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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Pope Benedict announces resignation. (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Pope Benedict announces resignation.
Rakeesh
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Eh, it's pretty straightforward. Human beings generally (almost always) want at least the possibility of having sex soon. That need can reliably be rated as 'powerful'. So if you stick a bunch of human beings together, one of the things you can count on is that they'll want to have sex.

With high ranking clergy (of any stripe), it would then seem that there are competing factors. On the one hand, preselecting for those who have sworn themselves to celibacy is one thing to put against the need to have sex. Reverence for a deity too can be a very powerful force. Perhaps, probably?, even enough for most of them. But then for the rest there's a good dose of entitlement and power that will so often lend itself to 'we get to do what we want'.

Even before we get to the part where simply no one should be surprised at serious hypocrisy on sexual matters with this particular institution, this story isn't surprising. I don't know the reputation of these Italian papers, or if these stories should be credited as credible, but if they are...I wouldn't be surprised.

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Rakeesh
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As for BlackBlade's reaction, well if it weren't him saying it I might read it as 'eww, gays!' but that's not him so I suspect it has something to do with disgust for such degrees of dishonesty and hypocrisy, along with the betrayal that-not the homosexuality-poses to Catholics.
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Anthonie
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
Edit: While the Vatican has some pretty unique factors that make this sort of thing more prevalent, I think it's naive to think that there isn't a high level gay sex ring among say Mormon leaders too (especially the ones who are really vocally anti-gay). Of course there is.

Not a Mormon leader, but *another* high-ranking Catholic, this time the leader of the church in the UK who is as MrSquicky indicated "really vocally anti-gay," just got thrown into the fray. While the article in The Guradian doesn't full-on "out" Cardinal O'Brien, it may as well have.
quote:
Three priests and a former priest in Scotland have reported the most senior Catholic clergyman in Britain, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, to the Vatican over allegations of inappropriate behaviour stretching back 30 years.

The four, from the diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, have complained to nuncio Antonio Mennini, the Vatican's ambassador to Britain, and demanded O'Brien's immediate resignation. A spokesman for the cardinal said that the claims were contested.

O'Brien, who is due to retire next month, has been an outspoken opponent of gay rights, condemning homosexuality as immoral, opposing gay adoption, and most recently arguing that same-sex marriages would be "harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved". Last year he was named "bigot of the year" by the gay rights charity Stonewall.

One of the complainants, it is understood, alleges that the cardinal developed an inappropriate relationship with him, resulting in a need for long-term psychological counselling.

....

It is understood that the first allegation against the cardinal dates back to 1980. The complainant, who is now married, was then a 20-year-old seminarian at St Andrew's College, Drygrange, where O'Brien was his "spiritual director". The Observer understands that the statement claims O'Brien made an inappropriate approach after night prayers.

....

"Priest C" was a young priest the cardinal was counselling over personal problems. Priest C's statement claims that O'Brien used night prayers as an excuse for inappropriate contact.

The cardinal maintained contact with Priest C over a period of time, and the statement to the nuncio's office alleges that he engineered at least one other intimate situation. O'Brien is, says Priest C, very charismatic, and being sought out by the superior who was supposed to be guiding him was both troubling and flattering.

....


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BlackBlade
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MrSquicky:
quote:
I'm actually pretty curious about this reaction. What does it make you feel this way?
Because as a Christian, and since I served as a missionary for two years where I was not permitted to express any sort of sexuality including flirting or even think about having a girlfriend, I can relate to the effort to devote yourself entirely to the ministry, and the difficulties attendant to a complete vow of celibacy.

Seeing people fall so hard from that consecration is extremely sad to me. The only people I generally see laugh at that sort of discomfiture are people who have never held a long term serious commitment in their entire life.

quote:
While the Vatican has some pretty unique factors that make this sort of thing more prevalent, I think it's naive to think that there isn't a high level gay sex ring among say Mormon leaders too (especially the ones who are really vocally anti-gay). Of course there is.
Call me naive then, I don't believe it's likely at all. For one thing the leaders are not especially vocal in their opposition of homosexuality. Like, I can't think of a sermon in the last 10 years that was dedicated solely to the topic. There isn't some auxiliary or official department designed to stop homosexuality. They simply believe it's what the God via the scriptures wants them to do.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Seeing people fall so hard from that consecration is extremely sad to me. The only people I generally see laugh at that sort of discomfiture are people who have never held a long term serious commitment in their entire life.
I do agree there is probably a good bit of unworthy enjoyment in the downfall of others here, for much of the criticism. What's more, there was a time I think I would've shared your reaction or at least a portion of it. But for myself, I find it's hard not to feel some satisfaction at this sort of scandal, separate as it is from the more common sort of Catholic priest sex scandal and child victimization.

For me, it's not because I feel the clergy is rife with either homosexuals or pedophiles. For me the grim satisfaction stems from the true bankruptcy the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church has earned for itself on the issue of proper...management? Guidance?...of human sexuality.

Had it not worked so hard and so long at serving the prestige of the priesthood over the welfare of sexually abused children, I would be less satisfied with scandals that reduce, well, the prestige of the priesthood. So for me there is satisfaction in harm done to an institution I frankly loathe (meaning the leadership particularly)-it's just that I think it's earned.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Call me naive then, I don't believe it's likely at all. For one thing the leaders are not especially vocal in their opposition of homosexuality. Like, I can't think of a sermon in the last 10 years that was dedicated solely to the topic. There isn't some auxiliary or official department designed to stop homosexuality. They simply believe it's what the God via the scriptures wants them to do.

You are naive.

And talk about moving the goalposts: "dedicated solely to the topic," is not what we are talking about. The proprietor of this very board lends his public image to an organization that seeks to limit the rights of homosexuals, and even encourages the retention of laws that make homosexual acts illegal even though he acknowledges their lack of justice- an unforgivably ethically bankrupt position.


And I'm sorry Blackblade, but you make out the Mormon church to be just haplessly sitting in Utah, letting anyone who cares to ask, know that they are against homosexual rights. Mormons and the church collectively have spent billions of dollars fighting homosexual rights in politics, and in court. You can frame that as "simply believe," whatever you want, but there is nothing simple about the Mormon position. It is deeply tied into politics, money, and business, as is every major position of any church of this size.

[ February 25, 2013, 04:33 AM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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Samprimary
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/21573123

o'brien resigns

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BlackBlade
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Orincoro:
quote:
And talk about moving the goalposts: "dedicated solely to the topic," is not what we are talking about. The proprietor of this very board lends his public image to an organization that seeks to limit the rights of homosexuals, and even encourages the retention of laws that make homosexual acts illegal even though he acknowledges their lack of justice- an unforgivably ethically bankrupt position.

Ummm, moving the goal posts is when I say something needs to be established/disproved, and when it's done I change the conditions by which either of those things is accomplished. I might not have kicked the ball between Mr. Squicky's goalposts, but that's another issue.

As for what organization Mr. Card belongs to, that speaks nothing to the official position of the church. Yes the church has spent money and encouraged its membership to support Proposition 8 and other marriage amendments, but we are talking about vocal opposition. We don't have apostles going on radio shows to sound off on their opposition, or on television. Almost all of the directives against homosexuality have come via brief announcement letters to the congregation that the church is supporting a marriage amendment to the constitution because it protects the traditional family, and that members should take steps to support the traditional family, but that they have to make this decision for themselves.

I'm not making the Mormon church to be anything. It makes itself, and I observe it. I'm not arguing that there are elements including probably most of the leadership that are vehemently against same-sex marriage. But we said "vocally". They are not very vocal by any reasonable standard. Active? Sure. Vocal? No.

Tied to politics, money, and business is misleading. I seriously doubt their original position on this issue had anything to do with any of those three issues. I think politics may be influential in how that position changes, but ultimately I think the church is fighting a fight that should be making them feel good because they are standing up for their beliefs, but they aren't getting the feelings of satisfaction they would if they were right. Many in the church are dissenting, but are doing so for good reasons, not for evil ones. So the leadership is pushed into self-evaluation again.

The church's business interests I don't think are being influenced almost at all by the same-sex marriage issue.

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Samprimary
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When an organization is active in something, them being "vocal" about it is a good thing. It's fairly better than being covertly active in it, like with front groups, etc.

Either way, the official church position is still very anti-gay.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
I'm not making the Mormon church to be anything. It makes itself, and I observe it. I'm not arguing that there are elements including probably most of the leadership that are vehemently against same-sex marriage. But we said "vocally". They are not very vocal by any reasonable standard. Active? Sure. Vocal? No.
Hmm. Perhaps coming at it a different way, and also a serious question: are there controversial political topics such as SSM that the Mormon Church *is* 'vocal' on? That is to say I agree that the church isn't going full court press on this matter, utilizing all of its media and influence, but the serious question is: are there any political issues on which they do? I really don't know, and although I expect the answer is 'no', I need to ask someone in a position to know.

I suspect the answer is no-that the church takes no 'vocal' stance on any controversial political issues at all. Or at least, not on the national stage. I read things elsewhere about its political power-brokering in Utah that frankly make me think this national policy of discretion is more a clever political move (since the church would face many challenges if it attempted to take a strong controversial political stand on the national stage, where it's a tiny minority, and would risk much) rather than an earnest desire to keep out of politics.

I think maybe that same suspicion is what motivates folks such as Orincoron and Samprimary to view crediting the church's refusal to be 'vocal' with a grain of salt. That they aren't vocal about *anything* on the national stage, as a question of efficiency and not policy. But that's part of why I asked the question-I don't know if they actually do refuse to be vocal on any controversy, or if they actually are much less restrained in places where they have much higher membership.

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MattP
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I think they are as vocal as they think prudent. As Rakeesh says, it's carefully calculated for maximum effect, not restrained to avoid impropriety. A simple statement at sacrament meeting, encouraging the membership of the church to advocate for a political position, is substantially more influential than an ad campaign or press conference so getting too focused on the definition of the word "vocal" is sort of missing the point.
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Rakeesh
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I really don't know, although as I said that's what I suspect is closer to the truth than a general committment to political discretion. That's why I was curious about political advocacy and involvement in stages where their presence is more powerful.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
I think it's naive to think that there isn't a high level gay sex ring among say Mormon leaders too (especially the ones who are really vocally anti-gay). Of course there is.

This is not actually likely, from my perspective. I think it's obvious that some of the high ranking LDS leaders have been secretly gay, simply as a matter of statistical likelihood. And of course people who are secretly gay sometimes have secret gay sex. But a "ring...among leaders" doesn't make much sense; there'd be too much risk inherent in making overtures.
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The Rabbit
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I think you are all missing the forest for the trees in BBs comment. It's undeniable that the LDS church had a significant impact on proposition 8 and the church leaders have been vocal opponents of gay marriage. That's not the point.

The point is that opposing gay marriage (and homosexuality in general) is a really minuscule fraction of what the church does. The idea that the LDS church central leadership has some sort of obsession with persecuting gays, is an idea that's only believable if you are nearly completely ignorant about the church and what it does. It may be the overwhelming majority of what you see the church doing, but it is an nearly insignificant fraction of what the church does.

99.999% (at least) of the church's efforts are a) not political and b) have nothing to do with homosexuality. The caricature you have of LDS church leaders as a bunch of rabid homophobes who are very likely involved in lacivious homosexual acts is only remotely believable if you have no familiarity with the governance of the LDS church or the scope of its teachings, programs, and activities.

MrSquicky's accusations (along with Sam and Orin's defense of those accusation) say an awful lot more about your own vile bigotry than anything else.

Consider these facts. The LDS church has been ex-communicating homosexuals for decades. There are a very large number ex-LDS gays (including both those who left voluntarily and those who've been thrown out) who are extremely outspoken critics of the LDS church leaders. In that environment, how long do you think the church could keep a gay sex ring involving the highest leaders of the church secret?

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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
MrSquicky's accusations (along with Sam and Orin's defense of those accusation) say an awful lot more about your own vile bigotry than anything else.

I don't know if I'd characterize it as vile bigotry. They all seem to be discussing in fairly good tones so far. Rakeesh is even asking for someone who has better knowledge of how the church operates before deciding his opinion.

Of course you just raised the stakes by throwing those two words out there.

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kmbboots
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Opposing homosexuality is a tiny part of what the Catholic Church does, too. But it seems to be a huge focus of what the Vatican and the bishops think about these days. So no surprise, here. We are broken when it comes to sexuality. There are folks working to make us better, but centuries of being messed up doesn't get cured in a generation or two.
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Samprimary
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quote:
MrSquicky's accusations (along with Sam and Orin's defense of those accusation) say an awful lot more about your own vile bigotry than anything else.
If what I have discussed or elaborated upon is something you take as "vile bigotry" then you should know that you are inspiring, furthering, and validating how a significantly oppressed group or its allies should not cater to or even be remotely impressed with the perspective of a more empowered group crying 'bigotry' in response to being challenged on the anti-gay views of a religious organization.

quote:
In that environment, how long do you think the church could keep a gay sex ring involving the highest leaders of the church secret?
Decades, based off of what we know can be done even in virulently anti-homosexual institutions. This completely aside from the probability of a sex ring in the "highest leaders" of the church as opposed to other levels.
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stilesbn
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As for the churches influence in Utah politics. Well it's kind of hard to disentangle. I don't follow things extremely closely but it seems to me that the church rarely makes any official statement about local politics. The last official political statement I can remember is when the church said that we need to address immigration with love and concern for families.

On the other hand, there is a whole lot of banner waving and overt implication from local politicians that their position is the "righteous and proper church position."

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Rakeesh
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Rabbit,

Since you've approached this in an...assertive way, I'm happy to discuss it in that fashion with you as well.

quote:
The point is that opposing gay marriage (and homosexuality in general) is a really minuscule fraction of what the church does. The idea that the LDS church central leadership has some sort of obsession with persecuting gays, is an idea that's only believable if you are nearly completely ignorant about the church and what it does. It may be the overwhelming majority of what you see the church doing, but it is an nearly insignificant fraction of what the church does.

On the national stage, it doesn't seem to me to be at all an insignificant fraction of what the church does. When it comes to influencing and supporting state-wide legislation, it doesn't seem miniscule at all. But suppose for the sake of argument that it was (and I should note that neither you nor I nor anyone else has actually substantiated either argument). In that event, how many good works buy off wicked works, exactly? How many charitable contributions does the church need to make before we have to look the other way on their work to keep homosexuals as far from fully-fledged citizens as can be managed?

quote:
99.999% (at least) of the church's efforts are a) not political and b) have nothing to do with homosexuality. The caricature you have of LDS church leaders as a bunch of rabid homophobes who are very likely involved in lacivious homosexual acts is only remotely believable if you have no familiarity with the governance of the LDS church or the scope of its teachings, programs, and activities.

I realize this is hyperbole, but please Rabbit, at least attempt to be serious. Less than .0001% of the church's efforts in the world involve either homosexuality or politics? Furthermore, this caricature you're asserting exists in your own mind. No one has said what you're imputing to them. You can scale it back about half a dozen steps.

quote:
Consider these facts. The LDS church has been ex-communicating homosexuals for decades. There are a very large number ex-LDS gays (including both those who left voluntarily and those who've been thrown out) who are extremely outspoken critics of the LDS church leaders. In that environment, how long do you think the church could keep a gay sex ring involving the highest leaders of the church secret?
Yes, 'voluntarily'. Anyway, it's interesting that you would put forward these facts when earlier you were speaking so dismissively about the church's efforts with respect to homosexuality. Anyway, in that environment neither of us actually know how long such a thing could be kept secret, on the basis of those paltry parameters. That said, though, people have begun to be seriously wary of Catholic priest child sex abuses for almost a generation now if not more, and still various abuses and criminal acts are kept secret successfully for quite some time-often until someone from the outside sinks hooks in `em and drags `em out to light.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
On the other hand, there is a whole lot of banner waving and overt implication from local politicians that their position is the "righteous and proper church position."
This is the sort of thing I'm talking about. To my mind, a sign of an institution that was actually, seriously committed to political discretion and neutrality would be that when a politician made such a statement, another statement was issued by the church explaining in plain terms that Politician Doe ought not try and wrap himself in the church's flag.

A sign of an institution that is only halfheartedly committed to political discretion and neutrality is when it is clear to everyone what precise words need to be said in which precise order to claim the prestige and authority of the church.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
On the national stage, it doesn't seem to me to be at all an insignificant fraction of what the church does. When it comes to influencing and supporting state-wide legislation, it doesn't seem miniscule at all. But suppose for the sake of argument that it was (and I should note that neither you nor I nor anyone else has actually substantiated either argument). In that event, how many good works buy off wicked works, exactly? How many charitable contributions does the church need to make before we have to look the other way on their work to keep homosexuals as far from fully-fledged citizens as can be managed?
You missed the point entirely. The question at hand was whether the church leaders opposition to gay marriage was reason to believe they were not only gay homophobes but nearly certainly involved in a gay sex ring.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
I think they are as vocal as they think prudent. As Rakeesh says, it's carefully calculated for maximum effect, not restrained to avoid impropriety. A simple statement at sacrament meeting, encouraging the membership of the church to advocate for a political position, is substantially more influential than an ad campaign or press conference so getting too focused on the definition of the word "vocal" is sort of missing the point.

The typical stereotype is that the people who are loudest and find the most occasion to speak out against homosexually often turn out to be gay themselves. Because they are dealing with the issue of self-loathing, they have secret gay sex, and then over-compensate the attendant guilt by loudly railing against homosexuality. I am arguing that church leaders do not fit that profile. I have said why they do not, it's incumbent on opponents to state why they do.

As for how vocal the church leadership is on political issues, well, you'd have to look at which group of leaders we are talking about. Brigham Young was the spiritual *and* political leader of Utah for a long time. He built temples, and he sent people to establish colonies, he had a hand in passing laws, he was the closest thing this nation has had to a prophet/king probably ever. When Utah was up for statehood, the leadership specifically directed congregations to vote 50% Republican and 50% Democrat so that Utah could overcome (ironically) accusations of church influence in politics, and be granted statehood. When prohibition was being passed, the church leadership was very vocal in supporting it, and directing the membership of the church to vote for it. When its repeal was up, the prophet (I believe it was Heber J Grant) tearfully implored Utah not to cast the deciding vote that would kill it. He wasn't adhered to.

As for today's leaders. There's quite a bit of scholarship on how political they are. In Utah politics they have surprisingly expressed opinions for passage of non-discrimination against homosexuals in Salt Lake City housing (also the current state wide proposal), they have supported liberal immigration reform. I say surprising, in that they (commentators/members) were not expecting the church to be as active as it is. Church leaders have explicitly stated that there is no impropriety in the church being involved in civil affairs, so they have certainly laid the groundwork for potential active participation.

Then of course there was proposition 8, and some of the other marriage proposals other states have considered where the church invested in lobbying for their passage. All of these things are recent developments so in the last 10-15 years or so.

So today, I'd say they are "somewhat active, but that could change very quickly". If the church leadership all felt strongly about universal opposition to same-sex marriage, the avenues to express that are in place and have not all been used. It's much more likely the church leadership is divided on the question, are unsure about exactly where the church will be on the matter, and probably considering it on a routine basis as the church is divided on the issue, and a major rift on such a major issue is antithetical to what the scriptures says should be the case.

I think a good analog to how the church sorts these issues out is "evolution". As far back as the church goes there were opponents and proponents of it both in the apostles and first presidency. They had to work out church-wide policy for whether evolution should be taught, taught against, or ignored. The church position frequently changed based on who was prophet, and based on the actions of leaders on both sides of the issue. Today the church accepts evolution, but you don't hear anybody accusing it of doing so because of money, politics, etc. For some reason that charge is reserved for blacks and gays.

[ February 25, 2013, 05:04 PM: Message edited by: BlackBlade ]

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stilesbn
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What would be considered high ranking LDS leader? I'm having a hard time believing the certainty of a gay sex ring among the 12 Apostles. The 70's seems unlikely too, but it wouldn't really surprise me to see a couple of cases where someone was discovered, but not enough to be a whole ring organised within the quorums.

Getting down to the Stake President and Bishop level wouldn't surprise me much but I don't consider them "High Ranking" really.

Then when you get into the ward level. Well anything can happen.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
What would be considered high ranking LDS leader? I'm having a hard time believing the certainty of a gay sex ring among the 12 Apostles. The 70's seems unlikely too, but it wouldn't really surprise me to see a couple of cases where someone was discovered, but not enough to be a whole ring organised within the quorums.

Getting down to the Stake President and Bishop level wouldn't surprise me much but I don't consider them "High Ranking" really.

Then when you get into the ward level. Well anything can happen.

There have absolutely been stake presidents and bishops who have been outed, ex-communicated, or voluntarily left because they were gay/participating in gay sex.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I think you are all missing the forest for the trees in BBs comment. It's undeniable that the LDS church had a significant impact on proposition 8 and the church leaders have been vocal opponents of gay marriage. That's not the point.

The point is that opposing gay marriage (and homosexuality in general) is a really minuscule fraction of what the church does. The idea that the LDS church central leadership has some sort of obsession with persecuting gays, is an idea that's only believable if you are nearly completely ignorant about the church and what it does. It may be the overwhelming majority of what you see the church doing, but it is an nearly insignificant fraction of what the church does.

99.999% (at least) of the church's efforts are a) not political and b) have nothing to do with homosexuality. The caricature you have of LDS church leaders as a bunch of rabid homophobes who are very likely involved in lacivious homosexual acts is only remotely believable if you have no familiarity with the governance of the LDS church or the scope of its teachings, programs, and activities.


Really? You think .001% of the church's efforts are focused on anti-gay legislation? Napkin math along would suggest that this means the $20 Million spent *directly* by LDS leadership on prop 8 alone represents only .001% of the church's $2 Trillion fortune. Assuming they never said or did or spent a single penny on anything else anti-gay. An imperfect metric, to be sure, but you don't spend $20 million on something you don't care about, at least a little.

So we've learned that the church is the richest private organization on Earth, and that despite hitching its wagon to various political organizations that fight against homosexual rights, it doesn't care about homosexual rights. For some reason.

I don't believe that the LDS leadership is obsessed with homosexuality, actually. But this kind of minimization troubles me, because it simply does not represent the truth. They do care- and they do spend money on it. A rather large amount of money.


quote:
Consider these facts. The LDS church has been ex-communicating homosexuals for decades. There are a very large number ex-LDS gays (including both those who left voluntarily and those who've been thrown out) who are extremely outspoken critics of the LDS church leaders. In that environment, how long do you think the church could keep a gay sex ring involving the highest leaders of the church secret?
LDS has a horrible, vitriolic relationship with its gay members. Therefore if the church were anti-gay but secretly covering up all sorts of weird crap, we would know about it from these people who are criticizing the church, who would be talking about it. Therefore the church is not secretly covering these things up. The very non-caring-about-gay-people church. QED.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:

I'm not making the Mormon church to be anything. It makes itself, and I observe it. I'm not arguing that there are elements including probably most of the leadership that are vehemently against same-sex marriage. But we said "vocally". They are not very vocal by any reasonable standard. Active? Sure. Vocal? No.

I am trying to imagine a semantic universe in which the distinction between a religious institution being politically active against homosexual rights (as demonstrated by publicly known and documented political action and financial support for political organizations) and being "vocal," is a difference that is significant in any way other than how it makes you feel to hear it.

The church gives a lot of money to fight against homosexual rights. Known fact. Speech is more than marketing: it is more than what you say or how you brand yourself. Speech is also encompassed by what you do. In this case: *fighting against equal rights*. Did you see those adds they broadcast in California that agitated against teachers "teaching" homosexuality in schools (a lie constructed to frighten religious people into voting for prop 8). Because LDS payed for those- it was one of a consortium of contributors. And that financial connection was one that was out in the open. Many are not.

I can pay a group of people lots of money to say things. I can't then expect to be seen as "not caring," what those people are saying. The fact that LDS didn't brand those commercials (nor did anyone else who contributed), but chose to hide behind a front organization is a sign that they were aware of the political feedback they were going to generate by participating. That's why you can look at "DefendMarriage.com," and find no evidence of a link to the church, nor any of the contributors.

If that kind of back dealing doesn't bother you, then I do wonder. I don't want to be part of an organization that does that kind of thing. Why would you want to contribute to an organization that isn't willing to own its own opinions publicly- that wants the splash but not the splash-back? Does it reek of honesty to you?

So whether you want to call that being vocal or not, we both know what it is. Your quibbles about whether it defines the church for you are meaningless to me. The church does this- and it does it with money it gets from you. Your speech, and that of all Mormons who tithe knowing what the church does with the money.

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stilesbn
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quote:
Napkin math along would suggest that this means the $20 Million spent *directly* by LDS leadership on prop 8 alone represents only .001% of the church's $2 Trillion fortune.
A little fact check here. The church didn't spend $20 million, nor did the leadership. Individual members spent that much out of pocket. The church spent approx. $190,000 in in kind donations.
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BlackBlade
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Orincoro: We aren't arguing the same thing at all. It was originally asserted that the Mormon leadership (especially the loud ones) probably/definitely have a secret gay sex ring. I am only disagreeing that such a ring exists, and that the psychology of their leaders lends itself to the profile of a self-loathing gay man who nonetheless speaks out loudly against homosexuality.

That's all. Really, that's everything.

Now, if you can find some other organization where the leaders operated in similar fashion and turns out there was a gay sex ring, or that several prominent leaders were closeted homosexuals, then you win this point!

I don't have to establish my credentials as a dissenter on proposition 8. And no, the money I give to the LDS church is not going towards oppressing gay rights. Tithed funds are *not* used for these sorts of things. They have a specific limited use application, and an auditing department ensures these rules are kept. If you can find evidence that the auditing department is not doing it's job, is lying, or that the church is misleading its auditors, I would immediately stop paying my tithing.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I realize this is hyperbole, but please Rabbit, at least attempt to be serious. Less than .0001% of the church's efforts in the world involve either homosexuality or politics?
You have one too many zeros after that decimal point. If you are going to criticize me for exaggerating, don't exaggerate what I said. Of course I have no idea what the actual percent might be or how one would even define what that means. It's very small, certainly much less than one percent. I'm sure that's hard to believe for someone whose only real point of contact with the church is on this issue. Do you understand sampling bias?

quote:
Furthermore, this caricature you're asserting exists in your own mind. No one has said what you're imputing to them. You can scale it back about half a dozen steps.
Mr Squick said,

quote:
I think it's naive to think that there isn't a high level gay sex ring among say Mormon leaders too (especially the ones who are really vocally anti-gay). Of course there is.
How does that differ from the caricature I claimed he was making? Those words must mean something different to you than they do me. In my language "vocally anti-gay leaders involved in high level sex ring" means exactly the same thing as "rabid homophobes involved in lacivious homosexual acts", its just a tad more polite.

From stillbn,

quote:
I don't know if I'd characterize it as vile bigotry. They all seem to be discussing in fairly good tones so far.
If MrSquicky's accusation is based on anything more than 1) the stereotype that vocally anti-gay people are closeted homosexuals and 2) the stereotype that religious leaders are massive hypocrits, he certainly didn't present it. Making that kind of accusation based solely on stereotypes is the definition of vile bigotry.

Put the shoe on the other foot. What if he'd said "It's naive to think a gay scout master wouldn't molest the boy scouts. Of course he would" The only difference I see is that one set of stereotypes is politically correct and the other is not.

If you or I or anyone else in this forum had jumped in to defend someone who'd made such a claim about a gay scoutmaster, Sam, Orin, and Rakeesh wouldn't have hesitated a second to call it bigotry. Neither would I.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Opposing homosexuality is a tiny part of what the Catholic Church does, too. But it seems to be a huge focus of what the Vatican and the bishops think about these days.

I think this bears repeating.

Does the LDS church really differ markedly from the Catholic church in terms of its proportions of whatever percent of time is spent on political or anti-gay activities? I think that's probably a better question that quibbling over 0.01% or 20 million or whatever.

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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Opposing homosexuality is a tiny part of what the Catholic Church does, too. But it seems to be a huge focus of what the Vatican and the bishops think about these days.

I think this bears repeating.

Does the LDS church really differ markedly from the Catholic church in terms of its proportions of whatever percent of time is spent on political or anti-gay activities? I think that's probably a better question that quibbling over 0.01% or 20 million or whatever.

Or rather, it seems to be a huge part of what the news reports about the Vatican.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
quote:
Napkin math along would suggest that this means the $20 Million spent *directly* by LDS leadership on prop 8 alone represents only .001% of the church's $2 Trillion fortune.
A little fact check here. The church didn't spend $20 million, nor did the leadership. Individual members spent that much out of pocket. The church spent approx. $190,000 in in kind donations.
Do you have a source for that? My research (cursory I admit) said $20 million.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I don't have to establish my credentials as a dissenter on proposition 8. And no, the money I give to the LDS church is not going towards oppressing gay rights. Tithed funds are *not* used for these sorts of things.

I'm not at all sanguine that you know that for sure.

quote:
Tithed funds are *not* used for these sorts of things. They have a specific limited use application, and an auditing department ensures these rules are kept. If you can find evidence that the auditing department is not doing it's job, is lying, or that the church is misleading its auditors, I would immediately stop paying my tithing.
As far as I know, the LDS church's books are closed to the public. That is reason enough for me to doubt their word on how any of that money is spent. That they have an auditing department means little, if those auditors are internal church employees.
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Scott R
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There is certainly no evidence for a gay sex ring among general church leadership.

Speculation about such a thing isn't very useful.

There is no need to speculate about how much the Church directly contributed to the Yes on 8 campaign. These things are a matter of public record.

http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_politics/California_Proposition_8/Questions_and_myths

You may need to scroll down a bit.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
As far as I know, the LDS church's books are closed to the public. That is reason enough for me to doubt their word on how any of that money is spent. That they have an auditing department means little, if those auditors are internal church employees.
That's fine *you* feel that way. I do not, and God has given me no indication that is the case. Nor, have my own forays into how the church spends its money lead me to believe you are right.

If there was misappropriation of funds, it's only a matter of time before a person who worked as an auditor leaves the church/goes public. Further, the church doesn't need to use tithed funds for its political expenditures. As others pointed out, it's own expenditures on Prop 8 were not very high (relatively speaking), and it certainly has more than enough assets to shoulder those costs without involving tithing. Not to mention using tithed funds for political expenses is an extremely risky move for no gain, as they would be explicitly sinning were they to do that, even for good political causes.

They simply don't need to use the money I send in my tithing envelope to do anything but build churches, help the poor, etc.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Opposing homosexuality is a tiny part of what the Catholic Church does, too. But it seems to be a huge focus of what the Vatican and the bishops think about these days.

I think this bears repeating.

Does the LDS church really differ markedly from the Catholic church in terms of its proportions of whatever percent of time is spent on political or anti-gay activities? I think that's probably a better question that quibbling over 0.01% or 20 million or whatever.

Or rather, it seems to be a huge part of what the news reports about the Vatican.
Not really. I wouldn't blame media bias on this as Catholic new agencies are reporting the same.
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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Opposing homosexuality is a tiny part of what the Catholic Church does, too. But it seems to be a huge focus of what the Vatican and the bishops think about these days.

I think this bears repeating.

Does the LDS church really differ markedly from the Catholic church in terms of its proportions of whatever percent of time is spent on political or anti-gay activities? I think that's probably a better question that quibbling over 0.01% or 20 million or whatever.

Or rather, it seems to be a huge part of what the news reports about the Vatican.
Not really. I wouldn't blame media bias on this as Catholic new agencies are reporting the same.
Not really referring to media bias here, just that the bulk of things that any organisation does never gets reported because it's not news and boring. But I'll take your word for it. You're the authority on the Catholic church here.
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kmbboots
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I think that you are correct about less controversial things getting less attention but I am not sure that this applies here when it comes to the Vatican. For example, the good works that the nuns have been doing was largely unreported until the Vatican made it news by insisting that the nuns shift their focus to more controversial issues like contraception and same-sex marriage.

ETA: There must be other Catholics here.

[ February 26, 2013, 12:33 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Opposing homosexuality is a tiny part of what the Catholic Church does, too. But it seems to be a huge focus of what the Vatican and the bishops think about these days.

I think this bears repeating.

Does the LDS church really differ markedly from the Catholic church in terms of its proportions of whatever percent of time is spent on political or anti-gay activities? I think that's probably a better question that quibbling over 0.01% or 20 million or whatever.

The Catholic church and the LDS do in fact differ quite markedly in their political activities as well as their positions on the appropriate roll of church's in politics. I could go into detail on the multitude of the ways in which they differ but that really isn't the relevant question.

The relevant question is whether the LDS church and the Catholic church differ in ways which would make a high level sex scandal significantly less likely in the LDS church than it is in the Catholic church. The answer to that questions is an unarguable yes regardless of whether there is any difference between the two church's political and anti-SSM activities.

The Catholic church has a professional clergy, all of whom are required to take a life long vow of celibacy. The LDS church has a lay clergy that are required to be married to serve in pastoral positions.

Catholic Priests rarely serve in the communities in which they grew up. They are transferred from parish to parish. They are promoted and demoted as rewards and punishments for their performance.

In contrast, LDS leaders serve as volunteers within the community in which they live and work. Bishops and stake presidents serve only for a few years and then return to be regular members of the congregation. The very few who are asked to serve full time as General Church Authorities typically do so only after many years of pursuing a secular career while serving in lay positions within their local church community.

There are also enormous differences in the way the two church's choose to discipline both their clergy and their general membership.

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katdog42
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think that you are correct about less controversial things getting less attention but I am not sure that this applies here when it comes to the Vatican. For example, the good works that the nuns have been doing was largely unreported until the Vatican made it news by insisting that the nuns shift their focus to more controversial issues like contraception and same-sex marriage.

ETA: There must be other Catholics here.

There are, in fact, other Catholics here, though I rarely post anymore. I can't check in often enough to keep up with the fast paces of some conversations.

That said, I agree with what Kat has said so far. And I thank her for pointing out all the unnoticed work that nuns have done for serving both the Church and the world.

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Black Fox
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I love the fact that some people believe that the most important theological and moral position that a religious institution can have is on homosexuality. That a negative stance against same-sex marriage - for the most part the Catholic Church is not trying to demonize or convert homosexuals into heterosexuals - completely eradicates extremely humane positions on a living wage, health care for all, that all people are worthy of God's love (equality), and the list goes on.

Another misconception that people have due to the Catholic Church having a "supreme pontiff" is that the Catholic Church is extremely centralized and run from the top down; this is such an incorrect characterization and shows the lack of understanding many have for the Catholic Church. There are so many subgroups,religious orders, and just dioceses out there that the Church ends up actually being fairly decentralized. The Catholic Church is also so massive in terms of both opinion and membership that is practically impossible to make massive changes in the Church - think of something along the lines of priesthood for women - that although the Pope has the legal power to make massive changes he really doesn't have a political leg to stand on to make large changes without creating a schism within the church. Even something like Vatican II created a lot of angry Catholics out there and caused members to leave the church.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
I love the fact that some people believe that the most important theological and moral position that a religious institution can have is on homosexuality.

People who have seen real and measurable harm coming to a vulnerable minority from positions of discrimination and judgment — and remember, here, that words and deeds are quite different things — from people and institutions can decide that it is entirely fair to declare that an organization like the catholic church deserves judgment on the subject of X and completely dismiss advocates of the church saying it's unfair to judge them on X when — my gosh! — look at how kind they are in Y and Z! Look at all they do for A, B, and C!

In this case, the church can be really really great in a lot of areas, but it is still not great and even very bad in very important areas. X is X, whatever we're talking about for X; a church supporter isn't going to get very far with me if I'm talking about gay marriage or the magdalene laundries and they say "but you know we have such a kind position on living wages!"

quote:
- that although the Pope has the legal power to make massive changes he really doesn't have a political leg to stand on to make large changes without creating a schism within the church.
That's still centralized power? Just with added elements of ungovernability. Duly .. uh, amusing to note with an organization that claims the kind of holy, supreme moral authority as the vatican.
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Samprimary
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Like I'm going to state right here that this whole "it's only point zero zero zero zero tiny small fraction!" stuff is a great way to try to downplay whether or not an organization's position and acts related to a certain thing are socially important and of activist concern.

Like, let's say that the mormon church had expended exactly the same zero zero zero zero one percent total effort towards, say, reinstating the illegality of miscegenation, or something else which is now considered as morally bogus and indefensible as gay marriage is going to be considered, in a very relatively short amount of time. And this causes a huge uproar among colored communities and people concerned with racial discrimination. And let's say they have definitely been politically active on the issue of ending legal miscegenation, had front groups, levied money directly or indirectly to flex political power ... Is anyone's excuse for this going to be "stop giving us so much crap about this, it's only 0.01% of what we expend our energy on!"

noooooooooooooooooooooooooope

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Black Fox
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I'm not trying to say that, and certainly wasn't attempting to insinuate as much in my post. What i was attempting to state is that you shouldn't judge the Catholic Church "Bad" for one incorrect view, or at least incorrect view in the eyes of some. The analogize, I wouldn't hate, or even find a person bad, for holding a political or theological view contrary to mine. I could very well find the position wrong, but still find them to be a generally good human being. I think the same evaluation should be given to the Church. Especially when an organization like the Catholic Church literally has "official" views on everything.

There are also lots of things the Pope literally cannot do. There are actually real checks and balances on papal authority, but I realize that most people have ZERO knowledge about the Catholic Church beyond the fact that it has a pope and a lot of priests touched kids.

There is also a big difference between random attacks on an institution as a whole and calling for the institution to reform. I also don't think holding a position against same-sex marriage is the equivalent of holding a position against homosexuals having a bevy of human rights. I have yet to read an edict of the church or declaration from the Church that says that homosexuals cannot go to heaven, receive the grace of God, etc. Now, they are saying that they don't condone the behavior and that they find it sinful, which honestly is probably not what a homosexual Catholic wants to hear. But then there is, to be honest, so much of modern life is that is equally or more sinful to homosexual behavior that the Church spends a GREAT deal more time dealing with. However, I find it scandalous and sinful that the Catholic Church has spent any money against same-sex ballot measures and the like.

We also all have a kind of ethnocentric view when it comes to the Catholic Church and forget just how vast the Catholic Church is in terms of membership and geographic reach. I would argue the only equivalent institution might be the UN, but even then I would say that in a lot of ways the Church is larger and more complex.

But I'm rambling here. Also, Ratzinger has gotten a lot of bad press that really should be leveled against John Paul. Look at when all the sex abuse and scandal was happening. What Ratzinger is really guilty of is trying to do damage control on what was going down when JP was pope. Admittedly, that damage control was immoral and wrong. The Church should have just come out and apologized openly and cleaned house.

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Rakeesh
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Black Fox,

quote:
I love the fact that some people believe that the most important theological and moral position that a religious institution can have is on homosexuality. That a negative stance against same-sex marriage - for the most part the Catholic Church is not trying to demonize or convert homosexuals into heterosexuals - completely eradicates extremely humane positions on a living wage, health care for all, that all people are worthy of God's love (equality), and the list goes on.

Speaking for myself, I don't think nor have I said that the church's position on homosexuality is the most important factor to consider. That would be silly. Speaking for others, I don't think anyone else has, either. However, the discussion did come around to questions of homosexuality thanks to Italian newspapers, and given that just because we're now talking about the church's stance on the matter doesn't necessarily mean anyone thinks it's the primary matter.

Now, that said...I'm not particularly impressed by all of the various good works the church does-not as an institution. The individual people themselves who do so have my respect and gratitude, but the institution itself claims to be the representative of a loving God here on Earth, doing His work, etc. It claims that it takes its marching orders, so to speak, from Him.

Well if that's the case, then all of those good works are what they're supposed to be doing, and for pity's sake if they ought as you suggest get credit for the good works as an instutition then they'll damned well get the blame as an instutition for the bad works. They don't get to laugh it off by pointing to how much charity they do.

quote:
I'm not trying to say that, and certainly wasn't attempting to insinuate as much in my post. What i was attempting to state is that you shouldn't judge the Catholic Church "Bad" for one incorrect view, or at least incorrect view in the eyes of some. The analogize, I wouldn't hate, or even find a person bad, for holding a political or theological view contrary to mine. I could very well find the position wrong, but still find them to be a generally good human being. I think the same evaluation should be given to the Church. Especially when an organization like the Catholic Church literally has "official" views on everything.

Again speaking for myself, I'm not necessarily judging the whole institution as 'bad' for one incorrect view-although if I were to do so, their handling of child sexual abuse by priests would rate much higher than their official stance on homosexuality. But to my mind, if they're going to claim divine mandate and inspiration, that necessarily makes the grading that much stricter. If they want to claim to be on God's team, let them-but let them do so in all particulars.

quote:
But I'm rambling here. Also, Ratzinger has gotten a lot of bad press that really should be leveled against John Paul. Look at when all the sex abuse and scandal was happening. What Ratzinger is really guilty of is trying to do damage control on what was going down when JP was pope. Admittedly, that damage control was immoral and wrong. The Church should have just come out and apologized openly and cleaned house.
Oh, I very much agree. John Paul doesn't rate very highly with me at all, given who he supposedly was and what went on under his leadership-however vaporous and tenuous it might actually be in reality.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Like I'm going to state right here that this whole "it's only point zero zero zero zero tiny small fraction!" stuff is a great way to try to downplay whether or not an organization's position and acts related to a certain thing are socially important and of activist concern.
Bravo Sam, You really eviscerated that strawman. Now maybe you can focus on the arguments someone here actually made.

While I'm sure that there are people you use the 'it's only a tiny fraction' argument to downplay social importance of the LDS church's opposition to prop 8 -- that was very clearly not why I brought up the issue.

My point was that anti-SSM activism by LDS church leaders is not a legitimate reason to suspect that the highest church leaders are involved in a gay sex ring. If you disagree, please explain why you think the evidence for a gay sex ring among LDS general authorities is so compelling?

I'm not gonna holding my breath for that because you and I both know the evidence isn't there. Plus, you are clearly having way too much fun beating up the strawman you've built.

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Samprimary
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Hi, I'm Sam. I am saying that arguing fractions is a great way to try to downplay whether or not an organization's position and acts related to a certain thing are socially important and of activist concern. This is because you used a completely invented fraction about the church's energy and resources (which I don't believe, by the way) as part of your point about the gay sex ring and as a result the issue of quibbling over little tiny percentage points becomes an issue that can be addressed in and of itself. If you read my post again, it is not saying you took the position that the fraction makes the church's anti-homosexuality okay. I don't even know if you're okay with the church saying that homosexual sex is a sin and gays should not be allowed to marry each other, are you?
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Darth_Mauve
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There is one big difference between the LDS church and the Catholic church that seems to be left out of this discussion. Ok, there are many big differences, but one I'd like to bring up.

Vatican City is composed of a bunch of unmarried men who have made a divine promise to abstain from all sexual congress. Woman walking through those halls is a rarity, and a woman in private meeting with one of those men is a peculiar thing, while two or more men gathering together, sharing rooms, etc is quite common.

Salt Lake City, and the LDS church headquartered there, is full of married men who have made a divine promise to procreate with there wives as often as is safely possible. They not only have an outlet for their sexuality. They have a mandate to use that outlet. Man and wife sharing rooms and in private discussions are common. Two men sharing a room, a Elder and a novice for example, rings warning bells and is investigated.

Its much easier for a "Gay Sex Ring" to exist and flourish in Vatican City than in the upper levels of the LDS and Salt Lake City.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Two men sharing a room, a Elder and a novice for example, rings warning bells and is investigated.

This is not true.

Edit: on second glance, I'm not sure I know what you meant. Two men share a bedroom all the time. They are mission companions and it's the rule. One adult and one adolescent are alone in a room all the time, with the bonus of a giant power and age imbalance. It's called an interview with the bishop and it doesn't raise any warning bells. It's even expected that the bishop will discuss sexual matters with the adolescent, alone.

[ February 27, 2013, 08:55 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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BlackBlade
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scifibum: In the instance of the two elders sharing a room, they are explicitly prohibited from sharing a bed for any reason. I'm reasonably certain there have been gay companions who flounced that rule, but it's still a far cry from a sex ring. Missionaries aren't in the field long enough to establish such a ring I should think.

As for the bishop thing, you don't have situations where a bishop interviews the same young man multiple times in a short period of time. Again, this isn't to say sexual abuse has never occurred, again, I'm reasonably certain it has. But you could never have a bishop abuse a group of young men for years undetected as others mentioned, they are released after a few short years, and you wouldn't have a situation where a bishop is alone with a boy or girl multiple times in a short span of time.

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