Jon Stewart Destroys the Catholic Church

by Luke Muehlhauser on April 8, 2010 in Ethics,Funny,Video

Aired April 7, 2010.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

jim April 8, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Hmmmm…refusing to step in and help the victims…letting his lackeys run roughshod over his own supposed guiding principles…turning a deaf ear to those who’re simply asking him to do the right thing…

Seems to me the Pope is just following the example of his CEO. I’d love to hack the email correspondence going on between those two right now.


Chris Hallquist April 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I really wonder how the Catholic Church is going to survive this. How can this scandal not be to Catholicism what the internet was to Scientology?


Justfinethanks April 8, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Jon Stewart, as he reported in February, has a habit of destroying things according to blogs.

But really, the Catholic Church’s arrogant response to these incidents is illustrative of some things that are deeply unsettling with Christian moral philosophy.

Firstly, the belief that you need only seek forgiveness and reconciliationwith a hidden, invisible God, not the non-hidden, very much real people you have genuinely harmed. As if the “sin” of violating God’s law is more severe than the sin of permanently damaging innocent children. The idea that forgiveness and reconciliation with real people is not necessary in order to atone for your crimes seems highly contrary to the common idea of Christian charity, even if it is perfectly consistent with Christian doctrines.

Secondly, the belief that you are on the same team as the author of the universe. When you think you are automatically on the side of the one who fashioned morality, it discourages self-reflection and causes you paint anyone who opposes you in any way as someone who also opposes God (because hey, you are on the same side after all.) Given that belief, the Pope’s response isn’t too surprising.

Coming from a Christian (and particularly Catholic) perspective, is there actually any possible way to condemn the Catholic Church’s response. They have presumably been forgiven in the only meaningful way (from God), so any kind of condemnation from a human being, even a Christian one, is meaningless. Sure, their negligence left a string of broken lives behind them, but so what (assuming Christianity)?

All have fallen short, so it’s not like someone who sins via glancing at a woman’s cleavage is in a morally superior position to someone who sins via enabling child molesters, right?


jim April 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm


Really good points you’ve made there. Asking god’s forgiveness is the best cop out in the world; say the prayer, then it’s business as usual. The televangelists have made an art form of that method.


attila April 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I agree with justfinethanks up to a point. According to something allegedly said by Jesus, if you are on your way to the temple to give a sacred sacrifice to (your) god and you realize that you have unsettled issues with some of your fellow humans, you have to put everything down, first reconcile with him/her, and WHEN that is done, you can resume your religious obligations.

But again, it is one thing what is literally in the bible, concretely said by the one wou is supposed to be the ultimate measure, and it is another thing what is common practice according to “Christian morals”.

For the very least they could be consistent.


Jon April 8, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I think a lot of atheists and the media are glossing over important details of this whole sex abuse scandal. Take the story about the abuse of the 200 deaf boys. These egregious actions were committed by a priest in the ’60s. They weren’t reported to the cops until the ’70s. And the Vatican didn’t hear about it until the mid ’90s. So it is NOT the case that this current pope (or any pope) knowingly let this offending priest remain in the priesthood. In fact, once the Vatican found out, they referred him to counseling and launched an investigation into the allegations of abuse. Before the end of the two-year investigation, the then 70-something year old priest died.

Diocese officials in the Catholic Church probably knew about the priests offenses, and they shifted him around. That is undoubtedly disgusting. But it was not the case, as I understand it, that the Vatican knew about it. They should have, but they didn’t. And when they did find out, they took action.

Now, granted, the action was pretty weak. They just referred him to counseling and started an investigation. But let’s remember that this particular priest was an old and ill man in the ’90s, with no allegations of abuse in several decades.

If I have the facts wrong, let me know. I don’t want to play the role of apologist on behalf of the Catholic Church (I’m an atheist), so trust me…I’m amenable to correction. But from the evidence I’ve seen, comments and jabs like Stewarts’ are unwarranted and irresponsible.


Anton A. Hill April 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Great video! Already reposting on my little-visited sites.


Steve Williams April 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm

The vatican new everything and they always have. When the head of the organization is considered to be infalable by its followers it is in their best interest to protect the organization. The organization comes first and must be protected at all costs. It hasn’t lasted for centuries by doing anything less.


Charles April 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm

It’s ‘Jon Stewart’, not ‘John Stewart’. Feel free to remove this post after you fix the title.


lukeprog April 8, 2010 at 7:37 pm


Scientology is still alive, and the Catholic Church has survived MUCH worse things than a few hundred child rapes personally covered up by the pope. The Church isn’t going away any time soon.


lukeprog April 8, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Oops. Thanks, Charles.


Briang April 8, 2010 at 9:57 pm

If anyone would like some balance on the sex abuse stories, I’d recommend two articles by James Akin.


lukeprog April 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Good links, Briang! Not that I have time or interest to investigate any of this…


Briang April 8, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Here’s my summary of the Fr. Murphy case:

1) The police were contacted and did nothing.

2) The priest was tried in a Catholic ecclesiastical court.

3) Ratzinger’s department was contacted to waive statute of limitations. (this was granted)

4) Ratzinger’s department wasn’t (originally) supposed to handle cases of sexual abuse. They were contacted because the case involved solicitation in the confessional, otherwise it would have been handled by another department. (Yes, things get a bit complicated when an organization has a billion members).

5) Ratzinger’s department did suggest that the judge consider other solutions besides a formal trial, because the man was dying. This was done after a formal letter from Fr. Murphy was sent to the CDF.

6) The priest died before anything was decided.

7) Fr. Thomas Brundage, the judge in the case fully intended on seeing the case through to the end. He said if ordered to stop he would have appealed to the Pope if necessary.


Beelzebub April 9, 2010 at 2:08 am

This is how any other sovereign state would approach the problem, so maybe it’s not too far off base:,17201/


piero April 9, 2010 at 6:06 am

I folowed the links you kindly provided, and was appalled at the thought that a human being could see them as examples of balance. Your own summary of Murphy’s case illustrates plainly how religion poisons everything, especially your synapses.

Think of it this way: you are the principal of a prestigious school. One of your teachers is accused of molesting children. They and their parents come in tears to your office and ask you to do something about it. You don’t. So they go the police. They too do nothing about it, because they don’t want to get involved in a dispute against a prestigious institution.

So that’s it. The police did nothing about it, so you can wash your hands and pretend nothing happened. Of course, you know the teacher in question is a pervert, so you put him on some administrative post where – you hope – he won’t do as much harm.

What about the untold sufferings of the children? Well, they’ll get over it. And besides, if the police wouldn’t prosecute, it means they were probably lying anyway.

If that’s supposed to be regarded as bringing balance to the discussion, it fails miserably, and only a miserable person would accept it.


Chris Hallquist April 9, 2010 at 6:51 am

Chris,Scientology is still alive, and the Catholic Church has survived MUCH worse things than a few hundred child rapes personally covered up by the pope. The Church isn’t going away any time soon.  

My original comment was poorly worded. I shouldn’t have put it as a matter of survival Scientology is definitely still functioning, by my understanding is that it’s taken a pretty good hit in membership statistics. Similarly, my hunch is that this will cost the Catholic Church a good chunk of its membership in the long run.

Yeah, sadly, the Catholic Church has done much worse things than this. But I think the Church, for awhile, had convinced people that all the bad stuff it had ever done was either in the past (crusades, inquisition, that orgy involving the chestnuts) or perfectly normal things for a religious organization to do which would be bigoted to object to (opposition to contraception). Here, though, the “our critics are just bigots” sounds completely fucked up even to people who can’t see why anyone would worry about the effects of Catholic teachings on sex.

The one thing I have no real clue about, though, is how this is and will be playing outside North America and Europe, places where the Catholic Church no longer has any real strength anyway. If this gets real attention in South America and Africa, though, I suspect the damage to the Catholic Church will be severe.


Briang April 9, 2010 at 8:36 am


How dare anyone try to cloud the issue with the facts. Your post is a clear example of how people will attack religion at all costs. You’ve shown that you made no effort to try to understand what happened. Look at your claims.
1)The Church did nothing.
2)Church pretended nothing happened
3)accused the children of lying
4)“they’ll get over it”

The fact is that the Church not only did something about it, but was the only one that did anything about it. The children are not accused of lying; they’re not being told to “get over it.” Did you read the article?
Look at what Fr. Thomas Brundage, the judge of the case, wrote:
“Between 1996 and August, 1998, I interviewed, with the help of a qualified interpreter, about a dozen victims of Father Murphy. These were gut-wrenching interviews. . . . I heard stories of distorted lives, sexualities diminished or expunged. These were the darkest days of my own priesthood, having been ordained less than 10 years at the time. Grace-filled spiritual direction has been a Godsend.”

Does that sound like someone who thought the children could just “get over it?” He didn’t think the children were lying, that’s why Murphy was on trial.


piero April 9, 2010 at 9:29 am

let me quote from one of your links:

Lawrence Murphy was born in 1925 and was ordained a priest in 1950. He served at St. John’s School for the Deaf from 1963 to 1974, during which time he later admitted to having abused 19 boys…

Now you say:

Look at what Fr. Thomas Brundage, the judge of the case, wrote:
“Between 1996 and August, 1998, I interviewed,…

So Fr. Thomas Brundage investigated the matter 22 years later, and to you that counts as doing something about it. Great.

You also say:

He didn’t think the children were lying, that’s why Murphy was on trial.

Canonical trial? Is that what the victims were expecting? Come on now, Briang; stop embarrassing yourself.


Jeff H April 9, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Luke, could I ask that in the future, when you post videos like this, that you also put the date when it was aired? The videos on Comedy Central aren’t available outside the US, and while this one was easy to find, some of the other ones aren’t. Knowing the date when it was aired helps a lot.



Rhys Wilkins April 9, 2010 at 6:11 pm

How does the Pope sleep at night? How does he even look at himself in the mirror?

What a scumbag.


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