Tuesday, May 26, 2015

IS A SMALLER BUT NOT PURER CHURCH SIMPLY THE WAY IT WILL BE? YES, WE WILL BE SMALLER BUT NOT PURER AS CATHOLICS, ALL OF US, ARE SINNERS. PLUS THE IRISH INDEPENDENT COMMENTARY SLAMS THE OUT OF DATE CATHOLIC CHURCH--OH WELL! YOU WIN SOME AND YOU LOSE SOME!

Jesus was not successful in the eyes of the world. He was murdered after all. The  early Church wasn't successful either, it was martyred. And her mission thus far hasn't been too successful, lots of Catholics are destined for hell. This also implies Jesus' cross and resurrection wasn't too successful either in this regard.

Thus we have to take the following commentary from the Irish independent with a grain of salt. But I have to say, having grown up in a period of un-ecumenical anti-Catholicism in the south, this commentary sounds like religious bigotry toward the Church, not Christian, non-Catholic bigotry, but secular bigotry that almost rivals the infamous "Chic" publications.

The Church is not going to get people to come back to her by watering down the Faith. These people have joined a new religion and they are quite content. The Catholic Church has never been pure, we have always been sinners, big sinners. So we might be a smaller Church because some of us sinners have left for a new religion but we will never be a purer Church, ever!

I do believe we have to have a better apologetic about how we call out sinners. Calling people by the sins they commit isn't a good hermeneutic at all and it is off-putting. Someone may commit sodomy and this isn't a sin just of homosexuals, by the way, but is it necessary to call them sodomites?

Someone may commit masturbation, but do we have to call them masturbatorites? These two epitaphs go to a specific aspect of their sin and is descriptive of the sin and sinner. Whereas when we call someone a thief or adulterer or fornicator, we don't name the specific sin in the name calling but generally indicate that they have broken the moral law by stealing (we don't know if it is an armed robbery or simply taking a paper clip from work, the same with adulterer and fornicator, we don't name the specific sin just the general category).  So we don't call heterosexuals who commit fornication by the type of sin of fornication they commit, like coitusites or, heavy-pettingites or whatever the sex act might be.

So we need to be more gentle in our language. But lets face it, we can't keep everyone in the Church if they simply don't love the Church, respect her or believe what she teaches. How can we? That would undermine the gift of free will that God has given them that is a great gift with great responsibilities and consequences.

Here is the Irish Commentary  from the Irish Independent. This commentary tells us what we are up against.

An out-of-touch church must address its obsession with 'sexual morality'





Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, at the opening of St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, shakes hands with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin a day after the landslide referendum result Open Gallery 2
Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar TD and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, at the opening of St. Francis Hospice Blanchardstown, shakes hands with Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin a day after the landslide referendum result
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is right that the Catholic Church needs a "reality check" in the wake of the landslide marriage equality referendum result, but the State also needs a reality check when it comes to its reliance on the church for the provision of education.

The notion that it took the decisive result of the marriage equality referendum for senior members of the church to grasp that it is no longer relevant in the lives of young people is a sad indictment of its remoteness from the lives of the people it purports to represent.

In truth, alarm bells should have been ringing for the church as far back as 1973, when the Supreme Court found married couples had a right to use contraceptives - even if the church and the State, which were then virtually indistinguishable, disagreed.

Instead, it has opted to ignore the massive societal changes that have occurred in Ireland in the intervening four decades, leading it to its current sorry impasse of irrelevance and decay.
 
Throughout the referendum campaign none of its members made any reference to their fundamental religious opposition to the proposal, preferring to frame their argument in dubious sociological terms.

Why? Because they knew reminding people that the Catholic faith considers gay sex immoral, and same-sex marriage a perversion of the institution, would not win over many voters.

This strategy was diverted from only once, when Breda O'Brien told the 'Sunday Independent' she believes gay people "should abstain from sex - like all unmarried couples".

Of course, seeing as she doesn't believe in same-sex marriage, what she was prescribing for gay people was a lifetime devoid of sexual intimacy. The benefits of living a celibate life would be, she said, "knowing that you are loved by God and that you are valued" - seeming to imply gay people in sexual relationships are neither loved by God nor valued.

This kind of dogmatism is something that a majority of Irish people, no matter what their religious persuasion, are no longer willing to countenance. The Catholic Church may believe that homosexuality is a moral disorder but people don't see their gay friends or family members as in any way deviant or their relationships as in any way disordered.

Therein lies the problem for the Catholic Church. It is peddling 19th century teachings about sexual ethics in a 21st century world and an increasing number of people are no longer willing to listen to disparaging descriptions of gay people as being somehow sexually sick.

This is particularly the case when those lectures are coming from an institution that facilitated and covered up the rape and abuse of children over many decades, leaving it with no moral authority when it comes to preaching about sexuality.

What the church is really facing is an existential crisis with itself - between its bipolar liberal and conservative wings, the former pleading for change and the latter opposed to any variation in its stance. Between people like former President Mary McAleese, who doesn't see any discord between her faith and her support of same-sex marriage, and the Iona Institute's John Murray, who believes Catholics who voted Yes have effectively renounced their faith.

However, even Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, pilloried by the religious right as a liberal dilettante in thrall to the media, doesn't seem to fully grasp the enormity of the challenge the church faces.

Speaking in the wake of the Yes campaign victory, he said, "the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people" - but the language is not the problem, it is the message.

While Pope Francis has recently softened the language the church uses to discuss gay people, the underlying teaching, that homosexuality is a disorder, remains the same and there is no indication that it is likely to change any time soon.

But the church has changed its stance on moral issues before, as prominent Catholic intellectual John T Noonan documented in his book, 'A Church That Can and Cannot Change'.

In it, he describes the volte face the church has done on a number of issues - like its former acceptance of slavery as part of the natural order of things or its view of religious intolerance as a moral imperative - and argues that the impetus for change back then came from prominent Catholic thinkers and leaders.

It is time for those kinds of leaders to again challenge the status quo position and question whether the church's obsession with issues of sexual morality are really a fundamental core of its ideology or merely a relic of a prurient past.
As the church embarks on some soul searching, it is also time for the State to evaluate whether it can continue to defend its wholesale delegation of the provision of primary education to the church - particularly when church teaching on a range of different social issues is so divorced from majority public opinion.

The Catholic Church currently controls 92pc of primary schools, in which an integrated curriculum that states "a religious spirit should inform and vivify the whole work of the school" operates. This means that children who do not share the religious denomination of the school cannot escape its ethos, even if they're excused from religion classes, because it pervades the whole school day.

In a modern State which seeks to defend the principle of freedom of religion, how can the State continue to effectively be complicit in the attempted indoctrination of children who are forced to attend religious-run schools because there is no non-denominational option?

This does not mean that religious schools should be abolished, it simply means that the State must provide a real choice to parents so that they no longer feel that they have to get their children baptised in order to secure them a school place.

The Catholic Church does not have any special preferred position in the Constitution, compared to other religious faiths, so the State's continued attitude of deference to the church when it comes to the provision of education is an anachronism that has to be addressed.

Irish Independent

46 comments:

jolly jansenist said...

Um, when we speak of a "purer" Church, we are not talking about sinless people or people with less sin. We are talking about a Church that is a purer reflection of Catholic doctrine and belief, as shown in public behavior and statements by her Bishops and Priests, the Pope, for God's sake, and in her preaching and worship…a Church in which those in the pews (and behind the ambo) actually believe the articles of the Creed and are quick to say so.

Anonymous said...

The Church is in the state she is in because her pastors, the sisters and brother and lay Catholic educators, in a great majority for the last 50 years did not teach or live the Catholic Faith. It's not the fault of Vatican II. Have priests, bishops, cardinals, lay people in authority actually read the all the documents of the council? Not commentaries, not someone's interpretation, but the actual documents. For that matter have they prayerfully read all 4 Gospels. I'm not even asking about the letters of St. Paul, but just the 4 Gospels. Have they actually read them? I would guess the answer is no. Because if they did, Ireland would not have abandoned the Faith. And I am concentrating on the clergy and religious as opposed to the laity because the reality is that the clergy run the Church. So, I ask do the majority of priests, bishops and cardinals go to confession at least once a month? Do they fulfill their obligation made at ordination to the diaconate to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day of their lives? Do they know what Augustine taught, how about Benedict, Thomas Aquanis, Gregory etc. I think not or we wouldn't be in this state. Are they leaving the comfort of their rectories and monasteries to feed the poor, clothe the naked? Or do they get lay people to do it while they get a haircut or go out for lunch and take a nap? Much of what the Pope says about clericalism and elitism is true. But it has nothing to do with being a Catholic who actually believes doctrine but just the opposite. It's time to man up here all you priests. Stop acting like a bunch of spineless, arrogant men. Humble yourselves and live the Faith. Then maybe, just maybe by giving good example to us, the souls entrusted to your care will live the Gospel more fully. It you don't do it why we should we.

Vox Cantoris said...

I am a dreadful sinner. Given to anger and a lack of charity. I long for a purer Church where I can be held more accountable for my deficiencies.

Yes, a smaller, purer Church as Jolly Jansenist described it.

Sorry, Father; your interpretation is incorrect. None of us ever saw that prophesy of then Father Josef Ratzinger to mean we were less sinful but that the Church was in fact, purer in her liturgy, her doctrine and her evangelism.

We do call killers, murderers, right?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

We do call killers murderers but not by how they did it. Stabber, poisoner, knifer, etc. generic is better than being too specific especially in a mean-spirited way. There are those who comment here that we don't want sinners in our Church which they interpret as purer. I see it as accepting reality, the reality of those who have freely left since they don't believe as Catholics anymore.

jolly jansenist said...

Who in the Hell comments here that says they don't want sinners in the Church?

Lefebvrian said...

The difference is that there are people who are self-identifying with their sin of choice -- they are rejoicing in it and asking others to join them in doing so.

All of us are sinners, but instead of rejoicing in it, we should be trying to repent.

Anonymous said...

I would hope a smaller, purer Church would be full of less sinful sinners due to the fact that said sinners are well catechized, love and accept the authority of the Church, and strive to live by all her precepts. The Church threw open the doors with Vatican II, welcoming the sinner, the protestant, the atheist. But the Church does not change doctrine. We're in the midst of a big Open House, but not everyone who wanders through wants to buy. As the Church clearly teaches the faith, some are willing to accept the Church and on the whole more committed to conforming their lives to her.

John 6:61 comes to mind.

Steven

Who am I to judge?! said...

I think the Irish church suffers from the exact opposite problem from that diagnosed in the Irish Independent article: too many priests simply avoided discussing issues of sexual morality altogether. I'm not at all convinced by the opposition that the article creates between Irish Catholicism and secularism/liberalism/consumerism. The problem is surely that Irish Catholics bent over backwards to accommodate secular trends, and even prided themselves on being more 'progressive' than Catholics elsewhere. (Especially in liturgical matters.One of my Irish brothers-in-law commented disparagingly when visiting us that masses in England took at least twice as long as those in Ireland! He also said that it was the first time he'd ever heard a priest chant the Eucharistic Prayer.)

I'm sceptical about the quest for a purer Church, since over the centuries that quest has given rise to some pretty dubious movements (including the Lutheran Reformation!). What I'd like to see is a different kind of back to basics: one which affirms the essential doctrines of the Church but also strips away unnecessary accretions. I don't see this as watering down the faith, but rather as strengthening it.(There was a discussion on this blog a few weeks back about limbo, which is a good example of a non-essential accretion, I'd have thought: you only have to compare CCC with earlier catechisms to see how much Church teaching in this area has changed over time.)

The October synod could make a start by applying this approach to the areas of marriage and sexual morality. It's vital that the Church upholds its teachings on the sacramental nature of marriage (this should have been the focus of the Irish 'no' campaign, rather than vague pleas for preserving family values).

But I'm beginning to wonder whether hostility to homosexual relationships is really an essential part of Church doctrine: it's certainly not a key aspect of New Testament teaching. Can the tone of the current catechism on this issue be justified, given the lack of any mention of it in the Gospels, and the ambiguity of St Paul's statements on the matter? Is it reasonable for a magisterial document to treat homosexuality as a psychological disorder (and is this compatible with treating it as a mortal sin)? This is a matter where there is room for legitimate debate; quite different from divorce, where the Gospels speak out loud and clear.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Who am I to judge, you make some good points but in doing so you miss the point.

I think using the language of "disorder" just for homosexuals isn't a good thing. But because of original and actual sin aren't we all disordered. Even natural sex in a sacramental marriage can be disordered if it is accomplished purely for selfish reasons. It may not be a sin, but it is disordered. We are all disordered and every aspect of us is fallen that leads to death and hell if not for the redemption of Jesus Christ and our participation in it.

I can't stop anyone from having sex, using birth control or having an abortion. Gay Catholics who do not discipline themselves have and are having sex with or without marriage. What they want is the legal benefits of marriage. They want to adopt children or create them for themselves in one way or another. Civil partnerships would have accomplished most of what they want.

Gay Marriage is a poke in the eye and a smoke screen.

Who am I to judge?! said...

I see what you mean about homosexuality and chastity, Father, and the CCC makes that link clear. But if the sole objection to homosexual relationships is that they occur outside of sacramental marriage, then all the talk of disorder, depravity, unnaturalness and so on in the CCC has no place: these relationships are no more or less disordered than any extra-marital sexual relationship.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Homosexual acts can only be disordered, there is no complimentarity or even the remotest possibility for pro creation. Of course even in marriage unnatural sex acts can be employed.

rcg said...

The premise of the article is flawed: perhaps Ireland should explain its preoccupation with sex such that it considers the sex act as divorced from its only purpose and that people are free to confuse their own sensual gratification as on par with caring for a person. I also disagree with you, FrAJM, that homosexuality is not disordered. The more I hear about it the more aberrant it and its defenders appear. There was a time when I was somewhat ambivalent and tolerant of the problem. I am now more convinced than ever that it is dangerous

gob said...

Most of the Church (the institution) thinks that the only sexual activity between two consenting adults that is not sinful is that involving a husband and wife which may result in a pregnancy.

Most of the people (including Catholic people) think that the only sexual activity between two consenting adults that is sinful is rape. (..and incest).

Discuss....

jolly jansenist said...

So, toss the OT altogether, then…and try to employ the most liberal interpretation of Jesus' and Paul's statements on sexual aberration. Yep, that is the modern, post-Vat II way. Go for it…as the Church bends over for secular humanism.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

What about 50 Shades of Grey and how so many women who go to see this movie do so because of the attractiveness of the characters and the unnaturalness of the use of sex for power over someone.

The movie, from what I am told, if it had not made the main characters so attractive looking and the gratuitousness of nudity and depicting sex in what is describes as soft porn today but would have been hard porn of yesteryear, actually is a commentary on a man who was sexually abused by his mother's friend when he was a young teenager and who dominated him and also sexual abuse from his actual mother who was a crack addict and her friends.

So the story is about how sexual abuse warps the sexuality of this man who then wants to dominate women as he was dominated. There is a bit of redemption in the man in the relationship with the woman he is wooing for his perverse sexuality.

With that said, what about children of same sex partners, especially of two male partners, what can harm them in the sense of the victimization of their sexuality?

gob said...

You seem to know a great deal about 50 Shades of Grey.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, when the movie first came out I posted an article by someone on the movie and the sexual abuse aspect of it concerning the man. I can't remember when I posted it though. But there were several comments about the article I posted. It was more positive about the movie than most would have expected.

Anonymous said...

Father M., you mentioned growing up in an anti-ecumenical and anti-Catholic time, I assume you mean in Augusta...was it overt back then? Mainly from the Baptists of your area? the Methodists? I guess somewhat surprising in that Augusta historically has had a fairly large Irish Catholic population, certainly larger than any other city (of course Savannah being an exception) in your diocese. Years ago, almost a generation in fact, the retiring bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta noted there was "hot preaching" against anything appearing Catholic in the mountain areas of Georgia---things like robed clergy, prescribed liturgy and an altar where wine was consecrated!!!! Reminds me of what someone said to me years ago, "some say the Reformation did not go far enough"---meaning fundamentalists who thought some Protestants (especially the Episcopalians) retained too many trappings of Rome, like robed clergy and an altar...

jolly jansenist said...

There is also a new movie coming out about the apologists for Vatican II and the Pope. It is called, "Fifty Shades of Rubbish."

Bee said...

The opinion article cited had this as a headline: "An out-of-touch church must address its obsession with 'sexual morality'"

Well, I guess St. Paul must've been so very wrong as he chastised the early Christians about sexual immorality, which I think was pretty much standard behavior in the culturally pagan places where he preached the Gospel. And what did he say? Basically, sexual immorality is contradictory to the Spirit of Christ. I won't cite the places he says this, but my argument is that the Church's so-called "obsession" with sexual morality is really just the knowledge that sexuality is a huge stepping off place to mortal sin - sin that separates one from God - in the sex saturated world of the West.

You know, my mother would have warned me about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. And when I was an adolescent, I would have said she was so "out-of-touch" about it. But it didn't make her wrong.

I guess I am so tired of hearing and reading adolescent arguments for the sins of homosexuality. It sounds like kids just wanting to do what they want, and arguing anything, sensible or not, to get their way.

Anyone who has lived long enough knows those paths don't lead to the fullness of life, regardless of the lies told by homosexuals. It's hard to counter lies about the human condition against those who refuse to admit the truth.

Anonymous 2 said...

Bee:


“I guess I am so tired of hearing and reading adolescent arguments for the sins of homosexuality. It sounds like kids just wanting to do what they want, and arguing anything, sensible or not, to get their way.”

I don’t mean to criticize you because I know full well that your intentions are pure, but when people say things like this gays and lesbians hear it as another example of language that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called "harsh, damning and unloving, the opposite of their intention". It alienates and is counter-productive and thus it cannot possibly achieve the desired intention. Believe me I know what I am talking about because I have used much, much milder language than yours and provoked a strong reaction. We simply have to find a better way to communicate the Truths of our Faith, and I believe we can.

And we never know who is reading this Blog.

jolly jansenist said...

So, we are supposed to walk on eggs around homes for fear of hurting their feelings? Give me a break. Our words should be harsh and damning…homosexuality is the new "boutique sin"…given special status and special dispensations. Who gives a flying rat copulation if they are offended.

George said...

Who am I to judge?!

The Church does not teach that homosexuality is a psychological disorder, but that it is disordered. It is an inclination which if brought to physical culmination, is always sinful. For a sexual act to be in agreement with what God intended It must take place within a marriage (which must be between one man and one woman only) and it must be both unitive and procreative.

The sole objection by the Church to homosexual acts is not just that they occur outside of marriage. ALL sexual acts outside of marriage are sinful. Sin is sin, no matter how it is committed. The homosexual act however itself is never open to the generation of new life. It can never under any circumstance be anything other than sinful. In the Catholic church, it can never be solemnized or sanctified in a sacramental union. While a married man and woman can engage in acts which are sinful, it is always present to them that they can avail themselves of an act which is not sinful and is therefor in conformance to what God intended and desires.

When homosexuals are in partnerships, Civil unions, or same-sex marriages, they cannot avoid bringing public scandal with them which compounds their sin, since by their observed relationship, their sinful actions can be reasonably inferred.

The guide for Church teaching on this matter is Holy Scripture itself. since she would not teach or proclaim anything which was not in accord with the Word of God.







Anonymous said...

All sin is disordered. All sexual immorality, all sexual acts or inclinations outside of marriage between a man and a woman, is disordered. In that general sense, there is nothing uniquely disordered about homosexuality.

However, homosexual acts are specifically identified in Scripture as an abomination (Lev 18:22, RSV-CE). Romans 1:26-27 cites unnatural acts between women and between men as "dishonorable passions." Romans specifically cites same-sex activity as the sign that fallen Man has disregarded God, ". . . they did not see fit to acknowledge God” (Rom 1:28, RSV-CE). Paul uniquely singles out homosexuality as the example of Man's disobedience to God. Nowhere does Sacred Scripture portray homosexual or lesbian relationships as holy or worthy of praise. Biblical marriage is always portrayed as between a man and a woman, configured on Adam and Eve, and the complementarity of the sexual creation of Mankind.

There is focused discussion on homosexuality in modern culture as disordered because there has been an activist movement attempting to normalize homosexuality. There is no other sexual disorder for which there is a significant activist lobby. We have been put into this position by the activists, outside and inside the Church, who wish to normalize homosexuality. That has been their focus, and we have had to respond in kind.

jolly jansenist said...

As recently as the DSM II, homosexuality was listed as a character disorder…now it is supposed to be normal…even encouraged.
Even psychiatry is compromised by the politically correct.

Anonymous 2 said...

JJ:

Can you possibly be the same JJ who thought that my 6:06 p.m. post on May 23 on the thread “Archbishop Martin: Church Needs Reality Check” was “spot on”? Or do you subscribe to the view that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen, philosophers, and divines”?

Anonymous said...

Grey is a color. Rubbish is not.

rcg said...

As usual, JJ exceeds me in making a point, but I think it is a huge mistake to avoid saying something because it will offend. That is totally different than not saying something to offend. In fact, "disordered" is as benign a word as I can imagine. Overweight people are disordered, for goodness sakes. Some folks can't control it and need help. They are not healthier for us avoiding the message that they are killing themselves. Gluttony is a sin, so if the overweight person also happens to have a subscription to the Twinky of the Month club that exceeds his cable bill he is actively abusing God's gifts. Perhaps he likes being fat, contrasted with accepting that he is fat and working daily to do the best he can to control it. There is no reason to try and hurt someone who is controlled by his sin. Nor should we allow him to suffer from it to avoid our personal inconvenience. Finally, one personal trainer is enough. I don't need to tell every fat person they are fat and dispense advice. I should try and live by example but be willing to state my position with strength if challenged. I don't even need to defend it but throw some poor priest, er, refer the person to a good priest or similarly prepared person to explain it.

Flavius Hesychius said...

L.O.Freaking.L

Why is that the same people to whom the Catholic Church is irrelevant say the Church 'risks becoming irrelevant'?

And, if you want to know what's relevant to young people, I can tell you. It's sex, booze, weed, and however many portable electronic devices they can fit into their hands at once.

Which, I guess I should point out that the same people who are constantly yakking about 'relevance to young people' are at least a decade older than me! Articles like this prove just how out of touch 30-something year old liberals are with 'the young people'—unless they approve of endless hedonism without rhyme, reason, or responsibility.

(Now... let's see who responds to this saying I don't know what I'm talking about... they'll be older than me... like the 80-something year-old troll we have running around)

And, I am not a robot.

Bee said...

Anonymous 2 at 6:45 pm:

I do see what you are saying, but I when they say that I honestly don't believe the homosexual community is appealing for understanding. They want a reversal of a commandment. I would think their complaint would make sense if there were some hope of persuading them of their error by using gentler and more circumspect language. But I've lost hope of that ever happening, because I don't really see much conversation on the part of homosexuals saying, "But WHY do you think we are wrong?" And then, once we explain, saying, "Oh, I see. So assuming there is a God and He does have moral laws in place, we would be breaking such a law in a fundamental way, and even being drawn to others of the same sex is problematic. Oh, I get it. I don't agree with it, but I get it." But I really don't see the homosexual side being so reasonable or understanding.

Because, you see, even though I don't agree with a Muslim that I am an apostate of Islam (they believing everyone is born Muslim, and if you don't convert upon hearing about Islam, you are an apostate, an infidel, and deserve death) I still can understand why they view me as such. I think they are wrong, but I don't engage in name calling (bigot, hater) to argue my case.

In all honesty, I have not heard much from their side that is not "harsh, damning and unloving, the opposite of their intention". But then, they are judging me by my own rules, right? ones they don't feel obliged to follow. That's a tactic of Saul Alinsky.

The bigger picture, I believe, is that all these campaigns (pro-abortion, gay marriage, separation of church and state) are campaigns to de-Christianize the West. Our laws are based on Judeo-Christian ethics and law. Christianity is embedded in our laws, and we are being hammered to secularize these. I don't think it's about equal rights at all. Because soon it will be something else.

If you read St. Paul, and even the words of Jesus, they often didn't pander to the sensitivities of their listeners. Their words can be harsh, especially to the sinner. I doubt if the Church can dialogue with homosexuals because what they are asking is beyond pastoral help. I think the homosexual complaint you cite above is disingenuous.

Julian Barkin said...

I am in full agreement with you on this Father. Does such language truly help our brothers and sisters come to realization of how egregious their sins truly are? Or are they more like scarlet letters that brand them as a village outcast, hence never to return to eternal salvation with the Church?

While there might be those people out there who want that purified church inside their hearts, for whatever personal or objective reasons, your approach is one that sounds more like a Redemptive Catholic Church, vs a Puritan, Jansenist one. Thanks Fr. Pax.

jolly jansenist said...

Yes, Anon 2, same guy…you asked what you were missing….what you are missing is the aggressiveness with which the hgomosexual rabble is attacking the Church. They have no humility, no awareness of sin, and are not receptive to dialogue. There are times when Christians need to be angry and respond to such unrepentant evil with outrage.

Anonymous 2 said...

Bee:

I have explained in earlier threads on this topic in the last few days why I advocate respectful engagement with gays and lesbians, so I won’t repeat that here.

Let me ask if you don’t mind: How many conversations have you had with gays and lesbians about their situation?

And can you please cite your source for the assertion that Muslims believe that “everyone is born Muslim, and if you don't convert upon hearing about Islam, you are an apostate, an infidel, and deserve death.” I would be most interested to know.

John Nolan said...

The 1937 Irish Constitution did not make the Catholic Church the established Church (DeValera wanted a united Ireland which would have to include the northern Protestants) but clause 44, not abrogated until 1972, gave the Catholic Church a favoured status. In the 1950s the level of censorship in the Republic made Franco's Spain look liberal. The list of banned writers included most of Ireland's literary talent and even the English Catholic novelist Graham Greene. Pius XII nodded in approval.

The bishops, led by John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin, demanded the right to dictate government policy and their obsession with the sixth commandment bordered on the pathological. Visiting Ireland in the late 1970s I was shocked to see the Irish Catholic press so preoccupied with sex.

The sex abuse scandals and the way they were handled by the hierarchy destroyed all trust and confidence in the Church - the stern enforcers of sexual morality proved to have feet of clay and the hypocrisy was blatant.

Actually I have more time for McQuaid, a man of scholarship and wit, than I do for the present incumbent of his see - a typical post-V2 spineless prelate who has neither wit nor learning and talks in platitudes. Just look at him; his character is written in his face. He can't even keep his own clergy in order.

Bee said...

Anonymous 2 at 6:43 am:

Well, I had to do some digging on the Muslim question, (that all are born Muslims and those unwilling to convert should be killed) and I found this, which I hope you will find these sufficient.

The Prophet Muhammad said, "No baby is born but upon Fitra (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist." (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6426)
Qur'an:8:39 "So, fight them till all opposition ends and the only religion is Islam."
Qur'an:2:193 "Fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief) and religion is only for Allah. But if they cease/desist, let there be no hostility except against infidel disbelievers."
Qur'an 2:191 "And kill them wherever you find and catch them. Drive them out from where they have turned you out; for Al-Fitnah (polytheism, disbelief, oppression) is worse than slaughter.

Perhaps it’s a leap that all Muslims take these passages to heart, but I think it is fair to say passages exist in the Qur’an that allow and encourage this extreme action. Please don't say all this is taken out of context. I am not a Islamic scholar, and cannot debate the question. I think what I have said is defense enough of my earlier statement.


On the second question, regarding whether I have ever had any conversations with gay people regarding their situation. I’m not sure why my own personal experience would have any bearing on what I’ve said, unless you think I must be passing judgement from afar, never having come in contact with a practicing homosexual. It would be hard for me to describe to you how very many, many such interactions and conversations I’ve had, and the contexts, over so many years. They have been my friends and co-workers, and not just a few, and cousins as well. I have liked them very much as persons. If I have broached the question with them at all, I’ve done so in relaxed and friendly settings, asking, not telling, discussing, trying to understand, in all good faith, trying to get to the root of why they do what they do, trying to see what is at the heart of it. I never mentioned religion or sin. The bottom line is, I have known a lot of gays. I don’t actually want to tell you what I have concluded, but I will. After all is said and done, I have concluded it’s like any other chronic devastating sin. It’s a “I do it because I want to.” Like any other sin. Why do you drink? Ultimately, at the bottom of it, because I want to. Why do you womanize? Why do you lie? Why do any of us sin? We’re tempted in a certain direction, and we do it. And sometimes, we do it so much, we begin to justify it, and become angry at those who try to tell us to stop.

We could be as gentle as kittens in our speech. I contend it’s not the way we say it that’s the problem, it’s the message we deliver. In my opinion, all their excuses for their "situation", all their justifications, all the retaliatory condemnation of the Church, is just the sinner refusing the grace.

Anonymous 2 said...

Bee:

Thank you for your detailed response.

Regarding the notion that “all are born Muslims and those unwilling to convert should be killed,” this is just wrong and not part of the classical Shari‘ah. I think I am more or less correct in the following: All persons are born in a state of fitra, which is a type of natural goodness and inclination to believe in the One God. But there are detailed rules about the treatment of different categories: (a) those who are Muslims subject to the Shari’a, including harsh penalties for apostacy, and (b) those who, through no fault of their own, are not raised as Muslims including (i) the status of dhimmis for People of the Book (such as Christians and Jews), who do believe in the One God and (ii) polytheists who have strayed further from their natural inclination, whose treatment is more complicated. If you wish for more I can give you links to more detailed treatments by Islamic scholars.

Those who are not Islamic scholars, both Muslims and non-Muslims, should be very careful before they make sweeping statements such as “all are born Muslims and those unwilling to convert should be killed” or before they quote passages such as the ones you list out of context. Would Christians want Bible passages to be quoted out of context, especially to support a negative evaluation of our Faith?

Thank you for sharing about your conversations with gays and lesbians, I am glad you had them. But do you really believe that “it’s like any other chronic devastating sin. It’s a ‘I do it because I want to.’ Like any other sin” and “it’s just the sinner refusing the grace”? What happened to the three conditions for mortal sin? Your example of “why do you drink?” should perhaps suggest that “because I want to” and “it’s just the sinner refusing the grace” is a somewhat simplistic analysis – at least if you know something about alcoholism and other addictions. I believe the CCC says otherwise but stand to be corrected by our priests on the Blog.

Bee said...

Now, how did I know, Anonymous 2 at 6:43pm, that you were baiting me in your 2 posts that addressed me.

Just instinct I guess.

Funny how you asked, oh so innocently (deceptively?) where I got my information on Islam, and then proceed to "correct" me and demand a more scholarly debate, after I supplied passages that supported what I said, and told you explicitly I was no scholar and could not debate. How funny is that?

And secondly, when I could sense you expected I never knew anyone who was gay and judged from afar, but then I proved you are wrong on that assumption, you insult me by saying my "analysis" is simplistic.

Ah, the disingenuous interlocutor. The arrogant intellectual. Strains the gnat and swallows the camel. Not very surprised, but then, I sensed you were such a one.

Oh, and I can't resist. Nothing like a post that "...alienate(s) and is counter-productive and thus it cannot possibly achieve the desired intention." Just quoting you, Kemo Sabe.

jolly jansenist said...

Bee, Anon 2 is a lawyer…'nuff said.

George said...

Aha. This Bee has a "sting". If in reply she is not humble, she is undoubtedly not bumble.

Anonymous 2 said...

Bee:

Your last has given me pause. Upon reflection I can certainly understand why you think I was baiting you. What gives me pause, however, is whether that is what I was really doing. I hope it wasn’t. I was not consciously aware of trying to set some kind a trap but I must ponder whether some part of me was doing it nevertheless – perhaps as a result of my legal training as JJ suggests. Anyway, if I was playing some type of “gotcha” I apologize. You of all people do not deserve that.

Now let me tell you what was going on consciously in my mind.

First, regarding Muslims, I was genuinely shocked when I read your comment that Muslims “believ[e] everyone is born Muslim, and if you don't convert upon hearing about Islam, you are an apostate, an infidel, and deserve death” and I definitely wanted to know where you got that idea. I know there are many websites out there that contain a lot of incorrect and misleading assertions regarding Islam and truly thought you had innocently become a victim of one of those or had heard this from someone who had. I knew the statement to be incorrect because I am a student of Islamic Law and indeed teach a comparative law course on it. With hindsight I should have been explicit that I thought you were incorrect when I asked you about the source.

I thought you would likely cite one of these websites where you had read this claim. Instead you cited a hadith addressing the doctrine of fitra and some verses from the Qur’an. The verses did not surprise me. I am familiar with them, and in the course we try to situate them in context. But I had never heard of the doctrine of fitra, although I was of course familiar with the hadith collection you cited. I then researched the doctrine and its contrasts with our doctrine of original sin and learned a lot from that exercise. So, thank you for teaching me something important and new.

I think I can understand how one might infer your assertion form that doctrine and from the verses you cite. But the inference is not only contrary to the position developed in the classical Shari‘a; it is also contrary to the facts of history and the treatment of non-Muslims by Muslim rulers (at least when they are abiding by Islamic norms). And at this volatile and dangerous time when passions about Islam and Muslims are so easily aroused, I believe it is important to be careful about this sort of thing and to try to correct misimpressions (even if I would not go quite so far as Pope Francis and call “authentic Islam” a “religion of peace” or words to that effect).

Second, regarding gays and lesbians, I did not mean to insult you. But again I was genuinely shocked by your apparent suggestion that people commit sinful actions because they want to and are just refusing God’s grace (although perhaps I misunderstood the comment). I was especially shocked by your comments about drinking I have seen alcoholism up close and personal and I know this is not true. At least it is not true in my experience (perhaps your experience is different). And as I said, I defer to the priests on the blog about the conditions for culpability. Anyway, because of the personal connections your comment got to me perhaps more than I should have let it.

Templar said...

Jolly: It's not that Anon2 is a lawyer that makes him so despicable, Lord knows the world needs good Prosecutors (to clarify, I don't think he is one, just that we need them), but much, much, MUCH worse than that, he is also an Academic. He wants to endlessly debate to sow confusion amongst the Faithful, making him the worst sort of tool of the Devil.

Flavius Hesychius said...

The problem A2, is that many Muslim sources also interpret the hadith as meaning everyone is born Muslim, and that converts are actually 'reverts' to Islam. And, citing a hadith is just as authoritative in Islam as the Qur'an. In fact, the idea of sola scriptura is a foreign concept to Islam (or, at least it was prior to the 20th century, when the Quranists were born). Now, not all Muslims accept the same hadith as legitimate, but that's really not relevant here.

Furthermore, you really should be more specific when you say 'classical Shariah', since there are many schools of Shariah jurisprudence ('fihq'), some of which are almost as old as Islam itself.

I don't deny there was a time Islam was more tolerant than it currently is, but I also don't deny that particular form disappeared as result of the Mongol invasions of the Middle East.

Anonymous 2 said...

Templar:

So, now seeking to dispel confusion is sowing confusion?

Anonymous 2 said...

Bee:

If you want to know what real incivility looks like, read JJ and Templar here and notice the use of ad hominem slurs and stereotypes.

Anonymous 2 said...

Flavius:

Thank you for reminding us that those who convert to Islam are actually regarded as reverts. That is something else I learned about the doctrine of fitra. I should have mentioned it in my comment about it. However, I do not believe that makes a non-Muslim an apostate. Only someone who is raised Muslim can be an apostate. At least that is my understanding based on the research I did. Indeed, were it not so, then every non-Muslim would indeed be deserving of the penalty for apostacy, which has clearly never been the position under classical Shari‘a. I agree about the status of the hadith. And Bee cited from one of the more accepted collections of “authentic” hadiths.

Yes, there are many forms of the classical Shari‘a and thus there is a range of positions on a particular matter depending on the particular Sunni school or Shiite branch. That is why, for example, in some countries the women have to wear a full body burqa while in others they just wear the hijab. But all of them, I believe, have the same view regarding the status of non-Muslims. There were also other groups of course who did not (Kharijites, for example) but they were not part of the classical Shari‘a worked out over the centuries by the religious and legal scholars.

Even today, indeed in many ways especially today, there is also still a range of tolerance across the 50 or so majority Muslim countries in the world. Just ask King Abdullah of Jordan, for example. The Islamic world is extraordinarily complex and varied, even in the Middle East (only 20% of Muslims) as the United States has learned to its dear cost in the last 15 years or so.


Flavius Hesychius said...

A2—

First, I need to retract my last statement. It was sloppily written.

I think a much better example would be Morocco, not Jordan. Jordan's king may not have a problem with non-Muslims; at the same time, our own president may not have a problem with other races. Moroccan society, on the other hand, largely does not experience the same problems with the public reception of non-Muslims.

The Islamic world is extraordinarily complex and varied, even in the Middle East (only 20% of Muslims) as the United States has learned to its dear cost in the last 15 years or so.

On this topic, professor, I fear you would be better off telling Jefferson what the Declaration of Independence says.