What I’d Ask the Pope

If Ratzinger is not asked at every stop he makes, and in level yet firm tones, why he and the … Continued

If Ratzinger is not asked at every stop he makes, and in level yet firm tones, why he and the Vatican continue to shelter Cardinal Law, our profession will have shamed and disgraced itself. We already know that the Pope is a Roman Catholic. What we need to hear is his reason for giving sinecure and asylum to the man who organized and excused the rape and torture of tens of thousands of American children. And then, when he has given his first answer, we need to hear how he answers all the supplementary questions.

  • James


  • gormie

    This is the sound of one mouth flapping.

  • Rob Bailey

    I just want to know why Hitchens is afraid to debate real Christian scholars and apologists like William Lane Craig or R.C. Sproul instead of chumps like Al Sharpton. And who cares what Hitchens wants of the Pope.

  • Daniel Davy

    Indeed. Hitchens is right on the mark, as he so frequently is. At the risk of sounding biased, I might add that I have taken the liberty of renaming the Catholic religion: Pope-A-Dope. Nice, huh?

  • wanderer

    Certainly I agree that the abuse scandal was disgusting. Certainly I agree that all those who perpetrated this should see prison time. But Mr. Hitchens, you never seem to compliment the church. What about soup kitchens? What about medical supplies which are provided to the poor, both here and abroad? What about all those Religious who DON’T abuse those who trust them? And I know you didn’t like her, thought she was overrated, etc., but don’t you think it was tacky to insult Mother Teresa at her funeral? Sometimes you can just not say anything.

  • MHughes976

    There are questions about the Banco Ambrosiano that need clearing up as well. More deeply, there is the question of how far the Church accepts any obligation to obey merely human laws. This isn’t a problem only for the Church: any organisation that claims to pursue the right and the good faces the question of what happens when its own studies of the right and the good puts it into conflict with the majority and the consensus.

  • candide

    The Roman Catholic Church is the oldest and next to the Nazi SS the most evil institution in human history.

  • speed123

    PS – this blog is being censored from real responses to Chris’ inherent bigotry against Catholics.Like he cares about children! Ha! What of the Iraqi children that your words helped rain hell on?

  • Chris Everett

    Fat chance. I’m afraid that “your profession” mainly consists of a herd of moneymaking hacks. The big market incentive here is simply to pander to Catholics who are interested in the Pope from a feel-good human interest perspective.Wanderer – Before you congratulate Catholocism for its charity to the poor, you should ask yourself, “what actually ELIMINATES poverty, and how has Catholicism played a part in that?” The short answer is that science, secularism and democracy are the engines of wealth, and the Catholic church has been an enemy of all three for two thousand years. Where it has made progress, it has done so kicking and screaming, as the worlds second-most lagging indicator.

  • David

    If it were not for the past centuries of “pope a dopes”

  • Kacoo

    Hitchens is such a bore. Even his book is remaindered.

  • Patrick

    My experience growing up Catholic and fending off the occasional advances from homosexual priests is that most priests and nuns were decent but naive to the point of being blind. In any case it seems to me to be irony of biblical proportions for an alcoholic Manhattan sybarite to be passing moral judgment from afar on anyone.

  • Mr Mark

    Kacoo writes:”Hitchens is such a bore.”Yes, it’s so boring to demand accountability from the Pope who is harboring a lowlife sleazeball who aided and abetted child abusers for decades. It’s so boring to point out that the Pope is by extension aiding and abetting those same child abusers.Perhaps you’d be less bored if Hitchens wrote a column encouraging everyone to watch American Idol?

  • Steve Martin

    I’d want to know, “Does the pope sh*t in the woods?”

  • Chris Everett

    Patrick,In what way is Mr. Hitchens immoral? What do alcohol and pleasure have to do with morality, anyway. I think Mr. Hitchens is raising an important point about morality – it’s not what most people think it is. Morality isn’t about adhering to religious strictures or indulging in vanglorious sermonizing. It’s about not making choices that cause, or perpetuate, harm, and about calling to account those who make such choices. With respect to harboring Mr. Law, Mr. Ratzinger does not appear particularly moral.Of course, the real story is “What is this backwards old man, heading up a decaying institution of superstition and oppression, doing here anyway, and why should we care? His words are utter nonsense. His arrogance and pretensions are insufferable. He is a ghost from the distant past. What a grim reminder. Brrr.”

  • bill dunlap

    How ca this pope that the archbishop fromn Boston, who so discraced the order for years by allowing the abuse to go on and continue under his nose be allowed to be bishop of Rome.

  • speed123

    What is truly sickening is Hitchen’s (and all neo-cons) lack of remorse for the senseless war they promoted and the raping and destruction of an entire country…What about those children, Chris?

  • speed123

    “Morality isn’t about adhering to religious strictures or indulging in vanglorious sermonizing. It’s about not making choices that cause, or perpetuate, harm, and about calling to account those who make such choices.”Ah, the irony!!!!!

  • Chris Everett

    Speed123,Yes, the irony. I’m not very familiar with Mr. Hitchens views on the Iraq war but I’d be interested to hear his rationale for favoring it, or his mea culpa if he now realizes what a disaster it is.

  • Tom

    Absolutely. Catholicism, like any religious institution, is free to discriminate against homosexuals and blithely condemn Democrats, but it cannot transgress the law by allowing accomplices to pedophilia sanctuary in Vatican City.

  • On Faith Producers

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  • chuck


  • DaveP

    Hitchens smugness slays me. As others have said, let’s grill him on his certainty about the slaughter of Iraq.

  • Amir Jafri

    Right on! The pope, like the mullahs, the ayatullahs, and the rabbis, must not get away with such arbitrary perversion of universal ethical priniciples.

  • LTK

    I believe that Hitchen’s is a courageous man in his pontificating on a number of topics (including his issues with Islam), sorry for the pun, but no institution has complete control over its members or practitioners. I must admit that I am a bit ignorant on all of the facts concerning Law, but I do know that one of the biggest problems within Christianity is the concept of forgiveness. It all means nothing if once someone commits a heinous act they can never be redeemed.I also agree that there is a lot of anti-Christian bias on this blog. Kudos to speed123 for his comment on Candides comment.Finally I think it would be a blast to tip one back with C.H.LTK

  • Nora

    I see that not even a discussion of the Church’s complicity in pedophilia can be isolated from the tedious bleating of the anti-war crackpots.Can no one find something for these twits to do?

  • Mr Mark

    Hitchens has been consistent in his support for taking out Saddam. He doesn’t believe in trying to make nice with those we consider our enemies. He believes you take them on and defeat them.To take Hitchens’ belief that the war was a good cause and to expand that into assuming he gives his undying support to BushCo would be folly. Hitchens has made clear in many columns and many TV appearances where he disagrees vehemently with BushCo.I don’t agree with Hitchens’ support for the war, neither do I find his rationale for support particularly compelling. However, I don’t demand nor expect to ever be in 100% agreement with anyone. I’ll leave that for the religious whose lot in life is to swallow their church’s dogma hook, line and sinker to be considered a “true and faithful servant.”Hitchens doesn’t ask people to put faith in him or his ideas, but just to listen. On the issue of Cardinal Law and the Pope’s offering sanctuary to a criminal, he is right on target.BTW – it would be interesting to know what vices attend to those on this thread who choose to berate Hitchens for his particular vices. For me, Hitchens makes more sense when he’s three sheets to the wind than most people make when on their best behavior. If sobriety were the measure of a person’s intellect and discernment, then we should all be running to support GW bush and his policies, shouldn’t we?Again, thanks to Hitchens for another on-point On Faith effort.

  • Washingtonian

    Aren’t a number of these comments simply offensive? Many are not really addressing the question (which is a valid question, though stated in an inflammatory way). If the editor is letting comments like Candide’s through, I wonder what isn’t getting through… I wonder what the purpose of this exchange is – merely venting or actually exchanging views on the individual and collective responsibility for the abuse scandal!

  • speed123

    Come on, Mark – you are smarter than this!”Hitchens doesn’t ask people to put faith in him or his ideas, but just to listen.”Hitchens is a demigod selling an extreme-atheist / secularist ideololgy and it was not the intent of neo-con policy makers and pundits to just have people “listen.”Chris – posturing as a “humanitarian” – is a hypocrite and just because you agree with his views in regards to atheism does not change this fact.

  • Mr Mark

    Dear Speedy -No, I am not “smarter than this.” My words as written stand.Let’s face it, you discount every single word of anyone who doesn’t buy into your personal religious fantasies. I understand that. It’s par for the course among the fantasy based set.However, unlike most “nice people” on the religious bandwagon, you can’t seem to resist going over the line into name calling when offering your take on things. In your last post alone, you describe Hitchens as a “demigod selling an extreme-atheist/secularist ideology” and “a hypocrite…posturing as a “humanitarian.” You then assure us that your assessment of Hitch is “a fact,” not an opinion.But Hitch isn’t the only person involved in your last post. I’m there, too, so you toss in a gratuitous attack on my intellect, just to show you’re an equal-opportunity abuser.And here was I feeling encourage by our banter over classical music. Perhaps we should meet at some blog that sticks to music as its raison d’etre and forget the religion and politics sparring?

  • speed123

    PS – Chris, on your next vainglorious trip to the plastic surgeon, I suggest that you implant of couple of horns on that rather large head of yours…Would make for a great visual next time you the blow-hard seat on the Bill Maher show and really bring validity to your claim to be the “devil’s advocate”…

  • Jeff Wagner

    Christopher Hitchens is dead wrong about Iraq. But when it comes to religion, he is just terrific. How I’d love to hear him take down RatsoRizzo!

  • Mr Mark

    NB to all: sorry about the high number of typos in my recent posts. My proofreading of my own efforts needs improving.I’ll try to do better going forward.

  • speed123

    Mark,That was not an insult to your intellect! (are you a classical musician, btw?)As for the comment: “you discount every single word of anyone who doesn’t buy into your personal religious fantasies”No true; however, replace the word “religious” with the word “secular” in that sentence and it would describe Hitchen’s philosophy.We are going to have to agree to disagree…

  • Marc Edward

    The problem with the church is that it is a man-made institution with more interest in spreading it’s own power than in living by anything Jesus said. This Pope is a bad person, period, and is speaks to the emptiness of the Church as an orginazation that he has any position of power at all. The fact is that the Catholic Church promotes all sorts of bad practices in the name of being subservient to dogma. I don’t really care if every so often the Catholic Church hands out scraps of food or an underused bandaid when at the same time the Church contributes to the spread of STDs such as AIDS, or promotes the mistreatment of women, or promotes war.

  • Mr Mark

    Dear Speedy -Thanks for the nice words. Yes, I’m a classical musician. Or, more precisely, I was. My university degree was in music. I studied as an oboist, conductor and singer, but in my professional life I also found myself playing church organ on occasion (now, THAT was scary! I didn’t really have the chops to do that correctly, so I faked a lot…ie: limited pedal work).These days I work as a fund raiser and marketer in the arts. I currently live and work in SoCal.

  • Marc Edward

    Howdy Speed

  • BJM

    I think that Hitchens’ question is perfectly legitimate and is in no way an expression of animus or even disrespect toward that Catholic Church. It is very narrow in scope and makes no comment on the beliefs, history, legitimacy of the CC. I am, I admit a fan of Hitchens. I am also a Catholic. I think he is wrong about religion, but I enjoy listening to his arguments and points of view.As for the Church being the most evil institution in history, etc., all I can say is that it will outlive all of the comments on this board as well as those making the comments.

  • Michael La Civita

    Christopher Hitchens needs to grow up.

  • speed123

    Hey Mark, very cool – I was on itunes last night after our conversations and downloaded my first bit of Mozart – so thanks for that! (I am in my twenties – hence my limited knowledge of classical – and work for a website which I won’t disclose here ;)Marc, there is TONS of evidence that condom distribution does not limit the spread of AIDs (except in high risk occupations such as prostitutes) and that the rates of infection are highest in non-Catholic countries – Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana.As for war, you did say that the Church “promotes” war. In reality, this is dictated by Augustine’s just war philosophy and only defensive wars are permitted as just…

  • jkoch

    Ratzinger and Law may have indisrections in common. It is one thing to defend the Church against litigation. It is something else to be a holy hypocrit. St. Peter may concede a shade of gray about the former, but not about the latter. Better a little time in Purgatory than an express ticket to where he and Law will have to share eternity in heat with some nasty cellmates.

  • Paul in NY

    “Organized….the rape and torture of tens of thousands of American Children.” Really?

  • speed123

    Novermber 27, 2004 issue of the prestigious British medical journal “The Lancet” shows that of the three interventions scientifically shown to prevent AIDs – abstinence, being faithful, and using condoms – the use of condoms clearly comes last and should be promoted as a first-line defense only to those in extremely high-risk groups, such as commercial sex workers.

  • Father/Mother of Harlots part 6

    Tell the [un] Holy Pope to take All his

  • speed123

    Looking at the last seven posts or so, it looks like Hitchen’s acolytes are out in full force…

  • chris

    I’d ask him how he can possibly defend moving the church away from evolution in the 21st century, he’s ghetto-izing Catholic congregations into a radicalized population of know-nothings.

  • LTK

    Well, well, well…I guess you have to be inflammatory on this site to get attention, but alas I will not be.But if Mr. Hitchens is viewing this blog, as I mentioned before I would love to have a drink with him, I am a cradle Catholic, born in of all places Youngstown, Ohio and have lived in a good bit of the US, (NM,UT,AK,WV,OH)…also consider myself somewhat of an intellectual…have degrees in anthropology, education and GIS and just got done watching the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour and believe that the actual, although not official, breakup of the Beatles should be assigned to the day after this travesty was aired to the British public in either late 1967 or Christmas 1968.I am back in Y-town to help take care of my Mother who has cancer and is a turbo-Catholic and would like some interesting conversation so this is an invite to all those on this discussion to drop me a line.If this is censored, I hope you at least got a laugh at the reference to MMT.Sincerely,LTK

  • spiderman2

    Catholicism is the Devil’s Church. It is wise and cunning. You may hate me for saying that but I believe that the Vatican is the seat of Satan from the start upto now.Whenever the Vatican speaks or any of their high priests, take it with suspicion. It is WISE AND VERY CUNNING. If you study their history, their downfall was caused when the Bible was distributed to the masses. Soon, it will display it’s true color and it will lead to it’s devastation.

  • speed123

    Nice to see all of the extremists (i.e. Chris Hitches, Spiderman2 etc.) are on the same page 😉

  • speed123

    Who would have ever thought that a militant evangelical and militant atheist would have such similar opinions?These two should really be the ones going out for a drink!

  • Neal:

    The questions Hitchens would ask are nothing more than what the Vatican might have anticipated when they decided to retrieve Law back into the mothership. That the Vatican has so far failed to adequately address them speaks volumes for the level of respect that that entity has for American Catholicism. Why does it seem that Christopher Hitchens, an admitted anti-theist, is permitted to only criticize religions *less* than even their own adherents?

  • josh

    The rampant and institutionalized molestation of children within the American Catholic Church is nothing short of racketeering, and ought to have been investigated and prosecuted as such. But only behind the veil of God, and hundreds of millions of dollars, can such an institution escape Federal inquiry and retain the support of credulous followers the world over. Had it been any other, secular organization, the Catholic Church would have been the first to call for heads. Of course, I recall that Ratzinger’s response to these revelations was that the pedophilia was committed by all sorts of humans with varying and differing beliefs, and that Catholics shouldn’t be held to a greater standard.Hmmm, that’s some righteous God you’re worshipping, Mr. Pope.

  • Hill

    I’d really like to see some evidence for your allegation that Cardinal Law “organized… the rape and torture of tens of thousands of American children.” In any other context, you would be summarily fired (and likely sued) for such absurd claims. However, given how much money the Post makes from the traffic they generate by posting sensationalist, inflammatory, bush-league “religious” commentary on these pages, that’s unlikely to happen. Let me clarify: what evidence do you have that Cardinal “organized” these instances of sexual abuse, and what evidence do you have that the instances for which he is allegedly responsible include “tens of thousands of American children?” In the event that you are unable to provide such evidence, you might avoid further shaming and disgracing your profession by retracting or reformulating your remarks.

  • speed123

    Don’t be an ignorant bigot, Josh…”The rampant and institutionalized molestation”Try less than 5 percent of clergy are accused – this is not rampant – however, the likes of Hitchens and the secular media would like sheep like Josh to think so.There is much more abuse in secular public schools – close to 10 percent of staff accused – and it is IGNORED by the media (unless it happens to be a hot blonde with some 13 year old…)Get a life.

  • Paganplace

    So say we all.

  • spiuderman2

    speed123 wrote : “Nice to see all of the extremists are on the same page “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Study Catholic history and you would know what extremists means. Many of their priests help leftist groups in many catholic countries. Millions have died because of their extreme doctrines. They are “pretty” on the outside but ravening wolves in the inside.What are you? A priest? Are you on their payroll?

  • steve k

    bill dunlap wrote:”How ca this pope that the archbishop fromn Boston, who so discraced the order for years by allowing the abuse to go on and continue under his nose be allowed to be bishop of Rome.Dear bill [sic],

  • speed123

    I am not a priest – I am a 25 year old guy who is sick of hearing lies about his faith every other day of the week. Want to feel discrimination? Tell people at a dinner party that you are a practicing Roman Catholic. They say, in this PC world, that anti-catholicism is the last refuge of a scoundrel…(i.e. Hitchens)As for abuse, the numbers are very close to correct – google: cnn teacher sex abuse, or AP abuse in public schools for the public schools numbers.Much higher and as for higher callings – aspects of human nature are the same no matter the job.

  • Paganplace

    ” speed123:I am not a priest – I am a 25 year old guy who is sick of hearing lies about his faith every other day of the week. Want to feel discrimination? Tell people at a dinner party that you are a practicing Roman Catholic.”As a Pagan, let me tell you, my heart weeps for you. Try saying it at a *job* interview. Or a lynching. 🙂

  • malachy

    Mr. Hitchens is correct and for reasons of his own. Many of all religions and are turned off by the Vatican’s policies.Many questions need to be asked of the Pontiff in a calm but very concerned way. How can the Pope think that people like Ellen D, Elton J., Rosie O’Donnell, who bravely left the dark old closets to help others who fear coming out. They care more than our Church did/does. Only recently gays have been beaten and even killed in the US, which violence is contributed to by the Vaticans failure to become educated on the issue. Fifty or a hundred years from now –to accept–is wrong. Thos thats the Church’s plodding way they defend. Hanging on to millions of uneducated third world “Catholics” is a shirking of responsibiltiyThe right answer the Pope needs to give to all of us is: THE CHURCH LEFT YOU —-AND I APOLOGIZE. I AM HERE TO CHANGE THAT FOREVER.

  • PDM

    I am curious if anybody has evaluated what percentage of the posts here on this site come from atheists/anti-theists/agnostics, as opposed to believers. A cursory glance at this particular topic seems to indicate a clear majority of the former. I wonder why that is. What characteristics do people think “non-believers” have that cause them to comment with such frequency on these topics?

  • Jack Duggan

    I suspect that Cardinal Law believed that he, as someone with an especially close relation to God, would have his prayers for the redemption of the child molesters answered. I am serious.

  • B-man

    PDM,It’s not all that mysterious. Religion is shoved down non-believer’s throats at every turn in this country–in our politics, in our schools, in our science. You can’t be the President of this country unless you area Christian, willing to pander to Christians. Non-believer’s have no “organized” outlet as religions do to speak out and affirm their beliefs (of non-belief in vengeful dieties). So posting on anonymous message boards is one of the few ways non-believers can have a say in the public square in this country. And when the topic is a famous atheist saying what he would ask the Pope…well, like I said, it’s really no mystery.

  • Paganplace

    Let’s make it very simple, here: the Church’s doctrinal insistence that gay people don’t exist has long, long, long, resulted in that proportion of the population being either forced to marry and spawn with people they don’t love, *or* participate in the only acceptable not-being-straight by hiding among Church celibacy and *promulgating* certain dysfunctions, …at the expense of those it’s ‘taught’ to. This cycle is *old.* It’s not limited to Catholics, by any means, but they have particular institutions to cover for it. Girls are a little safer ‘sexually,’ cause virginity’ is prized, but don’t dare speak up, or it’s open season for the other sense of ‘spare the rod.’

  • malachy

    All this is put on for money, by money. The sponsors love it. They don’t screen the horrible and most on here is that.

  • cynthialaforty

    If you don’t understand why the Pope forgave a sinful man you don’t understand the Catholic faith. We all make mistakes..some are so way worse than others but if we are forgiven on our mistakes that we do really truly repent upon than and only than we will know the love of God and that is in my opinion what life is all about.. to know that God loves all of us mistakes and all no matter what(shocked) Sincerely Cynthia

  • Paganplace

    ” cynthialaforty:If you don’t understand why the Pope forgave a sinful man you don’t understand the Catholic faith. We all make mistakes.”I understand all too well. His kind of ‘mistakes’ you get rewarded with immunity and a posh Vatican post for, where he can keep on blaming an entire class of people who happen to be the most frequent victims, for what he supported, enabled, and covered up for.

  • Paganplace

    Frankly, Cynthia, you may call Bernie’s ‘sin’ a ‘mistake,’ but *he* draws equivalencies between his well-orchestrated and defended *coverups* and the ‘sin’ of the victims either being what we are, or being straight kids taught to be more scared of being called ‘gay’ than to admit the priests were abusing them. Girls were safer from the sex that’s the only thing people care about… not the beatings, and not the survivor’s guilt. Summabich got things to answer for. Period. And the Pope he helped elect does, too.

  • Paganplace

    And, if you wanna ‘forgive’ someone, Cynthia:Let my people go.

  • Paganplace

    As for a lot of comments regarding Bernie Law and his extranational privilege. I remember a couple things. I wouldn’t mind discussing them. Being a big girll, now. If you know what I mean.

  • Paganplace

    Can’t comment on what Law did, or Church electioneering. But if I could. I would say it ain’t fear.

  • harold

    But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.Shall I crucify your King, We have no king but Caesar, crucify himAnd I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight;And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No. Then Jael Heber’s wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.I will make your heaven as ironyour earth as brassSaying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.I will make your heaven as iron, smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground, and brass in abundance without weight, his feet like unto fine brassMaking request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the Lord said, They will deliver thee up.And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.Shall I crucify your King, We have no king but Caesar, crucify him, deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul, I might have a prosperous journey, the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners, I will make your heaven as iron, the nail was in his temples. So God subdued on that day Caesar the king of ………

  • Paganplace

    Pardon my Bostonian, but *what *is* that?

  • Paganplace

    I got this wild idea, here, that maybe if Their Righteousnesses can’t find it in their hearts not to abuse a lot of kids, it’s just possible that that *book* isn’t a magic talisman with some Ultimate Authority to define my life with the force of secular law. Wow. Go figure. Maybe you can work that out among yourselves before demanding I get no equal protection under the law or something.Just this wild idea I got.



  • Paganplace

    To meet the censors’ requirements, several of us are displeased with one cardinal who elected this current Pope on the matter of certain matters of fleeing America to escape prosecution regarding certain misdeeds which may or may not have been perpetrated on some people who remember damn well enough what happened before getting blamed for being abused cause we ain’t stright and are ‘sinners’ anyway… If some people would like to claim the ‘moral high ground’ over us in all matters of American politics, there are some who of course would appreciate the reciprocal gesture of extraditing the deservedly-indicted Bernie Law before the Church further seeks to intrude upon our lives.

  • Paganplace

    Yaknow, since they brought up Cardinal Law, I want him in jail. Then he can talk to me. Again. Didn’t seem to help the first time when he had all those fancy dresses.

  • frank

    Of all the sins committed thus far by the catholic church,this is the worst.Anyone who is connected to this disgrace should be handed over to the authorities along with all evidence.Let the legal system start prosecutions.Maybe then the media will cover it. But I won’t count on it.

  • harold

    But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Ratzinger saith unto them, Shall I crucify your Cardinal. The chief priests answered, We have no Cardinal but Law.Shall I crucify your Cardinal, We have no Cardinal but Carnal Law, crucify him. I am carnal, sold under sin. For to be carnally minded is death and the Gentiles duty is also to minister unto them in carnal thingsThe father, the son, the holy ghostAway with him The fatherFor we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

  • Sam

    Its fascinating to read the posts of believers who claim that Cardinal Law is above the Law and will somehow be absolved for his criminal acts by God just by saying “I’m sorry.”That belief trivializes the sordid criminality aided and abetted by this so called Prince of the Church and implicitly asserts that he unaccountable to the young victims, or their parents or society, at large, for his crimes. That is in fact condonation of his criminal acts as well as those of his co conspirators in covering up the crimes of his priests by failing to report them to the police and their subsequent acts as accessories before the fact to the crimes against nature later perpetrated by the priests whom he sent to outlying parishes without warning parents of their propensity for young boys.As they seem won’t to say; “Jesus saves me, the rest of you go to jail.”

  • harold

    And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue;be ye therefore wise as serpents, we have the mind of Christ, the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, one mind and one mouth glorify Godhis fingers into his ears, touched his tongue, shall speak with new tongues, the heart, the mind, one mouthAway with him The fatherFor we know that the law is spiritualHere is the truthAnd I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?I will make your heaven as iron, smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground, and brass in abundance without weight, his feet like unto fine brassthe grace of god, how can ye escape the damnation of hellI will make your heaven as iron, crucify him

  • Tim

    I know that everyone is free to express their own opinions, and as a church employee of over 30 years, I understand why many are angry and full of rage toward the hierarchy. And we do ask the questions Hitchens asks. But I do not understand why Hitchen is a guest writer for On Faith. His disrespectful attitude toward those who believe in God (to put it mildly) de-legitmizes anything he says about the church.

  • Ethix Rulz

    Mr Hitchens,As always, you challenge the status quo and accepted “givens” of any and all manmade, organized religion. Keep up the good work! I wish more people would challenge these things. Perhaps then, the walls would crumble surrounding manmade, organized religion and we could all get on with doing GOD’s work…without the interference of mankind.Ethix Rulz

  • george sala

    Bravo Hitchens !

  • Bart Orshivsky

    A wonderful Jewish philosopher once said, Catholisim has very profound answers to very trivial questions. Popes give very trivial answers to very profound questions. If you thought Petreus slippery, wait until you hear the Pope.You want an answer? You already have it. He’s sitting in a palace in Rome. He’s the Law.

  • Mariano Patalinjug

    Yonkers, New YorkGo right ahead, Cristopher Hitchens!Go ask Pope Benedict XVI why the Vatican has granted asylum to somebody who in secular company qualifies as a criminal if not a monster.That is, if you can penetrate the cordon sanitaire that is sure to surround and protect the pope from people like you in his visit to the United States.And even if you succeed in confronting and embarrassing the pope by asking him that question, plus the other “supplemental” questions you have in mind, what good will it do as far as you and the whole world are concerned?The pope will very likely simply brush you off with an angelic smile, and not deign to give you an answer you expect. He will very likely “bless” you as his (misguided) “son,” and “pray” that you go to “heaven.”In the event, probably nonplussed and dumbfounded, what do you do, Christopher?Mariano Patalinjug

  • Michael in Clemson

    Yes, I agree. Of course, he’ll ignore the question and bloviate. You know that. These bastards have 2000 years of practice. We can only hope that someone else will notice this time that he ignores and bloviates, and will start to follow the threads to truth.

  • Joey

    It has been a long, long time since he has drawn a sober breath (by his own admission), so I very much hope that Mr. Hitchens finds someone else to ask this or any Pope his questions, as I do not believe this Pope is a fellow drunk. Of course he too could be a drunken fool, like Hitchens, but I don’t believe he is.It is only fair, after all.

  • Dan

    Let me bring up something nobody else in this forum has mentioned so far.Catholic priests continue to sexually abuse children worldwide. The only thing that sets the US apart is that many of the guilty priests got caught and the scandal was made public.Check with Canonic Law experts, Roman Catholic authorities and other church insiders in the rest of the world, if you have access to them. They are freaking out about the volume of abuse that continues unchecked. My data comes from Latin America, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were exactly the same in other regions with large Catholic communities.In view of this, Ratzinger is not only guilty of shielding one guilty Cardinal who got caught and ran to Rome instead of facing consequences. He’s also guilty of turning a blind eye to many others who still hurt children.

  • John Bonanno

    I would ask the Pope what plans the Church has for Jerusalem after Israel hands the city over to His Holiness.

  • mark deneen

    The press to which you refer, died about 25 years ago.

  • vtimer

    Is CH’s egoism now becoming surrounded by a holier-than-thou aura? (or has it always been there?)

  • Kevin McCollum

    You are correct but I doubt it will happen. We will see a whole lot of spectacle and very little journalism. Journalists are probably more worried about being invited to dinner then actually reporting on the horror the vatican has tried to cover up or just ignore.

  • Roy

    this blog is censored – try asking questions about the Church’s nefarious actions in LA and Mexicothis blog is a propaganda site

  • tcement

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sex scandal, BFD. Inquisition and Crusades. More BFD’s. Can we go back to the beginning? The statistical improbability of someone walking on water? Virgin births? Arising from the dead and bodily ascending, etc? And beyond that, coming to fulfill the prophesies accumulated by a nutty sect about a jumped-up desert storm god fond of appearing in burning bushes (would the they still did) and carving in stone? JFC, these guys make Scientology and LDS seem sane.

  • Jim

    C.H., you don’t do the victims or the issue any service when you so absurdly assert Cardinal Law “organized and excused the rape and torture of tens of thousands of American children.”This is not to defend Law, but to call you out when you go O’Reilly with such an absurd number. Your every word is contextual, so you owe the readers a better, if not more accurate, framework.

  • Pete

    The hatred spewing forth from the mouths of anti-Catholic posters is very disturbing, although predictable. In online design, we call it the “echo effect.” In this case, an inflammatory, hate-filled initial post draws additional comments of the same ilk. An anti-Catholic bigot attracts other anti-Catholic bigots who, judging from the tone and content of comments, include some bitter gays.If Hutchins have opened with a reasonable, rational statement, the quality of comments would likely be reasonable and rational. Why does the Post give voice to such a mean-spirited person?Of course, this thread, like so many, confirms an observation that has stood the test of time. Those who are most critical of the Catholic faith are those who understand it the least. Those who take the time to learn the theology are awe-struck by God’s beauty.

  • Hillman

    “An anti-Catholic bigot attracts other anti-Catholic bigots who, judging from the tone and content of comments, include some bitter gays.”Uh, you’d be bitter too if someone was trying very hard to literally destroy the very thing you love most – your relationship with your life partner.The Pope has gone out of his way to demonize gay people, and to insist that ‘good’ Catholics must insist on making life harder for gays, must insist on laws that deny them the legal and economic safety that comes with marriage laws, must insist on denying them basics like access to health care through their partner’s insurance, must insist on making sure elderly poor lesbian couples have to suffer through more poverty as the near death (denying them access to basic legal structures and government programs that you as a straight person take for granted).Who would Jesus persecute?Who would Jesus deny healthcare to?Who would Jesus force to live in poverty?So, yes, a wee bit bitter here.

  • bjcass

    Hitchens is a hater not an Atheist.As he ages,he demonstrates he is the proverbial “Dead Man Walking”.The Medical Examiner hasn`t made it official but little Christopher left the real world a long time ago.

  • diane meyer

    “Those who are most critical of the Catholic faith are those who understand it the least.” Give me a break, Pete! One doesn’t have to be a Roman Catholic to understand its theology or practices. Every thoughtful, decent human being is appalled by the Pope’s conduct toward Cardinal Law who suffers no REAL consequences for his heinous decisions. Forgiveness doesn’t include aiding and abetting, sins the Pope and Law are both guilty of. Whatever one may think of Hitchens, his question for the Pope is a correct one.

  • szb

    The question has no relevance to reality; in the Church the pope has absolute authority and power. As is well known—power corrupts and absolute power etc.

  • John Morrison

    Too bad comrade Hitchens doesnt ask probing questions of Godron Brown,Abe Foxman, Barak, Bloomberg, Rowan Willi8ams and so many more people with feet of clay.

  • Jane Bordzol

    I would ask the Pope why he continues the facade of a celibate priesthood when that is totally incorrect. The Wilmington Diocese in Delaware has married priests, and I met a married seminarian at a catholic church in Maryland. But, the Catholic church still insists that the priesthood is celibate!

  • anne fischer

    I agree with Chris Hitchens.

  • Norm

    Is Hitchens kidding? Who in this day of corporate journalism has the GUTS to ask this appropriate question? Ressurecting Izzy Stone may be you best hope………or maaybe Jack Cafferty, but they will lock him in a closet until after the poe’s gone.

  • DuckPhup

    TIM wrote(APRIL 12, 2008 6:22 AM): “… I do not understand why Hitchen (sic) is a guest writer for On Faith. His disrespectful attitude toward those who believe in God (to put it mildly) de-legitmizes (sic) anything he says about the church.””… disrespectful attitude toward those who believe in God…”.LOL.Let’s see… you BELIEVE that a cosmic Jewish zombie, who is his own father, can make you live forever if you symbolically (1) eat his flesh (2) and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was tricked by a malevolent entity (3) into eating a piece of fruit from a magical tree… (etc.)… and that there is something horribly wrong with people who ARE NOT so gullible and droolingly stupid as to believe such outrageously ridiculous codswallop.(1) or actually… depending on which particular christ-cult sect you belong toYour world-view… your perception of the fundamental ‘truth’ of existence and reality… is rooted in the myths, superstitions, fairy tales and fantastical delusions of an ignorant gaggle of Bronze Age fishermen and peripatetic, militant, marauding, genocidal goat herders. From the moment you are born, you are guilty of an unpardonable sin committed the naive innocent (above) who DID NOT EVEN KNOW what a sin was, and had absolutely no concept of the potential implications and consequences that might arise from the trivial act… an act which had no more significance than a 3-year old child snagging a cookie from an off-limits cookie jar.As a result of this inherited taint of ‘guilt’ upon the soul, you are doomed… after a brief stint on earth… to spend the rest of eternity (an infinite span of time) in a miserable existence of unspeakable pain, suffering, torment and torture… banished to the place of torment by the very same wonderful, loving, capricious, vengeful, murderous, genocidal, caring, compassionate, mass-murdering, forgiving, jealous… loving… did I already say loving?… supernatural entity who was offended by that innocent child-like transgression, so long ago…BUT… there’s nothing to worry about now. It all got fixed. The deity of the Abrahamic death cults of desert monotheism was often ‘appeased’ by blood sacrifice. It is well documented in the Holy Bible that he thoroughly enjoyed a good barbecue… and that a generous serving of blood COULD get him to change his mind. Heck… he often specified exactly how to butcher the critters and set up the barbecue… the ultimate ‘executive chef’. Anyway… when he set up his own son/self to be cruelly tortured and suffer a gruesome and agonizing death… in a perverse public spectacle of blood sacrifice… he sacrificed HIMSELF… TO himself… in order to APPEASE himself. And by APPEASING himself by KILLING himself, he created a loophole, by way of which he is now in a position to DEFY himself, sneaking around behind his own back to give people a way to circumvent the implications and consequences of his own evil capricious whims and… (gasp)… must stop now. My hair hurts.And this is worthy of respect… WHY, exactly?What a hoot.I think that you are misperceiving this whole situation. Hitch is not so much disrespecting the PEOPLE who believe in god as he is disrespecting the BELIEFS of people who believe in god. Such beliefs are …(how can I put this delicately?)… OK… insane. (That’s about as delicate as I can make it.)”When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion.” ~ Robert M. PirsigSo… Hitchens is not disrespecting you… he is disrespecting your insane beliefs. Now the problem with HAVING such insane beliefs is they get internalized as a part of your ‘self-description’, where they DEFINE (to a large degree) who you are, and function as one of your primary interpretive filters (along with misconceptions, prejudices, knowledge-base and experiential reference). So… when a person such as yourself senses disrespect or criticism of your BELIEFS, it is perceived… quite naturally… as a direct attack upon the SELF.But that’s YOUR problem… not Hitchen’s problem.I’m quite sure that Mr. Hitchens is quite respectful of your right to delude yourself in any manner that you deem fit. I know I am. It’s just that when your delusions (collectively) intrude upon, influence and shape our society and culture… to the point of endangering us all… well… it needs to be confronted. That’s all. As it stands now, over 85% of adult Americans profess to be ‘believers’ of one sort or another… which means that they are deluded…. which means they are insane, to one degree or another. Now… anything that defines over 85% of a population can be said… without argument, dispute or quibble of any kind… to define what is ‘normal’. So… in the USA… insanity is NORMAL… sanity is ABNORMAL… and the inmates are running the asylum.”People who don’t like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn’t have such funny beliefs.” ~ UnknownIn an insane society (ours), SANE people (like Hitchens) are regarded as dangerous.

  • Victor Kelley

    The catholic church has a centuries-old tradition to render “untouchable” any wayward priest above the rank of the garden-variety parish priest. The vatican has been asleep at the wheel dealing with any sex scandal within its ranks (including past popes), relying on time passed to dissipate any reaction from those who embrace this man-made made-up faith. Only when the church found its pocketbook was vulnerable to legal claims in this country (and now in other countries) did it become concerned about righting its wrongs. Just don’t wait around to hear any MEA CULPAS emanating from the vatican.

  • supersaurus


  • DuckPhup

    SPEED123 wrote (APRIL 11, 2008 4:31 PM): “Hitchens is a demigod selling an extreme-atheist / secularist ideololgy (sic) and it was not the intent of neo-con policy makers and pundits to just have people ‘listen’.”I always get a kick out of it when somebody mouths off about ‘atheist ideology’. I can see that you’re operating under the destructive influence of a HUGE misconception here. You see… there’s no such thing as ‘atheist ideology’… just like there’s no atheist ‘faith’… no atheist ‘religion’… no atheist ‘dogma’… no atheist ‘beliefs’… no atheist ‘philosophy’… etc.”Atheism can be considered to be a ‘belief’, or a ‘religion’, only in the same sense that one might regard NOT collecting stamps to be a ‘hobby’.” ~ UnknownWhat you perceive to be an attack on religion by atheists isn’t that at all. Rather, it is a case of highly intelligent, well educated, sane and rational people coming to recognize that pervasive gullibility, irrationality, willful ignorance, self-deception, self-delusion, intellectual dishonesty, lies, hypocrisy and drooling stupidity are a threat to the future of our society, our world, and humanity in general… and therein lies the misconception.Those folks that society has decided to call ‘atheists’ do not ‘believe’ (for the most part) simply because they find that the reasons or alleged evidence purported to support the idea that invisible, magical, all-powerful, supernatural sky-fairies (gods) ‘exist’ are not compelling, and thus are insufficient to initiate or sustain a mental state of ‘belief’. The idea that there is some kind of a ‘choice’ involved seems ridiculous to me. The reasons for ‘believing’ are either good, or they’re not good. If they’re NOT good, then one’s ‘BS alarm’ goes off. You do not ‘choose’ to have your BS alarm go off… it just goes off.”We define thinking as integrating data and arriving at correct answers. Look around you. Most people do that stunt just well enough to get to the corner store and back without breaking a leg. If the average man thinks at all, he does silly things like generalizing from a single datum. He uses one-valued logic. If he is exceptionally bright, he may use two-valued, ‘either-or’ logic to arrive at his wrong answers. If he is hungry, hurt, or personally interested in the answer, he can’t use ANY sort of logic, and will discard an observed fact as blithely as he will stake his life on a piece of wishful thinking. He uses the technical miracles created by superior men without wonder or surprise, as a kitten accepts a bowl of milk. Far from ASPIRING to higher reasoning, he is NOT EVEN AWARE that higher reasoning EXISTS… yet he classes his own mental process as being of the same sort as the genius of an Einstein. Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.For explanations of a universe that confuses him, he seizes onto numerology, astrology, hysterical religions, and other fancy ways to go crazy. Having accepted such glorified nonsense, facts make no impression on him, even if at the cost of his own life. (…) one of the hardest things to believe is the abysmal depth of human stupidity.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein – ‘Assignment in Eternity’

  • frank burns

    Cardinal law?

  • Marc Edward

    Howdy Speed

  • Joan

    Just read that Catholic schools are closing nationwide, partly due to money given to victims of Cardinal Law and friends. I went Catholic school for 12 years, and liked the experience. The male hierarchy of the Catholic Church has helped destroy a great institution, and surprisingly or not, it’s the right-wing set who decided to protect one another and not the kids.

  • katman

    Pope: I you had it to do over again: Would you joint the Nazi youth again or go to a concentration camp because you refused?

  • Frank

    Chris: I’d pay to see you in a theological debate with Pope Benedict. He’d eat you up and spit you out like the phony you are. And he’d pray for you afterward.

  • MO

    I’d like to make some suggestions. Get rid of the goofy Halloweenish togs and clownish hats. You look like a silly old man. Dump all the dumb titles. You are MR. Ratzinger. Period. Lose the canes, poles, rings, candles, incense, popey mobile — all the trappings that to the great unwashed make you appear more than just another old man who lucked into a hell of a great lifestyle. Can the untenable dogma, credo, whatever — prime example, celibacy, the “gift from god.” Please. Lastly, apologize for the harm your dumb religion has done throughout the ages. Oh yea, get rid of all the pervos!

  • Daniel M. Mahoney

    The sexual molestation of so many children by Roman Catholic priests is an incomprehensible evil and scandal.Serious Roman Catholics are probably more outraged than is any other sector of our society. Further, from the records I have observed, some 14,000 claims of molestation have been made. Truly a terrible number, but far from “tens of thousands” And, as I recall, the time span that covers these claims goes back to the 1950s. No one can defend what happened in this regard. But I do believe that in defense of the thousands of wonderful priests who have served in the United States since 1950, the least we can do (especially scholars who know better) is to keep their comments as close to the known facts as possible.

  • j flynn

    Hitchens has asked the right question. It’s interesting to note the number of Bishops who managed to make politically charged statements during the last presidential campaign, but who didn’t seem to notice the rotten morality of the church itself. Several of them made it clear that would not serve SEN KERRY AT THE COMMUNION RAIL What courageous souls. . .but how blind to the sins of the church itself. Bishop Browskowitz of Neb. come immediately to mind.

  • jackmc guinn

    During my lifetime (90 Yrs) C. Hitchens played the Communist supporter.Having lost that one he has continued his athestic beliefs by attacking everything religious.All the time he earns a big paycheck as a reporter.He is a big time thinker.

  • thopaine

    I would ask him whether he will nominate for sainthood the 7 non-jew german school youths who rebeled against the nazi regime and were executed by the Gestapo.They got a short life, a cold grave, and a posthumous movie for their moral courageThen I would ask Ratzinger how he and his predecessor’s quisling lives stack up against real moral courage ?Just more talk the talk but can’t walk the walk…phonies, the lot of them.

  • homosapiens

    Sometimes the right question is asked by the wrong person. Would anyone have any interest in writing (or reading) a column on “What I’d ask Christopher Hitchens”?

  • homosapiens

    Since the quote was referenced, let me add:Aung San Suu Kyi said that it is not the power that corrupts, but fear: Those who have power are afraid of losing it, and those who have no power are afraid of those who have it.

  • lwps

    I would ask if he has written any more letters to sway elections, like he did when Bush was reelected in 2004. Does he still think that John Kerry should be excommunicated?

  • spiderman2

    Ray Flynn, former Boston mayor and ambassador to the Vatican, who loves the idea of papal hierarchy because it means “people aren’t out there freelancing, talking about their opinion of what the faith teaches. It makes us more unified.” The faith of this church revolves around personality and not focused on the Bible which is the word of God. No personal relationship with Christ. This church is the Devil’s religion. Some who don’t respect the pope as much has other reasons which are clearly against Biblical doctrines. This Church don’t have a “light” to follow. Almost all of them are lost and they don’t know it.

  • spiderman2

    The U.S. church is changing. Latinos will lead it in new directions, including geographically. That’s because almost three in four Latino Catholics live in the South and the West, shifting the center of the U.S. church from the Northeast. They’ve succeeded in making the Northeast very liberal. Now they target the South and the West. They won’t stop until this nation become all liberal and thanks to them if God renders His judgment on this nation. And He will. Just wait.

  • edward

    Why is no lay person, man or woman, who heads up one single congregation (department) in the Vatican? Didn’t Vatican II call for greater lay participation in the affairs of the Church? Is there any Church law that forbids lay leadership in the congregations?John Paul II turned the Church away from the thrust of Vatican II. Will the Pope return to the spirit of Vatican II?John Paul II grew up in and lived nearly his entire life in Poland under stern undemocratic rule, as that country was ruled for 1,000 years,and his tenure as Pope reflected his lack of understanding about democratic rules of rule. Will Benedict turn more outward and less dictatorial than his predecessor?

  • E Landers

    Anyone who blows off this Hitchens question and instead attacks Hitchens is at the base of what’s so amoral about the Catholic bosses in Vatican City. It defies ethical humanity that the rulers of the Catholic nation knew of the abuse of thousands of children and then covered it up. Any of you on this list who criticize someone who would pose the question are obviously exactly what makes the Catholic Church the fine upstanding organization it is. Amen, amen.

  • Gene Douglas

    I’m a little behind on the news, I guess. I never realized he was giving sanctuary to a fugitive in the Vatican. I also didn’t realize the bishops who covered up for child molesters had not been disciplined. They did more than just take them out of harm’s way, they transferred them to other posts where they could do it again. When more reports came in, they just did it again, and then again, and then again.They’re at least as bad as the perpetrators themselves. He doesn’t need to go to Boston, because it didn’t just happen in Boston. He needs to clean his own house. If he doesn’t do so, he doesn’t really care, and all his talk of “healing” is just another cover-up.

  • John

    For those attacking Hitchins for asking a legitimate question, just ask yourselves why the Catholic Church continues to lose parishioners in droves. To which the answer to that is really quite simple if you just open your eyes and think . . .

  • Torquemada

    I would like to ask Comrade Hitchens how he could intellectually justify to himself the tens of millions that were sacrificed on the altar of historical materialism and “scientific” socialism?

  • Neal:

    The Anonymous post to Daniel M. Mahoney: was mine.

  • J Cook

    Hear hear.

  • Hal Itozis

    Also ask him why God would create someone like me, a gay man, and then have his spokesman (the pope) tell me that I am sinning when I live my life as a gay man. It’s a message that has driven all of my friends away from the catholic church’s bigotry against gays.

  • Dan

    ya know mr. hitchens… i’m not happy with what happened with bernard law, but let’s stop shooting the dead horse. enough already.

  • Pierre JC

    Summary of the above criticisms of Hitchens:What’s missing from virtually of the postings by the defenders of the Church is this:I’m sure their magical, invisible friend was pleased with the way they protected his wise and moral institution….Enjoy your weekly cannibalism, Catholics! (That IS what transsubstantiation is all about, no?)

  • Huh?

    I personally think that the Vatican has way too much power without the accountability, however Mr. Hitchens is one bitter, negative soul. He points out flaws and criticizes everything, yet he never provides proposed solutions to all of the ills that he sees. He still believes in the Iraq War but criticizes the implementation. He can’t bring himself to admit he was wrong… But that’s what you can do when you have a forum to throw bombs and run…

  • Rachel

    Mr. Hitchens is right. Absolutely 100% correct. As a Christian I demand those answers he rightfully asks the media to address. The abuse and horror those children went through is beyond anything anyone of you posters would ever understand, thank God..Regardless of what Mr. Hitchens personal beliefs are, as a journalist, he is spot on.

  • Jackie Endres

    This sounds like a legitimate question to ask the Pope. Frankly, I had forgotten a lot of the details surrounding this matter. But if anyone can do it, Christopher Hitchens won’t pull any punches. Beatbick@verizon.net

  • Neal:

    Patrick:–“The only consistent trait Mr. Hitchens has exhibited so far is a mendacious malevolence towards the true and sacred…”Quoting Christopher Hitchens’s opinions on the Iraq war [sic], right or wrong, would not only seem to be irrelevant to the topic, but even if barking mad would not constitute lying. If you are referring to his opinions on god(s) and religions, then it seems only fair that you provide some quotes on those topics which demonstrate “consistent”, conscious attempts at deception. If you cannot, perhaps you might consider reserving that accusation for those who truly deserve it, like…say…Bernard Law and *his* enablers.

  • spiderman2

    For Catholics who attend Mass at least once a month, an overwhelming majority of the young and older generation believe Christ is present in the Eucharist.This shows the ignorance of the Catholic faith. Christ was not referring to the literal bread. It is the word of God, the Bible, that transforms the person. The bread will feed the body but the Word of God will feed the soul.The Catholic Church is an institution that SPREADS THE IGNORANCE. Christ uses figures of speech but idiots don’t get it.

  • thopaine

    I would also ask ratzinger what were the terms of the deal whereby he got to be pope and john paul got to be canonized and eventually made a saint?Was Bernard ‘the fugitive” law part of the deal?And,fellow posters who would like the Law issue to just go away,it won’t. This is not a ‘dead’ issue until Law is brought to justice.Then it would be beating(not shooting) a dead horse, not before.Render to Ceasar, etc,etc

  • spiderman2

    Eckhart Tolle wrote “Man made god in his own image. The eternal, the infinite, the un-nameable was reduced to a mental idol that you must believe in and worship as my god or our god. “It’s clear the man is lost and don’t have a personal experience of the True God. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (Jn 14:6)He had searched MANY WAYS but sadly, he wasn’t succesful to find the the Only Way. Ask Eckhart what is the near future or the big events coming soon. Im 100 percent sure he doesn’t know but I know. The main difference is that I found the true God ,but clearly, he did NOT.

  • Jay Salter

    I agree. There needs to be an actual indepth accounting by the chief chieftain.

  • gene vader

    Whatever Christopher Hitchens may be accused of, understatement will never make the list. The horror of sexual abuse of children by clergy appalls us all, but an unsupported charge of “tens of thousands of American children” as victims of Cardinal Law’s malfeasance can lead only to added numbers of those who shrug and turn away.

  • Dr Peter N. Kirstein

    Are you a hypocrite to raise the issue of pedofilia and sex crimes within the Roman Catholic church but dismiss your support of mass murder in Iraq in which hundreds of thousands of Iraqis including children have died and over 4,000 American troops? Are you comfortable with your apparent disregard for the lack of proportionality and discrimination in this unjust war?

  • Larry Holt

    Mr. Hitchens is absolutely right.

  • Bryson Brown

    Needless to say I’ll be very surprised if any such question is asked. Worse, the press will consistently treat the Pope as an authority on moral matters. Those of us who know a little about the history of this institution know better.

  • Tammy

    Christopher Hitchens is ABSOLUTELY right! If the church cannot deal appropriately with such obvious darkness under its own control – they have no credibility for demanding other organizations do so.

  • Ed McGuigan

    Writing as one of those 10,000 you mention, allow me to say why this question is so important.

  • newsriffs

    All religious leaders have the same answer “Do as my invisible friend says, or I’ll kill you”

  • Brother Andrew

    My question to Mr Hitchins, who, unlike my pope, I admire:What moral compass do YOU use to decide that sex with those under a certain age is actually wrong?Could it be that your belief system in this regard simply coasts on the backdraft of thousands of years of religious instruction that informs our environment?In fact, do you really believe it is wrong, or are you simply pleased to point out the hypocritical behavior of others?Why could sex with minors not be a simple lifestyle choice, as it was BCE?

  • Helena Montana

    Once every decade or so, Christopher Hitchins is absolutely right. This is his correct moment in this decade. I absolutely agree with every word in this post.

  • DocChuck

    Your popeship . . . would you PLEASE send two of your best exorcists to the White House ASAP . . . one for Dubya and one for Cheney.Thank you, your eminence.

  • Jeana

    An excellent question. Cardinal Law’s signature is on my undergraduate diploma. I’ve always been tempted to send it back and ask for a diploma with some law-abiding citizen’s signature on it instead of his.

  • jltid

    reference DocChuck remarks…….Hitchens asked a pertinent question and this democrat party idiot(idiot may be redundant) used it as a platform to attack Bush and Cheney…how perfectly sophmorphic the democratic party activists responses have become. (yes there are republican party idiots)

  • Charles Sutherland

    Someone should ask the pope if he knows how many of the tens of thousands of children who die each day around the world of starvation, malnutrion, and diseases are the result of the Church’s opposition to birth control policies which he could change, and if he should not be charged for crimes against humanity.

  • DocChuck

    JLTID said … “yes there are republican party idiots”.Well, if there are “republican party idiots”, I suspect that you are a member in good standing, JLTID.

  • John David Prince

    Without secular government, Liberty would become extinct.

  • Nirpinder Singh

    I do not think that the Pope could address the issue of Child Abuse by Priests without delving into the reason for celicacy imposed on the Priests by the Church. The major difference that is obvious to the lay person between Priests of the Catholic and Protestant Faiths is that the former wear vestments and ostensibly adhere to celibacy.

  • Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA

    A New Earth – Excerpt 2By Eckhart Tolle [Continued]//Spirituality and Religion //What is the role of the established religions in the arising of the new consciousness? Many people are already aware of the difference between spirituality and religion. They realize that having a belief system, a set of thoughts that you regard as the absolute truth, does not make you spiritual no matter what the nature of those beliefs is. In fact, the more that you make your thoughts, your beliefs, into your identity, the more cut off you are to the spiritual dimension within yourself. Many religious people are stuck at that level. // The new spirituality, the transformation of consciousness, is arising to a large extent outside the structures of the existing institutionalized religions. This large scale opening of spirituality outside of the religious structures is an entirely new development. In the past, this would have been inconceivable, especially in the west, the most mind-dominated of all cultures, where the Christian church had a virtual franchise on spirituality. // Partly as a result of the spiritual teachings that have arisen outside the established religions, but also due to an influx of the ancient eastern wisdom teachings, a growing number of followers of traditional religions are able to let go of form, dogma, and rigid belief systems and discover the original depth that is hidden within their own spiritual tradition at the same time that they discover the depths within themselves… // Some religious institutions will be open to the new consciousness. Others will harden their doctrinal positions and become part of all those other manmade structures through which the collective ego will defend itself and fight back. Some churches, sects, cults, or religious movements are basically collective egoist entities as rigidly identified with their mental positions as the followers of any political ideology which is closed to any alternative interpretation of reality. //But the ego is destined to dissolve, and all its ossified structures, whether they be religious or other institutions, corporations or governments will disintegrate from within, no matter how deeply entrenched they appear to be. The most rigid structures, the most impervious to change will collapse first. This has already happened in the case of Soviet communism. How deeply entrenched, how solid and monolithic it appeared. And yet within a few years it completely collapsed from within. No one foresaw this; all were taken by surprise. There are many more such surprises in store for us.[Why is this of such interest to me? Because this new awakening, or enlightenment is all that will save the human race. From the seemingly intractable Arab/Israeli conflict to the seemingly insolvable problems such as population explosion and resulting global warming and food/water/energy shortages, it will take a new awakening to resolve these problems.]

  • Paganplace

    ” Rob Bailey:”Everybody’s Pope-bashing and religion-bashing here…oh, wait, it’s a Washington Post blog. What was I thinking?”That institutionalized abuse is deniable? Heck, it took the idea it was ‘gay’ abuse for anone to even notice at all, let’s forget about the regular kind that just involves beatings and emotional abuse. “A representative sample of the public? THATS funny. Just your usual lonely and miserable atheists here I see–mostly talking to one another. You guys are so funny!! Keep up the entertainment!”So glad you’re entertained, ye who thinks himself mighty and righteous. Hope it was all good for *something,* after all. “I just got back from church. Blessings to all you pagans! May the scales be removed from your eyes!”Careful what you pray for. You might not like how you look through those eyes.

  • Richard Vattimo

    Good question but it won’t be asked.

  • Geoffrey Coggeshall

    This is an important question and a great imbarassment to the church.

  • william kraal

    oh jezus mother maria chris you are so right ,lets ask him for all the detail and than show him how religion poisons everything it touches and next ask him why in hell does he wears those nelly full drag outfits made for a san francisco dragqueen!!

  • Paganplace

    New filters. Worse Than before.

  • Joseph

    Christopher, yes, yes, I know, religion can be linked to all kinds of bad things now and in the past. Christopher, man seems capable of all kinds of atrocious behavior. But does religion mitigate or exacerbate this? I know you feel it is the latter. But, what do you have instead? Do you think the wonders of DNA or sociobiology are enough to supplant the Catholic Church or all of religion? A scientist can find a cure for cancer or build a better nuclear weapon. Both are justifiable, who is to guide him? Now, what do you think you bring to the table? What do you think you really want to ask the Pope?

  • Paganplace

    Humanity, Joseph.

  • Anonymous

    It’s “forgiveness”, Mr. Hitchens. Catholics seem to think no matter what you do, the Church cannot stop you or censor you, or even remind you of it. They protect sinners.

  • Ralph

    Where is “Father” Aguilar?

  • Ralph

    Yeah, Chris, everyone knows people who were born Jewish should shut up and “eat a beagle” They teach this in Catechism.

  • Sam B.

    Spot on, bro! As usual you have articulated the travesty exactly. Now go eat your beagle.

  • Ralph

    He is wanted by US law enforcement. Why are you hiding him?

  • Anonymous


  • Curious

    Nirpinder Singh said:I do not think that the Pope could address the issue of Child Abuse by Priests without delving into the reason for celicacy imposed on the Priests by the Church.And it was the beginning of their attempt at reproductive control over parishioners. If they couldn’t impose reproductive control over their own staff, how could they achieve it over others?

  • speed123

    Like this man can comment on morality?!Ha!Hitchens is a acolyte of Trotsky – the man responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Orthodox peoples in Russia when he was commander of the Red Army.And there is that little thing called the IRAQ WAR – of which Hitchens has been an unapologetic PROPAGANDIST.Hitchens claims to be a humanitarian; however, he is just about the furtherest thing from it…


    The Roman Catholic Church is a political and financial institution and as such will spin as it sees fit. How can you argue with God ,has always been their sheild whether Inquisitions or Crusades. The decision not to allow priests to marry was a financial one as inheritance issues would arise with the offspring of clergy and vast properties the Church owned and still does,large tracts of Manhattan all tax free. The decision to ban meat eating on fridays was a finacial one as the fishing industry provided an incentive to the church to do it ,that’s why there was a picture of a fish on catholic calendars. There are many well intentioned clergy who do good works helping the needy which was the main message of Christ, it’s just the upper echelons in limosuines and palaces give the wrong image. The pope is here to gather funds for all the sexual abuse caes caused by their failure to let priests marry making it a refuge for gays for centuries.

  • Anonymous

    If Cardinal Law indeed ” . . . organized . . . the rape and torture of tens of thousands of American children” then prosecute him. As a Catholic I’d welcome such a trial in order to bring out the truth. Either Cardinal Law is complicit in the rape and torture of tens of thousands of American children and needs to be behind bars or Christopher Hitchens is just engaging in another round of his serial demagoguery — which needs to be added to his already sordid record along with such gems as his pro-Irag-invasion blathering.If Christopher Hitchens were serious about his allegations he’d be rallying for criminal prosecution rather than stooping once again to the demagogue’s ever preferred venue for trial, the kangaroo court and its latest manifestation, the internet .

  • Don McMorrow

    I completely agree. How can WE allow a holy man to evade these questions an still face his won conscience.

  • Paganplace

    I dunno about tens of thousands, Anonymous. Is three or four enough?

  • Paganplace

    And, I didn’t mean ‘three or four thousand,’ I meant ‘three or four.’ Can you excuse that? Can you take from such a man claims that all manner of people are ‘objectively disordered,’ …as long as only a few were tortured or raped in the name of such teachings? Is that few enough for you to take the word of such a man on the ‘infallibility’ of his religion when he teaches you to scorn others?How few, or how many, does it take for you to realize no one claiming a ‘divine kingdom’ has *any* right to do or say any such things?

  • Sandro

    All these attacks on the messenger and hardly any mention of the sexual abuse of INNOCENT, TRUSTING CHILDREN.

  • GeorgiaSon

    To Mr. Hitchens: Amen.

  • tr


  • an atheist

    Here’s what I’d like to ask, of all the Iraqi children who have died in Hitchens’ war:Would you rather have been born to be an Iraqi child, and died a fiery death, as you did to help serve the interests of the United States, or born an American child and have been occasionally boned up the rectum by a robed representative of the Catholic church and then live off your million-dollar settlement?

  • thopaine

    I would ask him if he read the book:”Money,Murder,and the Mafia: The Vatican Exposed” by Paul L. Williams,Phd.Hmmmmmmm??

  • Patrick McMahon

    “the man who organized and excuse the rape of tens of thousands of American children”

  • w.albert

    Is there something controversial about Hitchens statement. The Catholic Church has much to account for in this matter. Why should a man who is head of this institution which he thinks is the only true religion not sharply questioned on this matter.

  • Margaret.

    I have two questions for the Pope.2. Is for BOTH the Pope and Mr. Hitchens (who might concern himself with the conduct of the leader of the free world in the same manner as he has with the Pope?)Might he ask weekly in his column, why he and the Pope support Mr. Bush who has organized, supported and condoned the slaughter of over a million Iraqis and Americans and caused the displacement of over five million Iraqis who are now refugees. And aided and abetted in the slaughter of well over 1,000 innocent and defenseless Lebanese?

  • Mr Mark

    Wow. Some people on this board really dislike Christopher Hitchens. We now see bush’s adventure in Iraq labeled “Hitchens War.” Interesting, as I doubt Hitch had an iota of influence in whether the war was launched and how it was prosecuted.All of the Hitch bashing comes down to a lame attempt to discount his statement that the Pope should be asked why he is harboring Cardinal Law, as if heaping scorn on Hitch for his stand on Iraq somehow delegitimizes his stance on Law. It doesn’t. Hitch brings up a relevant issue that the media is collectively ignoring, including – for the most part – this blog.How about it, Jon and Sally? Should Benedict explain why he is harboring a man who aided and abetted child abusers, or does he get a pass?

  • D. Rodriguez

    You, Sir, are a nasty, bitter, hater. You don’t deserve to ask the Pope, whom you refer to by his last name, anything. If you don’t think he already knows and is going to address that issue, you are wrong. You aren’t so clever that you are thinking of something he hasn’t already thought of. I wish you would keep your stilted, biased, ignorant thoughts to yourself. I used to think you were a decent journalist until you turned into a hating, extremist. Why don’t you do everyone a favor and retire.

  • DoTheRightThing

    Hitchens himself disgraced “his” “profession” by the ignorantly biased and exaggerated question he posed.

  • James Shannon

    The Pope, like Dick Cheney, doesn’t really care what people think. Mr. Hitchens interest in wasting time and energy asking the Pope questions would lead one to conclude that Hitchens is a bit more of a showman than the philosopher he claims to be….

  • Jim

    Amen to that.

  • Charles

    The entire Catholic Church (like all the other churches) is just a tax-free, money making business and anyone who thinks it is any more than that must be a descendent of someone who used to carve totem-poles or build pyramids.

  • JimBob

    I know Cardinal Law is a bad man, Hitch, but you don’t advance your cause when you claim that he “organized…the rape and torture…” I don’t think anyone believes he set about organizing any priestly pedophilia (most of which, if you’re honest you’ll admit, did not involve either rape or torture). They all, including Law and Ratzie, deserve to be flogged in public; there’s no need to indulge in hyperbole to make your point.


    here some great news they dont want to tell you bush lovers.Sullivan points out that the military”s causality reports also exclude the “enormous number [of new veterans] flooding the VA,” often with medical problems developed due to the war. A January report by the Department of Veterans Affairs showed 299,585 veterans who recently served in the Middle East had been treated by the VA since 2002. Forty percent (120,049) of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who sought care from the VA did so for mental health disorders. thats a total americans hurt,injurd,sick,mental,maimed, ready america here it is 374,298 americans…. how many more americans has to get hurt,dead, or worst, how many more america


    MR. HITCHENS, your quarrel is not with Benedict XVI. Do you really think Benedict XVI would defy John Paul II’s judgment on this matter in order to make a dramatic gesture that would be to his, Benedict’s, benefit – at least, in the eyes of those who think that only some such dramatic gesture could begin to ‘make up’ for the sufferings of the victims of priest offenders? Besides, what does any of us know about what penance and restitution John Paul II may have asked Cardinal Law to do in private – or that Cardinal Law himself may be doing to make up for his apparent sins of omission on this matter? Can any Catholic seriously think that John Paul II would name someone irredeemably evil and tainted to be Arch-Priest of the world’s first and greatest Marian Basilica?Grow up. In your mind and the minds of those like Dohessy of SNAP, this sexual abuse issue has become like the Holocaust. Because nothing anyone can ever say or do will ever undo all the evil and harm done, there will always be those like you who will not let the issue go away, no matter what is said or done about it.

  • Silence Dogood

    Mr. Hutchins,At the core of your pointed question lies a valid expectation for pure justice.However, such a notion cleaves into at least three categories:The first and most important form of Justice is the Pure Justice that awaits Mr. Law…and each of us. It will be administered.The second form is civil, and people of faith know that civil/criminal law is flawed. Maybe statutes of limitations in this second category have passed, where they can still be used, I vote with you, if there is probable cause…let’s go for it.The third form, ecclesiastical, has probably already been dispensed and, not being a Catholic, I can only agree with you and your implications…but I would rather find Christ’s positions on hypocrisy in the pages of the Bible than from any man.Oh what a day that awaits each of us.

  • maggots

    I think that someone has the right to challenge Pope Benedict on Cardinal Law, but that person isn’t Hitchens. One can easily argue that Hitchens shares responsibility for the suffering of millions of Iraqi men, women, and children due to his championing of the Iraq War. If we are going to hold popes responsible for their sins, we should do the same for columnists.

  • Clint Duffy

    I’d ask God the Father of the most evil trinity in history exactly what drove his thug predecessor’s associations with the likes of Hitler. How about explaining why a pope long ago wrote Matthew 24:7– and nation shall rise against nation. Was that not exactly what WWII was? Of course. Crosses filling the entire globe. His sons in megachurches in the US trying to cause Armageddon via a nuclear holocaust. Crusades, inquisitions, people dying all the time, kids getting raped by evil old men. The bible is a fraud and the world knows this. Snakes do not talk. Christianity is just a hybrid of free masonry anyways– 33 levels of that cult; 33 years that jesus lived. People keep wondering about end times, using the book of Revelation. In the name of common sense– when it says, the mark of the beast is the mark of a man, and it is 666- then it obviously meant Nero. It was some nutcase describing in gory detail (probably sucking acid and blowing coke as well)– what was happening to early Christian mythologists. I say, they deserved it– the RC Church as an institution is directly responsible for the greatest mass murders and crimes against humanity in human history; it is a death cult; full of trash, pomp, extravagance, and lies. If this man Jesus could come back (he never existed though I don’t think)– he would take one of those 7 swords coming out of his impish mouth in those Revelations and spear the evil old bastard Ratzinger through the nuts. But hey, at least the Pope wears a dunce cap… too bad he doesn’t merely sit in his golden corner. Thus much for the greatest selling piece of trash and death cult in human history. Yes– that is what I would ask this evil old bastard sausage pope; he has evil in his eyes.

  • warrenmass

    One wonders where this information about “the rape and torture of tens of thousands of American children” comes from. Surely not police reports. We have statutes of limitations for a reason: proof and the recollection of witnesses deteriorates after time. Most likely, the numbers are in the TENS, not tens of thousands. Just as passengers riding on a bus involved in an accident find it profitable to strap on a neck brace and claim compensation for imagined “whiplash,” I fear tens of thousands of opportunists (and their blood-sucking lawyers) found it might be profitable to claim they were raped 30 years ago and collect a quick cash settlement. Again, where is the proof? And why were not these alleged rapes reported shortly after they occurred? Rapes reported by women after physical evidence has deteriorated are laughed out of court. Why the double standard? Does someone have an agenda to destroy the Catholic Church financially?

  • Kenneth

    D. Rodriguez wrote (referring to Hitchens):You, Sir, are a nasty, bitter, hater. You don’t deserve to ask the Pope, whom you refer to by his last name, anything. Why should the Pope get more respect than any other leader of a tiny country?He should get as much respect as the leader of Andorra, Luxumburg, or Monaco.Yet Bush is going to give him a 21-gun salute.We all know Bush as is not the smartest person, and his treatment of Benedict shows us all (once more) what a gullible fool he is.To all the Catholics (or evangelicals) out there, maybe one day you’ll grow up and stop insisting there are invisible friends out there that you can talk to telepathically.Grow up out of your insistence that celibate priests deserve any sort of respect.Grow up and think for yourself, instead of believing all the garbage you were told when you were a child.

  • Mr Mark

    Dear Secular -You are indeed correct to state that the believers are unbelievable. I sometimes wonder whether or not our species will ever grow up.

  • andrew n. hall

    why limit it to cardinal law? and, why limit it to sexual abuses? ratzinger should explain all the sinister acts of the catholic church in recent years at least if not throughout its sordid history.

  • speed123

    “You are indeed correct to state that the believers are unbelievable.”Mr. Mark – I am disappointed in your closed-mindedness…

  • D. Rodriguez

    The venom and spite and downright HATE I hear from atheists is what keeps me from EVER even thinking about their viewpoints. They are so CONSUMED with hate and rage against mommy or daddy or whatever other authority figure was too strict with them, or maybe was too harsh about religion, that they lose all credibility. I am a very open-minded, educated, spiritual person and it offends me that there are people who would ridicule and belittle my faith, no even knowing anything about my morals and my lifestyle.

  • Susan Swaney

    Chris Hitchens has the right to ask the Poop (oops typo) anything he pleases. As for Hitchens retarded ideas about the Iraq war, what does that have to do with his Pope question? It’s a different subject. Chris Hitchens is not an idiot, he knows he is wrong on the war, but if he changes his tune he won’t get many pundit jobs!

  • Paganplace

    You trivialize the potential suffering of abused kids, there, Mr. Rodriguez. A lot of the ‘angry atheists’ rather resent the recent intrusions of religion into their public lives, often, ironically enough, tarring me with the same brush as the people who abused *me,* …I certainly get angry, repeatedly, when the Church treats as a mere scandal, the very systems that teach support abuse of all kinds, in the course of trying to defame *my* religion and take away *my* civil rights because of *their* desire for a sense of control. It’s not ‘hate,’ but, yes, I do get angry. I want to enjoy *my* life, and *my religion,* and not be persecuted for my faith in the Gods that quietly got me through the ‘hell’ I was put through.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Hitchens, perhaps you would like the current Pope to spend all his short time with President Bush discussing why John Paul II did not take more decisive action against Cardinal Law. However, I would prefer if the current Pope emphasized more the continuing unhappiness the Catholic Church has with USA involvement in Iraq. From the beginning, the Catholic Church has regarded it as a fiasco. Now, I know sexual abuse is a terrible thing and should be dealt with by criminal authorities; but what do you say to a war, engaged in on false pretext (so-called WMD’s), in which, so far, at least 4000 Americans have been killed, and 40,000 Americans wounded (many with permanent disabilities). As for the number of Iraqi killed, some estimates are 100,000 or more. Not only that, the war continues, with President Bush threatening Iran. As for religious solace, it seems much of the USA going to war has been supported by Evangelical Christians on the right-wing. Therefore, your counsel, as Pope, could be very important as you talk with our President, and hopefully convince him to stop the madness!

  • BGone

    Ever hear of sanctuary? God provides it through His representatives.

  • Gerry

    Ratzinger and science: He just promised to install the “education” of 3000 new exorcists.We live around the year 1500. Using computers to inform everybody about it.And there is no shortage of witch hunters, looking at 123 and his ilk.

  • Terrils

    “Before the universal institution of celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church, the deaths of these entitled clerics often resulted in claims against their estates by widows and offspring.”Off the top of my head, this was the first explanation I came up with – the church wanted control of all monies present (vow of poverty) and future(vow of celibacy). Thanks for the confirmation.

  • Terrils

    “I have NO patience for haters and liars. “How’s your patience for child molesters and those who aid and abet them? Fairly high, I’d wager, given your chosen faith and current defense of its officials.

  • Franklin Jennings

    Shelter him? Why whatever do you mean by such an absurd question? Is someone pursuing Bernard Cardinal Law?Pickled limes are the funniest ones.

  • Jihadist

    Mr. Christopher Hitchens,We already know that you are an atheist and anti-theist just as we already know that the Pope is obviously Catholic. What we also need to hear journalists ask, in a “level yet firm tones” (is the Pope to be spoken to as if he is a child?), what are the arrangements and agreements the US goverment has with religious entities on their internal affairs, and as to whether indiscretions, crimes or sins committed by members of the clergy is considered an internal matter.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Terrils, Know-it-all- Would it make you feel better to know that I HAD indeed been sexually abused as a kid. Not by a priest, but what difference does that make? It happened. It was a terrible thing. It doesn’t make me hate all men, so why should all Catholics have to be punished or all priests have to be put in the bad apple category because there were a few criminals.

  • ff

    “The venom and spite and downright HATE I hear from atheists is what keeps me from EVER even thinking about their viewpoints. […] I am a very open-minded, educated, spiritual person and it offends me that there are people who would ridicule and belittle my faith, no even knowing anything about my morals and my lifestyle. “The only knowledge required to ridicule you is that fact that you would type both of the above sentences in a single post with a straight face.”I have NO patience for haters and liars. Most atheists I have ever encountered were one or the other.”Seems like a rather strong conclusion to reach without EVER even thinking about their viewpoints. In fact, it’s starting to sound like you’re a bit insecure in your faith.”If you don’t like it or want to believe it, keep it to yourself. Stop spreading your lies and your unhappiness. Just because you don’t believe, doesn’t give you the right to put down others who do. I am not trying to recruit you, so don’t try to recruit me. “Right, cause there’s always atheists knocking on my door trying to convert me. Athiests are those clean-cut guys that ride around on bikes and wear thin ties, right? “Bitter haters with pathetic little lives always want to drag happy people down into their abyss.”Wait… were you supposed to be one of the “happy people?”

  • Mr Mark

    SPEED123:You’ll get used to it…

  • Athena

    B16 can appoint all of the Inquisitors he wants, so that they can falsely accuse children in Nigeria, or old women who own property, or women who are getting a little too uppity of being witches. I got news for him – the Witches will be fighting back. No more Burning Times!

  • Paganplace

    Even ‘diplomatic immunity,’ J, can sometimes rightly be withdrawn by the ‘state’ (The Vatican) that it is derived from. Why have they *not?*My posts keep getting clipped, so I must keep it brief.

  • Paganplace

    Given the extraordinary authority that the Vatican claimed, not to mention how cowed how many people were about trusting their system, only to find abusers shuffled around with impunity, …this has hurt and angered a lot more people than one might on the face of it think. It really touched a lot of the Catholic community, and not in good ways. Especially as the same authorities refuse to stop supporting Neocons to favor the Church’s s ex agenda, politically, at the expense of things people really care about. Still pretty raw to many, not the least those of them who were taught to try and ‘make’ their kids straight at ‘any cost.’

  • Anonymous

    Also, where are the references that prove that Law is “wanted” by state authorities in MA????

  • Paganplace

    Speed, the current and past Popes’ positions on war have really nothing for me to fault them on, don’t get me wrong. In terms of intrusion in American politics and life, though, these always take a back seat to the legislation of personal morality when it comes to kingmaking, however. And this is the kind of thing that angers people.

  • speed123

    “In terms of intrusion in American politics and life, though, these always take a back seat to the legislation of personal morality when it comes to kingmaking, however. And this is the kind of thing that angers people.”Respectfully, the policy battle goes both ways and the idea that the secular public school system, for example, is “objective” in regards to respecting the ideas of faith and limited government is really something of a joke.Also, there is increasing legislation trying to force Catholic hospitals to preform actions (such as abortion) that are against their beliefs.If anyone should be held accountable for obstructive policies and invasive practices, it is uncle sam…who, btw, sees religion as an obstacle to control of the people. Hence, comrade Hitchen’s attention and attacks.

  • Paganplace

    Let’s also say that if you have been aggrieved by that institution and its management, they really don’t mind attacking you wholesale if you aren’t wanting to get back on your knees to them, no matter how badly you may have been hurt. This is not hysteria, this is, ‘Put it right and stay out of my life.’ Actually, much of how to put it right would be to stop opposing my civil and religious rights. An apology which doesn’t insult my religion and person in the same breath would also salve things just a bit.

  • Paganplace

    Oh, and, last I looked, Law was still under indictment in the Commonwealth. Gods know how many subpoenas. ‘Wanted’ in the sense of does anyone want to open that can, politically, that’s different.

  • speed123

    I dont get it, Pagan, who is attacking you?Catholics have set beliefs, but no one is forced to be a Catholic…you can be anything you want.More likely than not, it is seculars that try to force Catholics away from the beliefs – i.e. attacking hospitals, doubling taxing religious education, diatribes in the media and propaganda etc.I am sure it is not easy sticking to pagan beliefs; however, I assure you being a Catholic is no cakewalk…

  • James H

    Someone call the pound – there’s a rabid dog on the loose.

  • whm99

    The discussion of the catholic church’s aiding and abetting child rapists also brings up this question:Do you know why they call it “organized religion”? Because “organized crime” was already taken.

  • Neal:

    Terrils:Most regular, diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty.

  • Mr MArk

    My comments in this thread are being embargoed. Anyone surprised?

  • Paganplace

    Posts are still getting clipped, Speed. Longer answer got lost. It’s not like I haven’t described my grievances about the Church in politics before, though.

  • Paganplace

    Anyway, trying this bit again. No one is trying to ‘force Catholics away from their beliefs,’ there, Speed. In the wider world, you’ve got to respect others rather than presume an institution like *that* has some ‘moral authority’ over people who aren’t harming anyone. As for Pagan ways, well, they’re not so hard to keep, of themselves. People tend to make it harder for us to live, but we find they aren’t so darn *conflicted* as some other ways seem to be. I don’t know where you’re claiming ‘doubled taxes’ from, …I understand religious institutions are still getting tremendous tax *breaks* and even trying to get the state to pay the tuitions through vouchers and all.

  • Mr Mark

    I’ll try again.Two major papers on opposite coasts have front page stories today about a certain visiting icon who is very saddened by certain bad things that were done to children by adults who wear a certain type of collar and work at said icon’s certain non-profit venues.I then pointed out that neither article bothered to mention the other certain personality who is being discussed at Length At Wapo’s blog (you may decipher this person’s name by reading only the uppercase letters in the 4 words preceding this parenthetical phrase).It seems that certain media outlets continue to avoid discussing the so-called law in any way whatsoever.Let’s see if that makes it through.

  • Paganplace

    I can’t find any rhyme or reason to what posts are being cut, Mr. Mark. My understanding is they tried to change something to curtail spamming, and it just doesn’t work right.

  • Mr Mark

    Dear Paganplace -The gremlins could be associated with the new formatting of the home page.In any case, it would be nice if the blog owners deigned to post a note to their readers explaining WTH is going on.

  • Neal:

    Dear Pope:Welcome-o to the USA-o!I know you’re busy touring and such, but I was wondering if you could do an old altar boy a little favor?As you may have heard (God already knows all about it), we’ve been having some problems lately here on the On Faith blog. For no apparent reason our Anyway, how about those hateful, spiteful, bitter ex-Catholics that post here!?! Grrrrr…Your chum,Neal::

  • juliuschas

    Hey, it’s way too late for John Paul II to do anything about Mahoney, Law, and the other perv-enablers. Benedict is captain of the ship now, so it’s up to him. But I hear he’s going to miss his White House birthday party…. must have been that late-night sleepover at BoysTown DC! And BTW, you ARE arrogant, Hitch. Stay that way! We need you.

  • perspective

    Church doctrines from first to last are built on a house of cards – from Jesus’ divinity to the Holy Trinity to Papal Infallibility …. and many others in between and all designed to give both weight and consistency to the entire body of doctrinal metaphysics that comprises the belief system of both Catholics and Protestants – although Protestants draw the line here and there as regards what’s really real, and what’s metaphorical and symbolic. Curiously, those very Protestant fundamentalists that don’t buy into various of the Catholic doctrines are the ones that buy into the biblical literalism, lock, stock, and barrel. Go figure. As an old, make that very old, altar boy, I left when I couldn’t get a straight answer on the whys and wherefores of these various doctrinal conundrums, other than to say – ‘there are deep mysteries, my boy’……..well, that said it all for me. On the other hand, if we start our New Reformation with the most recent and modern of Church doctrines, that of Papal Infallibility – and work backward, we might be able to straighten out this metaphysical miasma of supernatural ideas all the way back to the first swirlings – and shed some light on those ancient and ineffable ‘dark’ mysteries of our distant youth. Will this make it through the blog screen?? I seriously doubt it ……….

  • Ed Thanet

    I find it outrageous that the Washington Post editors of this web site are either so ignorant or evil that they allow Hitch to post blatant LIES. Hitchins in fact KNOWS full well this is a myth because it has been publicly pointed out to him for years now.Bernard Cardinal Law is in NO WAY under criminal indictment, or so far as is publicly known, investigation. He waited to be formally cleared by MA AG Reilly of any criminal wrongdoing before he took his new faculty position in Rome; if at any time he were to be indicted, or a warrant sworn out for his arrest he would return to the US voluntarily. In fact, since he has left MA jurisdiction all statutes of limitations for any possible past culpability are frozen “forever”. The idea that he holds diplomatic immunity and is hiding out in the Vatican is an absurd LIE that various personal injury lawyers have been peddling to their lefty media accomplices in their multiple Church extortion schemes and the Post is liable for not removing the above offending Hitchins lie and correcting the record. MA prosecutors would have no problem making a big issue out of the thing, Law was thoroughly investigated, questioned by prosecutors, personal injury lawyers in countless videotaped depositions and by grand juries for a period of years. For all the Sturm and Drang generated by the media over a period of half a dozen years NOT ONE US BISHOP has been indicted, let alone convicted, of “conspiracy” or “cover-up” or “collusion” or “complicity” or any other ominous sounding buzz words for what boils down to failure of personal powers of clairvoyance or pre-cognition of what a particular priest may or may not have ever done, past, present or future. In fact even Catholic priests, YES EVEN PRIESTS are entitled to the legal presumption of innocence and the CATHOLIC CHURCH is NOT THE POLICE; they are neither obliged or equipped to investigate decades old allegations against menwith no prior criminal records that have been tossed over the transom at them anonymously with no evidence by grifters and career street hustlers and their slip/fall & whiplash lawyers who shamelessly drool over the collection plate, despite being supposedly too retarded to report the allegations to the police themselves, and now need lots of money for their alleged psychic “troubles”. As I have written before, I formally challenge the Washington Post Corporation, Disney-ABC, GE-NBC, Time-Warner, NewsCorp and the NYT- Globe to perform similar comprehensive psychometric and criminological surveys of their employee databases as the USCCB has done and continues with the priesthood. We would soon see how smug the 4th estate would end up in its judgement of the 1st. But alas corporate profit motives and fears of billion-dollar class action lawsuits (easily dwarfing the exceedingly generous settlements the Church has made for cases fundamentally without merit against men in many cases long dead) from their victims would preclude any such voluntary surveys I suspect, to hell with all YOUR victims. We know how the gameis played.

  • Wally Wonder

    Here is what I would ask the Pope:Do you live in the woods?

  • Wally Wonder

    Here is what I would ask the Pope:Do you live in the woods?

  • mrsdocchuck

    My husband is desperate to know where the Pope got those fetching red leather laofers.They would pair so well with his ermine-trimmed drool bib. He simply must find a pair. Size 8.

  • aaron

    My father and i was talking about the end of time I was wanting to Know wen its going to hapen. The reason i ask is because i been geting some bad vibes and i fell its comeing soon. my instink is omost always right. nothen has really hapen to me of garde. my mother clams she has powers and i kind of belave her.people come to her for help.the reason i ask you is because thats youer department.