Normally a post like this would go on FB. It would be a lot shorter and might only contain a quick quote from me along with a link to an article. I recently received a note on the side from a friend who told me that it hurt him when I misrepresented the Church on FB. I don't think I misrepresented anything – but I also don't want to hurt my friend's feelings. I told him that I'd stop with the FB posts that are critical of the church of my youth. I told him that there are other forums and more skillful means for me to employ in my criticisms of the RCC.
Return to the Center ain't Facebook. Anyone and everyone is free to ignore, skip over etc any posts they find distasteful.
On to the issue at hand –
According to newser.com:
“Yoga is the work of the devil, according to a man who claims to have banished evil spirits from 70,000 people. Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's chief exorcist, says yoga leads to a belief in Hinduism, and "all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation," the Telegraph quotes him as saying. The elderly priest, speaking at a film festival in Italy this week, said practicing yoga leads to evil "just like the Harry Potter books," which he believes promote black magic.”
Let's for this post set aside the humorous fluff about Harry Potter being evil. Let's just focus on the premise that yoga, yoga practitioners, Hindus and all eastern religions are false and evil.
Not to be a nit picker with the Chief Exorcist but he doesn't know jack shit about Buddhism if he really thinks that it is based on a “false belief in reincarnation.” A casual reading of elementary Buddhist texts – The Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path etc.. would disabuse one of the thought that you had to believe in reincarnation to be a Buddhist practitioner. The notion of “believing” in anything the way that Christians “believe” simply does not apply. Perhaps if in between exorcisms Mr Amorth could peruse the Kalama Sutra..
'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.
"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them.
Perhaps Mr Amorth uses a different definition of evil than I do because I've known lots and lots of Hindus, yoga practitioners, Buddhists of all stripes. Not one of them has been what I consider to be evil. Quite the opposite, in fact.
If Mr Amorth is looking for evil in the world to battle, he can conveniently start within the gold-leaf walls of his own dear church.
- In recent decades the church has shown itself to be one of the finest pedophile enablement and sheltering outfits on the planet. On. The. Planet. Thousands and thousands of children have been had the pleasure of anal sex with celibate men from the RCC. Those men, after they have been balls deep in boy rectums, have been systematically moved from parish to parish to elude prosecution. All of the enablers, middle managers referred to as Cardinals or Bishops, remain free to lead their lives outside the walls of any penitentiary.
In the newser.com article, Mr Amorth blames the devil – not the long line of tumescent clerics and their sugar daddies the bishops and cardinals for torn anal cavities in young children. How convenient to put the evil outside oneself.
- The church continues to stonewall civil authorities to this day on child rape. Witness what has gone on in Ireland recently.
- Just like in the case of Penn State University there are lots more men who are in positions of power who knew about the raping and molesting but did nothing simply to protect the brand. These men who remain silent both at PSU and in the RCC – they are all accessories after the fact.
- For decades the church ran what has become known as the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, where women could be incarcerated into a life of slave labor without trials or due process. Women could be sent there for becoming pregnant outside of marriage, for being a “fast girl”, for any reason the family chose to trump up I suppose. These laundries were money making enterprises for the church.. not – however for the women who slaved there. The last laundry was closed in 1994. Nineteen. Ninety. Four.
- Until November of 2010, the church maintained its opposition to the use of condoms, even though science proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that condom use helps prevent the spread of HIV and other dangerous STD's. This is not so much a problem in the developed world where the church's views on birth control and sex practices are regularly ignored by the faithful. It has been a tremendous problem in South America and Africa where the church's teachings on these matters have held more sway. It is not hyperbole to think that the church's opposition to condoms, or the lies they spread about condom use actually helped more people into early graves than if they had simply kept their holy mouths shut.
According to a Guardian article :
Archbishop Francisco Chimoio of Mozambique announced that European condom manufacturers are deliberately infecting condoms with HIV to spread Aids in Africa. Out of every 8 people in Mozambique, one has HIV.
It was Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo of Colombia who most famously claimed that the HIV virus can pass through tiny holes in the rubber of condoms. Again, he was not alone. "The condom is a cork," said Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Spain, "and not always effective."
I'd say an organized religion acting in a way that makes it a vector for the spread of deadly disease is evil.
- I could go on.. but you get the drift..
I wish Mr Amorth well in his fight against evil, especially in the target rich environment of his own organization.
Lastly – I hope he picks up a book or two from time to time before he opens his mouth again about eastern religions and other subjects he may know nothing about.