“Why America needs to confront the Vatican”

@ the site, churchandstate.org.uk, they have reposted some parts of Dr Stephen D Mumford’s book, “American Democracy and the Vatican”. The book was first published in 1984 during the Reagan administration. In it, Mumford describes how the Vatican – the Catholic establishment – worked to influence public policy and public opinion. For example, prior to Reagan, people were becoming more aware and concerned about global overpopulation. During Reagan’s term, that all came to an end – along with concern for the environment and concern for women’s equality (the Equal Right’s Amendment was defeated in 1982).

A few paragraphs:

If the stakes are high for the Church as an institution, they are critical for all nations and people, including Americans. That world popula­tion growth poses a serious security threat has been well established.[2] Under the Carter Administration, the National Security Council first acknowledged this threat,[3] which was subsequently reaffirmed.[4] The election of President Reagan has introduced an administration that is the most Catholic in American history. His first National Security Advisor, Richard Allen, a Catholic, halted within the Council further discussion of population growth as a national security threat. His second National Security Advisor, William Clark, a Catholic, announced that the Carter council had “erred” in this determination and that this “error” must be corrected. Reagan’s CIA director, William Casey, a Catholic, ignores any intelligence that would indicate that overpopulation is a security threat. Alexander Haig, a Catholic who was Reagan’s first secretary of state, supported the Carter council’s position on this issue but, according to Haig, was drummed out of office by his Catholic colleagues. His replacement, George Shultz, a Catholic, remains silent in this regard.

Margaret Heckler, a Catholic, as secretary of Housing and Human Services, is responsible for the U.S. government’s support of domestic family-planning services. She is both anti-abortion and supportive of the administration’s restrictions on family-planning services. Attor­ney-General William French Smith, a Catholic, is responsible for the Immigration and Naturalization Service and for the execution of U.S. immigration laws. The attorney-general has chosen to give little atten­tion to this responsibility and to ignore the fact that our bishops and thousands of clergy commit a felony every time they aid or abet an ille­gal alien (90 percent of our illegal aliens are Catholic). The mathe­matical odds of this arrangement happening by chance are fantastically low in this nation which is only 20 percent Catholic. The Church has managed to cover all key highest level positions that would be con­cerned with the population growth and security issue….

The successes of the Church have occurred despite a large unsatis­fied demand for family planning. Among countries studied by the World Fertility Survey, typically one-half of the fertile married women who want no more children are not using any method of contracep­tion. On the Indian subcontinent these levels exceed 90 percent. As a rule, one-third to one-half of those interviewed reported that their last child was unwanted.[7] Worldwide, more than two in three women at risk of pregnancy (about 450 million out of 670 million women) lack access to modem contraceptive methods.

The decline of the world population growth control effort of the past couple of years has coincided with the activities of Pope John Paul II and his Vatican. Virtually every American is familiar with his position on family planning and population growth control: “The will of God and the law of reason demand an unrelenting fight against immoral contraception.” His position has been well covered by the American press. It is indeed unfortunate that the actions of the Vatican to intervene in our national affairs have not been equally publicized. This silence of the American press has given the Vatican enormous power to undermine family planning worldwide. The Church is completely candid about its implorable opposition to birth control and professes that it will do everything possible to accomplish its purposes.

The Vatican has called on its bishops, all of whom are completely loyal (though they may appear at certain moments to be otherwise) to thwart efforts for population growth control. The Church, through its two thousand years of experience, has learned that responsiveness to the chain of command in this truly monolithic organization can best be guaranteed by selecting persons for leadership positions who have an intense lust for power….

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On the one hand, this could read as a bigoted opinion. People are supposed to be tolerant of other’s religions, etc. The problem in that the Catholic religion is extremely powerful and adversely affects many inside and outside of their religion.

I have problems with their insistence on the superiority of men, and the adverse long-term effects on the planet of their anti-birth-control stance.

Pantheism and the Vatican

“The Vatican gave Pantheism further prominence in a Papal encyclical of 2009 and a New Year’s Day statement on January 1, 2010, criticizing Naturalistic Pantheism for denying the superiority of humans over nature and “seeing the source of man’s salvation in nature”.

Einstein wrote, “We followers of Spinoza see our God in the wonderful order and lawfulness of all that exists and in its soul (“Beseeltheit”) as it reveals itself in man and animal.”

From Wikipedia – Pantheism

I think it’s weird that the Catholic Church with all of it’s power bothers to criticize Pantheism. Pantheists certainly don’t care what “the Vatican” thinks about what they think – except to be amused. If “the Vatican” did agree with Pantheists – he would not be able to say because it would undo their power. So he has to just keep being ridiculous no matter how little sense his ideas make.

It’s absurd to say that humans are superior over nature. We need nature / we are nature – just like the rest of nature. And there is nothing the matter with nature, anyway – for us to be so much “better” than. What a denial of reality. We are made up of the elements of nature. We are born and die just like other mammals. Sheesh.

“Seeing the source of man’s salvation in nature.”

Seeing as how dependent on nature we are (being a part of nature and all) – nature is all that can ‘save’ us.

The church – esp. the original sin nonsense would have us believe that animals (us) should live outside of nature – that we need to be saved from being animals – being mortal – being alive. Also absurd.

Interesting developments -> The Vatican & American Nuns

The Vatican has issued a decree rebuking American nuns and trying to enforce more control over them. 

It’s good to hear about the radical, feminist nuns.

From an article in the Chicago Sun Times titled, Vatican waging a war on nuns (by Carol Marin)

… if you thought things could not get more surreal or insulting for the women of the Catholic Church, you may have underestimated the lengths the Curia will go to alienate American Catholics from a faith they love and from a hierarchy that has compromised much of its moral authority.

In a scathing rebuke, the Vati­can ordered the overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization that represents most of the 57,000 sisters in the United States.

What sins have these women committed? According to the Vatican, these nuns have been too focused on issues of poverty, war, health care and homosexuality. And not fixated enough on what the bishops think is most important — women’s wombs.

These nuns — “radical feminists,” says the Vatican — have failed to understand that the bishops are their “authentic teachers.”

At mass this week, one of the readings was from Acts 5:29. The apostles Peter and John were ordered by the temple’s high priest not to teach. And their response was, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”

The nuns of this church are doing God’s work. They deserve gratitude and respect.

Not the Vatican’s unpardonable scorn.

Abigail Pesta interviewed a former nun for her take on all this, 

Former Nun Mary Johnson Criticizes Vatican Crackdown on U.S. Sisters

“The main complaint is that sisters are thinking for themselves,” she says. “No one says it in those words, but that’s the bottom line: you’re thinking for yourself, and we don’t like that.” She adds, “It’s an election year and bishops are becoming more political. When sisters don’t agree, they sometimes raise their voices. The Catholic Church has long recognized that an individual’s first duty is to obey his or her conscience, but the bishops say that any conscience that conflicts with their teaching is a conscience in error. Any questioning is seen as disloyal, even heretical—bishops aren’t used to being questioned. It’s easy for bishops to get an overblown sense of their own importance.”

The Vatican got Hacked

Anonymous, the hackers, took it down.

In a statement on its Italian-language website, the collective accused the Catholic Church of being responsible for a long list of misdeeds throughout history, including the selling of indulgences in the 16th century and burning heretics during the Inquisition.

“Anonymous decided today to besiege your site in response to the doctrine, to the liturgies, to the absurd and anachronistic concepts that your for-profit organisation spreads around the world.

“This attack is not against the Christian religion or the faithful around the world but against the corrupt Roman Apostolic Church.”

It also accused the Vatican of being “retrograde” in its interfering in Italian domestic affairs.

It is interesting because the ‘Vatican’ can seem to be untouchable, so powerful as to be omnipotent – so it’s nice to see signs of weakness. The Vatican, et al, could use some humility.