March 01, 2015

The editorialisation and alteration of sincerely held religious beliefs

The pope by Ralph Steadman
We're told that the religious have sincerely held religious beliefs, unalterable convictions and an indivisible conscience. 

History proves the contrary. History shows that religious doctrine and religious views are alterable. The history of religion is a story of amnesty after amnesty. Resistance against equal rights which amounts to a rolling retreat.

I could innumerate dozens of examples and go into great detail, but I don't have the time. So here's a casual review of some of the Catholic Church's more prominent U-Turns. It's enough to make a cat laugh.

Before the Second Vatican Council of 1964 the Roman Catholic Church officially referred to Protestants and other non-Roman Catholic Christians as "heretics" (as per the pronouncements of the Council of Trent), non-viable Christians undeserving of salvation.

In 1932 Joseph MacRory, Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh
and Primate of All Ireland declared:
"The Protestant Church in Ireland – and the same is true of the Protestant Church anywhere – is not only not the rightful representative of the early Irish Church, but it is not even a part of the Church of Christ."
The 1964 injunction of Vatican II renamed non-Roman Catholic Christians from "heretics" to "separated brethren". A euphemistic and shady alteration to Church lexicon. A destiny of damnation remaining unchanged.

In the same year the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Paul VI issued the document Nostra Aetate as part of Vatican II which repudiated the doctrine of Jewish guilt for the Crucifixion. 

In 1938 Oliver J Flanagan said in the Dáil:
"They crucified our Saviour 1,900 years ago and they have been crucifying us every day of the week."
Read Ireland's history of 'Fethardism', religious and clerically-ordered boycotts, which included embargoing Protestants and Limerick Jews.

Then all changes. Mary McAleese said in a Decemeber 2013 speech to that there was a parallel between the Catholic Church attitude towards gays and Jews, saying it had taken nearly 2,000 years to revise the "Christ-killer" slander.

Then in 2006 the Roman Church changed its position on purgatory. The indivisible and inviolable became open to editing. Official doctrine was changed; the inconvenient parts swept under the carpet. The International Theological Commission said limbo reflected an "unduly restrictive view of salvation". Read a report on that alteration and read the 41-page document here, 'The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised (2007)'.

And then there's Symphysiotomy, a barbaric practice done to women in labour under religious dictat. Once a core belief, this is no longer practiced.

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