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144 theologians confront hierarchy | National Catholic Reporter

144 theologians confront hierarchy | National Catholic Reporter


  1. Wow. First Egypt, now this. Seems like all around the owrld, the "little people" are getting tired of being trod upon and are insisting on their own voice and vote.

    I wonder who's next?

  2. It doesn't look good for the Catholic Church in IRELAND.

    Folks there must be really pi$$ed off.

    Church near collapsed?

    Pope Benedict is having lots of problems with his flock.

  3. These guys would find their ideal church in the United Church. They've been embracing the type of "progress" these men are suggesting for decades in an effort to accommodate the trends of our times. Ironically those measures have done absolutely nothing to stem the exodus in that denomination. If anything it sped it up.

  4. Paul did it ever occur, you may be the one that has been duped & led astray by your ancestors history?

    Frightening thought isn't it?

  5. The only duping going on here are these theologians claiming to be Catholics and that they're propositions are grounded in Christian principles in accord with a heightened understanding of scripture.
    When the remedy for the sins of the church is to give a pass to more sin or to pass on church authority to your average Joe Catholic, you know your playing for the wrong team.

    "For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths."


  6. If your god exists,(which I don't believe) he has to take responsibility for knowing that he created humans as unable to make perfect choices.

    And little wonder ... when your god is so inept as to create a system where he believes he has to burn his own children in hell for eternity.

    If your god created Adam and Eve ... he already KNEW they were going to be sinners ... and he already knew that all humans were going to be sinners by catching the sin from Adam and Eve ... so if your god existed, he would be positively cruel in having a need punish his own creation.

    The dogma also states that he gave free will ... but if humans don't follow his will they will burn in hell for eternity.

    Some free will THAT was!

    As for the clergy abuse scandals:

    Those children are walking talking human beings whose lives, and those around them, were ruined forever by the "holy men" of the Roman Catholic Church. The effect of those atrocities (which the Roman Catholic Church tried desperately to cover up) will have a negative effect on society for generations.
    Congratulations! Roman Catholic Church, for your upstanding forthright behavior among your fellow man, and your god.

    And not to mention that the current pope was in charge of the office that handles pedophile priests back then! We now know this and the cover-up itself was helped along by said current pope! Save the name of the church at any cost,even above the innocence of the children! His actions caused the untold thousands of additional molestations because of his policies at that time! He was and is an enabler! And it is ludicrous to think the molestations have stopped completely! Not to mention the priests who are molesting females!

    As for the confessional;
    Centuries of cover-ups of molestations taught the new young members of the clergy that molesting was "normal."

    All they had to do was go to confession and start anew the next day with the same patterns they were taught at the knees of their predecessors.

    Without fear of demons, devils, evil, and eternal punishment... what need would there be to seek protection from a god? It's a nifty little scam.
    Stock up on your talismans of crucifixes and holy water, and practice your incantations and spells (prayers),'cause the devil is coming to get ya!

    Your god was man-ufactured by mortal humans that didn't know any better.

  7. Fr. Michael Smith16 February, 2011

    You may mock various images of God, but be open to the possibility of their being a reality beyond the images. Human images point, however imperfectly, to the ineffable.
    Atheists claim that there is nothing beyond the images, but they don't KNOW that. The spiritual experience of countless millions throughout the millennia would seem to suggest that there is something there.
    In other words, I am trying to nudge you from atheism in the direction of agnosticism.

  8. "Atheists claim that there is nothing beyond the images, but they don't KNOW that."

    Just as no one else knows that there IS. And none of the atheists of my acquaintance care one way or another about it. Why do you?

  9. Lady Janus makes a good point Michael - you don't have any objective evidence whatsoever in support of your religious propositions. The best you can do is some vague arm waving about subjective experiences you or others have undergone, or mumble about unbroken lines of tradition, or philosophize that no one can prove that your propositions are untrue...but in the end, you have little to nudge the rational mind anywhere nearer to your beliefs.

    Thomism, Natural Law, and dogma just don't cut it - and you ought to be intellectually honest enough to admit that to yourself and others.


  10. Fr. Michael Smith17 February, 2011

    By "objective evidence", you mean data that one can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell. It is question-begging to presuppose that all reality is perceptible and then to argue for the non-existence of imperceptible reality. We both know that perceiptible data can be variously interpreted.
    I have never seen God, but I have faith in God, for reasons that you would rule out of order a priori, so I won't go into the reasons (again).
    Here's the catch: You have never verified that there is no God, but you make an act of "faith" that there is no God. If my act of faith is irrational, then your act of "faith" is also irrational. You can't have it both ways. What puzzles me is the CERTAINTY with which you make your claims.

  11. Hi Martin

    I've seen much evidence to support my Catholic faith but like any evidence, accepting it as such is often determined by personal prejudices. I would be more likely to accept it as such while you would be likely to reject it based on our prejudices. I believe the man on the Shroud of Turin is Jesus Christ, I have no doubt that the historical Jesus was recognized by a 1st century Jewish historian name Josephus. I have no doubt in the media accounts that over 60,000 people witnessed a miracle promised by the Virgin Mary to 3 children in Fatima Portugal. I have no doubt that my sister was healed of Scoliosis at a healing mass in my parish about 30 years ago. Thats just some of what I see as evidence.

    There is evidence but it requires an open mind to the possibility of God to accept it. That is something most atheists don't have.



  12. "You have never verified that there is no God, but you make an act of 'faith' that there is no God."

    No! You're putting the negative emphasis on the wrong thing. There is NO 'act of faith' for an atheist. The negative belongs on the "faith" rather than on the god.

    As I pointed ut to Tim several weeks ago, there is a great big difference between, "I do not believe in a God," and "I believe there is no God."

  13. Fr. Michael Smith18 February, 2011

    Let’s have some fun with the two propositions:

    1. I do not believe there is a God.
    2. I believe there is no God.

    Put in their logical form, they read:

    1a. The proposition ‘There is an x and x is a god’ is false.
    2a. The proposition ‘Not (there is an x and x is a god)’ is true.

    Assuming that ‘god’ has the same meaning in (1a) and (2a), then the affirmation of 1a logically implies the affirmation of 2a. To say otherwise would be to imply a contradiction.

    Then again, I have met people who can live quite serenely with logical contradictions. My rule of thumb is: Love them, but forget about debating with them.

  14. "Let’s have some fun with the two propositions..."

    No, let's not do that. You're twisting my words, rearranging them, paraphrasing them, and changing the meaning. Don't do that. I mean precisely what I say, nothing more, nothing less.

    I said that you were putting the negative emphasis on the wrong thing, and that is EXACTLY what I meant.

  15. Hi Michael,

    Given how bright and well educated I know that you actually are, I am flabbergasted that you would offer us such sophistry.

    If one posits the existense of something, then one ought to be able to produce some sort of evidence for it. The burden of proof is on you, not the other way around. Surely I don't have to go back to Bertrand Russell's flying teapot to demonstrate my point?

    So basically, you have no evidence that is objective. You challenge me to define objective evidence before you give give me an answer....but you won't give me your evidence anyway because you know in advance I won't accept it.

    Do you have evidence that is:

    a) not the subjective experiences, beliefs, or sincerely held opinions of yourself or others?
    b) not the product of tradition or authority?
    c) or not placing the burden of proof on me to "prove" a negative?

    Hmmmmm....crickets chirping. I thought as much.

    Michael, I have looked at the evidence, not all of it, but certainly some of the best bits: Thomism; Natural Law; Scripture; and Dogma. Not one shred is convincing to anyone who has not already decided to believe it.

    But listen, if you have anything I haven't missed or ruled out above, please feel free to share it. I am entirely open to reviewing it.


  16. Hi Paul,

    What do you know of my prejudices or of me?

    In any case, I have no doubt that you FEEL you have good reasons to believe in your Jesus. The shroud is a likely forgery and the reference to Jospehus' Antiquities of the Jews is:

    a) not first hand knowledge and only acknowledges hearsay;
    b) omits any mention of the resurrection of Christ (which if true and known to the author would have been the first thing out of his mouth);
    c) was likely tampered with by later transcribers;


  17. Fr. Michael Smith18 February, 2011


    If a universe of billions of galaxies, with its laws of nature, cannot suggest to you the existence of a transcendent origin of all being;
    if you are satisfied to believe the universe came from nothing (never mind the contradiction of a philosophical axiom);
    or if you are satisfied to believe that the universe “just is” from infinite time going backwards, with no cause and no purpose (never mind the impossibility of an infinite regress ever getting started);
    if you find no meaning in the question of why there is anything at all rather than nothing;
    then nothing that anyone says will change your mind. You have made up your mind.

  18. Hi Michael,

    As you well know - even if I accepted all of Aquinas' 7 proofs of the existence of god, not a single one would ever lead me to know god in the way that you proclaim him to be.

    I do find the universe awe inspiring in its beauty, its terror and its complexity. I am entirely comfortable in saying that I don't know much about it, and as I learn more, I will revise and update my knowledge accordingly.

    What I will not say is that I know what "caused" the universe. I will also not make an argument from my ignorance or my awe to say that it must be your god that did it all.

    My mind is entirely open to revising my point of view should you have new evidence to show me (which apparently you won't do because I will allegedly dismiss it). If you feel your pearls are being cast before a swine (i.e. me) then don't do it for my sake, but do it for other seekers of the truth who may be reading this blog.

    I wonder how open YOU are to revising your statements when I point out that your "evidence" provides no rational basis for your beliefs?

    Who is really the closed minded person in this exchange?


    PS: I still think the sophistry evident in your earlier comment is a disservice to you.


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