The Decline of the Catholic Church

In this past August’s post “On Desecration“, concerning the infamous PZ Myers wafer affair, I mocked the ignorance of a group calling itself the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy:

We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional.

At the time, I didn’t think this was anything other than the raving of a few right-wing Catholic wackaloons, even if they were priests. But I may have to change that assessment. To judge by some recent news articles, the Catholic church, which at least used to stand for good education, has become infected with the same anti-intellectual disease that pervades so many sects of evangelical Protestantism.

Let’s lead with the most glaring example: the Bishop of Lancaster says that “educated Catholics” are giving rise to dissent and disloyalty in the church. He argues that mass education has led to “sickness in the Church”, and that education has a “dark side” due to – what else? – original sin. Although the good bishop stops just short of calling for the abolition of higher education, he does say that Catholics attending university need to be “better-equipped to challenge the erroneous thinking of their contemporaries”. The only way I can interpret this is as a wish that Catholics would be more dogmatic in their faith so that they are impervious to changing their minds as a result of contrary information.

Next up, we have a cardinal – not a priest, not just a bishop, but a cardinal – saying that President-elect Barack Obama is “apocalyptic” (HT: Andrew Sullivan). Apocalyptic, Cardinal Stafford? Really? I had assumed the equation of Obama with the Antichrist was one bit of hysteria confined to the snake-handlers and tongue-speakers, but if you want to jump in, be my guest.

The election of Barack Obama seems to have driven many Catholic leaders around the bend, not just this one. (Consider the infamous South Carolina priest who told his parishioners not to receive Communion if they voted for Obama. He’s not the first one, either.) This is almost certainly because bishops across the nation instructed their parishioners not to vote for Obama, only to have their demand largely ignored. The Catholic flock, it seems, is more progressive than their benighted shepherds, and the increasingly frantic assertions of empty authority from the pulpit are more and more often met with a shrug.

In “The Fading of the Church“, I speculated about one possible reason for Catholicism’s ongoing decline in the First World:

…young Catholics feel increasingly disconnected from a church that continues to bash gays, exclude women from the priesthood, and preach against contraception. As society becomes increasingly liberal and tolerant, the Catholic church continues to cling obstinately to its irrational rules, and is accordingly being left in the dust.

A New York Times article, Catholics and Choice (in the Voting Booth), makes a similar argument:

After a presidential campaign in which it was widely perceived that the dominant message from the bishops was that Catholics were morally obliged not to vote for a candidate supporting abortion rights, exit polls show that Catholics voted 52 percent to 45 percent for Senator Barack Obama.

…If the bishops sweat a little over these figures next week, the reason won’t be worry about their political prowess but about their pastoral and moral effectiveness. By appearing to tie their moral stance on abortion so closely to a particular political choice, have they in fact undermined their moral persuasiveness on that issue as well as their pastoral effectiveness generally?

That the Catholic hierarchy has undermined itself by being so resolutely out of step with its own flock is difficult to doubt, but I think the problem goes deeper than that. As lay Catholics, like society as a whole, become more progressive, the church hierarchy remains stuck where it is, clinging to the prejudices of the past. Their stance on choice is just one symptom of that deeper underlying problem.

Even today, the Catholic church still bars women from all positions of power. It still opposes equal rights for gays, compassionate euthanasia for the dying, and the responsible use of contraception. A church with so many manifestly immoral and irrational positions, which so plainly elevates its own dogmas over human equality and well-being, should not delude itself into believing it can speak with any moral authority to the rest of us.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Justin

    In the interests of being fair to the Catholic Church, it seems that the higher-ups don’t support excommunicating people for their votes.

    We find the actions of University of Minnesota (Morris) Professor Paul Myers reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional.

    Unconstitutional? Where’d they get that?

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    I enjoyed this one. There’s good and bad in everything under the sun I suppose, and I’ve my own set of likes and gripes with everything it seems. The Catholic church is no different. So I love it when other people’s evidence and observations about some of organized Catholicism corroborates with mine.

    On the other hand, I’m a little concerned about this:

    Apocalyptic, Cardinal Stafford? Really? I had assumed the equation of Obama with the Antichrist was one bit of hysteria confined to the snake-handlers and tongue-speakers, but if you want to jump in, be my guest.

    To say that the election of a particular candidate is merely ‘apocalyptic’ cannot support such a specific charge, IMO. I’ve carefully read the linked article which is mostly in the context of Roe v. Wade and the Humanae Vitae, and I also read the link on A. Sullivan’s page you hat-tipped, and I’m curious to know what you offer as justification for your charge that Stafford posited or even implied such? Did Stafford maybe imply or say such elsewhere?

    Without such justification, it simply appears to the neutral observer as if your distaste for Catholicism and all religion has both obscured the context of the linked article, and encouraged a misinterpretation of the man’s actual words.

  • http://www.superhappyjen.blogspot.com SuperHappyJen

    On the topic of Catholicsm. I don’t get the Catholic stance on birth control. I was recently talking to a Catholic woman who said she doesn’t use any birth control because of her religion. So, when she’s all done having children, her husband is planning to get a visectomy. !!???

  • Virginia

    I remember a poll by Barna Group about people thinking about Christianity, the polls among the young (below 30) has the highest disapproval towards Christianity (in particular Evangelicals) – the polls pretty reflected that and the reasons for the disapproval is basically the same — anti-homosexual, hyprocrisy etc.

  • bestonnet

    In some ways it seems that the Catholic church is actually becoming more conservative than it once was (though still not as conservative as it had once been) was although that’s to be expected if people are polarising away from moderate religion and toward either non-religion or fundamentalist religion.

    Original Post:

    A church with so many manifestly immoral and irrational positions, which so plainly elevates its own dogmas over human equality and well-being, should not delude itself into believing it can speak with any moral authority to the rest of us.

    Agree, it’s getting the rest of society to figure that out that is the problem.

  • Pantalaimon

    In the interests of being fair to the Catholic Church, it seems that the higher-ups don’t support excommunicating people for their votes.

    In 5,2007, ago the catholic church (in person of the archbishop Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico-City) blackmailed the members of the mexican parliament to vote against a liberation of abortion laws. If else, they would be excommunicated. In a deeply catholic country that could mean the end of career.

    The acts of the bishop were later defended by pope benedict.

    It shows that the catholics are not to shy to impose thier might where the can. Medieval in a prospering nation.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Ebon, another factor in the decline of the Catholic Church is that some Catholics find the routine of mass to be stale and lacking in spirituality. Stand, sit, stand, kneel, stand, sit and so forth. Pentecostalism, in particular, is making inroads in the developing world.

    Bestonnet, while it seems counter-intuitive, it does make sense that the Catholic Church becomes more conservative. As more liberal minded Catholics become disaffected and either stop going to church, become atheists like myself, or swap Catholicism for some other Christian denomination, the ones who remain behind will be the more conservative ones. And precisely because the more staunch Catholics do not use birth control and tend to have more children, they will tend to outnumber the liberal Catholics who use birth control and have fewer children.

  • bestonnet

    Tommykey:

    Pentecostalism, in particular, is making inroads in the developing world.

    The Catholic Church is also making inroads in the developing world as well (in fact it’s about the only thing close to a growth area for religion (and even there it’s a case of one religion replacing another)).

  • Paul S

    cl said:

    To say that the election of a particular candidate is merely ‘apocalyptic’ cannot support such a specific charge, IMO.

    How hard is it to see what the good Cardinal was referring to? How else is one supposed to take Cardinal Stafford’s comments? I’m familiar with only one “Apocalypse” when it comes to Christianity. Perhaps the Cardinal should be a little more careful when it comes to his choice of words to describe Mr. Obama.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Paul S,

    To say something is ‘apocalyptic’ is vague at best. ‘Apocalyptic’ is an adjective; ‘Antichrist’ is a noun. I have described ominous clouds as ‘apocalyptic’ before, and I was not implying that they were the Antichrist nor that the end was near. The situation in the Middle East is described as ‘apocalyptic’ constantly.

    How hard is it to see what the good Cardinal was referring to? How else is one supposed to take Cardinal Stafford’s comments?

    I don’t know that we could quantify such, but it’s easy to project what we feel Stafford might have meant when he used the term, and that’s my point. Sans asking the man, or a better citation from the media, wouldn’t all inferences remain subjective opinions at best, opinions very likely to be influenced by one’s pre-existing opinions of Catholicism and religion?

    IMO, danger is present when we assume we know another person’s intended meaning or position, and I’m just asking for evidence that Cardinal Stafford actually referred to President-elect Obama as ‘the antichrist’ in the linked pieces.

  • Christopher

    Next up, we have a cardinal – not a priest, not just a bishop, but a cardinal – saying that President-elect Barack Obama is “apocalyptic” (HT: Andrew Sullivan).

    As much as I hate those bastards that dare call themselves “president” even I find this to be extreme – yeah, the “president” may be a puppet for special interest groups to manipulate for their own purposes but I see no reason why any of them would bring about an apocalypse…

  • Arch

    This post demonstrates a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching. It is puzzling how you can deny the Church’s support of education amidst the vast number of Catholic schools and Catholic scholars from St. Augustine, to St. Thomas Aquinas, to Cardinal John Henry Newman, to Pope Benedict XVI, and the thousands of other scholars among both the laity and those in religious life from the past and present Catholic Church.
    Further, the Church clearly promulgates the reasons for its doctrine which upholds the teaching of Christ and the Apostles. Contraception seems to be one of the topics many people have questions about… to dive into the reasons why the Church teaches against artificial methods of birth control, I recommend reading the text or listening to the talk, “Contraception: Why Not” given by Professor Janet Smith. It is one of many great resources out there that help explain the Church’s teaching. The following link contains both the text and a link that will offer you the opportunity to listen to her speak.
    http://www.janetsmith.excerptsofinri.com/

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    For anyone who wants the full transcript, it’s here.

    Finally, I will be using the word “apocalyptic” in the Christian sense of “expressing the fundamental law of post-Christian world history: the more Christ’s kingdom is manifested as the light of the world……the more it will meet determined opposition.”

  • Vin

    As a former Catholic and now atheist, I will say this. I think the people of power in the Cathoic Church are the ones out of touch. I still talk to my former parish priest. While he disagrees with my decision to leave the church, he also lives in the real world and does not always tow the line. He openly welcomes gays into his church as well as people he knew were ‘living together in sin’. And while he couldn’t support a woman’s choice for abortion, he didn’t condemn them either. I think he is typical of a small silent part of the Catholic Church.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Bestonnet, what I meant was that in areas of the developing world that are already predominantly Catholic, Pentecostals and other Christian denominations are winning converts away from Catholicism, and precisely for the reasons I mentioned in my paragraph addressed to you. I apologize for not being clear enough on that. Yes, Catholicism is evangelizing in parts of the world where there is still enough people who are not already adherents of one of the major religions.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Paul S,

    For whatever it’s worth, a word search with the criterion of ‘antichrist’ executed on the full transcript of Cardinal Stafford’s declaration returned zero results.

  • Kaltrosomos

    I’m not sure that I’d call the Catholic Church anti-intellectual, so much as anti-modern-liberal-university. They see modern biology, philosophy, history and other classes as being little more than secular, leftist propaganda. They accept evolution for the most part, but object to the religious implications and see the way such classes are taught as biased. They see modern universities as dens of secularism, atheism, communism, socialism, and so on. I saw an ad on a Catholic website, for instance, showing a picture of a clean-cut young boy, with the subtitle, “How did this good little Catholic boy go from this to…” Then it showed a second picture of the archetypal hippie: a scrawny guy with long hair, a beard, coke-bottle shades, a goofy grin, a pipe, and a bandana. this one was subtitled: “To this??? Be sure to protect your kids. Don’t send them to the wrong type of school.” the unspoken message was that Catholics should be sure not to send their kids to those dens of modernism and atheism known as secular colleges and universities.

    They see value in all these classes, but only when properly interpreted through the lens of the Catholic faith.

    I also think the church is currently facing a decline for other reasons besides its policies. I think it has more to do with the attempts of the post-Vatican II church to adapt itself to the modern world. The church tried to modernize the liturgy, getting rid of the Latin, and lost part of it’s appeal in the process. I think people liked the old rites more, because they seemed more ancient, more mysterious.

    As well, their old policies are probably more appealing to some than you imagine. Their traditional stances on abortion, marriage, contraception, and everything else make them seem hallowed and venerable. Many people find this appealing when they start caring more for stability and continuity. They see these old policies as a link with the distant past, something solid they can trust. It’s a way for them to fit all the phenomena and mysteries of the world into a tidy system of explanation. For them, they think the system is true merely because it claims to cover all areas of life and death, and to have explanations and reasons for everything. The completeness of the claims is part of the proof of their authenticity for some believers. How could a fraud be quite so comprehensive? There must be some truth to something so all-encompassing, goes the reasoning.

    Perhaps most important, when they consider the Catholic claims as true it doesn’t matter that it goes against the opinion of the modern world. Truth is more important than fashion, and when they think Catholicism is true they stick to it no matter what.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    The church tried to modernize the liturgy, getting rid of the Latin, and lost part of it’s appeal in the process. I think people liked the old rites more, because they seemed more ancient, more mysterious.

    They might have also realized what it was that was actually being said and realized how non-sensical it was.

  • Brock

    The church really has been stuck between a rock and a hard place since 1870, when they promulgated the doctrine of papal infallibility, although the adverse results did not manifest for many years. This was done by the way in response to the loss of their traditional lands to the new united kingdom of Italy, in an attempt to regain in the spiritual realm some of the temporal power they had lost. Now,whatever the Pope said was absolute truth, and could not be modified or altered in any way. Hence, they are stuck with whatever the hardline popes decree, and the process of liberalization is slowed to a crawl. Vatican II was cosmetic only, and could not address the real issues separating the church from the modern world. This is why they have only expressed “regret” about their role in WWII, and not out and out apoloogized. To apologize would have been to admit a mistake, and this is not doctrinally possible.

  • Christopher

    cl,

    For whatever it’s worth, a word search with the criterion of ‘antichrist’ executed on the full transcript of Cardinal Stafford’s declaration returned zero results.

    Which means nothing in and of itself…

  • Alex Weaver

    This post demonstrates a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching. It is puzzling how you can deny the Church’s support of education amidst the vast number of Catholic schools and Catholic scholars from St. Augustine, to St. Thomas Aquinas, to Cardinal John Henry Newman, to Pope Benedict XVI, and the thousands of other scholars among both the laity and those in religious life from the past and present Catholic Church.

    Did the Bishop of Lancaster say what he’s quoted as saying? Answer yes or no.

    Further, the Church clearly promulgates the reasons for its doctrine which upholds the teaching of Christ and the Apostles. Contraception seems to be one of the topics many people have questions about… to dive into the reasons why the Church teaches against artificial methods of birth control, I recommend reading the text or listening to the talk, “Contraception: Why Not” given by Professor Janet Smith. It is one of many great resources out there that help explain the Church’s teaching.

    Scanning that webpage merely strengthens my conclusion that the Catholic church’s position on birth control is without intelligent or rational foundation, both morally factually bankrupt, and that their viewpoint, Prof. Smith and other cases of religious quasi-Stockholm syndrome notwithstanding, remains fundamentally anti-human in general and misogynistic in particular. The fact that you apparently find this not just defensible but compelling says a lot about you.

    To say nothing of the arrogant assumption that we just need to be told what the church’s position is.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Christopher,

    Which means nothing in and of itself…

    I disagree. Such proves that the word ‘Antichrist’ does not appear in the pertinent document, and such does mean that nowhere in the original document or pertinent statements concerning President-elect Obama, did Cardinal Stafford use the word ‘Antichrist.’ Such suggests that in the pertinent documents there is little to zero evidence for claims Stafford “equated President-elect Obama with the Antichrist,” and that’s why I was asking Ebonmuse if perhaps Cardinal Stafford offered a statement that supports such a charge elsewhere. Have you heard of one?

  • Virginia

    When Vin mentioned about that priest who welcomed gays to his parish and do not condemn those who go for abortion, we can also see moderate Protestants at work (so called seeker sensitive).
    The problem is that, conservative and militant factions (Protestants or Catholics) are very loud, high profile and vocal in their agenda, making them appear to be like the “majority” when in fact a large but lower profile of their own camp does not necessarily support them (as evident in the polls) — but at the same time these low profile ones are wary about hurting the relations inside their group.

  • abusedbypenguins

    Several years ago the crazy (catholic) church went completely bonkers over the art piece “Piss Christ”, which was a crucifix upside down in a jar of piss. Would they be even more bonkers over a plastic enclosed cracker in a jar piss? Would that be like teasing a junk yard dog with a stick?

  • Christopher

    cl,

    I disagree. Such proves that the word ‘Antichrist’ does not appear in the pertinent document, and such does mean that nowhere in the original document or pertinent statements concerning President-elect Obama, did Cardinal Stafford use the word ‘Antichrist.’

    All that means is that he’s being careful not to invoke the old “this guy is the Antichrist” cliche – it’s pretty obvious that’s what he means to say, he just doesn’t want to come out and say it.

    Personally, I reserve the honor for the title of Antichrist for myself: so if the cardnal ever gets the urge to call anyone by that name directly he can feel free to send that comment my way instead of to fools that don’t merit the title.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Christopher,

    All that means is that he’s being careful not to invoke the old “this guy is the Antichrist” cliche – it’s pretty obvious that’s what he means to say, he just doesn’t want to come out and say it.

    Some people take more liberty than others I guess, and I don’t really want to argue or carry on about it much, but without evidence you’re not going to persuade me. Did you read the transcript? Here is the soundbite in full context, where we see that the Cardinal quotes Graham Ward:

    Graham Ward’s description of that period highlights elements which characterize the vision of today’s President – elect, the Vice-President – elect, and the legislators elected to assist them in implementing their vision. Graham wrote, “Briefly modernism’s programme was to ‘make it new’. It courted the unconventional and nonconformist in a conscious effort to overthrow the traditional perspective and stock expectations. Its dynamism was aggressive, disruptive and even apocalyptic. Hostility to the………War fed its anger against the status quo and its desire for a creativity that would be transcultural, transclass and transfrontier.”[30]

    I mean just because I’m arguing this doesn’t mean I’m blind to the dangers of fundamentalism, don’t get me wrong. I’m aware that people of many denominations are falling into such negative trends, Catholicism included, and maybe some other religious people have publicly equated Obama with the Antichrist, but in this particular case, there are absolutely zero grounds to say Stafford “equated Obama with the Antichrist.” I’ve read both linked articles and the entire transcript twice now, and I can’t find one single sentence that reasonably supports any of this. I believe my position is reasonable.

    Personally, I reserve the honor for the title of Antichrist for myself: so if the cardnal ever gets the urge to call anyone by that name directly he can feel free to send that comment my way instead of to fools that don’t merit the title.

    Can I call you AC then? :)

  • lpetrich

    Virginia, you claim that there is some silent majority that rejects the Religious Right. But if they stay silent and refuse to challenge their extremists, then they are letting those extremists be the public face of their religion.

    Sooner or later this alleged silent majority will have to bite the bullet and stop being silent. What are they afraid of? If they are such a big majority, then they should have no trouble purging the extremists from their ranks, if need be.

  • Christopher

    cl,

    Did you read the transcript?

    Yes I did, while he does avoid directly referencing Obama as an Antichrist he does refer to Obama’s election as being the American people throwing out the traditional perspective and moving towards more unconventional attitudes (read: “sinful” ones) – which indirectly references apocalyptic prophesies such as “‘good’ becoming ‘evil’ and ‘evil’ becoming ‘good’” under the reign of the Beast of Revelation.

    I’ll admit that the reference is sublte, but one could argue that he is comparing him to the Antichrist through such speech.

    Can I call you AC then? :)

    I was making a sublte reference myself there to see if you would catch it – the Antichrist I make reference to isn’t the Beast of Revelation but rather a mentallity that seeks to topple the established order; one that destroys the will of all social structures (the church, the state, the traditional family, the various instutions of “race,” “class,” etc…) with the force of his own will.

    In short, I’m the Antichrist of Nietzsche – not “John” (assuming that’s his real name).

  • http://christian-apologetics-society.blogspot.com Timothy

    Greetings! Saw your post in Google Blogsearch and came to read.

    >”Catholicism’s ongoing decline in the First World”

    If Catholicism is in an ongoing decline as alleged, why then is the number of Catholics increasing both in the U.S. and worldwide. Should not a church in decline have decreasing numbers of adherents?

    >”Even today, the Catholic church still bars women from all positions of power.”

    No, it doesn’t. While the Church lacks authority for ordaining women, women occupy many of the positions of leadership, influence and power within the Church. For example, Mother Angelica in Birmingham, AL wields an extraordinary amount of power and influence through her television and radio apostolate. As does Amy Wellborn via her blog apostolate. Its an error to equate priesthood with power.

    “It still opposes equal rights for gays,”

    No, the Church and most Catholics support equal rights (life, food, water, housing, employment, etc.) for gays. Marriage, however, is not a right but a Catholic sacrament and/or civil priviledge. Anything requiring a license is not a right, but a priviledge. Gays are children of Gos with an immortal soul made in His image. God has a perfect plan for the salvation of gays and has gifted gays with His Catholic Church.

    >”compassionate euthanasia for the dying”

    While you may personally see it as “compassionate euthanasia”, Catholics see it as suicide and/or murder, which are immoral and a grave mortal sin.

    >”the responsible use of contraception.”

    So you are opposed to irresponsible use of contraception? How nice.

    First, I find it interesting that gays would have any need for or position on contraception as unwanted pregnancy seems a biological impossibility among gay couples. Did I miss something in science class?

    Secondly, the Catholic Church is not opposed to responsible use of contraception and teaches several methods of natural contraception. The Church opposes only artificial contraception, abortion, and sterilization.

    >A church with so many manifestly immoral and irrational positions”

    The Catholic Church holds no irrational positions and certainly no immoral ones. Every position of the Catholic Church is clearly written and supported by scripture, tradition, and science. Few Christian communities have such a clear, coherent and logical theology.

    >”…should not delude itself into believing it can speak with any moral authority to the rest of us.”

    If not the Church, then who? Without the Church there is no moral authority and no morals. Without the Church, who’s to say that theft is not good and adultery is not desireable?

    You seem to enjoy the benefits of the Church when they are convenient, yet rebel and reject the Church when its inconvenient. Without the damping effect of the Church and one billion Catholics, the world would be a different place entirely.

    God bless… +Timothy

  • http://thegreenbelt.blogspot.com The Ridger

    Brock: the doctrine of papal infallibility is widely misunderstood. Briefly stated, it is the when the pope speaks ex cathedra in a statement specifically declared to be revelatory, and only then, is what he says infallible. To date, only one doctrinal statement, and nothing else, has been declared by the Church to be infallible: that of the Assumption of Mary.

    Frankly, papal infallibility has been used with great restraint, and not on any “real world” issue. Which is not to say that some pope might not some day so use it – like the Mormons use their equivalent to reverse long-standing but now socially-unacceptable doctrines like, oh, racism. It just means that “whatever the Pope said was absolute truth, and could not be modified or altered in any way” is not correct.

  • stillwaters

    @cl,

    I think most people would agree that calling Obama “apocalyptic” is on par with referring to him as “The Antichrist”, which is what Ebon was saying.

    The Apocalypse is the “End of Times” and the ruler during this End of Times is commonly known as the Antichrist. So to infer one from the other is quite reasonable.

  • ex machina

    but in this particular case, there are absolutely zero grounds to say Stafford “equated Obama with the Antichrist.” I’ve read both linked articles and the entire transcript twice now, and I can’t find one single sentence that reasonably supports any of this. I believe my position is reasonable.

    The Apocalypse is, among other things, the coming of the Antichrist. This Cardinal knows that. This Cardinal also called Obama “apocalyptic.” He goes on to say that America would know suffering under Obama’s presidency and that his election was a cultural earthquake. His speech very clearly paints Obama as some kind of apocalyptic catalyst. Is there some other singular entity involved with the Apocalypse that this Cardinal is trying to make me think of when he mentions Obama?

  • ex machina

    This post demonstrates a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching. It is puzzling how you can deny the Church’s support of education amidst the vast number of Catholic schools and Catholic scholars from St. Augustine, to St. Thomas Aquinas, to Cardinal John Henry Newman, to Pope Benedict XVI, and the thousands of other scholars among both the laity and those in religious life from the past and present Catholic Church.
    Further, the Church clearly promulgates the reasons for its doctrine which upholds the teaching of Christ and the Apostles. Contraception seems to be one of the topics many people have questions about… to dive into the reasons why the Church teaches against artificial methods of birth control, I recommend reading the text or listening to the talk, “Contraception: Why Not” given by Professor Janet Smith. It is one of many great resources out there that help explain the Church’s teaching. The following link contains both the text and a link that will offer you the opportunity to listen to her speak.

    Arch, I definitely sympathise. The Catholic Church is made of all kinds, and thourhgout my exposure to it I’ve seen people like Stafford on one end, and a lot of very progressive people on the other. I went to a Catholic College taught by a bunch of Social Justice Oriented Nuns, and holy crap, they were some of the hardest core liberals I’d ever met. The same goes for the Church’s deliberate attempts to serve the immigrant population of my hometown. During the INS raids a few years back, the Church was the go to place for abandoned children and spouses.

    But while I feel that painting the entire Catholic church as anti-intellectual is incorrect, exposing the anti-intellectual attitudes of some of her higher ups is justified.

  • Joffan

    I see the Caridnal has “stood by” his words by redefining “apocalyptic”. For a man whose specialist area is theology, this is on a par with using a hammer and calling it a screwdriver.

  • Joffan

    I should have given a link, and also should have checked my spelling ;-)

  • Paul S

    cl,

    For whatever it’s worth, a word search with the criterion of ‘antichrist’ executed on the full transcript of Cardinal Stafford’s declaration returned zero results.

    To use you logic, take a look at this statement: “My 4 year old is extremely excited about the upcoming Christmas season. He loves that old, jolly, fat man dressed in red and white with a white beard who delivers presents with the help of flying reindeer to all the children of the world. This man lives at the North Pole and has elves for helpers.”

    Now go ahead and perform a word search with the criterion of “Santa Claus” executed on the full transcript and it will return zero results. Does that mean I’m not talking about Santa Claus?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Timothy:

    If Catholicism is in an ongoing decline as alleged, why then is the number of Catholics increasing both in the U.S. and worldwide.

    Your statement is incorrect: the number of Catholics in the U.S. is decreasing, as I detailed in September’s post “The Fading of the Church“. The number of Catholics is likely increasing in some Third World countries, but that’s because the population as a whole is growing in those countries. You’ve presented no evidence, however, that Catholicism is gaining any ground as a percentage of the world’s population.

    While the Church lacks authority for ordaining women, women occupy many of the positions of leadership, influence and power within the Church.

    I just love that phrasing – “lacks authority” – as if the church would like to stop its sexism and ordain women as priests, but gosh-darn it, they just don’t have the power. Yes, some Catholic women preachers are popular among the faithful, as if that was in question; the issue is that women are systematically barred from all official positions of leadership or authority within the church.

    No, the Church and most Catholics support equal rights (life, food, water, housing, employment, etc.) for gays. Marriage, however, is not a right but a Catholic sacrament and/or civil priviledge.

    Exactly: a civil privilege. What you are doing, as your wording nicely emphasizes, is conflating the religious view of what constitutes marriage with the civil view of who is eligible. Marriage is a civil ceremony: why should your religious beliefs dictate who is permitted access to it?

    Anything requiring a license is not a right, but a priviledge.

    By this tortured reasoning, it was not a violation of anyone’s rights to deny women the vote, because voting – as you must agree – is a privilege that can be taken away (e.g., for felony convictions). The fallacy in this argument is that while certain civil privileges can be granted or withheld on a particular basis, it is most certainly a violation of human rights to systematically exclude entire groups from accessing such privileges. Such bigoted and discriminatory restrictions cannot be upheld by the law, as many courts are now recognizing.

    While you may personally see it as “compassionate euthanasia”, Catholics see it as suicide and/or murder, which are immoral and a grave mortal sin.

    Catholics are welcome to view it as whatever they like. What they are not morally justified in doing is to declare that their view of what constitutes “grave mortal sin” should be codified into law that is binding on the rest of the population. That is theocracy, plain and simple; it would be like Muslims passing laws that make it a crime to preach Christianity, which they likewise consider a grave sin. Do you think their religious views should have the force of law on your behavior?

    First, I find it interesting that gays would have any need for or position on contraception as unwanted pregnancy seems a biological impossibility among gay couples. Did I miss something in science class?

    Apparently you did. You see, there are these things called STDs that barrier contraceptives can protect against.

    Without the Church there is no moral authority and no morals. Without the Church, who’s to say that theft is not good and adultery is not desireable?

    I love this, I really do. Because clearly, people were just stealing, raping and killing each other at will in every society that existed before the Catholic church came into being, as well as all the societies that are majority Protestant or otherwise practice religions other than Catholicism. Did you take even a moment to think about how laughable this apologetic is before you tried it out?

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Paul S,

    Of course you’re talking about Santa! But the analogy is way off. For example, did Stafford say,

    Man, I sure am concerned… America elected that guy who parties hard with the beast and the whore in Revelation, you know, that guy John of Patmos gassed on and on about, that smooth-talking guy who brings peace to the Middle East, then sets himself up as God in the temple?

    If so, I might find your logic persuasive, but here are Stafford’s original words in context:

    Graham Ward’s description of that period highlights elements which characterize the vision of today’s President – elect, the Vice-President – elect, and the legislators elected to assist them in implementing their vision. Graham wrote, “Briefly modernism’s programme was to ‘make it new’. It courted the unconventional and nonconformist in a conscious effort to overthrow the traditional perspective and stock expectations. Its dynamism was aggressive, disruptive and even apocalyptic. Hostility to the………War fed its anger against the status quo and its desire for a creativity that would be transcultural, transclass and transfrontier.”[30]

    Accordingly, I offer this analogy:

    My brother once remarked that the principal, vice-principal, and administration at his alma mater engaged in policymaking that was fascist and aggressive. Years later at the same school, I say that my brother’s remark, “highlights elements which characterize the vision of today’s principal, vice-principal, and administration.”

    IYO, would the school board be justified in expelling me for ‘equating the principal with Hitler?’

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Omnibus post. Hurrah!

    Kaltrosomos “They see value in all these classes, but only when properly interpreted through the lens of the Catholic faith.”
    Biblical biology: “…and let us pause to thank the LORD for the Kreb Cycle

    “I think people liked the old rites more, because they seemed more ancient, more mysterious.”
    That, or it’s easier to daydream when you don’t understand what the padre is saying. This explains both the fond memories I have of French class, as well as the poor grades from same.

    Alex Weaver (to Arch) “To say nothing of the arrogant assumption that we just need to be told what the church’s position is.”
    Yup. Just when you think they’ve dug a sufficiently deep hole for themselves, along comes another of them with statements proving that the hole is deeper than it looks.

    Virginia “The problem is that, conservative and militant factions (Protestants or Catholics) are very loud, high profile and vocal in their agenda, making them appear to be like the “majority” when in fact a large but lower profile of their own camp does not necessarily support them (as evident in the polls) — but at the same time these low profile ones are wary about hurting the relations inside their group.”
    Abstention is the same as agreement. Something about…”all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.

    Christopher “the Antichrist I make reference to isn’t the Beast of Revelation but rather a mentallity that seeks to topple the established order; one that destroys the will of all social structures (the church, the state, the traditional family, the various instutions of “race,” “class,” etc…) with the force of his own will.”
    And how does living above your parents’ garage fit into that plan?

    Timothy “Its an error to equate priesthood with power.”
    Then either chick priests shouldn’t be a problem, or the powerful non-priest women shouldn’t be in positions of power.

    “Marriage, however, is not a right but a Catholic sacrament and/or civil priviledge.”
    No. It’s not a privilege. It’s a right (there are some exceptions, of course. Man-beast, as beast can’t give consent. Man-child, as children are too young to give consent, and brother-sister, unless they can’t reproduce). A bunch of Supreme Court decisions around anti-miscegenation laws, as well as the 14th amendment (with the Privileges or Immunities Clause, grant equal protection under the Law. Catholics can exclude anyone they want, as far as I’m concerned, but civily-speaking, equal protection under the Law means “equal protection under the Law”. Hopefully we’ll get to equality eventually. It’s more of a journey than a destination, anyway.
    The marriage licence is issued after ensuring that (fm wikipedia):

    In general, however, both parties must appear in person at the time the license is obtained; be of marriageable age (i.e. over 18 years; lower in some states with the consent of a parent); present proper identification (typically a driver’s license, state ID card, birth certificate or passport; more documentation may be required for those born outside of the United States); and neither must be married to anyone else (proof of spouse’s death or divorce may be required, by someone who had been previously married in some states).

    Some states require a blood test to verify that the applicants are not carrying syphilis, a sexually-transmitted disease

    There’s nothing there about complementary sex organs. I used to play the sex organ, by the way, but had to give it up due to carnal tunnel syndrome.

    “Gays are children of Gos with an immortal soul made in His image.”
    Is His soul, therefore, fabulous? Sorry, cheap shot.

    “God has a perfect plan for the salvation of gays…”
    1) Make them feel bad
    2) Make them feel guilty
    3) Make them think you have the cure (more guilt)
    4) Make them fork over 10% for the privilege of 1-3
    5) Profit!

    “…and has gifted gays with His Catholic Church.”
    Really? I see God as more of a Unitarian Universalist.

    “While you may personally see it as “compassionate euthanasia”, Catholics see it as suicide and/or murder, which are immoral and a grave mortal sin.”
    How you see it is nobody’s damn business but your own. My body (and its end) isn’t yours to regulate.

    “Secondly, the Catholic Church is not opposed to responsible use of contraception and teaches several methods of natural contraception.”
    Yes. The Rhythm Method: God’s way of sometimes, possibly, avoiding pregnancy.

    “The Church opposes only artificial contraception…and sterilization.”
    In other words, those programs with the best success rate.

    “Every position of the Catholic Church is clearly written and supported by scripture, tradition, and science.”
    Everybody limbo!

    “If not the Church, then who? Without the Church there is no moral authority and no morals.”
    No. Without people there is no moral authority and no morals. The Church is just people who have the good fortune to have their words bare the weight of God’s, based on God’s Word, which was written by people and misattributed to Him (He’s illiterate. True story).

    “Without the damping effect of the Church and one billion Catholics, the world would be a different place entirely.”
    The good Catholics or the bad ones? Living in the 1500′s was perfectly reasonable when it was the 1500′s. Now, not so much.

    The Ridger “…the doctrine of papal infallibility is widely misunderstood. Briefly stated, it is the when the pope speaks ex cathedra in a statement specifically declared to be revelatory, and only then, is what he says infallible…”
    So…the most of the time, he’s just pulling it out of his ass, but every once in a while God puts something there for him to find? Feast on that mental image.

    Ebonmuse “(There’s) no evidence, however, that Catholicism is gaining any ground as a percentage of the world’s population.”
    Yes, but Catholics are increasing in size. Numbers are just one measure; weight is far more important. Bigger people mean bigger salvation. It’s scientifical!

  • MS Quixote

    I have no dog in this fight, and am not a catholic apologist. These are just thoughts.

    There’s no necessary correlation between apocalypse and antichrist. Apocalyptic literature represents a specific genre within biblical scripture, or as displayed in the Qumran and similar writings, that typically uncovers or reveals through highly metaphoric and symbolic language, eschatalogical hopes or the redemption of a particular group favored by God. As such, most of the apocalyptic passages in the Bible are devoid of antichrist references or themes. For a clear example of this principle, reference the prophesied destruction of Babylon in Isaiah chapter 13.

    Further exacerbating the problem in the modern context noted in the OP, Catholics are generally amillenial. With amillenialism comes a reduced focus on cataclismic end-time scenarios, including antichrists. Furthermore, many amillenials are preterists, or partial preterists, who would likely consider the antichrist of Revelation to be Caesar Nero, not a futuristic figure committing atrocities at the altar of a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, not to mention the majority of the book of Revelation already fulfilled, as well as related texts such as Matthew 24.

    Thus, unless some other part of the article discloses more specific information, the word apocalyptic as used by the cardinal could simply be understood as catastrophic. This would seem reasonable when considered in the context of the same quote when he mentions a “cultural earthquake”. Strictly speaking, cultural earthquakes are exactly what apocalypses are.

    However, and this is a big however, it seems unfathomable to me that the cardinal could be unaware of the embedded themes that inhere in the word apocalypse within the context of American culture, especially in light of the “left-behind” craze. The word is loaded; it’s incendiary. Perhaps he was speaking to fellow clergymen who would understand his intent literally, perhaps he used an unfortunate adjective, or perhaps he meant to be inflammatory. It’s hard to know for sure from this distance without further evidence–although I do not fault Ebon for reaching his conclusion. The word is too loaded to be used casually, and if the cardinal did not intend to associate Obama with the antichrist, he should be more careful in his choice of words, and commentaries such as the OP serve as goads to clarification.

    The following, then, is my dog, and my fight.

    Why in the world would cardinals, or any other Christian for that matter, feel the need to criticize a political figure before he has taken office? He should be praying for Obama to be a great leader, not involving the church in politics. It saddens me that atheists associate Christians with politics, and not the church–and I don’t blame them in the least. That’s the problem.

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    MS Quixote “Further exacerbating the problem in the modern context noted in the OP, Catholics are generally amillenial. With amillenialism comes a reduced focus on cataclismic end-time scenarios, including antichrists. Furthermore, many amillenials are preterists, or partial preterists, who would likely consider the antichrist of Revelation to be Caesar Nero, not a futuristic figure committing atrocities at the altar of a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, not to mention the majority of the book of Revelation already fulfilled, as well as related texts such as Matthew 24.”
    And paragraphs like that (not to mention that other sects/denominations can start out from the exact same point, with similar “proofs” based on different passages or different interpretations or different theologians analyses’ of same, and come to polar opposite conclusions. See the case of Quakers V Conquistadors or Southern Baptist Convention V Brown (people), for examples) show why religions keep getting farther apart, rather than closer together. Special revelation is a terrible way to get to the Truth (big “T”). General revelation, sadly, always leads to the “wrong” answer.
    I think I’ll stick with small “t”, true until new data requires reinterpretation, truth, thanks. Being a little wrong all the time (and being willing to admit it) is fine with me. It leaves room for improvement (and a willingness to do so)…at least until a burning bush talks to me or the voice in my head tells me to kill my kid. Then I’m getting medicated.

  • MS Quixote

    I think I’ll stick with small “t”, true until new data requires reinterpretation

    Well I’m very pleased to hear that, Modus. Odds are my quote you highlighted is new data that will require you to reinterpret your little t truth with regard to Catholicism and apocalyptic literature.

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    No, actually. I’ve already heard McGrath state pretty much the same thing. It still got put in the “bunk” pile in my brain, but it’s less harmful than the Rapture bunk that’s stored nearby (it lacks the vindictive revenge fantasy that helps fuel the Rapture fantasy).

  • Alex Weaver

    Timothy:

    Evidence or GTFO, khtx.

  • bestonnet

    Timothy:

    If Catholicism is in an ongoing decline as alleged, why then is the number of Catholics increasing both in the U.S. and worldwide. Should not a church in decline have decreasing numbers of adherents?

    You’re losing ground in the developed world mostly to non-religion (and even most of those who still claim to be Catholics are only nominally religious). The only Christian groups that are gaining in the west are fundamentalists who aren’t gaining much (and I suspect are pretty much only getting conversions from other Christian groups) with all the rest losing out.

    As for the developing world, that’s partly fertility and partly the replacement of traditional religions with imported crap (not that their traditional beliefs aren’t crap as well), as they become developed the same things that have already happened in the west will happen, including the secularisation of society that will result in religion dying out even there.

    In the long term religion is doomed unless our species goes back to the stone age.

    Timothy:

    No, the Church and most Catholics support equal rights (life, food, water, housing, employment, etc.) for gays.

    I didn’t realise the Catholic church supported gay marriage.

    Timothy:

    First, I find it interesting that gays would have any need for or position on contraception as unwanted pregnancy seems a biological impossibility among gay couples. Did I miss something in science class?

    You probably did miss a lot.

    Though you also seem to see things that aren’t there and read more into the relation between conception and homosexuality (hint; it’s not about protecting people having gay sex from unwanted pregnancy but about giving people control over their sexuality, regardless of who they are attracted to).

    Timothy:

    The Catholic Church holds no irrational positions and certainly no immoral ones.

    The Catholic Church holds that someone can be born of a virgin in a pre-scientific era (which is utter nonsense).

    The Catholic Church also holds that condoms can’t prevent AIDS (which along with being utter nonsense is also causing a lot of people to get a disease that could kill them).

    Timothy:

    Every position of the Catholic Church is clearly written and supported by scripture, tradition, and science.

    Where is scientific support for vitalism?

    Timothy:

    Without the Church, who’s to say that theft is not good and adultery is not desireable?

    Why should we believe the Church if it says those things?

    Ultimately to be able to judge an alleged divine being who claimed to be offering us morals we would need our own standard of morals to compare it to, in which case why not just use our morals and do away with the need for a god to give us morals?

    Of course there is always “God says so” morality but that’s just moral relativism.

    Timothy:

    You seem to enjoy the benefits of the Church when they are convenient, yet rebel and reject the Church when its inconvenient.

    What benefits?

    Timothy:

    Without the damping effect of the Church and one billion Catholics, the world would be a different place entirely.

    Yeah, I mean I could be at α Centauri or τ Ceti if it hadn’t been for the damping effect of the Church.

  • Christopher

    Modusoperandi,

    And how does living above your parents’ garage fit into that plan?

    I own my own land and use it as my livelihood, thank you very much. I’m not some kid in the parent’s basement…

  • MS (Quixote)

    No, actually. I’ve already heard McGrath state pretty much the same thing.

    I’m glad to hear that as well. So, I’m supposing you just wished to take a general sideswipe at special revelation. In that case, I think your choice of example is poor. Most theologians view their particular millenial views as a small truth t, just as you have described.

  • Paul S

    My brother once remarked that the principal, vice-principal, and administration at his alma mater engaged in policymaking that was fascist and aggressive. Years later at the same school, I say that my brother’s remark, “highlights elements which characterize the vision of today’s principal, vice-principal, and administration.”

    IYO, would the school board be justified in expelling me for ‘equating the principal with Hitler?’

    I would argue that it depends on the context of your statement. If you made those comments today, I wouldn’t take them at equating the principal with Hitler. But if you made those comments in 1942 London or Moscow, the obvious analogy would be a comparison to Hitler. I’m not saying it’s right to come to that conclusion, mind you. I guess the thrust of my argument was that a Cardinal, representing the Catholic Church (and Christianity by default), should choose his words wisely. I have no doubt that the good Cardinal knew exactly how his words would be interpreted.

  • Alex Weaver

    IYO, would the school board be justified in expelling me for ‘equating the principal with Hitler?’

    Uh, this wouldn’t be justified even if the reference had been explicit. My school principles were some of the least worthwhile human beings I’ve ever personally encountered and even they wouldn’t have gone that far.

    Oh, and Timothy…

    Without the Church, who’s to say that theft is not good and adultery is not desireable?

    Do you have any actual interest whatsoever in the answer to this question?

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Alex,

    Thanks for sharing. My principals weren’t the most fun either. It was straight-up Simpsons at my high school. Anyways, in the original analogy, the reference wasn’t explicit, and I’m just curious to hear IYO why the board would not be justified in expelling me under the situation offered.

    Open question for whoever:

    I think I found the source of the soundbite as well, which the media truncated into Obama is apocalyptic:

    The content and rhetoric of Obama and Biden have elements similar to those described earlier: aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic.[33]

    When we use the phrase the Antichrist as Ebonmuse did, it refers to a single individual in scripture. So who did Stafford ‘equate with the Antichrist’ – Obama or Biden? And what evidence could justify either position?

  • ex machina

    When we use the phrase the Antichrist as Ebonmuse did, it refers to a single individual in scripture. So who did Stafford ‘equate with the Antichrist’ – Obama or Biden? And what evidence could justify either position?

    It makes no difference if he intended to imply that both were “apocalyptic” or just one. He’s still wrong and entirely inappropriate. There’s no reason to nullify his comparison because “Obama/Biden” and “The Antichrist” don’t have a 1:1 ratio.

    As for evidence, we’ve already pointed that out: the word apocalyptic. When you apply that to a person you imply the Antichrist. If he did not mean to do so, he either does not know what apocalyptic means or he misspoke.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    For those of you who haven’t looked at the transcript and want to know what he said about Obama (instead of the passage quoted above which is what you would find if you searched for “apocalyptic” and stopped as soon as you saw something you thought might be it) here it is:

    Similar characteristics were evident in Senator Obama’s talk before Planned Parenthood supporters on July 17, 2007 – tautness of will, a clenched jaw, etc. – where he asserted, “We are not only going to win this election but also we are going to transform this nation………The first thing I will do as President is to sign The Freedom of Choice Act……..I put Roe at the center of my lesson plan on reproductive freedom when I taught Constitutional Law………..On this issue I will not yield..” During a town meeting in March 2008 in Johnstown, Pa., he spoke with equal determination on the necessity of universal sex education for preteens and teens, “I don’t want my daughters punished with a baby.” The President – elect did not qualify in any way the methods his single daughters might employ in the event they needed to avoid being “punished with a baby”, that is, giving birth to his grandchild. Obama’s vision is modernist and rooted in the Enlightenment. The content and rhetoric of Obama and Biden have elements similar to those described earlier: aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Timothy / Alex / whoever else is in this particular discussion..

    I’m not an atheist but would like to take a stab at the following:

    Without the Church there is no moral authority and no morals.

    No offense intended, but I think this position is antithetical to nearly every teaching in the Bible. As stated, it also appears to imply God is not a moral authority and has no morals when the Bible clearly states that God was up and running long before ‘the Church’ was even around. Furthermore, in the Bible, we derive our moral authority from God, not the Church. This represents the classic shift of focus that I feel opens the door for all sorts religious problems – the Church as an organization, as a unit of political and cultural power, as something tangible that exists within our own infrastructures, should never usurp the position of God. If you read the NT closely, Jesus blasts those who thought this way. Instead of using their mental faculties, the Pharisees deified both doctrine and dogma, and in doing so they forfeited the natural flexibility needed to sufficiently apprehend evolving moral dilemmas. Such was the point of or healing the blind man or allowing the disciples to pick grain on the Sabbath. Jesus could’ve just told the man he was healed and to go on his way; but Jesus mixed dirt with spit, i.e. worked, and the Pharisees accused him of sin. This is what happens when we rely on rigid doctrine and dogma as a moral compass, and IMO Jesus made it a point to illustrate this fact.

    Without the Church, who’s to say that theft is not good and adultery is not desireable?

    Are you kidding? We are! It is the nature of a complex heirarchy to resist prompt response to cultural changes and shifts which often occur daily. When we rely on some slow-moving, economically and politically intertwined authority that lacks sufficient response time to figure out its ‘official position’ on some matter, we’re in danger buddy!

    Aside from its inherent appeal to charlatans seeking to exploit simple-minded sheep, the attitude of religious legalism will distort people’s understanding of righteousness, as they come to think in terms of total adherence to absolute law, as opposed to general guidelines intended to produce an adaptive righteous consciousness that transcends blind obedience to rules. It was the prophets, including Jesus, who tried to show that one can perfectly follow all six hundred and thirteen aspects of Old Testament law and still have a cold and unloving heart towards others.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    “Catholics see it as suicide and/or murder, which are immoral and a grave mortal sin . . . First, I find it interesting that gays would have any need for or position on contraception as unwanted pregnancy seems a biological impossibility among gay couples. Did I miss something in science class?” — Timothy

    Sir,

    It apparently hasn’t occurred to you that there is a deep contradiction in your thinking. You apparently hold the opinion that gays should shut up about abortion because they will not ever have it performed on them (forgetting that lesbians get raped too, but I’ll let you off with a warning on that one).

    So if gays should shut up about abortion, why on earth are you, a male to judge from your name, even yapping? Perhaps you’d ought to apply your own logic to yourself; of course, shutting your mouth on that topic (and others) will be much easier once you’ve removed your foot.

    Further, to follow this logic to its terminus, should I presume that you are dying of cancer, or AIDS, or what-have-you? If so, please accept my sympathies. At least in this area your opinions and actions would concord. And if you’re not dying, why don’t you leave that decision {gasp} to them who are? I know, we’re all on the road to Hell unless you and your syndica– pardon me, church — ride to the rescue.

    I could go on in this manner, but, given your health, I’ll leave you to chew on these points.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    ex machina,

    …apocalyptic. When you apply that to a person you imply the Antichrist.

    I disagree vehemently, but I respect your opinion. Do you mind if I ask you, in my analogy given comment November 25, 2008, 10:24 pm, IYO would the school board be justified in expelling me? Why or why not, and on the basis of what logic or evidence?

    OMGF,

    Don’t try to hide your immature little vendetta – if you’re going to make an allegation or imply something about me, say it to me or use my name – not some veiled, third-person allusion garbage. I made it clear to you in our last thread that I would not be engaging you further at DA. In light of that, the following is particularly chickenshit:

    …which is what you would find if you searched for “apocalyptic” and stopped as soon as you saw something you thought might be it…

    Ah, once again, you take the liberty to presume you know what I think or do, and now I have to clear my name of your baseless stains once again. When you provided the transcript, I first read through it, skipping the poem at the end. I then ran searches for Antichrist, Obama, and Apocalyptic, from beginning to end, and read each one very carefully, until Word completed the find function. The pertinent sentence from your quote is also in my comment.

    When you provided the transcript, I thought that was a reasonable thing to do and gave you a hat tip, indicating willingness to move forward. I hope others here can see that you returned this gesture with a veiled attack, indicating that you still wish to move backwards.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    cl,

    The pertinent sentence from your quote is also in my comment.

    It’s in a separate comment divorced from the whole paragraph. I simply thought that others might want to see the whole thing in context. If you take offense, too bad.

    gave you a hat tip

    Where?

    I hope others here can see that you returned this gesture with a veiled attack

    Take it how you want, I don’t care.

  • ex machina

    I disagree vehemently, but I respect your opinion. Do you mind if I ask you, in my analogy given comment November 25, 2008, 10:24 pm, IYO would the school board be justified in expelling me? Why or why not, and on the basis of what logic or evidence?

    Well, I don’t think they would have been justified in expelling you regardless of whomever you choose to compare your principal too, whether it was Hitler specifically or just Fascists in general. But as to whether or not the school board would be justified in thinking you meant Hitler specifically, I don’t think so in this case. Fascism was a larger movement than Hitler, and unless you mentioned him specifically in previous or subsequent statements, you could very well have implied authoritarianism in general and not any one figurehead. The mention of Nazism, or goose-stepping, or Blitzkrieg some other word that might have narrowed the context to the fascism of 30s-40s Germany, but it sounds like you did not include that kind of language.

    I’d say the difference between your comments and Stafford’s is that “apocalyptic” becomes a fairly narrow word given the context. In the Catholic context, it describes a story with certain events and personalities regarding the end of the world as we know it. I would accept that Stafford only meant to say that his policies or the events that would follow would be apocalyptic, but the word comes right after a description of Obama himself: his manner of speaking, his facial gestures. It seems, overwhelmingly, that Stafford means to show that Obama mirrors one of the personalities in the narrative of the apocalypse. But if Stafford does not mean The Antichrist, what role is he suggesting Obama plays? The Whore of Babylon? Christ? Those don’t seem to fit at all given Stafford’s language. Even if he did intend to say that Obama and his policies were only a small part of the coming apocalypse, Obama is the President Elect of the United States! People have speculated for years that the Antichrist would be some kind of world leader that presented himself as peaceful and progressive. It’s extremely hard to believe that Stafford isn’t making that connection.

  • http://www.myspace.com.driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    cl
    Not my place! not my problem! and apologies to Ebon for my presumption: BUT please if you are going to engage on every thread (and IMO you have much that is interesting to contribute)drop your fude with OMGF who also has (in my opinion)much of interest to say. This is not a forum to stalk individuals or pursue grieveances. It is a place to debate the subjects that Ebon chooses to post, nothing more nothing less. We can all play semantic games and pick spurious holes in comments that are (for most of us) written with good intention and in the spirit of enlightened debate, but that is neither constructive or enjoyable for any of us.

    Sorry: My two cents

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    OMGF,

    I had made up my mind to ignore all further quips from you, and after this comment will continue to honor that, but I did make a minor mistake and for that I must stand corrected. The hat tip is not in this thread, but in a post I’m working up for my own blog:

    IMO, especially when reasoning solely from the inconclusive sources linked in the OP, the claim Stafford ‘equated Obama with the Antichrist’ is both an appeal to the emotion of distaste for religion and a textbook example of the fallacy of exaggeration. Nowhere in the original sources are the man’s words even given in context, rather, we get the distilled media soundbite: “Stafford: Obama is ‘apocalyptic.’”

    Here are Stafford’s words from the transcript, in context [HT - OMGF]:

    Before doing so, some contextual background of my criticism is important. In early 2003 as our country was preparing to go to war in Iraq, I spoke out against the war and on two occasions condemned the policies of the Bush administration for contributing to the lessening of respect for the dignity of the human person by the use of torture. In the same spirit today as a pastor of souls I do not hesitate again to flag some serious abuses against the natural and divine laws. Our own cultural ambience is not dissimilar from the period of the 1920′s when European intellectuals were moving ahead with an understanding of something “new”. Graham Ward’s description of that period highlights elements which characterize the vision of today’s President – elect, the Vice-President – elect, and the legislators elected to assist them in implementing their vision. Graham wrote, “Briefly modernism’s programme was to ‘make it new’. It courted the unconventional and nonconformist in a conscious effort to overthrow the traditional perspective and stock expectations. Its dynamism was aggressive, disruptive and even apocalyptic.”[30]

    I think I found the source of the soundbite as well, which the media truncated into Obama is apocalyptic:

    The content and rhetoric of Obama and Biden have elements similar to those described earlier: aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic.[33]

    I thought for some reason I’d included that in the thread; about that I was wrong. So, although you still took a cheapshot, it was not in return to my hat tip and I was wrong to assume such. For that, and that alone, I apologize.

    Regardless, you chided me indirectly by implying something you had no way of knowing empirically, and that’s why I find your pretense of logic unpersuasive. How could you possibly know what I did? Ah, you can’t, you assumed, because it felt your preconceived conclusions about me, and then felt fit to project this BS to the thread, when I have already stated it would be best for us to steer clear. Very, very childish.

    BTW, are you really so bent that you’ll let it obscure your ability to at least formulate a false charge that’s actually plausible? Seriously. What I mean here is, if I had stopped at the first instance of ‘apocalyptic’ as you falsely implied, I would never have found [33]. The pertinent statement comes at the end of the transcript, so this inconvenient little factoid undermines your attack. How must that feel? Next time, you should check to see that what you claim is logically possible before you allege such of someone who wasn’t even talking to you. The facts do not even support your own false assertion! But hey, any argument works for OMGF as long as it denigrates a believer.

    Now – can you admit you took a cheapshot at me and honestly apologize, especially in light of the fact that your allegation was not only false, but a bona fide logical impossibility? I’m not holding my breath.

    Veiled attacks born of vendetta, charges that are not only false, but contradict plausible reality, refusal to admit correction… in a word, irrationalism.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Steve Bowen (cc: Ebonmuse)

    Hey well now that’s pretty disingenuous of you. You’re talking to me about this? Slow down now Judge Bowen, and, and thanks alot for putting the blame on me, but you can save it, cuz it takes two to argue and OMGF initiated.

    Realize Steve that although I addressed OMGF first by name, OMGF took a cheapshot on me and was too (adjective of choice) to address me directly. In spite of me telling him not to comment to or about me on DA anymore. Anyone can read this thread and see what the hell just happened. From no prompt of mine, OMGF made a veiled accusation against me that was purely personal vendetta – plain and simple. Of course, I’ll probably get zero backup on this, being the resident theist and all. Who was on this thread first, Steve? I was. How was the conversation going until OMGF made the veiled accusation, Steve? Pretty damn smooth IMO. You are wrong to address your comment to me Steve, and you owe me an apology.

    And Steve – this whole thread I’ve been debating about the things Ebon posted. It only got derailed when OMGF just couldn’t help but to make a denigrating reference towards me. What was I supposed to do? Allow a false allegation to remain? Sorry buddy, but I’m not the dood that just backs down when somebody makes a false allegation about me, especially when said allegation is not even logically possible. Will you deny that OMGF made a logically impossible charge against me? Read his original veiled accusation, then read my response, and answer honestly.

    As I just demonstrated, I wasn’t even talking to OMGF, and the guy comes along and makes veiled accusations that are not only false, but logical impossibilities. I asked the man last time not to comment to or about me in the future at DA, and he just totally disrespected that in a most chickenshit way. If you’re defending that you owe yourself an apology.

    I wasn’t coming here to convert you guys. If you’ve been paying attention, many of my past comments have expressed certain doubts and logical disconnects, and more often than not I agree with the atheist’s assessment of religion.

    If Ebonmuse is not bothered by such, as he has stated to me in personal correspondence about precisely this matter, you guys can have the sandbox to yourselves – I’m over it. I’d rather just leave DA altogether than get blamed for being disruptive when rebutting the personal vendetta and irrational absurdity of somebody whose blog is called Why I Hate Jesus and sees fit to disprove every believer on this site.

    Carry on.

  • Paul S

    I’d rather just leave DA altogether than get blamed for being disruptive when rebutting the personal vendetta and irrational absurdity of somebody whose blog is called Why I Hate Jesus and sees fit to disprove every believer on this site.

    I find it hard to believe that you are seriously upset that someone posting on an atheist website would actually (gasp!) try to disprove believers that find their way here. I’d expect (and have experienced) the same response from posters on a Christian website if I went there to debate.

  • goyo

    cl
    You make intelligent comments at times, but you come across as a pompous asshole. Your endless arguments over trivial comments are tiresome.
    Sorry but it’s wearing thin.

  • http://dubitoergo.blogspot.com Tom Foss

    It seems to me that, at the very least, the use of the word “apocalyptic” was a bad choice. Much like George W. Bush’s use of the word “Crusade” to describe the War on Terror. Perhaps the Cardinal didn’t intend to compare Obama to the Antichrist, and perhaps the President didn’t intend to imply that this would be a lengthy war where Christians fight Muslims for control of the Holy Land, but the connotations of the words suggest that they ought to have been more careful with their speech.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Paul S,

    It’s not that. Of course I would expect that. Normally, however, people don’t talk shit with veiled allusions. For example, if you and I got into it, and you were like, “Don’t comment to or about me anymore,” I would respect that, and I would imagine you would do the same. I’d asked OMGF to not say shit to me but he just to disrespect and take a cheapshot today. Interesting how he gets a 100% free pass for that from all of you..

    goyo,

    Hey, I can respect that. At least it’s a straight-up comment, not some third-person high school bullshit. If you think I come across that way, it’s likely other people think the same and don’t say it, so yeah, I’ll take that into consideration. Realize, though, that over 75 percent of all comments, and certainly all the pompous ones I’ve made at DA, involved rebutting to OMGF’s nonsense. I’m sorry it tired you all, I really am, it tired my wits as well. That’s why when we finally finished our last dance, I asked OMGF to keep to himself and not comment to or about me. Is that not reasonable? Since he didn’t and won’t, I now get two choices:

    1) continue to post here, have OMGF keep flapping off, and of course I’ll always defend myself, thus continuing to ‘wear everyone thin,’ or

    2) or just not post here at all.

    I’m not that worried about it and if I’m rubbing everyone the wrong way then I ought to bail – option 2 is just fine.

    I just find it really hypocritical that not one of you says anything to the guy, only to me. I would be much more impressed with DA if even one atheist was like, “You know, we don’t have to like cl or what he’s saying, but the guy’s got some valid points about OMGF here.” I mean come on – a cheapshot rooted in vendetta that is not even logically plausible let alone true, and nobody says anything except that I’m the dick for rebutting the BS??

    I don’t see that as freethought but herd mentality. I’m forced to conclude then that atheism can be just the same as religion, just with a different set of dogmas and doctrines.

  • Brad

    For what it’s worth, I think OMGF is manytimes hasty or just plain wrong and that cl has been trying near his best to fight that somewhat troll-ish behavior.

    (Don’t criticize me for an unsupported statement – just look at the first preposition of this comment, take it as it stands, and only speak more to it if significantly productive. Evidence for and against my statement exists where it is, evaluate it as you will.)

    cl, there are two reasons I did not speak up for you. First, I felt at the beginning of the back-and-forth between you and OMGF that my two cents would only ever fan the flames between you two logs. (- Please let’s not start the “He started it!” / “Who’s to blame?” discussion.) Second, I long ago have stopped reading the comments specifically between you and OMGF, and so I have ignored the matter up until now. Now seeing the “persecution” of sorts, and your cry against it, I’ve decided to speak my thoughts. Kudos to you for defending yourself and not putting up with crap.

    OMGF, I’m not going to argue with you about this or that. It will suffice for me to say what I think. If my thoughts hold no weight, then they hold no weight, and there’s no need to go screaming about it in an echo chamber.

    OMGF and cl, could you try to pretend this never happened? I think it would be best if, when or if you do comment on each other’s writing, you keep it brief/focused/relevant/etc. and not personally offensive. Instead of trying to snowball discussion, try to instead wrap it up, whenever it occurs, as best you can. Agree or disagree?

  • Brad

    Also, just in case this point needs more labor. From EM’s comment policy:

    The reason I have comments is because I want people to share their views on the topics I write about, and to have a conversation that will enlighten and benefit all participants. So, if you have something to say, either about a post or about another comment, leave your thoughts. Use the comments for the reason they’re here and there will be no trouble, and that will make all of us happy.

  • 2-D Man

    cl, I had something written up, but I’ll save it. I’ve got better things to do.

    Goyo, you hit the nail on the head, arguing with cl is nothing more than an exercise in triviality.

    On the OP, I find that little “reprehensible, inexcusable, and unconstitutional” bit to be just about the most self-important thing I’ve ever heard. Someone finding something reprehensible does not make it bad, just ask Rosa Parks. I’m still puzzling over why any action needs to be excused by a bunch of child molesters. And, in the United States, doesn’t the constitution bind the government, not the people.

    Their stance on choice is just one symptom of that deeper underlying problem.

    “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    MS (Quixote) “Most theologians view their particular millenial views as a small truth t, just as you have described.”
    Well, then all three of them should be commended for their modesty, then pause for a moment to slap around any of the various nuts on TV who are telling me exactly what Revelations means, and the various nuts that take those nuts’ revelations of Revelations as the capital T Truth of the LORD Himself.


    Now, let us all bow our heads, and pause in a moment of silence for the turkey who gave his life for our appetites, and yea did travel through the fires of Oven, basting his juices on those who were dry. For without his Divine stuffing, I ask you my brothers and sisters, are we not all empty inside? Amen.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    2-D Man,

    ..arguing with cl is nothing more than an exercise in triviality.

    Depends who’s arguing and what the point is. I’ve learned from and had genuinely positive conversations with more than a few here – Brad, Chet, Polly, etc. – but would you expect any serious intellectual to take you non-trivially when you first insult them, then posit 2 people as a valid analogy for the trinity, and then ask how that’s laughable?

    Get real!

  • http://thegreenbelt.blogspot.com The Ridger

    @modusoperendi: I’m not sure, but it sounds like you think I’m a Catholic. I’m not. I just don’t think misdefining a doctrine and then mocking that position accomplishes much.

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    The Ridger “@modusoperendi: I’m not sure, but it sounds like you think I’m a Catholic. I’m not.”
    So…the most of the time, he’s just pulling it out of his ass, but every once in a while God puts something there for him to find? Feast on that mental image.
    I have no idea what you are. I assume, however, that you’ve learned that I’m an insufferable old coot. Have been since I was a wee tot, I have.

    “I just don’t think misdefining a doctrine and then mocking that position accomplishes much.”
    I thought my twisting of papal infallibility was pretty good, actually. Defined, redefined or misdefined, the only voice the Pope is hearing when he’s combined with the Lord to become Infalli-Pope (whether or not that’s how it’s supposed to work) is his own.

  • MS (Quixote)

    Well, then all three of them should be commended for their modesty, then pause for a moment to slap around any of the various nuts on TV who are telling me exactly what Revelations means, and the various nuts that take those nuts’ revelations of Revelations as the capital T Truth of the LORD Himself.

    Hey Modus,

    I see what you’re getting at now. This is something we can all agree on :)

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    MS (Quixote) “I see what you’re getting at now.”
    Really? I must endeavor to be more obtuse in the future.

  • MS (Quixote)

    I must endeavor to be more obtuse in the future.

    Yeah, I know. Probably embarrassing to have the theist agree with you in front of all your atheist friends. I’ll try to be more controversial next time. I know, I’ll go over on the other thread and say “global warming, global schmorming.” That ought to get you off the hook :)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    There’s a perfectly good discussion going on in this thread. Can we please stick to that and drop the personal drama?

  • http://www.myspace.com.driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    There’s a perfectly good discussion going on in this thread. Can we please stick to that and drop the personal drama?

    Aaawww! MS and Modus are the most entertaining double act since Rowan and Martin; Intelligence,wit and good natured disagreement is a winning combo.
    On the OP: It is a genuine worry that institutions like the catholic church, who command the obedience of millions across the world, can comment with impunity on the elected leaders of (ostensibly) secular administrations. It’s a classic example Dawkins argument about religious leaders being asked for opinions on scientific controversy: They have nothing of relevance to say.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    I wasn’t referring to Quixote and Modus – sorry if that was unclear.

  • http://www.myspace.com.driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    I wasn’t referring to Quixote and Modus – sorry if that was unclear.

    So sorry Ebon I know. I guess irony is beyond my on-line abilities :)

  • MS Quixote

    Steve,

    You satisfy all three prerequisites, so feel free to join the act at anytime. I like the sound of Bowen & Martin. Has a great ring to it.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Postscript: Another Catholic priest has now demanded that his parishioners ask pardon for the sin of voting for their preferred candidate, on pain of eternal damnation.

    “If you are one of the 54 percent of Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate, you were clear on his position and you knew the gravity of the question, I urge you to go to confession before receiving communion. Don’t risk losing your state of grace by receiving sacrilegiously,” the Rev. Joseph Illo, pastor of St. Joseph’s, wrote in a letter dated Nov. 21.

  • John D

    Hi,
    I noticed the post by OMGF which cites the words of the cardinal: “the position of Obama is modernist and rooted in the Enlightenment”.
    Now, I am a Catholic actually, but I find that comment annoying. I don’t agree with a whole lot of Obama’s policies, but to offer as a critique their “rootedness in the Enlightenment” is shoddy. It comes from a certain tendency in Catholic higher educational institutions to set up the “Enlightenment” as the reign of satan, the watershed of Western society, which broke off from its spiritual heritage and exalted man’s inherent capacities so much that God was removed from the picture. I currently study at one such institution, and have occasionally heard this line adopted by professors.
    But this is not an adequate description. There remains a whole lot of good that came out of the Enlightenment, some really important ideas that have improved the lot of humanity over the last 300 years; and this is not emphasized enough within Catholic intellectual culture. Indeed, some of the Catholic Church’s current teaching – especially social teaching – makes use of Enlightenment concepts and language. Both the Church and society as a whole should recognise the good fruits of this authentic revolution of human consciousness. This is not equivalent to endorsement of ALL aspects of Enlightenment, which I think also involved some crucial mistakes and in any case is a complex phenomenon. But when I hear a US cardinal equate “Enlightenment” with “bad”, I do get a bit concerned. Does he think, for example, that the concept of “human rights” is a nasty Modernist aberration? No, I am sure not – but then, why criticize Enlightenment unilaterally, since it is principally the Enlightenment vision that led to a new centrality being afforded to the “rights of man”? Similarly with things like democracy and tolerance.

  • complinitor

    Not to get too far off-subject, but this is something that all atheists and theos should read:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/8690038/The-1962-Vatican-Document-on-Clergy-Sexual-Abuse

  • Arch

    John D,
    The Enlightenment wrought some things that were beneficial to the common good and for those things we ought to be grateful. But the elements of the Enlightenment that promoted excessive individuality, solipsism, and the emphasis of reason to the point that each person ought to consider themself as an autonomous moral authority has played a role in forming a misguided moral basis for many today. The rejection of objective truth, moral relativism, and the rejection of divine revelation or the need for grace (a type of neo-Pelagianism) have certainly taken root in our culture and can be seen in various positions of Obama. It is a scary thing when people promote emotivism (moral stances based on emotions/feelings) and uphold that good morality does not need to recognize objective truths. We are in a downward spin if we are going that direction. For a solid, detailed read on this topic, I recommend “After Virtue” by Alasdair MacIntyre.

    “Truth is not determined by a majority vote.” -Cardinal Ratzinger

  • Mathew Wilder

    Anyone who thinks the Enlightenment denied objective truth or was in any way morally relativistic doesn’t know what he or she is talking about. Ever heard of Kant?

    Nothing annoys me more than people spouting off about the Enlightenment (or the Middle Ages, or whatever topic) without knowing what they’re talking about.

  • bestonnet

    The moral relativism and denial of objective truth were reactions to the enlightenment, not part of the enlightenment itself (moral relativism is what religion does with it’s “whatever god says is good” morality).

    You really do need to stop confusing the romantics with the enlightenment.

  • Arch

    The point was not that philosophers of the Enlightenment were teaching relativism directly, but that modern relativism has its root in the Enlightenment. Let’s take Kant, for example, who was not a relativist, but through his idea of the “categorical imperative” considered moral goodness to be based on one’s personal promulgation rather than on universal truth. From such an emphasis moral relativism has emerged, which is based in personal promulgation of moral standards.

  • Mathew Wilder

    That is a gross mischaracterization of Kant, and I say that as a non-Kantian. The fact that Kant argued that individuals must be autonomous lawgivers to themselves in no way means that each person can make up their own morality. It’s just that the only way to understand the moral law is through reasoning autonomously. According to Kant, there is objective right and wrong, but reaching it is something one can only do for oneself. You can’t understand morality or be moral, for Kant, if you’re doing the right thing out of deference to authority, or out of habit.

    I still think it is a ridiculous statement to say that moral relativism’s roots are in the Enlightenment.

    First, relativism existed long before the Enlightenment happened. Second, contemporary relativists have much more recent roots, when they have roots at all, and aren’t simply uncritical ignoramuses. Most relativism is cultural, not philosophical. This is because relativism is self-defeating.

  • Arch

    The fact that Kant argued that individuals must be autonomous lawgivers to themselves in no way means that each person can make up their own morality.

    If an individual is an autonomous lawgiver to themself, how will we not end up with each person coming up with their own morality? Without an objective standard of moral authority, how can one know the truth? Moral disagreement is inevitable if we are our own lawgivers.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    I hate to break it to you, Arch, but there is already vast and pervasive disagreement over moral dilemmas among religious people – even within denominations, even within the Catholic church. Your proffered solution is a failure before getting out of the gate.

  • bestonnet

    Arch:

    If an individual is an autonomous lawgiver to themself, how will we not end up with each person coming up with their own morality?

    That’s the best we can do, we just have to accept it.

  • Arch

    Ebon,
    The Catholic Church has definitive teachings. Though some choose to dissent, those teachings remain.
    Truth never changes. Truth does not fail.
    Arch

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    The Catholic Church has definitive teachings. Though some choose to dissent, those teachings remain.

    Any sect or person on earth could say the same. Your worry was that people would not agree on what actions are moral, but neither you nor your church have a solution to that.

  • Arch

    The “solution”, or better yet the vocation, is to fidelity and holiness.

  • Brad

    The Catholic Church has definitive teachings. Though some choose to dissent, those teachings remain.

    You mean those teachings that evolved over time and were exclusively selected/interpreted by clergy in power throughout church history?

    The “solution”, or better yet the vocation, is to fidelity and holiness.

    Judging by the current and past state of affairs, that’s no solution at all. The only solution the Catholic Church has is but a theory which states that all people have consciences leading them to a grand, singular morality made up by God. (I’d really like to see how psychopaths fit into that theory, being without conscience and uncaused by materialistic society and all.)

  • Tim Hogan

    The Pope has spoken “ex cathedra” only twice: the Assumption of Mary, and; that Mary was conceived without sin. These beliefs, along with the Nicean Creed, form the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church.

    I see the trap that the Church leaders have fallen into is exactly what Bowen has implied, one of relativism which the leaders themselves decry. If the Church is “in” but, not “of” this world, how may its leaders proscribe voting in favor, or against, a particular candidate?

    Will the Roman Catholic Church leaders now require that the facts of any electoral issue in the US or elsewhere are solely to determined by magisterial fiat, subject to sanction?

    I have written about this on another site:

    http://dangerousintersection.org/2008/11/15/catholic-mccain-voters-are-going-to-hell/

    I do not believe Catholics must support the overturn of Roe v. Wade, oppose FOCA, and many other of the shibboleths run out to scare people every two or four years to get the faithful to vote a certain way. If Catholics resolve issues with compassion and mercy, not recrimination and demagoguery, we will have a greater ability to make the world safe and well for our children.

  • bestonnet

    Truth never changes. Truth does not fail.

    Those statements are quite correct but the problem is that you are also assuming that the Catholic church has the Truth which is very likely not correct.

    Whilst it is correct that truth doesn’t change our approximation to the truth (which is the best we can do) very well does (it has tended to improve over time). The approximation to the truth that the Catholic church teaches is a very bad one compared to more modern approximations.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Brad,
    I think you give them too much credit by calling it a “theory” unless you mean that in the colloquial sense of a “wild-assed guess.”

  • MichaelNietzsche

    On his next trip to the US, I’d like someone to send him to my house….. I’d give him the PRIVELEDGE of KISSING my ASS. Because, Until he uses the churchs’ great wealth to help feed and house some of the world’s poor, And, until he starts allowing the decemination of Birth-control information, and family planning information, and not just “VATICAN ROULETTE”; And until he allows that a woman has a right to make her own decision on the very difficult CHOICE of an abortion; And until he ADVOCATES sex education in all schools… to maybe prevent some unwanted pregnancies; And until he starts telling people the Condom use CAN help to slow the spread of AIDS in the world; he should SHUT the FUCK UP! He is an Enemy!!!!

  • Brad

    I propose we make a Poe-Turing test to discern seriousness in online text.


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