Church guilty of hypocrisy - a letter


#1

I am looking for you help (yet again) in responding to a letter to the editor which appeared in an Irish newspaper recently. The writer has sought to show that the Church has been guilty of hypocrisy throughout its history. The letter can be found here.

"Your correspondent Bonnie Malkin has reported that Pope Benedict (Irish Independent, July 18) has attacked ‘false idols’ and consumerism in an address to pilgrims in Sydney and he linked consumerism to climate change.

The Catholic Church is on thin ice in seeking to demonise people for what it sees as the sin of consumerism, given its own past. The Church, for much of its history, supported the concept of slavery whereby human beings were reduced to the status of ‘consumer goods’ to be bought and sold.

The exact date when the Church unequivocally repudiated slavery is uncertain. Different authorities offer dates ranging from the 1500s to the Second Vatican Council.

Another example of the Catholic Church’s long engagement with consumerism is the 16th-century scandal of the sale of indulgences. This practice was instrumental in the rise of Protestantism.

As regards false idols, the recent exhumation and display of the remains of Padre Pio has to be regarded as a particularly gruesome exercise in tapping in to the religious consumer market and one that leaves the Church vulnerable to the accusation of creating its own idols.

Finally, unrestricted population growth is a major contributor to global warming, and here the Church’s opposition to contraception is both encouraging this growth and exacerbating the problems associated with it."

I have some ideas for a response myself, but as always, would like to hear your views too! The writer, it seems to me is clutching at straws to find examples of hypocrisy by including the point about contraception - after all, the areas of greatest population growth in the world are in the Third World where, generally, the Catholic population is quite small. Thus, most of the population are not bound to adhere to the Church’s teaching on the matter, but the Church is to many an easy target when it comes to the contraception argument…

Looking forward to hearing your responses! Many thanks.


#2

Interesting timing. Just last night, I was reading Patrick Madrid’s book, Pope Fiction, and it contains an entire chapter on this very subject.

It would be too lengthy to attempt any recreation of Madrid’s excellent refutation of this attack on the Church, but I think this book would make an excellent addition to your library because he deals with many of the more common myths surrounding the Papacy and Church history.


#3

Church guilty of hypocrisy

Saturday July 19 2008

Your correspondent Bonnie Malkin has reported that Pope Benedict (Irish Independent, July 18) has attacked ‘false idols’ and consumerism in an address to pilgrims in Sydney and he linked consumerism to climate change.

Consumerism is a great factor in climate change. It’s the unchecked and constant gasoline consumption (among many other things) that is so rapidly heating up our world.

That same consumerism is a driving force in the whole situation.

The Catholic Church is on thin ice in seeking to demonise people for what it sees as the sin of consumerism, given its own past.

Rhetorical allegation not supported by facts.

The Church, for much of its history, supported the concept of slavery whereby human beings were reduced to the status of ‘consumer goods’ to be bought and sold.

The exact date when the Church unequivocally repudiated slavery is uncertain. Different authorities offer dates ranging from the 1500s to the Second Vatican Council.

Wait! Whoa! Hold it! The FACT is that this was primarily supported and approved by governments all over the world. Historically, it has been a practice that persists even today.

The Catholic Church was never a real factor in the slave trade pro or con. The Church decries all injustice today.

Another example of the Catholic Church’s long engagement with consumerism is the 16th-century scandal of the sale of indulgences. This practice was instrumental in the rise of Protestantism.

How does one “consume” an indulgence? Is there an aspect of this that somehow heats up the Earth?

This is a specious attack on the Catholic Church that in fact has nothing at all to do with consumerism, though the author of this rant wishes us to believe it does.

As regards false idols, the recent exhumation and display of the remains of Padre Pio has to be regarded as a particularly gruesome exercise in tapping in to the religious consumer market and one that leaves the Church vulnerable to the accusation of creating its own idols.

This has nothing at all to do with consumerism and relics, if there are any, will not be sold. This anti-Catholic polemicist wishes it did because then they might have a real case.

Idolatry? Poppycock! These remains will not ever be adored or worshiped…though I’m sure that the author of that rant wishes us all to believe it based solely on their allegation.

Finally, unrestricted population growth is a major contributor to global warming, and here the Church’s opposition to contraception is both encouraging this growth and exacerbating the problems associated with it.

This is also factually inaccurate. I recently heard a report on National Public Radio that said that the birth rates in the West were at near zero and in some areas of the world they are approaching a negative. They went on to point out that it is entirely possible that we may be witnessing a society that actually actively seeks its own annihilation.

Population growth may be a problem, but that problem is not one that can be hung around the neck of tech Catholic Church…no matter how much a certain polemicist wishes that it could.

Hypocrisy? I think not. The real hypocrite is the person that writes agenda driven rant-letters to newspapers alleging outright misinformation.


#4

I wasn’t aware the earth was still heating up?

I thought the temperature peaked in 1998 and has tailed off since then. This would seem to indicate that the earth’s temperatures are simply cycling the same way that they have for the last several billion years. But instead, “scientists” are still claiming that temperatures are rising.

If man thinks he can screw up what God created so easily, then he is sadly mistaken.


#5

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