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In defense of the Catholic Church

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by MegadethFan, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. MegadethFan

    MegadethFan New Member

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    I once participated in a debate where the topic was “That the Roman Catholic Church is a force for good.” At the outset, the prevailing view was that a position of “yes” would be untenable. But I don’t like cowardice, and I do prefer the side of the underdog, so I said I would lead the affirmative side and defend the proposition. Dont get the idea I was only doing so out of the debating challenge. I did believe what I was saying - the RCC, for its all its flaws is a force for good.

    There prevails extensive mythology about the extent and depth of the Catholic Church’s institutionalized criminality amongst other things. As heinous as it is for example, the rate of sexual assault of children in the US is HIGHER in public schools than it is in Catholic schools.[1] That’s just one example. Like most religions and groups of people, consideration for the diversity of views is replaced by sweeping generalizations and assumptions.

    Certainly, the political activism of Catholics, alongside many of the downright insane comments and deeds from some of the church’s highest representatives, is met by harsh criticism that is steeped in a lot of truth and validity; like criticism of the Pope’s claim condoms exacerbate the problem of prevention aids contraction.[2] But the fact remains, the RCC cops so much crap it clouds people’s realization of the very real and extensive good they do in the world, good that I believe, on a basic scale of utility, outweighs the negatives which themselves can be remedied.

    I come to this conclusion based on the social justice initiatives of Catholic groups. Catholic Charities USA, for example, gives close to $4 billion through aid programs and services – the fifth largest charity group in the country.[3] In one of their busiest years, Caritas International reported that “The Caritas Internationalis confederation spent a total amount of 2.2 billion euros in 2009/2010, five percent more than in 2008/2009. An estimated 1.28 billion euros was spent on international programmes (humanitarian relief and integral human development) and 0.7 billion euro in domestic poverty relief programmes.” Its Australian division alone has over 170 long-term development projects working globally.[4]

    These are organized charities. The church’s own officials often prove valuable tools of high moral action. Take for example, the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winning Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo. In what was accurately described by Noam Chomsky as “the site of some of the worst atrocities of the modern era”[5] he was one of the few people capable and willing of protesting and spreading global awareness about the plight of locals in East Timor under its occupation by Indonesian forces. Óscar Romero is a similar story, but without a happy ending.
    He was an Archbishop from El Salvador who spent his time attempting to diffuse the repressive condition of his country’s government, advocating human rights be recognized and democracy be endorsed. His efforts were so strong, “in 2008, he was chosen as one of the 15 Champions of World Democracy by the Europe-based magazine A Different View.”[6]
    On March 14, 1980, he gave a speech which ended with this plea:
    “I would like to make a special appeal to the men of the army, and specifically to the ranks of the National Guard, the police and the military. Brothers, you come from our own people. You are killing your own brother peasants when any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God which says, "Thou shalt not kill." ...It is high time you recovered your consciences and obeyed your consciences rather than a sinful order. The church, the defender of the rights of God, of the law of God, of human dignity, of the person, cannot remain silent before such an abomination. We want the government to face the fact that reforms are valueless if they are to be carried out at the cost of so much blood. In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.”[7]
    On March 24, while giving mass at a hospital chapel, he was shot to death.

    What I’ve written here is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the social justice services and charity that the Catholic Church maintains and extends to others. The serious problems of child molestation amongst priests, as well as stupid comments, policies and ideological tendencies as described above are all issues worth criticizing the Church for however they can be rectified and reformed overtime and should not dominate our view of the whole church and its adherents. Due to this fact, and the far-reaching good carried out by Catholic groups and people, I believe it would be not only incorrect, but misguided to disagree with the position the Catholic Church is a force for good.



    Basic References:

    [1] http://politicsontoast.com/2011/08/...st-the-catholic-church-which-has-sex-abusers/
    [2] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/17/pope-africa-condoms-aids
    [3] http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/14/charity-09_Catholic-Charities-USA_CH0030.html
    [4] http://www.caritas.org/includes/pdf/annualreport10.pdf
    [5] http://www.chomsky.info/articles/19990826.htm
    [6] Cited here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Óscar_Romero#cite_note-3
    [7] http://www.haverford.edu/relg/faculty/amcguire/romero.html
     
  2. revol

    revol New Member

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    Africa as a continent of people was almost entirely nomadic living in absolute harmony with nature before missionaries entered to civilize it.
    It was at this point that communities were developed and the population began to grow also being proportionate to the growth of disease and starvation.
    Now it has grown to such an epidemic that it threatens to destroy entire cultures in Africa....

    If Christianity is going to enter into a culture in order to civilize it, should it then take responsibility for what it becomes in doing so?

    We have enough abundance to feed the entire world and enough wealth of knowledge to fill every mind with their own.... With this realization, what has Christianity done to ensure it's created model of civilization doesn't meet such a cruel demise?

    Lets be honest about what the Christian agenda has produced and the scraps it now throws that only manage to keep it in morbid stasis...... There is no discussion for a cure! Save a life so that it can create five more that require saving?
    Is this really a humanitarian act or are we simply farming lives in famine?
     
  3. MegadethFan

    MegadethFan New Member

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    That's complete bull(*)(*)(*)(*). They had violence like any other society - especially slavery, as we all know.

    That is way too simplistic to even attract a response.

    Not really. "Christianity" like any other religion is an idea. Ideas are not people. An idea cannot take responsibility for anything - only people can. Christians today would, mostly, be appalled with those kinds of acts taking place again. They do not need to take responsibility for acts they had no part in.

    Could you elaborate on this question, since I'm not quite sure what you have said here or what you are asking.

    Your questions are way too vague and convoluted for me to answer. Please ask clear and concise questions so I can actually respond.
     
  4. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    I'm not convinced with the argument that the Catholic Church itself is a force for good. While the negatives tend to come from the hierarchy of the Church, the good (and there is lots of good) comes from people who happen to be Catholic, sometimes restricted by doctrine and diktat from the top (such as unmoving positions on abortion or contraception).

    The child abuse issue is an example as the problem wasn't the scale of abuse within Catholic organisations but the active efforts by the hierarchy to cover it up and preventing offenders and suspects being properly handled by the appropriate legal processes.

    Incidentally, your reference [1] doesn't support your statement that the rates of abuse is higher in US public schools than Catholic schools. It's an opinion piece, focuses and the UK and gives no statistics at all.
     
    Sadanie and (deleted member) like this.
  5. MrConservative

    MrConservative New Member

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    You can't separate the clergy from the laymen. They all are one in the body of Christ. There is plenty of good and evil coming from both the clergy and laymen.
     
  6. revol

    revol New Member

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    How is it possible that so many on this forum are so inept at reading and understanding?
    Do you actually think Missionary work entered into Africa and dealt with violent tribes?.....
    Do you think they dealt with the Arab slave trade?
    Let us understand that the Arab slave trade pitted tribes against one other, promoting and increasing tribal violence..... When people say that Africans sold their own people into slavery, this is only true on the very surface of understanding.
    Slavery spread further south like a disease from Arabic Nations that established the violence surrounding the raid and capture of neighboring tribes.

    Christian missionaries involved regions of hugely nomadic and 'relatively' peaceful tribes; mostly unspoiled by the ravages of the Arab slave trade.

    Famine effects the Sub-Saharan region of Africa and is not a part of the Arab world.
    There is a reason that this region was highly nomadic, tribes followed their food and water sources just like all of life in these regions..... Hence why I said in perfect harmony with nature!
    'Civilization' and the slave trade (specific mostly to the northern regions) destroyed this harmony.... Christianity and it's missionary work is responsible for destroying the natural harmony of the largely peaceful tribes in Africa.
    Now enter the Dutch influence of Christianity on these cultures which divided these people according to the shape of the nose and skin color.....
    They actually measured the nose that was more aesthetically similar and pleasing to their own and separated them giving them favor and power over the 'savage' darker color and wider bridge of the nose.
    The violence in Africa through 'ethnic' tension that exists even today is the result of the 'Christian' initiative.
    Famine exists because Christianity established their communities in order to 'spread' the word of Christ removing the more stable nomadic qualities (response to environment) of it's people.

    Learn and understand your History people!
    All of this was done in the name of Christianity and it is a product of it.

    Do we now turn our backs on what Christianity has produced in Africa, or is it our moral obligation to right what has been wronged?
     
  7. Neutral

    Neutral New Member

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    It was missionaries who did that? Or was that Imperial governors who did those things?
     
  8. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    I'm not, I'm separating the people from the organisation.

    The actions of an individual Catholic (even clergy) aren't the actions of the Catholic Church. All people are capable of good and bad which can be influenced by their personal faith or religious devotion. I see this as different from the actions of the Catholic Church itself - formal statements, rulings or policies.
     
  9. revol

    revol New Member

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    Hamitic Ideology came directly from biblical beliefs, this ideology was supported by the establishment of the church.
    The church built by the missionaries was the dominant institution and publicly advised the Belgian government to carry out ethnic segregation, not the other way around.
    So yes, it was the establishment of the church who did this.
     
  10. Neutral

    Neutral New Member

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    The Belgians are hardly the worst offenders in terms of Colonialism are they?

    Indeed, it is not the church that founds and funds the slave trade, it is indeed the greatest of the colonial powers who do so - Britain and France. The Germans (by a trick of Bismarck) and other European Colonies get involved in Africa only much later.

    Indeed, it is the Portugese and Spanish who do the exact same thing on this side of the Atlantic, where Mestizo Mexicians still bear the stigma of this process, or Spanish Filipinos.

    There were as many good Missionaries, as their are today, who preached the equality of men. But men are still men. There are those within the church who understand politics, but missionaries devoid of government buearucracy (finance, logistics) and military power have absolutely no ability to enforce much of anything.

    To pit tribe against tribe to dominate the whole is exactly what Saddam Hussein did in Iraq, its what Pakistan is attempting to do along the Durrand Line (as teh British did before them - only the Iron Emir being able to stop the practice - for a time), and it plays out in Sryia and Nigeria today/along with South Sudan. Is this the fault of Islam? The Animistic religions of South Sudan? Pashtunwali?

    You are quick to blame Christianity in a general sense, but the reality is that it was Christians defacing the book that lead to the problem - just as it is wanton and covetoues Muslims today who prevert the Koran to justify murder.

    No one says religion frees one from the temptations of rationalization, but when we examine what we do against the standard .... we can acknowledge that we have come up short - the standard, however, remains valid.
     
  11. BFSmith@764

    BFSmith@764 Banned

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    Don't blame true Christians for what that demonic cult known as the Catholic Church did. The Catholic Church has persecuted Christians as well......they use the power of the Roman Empire to do what they did to God's people and they are going to do it again.
     
  12. Laffy

    Laffy New Member

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    Who, exactly, is a "true" Christian?

    There are over 30,000 sects because NONE of them can agree on ANYTHING. and the best part about it is, they ALL say it's OBVIOUS that THEY have it right.

    LOL!!
     
  13. MrConservative

    MrConservative New Member

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    Oh please. Slavery is a big reason why Africa is the way it is today, and both Catholic and Non-Catholic nations were involved in the slave trade. Colinization and slavery of Africa mostly due to protestant nations such as America and the U.K. This does not mean that religion is the culprit though.

    As far as your comments about the Catholic Church, I wonder what makes it demonic? What do you mean by the people of God? This sounds like more "Whore of Babylon" nonsense. Have you ever been to a Catholic Church? Knowing that there are Catholics such as myself on this forum that would be offended by such rhetoric, wouldn't it be counterproductive to call their religion a cult. Or are you completely comfortable with (*)(*)(*)(*)ing Catholics to hell for all eternity?
     
  14. junobet

    junobet New Member

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    Oh come on! I'm a Protestant myself and certainly take issue with many of the Catholic Churches past and present teachings and actions. But the Catholic Church certainly is not a demonic cult!
    As the OP has righty pointed out it did not only sport villains, but also quite a lot of honest and wise theologians who truly tried to follow Christ and have done loads of good.
     
  15. BFSmith@764

    BFSmith@764 Banned

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    Ok, since you have that attitude and have already decided what it is that I am going to say, why should I even bother to have a civilize dialog with you? take care.
     
  16. BFSmith@764

    BFSmith@764 Banned

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    Well, I guess you are one of those that chose to be ignorant. A few good ones do not make that organization good any more than a few bad Apples make the tree bad.
     
  17. MrConservative

    MrConservative New Member

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    I don't know what you're going to say. I simply implied what it sounds like to me. I am not the one belittling other peoples faith. What type of dialogue would expect from Catholics after calling their church a satanic cult?
     
  18. Giftedone

    Giftedone Well-Known Member

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    One needs to define demonic first and then see if something fits.

    Looking at the History of the Catholic Church one could definately argue that in the past this organization was the "anti-Christ", acting against the principles of Christ in almost every sense of the word.

    Today the Church is not so bad.
     
  19. MrConservative

    MrConservative New Member

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    I think you just got the wrong history, or you're just getting one side. Indeed, anyone that wants to believe the Church is satanic, or the whore of Babylon are going to believe the most horrible things about it and/or dismiss or marginalize all the good things which the Church has done throughout history.
     
  20. BFSmith@764

    BFSmith@764 Banned

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    History is what it is it’s just that some chose to ignore the part they don't like. And when I said the Catholic Church it does not mean that I am referring those who never took part in the atrocities or was not born then......I am referring to those in position of leadership in that organization that sanctioned murders and killings of true Christians as well as none Christians. And even in the deepest and darkest pit of Satan's domain God has His representatives there.......it’s God's intention to take back from Satan what is not his by right and give it back to man.
     

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