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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

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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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