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From the land where Consent is the Sole Criterion of the Good May 5, 2014

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  • Satori

    One wonders if Catholic theocrats like Mark think that children should be forcibly taken away from homosexual parents. Why, we could even leave them in the care of Catholic priests.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Ding! Ding! Ding! Today’s Magic Number is…. 1!

      Mark, stop being such a fascist theocrat. And a socialist. You’re clearly a brainless Papist who doesn’t even question the Church. Also a Protestant.

      • wlinden

        And a wobber. And a wapist. And a pickpocket.

      • Satori

        He’s not brainless by any means, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t find his views repulsive. It’s possible to think someone is smart and profoundly disagree with them about everything that matters.

        I’m an atheist and a secular humanist, and the church’s view of its role in the world and its right to force us to accept its teaching on issues like abortion in unacceptable to me. As long as the church remains a backwards organizations that fights against gay rights, the autonomy of women, and what I view as the common good it will be my enemy.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          the church’s view of its role in the world and its right to force us to accept its teaching on issues like abortion in unacceptable to me.

          I wouldn’t like that Church either.

          • Satori

            1. The church works against gay marriage

            2. The church opposes abortion rights, even in the cases of rape

            3. The church still asserts that it has the authority to police the religious freedom of people all over the world. As a famous First Things article discussed, the church changed “policy” on religious freedom, not doctrine.

            4. The church opposes transhumanism and other efforts to improve humanity, which I consider terrible.

            As long as these things remain true I will view the Church as an enemy of human freedom.

            • Andy, Bad Person

              You have already stated that you are an atheist. Since the starting point of all moral teaching in the Church is a faith in Jesus Christ, there is no way to engage those issues the way the Church does without him.

              I do, however, want to correct your point #3, which is not true. The Church has no authority to police anything except those that already submit to her authority.

              P.S. My initial post was not just a response to you, but also one with a history of other discussions on this blog and elsewhere, in which Mark is accused by some of being a “theocrat” and by others of being a godless socialist. It was not solely targeted at you.

              • Satori

                I thought it claimed the right to police everyone that has been baptized? You will forgive me if I reject the claim that being baptized as an infant and being raised as a Catholic counts as “submitting” to the Church’s authority.

                They are right to accuse him of being a theocrat. You have already admitted you cannot justify your social policies to me because you justifications for them involve religious premises. In other words, you want to impose policies on me for religious reasons and openly admit that is the case. When the shoe fits, my dear, when the shoe fits.

                • wlinden

                  Of course, that is why Nancy Pelosi and Andrew Cuomo have been arrested by “a dozen Swiss Guards” and hauled off to the Church Prison.

                  • sez

                    Oh, please make that happen!! And take Biden and Sebelius and my senators and governor, too!

                    Oh, that’s right: it’s just a fantasy. Even dissenting nuns get years of verbal reprimands without being “forced” to get in line: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/05/urgent-cdf-statment-on-lcwr/

                    This whole “force” thing is so wimpy as to be… I dunno… what’s the word?… non-existent?

                • Hezekiah Garret

                  Be careful, Satori, I bet there.are already to halberd toting, Michelangelo jumpsuit wearing mofros under your bed right now, just biding their time!

                  Have you considered clozaril or seroquel?

                • LFM

                  One of the reasons I have remained a Catholic, in spite of (at times) a leaning towards non-belief, is that so few atheists are able to see the obvious evil of abortion from a ‘secular humanist’ point of view. It’s clear that so-called secular humanist ‘morality’ is mere utilitarianism, divorced from any concern for ‘humanism’ (a word secularists stole from Christian tradition), and intended only to put no obstacles in the way of the atomized self, a position that eases the path of tyrants, along with its other faults.

                  BTW, the rate of abuse by Catholic priests is actually *lower* than the rate of sexual abuse by males in the general population. Here’s a link – the link is to a Catholic newsletter, but the stats in it are quoted from a Newsweek article, linked in the newsletter: http://www.themediareport.com/fast-facts/

                  Final point: the Church does not teach that children should be taken away from homosexual parents. It has always emphasized the importance of biological parenthood. A parent who discovers homosexual tendencies and acts upon them retains his parental rights. I believe it also encourages adoption by gay persons who are biologically related to the child if the biological parents are dead or otherwise absent. The reason why unions like this threesome seem tragic to tradition-minded Catholics is that the child will almost certainly grow up with no contact with its biological father, while the inherent instability of such unions is again almost certain to lead to bitter custody battles at some point in its future. [Edited for clarity by writer.]

                  • wlinden

                    “so few atheists are able to see the obvious evil of abortion from a ‘secular humanist’ point of view.”

                    John C. Wright, before his conversion, was a notable exception.

                    • LFM

                      Yes, I know that there are some such persons. One other prominent one, who is NOT a convert to anything as far as I know, is Nat Hentoff.

                  • Jem

                    “One of the reasons I have remained a Catholic, in spite of (at times) a
                    leaning towards non-belief, is that so few atheists are able to see the
                    obvious evil of abortion from a ‘secular humanist’ point of view.”
                    Well, from an atheist point of view, if you accept the premise ‘abortion is obviously evil’, then you don’t need God to tell you that. It’s an argument older than monotheism (look up Euthyphro): if there’s a right course of action, we can skip the gods and priests bit and just follow the right course of action.

                    The pro choice position isn’t about abortion, it’s about who makes the decision. Abortions have happened since ancient times. There is always, regardless of the legal status of abortion, the ‘choice’ to have an abortion.

                    The pro choice position is that the choice should be given to the woman, that’s all. That decision can then be in full accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church, if that’s what she decides. There is absolutely no action, thought or decision that a ‘pro life’ woman in that position can have that’s denied to someone who is ‘pro choice’. She can, if she likes, go ‘I’ll let someone else decide’.

                    There are people on the ‘pro life’ side who read that and can only see some dystopian free for all. This says far more about them than it does about the pro choice side. Their worldview is that people are too stupid and corrupt to be allowed to make their own decisions. It’s a horrible, negative view of the human race and I’ve never really understood why a bunch of people who see the world and the human race as so vile are so keen to see babies born into it.

                    • LFM

                      The ‘pro choice’ position is ethical nonsense: “I have a right to the control of my body and its destiny and thus to destroy any unwanted fetus that interferes with my autonomy.’ The idea that it is possible to evade or avoid the question of the fetus’s humanity is a form of question-begging, i.e. it assumes the truth of the proposition that it in fact ought to be trying to defend, that a fetus, however developed, has no claims on its mother. This position has led to the legalization, essentially, of infanticide in the Western world.

                      As for your first comment, that I should not need God to uphold my moral views: in one sense, I don’t. That is, I do not need HIm as an aid to my moral views, which I would hold even if I were an atheist. Years ago, though, when I was suffering from doubt, I noticed that atheists had a tendency to abandon any moral view that threatened to inconvenience the Self, which was to me a sign that atheism can quickly become morally bankrupt.

                      Oh, and why do you suppose I do not know the story of Euthyphro, btw? I do – and I probably know it better than you do, because I know that Socrates’ (or Plato’s) point was that ‘the gods’ in question were not the One maker of the Universe, but the pagan gods co-opted by the state, immoral or amoral beings whose decrees or actions ought not to be used to set the standard of human behavior.

                    • Jem

                      “Socrates’ (or Plato’s) point was that ‘the gods’ in question were not the One maker of the Universe, but the pagan gods co-opted by the state, immoral or amoral beings whose decrees or actions ought not to be used

                      to set the standard of human behavior.”
                      Well, no. Any god is either capricious (whatever they think is good is good) or that god is simply stating a fact when they say it’s good.

                      I’m not sure what being the maker of the universe has to do with it, perhaps you’d like to elaborate? Does, by simple fact of making something, a being gain the power to issue decrees and take actions over that creation?

                    • Jem

                      “The ‘pro choice’ position is ethical nonsense: “I have a right to the
                      control of my body and its destiny and thus to destroy any unwanted
                      fetus that interferes with my autonomy.'”

                      The pro life position, then, is ‘You don’t have a right to the control of your body and its destiny’. Is that really any more ethically coherent?
                      The pro choice position allows a woman to adopt the pro life position, in totality, if that’s her choice.

                      The pro life position is that the decision gets made, but by someone else. And that someone can be of a different religious faith, in a different country, with no knowledge of the individual circumstances of the woman. It is incoherent because it presents something that *is* a choice as something that *isn’t*.

                    • LFM

                      The pro-life position is that the fetus is a human life, and that no human being has jurisdiction over the willful death of another human being, even in the pursuit of bodily autonomy. The ‘different religious position’ is a red herring and no more: it is NOT for religious reasons that I (and many others) oppose abortion, but because we believe it to be wrong independent of what religious authority tells us. If the Church changed its position on abortion tomorrow (it won’t), we would not all throw up our hands and say ‘Wow! Now we’re free to have abortions!” Did you change your mind about the righteousness of torture when the Bush regime decided that certain forms of it were acceptable in certain situations? Of course not, because your understanding of the morality of torture was rooted in a specific vision of the human person and what he/she is entitled to as a human person. That is the same reason many pro-life people are opposed to abortion, only you are too obtuse to see it.

                      Of course, we do believe that God condemns abortion: it is because God is Himself justice and righteousness that He must do so, from which it follows that debating whether the ethical egg or the divine chick comes first is pointless.

                    • Jem

                      “it is NOT for religious reasons that I (and many others) oppose abortion, but because we believe it to

                      be wrong independent of what religious authority tells us.”
                      Then why not trust women to make that choice? Nothing about my position prevents a woman from adopting your position.

                      “Of course, we do believe that God condemns abortion: it is because God is Himself justice and righteousness that He must do so, from which it follows that debating whether the ethical egg or the divine chick comes first is pointless.”
                      It’s not so much pointless as surplus to requirements. If abortion is the wrong thing to do, it’s the wrong thing to do. We can cut out the middle man.

                    • Marthe Lépine

                      If you will allow me to add something: A right to the control of MY body and its destiny, the way I see that right, does not give me the right to make decisions about another person’s body and its destiny, e.g. the child who may not be self-aware yet but would have been growing in my body (if I was still of age to conceive, which I am not). The point is that abortion is the decision to end the life of another without considering what that other would want for him/herself.

                    • LFM

                      Thank you for writing a better response than I did. I was in a hurry when I wrote mine.

                • Andy, Bad Person

                  If you’re just going to put words in my mouth, you don’t need me for this conversation.

                • wlinden

                  Between comments “people all over the world” has become “everyone that has been baptized” (Catholic). You also never say what you mean by “police”. Quit moving the goalposts.

                  • Satori

                    There are baptized Catholics all over the world, no?

                    The Church claims it has the authority to decide what sort of policing is necessary.

                    • wlinden

                      You still refuse to say what “policing” means. What is this thing which TheChurch claims authority to oh-so-nefariously DO to people?

                    • Satori

                      Basically anything as far as I know. The church doesn’t claim to be able to forcibly convert people, but its theology seems to say that it could imprison and even execute apostates and heretics-which it did for many, many years. Once you’re baptized they “own” you.

                    • wlinden

                      So you are upset because Catholic theology “seems (to you) to say” that TheChurch could use the police it doesn’t have to put people in the prisons it doesn’t have.

                      Perhaps you could support your assertions with some references to the documents of the Catholic Church? Say, here?
                      http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a1.htm

                    • Satori

                      What do you disagree with? Are you seriously denying the church denies it has authority over baptized Catholics? Really?

                      http://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/07/conscience-and-coercion

                    • wlinden

                      If your assertions are really so unchallengeable, it should be easy to cite something actual to back them up — say, a document or theological textbook saying “TheChurch has the right to imprison people doing anything It doesn’t like (once we build the prisons) — rather than throwing around generalities and assuming the authority to interpret Catholic theology on the basis of what “seems” to you (and calling people things if they disagree).

                    • Satori

                      Answer my question, does the Church claim to have authority over baptized Catholics? Yes or no?

                    • Satori,

                      A Catholic citizen, like any citizen, has the responsibility to try and vote their peculiar understanding of Natural Law into positive law. That’s the way it is for everyone. If you are not trying to get the right thing done in your society – as you best understand the right thing – then you are not being a good citizen.

                    • Satori

                      Hitler believed he was doing what was right. Does that mean we cannot condemn Hitler?

                    • Hitler believed he was doing what was right. Does that mean we cannot condemn Hitler?

                      Of course we can. And we ought to because we believe he was wrong. If you believe we’re wrong about gay marriage then I hope you will do your best to correct us. But the exact same applies to us. We believe you’re wrong about gay marriage, and we’re doing our best to correct you.

                      I totally grant that one of us will succeed in getting his or her understanding of Natural Law enacted in positive law in a way that the other will not, but that (a) is how it goes in an imperfect democracy, and (b) doesn’t invalidate either attempt to demonstrate and apply what they think is the right thing to do.

                    • Satori

                      Well, okay then. The fact that Catholics think they are doing the right thing is not a defense per se, and it doesn’t excuse their behavior.

                      > believe we’re wrong about gay marriage then I hope you will do your
                      best to correct us. But the exact same applies to us. We believe you’re
                      wrong about gay marriage, and we’re doing our best to correct you.

                      Right, we’re enemies. And I want your side to be crushed and made into an irrelevant sect with no political power.

                    • Right, we’re enemies. And I want your side to be crushed and made into an irrelevant sect with no political power.

                      C’mon, Satori. Really? You have so little sympathy for, and understanding of, those who think differently that you can only see them as enemies to be crushed? We don’t think the way we do because we hate gay people. We actually think we have real good reasons in justice why gay marriage is a bad idea.

                      I grant that you probably won’t agree with those ideas, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think of each other as fellow citizens and not “enemies”.

                    • Satori

                      Do I have sympathy for people that want to force rape victims to carry their rapist’s child to term? Do I have sympathy for people that think homosexuals should spend their lives alone and unfulfilled? No, I do not. Not at all.

                    • But you’re not arguing, here. You’re just asserting your own position and implying we’re evil people because we don’t see the world the way you do. Are you actually interested in hearing out the Catholic position?

                    • chad

                      sheeeoooot satori… let’s just stealth baptize everyone and then we can control the world.

                      honesty is not strong point with this enlightened one.

                      In your awakened opinion, what is the best environment for a child to be raised? Tell me hmmmm???

                    • LFM

                      To quote your words back at you: What Kind of Authority? What Are You Talking About?

                      If you mean spiritual and moral authority, then yes, it does claim to have authority over baptized Catholics. Baptized Catholics are free under modern systems of government – which, as a matter of fact, I support – to refuse to concede to that authority. Of course, they, and we, have to accept the far more coercive authority of the modern state, which is now, with the help of social media, trying to impose its own secular religion on us.

                    • LFM

                      The Catholic Church does not *do* anything other than excommunication to any Catholic who commits apostasy or heresy. It has not done so since 1826, when the last heretic ever to be executed under presumed Catholic principles was put to death, Cayetano Ripoll. Even there, it was the Spanish Inquisition, which was not in fact run by the Church at all, that pronounced the sentence and carried it out.

                      There is a kind of exception that occurred under unusual circumstances. The last act of the Church of similar gravity was Pius IX’s decision in 1858 to adopt and bring up a Jewish boy named Edgardo Mortara. Mortara had been secretly baptized when gravely ill as a baby by a servant girl. Because the Church did not permit non-Catholic families to raise Catholic children, the Holy Office (i.e. the Roman Inquisition) removed the child from his parents, who lived in Bologna, which lay within the territory of the Papal States. It was only because of this fact that the Church was able to do so legally.

                      Unless the country in which Catholics lived possessed its own Inquisition office, or was in sympathy with a Church decree for other reasons, it was not possible for the Church anywhere, ever, to carry out a sentence of torture, death, or indeed any sentence at all other than excommunication, for heresy or other forms of disobedience. (Even this depended on the reaction of the local Church in the place where one happened to live.) Only the civil authority in any state could do so. The Papal States were anomalous because the Church set the laws there.

                    • Satori

                      Whether or not it actively executes people now is beside the point because we are talking about what sort of authority it claims to possess.

                    • LFM

                      And I was telling you that it does not have the type of authority that gives it power over life and death, nor the power to remove children from their homes. In what way is that irrelevant to your point? That was a singularly thoughtless and illogical remark.

                      Or is your point rather that it should have no authority at all, not even excommunication? If that is what you mean, then you should say so. It would be altogether unfair, however, as every modern institution, group, and corporation has the right to say who its members are.

                    • Satori

                      Your theological point is simply incorrect. As the First Things article I linked to explains, the church reserves to itself the right to discipline “members of the faith” and has never said that the only thing it can do to them is excommunicate them. That claim makes me think your other claims are also suspect. Maybe they didn’t cover Catholic theology in your phd program?

                    • LFM

                      Yes, the Church “has never said that the only thing it can do to [members of the faith] is excommunicate them.” But why does this worry you? The Church has no authority to impose such penalties in the world now, and, absent universal catastrophe, is unlikely to possess the power to do so in the near future. Meanwhile, those of us who try to introduce arguments about the wrongfulness of gay marriage, ‘threesome’ marriage, the deliberate deprivation of a child’s right to know his natural parents, or the murder of babies in the womb (your notion that it is not murder because a fetus is not self-aware would legitimize infanticide), do so not because we are compelled by religious authority, but because we believe that these innovations in the law will ultimately the crumbling pillars of liberal civil society. I can assure you that you will NOT get rid of us by destroying the Church, as you appear to believe, assuming such a thing is possible, which I do not.

                    • wlinden

                      “Satori” first implied that Thecatholicchurch was doing something bad by “policing the religious freedom of people all over the world” (He did not say “of Catholics”). Now he apparently complains not that Thecatholicchurch is DOING anything, but that it “claims the right to….”

                      “……. do such things,
                      “He knows not yet what they are….
                      “But they shall be
                      “The terror of the earth.”

                    • Satori

                      I said it claims the right to police people around the world, which is true. Would you find it offensive if I said I have the moral right to imprison you, and perhaps even torture you, because your parents poured some water on your head when you were an infant? Yes or no?

                    • wlinden

                      You all everybody! I hereby Claim The Right to do, uh, something or other to “Satori”. But I won’t tell anyone what it is. This means I am “policing his religious freedom.”

                    • Satori

                      So you agree with me about the Church’s claims, you just think I should ignore them because it has limited power? Nope, it doesn’t work that way. It is offensive for the church to claim it has such authority in the first place, and that is all the more reason to seek to limit its influence.

                    • wlinden

                      So you think organizations should not be allowed to make statements you find offensive? There are plenty of things other people find offensive, which you probably think are fine and dandy.

                    • Satori

                      I never said that. I fully support the right of the Catholic Church to say whatever it wants. I do the same for the KKK. My point is about how we should regard the Catholic Church, not about whether we should ban it. Its beliefs are compatible with a free society and must be rejected.

                    • LFM

                      The modern Church has abjured the use of torture and execution in the persecution of heretics. It does still claim the right to ‘persecute’ heretics by the use of persistent requests that they abjure heresy, and by punishments such as excommunication. Even during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (when torture was more commonly used), torture was used sparingly by the various Inquisitions, except the Spanish Inquisition during the first two decades of its operation. See the link here for further information: http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/04/24/3488333.htm

                      The Church does not now support the use of torture and execution under any circumstances.

                      Leaving that aside, modern states make far freer use of torture and execution for the good of the state, of course, than the Church did.

                    • Satori

                      I agree that the church’s involvement in the brutality of the middle ages is often overstated by atheists, but you are really missing my point here. The church has changed its policies, not its doctrines. It still claims the right to fight heresy using those methods-if it had actually changed *doctrine* it would have had to have declared the early Church illegitimate.

                    • LFM

                      I think you are confused here about what the Church regards as policy, and what she regards as doctrine. It is true that the Church has not changed its doctrines. However, the determination of what are appropriate methods of punishment for heresy do NOT fall into the category of Church doctrine but into the category of prudential judgments undertaken to handle worldly problems. In rejecting such methods of punishment as torture and execution, for herself and others, the Church is not proclaiming that the doctrines of the early Church were illegitimate; it is altering *policy*, as you say. That, incidentally, was one of the points the article in First Things intended to make. [Altered by writer for clarity at 8:26 EST.]

                    • Satori

                      I agree, but I take issue with the church claiming that it has the moral authority to employ such punishments if it deems them necessary. That is the problem I have with the Catholic view.

                    • wlinden

                      TheChurch has issued doctrinal statements pronouncing that NOBODY has the moral authority to use torture, and that hardly anyone under any circumstances has the moral authority to use capital punishment. For excruciatingly prolonged discussion of this, you can see Mark’s past posts excoriating those who try to argue that these are only “prudential judgements” (“Policy”, in your terms.)

                      If that is NOT what you are carrying on about, what DO you mean by “such punishments”? Or what is your rationalization for claiming that those decrees Don’t Count?

                    • wlinden

                      And exactly what “authority” is it that you find so objectionable? The last time I asked, you claimed that it was “authority” to do “just about anything”. Now you say that is “beside the point”. Quit moving the goalposts.

                    • Satori

                      It is beside the point. Having the *authority* to do something does not mean you choose to exercise your rights.

                    • Satori

                      Additionally, you are applying modern conceptions of the state to the middle ages. That doesn’t really make sense.

                    • LFM

                      I have a PhD in the history of early modern France, so I suspect you’re mistaken in making this odd and inexplicable claim. Would you care to be more specific? I suspect you don’t know what you’re talking about, but am giving you the benefit of the doubt.

                      In fact, I don’t get why you are speaking of the Middle Ages at all, because most of the inquisitions conducted by the Church, or in the name of fighting heresy by other bodies on behalf of the faith, occurred during what is conventionally called the Renaissance. The exception to this was the inquisition that investigated and worked to eliminate the Cathar movement (@1209-1229).

                    • Satori

                      Modern nation states didn’t really exist until hundreds of years after the height of the Renaissance. Feudalism and the other systems that existed at the time aren’t really equivalent to the states that began to emerge after the Peace of Westphalia.

                    • LFM

                      I do not know what you mean by ‘modern nation state,’ as you do not take the trouble to define it. It is a phrase that can have many meanings. As for the word ‘feudalism,’ it is a word with so many meanings that it is more or less meaningless. It was never used by medieval writers or thinkers to describe their own political system. Here’s a comment on the matter that puts it succinctly:

                      Which “feudalism” do you mean? An economic system with peasant serfs acting as tenants on the lands of noblemen? The devolution of state authority into private hands? Chains of personal loyalty based on oaths of vassalage and fealty among nobles? The granting of fiefs in benefice?

                      Or simply everything about the ancien regime that French revolutionaries decided they didn’t like?
                      The word is a modern invention and has been given all of these different definitions and more. It does not mean anything. There was never any such thing as a “feudal system” or “feudalism” that embraced medieval Europe. There were some specific feudal relationships – based on fief holding – but it never amounted to an “-ism” or a “system.” Medieval historians never use the term among themselves any more other than to debate what to replace it with in our teaching.

                      Source(s):
                      Elizabeth A.R. Brown, “Feudalism: the Tyranny of a Construct.” Susan Reynolds, “Fiefs and Vassals.”‘

                      None of these variants of feudalism, with the possible exception of the first one cited, was of great significance by the time of the Renaissance; most were in decline long before, as barbarian invasions grew rarer throughout Western Europe – something that could not have happened without the strengthening of the nation state’s military power. As for the first variant – the tenant farmer/serf definition of the term – if that is how you define feudalism, then the US and UK were still feudal states until the mid-20th century, or might be still for all I know, although the tenant farmers are not serfs and US landlords are not ‘noblemen.’

                      If we are to continue this discussion, you need to define your terms and explain why they matter to the main point – the authority of the Church to punish. Meanwhile, I can assure you that feudal state did not, any more than modern ones, act as an arm of the Church to discipline or punish unless their leaders wanted to do so, whether for religious reasons or reasons of state. Rome was far away and its military powers were limited.

                    • Michael Boedi

                      Following your and the other arguments in this thread I can assure you that you have been treated kindly by most others. This is not what I usually get when getting into a discussion and stating that I’m catholic. Usually I get ridiculed, SHOUTED down or outright declared as beeing a jerk. But on the other hand what would I expect in a faith whose founder was killed for beeing straight and merciful? And that’s why the church does not need to exercise any authority – each and any of us takes part in it. We accept that 2000 years of tradition have not only brought us the inquisition but far more holyness and light than darkness.
                      And the church still evolves and it will do so until the end of time and we all take part in that which makes me happy. Of course some teachings are hard to understand and some are questionable – and as long it’s not a dogma – may change some day. But it will change through all of us. That’s what the church is about.
                      I hope I got my point accross to you. If you’re interested.

                    • Satori

                      You strike me as a profoundly unserious person.

                    • wlinden

                      I did not know that “serious” meant “accepting the views of Satori”.

                      Any arguments apart from calling names?

                    • Satori

                      Tell me linden, does the church claim to have authority over baptized Catholics?

                    • wlinden

                      Tell me, “Satori”, what do you mean by “authority”?

                      Is your objection that the RCC should turn into one more Protestant church?

                      If not, what IS it?

                    • Satori

                      I linked to an article that sums up what I think is the correct view, but I doubt you read it

                      >Is your objection that the RCC should turn into one more Protestant church?

                      It’s mainly the idea that it has the right to coerce and punish anyone that decides they no longer agree with it. Excommunication is fine, the church is not obligated to associate with anyone. The problem is that the church that it has much broader authority over such people, but that it is merely choosing not to use it for policy reasons.

                    • Andy, Bad Person

                      You strike me as a profoundly unserious person.

                      Says the person who took exactly one whopping post to go straight to the Sex Abuse Crisis as the foundation of his jihad against TheChurch.

              • Since the starting point of all moral teaching in the Church is a faith in Jesus Christ

                That’s not actually true. The starting point of the moral teaching of the church is human reason. As such, Satori has a perfect right to try and reason with us about morality.

                • Andy, Bad Person

                  Correct, though I would say that the starting point of some moral teaching, like that on abortion and homosexual acts, are rooted in natural law. Not all of the Church’s teaching is rooted there, and much of it is unlikely to find support among non-believers.

            • MarylandBill

              The Church doesn’t work against gay marriage, because that makes as much sense as dehydrated water. It works against people of the same sex claiming to be married to each other and forcing other people to recognize that claim.

              The Church does not recognize a right to abortion anymore than it recognizes any other claimed right to kill other people (especially innocent life). And yes, that extends to case of rape because the fundamentally grave evil of rape is not healed by the performance of another fundamentally grave evil.

              Transhumanism, the effort to “improve” humanity. There have been lots of attempts in the past to “improve” humanity, the most recent attempt was called eugenics. We all know how that worked out.

              Freedom that does not recognize moral limits, that does not recognize the inherent worth of every human being is not freedom, it is license.

              • Satori

                I do not believe in an “objective” form of marriage and consider a social institution. Like other legal contracts it can be changed to suit our preferences. I recognizes that Catholics believe it was created by god, but they are delusional and I do not care about their opinion.

                I already know the Church’s stand on abortions and transhumanism. That’s why I consider the Church my enemy-did you think repeating those positions would get me to chnge my mind?

                • “[Catholics] are delusional and I do not care about their opinion.”

                  If you do not care about our opinions, why on earth are you here?

                • MarylandBill

                  Marriage, as a social institution was originally created to foster stable families (i.e., maximize the chance that children will be raised in an economically and socially stable household). Society has spent the last 70-80 years trying to deny that fact with serious negative consequences (Or are you going to deny that children born without married parents are far more likely to grow up in poverty?). So, even from a utilitarian perspective, this redefinition of marriage has not been a very good idea. Add to this, that in large part this redefinition is being forced on lots of people who have no desire to redefine it. Ultimately, when a social institution can mean whatever you want it to mean, it has no meaning at all.

                  So I am just curious, do you deny that abortion is killing a human life? And if so, what is the basis of your justification? And when does a person gain the right to be protected by the state that we all take for granted?

                  As for Transhumanism, how long before the state decides that all people must be “improved” for their own good? When do we start requiring genetic licenses to reproduce, and electronic chips implanted in our brains… for our own good?

            • Barbara

              So why are you here? Just getting your dialectical masturbation freak on? Or are you really deluded enough to think you’ll de convert people?

              • Satori

                I like to read things written by people I disagree with, yes. It’s not good to live in a bubble.

                • Barbara

                  I don’t think you are being totally honest. You don’t read these things with anything resembling an open mind. You call us enemies of the good. That tells me your only motivation for reading and commenting is to make yourself feel morally superior. That’s what I mean by “dialectical masturbation”. You get a cheap thrill out of reading ideas you dislike and berating them, imagining yourself a warrior of light without any of the risks involved in standing up for a cause. You do live in a bubble, and your presence here is to fortify that mental enclosure, not to open it up. It’s classic foucaulian logic. We’re the Other you use as self- affirmation.

                  • Satori

                    Perhaps. I don’t think that is what is going on since I usually don’t comment here, but maybe. Who knows?

                    > You do live in a bubble, and your presence here is to fortify that mental enclosure, not to open it up.

                    What would open it up? Let me guess, it would involve accepting Catholicism or pretending to believe it is intellectually respectable regardless of my real feelings.

                    • Barbara

                      You can start by putting aside your prejudices. Your “real feelings” are founded on distorted assumptions of what Catholics actually believe. So get to know what the foundation of Catholic beliefs really are, how do Catholics describe and explain themselves? It doesn’t mean “.accepting” anything personally, it does mean accepting that views other than yours exist and that people can come by them rationally. That believers aren’t stooopid or deluded or irrational. There are a lot of people like myself who are educated , who were steeped in the secular world for a long time and who found it wanting. If you are a university student, I could very well be one of your own professors.

                      The reason why Mark posted about this particular issue is because Catholic teaching recognizes that sexuality is deeply tied to personhood, to one’s roots, being and identity. It’s how we all get here, and it determines how each of us will experience the most vulnerable years of our existence. Catholicism teaches that each human being, even those in the womb, are ends in themselves and should not be treated as a means. No person ought to be used for another’s happiness nor discarded for another’s convenience. It also teaches that suffering can’t be avoided, only confronted and transformed.

                    • Satori

                      I don’t grant that people that believe in magic and Jewish carpenters rising from the dead in ancient Palestine are rational. Sorry, I just don’t. To me you might as well be saying that you believe in Harry Potter and want to enact social policies based on the opinions of various members of the Order of the Phoenix. I know that might sound offensive, but I don’t mean it that way. That is honestly my opinion, I view religion as superstitious nonsense.

                      >No person ought to be used for another’s happiness nor discarded for
                      another’s convenience. It also teaches that suffering can’t be
                      avoided, only confronted and transformed.

                      I reject the premise that a fetus is a person in the first place. I don’t believe in souls, and fetuses aren’t self-ware….so why should I care if they are killed? I think we owe more ethical respect to chimpanzees than we do to human fetuses.

                      >. There are a lot of people like myself who are educated , who were
                      steeped in the secular world for a long time and who found it wanting.
                      If you are a university student, I could very well be one of your own
                      professors.

                      Sure, that’s absolutely true. The problem is that being smart doesn’t make you rational. History is filled with very smart people that believed in very silly ideas.

                    • wlinden

                      ” I view religion as superstitious nonsense.”
                      But he doesn’t mean to be offensive.
                      I wonder what he would say if he MEANT to be offensive.

                    • DJ Wambeke

                      fetuses aren’t self-ware….so why should I care if they are killed?

                      Neither are newborns. Are you ok with infanticide as well?

                    • Satori

                      I’m not really in “favor” of abortion, I just think it should be allowed because I want to protect female autonomy. I do think that newborns are less important in ethical terms, but since they do not need to use their mother’s body to live the situation is a bit different.

                    • DJ Wambeke

                      why is the situation different? Newborns are no more self-aware than 9mo fetuses. And personal “autonomy” is a scary concept to be invoking, you know? While fetuses may be physically connected to an adult via an umbilical cord, they are really no less physically dependent upon adults than those fresh out of the womb. Every one of my own newborns has posed an immense threat to my autonomy.

                    • obpoet

                      Ever notice how when a convincing argument is posed, they’re as scarce as cockroaches with the light on.

                    • B.E. Ward

                      Unfortunately, the comboxes of a Catholic blog aren’t going to be the place you will have all of your objections addressed. My advice is to read books written on some of these issues. Find one particular concern and email Mark to ask for book suggestions (or ask here). “Magic and Jewish carpenters rising from the dead” is a good start!

                      Of course, this presumes you are *actually* curious about what Catholicism (or Christianity in general) is all about.. and that you can adopt a posture of humility to accept that you *might* be wrong. Considering the fact that you’ve taken the time today to post heaps of comments here, I suspect there is more than just spite motivating you.

                    • Satori

                      I’ve read very serious books on Christianity already. Plantinga, Swinburne, Craig, etc. I wasn’t even close to convinced by any of them, and the only one that challenged my worldview even slightly was Plantinga.

                    • Barbara

                      You are confusing rationalism with materialism. Rationality doesn’t depend on a priori assumptions about the supernatural. Reason is simply the ability to dispassionately think through premises to their conclusions and to evaluate phenomena. Have you evaluated any of the evidence of Christianity’s claims? Considering that it makes claims of a historical/material nature (that a man named Jesus of Nazareth lived in the Roman province of Judaea during the reign of Caesar Augustus and was crucified as a criminal) as well as supernatural ones should merit at least a critical look at the claims as a whole. How rational is it to make an a priori dismissal of a claim based on the circular logic that because supernatural things don’t exist, that particular supernatural event didn’t happen.

                      Now, your second point on the fetus is interesting because it is pretty much a reversal of the first. The Catholic position on abortion is entirely material. If it is a creature with a human body and human DNA, it’s a human, therefore a person.

                    • Barbara

                      Sorry, disqus won’t let me edit comments on iPad. You’ve made what is basically a metaphysical distinction between “human” and “person”. The question of soul, for a pro-life Catholic, is -pardon the pun- immaterial. Humans are embodied beings, there are no human non-persons. If a creature has a human body it is a human person. What I like about Catholicism is that it looks at the world upside down. It favours the poor while the world looks up to the rich, it blesses weakness while the world fawns over strength . It looks at sex from the point of view of the children that are conceived by it, not the adults who seek only pleasure without consequences.

                    • Satori

                      >Considering that it makes claims of a historical/material nature (that a
                      man named Jesus of Nazareth lived in the Roman province of Judaea
                      during the reign of Caesar Augustus and was crucified as a criminal) as
                      well as supernatural ones should merit at least a critical look at the
                      claims as a whole. How rational is it to make an a priori dismissal of a
                      claim based on the circular logic that because supernatural things
                      don’t exist, that particular supernatural event didn’t happen.

                      Have you ever heard of Bayesian reasoning? Whenever you try to determine whether a historical event occurred you are doing probabilistic analysis, and I accept the Bayesian view of probability. In informal terms (as opposed to using Bayes theorem) this means that I use my past experience and knowledge to determine the prior probability of an event and then consider the evidence in light of that prior probability. In the case of the resurrection of Jesus Christ the prior probability has to be astronomically low. Most people do not come back from the dead, and no one has been able to come up with real scientific evidence for a miracle. Because of this even naturalistic explanations for these events that seem implausible are automatically going to be far more probable than the resurrection.

                    • Barbara

                      Interesting, but there are two problems with applying Bayesian reasoning here. Firstly, the foundation of the resurrection claim is precisely that it is improbable. There are generally two types of miracles, those which are so intimate and personal, they really only seem miraculous to those who experience it. An example might be an alcoholic praying to have his addiction removed and suddenly all urge for a drink is gone. Then there are the “big” miracles, which are supposedly major disruptions of the natural order of things. The very basis of the claim is that the thing never happened before. The second is the question of what kind of evidence would be considered “scientific” evidence. The main body of evidence is the gospels themselves, a collection of texts full of markers which indicate they were composed of testimonies. Things like random references to people’s parents, occupations and backgrounds which would make no sense in a mythical or epic work but make perfect sense if the writers were trying to keep track of real witnesses. The fact that the apostles of Jesus are often represented as ignorant, sinful and cowardly. The fact that the first witness to the resurrection was a woman in a culture where women weren’t even allowed to testify in court. The fact that people were willing to be martyred rather than renounce what they had witnessed. Or, in the present, why do those above mentioned “little miracles” happen? Why do people experience miracles like unexplained healings? Why do people who convert experience greater feelings of happiness, joy and meaning in their lives?. As another atheist on here put it. “Why do believers get real fruit from an imaginary tree?”

                      I am sure you will be able to come up with a non supernatural explanation for all of those examples I gave. Don’t feel that you need to. I have heard a lot of them before. The only reason I bring them up is to defend my premise that belief in the resurrection is not inherently irrational. There are rational elements of faith as well as subrational

                    • obpoet

                      “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

                      It’s a guaranteed bubble burst-er.

        • sez

          Please define “force”, as you’ve used it in your second paragraph. Because, as a cradle Catholic who wandered far afield in my youth – doing all sorts of things the Church teaches against – I was never limited any more than the atheists around me. And, as a thinking, educated adult, returning to the Church and adhering to her teachings was my choice – not forced. In fact, it was frowned on by friends and family alike, yet it remained the most logical action of my life – freely chosen. Thanks be to God!

          That I choose to submit to a higher authority – one with logical and consistent teaching for 2000 years that clearly brings about the true flourishing of individuals, families, and communities – makes me more free, not less.

          So, I just don’t get the “force” you speak of.

          • Barbara

            I don’t get the “force” thing either. It’s not like the Church has standing armies waiting to invade people’s homes and abduct their children. The church simply promotes what it believes to be the healthiest way of life. Yes, Catholics do try to promote their worldview in secular society by participating in democratic institutions, but so does everyone else who has a worldview of any kind. Would our atheist interlocutor be okay with prohibiting Catholics from voting, teaching or holding public office? After all, those nasty Catholics might end up forcing their views on people who don’t want them by, ya know, voting for a pro-life candidate. Maybe Catholics should be forced to wear some kind of identifying mark, so that people who talk to then will be warned ahead of time that the Catholic might try to convince them that babies ought to be raised by both parents whenever possible. The truth is, I think the whole meme so uncritically and un reflexively uttered by atheists about Christians forcing their views is actually a case of transference. They want to force us to change our views and live according to their principles. Of course they will dance the relativist tango when you tell them this “I don’t care what you believe in the privacy of your own home…” But it’s a beard. They secretly desire that the
            Christian religion disappear from the face of the Earth in order to usher in Utopia. They’re just not willing to get their hands dirty.

  • SteveP

    Oh dear. A female has consented to being a brood mare for two other women. Will there be les-fem backlash in that one cannot really consent to the *wrong* choice?

  • wlinden

    Yep, it’s them no-good libertarians who did it! That’s why they are in the forefront of the movement for legalizing polygamy….. uh, except they aren’t. (Except Sam Sloan, apparently. You say you never heard of him? Neither have most people. But he is obviously responsible!)

    • D.T. McCameron

      He has a comic book-y alliterative name. I’m inclined to like him.

      • wlinden

        Then you will join in singing “Oh, my name it is Sam Sloane, damn your eyes, damn your eyes…”?

  • Katie in FL

    Looks like they set this up to try for a reality show.

    • wlinden

      “It’s symbolic of our struggle against oppression!”
      “It’s symbolic of their struggle against reality!”

      • SteveP

        A Monty Python reference early on a Monday; not that I’m superstitious but I dare say it will be a good remainder of the week!

        Thank you & Cheers!

  • Debbie S

    So people read Mark because they find his views repulsive? That seems rather backwards, but carry on. I am sure you get nothing from it. Nope, not at all.

  • Morris

    Someday people will come to understand that, while the words “libertine” and “libertarian” start with the same letters, they are in fact different words with very different meanings. And while there can be libertine libertarians, there can also be libertine Catholics. Laziness is the order of the day when dealing with “libertarian” because reading is hard. The libertines are definitely running the show; the libertarians are hated by the libertines of both right and left because they represent a threat to the idiotic right/left theatre. This threesome marriage is NOT in any way a “victory” for “libertarianism”, it’s simply the next logical step in a culture that is very quick to shout down any and all libertarian ideas.

    • wlinden

      Mark has called the editorial stance of the New York Post “Libertarian”. I would be very surprised to hear that there are any Libertarians or libertarians working at the editorial desks, and so would every libertarian I know.

  • Mark R

    If arguing and pointing out another’s sins solved anything, I see no evidence.

  • Marthe Lépine

    Actually, this has made me reflect (a little) about the definition of marriage. As I see it, the definition of marriage had been lost a long time before all this noise about whether marriage was limited or not to one man and one woman. The basic definition was lost when people began to see marriage as one of the women in this story has described (and diminished) it: “marriage had always been an important symbol of commitment for me.” Starting from that point, the later arguments about a definition could easily morph into the next steps on the slippery slope.

    • D.T. McCameron

      Quite so. And taken with that warped view, it’s easy to see their bewilderment at our position. “It’s just a symbol of commitment. What could you possibly have against that?”

      Marriage (to the masses) hasn’t been a sacrament in a long time.