Ridiculous & Religulous: Yet Another Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal & Bill Maher's Take On Religion

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."
       -Benjamin Franklin

Yet another disturbing story involving sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has just come to light. This one straight out of Southern India and including all of the standard elements we've come to expect, such as the attempted cover-up and a complete lack of compassion for the victims.

According to the story in the British newspaper The Independent, a former nun named Sister Jesme has written a book detailing the illicit sex, habitual abuse, threats, downright cruelty and outright rape that, it seems, is a regular part of life for a nun in the Church, at least in that part of the world. A Church spokesman has even admitted as much (read on).

As usual, the allegations are not what's unbelievable about this story, as any thinking person should be able to imagine that this stuff is going on. I mean, seriously, the things she experienced and witnessed aren't really all that hard to imagine, are they?

After all, a celibate life is not a natural human life, now is it? And it's certainly not a realistic life to expect anyone to follow, particularly not at a young age when the hormones are raging. It simply goes against human nature. I mean, when you tell a group of people to completely shut off a part of themselves as intrinsic as their sexual drive, it's just not going to happen. Well, at least not without perversion, abuse and rape as the unwanted - though wholly expected - by-product.

So, yes, the abuse is obviously disturbing, but what makes this case truly shocking is the same thing that makes every Catholic sex abuse scandal shocking: The Church's callous disregard for the victims' pain and suffering.

Like the cops after a case of horrific police brutality, the military after the slaughter of innocents, or politicians after they've been caught red-handed in a scandal, the Church's first response is to cover-up and/or minimize the actual severity of the abuse that has taken place... and continues to take place.

And this specific case is a classic example of that.

Oh So Very Christ-Like

This Sister Jesme woman, who resigned as the principal of a Catholic college just last year, claims convents have become "houses of torture".

So, how exactly did the Church respond to her accusations of rape and other horrific abuse? Well, for starters, she claims that once she began to complain senior nuns tried to have her committed to a mental institution.

And, even more revealing, just last week some bozo Church spokesman, a guy named Dr Paul Thelakkat, came out and dismissed everything Sister Jesme had to say as nothing more than "trivialities". Yes, that's right, rape is but a mere "triviality". Check it out for yourself:

A spokesman for the Syro-Malabar order of the Catholic Church, Dr Paul Thelakkat, dismissed Sister Jesme's allegations as a "book of trivialities". "It's her experiences, but these are things that might creep into a society of communal living," he said. Asked if the church would be shocked by the allegations, he replied: "Absolutely not. The church knows about these things."

Such incredible compassion! So moving and touching... and oh so very Christ-like too.

Seriously, folks, if that's the path to eternal salvation, I think I'll take some other route.

Bill Maher's Religulous

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
       - Benjamin Franklin

On a much lighter note, but still on the topic of religion, let me just say that everyone should see Bill Maher's great new film Religulous, which just came out on DVD this past week.

Even if they may not agree with his ultimate conclusions, I'm pretty sure that most people, including most moderate believers, would enjoy this comedic lampooning of religion and, specifically, fundamentalist nuts of every stripe.

I would certainly hope that everyone, with the obvious exception of those whacked-out irrationality-lovin' fundamentalists, would feel at least some sort of affinity for Maher's passionate plea for a sane world based on rational thought, as opposed to one revolving around fear, superstition and a literal belief in some ancient set of fairy tales.

Jews For Christ

This film gives you all sorts of great characters to sit back and enjoy. You get the Jews For Christ. You get the Ex-Gays trying to save all the Still-Gays from their sinful ways. You get a peak at what Mormons and Scientologists actually believe. And you also get lots of other Jews, Muslims and assorted crazy Christians too. And not to forget the guy, appropriately enough named Jesus, who claims to be the second coming of Christ.

And then you also get, in complete contrast to all these rationality-challenged folks, a great interview right in front of the Vatican with a wonderful old Catholic priest who, like some sort of white Aaron Neville, tells it like it is and basically comes right out and states that all of the Church's doctrine is just plain silly.

Yes, it's got it all. Lots of laughs, lots of great characters and all sorts of stuff to contemplate long after the film ends.

So, go rent it today... unless, that is, you're worried that God might be angrily watching you as you watch the film about him angrily watching you.

In that case, perhaps you should just get back to work trying to prove that the Earth is really only five to six thousand years old and that dinosaur fossils were simply put in the ground by God to test our faith. Such a noble, and truly human, endeavor that.

And, finally, on a side note, I'd strongly recommend watching all of the deleted and extended scenes in the DVD extras in order to see an extended version of the film as well as to meet even more incredible characters, including some awesome Raelians.

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Tuesday, February 24th, 2009


And if you enjoyed this piece then you might enjoy these as well:


The Godless Super Bowl Rant


What If: The Sex and Hunger Rant

Touching The Untouchables #5: Pedophile God


"Loving God" Is Comin' Out Of The Closet - The X'mas Special


The Don't Thank God For The Lunacy of The Runaway Ego Rant


And for a more serious piece check this out: Finally An Apology: The Canadian Native Residential Schools Rant


And for a good laugh you should definitely watch this: Another Hilarious Stephen Colbert Clip: "Better Know a Lobby - Atheism"


For more on Religion click here: Religion


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spirituality and faith

I would like to challenge the thesis that all people of faith are blind, irrational and/or prejudiced. I have had opportunity to meet and to witness the work of truly spiritual people, such as Jean Vanier, founder of the L'Arche communities, which care with compassion and gentleness for people with severe physical and intellectual disabilities in countries throughout the world. Such people are inspired by love and genuine humanity, and a profound sense of justice. They would be equally appalled at the response of the Catholic leader who minimized the suffering of the courageous nun who exposed the abuse in the convent by priests, and the attempt to silence her voice by members of her order. The issue is how to live a spiritual life that is intelligent, and practises what it preaches: in the case of Christianity, a love of neighbour, and a seeking of peace and justice for all. DM


Hey Mike, good post as usual. I'm a big Bill Maher fan for many years, and was disappointed when his film tanked at the box office...I guess American audiences just weren't ready for it. It's always confounded me how otherwise intelligent people can believe in all those silly fairy tales. Must be more comforting to believe blindly than to let reason guide your actions. My dad is very liberal socially (if not financially), and well-educated, but he is one of the most devout catholics I have ever known. I gave up talking to him about it when I was in university, because it was frustrating for me. I had to go to church every Sunday, but other than that he never pushed it on me (or anyone), which is certainly not the norm. Have you read much Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins? Both came out with books blaming religion for many of the evils of the world, and did so convincingly I thought. Dawkins likens raising a child as "a catholic child" or "a jewish child" or "a muslim child" as a form of child abuse, and I can see his point. One contention I disagree with is that religious belief is the cause of most wars - most wars are fought around resources and for political reasons, though often the populace is sold the war as a religious fight, and only the puppet masters know it is really about land or money. I'll rent Religulous with Greg and watch it in the next couple of weeks. Jim

Everyone has their own

Everyone has their own degree of faith, i myself am not a religious person whatsoever but do believe that religion is an escape for some people who need to survive in a harsh world. We see death everyday, we lose friends, family, jobs and in the end we die. If it takes a little story either true or fabricated by people who have long been deceased, even if it based upon partial facts, to make themselves enjoy a happier existence and ease the pain of losing close family members then so be it. I enjoy life and have accepted the good with the bad and hold some hope that when i die there is something else but i am not going to go out of my way to try to please a god or creator that may or may not exist. We can debate this until we are old and wrinkled but in the end nobody knows for sure what happened in the distant past or what will be the outcome of the future. Have a beer, sit outside and enjoy the sunset for as long as you have it and let things like religion be some one elses problem.