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 Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:12 pm

Last night here in LA, I went with my father, sister and niece to see the new independent film, Philomena - starring Judi Dench.  She is such a wonderful actress.  Many years ago, I did some special communications around the film, "the Magdalen Sisters."  I wrote about this briefly elsewhere on this forum.  Philomena is based on a true story - a teenage Irish girl gets pregnant (not married) and is banished to a convent where she has the baby, and then lives as a servant, working in the convent's laundry.  Her child is taken from her and sold to an American couple which was a common practice back then.  This convent was one of the notorious "Magdalen laundries" - there were hundreds of them across Europe and even some in North America - where for a few centuries - girls were sent - some who were pregnant, others just for being independent or "difficult" - to live essentially as slaves, unable to leave, severely overworked and verbally, emotionally and physically abused.  A very dark chapter in Catholic history - but they have so many.  An horrific example of religion going terribly wrong.  The film is about Philomena's search to find her son

So why bring it up here?  In one key scene, the elderly nun who ran the convent and sold off many children is confronted - and the nun is unrepentant, aggressively mean, blaming all the girls for being sinners, and saying she was doing Christ's work in making the girls suffer for their sins and sexuality.  The lack of compassion, empathy, self-awareness as well as her institutional blindness is disturbing.  How can religion go so wrong and become so mean and heartless?  Almost any behavior can be rationalized, dressed up in religious garb, justified, In small and big ways, we see it all the time.  In the case of Shasta and other small personality-based cultic groups, the isolation makes everything worse, especially over time... where one teaching or practice starts out benign and slowly morphs into dogma and rigidity and ritualized behavior.  You can be talking and preaching about compassion and love, but living the exact opposite, all justified in some way. 

Here is a review of the film.  If you are interested in this, i am sure you can find the Magdalene Sisters film on-line somewhere.

November 21, 2013 - NYTimes
Movie Review - Nasty Nuns Can’t Shake a Faith
By STEPHEN HOLDEN


In “Philomena,” Judi Dench’s portrayal of a stubborn, kindhearted Irish Catholic trying to discover what became of the toddler she was forced to give up as a teenager is so quietly moving that it feels lit from within. A major theme of this film from Stephen Frears is forgiveness. Ms. Dench’s Philomena Lee glows with the radiance of someone serene in her faith despite inhumane treatment by the church. That she makes you believe her character has the capacity to forgive provides the movie with a solid moral center.

Ms. Dench’s dignified performance and the screenplay — adapted by her co-star Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope from Martin Sixsmith’s 2009 nonfiction book, “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” — stabilize a volatile blend of ingredients. In less confident hands, the film could have been a mawkish, rambling tear-jerker.

“Philomena” has many facets. It is a comedic road movie, a detective story, an infuriated anticlerical screed, and an inquiry into faith and the limitations of reason, all rolled together. Fairly sophisticated about spiritual matters, it takes pains to distinguish faith from institutionalized piety. It also has a surprising political subtext in its comparison of the church’s oppression and punishment of unmarried sex — what the convent’s harsh mother superior denounces as “carnal incontinence” — with homophobia and the United States government’s reluctance to deal with the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Philomena recalls sensing that her son, even when he was a tot, would grow up to be gay.

Ms. Dench, who is more accustomed to playing cool, imperious matriarchs than twinkling little old ladies, knows exactly how far to push the inherent cuteness of her role without it curdling into shtick. Her Philomena, for all her surface prudishness, shyly admits to having happy, guilt-free memories of the liaison that got her in trouble. Even more surprisingly, she professes a matter-of-fact acceptance of homosexuality. Her equanimity on the subject may be a little far-fetched given her age and background, but her independent spirit suggests that such an attitude is not beyond the realm of possibility.

The teenage Philomena (Sophie Kennedy Clark) becomes pregnant in 1952 and is sent to a convent in Roscrea, Ireland. She spends several years in virtual slave labor, working in the convent laundry. It is part punishment and part compensation to the nuns who looked after her during childbirth. These prisonlike convent laundries, where shamed parents exiled their “bad” daughters, were the subject of Peter Mullan’s 2002 film, “The Magdalene Sisters,” and of a Joni Mitchell song.

The girls are allowed to see their children only one hour a day, and Philomena is forced to sign a contract agreeing never to inquire into her son’s whereabouts. In the film’s most anguished scene, she is beside herself as she watches from a convent window as the child, Anthony, is whisked away in a car by a wealthy American couple. The 3-year-old boy had been sold for 1,000 pounds.

Fifty years later, Philomena, in her 70s, meets Martin Sixsmith (Mr. Coogan), a onetime BBC foreign correspondent who was later ousted as a spin doctor in Tony Blair’s government and is now obliged to support himself with freelance journalism assignments. Martin, a cynic and an atheist, persuades an initially reluctant Philomena to cooperate with him on a magazine article telling her story. When they visit the convent, they are coldly informed that all records from the time were destroyed in a fire.

The film widens its focus when Martin’s sleuthing reveals the probable whereabouts of Anthony, who worked for the Reagan administration. Philomena insists on accompanying Martin when he flies to Washington. The movie can’t resist finding comedy in this unlikely team. Philomena, a devotee of romance novels, tries Martin’s patience by relaying the plots of the novels she reads. Instead of visiting the Lincoln Memorial, she would rather watch the movie “Big Momma’s House” on television at the hotel. Martin is arrogant, bordering on boorish in his pursuit of the story, and Mr. Coogan does an impressive job of muting his comedian’s instincts to paint him as intimidatingly brusque.

Even through improbable moments and abrupt changes of pace and tone, Ms. Dench and Mr. Coogan hold the movie together and pull forward a story that ends where it began. In giving equal weight to Martin’s skepticism and Philomena’s faith, it manages to have its cake and eat it too.

“Philomena” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned) for some strong language and sexual references.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:58 pm

Great actress great topic,I am still amazed that religion brings out such delusion.
Not my type of film though,I have to admit I am very basic and like nasty guy does something nasty and Clint Eastwood kills him
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:19 am

Bodies of 800 babies, long-dead, found in septic tank at former Irish home for unwed mothers


Children’s Home, Dublin Road, Tuam, Ireland circa 1950. (Courtesy of Catherine Corless/Tuam Historical Society)

In a town in western Ireland, where castle ruins pepper green landscapes, there’s a six-foot stone wall that once surrounded a place called the Home. Between 1925 and 1961, thousands of “fallen women” and their “illegitimate” children passed through the Home, run by the Bon Secours nuns in Tuam.
Many of the women, after paying a penance of indentured servitude for their out-of-wedlock pregnancy, left the Home for work and lives in other parts of Ireland and beyond. Some of their children were not so fortunate.

More than five decades after the Home was closed and destroyed — where a housing development and children’s playground now stands — what happened to nearly 800 of those abandoned children has now emerged: Their bodies were piled into a massive septic tank sitting in the back of the structure and forgotten, with neither gravestones nor coffins.

“The bones are still there,” local historian Catherine Corless, who uncovered the origins of the mass grave in a batch of never-before-released documents, told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “The children who died in the Home, this was them.”

The grim findings, which are being investigated by police, provide a glimpse into a particularly dark time for unmarried pregnant women in Ireland, where societal and religious mores stigmatized them. Without means to support themselves, women by the hundreds wound up at the Home. “When daughters became pregnant, they were ostracized completely,” Corless said. “Families would be afraid of neighbors finding out, because to get pregnant out of marriage was the worst thing on Earth. It was the worst crime a woman could commit, even though a lot of the time it had been because of a rape.”

According to documents Corless provided the Irish Mail on Sunday, malnutrition and neglect killed many of the children, while others died of measles, convulsions, TB, gastroenteritis and pneumonia. Infant mortality at the Home was staggeringly high.

“If you look at the records, babies were dying two a week, but I’m still trying to figure out how they could [put the bodies in a septic tank],” Corless said. “Couldn’t they have afforded baby coffins?”

Special kinds of neglect and abuse were reserved for the Home Babies, as locals call them. Many in surrounding communities remember them. They remember how they were segregated to the fringes of classrooms, and how the local nuns accentuated the differences between them and the others. They remember how, as one local told the Irish Central, they were “usually gone by school age — either adopted or dead.”

According to Irish Central, a 1944 local health board report described the children living at the Home as “emaciated,” “pot-bellied,” “fragile” and with “flesh hanging loosely on limbs.”

Corless has a vivid recollection of the Home Babies. “If you acted up in class, some nuns would threaten to seat you next to the Home Babies,” she said. She said she recalled one instance in which an older schoolgirl wrapped a tiny stone in a bright candy wrapper and gave it to a Home Baby as a gift.

“When the child opened it, she saw she’d been fooled,” Corless told Irish Central. “Of course, I copied her later and I tried to play the joke on another little Home girl. I thought it was funny at the time…. Years after, I asked myself what did I do to that poor little girl that never saw a sweet? That has stuck with me all my life. A part of me wants to make up to them.”

She said she first started investigating the Home, which most locals wanted to “forget,” when she started working on a local annual historical journal. She heard there was a little graveyard near what had been the Home, and that piqued her curiosity. How many children were there?

So she requested the records through the local registration house to find out. The attendant “came back a couple of weeks later and said the number was staggering, just hundreds and hundreds, that it was nearly 800 dead children,” Corless said.

Once, in 1995, Corless said in the phone interview, several boys had stumbled across the mass grave, which lay beneath a cracked piece of concrete:

“The boys told me it had been filled to the brim with human skulls and bones. They said even to this day they still have nightmares of finding the bodies.”
Locals suspect that the number of bodies in the mass grave, which will likely soon be excavated, may be even higher than 800. “God knows who else is in the grave,” one anonymous source told the Daily Mail. “It’s been lying there for years, and no one knows the full extent of the total of bodies down there.”
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:35 am

How sad, I had not heard this,
It is very very unfortunate that the pressures of society force  conformity in the way we think and act,so this is allowed to happen.
I think England has changed a lot over the last 50 years with regard to the way we live and pressures of a class system,but w still have not developed much compassion love and understandin as a human race
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:02 pm

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/tag/home-babies/?orderby=date&order=ASC

From Andrew Sullivan:

Catholicism’s Crimes Against Humanity
Jun 3 2014 @ 1:22pm
 
You may recall the kerfuffle recently when the UN Rapporteur on Torture tried to indict the Vatican for “crimes against humanity” because of the widespread scheme, orchestrated by the church hierarchy, to facilitate and cover up the mass rape and sexual abuse of children. Many argued that the very term “crime against humanity” was over the top, fueled by anti-Catholicism or secularism, and effectively undermined itself by its extreme language.

But what can possibly describe the following unless it is a crime against humanity?

Quote :
In a town in western Ireland, where castle ruins pepper green landscapes, there’s a six-foot stone wall that once surrounded a place called the Home. Between 1925 and 1961, thousands of “fallen women” and their “illegitimate” children passed through the Home, run by the Bon Secours nuns in Tuam. Many of the women, after paying a penance of indentured servitude for their out-of-wedlock pregnancy, left the Home for work and lives in other parts of Ireland and beyond. Some of their children were not so fortunate.
More than five decades after the Home was closed and destroyed — where a housing development and children’s playground now stands — what happened to nearly 800 of those abandoned children has now emerged: Their bodies were piled into a massive septic tank sitting in the back of the structure and forgotten, with neither gravestones nor coffins.
A mass grave for eight hundred children, buried with no dignity, no humanity, no trace of decency. And the mass grave may well have been facilitated by rampant, disgusting and callous neglect:
Quote :
According to documents Corless provided the Irish Mail on Sunday, malnutrition and neglect killed many of the children, while others died of measles, convulsions, TB, gastroenteritis and pneumonia. Infant mortality at the Home was staggeringly high. “If you look at the records, babies were dying two a week, but I’m still trying to figure out how they could [put the bodies in a septic tank],” Corless said. “Couldn’t they have afforded baby coffins?”
Special kinds of neglect and abuse were reserved for the Home Babies, as locals call them. Many in surrounding communities remember them. They remember how they were segregated to the fringes of classrooms, and how the local nuns accentuated the differences between them and the others. They remember how, as one local told the Irish Central, they were “usually gone by school age — either adopted or dead.” According to Irish Central, a 1944 local health board report described the children living at the Home as “emaciated,” “pot-bellied,” “fragile” and with “flesh hanging loosely on limbs.”

Let us call this what it is: a concentration camp with willful disregard for the survival of its innocent captives, a death camp for a group of people deemed inferior because of the circumstances of their birth. When we talk of mass graves of this kind, we usually refer to Srebrenica or the crimes of Pol Pot. But this was erected in the name of Jesus, and these despicable acts were justified by his alleged teaching.

To my mind, these foul crimes against women and children, along with the brutal stigmatization of gay people as “objectively disordered”, remain a testament to how the insidious, neurotic and usually misogynist fixation on sex has distorted and destroyed Christianity in ways we are only now beginning to recover from. For what we see here is the consequence of elevating sexual sin above all others, of fixating on human sexuality as the chief source of evil in the world, and of a grotesquely distorted sense of moral priorities, where stigmatization of the sexual sinner vastly outweighs even something as basic as care for an innocent child.

It seems to me that we have to move past the church’s current doctrines on sex if we are to fully seek justice for the victims of this pathology and if we are to ensure that never again is a phrase that actually means something. It is not enough to ask for a change in governance (and even that has been hard); what this evil signifies is the need to root out this pernicious obsession with sexual sin. This pathology – perpetuated by Benedict and the sex-phobic theocons – perpetuates the mindset that led to this barbarism. The nuns – and yes, this was abuse practised by women as well as men – did not ever seem to realize that Jesus himself was conceived, to all intents and purposes, out of wedlock – in a manner that may well have led his contemporaries to stigmatize him as illegitimate as well. They did not for a moment internalize Jesus’ emphatic insistence on the holiness of children as those most likely to enter the kingdom of Heaven. No, these precious images of God were consigned, after years of abuse and neglect, to unmarked early graves in a septic tank.

That is not a sign of a church gone astray. It’s a sign of a church given over to evil. A church that leaves young children to die of malnutrition and then dumps hundreds of them into a mass grave is not a church. It’s an evil institution that robs the word “church” of any meaning, and twists the Gospels into their direct opposite.

We failed these children in their short lifetimes. Never, ever forget them if we are to have a chance at restoring a Christianity worthy of Jesus.
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:06 pm

http://youtu.be/IhXKI9tAI_M
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:46 pm

The story is not quite hitting the TV news I have seen it on a news channels webpage but not seen it on TV.
I believe the story is getting bigger in Ireland,with demands for inquiries and apologies.
An horrific episode of time
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:57 am

Yes, the issue is finally being recognized, and starting to be acknowledged, in Ireland.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ireland-mass-graves-government-may-launch-inquiry-into-800-children-found-in-septic-tank-9487946.html
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:03 am

Jcbaran wrote:
http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/tag/home-babies/?orderby=date&order=ASC

From Andrew Sullivan:

Catholicism’s Crimes Against Humanity
Jun 3 2014 @ 1:22pm
 
You may recall the kerfuffle recently when the UN Rapporteur on Torture tried to indict the Vatican for “crimes against humanity” because of the widespread scheme, orchestrated by the church hierarchy, to facilitate and cover up the mass rape and sexual abuse of children. Many argued that the very term “crime against humanity” was over the top, fueled by anti-Catholicism or secularism, and effectively undermined itself by its extreme language.

Let us call this what it is: a concentration camp with willful disregard for the survival of its innocent captives, a death camp for a group of people deemed inferior because of the circumstances of their birth. When we talk of mass graves of this kind, we usually refer to Srebrenica or the crimes of Pol Pot. But this was erected in the name of Jesus, and these despicable acts were justified by his alleged teaching. 

It is chilling to see the extent to which the ideologies of Nazism and Catholicism resulted in similar outcomes.  All it takes is scapegoating a particular group.  I had the misfortune of attending a Catholic school as a kid in the 50s and I saw first hand how the nuns hated themselves and acted out against the kids.  They should never have been allowed near children.  I remember one remarkable incident where a mother of one of the girls just showed up in a hallway and confronted one of the nuns for hitting her child.  She read that nun the "riot act" and actually smacked her in the face!  I was about 7 or 8 at the time and had no idea what to make of it, but now I see it as a moment of justice in what was otherwise the unchallenged use of corporal punishment to inculcate guilt and fear into defenseless children.

Personally I don't have a problem with declaring the RCC's widespread child abuse conspiracy a "crime against humanity" if that's what it would take to fully prosecute it; among other things crimes against humanity have no Statute of Limitations.


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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:21 am

I'm glad these films are being made. As I have mentioned before on this forum I am a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, part of which was perpetrated by a parish priest, part by a superior in a monastic seminary when I was an adolescent. When the time came for my own healing and benefit to confront the monastic authorities and also the still living perpetrator when I was then a middle age man, the thing that gave me power, where I had none before, was the fear of litigation, public exposure, and loss of money and property. It was only the intervention of the courts that really brought this all to light and some semblance of restorative justice to the victims. But in my life-long journey what has convinced me more than ever is that institutional religion serves much more as a defense against actual spiritual and ethical transformation than a catalyst  for it.  In confronting my abuser, even after he had been forced to go away to residential evaluation and treatment for six months, was the awareness that this man had never lived an authentic day in his life, never breathed an authentic breath. He was a total fraud. And he had used religiosity and the monastic institution as a hiding place against real transformative living. What was left of him was just a rigid shell, empty of life, and filled with denial and self deception. My confrontation and exposure of his crimes were the first time he had ever really been confronted with any kind of truth about himself. Sadly in places like this, (as was too often the case at SA, spiritual maturity was measured by the level of unquestioning loyalty.)  Fortunately these structures are failing and failing rapidly towards an inevitable collapse.

I would add that Irish Catholicism carried among the worst and most inhumane aspects of teaching and behavior because of the influence of Jansenism (i.e. flesh is evil etc.) but also because of  unquestioned loyalty of the Irish people to ecclesiastical authority and clergy as a bulwark against the English  occupation and because the RCC supported Irish nationalism. I grew up in Eastern Oregon where most of the clergy and nuns were Irish imports. They called our Roman Catholic diocese "the diocese of Eastern Ireland".
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:40 am

from the Washington Post:
800 dead babies are probably just the beginning
The corpses found in an Irish septic pit resulted from a larger problem.
By Martin Sixsmith June 6 at 1:03 PM
Martin Sixsmith’s book, Philomena, published by Penguin Books, was adapted for the screen last year.


The discovery of a grave containing the remains of as many as 800 babies at a former home for unmarried mothers in Ireland is yet another problem for the Irish Catholic Church. The mother and baby home at Tuam in County Galway was run by the nuns of the Sisters of Bon Secours and operated between 1925 and 1961. It took in thousands of women who had committed the “mortal sin” of unwed pregnancy, delivered their babies and was charged with caring for them. But unsanitary conditions, poor food and a lack of medical care led to shockingly high rates of infant mortality. Babies’ bodies were deposited in a former sewage tank.

Sadly, the mass grave at Tuam is probably not unique. I visited the site — the home was demolished in the 1970s — and spoke with locals who remember babies’ skulls emerging from the soil around their houses. When boys broke open the cover of the sewage pit, they found it “full to the brim” of skeletons. Tuam was only one of a dozen mother and baby homes in Ireland in the years after the Second World War, all of which treated their inmates in a similar fashion.

During 10 years of research into the Catholic Church’s treatment of “fallen women” — I wrote about one of them in my book, Philomena, later turned into a feature film starring Dame Judi Dench — I discovered that the girls were refused medical attention, including painkillers, during even the most difficult births; the nuns told them the pain was the penance they must pay for their sin. In the home where Philomena gave birth, an unkempt plot bears the names of babies and mothers, some as young as 15. There are undoubtedly many more there who have no memorial.

For those who survived, the psychological trauma has endured. Philomena and thousands like her were forced to look after their babies for up to four years, bonding with them before they were taken away to be adopted. Many went to families in the United States in return for substantial “donations”; lack of proper vetting meant some were handed over to abusive parents. The mothers were told they were moral degenerates, too sullied to keep their babies. The nuns said they would burn in hell if they spoke to anyone about their children or what had been done with them.

That sense of guilt and shame remained with the girls for life. One woman whose child was born in Tuam told me she felt it was wrong of her to talk to me even now. At first it was hard to persuade Philomena to tell me her story, too. But when my book was published, she received letters from other “fallen women” saying how grateful they were that someone had had the courage to break the Omertà.

The warped code of honour behind the decades of silence had been inculcated by an all-powerful Catholic Church. For much of the late 20th century, the Irish civil authorities were in thrall to the hierarchy; Archbishop John Charles McQuaid threatened pulpit denunciations if the government contradicted his policies. So the state connived in the mother and baby homes, paying the nuns at Tuam and all the other homes a per capita rate for every inmate.

With hindsight, the church argues that it was performing a socially necessary task, helping to solve the problem of “illegitimate” children. It is true that pregnant girls would have been shunned by their families and left with no one to turn to. But the fact is that the church itself had created the problem by the stigma it attached to unmarried sex — and by its refusal to allow contraception or sex education in any form. Philomena was typical of the thousands who became pregnant through ignorance. She says she “didn’t even know which end the baby would come out.”

It is too late to bring back the dead babies of Tuam or to undo the damage done to thousands of innocent mothers and children. But there are ways that a modicum of justice could still be done. The Irish government has offered financial compensation to former inmates of the Magdalene laundries, where women were confined for reasons ranging from prostitution and sexual indiscretion to disobedience and mental deficiency. But the compensation scheme specifically excludes the far greater numbers of women — estimated to be as many as 60,000 — who suffered in the mother-and-baby homes. The state could extend the scheme.

My impression, though, is that the victims want more than money. A full and unreserved apology would help. Even more importantly, the state and church could open the records to assist the hundreds of parted mothers and children who are still searching for each other. The nuns blocked Philomena in her quest to find her son. They thwarted others whose children were taken from them at Tuam and elsewhere. That shouldn’t be allowed to continue.


Last edited by Isan on Sat Jun 07, 2014 12:11 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Admin edit to eliminate duplicate text with Josh' permission.)
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 1:25 pm

So Awful this story,and horrible that a church can make people feel bad about themselves,I am still amazed unless I miss it how I dont hear about it in the media
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:42 pm

Michael, if you had grown up in Catholic culture from that era, the whole system was based on making people feel bad about themselves, and that their sole escape from eternal hell was to be in the good favor of the Roman Catholic Church. (They called it being "in a state of grace".)  It was an entire theological and doctrinal system built on fear and control. It is good that these things are publicized and together with the other revelations, the sex abuse scandal,etc.. The result has been that it has undermined and de-legitimized this system of control, and in Ireland the stranglehold of the Roman Church over Irish culture and politics has in large part collapsed.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:57 pm

This revelation looks like evidence of mass murder of babies in my perception, either by violence or neglect, or both. This should take the edge off  the sanctimonious, hypocritical "pro-life" politics of the hierarchy of the RCC. Revelations like this can hopefully empower the new pope to get rid of the influence of  arch-conservatives like Opus Dei in the RCC and bring a focus to the real work of compassion in the world, if that is his true intent.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:36 pm

Ys Bill it i hard to get to grips with,
Religion seems to be  about conflict with ones self, I like ' forget the self be be enlightentened by all beings.
The face before we are born,but zen is so often brought down to our self level,realisations based on way after one is born
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:24 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
Religion seems to be  about conflict with ones self, I like ' forget the self be be enlightentened by all beings.
The face before we are born,but zen is so often brought down to our self level,realisations based on way after one is born
I'm with you, Michael. Uncovering  and living original face is where it's at for me.  A contemporary Catholic theologian, Mathew Fox tried to bring that teaching into his tradition when he wrote a book called Original Blessing, and dismissed the Original Sin doctrine as hooey. He got kicked out of the church for it. But Meister Eckhart and a number of other Christian mystics through the centuries have done similarly, including Thomas Merton. Some got burned at the stake for it. There's just no money, power, and control in something you can't exclusively franchise. No fear factor.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:47 pm

Yes I thought you would be with me on that Bill
I think Religion can be used to control, manipulate, create fear,create a religious self.
Religion may lead and point, but It can not show you your original face
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:53 pm

from BBC World Service Radio.....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0201hnm
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 5:21 pm

I do not tend to watch the BBC so I do not know if this is reported on the main national news, I am not sure how many stories run maybe the news bodies are waiting for it to crescendo either that or I miss it,my feeling is the story is not really out here maybe it would be hard to accept
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sat Jun 07, 2014 6:32 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
from BBC World Service Radio.....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0201hnm

Podcasts are listed on this page:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/worldupmc

Here is a direct link:

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/worldupmc/worldupmc_20140606-1044b.mp3

The segment about the babies begins at around 9:40
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sun Jun 08, 2014 3:36 am

And when a baby died a pile of silver coins grew at the door flap, for a baby must be well buried, since it has had nothing else of life. An old man may be left in a potter’s field, but not a baby.

John Steinbeck "Grapes of Wrath"
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sun Jun 08, 2014 1:48 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
I do not tend to watch the BBC so I do not know if this is reported on the main national news, I am not sure how many stories run maybe the news bodies are waiting for it to crescendo either that or I miss it,my feeling is the story is not really out here maybe it would be hard to accept
 
Some additional news here:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/republic-of-ireland/mass-baby-grave-in-tuam-galway-bon-secours-nuns-told-to-assist-investigation-30331124.html

And this:

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/republic-of-ireland/mass-baby-grave-in-tuam-galway-enda-kenny-voices-concerns-that-other-mass-graves-exist-across-ireland-30333050.html
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:11 pm

I am sure there will be a thorough investigation by government and police over there, I find alot of what we have discussed  including Kennett, hard at first because it involves aspects of my persona I once thought was impeccable,maybe when the story breaks more over here it may free people from the darkness of religion,which is of course part of our nations consciousness
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:11 am

One of my friend posted the story on facebook, and  a tv channel has mentioned it on their website a few papers are starting to write,it will shock people here
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:07 am

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
I am sure there will be a thorough investigation by government and police over there, I find alot of what we have discussed  including Kennett, hard at first because it involves aspects of my persona I once thought was impeccable,maybe when the story breaks more over here it may free people from the darkness of religion,which is of course part of our nations consciousness
 
It does look like the investigation is moving forward:

http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/articles/2014/06/12/ireland-inquiry-into-mother-and-baby-homes-may-delve-beyond-deaths
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:21 pm

The puzzling thing for me Isan is I hear about this  on the Forum.
My friend shared a report on face book, I chimed in with a soft comment about religion and control,sh mention God and felt she was on strange ground talking that Christianity may have some negativity within it and removed the whole conversation from facebook,which is fair enough. For Christians it is quit omthing to get their heads around, sins and sinners tend to be naughty people not rligious popl who have given their life to the discipline of the church
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:05 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
The puzzling thing for me Isan is I hear about this on the Forum.
My friend shared a report on face book, I chimed in with a soft comment about religion and control, she mentioned God and felt she was on strange ground talking that Christianity may have some negativity within it and removed the whole conversation from facebook,which is fair enough. For Christians it is quite something to get their heads around, sins and sinners tend to be naughty people not religious people who have given their life to the discipline of the church
 
When you say "puzzling" do you mean that you're only hearing about it on this forum?  I expect that quite a few people still feel it's taboo to talk about.  I'm not seeing coverage in the US news streams, but there is so much violent conflict in the world happening right now that perhaps it drowns out something like this.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:32 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
For Christians it is quit omthing to get their heads around, sins and sinners tend to be naughty people not rligious popl who have given their life to the discipline of the church

Michael, having been raised in Roman Catholic culture of institutional fundamentalism and gone off to the seminary as an adolescent I can appreciate something of the dynamics of this thing. The version I was raised in was largely an Irish Catholic fundamentalist sort, where priests and bishops protected serial pedophiles from discovery (it was so in my own case) and threatened victims and their parents with eternal [banned term] if they told.  Roman Catholics, are, and even more so in the past, indoctrinated with a theology that the institutional church itself is Divine, and it is the the sole source of salvation in the world. It has the exclusive plumbing through which grace flows ( From the time of Constantine when most Christian followers were incorporated and subsumed into the Roman Empire in the 4th century the ideology that heaven ruled through emperor and empire continued on in the Roman Catholic Church.) Hence if the legitimacy and authority of its institutions and institutional representatives crumbles, the individual faith of the believer crumbles, with a result of despair and loss of loyalty from the believer. 

When you have no theology and coherent teaching of an inner light or true being that gives you life, connection, and completeness, wherein you can learn to "be a light unto yourself", an inner source, an inner authority, then the whole oppressive structure, which is reliant on fear and sinfulness, purity driven schemes, has you by the throat and you've painted yourself into a corner. Now that's not all of Roman Catholicism by any means. (The mystics pointed in another direction entirely.) Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy and other streams of Christianity also have their own issues and forms of fundamentalism. In the world today there is much discussion about radical fundamentalism of the biblical sort, or other forms in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and so on. But Roman Catholicism and its legacy in Western Christianity wrestles with a particular variety of institutional fundamentalism, of which the most visible sort is the doctrine of papal infallibility. 

So I can see how this can play out in an historical and cultural context of an oppressed and oppressive society which Ireland has been, with rigid, abusive, patriarchal family structures, and rampant with alcoholism,child abuse, and domestic violence. ( I say that as someone whose great grandparents were Irish immigrants.) Hence secrecy and cover-up become imperative in keeping these horrific abuses and atrocities from becoming known among the people. Hence today the discovery of 800 bodies of babies found in a septic tank. And you must also remember that many of the members of the clergy and the religious orders were not there by choice, but pushed there by the coercion of poverty and the pressure of parents of large families.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:42 pm

Thanks for that thoughtful piece Bill.
Answering Isan no I do not come across it elsewhere, It was in the economist on line yesterday,I think it is too difficult for people here to come to terms with. I understand what Bill writes but we have 100s of years of religion in tall dimly lit churches with no heating and driven by a fear not only of God but also the old foe lucifer himself,to question or query is either a big or little sin, not sure which
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:56 pm

Fear is the key in understanding the psychology of oppressive religion, Michael. If you can make people afraid, alone,  and disconnected from what is deepest in themselves and in all of life, they can be dominated and bullied. On the theistic side of religion you've got to have a bully thug God who pushes you around, and you've got to have an enemy devil who wants to eat your soul, so the bully God and institutional minions can protect you. Again, that's not the whole picture, but it's an all too prevalent one historically. And it's what can help us understand how atrocities like the one we're discussing can come about and be kept secret and hidden from view. I am actually grateful that we live in a time when this institutional fundamentalism and the related biblical fundamentalism is losing power in our culture, and seemingly largely rejected by the millennial generation coming up. And I would also say that at least here in the U.S. the mainstream liberal Protestant denominations and liberal elements of Catholicism are rejecting it as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:14 pm

If you can make people afraid, alone,  and disconnected from what is deepest in themselves and in all of life,
Gosh Bill didn't think you knew my ex wife as well!!
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:35 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
Gosh Bill didn't think you knew my ex wife as well!!

Michael, I think you missed your calling as a stand-up comedian.  funny
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 3:48 pm

Ha thanks Bill
It does sem that at long last we seem to have reached a point in time when myths can be dispersed and we can see things as they are,religion has to be accountable ,brought up to date.Of course to ones original face , the unborn . the unborn includes the unborn religion, and spiritual path
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:28 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:

It does sem that at long last we seem to have reached a point in time when myths can be dispersed and we can see things as they are,religion has to be accountable ,brought up to date.Of course to ones original face , the unborn . the unborn includes the unborn religion, and spiritual path

That is the hope that I have. I just got through reading a book by Kurt Johnson, The Coming Interspiritual Age, building on the work of Wayne Teasdale (The Mystic Heart) and Ken Wilber (Anatomy of Consciousness) where he says precisely the same thing. He sees the power of Mythic/Magic foundations of institutional religion across the globe deteriorating rapidly and a growing heart centered spirituality of unitive consciousness on the rise, as an important step in the evolution of our species.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:51 pm

a growing heart centered spirituality of unitive consciousness on the rise, as an important step in the evolution of our species.
Well I hope so Bill,Zen for me as always been a teaching or transmission outside of language,institution words and 'no words'
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:51 am

Amnesty International weighs in:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/ireland-mother-and-baby-homes-investigation-robust-comprehensive-2014-06-19
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:20 am

Very good historical overview here:

http://www.irishcentral.com/news/News-of-Tuam-babies-lands-in-Italy--more-lessons-from-Catholic-Ireland.html
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:04 pm

For those following this here are a couple of new pages:

"The mother behind the Galway children's mass grave story"

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/13/mother-behind-galway-childrens-mass-grave-story

Illegal adoptions: Exposing the pain of one of Ireland's hidden scandals:

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/exposing-the-pain-of-mother-and-baby-homes-273840.html
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:43 pm

Here is a balanced article published in the Guardian on the 4th of July which speaks to the backlash against some of the details in the initial reports.  It's important to note that the assumptions which were stated as facts have not been proven wrong, only that the truth hasn't been determined yet.  That won't be known until the investigation is fully underway.  It will be interesting to see how willing the government and the RCC are to fully reveal the facts.


http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/05/horror-tuam-missing-babies-not-diminished

On a related matter the Pope went on the record today decrying the RCC's sex abuse scandal.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/pope-francis-meets-abuse-victims-begs-forgiveness-church-n149491
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:53 pm

Good article in the Guardian thanks for posting it Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:10 pm

chisanmichaelhughes wrote:
Good article in the Guardian thanks for posting it Isan
 
Your welcome CMH.  It's worth noting that this is first article where there's been mention of coercion and rape.  No one is talking about the double standard and the misogyny that underlie the situation.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:49 pm

I have reread the article,I think e have changed alot as a society here in the last 50 years,a friend of mine gave up her baby as she was young ,and a Catholic.
Now there seems little or no stigmas attached to girls say 16 years becoming pregnant ,the families seem to muck in and help, I would not know if that is local or national,but it seems much healthier. My perspective is from me a man's perspective the article was from a woman,s perspective which I liked
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:38 am

Mother and Baby Homes inquiry could ‘close sensitive chapter'

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/mother-and-baby-homes-inquiry-could-close-sensitive-chapter-1.1862171
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:40 am

I'm hopeful that Ireland is waking up and owning and learning from its own history where one of the most cruel and repressive manifestations of religion and religious culture caused such damage to a nation already beset with terrible pain. If this commission and its investigations are honest and unflinching it should help the Irish people to heal from their past, and find freedom from the oppression of institutional church that has enslaved them. In the 12th Century the only English pope, Adrian IV, signed a Papal Bull, Laudabiliter, essentially granting sovereignty over Ireland to the English King Henry II and encouraging him to invade  and occupy Ireland and impose papal power and the Roman authoritarian and hierarchical brand of Christianity on the people. Prior to that time a brand of Celtic Christianity, influenced by the nature mysticism of the druids had prevailed in Ireland. This tradition of Celtic Christianity and its nature mysticism was focused on a theology of original goodness and divine presence within the natural world. St. Brigid of Kildare (6th c), a founder of a dual monastery for both men and women, and strong advocate of education for girls, exercised the powers of a bishop in her tenure. Another foremost teacher of this tradition, St. Columba, founded a monastery on the island of Iona whose traditions continue to echo in the present day. This tradition and its world affirming theology of original goodness found a spokesperson in the person of St. Morgan of Wales, also known as Pelagius, who engaged in doctrinal debate with Augustine in Rome, (author of original sin theology). Morgan of Wales had to flee for his life after losing the debate in Rome, being excommunicated and fleeing a death sentence. Inspired also by  theologians and mystics like John Scotus Eriugena, who taught a theology of "beholding the Original Light" as the focus of religious practice, this Celtic Christian tradition flourished in Ireland for a time, along with learning and the preservation of books. With English invasion and colonization and  the imposition of Roman Christianity this tradition was repressed and largely died out, with the exception of folk traditions. The present day is now seeing a revitalization of this teaching and tradition, not just in Ireland but throughout the world. Maybe Ireland can be inspired by its ancient doctrine of original goodness and nature mysticism to find a path to healing from the wounds of history. Some interesting reading on the Celtic Christian tradition can be found in How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill. I say these things as a "son" of Ireland, in that my great grandparents on my father's side were Irish immigrants. (My grandparents on my mother's side were Italian immigrants.)
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:11 pm

cmpnwtr wrote:
I'm hopeful that Ireland is waking up and owning and learning from its own history where one of the most cruel and repressive manifestations of religion and religious culture caused such damage to a nation already beset with terrible pain. If this commission and its investigations are honest and unflinching it should help the Irish people to heal from their past, and find freedom from the oppression of institutional church that has enslaved them.
 
Bill, I appreciate your ongoing interest in this story.  I'm continuing to follow the investigation in part because I want to see if the secular government does have the mettle to be thorough and also because I want to see how the RCC positions itself.  Regarding the church generally, the new pope has made some statements and gestures suggesting that he wants to move forward, but there's little evidence of that to date.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:40 pm

Isan wrote:
 
Bill, I appreciate your ongoing interest in this story.  I'm continuing to follow the investigation in part because I want to see if the secular government does have the mettle to be thorough and also because I want to see how the RCC positions itself.  Regarding the church generally, the new pope has made some statements and gestures suggesting that he wants to move forward, but there's little evidence of that to date.

Those are important questions. I would be interested in those answers too. However, I am interested also in the change in the consciousness of the people of Ireland as well, and whether they can find a way to heal from the wounds inflicted upon them through religious and political/military oppression. Regarding the pope, I do like his statements, but I also want to see his actions and decisions. The RCC is an absolute monarchy and he can make things happen by fiat if he so chooses, and that carries weight in terms of any cooperation with this investigation. The mere fact that an investigation is apparently happening, if it is authentic, is itself a sign of profound change in Ireland. The RCC historically was beyond investigations, untouchable. The sex abuse revelations have changed that dynamic, as they have even in our country. It took the weight of our courts to open up the secrecy about clergy sex abuse, and lifted the veil on the terrible afflictions visited on so many individuals and families.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:52 pm

cmpnwtr wrote:
Those are important questions. I would be interested in those answers too. However, I am interested also in the change in the consciousness of the people of Ireland as well, and whether they can find a way to heal from the wounds inflicted upon them through religious and political/military oppression. Regarding the pope, I do like his statements, but I also want to see his actions and decisions. The RCC is an absolute monarchy and he can make things happen by fiat if he so chooses, and that carries weight in terms of any cooperation with this investigation. The mere fact that an investigation is apparently happening, if it is authentic, is itself a sign of profound change in Ireland. The RCC historically was beyond investigations, untouchable. The sex abuse revelations have changed that dynamic, as they have even in our country. It took the weight of our courts to open up the secrecy about clergy sex abuse, and lifted the veil on the terrible afflictions visited on so many individuals and families.

I agree Bill.  Hopefully there will be a ripple effect throughout the society.  Regarding what I said about the pope wanting to move forward, I didn't mean with respect to the investigation in Ireland.  I haven't read that he's had anything to say about it.  Generally he seems to have a liberal voice, but he hasn't challenged the status quo yet.
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Mon Jul 14, 2014 9:08 pm

Isan wrote:

I agree Bill.  Hopefully there will be a ripple effect throughout the society.  Regarding what I said about the pope wanting to move forward, I didn't mean with respect to the investigation in Ireland.  I haven't read that he's had anything to say about it.  Generally he seems to have a liberal voice, but he hasn't challenged the status quo yet.

Isan, just a day or two ago this statement came out from a private interview that was conducted with the pope by Eugenio Scalfari a noted journalist and editor of La Republica, a prominent Italian newspaper. Scalfari was apparently initially contacted for interviews by the pope himself in the early days of his papacy. (Scalfari is also noted for being an atheist. Perhaps Pope Francis thought that might make him more credible.) In the interview as you will note the pope made some direct statements about priest pedophiles saying about 2 percent of all priests are likely pedophiles. A stunning statement, and he seems resolved to get rid of them and compensate victims. He does make reference also to an intent to hold accountable bishops who have sheltered perpetrators. Pope Francis  makes reference also to the possibility of a married non-celibate priesthood. As usually happens, after the pope makes some particularly shocking statements, a Vatican spokesman tries to do some spin control, in this case particularly the statement that perhaps some cardinals have been pedophiles. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/13/pope-francis-priests-pedophiles-two-percent_n_5582157.html
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PostSubject: Re: Philomena - New Film - and how religion becomes mean   Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:43 am

cmpnwtr wrote:
Isan wrote:
Isan, just a day or two ago this statement came out from a private interview that was conducted with the pope by Eugenio Scalfari a noted journalist and editor of La Republica, a prominent Italian newspaper. Scalfari was apparently initially contacted for interviews by the pope himself in the early days of his papacy. (Scalfari is also noted for being an atheist. Perhaps Pope Francis thought that might make him more credible.) In the interview as you will note the pope made some direct statements about priest pedophiles saying about 2 percent of all priests are likely pedophiles. A stunning statement, and he seems resolved to get rid of them and compensate victims. He does make reference also to an intent to hold accountable bishops who have sheltered perpetrators. Pope Francis  makes reference also to the possibility of a married non-celibate priesthood. As usually happens, after the pope makes some particularly shocking statements, a Vatican spokesman tries to do some spin control, in this case particularly the statement that perhaps some cardinals have been pedophiles. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/13/pope-francis-priests-pedophiles-two-percent_n_5582157.html
 
Bill, I agree that the pope simply making these statements in public is remarkable.  In particular the 2% reference is shocking.  I look forward to seeing what policies he actually puts in place to identify and remove abusers, make "reparations" to victims, etc.
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