08 April, 2010

In Defense of the Pope | First Things

In Defense of the Pope | First Things


  1. I don't want to sound like a broken record but the Catholic Church, if it's going to be strong enough to survive, needs to be strong enough to withstand a little societal and media pressure, especially if its going to continue to advocate for institutionalization of its non mainstream moral imperatives, like the persecution of homosexuals, women who seek abortion, unchaste young adults, divorced individuals and protect a class of pseudo celibate, sexual predator priests that stand above the law and before you say they don't, tell me how many of these child molesters have ever done hard time, in any country of the World.

    It's not like they are coming after you with the stakes, wheels or Percherons for drawing and quartering that you Papists were so fond of inflicting on your own critics, not so long ago. They aren't even rounding you up for "relocation". If you can't take a little ribbing from an old parochial schoolgirl like Maureen Dowd, you're in big trouble.

  2. You do kind of sound like a broken record reddog, but that's cool. With you, I as a reader know what I am going to get. There is a certain personal honesty in that.

    But, I do not agree with your interpretations of things always (OK often).

    A little societal and media pressure - Really. If the media were telling the truth, and there is truth to tell, I have no problem with some pressure. This is not about pressure, but about outright lies that are impacting people. Maureen Dowd might be a parochial schoolgirl, but she is not ribbing. She is using her own old wounds to try and hurt the RCC.

    It is not that the RCC handled things well in the past. It did not and bears the shame for that. But this is old news, and the RCC is trying to heal the old wounds, and is being accountable for the cases that occurred.

    Persecution of Homosexuals. - Really again. The Church teaches that it does not understand same sex attraction. It stands against sex outside of marriage for anyone, and does not discriminate against homosexuals per se. What it is discriminating against, is practicing homosexuals wanting to become priests, not against men with same sex attraction, who want to become priests. There is a very serious differtiation.

    Women who seek abortion - Really again. The Church does not discriminate against women who have had abortions. The Church teaches that it is a grave sin to have an abortion, to counsel someone to have one, or to perform one, but the Church is made up of sinners, and all are called to repentance. That is not about discrimination, but about boundaries.

    Unchaste Young Adults - We are all called to live chaste lives, to be married to one spouse of the opposite sex, and to remain faithful to that spouse. The Church has never stood for sex outside of marriage, and will not, nor should it. Again it is about boundaries. Most young people are not living chaste lives. The Church invites them to repent of their sinfulness, but it is a place for sinners and they are welcome. We are all called to form our consciences. It is about setting standards, though in our culture these standards are hard to accept and to follow, and most, but not all, don't.

    Divorced Individuals - I have been a divorced individual, and had a marriage annulled. That was a long process, and was very therapeutic, too long and involved to put into a comment here. I was never discriminated against.

    Protecting sexual predator priests - You are out of touch with the times, and the context of the previous times. My wife was sexually abused for years by her own father in the same time period as the sexual abuse peak for priests and religious. When she and her sister brought it forward, no one would believe them, and they had to bury it for a long time, until my wife spent lots of money and lots of time in counselling. She did not have anyone she could get to pay for it. Her sister is still living in the pain and sorrow of their childhood. There are no excuses for the behaviours in the RCC, nor anywhere else.

    Amy priest who abused a child deserved to be punished by the state, and deserves to be set aside in the Church. The Church reacted very slowly to this, and badly, as did the rest of society. The Church is not responsible for putting people in jail. That is a civil responsibility. Recently, Father Feeler (as he was called) here in the London Diocese was in jail, when his crimes were finally reported by his victims, and a case could be brought against him. He died in jail, and went to wherever he went to. May God have mercy on his soul, and may those he abused, and there were a great many, find the healing that they need, and may the funds that the RCC Diocese of London provides them, assist them in that process.

    Anyway, I appreciate your comments, even if I do not agree with them.

  3. "If the media were telling the truth, and there is truth to tell, I have no problem with some pressure."

    Good thought. Now to take it back a bit further: If the media were told the truth in the first place, it would tell the truth. It tells everything.

    Don't blame "media" for this mess...media makes its money by the selling of information it gathers. If it gathers and sells lies, that's not the fault of the gatherer, but the source of the lies.

    "The Church has never stood for sex outside of marriage..."

    Oh, boy...okay, then...the year is 1493, and a young man (18 years old) is being elevated by the pope to the lofty status of cardinal from a three-year career as a bishop. And although he resigned his red hat five years later, he remained a powerful figure in Church history until his illness and death five years after that. And in that space of time, he fathered several illegitimate children by various women.

    His name? Cesare Borgia.

    The pope who appointed him? Alexander VI -- formerly Rodrigo Borgia -- Daddy!

    It's not a good idea to use the terms, "always," or, "never," when it's so easy to contradict them with historical examples. And that was only one example.

    "The Church teaches that it does not understand same sex attraction. It stands against sex outside of marriage for anyone, and does not discriminate against homosexuals per se."

    But it does not allow same sex marriage, so for homosexuals, the Church does, indeed, discriminate! That is more than merely "not understanding." That is blatant discrimination.

  4. The Pope is an absolute monarch, not only of the Catholic Church but the Vatican State. He serves for life. Nothing or no one can change that. He owes his position only to the other old, sick, twisted red hats. He is immune from any prosecution for any crimes or atrocity that he has committed in the past or will commit in the future. As such, anybody in the World, has an absolute right, even an obligation to say anything about him at all, if they think it may be warranted.

    Maureen takes it easy on him. As the Pope's defender of the Faith, the ratboy was responsible for shielding most of the pedophile priests exposed during the three decade reign of the Big Pole and that was a lot of pedophiles. He also colluded with the late pontiff to quash any investigation of his long time pimp and fornicating running buddy, Marcel Maciel. I'm sure there were many other episodes in which pressure from his superiors, cowardice and timidity caused him to fail the Church as well.

    If he became more responsive to some of these problems once he became Pope himself, it still doesn't negate the gross culpability during all those years that it was his responsibility to protect and maintain the integrity of the Catholic Church but even more importantly to protect and defend the trust that Catholics throughout the World placed in their Church. In this respect, he failed, utterly, grossly, cowardly. He is just another sniveling, shirking, self loathing priest allowed to gain power because no more honorable men would perform the priestly tasks of the Church and that is a big problem for your Church. Unless you can run it with honor, integrity and honesty, what's the point?

    Benedict is a failure. He's not a worthy priest. He's no worse than a lot of Popes before him. Isn't that a shame.

    Catholics are always fond of saying that the Church has endured so much and is yet still extant. If it is to be run by men such as Joseph Ratzinger, can it truly be said to endure or is it just a cruel hoax.

  5. Lady Janus:

    Good points. You may be surprised to find that I disagree with some of them either in substance, or in context.

    To give the media respect for being truth tellers is not accurate. The media is in the business of selling newspapers, not information. There is a big difference.

    The media misrepresented facts it had relative to this latest scandal, so I don't buy your argument. That it should be so, is correct, but like the Church, there are humans involved, deadlines, salaries, economics, etc.

    The CHURCH did not stand for sex outside of marriage. Sinners in positions of power in the Church are a different matter. There were many of them. There are many of them (sinners that it), me included. Church teaching is clear. The actions of members of the Church, not as clear. Here, there are personal agendas involved that do not coincide with the heart of the Church, but the groins of some claiming to speak for it.

    The teaching on marriage is that it is a permanent relationship between a man and a woman. Annulment is a whole other matter, but can we set it aside for purposes of this discussion, please?

    I cannot marry my cat. I think I cannot marry my sister in the Church(good thing, she is married already). Marriage has to mean something, and for the Catholic Church, and for society in general, subject to political whims of the day, it means one man/one woman. There have to be some boundaries. However, the teaching is far broader than that, and you gave me leeway on depth with our friend Wayne previously.

    The documentation of the Church teachings that are relevant to this issue are voluminous. Two valid resources include Humanae Vitae, the papal encyclical, and the Theology of the Body, Pope J2P2's 129 brief Wednesday audiences on being human sexually. So, forgive me if I have put a gloss to something that is as broad as it is deep.

    Discrimination is an interesting word. I could ignore your comments. Would that be discriminating against Witches, because you claim to be one? No, it might be a matter of boundaries. If you don't respond to my comments, is that discriminating against Catholics, because I claim to be one. I think not. Discrimination is an overused word.

    You and I disagree on some things, OK a lot of things. Is one of us discriminating?

  6. "The media is in the business of selling newspapers, not information."

    Not quite. And I was a little hasty in my previous answer, so here it is amended...

    The owners of newspapers are in the business of selling advertising space. Likewise television. And radio. All of them together -- as well as the internet -- are collectively known as "media." And they do this by providng information from various sources for the consumer to buy.

    They do not separate the "truth" from "lies" -- and would not even if they could tell the difference. That is not their job. Their job is to provide information for which you, the consumer, is willing to pay; and along with the information, you get the advertisements that are paid for by the companies who wish you to spend your money on their products. None of them cares about such an odd concept as "truth" when that nebulous quality is different for every buyer.

    "The CHURCH did not stand for sex outside of marriage. Sinners in positions of power in the Church are a different matter."

    And the ultimate position of power is the pope, who speaks for the Church with every breath he takes. I keep hearing from others that -- once he is pope -- you cannot separate the man from the office. If that is true, then the reverse is also true -- you cannot separate the office from the man. They are One.

    "Marriage has to mean something, and for the Catholic Church, and for society in general, subject to political whims of the day, it means one man/one woman. There have to be some boundaries."

    Why does marriage "have to" mean something? And even if it does, why do you think it has to mean the same thing for everyone? For you, it was likely one of the sacraments. For someone else, it was a tax break.

    The Catholic Church can only speak for Catholics (and even at that, it can only speak for those who will allow it). It cannot speak for society in general. And it really should stop trying to do so.

    And as for boundaries, I think we already have a formula for that -- two consenting adults not closely related by genetic ties. That would translate to mean that your birth sister is not acceptable, but an adopted sister might be. And there have been societies in which brother and sister were required to produce the next line of succession to leadership, or the line died out and another replaced it.

    I think you know that neither of us buys that particular situation as "discrimination." As a word, it might very well be overused; at the very least, in this case, it is being misused.

    Discrimination is the active negation of opportunity granted to others on the basis of inherent properties.

  7. It may not bother you when objective truth, as opposed to your truth and my truth, which are merely opinions, is waylaid by pap, but it is bothersome to me.

    Maybe if someone made disparaging remarks about what you objectively know to be true about your faith with obfuscation, and deceptions, you might think differently.

    Marriage has to mean something, since every word must have a meaning or we could not find a basis to communicate. That it does not inherently mean what you might choose it to mean is difficult, so come up with another word to mean what you want. How about civil unions?

    Bastardizing the word marriage demeans those who believe in marriage as it was originally defined. Society is rapidly redefining marriage to mean anything you want it to mean, and for me that is sad.

    It would be kind of like me (though it would not actually be me) calling a woman I think is ugly - Witch, or someone who's behaviour I do not approve of, calling that person a Witch. What does Witch really mean? How does someone who identifies as a Witch believe themselves to be, or to stand for, and hold true?

    Just sayin' and asking.

  8. "Maybe if someone made disparaging remarks about what you objectively know to be true about your faith with obfuscation, and deceptions, you might think differently."

    Michael, I'm a Witch. Do you think I've gone through life without hearing outright and deliberate lies about who and what I am? Not to mention threats and actual physical assaults. I'm an expert on that crap. But I've learned how to separate out the stuff about which I can do anything and let the rest of it roll off me. When "someone" hates you without knowing you, there are no answers in this world unless you are willing to kill. You do the best you can and then you move on.

    Let's move away from trying to define marriage as a mere word and simply deal with the concept, no matter what it's called. In this day and age, it's a legal contract between two consenting, non-consanguinous adults, neither of whom is currently engaged in another, separate contract of the same type.

    Originally, marriage was a political affiliation among potential warring tribes, and its purpose was to consolidate territory and power to a central authority.

    Things change. They will continue to change. This is not by way of offering an insult to anyone who sees his own marriage in a particular light, but rather to accomodate those who wish to be included in the general concept.

    The fact that two men or two women can now be legally married does not change your marriage. If you look at it objectively, from a safe distance, instead of taking it as a personal insult, you might realize that no insult is intended -- that the men or women who don't know you just want to be allowed to live their own lives as they choose, and enjoy all the legal benefits that you acquired the minute you said, "I do."

  9. Lady Janus:

    I appreciate your insights. I particularly appreciate that more often than not, you back up your thoughts with information, so that I can get a sense of where you are coming from historically, or just the basis for your perspective.

    I have a gay step daughter, who has a partner, and the two of them are very dear to me. I consider her and her partner as my daughters, and treat them that way, with the respect and dignity that they deserve as fellow travelers on the journey of this mortal coil, as well as two people who share our lives.

    They are engaged, and I respect their choices, as their choices, which I may not understand. They have explained to me that they realise that their upcoming union is not like a conventional marriage, but they are committed to each other, and want to set that in stone, and be able to have the benefits of partners that are conveyed in civil law, tax law, and health care law to name a few.

    I prepare their tax returns and recommended that they file as a common law couple, amending past years returns, since they had been "in hiding".

    I love them and am doing the best I can to demonstrate that love without condition.

  10. You're one of the good guys, Michael, you know that?

  11. Thank you for your kind words, Lady Janus.


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