.

    How do we have to deal with the RCC? I don’t deal with it in any way except to vote against it in local elections as they try to impose their archaic unethical viewpoints on the general public. Why should I try to work with them when their brainwashed captives are bailing out in record numbers like rats off a sinking ship and Atheists are increasing in numbers with every passing year? The numbers are to our advantage here and the tide is turning. I’m not surprised they tossed aside their horrifying previous leader and replaced him with the new Mr. Friendly super nice guy, just in time. At least they’ve realized that they’re circling the drain and took action. I’m not crediting them with much, even earthworms respond to external stimuli so whatever.

    I think it would be valuable for atheists to accept the Pope’s invitation to work together on a common issue regarding human well-being. He’s thrown out two for consideration, economic injustice and peacemaking. Working together might be quite adult.

    Again, why work with an organization that is rotten to the core when there are plenty of secular organizations that don’t have a trail of persecution and torture a mile long.

    Are you a Catholic or ex-Catholic? Maybe you hold some sort of sentimental feelings for that church and can’t bear to break away from it but you should know that those of us who were not brought up in that church view it as sick, perverted and downright frightening. There is no way that I would set foot near it or give the new happy happy joy joy Pope one single molecule of credit.

    How can women stand to be members of this organization that makes no bones about wanting to reduce us to reproductive and domestic slavery? I feel toxic hatred for the RCC for everything they’ve done to make women miserable for all the years they’ve been in existence. I want women to walk out of the church and take their children with them for good and never go back. I want demonstrations against that church for their interference in our legal reproductive rights and other legal issues that they stick their ignorant noses into as well.

    You say that “working together might be quite adult” but in this case you are asking adult women to forgive and forget what has been centuries of oppression and to what end? Is it immature of women to fight for equal rights? I think it’s the opposite really. I couldn’t fight for my own rights until I was an adult and left the (Methodist) church. Children can’t fight for themselves or do much about their situations in general. It’s a position of weakness for them. Please don’t make women and girls feel bad about protesting against bad treatment. It’s a very cruel thing to do. Don’t ask us to bow our heads and grovel for a crumb from these evil misogynists.

    I’ve given my objection from a woman’s point of view. I hope someone will explain the situation from the gay community’s perspective too. I leave that to someone else since I’m not one of them. They’ve suffered terribly from RCC abuse as well and I would think it’s a very cruel thing to ask them to work with the very organization that has tormented and persecuted them for centuries and shows no intention of changing that.

    We can respond, wait or spurn.

    I choose to spurn.

    • In reply to #11 by LaurieB:

      How about working with Americans? We grew to power on the backs of enslaved blacks and on land stolen or conquered from its original inhabitants. Given the standard of purity that the RCC’s past fails to pass, it would seem that you shouldn’t work with any Americans either.

      Sometimes, in order to achieve a goal, we have to work with people with whom we would otherwise not associate. Perhaps the purity of the process is more important to you than whether or not we succeed. If so, so be it. Me, I’m willing to fellow-travel.

  10. In reply to #11 by LaurieB:

    I have not recommended or suggested that women or anyone grovel or bow to the Pope. You choose to spurn Pope Francis’ invitation and I respect your choice.

    I’m a gay secular humanist, a member of two groups vilified and killed by the Catholic Church. And I think it is a good idea to respond favorably to Pope Francis’ invitation to work together on an issue of common concern for human well-being. Why? Because I recognize the reality of Catholic power and influence in my American government and globally. And I recognize the influence of that Church, calling itself “Mother and Teacher,” on millions of people including millions of women and mothers. It is not going away. The Enlightenment idea that reason and science would be the death knell of religion has proven to be inaccurate. It will take more than reason and science to rid the world of religion. It will require the kind of emotional development that enables people to walk away from a perceived parent. So I imagine we will be dealing with the Catholic Church for quite a while, directly or indirectly.

    Pope Francis has made some bold moves during his less than one year in office, including redirecting the Catholic moral emphasis from private and sexual issues to public issues of economic injustice; removing a cardinal from a key post in church appointments, and reaching out to atheists twice. Could he have picked other battles and issues? Of course. Is it reasonable to think that he might issue an apocalyptic mea culpa, liquidate the assets of the Church, give them to the poor and turn St. Peter’s into a museum? No. That ain’t gonna happen.

    The reality is he is wildly popular and reinvigorating what may be the Church’s only remaining strong card, i.e., its longstanding social and economic teaching. It is substantial and being revived in a time of growing global awareness of systemic economic injustice.

    • In reply to #12 by sgturner59:

      And I think it is a good idea to respond favorably to Pope Francis’ invitation to work together on an issue of common concern for human well-being.

      Like what ? Has he made a concrete proposal ? I don’t see it.

      Michael

      • In reply to #23 by mmurray:

        >

        Yesterday during his Christmas address the Pope invited atheists to work together in peacemaking in several conflict areas. And in November in Evangelii Gaudium he detailed and invited everyone to mitigate the global ravages of unrestrained capitalism. No other world-class leader has done that. In fact, quite a bit of the recent Pope-bashing, including from some humanists, has been a thinly veiled attempt to distract attention from his criticism of unrestrained capitalism.

        Scott

        • In reply to #32 by sgturner59:

          In reply to #23 by mmurray:

          Yesterday during his Christmas address the Pope invited atheists to work together in peacemaking in several conflict areas. And in November in Evangelii Gaudium he detailed and invited everyone to mitigate the global ravages of unrestrained capitalism. No other world-c…

          I assume you are replying to my request for a concrete proposal? That’s not a concrete proposal. It’s also kind of rude. Does he really think atheists haven’t been working for world peace and opposing capitalism until he invited them ? Seriously ?

          So as the Pope seems short on concrete proposals I’ll give him one for free. A good way to promote peace is to lower population growth which reduces competition for resources So, on behalf of atheists everywhere, I would like to invite the Pope to join with us and international NGOs to promote the free and easy availability of contraception across the world. Would he like to join in ? Oops I forgot he’s heir to two thousand years of misogynist, anti-sex, irrational, mumbo-jumbo that totally clouds his ability to think clearly. Maybe he could clean up his own act instead of telling atheists what to do.

          Michael

  11. Blimey, this is massive. Firing a cardinal is about as big a deal as it gets, and if the reasons are as stated it’s a clear challenge to the Vatican orthodoxy.

    I seriously hope this guy survives for a while. He seems OK.

  12. In reply to #12 by sgturner59:

    In reply to #11 by LaurieB:

    Is it reasonable to think that he might issue an apocalyptic mea culpa, liquidate the assets of the Church, give them to the poor and turn St. Peter’s into a museum? No. That ain’t gonna happen.

    I agree with that much.

    The reality is he is wildly popular and reinvigorating what may be the Church’s only remaining strong card, i.e., its longstanding social and economic teaching. It is substantial and being revived in a time of growing global awareness of systemic economic injustice.

    He may be “wildly popular” with Catholics but I doubt if the Protestants give a good goddamn about him. The same old objections still stand with the Protestants no matter if the pope is personable or not. Remember Luther’s list? It’s still in full effect in the Protestant churches. There’s nothing that pope can do to please the old school Protestants that they haven’t already done for themselves 500 years ago. You overestimate the appeal of this guy. It’s not universal.

    You also overestimate the power of this one old man to address global economic injustice. What in the world do you expect him to do outside of the hopeless ideas you mentioned above? I can tell you what we already know; that free and readily available birth control of all kinds when delivered to women of the world does more to advance society that anything I can think of. Reproductive freedom leads to progress.

    Seriously, what measures will the RCC take to advance economic justice while holding women down at the same time?

    The Enlightenment idea that reason and science would be the death knell of religion has proven to be inaccurate. It will take more than reason and science to rid the world of religion

    Ahhhh, patience my dear man, patience…

    • In reply to #16 by LaurieB:

      I can tell you what we already know; that free and readily available birth control of all kinds when delivered to women of the world does more to advance society that anything I can think of. Reproductive freedom leads to progress.

      Have you every read or watched a TV series called “Call the Midwife”? It’s based on biographical books by a women who worked in the Docklands of London as a midwife amongst the poor around the time the contraceptive pill was introduced. She notes that bookings with the midwives for births went from 100 a month before the pill was released to 5 a month afterwards. I find those numbers astounding.

      Michael

      • In reply to #24 by mmurray:

        Have you every read or watched a TV series called “Call the Midwife”?

        Oh yes! I love that show. In fact, I wish all the fundies in the world would be forced to watch it. Also the entire RCC. Not that it would help. It would be better if they would accompany me into the third world, meet those women and live their lives for a year. If those old codgers in their white lace nighties and matching magical hats had to deal with the hopelessness in those women’s lives and the constant pregnancies, threat of death by childbirth, risk of HIV and every other STD due to anti-condoms policy, maybe they’d think twice about their sexual slavery rules that they love to impose on us. But I think that show is very valuable for everyone to watch because it’s a window on an era when we were at the mercy of our reproductive systems. Some people nowadays have lost sight of that.

        • In reply to #26 by LaurieB:

          In reply to #24 by mmurray:

          Have you every read or watched a TV series called “Call the Midwife”?

          Oh yes! I love that show.

          If you haven’t read the books they are good as well. More detail but a few less happy endings that where obviously added in for the tv series.

          Michael

          • In reply to #29 by mmurray:

            If you haven’t read the books they are good as well. More detail but a few less happy endings that where obviously added in for the tv series….

            Nice. I just bought it on Amazon for three bucks. Can’t beat that!

  13. In reply to #16 by LaurieB:

    Overestimating the influence of Pope Francis? He has been a global media focus since the publication of his Evangelii Gaudium where he critisizes unrestrained capitalism. He has been the recipient of attacks from loud right-wing lunatics in America ever since, and he has the right-wing Christians and Catholics in Congress tongue-tied. No other world leader has taken on unrestrained capitalism (an economic system that disproportionately ruins women’s lives) as effectively and clearly. Overestimating his influence? I don’t think so. As for patience, well, that’s what was said about the return of Jesus. I’m not holding my breath. There’s work to be done meanwhile.

    • In reply to #19 by sgturner59:

      No other world leader has taken on unrestrained capitalism (an economic system that disproportionately ruins women’s lives) as effectively and clearly.

      Credit to him for that criticism. There must be other world leaders who did it though, come on.

      As for the statement in the parenthesis, I wonder if you can back that up with stats. Does this system ruin women’s lives significantly more than other systems? You will need to control for the repro rights variable that exists everywhere. I’d be interested to know what is the worse effect on us, Capitalism or Catholicism? Just personally, I’d rather contend with this cutthroat Capitalism if I could just control my fertility. What good is economic opportunity if we’re perpetually pregnant with toddlers hanging off our pantlegs?

    • In reply to #19 by sgturner59:
      >

      No other world leader has taken on unrestrained capitalism (an economic system that disproportionately ruins women’s lives) as effectively and clearly.

      Numerous socialist and communist leaders have taken on “unrestrained capitalism.

      (an economic system that disproportionately ruins women’s lives) as effectively and clearly.

      Shouldn’t that be:- “the only religio/economic system (jointly with Islam), which ruins MORE women’s lives by its opposition to population restraint, birth control, STI protection, and abortion, than unrestrained capitalism”!

  14. There is a bit more detail about the changes to the Congregation of Bishops here. Roughly speaking this is the organisation that picks new RCC bishops so if Francis is going to change anything he needs control of this.

    I am rather dubious about the idea that the Pope is some kind of great reformer if he thinks an arch-conservative like Cardinal Pell is a good person to have on side.

    Michael

    • In reply to #25 by mmurray:

      Some more Adoration of the Popi. This time at The Guardian

      Did you see this in your Guardian article?

      Such deeds and words have paid huge public relations dividends: not only was the pope voted Time magazine’s person of the year, the same honour was also bestowed on him by the US gay and lesbian magazine the Advocate.

      What the hell! Gays, explain yourselves!

      • In reply to #27 by LaurieB:

        In reply to #25 by mmurray:

        Some more Adoration of the Popi. This time at The Guardian

        Did you see this in your Guardian article?

        Such deeds and words have paid huge public relations dividends: not only was the pope voted Time magazine’s person of the year, the same honour was also bestowed on h…

        I missed that bit of the Guardian article. The Advocate is here. They seem (like others) to be excited by “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”. I don’t see any difference between this and the standard “love the sinner and hate the sin” response to homosexuality the RCC has always held to. As long as you are willing to stay celibate for the whole of your life the RCC has no problem with anyone being homosexual. Have a fun life ! Try taking communion with your gay husband though and see how you get on.

        Michael

        • In reply to #28 by mmurray:

          As long as you are willing to stay celibate for the whole of your life the RCC has no problem with anyone being homosexual.

          Oh how wonderfully generous of them. Why does any homosexual want to be a member of an organization who considers them to be an abomination and for that matter, why does any woman want to be a member of an organization who is shrieking petrified of vaginas?

          It’s a mystery.

          I’m currently reading Margaret Atwood’s trilogy but when I finish that I’ll definitely look up Call the Midwife book. I’m always looking for something to choose for my book club when it’s my month. Most of my favorite reading material Evo Bio/Psych and speculative fiction is not of interest to my group. Call the Midwife might work out very well though. Thanks for the suggestion.

  15. A small step in the right direction, but let’s see if he can follow up with more significant reform. As the saying goes the longest journey starts with the first step.. Francesco might have taken that first step. Let’s wait and see. jcw

  16. I agree with Michael (mmurray #33) on the important issue of slowing population growth, and would be delighted if Pope Francis accepts his invitation to work on that issue. Let me know when the world media picks up on it and broadcasts it around the globe, as it did with the Popes’s reaching out to atheists on Christmas.

    And I agree with Alan (Alan4discussion #35) that many socialist and communist leaders have taken on the issue of unrestrained capitalism. That is the point. They preach to their choirs. Here we have a Pope, notoriously neither socialist nor communist, taking on the structures of current capitalism. Capitalists accustomed to having the Pope in their corner have lost their religious footing.

    Nobody is denying or excusing the past and present horrors of Catholicism. Nobody is asking anybody to like the Pope. The Pope gets to set his agenda for office and, as with any world leader, can do only so much. In this case, Pope Francis has reached out to atheists twice during less than one year in office. We clearly are on the radar of world religions. Now, we can dialogue with him or we can say “No thank you. We will not dialogue with you unless we set your agenda. Now issue a global mea culpa, liquidate the assets of the Church and give them to the needy, and turn St. Peter’s into a museum. Then we’ll talk.” Good luck with that.

    World media has broadcast the Pope reaching out to atheists twice in less than one year. We can demonstrate a civil and sophisticated response to common concerns, without denying or abandoning our strong objections to other concerns. Alternatively, we can react like a raging child, screaming and throwing toys out of its crib.

    • In reply to #37 by sgturner59:

      I agree with Michael (mmurray #33) on the important issue of slowing population growth, and would be delighted if Pope Francis accepts his invitation to work on that issue.

      Let me know when the world media picks up on it and broadcasts it around the globe, as it did with the Popes’s reaching out to atheists on Christmas.

      I think that will be shortly after the media pick up on the ability of pigs to fly and atheists’ agreement to accept his RCC dogmas!

      World media has broadcast the Pope reaching out to atheists twice in less than one year. We can demonstrate a civil and sophisticated response to common concerns, without denying or abandoning our strong objections to other concerns.

      You are confusing what they say with what they do. The RCC establishment does not do compromise.

      They do “infallible dogma”, money laundering, and keep property assets worth billions while preaching generosity, and helping the poor. They will snuggle up to any government (no matter how oppressive or disreputable) which will give them power over people and money.

      They still owe much of their power-base and finance in Europe, to arrangements they made with Mussolini, Franco and Hitler, but are now buddy-buddy with their successors, now the wheels of power have moved on.

      Alternatively, we can react like a raging child, screaming and throwing toys out of its crib.

      This is comical projection! The RCC has reacted like a raging child, screaming and throwing toys out of its crib, playing the martyr when ever it has been challenged on moral or scientific issues!

      Atheists can make honest agreements with individual Catholics, but there is negligible prospect of getting sense out of the double-talking Catholic establishment.

    • In reply to #37 by sgturner59:

      I agree with Michael (mmurray #33) on the important issue of slowing population growth, and would be delighted if Pope Francis accepts his invitation to work on that issue. Let me know when the world media picks up on it and broadcasts it around the globe, as it did with the Popes’s reaching out to atheists on Christmas.

      I take it your point is that the Pope commands slightly more media attention than me ? A fair point. It raises the issue of who are the “atheists” he is trying to reach. We aren’t a well-organised group. If he wants people who don’t believe in gods to work towards world peace and oppose capitalism I’d repeat my previous claim that many have been for a long time. If he wants to really interact with atheist groups then he could reach out to some individual leaders in the atheist community.

      Michael

    • In reply to #37 by sgturner59:

      World media has broadcast the Pope reaching out to atheists twice in less than one year. We can demonstrate a civil and sophisticated response to common concerns, without denying or abandoning our strong objections to other concerns. Alternatively, we can react like a raging child, screaming and throwing toys out of its crib.

      Hi sgturner59,

      Sometimes you need to scream. or at least very clearly state exactly what is wrong. My take on this pope is that he he all about spin. I get this as an rss feed and a few stories below we see the catholics have succeeded in winning a court case to deny Obama [click here] (http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/12/26/new-york-catholic-groups-win-challenge-to-obamacare-birth-control-mandate#) care provision of contraception to its employees. So here is a church that is perfectly willing to stomp over others rights. Now the article states catholic groups so they may not be directly affiliated but I’m sure a word to desist would be listened too by the faithful groups concerned. So what has he actually done? He has shifted a archbishop who has publicly disagreed with him (not with catholic doctrine which remains unchanged) but with the public message. In other words he has affirmed the stance that you cannot argue against a pope and expect to keep your job. Basically this guy has lost his job for objecting to Francis not being honest about catholic doctrine. So the pope either has the power to change the doctrine (and will not), or he doesn’t. In either case what this amounts to is making no change at all but saying things to make the atheists and gays stop publicly criticising him. To not point this out clearly and loudly would be to stop doing something that is clearly working very well.

      So pope, if your underlings are reading, change you doctrine then we can talk. Until then I plan to keep screaming like a raging child (it gets them attention too that’s why they do it).

  17. In reply to Alan4discussion #38:

    It is you who appear to be confused. On Christams the Pope invited atheists to join in peacemaking efforts in specific areas of conflict. He did not invite us to accept any dogma.

    I don’t know any world power structure that isn’t tainted. My own country, the United States, was formed by land theft by European emigrants and the genocide of native populations. Now the USA is a world power that others can choose to work with, or not. Those who choose to work with the USA in one way or another are not endorsing or apporving of its former land-theft, genocide and participation in the European slave trade. They probaly are, however, engaging in an activity that will get things done moving forward.

    • In reply to #39 by sgturner59:

      In reply to Alan4discussion #38:

      It is you who appear to be confused. On Christams the Pope invited atheists to join in peacemaking efforts in specific areas of conflict. He did not invite us to accept any dogma.

      I have the link to the Pope’s Christmas speech with translation into English. I can’t find any mention of Atheists in the text. Certainly he mentions several areas of terrible violence and other grave problems but where does he mention specific conflicts that we could help with? It actually reads like he is just groveling to God for improvement in some very horrendous situations. Why does he then go on to call God “Prince of Peace”? It’s very confusing. I hate the begging tone of this speech. Perhaps I have the wrong reference though. Is there another one?

      I just noticed that my link is to Fox News. Maybe they deleted the Atheist part out of spite.

      http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/12/25/text-pope-francis-christmas-message/

      • He apparently said

        “I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart.”

        He invites us non-believers to desire peace. Well then, since it’s the pope asking I’m sure we will all change our wicked ways and stop desiring war.

        Atheists, work with us for peace

        In reply to #40 by LaurieB:

        In reply to #39 by sgturner59:

        In reply to Alan4discussion #38:

        It is you who appear to be confused. On Christams the Pope invited atheists to join in peacemaking efforts in specific areas of conflict. He did not invite us to accept any dogma.

        I have the link to the Pope’s Christmas speech with t…

        • In reply to #43 by Marktony:

          Yes, alright then, apparently he went off script and added that bit. Why wasn’t the condescending invitation written into the speech then? Perhaps there was a behind the scenes disagreement.

        • In reply to #43 by Marktony:

          “I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart.”

          Actually, the Pope has been maligned. He said, “I also invite non-believers ..”, not ‘even’

          E invito anche i non credenti a desiderare la pace, con il loro desiderio, quel desiderio che allarga il cuore: tutti uniti, o con la preghiera o con il desiderio. Ma tutti, per la pace.
          Vatican

          • In reply to #46 by aldous:

            In reply to #43 by Marktony:

            “I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart.”

            Actually, the Pope has been maligned. He said, “I also invite non-believers ..”, not ‘even’

            It is the patronising posturing of an organisation which has been in cahoots with a whole string of oppressive dictators, pretending to be leaders in seeking “peace”.

            The religious culture built into the USA hi-jacking scientific achievements, comes through in these types of PR claims. – A bit like the Apollo astronaut’s plaque, - “We came in PEACE for all mankind!” – on to the Moon! – A planetoid with absolutely nobody present to fight with – but “peace” needed to be asserted anyway, as it is clearly not the default position in these cultures.

            . . the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act’s “declaration of policy and purpose”:

            The Congress hereby declares that it is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind.

            . . . . . But the Space Shuttle was specifically designed to launch large military satellites while earlier launch vehicles were based on ICBM technology.

            Next spin session – ???? – Pope invites scientists, atheists, and doctors, to follow the RCC leadership in scientific, technical, and medical advancements ?????

          • Still seems condescending after replacing “even” with “also”. I suppose making speeches which can be misinterpreted is part of the job. He is putting in the effort by using an unpopular language but he still has a lot to learn from his boss.

            In reply to #46 by aldous:

            In reply to #43 by Marktony:

            “I invite even non-believers to desire peace. (Join us) with your desire, a desire that widens the heart.”

            Actually, the Pope has been maligned. He said, “I also invite non-believers ..”, not ‘even’

            E invito anche i non credenti a desiderare la pace, con il loro desid…

    • In reply to #39 by sgturner59:

      In reply to Alan4discussion #38:

      It is you who appear to be confused. On Christans the Pope invited atheists to join in peacemaking efforts in specific areas of conflict. He did not invite us to accept any dogma.

      Religions and atheists as such are involved in “peace keeping.??? – Surely that is the politicians, police forces, and the UN.

      Most of the conflicts are between different sects and religions! Sunni – Shia, Catholics – Protestants, Xtians – Muslims, Muslims – Buddhists. Zionists – Muslims.

      You seem to be confusing the solutions with the causes. Perhaps the US media are not reliable information sources.

      The RCC does not lead in reforms although it pretends to. They have to be dragged kicking and screaming in a rearguard position centuries behind those who really lead humanity.

  18. I again agree with Michael (mmurray), this time on two points. First, it would be better if Pope Francis addressed atheists through a spokesperson or organization, because that’s what world leaders do. Second, there is no international spokeperson or organization for atheists. As we command more and more world and media attention, it probably would be valuable for us to put something together. And that brings me to my reply to Reckless Monkey.

    By the way, I love the name Reckless Monkey. From my gay secular humanist perspective, it has a sexy-Darwinian-activist flair. And I agree that screaming sometimes, including now, is necessary. If I had a child molested by a priest, then I would be among the screamers. They should keep it up, and everybody should read “The Case Against the Pope.” But I think we need to do more. We need to do “both and” as the world takes notice of the atheist community, including visits to this blog.

    My experience comes from working alongside the AIDS community in New York, as the government ignored people dying in the streets, including my friends. Believe me, we screamed. Then government implemented programs and many of us worked in them, now “on the inside.”

    Like it or not, Pope Francis has opened the door of invitation to atheist participation in the discussion of global morality, too often usurped by, or deferred to, relgious leaders. We have the intelligence, sophistication and energy to join and contribute to shaping the dialogue. So, yes, scream. But dialogue, also.

    • In reply to #50 by sgturner59:

      My experience comes from working alongside the AIDS community in New York, as the government ignored people dying in the streets, including my friends. Believe me, we screamed. Then government implemented programs and many of us worked in them, now “on the inside.”

      My sympathies go to you for this overwhelming sadness. As I said earlier, I’m not part of that community but I do acknowledge the devastation that AIDS brought on the gay community. Thank goodness for your wonderful activists and all the help that you finally got from the general community and for what help the government gave, even though it took way too long to give it and I’ll assume it wasn’t quite enough either.

      Now as the gay community fights for legal marriage rights as a way to solidify their equal standing in this society, I am reminded of all the times that women have had to take to the streets screaming as well. We are still fighting for equal rights to this day. There are so many social reforms that are needed here in the States and these reforms need to be solidified legally by the government. After that, social acceptance will follow.

      I think we are on the same page so far. But here is where we have the parting of the ways; working with the government for legal reform is good and necessary, however, working with churches, mosques and temples for reforms on women’s rights and gay rights puts us right into the belly of the beast. There is no other organization on this earth that has warped and oppressed women’s sexuality and reproductive agenda like all three of those monotheistic religions. They were and are aggressive against us in their overt and subtle tactics of oppression. Isn’t this the same for the gay community too? It is abhorrent to progressive women to even consider working side by side with the devil that is the RCC or any other church or mosque or temple for that matter, just so that we could get a few crumbs from their stinking table. We don’t need them. We have our secular organizations that are much more effective. It must be the same for the gay community too! They are blocking all of us.

      Working with the government for legal change is NOT the same thing as working with the RCC. The former is the right thing to do. The latter is nothing less than accommodationism and downright sabotage to both of our causes.

      My dear sgturner59, my fellow Atheist, American and hater of economic injustice, I regret to inform you that you are in bed with the devil himself.

    • In reply to #50 by sgturner59:

      …I agree that screaming sometimes, including now, is necessary. If I had a child molested by a priest, then I would be among the screamers. They should keep it up, and everybody should read “The Case Against the Pope.” But I think we need to do more. We need to do “both and” as the world takes notice of the atheist community, including visits to this blog.

      My experience comes from working alongside the AIDS community in New York, as the government ignored people dying in the streets, including my friends. Believe me, we screamed. Then government implemented programs and many of us worked in them, now “on the inside.”

      Like it or not, Pope Francis has opened the door of invitation to atheist participation in the discussion of global morality, too often usurped by, or deferred to, relgious leaders. We have the intelligence, sophistication and energy to join and contribute to shaping the dialogue. So, yes, scream. But dialogue, also.

      Hi sturner59,

      I think we are basically in agreement. I’ll keep screaming though until they get out of hospitals, education, marriage of people outside of their faith, stop protecting paedophiles, start paying taxes and a slightly longer list but until they start actually doing these things I suspect they are looking for cover to keep doing what they have always done. We need to be aware that in stopping the criticism we are not giving cover to go on as normal.

      Oh and good on you for your work with AIDS I’m sure you have helped save lives, keep it up

  19. In my opinion, while the message may be being made for palatable to modern ears, what is being served up is ultimately the same. I think the media is making too much out of these things (spinning it to see what they want to see) and not tending to notice the nuances and subtle caveats — and certain Catholics are jumping on this as an opportunity to try to win back favour, seeming-relevance and possible converts to their church and its FSM silliness.

    In a way, I see spin coming from both the Catholic side and the media side. The result is a tangled web that some are getting caught within.

    (By the way, around the cardinal in question, he remains in a high powered, prestigious position that essentially makes him the Chief Justice of the Catholic Church. Popes putting in their own men into certain influential positions is by no means new or unexpected, anymore than it would be in the corporate world.)

  20. To me 90+% of religion is talking – so the Pope’s talking IS action in that setting. Let’s take some time to watch how the South American Catholic Church fares in the global religious arena.

  21. I don’t think that purity of process is exactly what I’m after here. For example, I would be thrilled to see a negotiated solution to the Israel/Palestine problem and to achieve this we would need all parties to the table, even those who Israel/USA refuse to deal with. I hope I live to see that dirty deal done. Who should come to the bargaining table is exactly what is at stake here. When it comes to women’s reproductive rights, for example, who can make things happen for us? Not the RCC that’s for sure. Can this pope declare that all forms of birth control are acceptable and good? Would he be able to arrange shipments of the stuff to be delivered to India, South America and Africa where it’s needed the most? Would he explain that runaway human reproduction is not helping anyone neither locally nor worldwide? What about declaring permission for women to have abortions if they decide that their new pregnancy puts her life or her other children in jeopardy? Could he grant us the permission to follow our own consciouses on this as women have always done in human history?

    You see where I’m going with this. The pope cannot and will not grant us these rights and freedoms. It’s the governments that do this. Women work with secular human rights groups to change laws that restrict us. It is the very nature of religions to restrict and punish women for acting autonomously in our reproduction and sexuality. It’s just a waste of time to try to work with the RCC since they have no will nor desire to change anything. They are just not on our radar. They need us but we don’t need them.

    As for working with Americans, well, I am an American. My family has been in Boston since 1620 and of course they stole Native American land and later kept slaves as well. I’m sure my ancestors would be appalled at my viewpoints and opinions. I’m not like them at all, obviously! Should I not work with myself? I acknowledge our bad crappy history. What else should I do about it? I’m outspoken about making things better now. Sometimes I’m impatient about it and I don’t apologize for that.

  22. In The Secularisation Paradigm the statistical evidence shows that the more liberal and less stringent the expected behaviours are in a church the higher the rate of apostasy. It seems counter intuitive but if it’s true then any move towards liberal doctrine will advance a reason-based society.

  23. Wow – I’m disappointed by the negative comments here. The journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step – this has been one of many that this bloke has tried to start with (in a HUGE organisation nearly 2,000 years old).
    Cheer up guys. Really.

  24. I wouldn’t get my hopes up too much. A couple of months ago he fired an Australian bishop for speaking out in support of ordaining women as ministers and gay rights: http://goo.gl/dkc5cW and here he is “shocked” that gay couples can adopt children: http://goo.gl/3nvhlS .
    He also never said that the church is now square with homosexuality – it isn’t. He only said that clergy should stop putting so much emphasis on gay rights, abortion… and not because he believes it’s time for the the church to move with the progress and revisit some of their views on these issues but because it makes them look bad.

  25. The problem is that the Pope is asking us non-theists to join up with the RCC to address social, political & economic issues, as if they have any theological facts, evidence, methodology or theories to bring to the table.

    Since non-theistic secular humanists already have the relevant facts, evidence, logic & rationality that can have positive effects on humanity, other lifeforms & our planet, they should be humbly asking if they can join us in the urgent quest for a better future, based on the scientific method, humane ethics & evolved morality that religions have so abused in their mind-damaging quest to enlarge & empower their god viruses.

    I for one am not interested in lowering my intellectual standards, polluting my knowledge of reality or joining with any mind-dulled gang of child-slavers so that they can use our superior ways of gaining knowledge for their own nefarious ends – which won’t go away, just be manipulated to suit their unreal, unproven, illogical & contradictory dogmas.

    Whatever our philosophical, social or sexual positions are, we’ve all been screwed by religions for far too long, plus the tide is with us, so I’d rather we continued on the voyage to enlightenment which is rapidly rendering faiths irrelevant – although in some cases not less dangerous…. Mac.

    • In reply to #61 by CdnMacAtheist:

      The problem is that the Pope is asking us non-theists to join up with the RCC to address social, political & economic issues, as if they have any theological facts, evidence, methodology or theories to bring to the table.

      Exactly so.

      I am reminded of my attitude to that petty fascist, change-phobic Geert Wilders who superficially wants a few of the same things I want with regard to those traditional Islamic behaviours which are offensive to modern sensibilities. The fact that a few of our desires appear to overlap is the last reason to join political forces with him. He is still a pale version of what I despise, someone who, at heart, seeks to preserve his favoured quaint version of society in aspic.

      The RCC approach to morality is still one of the most appalling, dirigiste, disabling things out there. I will applaud any sustained improvements from the sidelines. Improvements to societies, though, should operate essentially through sustainable democratic processes. It is populace-serving governments should be made to care, not the self-serving parasites of old.

      • In reply to #62 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #61 by CdnMacAtheist:
        The RCC approach to morality is still one of the most appalling, dirigiste, disabling things out there.

        Hi Phil. I agree with you on your comment, and thank you for adding ‘dirigiste’ to my expanding lexicon…. 8-) Mac.

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