Skip to comments.(Vanity) Indulgences, or Divine Secrets of the Yo-Yo Sisterhood
Posted on 12/03/2006 5:31:31 PM PST by grey_whiskers
One of the historical scandals of the Catholic Church has been the practice of granting indulgences: in layman's terms, the selling of pardon for sins in consideration of political or monetary favors granted to the hierarchy. Not only was this practice morally repellent at the time, as this practice helped fuel the Protestant Reformation, but it has helped undermine the credibility of the Catholic Church as an institution for centuries afterwards. One is tempted to ask, weren't these people thinking at all? Or was the practice just one more example of the adage that power corrupts?
But we should not be so quick today to condemn this practice, as there are many institutions and power brokers who act in a similar fashion: holding a position of power in society at large, insisting upon high ideals for others, and yet winking at the transgressions of a favored few who are in positions of authority, or whom it would be politically dangerous to offend. Consider for example the 'feminist movement', which for many years has held itself up as standing up for equality between the sexes: not just the liberation of women from the tyranny of marriage, and the opportunity to enter the workforce on equal terms with men, but the right to be treated as fully functioning humans in their own right, not merely as sexual property to be used and discarded. These are all lofty goals. Let us look at each of these ideals in turn, and see how well they have been achieved, as well as how well the rules have been enforced.
Regarding the institution of marriage, it is fair to say that the institution is not nearly as strong or widespread as it was in prior generations. It is still within living memory that a divorce was a shameful fact, something to be kept hidden if possible; a divorce was a sign of 'fast living' and prima facie evidence of moral failings: a divorce could even hold back your career. Nowadays, it is possible to find movie starts and TV personalities who have vowed eternal fidelity three or four times. Yes, women are no longer trapped in poor marriages: but they no longer have the security of a good marriage. Look at the celebrated marriage of movie starts Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman--their marriage was supposed to be an example to the rest of Hollywood. Until they divorced. How happy did Nicole Kidman look her divorce? Why hasn't Cruise's career suffered more as a result of the divorce?
As far as entering the work force on equal terms with men, consider two sex scandals from the world of politics--the Clarence Thomas / Anita Hill controversy, the Bill Clinton / Monica Lewinsky affair. These episodes go a long way to show the generous standards accorded to (some) men in regards to sexual transgressions. Clarence Thomas was never even accused of inappropriate touching, or even propositioning, of Anita Hill--he made off-color jokes of the kind many men exchange among each other without a second thought. And yet look at the scandal which erupted--it very nearly kept Thomas off of the Supreme Court! The rallying cry of the day was a condemnation of 'the inequities of power"; and yet when the affair was between the President of the United States, and a lowly college-age intern, the focus moved from "the inequities of power" to "everyone lies about sex." What else can this be called but an indulgence? It was interesting how Sen. Ted Kennedy was nowhere to be seen or heard from during these goings-on. Was it his own past, or his (now deceased) brothers dalliances with a teenage babysitter which kept him away? (By the way, how come all of these scandals seem to involve Yale and Harvard graduates? What do they put in the water in Ivy League schools?)
Another goal of the feminist movement was the freedom of women to be treated as individuals in their own right, rather than merely sexual objects for the titillation of the masses. How much progress has been made in that regard since, say, the early 1970's? Consider the teen idols of that era--the Partridge Family (no laughing please, we were all a little foolish back then). Susan Dey went on to bigger and better things, becoming a regular on the TV drama "LA Law." Compare that to the current crop of teen heartthrobsBritney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Just think of the deep-tongued kiss imposed on each of them by aging pop idol Madonna, as though they were Al and Tipper Gore on stage at the Democratic National Convention! If any of the male stars had presumed to be so forward with them in public, he would have been castrated on the spot--but not Madonna. So now feminism has made it safe for young women to be molested in public, not by men, but by older women.
In short, one can get a good picture of the progress of feminism toward its goals by looking at the public treatment of women since feminism has gained power-since however poorly women are treated in public, it might be much worse in private. And what do we find? At best, shades of window dressing--the random male victim taken out and sacrificed in the name of "equality between the sexes." But the victims always seem to be those who have fallen afoul of the elite--while those who are politically acceptable are never made to pay the price. In other words, feminism means: "the right to be treated exactly like men, except when it offends us."
And as for the Catholic Church? You can still go to confession, and receive absolution. But the liberals force you to confess to sins, in order to be condemned. Sounds like those Salem Witch Trials that liberals are always going on about. But that belongs in another column.
Whether or not it was official Vatican doctrine, lots of priests went around raising money selling indulgence on the basis of this myth. The Vatican didn't ask questions as long as the money kept rolling in.
You were there?
You only believe what you see with your eyes?
Those indulgences I racked up in the 60's better be good for something. The Latin worked out well, though.
Yeah right, Luther made it all up. We knew that already. (rolling eyes)
Uh-oh, big -- you've stirred up the ACC (Anti-Catholic Crusaders). Back slowly out of the thread. Sudden movements startle them, and theyve been known to bite.
And, maybe it's just me but I don't see the connection between the catholic church/indulgences and feminism in the article.
And, perhaps the writer could have as easily used the Protestant Revolt to make his example. Aren't they the ones who said you can make the rules up as you go along? That they didn't need anyone telling them how to interpret scripture?
And why cite the catholic church when in the article they name Protestants (for the most part) such as Slick Willie? Tom Cruise?
At least with the catholic church you can see where you stand, if your honest about it. If I were Protestant I could justify nearly anything.
Just start my own church and have at it.