Tuesday, July 23, 2019 16:02

A Kinder, Gentler Inquisition

– Elphaba

You will all surely be interested to learn that the Catholic Church has issued new guidelines for converting Witches.

Heh. Β At least their tactics have softened somewhat since the Middle Ages.

What I find particularly interesting to note is that many of the witches I know came from a Catholic background.


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10 Responses to “A Kinder, Gentler Inquisition”

  1. POWinCA says:

    When I was in Catholic school, I used to joke that the schools produced 90% atheists and 10% priests. At the time it felt like a very confining environment.

    In hindsight, I’m fairly thankful for the quality of education I received in Catholic school. I certainly remember religious education, but I can’t remember any political indoctrination about abortion, homosexuality, etc.

    When I went to public school from 10th – 12th grade, I had some mixed experiences. The education was much broader because they had greater resources, but I also had to contend with the thug students (not that Catholic school didn’t have bullies). I recall one incident when we were having a “trial” for a deceased person, and in my Catholic upbringing the only way I could conceive of such a trial was according to God’s laws. The teachers weren’t too tolerant of having me charge the defendant with violating Commandments. At the age of 16, I didn’t understand at all why the things I said were a matter of controversy.

    In no way am I enamored with the archaic views of the Church, but I’m much kinder in my appraisal of their motives than I used to be. The Church is slow to reform, but I think Pope Benedict is making some positive steps. I’m disappointed at how slowly they are taking responsibility for priest abuse cases.

    If you believe your spiritual philosophy is correct (or advantageous), I don’t see anything wrong with trying to proselytize. Some Wiccans might decide of their own free will to rejoin a Christian church. In America, it’s fair for spiritual doctrines to compete in the marketplace of ideas.

    I have friends who are deeply religious Christians, and they have a very soft approach toward inviting people into their faith. They are just friendly, loving people, and set an example for a good and faithful life. They don’t pass judgment on anyone for not living their values. I’ve never heard them say that anyone would be burning in Hell. In fact, they never talk about the Devil and rarely talk about sin.

    • Elphaba says:

      I don’t personally have anything against the modern Catholic church. I just find it amusing that they assume that what Wiccans do is part of the “dark arts.” I find that extremely hilarious. πŸ˜‰ We are very nice, very normal folks.

      We also have friends who are deeply religious Christians, who live through Christ-like behavior. I respect them very much. However, here in the South, where perfect strangers will ask you where you go to church, I and my children have been told that we would burn in Hell. But then again, this isn’t California. πŸ˜€

      So I guess what I’m saying is, my post wasn’t an indictment of Catholicism, it was more about my bemusement at the idea that the Church thinks that my approach to living my life is so much different than theirs, to the point that they have a pamphlet on how to save my “dark” soul. Plus, I do know a lot of Wiccans who are former Catholics, and at least one former Wiccan who has become a Catholic. And that is okay.

      • POWinCA says:

        I understood your post. I find it amusing too.

        All I was saying is that there is bound to be point-counterpoint in any religious discussion. I’ve heard that converts make the best zealots, but there’s no reason why people can’t or shouldn’t convert again.

        It’s particularly disconcerting when religious (or anti-religious) predators attack people of immature faith. The glib opponent seeks vulnerable candidates, locates chinks in their spiritual armour, and confounds them with fallacious arguments. The weaker personalities briskly abandon their faith in favor of another which is no less flimsy. They consider their new-found beliefs to be more “authentic” because they were accepted by themselves rather than imposed by parents. The new faith seems more compelling because it is novel and has a well-developed narrative and welcoming atmosphere. In the end, it’s no less dogmatic.

        My ex-wife who had converted from Baptist to Mormon invited missionaries from both churches over to dinner. Let’s just say it was a lively conversation. πŸ˜‰

        I’m still searching for God. The only certainty of my faith is that there is a God. I’m also fairly sure He/She has a somewhat cruel sense of humor. πŸ™‚ Life is a spiritual journey.

        The number of my name is 666 with all three of my names having the Master Number of 33. So, as you can imagine, I’m quite amused by the “dark arts.”

        • Wiccapundit says:

          Interesting comment. As they say, “fundies are fundies, whether pagan or Christian.”

          Baptist and Mormon missionaries together. Is that anything like matter and anti-matter? πŸ™‚

          Of course God has a sense of humor. If, by Old Testament reckoning, God can be a jealous or wrathful god, why should He/She not exhibit some of the more positive emotional characteristics as well? I always befuddled my Catholic instructors by asking whether God had committed two of the Seven Deadly Sins (wrath and envy) by being an angry or jealous god. The lockup was like a feedback loop in a computer program. πŸ™‚

          “Life is a spiritual journey.” How very true.

          • POWinCA says:

            I could only wish that the matter and anti-matter had canceled one another out.

            Actually, most Mormons I know are fine human beings who live very wholesome lives. Baptists? – well, results may vary.

            Verizon has a new ad campaign where they show ordinary people with halos around their heads in the fashion of Renaissance religious art. Only one of the models is smiling, and it’s a Mona Lisa smile.

            I was discussing the ads with a colleague – a philosophy major from a Jesuit school – Why don’t we ever see Renaissance paintings of angels or Jesus laughing?

            Jesus wept. But did he laugh? I can’t recall any Bible passages where Jesus told jokes, smiled, or laughed. He used puns, sarcasm, metaphors, and hyperbole, but there’s no unambiguous reference to humor.

            Why is God such a Stoic?

            Hmmm, good point about wrath and envy. But God cannot die, so he can’t commit “deadly” sins. Sometimes I wish he’d do some more smiting.

            Reconciling the wrathful God of the Old Testament and the forgiving God of the New has always been difficult. But I’ve never believed the Bible is the unalterable and unquestionable Truth of God. It’s a book of books, written by men, applying their five limited senses and their limited intellects toward a being which transcends their senses and understanding. It’s not surprising they got much of it wrong.

            The universe is a testament of God.

    • Wiccapundit says:

      POWinCA, I was educated in a Catholic prep school, and I can still say the Catholic prayers in Latin. I have nothing in particular against Catholics. I know many Christians who have, as you say, a “soft” approach towards witnessing for their faith. However, many of the hard-core proselytizers are deeply offended when anyone of another religion tries to proselytize them. As with any religion, there are practitioners who bring disrepute upon the rest of the followers of that faith, Wicca included. Even though Wicca is a non-proselytizing religion, many Wiccans seem to go out of their way to rub non-pagans the wrong way.

      What I find ironic is that I have more in common – both politically and theologically – with most Christians than those Christians have with atheists and secular humanists liberals. So much of the distrust between our religions is due to misunderstanding of just what it is that we believe and we do.

      If “trafficking in the dark arts” is so heinous, why does the Catholic Church still have a Rite of Exorcism that was updated as recently as the ’90’s?

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  2. Sebastian says:

    How ironic. I am currently writing a book on how to convert Catholics to anything-but-catholicism. A sample of preferred tactics include:

    1) Isolate the subject in a barren room, forcing them to listen to 18th century hymns until they crack.

    2) Force members to attend Church more than once a month.

    3) Get them to understand what Jesus was actually saying to Peter about that whole “rock” thing.

    and, if all else fails,

    4) Threaten to leave their male children with the Priest, unsupervised.

    For the record, I don’t think that a dabble here or there with the “dark arts” is an unhealthy thing…depending on what you are referring to. You know, the dark AND the light, right?

    Anyway, thanks for pointing this little tidbit out, Elph. Thank goodness there are folks like ya’ll out there keeping your eyes out for slackers like me πŸ˜‰

  3. Laura says:

    Here in the South , I have been told I was going to go to Hell because I will say “I’m Catholic” when asked. I want to say “I was raised Catholic, but I’m not a practicing Catholic” but that just gets stares because I’m already branded a Catholic. I don’t know what I am now. I believe in a God, but I don’t think in the same way most do. I do still like to picture God as T-Rex though, cause it makes me smile. And He kinda sounds like James Earl Jones.

    • Elphaba says:

      Y’know, Laura, with the kind of shit that goes down in this world, it would not surprise me at all if God turned out to be T-Rex. It would explain a lot! I love your T-Rex renderings, btw…the flip flops kill me every time. LOL

    • Wiccapundit says:

      God as T-Rex? That would be OLD, Old Testament, wouldn’t it? T-Rex WOULD fit the image of a vengeful God, though.

      Years ago on the TV show St. Elsewhere, comedian Howie Mandel’s character – Dr. Fiscus – has a near death experience, and goes through Hell, Purgatory, and eventually Heaven. Heaven is an outdoor cocktail party. A guy comes up at the party and taps him on the shoulder. He turns to face … himself. Fiscus asks his mirror image: “who are you?” His double replies: “I’m God. Don’t you remember that I made you in my own image?” The human Fiscus replies: “couldn’t you have given me a smaller nose?” The God-Fiscus responds: “Gee, everybody’s a comedian.”


      God has got to sound like James Earl Jones. Or maybe James Mason.
      Definitely not like Christopher Walken.

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