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This Is Where My Journey Has Taken Me

To my church-going friends: If you watch this, please pay special attention to Mr. Fry's opening remarks - he has no quarrel with individual Catholics (or members of any denomination), and neither do I.

But Catholicism (and IMO the major Protestant denominations, to various degrees) as an institution, is corrupt. The Catholic Church is beyond redemtion. It is, as Stephen Fry says, "not a force for good in the world."

The views Fry expresses here are very closely matched with my own. This is why I left the Church.

The Church has done, and continues to do, much good in this world and in my neighborhood. And I am glad for that. But I can no longer be a part of it. My own feelings about these institutions are forever ruined by the things Fry speaks of here - most especially by its views on homosexuality and the zeal with which too many of the loudest condemn this "lifestyle." They use gay men as a scapegoat for the abuse of children, because as far as many of the most ignorant are concerned, pedophilia and homosexuality are one and the same.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 21st, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
Very, very well said.
Nov. 21st, 2011 10:59 am (UTC)
He gives a powerful argument.
Nov. 21st, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
I think it's important to remember that the church is an institution built by Man (note the use of the generic and genderless term) for Men based upon the prevailng interpretation of the Word- which was never written by the Divine, only by men (the gender) who had an interest in remaining in power. The corruption lies at its beginning- not necessarily at its heart.

I am certain that if this Pope does not directly address the problem of molestation in its ranks the Western governments which have criminalized such behavior will be forced to further margininalize the Catholic church. That would be very unfortunate for those who find comfort in its tenets.
Nov. 22nd, 2011 02:43 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, the current Pope was in charge of addressing the pedophiles in its ranks from the beginning, and he failed beyond belief. His deeds since becoming Pope only show that he continues to love the institution more than the people it is supposed to serve.

All the institutions and organizations I am and have been a part of are flawed. Like anyone, I can ignore flaws to a point - if I see the overall greater value. In the case of the Church, which, like many institutions, claims to hold itself to a higher standard, I could no longer just be in my little congregation and ignore the words and policies of the highest authorities, which, as a member, I ultimately represented.
Nov. 22nd, 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)
Kudos to you for seeing the big picture and refusing to compromise who you are for what you represent.
Nov. 21st, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
I think he did a very good job of drawing the distinction between religious faith and religious dogma. Too often I think they become confused and what starts as a legitimate criticism of an organization becomes a personal attack. He did a great job of avoiding that here.

He was very clear on his points here and makes a great case for being, as I like to say when asked my own views on religion, "respectful but wary".
Nov. 22nd, 2011 02:49 am (UTC)
He is very impressive.
Nov. 23rd, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
I am very happy to be Catholic. :)

In January, I will be traveling to Ethiopia as a missionary to work in Catholic schools run by Salesians, and will work closely with the priests there. The Salesians were founded by John Bosco to work with street children in Turin in the 1800s, and currently run vocational schools in 135 countries around the world.


Prior to this, I've worked in Catholic schools run by the Jesuits and the Oblate Sisters of Providence.

The Cristo Rey model of high school was begun by Jesuits in Chicago and makes Catholic education affordable to inner city families and gives the students valuable professional work experience while focuses on preparing them for college. This model of education has been praised by many people (not just Catholics) and is certainly a 'force for good in the world' to transform the inner city.


The Oblate Sisters of Providence were founded in Baltimore in 1815 by Mother Mary Lange, a French-speaking black woman. It was illegal to educate blacks in Maryland (a slave state) and not possible for a woman to buy property, but she did both with the help of Catholic priests. Her cause for canonization has been opened, so maybe one day she too will be declared a saint.


Stephen Fry is very articulate and I respect him as an actor, but I disagree vehemently with almost everything he said here. That being said, I also respect that everyone is on their own faith journey, so if he admires the Methodists or Quakers more, he is certainly welcome to join those churches. I have friends who are both and admire and respect these faiths.

Peace out :)
Nov. 23rd, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
I am glad you have a vehicle to do some good in the world.

I am not a former Catholic - I am a former Methodist. But I will not be a part of any religious institution that has discrimination written in its Book of Discipline. If my brother is not worthy in their eyes, they are not worthy in mine.

Moreover, it's not just my faith in the Church that has been destroyed - it's my faith in the Bible and all it stands for.

So while I belive in a spirituality and a higher being, the context of that belief is in a state of flux. The only thing I am fairly certain of at this point, is that I will not be part of any organized religion again. My beliefs will no longer be fashioned by other people and their man-made rules, based on writings that no one clearly understands.
Nov. 24th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
I understand your dissatisfaction with organized religion, and think it is very important to follow your conscience in these things.

What he says about Quakers here is generally true - they are very much opposed to imposing beliefs on anyone, and consider quiet meditation an important form of worship. You won't find Quakers doing much proselytizing ;). So, as organized religions go, that one might be more to your tastes. But I wish you well on your journey, wherever it takes you.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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