First up is the following news brief from Zenit: Vatican Official Asks Security Group for Genuine Respect:
He pointed out that "incidents of hatred, discrimination, violence and intolerance against Christians and members of other religions continue to occur too frequently in the OSCE region and are symptomatic of the lack of peace in the world."
Monsignor Frontiero suggested that the OSCE's commitment to combat intolerance aims to promote genuine respect of "the differences among us."
The Holy See representative explained that "an absence of convictions is not synonymous with tolerance."
And, he contended, only skepticism and relativism remain if there is an absence of some "convincing notions of truth which require that we be tolerant with one who has a different idea of the truth of things."
On a first glance, there's not much to disagree with in Monsignor Frontiero's comments. Discrimination against someone on the basis of their faith is wrong, and should be challenged at every turn.
However, given the church hierarchy's involvement in firing someone for being transsexual, it starts to smell of hypocrisy to me.
Then we have Michael Coren's most recent contribution to the National Post in which he adopts a stance towards criticism of the Vatican that is very similar to the "support Israel at all costs" mentality we regularly see out of the hard right wing.
Today secularism is the ideology of fashion but Catholicbashing, the last acceptable prejudice in polite society, is the toxin the runs through the contemporary bloodstream of Western liberal society.
What Bishop Raymond Lahey is accused of doing is unspeakably awful, but an abuser no more represents the Church than a criminal politician represents democracy. But no, we are told, it's inherent to Catholicism because the Roman Catholics won't change with the times.
Right - I've heard this before - and explained why Coren is wrong.
But Coren goes even further down the rabbit hole of trying to justify the inaction of the Catholic Church towards the pedophiles in the priesthood:
On a clinically practical level, celibacy has nothing to do with sexual exploitation. The abuse rates inside the Catholic Church are almost precisely the same as those in other Christian denominations, non-Christian religions, education, public service and virtually all institutions.
That doesn't make it right, nor does it justify the Church actively protecting these predators by concealing them and moving them about - or just blatantly ignoring their activities.
The issue is not the presence of pedophiles in the priesthood, it is the rank hypocrisy of a church organization that seems to think that on one hand it can justify enabling these people while actively engaging in discrimination, persecution and marginalization of those they deem "immoral".
Among thinking people, it's hard to accept the Church's "teachings" when the odor of corruption and hypocrisy wafts from the Vatican on a seemingly weekly basis.
As an aside, Mr. Coren might want to consider the fact that unlike a lot of faiths, the Catholic Church is also a political institution which regularly tries to inject itself into the political dialogue of the world - this is all the more offensive when their pronouncements on subjects are so often at odds with their own actions.
As an aside - my beef is not with the Catholic Faith per se, but rather the political structure and its denizens who claim to be the speakers and keepers of the faith - somewhere along the way in the last 2000 years, they lost sight of the real value the Church is capable of bringing to the world