God isn’t powerful enough to transubstantiate gluten free crackers.

This just in from the one-more-way-religions-look-stupid department, a Catholic Cardinal has forbidden the use of gluten free Jesus crackers during Holy Communion:

Vatican 0outlaws use of gluten free bread for Holy Communion. — The Telegraph

The ruling was announced in a letter to bishops by Cardinal Robert Sarah,  prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

He has said the bread can be low-gluten, but the wheat must contain enough protein for it to be made without additives.

For those of you who aren’t Catholics, one of the core beliefs is that the wafers and wine they consume during mass literally turn into the flesh and blood of Christ once they’ve been consecrated. This belief was obligatory in 1215 with the Fourth Council of the Lateran.

I Can't Believe It's Not Jesus

Don’t even THINK of using these in the Catholic church.

The Vatican appears to be declaring that, despite being an all-powerful entity responsible for the existence of all creation who can literally do anything he can imagine, God is incapable or unwilling to perform transubstantiation on gluten free bread.

He added: “The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition.

“It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament.”

And don’t you even begin to think any old wine will do as Jesus blood:

“The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances.”

Leaving aside the cannibalistic aspects of this ritual for a moment, you would think God would have had the foresight of the sort of problems that a Jesus cracker with gluten in it would cause Catholics with Celiac disease, what with being all-knowing and all. Which calls into question that whole transubstantiation thing to begin with. I mean, if the cracker literally becomes the flesh of Christ then wouldn’t that remove any gluten in it? Or did Jesus have naturally occurring gluten in his flesh?

Probably best not to think about that too much.

Lutherans, who also practice this odd ritual, don’t seem to be as hung up on what the cracker is made out of and generally leave it up to the local churches to decide if they’re willing to substitute gluten free bread. Methodists can also use gluten free bread or rice cakes. I’ve not checked into the other denominations that engage in a similar ritual, but I’d bet they are also more accommodating.

One can only assume that the Catholic church doesn’t think God is capable of turning anything other than unleavened wheat bread into Jesus flesh. Or he’s just that much of a petty bread snob that he refuses to do so.

Follow the Pope on Twitter and you’ll get time off from purgatory. Sorta.

jewish-zombieThe Catholic church made headlines yesterday by announcing that you can cut down your time in purgatory by following the Pope on Twitter. Or at least that’s what you might think if you went by the headlines alone.

Apparently this new method of granting indulgences is tied into the upcoming Catholic World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro attendance of which is grounds for indulgences for the participants. The Church realizes that not everyone can afford to attend the week-long event, but they still want to be able to offer the same purgatory time reduction to those poor folks so they’ve turned to social media:

 Vatican offers ‘time off purgatory’ to followers of Pope Francis tweets 

Mindful of the faithful who cannot afford to fly to Brazil, the Vatican’s sacred apostolic penitentiary, a court which handles the forgiveness of sins, has also extended the privilege to those following the “rites and pious exercises” of the event on television, radio and through social media.

“That includes following Twitter,” said a source at the penitentiary, referring to Pope Francis’ Twitter account, which has gathered seven million followers. “But you must be following the events live. It is not as if you can get an indulgence by chatting on the internet.”

Got that? You’ve got to be paying attention if you want the indulgence. Simple clicking the Follow button on the Pope’s Twitter profile ain’t gonna work.

“You can’t obtain indulgences like getting a coffee from a vending machine,” Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the pontifical council for social communication, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Which is a pretty funny thing to say because at one point in time that’s pretty much how indulgences worked. Except instead of shoving money into a vending machine you just shoved it into your local priest.

Never let it be said that the Catholic church isn’t hip with the kids these days. Worship via social media is about as hip as you can get! What they don’t want you to know is I can offer you the same deal and you don’t need to follow me on Twitter or anyplace else. Hell, you don’t even need to ask me for the indulgence. There’s no such thing as purgatory so there’s nothing to need an indulgence for.

But don’t tell too many people. The Pope needs to get his Twitter follower count up somehow.

Debunking a Catholic “miracle” crucifix could land Indian skeptic in prison.

Catholics can be a tetchy bunch. Especially when you ruin their miracles. Over in Mumbai they were all excited about a miracle crucifix that was dripping water at a local church. The True Believers™ were convinced that it was of divine origin and were collecting it to drink thinking it was something more than ordinary water.

Turns out they were right, but not in the way they were thinking:

Indian skeptic faces 3 year prison sentence for explaining dripping crucifix | Secular News Daily.

Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association and Rationalist International, inspected the site and pinpointed the source of the water. A leaking toilet drain.

For explaining that the only “magic power” the water has is to transfer gastrointestinal infections and other disease, Edamaruku now faces up to three years in prison for “blasphemy”.

You’d think they’d appreciate being told that they were drinking toilet water, but instead they just get all pissy about it.

Apparently this was just the straw that broke the Catholic’s back because it turns out Edamaruku has been a bit of a thorn in their side, and a lot of other believer’s, for awhile now:

Accusing him of spreading “anti-Catholic venom” during televised debates on the crucifix, outraged religious groups in Mumbai have filed police complaints that could see Edamaruku jailed for up to three years under India’s blasphemy law.

Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Catholic-Christian Secular Forum, lodged one of the complaints, claiming it was the result of Edamaruku’s “very obvious and stridently anti-Christian bias”.

Edamaruku, who has spent the last 30 years debunking India’s mystics and gurus who attract massive followings (and fortunes), welcomes the charges as an opportunity to challenge India’s blasphemy law.

With any luck Edamaruku will get the blasphemy law — a hold over from India’s days as a British colony — overturned.

There’s still a few Catholics out there who think the Earth is the center of the Universe.

It’s been four centuries since the Catholic church persecuted Galileo for his theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun only to later admit that the evidence backed him up. Heliocentrism is the official stance of the Church today.

But there’s a group of Catholics out there that still think Galileo was wrong and the Church was right:

A few Catholics still insist Galileo was wrong – latimes.com.

Those promoting geocentrism argue that heliocentrism, or the centuries-old consensus among scientists that Earth revolves around the sun, is a conspiracy to squelch the church’s influence.

“Heliocentrism becomes dangerous if it is being propped up as the true system when, in fact, it is a false system,” said Robert Sungenis, leader of a budding movement to get scientists to reconsider. “False information leads to false ideas, and false ideas lead to illicit and immoral actions — thus the state of the world today.… Prior to Galileo, the church was in full command of the world, and governments and academia were subservient to her.

If you’re paying attention then it should be pretty obvious that the real concern here for these idiots is that the Church doesn’t have quite the iron grip on society that it used to have in the past and they’ve decided that Heliocentrism is where it all started to go wrong.  In other words, they want to drag the world back into the Dark Ages when the Catholic church kept the masses ignorant and ruled in a totalitarian manner. People are so much more moral after a few applications of a red hot poker. Not to mention getting people to confess was a lot easier when you could torture it out of them.

Considering the length of time and amount of evidence that Heliocentrism has enjoyed these yahoos must have some pretty amazing evidence that the theory is incorrect, right? Well, they think they do:

There is proof in Scripture that Earth is the center of the universe, Sungenis said. Among many verses, he cites Joshua 10:12-14 as definitive proof: “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, while the nation took vengeance on its foe.… The sun halted in the middle of the sky; not for a whole day did it resume its swift course.”

Oh look, they’re pointing to a few Bible verses and using the if-the-Bible-says-it-it-must-be-true argument that’s so popular among Evangelists here in America. That’s it. That’s all they’ve got is a couple of Bible verses.

Which is ironic when you get to this part of the news article:

But Ken Ham, founder of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., said the Bible is silent on geocentrism.

“There’s a big difference between looking at the origin of the planets, the solar system and the universe and looking at presently how they move and how they are interrelated,” Ham said. “The Bible is neither geocentric or heliocentric. It does not give any specific information about the structure of the solar system.”

When you make Ken Ham sound reasonable you’ve got real cause to be concerned. Ken’s anti-Evolution arguments are pretty stupid themselves and rely on a lot of Bible verses to back them up so when he’s saying you’re out there, man, you are out there.

I’m sorry way-retro Catholic dudes, but you don’t get to decide what the facts are anymore. You’ll have to stick to killing people through massive misinformation campaigns about condoms and birth control where you still cause entirely too much damage as it is. They day when your silly superstition fades from people’s minds for good can’t come soon enough.

Priest propositions Officers after being arrested for DUI.

Father Ignatius Kury of Brimfield Township, Ohio just can’t get a break. Realizing he was waaay too drunk to drive, the good Father pulled over to the side of the road and climbed into the back of the car to catch a few winks. But some busybody just had to call the cops and report the car on the side of the road and the cops just had to come out and see what was up only to find the innocent priest dozing away. They woke him up and used a breathalyzer on him and he ended up being drop dead drunk so the cops arrested him and took him downtown.

And that’s when things went from bad to worse:

Police rolled a video tape of the incident to protect themselves and use it as evidence in court.

“Because of the fact that one of my officers walked by the holding cell and he was exposing himself,” said Chief Blough.

Kury is heard on the tape saying, “I’ll give you a sermon on the mount.”

According to Chief Blough, the priest’s rant lasted over 20 minutes during which he threatened and propositioned officers.

Kury is heard saying, “I’ll pay you whatever you want. What do you want? Want me to give you a [expletive]? Is that what you want ?” “Do you want me to be a sexual slave?

Eventually, Kury was released on bond.

Now how would a nice Catholic boy like Father Kury know how to be a sexual slave? Sounds like there’s been some interesting counseling sessions at that church. Perhaps in the future the good father would be wise to cut back on the sacramental wine. Talk about being drunk on the blood of Jesus, eh?

Michael Voris explains why America needs a Christian Dictator.

Who the hell is Michael Voris you ask? He’s the head of St. Michael’s Media which is based in Ferndale, Michigan which makes him a local nutcase for me. He’s a devout Catholic who got all riled up about The Da Vinci Code so he set about establishing a production studio to broadcast The Truth to the world (or at least to the greater Metro Detroit area) in 2006. Apparently he’s also been posting their videos online so as to reach a wider audience.

I say all of this because when you watch the following video you’re first thought is that it has to be a parody produced by The Onion or someone trying to be like The Onion. It’s not a parody:

We Need a Christian Dictator

I have to admit that I’m surprised to hear this sort of talk coming from a Catholic as usually this sort of rhetoric comes from the Evangelicals. To say it’s a little troubling is an understatement, but I feel they haven’t fully thought their position all the way through.

If ever the day should come that America limits voting only to the virtuous, well, that pretty much rules out Catholics entirely. What with their propensity for tolerating and covering up child molesters in their ranks and their general inclination to put the image of the church over all other concerns there’s not a whole lot that’s virtuous about them.

This is a bit of old news it seems as this came out back in August of last year. It was posted on Pharyngula at the time, but I somehow missed it. Despite its age I thought it worth sharing as an example of what some Catholics dream of.

Pope blames atheists for environmental destruction.

Gotta love the Pope. If ever there was a perfect example of religious hubris and hypocrisy at its finest then the Pope is it. The fact that he can claim to be a font of morality after the travesty of justice that was the pedophile priest scandal shows that it’s not just the evangelicals that are immune to reality. Needless to say he find atheism to be a root cause of many of the ills the world faces.

Take, for example, environmental destruction. According to the Pope the blame lies with atheists and secularism:

Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalized or also where his existence is denied? If the human creature’s relationship with the Creator weakens, matter is reduced to egoistic possession, man becomes the “final authority,” and the objective of existence is reduced to a feverish race to possess the most possible.

Creation, matter structured in an intelligent manner by God, is entrusted to man’s responsibility, who is able to interpret and refashion it actively, without regarding himself as the absolute owner. Man is called to exercise responsible government to protect it, to obtain benefits and cultivate it, finding the necessary resources for a dignified existence for all. With the help of nature itself and with the commitment of its own work and creativity, humanity is able to assume the grave duty to hand over to the new generations an earth which, in turn, the latter will be able to inhabit worthily and cultivate further.

I don’t know of any atheists personally, though I don’t doubt there are some out there somewhere, who feel that fucking up the planet isn’t a problem. I do know a lot of Christians who have argued that it doesn’t matter if we fuck up the planet because Jesus is coming back “Any Day Now™” and will wipe the planet clean of all unbelievers and restore it to like-new condition. In fact you can find numerous newspaper articles with arguments from Christians saying that environmentalism is Satanic and un-Christian and God declared man had dominion over the Earth to do with as he pleases, etc. and so on.

Meanwhile most of the atheists I know realize that this is the only home we have and if we make it too toxic it’ll be bad for the long-term survival of the species. We don’t believe in a magic sky fairy that’ll come down on a cloud and make it all better. We’ve got no one to rely on but ourselves. Yet, somehow, the Pope believes it’s all our fault.

But the Pope is so… mockable!

Apparently some Catholic bishops aren’t happy that some of us like to mock the Pope and they think we should stop:

ROME (CNS)—Mockery is not acceptable in public discussions, especially when the subject is the pope, said the president of the Italian Catholic bishops’ conference.

[…] “We will not accept that the pope, in the media or anywhere else, is mocked or offended,” said Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, opening the spring meeting of the permanent council of the Italian bishops’ conference.

Fuck the Pope and fuck Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco too. When the Pope stops saying shit that’s worth mocking then I’ll stop mocking him, but until then he’s fair game. Considering his position as the head of the Catholic church it’s probably unlikable he’ll stop saying things that are worth mocking anytime soon.

Pope declares Holy War against false visions of Jesus and his mom.

OK all you fakers and posers out there who are always claiming to see the Virgin Mary in your scrambled eggs or Jesus in your baby’s soiled diapers, you’re officially on alert! The Pope has had enough of this nonsense and he’s laying the smack down:

The Pope is declaring a ‘holy war’ against people who claim falsely that the Virgin Mary is appearing to them.

He will attempt to snuff out an explosion of bogus heavenly apparitions with new guidelines to help bishops root out frauds.

Benedict XVI plans to publish criteria to help them distinguish between true and false claims of visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, messages, stigmata – the appearances of the five wounds of Christ – and weeping or bleeding statues.

In some cases exorcists will be used to determine if a credible apparition is ‘divine’ origin or ‘demonic’.

Ha ha! The joke’s on him! There are no “credible” apparitions!

The Pope is said to be deeply concerned by the explosion in the number of pseudo-mystics who, claiming a direct line to God, set themselves against the bishops and lure the Catholic faithful out of the Church and into cults.

If there’s one thing that gets the Pope hot under his collar it’s competition for the hearts and minds of the overly credulous and self-delusional.

When a claim of heavenly apparitions occurs, the local bishop will need to set up a commission of psychiatrists, psychologists, theologians and priests who will investigate the claims systematically.

The first step will be to impose silence on the alleged visionaries and if they refuse to obey then this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false.

The first rule of Seeing Jesus Club is you don’t talk about Seeing Jesus Club!

As it turns out there’s an excellent job opportunity here for us atheists:

The visionaries will next be visited by psychiatrists, either atheists or Catholics, to certify their mental health and to verify whether they are suffering from conditions of a hysterical or hallucinatory character or from delusions of leadership.

The irony in the above statement is almost too much to take. But it gets even better:

The third step will be to investigate the person’s level of education and to determine if they have had access to material that could be used to falsely support their claims.

If the visionary is considered credible they will ultimately be questioned by one or more demonologists and exorcists to exclude the possibility that Satan is hiding behind the apparitions in order to deceive the faithful.

I smell the makings of an excellent reality TV show in this idea. A little work from the boys in Hollywood and the Vatican would have another source of revenue to pay off all those pedophile priest lawsuits! Good to see the Pope is tackling the really important problems facing the Catholic church!

Catholic Bishop says too much education is a bad thing.

People are so much easier to control when they’re dumb and illiterate. The heyday of the Catholic church, after all, was the middle ages. While still more influential and powerful than they probably should be, the Catholic church has had a harder time of it lately and it’s all the fault of those educated parishioners:

Bishop O’Donoghue, who has recently published a report on how to renew Catholicism in Britain, argued that mass education has led to “sickness in the Church and wider society”.

“What we have witnessed in Western societies since the end of the Second World War is the development of mass education on a scale unprecedented in human history – resulting in economic growth, scientific and technological advances, and the cultural and social enrichment of billions of people’s lives,” he said.

“However, every human endeavor has a dark side, due to original sin and concupiscence. In the case of education, we can see its distortion through the widespread dissemination of radical scepticism, positivism, utilitarianism and relativism.

“Taken together, these intellectual trends have resulted in a fragmented society that marginalizes God, with many people mistakenly thinking they can live happy and productive lives without him.

Awwwww. I feel so bad for the Bishop. All those damnable educated people and their stupid questions about Catholic dogma. I’ve always said that the cure for religion is more education. It doesn’t work in every case, but it works more often than not. Where it doesn’t eliminate belief in sky faeries it at least makes the believers much more moderate and reasonable. It’s interesting to hear a Catholic bitch about education for a change, though, as usually that’s the domain of Evangelicals.