Regular readers of this blog will know that I can be critical of religion at times, especially when religious belief creeps into the public domain, threatens the separation of church and state, or results in harm to individuals or groups of people. But sometimes there is such a perfect storm of bad religious news that even I feel sorry for my religious friends, who are forced to endure the lunacy, hypocrisy and stupidity of their religious leaders.
Today was just such a day.
The perfect storm included:
1. News that Reverend Cedric Miller, who made national headlines last week when he told church members to delete their Facebook accounts lest they destroy their marriages by falling into temptation with former lovers, admitted to a three-way sexual affair with his wife and a male church assistant after a New Jersey newspaper reported the relationship.
Hypocrisy at its best.
2. News that Catholic leaders are attending a conference this weekend in order to deal with the sudden increase in requests from parishioners for exorcisms.
Yes, that’s right. Catholicism still makes room from demon possession.
“Not everyone who thinks they need an exorcism actually does need one,” said Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, IL, who organized the conference. “It’s only used in those cases where the Devil is involved in an extraordinary sort of way in terms of actually being in possession of the person.”
I have to think that my Catholic friends must cringe at the sight of a piece in the Times detailing the need for exorcism training in their Church.
3. But the most unfortunate piece of news came out of the Vatican today. The Pope has reportedly decided that condom use may be an acceptable means of preventing the spread of AIDS.
In excerpts published in the Vatican newspaper on Saturday ahead of the book's publication next week, the pope cites the example of the use of condoms by prostitutes as "a first step toward moralization" even though condoms are "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection."
While this change of policy is good news, how many millions of lives have been lost while Catholics waited for condoms to finally be condoned by their Church?
Kind of reminds me of the Church’s treatment of Galileo in 1633, except without all the dead bodies to show for it.
Oops. We were wrong. Sorry about that.
A tough day for my religious, and especially my Catholic, friends.