Friday, September 28, 2012

To be or not to be - a Catholic

Following after the popcorn and dental floss stories here is another. Cecilia Gimenez: The woman who ruined a prized Jesus Christ fresco in Spain, her do-it-yourself restoration in a church leaving the 19th Century fresco of Christ described as “resembling a hairy monkey in a very ill-fitting tunic,” but she is now demanding royalties after her botched restoration became a hit with tourists.
“Everybody who came into the church could see I was painting,” the eighty odd years old said. Her lawyers, say any economic compensation would go to charities. (?)  Thousands of people have since visited the church near Zaragoza and Ryanair, jumping on an obvious bandwagon, is now even offering deals to the north-eastern Spanish city, encouraging tourists to see the fresco in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church in Borja. Ms Gimenez said with the best intentions she had decided to restore the work by Elias Garcia Martinez because of its deterioration due to moisture. She claimed to have had the permission of the parish priest to carry out the job. “How could you do something like that without permission? He knew it!” she was quoted as saying. But during the restoration, the delicate brush strokes of Elias Garcia Martinez were completely obliterated. The once-dignified portrait is now an abomination. Ms Gimenez appears to have realised she was out of her depth and contacted the city councillor in charge of cultural affairs. Cultural officials said she had the best intentions and hoped the piece could be properly restored.
Well, thinking of a couple of stories in the news makes me wonder if the church, various churches, is anything more than power and money. I think of the fundamentalist preachers in the states who coin a fortune by selling the idea of god to the deluded in need of comfort and now Germany's Roman Catholics are to be denied the right to Holy Communion or religious burial if they stop paying a special church tax. A German bishops' decree which has just come into force says anyone failing to pay the tax - an extra 8% of their income tax bill - will no longer be considered a Catholic. The bishops have been alarmed by the number of Catholics leaving the Church. I should think this will have more of them leaving. Catholics make up around 30% of Germany's population but the number of congregants leaving the church swelled to 181,000 in 2010, with the increase blamed on revelations of sexual abuse by German priests.
If the religious tax is not forthcoming, Catholics will no longer be allowed to receive sacraments, except before death, or work in the church and its schools or hospitals. Without a “sign of repentance before death, a religious burial can be refused,” the decree states. Opting out of the tax would also bar people from acting as godparents to Catholic children.
And while on the subject of sexual abuse the Roman Catholic Church in the Australian state of Victoria has confirmed that more than 600 children have been sexually abused by its priests since the 1930s. The Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, described the figures as "horrific and shameful". Campaigners say the true number of abuse victims could be up to 10,000. Abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests has been a major issue in Australia recent years. During a visit in July 2008, Pope Benedict XVI met some of the victims and made a public apology for the abuse.

1 comment:

Lewis said...

Abuse has become a lovely little earner. Mommies have rushed on to the bandwagon with hefty 17-year-old youths, claiming the young man has been "abused". Juries imagine a large homicidal male forcing himself on the poor kiddy with threats of murder for non-compliance. There are people who seriously believe Michael Jackson has the bodies of innumerable children in the gardens of Neverland.
And now a man who believes in magic underpants wants to become president of the USA. Gullibility knows no bounds.