By their fruits you shall know them

Oct 30, 2011 Comments Off by

This is my first article here written while on a holiday in Spain (where limited internet access forced me to take a break from publishing). When in a foreign country I try to know something about its culture, e.g. the role of religion therein. A recent news story quantified the number of Spanish newborns the RCC illegally trafficked in the past 50 years at 300,000. The procedure was as thus: if an unwed girl or woman gave birth, they would lie to her by claiming her child had died, but not let her see the body or attend a funeral; next they would have the child adopted by a married Catholic couple, who would be told the baby’s mother gave it up; finally, they would forge the birth certificate to suggest that the infant was the biological child of the adopting couple. This means 300,000 people were abducted and illegally trafficked, as many as 600,000 were led to mourn for a child’s death on false pretences, and as many as 1,500,000 people were deceived on a weighty matter. These revelations give me an opportunity to say something about the RCC in general.

The first thing to notice is how people reacted to this story. Even RCC critics on suggested the numbers were implausible; the 300,000 figure was 16 a day for 50 years. Admittedly they still noted the process was large–scale, systematic and deliberate whatever its scale. But we give the RCC too much benefit of the doubt. We’re talking about a small percentage of the births in Spain in that period, and throughout it – especially under Franco – the RCC has had a lot of power in this context. The next thing to notice is how little–known the phenomenon is despite being an international one. Many nations have had similar revelations for them made. Let’s take a much more famous example of RCC immorality, that of child rape and the ensuing cover–ups. Three quarters of US Catholic churches and literally every single Catholic Church in Belgium has provably had such a stain on its record. This is not hyperbole; these are demonstrable facts. Why is the scale of this so little–known? (If you knew both those examples, give yourself a pat on the back that almost no–one deserves.) No matter how universal a problem with the RCC is, we essentially don’t notice it.

The third thing worth noting is no–one with the power to bring anyone near the top to justice over these evils is showing the slightest effort to do it. We can prove that Benedict XVI is personally responsible for the entire policy regarding shielding clerical child rapists from being prosecuted or discovered, and Geoffrey Robertson’s legal demonstration that the “he’s a Head of State” excuse for not arresting and trying him for this crime against humanity has never been refuted by anyone. The impetus for doing something about this couldn’t be any stronger, and yet not a single politician with the power to call for it has even hinted at doing so. This gives you a rough idea of how much slack we are unnecessarily, excessively and immorally cutting the RCC.

Spain is one of the most populous nations in Western Europe. All such nations were subject to a Catholic theocracy for centuries. England’s development of its own Church ultimately meant that the United Kingdom to which it belonged beginning in 1603 would be free from that tyranny. Some time later, the French became a secular nation, better exemplifying the healthiest religion–politics relationship possible than the UK ever has or is likely to any time soon (very much to my chagrin as a Briton). But Germany, Italy and Spain have been much less fortunate, and they have sadly paid some very heavy prices for it, of which the recently aired detestable example is but one.

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About the author

For most of my time as an undergraduate there was an atheist society in my university, which was founded late in my first year there. I was a committee member from then until my degree ended, by which time the society was atheist, secularist and humanist (you needn't be all three!). This gives me many experiences to relate. I have long critiqued pro-religious arguments, including in hundreds of posts - many of them thorough rebuttals to articles - on under my name. My degree was in physics, and I know a lot of the science - physics and otherwise - relevant to the debate on religion.
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