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BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility

GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 10:18 AM
DMcG 10 Jan 12 - 10:49 AM
Silas 10 Jan 12 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 11:25 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 10 Jan 12 - 11:25 AM
katlaughing 10 Jan 12 - 11:29 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Jan 12 - 12:17 PM
Joe Offer 10 Jan 12 - 12:25 PM
Silas 10 Jan 12 - 12:32 PM
Silas 10 Jan 12 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 10 Jan 12 - 12:45 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Jan 12 - 12:54 PM
DMcG 10 Jan 12 - 01:20 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Jan 12 - 01:29 PM
JohnInKansas 10 Jan 12 - 01:41 PM
Big Mick 10 Jan 12 - 02:51 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Jan 12 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,olddude 10 Jan 12 - 03:00 PM
DMcG 10 Jan 12 - 04:03 PM
bbc 10 Jan 12 - 05:28 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Jan 12 - 05:35 PM
Greg B 10 Jan 12 - 05:51 PM
Rapparee 10 Jan 12 - 07:57 PM
EBarnacle 10 Jan 12 - 08:31 PM
Joe Offer 10 Jan 12 - 11:42 PM
GUEST,mark-s(on the road) 11 Jan 12 - 12:24 AM
GUEST,999 11 Jan 12 - 12:39 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 12 - 12:40 AM
Joe Offer 11 Jan 12 - 12:53 AM
beeliner 11 Jan 12 - 12:59 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 12 - 01:11 AM
Joe Offer 11 Jan 12 - 02:14 AM
Silas 11 Jan 12 - 04:38 AM
DMcG 11 Jan 12 - 07:17 AM
banjoman 11 Jan 12 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,999 11 Jan 12 - 10:02 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Jan 12 - 10:16 AM
DMcG 11 Jan 12 - 11:32 AM
John P 11 Jan 12 - 01:22 PM
Joe Offer 11 Jan 12 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,mg 11 Jan 12 - 04:37 PM
John P 11 Jan 12 - 05:05 PM
Joe Offer 11 Jan 12 - 05:39 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Jan 12 - 05:46 PM
John P 11 Jan 12 - 06:12 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 11 Jan 12 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,999 11 Jan 12 - 06:48 PM
MartinRyan 11 Jan 12 - 08:30 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 11 Jan 12 - 08:53 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 12 - 01:00 AM
Joe Offer 12 Jan 12 - 02:07 AM
GUEST,mg 12 Jan 12 - 03:23 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 12 - 04:38 AM
Joe Offer 12 Jan 12 - 04:58 AM
Musket 12 Jan 12 - 05:09 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 12 - 05:12 AM
Joe Offer 12 Jan 12 - 05:35 AM
Silas 12 Jan 12 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jan 12 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Shining Wit 12 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jan 12 - 07:52 AM
DMcG 12 Jan 12 - 08:07 AM
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Desert Dancer 12 Jan 12 - 11:49 AM
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DMcG 12 Jan 12 - 12:32 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 12 Jan 12 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Jan 12 - 01:25 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 12 - 01:53 PM
DMcG 12 Jan 12 - 03:11 PM
Joe Offer 12 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM
John P 12 Jan 12 - 04:46 PM
Joe Offer 12 Jan 12 - 05:27 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Jan 12 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,999 12 Jan 12 - 06:11 PM
Ed T 12 Jan 12 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,mg 12 Jan 12 - 07:29 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Jan 12 - 07:49 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 12 Jan 12 - 07:52 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 12 Jan 12 - 08:15 PM
Musket 13 Jan 12 - 04:34 AM
Silas 13 Jan 12 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,Shining Wit 13 Jan 12 - 06:44 AM
Greg F. 13 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM
Silas 13 Jan 12 - 09:24 AM
John P 13 Jan 12 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Eliza 13 Jan 12 - 12:12 PM
RichM 13 Jan 12 - 12:35 PM
Greg F. 13 Jan 12 - 12:37 PM
DMcG 13 Jan 12 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 13 Jan 12 - 01:48 PM
DMcG 13 Jan 12 - 02:07 PM
John P 13 Jan 12 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,olddude 13 Jan 12 - 03:10 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 12 - 04:35 PM
Silas 13 Jan 12 - 04:42 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 12 - 04:52 PM
gnu 13 Jan 12 - 05:49 PM
Ed T 13 Jan 12 - 06:13 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 12 - 06:23 PM
gnu 13 Jan 12 - 06:38 PM
Paul Burke 13 Jan 12 - 07:28 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 12 - 07:46 PM
gnu 13 Jan 12 - 07:57 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 12 - 08:41 PM
Greg B 13 Jan 12 - 09:18 PM
Silas 14 Jan 12 - 04:20 AM
Joe Offer 14 Jan 12 - 04:48 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Jan 12 - 05:24 AM
MGM·Lion 14 Jan 12 - 05:28 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 14 Jan 12 - 09:36 AM
Joe Offer 14 Jan 12 - 08:18 PM
GUEST 14 Jan 12 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,mg 14 Jan 12 - 11:39 PM
MGM·Lion 15 Jan 12 - 12:22 AM
MGM·Lion 15 Jan 12 - 12:29 AM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 12 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,mg 15 Jan 12 - 03:31 AM
banjoman 15 Jan 12 - 11:42 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 15 Jan 12 - 02:22 PM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 12 - 06:29 PM
Greg B 15 Jan 12 - 07:12 PM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 12 - 10:22 PM
MGM·Lion 16 Jan 12 - 04:14 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 16 Jan 12 - 08:34 AM
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Greg B 16 Jan 12 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,mg 16 Jan 12 - 02:58 PM

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Subject: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 10:18 AM

Pope Benedict XVI: Gay Marriage A Threat To 'Future Of Humanity'

*

Not as much as religion, eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: DMcG
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 10:49 AM

To be pedantic, that's not covered by the infallibility conditions. Still crackers, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Silas
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 11:03 AM

Its not crackers, its insane, like most of the teachings of the RC church.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 11:25 AM

Most, eh? Still I suppose there is some good stuff buried in there somewhere, however so tainted by grim association.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 11:25 AM

If there's any real societal damage to be done by gay marriage, it's when gays are pressured into heterosexual marriages, which almost always fail.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 11:29 AM

I would think encouraging men to leave their families, live with a bunch of other men, and become celibate might have more to do with a decline in humanity...kind of like the Shakers if it weren't for the "flocks" who follow the edicts of said celibate men who often have no experience of living in the real world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:17 PM

My Pope song

http://www.bigalwhittle.co.uk/id27.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:25 PM

Benedict XVI is an 84-year-old German male. His statement does not meet the criteria for infallibility, which has been invoked only rarely in church history. His statement is not even binding or official church teaching - it is his opinion. I would guess that the vast majority of 84-year old German males would agree with Benedict's opposition to gay marriage. They are products of their generation.

I would suggest that most of the people posting to this thread have no idea what is and what is not Catholic teaching.

But Benedict's unfortunate statement does give you a great opportunity to express your ignorant bigotry. Shame on you.

Silas, the teachings of the Catholic Church are usually quite reasonable - it's the commentary on the teachings that gets squirrely. I disagree with Benedict's opposition to gay marriage, as do many Catholic laity and clergy. But hey, he's a product of his generation.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Silas
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:32 PM

Sorry Joe, I disagree entirely. Lets start with original sin shall we?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Silas
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:42 PM

"But Benedict's unfortunate statement does give you a great opportunity to express your ignorant bigotry. Shame on you."

Well...


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:45 PM

But Benedict's unfortunate statement does give you a great opportunity to express your ignorant bigotry. Shame on you.

In your own word, Pope Joe : [sigh]


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:54 PM

No, Joe. He might not have been speaking ex cathedra, or purporting to do so: but the fact that it was the publicly expressed opinion, not just of any man of his age and his generation, but of His Holiness the Pope, with all the atmosphere & authority aND PERCEPTION THAT SUCH A STATUS WILL BRING WITH IT AS PART OF ITS INEVITABLE BAGGAGE, cannot but have an effect on the thinking of the faithful, and even of others who respect his position. And I think it disingenuous of you to pretend otherwise. And why otherwise would you call it an "unfortunate statement"? And why is it "ignorant bigotry" to believe all this to be the case ", if its trigger is, as you yourself admit, "unfortunate"?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: DMcG
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 01:20 PM

cannot but have an effect on the thinking of the faithful

You may underestimate the faithful. It's difficult to be certain, because any attempt to argue otherwise tends to get one either heckled or accepted but regarded as atypical. But my experience is there are superficial thinkers and careful thinkers in all walks of life and it really doesn't do to generalise any group based on anecdotes, even those based on first-hand experience.

With that caveat, my personal experience is few people are prepared to accept things that go against beliefs developed over decades whoever says it, even if they are RC and the Pope thinks it. And that's where infallibility comes in, I think. If the Pope does make an infallible declaration and I couldn't accomodate it, I'd leave the Church. Remarkably like what happens in a business, really. Your CEO can give his opinions, but they are not statements of what the company will do. If, in the right context he makes a statement about what the company will do, it does it, but you are responsible for deciding whether you go along with it or not. And if not, you leave. Simple, and not really very mysterious. It isn't very conventional to think of CEOs as infallible in the context of what their company ethos is, but they are, in a very real sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 01:29 PM

·····Your CEO can give his opinions, but they are not statements of what the company will do········
,..,

But, other things being equal, they are surely more likely to be so than the opinions of anyone else: otherwise, what would be the good of being CEO? Or, to the company, of having a CEO? He is being paid to have opinions which carry more weight than those of others. I am reminded of something my cousin Michael Winner, the film director, once said: "My films are co-operative efforts; which means everyone on the set doing what I say."

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 01:41 PM

I thought when I read the thread title that perhaps someone else read the article revealing that the "biographies" included for the 22 Bishops recently elevated, as announced by a Vatican release, were plagiarized from Wikipedia without even a credit to the source.

A resounding endorsement for the infallible accuracy of Wikipedia?

The Vatican response was that "that was an unofficial announcement."

A subsequent "official announcement" has now been published.

(With bios plagiarized from a less-known source?)

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Big Mick
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 02:51 PM

I am absolutely with Joe on this. It is, as always in these precincts, fashionable to be fundamentalist atheistic and use it as an excuse to use half truths and misperceptions to bash Catholicism and Christianity in general. Evidence to this fact is Joe's explanation HERE, which you have used to then expand out your attacks. The analogy I would use attacking all things English because of Margaret Thatcher. Or all things American because of George Bush, etc. In fact, the English rightfully get upset when Irish Americans make generalizations over things done in their name by certain administrations over the centuries. Yet those of us that are Catholic are supposed to put up with[sighs] when you choose to ignore the factually correct statements, such as the one Joe made.

There are many of us out here that are very progressive Catholics. We are not the bigots you try to paint us to be. No one expects you to accept the things we do, or even to give them validity. But when you attack, be fair about it and deal with facts. The fact is that this 84 year old leader has a view on this that most of progressive Catholic America disagrees with.

A hallmark of what it takes to be a Mudcatter of the type that founded and made this place special, is the ability to disagree without being disagreeable. We have all failed from time to time over the years in that, but I would like to see it have a renaissance. Be respectful other views, even if you disagree.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 02:59 PM

OK Mick. But what say you to my point a few back, in response to Joe, that the fact that the old man concerned just happens to be, not just any old 80+-er, but His Holiness the Pope, speaking on a public occasion in his official capacity even if not ex cathedra, cannot but carry an air of authority to his animadversions? All very well you all calling his remarks 'unfortunate' or 'not in accord with how you in your progressiveness perceive the doctrine of the faith': but there are many who will perceive that his say-so on this topic carries more weight than yours, even if he is a poor old thing in my past-it age-group. You h`d, in other words, bother about what he thinks & expresses; there is not the least reason why he should return the compliment.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 03:00 PM

some people like me follow Christ, others follow a book or a leader. I see some denominations waving a book and yelling at others.   There are other people that will use a leader to do it for them. To know Christ is to know about love not anything else. Oh well


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: DMcG
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 04:03 PM

But what say you to my point a few back, in response to Joe, that the fact that the old man concerned just happens to be, not just any old 80+-er, but His Holiness the Pope, speaking on a public occasion in his official capacity even if not ex cathedra, cannot but carry an air of authority to his animadversions?

Mick can speak for himself, of course, but I say just what I said before. It is of course possible for any leader to have followers who take what they say uncritically, be they Pope, politician, or anyone else. But for most people [again, in my experience only], that's not really how it goes. A conservative may well support Thatcher or Bush and believe them to be excellent leaders, [or the mirror image for Labour/Democrats] but it isn't really the case that 'they' decide what we think and its our role to think it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: bbc
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:28 PM

Thanks to Joe & Mick for statements of reasonable faith. Yes, there is such a thing.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:35 PM

Nobody grudges them their "reasonable faith". But the fact remains that

~~ any which way you may try to slice it,

~~ Benedict XVI is The Pope ~~

~~ and they are not.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Greg B
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 05:51 PM

To get some perspective on the rank-and-file Catholic mentality, look at this incident from yesterday.

The guy's own superiors have said that this 32-year-old priest, a hero of the local Hispanic community, has admitted to repeatedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Yet 50 supporters await him outside jail, some putting up their homes as security to pay his bail.

If this relative kid can command such unquestioning (and just plain dumb) loyalty, do you really think that people whose grasp catechetical nuances extends to having been raised to believe by parents who believed, as they now do, that the Pope is infallible are going to understand between ordinary pronouncements, opinions, and "ex cathedra" statements of doctrine?

The fact is that most Catholics believe that if the Pope says the sky is yellow, it must be yellow. "Don't contradict Father or Sister" is part or the Catholic culture, across the board; more-so in certain ethnic communities.

I encountered it in spades when trying to get justice for the victims of Msgr. Vincent I. Breen. Nearly two decades after "retiring" as a condition of not going to jail, in the face of his own diocese admitting that he was a serial predator who abused dozens of girls over 30 years, some of his "loyal" parishioners still insisted that he was a "good man" who'd been unjustly persecuted.

Their logic consisted of his coming to their house for steak and whiskey once a month and saying nice things while accepting big checks and putting them on the Parish Council so they could feel important.

How do you think the Churches (Roman Catholic and Mormon, strange bedfellows) managed to get Proposition 8 passed in California? They traded on they "loyalty" of their flock who'd been indoctrinated never to think for themselves. And it worked.

Folks like our Joe Offer, who can see through the smokescreen, are the exception, not the rule. And well they know it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Rapparee
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 07:57 PM

Well, I know more than a few Mormons who support gay marriage. And I think that you'd find that the majority of Catholics in the US and elsewhere in the Western World ignore the Vatican and Pope. For instance, the teachings on birth control are NOT infallible (Paul VI was going to make "Humanae Vitae" ex cathedra but was talked out of it by cooler heads at the Vatican).

The Ayatollah Khomeine said a lot of things a lot of people disagree with. So has the Queen of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Emperor of Japan -- all of whom are at least titular religious leaders. Even the Dali Lama has had people disagree with him.

Frankly, I don't give a shit WHAT is said or by whom -- the actual teaching of Yeshu of Nazareth are not what the Vatican or anyone else claims they are and they are, at the bottom, quite a good code to live by.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: EBarnacle
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 08:31 PM

Once, Rabbi Hillel was challenged to explain Jewish thinking about religion while standing on one foot. His reply: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. All the rest is commentary."

I suspect that Rap's comment follows the same precept.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 11:42 PM

I think that many of you give the Pope far more power than he has. In my parish of some 800 families, I would highly doubt that more than ten people actually know much about what the Pope says about anything - and most of those ten disagree with the Pope on a fairly regular basis.

Yes, our bishop opposes gay marriage and put money behind Proposition 8 that seeks to prohibit gay marriage in California. And yes, many Catholics voted in favor of Proposition 8 when it passed in 2008 - but I think they voted because of their own fears and prejudices, not because of what any pope or bishop said. That said, I was disappointed that the Pope and many bishops validated those prejudices.

But let's look at gay marriage from a historical point of view. It's a social change - a major social change - for people to accept gay marriage. It's not something that is going to happen overnight. The fact that some people are reluctant to accept gay marriage doesn't mean they're bad people - they just haven't reached the point where they have overcome the societal fears of gay marriage that have been in place for most of history. They'll change, but the change will come slowly.

I have a story for you - our current bishop Jaime Soto is 7 years younger than I, the first bishop I've known that wasn't many years my senior. When he was in Southern California, he received an award for the work he had done to promote the cause of gay people. He seemed to take a long step to the right when he moved here to Northern California - some say he's following the winds of church politics. So, anyhow, I first met him on election night in 2008. Several nuns and I and some Catholic lay women were going to have dinner with him that night. The nuns and I favored gay marriage and were against Proposition 8. Several of the lay women were in favor of the proposition, mostly because they bought into the propaganda that government was seeking to "teach homosexuality" to their children in public schools. Anyhow, we agreed beforehand that it would be safer not to talk politics with the bishop, because we were meeting with him to promote our retreat center. I suppose some would say the nuns and I should have taken advantage of the opportunity to challenge him on gay marriage, but it just wasn't the right time. He's a genuinely nice person, but he does seem to be playing the game to get a higher position. I've taken the opportunity to express my disagreement with him on a number of occasions since that night.

By the way, most of the nuns I know are in favor of gay marriage. Most Californians I know, don't really care one way or another. They may vote one way or another in an election, but they really don't care. It's a sizable minority that vehemently opposes gay marriage in California, but it's still a minority. Somehow they were able to garner enough votes from the middle to pass Proposition 8. I predict they'll fail in the long run. I'm betting California will have legal gay marriage in three years.

But I think you've got it wrong about the Pope and the amount of power he wields. Most people just aren't likely to pay that much attention to their leaders. Most Catholics generally ignore the Pope, and have no idea what he says. Those of us who actually listen to him, disagree with him often.

Silas, you mention original sin as an "insane teaching" of the Catholic Church. Many theologians define original sin as an atmosphere of evil that exists in the world babies are born into. In my lifetime, bigotry, war, violence, and poverty have been endemic. I didn't cause those evils, although I certainly haven't done all I could to combat them. So, to a certain extent, I have to bear a share of responsibility for all that evil - and I have a moral obligation to do what I can to heal that evil. To me, that evil environment is original sin. - and in that context, the Catholic teachings about original sin begin to make sense.

Greg B makes mention of a Sacramento priest who has been accused of molesting a young girl. Do take note that the climate has changed in the Catholic Church, and you won't find bishops standing behind priests who are accused on anything anymore - and the bishop in this case is Jaime Soto. Many priests feel betrayed by their bishops because of this. The fact that this priest has supporters despite his accusations, isn't unusual. From what I hear, the man has a charming personality and has shown compassion in many ways to many people. American Catholic ethnic groups are very, very proud of their priests and will defend them fiercely - but this is an ethnic thing, not so much religious belief. You'll find this happens very often in child molestation cases, not only when the molester is a priest - people find it impossible to believe that such a nice person could do such a thing, but child molesters are often the nicest sort of people. That's how they seduce their prey.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,mark-s(on the road)
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:24 AM

Yes but, Joe, yes but,

When I went to Catholic elementary school ( I kinda remember the Pope being Peter at the time!) The nuns tought that orignial sin was the normal condition of the infant soul, which was a disqualification from heaven unless remediated by Baptism. An infant who died without Baptism was spiritually relegated to a place called "Limbo" where there was no suffering, but no chance of the Beautific Vision either.

Certainly your feelings about evil and individual responsibility to heal evil are commendable - but have no bearing on the doctrine of original sin - at least as it was tought to me.

Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:39 AM

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. All the rest is commentary." Within that quotation should also be "Now go and study the commentary." No offense, EB.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:40 AM

Well postulated, Joe. But I return to my point, with which you obstinately refuse to engage, that the vast majority of Catholics worldwide are deeply and unquestioningly attentive, by their lifelong conditioning, to what The Pope says, ex cathedra or not [they should know the difference!], when his statements are relayed to them by their priests; while they would not give a flying hoot what you and your minority middle-class Californian Catholic coterie might say, even if they ever heard of it.

Can you really not see this distinction?

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:53 AM

And the problem, Mark, is that most Catholics have no more than an elementary school understanding of their religion. Before Vatican II (1962-65), "catechism class" in Catholic schools involved the memorization of questions and answers; and Catholicism seemed to me to be a series of mathematical formulas. Now that I've had eight years of seminary and a lifetime behind me, I understand all that stuff and it makes sense - but most Catholics have never had the opportunity to makes sense out of it. You can't teach Thomas Aquinas to grade school kids - but you will find that Thomas was amazingly rational and balanced, and compatible at all times with Catholic teaching.

I've been a catechist since 1966, teaching religion almost continuously through all those years. Much of religious faith is an abstraction, expressed in languages like philosophy and poetry and myth, that most people don't understand. It's been a constant struggle for me to teach religion and be understood correctly, and there have been many times that I have been misunderstood. Sometimes, I have been condemned as a heretic by people who don't know what the hell they're talking about. I've found that storytelling is probably my best catechetical tool, even with adults. Hey, that's the method Jesus used - he didn't bother much with doctrine, although doctrine can be academically interesting.

By the way, Pope Benedict recently invalidated the idea of limbo completely. It never was official teaching, although I concede that it was in a lot of books that shouldn't have had it.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: beeliner
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 12:59 AM

The fact is that most Catholics believe that if the Pope says the sky is yellow, it must be yellow. "Don't contradict Father or Sister" is part or the Catholic culture, across the board; more-so in certain ethnic communities.

Firstly, that is not a fact, I can't think of a single Catholic whom I know or have known - which would be hundreds - with such a mindset. Secondly, it is true that Catholics accord their religious great respect, but in return they also hold them to strict standards of behavior.

Once, Rabbi Hillel was challenged to explain Jewish thinking about religion while standing on one foot. His reply: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. All the rest is commentary."

I believe that, according to Jewish tradition, he stated it negatively: "What is hateful to you, do not do to others. That is the entire law, all the rest is commentary. Now, go and study it [the commentary] further!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 01:11 AM

Now show me a Catholic in a Co Kerry village or in backwoods Eastern Nigeria who knows that Limbo was never official teaching, or would worry if they did know.

Whatever Jesus' method of teaching, he wasn't a Catholic, he was a Jew, and working in the intellectually informal Essene catachetical tradition, not the formalised and institutionalised one that the very overtones of the word "catechism" will denote to all traditionally brought up Roman Catholics.

Have you, BTW, Joe, ever read a novel by David Lodge, one of our academic novelists but also a Cradle Catholic, called "How Far Can You Go?", about the religious development over the last ¼ of C20 of a group of Catholic London University students? I should be interested to know your opinion of it.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 02:14 AM

Hi, Michael- I ordered "How Far Can You Go" from Amazon and I'll get around to reading it sometime. Thanks for the suggestion.

People get hung up on a lot of the more obscure aspects of Catholic teaching. You won't find Catholic churches spending much time teaching about original sin or homosexuality or celibacy. Mostly, they're things that are in the background until somebody upsets the stasis and makes an issue of it. As far as I can tell, this is the first time Benedict has said anything about gay marriage - I kinda wish he had stayed silent on that one. It used to be said that the Catholic Church had a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuality, but the conservatives put pressure on this issue and it has become more visible in recent years. I'll admit that there are some parishes that are obsessed with abortion - this seems to be particularly common on the East Coast of the United States. My pastor generally won't allow mention of abortion, because he hates the vindictive harshness of the so-called "pro-life" movement - and that's the attitude of a lot of priests I know, that they feel very uncomfortable with pro-lifers.

Now, the Catholic church spends a lot more time teaching something it considers far more important - something called Catholic Social Teaching. There are seven themes in this:

  • Life and Dignity of the Human Person - includes opposition to abortion, but also to capital punishment. Also includes a near-pacifist opposition to warfare.
  • Call to Family, Community, and Participation
  • Human Rights and Responsibilities
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
  • The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
  • Solidarity - we are one human family
  • Care for God's Creation - environmental concerns
These all flow from the "corporal works of mercy" (Matthew 25), and from the "do unto others" principle.
If you take a look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you'll get an idea of what really is Catholic teaching. Some of it I disagree with or tend to downplay, but a lot makes sense. This passage on respect for the human person is a typical example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Silas
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 04:38 AM

Hi Joe. It is refreshing to read your own interpretation of the insane doctrine of original sin, it is however, YOUR interpretation, not the one that has been widely held by the Vatican for centuries. I am aware that this madness has now been effectively quashed, but it has caused untold suffering to millions of people throughout the centuries.

So, let's move onto another insane doctrine – birth control within marriage?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: DMcG
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 07:17 AM

It's been around a decade since I read "How Far Can You Go", so I forget many of the details, but it is an enjoyable satire in the best sense, i.e. it raises valid criticisms through entertaining exaggerations and unlikely scenarios. I'd encourage people in general, and certainly Catholics, to read it.

There does seem to be some confusion in this thread about how much people accept what the Pope says. For example, when he says that limbo is not doctrinal somehow that pronouncement has no effect, but when he makes other statements, they do. I think it much more likely that people simply accept things that are in accord with their current views, and reject those that aren't - exactly as most people do in most situations.

On the subject of teaching of doctrine: I agree with Joe. Many of the teachers of religion in the past, and probably now, had a rather limited understanding themselves and they simplified this down to give to the kiddies, ending up with lots of adults with an undeveloped understanding. But that's not just in religion, you know. I remember being stunned when a PhD physicist I knew didn't see any relationship between division and subtraction. A nephew of mine started a maths degree in September and didn't see that if he knew how to differenciate f*g he already knew how to differenciate f*g*h without needing additional work. That's what tends to happen when you think in terms of rules, rather than understanding. The best teaching of RE is always about understanding, not about rules.

As to the birth control within marriage: again, I think you would find that most Catholics in Europe and the US form their own views. In other places, such as Africa and South America, there are additional complications such as the role of women in society that muddy the waters even when the couple are not Catholics. That the declarations made by Catholic church are making the situation worse rather than better in those places is one I'd regretfully agree with.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: banjoman
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 09:51 AM

I have been a catholic now for over 68 years and despite an "Education" by the , so called, Christian Brothers, have always felt that my own faith was never in the Church of Rome but rather in the person of Jesus Christ who, in my view, laid down a way of living one's life alongside and with care for one's neighbour. Forget about what the Pope said or didn't say, its really about individual faith and way of life that really matters. However, I do feel that my own Parish does go a long way to encouraging those basic tennets and it is for that reason alone that I still consider myself a catholic


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:02 AM

1) The leader of Catholics says this and that. Therefore all Catholics believe this and that, except for those Catholics who believe in their spiritual leader, Jesus the Christ.

A) The leader of Americans says this and that. Therefore all Americans believe this and that, except for those Americans who believe in their spiritual leader, the Constitution.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 10:16 AM

DMcG ~~ interested in your comments re How Far Can You Go? My admiration for it stems from the impression that it contains no exaggeration nor any scenarios that I perceive as unlikely. Things fall out to illustrate certain theories or problems of living ~~ as the author admits, this being a metafictional novel where the author is prone to intervene in propria persona: but that is what happens in literature, and I feel the background here realistic and the characters' difficulties & dilemmas entirely believable.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: DMcG
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 11:32 AM

Perhaps its simply the extent of unlikeliness we are considering. The scenes aren't exaggerated or unlikely in the way Swift addressed Gulliver's Travels or A Modest Proposal; on the other hand there was one dilemma avoided, as I recall, by a heart attack at a critical moment [third parties will have to read the book to decide why that scene, out of all of them, stuck in my memory! *smile*]


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: John P
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 01:22 PM

Joe, No one here dislikes Catholics because they are Catholics. What we dislike is the official views and statements of the Catholic Church. I will defend you, and every other Catholic I know, as being great, thoughtful people who are not bigoted. I will also call the church a bigoted organization when it acts like one. The two things are worlds apart and should not be confused with each other.

I'm also not an anti-Semite, but I disagree with many of the stances of the Israeli government. I'm also an American, and feel free saying that my government is a bigoted organization and many of my presidents have been jackasses.

We love you, Joe, but your church is a seriously screwed up organization in its official doctrine and politics, and it's not bigotry to say so. Nor is it out of line to blame the organization for the official statements of its leader, at least not given the official definition of this organization's leader.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 04:05 PM

Silas, this is the official teaching of the Catholic Church on original sin. I don't agree with all of it because I have a brain of my very own and I was taught in Catholic school and seminary how to use it. Nonetheless, I think you will find it quite rational and balanced, and quite different from what you think is the teaching of the Catholic Church.

John P, I certainly agree that many aspects of the Catholic Church are screwed up. And yes, there are aspects of Catholic doctrine expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that I disagree with - but on the whole, the Catechism is quite rational and, as I said to Silas, quite different from what people think is Catholic teaching. Most people, and even most adult Catholics, get what they know about Catholic doctrine from the news media - not from people like me who were trained to teach this stuff. On top of that, most people stick with their preconceived notions over what they're being taught by qualified teachers.

The concept of Limbo hasn't been taught since the 1970s, and even then it wasn't official teaching - the general idea was that people who weren't baptized couldn't go to heaven, so good people who died without baptism were sent to a place of perfect happiness called Limbo that wasn't heaven; and they weren't in the presence of God like they would be in heaven. Maybe limbo wouldn't be a bad place to go - I could spend the rest of eternity there with my loyal but unbaptized beagle Wanda....

So, anyhow, in 1981 I started teaching parents of babies to be baptized, and one thing I was supposed to teach was that God wasn't going to do anything bad to their child if the child wasn't baptized. So, I'd carefully explain all this, and emphasize that baptism was about belonging to a church and that it didn't make any sense to baptize the kid if they didn't intend to be part of the church. At the end of the class, I'd ask why they wanted their baby baptized, and many would still say they didn't want God to send their kid to hell if it died. Well, hey, at least they didn't know about the limbo misconception.

But still, there are lots of things about the Catholic Church that I detest, and lots of things about the Catholic Church that I have fought (unsuccessfully) to change. The child abuse and molestation in the Catholic Church was (and still is) appalling, and the way it was handled by the bishops and popes was even more appalling. I truly believe that we need married women priests and deacons, that that would make a wonderful change in the Catholic Church. I think the Catholic Church should bless gay marriages. Although I agree that abortion is an evil, I think the Catholic Church should treat it as the church treats all other evils - as sometimes being the least evil of a number of evil choices. I think the Catholic Church is wrong in its absolutist opposition to abortion, but I note that the official teaching is not as absolutist as the pro-life extremists would have you think it is.

JohnP, you say that the Catholic Church is a "seriously screwed up organization in its official doctrine and politics," and I have to admit that I've often said that I became an associate member of the Sisters of Mercy because "the nuns are the only part of the Catholic Church that aren't totally screwed up" (acknowledging that nuns have screwed up on many occasions, too).

I suppose it would be totally cool if we had a Pope like the late Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago, who would change everything to suit my specifications. The trouble is, millions of Catholics would disagree and would split off and form their own church. And heck, I agree with them on 90 percent of things, so why should they have to split away from my ideal church because of the remaining ten percent? So, that remaining ten percent remains "in discussion," even in cases such as ordination of women where the discussion is officially closed.

It may appear that the Catholic Church is ruled by absolute decrees from Rome, but that really isn't the case. For the most part, the Catholic operates by consensus on most issues and an uneasy stasis on the rest. The "infallible" decrees from Rome are almost always on positions that have been held by consensus for centuries - and everything else is open to discussion, even when it doesn't seem to be. This is why it takes centuries for Rome to come to a decision or effect a change. In many ways, I like it that way - because it means that if I disagree with the current trends like the apparent move to the right in the mood of Catholics in recent years, I still have room to remain who I am in a church where the majority opinion is different. It's nice to have some "wiggle room"; and the Catholic Church has a huge amount of wiggle room, despite what people might think. The absolutist view of the Catholic Church simply does not coincide with the reality.

I worked for thirty years as an employee of the United States Government, an organization that is almost as arcane and screwed up as the Catholic Church - and I survived, and I was able to do good work, and I was able to have a positive effect on many people by the quality of my work and the way I conducted myself as a representative of the government. Many times, I think I "made the day" for some lonely person, simply because a government investigator took the time to listen to them. I was even able to do this when the detestable Ronald Reagan was President, and I probably could have done the same under the deplorable George W. Bush if Clinton and Gore hadn't privatized my job and forced me into retirement.

The United States is another organizational behemoth that operates under the same balance of consensus and stasis that you find in the Catholic Church, although the U.S. Government takes only decades to effect change instead of the centuries it takes for the Catholic Church to change. Largely, there is consensus on most elements of government in the U.S., and there is bitter disagreement on the remaining ten percent or so of issues. Somehow, the elements of disagreement are held more-or-less in stasis, and we move on with only one civil war in our history.

So, my point in all this is that so many of you have a profound misunderstanding of the reality of the Catholic Church. You see it as an absolute monarchy in lockstep with its absolute monarch, and it's not that at all. It is a delicately-balanced, organic entity.

And the doctrine of the Catholic Church is not what you think it is. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a pretty good piece of work, but it's not a book of rules that are rigidly enforced and doctrines that must be believed absolutely. It's a fairly good approximation of the consensus of beliefs that are held commonly by Catholics - with a lot of "wiggle room." The teachings expressed in the Catechism are the result of centuries of discussion, and you can't understand the teachings without also understanding the past and ongoing discussion. Now, if you want a more-or-less absolute, simple statement of Catholic doctrine, you have to go back to the Nicene Creed of 325 AD, which is held by most Christian faiths and understood in a wide variety of ways.

The liturgy/rituals and and the traditions of the Catholic Church are also an important part of this organic mixture, and may well hold a more important place than the doctrines and rules. The center of the Catholic Faith is the Eucharist, people gathering together to set aside their differences to listen to Scripture and and celebrate the Lord's Supper - despite a wide spectrum of understanding of what that supper means. There is wide diversity on how that Lord's Supper is celebrated, from parish to parish and from nation to nation - but the basic elements of that Supper are the same the world around, and have been carried on in similar manner since the time of the apostles.

So, that's the deal. The Catholic Church is a big mess. There are no straight lines in the Catholic Church, and there are stories upon stories upon stories behind everything that happens. I guess I kind of like the fact that the Catholic Church is fallible, because that fallibility and diversity allow me to maintain my individuality and remain a Catholic, part of the tradition that is part of the essence of who I am.

Capiche?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 04:37 PM

Well, I am a Catholic, although not a good one...and I can swear that no official of the church has ever asked me for opinion on anything so that we can have this "consensus". Furthermore, if I have offered it, it was always some sort of heresy.

And my ancestors were from County Kerry so I think of them having to hide under rocks to see the priest or go to Mass...so I keep on with what only does not make sense to me but I find morally wrong in many situations..such as having to believe that people should have children they can not afford or even treat decently. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: John P
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:05 PM

Joe, you're right that I know next to nothing about the religious doctrines of the Catholic Church, nor do I care about them. Everyone gets to have whatever doctrines they want. I also know full well that the official church political positions and the actual beliefs of its members are often on different wavelengths on many important issues. My problem with the church is the fact that it is demonstrably anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-abortion rights, etc. etc., and uses the hard-earned money of folks like you to further these agendas in the political field. I'll stop making denigrating comments about the official policies of the church when you get the church to stop funding bigoted political initiatives and issuing instructions to its members to not vote for pro-abortion rights politicians. In other words, if you want to be left alone, you have to leave others alone. My own response if I were in your position would be to leave the church as fast as possible and find a way to be a Christian that doesn't involve harming others, or funding the harm. I don't like the fact that someone I like and admire as much as I do you is proud to be part of an organization that does the things the Catholic Church does.

Religious people are usually great. Religious organizations rarely are.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:39 PM

OK, John, I guess I have to accept the fact that you don't get my point, and probably never will. It's absolutely true that there are strong forces within the Catholic Church that are "anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-abortion rights" - and that money is being spent to promote that agenda. It is also absolutely true that there are strong and effective forces within the Catholic Church that are pro-woman, pro-gay, and pro-choice - and they are spending money to promote THAT agenda. Despite your clouded perception that it is, the Catholic Church is NOT monolithic. That's the price you pay for allowing diversity. At least part of the time, some of the members of your group are not going to be right.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 05:46 PM

Of course popes have also denounced the war on Iraq and the excesses of Capitalism and racism...


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: John P
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:12 PM

Joe, the effective forces that are acting for good within the church don't, apparently, have anything to say about the church's official policies. Or are you saying that the Catholic Church is not, as a whole, officially anti-gay and anti-abortion rights? And that it doesn't officially spend money promoting its policies in the political sphere?

I know the church has a lot of people who, together, are a great force for good. Most churches do. Most congregations, on the local level, are bright spots in our society in some very important ways. But, sorry, the official policies of the Catholic Church are not something I will ever agree with. And guess what? All members have to put up with being judged in some ways for their participation in an organization that has harmful official policies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:23 PM

""Well postulated, Joe. But I return to my point, with which you obstinately refuse to engage, that the vast majority of Catholics worldwide are deeply and unquestioningly attentive, by their lifelong conditioning, to what The Pope says, ex cathedra or not [they should know the difference!]""

I am a lapsed Catholic, having problems with much of what I experienced at the hands of Jesuit teachers.

However I must support Joe in this matter. All Catholic children of my generation were most clearly instructed that Papal infallibility is strictly limited to matters of Doctrine and Dogma only, and that in all other respects he is as fallible as any other human being.

So why would you assume that we don't know the difference?

It is those outside, with insufficient experience of the way that Catholic children are taught, who come to inaccurate conclusions about our reaction to ex cathedra comment.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 06:48 PM

"Joe, the effective forces that are acting for good within the church don't, apparently, have anything to say about the church's official policies."

The same can be said about many of the world's countries, among them USA, Canada, and the conglomerate called the UK. John P, I do not know that you are from any of the three, but what you said speaks to policies, not members within the specific groups. We all try to 'change things for the better', and often we fail. We are all of us failing now in terms of love thy neighbour and do unto others as you would they do unto you. Because we are failing is not because we don't try.

I think Joe's post is accurate and quite brilliant, although I think his modesty will cause him to pshaw that notion.

With Don, I too will stand beside Joe. Not because he's Joe, but because he's right, and I wish I'd said it first.

BM


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 08:30 PM

'nother vote here for Joe - from another ex-Catholic.

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 11 Jan 12 - 08:53 PM

Greg B and MtheGM have it exactly right.

As has been explained to Joe many times, and I'm sure he understands, millions of Catholics worldwide, if not on the US west coast, still take papal pronouncements to heart. Indeed for many Catholics even the parish priest is a figure of authority beyond challenge. The Catholic church relies more on clerical authority than any other Christian church, and by a wide margin. And the factor that more than any other has kept priests elevated above their flocks is the sacrament of confession, whereby they take on themselves the power of Jesus.

Joe bemoans the fact that many in the laity are uneducated in their faith. But that is exactly how the church has wanted it. This is the church, remember, that burnt the bible when it was translated into languages that people could understand; and in some cases burnt the translators. Such methods rendered the rank and file more exploitable, more easily manipulated, to the extent at one time that even the wretchedly poor were coerced into paying the church to reduce the length of time they had been conned into believing they were destined to spend in purgatory.

Latter-day apologists will say that such abuses are all in the distant past. But I can't think of any abuse that this church has relinquished except at metaphorical gunpoint. Thanks to scams like that simony racket, the Holy See to this day basks in obscene wealth, with squillions stashed away in obscure bank accounts. When one of the Vatican's arch racketeers, Bishop Marcinkus, sought refuge in Vatican City to avoid answering for his alleged crimes, the Pope willingly obliged him. And that minority of Catholics on the west coast and elsewhere who can think for themselves raised barely a murmur.

Indeed the really shaming thing is that intellectuals, thinkers, educated people who in their hearts of hearts know better, lend credence to this rotten church by their acquiescence and continued membership. In many cases, and I include Joe in this, that continued membership owes more to nostalgia and the comfort of sticking to what has become a familiar habit than to any real identity with their church's doctrines and teachings. And then they have the gall to claim credit for their inertia by saying: "I'm a cherry-picking Catholic, I choose which bits to go along with" - ignoring the reality that for many of the most vulnerable, the most abused, the most exploited, there is no possibility of such choice.

It's high time those Catholics who have the mental capacity and who have been brought up in relatively enlightened traditions, found their voice and openly protested the Pope's more imbecile utterances. Until they do, the church's shame must be theirs too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 01:00 AM

"the vast majority of Catholics worldwide are deeply and unquestioningly attentive, by their lifelong conditioning, to what The Pope says, ex cathedra or not [they should know the difference!]", I wrote above, with the vast majority underlined & 'worldwide' ital'd also.

Don T rejoined, "However I must support Joe in this matter. All Catholic children of my generation were most clearly instructed that Papal infallibility is strictly limited to matters of Doctrine and Dogma only, and that in all other respects he is as fallible as any other human being.
So why would you assume that we don't know the difference?"
.,,.
I didn't say that the "we" represented by the likes of Joe & DonT didn't know the difference. They have been educated within the Church in the western world that has been forced over the years to some accommodation with the thought of the C20&21.

But do you, Don, honestly believe that this same level of education & enlightenment has been offered WORLDWIDE ~~ to members of your generation within that vast Catholic population of E Nigeria, for example; or Congo or Uganda? Or Turkmenistan? Or throughout the Caribbean & S America? These were whom I referred to, a huge demographic within Catholicism, whose belief in "unquestioning attention" to the Pope's pronouncements [I did NOT use the word 'infallibility'] I postulated.

I stand by this as a probability.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 02:07 AM

Peter K (fionn) sez: As has been explained to Joe many times, and I'm sure he understands, millions of Catholics worldwide, if not on the US west coast, still take papal pronouncements to heart.

Peter, your misguided rhetoric is truly impressive, but allow me to reiterate: the vast majority of Catholics worldwide don't know and don't care what the Pope says (unless, of course, the Pope happens to validate what they already think). They get what they know from the media, and the media prints what sells newspapers. They could read Catholic publications or go to www.vatican.va if they wanted to, but very few do. They go to church to worship God, not to get involved in political issues.

And that's the point. I'm sure many of you don't believe this, but the Catholic Church is not a propaganda organization. Certainly, some of what it publishes could be considered propaganda* - but that's not its primary purpose. Its primary purpose is the worship of God by a very diverse variety of people. I belong to the Catholic Church because of its liturgy and sacraments and community and tradition, not because of its doctrine. I agree with most Catholic doctrine, but it is not of primary importance to me or to most Catholics. Doctrine is a secondary element, far behind the other four elements in importance - people can't understand that because liturgy and sacraments and community and tradition are experiential things that cannot be defined with words. And in that liturgy and sacraments and community and tradition, I experience an overwhelming sensation of the presence of God - and that makes it all good. I'm sure if I were a Jew or a Methodist or a Unitarian, I would find God in other ways - but I come from the Catholic tradition, and that is where I find God. Not in the doctrine, not in the rules, not in the politics - but in the liturgy, sacraments, community, and tradition. For me, the doctrine, rules, and politics are secondary matters, "necessary evils." They are not and have never been the essence of Catholicism.

So, that's the deal. The Catholic Church is where I find God. Others find God elsewhere, but the Catholic Church is what works for me.

Now, back to propaganda. I give out a substantial amount of money every year in donations, mostly to organizations that give service to the poor. I donate to Catholic activities, but I don't give my money to programs that oppose abortion or express prejudice against homosexuals and women. I think abortion is always a cause for extreme regret and for grieving the loss of a life, but I think there are certain situations where it is the only choice. I wouldn't donate a nickel to most "pro-life" organizations because most are rigid, aggressive, and unforgiving. (and my pastor and a large number of priests and even more nuns would agree with me, by the way). I guess I wouldn't donate to Planned Parenthood, but I certainly don't object when my sainted wife sends in her annual contribution. I would object if she gave our money to most "pro-life" organizations I know of. I know of Catholic antipoverty programs that regularly (but quietly) refer clients to Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood offers good medical care to women for little or no cost.




John P asks, Or are you saying that the Catholic Church is not, as a whole, officially anti-gay and anti-abortion rights? And that it doesn't officially spend money promoting its policies in the political sphere?

Well, John, I suppose you're right. Whoever writes the checks, can be considered to be "official," I suppose. But it's not all that simple. Like I say, I don't donate if I know the money is going to be spent on anti-gay and anti-abortion programs, and I check out the use of my money quite carefully. You will find very few Catholic priests and bishops and nuns who vehemently and unforgivingly oppose gays and those who receive abortions, but of course there are some extremists who make the others look bad. I haven't read the Pope's statement on gay marriage, but I'm guessing that it was probably far milder and far more balanced than was presented in the press. And in general, I think you will find that the truly official Catholic statements on homosexuality and abortion, are far less harsh and rigid than you would expect them to be. Lots of assholes purport to speak for the Catholic Church, but that doesn't mean they are truly official spokespersons. Randall Terry is one particularly notorious and obnoxious individual who purports to speak for the Catholic Church, and former priest John Corapi is another. Actor/director/antisemite Mel Gibson is another who purports to speak for true Catholicism, but he belongs to a splinter group. Oh, and the Catholic League is an organization often quoted by the press as presenting the Catholic point of view - but it's not "official" anything. Most insidious of all are the well-financed Eternal Word Television Network and Ave Maria Radio, propaganda organs that speak only for the extreme right wing of the American Catholic Church.

And yeah, I guess the Catholic Church does officially spend money promoting its policies in the political sphere. I'm sure the Catholic Church spent millions promoting Solidarity in Poland. It put a lot of effort into opposing the U.S. war in Iraq, and into opposing capital punishment in the U.S. I'm an unpaid volunteer in a local organization that has a $40,000 grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to promote social justice in our county. Yesterday, I spoke on behalf of that organization to our County Board of Supervisors (click), promoting fair and humane treatment of people who are released from our county jail. Is that a horrible thing, that the Catholic Church is paying to lobby county government for better treatment of jail inmates? It's true that some "official" Catholic money is spent on abortion and gay marriage; but far more of the "official" money is spent promoting social justice and immigrant rights, and opposing poverty and discrimination. Do you think the Catholic Church should be prohibited from speaking out on those issues?


-Joe-

*"Propaganda" is what the speaker disagrees with. "Information" is the same thing, but the speaker agrees with it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 03:23 AM

I just found out that a woman friend of mine has been recently ordained as a priest. It is legal if a woman is ordained by an ordained bishop..in good standing or not, as I understand...mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 04:38 AM

---"The term PROPAGANDA is a 17th century coinage, from the Latin neuter plural gerundive of propagare "to propagate", originally in Congregatio de Propaganda Fide "Congregation for Propagating the Faith", a committee of cardinals established in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV."---
.,,.

Is it not, tho, of interest that the word originated within the Church, as above [from wikipedia, sightly edited for clarity] demonstrates? I do not wish to make too tendentious a point of this, but feel it should be realised that both the concept and the name of this phenomenon, which Joe so vehemently disowns and wishes not to be associated with, originated within Catholicism.

Joe, you are still talking of all those highly educated, informed, in touch, with-it fellow-Catholics of yours in the developed western world: in the US in particular. You seem to take the Catholics you happen to know, of whose community you are a part, as ubiquitously typical. How insular! You seem to me to be wilfully ignoring my reiterated question as to how far you think that such statements of yours as

"They get what they know from the media, and the media prints what sells newspapers. They could read Catholic publications or go to www.vatican.va if they wanted to, but very few do. They go to church to worship God, not to get involved in political issues"

would have any application to e.g. the enormous Catholic population of E Nigeria or other such 3rd World countries where your church has such a hold. Do you really think they all have your easy access to newspapers and the media and the WWW? Or the ingrained, thru their education, habit of questioning authority such as that of their priests, typical of those brought up in the western tradition of Cs20-21?

I do think you should face up to these questions, please. If you think my impression that you are evading them is erroneous, please direct me to where you have offered any answers to them.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 04:58 AM

Sez Mike: Joe, you are still talking of all those highly educated, informed, in touch, with-it fellow-Catholics of yours in the developed western world: in the US in particular. You seem to take the Catholics you happen to know, of whose community you are a part, as ubiquitously typical. How insular! You seem to me to be wilfully ignoring my reiterated question...

Well, Mike, as I said before, my "highly educated, informed, in touch, with-it fellow-Catholics...in the developed western world" don't know what the Pope says, and generally don't care. Why is it that you think that Nigerian Catholics will be better informed and more concerned? My point is that the doctrine is not of the primary importance that you assign to it. What IS important to Catholics is worshiping together as a local community. The Pope rarely comes into consideration, among American Catholics, English Catholics, or Nigerian Catholics - and Catholics rarely know more than disconnected snippets, sound bites, of what he has to say. As an absolute monarch, the Pope is not very effective. Catholics (other than right-wing papal cultists) rarely pay much attention to him. They like seeing him on the balcony and getting his blessing when they visit Rome, but that's about it. Oh, and they think the popemobile is cool.

The essence of Catholicism is to worship God and love your neighbor. All this other stuff is rarely discussed.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Musket
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 05:09 AM

I hesitate to wade into a me vs Joe Offer argument, not least of all because of my respect for Joe.

But..

Joe, what you must bear in mind is that whatever your personal thoughts, your church openly operates a hierarchal system where the big boss in Rome speaks for you. By association, by membership, by whatever, it rings hollow to dismiss your Pope as a German of an age. That would seriously piss off many true humanitarian people in a large country.

Either the Catholic church has no leader and he is deluding himself, or his speeches represent the stance of the organisation. Regardless of how constitutions of local branches, churches whatever, are worded, all Catholics are happy to have this bloke and his predecessors represent them when it suits them.

His comments are repugnant, reckless and disgraceful. Whatever the technical reality and whatever your personal respectable views, the continued propping up of the old fool by decent people is something I have problems getting my head around.

This is not because I have problems getting my head around religion. I can relate it to politics too. I left The Labour Party many years ago, when the stance on most issues left me too uncomfortable. I remain committed to the social justice ideals and see the heritage of the party as much mine as those still in the party. But there comes a time when verbal disassociation from aspects of something you are associated with rings hollow.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 05:12 AM

It IS important to those 3rd world Catholics, Joe, because their priest will have told them [his selective version of] what the Pope said and how important it is. That is how they will be 'better informed', i.e. as to what His Holiness has said,as glossed by their priests, and 'more concerned', because they accept the authority of the Pope's words, as told by their priests that they had better. I am afraid I am to be convinced that you know enough about Nigerian Catholics, as distinct from the American & English ones you cite alongside them in your 4th sentence above, to be able to make the assertion in that sentence so positively. Do you honestly believe them, in their remote E Nigerian villages, to have the same access to the media, the Web, and the organs of modern thought, which you have attributed to western co-religionists throughout this thread? Honest, now!

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 05:35 AM

Mike, read what I said. I said American Catholics know very and care very little about what the Pope says, and most likely Nigerian Catholics know and care even less. The Catholic Church is centered in the local parish community and Rome is largely irrelevant to most Catholics.

And as a matter of fact, I know a good number of Nigerian and Rwandan Catholics who are recent immigrants to the United States, and I have asked them about parish life in their home countries.

So, how is it you know and I don't know how these poor, abused Catholics in Africa are constantly brainwashed with propaganda from the Pope? I have studied worldwide Catholicism with a critical eye all my life. I know with a good amount of certainty that the central authority in Rome is far less powerful than it seems to outsiders. Few Catholics have concerns that reach beyond their home parishes, and few priests spend time relaying orders from Rome. Sunday Mass primarily revolves around worshiping God, not getting marching orders from Rome.




Ian sez: His (Benedict's) comments are repugnant, reckless and disgraceful.

Gimme proof, Ian. Give me a direct, in-context quote from Benedict, at least one paragraph long. Here are his published remarks - pick something. I will wholeheartedly agree that the sound bites the press (especially Reuters) extracts from his speeches are "repugnant, reckless and disgraceful." But when you read what Benedict says in complete paragraphs, he generally makes pretty good sense - even when I disagree with him. John Paul II was a different story - I could characterize many of his statements as "repugnant, reckless and disgraceful." And nonetheless, JPII was wildly popular, which drove me crazy.

Benedict has been pope since 2005. Since then, he has made two brief statements on condoms (one cautiously favorable) and one statement on homosexual marriage (which I haven't seen yet). He has made many more statements on peace, on economic justice, on the rights of immigrants, and a long list of other social justice issues. I would guess that condoms, homosexual marriage, and abortion might constitute five percent of what the Pope has said. Social justice issues are far more important to him, and to the Catholic Church in general. How much coverage does the press give to Catholic positions on social justice?


-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Silas
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 06:10 AM

"Silas, this is the official teaching of the Catholic Church on original sin. I don't agree with all of it because I have a brain of my very own and I was taught in Catholic school and seminary how to use it. Nonetheless, I think you will find it quite rational and balanced, and quite different from what you think is the teaching of the Catholic Church."

Please don't patronise me Joe, I don't do it to you and I don't expect it from you.

The 'Official teaching' has changed over the centuries as you well know. However, whatever the official teaching, families have been told, till very recently that their dead children, if not baptized before death, would not be able to share a place in heaven with them, at one time they went to hell, later they went to 'limbo'.
There is nothing 'rational and balanced' about the teachings of the RC church. It is a case of brainwashing and indoctrination from birth and a life shrouded in a man made guilt.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 06:30 AM

I could characterize many of his statements as "repugnant, reckless and disgraceful." And nonetheless, JPII was wildly popular, which drove me crazy.

Only because JPII was Ratty's puppet. Now Ratty's pope himself, perpetuating the same old 2000-year-old regime of subjugation and oppression along with the usual horrors integral to the RC myth - child rape, AIDS, and the promotion of lies, ignorance, misogyny, homophobia and superstition. Before he was Pope, Ratty was heading up the Spanish Inquisition, wasn't he? At least the modern day version, built on such a noble tradition of righteous persecution of all so-called 'heresy', hot pokers and all.

In the end, people are only Catholics because they've been mind-fucked as kids into believing that shit. Even those who manage to reject it in later life still carry the scars. One guy I knew freaked out one day when I lit up some Prinknash Incense - he actually ran out into the garden in a cold sweat - a rational academic too, given the fear by the old bells & smells and associated horrors of The Church. Happily I had a secular childhood - far more conducive to spirituality I find - but I love burning the old Prinknash, just as I love a good High Mass, but only in terms of its Camp Gothic Theatricality. I know a few Catholics who lapsed when they started doing the mass in English because it no longer made any sort of sense to them. I like some of the Grail Psalm translations though, but they're not a patch on The Book of Common Prayer.

Each to their own, but if you're going to be a Catholic, for God's sake don't pretend to be humanitarian too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 06:39 AM

"Here are his published remarks - pick something."

Thanks for the link Joe, but great wodges of this are in latin. Not for us lowly sheep to read then (online translation is rather inaccurate to say the least).

That which is readable is interesting in terms of seeing how the Vatican communicates it's teachings, although I think any criticism of some of what I've read would be superfluous as it seems rather pedantic to trawl through looking for statements to argue with. I saw plenty but didn't note them, but that's because I'm a non-believer and therefore (as I 'refuse' to hear God's word) a hopeless sinner as my world view is so vastly different, my personal basis for spirituality and morality is based in science.

Fascinating thread. I'm signing up for Mudcat again full time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 07:52 AM

my personal basis for spirituality and morality is based in science.

There's a fascinating feature in the new Fortean Times about how the human brain is hardwired for sprituality, just as it's hard-wired for science, language and music. Religion and Spirituality are, of course, two different things and it would be folly to confuse them. Religion insists on a uniform compliance to a doctrine of exclusive, correct and corrective truth for the ends of political control and wholesale oppression. Spirituality, on the other hand, belongs to each and every one of us equally and without exception to each experience in their own unique way. We are born alone; we suffer alone, we will die alone; and our personal Spirituality is a manifestation of this essential uniqueness - it exists between us and the stars. Holy Communion is that of human commonality: it is language, sexual intercourse (of which procreation is by a very random byproduct), music, drinking, community, and the other joys of our glad & common earth. It says, the only TRUTH is no truth at all unless it is common to all. In this sense, the lowest is so very often the highest...

*

A classic example of the turgid inhumane righteouss bullshit of the Roman Catholic Church may be found in the Good Friday Mass in the form of of prayer for the enlightenment of The Jewish People. It runs thus:

Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men. (Let us pray. Kneel. Rise.) Almighty and eternal God, who want that all men be saved and come to the recognition of the truth, propitiously grant that even as the fullness of the peoples enters Thy Church, all Israel be saved. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Let us vomit. Keel over in our utter despair.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: DMcG
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 08:07 AM

Each to their own, but if you're going to be a Catholic, for God's sake don't pretend to be humanitarian too.

Each to their own indeed. While this
New Humanist article is about religious groups in general, not Catholics, it is worth a read. I got to it through remembering the Roy Hattersley article it refers to, in which he felt '"faith comes with a packet of moral imperatives that influence enough of them to make them morally superior to atheists like me"'. Before you leap in, I don't agree with him, because it's too much of a simplification. People are more complicated than that. But I also feel that assuming the religious are all 'mind-fucked as kids into believing that shit' is at least as severe a simplification.

I find the figures in this paragraph from the article a bit difficult to reconcile, unless it is making a distinction between those who call themselves humanist and those who call themselves athiest and/or between those who 'support charity giving' and those who actually give. You may find it clearer than I do. In any case, the number of chrities given to isn't a very good proxy for the amount given to charity. But hey-ho, its a magazine article, so its best not to expect too much from it!

Humanists are generous with their time and money. A survey conducted by the BHA in 2000 showed that less than 1 per cent of respondents didn't support charity giving - and on average, the humanists surveyed regularly gave to six charities each. This compares pretty favourably to the general public; in the same year, just 36 per cent of Britons contributed to five or more charities.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 08:33 AM

"Spirituality, on the other hand, belongs to each and every one of us equally and without exception to each experience in their own unique way"

Spot on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Musket
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 09:06 AM

Joe, if he isn't saying anything, then he might as well not be quoted. If he is always being quoted out of context, then he should simplify his messages.

if he is uncomfortable with how his comments are interpreted, I should be able to search on all the many corrections, clarifications and qualifications. But I can't. Mainly because there aren't many.

He is, from what I have read, the most progressive Pope of recent times, and he is trying, to be fair, to place the relevance of his church's teaching in temporal terms, and is proactive in reaching out to other faiths and lack of faiths. Fair play to him on that.

But;

1. Embracing and welcoming with open arms the Anglican bigots who feel UK decency and equality is contrary to Christianity.

2. Many speeches by him and by others expressing the official Vatican position on being gay.

3. Complaining that UK equality legislation seeks to marginalise religion. (A case of hitting the target whilst missing the point if ever there was one.)

4. Sorry, I have visited The Vatican. I have seen the wondrous glories erected in the name of their God. I have also visited countries in Africa, South America and many parts of poorer Europe where the Catholic church is gilded with gold whilst the children run around bare foot and starving. I have been to villages where aid from NGOs affiliated to religions is subject to being allowed to spend most of that aid building a church / mosque / whatever.

It isn't a case of infallibility, it doesn't even reach credibility. I have looked at many of the articles you refer to, and to be honest, both you and I seem to be taking our baggage with us when we read it, I admit.

Perhaps if he were to spend less time telling governments (and in a democracy, that means all the people) that they should stop marginalising religions, he might get a better reception by the rest of us. After all, he is a supposed man of peace, and that can't be a bad thing. Especially from somebody whose past has meant anybody can be redeemed.. A positive message if ever there were one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 09:10 AM

Each to their own, but if you're going to be a Catholic, for God's sake don't pretend to be humanitarian too.

To which one might add:

because it's an insult to the countless thousands of victims whose liberties and rights and ultimately their lives have been denied them by a religion founded on the wholesale promotion of evil in a 2,000 year Reich that lies over our humanity like a funeral pall.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 11:49 AM

That's an awful lot of hate you're slinging, Suibhne.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 12:27 PM

Hate? Dear God! Is it not reasonable to despise such wilful inhuman evil, or would you have us love the Nazis too?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: DMcG
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 12:32 PM

Depends. There are many in this thread - MtheGM, Silas, Ian Mather and others - who, putting words in their mouths 'despise such wilful inhuman evil'. However, the way they express it and the way you express it is markedly different.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 12:58 PM

Joe asked for a quote from Ratzinger's recent speech. I've taken the one below from the English-language translation on the Vatican website for which Joe gave the link. In this extract Ratzinger manages to say exactly what he thinks about gay marriage, without actually mentioning it.

The speech was given to an audience of diplomats, for some of whom the extract below must have been manna from heaven. In particular it would have brought beams of delight from any Ugandan diplomat present. In Uganda gays are routinely abused, insulted, blackmailed and disadvantaged in every conceivable way, with complete impunity. Homosexuality is an offence. Practising it is punished with up to 14 years in prison. There is a bill before parliament that would introduce the death penalty for some homosexual activities. How can any civilised, educated individual with an ounce of conscience help to sustain an organisation whose leader fuels such prejudice? (And no ordinary leader. To his flock this one is the Holy Father, and millions accept unquestioningly that he is indeed holy.)

Here's the relevant quote:

[....] pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman. This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 01:25 PM

Heaven forfend I should let 2,000 years of human abuse upset me, eh? Much less that it continues to this day or has apologists who think it's all for the common good.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 01:53 PM

DMcG ~~ Back to How Far can You Go?...? you said, in reply to my saying that I recalled no "entertaining exaggerations and unlikely scenarios",

"on the other hand there was one dilemma avoided, as I recall, by a heart attack at a critical moment [third parties will have to read the book to decide why that scene, out of all of them, stuck in my memory! *smile*]"

I recalled no such scene. So I have reread the book to check my recollections.

The only death by heart attack is brief & offstage & occurs to Polly's no-longer-young father - scarcely an 'unlikely scenario'; its point in the plot is to suggest 'Death' to her as topic for her next feature column. I do not find this in any way contrived or 'unlikely'. The only significant death, really plot-related, is the very sad death of Angela & Dennis's 4-year-old daughter in a street accident, which is unhappily only too realistic and unexaggerated an instance of the sort of thing that does happen.

Are you sure you were not thinking of Nicholas Nickleby? If there is another such scene which I have unaccountably overlooked, perhaps you would PM me to explain 'why it so stuck in your memory! *smile*'

Regards

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: DMcG
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 03:11 PM

Maybe its time I re-read it as well - I may be attributing more of Lodge's general style to this paticular book. Have you read "Nice work" and (my personal favourite) "Small world"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 03:28 PM

So, Suibhne quotes a prayer from the Good Friday service, neglecting to state that the prayer is used only in Latin, by the ultraconservatives who insist on using the 1962 Latin Missal:
    Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men. (Let us pray. Kneel. Rise.) Almighty and eternal God, who want that all men be saved and come to the recognition of the truth, propitiously grant that even as the fullness of the peoples enters Thy Church, all Israel be saved. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

This is a recent (2008), toned-down version of the original prayer, which was truly horrible. Here's the original, abandoned in 1955:
    Let us pray also for the faithless Jews: that Almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts; so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord: Almighty and eternal God, who dost not exclude from thy mercy even Jewish faithlessness: hear our prayers, which we offer for the blindness of that people; that acknowledging the light of thy Truth, which is Christ, they may be delivered from their darkness. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Here's the standard prayer, adopted in 1970 and used by the vast majority of Catholics:

    Let us pray for the Jewish people, the first to hear the word of God, that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant. (Silent prayer) Almighty and eternal God, long ago you gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The prayer has evolved through the last sixty years. Ceretainly, one could question the 2008 revision, but it's a compromise and seemed to be the best the ultraconservative Latin-Mass people would accept. I would guess that far fewer than five percent of Catholics use the prayer Suibhne quoted. There's an interesting article on this in Wikipedia.




Ian says:
    Joe, if he isn't saying anything, then he might as well not be quoted. If he is always being quoted out of context, then he should simplify his messages.

So, Ian, are you saying the Pope is required to "dumb down" everything he says so it's palatable to the Reuters reporters seeking sexy sound bites? He seeks to give a rational, balanced explanation. Reuters allows him ten words or less. Maybe it's time for Reuters to start quoting paragraphs.

Ian also questions this:
    Embracing and welcoming with open arms the Anglican bigots who feel UK decency and equality is contrary to Christianity.
All I can say, Ian, is that I agree with you completely. I find this acceptance of bigotry-driven Anglicans to be very distressing. Same with the influx of evangelical Christians into the Catholic Church - many former Evangelicals are mainstays of Catholic broadcasting in the U.S. These are people who used to say the Pope was the whore of Babylon, and now they're taking over Catholic broadcasting.




With his usual dramatic rhetoric, Peter K (fionn) posits that the Pope's speech is sure to drive Ugandan tyrants to slaughter homosexuals, despite the fact that the Pope's mild-mannered statements have never encouraged the slaughter of anyone. Heck, Peter, the popes stopped encouraging slaughter way back in the 16th century. Now, it's very true that homosexuality is a strong taboo over most of Africa - but this is a longstanding cultural thing that was present long before the arrival of Europeans and Christianity in Africa. When the Ugandans slaughter homosexuals, it's certainly not because the Pope told them to do so. Click here for the Reuters article. From what I gather from the article, the Pope didn't actually say anything about gay marriage at all. He simply spoke in favor of families rooted in the traditional male-female marriage. Did he condemn homosexuals or homosexual marriage in his statement? It doesn't appear that he did - he simply showed preference for heterosexual marriage.

Oh - I did find the speech (click). Here's the entire passage on marriage:
    Among these, pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman. This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself. The family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and States; hence there is a need for policies which promote the family and aid social cohesion and dialogue. It is in the family that we become open to the world and to life and, as I pointed out during my visit to Croatia, "openness to life is a sign of openness to the future".[3] In this context of openness to life, I note with satisfaction the recent sentence of the Court of Justice of the European Union forbidding patenting processes relative to human embryonic stem cells, as well as the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe condemning prenatal selection on the basis of sex.
Yes, you can read between the lines and clearly see that the Pope doesn't approve of gay marriage, but this is hardly a strong condemnation. How Fionn takes that statement and interprets it as a call for the slaughter of homosexuals in Uganda, I'll never know.

OK, so it's clear that the guy doesn't approve of gay marriage - and I disagree with him on that position and would speak otherwise if I were Pope. Lots of people don't approve of gay marriage, and that doesn't mean they're horrible people. Gay marriage is something new in society, and it's ridiculous to think that the whole world is going to accept it without having some time to get used to the idea.

Whatever the case, the Pope's mild statement hardly seems worthy of all the dramatic rhetoric posted above. So the guy opposes gay marriage. So what? I suppose it would be nice if he favored gay marriage, but would you really expect that?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: John P
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 04:46 PM

C'mon folks, the level of nasty language being directed toward the Catholic Church is unnecessary. We can disagree with the church without slinging insults while in a discussion with a person who we all respect and who is a strong Catholic. Please keep it more polite. Take a moment to find some different words.

The past of the Catholic Church is really not pertinent to any discussion about the church. Just leave it. Yes, there are atrocities in the church's past. But guess what? All of society was one big atrocity back then. Life was cheap, death was quick, and any lower-class person's life was completely owned by any upper-class person. And don't forget that great non-religious custom of droit du seigneur.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 05:27 PM

Silas and others, here (click) is a pretty good article in the Jesuit America Magazine on the concept of limbo. It's quite interesting reading.
A quote:
    So what happened to limbo? Nowhere in the current catechism is there any treatment of a belief that was part of the common teaching of the church for over 700 years. Traditionally described as an intermediate state between heaven and hell, limbo was a place of “natural” happiness free of suffering and pain but a place without a share in the eternal life that God promises to those who die in grace.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 05:51 PM

DMcG ~ Indeed; have read all Lodge's fiction; know him very slightly ~ my first wife knew him better. I agree with your judgments; very fond of the two you mention, also Changing Places, Paradise News, Thinks, Deaf Sentence ~~ all the academic ones, indeed; esp those featuring Philip Swallow & Morris Zapp.

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 06:11 PM

Limbo.

#############################

There is more on Limbo and the church at

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/18025/limbo


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Ed T
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 06:33 PM

Interesting views on homosexuality and the RC.

pre pope perspectives


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 07:29 PM

My experience as a Catholic has not led me to believe the church is anti-homosexual. I have rarely heard it mentioned, if ever. What they seemed to be was anti-heterosexual, with the great sin being French kissing and/or beyond. The great chore of celibacy for men was to avoid women..that is why things go so wierd with young boys etc. and priests..they saw women as the greater sin.

And what is this about ultra-conservatives and Latin Mass? I would far rather have the Latin Mass than the whatever it now is...accompanyied usually by ugly music. I am probably about middle of the road, with great departures from church policy on divorce and birth control etc. But I do believe in tithing if you can, being a decent person, not eating meat on Friday, crossing yourself in front of a church, saying a Hail Mary when you hear an ambulance and collecting small statues that glow in the dark when you rub them on your hair. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 07:49 PM

""But do you, Don, honestly believe that this same level of education & enlightenment has been offered WORLDWIDE ~~ to members of your generation within that vast Catholic population of E Nigeria, for example; or Congo or Uganda? Or Turkmenistan? Or throughout the Caribbean & S America?""

You are (or should be, if you were paying attention) well aware that I have such issues with the teachings of the Catholic Church as led to my leaving it.

It should, therefore, be obvious to you that I am unlikely to be in any way an apologist for the organisation.

I would however claim (with reason) to know much more than most of you about the manner in which Catholicism is taught.

Your hypothetical East Nigerians etc. will certainly have been taught the Catechism, the Credo, and the Liturgy in exactly the same manner as I, Joe and almost all other Catholics were.

You make much of the controlling nature of Catholicism without realising that those most controlled are the Catholic Clergy and especially those who have a missionary role in the far flung regions of the third world.

They teach in the same manner as salesmen sell, from a carefully worded and precise script, so anybody who doesn't get the message simply isn't paying attention.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 07:52 PM

Yes, John P. the past was a bad place, but the Catholic church was surely a little bit exceptional, to the extent that it indulged in its depraved excesses in the name of a loving and forgiving god.

I respect Joe for the tenacity with which he fights his corner and I am very much aware that he is often (but not this time) a lone voice in these wrangles. But I do find some of his arguments infuriating.

In a recent post Joe said this: "With his usual dramatic rhetoric, Peter K (fionn) posits that the Pope's speech is sure to drive Ugandan tyrants to slaughter homosexuals, despite the fact that the Pope's mild-mannered statements have never encouraged the slaughter of anyone."

And that's inexcusable. Almost in the same breath as accusing me of "dramatic rhetoric" Joe claims I accused the Pope of encouraging slaughter. And for good measure he repeats that claim later in his post. In fact I came nowhere close to saying any such thing. I was just making the point - plain to anyone with an ounce of intelligence - that the Pope's comment was likely to give sucour to existing prejudices in Uganda.

Where the Pope says "policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself" the family he is talking about is that "based on the marriage of a man and a woman" (in the old celibate's own words). Putting the future of humanity on the line is nearer to "dramatic rhetoric" than anything I have said - and yet Joe can characterise the Pope's intervention as "mild mannered." Maybe Joe just didn't get the message, but he should not castigate Reuters and co because they did.

I'm not sure that Joe is right that the entrenched homophobia in Africa predates the Europeans and Christians? I can see no evidence of that. My understanding is that homosexuality has been acknowledged in Africa since the days of the Greek empire, in which it was openly celebrated, but that systemic homophobia came only with colonisation. Certainly it has been actively promoted ever since by Christians, Eropean and more recently American: primarily evangelicals, but with the Catholic church taking every opportunity to encourage the prejudice, up to and including Ratzinger's speech the other day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 12 Jan 12 - 08:15 PM

""Where the Pope says "policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself" the family he is talking about is that "based on the marriage of a man and a woman"""

Where, in what he actually said, do you find a cogent and specific reference to homosexuality?

You start from an anti Pope standpoint, and read that into his message which you would prefer to be his meaning.

I read the same message with the unblinkered understanding that it would more probably relate to the number of single parent families in the present day, than to the almost infinitely smaller and less significant number of single sex relationships.

Do any of you really think that the Pope is so stupid as to believe that the tiny number of homosexual relationships can actually so affect the burgeoning world population as to threaten the future of the human race?

Isn't it much more likely that he refers to the relatively huge number of females in single parent situations, combined with the number of those who, by choice or by decree, do not procreate?

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Musket
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 04:34 AM

Joe,

I admire your ability to defend the principle of your faith whilst expressing concern over the actions of people in the name of it. I wouldn't be able to do that, so I genuinely admire you for doing so.

Regarding soundbites though, it is a fact that you either write a thesis for your followers to interpret or you use a microphone / press release, or even both. But if you address the media, then you need to speak their language or have your message misconstrued. So yes, sadly, he needs to speak to Reuters in Reuters language.

Peter K notes that homosexuality was common in ancient times in many parts of Africa till the colonialists came. Two things spring to mind there;

Mea Culpa was described to me as "If you enjoy something, you should be ashamed of yourself." That is a broad brush, possibly inaccurate way of putting it, I know. But you can see the link, Christian missionaries deciding they enjoy some things too much. So, sex is for procreation only and sex that can't give us a little Christian at the end of it is banned. And that buggers that, or doesn't as the case may be.

Ironic that it is in many parts of Africa where the "West" are alarmed at how homosexuality is deemed a sin. Reaping and sowing springs to mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Silas
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 06:09 AM

Well Joe, a further quote from your artice;

"But over many centuries the teaching did touch immediately and personally the lives of parents and relatives, who found little consolation in the fact that their children who died without baptism were in limbo rather than heaven. In fact, this teaching raised questions for many grieving Christians about the eternal status of their unbaptized infants and no doubt was a cause of pain for many parents and relatives. For example, a Jesuit friend of mine told me how distraught he was as a seven-year-old when the pastor declared that my friend's recently stillborn younger brother was not in heaven but in limbo."


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Shining Wit
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 06:44 AM

I just finished reading the article Joe linked to regarding limbo and can honestly say I know now beyond doubt that for me the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic religions are not for me; that article cleared up the very few remaining doubts I have.

Love the churches, chapels and cathedrals though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Greg F.
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 09:07 AM

So what happened to limbo?

More importantly, what became of the millions of Pagan Babies that were stuck in limbo when the Church abolished it?

Did they go up, down, or simply disappear? & if so, why?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Silas
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 09:24 AM

They were not pagan babies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: John P
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 10:13 AM

Jeez, I hate to keep throwing cold water, but why in the world are you trying to argue with Joe about Catholic tenets of faith? Joe has made it abundantly clear that all that stuff isn't what his religious experience is all about. My own experience tells me that most Catholics think about that stuff for about five minutes in catechism and never again, since it is so patently not important to anyone's life. If you're not a Catholic, what possible difference does it make to you? What does it have to do with the Pope speaking out against gay rights? The Catholic Church can teach anything it likes within the confines of the church. The only time the rest of us get to comment is when they inflict themselves on the rest of us, like when a world-renowned leader makes public comments or when they spend a lot of money buying laws for themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 12:12 PM

John, there are millions and millions of Roman Catholic adherents throughout the world. No-one could possibly suggest that what the Pope says isn't important to them, and doesn't have any influence on their standpoint. If he rejects gays and their right to a sexual life and to be in partnerships or indeed marriages, then the majority of them will subscribe to that viewpoint, and particularly those in cultures where homosexuals are already persecuted and reviled. It is a huge step backwards in the struggle for acceptance and support for gays. The same thing goes for the Roman Catholic tenets on contraception. Millions worldwide endure the strain of large families and the ensuing poverty because of this. Those who secretly practice contraception are often plagued by guilt and shame. It isn't a happy situation is it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: RichM
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 12:35 PM

What makes any Christian think that their "god" is any more valid than Thor, or Shiva or any of the thousands of other mythical personae that have been offered to humanity as reality?

I am a former Catholic and altar boy, who left that belief system because of the disparity between stated beliefs and hypocritical actions.

As an atheist, I can only hope that humanity will eventually drop the rancid cloak of religion and embrace the universe for the wonderful real thing it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Greg F.
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 12:37 PM

They were not pagan babies.

But of course they were! Limbo is where all the dead pagan babies world-wide not baptised into the Roman Catholic Church were consigned for all eternity.

We used to have to say special prayers for them in and out of Mass.

So, where are they now?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: DMcG
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 01:45 PM

It is a huge step backwards in the struggle for acceptance and support for gays.

Not really, to be honest. It's a missed opportunity to take a step forward, and one that many Catholics like myself (and by the sounds of it Joe) wish had been taken. But it would only be a step back if it reversed progress that had been made in the Church, and as far as I can see that's not the case


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 01:48 PM

Lets all take the piss out of those who don't have the intelligence to think for themselves eh?

Problem is, there are more of them than us for starters. Secondly, a few million lemmings can't be wrong.

Limbo, the place where you rot if your parents don't manage to baptise you. The pathetic cruelty of religious bigotry is beyond me, beyond the pail and beyond reason.

Interestingly, whilst good men like Joe Offer make excuses for it by denouncing whilst representing, we will never even begin to throw the concept of religion in the dustbin in which it belongs.

The Pope is a man. Not some deity, but a man with he same number of balls as the rest of us. Only he chooses to use his in a verbal rather than reproductive sense. He speaks of Jesus as if any church has ever represented the fabled love one another piety of the imaginary Nazerene.

Bad enough that Jesus is a product of over active imagination. I could live with that but every Pope, every Archbishop of Canterbury puts bigotry and controlling the masses above Jesus and in the name of Jesus.

Kind of cheapens the brand, don't you think?

Oh, and every religious prat who says kindness to others and altruism is something to do with religion has a permanent place on my shit list. I try to live my life with a set of moral values yet I don't believe in any religious nonsense. By that reckoning, I must be as superhuman as Jesus. Although rather than worship me, just buy me the odd pint and you will be saved. Trust me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: DMcG
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 02:07 PM

The Pope is a man. Not some deity ... That is core to the Catholic teaching you know!

every religious prat who says kindness to others and altruism is something to do with religion has a permanent place on my shit list. And they would deserve it if they meant that religion was in any sense the origin and doubly so if they suggested it was primarily the religious who are kind and altruistic. That would be a deservedly stupid remark. But 'something to do with' ... that's pretty vague, you know. Even that humanist article I linked to says the now secular organisations like the Red Cross and Oxfam had a religious (but not exclusively religious) origin. And there are, I think, reasons for that that are to do with religion. Don't misunderstand me, the forces that propel religious groups to set up these organisations are complicated and no doubt included a great deal of self interest and perhaps at an individual level sometimes an attempt to assuage personal guilty feelings. So don't assume I think these are lily-white organisations. But 'something to do with religion'? Sometimes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: John P
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 02:08 PM

Eliza:
John, there are millions and millions of Roman Catholic adherents throughout the world. No-one could possibly suggest that what the Pope says isn't important to them, and doesn't have any influence on their standpoint.

I agree with you, and did so in the post you are responding to. And in every post before that.


Everyone else:
No one on this thread has ever claimed that their god is any better than anyone else's. No one on this thread has talked about Catholic tenets about heaven and hell except to try to educate and to say that it really isn't important.

When there's a discussion about the Pope making a bigoted statement, and you all jump on with all your complaints about every facet of religion, Christianity, and the Catholic Church, you start to sound like the bigots Joe called us at the start of this thread. It really looks like many folks here are looking for a place to vent their negative opinions at any convenient target.

And before everyone makes the same mistake that Eliza made above, I agree with most every that's been said about the lack of sense and logic, and the potential harmfulness of, religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular. But do we really have to air all our grievances about all of religion on every thread that mentions religion in any way? If you want to talk about what the Pope said, or other things the Pope has said, or the Church's political positions, or how it spends its money in the secular world, I will confront Joe with you all day. But can we please leave the rest of it for a conversation where it's the topic?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,olddude
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 03:10 PM

I have a friend who is an old priest, once a person asked him about Gay Marriage and he said "The Bible isn't probably the best place to look for matters of relationships and marriage, David had 500 wives"
As you can see even priest don't take him that serious in such matters


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 04:35 PM

Ian Mather, I'm not picking on you, but you express your opinions rationally and fairly, and that makes it far easier (and far more pleasurable) to have a rational discussion with you.

Here's what you say about Reuters:
    Regarding soundbites though, it is a fact that you either write a thesis for your followers to interpret or you use a microphone / press release, or even both. But if you address the media, then you need to speak their language or have your message misconstrued. So yes, sadly, he needs to speak to Reuters in Reuters language.


Well.....that's exactly the problem. Reuters wants to speak in simplistic, combative language - and they do it very well. The megachurches also speak in that simplistic, combative language - and they are hugely successful. Both feed on the fears and bigotries of people, and people respond. Benedict is a gentle man who plays classical music on the piano an hour a day. He is known for his gentle humor, his compassion, and his thoughtfulness. He would never, never condone violence or aggression. He certainly would not approve of any mistreatment of homosexuals. He simply expressed approval of families founded on the marriage between a man and a woman. So, in actuality, about the strongest headline you could get out of what he said is:

    Pope Approves of Male-Female, Two-Parent Families

-or, if you stretch it-

    Pope Implies Dislike of Homosexual Marriage

The trouble is, things like that won't sell papers. So, instead of that, we get the Reuters headline:

    Gay marriage a threat to humanity's future: Pope

The Reuters headline is not actually a lie, but it's certainly an out-of-balance extrapolation of what the Pope actually said.

The trouble is, the Pope can't use Reuterspeak and say what he wants to say, in the balanced way he wants to stay it. Whenever the Pope speaks of homosexuality, he does so respectfully, with appreciation for the dignity of homosexuals as persons. He never "condemns" homosexuals or homosexual marriage - he simply states his support for traditional families with traditional male-female parents, and his disagreement with the idea of homosexual marriage. He also states in respectful, noncombative terms, that the Catholic Church does not consider same-gender sex to be a moral act. And whenever he does that he also is careful to acknowledge that homosexual orientation is not something people choose - that people cannot choose to be homosexual or heterosexual, so there is no moral right or wrong in sexual orientation.

Same thing with abortion - every official statement of the Catholic Church on abortion is written in noncombative language, expressing compassion for women who have an abortion and offering forgiveness for those who seek it.

The same thing could be said for the use of various birth control methods. It's never an outright condemnation. At most, it's a statement that the Catholic Church does not consider "artificial" birth control to be a moral act - couched in paragraphs that encourage love between married couples, the sanctity and beauty of sexual intercourse between married persons, and the importance of stable families. By the way, over the last forty years the Catholic Church has said many things to encourage the enjoyment of sex as an expression of love between married persons, not merely as a means of procreation. And in the last forty years, Church statements have never said anything which would imply that sex in marriage is not to be enjoyed.

With regards to the use of condoms to control HIV/AIDS, the Pope said that while the Catholic Church does not approve of "artificial" methods of birth control, the use of condoms can be better and more moral choice than unprotected sex.

And on top of all that, Benedict consistently emphasizes the constancy of the love of God for humankind, no matter what humans choose to do.



Now, Reuters and the fundamentalists (including fundamentalist Catholics) want everything boiled down to simplistic terms, applauding the right and condemning the wrong - but life just isn't that simple. Well, maybe it IS that simple. It all boils down to

    Love One Another



That's what it's all about. Somebody want to disagree with that?

-Joe-


For the record, I respectfully disagree with the Pope on a number of issues, including the ordination of women, celibate priesthood, homosexual marriage, and birth control. I also think that the issue of abortion should be treated differently, and the aggressive actions of the so-called "pro-life movement" should be more clearly criticized by the Catholic Church.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Silas
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 04:42 PM

Greg, they are NOT Pagan babies. Do you know what Pagan means?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 04:52 PM

Silas, it's a Catholic joke, and you need to know the back story. Catholics, like Jews, have had a history of not taking themselves too seriously. Back in the 1950s, Catholic schools had campaigns during Lent to "adopt" what they referred to as "pagan babies" - children in impoverished, Third World countries. That developed into competitions between classrooms to see who could adopt the most pagan babies, and school kids interpreted that as "buying pagan babies." Even in grade school, kids could see the silliness of it all, so there was a constant flow of pagan baby jokes in Catholic schools. In actuality, it's my understanding that most of the money was spent for food and water, not for proselytizing and certainly not for adopting children away from their parents.

Now, all this was before modern Paganism came to be, so don't be offended.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: gnu
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 05:49 PM

"relatively huge number of females in single parent situations"

Yup. I have seen it many times. Marriage, children, divorce, man pays thru the nose, woman even gets weekends off from caring for the children... nice work if you can get it. And, before I get shit upon, allow me to repeat... I have seen it many times. It sickening. The sanctity of marriage has been replaced by the convenience of divorce.

As fer yer homos, love is love, sex is sex, get over it. And, I don't just say that for the guy with the big hat and fancy gown. What adults do is their business and NObody else's. I have gay friends and they seem much more "normal" that some of my hetero friends... hmmm... even more normal than me for that matter.

I should add, if ya think Cat'lics are intolerant I could name a few others who are even intolerant of Cat'lics. Which, I always like to point out to them is not a good idea on acounta if the Cat'lics took their point of view they might have a hard time seein as how they are outnumbered.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Ed T
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 06:13 PM

""What adults do is their business and NObody else's. I have gay friends and they seem much more "normal" that some of my hetero friends... hmmm... even more normal than me for that matter""

Bravo, for sharing that thoughtful viewpoint, Gnu


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 06:23 PM

I think there is an underlying philosophy in our society today, that dictates that there is one absolutely correct line of thinking - and that all those that who adhere to that line of thinking, are wonderful; and all those who think otherwise, are evil and must be suppressed.

The trouble is, nobody can agree on what that absolutely correct line of thinking should be, so we all go around chasing those people who think otherwise and are evil and must be suppressed. Is it really so horrible, that somebody says something we disagree with? Are we morally bound to condemn and attack and destroy who don't see things our way?

Must all of life be a matter of right and wrong, good and bad, attack and defeat?

The Catholic faith doesn't work for people who see things in absolute terms. It's far too messy, far too open to discussion. Take the stuff about pagan babies and all the fantastically perverse stories about the saints and the crazy nuns of the 1950s. If you take all that stuff seriously and literally, you can't help but see the Catholic Church as evil. If you take it all with a grain of salt, you can see it as rich and colorful and human and funny - warts and all. The Catholic Church is a rich and ancient culture and tradition. Nothing about it is perfect - but then, is anything perfect? Everything about the Catholic Church is in an organic state of slow but constant evolution - is that so bad?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: gnu
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 06:38 PM

Oh, BTW, before anyone brings up my past posts on other threads... I am definitely opposed to gay or hetero parades. As Trudeau said (paraphrasing), "There is no place for the government in the bedrooms of the nation." And, IMO, there is no place for the bedrooms in the streets of the nation.

Do what ya want with yer nether regions in yer own house, not in public. Protest parades? Fine. Overt sexuality in the streets? Please???!

Sorry for the thread drift.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 07:28 PM

Joe, you remind me strongly of old friends back in the 70s. Defended their beliefs against the rising tide of evidence of atrocities, knew that they were struggling for the good f all mankind, that of course there were failings in the organisation, but all would be overcome..

In memory of my Dad's mate Harold Flatley, Catholic and Communist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 07:46 PM

Well, Paul, my belief in "love one another" is rigid. All else is open to discussion.

Oh, and I also believe in fairness, even when the person being treated unfairly is wrong. There are many areas where I think the Pope is wrong, but I do think his wrong ideas ought to be treated truthfully and debated fairly. I think that "atrocities" is a good word to describe the child molestation and abuse that has gone on in the Catholic Church, even to the present time. For the most part, however, I think the popes and bishops made horrible mistakes, and it was only a few who intentionally condoned the molestation and abuse. Those who see things absolutely as right and wrong, white and black, true and false - those people will not agree with me.

I think most people do things because they think they're doing the right thing. It's just that their perception is unbelievably screwed up. Of course, you and I aren't screwed up...

....are we????

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: gnu
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 07:57 PM

"intentionally condoned the molestation and abuse"

I was not aware such happened. I know of the turning of a blind eye and the transfer of some to another location but "condoning"? That actually happened?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 08:41 PM

Gnu, I think it's clear that Cardinal Law of Boston was callous to the extreme, as were some of the bishops in Ireland and others in the U.S. and Austria and other places. I think they knew damn well what they were doing - protecting the organization and themselves instead of protecting the victims. But the majority of bishops just bungled it, not knowing what to do.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Greg B
Date: 13 Jan 12 - 09:18 PM

Quoth Joe Offer: "The Catholic faith doesn't work for people who see things in absolute terms."

So you'd apply this to the Bishop of Phoenix Arizona who declared as excommunicated a devout nun and hospital administrator who gave her ethical consent to the termination of a mother of four's pregnancy when she would otherwise (along with her fetus) died?

Works pretty well for him. He rides around in a limo.

Or how about the nut-job Chaput, late of Denver and now inflicted on us Philadelphians, who tossed the adopted kids of a lesbian couple out of one of his Catholic elementary schools BECAUSE THEY HAD TWO MOMS?

Your arguments remind me of those of the George Bushes who constantly tried to distinguish between "the people" of the countries they bombed and their governments. At what pont are "the people" responsible? How many boys wouldn't have been buggered and girls wouldn't have been diddled if you pew-sitting sheeples had grown a set and told your priests and bishops NO!!!

The latest crap is that SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is being attacked with subpoenas for confidential information about survivors by the Kansas City Dioceses. Yes, they're trying to force SNAP to release confidential communications with RAPE VICTIMS.

So when, Joe Offer, do you stop being a "Christian Soldier" and tell your bishop "NO!" These guys are trying to cripple the organization that helps victims fight back against the massive organization that seeks to silence them.

Aren't you in the Diocese of Santa Rosa? Two bishops back, he was an sexual abuser of kids. One bishop back, well, he let a confessed abuser escape into Mexico and HAD TO GO INTO A DIVERSION PROGRAM for failing to report abuse as a mandated reporter! Your current bishop has a record of defying the USCCB's own Dallas Charter.

The problem is that it just doesn't work. It, like Reaganomics (and piss), "trickles down." So the young couple going for "pre-Cana" counseling gets fed the anti-contraception bullshit, has to sign the "we promise not to use rubbers" papers, under pain of excommunication, etc. etc.

Oh, there are ways to be "Catholic" that don't buy into this crapola. There are any number of "non-Roman" Catholic groups cropping up. Such as the Ecumenical Catholic Communion and any number of totally independent congregations and "Intentional Eucharistic Communities."
Or folks like this.

I spent a lot of years thinking that the Roman Catholic Church would pull its head out of its ass and ordain women and married people and so on. I waited for a quarter of a century and more and now I see nothing but folks who want to take things back to 1959 and abolish Vatican II.

Then I tried to live with the contradictions, and like our friend Joe Offer, explain them away as some sort of "misunderstandings."

No more.

"Let the dead bury their dead."


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Silas
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 04:20 AM

Joe, Pagan simply means polytheistic religion, ie, non Abrahamic, so it is quite possible that these third world babies were pagan, but un-baptised children born to christian families were certainly not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 04:48 AM

That's right, Greg. If you see things in absolute terms and can't tolerate a billion-member church having a large number of assholes in management, then the Catholic Church won't work for you.

I'm in the Sacramento Diocese, and we had a wise, gentle, compassionate bishop while the neighboring bishop in Santa Rosa was having an affair with one of his priests and embezzling millions. Then we had a not-so-good bishop that I despised for his stupidity and insensitivity, and now we have a bishop I haven't decided upon. But Santa Rosa is one diocese out of the twelve in California, and none of the others had a bishop that was anywhere near the notoriety of that one bishop. Maybe I have greater tolerance, Greg. After all, I worked for the U.S. Government under a good number of assholes, and I survived and kept my integrity and did a good job.

And I despise Archbishop Chaput, formerly of Denver - just like you do. My sister, who had been a very active Catholic, left the Catholic Church when she was in Boston in the midst of Cardinal Law's coverup. If I had been in her shoes, I probably would have stayed and thought, but then I'm seminary-trained and know how to manipulate church bureaucracy and make progress in fighting the bad guys.

My wife and I went through "pre-Cana" sessions ten years ago when I was preparing to get married. We enjoyed the sessions, and I wasn't required to sign any pledges against birth control or anything like that. I guess it wouldn't make any difference - I had a vasectomy twenty years before, and all my pastor said was I should be sure that's what I wanted to do because it was permanent.

And I have never been a "Christian Soldier," putting up with anything in the Catholic Church that I thought was wrong. I have confronted priests for their drunkenness in front of parishioners, for dishonesty and misuse of funds, and for sexual misconduct. And, believe it or not, they straightened up. Mind you, none of these offenses were criminal - but they were still wrong. They appreciated the fact that I treated them honestly and with kindness.

I am an associate member of the Sisters of Mercy, and it was one of our sisters who was excommunicated by the Bishop of Phoenix for approving an abortion necessary to save the life of the mother - and we have given her absolute support.

But this is MY church and this is MY faith, and I'm not willing to abandon it to the assholes. I've fought too long and too hard, and I'm not going to give it all up. I respect you for leaving, Greg; and I'm sure you have good reason - but I still see a lot of good in my church along with the bad, and I'm not going to give it up. I had nothing but disdain for John Paul II, but I think Benedict is fairly reasonable. I've been in this church all my life. For the most part, it has been a wonderful experience. I've taken my lumps, lots of them; but I have never once compromised my integrity and never once failed to speak up when I saw something wrong. Never.

My pastor has some problems, but he's also one of the most compassionate people I know. It's amazing to see him deal with sick people, or perform a funeral or baptism. But still, he has a lot of issues, and I've hit him hard and steadily on those issues for the six years he's been here. He laid me off my job and has done a number of other things that hit me below the belt, but I'm still there to hassle him - and he knows he can't scare me away, and that I'll never give up. And he's developed a grudging respect for me because I'm honest and blunt and give him credit when he deserves it. He is a seriously flawed man, but he does a lot of good for a lot of people. Maybe because he is so flawed, he can express compassion in a way that I cannot.

Maybe we're all seriously flawed. Maybe it's time for us to accept that fact, and just keep doing the best we can and learn to accept the flaws of others.

-Joe Offer-

P.S. Silas, we knew the term "pagan babies" was a misnomer way back in the 1950s, when it was used by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in fundraising campaigns in Catholic Schools. We made fun of the term way back then, and we had all sorts of jokes about the "pagan baby" campaign when I was in a Catholic seminary for 8 years in the 1960s. "Pagan" now has a more specific meaning and means more than simply "polytheistic religion." Modern Paganism covers the spectrum of "earth-based" religious beliefs and practices.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 05:24 AM

"I'm seminary-trained and know how to manipulate church bureaucracy and make progress in fighting the bad guys."
.,.,
Sure you are, Joe; & sure you do. & equally surely the millions in Nigerian bush-villages & Valparaiso slums & backwoods PNG [& South Central LA for that matter] aren't; & don't. You mockingly dismiss my arguments by asking what do I know about E Nigeria ~~ to which the answer is as above: whatever & wherever, those Catholics do not have your knowledge & your resources.

And I say again: when push comes to shove, whatever J Offer may think of them, arseholes or otherwise, Pius XII & John XXIII & John-Paul I & John-Paul II & Benedict XVI all were, or are, Pope.

and you are not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 05:28 AM

Why, I can feel the house, right over hear, shaking as I type, from the furious & fearful vibrations caused by Archbishop Chaput trembling in his boots with rage & fear at the revelation on a public forum that Joe offer despises him!


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 09:36 AM

The Catholic faith doesn't work for people who see things in absolute terms. It's far too messy, far too open to discussion.

Oh, sure. The epitome of enlightened consensus. Except that it's the only significant Christian denomination (overwhelmingly the biggest of course) that puts itself above the World Council of Churches - an inevitable consequence of its intransigent (in fact bigoted) teaching that no church except itself is a church at all, a line reiterated in unequivocal terms by the one-time Cardinal Ratzinger when he was chief exec of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 08:18 PM

Gee, Mike, I think I answered your question about Nigeria. I said that I have friends here in the Sacramento area who are Catholic emigrants from Rwanda and Nigeria. I have questioned them quite extensively about their life as Catholics in Africa, and what I have heard is consistent with what I have stated above. The Catholic Church, for the most part, is locally autonomous. Outsiders make far more of the authority of the Pope and the power of the Vatican, than do local parishioners. Local parish life is centered around.....local parish life. Some parishes are good, and some are not good at all. Much depends upon the character and spirituality of the local priest. Again, some are good and some not, and many wallow hopelessly in mediocrity.

And as you say, Mike, I am not Pope; and Pius XII & John XXIII & John-Paul I & John-Paul II & Benedict XVI have all been Pope. To my mind, that means that they have all been at my service, since they claim to be "servant of the servants of God."

Never in my life have I been the sort of person who obeys authority. Obedience is not part of my vocabulary. Therefore, I take what's good in the Catholic Church and seek to improve what isn't good. Since parishes and other local institutions (like our Mercy motherhouse and the women's center where I volunteer) are chiefly autonomous, they are of a scale where I can have a strong effect. And I have worked tirelessly for fifty years to ensure that my local institutions are what I believe they should be. If you question that, think about all the work I've done at Mudcat over the last fifteen years.

Now, I suppose a lot of that is my personal view of the world (Weltanschauung, if you will) - I see the world from the bottom up, and I think that those in upper management are largely irrelevant. They serve the organization. Undoubtedly, the organization and its structure are necessary, but the power and value of those at the top is way overblown. Largely, the function of the church is to bring comfort to the afflicted, to heal wounded souls. When have you ever seen a pope or a bishop bring comfort to anyone? When have you seen them affect anyone at a "heart level"? Sure, they have power - but what is that power good for? What change can it effect?

I, on the other hand, am the guy at the door who greets every person who comes into church. I know their names, and I know their stories. I'm there to listen, and the priest will be at their side in a minute if I tell him there's a need. I've been teaching people about the Catholic faith for 45 years, and I use that bully pulpit to challenge people to be kind, generous, and open-minded. And people listen to me, far more than they listen to the Pope or their bishop. I'm the nice little guy who meets people face-to-face; and believe me, I have far more power over them than the Pope does.

My friend Father Innocent had that same sort of power in Rwanda, because he loves people and has an infectious laugh that brings joy wherever he is. He had to leave because the government put him in jail and didn't tell him why, and now he's sharing his joy and love with people in the United States.

So, that's the deal, people. Look around you, and you'll see I'm telling you the truth. True power rests in those who can move hearts, not in those who hold lofty positions. When you look in another person's eyes and smile, you have more power over that person at that moment, than anyone else in the world.

Forget the authority structure. It's all bullshit. What can you do, for one person at a time? I've found I can do a lot.

Fuck the authority structure. If you look at it as you should, it is your servant. Treat it as your servant, not your master. And yes, your servant will not always serve you perfectly - but if you remember that the authority structure is your servant and not your master, that's OK. You can fill in the gaps.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 10:43 PM

I have had more fights with Joe Offer than any five people on this forum. Those of you who refuse to hear what he says are hard of hearing. Those of you who refuse to see what he's said are slightly vision-affected to a deleterious degree.

You do not like the Vatican. Neither does Joe defend their bad practices. He is a good man, and he does good works, and I think many of you--us--me--could learn from him.

The Church is an institution: it makes money, sometimes on the backs of the poor. Any of you who have had a bank account are just the same. You took your 3% increase on deposits divided by 12 x the length of months you let it collect interest because you thought that was 'the way things are.' Well, it IS they way things are BECAUSE you took it.

Joe does not 'worship' the Vatican. He follows the teachings--as best he can--of Yeshua. IMO, most Catholics believe that Jesus is more important than the Pope, despite him being God's representative on Earth. There is doctrine, and then there's reality.

I respect the intelligence of so many people here, because so many of you are much smarter than I am. That said, I wish the timbre of discussion would just back off a bit. If your problem is with Ratzinger, write him. If your problem is with Joe's beliefs, then really your problem is with yourself and your experiences with aspects of the Church, and maybe your own neglect because you didn't address that in the past. Joe is speaking for himself. And because he is, he's speaking for many who can't or don't speak for themselves. You want brights? I bet you all have them, so stop proving you don't.

##############################################

Fionn, you are so far my intellectual superior I lost sight of how much two posts after we met six or seven years ago. IMO, you are right to admonish the Church, but wrong to admonish Joe. He is NOT defending the business of the Church; he is defending the people therein, and with those people he includes you. He follows the inspiration of the religion, not necessarily the rules.

Been a long time since we talked. Good--very good--to see you again.

BM


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 11:39 PM

WELL, for every one like Joe, who can make sense of it all, there are probably 3,000 like me, who can't, but by nature or conditioning or whatever do more or less what authorities tell us to, not because we believe they are superior, but we believe it all might be true..that there could be terrible consequences for not believing in the virgin birth, or for practicing birth control regardless of the harm that doing otherwise would cause..or for dating divorcees..we are allowed to eat meat on Friday now...I do it reluctantly because I get really bad low blood sugar if I don't...but I do it with trepitude and will try to get back into it when I can...

I think the problem is not the rules that make us be good, but the ones that make us be bad..having children we cannot afford if it kills the mother and forces the father into a third job to make ends meet...if it causes us to avoid remarriage or marriage with a divorced person...if it forces us into ceremonies that have been uglified and, like my present church, led by a most unpleasant priest....

I would love to have an archangel come down and say (and supposedlyl one did..St. Michael) just be a nice person and forget about the rest...don't know...part of my problem is that I am only half Catholic..only on my father's side and my mother was a raging Southern Baptist who converted and took every horrid bit of the CaTHOLIC RELIGion and gave it her own twist...it was not good..but it was certainly agreed upon by the church..although I think native-born Catholics, especiaslly Irish, know when to sort of let things slide..oh well.. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 12:22 AM

I'm sorry, Joe: I am not trying to be rude or contentious just for the sake of it~~

But there is something faintly ludicrous in your constant iteration that, because you and your sophisticated Sacramento friends

(+ some urban immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, who have separated themselves from just those of their compatriots as are in question here, just by that get-up-&-go which has brought them to US, and who know as much about those compatriots way out in the bush as you do & I do)

have got the measure of the 'arseholes' in the hierarchy, and decline to accept unquestioningly all their pronouncements, or all the Church's traditional teachings, and have contumely for certain named archbishops~~

why then, everything is OK with Catholicism worldwide, wherever and whatever~~

so that's all right then.

It isn't all right, Joe. Sorry.

~M~

So Benedict is your 'servant', is he? Just try getting him to lay out your clothes & polish your shoes next time you go out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 12:29 AM

Re the abolition of Friday Abstinence, nearly 50 years ago IIRC ~ I think I have told somewhere here before the story of the boy on my table at school lunch just after the pronouncement, who went to the hatch to fetch the special fish meal that had been prepared by the kitchen ladies for the Catholics.

"You know, John," I said, "you don't really have to do that any more. The Pope has said it's OK for you to eat meat on a Friday from now on."

"Never mind the Pope, Sir," he replied cheerfully. "It's my mum."

I have always told that as rather a funny story ~~ but, come to think of it...

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 02:22 AM

So, Mike, I think I've provided fairly good evidence that there is a considerable amount of local autonomy in the Catholic Church. I've experienced that local autonomy first-hand all my life. You continue to deny that it exists. Might it be all right for me to ask that you provide evidence to the contrary?

It's my understanding that worldwide, abortion rates and the use of birth control and more-or-less the same for Catholics and non-Catholics. Same with the rates of divorce and remarriage. This is not, to my mind, an indication that Catholics are marching in lockstep with the Old Man in Rome.

When have I ever implied that "everything is OK with Catholicism worldwide"? I referred above to the child abuse and molestation problem as an atrocity. I know very few priests who are happy being celibate - the exception being members of religious orders who, like nuns, choose to be celibate and live in community. I think women should be eligible for ordination - and failure to do so is a slap in the face to women. I think the entire theology of sexuality needs to be re-thought by all the churches. I think that society in general needs to develop new, realistic values and philosophical underpinnings for sexuality.

There are huge portions of the billion-member Catholic Church that are in sad shape and in need of correction - and I would include many aspects of the Vatican in that. But of course, I don't think one can expect a billion-member organization to be uniformly pristine. On the other hand, there are huge portions of the Catholic Church that function admirably and accomplish a lot of good.

There are those above who see it as horrible that I remain a Catholic. You know, I think that choice is up to me. I acknowledge all the wrong that's done in my church, and I prefer to stick around and see if that wrong can be righted. Why should I give up and run away from all that, abandoning my church to wrongdoers? Despite all that I see as wrong, I have been able to enjoy my life as a Catholic immensely, to be supported in the work I feel called to do. And on top of all that, I belong to religious communities where I feel at home among friends. There's also the matter of my relationship with God, which is very important to me but not something I go on about at Mudcat.


So, Mike - this principle of local autonomy is spelled out in the Code of Canon Law, and has been for centuries. There are certain authorities that Rome has, but most are based on consensus decisions by the bishops. And for the most part, each diocese operates independently, and each parish operates independently within its diocese. If you have proof to the contrary, please provide it.

-Joe-


*and Mike, my friends from Rwanda and Nigeria are mostly priests and nuns. Does that make them incapable of knowing what goes on in local parishes and dioceses in their home country?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 03:31 AM

No..they are not marching in lockstep..but for at least a generation or two, they will be riddled with guilt and paranoia and deep fear that maybe Sister Mary Holywater was right and they will go to hell for doing those things. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: banjoman
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 11:42 AM

I have just spent an afternoon reading through this thread, and although I have contributed some time ago, I have to say that Joe's descriptions of his own work and prescence in his own local church I find somewhat inspiring as I too have never accepted that those in the higherarchy always speak the truth.
Joe - thanks for the inspiration and good luck in your future opposition to all those areas you mentioned.
Finaly I think this thread has gone far enough and all the protagenists should, where appropriate, agree to differ and lets get on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 02:22 PM

Whenever I see an organisation to which I belong heading in what I believe to be the wrong direction, I have a choice to make.

1. I remain within and try to influence the organisation to go in the direction I think it should, and meanwhile continue to exert my efforts to maintain and increase the good things it does.

That is the Joe Offer choice!!

2. I say "This organisation has gone to shit", and I get out, and advise as many people as I can reach to follow suit, thereby destroying not only the organisation, but its actions, right or wrong, good or bad.

That is the choice being urged upon Joe by those of you who are attempting to hammer your opinions into him, and it is a very bad choice.

The Roman Catholic Church has unfortunately failed to keep up with changing times for several hundred years, and will only be brought into the 21st Century by the actions of people like Joe, operating within, so to castigate him for defending, not the Church, but his FAITH and his belief in the possibility of improvement, is, to say the least, impertinent.

Don't ask Joe to throw out the baby with the bathwater, because he wouldn't know how. That's what makes him the best kind of Christian, it's his way of life.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 06:29 PM

Don sez: will only be brought into the 21st Century by the actions of people like Joe, operating within...

Now, Joe knows full well that the Catholic Church will only be brought into the 21st Century......at about the beginning of the 23rd Century. There are times when I do feel quite alone in the Catholic Church, as a progressive in the midst of a conservative majority - but many conservative Catholics I know are very nice people and quite open-minded, if they are treated respectfully in the conversation. This thread started out protesting the Pope's failure to approve gay marriage. I'd say that a fair majority of people I know, particularly Catholics, are afraid of gay marriage. If all those who favor gay marriage leave the Catholic Church, then what happens to those nice but homophobic people who are left behind? Who will be left to help them move forward and overcome their fears?

As many of you know, I do volunteer work at a women's center than has been operated by nuns since its founding in 1987. I haven't told you that until we bought an old firehouse for the center, we rented from the Metropolitan Community Church, the only gay church in Sacramento - and the nuns had a wonderful relationship with the gay congregation. It's a subtle but very good way to draw people out of their intolerance.

Several nuns I know campaigned against California Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage. I was also part of that campaign. I display Obama and "Another Christian Against Prop 8" bumper stickers on my car - to counter all the Tea Party stickers I see in the church parking lot.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Greg B
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 07:12 PM

Joe, I congratulate you on your ability to hold two contradictory thoughts in your mind at once. I used to be able to. What finally did it for me was when I discovered that the leadership's ability to do so was allowing kids of my generation and those before and after me to be harmed. I discovered that there was real harm in the contradictions, particularly in the myth of clerical chastity.

As I enumerate the priests and religious with whom I've been acquainted, MOST either engaged in or failed to stop the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults. If I ignore that, I'm like someone who watched war-crimes and didn't speak out or just kept on in the military like a "good soldier."

Now, I firmly believe that folks who think like you profess to think are being dishonest if they don't move out into the alternative Catholic movements that are beginning to gain traction. That includes laity and clergy.

It's not a "victim-less" way of thinking. It absolutely does "enable" both the abusers and their bishop- and superior-enablers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 12 - 10:22 PM

And Greg, as I enumerate the priests and religious with whom I've been acquainted, MOST were not involved in the sexual abuse scandal in any way, and they certainly did not condone it.

It is a terrible crime and it is pervasive in our society and in the Catholic Church, but the vast majority of people were not and are not involved.

I guess that's the difference between our perspectives. If every other priest I knew were a child molester, I might have a different story. I've read the lists; and yes, there were ten or so suspected molesters that I had once known, one or two as good friends in college. But I've known hundreds of priests in my days.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 04:14 AM

I have every respect for Joe's attitude to his religion, which seems to me exemplary for his circustances ~~ those, I reiterate & will go on doing so until it sinks in, of an urban sophisticate resident of middle-class California in the 2nd decade of C21, with such access to information as to the worldwide state of his Church as may be afforded by, e.g. as he has enumerated, conversations with priests from the urban and more accessible areas of some African countries.

I continue nevertheless to consider him unwarrantably cocksure as to the wider application of the circumstances and attitudes he adumbrates to the Church in more remote, less prosperous, parts of the world: in Africa, Asia, S America, and even in parts of California itself ~~ would he take an oath that there is not a priest in S Central LA who receives the sort of unquestioning attention from his flock to traditional teaching of the kind so much deplored above by non-Catholics, by those actively hostile to Catholicism, as well as by Joe & his like, the informed & intelligent within the Church?

And if so, could he demonstrate how, please?

~M~


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 08:34 AM

The sexual abuse of children is almost a distraction. It has absolutely nothing to do with church teaching; it is something that happens in almost any institutionalised environment to greater or lesser degree, and it makes a convenient whipping boy whereby conservative catholics can sound enlightened.

Joe has put his finger on the real issue: "the entire theology of sexuality." Like many Catholics, he would like to see a major rethink. But he is going to be disappointed if he his hoping to see change in his lifetime.

The Catholic church is always so dogmatically assertive, imposing its values with heartless authority, that a climb-down on one of its fundamentals would be a major humiliation. I think there will be change - there has to be - but it will go at a snail's pace in the hope that no-one notices.

Guest/BM: In bygone years my assaults on Joe were highly intemperate, but his good-spirited responses shamed me into thinking I should moderate my tone, and I hope he can see that I'm trying....

I'm not sure I understood this sentence of yours: "He is NOT defending the business of the Church; he is defending the people therein, and with those people he includes you." If you were assuming I am (or have ever been) a Catholic, I should make clear that I am not. Also, your initials were not enough! Any chance of another clue, like maybe where we met?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Stu
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 10:51 AM

"The Catholic church is always so dogmatically assertive, imposing its values with heartless authority, that a climb-down on one of its fundamentals would be a major humiliation. I think there will be change - there has to be - but it will go at a snail's pace in the hope that no-one notices."

Does this mean the teachings of The Bible are open to re-interpretation according to the context they are being interpreted in? Does this mean the Bible is not the word of God as it can be altered by humankind to fit? Does this mean it was wrong or wanting of clarification when written down originally?


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: Greg B
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 11:01 AM

Peter K, it's not a "distraction." It's a crime. And I would not be so quick to maintain that it has nothing to do with the Church of Rome's teachings. Indeed, their teaching concerning "giving scandal" seems to be at the root of the bishops' and religious superiors' secretive and inadequate response and subsequent endangerment of more children. That, and the idea that a priest undergoes an "ontological change" that sets him apart from other men, making him, in the eyes of his fellows, somehow more valuable than mere laity.

Furthermore, the establishment of an all-male and celibate priesthood while it did not seem to directly lead to sexual acting-out created an attractive place for psycho-sexually troubled young men to attempt to "hide" from their issues.

And my one "pre-Cana" experience was different from your Joe's. Two progressive priests, both gay, one of them a prominent gay-rights activist, suddenly became very by-the-book and High Church.

One only has to read the National Catholic Reporter to understand the tremendous effort of "doublethink" that is necessary to stay in the Church of Rome. We have bishops talking about "religious freedom" in the context of their right to refuse those whose mores don't match their to freely practice their own beliefs. We have an absurd new English translation of the liturgy, one which has sucked much of the beauty out of the one thing that keeps Roman Catholics coming back, and is the most frequent touch-point.

Sadly, many of the folks left are the ortho-toxic "ban Vatican II and bring back the Latin Mass" types. They're the types who send notes of complaint to the Chancery should a priest or catechist step off the straight-and-narrow in the least.

The good news is that progressive Catholicism is gaining traction; some are even moving out of living rooms and rented spaces and purchasing parish properties of their own. They welcome most of the people that the Roman church has alienated.


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Subject: RE: BS: Another Classic of Papal Infallibility
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 16 Jan 12 - 02:58 PM

You mean you liked the, what to me were awful, translations of the Mass that have gone on for the last 40 years or so? I guess if you grew up in them..then any change in liturgy is hard. They should not have changed them again, but perhaps made more voluntary translations available to priests and parishes who preferred them. I personally loved the Latin stuff and it was a shame that one language that unified people throughout much of the world was just like that killed. I have not noticed any improvements since Vatican II..and to me the things that needed to be change, namely cruel rules about birth control and divorce and perhaps annulment, were not changed, other than to let people more or less make their own decisions and twist in the wind.

And whoever is in charge of this, can we please, please, please get rid of those ugly chant and response things they keep doing and interrupting the Mass. And also tell the priests not to break into the Mass with commentary like they were sportscasters. And deduct any special reports from the building committee from the time of the sermon. And thank God I have not seen the Nazi salute in my church since the new Swiss-American priest, who is difficult to say the least, but I respect him for that..came on board. Perhaps he is just more sensitive than others who have allowed that to happen. mg


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Mudcat time: 2 June 1:38 AM EDT

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