* The continued secularization of the West (and, if we're being perfectly honest, of the Church as well) hasn't led to any increased popularity of just about any of the New Atheists. Dennett has fled the scene, Dawkins was sidelined by a combination of a stroke and a vague aura of the patriarchy, and the third-stringers either found other things to talk about or faded into obscurity (though usually with some hilarious sex-creep allegations.) The message the world has sent to the atheism-obsessed is clear: "We may not like Christianity, but the sort of people who are obsessed with atheism are typically a pack of creeps and weirdos, so we don't need your services either." If being an atheist meant having to hang out with Richard Carrier, most people would just go to church.
* My faith in God has solidified over the years, having realized that too many arguments for God were too successful, and arguments for atheism are famously hard to come by. That said, there is one privation in this universe of ours that sometimes causes me to question God's goodness: the fact that no journalist has yet asked Pope Francis, face to face and in the midst of a live press conference, if he's ever engaged in sodomy since becoming Pope. Admittedly, if anything is going to get an actual papal assassin to leap out of the shadows and garrote you on the spot, it's a question like that, but given the sheer volume of gay scandals (yes they are GAY scandals, stop telling me plowing a 16 year old boy is pedophilia and has nothing to do with homosexuality, good God) it's a question that someone has to ask. I know the Pope's official line here was "The problem was clericalism" but I'll believe that the moment June is recognized as Clergy Pride Month.
* By the by, the Pope's insistence that he didn't know anything about McCarrick really brings to the fore an old claim of mine: the only defense of Pope Francis is that he's actually retarded. Keep in mind that Vigano claims he told Francis about McCarrick, Pope Benedict certainly did restrict McCarrick for his homosexual abuse behavior, and even the Pope's response is that he just can't *remember* if Vigano told him anything, but he swears if he did then he totally forgot it when he elevated McCarrick to a prominent position in the Church. So B16 never told Francis about this? And if someone did tell him he *forgot*? And no one reminded him "Hey your holiness, about your promotion of this guy, you realize he's sucked like twenty seminarian's dicks *this year*"?
* I know that saying some of this will stir reactions of horror or disgust from any good, faithful Catholic who considers themselves a loyal son or daughter of the Church, but that's okay because I'm actually getting irritated with them too. Partly because, while plenty of people complain about the rotten clergy, too many Catholics insist that - nevertheless - they (every single one of them) are owed our complete submission and respect, for they are divine authorities, etc, etc. The question I always ask when this line is deployed is simple: 'If the cardinal told you to cover up a pedophile crime, would you? Do you think God would condemn you if you handed them over?' It's a line of inquiry that the sorts of people I'm talking about hate, because what they fear - more than anything else - is a loss of public stature as a Good Person in the eyes of those they care about, yet the question means they're going to get marked as a reprobate by at least SOME of the important people. Good. A bit of that is needed.
* I see the USCCB voted to change the wording about the death penalty, and then literally *applauded themselves*, in what theologians decry as "a display of complete assholery". It's just as well their collective standing as moral leaders was squandered years ago, since none but a handful of them ever display anything of value in their Soundbite Christian. But what took the cake was one particular jagoff - was it Dolan? - talking about how an ancient 'loophole' in Catholic moral teaching had now been closed. Someone should really ask this guy if, then, it isn't possible that the Church's moral teaching hasn't been absolutely *riddled* with loopholes for two thousands years, rendering their entire deposit of moral faith open to doubt. And then when he moves to respond, throwing their drink in his face and saying, "Shut up, it was rhetorical, no one cares what you think."
* For any Protestants reading, don't get cocky, even the Southern Baptists are turning into a freakshow at this point, and I bet the Prots collectively had more of those shitty Rainbow Flags decorating their churches this month than even my feminized clergy have managed. I suppose you could always pledge to flee any Church which does that, which is the standard Protestant response, but I have another suggestion: how about you stand, fight, and run some vipers out of the den? Take back what's yours.