Mockery Has a Role To Play, Nick

Comments

1
Dan, you should email this to him. I want him to see it. And I think he's pretty responsive via email.
2
I am NOT going to watch this video again. I still haven't gotten it out of my head from the other day. I'm really afraid I'm going to start singing it out loud just like I would any other song stuck in my head.

Now PLEASE, stop posting this! LOL
3
Much fine work and comfort being done around the world by many unsung heros of the cloth. Too bad so much energy is dissipated in relatively well-off places by the mind-numbing sleepwalk of the mass.

And of course the Vatican has military--these scary-looking fellows right here.
4
Spot on, Dan! Too bad Pope Nazipants won't read it, listen to it, or get it. If only he would write an article! The "Stupid Fucking Incredulous Hack" title would fit him perfectly.
5
Plenty of people sacrifice and work themselves to the bone for the less fortunate who have not one thing to do with the church. In fact, they also have families who need them as well. Something nuns and priests don't have because of outdated policies. And those of us who never recognized the church's "moral authority" want only what should be our's as human beings: freedom and justice. Something this church has worked actively against. We have a right to judge them and their heinous behavior because we have suffered so gravely because of their judgements against us.
6
I enjoy that song more every time I hear it.
7
Then there's this: clergy bent on molestation will often choose to work in isolated, economically depressed areas because it gives them more cover (as was the case with the priests in the remote villages of Alaska), though their arrested psychosocial development and essential narcissism means they would be less likely to truly risk their lives in hellholes like the ones Mr. Kristof mentions.

In the public consciousness, 10 pedophiles are capable of completely offsetting and negating the tireless efforts of a thousand true servants of mankind.
8
I'll mock the missionaries. They aren't anymore sacred than their Don. We have every right to disparage anyone.

And I'll mock Kristof for either being gullible or a shill. This lie of a 'true church' is pure sham. The church is a strictly hierarchical organization; the leadership matters. Further, the vast majority of the church's members and clergy are not spending their lives as the profiled nun and priest are. These two may be the living up to the highest-values espoused by the Catholic faith, but they are certainly not the epitome of the Catholic Church.

The church does far more harm than good. Its efforts help keep millions of people in a state of poverty, helps spread disease and helps exacerbate regional conflicts. The 'noble souls' out in the field are at best enablers (if they are simply there as aid workers and not missionaries), a shiny front to distract from the societal gangrene that is the Catholic Church.
9
oh GREAT.
That's going to be stuck in my head all through mass.
10
I will never get tired of hearing that song. Anyone now where I could download an .mp3?
11
'Know where', not 'now where'. Stupid dsylexia!
12
5 have a donut, vince....
13
In every church and religious organization there's good and there's bad, and it will always be that way, because the church is based on the attitudes, thoughts and beliefs of people. People will never be total flawless and infallible as their religions would have them to be.

As far as the columnist, kudos to him for shedding light on the positive side of catholicism. It's sorely needed right now obviously.
14
@13 They use God as their excuse. What could be more evil?
15
I for one don't have a problem with criticism. Now, I'm not saying that I enjoy it, but that criticism serves a purpose.

Nor do I think any group should be above criticism. There will always be individual exceptions, and individuals who are by default criticized because they are members of a much larger entity. This is life. Those who share an association with the Roman Catholic Church should expect to be criticized, because they are part of it. Just as those non-RC churches should realize that they to will be criticized as part of the trickle down effect. To demand to be above criticism is foolishness, there is none who are above it.

When we choose to be part of anything (a church, SLOG community, etc.), we accept that others will be representing us, that we will share both the successes and failures of the community, and yes we will share the praise and the criticism too. That's life.
16
I agree with @15 but I'll add that it's kind of a silly fantasy to imagine that mockery will make religion go away.

Mockery absolutely has a valid place but mockery that is so lacking in nuance and treats the church as a monolithic entity just has a polarizing effect that peels away the liberals and reformers from the ranks of the religious and shoves those that remain with the institution further into reactionary positions. So the institutions might get smaller, but they also get meaner and dumber, more and more resistant to reform. And since the conservatives are the ones providing the church with money anyway (liberals don't tithe) it's not like you're going to take that much of their power away.

Create a discourse and social environment where it's easier for the Dorothy Days, Daniel Berrigans, Hans Kungs and Joan Chittesters to take over Catholicism and you'll get the results you're after.

Stephen Colbert, as a progressive Catholic is a GREAT example of what socially-responsible mockery looks like.
17
@1, my sister and I sometimes disagree on public affairs stuff when we hang out. Afterwards she used to sometimes email me a carefully composed and scathing argument, but thanks to Facebook when she gets righteous enough she can also post it to Facebook to make it a PR smackdown.

It puts a smile on her face, at least..
18
You don't need to wrap yourself in black cloth and wear a collar to do good work in poor countries. Doctors Without Boarders and Amnesty International have nothing to do with religion. And the Red Cross did more to help Haiti after the earthquake than the Catholic Church could ever dream to.
19

Mockery does have a role. In your case, however, it goes over the line into anti-religious and anti-Catholic bigotry.
20
"they will have to address the institutional and doctrinal rot that made the sex scandals possible"

I'd go one step further and say these policies made the sex scandals inevitable. Any job description that highlights working with kids while demanding a life of celibacy is going to be a magnet for pedophiles.
21
@20: Well, they could have been prevented by taking preventative action against child abuse, such as not allowing children to be alone with priests.
The more salient issue remains that they denied the problem and demonized those who called for justice rather than actually going after the pedophiles among themselves.
22
Anti Catholic bigotry? Bullshit! In the case of the video it is aimed at a man who enabled other men to rape children. Yes millions of people believe the pope is sacred, blah. blah blah. Only Catholics believe that the pope is the representative of God on Earth. If because of that Catholics choose not to mock him (or watch the video) that is their perogative.
I see no difference between freely mocking a religious figure and freely mocking a political figure. One may believe that religion deserves some special right not to be mocked, but mock it we will.
In 1952 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws against blasphemy. In doing so it said that blasphemy is free speech under the First Amendmment. Religion cannot declare something sacred and have the state enforce that concept of sacred on non believers. The Catholic religon has to earn respect. It cannot demand respect.
23
p.s Do I have some unusual eye problem or does everyone see lines thru all of the text on Slog this afternoon?
24
There really ought to be an award for such socially important (yet prudishly abhorrent) delightful little videos. I'd nominate the name of such an award to be the (Tim) Minchin award. I'll leave it to others to design its scandalous shape and design.
25
"It may be easy at a New York cocktail party to sniff derisively at a church whose apex is male chauvinist, homophobic and so out of touch that it bars the use of condoms even to curb AIDS. But what about Father Michael Barton, a Catholic priest from Indianapolis? I met Father Michael in the remote village of Nyamlell, 150 miles from any paved road here in southern Sudan. He runs four schools for children who would otherwise go without an education, and his graduates score at the top of statewide examinations."

Hiding molesters behind a happy face makes YOU a coward, not the rest, you abuse-tolerant disease.
26
Yes, there are lines through everything.
27
Yes, there are secular people and organizations who do great good.

However, as it appears we are trying to either:
1) connect the dots between doing good in the name of the church and being abused by the church; or
2 emphasize that there are no such dots between the two to connect,

Is it possible that these are sometimes two sides of the same coin? Are people who are trained to not question authority (oh, for example, by asking: "why does my son Timmy always keep his eyes on the ground and mumble after staying late at choir practice with father O'Mally?") also easier to shape into foot soldiers in the battles against disease, natural disaster, etc.?

28
I love the cartoon and the song but the red lips on the black cardinals are terrible. It goes past drawing style and caricature and into blackface. Don't like it. It's a careless art choice that taints my enjoyment of the video.

Also, the black cardinals have bigger wieners than everyone else. But that's just funny.
29
Meh. The whole argument of "what behavior does the church cause?" is stupid. That's not how it works. People have free will (please don't ascribe a religious connotation to my use of that phrase, kthnx), and they will join/follow/shape any organization, including the church, according to that. Some join the church saying, "Hey! This will give me an opportunity to do good in the world!" while others join because they see a chance to fuck little boys without repercussions. Still others follow the church because they find genuine spiritual and/or philosophical and/or intellectual meaning in it, some join for the chance to create or be part of a regime of power, some join for social reasons, and some follow because they want an excuse not to have to think.

(When I go to church, BTW, it's because someone's paying me to play music. Most of the people there think I'm an attending Christian, though.)

The church doesn't *create* any of these intentions. They are human motivations, human desires, that, if denied an outlet in the church, will find an outlet elsewhere. To see the church as somehow *causing* any of these desires, or to debate the merit of its continued existence due to their manifestation, is rather off-base.
30
Huh? You can't do good in the world until you join a church?

So the organization DOES have the power to cause desire in individuals to do good or otherwise. Or it doesn't. Which one? You don't see a causation here, an organization that backs individuals who do evil, an organization of great power that uses said power to help individuals to do evil without recourse? How "off-base" this is.

A powerful organization that uses its power to promote fear and loathing of sex also promotes clandestine, risky behaviors. And disease. And that's not off-base, that's how the church causes behavior.
31
I couldn't agree more, dan.
32
I gave up on my Christian roots long, long ago because I just couldn't buy it anymore. To me, it's all mysticism and mythology. So, the faithful aren't much interested in what I have to say about anything, but here goes anyway:

The whole purpose of organized religion is to keep the hierarchy in power by keeping the poor and uneducated's superstitions alive and well with the threat of something worse waiting for them after death if they don't tow the line. For those who are educated and still believe, well, brainwashing is a pretty powerful tool especially when it is tied in with family-based holidays and gatherings. I mean, they have toddlers - don't they? - who can barely walk and who can't yet control their bowels and bladders singing about Jesus loving all the children, all the children of the world. This is reinforced, of course, by parental imposition. Powerful stuff. The North Korean government wishes it had a program as effective. The difference, I guess, is that North Korea doesn't shield its brutality under the canopy of doing God's will.

Just as medieval as the burka, just as pagan as sacrificing a virgin to the volcano god is the believe that the Pope in infallible. Doesn't this most recent scandal kind of blow that myth out of the water? How can anyone believe that a human being - any human being - is infallible? Everybody is capable and even entitled to a mistake as long as one tries to learn from it and correct it. But to say that someone is incapable of making a mistake - and enforcing that position on true believers - is really something from the Dark Ages.

Catholics may be doing great good in places where there otherwise would be very little good indeed, but the pomposity of the Vatican - by proof of its actions, manner, and deeds - is really rather contemptible.
33
@32 What then do you make of the many traditions that don't have any "threat of something worse" as part of their cosmology? That's "organized religion" too.
34
@32: Ironically, papal infallibility is a relatively recent doctrine, codified at Vatican I in 1868. A bunch of the faithful, including bishops, refused to accept it, and the result is the Old Catholic Church, which is basically the RCC, but with less crazy. Unfortunately, they only have two churches in all the United States.
35
@28: a lot of other parts of the world don't see anything-that-resembles-blackface as a problem, unless it IS actually blackface (which the video isn't). I think you're being a little oversensitive. I for one don't see the problem. How is one meant to make cartoon, caricature black people (in the animation style used) that aren't missing lips? The contrast is needed. The absence of colour in their lips would be just as obvious.
36
To drag the debate back to the title of the article, yes mockery has a role to play. Any major organisation should be prepared to face ridicule.
If the organisation in question is not able to do that, the fault does not lie with those doing the mocking, but with those who have used the organisation as a cover for their abuses and those who have tried to keep those abuses secret by bullying the victims into silence.
If the Catholic church doesn't like the criticism, they must face up to their abuses and allow the perpetrators to be judged by the secular laws of their respective country.
Open up the books, show us that you have revisited the past crimes and removed these abusers from their jobs. Show us you actually mean what you say, that you are going to stop the hypocrisy.
If there is nothing to mock, we'll stop doing it!
37
Before men discovered the several basic laws of physics, It was easy for magicians and other phonies to convince the masses that GODS were behind thunder, lightning, eclipses, "shooting stars", dead people (who were in comas or just fainted ) rising from the dead,etc.

Instead of being the works of GODS, they were repeatable events that are controlled by the Laws of the universe. Unfortunately, there are still people who have been raised on biblical nonsense who are unable to think for themselves and realise that the sole purpose of religious leaders is to live well on the backs of the poor without contributing a single dollar, Pound, or Shilling to the gross national product of any country.
38
Re Boston Globe: The San Jose Mercury fired the first shot in the scandal in the 1980s, but the story was virtually ignored. Why the splash with the Globe? This just proves that news media power is concentrated where the AP is headquartered - New York. The AP has had a near monopoly on news distribution since UPI hit the financial iceberg in the 1980s.
The media committed a huge sin of omission when it failed to look at public school sex abuse, which surfaced about the same time as the church scandal but, again, was not jumped on by the national media. You can find good reporting on this, but it was kept regional. The AP finally got around to doing a series on school abuse. It ran two or three years ago, which some say was 20 years too late. Yes, there was a coverup in the schools, which wasn't important because the media was already doing just that _ covering it up. Few paper used the AP series. Embarassed or ashamed? Probably both.
My source is "Philip's Code: No News is Good News - to a Killer." It's on amazon.com.