Tag Archive | "rape"

FF Podcast 60 (Audio): Pope’s Coming! Look Busy!

FF Podcast 60: Pope’s Coming! Look Busy!

This week, we talk about the visit of Pope Francis. We also discuss some of the child rape cases Pope Francis was involved with during his time as a cardinal in Argentina.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in audio podcast, Religion, SocietyComments (1)

FF Podcast 60: Pope’s Coming! Look Busy!

This week, we talk about the visit of Pope Francis. We also discuss some of the child rape cases Pope Francis was involved with during his time as a cardinal in Argentina.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Media, Podcast, Politics, Religion, VideoComments (2)

Paalam, Soledad

Based on true events, “Paalam, Soledad” follows the struggles of Sister Soledad with her faith and her principles amidst the realities of Santa Clara, a small town ruled by closed minds, false hopes and repressed sexuality. [YouTube’s block has been resolved; this video is now viewable.]

Scene Selection

Group song welcoming people to Santa Clara (3:12)

First Act: Baptism (11:28)

Priest sings about sacrifice and the original sin (22:19)

Sister Soledad sings about the morality of changing and loving our bodies (24:50)

Second Act: Marriage (31:22)

Four women confront Sister Soledad about how society unfairly blames women (40:08)

Third Act: Funeral (46:49)

A happy, naughty song about the IUD (47:52)

Priest and mayor sing about their mutually beneficial partnership (1:05:05)

Finale: people sing about their hopes for Santa Clara (1:16:11)

Credits (1:20:24)

Posted in Religion, Society, VideoComments (6)

Why I Will Not Walk Like a Sl*t

Disclaimer: The asterisk in the title was used in order for this post to come out on our Facebook pages. Just to make it clear, I’m as much of a pottymouth as the next person. Kepyas kepyas kepyas.

“Slut” is a derogatory term, and it should stay that way. This is coming from someone who dry heaves at the term “making love,” and made casual sex her sport of choice when she was single. No matter how comfortable I am with the idea of mindless sex and its pursuit, I believe that there is a difference between being in full control of one’s sexuality, and just being plain promiscuous.

SlutWalk - "Why I will not walk like a slut" by Marguerite de Leon
Walk like a slut

A group of female activists inToronto, however, have started a pride march of sorts dubbed the “SlutWalk” last June. It was sparked when a local police officer suggested that “women should avoid dressing like sluts” to avoid sexual harassment. In protest, these women have taken to the streets in an effort to redefine slut-dom, with many of them donning tacky, skimpy clothing and daring men not to ogle or wolf-whistle. The movement has become so popular that SlutWalks have been held across the world ever since, including in uber-traditional, harassment-heavy New Delhi.

I am totally for women speaking out not only against harassment, but also in support of their right to be open about their love for sex, whether mindless or meaningful. What I find very weak about these women’s concept, however, is their dependence on the image of a scantily-clad slut to further such a well-intentioned cause.

SlutWalk - "Why I will not walk like a slut" by Marguerite de Leon
Who you callin’ hot mama?

If you go out on the street in a low-cut blouse, hot pants, and heels, and then feel bad that people are staring at you, you should probably reassess your situation. What other reason is there for women to wear revealing clothing other than to attract attention? “To make me feel good about myself and/or my body” may be a valid sentiment, but  the fact remains that at the very root of your feeling good about yourself and/or your body via clothing is your being found sexually attractive by others.

Why bother wearing something revealing if sexual attractiveness is not the message you’re willing to convey? For the love of fashion, you say? Most skimpy haute couture wasn’t meant for the commute to work in the first place. Heterosexual men are predisposed to like boobs and legs and butts, and if you feel offended that your halter top/micro-mini/low-rise jeans has garnered you unwarranted attention, then it would be best for you to sit down and read up on biology and gender studies before heading out again.

SlutWalk - "Why I will not walk like a slut" by Marguerite de Leon
Frankness and foresight

The odd wolf-whistle or two, of course, is absolutely nothing compared to rape, and the best way for any individual to avoid it is to avoid vulnerable situations. Marching the streets in a bikini and waving a placard that reads “This is NOT my I WANT YOU face!” is not going to keep some depraved schmuck from taking advantage of you.

Instead, try lucid communication. On a night out, for instance, not only should you verbally make your intentions with your date clear, but also look and act that way you want to be treated. Want sex on the first date? Go for it – drop as many double entendres as you deem necessary. Want to play it slow or show that you’re not interested? Then stop trying to spill your cleavage onto your plate and laughing at every other thing your date says. Better yet, for either case, just say what you feel. “I like you. Want to come up to my apartment for a drink?” “I like you. Maybe we can have dinner again this week. When are you free?” “You’re very nice, but I don’t think we’re a good fit. I should go on ahead. I hope you understand.”

At the end of the day, however, anyone, regardless of what they’re wearing, can become a victim of rape. There are bad people out there, and they will not listen to what you tell them. The key to eradicating such a horrid crime is more about advancing an intelligent, empathetic, and conscientious society and less about pitting men against women through the Pussy Power Patrol.

So, if you want to redefine how men and women interact with one another, don’t parade yourself in your panties and dare people not to stare at you. Don’t try to alleviate the perils of mixed signals with even more mixed signals. Just quit the ambiguous bullshit, period.

Click here for a follow-up to this piece. 

(Images from IBTimes, TnT Magazine, Lisa VanDyke, and The Guardian)

Posted in Personal, SocietyComments (52)

Predatory Priests and Bad Bishops

Amidst the revelation of Bishops behaving badly, another serious matter involving men of God has cropped up. In Agusan del Norte, a 17-year-old girl has accused a Catholic priest of rape. It makes my blood boil at how this priest, Father Raul Cabonce, took advantage of this girl’s situation. The priest’s offer to help with her education was a ploy to sexually abuse her. Considering the value the girl and her family so earnestly placed on education, the fact that the priest took advantage of her is particularly sickening.

In live broadcast interviews on Friday and Saturday on DXBR Bombo Radyo Butuan, the victim explained how she was raped by Cabonce on February 3 and on March 14.

She alleged that on Feb. 3, Cabonce ordered her to massage him and then the priest requested for oral sex.

The victim said that after she refused to give in to the request, Cabonce raped her.

Moreover, the victim said that on March 14, Cabonce called her again and ordered her to massage him. Again, the priest raped her.

Sobbing during the radio interview, the victim claimed that when she returned home in September last year, she told her parents that the suspect had started to caress her and touch her private parts.

She said her mother advised her then to take care of herself as it was unwise to stop her studies in the middle of the school year just to avoid the priest, who earlier offered to send her to school if she would agree to work at his convent.

Poverty had forced her to accept Cabonce’s offer, the girl said.

And of course, “Father” Raul Cabonce (doesn’t it make your skin crawl to have the word Father associated with this asshole?) is denying the charges, even challenging people to check the background of the victim’s family.

In a radio interview, Fr. Raul Cabonce, the parish priest of Tubay, said “I categorically deny allegations of rape hurled against me… please check the background of the family of the victim first before judging me.”

Meanwhile, the victim and her family are under the care of Gabriela and the Missionary Sisters of Mary (MSM), who are helping file the case against the dastardly priest. I find it heartening that the Missionary Sisters of Mary are helping someone who was victimized by a fellow member of the cloth. In fact, I can’t help but wonder why these women would stay in a church so obviously misogynistic, a church that never lets women become ordained priests themselves, but in any case, I am glad that they are helping the victim of this systemic failure of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

It was a simple failure to send a clear message to priests that abuse of any kind would not stand; it was a clear failure of moral leadership. It is telling that while Bacani can so blithely call same-sex marriage “kadiri”, there has been no response from any ranking bishops on this allegation of rape. There was no condemnation of Cabonce whatsoever; he was not even suspended from his parish to properly allow for investigation.

Will the church ever learn? Despite all the incriminating investigations, despite all the lucid reports, despite all the pain that has stemmed from these abuses, these supposed holy men’s answer to any accusation has always been ‘no’ or ‘how dare you.’ I hope for the sake of the abused that the Roman Catholic church learn to be better people not just out of shame, but out of the actual moral enlightenment they squawk so often about.

Posted in Religion, SocietyComments (11)

The Catholic Church: “Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?”

Some bishops of the CBCP have been caught in a bribery scandal involving Pajeros, the PCSO and Gloria Arroyo’s administration.

The CBCP, staunch defenders of Roman Catholic morals that they are (that’s been their rhetoric in the reproductive health, divorce  and same sex marriage debates) have responded and oh boy… One would think that the moral thing to do when caught taking bribes would be to at the very least apologize and take action on the sinning bishops. Clean your houses bishops, it will be good for you.

But that’s not the first thing that they did.

Instead they petulantly whine, “but the other churches are doing it too!”. Oh persecution complex, you make everything so much more worse:

A ranking Catholic archbishop has challenged the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to identify other religious groups who received financial aid from the agency.

“If there’s malice in those donations to Catholic bishops, the PCSO must also identify all the other recipients from other Churches,” Davao Archbishop Fernando Capalla said.

While an ex-president of the CBCP implicitly admits to the bribery allegations, the first reaction of current CBCP president Nereo Odchimar was to call the PCSO irresponsible and challenge them to name names.

The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Tandag, Surigao del Sur Bishop Nereo Odchimar, said last Friday he was not discounting the possibility that the issue that some prelates accepted vehicles from PCSO was somehow linked to moves aimed at discrediting the Catholic Church.

“They (PCSO) should be accurate because names are being destroyed. It would rather be irresponsible to be implicating names. They were just made suspects,” he said.

So the PCSO did. Well that shut him up. For now the CBCP are making noise about taking some sort of action. Or at least sitting around and talking about it anyway.

This kind of behavior, that of whining that other churches are doing bad things too and then sitting around on their derrieres taking the minimal action is not a foreign concept to the Roman Catholic hierarchy. This kind of thinking goes all the way up to the Vatican. In 2009, this is what the Vatican said to the UN Human Rights Council about the child abuse cases:

The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was “busy cleaning its own house” and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.

[Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN,] quoted statistics from the Christian Science Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

Given the history of how the Roman Catholic church has handled sex abuse within its priesthood, one wonders how long it will take the CBCP to act on these bribery allegations and whether any meaningful justice will be served. It has taken the Vatican decades to sort out any sensible guidelines for handling child abuse and even then, the victims say these guidelines are not enough.

Bishops, where is this moral ascendancy that you talk about so much? How the CBCP handles these bribery allegations will reveal much of their morals but when the hierarchy’s response to Bacani being accused of sexual harassment is to have him go off to America for a vacation, you really have to wonder what kind of morality they are operating with.

If the CBCP can’t clean house on bribery, what more (or less) will they do for actual victims of rape from priests?

Posted in Featured, Politics, ReligionComments (13)

The Future Saint John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was beloved in the Philippines, which he visited twice during his reign, and all over the world. He was seen as the rock star pope, with a papacy that was known for its close ties with the laity. And when his almost 27 year reign as pope ended in 2005, after years of suffering Parkinson’s Disease, the people gathered at St. Peter’s Square shouted “santo subito!” (“sainthood now!”) and called him “John Paul the Great.” With his beatification this past May 1, sainthood is now all but assured.

The Catholic institution of canonization requires a total of two “verified” miracles in order to recognize a Catholic as being a saint who can hear prayers and intercede for those who ask for their help. It is theologically important to note that Christians are not “made” saints by the Church, but, rather, recognized. Before one is confirmed as a saint, however, one must first be beatified. In order to be beatified, a candidate must have one of the two required “verified” miracles under their belt.

The Roman Catholic Church takes miraculous claims seriously—having, until recently, the office of advocatus diaboli, or the Devil’s Advocate, which makes a case against the canonization of a particular candidate. Incidentally, it was John Paul II himself who abolished the office, which expedited hundreds of canonization proceedings. Christopher Hitchens, when he was asked to argue against the beatification of Mother Teresa after the dissolution of the office of the Devil’s Advocate, described his role as representing the devil “pro bono”. The Church investigates miraculous cures and requires that, in order to be attributable to the intercession of a candidate for canonization, the cure be instantaneous, complete, and lasting.

For John Paul II, one of his necessary miracles for canonization came in the form of Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, who is said to have recovered from the incurable Parkinson’s disease, the same illness suffered by the late pontiff. Sister Simon-Pierre wrote the name of Pope John Paul II after his death on a piece of paper. The next day, she was apparently cured and resumed her duties in her order.

It is, of course, entirely possible that Sister Simon-Pierre was simply afflicted by an illness that had neurodegenerative appearances similar to Parkinson’s, but was curable. A doctor charged with investigating the nun’s condition aired out similar doubts.

But, even if the good Sister Simon-Pierre had Parkinson’s, what the Church is expecting its faithful (and the secular world) to accept is that her recovery was not a natural event. The Church is asking the world to consider that not only have the laws of the universe been suspended (let that sink in for a while: the laws of the universe have been suspended) but that they have been overturned in favor of the Roman Catholic Church and in a manner suspiciously convenient for its politics. With its pastiche of medical investigations that could earn a mid-season replacement spot on NBC, the Catholic Church purports its canonization procedures as scientific: skeptical and rigorous. And what could be more scientific and intellectually honest than concluding from an inexplicable recovery that a person who has died is now watching us from heaven and can help get our prayers to God answered?

With his recent beatification, John Paul II is now just one miracle shy of a confirmed sainthood. A confirmed sainthood would mean that the Roman Catholic Church believes on faith that John Paul II is, in fact, in a place called heaven, in the presence of someone called Jesus Christ. This is the level of pseudoscience, rivaling only ufology and homeopathy, that every believing Catholic has to swallow for each and every saint venerated inside their opulent cathedrals. It’s hard to imagine a bigger waste of human productivity. But for the sole political purpose of establishing John Paul II as a champion of the Roman Catholic Church and what it stands for, the recognition of his sainthood is perfectly appropriate.

Defenders of the current pope, Benedict XVI, cite Darío Cardinal Castríllon Hoyos when pointing the finger at the late John Paul II for the child rape scandal sweeping the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Hoyos served as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and was in charge of priests and deacons who are not in religious orders. In this capacity, he praised a French bishop, Pierre Pican, for not sending the child rapist Rev. Rene Bissey to “civil administration” and congratulated Pican for being “a model of a father who does not hand over his sons.” Cardinal Hoyos revealed that he did so under the approval of Pope John Paul II and was authorized to send his letter of praise to other bishops around the world. Pican served three months in prison for protecting the rapist. Bissey was sentenced to 18 years for the rape of a boy and the sexual assault of ten others.

A good friend of Pope John Paul II, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, “Father Maciel” as he was known, was the founder of the Legion of Christ. The pope described him as an “efficacious guide to youth.” Degollado used the Legion of Christ and his charismatic persona, targeting widows in particular, to funnel millions into Church coffers. The congregation’s assets have been estimated at 25 billion euros. Degollado had political clout with backers including current United States presidential hopeful Rick Santorum and the brother of former president George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, both noted conservatives in the Republican party. Father Maciel was honored by John Paul II in the Vatican in 2004 despite long-standing charges of sex abuse, which involved at least 20 Legion seminarians. As an efficacious guide to the youth, Degollado fathered several children, whom he also reportedly abused. The current pope, Benedict XVI, eventually invited Degollado to lead “a reserved life of prayer and penance”—apparently a punishment suitable for the crime. Degollado never faced any criminal sanctions and died in 2008 as a free man.

It was during Pope John Paul II’s reign when the late Archbishop Luciano Storero, the Holy See’s diplomat to Ireland, told Irish bishops that reporting the rape of innocent children to the proper authorities gave rise to “serious reservations of both a moral and canonical nature.” Under John Paul II, Archbishop Storero upheld that canon law was above the secular law of a nation, showing a characteristic Vatican indifference to state sovereignty and cries for justice by their employees’ victims.

Pope John Paul II maintained when the first child rape cases started cropping up in the news that it was entirely an “American problem.” Like many other claims by the Church, this ultimately proved false. The Vatican’s position on the crisis was, and still is, that society, not the Church and its self-preservationist policies, is at fault with its permissiveness and “hyper-inflated” sexuality.

Society’s permissiveness apparently drove John Paul the Great to allow Hans Cardinal Hermann Groer, who molested over 2,000 boys (a number so large that it retains almost no meaning) to hide from police in a nunnery. Cardinal Groer eventually died there without being prosecuted for his crimes. Of course, the Church’s repressive Victorian attitudes towards sex, which were strengthened by Humanae Vitae and Persona Humana and reiterated in the Pope’s own The Splendour of Truth, which put the use of contraceptives on par with genocide, were not to blame for its systemic problem with sins against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue.

Pope John Paul II reinforced the old boys’ club of puritans and conservatives in the Catholic Church by having papal nuncios spy on clerics and recommend only for promotion to bishop those who were strongly against contraceptives. John Paul II’s policy of narrow-mindedness was crucial in the assembly of retrograde anachronisms that comprise the CBCP, as well as the other institutions that make up the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy we have today. This is his legacy to the world.

Filipino pilgrims led by Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales watched Pope John Paul II’s beatification ceremony this past May 1. It was their homage to a man who was indeed loved by Filipinos. While Pope John Paul II was undeniably a man who argued for peace and acted to heal religious strife between mutually contradictory faiths, he was also instrumental in the continued suffering of innocent children and the continued impunity enjoyed by child rapists in the Church. And because this moral inconsistency seems to be the spirit that guides the Church he left behind, there really is no one else better suited for sainthood than the Blessed John Paul II.

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African Priests Rape Nuns to Avoid AIDS

As pro-choice and anti-choice advocates continue to debate the morality of contraceptives, some priests have discovered a way of avoiding HIV and AIDS — and it has nothing to do with condoms. Their solution? Raping nuns.

The Catholic Church in Rome made the extraordinary admission yesterday that it is aware priests from at least 23 countries [Philippines included] have been sexually abusing nuns.

Most of the abuse has occurred in Africa, where priests vowed to celibacy, who previously sought out prostitutes, have preyed on nuns to avoid contracting the Aids virus.

Who says priests can’t practice safe sex?

In some African countries, nuns respect priests so absolutely that disobedience is not an option. They readily trade sex for favors such as providing accommodation or tuition, writing theological essays, and giving “certificates of good Catholic practice that were required for them to pursue their vocation.” In other words, sex for education.

According to Sister Marie McDonald, mother superior of the Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa, the clerical sex abuse problem is partly due to the “conspiracy of silence.” Sisters felt that speaking about the issue was disloyal. And for those who did speak up, things didn’t end up well:

Sometimes they were not well received. In some instances they are blamed for what happened. Even when they are listened to sympathetically nothing much seems to be done” One of the most tragic elements that emerges is the fate of the victims. While the offending priests are usually moved or sent away for studies, the women are normally chased out of their religious orders, they are then either to scared to return to their families or are rejected by them. they often finished up as outcasts, or, in a cruel twist of irony, as prostitutes, making a meagre living from an act they had vowed never to do.

But there is a hint of hope hiding in all this hypocrisy. Aside from granting favors for sex, some priests would ask nuns to take birth control pills. Some priests would even encourage the nuns they impregnate to have abortions. They may have been hypocritical rapists, but at least they’re progressive.

As the Pope’s official spokesman has said, we should focus on the bright side:

The problem is known and involves a restricted geographical area. Certain negative situations must not overshadow the often heroic faith of the overwhelming majority of religious nuns and priests.

Too bad not a single nun was spared from sexual abuse by this “heroic faith.” Maybe it’s time to try heroic action instead. Until the “overwhelming majority” speak up against the evils of its own church and demand accountability, all they’ll get are more abuses, excuses, and apologies.


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