Michael Battalio

Friday, February 21, 2014

This I Believe (part 25):

        After about four years it is time for a revisit of my “This I Believe” series. As before, I’m still having trouble defining exactly what it is I prescribe to as a worldview. I hope to figure some of what I believe here.

I was posed the questions: What are your thoughts on the new pope?  Would a liberalized Catholic Church renew your interest in organized religion, or is your personal journey kind of independent from what the Church decides to do at this point?
In the last post I looked at the first question and included a bonus of an argument against the existence of hell. In this post I consider the second question.

While I am very encouraged that the church is becoming a bit more progressive and finally accentuating the important parts of Christianity (i.e. charity, love, etc.) instead of cherry picking passages from the old testament and harping on those (i.e. birth control, homosexuality), what it does has no bearing on my personal beliefs anymore.  I am an agnostic in belief and a Catholic only in practice (occasionally [when profitable]).  I don’t see what could change that other than provable divine intervention.  Additionally, I have seen how corrupt the church can be, and I’m not just talking about the coverup and crime of the child abuse by priests, which is a deplorable enough offense that I think the Catholic church should have its tax exempt status revoked (to cover the money it is taking to prosecute and investigate the crimes).  I’ve seen downright embezzlement by priests to buy themselves new houses and cars from the church coffer. I’ve known priests with substance abuse problems that used their position to cover it up. I’ve seen churches buy $30,000 statues of the Holy Family while at the same time telling the food pantry that is managed out of their own church that they don’t have enough money to buy extra food that month to feed everyone. People are corruptible; therefore, any institution founded and run by people, even with the best of intentions, is corruptible. I think the whole idea of organized religion is contemptuous, a waste of time and money that could be spent actually helping people instead of being wasted on what is essentially a bureaucracy.  A person certainly doesn’t need to attend a service each week to be religious.  And if God exists a person certainly doesn’t need to belong to a church to be “saved” It’s great that there are signs that the Church is catching up to society, but I think the whole institution is a waste.  Modernization isn’t going to help it. The effects are pretty clear. People are abandoning the church in droves, especially in Europe.

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