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'Catholics in Sweden must challenge Rome'

'Catholics in Sweden must challenge Rome'

Published: 14 Apr 2010 13:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Apr 2010 13:29 GMT+02:00

I am a Catholic and still proud of it. I love the hearty moralism of which Catholicism is a part. I love clear guiding principles.

I love liberal Catholicism, the strand of the church that borders on revolution, that carries incredible strength in its furrowed hands, that can venture and risk everything, even if does not always do so.

I am a man of words but my verbal capacity is stretched to its absolute limit when I try to formulate the disappointment I feel when reading about bishops and priests in the Catholic Church in Ireland, the United States, Norway, Denmark, and Italy, which is my second home. Their systematic, hellish, unrestrained abuses and violations have dragged my faith, my God, and my belief in humanity into the dirt.

The crimes committed by the Catholic Church are at the extremes of what may be forgiven. And as forgiveness lies at the very core of the Catholic faith, the church is currently being shaken to its very foundations.

These days are heavy with grief. What's happening now could be enough to kill off the Catholic Church. But at the same time the Catholic Church now has an opportunity to tip its perversions overboard by means of a complete, and I mean COMPLETE, rethink.

Unlike other scandals that have emerged over the millennia, we now live in a time where information travels at lightning speed. People are refusing to submit to the mist of religion. As a believer, I think this is a good thing. We who believe in God must learn to be rebels. We must learn to laugh at a caricature. We must stand up for justice and solidarity and we must come to the unfortunate realisation that church and superstition, belief and double standards, are closely allied with clammy hands.

We who believe in God as a forgiving brother or sister in the pelting rain of life must raise our voices against oppression, desperation and terror in the realm of the church. We must unanimously, consistently and unreservedly condemn the systematic terror perpetrated in the name of our faith by bishops and others in the church.

Their shame is unparalleled.

I grew up in an atheist home. My dad should by rights have been a Catholic since he was born and raised in Italy, but the priests in his church said that communists ate their own young -- anything to keep the oppressive feudal landlord system intact. So he moved to Sweden, fell in love, and stayed.

My faith has resembled groundwater: silent, low-key, alone.

My faith sidled up very close to me at an early stage. I pray to and speak to my God as I would to my best friend, who, like me, is always on the substitutes' bench while the bigger, stronger boys get to start every match. We stand on the sidelines and watch our team lose, my God and me. It feels safe.

To me, God is part of life.

I travel to Rome and am taken completely by surprise by the power of churches, artworks, silence, holiness. I am struck by the sight of ordinary people falling to their knees before a cross; it makes my heart beat more calmly. When I arise, two hours have passed. I want to stay there. I light a candle, take communion, walk around in my suit in a city that has always lived close to God. It takes some time but after a while I realise I am praying again, and it is happening almost against my will. It's not at all a conscious act; it's more like a dream, like a caring spiritual caress, almost like sex, or like kissing maybe, a quick glance while boarding a train, a silent glance that says, "I like you, you're beautiful, I am taken and faithful but here's a simple calling card, and save this glance for times when all seems harsh, when the whole world is locked in reverse, save this glance until you really need it."

The fire is burning now. The Catholic Church risks burning down. Sometimes I almost wish it would. Is the Catholic Church in Sweden enraged? Does it have a programme for how we can flush out these demons once and for all? No. All we hear is talk of how bishops and others in the church should not be left alone with children in tight spaces.

The shame!

The time has come for action from the Catholic Church in Sweden.

Hard, consistent, dignified and clear action.

I am so incredibly furious at all the disgusting creatures who have systematically violated children in God's name all over the world.

This will be the end of the road for my faith within the Catholic Church unless there is a serious realisation from the church that the God we believe in has actually been sitting among us here on earth in 2010, and we have to view the world around us, and ourselves, in a completely new way.

Here are some points that I believe the Catholic Church must take immediate steps to incorporate:

1. Abolish compulsory celibacy for priests. It is inhumane. It is hostile and loveless.

2. Women should be treated in the same way as men and should be afforded the possibility to become deacons and priests.

3. Stop the oppression of homosexuals.

4. Repeal the ban on contraception. It's from the stone age and it's inhumane.

These four points are not a recipe for a healthy church; they are measures that must be implemented immediately if our church is even to survive.

Sweden is a role model in many areas. Now the domestic Catholic Church has the opportunity to bear the flag for change. Speak out against Rome. There's no guarantee that Rome will listen but that's not our responsibility. It is however our duty to take decisive action in line with our conscience and ideals. We are a proud church, deep down. The Catholic Church in Sweden needs to display strength and unity by sitting down and composing a message to the Pope in Rome. Where are you? Why are you so quiet?

Despite its bad sides, my Catholic Church is a forgiving, revolutionary, candid, dignified, beautiful, and tolerant church. Within it lies a quotidian spirituality that enriches my life, that makes me a better person.

To me it is clear as day: God is in art, in literature, in mystery, in small everyday miracles. We choose different names for this unnameable entity that gives us strength when living life seems impossible, when we bury our parents or baptise our children, when we become free from alcohol or drugs, when we get married or attend a Christmas morning service merry on mulled wine. He is with us when we sit on a clifftop by the sea or lie on our backs in the open countryside that Ulf Lundell rendered as God in his song from 1982 that has almost become our national anthem.

To me, God is a mentor: a radical, principled, old-school Social Democrat. The way the Left used to be. Before all the radical forces bought houses and dozed off in plastic chairs under the apple tree.

Shame is digging trenches around my belief.

Marcus Birro

Catholic, poet, author

Marcus Birro's article was originally published in Swedish by DN Debatt on April 10th, days before allegations of child abuse reached the Catholic Church in Sweden.

Translation: The Local

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

12:36 April 14, 2010 by Lars J
The Catholic church does not *have* to do anything. If Birro doesn't like that church then he can leave. But his proposals are the same the Swedish state church already adopted and see where it led them...to their imminent death. The Catholic church are way better off keeping their old message and liturgy which have survived through the ages.
15:15 April 14, 2010 by VicTaulic
Yeah. Who the heck does this clown think he is, anyway?!
16:52 April 14, 2010 by Dazzler
Heh, religion is laughable at best, BUT , does this idiot seriously think anyone in the Vatican is going to listen to him regarding their 2000 year old dogma? Yeah they are going to change just for you!

Its almost cute how naive some people are.

Oh yeah...a poet too! Douche.
17:23 April 14, 2010 by cogito
Substitute Islam for Catholic, imams for priests, etc.

"Islam in Sweden must demand that celibacy for imams be abolished, allow women to throw away their head coverings, stop oppressing homsosexuals and reverse its ban on freedom for women..."

Do you suppose Dagens Nyheter (or the Local) would have published this?

No way!
20:37 April 14, 2010 by xykat
I grew up catholic and I am pretty pissed off at this church!

I am not allowed to go to church because I live in sin with a protestant Swede.

Never mind that I have been with this protestant Swede longer then average

Catholic marriage.

How do I stop paying taxes to this church???

I hate the child molestation that is going on in this church it is so purely EVIL to take away the innocence of a child against their will.

I think to remedy this problem they will probably have to let their priests get married but maybe it wont even stop there. Why cant these priests molest each other instead of small kids?

I think that a priest that does this should be thrown out (i.e not forgiven) and nailed to the nearest wall upside down. Or better yet have the tool of their desire snipped off.
21:34 April 14, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
When has anyone taking Catholics seriously about anything they practice or preach? The hypocrisy is pretty blatant, and not all that surprising.

More preistly abuses uncovered around the world is hardly a shock, or news. Sadly of course.

Catholicism is no different that elements of other religious cults, or rogue fringes of islam. It's mental disease in all reality.
22:48 April 14, 2010 by reason
"The Catholic church does not *have* to do anything. If Birro doesn't like that church then he can leave."

The great thing about this argument is that it can be applied to any reformist anywhere.

Don't like the political situation in Iran? Leave.

Don't like racial discrimination in *insert location*? Leave.

Don't like being shunned by your family because your priest says gay people are evil? Leave!

Don't like the news selection in The Local?...

The policy of the Catholic church doesn't only affect catholics. It's an enormous global organization with a lot of political clout in many countries. So even if this guy wasn't a Catholic, he would be right to speak out if he feels their ways cause pointless suffering. Not so sure about the news value though.
04:36 April 15, 2010 by xenyasai
Catholics shouldn't challenge Rome, everyone should challenge Rome!
10:25 April 15, 2010 by nikow
Some say the Catholic church does not have to 'do' anything and won't change its '2000 year old dogma'. Sorry, but that's garbage. The doctrine of papal infallibility belongs to the 19th century - it's not 2000 years old. It was the product of a time when the Vatican States were being annexed by Italy.

Back in the 1950s it would have been inconceivable that Rome would backtrack on its anti-humanist dogma, but the second Vatican Council did precisely this.

There is no doubt that catholic teaching on celibacy is garbage, but there is a bigger problem. If religious communities feel their values and interests are threatened, they get defensive and secretive. It is that culture of secrecy that has prevented them adressing these problems. I am not making excuses, just saying that being open to public scrutiny requires trust and mutual respect.

Roman dogma and radical Islam are not going to disappear because you guys look down your noses. Get real! If you want change, help them to integrate.
12:12 April 15, 2010 by malcolmt
Reason,

You hit the nail on the head, top comment!
19:18 April 15, 2010 by Investor612
malcolmt,

No, I think "reason's rationale is flawed. In the first place he engages in false equivilancies. Take his examples. A person has no choice about what country he/she is born in or his/her race. Leaving is difficult in the first place and impossible in the second. But in Sweden a person has the right to worship as he/she pleases. There's no hardship in choosing a church whose principles are closest to your own.

Last Reason makes a nonsense argument that this is a free speech issue. It isn't. The author can criticize whatever he likes.

The real issue here is whether religious belief and principles are everlasting, or merely an expression of ever changing contemporary trends. For those who favor the former the Catholic Church stands out compared to the meaningless mush many mainline Protestant churches, including my own, have devolved into.

Last, the molestation of kids is a problem in all churches. Regarding pedophiles they are incredibly conniving and insidious and will spend years getting themselves into positions where they have access to children. Teachers, athletic coaches, the clergy all offer that. My local Lutheran church had 2 pedophile pastors in a row, the first knowingly sent by the church after a previous problem they didn't divulge.

But what has taken place in the Catholic church isn't pedophilia. The molestation in the Catholic church has been overwhelmingly that of adolescent boys. The word for that is pederasty. The influx of gay priests into the priesthood-estimates seem to center around 30%-is the core of the problem though it's politically incorrect to bring that up.
20:14 April 15, 2010 by redfish
The author here (and some of the commenters) simply have a different view of culture and sexuality than conservatives. He wants to paint a picture though where every conservative is just brainwashed by Church dogma and what their priest says, and if the dogma changes to his beliefs, then everyone will think just like him. They're not, they have minds of their own, and many of them stick with the Church and Church values because they happen to agree with them. If the Church adapts to his beliefs, you'd just be kicking a large number of people outside, and they'd form their own congregations. Instead of culture war rhetoric and doing a call-to-arms against the conservative factions of the Church, maybe he should try to open up a conversation with them.
20:24 April 15, 2010 by florbnot
The commands of God are not dictated by man. To form an opinion contrary to God is simply self interest, not spirituality. It is nothing more than self indulgence.
20:32 April 15, 2010 by Harry Lagman
Complete and utter drivel: the only place that this article belongs is in the trash can.

Hal.
00:12 April 16, 2010 by wxman
Priest pedophelia is a problem that the Church should address and eliminate to the greatest degree possible. I also think the Catholic Church should work on eliminating beheadings and the subjugation of women.
02:02 April 16, 2010 by samwise
the author does not say where his ideas are based on, so I suppose they are from his own thinking.

the foundation of the Christian faith is revelations, but not humans thinking.

"I say" and "God says" are totally different things.

are there really more abuse cases in catholic churches than in public schools? just curious.
02:17 April 16, 2010 by laura ka baal
Mr Marcus Does the bible say so? you individually is welcomed to go into advance stage of homosexuality which you are definetly.
13:35 April 16, 2010 by gmaddalo
Wrong! Being a priest is not a job is a vocation! Castity is the greatest weapon against the devil! It does not mean to suppress your sexuality, nobody will impose you to be a priest, but if you are a priest you think about God all the time no room for anything. Once again, Priesthood is a vocation not a job!
14:24 April 16, 2010 by tadchem
Mr. Birro seems to be laboring under the misconception that in the Catholic Church the doctrine develops from the bottom up. One of the 'clear guiding principles' that he claims endear him to the Church is Absolute Papal Authority. If he wants populist doctrines, there are other places he can go, from the Episcopalians to the New Age religions-du-jour. 'Celibacy' is a vehicle for self-discpiline. Homosexual desires are the temptation; homosexual activity is the sin. What could be more 'inhumane' that denying a soul the opportunity to join the living and serve God?
14:59 April 16, 2010 by arlene wise
21:34 April 14/2010 Gefle Frequent Flyer You have the very very best reply,I truly agree with your thought of the catholic religion!!! I "was" once catholic to [please my mother and was married to a catholic and he was a total "QUEER" so marriage wouldn't change or make "damaged" catholics normal!!
15:26 April 16, 2010 by adoremus
The Catholic church did not sodimise anyone, Mr X, who said, "I will be faithful", did that. Oh my, after I said I would, I decided to hurt a child. Oh, its all ..... their fault, his fault, the fault that I , I, some one get me a lawyer to sue THEM. Money, yes, power, yes, that will fix my broken vow. Oh, find some one like me, in the church, yes, let me abuse THEM too. Hey, they paid me to "tell" my story, come on in baby, they wont think we are strange, they will pay us!!! What is writing for anymore?
17:10 April 16, 2010 by Icarusty
Do as I say, not as I do

It's always someone else's fault, never your own

I love little boys

The three rules that Catholic priests are required to obey when they are initiated.
17:25 April 16, 2010 by greatkitty
This is such a stupid attitude. If you don't like this religion, start your own and stop trashing it and trying to water it down to fit your lifestyle. No law says you have to be Catholic. Join a church where gays are ordained and that's that. What? Are you afraid you won't go to heaven if you are not a Catholic? That is as narrow minded a universal vision as you can get.
18:17 April 16, 2010 by randyt
Excuse me but Marcus is a Catholic and he has more than a right to write and fight for changes to make the church he is a member of change for the better. Love it or leave it comments are based on feeblemindedness.
18:27 April 16, 2010 by efm
I am a Catholic. Although the basic principles of the church will stay, history has shown that there are a lot of beliefs and practices in the past which are now considered wrong.

Remember when they thought the earth is flat, the Spanish inquisitions, the burning at stake.

There was a time that some Popes got married and had kids.

The sex scandals and it's handling by the church showed that the church is a group of powerful men who's main agenda is to protect it's turf and power and let the innocent victims aside. Jesus would have done different.
19:36 April 16, 2010 by Bay
These are crimes against humanity of which the only authority to deal with this is the UN. Religious interference to our happiness and liberty was inscribed into law in the UN some time ago. Time to call these churches and religious leaders to task and stop this moral abuse to our defenseless children.
20:29 April 16, 2010 by Greg in Canada
Let's call Catholicism what it is - a backward religion that is totally out of step with the times. The hierarchy is living in medieval times and covering up the sex abuse in the church has been official policy. The only genuine growth the Catholic church is seeing is in the poorest/least educated third world countries as followers in the western world are walking away in droves.
23:14 April 16, 2010 by silly t
all this is crap.the door is open.if the myopic poet is not comfortable let him walk out of the church.

come to think of it.how would all that increase the spirituality of swedes? would it make many of them to start believing in God and attending church? of course not.so why care?
00:32 April 17, 2010 by MD1
From what I understand, there is separation from church and state in Sweden. Therefore, the processes of the church are not the same as the government with voting and legislation. Judging from the demands of this article, the author is not a Catholic. If he his not a Catholic, why should he choose to simply focus on Catholics. All religions are cults. They all take their stances on issues when their belief systems were developed. Established religions are not and have never been Darwinian. IF this is an ethical concern on the part of the author, why not write an article on Islam and fatwahs and sucide bombers?
12:07 April 17, 2010 by Leo Danial
U R 2 ambitious or maybe 2 greedy in your requirements... my dear poet.

Things should be addressed more carefully, deeply, and widely.

Catholics R not only in Euorope or the western world ... we should first listen to their majority who they R not in the western world.

What U think is more urgent maybe it is not for them ... maybe they still believe in the old practises & teachings !

Do U think the violations will ever stop ... even if we apply all or some of your demands .. I don't think so ... many people will still abuse the umbrella of the church 2 cover their sins & violations ... they should be exposed & thrown away to be judged by law & public opinion.

Catholic Church is very old ... it needs many reforms ... some U R referring to them ... but this is a deep need more than a reaction or under pressure ...

I was astonished here that many Evangelical or Protestant churches were close to Catholic faith & practises .... Of course in different degrees... this made me see many bright things in my old catholic church that were still fullfilling people's needs.

Dear Poet what U R asking, especially the 1st & 4th, should be considered seriously regardless of the so called scandals ... the clergy people should be given some freedom 2 choose .... the non clergy people should be given all the freedom 2 choose.

The women in Church ... should be somehow integrated gradually to serve the needs of the chuch & the people ... after careful study & research ...but not to imitate other churchs or some models.

Homosexuality ... is really problematic & controversial ... it is too early ... it needs more research, more opinions, more time ... some times I even think that the problem is not in the church it self .. accepting homosexuality & homosexuals as others is still a big problem among more than 80% of the people of the planet ... it is not only some rights & laws ... it is a radical change in defination & function of person, family, & society ...

Catholic church maybe will tolerate som how this aubeject ... but never accept it or embrace it ... like other neo (light weight) churchs ... it is so BIG!

I am very happy to contribute & share ideaswith all these seriouse people ... one last word ... we should nevr forget that

Catholic church is so big, heavy & old ... just like a Planet!

Danial
17:27 April 17, 2010 by mukiwa
Yes, Forgiveness, The heart of the Catholic religion. Monday through Saturday sin all you like, forgiveness on Sunday. Monday start over sinning. Whose kidding who?
13:56 April 18, 2010 by xykat
Comment: I agree with "EVERYTHING" he says in this article and I am sure many Catholics agree with him, at least the more liberal ones. Yes, push for REFORM in the Catholic church or start another branch or become Anglican. There is a very nice Anglican church in Stockholm. I hope that this molestation controversy does shake the church to its foundations. Change and reform is good! Also I hope that this ultra conservative German pope is replaced eventually. He is just part of the Catholic churches ploy to stall change.
01:51 April 20, 2010 by Twiceshy
.

Is it not funny that not once, in the post or any of the comments, is the Bible spoken about once. Not one time? Why? Here is the answer:

http://bible.cc/matthew/7-23.htm

Almost everything this church teaches is against what the Bible teaches.

Just look at this ONE vs. and then think about it, if you are catholic, next time you same the same old prayer:

http://bible.cc/matthew/7-23.htm

So just saying the same words over and over again - hmmm...

So again, priests not being married, rote prayer and on and on and on... not from the Bible but from Pagan religions!

Study. Learn. See what the Bible teaches!
22:50 April 20, 2010 by unhappy camper of the saints
Stop the oppression of "homosexuals", that is the core of the left's feigned revulsion at the mention of pedophile priests.

Recquire all new priests to be men who are married to a genetic woman and pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church will decrease by 90%
05:07 April 21, 2010 by Typical Whitey
I am Catholic. I believe what makes the Church (founded by Christ Himself) special is that it does not change with the times. Scriptures are very clear on what is right and what is wrong.

Priests and bishops who have hurt any child should be summarily punished - as Jesus Christ said it is better to have a millstone wrapped around one's neck and thrown into the sea than to hurt a little one.

Over 2,000 years the works and faith of the saints far outweighs the sins of those who have been led astray by the evil one.

We should allow married priests - and actually have some here in the US (priests who have converted from other faiths) - but women priests? I disagree.
13:16 April 21, 2010 by Twiceshy
..update.

Sorry the 2nd vs should have been: http://bible.cc/matthew/6-7.htm

all catholic read this and then see if the prayers you say are according to the Bible!
20:37 April 21, 2010 by bheatrix
this guy is a joke, but I am very surprised that even he can make such crazy assumptions. And beeing a proud communist? It's beyond words, I've lost the little "respect" i have for this man.
21:25 April 21, 2010 by martincp
I too a catholic , so i should comment on Marcus's advice .The answer is clearly mentioned in the holy bible in mathew-18:6 "if anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large mill stone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea."

and there was a person like Marcus , along with Jesus when he lived as a man ,and his name was Judas Iscariot. May God forgive Marcus.......
01:53 April 22, 2010 by mehdiking
Hello,

i read about mary magdalene and also women's being killed called witches from 15 to 17 century (catholic). I dont blame anyone but would say God may not forgive me (If God exist). Man and Women are equal so Women can also be a priest
02:54 April 22, 2010 by DrewTaylor
We must keep in mind that this article was originally published in DN.se's Debate column. Not only was it meant as an opinion piece for an opinions column but also it is a prose poem in poetic style and it really does read quite beautifully in the original Swedish.

What's immediately striking in the original is the author is writing an appeal to Sweden's Catholic churches to set an example to the rest of the world. However in the English translation, the beginning paraphrase in bold is not just dramatically shortened, it is changed to sound as if this appeal is directly aimed at picketing in the Vatican.
14:14 April 22, 2010 by spongepaddy
Yeah, good luck with that, Marcus. Let us know how it goes. Actually, wait, don't bother, I think we can guess.
07:35 April 23, 2010 by Nemesis
@ Investor612

You are plain wrong. Most of the abuse has been against kids under ten and quite a few are girls.

see

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/8634925.stm
02:24 April 25, 2010 by curiousgeorge2
As a public university student in Canada who has been "overwhelmed" with the ongoing scandals over the media, I have to say that I do share with your feelings and heartfelt calling for a change. It is indeed a very difficult time for people who believe in God(and have faith) to exercise their faith freely because we can be so easily caught up with everything around us, from violence to immorality, from hypocrisy to ignorance or simply laziness.

God has been telling the humanity (thorough the prophets, the Bible, and the church, which is defined as the body of believers according to the scriptures) to abandon these hypocrisies and lies and evil practices within our lives ( some labeled it as sins) and has invited everyone, regardless of race, gender or socio-economic or party-defined status to join Him through this "anointed one" as testified from both the old and new testaments.

I think the real issue (in North America and Sweden and the whole world) is to rekindle this personal relationship with God and to live out our daily lives as what pleases him, rather than pick and/or choose a God that's catered to our own tastes or preferences. The Catholic Church have committed lots of wrongs and abominable crimes throughout its establishment just like each one of us have. But the point here again, is to not spend an overly amount of time and energy to start a revolution/reform (unless I am certain to be called for that very purpose). The point is simple and clear : is to " deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." because he also said that if we do just that, he will "makes us fishers of men".

Unless we humble ourselves before God (rather than just performing ceremonious duties, or act religiously in front of our friends and colleagues) and allow Him to be the center of our throne, everything we do, whether that of religious nature or not, will end up in vain.

Prayers/reading and meditating of the Scriptures will be meaningless if we do so to gain an personal advantage because alas! the real sovereign God contradict His words. Jesus said blessed are those who are poor in spirit and the Bible has claimed multiple times that those "who are humble will receive much praise and honor when that day and time comes". We are all brothers in this "living faith" at this stage of history, and it is indeed the time for us to confess ourselves to the Lord with honesty and boldness and ask for His guidance while to be a part of this living testimony in our everyday action, attitude, and words.

Love and obedience is much easier said than done in this trying time of our days. But how many times are we attentive to the Counselor, or are we actually seeking His will over ours in this fast-paced society? The Grace and Peace is there, but are we willing to humble ourselves or even making small sacrifices ( for me, it is trying to spend less time in front of the mirror and to be on time to all my classes, yeah...) to receive them??
02:34 April 25, 2010 by evantheterrible3
correction to the last post: " alas! the real sovereign God CANNOT contradict His words" excuse my carelessness in the last post. As we always sing it in the Christmas time " peace on to earth, goodwill to man..."

Extra point: abuse should be stopped and crime be exposed and rebuked and punished!! especially in one of the most ironic place of all places!
13:39 May 3, 2010 by karex
@florbnot

Those are not commands of God. When have you seen God sit down and write down anything? All these rules and dogma were created by men, mostly to exercise power over other men.

I'm Catholic, born and raised. My personal standing on the Catholic Church: It died a long time ago and forgot to lie down. It's living in the Dark Ages.

To condemn the use of condoms in an age of AIDS is akin to manslaughter. To ban the use of birth control in poor underdeveloped countries is irresponsible. To preach charity while they're sitting possibly on the biggest gold reserve and have one of the richest banks in the world is hypocrisy. To mandate celibacy is to negate human nature, not to mention inhumane and to ban women from the priesthood is discrimination.
12:03 May 5, 2010 by flintis
Bring back the inquisition.

If you're a religious person then you should live up to your beliefs & live within it's doctrine.

Too many bigots spouting.

@ florbnot :- who has seen God fullstop??

Ban religion, it's the root of all evil.
08:45 May 6, 2010 by karex
@flintis

Right on the dot!

Religion and spirituality have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Religion is the number one cause of the largest mass murders in human history. It is the root of all human evil.
03:31 May 8, 2010 by Davey-jo
I think Sweden and everybody else should just ignore the pope and all his fantasies. He's clearly a deranged fool who believes in virgin birth and rising from death. He thinks we have forgotten he joined the SS; and that he protects pederasts. In the end he's just a foolish old German cock-in-a-frock and no-one should take him seriously.
13:56 June 23, 2010 by Jes
Birro is ignorant . But he has a lot of options . He could become a moslem or join the Jahovas witnesses .

If he choses to talk , there plenty of evidence to prove that this subject is too big for his little brain .

There is nothing , absolutety nothing to show that celibacy has much to do with child sex abuse . If anything , credible reserach has revealed that most child rapists are men who are either married , or have free access to sexual partners . It well known that over 64 % of sex abuse involving children happen in homes and are committed by a relative or a family friend .. Itw well documented that only 1.6 % of catholic priests have been found and proven to be paedophiles . This means that 98 % of paedophiles are not priests .

Here we are faced with a police officer who raped 9 women . one of them only 14 years old . Without doubt , the police force knew that this man was a crook . Will idiotic Birro now call upon the Swedes to challenge the system to allow a police officer have some kind of entitlement to one or two rapes ?
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Timeline: Mystery 'submarine' in Stockholm
Sweden's Armed Forces are out in force after reports of a foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago. Photo: TT

Timeline: Mystery 'submarine' in Stockholm

The world has had its periscope on Sweden since the Swedish military launched an extensive hunt for what is rumoured to be a damaged Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago. Here is the timeline of events so far. READ  

Business & Money
Profit leap for Swedbank
A branch of Swedbank in Malmö. Photo. TT

Profit leap for Swedbank

Swedbank has seen its profits rise higher than expected. READ  

New coalition
Sick pay U-turn from Sweden's new coalition
Stefan Löfven has changed his strategy on sick pay. Photo: TT

Sick pay U-turn from Sweden's new coalition

Small businesses won't face rising sick pay costs, following a policy reversal from Sweden's new coalition government. READ  

Presented by CurrencyFair
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
CurrencyFair co-founder Brett Meyers

CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers

Tired of losing money when you send cash back home? Join other expats in Sweden who avoid bank fees and hidden charges by sending money internationally with CurrencyFair, an online marketplace where secure transactions are faster and cheaper. READ  

Stockholm 'submarine' hunt
Vessel hunt continues at 'full strength'
Minehunter HMS Koster takes part in the search in the Stockholm archipelago on Sunday. Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT

Vessel hunt continues at 'full strength'

The search for a suspected foreign vessel in the Stockholm archipelago continues with "full strength" on Tuesday morning, according to Sweden's armed forces. READ  

Ebola crisis
Sweden hit by two Ebola false alarms in two days
The Uppsala University Hospital. Photo: TT

Sweden hit by two Ebola false alarms in two days

UPDATED: A patient has been cleared of any Ebola suspicions at the Uppsala University Hospital. It marks the second suspected case in Sweden in two days. READ  

Analysis
Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters
The HMS Stockholm patrols Jungfrufjärden in the Stockholm archipelago on Monday morning. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Why a foreign vessel lurks in Swedish waters

With Sweden engaged in its biggest domestic military operation since the Cold War, The Local spoke to Johan Wiktorin, a fellow at the Swedish Royal Academy of War Sciences, to get insight into what’s going on in the Stockholm archipelago. READ  

My Swedish Career
US woman starts up Swedish toy store online
Leigh Neil and a llama hand puppet. Photo: Private

US woman starts up Swedish toy store online

For this week's My Swedish Career we meet Leigh Neil, who one day came to realize that there was a gap in the Swedish market for children's toys and decided to do something about it. READ  

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