Excommunication doesn’t seem much of a sanction to non-believers, granted, but it’s a bit rough for Catholics. It seems you can do just about anything and still remain a Catholic, from holocaust denial (you can apparently even be a bishop, in that case) to taking part in mass murder in Rwanda.
However, what you can’t do and remain incommunicated is arrange an abortion for a Brazilian nine-year-old who was pregnant with twins, after being raped by her stepfather.
In fact, having sane social views can also get you suspended as a priest in Brazil, if not completely excommunicated.
It appears that Father Couto landed in trouble with the Church authorities because of an interview that he gave to a local newspaper defending the use of condoms as a matter of public health. (from the BBC)
Unlike the more senior Brazilian Catholic church hierarchy…
…. He has received threats to his life in the past for his opposition to death squads that operate in the north east of Brazil.
So, it appears that being genuinely “pro-life” – in any sense of the word that doesn’t mean “supporting breeding, whatever the human cost” – can get you into trouble in the Catholic Church.
But death squads, AIDS deaths and raped children are just part of god’s unquestionable plan.
The second set of ironies come from yet another church shooting in the US.
A week ago, the Guardian’s Saturday magazine had an seemingly-interminable parade of born-again American christians talking about their firepower. (That “Turn the other cheek” stuff really must be too fragile to survive the rebirthing process.) The piece was clearly just there to make us English people feel smug.
I remembered an old post that I did here about Wingnut daily and its claim that going armed into church would just make worshippers safer.
This referred to a book called “Shooting Back” published by Worldnet Daily itself, the message of which seems to revolve around always having a revolver. Even – or indeed, especially – in church.
What would you do if armed terrorists broke into your church and starting attacking your friends with automatic weapons in the middle of a worship service?
Well. oddly, this seems to be a not-unheard of occurence, now. But, surprise, surprise, they aren’t organised “armed terrorists” but good old traditional yankee “lone gunman” figures. The very people who are claiming that it’s their inalienable human right to bear arms, no less.
It’s been a while since I underwent the reading-wingnut-daily experience. Scanning its ugly intro page, I spotted a link to a piece of nonsense in our old friend, the English Daily Mail.
Which was unsurprising, given that as soon as I looked at the worldnet daily site content, I saw the extreme wing of the Daily Mail’, with its trademark mix of political scare stories and crackpot health stories.
OK, worldnet daily doesn’t have the Mail’s prurient celeb stories with its daily fake concern about starlet x’s love life or singer y’s bulimia problems. But then, the Mail doesn’t have the insane nonsense about Obama’s being a secret muslim or not being a really American. So, on balance, I think this is – for once – a win for the Daily Mail and its acres of celebri-toss. If it didn’t have that, it could easily tip over into worldnettery and then the UK would be in serious trouble.