Shameful XXIst Century Crusades
    By Tommaso Dorigo | October 23rd 2009 11:23 AM | 8 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Tommaso

    I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson...

    View Tommaso's Profile
    Mariano Crociata: a name, a promise. The general secretary of CEI (the Italian Episcopal Conference) secures a spot in the front page of Italian newspapers today by declaring that pharmacists in Italy should be allowed to object to the distribution of pharmaceuticals enabling " clearly immoral choices", like abortion. I wonder why he stopped short of asking for the removal of condoms from the counters. Hmmm, let me guess: a sudden change of mind about birth control ? Or just the knowledge that it would be too large an economical loss for pharmacy owners to self-flagellate that way ?

    RU-486, the abortion pill, has been declared legal recently in Italy, and the Church is in fibrillation. I actually respect their frustration at observing a country which is becoming freer and freer from their suggested moral cliches. What I hate, however, is their attempt to steer the political agenda of Italy for their aims, which are not a society following the new Testament, but rahter the accumulation of money and power.

    Mariano means "of Mary", from the name of the Virgin. Crociata means "crusade". Mariano Crociata. Who else could CEI hire as a general secretary ? And the guy is brilliant: after years spent corrupting the Hippocratic oath of physicians, letting the idea pass that a physician should not always act for the benefit of the patient, but sometimes "object" and stick to his or her moral standards, the Italian Church is now trying to arrange a second trench line, based on making drugs they consider "immoral" unavailable to the Italian population. After suggesting a scandalous law -promptly voted by Berlusconi's government- which makes assisted fecundation unreasonable, which has forced wealthy Italian couples to make a trip to Estonia or Spain to get inseminated properly, CEI is trying to limit as much as possible the distribution of RU486.

    I do not cheer when a woman has an abortion. It is the tragic outcome of a unwanted pregnancy, often brought about by sexual exploitation of the woman, or by a female-hostile society; or the result of the deeply-pondered choice by the mother, to avoid the birth of a seriously handicapped child. But women, and women alone, must be the ones who choose whether they need to interrupt their pregnancy. Any hindrance to this freedom of choice has been shown to result in a higher rate of illegal abortions, a significant fraction of which end with the death of the mother.

    Once again, the roman catholic church shows how they marry the logic of Machiavelli, by trying to use any expediency to fight what they think they need to show they are fighting. But once again, in so doing they also show just how low they fly. Why not the condoms too, then ? Opportunistic bastards. Of course I am happy to see that condoms are freely distributed, but I am disgusted to see just how consistency is an alien value to these fellows. The money they take from our taxes are a value to them, however. If you live in Italy, please remember to assign the 0.8% of your taxes to somebody else next May. Cancer research, science, whatever. But not the salary of Mariano Crociata.


    Hi Tommaso,

    Completely unrelated, but I thought you may enjoy the reading:

    I think you are badly informed: you think you can do whatever you want with the 0.8% of your taxes.
    But that's not true: they can only be used in benefit of religious organizatioon as far as i know, or the state. Which, by the way, is already something different from the salary of mons. Crociata.

    Yes Giulio, I meant to assign the percentage to the State.
    I was shocked to read there is a law against assisted fecundation. Could you give more details? Of course I'm even more shocked each time I hear women talking against abortion, it just doesn't add, but then again what does when we're talking religion? (I think there's recently been a movie out, they collected things which are prohibitied or enforced by religions worldwide, should be informative.)

    Hi Eleni, the law, strongly wanted by the church, was voted by the Berlusconi government a few years ago. It makes fecundation so complicated, risky, and innatural that it has strongly reduced the practice in Italy. For instance, it forces the implant of multiple embryos, even if proven genetically defective. (I admit of not being well-informed on the details, though, so if you are interested you should check om the web. ) Of course it is all in the spirit of the old Monty Python song, "every sperm is sacred". Italian law also strongly limits research on stem cells from embryos, among other things. Cheers, T.
    Well, they are simply being consistent with their beliefs that women are inferior and expendable, which has been the church's official line for quite a long time now. After all, the bible is quite clear on this point. Now the Pope is taking in the poor Anglican souls who can't come to grips with the idea of women priests. Take away the Patriarchy of the church ... what would be left?

    Dear Mister Dorigo.
    First, let me apologize for my french basic english. Second, do not think please that I am a pro-life, or pro-berlusconi, or even a pro-sarkozy.
    Artificial fecundation is actually complicated and risky for women since it involves the use of chemical drugs (in french : oestrogène) that have (sometimes) some unwanted effects on their health. This is the main reason that explains why the implant of frozen embryos is allowed ; it helps to minimize the number of reuse of those drugs. But as far as I know, and at least in France, the consequences for the children born in such conditions is strictly taboo.
    Now remember my second warning. Of course, I am not illogically arguing in favor of some laws that could made artificial fecundations for (future) parents more difficult and risky on the basis that it is already risky. The choice of such a method should be always possible. But (there is always a "but" as we say in french), we should also remember that there is also another way to have children : (international) adoption. The drawback of this solution is that most of the times the color of their skins will not exactly be the one of their parents and I am aware that in Italy (or in France) this could be a problem for some people (but not not all). But it brings also a fantastic benefit. You avoid completely the boring remarks about the fact that he (she) has the same nose (eyes, ears, lips) as the one(s) of his mother (father, grandmother, grandfather, uncle Nicolas etc). More seriously, I do not understand why so many politically-correct minded people can praise the value of, let us say education and culture, against biological (natural) determinism and, at the same time, hold that that a child is theirs only if he (or she) has some genes in common with them.

    cordialmente (in french : cordialement = du fond du coeur)


    Dear Jean,

    you raise some good points, and in general I agree with you. I think parents who adopt a child love her or him with the same intensity as a natural sibling, but I do not think adoption is for everybody. So, given that Science has given us a means of overcoming the difficulties sometimes associated with natural pregnancy, I think it is a right of men and women to have access to the best possible practice of artificial insemination. This is what the law in Italy currently prohibits, making things harder, more complicated, more risky than they need be.